This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, nor do I endorse the providers or suggest that anyone follow the advice/information given by any author or any website referenced. These are resources I’ve found either interesting, informative, and/or useful in my own quest for the optimal senior lifestyle.
Please use these resources as the beginning of your research and discussion, relying primarily on your own good judgment and that of your family and any proven-trustworthy medical, legal, and financial professionals in your life. If you have others that you think are of value, please send them to Sharon Lamhut Willen.
Information in italics is copied directly from the websites. Other comments and annotations are mine.
Screen Door Cohousing, An Asheville Urban Village. Together with several other Western North Carolina residents, my husband Michael and I belong to a core group of active adults 55 and older who share a common dream of aging independently, but not alone. Through word of mouth we found each other. And now, together, we are designing an intentional neighborhood in a beautiful spot right on the edge of downtown. Our unifying desire is to grow and manage the community such that each of us has privacy, a meaningful role, and mutual support. Explorers from all parts of the country are joining to evaluate the “goodness of fit” between themselves and the cohousing neighborhood we are working toward.
National Cohousing Association Cohousing communities are intentional, collaborative neighborhoods created with a little ingenuity. They bring together the value of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living. That means residents actively participate in the design and operation of their neighborhoods, and share common facilities and good connections with neighbors. All in all, they stand as innovative and sustainable answers to today’s environmental and social problems. If you’re interested in finding a community in a specific location, use their directory.
Intentional Elder Neighborhoods , Alex Mawhinney. An overview of non-institutional lifestyle options for housing as we age.
The choice to imagine a future as self-directed and institution-free is ours to make. The manifestation of our dream for the second half of life is limited only by our individuality, our desire to live consciously, and the people we include to plan and live the rest of this lifetime. GO FOR IT!
Women for Living in Community, Women For Living in Community brings together women, as natural leaders and nurtures, to create communities for growing older with grace and dignity. We also connect with existing community models and professionals to provide the necessary resources and alternatives.
Women for Living in Community provides information, education and awareness to women, community leaders, aging professionals, and healthcare providers about what it means to intentionally find or create a community for aging in grace and dignity. Our network, both online and offline, provides a framework for growing and learning.
Women for Living in Community provides the framework as an online centerpoint for women to learn about alternative models of community (cohousing, shared housing, etc.) and get guidance and support in creating those communities. We motivate and inspire women into action.
Wellesley Neighbors: An example of a “Village to Village Network” community. Wellesley Neighbors is a caring and supportive membership organization that enables midlife and older adults to live in their communities. It provides social, cultural, and educational activities; health-related assistance; member-vetted service referrals; and mutual help.
It Takes Villages: A Video: Judy Willett, TEDx Boston, Judy Willett discusses a common sense “neighbor helping neighbor” approach that started in Beacon Hill and has grown into an international Village movement that’s making it possible for elders to continue to flourish in the communities in which they love to live.
NORC Blueprint – Five Steps to Developing a NORC, A Guide for Community Action. Naturally occurring retirement communities, or NORCs, are age-integrated communities in which significant numbers of seniors have chosen to age in place. Over the past 20 years, an innovative model has been developed in inner-city, suburban, and rural locations to engage older adults living in NORCs. Blending the principles of community organizing with strategic approaches to providing services, this model’s goal is to shift the traditional paradigm from an exclusive emphasis on service provision for individuals to one that also promotes community change.
Top 10 Artists Colonies: A post by Allen B. Bunting on the Coastal Living Magazine website. Not really for seniors only, but an interesting cross section of potentially desirable locations. Share the creative spirit–and find a great memento–in these coastal havens.
‘Green House’ Nursing Homes Expand as Communities Reinvent Elder Care: A Video: PBS Hour, January, 2008. Susan Dentzer reports on the “green houses” project, which seeks to reinvent traditional nursing home care and create close-knit communities of patients and caregivers. Some observers, however, question the homes’ financial feasibility.
Eco-Village Directory: The Fellowship for Intentional Community, (FIC’s website) Intentional Community includes ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, communes, co-ops, and housing cooperatives.
