Tuesday, November 26, 2019

National Family Caregivers Month is recognized throughout the month of November.  In 2019, Caregiver Action Network has chosen the theme #BeCareCurious.  According to caregiveraction.org, there are many things a family caregiver can BE CURIOUS about.  BE CURIOUS about your loved one’s goals and treatment options. There are so many advancements to treatments becoming available all the time; check with the doctor to see if any of them may be an option for your loved one.   BE CURIOUS about the research you do. Make sure the information is from a reliable and from a trusted source and discuss the information with the doctor. BE CURIOUS if insurance will cover treatment and medications, and BE CURIOUS about your loved one’s care plan.  You want to make sure you understand, and have the ability to provide the treatment and care required.
There is a family caregiver toolbox as well as several tips to help you through the sometimes challenging journey as a family caregiver at CaregiverActionNetwork: http://ow.ly/mmyb30pH48i. 
Another resource available is the Caregiver Teleconnection program.  This program offers several free hour-long conference calls each month.  The calls cover varying topics related to caregiving and caregiver support.  The events can be found at: https://www.wellmedcharitablefoundation.org/caregiver-support-caregiver-teleconnection-events/
~ Content provided by Penny Humphrey, Care Connection for Aging Services

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Dementia Friend

Caregivers and their families are often looking for reliable resources.  Dementia Friends is a newly adopted initiative by the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging(SLAAA), designed to promote public awareness about dementia and to help create dementia-friendly communities throughout the city.  Dementia Friends was founded by the Alzheimer's Society in the United Kingdom in 2013, and has grown to over 3 million registered Dementia Friends volunteers worldwide.     
The 2019 AIRS I &R Training Manual states, “Aging is an active and ongoing process and there are a variety of factors that impact the aging process including genetic, environment, existing health conditions or disabilities, and life style. While the aging process is different for everyone, understanding some of the common changes older adults experience and how they impact their lives can help Community Resource Specialist better serve older adult consumers.” (VOLUME 1: The Community Resource Specialist, page 297)

So what is a Dementia Friend, and what do we do? 
A Dementia Friend is someone who commits to learning more about dementia, and turns that understanding into action.  There is no action too small, and they can range from educating others about dementia and the Dementia Friends initiative, to spending time with or assisting someone with dementia.  The program is predicated on 5 Key Messages:
1.  Dementia is not a normal part of aging.  Not everyone who grows old
     develops dementia.
2.  Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain.  Alzheimer's changes the
     chemistry and structure of the brain, causing the brain cells to die off.
3.  Dementia is not just about memory problems.  Dementia can affect the way
     people think, speak, and perform everyday tasks.
4.  It is possible to have a good quality of life with dementia.  Many people
     with dementia continue to drive, socialize, and hold down satisfying jobs.
5.  There's more to a person than the dementia.  In the same way that we see a
     person with diabetes or cancer as a person first, we should also see those
     affected by dementia as a person first.
Listed below are a few effective communication techniques described in the AIRS Training Manuel, all of these have worked well for the Information and Referral (I&R) staff at SLAAA.

  • Establish respect by using the client’s formal name or ask what they prefer.
  • Avoid rushing the conversation and expect several call backs for the same information.
  • Always be aware of cultural and generational differences. It’s better to have a long conversation to build trust.

So how do you become a Dementia Friend?
If you want more information, please call the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging at (314) 612-5918 and ask for Lane Stultz.  Alternatively, individuals can go online to dementiafriendsusa.org and watch a series of videos.  These videos will highlight some of the difficulties of living with dementia, and ask individuals to turn that understanding into action.  At the end of the information session or webinar, each participant will receive a certificate of completion and will become a registered Dementia Friend. 
All of the  I & R specialist in our office are certified Dementia Friends and have become familiar with the dementia services offered in your area. The SLAAA office receives a great number of referrals from caregivers who contacted the Elder Locator and the United Way of Greater St. Louis (2-1-1) for memory services. Please consider joining our efforts in making the city of St. Louis and other cities in the AIRS network a dementia friendly community. 
~ Written by Lane Stultz, BS - Specialist on Aging I

