Making Smarter Choices about Senior Housing

If you’re thinking of buying a new dishwasher, where do you turn? If you’re like many people, you probably turn to the Internet at some point during your search to read reviews from other consumers who have direct experience with the brands you are evaluating. And you’ll find an abundance of such reviews across dozens of websites. The decision to place a loved one in a senior living community — and deciding which senior community is right for your loved one —  is a far more important choice. Yet, you won’t find the same abundance of reviews online from real consumers.

But that’s starting to change. The population is aging rapidly, and the need for different types of senior housing options is growing. Today’s consumers are savvier and more educated, and fully aware that the decision is far more complex than simply choosing a community based on its location and the amenities listed in a brochure. Word-of-mouth marketing and personal recommendations aren’t new, but the availability of this information from dozens to hundreds of consumers at your fingertips is a growing concept in the senior living industry.

What Makes a Good Senior Community Review?

When you consider online reviews as a whole, there’s a clear differentiation between those that are genuine and valuable and those that are untrustworthy. It’s not uncommon for a brand to pay consumers or offer an incentive in exchange for a positive review. In the senior living space, you need real reviews, from real consumers who have had direct experiences with the communities they’re reviewing.

There’s also an important role for expert opinions. Geriatric care managers, home care workers and other industry professionals have a different perspective on the communities they interact with on a regular basis—a perspective that’s important for consumers to learn before making a decision as big as selecting a senior living community.

Senior community reviews should address the most important considerations families face when choosing a senior community for a loved one, including:

  • Staff friendliness, as well as issues with turnover and staffing ratios.
  • The facility itself, such as cleanliness and updated furnishings, as well as the available amenities on the property.
  • Quality of care, such as prompt attention to concerns, adequate care for resident needs and whether the care provided inspires confidence and trust.
  • Dining services, including the ability for residents to choose dining times, accommodation of special dietary needs and the quality of the food provided.

Inspection Data Becomes Increasingly Important

Finally, data from state inspections has become increasingly important to consumers. Nursing homes and other providers are required to make the results of these inspections available to any resident, family member or visitor in most states—and much of this data has been made available online in recent years.

Even the government has taken notice of the demand for critical decision-making data, launching a number of initiatives that provide information to consumers on the Internet, including the Five-Star Nursing Home Quality Rating System and Nursing Home Compare. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to make even more nursing home deficiency information available online in the near future, thanks to the steady consumer demand for easily accessible data at their fingertips.

Un-Biased Reviews a Critical Aid for Complex Decision-Making

Choosing a senior community for a loved-one is a complex and often nerve-wracking process for families. Locating senior communities on the web, reviewing the available information on services and amenities, touring facilities and meeting with staff and administrators can be a daunting process. Despite all this, many families still enter a senior community experience not knowing what to expect.

Legitimate, unbiased online reviews of senior communities can alleviate some of the unknown associated with such a new experience, easing the minds of both seniors and their loved ones who are each undergoing their own journey through this process. Online reviews can provide consumers with dozens or hundreds of detailed opinions, describing the atmosphere at a community, the quality of care, staffing, amenities, services provided and even personal experiences.

There’s no real way to make the decision of choosing a senior community an easy one. But online reviews will allow seniors and their loved ones to be more confident in their choices, reducing the stress for everyone involved in this life-changing process. The availability of online senior community reviews is one way that technology is reducing some of the challenges associated with aging.

About the Author

Chris Rodde is the CEO and co-founder of SeniorHomes.com, a free resource for people looking for senior housing or senior care for a loved one or themselves. SeniorHomes recently launched a national ratings system to help seniors and their families make more informed decisions. To learn more about the ratings program and the Best of Senior Living Awards visit: http://www.seniorhomes.com/p/2013-best-senior-living-awards/

Photo credit: moodboardphotography

Will Your Loved One’s Senior Care Community Perform CPR?

When our parents move to an independent, assisted living and dementia care community, we often assume we’re paying for their entire care.  I mean, we’ve done our homework, right?  We’ve checked that they have nurses on staff.  We’ve check that the med room is safe, and we made sure that the community has a good safety record and adequate staff.

But what actually happens when there is an emergency?  What happens in the event the staff needs to intervene to potentially save your loved one’s life?  The answers aren’t always clear. And there is no real way to see it in action.