CARF-accredited Continuing Care Retirement Communities. A directory searchable by State/Province, Country. Provides links to providers’ websites. CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services in the following areas: Aging Services, Behavioral Health, Opioid Treatment Program, Business and Services Management Networks, Child and Youth Services, Employment and Community Services, One-Stop Career Centers, Vision Rehabilitation Services, Medical Rehabilitation, DMEPOS (Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies).
A Place for Mom: Searchable Directory. Connecting Moms, Dads & Families to Senior Living
A Place for Mom connects moms, dads, seniors and families like yours to the right elder care so you can have peace of mind and focus on your loved ones. From finding the right nursing home, dementia care or assisted living to researching VA benefits and how to pay for senior care, we’ll be with you each step of the way.
How to Choose An Assisted Living Facility A trusted guide to mental, emotional, and social health.
From HealthGuide.org. Their collaboration with Harvard Health Publications makes articles and other content from Harvard experts available to HelpGuide’s readers. Learn more »
The Boomer’s Guide to Aging In Place – This is a guide for adults who want to live out the rest of their lives with dignity, freedom, and confidence in their own homes during their senior years. It is also a useful resource for baby boomers who are planning for the future and actively trying to make changes to live more comfortably where they are now. Perhaps you have a parent who has limited mobility, but a second parent who is willing and able to take care of the two of them in their own home as they age. Adult children can also benefit by reading this guide to start making plans with their parents and worrying less about manageable, emotionally-charged tasks.
HOME ADAPTATION AND REPAIR
HouseholdQuotes.co.uk A quite comprehensive and useful “Disability Accommodation Guide”. Pricing is in British pounds, as the site is based in England, but the information is most worthwhile.
AARP’s Home Fit Guide created to help people stay in the homes they love by turning where they live into a “lifelong home,” suitable for themselves and anyone in their household. The guide offers solutions that range from simple do-it-yourself fixes to improvements that are more involved and require skilled expertise but are well worth the expense.
Rides In Sight: provides information about senior transportation options in local communities throughout the United States. ITNAmerica researched communities nationwide to build a database of senior transportation options. Rides In Sight makes the information available to the public through this website and hotline. The Rides In Sight hotline is available Monday—Friday from 8AM—8PM Eastern Time (excluding holidays). Friendly and knowledgeable operators answer all questions about senior transportation options within 24 hours. Sponsored by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to raise awareness about locally-available transportation options for seniors.
AARP: Driver Resources. The Driver Section is dedicated to information and resources for the driver. It includes information about how our bodies and minds change, and how to manage our driving and mobility.
8 Ridesharing Services for Older Adults, by Scott Morris, from Caring.com updated May 24, 2018.
ELDER SUPPORT SERVICES
Care.com: Directory of home care assistance for families, not limited to senior care. Founder and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo wanted to transform the way families and businesses around the world address their care needs. Care.com launched in the U.S. in 2007 and today, we are the world’s largest online marketplace for finding and managing family care, with more than 17.8 million members, spanning 16 countries. On average, four out of five families subscribing to our site find their caregiver on Care.com, and a new job is posted every 30 seconds in the U.S.
SimplyHome. Caregiver support, health & safety. With a SimplyHome System in place, individuals are able to go about their normal activities of daily living, while safety concerns are put at ease. By communicating with multiple sensors to log activities of daily living, the SimplyHome System proactively alerts caregivers and loved ones of changes in behavioral patterns. Alerts are designed to notify caregivers and/or loved ones of pre-determined activities, or inactivity, within the home, all of which are customized to address individual needs. Based in my neighborhood, Arden, NC.
GeriJoy: A care.coach service. Senior and Caregiver support. The GeriJoy Companion uses a special tablet, a remote team of human caregivers and advanced computer intelligence systems, to provide personalized, around-the-clock emotional support and real, stimulating social interactions. Seniors with the GeriJoy Companion are less lonely, because they always have someone to talk to. Their health improves, because they always have someone reminding them about important things like medication and exercise. And their family relationships and mental function improve, because they’re happier and more engaged with their environment.
