Aging in Place: Providing Comfort and Care for Seniors Living at Home


You want to be free? Yeah! I’ll
be here if you want but we’ll make sure
that he gets out on the course. Do you
come here at 6:30 in the morning on a
Saturday morning? Do I? No, but I told
you I would. I always told you that. Okay. The number
of senior citizens in the United States
is growing every year and they increasingly prefer living out
their golden years in the comfort of
their own home but that comes with its own
set of challenges. Adult children play a key role
and it can be a strenuous endeavor for
all involved, but luckily there are
ways to make the whole process less
stressful. I’m meeting with one family to
learn more about their challenges and
guide them as we explore ways to help
them on their journey as they are aging
in place. [Music]
Tequesta, Florida a small golf community
town located a half hour drive from West
Palm Beach and home to John and Marianne
Nicholas. I was raised in
Queens, New York Marianne’s sister Rita and my
sister Sally were good friends and they
thought perhaps that the two of us, that
Marianne and I might make a good match. It was a
birthday party for me. My 26th
birthday and Marianne made me a sandwich. Remember
what the sandwich was Marianne? Yeah
bologna and cheese. Yep so I
figured it’s pretty good, she could make a
good sandwich so the rest of it must
be pretty smart. 56 years and countless bologna
sandwiches later John and Marianne are
still going strong. We have
three children the oldest boy Richard
then comes Maureen she’s in the
middle and then comes Michael. But you know
somehow I’ve always heard stories about the
middle girl. The whole thing is you
don’t care who’s in charge you take
off on them. I know. Why do you do
that? Because. You don’t like to be told what
to do! I
know. On a normal day it could
be five to six times a day that I’m talking
to them. Little did they know that their
bond would become even stronger after
a serious fall. Phone rang and it
was my mother’s 91 year old neighbor. She
basically said your mother had a bad
fall and your father was taking her to
the hospital. Marianne slipped in the pool
area and she hit her head when she fell. The
way that she had fallen,she fell on the
the right temple of her head. Marianne was still conscious and
rushed to the hospital where at first
the fall seemed to have caused little
damage. The
next day circumstances were very different. The phone rings
again, get over here now
do not speed she’s going in for emergency surgery. What they
found was the size of her head had turned
into a clot
and the nurse that was looking at my
mother handed me a plastic bag full of
her hair. My brother broke down
and ran out of the room. We went back after surgery to
meet with the surgeon and he said across
the room Marianne you are a miracle. The
game is on to get my mother back in
shape, get her healthy,
she turned 79 on July 4th and there’s
nothing gonna stop her. Be right
back. Time for me to meet John and
Marianne and show them ways that will
make a big difference on Marianne’s road to
recovery. Hi I’m Alexis I’ve
been a geriantologist for over 25 years
now and I found so many different types of
older adults with different types of
challenges they range all the way from
mobility challenges to memory challenges. You’ve been sort of in a
caregiving role and you’ve been in a situation
where you’ve needed a little care. Tell Alexis what you
call me, nurse ratchet! Can you
be that mean John? I can be, yeah sometimes. The caregiving, is it is it
difficult? How
does it make you feel? Well it
makes me feel good because I’m able to
help someone that’s very important to
me. He
takes me shopping and he takes me for my
nails. He’s so good to me. You know he’s doing everything
and I feel badly for him. They are
such a magical couple they really show
such love and dedication and respect
and communication with one another. Now as
a result of Marianne’s malady she’s had four seizures
and one right in the kitchen here
and I do know that if I didn’t operate
in a very fast manner it could have been
fatal. I’m very excited for us
to be able to introduce some fantastic
products from Marianne and John so that
they can really enjoy life as much as
they would like to. John is an avid golfer
but he’s not been able to get out and
play because giving care to his wife
Marianne comes first. Now he takes her to
the pool every morning for some
much-needed exercise but getting back on the
golf course is something he’s longing
for. If
I could golf tomorrow, good if I don’t
have to golf that’s good too. So
I’m not I’m not gonna waste my energy
and time being negative about it. So even
though I just never happened to spend a
lot of time in the pool, I do now. Marianne has
developed something like when I worked I
called it pace positive attitudes change
everything and she has had a positive
attitude. Positive thoughts and
an optimistic outlook on life can
work miracles. Why not build on that? When we
come back we’ll introduce John and Marianne
to ways that will help them live out their golden years more
independently and find out more about
how their adult child Maureen will
benefit from this as well. [Music] [Music]
Maureen is uh, We have an outstanding relationship and she
has grown into our second mother. To
be in assisted-living you’re not ready
for that are you, Mar? No because we’re active. Adult
children often take on the job as
caregiver but with a busy lifestyle and work
this task can take a toll on them quickly. I think
one of the people that we forget a lot
of times is the caregiver especially the
daughter who is a young woman and I’m
sure she wonders what it will be like in
the future for her as a primary caregiver. Sometimes I feel very
guilty sometimes I’ve asked do you want
me to move in? We’ll figure it out
because I feel sometimes that I’m not
doing enough which I don’t have any question
about what I need to do but it’s a
lot. You
know I’m doing everything possible as
her daughter to make sure that everyone is happy, healthy, and
progressing. We’ve invited Todd
Houghton from Comfort Keepers to find out
how a caregiver can lighten the load
for Marianne and John. So I came in
to actually meet with John to discuss the
situation that’s going on with his wife
Marianne and talk about how we at Comfort
Keepers have come in and enhance the
quality of life that they have around their
home. So
Comfort Keepers you know we really
provide peace of mind to you and to your
