The Aging Answers Show, produced by The Mary Culver Home for Visually Impaired Women, located in St. Louis, MO, offers tips, trends and topics for the 65+ crowd. The host, Gina March, conducts lively discussions with professionals ranging from Medicare and eldercare issues, volunteering and laughter yoga – and everything in between.
Where to listen
Let’s Have the Conversation – What Is and Why is Advance Care Planning Critical to All of Us?
Want some basic computer information? Alan Haber of PC Basix explains what some important issues, including upgrading to Windows 10, what malware and viruses do to your computer - and possibly your personal information - why to use a credit card instead of debit card when making online purchases, and much more. He also shares a number of great websites, podcasts and YouTube resources to keep up to date with keeping your computer running smoothly and keeping your information safe.
Most people don't enjoy paying bills and keeping track of expenses and information needed for tax time. Joel Kamil of Checks & Balances Plus discusses the services they offer so seniors are confident that their bills are always paid on time. Some of those services include opening, scanning and paying bills monthly, tracking monthly statements and providing a Summary Report to help in year-end income tax preparation. They also stay on top of scams that threaten seniors.
Complete an Advance Directive? Isn’t that only for older people? I’m healthy. It isn’t important until I get sick. After all, I am sure my family will know what I want. I hope they do!
None of us are promised tomorrow, things happen…just like that….why not give your loved ones and family a gift and express your care preferences, clarify your values and let them know what matters to you.
Join the conversation with Carla Baum of Meaningful Life and learn about Advance Care Planning, Advance Directives and how to prepare and share your end-of-life wishes. It is a brave step to take, providing your loved ones with peace of mind and the opportunity to honor and respect your wishes. Join the movement to Have the Conversation!
Downsizing, de-cluttering, and moving can be very stressful, especially for older adults who may still be living in a home that they’ve been in for many years. It’s also tough if they are experiencing health issues, making such a task extremely taxing. Making decisions about years’ worth of belongings can be very difficult - how do you downsize and organize without getting overwhelmed? Kristen Lund, owner of Home Sweet Home, discusses how a professional "move manager" can help with the process.
It's difficult being in the hospital, but having to worry about Medicare covering it can make it worse. Abby Mahon of Certified Care Management, discusses what you need to know ahead of time. Some of the issues include knowing the difference in "observation" and "in-patient" status, the Medicare benefit period, what does re-admission mean in Medicare terms and what to know if you have to move to skilled nursing. Great information!
The KonMari method of tidying up, created by Marie Kondo is known the world over, but does it work? Lisa Dickmann, founder of Tidy Upgrade and currently the only certified KonMari professional in Missouri, says YES and shares her expertise on why. She discusses the way to start the process, which is knowing your vision and then walks us through the tidying up process. You will want to go home and organize your drawers!
Writing your life story is a gift to your family, because it gives them their own history, according to Kathy Evans, personal historian and founder of Write for You Life Stories. She says it shows them the river they are a part of, the ribbon that ties their past to their own future. When descendants see what their ancestors have faced and overcome, it gives them strength, courage, inspiration. Since 2001, Write for You has been helping clients tell the stories of their lives and legacies.
What happens when you pair older homeowners with college students who can't afford housing? John Levis, business owner and co-founder of Odd Couples Housing, and Dr. Brian Carpenter, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Washington University, discuss how it can be a perfect match. Odd Couples Housing brings together healthy, active adults with compatible and responsible younger adults to share housing. Living and learning together, the two generations find mutual support, share expenses and household responsibilities, and discover a range of social and educational benefits.
Even the youngest of the baby boomers will turn 65 in 2029, that is only nine years from now. Nalini Mahadeven, Elder Law and Estate Planning attorney discusses the concerns shared with her by "Boomers" each day. Most say that they have the assets and the income, and are now worried that they can't leave a legacy for their kids or be able to afford to go into a nursing home. Nalini says that a majority of persons considering Medicaid are “over-income” or “over-asset” or both, yet still cannot afford their cost of care. Hear her discussion on how to be proactive in preparing for what is to come!