GreatCall. Vendor of the original easy-to-use cell phone, now offering additional senior support services. GreatCall is the leader in connected health for active aging. With health and safety solutions for older adults and their family caregivers, GreatCall’s innovative suite of easy-to-use mobile products and award-winning approach to customer care helps aging consumers live more independent lives.
PACE4YOU. The Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly. Thousands of families across America have found a different and better kind of care for their aging loved ones – PACE. And what these PACE families have experienced is a program that provides and coordinates all the types of care your loved one needs, so you don’t have to place them in a nursing home. This care includes:
|● Medical care||● Personal care|
|● Rehabilitation||● Social interaction|
|● Medications||● And even transportation|
All in one place so your loved one can live at home. Income and other eligibility restrictions apply. See the website for more information.
PERSONAL DECISION MAKING AND PLANNING
Is It Time To Get Help? Should I Stay Home or Move? Roobrik offers online decision tools help older adults and their families make difficult health and care choices with clarity and confidence. Engaging, provocative.
HEALTH, RECREATION, FITNESS & TECHNOLOGY
Better Health While Aging – BetterHealthWhileAging.net (formerly GeriatricsForCaregivers.net) is a mission-driven health and caregiving information site. We provide practical, actionable information for older adults and family caregivers, grounded in what geriatricians believe to be optimal healthcare for older adults. (Wondering if you are a caregiver? Click here.)
Stitch, informal match-making for seniors. Fee-based. Stitch helps mature adults find the companionship they need. Dinner dates, travel partners, activity companions and more. Register for free today!
Tapestry, Tablet-based application that connects seniors to family members. Tapestry is the easiest way for seniors and their families to stay connected without needing to worry about technology. Tapestry’s super-simple tablet app is custom-made for people who find technology overwhelming, while the Tapestry web site lets the rest of the family continue to use all the services they use already, including Facebook, Google+ and more. With Tapestry, nobody in the family needs to be left behind.
Productive Aging: Web page: A professional site for members of The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. Links to scholarly and research documents for PT professionals; interesting if you’re willing to dig in. To support the Centennial Vision, AOTA has identified Productive Aging as a key practice area in the 21st century. Our society’s rapidly aging population, increased longevity, the changing world of work, and baby boomers’ focus on quality-of-life issues are some of the factors that will increase the need for services in this area.
WalkJoy: A device that is purported to restore mobility for neuropathy sufferers. People with Peripheral Neuropathy have a number of balance, walking and foot-health problems. When you lose the ability to walk normally the chance of falling, the formation of sores and ulcers, and ultimately amputations increases. By restoring more normal walking you may be able to increase mobility and decrease these issues. WalkJoy replaces the lost sensation of your foot striking the ground by providing a signal to healthy nerves around your knee.
National Center for Creative Aging. The National Center for Creative Aging is dedicated to fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging, and to developing programs that build upon this understanding.
How Doctors Die: It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But it Should Be. 2011, by Ken Murray in Zocalo Public Square.
LifePlans, Inc. – The Enhanced Mental Skills Test (EMST); A clinical tool that makes early detection [of cognitive impairment] results available almost immediately. Once reviewed with a clinician, these results can lead to the preventative treatment and frequent monitoring needed to delay progres- sion. For individuals with MCI, this can mean an improved lifestyle and lower health care costs. For insurers, it can mean help in selecting new insurance applicants and managing potential claims costs. Basically a tool for the insurance industry; interesting to see how gatekeepers will be screening us to reduce their claim costs.
MedLine Plus – The National Institutes of Health’s Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free.
You can use MedlinePlus to learn about the latest treatments, look up information on a drug or supplement, find out the meanings of words, or view medical videos or illustrations. You can also get links to the latest medical research on your topic or find out about clinical trials on a disease or condition.
Mesothelioma Guide – For patients diagnosed with asbestos illnesses or Mesothelioma, which is a rare cancer, often misdiagnosed. The average latency period that mesothelioma takes to develop is anywhere from 20-40 years. Since this period is so long, it usually affects older adults in their 60’s and 70’s. The Mesothelioma organization specializes in connecting patients with doctors and treatment options that are best suited for them. Their services and resources are 100% free to patients and family members.