Below is a sad and eye opening story from Bakersfield, California.  In this story, an elderly resident was denied CPR from the nurse on duty because it was not the policy of the community to engage in such activities.  Despite the pleas of the 911 operator, the nurse would not perform CPR and would not find anyone who would.

So this begs the question: do you know what the policies of your loved one’s community is? Would they step in during an emergency? If you don’t know the answer, you should find out and make sure you are comfortable with it.

A System for Selecting an Assisted Living Community

As you have likely learned through reading our blog posts and your own life experiences, the transition to assisted living is a stressful and emotionally charged period of your life. It’s also likely an incredibly scary and uneasy part of your loved one’s life.

In previous posts, we’ve shared information to help prepare you for this moment – the time when you and your loved one will select an assisted living community.

Visit our previous posts for resources on what to look for when researching and touring assisted living facilities. This information can help to convert a chaotic and often panic-filled situation into a calm, thoughtful and logical decision making process.

Now let’s discuss how to select the right assisted living community for your loved one:

Comparing the Finalists
By now you should have collected detailed information on several assisted living communities. You’ve had good and bad first impressions of communities, people, insurance companies and all the things that run hand-in-hand with this transition. For reasons both known and unknown to you, you’ve probably also excluded several communities.

When trying to find a community for my mom, my sister and I looked at many communities before ultimately making a decision. We struggled to find a technique that enabled us to make a decision that satisfied three criteria:

1. Compare all communities across the same attributes

2. Give some attributes more weight than others

3. Deliver an objective, measurable final selection

Why were we so formal? Because we knew that we had put every ounce of our souls into finding the best community we could. We didn’t want to ruin a decision by injecting too much bias into it..

Choosing Attributes

We decided on six attributes on which to make our community selection. They are:

  • Location: the geographic location of the community; proximity to family, friends and shopping; amenities of the community and size/ layout of the apartment.
  • Staff: experience of the executive team; friendliness of the dining room staff; staff treatment of residents and their observed interactions.
  • Activities: activities calendar; personality and demeanor of the activities director; amenities related to activities including transportation, game rooms and other entertainment.
  • Quality of care: the experience of the nursing staff; proximity to fire, hospital and emergency services; rehabilitation rooms and quality of the therapists.
  • Cost: total monthly cost of community at the level of care required for my mother.
  • Gut feeling: you have instincts for a reason. Use them.

Over the last several years, I’ve shared this list with many people and validated that it addressed the vast majority of families. Now that you have a group of attributes against which you can measure your finalists, let’s add a measure of importance to each one.

Weighing Attributes
Different things are important to different people, and you’ll likely have strong feelings about the relative important of one attribute over another. This is called weighting.

Weights are applied by giving each attribute a percentage from 0-100%. Those attributes you deem most important receive the highest percentage weight. The total of all attributes must equal 100%.
It’s important that you apply weights to the attributes before you begin ranking your community finalists. This will enable you to minimize unnecessary bias before the score process.

Ranking Final Communities
Now that you have removed the unnecessary bias from your decision, you can score each community against the others. The score will occur for each attribute above. You will likely find communities will be a leader in some attributes and a follower in others. This is normal.

Armed with this system, you will be able to sift through all of the information you’ve gathered and decide on a community that will meet your loved one’s and your family’s needs.

Photo credit: winnifredxoxo

3 At-A-Glance Guides for Assisted Living

There are many details involved in choosing an assisted living facility that will work for your loved one. The process involves navigating the terminology and verbiage of health insurance policies and also figuring out what a day-in-the-life would be like at a facility.

Here are three at-a-glance guides to help illustrate what long term care insurance is, clarify key insurance terms and show what a typical day at an assisted living facility should look like.

1. Long Term Care Insurance

You may hear a lot about long term care insurance, but how do you know if it is the right choice for your family? Below we’ll outline the target market indicators for long term care insurance, to help give you a better sense if these types of policies would be a good fit for you.

Who needs long term care insurance?