Drawing upon his 23 years of auto sales expertise, Jay Grosman is the founder of iautoagent, a whole new safe and painless way to buy or sell your car. Jay discusses how they become the "realtor" for the car buying/selling process, with you never leaving your home, meeting strangers, taking one phone call or handling any paperwork. Jay also serves as a consumer advocate on Fox2 News as well as CBS News.
Holidays can be stressful, for all of us! The change in routine, noises from large groups or general chaos can be anxiety provoking for anyone, but especially individuals with Dementia who may become overwhelmed by extra stimulus. Nicole Huffman of ACM Care provides tips for helping ease the tension for your loved one dealing with this disease, including adjusting your own expectations for traditional holiday routines.
Laughter is not only fun, it is healthy! Annemarie Deutschmann of LMAO discusses the benefits of this intentional exercise, especially for those who may need it most, seniors who face a variety of health issues as they continue to age. She provides tips for keeping your mind active and encourages elderly to engage in social interactions to keep mentally fit.
Sometimes, just a little assistance around the house can make all the difference in a senior being able to remain independent. Janet Wood-Turner, owner of A Nu Norm specializes in assisting clients with instrumental Activities of Daily Living (managing money, managing medications, cooking, housekeeping, using appliances, shopping & extracurricular) so that they can continue to age in place for as long as possible. Another important service they provide is scheduling "well checks" and intermittent visits to monitor the quality of care your loved one is receiving in assisted living or long-term care facilities. Going with the senior to doctor visits and keeping notes of information given by the medical staff is another service that can offer seniors' families peace of mind.
The Shepherd's Center is volunteer-driven organization helping seniors in the community. Betsy Solomon and Karen Zelle discuss the programs available including fitness/exercise, guest speakers, book and film groups and studio art and more. They also provide services for the elderly including transportation to medical appointments, simple home repair, seasonal yard clean-up and provides a senior resource center. They both emphasize the ongoing need for volunteers.
With all the commercials, ads, phone calls and information that comes out during Medicare Open Enrollment, how do you know what to choose? Why do I get the Medicare & You booklet that comes in the mail once a year? What's the difference in my plan and the one my next door neighbor is choosing? Stacy Haberstroh, owner of Senior Insurance Concepts, discusses how to speak all things Medicare and answers all these questions and more.. She has been an insurance educator and broker for 18 years. She offers educational events all throughout the St. Louis area and helps people enroll in the best individual healthcare plan. She specializes in making Medicare easy and reducing the anxiety that is involved in making your health care choice.
Being fit in your golden years can mean the difference in living in a wheelchair or playing with your grandkids. It can also mean being dependent on multiple medications or enjoying life to its fullest. Katie MacKenzie of GymGuyz, discusses the importance of the three components of health - strength training, including balance, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. She says it is never too late to start and that there are plenty of ways to use things in your own home to get fit. Katie says the bottom line is that seniors have to keep moving to maintain their independence.
CLAIM, the acronym for Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri has been the official State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Missouri since 1993. Wilma Schmitz, the Regional Liaison for CLAIM, discusses how they help people on Medicare understand their benefits. Schmitz says that CLAIM helps people understand their benefits and make informed decisions. In some cases, they save people money. In other cases, they help people find the medical and prescription-drug plans that best fit their health needs. CLAIM has 250-300 volunteers statewide and along with its more than 100 community partners and 80 plus satellite locations to provide local counseling. All volunteers must keep themselves independent of the private insurance industry so no particular plans or products can be pushed.
As we age, we have the tendency to not want to talk about getting older, instead of being intentional we start putting out fires. Thank goodness there are professionals who will sit down with you before there is a crisis to create an individualized plan of care to help you write your story as you wish. Melanie Maynor, of Aging Gracefully discusses services available to help you prepare for the future, maintaining your dignity, quality of life, and independence. Melanie see her and her staff as an extension of her client's family and want to ensure they (and their families) never feel alone. By guiding them through difficult situations, she imparts a peace of mind and a sense of relief so they can continue to enjoy their time together.