Monday, September 9, 2019

2018 Profile of Older Americans
The Profile of Older Americans is an annual summary of critical statistics related to the older population in the United States. Relying primarily on data offered by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Profile illustrates the shifting demographics of Americans age 65 and older. It includes key topic areas such as income, living arrangements, education, health, and caregiving. The 2018 Profile also incorporates a new special section on emergency and disaster preparedness. Here are some select data highlights:
·         Over the past 10 years, the population age 65+ increased 34%, from 37.8 million to 50.9 million, and is projected to reach 94.7 million in 2060.
·         More than 15% of the U.S. population are older adults.
·         The age 85+ population is projected to increase 123% from 2017 to 2040.
·         From 2007 to 2017, racial and ethnic minority populations increased from 7.2 million (19% of older adults) to 11.8 million  (23%), and are projected to reach 27.7 million in 2040 (34%).
·         Currently, persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19.5 years.
·         Older women outnumber older men at 28.3 million to 22.6 million, respectively.
·         A larger percentage of older men (70%) are married as compared with older women (40%).
·         Approximately 28% (14.3 million) of older persons live alone.
·         Among adults age 75+, 42% report television is their first source of emergency information as compared with 31% for the total population.  The percentage of older adults receiving information from the internet (9%) is much lower than for the total population (31%).
If you would like to read the Profile of Older Americans in full, please go to the Administration for Community Living website or follow this link:

~ Submitted by Brenda Louthan, Butler County Department on Aging

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

AIRS has provided digital badges for all AIRS Certification holders. 

A digital bade is a customized embedded code that showcases a visual display of certification, including being able to click through to additional details about the credential. This digital badge can be added to email signatures as well as various professional and social media options such as Facebook, a LinkedIn profile, an AIRS Networker profile, etc.
The purpose? Digital badges promote the your qualifications and the quality assurance commitment of your organization.
Have you downloaded yours yet?

Monday, June 24, 2019

Why do people contact Area Agency on Aging?  A son works for a state agency and deals with Medicaid benefits daily for children.  His father has been the primary caregiver for his spouse who is on hospice services.  The father now has health concerns of his own. They live on limited income but is over the Medicaid limited allow.  They have no savings.  The son had spoken with individuals before who had stated that there is no help for them because of income.  The state of Missouri has a program called Division of Assets and Home Community Base services and by completing the proper paperwork they are both able to qualify for assistance with the MO HealthNet so they can continue to stay in their home and receive the help they need.
- Submitted by Liz Yokley, BSW

Friday, June 21, 2019

Why do people contact Area Agency on Aging?  A gentleman got a letter in the mail stating that they are trying to get a new Medicare card to him and have been unsuccessful.  He had tried calling other agencies and he could not get through on the phone or he was told they could not help him.  Together we contact the Social Security office and got his address updated and a new Medicare card is now on its way.
-Submitted by Liz Yokley, BSW

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Why do people contact Area Agency on Aging?  There are a variety of reasons but one reason I will talk about today is being new to Medicare.  It is estimated that 10,000 people a day are turning 65. It can be an overwhelming task to walk thru the process of Medicare. There are a number of people and agencies that talk to individuals about Medicare.  With an Area Agency on Aging there is nothing to sell.  We provide you with is information on how to work thru the system.  Our goal is when you are talking with an insurance company you have the knowledge of which questions to ask and things to think about when making decisions. A physician came into the office to learn about what steps he needed to take.  We discussed the process of when to sign up for Medicare, the cost involved, and what he will do next.  That same day I spoke with a lady who was starting on Medicare and was nervous because she had limited income and didn’t know how she would pay for Medicare.  We were able to help her with paperwork to sign up for a Medicare Savings Programs.  Income is not a criteria when working with an Area Agency on Aging. We listen, We help.
 - Submitted by Liz Yokley, BSW