  • People who have assets they want to protect
  • People who want to maintain their financial independence.
  • People who are concerned about having a choice in the quality of care they will receive in the future.
  • The average age of people who buy long- term care insurance is about 65.
  • Married people with assets of above $100,000 (not including a house).
  • Single people with assets above $ 50,000. Otherwise a client would probably deplete their assets before the insurance kicks in, making them eligible for Medicaid.
  • Since women live longer then men,they have a greater chance of ending up in a nursing home. According to a 1997 study by the Health Insurance Association of America, half of all women who live to age 65 will need a nursing home at least once during their life, compared to about one- third of men.

2. Key Health Insurance Terms

Insurance is a major factor in today’s eldercare system. I advise you to contact an insurance advisor who specializes in working with older adults and their families. Here are some basic terms you’ll need to be familiar with:

  • Medicare: A federally-funded health program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. It is available to all Americans over the age of 65. It is made up of two parts.
  • Part A: This is available to everyone, and covers inpatient care and some aspects of in-home care.
  • Part B: This is optional and requires a monthly premium. It covers many outpatient services.
    Both Part A and B include deductibles and co- payments, and exclude certain services. You may choose to purchase Medigap insurance to cover the “gaps” in coverage by Medicare.
  • Medicaid: This is also known as Medical Assistance, and covers health care services for low-income Americans. Funded by federal, state and local governments; this program requires that applicants meet stringent income and asset requirements. While it covers some inpatient services in hospitals or certified institutions, it rarely covers in-home care.
  • Secondary Insurance: Purchased privately, these policies do not cover long-term health care costs, and rarely cover long-term in-home care. This insurance is designed to supplement Medicare.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Such a policy covers both in-home and residential services (including nursing homes) over an extended period of time. Often prohibitively expensive.

3.  A Typical Assisted Living Schedule

When you begin to tour assisted living communities, pay attention to the daily schedule of activities, as physical and mental stimulation will help keep your loved one happy and well.

Planned correctly, activities will become the cherished part of your loved one’s day. To set our frame of reference, let’s look at a typical assisted living day from the perspective of the resident:

  • 6:45 – 7:30am: Have breakfast and receive assistance for a shower from the aide that I’m already comfortable with
  • 7:30 – 9:00am: Make my way down to breakfast. An aide will assisted me to the dining room if necessary, and the medication technician will provide my medications for the day.
  • 9:30 – 10:30am: Morning exercises in the activity room include some stretches, leg lifts and rubber band exercises.
  • 10:30 – 11:30am: Choice of a scenic drive or reading a book by the fireplace. If I take the scenic drive, the van will be wheelchair-accessible.
  • 11:30 – 1:00pm: Lunch and return to my apartment to rest for a while.
  • 2:30 – 4:30pm: Different things happen on different days. During a week, I’ll usually see education presentation, musical performances or craft demonstrations. Nothing is required if I am tired.
  • 4:30 – 6:00pm: Dinner.
  • 6:00 – Bedtime: Evenings can bring visits from family and friends, outings in the community van, or quiet time at home.

Photo Credit: Jan Krömer

People to Meet on Your First Community Tour

Meeting new people has never been a problem for me. But when I arrived in the parking lot of the first community, I found myself very nervous. I spent many hours on the Internet looking for the right questions to ask, the right people to meet, what safety metrics to ask about, etc. I met with the admissions director, took a tour and was back in my car 60 minutes later. I saw the entire community and even met a few of the staff members. I still had no idea of why that community was better or worse than any of the several I was planning to visit.

While I summarized our plan in the last blog, it makes sense to add more detail regarding the people you need to meet during each of your initial community visits. Your first community visit will be overwhelming. Assisted living is just like any other business. In the world of assisted living, beds are products and the goal of the admissions department is to sell that product.

Unless you arrive prepared, you’ll leave with nothing but a sense of completion and a shiny new brochure. What you won’t leave with is any useful information that will help you either eliminate that community from contention or move it on to the next round of consideration.

Try visiting during the week so you can get a feel for the full staff level. When you visit your short-list a second time, you can validate the weekend team.

Who You Need To Meet

When you set up your appointment, make it clear to the admissions representative that you’d like to meet with several members of the staff. I’ve listed below the ones I believe are crucial to meet on your first visit.