When it is time to move, especially if you are a senior, can be mind-boggling when it comes to what to do with all the stuff you and your family don't want. Where to start? Jay Phillips, owner of Elite Estate Sales since 2007, is a professional when it comes to assisting seniors and their adult children assemble, price and sell their excess stuff. He says his team is seasoned at making it easy and painless, offering whole-house buyouts, clean-outs, and one- or two-day estate sales.
Improvisation can improve the quality of life for both individuals living in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia and their caregivers. Anne Marie Mohr, founder of Project Present discusses that through engaging improvisation workshops, both the individuals and their caregivers can enjoy more interpersonal connection, creative expression, and joyful collaboration. Project Present provides workshops for individuals living with dementia and caregivers, and also offers shared joint improv sessions, professional trainings, and general presentations.
Technology is a wonderful thing, especially for speech-impaired individuals. Gina Baldwin, creator of APP2Speak, discusses this photo-based, easy-to-use and cost effective software application. Baldwin, a speech pathologist, says you can easily integrate your own photos, take a photo within the app and record a familiar voice for personalization. The simple act of touching a photo allows users to convey a short phrase, sentence, or even a complex story. The preset photo pages and text-to-speech feature enables immediate communication, making life much more enjoyable for the person and their friends and family.
Most homes are built for the needs and preferences of active adults. Often they are unsuitable, even dangerous, for a person with diminished capacity or limited mobility or for a person needing care and for the caregiver. Deb Bokamper, of Ageless Design, discusses how, without requiring extensive modifications, in most cases, thoughtful design can transform these spaces into supportive environments that optimize independence and control for the occupants while ensuring safety and promoting an overall sense of well being. These changes also make it easier and safer for a caregiver to tend to an individual. Universal Design is not a design style but rather an orientation to design, focusing on the end-user. Universal Design incorporates such elements as step-less entryways, wider doorways, lever-style handles on doors and faucets, multi-level or adjustable task areas, grab bars in bath areas, easy-access drawers and storage, and other features that improve ease and comfort as well as accessibility. These enhancements benefit people of all ages and abilities, and they help to reduce falls, injuries and accidents.
There is a perfect storm of demographics, healthcare advances and cost increases, state and federal budget cuts and more that make planning for healthcare one of the most critical issues facing our nation. Kevin Poe of Family Care Solutions, discusses why this issue shouldn't be overlooked and what the choices are for preparing for this need that so many people will face.
No one needs to be the next Picasso, just be willing to put a brush in your hand and have some fun with color, says Mary Beth Flynn, of Artfully Aging. She owns a senior art program which has been serving the St. Louis senior community since 2009. Her holistic approach to art makes each session with seniors a meaningful and therapeutic activity. The residents, at any skill or care level, as well as retirement communities she serves can realize a myriad of benefits by participating in the program.
You're an older adult without wheels - what do you do? Carl Feuer of AXEL Transportation discusses the hardships that life without a vehicle puts on seniors. Common issues include accessing behavioral health services (including substance use disorder treatment), kidney dialysis, preventive services, specialist visits, physical therapy and adult day health care services. Carla talks about options available to seniors so they aren't at risk for missing important these non-emergency medical appointments.
What exactly is cybercrime? Chris Montgomery of Throttlenet IT Services discusses some of the biggest cyber threats, including social engineering, phishing and other frightening ways crooks can take advantage of identity, health and financial information.
Laughter Yoga is an art and science, according to Marlene Chertok, a certified laughter yoga instructor. Laughter Yoga is a unique exercise routine that combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing which brings in more oxygen to the body and brain making one feel more energetic and healthy. It is a powerful cardio workout. In fact, 10 minutes of hearty laughter is equal to 30 minutes on a rowing machine. The foremost benefit of laughing is that one remains cheerful throughout the day. This sense of well-being comes from the release of feel good hormones called endorphins.
It decreases the negative effects of stress on your body which is the root cause of all illness. Laughter Yoga is a single exercise that deals with physical, mental and emotional stress simultaneously. It also strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, controls blood sugar and keeps your heart healthy. It is a powerful antidote against depression.