Volunteerism and the Elderly: Boomers Giving Back

There are many gratifying benefits of volunteering at any age. The helper’s high–a good feeling one receives from helping others–can be experienced by anyone.  But it is probably a feeling more appreciated by an older person. Think about it, a retiree who has had a lifetime of work and experience behind them must feel good when they can use that previous knowledge to improve the life of another individual.

Sociologist Erik Erikson theorized that all people go through the same life stages. He labeled middle adulthood as anyone being 40-64 years old.  He labeled this stage of life Generativity vs Stagnation. All of Erikson’s stages involved two opposing possible outcomes at odds with each other. Generativity means  the person feels they have produced something of value to leave behind. Stagnation means the person feels that they haven’t produced anything of value or significance and when they leave this world, they would be forgotten. Simply having children doesn’t bring about generativity.

During the Generativity vs Stagnation stage, people are questioning “Will I produce something of value?” To achieve generativity a person needs to give back to society, and volunteering is a great way to do that.

Benefits for society from seniors volunteering

There are numerous societal benefits in having seniors volunteer in our communities. They have helped out by providing compassion to  visitors for people in hospitals. Retired teachers have helped out younger generations by tutoring them after school. Professionals of all kinds donate their time and services after retirement. This give back mentality has carried then national when times are tough.

WECARE: Seniors Helping Seniors

WECARE stands for Working to Enhance the Care and Resources for our Elders. It is a non-profit program funded by the Americorps and California State University, Fullerton. The idea behind WECARE is to have seniors help other seniors. Today, college students and baby boomers work together to improve the lives of seniors in the Orange Country community. Doing everything from healthy living classes, friendly visits, care giving, etc., WECARE rescues or creates community programs to enable seniors to age in place. Americorps also provides living stipends for their members.

For more information about WECARE please email Ashiya Kerr, volunteer coordinator at akerr@fulllerton.edu . To find out more information about Americorps please visit www.americorps.gov.

Photo credit: San Jose Library

About the Author: Ryan Malone is the founder of InsideElder Care and author of the ByFamilies, For Families Guide to Assisted Living. He regularly speaks and advises families about how to improve their aging loved one’s quality of life. Ryan is also the president of SmartBug Media, a content marketing agency that helps companies increase leads, customers and influence. You can read more from Ryan on the SmartBug Media blog or follow him on Twitter.

Need Your Opinion: Women and Aging Panel Discussion

Our good friends at Volunteers of America are having their second Women and Aging Panel Discussion.  David Burch of VOA asked me for some input on their panel discussion, but the best people to ask are you!!  Please share your input by commenting on this post, and I will send the consolidated feedback over to David.

Hi Ryan,

Hope all’s well with you. I wanted to let you know about a panel discussion Volunteers of America will host on Tuesday, May 11 at the National Press Club in Washington on the topic of women and aging.

Like we did with our panel last year, we’d like to gather feedback from bloggers like you who write about issues affecting older Americans. The panelists will explore the health care, financial and societal issues affecting older women that will influence workplaces, public policy and the economy for years to come. Some of the questions we’ll explore include:

  • What should be done to care for elderly women who have exhausted their resources caring for others?
  • How can a woman prepare for her own golden years while balancing careers, children and caring for parents or loved ones?

Please feel free to email me any questions you would like to ask the panel.

For those of your who aren’t familiar with the Women and Aging Panel Discussion, you should take it look.  There’s a great line-up planned.

Back by Demand: Orange County Date for “Assisted Living Saved My Mom”

Ryan Malone will be presenting “Assisted Living Saved My Mom” at San Clemente Villas by the Sea, in San Clemente, California. The Villas have a fantastic view and a high-energy management team, so it should be a great event.

If you missed the standing-room only even in January, this one is something to make time for.  If you have friends or colleagues who are consider elder care for their parents, this is a must see event based on real-world success.

Courtesy of San Clemente Villas, all attendees will receive an autographed copy of the By Families, For Families Guide to Assisted Living.

A Unique Presentation

Designed for families and industry professionals, “Assisted Living Saved My Mom” is a unique and interactive presentation that shares how families can make a positive experience out of assisted living.  I share  tips for families that you will not hear in other places and can only be said because my family lived it.  In fact, there are a few parts that make the assisted living provider a bit uncomfortable.  Why? Because you’ll learn the tough questions to ask!

Peace of Mind

You’ll leave this presentation confident in your ability to (a) decide whether assisted living is right for your family, and (b) if it is, how you can take the bull by the horns and make it a good thing.