Admissions director: The admissions director will likely be your primary contact at the community. At many communities, this person is also responsible for sales and marketing. As such, you should expect an upbeat conversation with little or no negativity. The admission director’s primary role is to fill the beds (product) in the community, but they more than likely care a great deal for the people they place in the community. That being said, expect to get the pros, but not a complete picture of the cons during your discussion. I do recommend that you leverage this person’s knowledge of the staff to learn more about their backgrounds.

Activities director: The job of the activities director is to provide entertaining and stimulating activities for the residents. The demeanor and attitude of this person is tremendously important. Their patience, creativity and tenderness can make a world of difference in residents’ daily lives. Find a grumpy one, and your loved one could be looking at days of old movies and bus rides. The following chapter discusses the right way to implement an activities program.

Registered nurse: Assisted living communities are not required by law in all states to have a registered nurse (RN) on staff during some portion of the day. The RN will likely be the one to follow up with your doctor if your loved one is not feeling well, and they’ll also be the one to call an ambulance. Spend some time with the RN to clearly understand his/her hours. Get a feel for their philosophy. At all costs, avoid those who have that “tough it out” attitude.

Medication manager: The medication manager (also called a “med-tech”) is responsible for getting all medications to your family member on schedule. In assisted living, residents are usually not allowed to keep medications in their rooms – over-the-counter or prescription. Spend some time with the medication manager to understand their experience and communication skills. Make sure the night shift med-techs have the same training and language skills as the day shift.

Physical therapist: Depending on your family member’s ambulatory skills, the physical therapist may, or may not be, of value. Aside from my mom herself, the physical therapist had the most impact on her recovery and ongoing mobility.

Most communities have a therapy room, and you should visit it. If you time your visit in the morning or early afternoon, you’ll likely get to see the therapist with one of the residents. Speak to the therapist to get a feel for the experience they have working with seniors. If you family member has a specific condition, make sure they have successfully worked with that condition. In the case of my mom, it was important the therapist have experience helping stroke victims learn to walk.

Head chef: The head chef is responsible for planning the menu and managing the chefs who cook it. Look at the menu and ask how they plan for sodium, cholesterol and sugar-restricted diets. It always struck me as odd that with many older people suffering from heart disease and diabetes that chefs would serve food that I wouldn’t eat myself.

Executive director: The executive director has ultimate authority over all aspects of the community. They are also the one responsible for passing on and maintaining records for state health inspections. The executive director should have a deep and profound connection to helping the residents. You’ll run across executive directors that are all business. While it’s obviously important to take a business approach to the community, make sure this demeanor doesn’t come at the expense of the patience and compassion required to make the residents happy.

Don’t Forget the Residents

The biggest barometer of a community is the residents themselves. Pay close attention to the way residents interact with each other and with other residents. If you notice a group of residents in front of the TV with no real engagement in the show, ask questions. This could be a sign of a disengaged activities director.

It is also perfectly reasonable for you to speak to the residents. As I mentioned, you’re unlikely to get honest answers about the quality of the community. In fact my mom has told me on several occasions that residents feel pressure (perceived or not) to not speak negatively about the community. So, take their words to heart, but with that proverbial “grain of salt.”

Photo credit: Sahaja Meditation

Interviewing Assited Living Administration and Staff

Unfortunately, my mom was very weak and sick when she moved to assisted living. As such, she was unable to participate in the selection of an assisted living residence. While many will have their loved one with them during the selection process, the process is still the same.

My older sister Teresa, whom I deeply admire and trust, came out from Baltimore to evaluate potential communities and add some emotional stability to what I knew would be a draining process.

I had several high-level criteria in moving my mom to assisted living:

  • Close enough to visit regularly and quickly respond in the event of an emergency
  • Physical and occupational therapists who would aggressive rehabilitate my mom from her stroke, muscle loss and weakness
  • Community administration who had extensive experience and low staff turnover
  • A clean community with amenities that would provide my mom pride in residency
  • A first impression that residents were happy and well cared for

While our final decision had much more detail that you’ll identify on your own, we used these five objectives as screening tools for the 10+ properties we visited.

For the first round of visits, we followed a pretty simple plan that we felt would expose us to the above criteria in a time-efficient manner. We took the following plan of action at each community:

  • Met with the admissions coordinator to get a tour of the community, activities calendar and price schedule.
  • Toured the community to verify amenities, cleanliness and get an overall impression of the happiness of the residents.