Video: Your Guide to Supporting Family Members With Dementia, a two hour training by Teepa Snow, a dementia care and education specialist with over 30 years of experience in geriatrics. Offers impressive techniques to change your relationship with challenged loved-ones, and make your life easier in the process.
Veterans Benefits – The SVSA lists appeals agents, advocates and eldercare services in many areas of the country. These individuals and providers help senior veterans and their survivors understand veterans benefits available to them.
SPIRITUAL, EMOTIONAL, RELATIONSHIP
Navigating the Aging Process, 411: Spirituality. A general directory with many interesting articles and links. This website, although designed for all seniors and their families, is dedicated to those 85 years old and older (The Oldest of The Old in Our Society) born in 1925 and earlier. Their courage, wisdom, hard work and dedication to God, family and country makes us proud to be their descendants. (Missouri-based.)
Spirituality and Practice: Resources for Spiritual Journeys. This multifaith and interspiritual website, founded by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, is devoted to resources for spiritual journeys. The site’s name reflects a basic understanding: spirituality and practice are the two places where all the world’s religions and spiritual paths come together. While respecting the differences among traditions, we celebrate what they share in common.
Life in the Moment. A subscription service. A technological guide for Alzheimers patient Caregivers: diagnostics, lifestyle & nutritional advice, cognitive games for loved ones, “vetted by industry leaders.” iPad, iPhone-based apps, a cloud-based bridge between caregivers and medical professionals.
Quality of Life Measurement Tool, a product of The Measurement Group and the Special Projects of National Significance Program, which supports the development of innovative models of HIV treatment, in order to quickly respond to emerging needs of clients served by Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs.
Vox. March 17, 2016. What working in a nursing home taught me about life, death, and America’s cultural values by Valery Hazanov, a clinical psychologist in Brooklyn. He is writing a book about his training to become a psychotherapist.
FINANCE, INSURANCE, LEGAL, and PUBLIC POLICY
VeteranAid.org. Veterans and their families seeking help in applying for Aid and Attendance pension benefit can use this information about eligibility requirements and application forms.
Hidden Tax Benefits of Continuing Care Retirement Communities. From Investment News. Requires an email login to access.
6 Things You Must Know About Aging in Place, May 2015, Pat Mertz Esswein in Kiplinger Today.
How the Affordable Care Act is Changing the Delivery of Care in the U.S. (five years after initiation). Easy to read graphics and text.
Aging in Place: A State Survey of Livability Policies and Practices, conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Choosing Legal and Financial Professionals for Your Estate: American Bar Association. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is picking the person (or persons or institution) to be in charge of your assets after you’re gone. That means the executor of your will and the trustee of any trusts you set up. (Another important decision, choosing a guardian for your minor children, is discussed in chapter six; choosing an agent for your power of attorney is discussed in chapter twelve.) The tasks of each of these fiduciaries (people who are legally obliged to act in your interests) differ slightly, so we’ll discuss the factors you should consider for each separately.
A Personal Economic CheckUp. Are you making the most of your money? Whether you’re retired or still working, it pays to be smart about your income. Discover tips and resources in your community to manage your budget, save money, find work, and set financial goals. It’s free, confidential, and from a trusted source—the nonprofit National Council on Aging. Figure Out a Budget in 3 Minutes.
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Paradigm (POLST). The National POLST Paradigm is an approach to end-of-life planning that emphasizes patients’ wishes about the care they receive. The POLST Paradigm – which stands for Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment – is an approach to end-of-life planning emphasizing: (i) advance care planning conversations between patients, health care professionals and loved ones; (ii) shared decision-making between a patient and his/her health care professional about the care the patient would like to receive at the end of his/her life; and (iii) ensuring patient wishes are honored. As a result of these conversations, patient wishes may be documented in a POLST Form, which translates the shared decisions into actionable medical orders. The POLST Form assures patients that health care professionals will provide only the treatments that patients themselves wish to receive, and decreases the frequency of medical errors.