As I mentioned, San Clemente Villas will be providing at no cost autographed copies of my book series “The By Families, For Families Guide to Assisted Living” to all who attend.

Here’s the info – I hope you can join us for this very special and informative event.

San Clemente Villas by The Sea
April 28, 2010 ~ 6:00pm
660 Camino de los Mares
San Clemente, CA 92673

(949) 289-1534

For RSVPs, please email Aileen Brazeau – aileen@www.sanclementevillas.com.

New Social Security Benefits for Alzheimer’s

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is one of 38 degenerative conditions included in the Social Security Administration’s new Compassionate Allowances program.  This fast-tracking system is designed to aid younger patients and their families in moving quickly from diagnosis to benefits.  Expediting this process aids in reducing stress associated with waiting for the lengthy approval process, and trying to plan the next stages of life while in a state of limbo.  Many of these younger patients–most in their 30s and 40s–are still working and have more extensive financial responsibilities than the traditional Alzheimer’s patient.  More typical Alzheimer’s patients are in their mid-to-late 60s, retired, and also too young to be receiving Social Security retirement benefits in some cases.

Effective March 1, 2010, the Administration will be able to electronically target and make prompt decisions in the best interest of the disabled patients.  In the past, when a younger patient began experiencing the cognitive limitations, they were not traditionally tested for Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, they were thought to be suffering from job and life-related stress.  This issue added to the lengthy process of identifying the correct diagnosis and than being approved for disability benefits.  With this new program, it is estimated that tens of thousands of younger Alzheimer’s sufferers will now qualify in a matter of days rather than the traditional months or years it often took in the past.

According to the Administration, approximately 200,000 people under the age of 65 currently suffer from the symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  Due to the sheer volume of potential benefit applicants, the Administration will also benefit from this new program as it will reduce the time and effort of the appeals process that in the past would contribute to slowing down the system for every patient.

Photo: benprks

Giving Back to Caregivers

As a blogger, most people will tell you, “stay on message.  Don’t deviate, or you’ll lose readers.”  They are right.  On rare occassion it is justified, however.  That occasion is today.

I received an email today from Gladys Broxton, the executive director at Regency Park Oak Knoll in Pasadena.  Gladys was one of the first people who brought me in to give my “Assisted Living Saved My Mom” talk.  She is also an enromously compassionate woman who runs a wonderul assisted living.  Great staff.  Long tenure.  All the things you look for when you evaluate assisted living communities.

At Inside Elder Care, we’ve always spoken about the very difficult job that caregivers undertake.  Many times it is thankless.  All of the time, it is very tough work.  In this light and with Glady’s permission, I am reposting the email she sent me below.  Help if you can.  And if you can’t — think some good thoughts.

Dear Friends, Family, Staff and Colleagues:

I come to you with a heavy heart requesting for your financial support to help one of my staff members who is in great need of financial assistance for burial.

Rosario Rodriquez has been working for me 6 years as an exceptional caregiver.   She is a young, kind, and caring individual who works extremely hard to provide the best care for my residents.  She and her husband, Eduardo has been married for only 2 years.  Her husband is gravely ill with liver cancer.  His battle with this rare cancer is almost over.  Rosario and her husband have no life insurance and no medical insurance.  Her husband was being treated at USC because he was part of a research project.  However, he is losing his battle, and doctors are telling them that they can’t do anymore to help him.  This burden is insurmountable and I am amazed by Rosario’s strength and love for her husband.

At this point her husband has no more strength left.  The cancer has caused his skin to leak fluids, the doctors have now put him on hospice, and Rosario is faced with the obvious and inevitable circumstance of him passing.

I come to you all asking for you’re help by donating any amount that comes from your heart.  I hope to collect enough to at least ease the financial burden for Rosario in some way. She is not aware that I’m asking for donation’s she has so much pride I admire her so much for her strength, love and faith for the past two years.

Please keep her and her husband in your prayers.  If you can help, please contact me as soon as possible

Sincerely yours,

GLADYS BROXTON
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
REGENCY PARK OAK KNOLL
255 SO OAK KNOLL
PASADENA CA 91101
626-578-1551

Orange County Speaking Dates for “Assisted Living Saved My Mom”

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope everyone had a great holiday and is excited for a fun and positive 2010.

Just a quick note to let you know that I will be presenting “Assisted Living Saved My Mom” at Brookdale Senior Living in Irvine, California.  Irvine is in the middle of Orange County, about 35 minutes south of Los Angeles.