(NOTE: Since then, I’ve heard from many in the industry that many residents are afraid to say anything bad about staff or a community due to fear of retribution. You may find this technique less than beneficial for getting good feedback.)

  • Spoke personally with the physical therapist and occupational therapist in the therapy room to understand the course of treatment they would take with my mom. The physical and/or occupational therapist(s) must have several years of geriatric experience.
  • Spoke personally with the nurse to verify medication management and basic procedures in place in the event a resident becomes ill. This includes verifying the medication room was clean and organized, as we wanted to avoid medication mix-ups.
  • Spoke personally with the executive director to verify experience, staff turnover, hiring procedures with background checks and to validate the health and safety inspection record.

It took us several hours per community to follow our above plan above and validate whether the community met our high-level criteria. With each new community we visited, we picked up some little detail that we applied to the ones we’d already visited.

We narrowed the list down to three communities which we felt satisfied our criteria, ranked in order of preference. For each of those three communities, we did the following:

  • Visited the community during lunch or dinner to check the quality of food and observe the residents in a more casual environment. We paid close attention to the interaction between residents and staff and residents and each other.
  • Shared my mom’s medical records with the admissions staff to ensure they had the capabilities to support my mother’s specific issues.
  • Had unscripted discussions with the admissions director and executive director to get a better impression of the staff and their ability to provide for my mom.

After this round of investigation, the decision became clear. All three communities met our criteria. But through longer conversations, we ultimately developed a sense of trust with the admissions director and executive director at one of the communities. They had a sense of emotional attachment to the residents that I didn’t feel at the other communities.

When I laid down that night, I was calm. I knew that we had executed a thoughtful plan.

Photo Credit: TheBusyBrain

 

A Guide to Different Levels of Elder Care

Before you can even begin the process of evaluating assisted living, it’s im- portant to familiarize yourself with all the terms. There are many types of care ranging from skilled nursing to senior living. They all vary based on the level of assistance required by the resident. What is the difference? Let’s find out.

Senior Communities

Senior housing is designed for high-functioning elders, defined as those not requiring assistance with ADLs. Senior communities are usually neighborhoods or towns (consider Sun City, the nation’s “first and finest” senior community) that are limited to people of a minimum age. They are designed for active seniors and have a variety of social clubs such as golf, arts and crafts and cards.

While some senior communities offer additional levels of care, many are not equipped for individuals who require assistance with ADLs. Some senior communities require the resident move on, should they require this level of care.

Continuing Care

Continuing care communities are sometimes called “step care” or “progressive” care facilities. They offer a wide range of options, all the way from independent living to special care. Residents are usually admitted when they live independently. As their needs increase, they are guaranteed vacancies in the lower level of care. An entry fee is often required, making this option quite expensive.

Assisted Living

Assisted living offers the elderly a place to live outside of their own home, where they can receive basic assistance in one or more of the following areas: housekeeping, meal preparation, 24-7 monitoring, shower assistance, toileting, medication assistance or reminders, transportation, eating, dressing, activities or socialization.

In assisted living, your loved one will likely have their own apartment, unless you or your loved one consents to sharing a room with someone. A private bathroom is most often in the apartment to allow for privacy and dignity. Most facilities will have a kitchenette in the apartment with a sink, microwave, refrigerator, and cupboard space. Each apartment will likely be climate controlled individually. There will be access to common areas such as a TV room, an activity room, dining room, library, and communal sitting areas.

Assisted living facilities are designed for people who need help with complex ADLs on a daily basis. If you remember from the previous chapters, basic ADLs include eating, bathing, dressing and hygiene. More complex ADLs include cooking, shopping and money management. Assisted living aims to be the mid- point between independent living and long-term care.

Most assisted living facilities have a dining room decorated like a restaurant as well as a variety of activities. Most assisted living facilities are not licensed to administer IVs, requiring patients who need IVs to temporarily relocate to a skilled nursing facility.