POLST is not for everyone. Only patients with serious illness or frailty, for whom a health care professional would not be surprised if they died within one year, should have a POLST Form. For these patients, their current health status indicates the need for standing medical orders. For healthy patients, an Advance Directive is an appropriate tool for making future end-of-life care wishes known to loved ones. Click here for more information about the difference between POLST and Advance Directives.
The National POLST Paradigm embodies and promotes the essential elements of a POLST Program; individual states and regions implement POLST Programs. As a result, state programs vary in name (e.g. MOLST, COLST, MOST, and POST), how their programs are implemented, and in the appearance of their Forms. Although these POLST Programs may be identified by the NPPTF as “Developing Programs” and/or use the term “POLST” or a similar term, they do not represent the POLST Paradigm until they have been endorsed by the NPPTF. Only state programs that have demonstrated to the NPPTF that their POLST Program and Form meet NPPTF standards can be endorsed.
Talking About Age-Friendly Communities: A Toolkit from Community Agenda, Grantmakers in Aging. You can use the thinking and the language here in a variety of ways. This tool should enable you to create more effective messages or talking points, shape brochures or other printed materials, and even frame public communications campaigns.
Elder-Friendly Community Building, Michigan. Presents – “The Guide” to assist a local municipality in identifying the physical, social and institutional elements that older adults need to lead full and productive lives in the community. It is intended to be a guide for a community building process that begins with discerning the extent to which a community is already meeting the needs of older adults, identifying specific conditions and issues that need to be addressed, and engaging in planning to enable elder-friendly community building.
The Guide consists of three Sections:
Section One: The Elder-Friendly Community Building Process
Section Two: The Elder-Friendly Community Indicators
Section Three: Elder-Friendly Community Assessment Tools and Worksheets
Olmstead County, Minnesota, Senior Summit. Another, more graphically accessible look at the question “How Senor Friendly is our Community?”
GENERAL DIRECTORIES, MISC.
Alliance for Aging Research – The Alliance for Aging Research is dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. A terrific newsletter to subscribe to (free). Lots of info here.
LeadingAge, LeadingAge’s Consumer Hub offers information and support to help people make the most of the aging experience. This includes a directory of not-for-profit organizations committed to meeting people’s needs and preferences as they age.
Wired Seniors: SeniorsSearch: Online directory for the over 50 age group.
NEW, INNOVATIVE, OR CLEVER – MODELS TO CONSIDER
Virtual home developed by UW Madison Lab. The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery’s vizHome creates a 3-D version of a home allowing the viewer to have the experience of being in the home. The program helps study where people keep their medications.
MatherLifeways In Your Neighborhood: Innovative approaches to maintaining the health and well-being of seniors offered by Mather LifeWays. MOREways is designed to create a welcoming, one-of-a-kind community for older adults. We offer a virtual neighborhood through MOREways.org and connections and resources in person, at area luncheons, classes, and programs. These events take place in Skokie, Morton Grove, and Niles. Clever use of technology and innovative ways of integrating seniors into a broader community. Find games to play, new ways to interact with other seniors.
MOREways is part of Mather LifeWays, a non-denominational not-for-profit organization that has served older adults for more than 70 years. Dedicated to developing and implementing Ways to Age Well, we create programs, places, and residences for today’s young-at-heart older adults.
Call and Check: Postal Workers Delivering More Than Just the Mail. Innovative approach. An article and slide show posted by The Commonwealth Fund, September 2015. The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults. They carry out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries. Dig in to their website to find interesting, valuable insights such as the article/slideshow referenced above.
Unlocking the Strengths of our Neighborhoods, a project of Houston Aging in Place Innovations: Neighborhood Aging Agenda Assessment, Appreciative Inquiry and Asset Mapping, 2009. An interesting community engagement process with the goal of building consensus and commitment prior to implementing community programs and planning for a community center.
How Technology Benefits Seniors A downloadable document from ATT explaining how active adults can use advanced technology and high-tech devices to make daily tasks easier, enhance quality of life. Check out how technology provides seniors with the tools and assistance to be more independent longer.