A Unique Presentation

Designed for families and industry professionals, “Assisted Living Saved My Mom” is a unique and interactive presentation that shares how families can make a positive experience out of assisted living.  I share  tips for families that you will not hear in other places and can only be said because my family lived it.  In fact, there are a few parts that make the assisted living provider a bit uncomfortable.  Why? Because you’ll learn the tough questions to ask!

Peace of Mind

You’ll leave this presentation confident in your ability to (a) decide whether assisted living is right for your family, and (b) if it is, how you can take the bull by the horns and make it a good thing.

Brookdale will be providing at no cost autographed copies of my book series “The By Families, For Families Guide to Assisted Living” to all who attend.

Here’s the info – I really hope to see you there:

Wednesday, January 13th @ 6pm
Brookdale – Inn at the Park
10 Marquette
Irvine, CA
(located across from the UC Irvine Campus)

(949) 854-3766

For RSVPs, please email Beth Otterbein – botterbein@brookdaleliving.com

Ryan Malone Joins the Advisory Board of the Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL)

I am honored to announced that I have been invited and accepted an invitation to join the advisory board for the Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL).

As on might imagine, the decision to join the advisory board of any organization is not something taken lightly.  It requires a deep belief in the purpose of the organization and the leadership team that drives it.  I found both with CCAL and want to share with you a bit about the organization, as it is closely aligned with my “by families, for families” approach to elder care.

CCAL’s Mission

The Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL) is a national consumer education and advocacy organization focused on the needs, rights and protection of assisted living consumers, their caregivers and loved ones. CCAL educates consumers and professionals, and advocates for assisted living issues. CCAL works collaboratively with a broad spectrum of people and organizations to support quality, affordable assisted living.

Goals and Objectives

  • Ensure that the organization is financially secure, well managed, and successful in achieving its annual goals.
  • Educate consumers, advocates, professionals and the public about choices and needs in the confusing landscape of assisted living.
  • Strengthen the consumer’s voice and involvement in advocacy for assisted living.
  • Provide tools and resources to help consumers make informed choices.
  • Promote quality care and effective practices to enhance the quality of life for assisted living residents.
  • Advocate for assisted living as an option for individuals who have low to moderate incomes.
  • Monitor national assisted living issues to support consumer needs and to ensure that industry practices do not take precedence over consumer needs.
  • Serve as a national resource and facilitator to promote the exchange of information and ideas among the diverse stakeholders of assisted living.

Over the next several months, I will be sharing with you some of the major accomplishments CCAL has achieved and how we are collaborating with assisted living providers, industry experts and policymakers to make assisted living a positive experience for residents and their families.

Brookdale Arizona Hosts Ryan Malone and “By Families, For Families” Book Signing

Look out Arizona!  “By Families, For Families” is coming to a town near you.

Brookdale Senior Living is hosting me for a four-city speaking tour and book signing to cover their Arizona region.  If you are in Arizona and considering assisted living for a friend or family member, please make a point to come to the event.

During the event, I’ll be giving a presentation entitled “Assisted Living Saved My Mom,” signing books and answering any questions you may have as to assisted living and how you can proactively make it a positive experience for you and your family.

Hope to see you there!

Four Dates to Choose From

Sunday, September 13, 2009 (Tuscon)
Time: 2 – 4 PM

Tuscon – Freedom Inn Ventana Canyon
5660 North Kolb Road
Reservations: Call Kaye @ 520-577-6940

Monday, September 14, 2009 (Peoria)
Time: 4 – 6 PM

Peoria – The Inn at Freedom Plaza
13725 North 93rd Drive
Reservations: Call Diana @ 623-815-6170

Tuesday, September 15 (Mesa)
Time: 10AM – Noon
Mesa – The Springs of East Mesa
6220 East Broadway Road
Reservations: Call Sheri @ 480-985-8900

Tuesday, September 15 (Scottsdale)
Time: 4 – 6 PM (Yes, the same day as Mesa)

Scottsdale – Freedom Inn at Scottsdale
15436 North 64th Street
Reservations: Call JoAnn @ 480-948-6950

Kudos to the New Jersey Nets and NETsational Seniors

Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to people who have great ideas.  The National Basketball Association’s New Jersey Nets have created the first NBA dance team whose members are all over the age of 60.  The documentary file “Gotta Dance” chronicles the formation of the dance group from auditions through training to performances in front of the Nets faithful.

Paul Span of the New York Times wrote a great piece on the firm.  You can read the article here.