Board and Care

Board and care is similar to assisted living in terms of care, although some group homes work with lower functionality seniors than those found in assisted living. A woman I spoke with recently had placed her mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, in a board and care facility, sometimes known as a ‘group home.’ This is usually a single-family dwelling which has been converted into a residence for elderly and disabled residents. The monthly rent paid commonly includes room, three meals a day, laundry services, and some transportation – in addition to a 24-hour staff person. While basic medical care can be attended to, residents who have serious medical conditions will be expected to move into a more suitable facility.

Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing (also called SNF or “sniff”) is the first level of care that is licensed to administer medical treatment with nurses. In fact, there are strict regulations that require nurses to be on duty and to regulation the nurse-patient ration.

As the name denotes, such a facility offers extensive nursing services for the residents. Admission must be initiated by a person’s physician, who recommends that a patient enter either ‘rehab care’ or a ‘special care’ facility.

  • Rehab care. Located in hospitals or nursing homes, rehab care programs are sometimes called “Level 1” or transitional care. They provide intensive medical care for patients who are expected to regain functional capacity and return home in a relatively short time.
  • Special care. There are two types of special care facilities: those involved with unique medical issues (sometimes called “Level 2” care), and those which manage behavioral problems that may arise from dementia.

Many patients are admitted to skilled nursing to address an acute condition such as rehabilitating a broken hip, or treating an infection with IV antibiotics.

Many skilled nursing facilities have a portion of their residents who are long- term care patients. These are patients who require the treatment capabilities of a SNF, yet their condition requires that level of care permanently. Long-term care includes nursing supervision, but it is custodial in nature – focused on maintenance as opposed to curative care. Here the condition is not expected to improve, and the nursing activities are focused on keeping the person healthy and safe. The table below summarizes the differences between the levels of care and residential options.

This table is an updated, compiled version of those found in both offline and online sources, many of them listed in the resources section, the Book Club listings or 2008 Long-Term Care Cost Study, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, 751 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102-3777.

Photo Credit: gilbert928.

Sheldon Krechman and Peacemaker Corps – Seniors Rescuing At-Risk Youth

It seems like whenever the topic of elder care or “seniors” come up, the discussion immediately turns to medical, caregiving and financial issues. I was really happy to meet Sheldon Krechman and learn about his focus on keeping seniors engaged in the community.  Sheldon and his wife, Carol, have put together a wonderfully creative organization that is poised to make a measurable impact in the community – a better sense of purpose, more senior independence and a chance for seniors to give back to the community the wisdom of their years.  I think everyone will enjoy this interview.  Sheldon and I had a great time (even though his mom is a Dodger fan!)

Introducing the Peacemaker Corps

The Peacemaker Corps concept grew out of the United Nations mission to promote peace, tolerance and conflict resolution. A collaborative effort between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Friends of the United Nations (FOTUN) and Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) launched the preliminary Peacemaker Corps trainings in fall of 1999 with the aid of a $ 1MM U.S. Federal Discretionary Grant from HUD. After a successful rollout to 11 cities coast-to-coast and positive feedback obtained in follow-up interviews in the year 2000, the Peacemaker Corps training was incorporated into HUD’s ongoing budgeted programs in 2001, only to be eliminated later due to budget shortfalls.

Since its inception, Carole Sumner Krechman, President/Chair, has played an integral part in the Peacemaker Corps. As the Chairman of the Board of FOTUN from 1995 to 2001, Mrs. Krechman collaborated with HUD and SYF to bring the Peacemaker Corps program to youth across the United States and around the world. Following the budget cut, Mrs. Krechman began down the path to reform the Peacemaker Corps and continue its mission of empowering our young with the art of making peace. In 2002 she obtained written consent from HUD to utilize the curriculum, established 501(c) 3 status with the State of California and the US Internal Revenue Service, and in 2003 helped the Peacemaker Corps Association receive the high honor of being one of 26 organizations worldwide, and one of two domestically, named a Non-Governmental Organization with the United Nations.

Proven Success

In late 1999, through the combined efforts of HUD, FOTUN, SYF, 12 trainings were beta-tested in 11 cities coast-to-coast including Indianapolis, Seattle, Dallas and Miami. A total of 220 teens, ages 13-17 participated in the two-day training. An average of 18 young people of varying ethnic backgrounds were chosen by the local Public Housing Authority to participate in each training. The chosen students were selected based on their leadership qualities, demonstrated commitment to their community and their willingness to apply their newly acquired peacemaking skills in future situations.

Following the training, students were asked to evaluate the training on several levels:

  • 87% of participants responded that they learned a lot about mediation and conflict resolution after taking part in the Peacemaker Corps training
  • 87% gave the training an “Excellent” or “Very Good” rating when asked to rate the overall Peacemaker Corps session
  • 76% stated that they would “definitely” like to learn more about the Peacemaker Corps.

SPARTA Consulting, HUD’s national public housing security contractor, conducted follow up phone interviews in 2000. These interviews provided qualitative and quantitative data regarding the benefits of the training. In Pittsburgh, the mother of a graduate stated the program had a visible impact on her son and his friends. She said the program “changed his whole outlook” on how he relates to other youth. Youngstown, Ohio Peacemakers reported they were using their training to breakup fights in school and to avoid fighting with siblings and friends. SPARTA Consulting also identified that following the training many graduates of the Peacemaker Corps had been empowered to join organizations that utilized their new peacemaking skills for a positive effect on their communities. Organizations included: Youth Crime Watch, Drug Free Youth in Town (DFYIT), Boys and Girls Club, City Youth Council and the Youth Crime Commission.

About Sheldon Krechman

Sheldon was Executive Vice President of Martel Electronics and was solely responsible for concept, sales and marketing and directed a 250 member national sales force. Martel maintained offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo Japan and Bremen, Western Germany. Martel Electronics was one of the first importers and distributors of Japanese and German High Quality Electronics. Martel Electronics was partially financed by Chinese investors from San Francisco and Vancouver.

Sheldon was CEO of FKM, Inc. a computer software development and consulting company. Under his direction (NAMES), Name and Address Management System Software was developed, utilized and marketed to the Direct mail industry.

Sheldon was the developer and President of World on Wheels. An Inner city Family roller-skating entertainment center, located in the inner city of Los Angeles. World on Wheels has served the community as a wholesome family entertainment center for over 20 years. The center was the largest revenue-grossing center of its type in the United States.

Sheldon was Chairman of the Board, and Technological Director of World China Trade, Inc. a California Corporation formed to do business in the Peoples Republic of China. WCT developed the Asia Hotel, a world-class hotel office apartment complex located in Beijing China adjacent to the workers stadium. Sheldon developed the first interactive computerized global network communication system between China and the USA. Between 1982 and 1990, Sheldon spent over 1500 days inside the PRC. Sheldon worked very closely with Ms. Zhang Xia Lu, who was Manager of American Affairs for World China Trade. Sheldon and Ms. Zhang have kept a close relationship and friendship to this date.

Sheldon served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer for Recreation World, Inc. During this 5-year period, Sheldon implemented state of the art computer systems and interacted with over 1000 employees throughout the United States. Sheldon, as Chairman of the Board, was responsible for communicating with the three different classes of investors in the Company. Recreation World owned and operated 22 Ice Skating Entertainment Centers in 11 major cities throughout the United States, including the roller skating center in Central Park in New York City, which was managed by the company.

Sheldon is the Executive Director of the Peacemaker Corps Association. The Peacemaker Association is a California Non Profit Corporation. The Corporation has a Curriculum that teaches At Risk youth how to resolve their problems in a not violent manner. It is a national organization that runs their programs in major shopping malls throughout the USA. The Peacemaker Corps has NGO status at the United Nations and periodically runs workshops and seminars at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

Sheldon worked as a volunteer for the Pico Youth and Family Center in Santa Monica California for 5 years. He worked with Latino youth and adults and taught them how to use and service computers.

Sheldon worked for Angel View Foundation. Angel view is a non-profit organization that houses adults that have serious diseases and cannot be kept at home, such as Spinal Bifida. He set up their computer systems for the State of California reporting purposes and worked with the patients teaching computer skills, so they could access the outside world regardless of their disabilities.

Senior Care Blogs – Best of Web 2011

The good folks over at SeniorHomes.com have nominated us as one of handful of senior care blogs for their Best of the Web 2011 awards. If you’ve gotten as much from our articles as we have writing them, we’d appreciate your support and a “Like” to vote for us.

Some links:

There are lots of great people out there who are working hard to change the face of elder care.  Whether you vote for us or not, go vote and show your support!