family as well. I understand
your daughter Maureen’s also part of
the caregiving. When she comes in
and she looks over things she helps
helps us, she organizes the house she has a
way of it’s a really a gift where
she’ll go into my closet or her mother’s
closet and organize everything. Color-coordinated. She has a life too right but she
always finds time to come in. Right. People
are often in a position in life where
they don’t want to admit that they need
help or that assistance because they’re
not ready to be at that place in the
aging process. We believe in an
aging place and providing dignity and
peace of mind and security and safety. One of my
primary concerns is the development of
trust. Mhm, you know the
compatibility and the trust are two huge
issues those are both things that we take
very seriously. We go through a real rigorous
process to vet our care givers we put them
through strong background checks and
everything that goes with that reference
checks and all that to make sure they’re of
reputable standards and things like that
to be in our organization. So
that’s where the process starts, we
come in and we do a complete assessment of
the individual to understand what
the needs are and then we also do a full
safety assessment of the home as well. So this
is the master bedroom and taking a quick
look around it looks like you’ve secured
this room pretty well. Sounds
good! Yeah no throw rugs down it looks
like you know she can maneuver quite
well in the room in here. So that’s good
you have a master bathroom in here as
well? Yes. Right here. Okay great! Let
me just show you in. Great it looks like
you’ve already kind of started some
processes in the bathroom here with a nice
shower seat in there for to give in the
shower. I would probably recommend
removing the rug just that’s a hazard that
she’s in the bathroom coming out of the
shower she could slip on that. Good
idea! Yeah. So by having a
comfort keeper in the home you know a few days
a week can really help alleviate that
task mode when when Maureen’s here and she
can spend time with with her mother. She can
even take her mom out to get her nails
done or shopping as well. This is Nicole Baker a former
caregiver herself who is spending some
time with John and Marianne to give them a
feel for what it would be like to
have someone around. How many days a
week can you come? It’s totally up to you
Marianne if you want someone there one
day a week for a few hours we can do that,
if you want someone there every day we
can do that as well. It’d be nice to
get away from him once in a while. I’m
sure he would love to get away from me. I think
that it’s important that John can go out
and live his life but not feel guilty
that he’s abandoning her or leaving her
by herself. The goal is to get you back to
your normal routine with just a
little bit of help with a friend. He used to
go play golf on Saturdays and Wednesdays
and I’d be free as a bird. I can’t
wait for that day. Our goal is to match
her with a caregiver that makes her feel so
comfortable that she totally forgets
that he’s even gone and when he comes
home she’ll have a great story to tell
him. I know also that you have
gadgets and things like that products that
you try to incorporate to help them
reduce their isolation, allow them to
communicate maybe more with families. We
have this here its called the
GrandPad. It’s kind of like a play on
words, its iPad but grand as and
grandparent so it’s Grandpad. It is a tablet
that was designed specifically with
seniors in mind. The icons are very large
the seniors are able to view the
screen and click on the screen and interact
with the grand pad. The Grandpad is a
great tool to eliminate social
isolation in seniors. When we come back we’ll
introduce the Nicholas family to more
technology that will help make life
easier and safer for everyone involved. [Music] (Music)
Well we have cellphones I’m still fairly
cellphone illiterate. I can’t
deal with you and the phone system
anymore, you’ve been on my plan you broke
through the screen of your phone, I call you
never hear the phone. Are you picking
on me? I’m not picking but it’s
ridiculous. It
just goes on and on with the phone. Where
do I begin? Even yesterday there
was no answer on the home phone, no
answer on the cell phone. Anytime he hears
a phone could be in Walmart is that my
phone no dad yours is like it’s always
they don’t know how to dial they
don’t know how to text, they don’t know how
to do anything. I have to admit it I’m
on the list of dumbies when it comes to
knowing what all the buttons are and
everything else. He just wants everything simple
they want to go back to basics. To
help them do so we set up Maureen on a
lunch date with Angela Fisher-Enders from
TracFone. She’s going to introduce Maureen
and her parents to the perfect phone to
fit their needs. I’m talking to Maureen
today she called and asked if I could
provide her some cell phone options. I hear
you have some cell phone problems. Yes,
it’s my mother. I had a bad fall
so I need to know that I can get them
lickety-split. It’s important
for me to upgrade my parents situation
because they’re not utilizing the phone
correctly and they’re having trouble
with it. So I brought a couple
things, one thing I brought was the this
new ZTE phone it’s a little bit larger
screen it’s lighter weight but certainly
it goes fast has a great camera and
should have all the apps that they need. The second piece of it was the
plan so that’s the phone. Okay. But then
there’s the plan and there’s lots of
choices are one one choice is a 30 day plan
that’s our least expensive is there
it’s $15 for 30 days. The plans that are
available I’ll tell you I think it really
is gonna be a nice match and then if we
find out that that’s not enough data or
not enough text or whatever we can
buy an add-on card or we can change the
plan there’s no hidden fees. I mean there’s no extra
what you see is what you get. I’m really
excited to get them hooked up with
TracFone. Now that Maureen has
given her stamp of approval it’s time for
Angela to pay a visit to John and
Marianne. Let’s see how they like their
new phones. Just like me my phones getting
obsolete. Right now they just have one
cell phone between the two of them but it’s
small so it’s hard to use and it’s
also the screen is broken. Frankly I’m
not comfortable with it. My daughter
tells me I don’t even know how to shut
it off. Well I’ve brought a
couple ZTE TracFones today for you to try. The large
screen, the large numbers, it was a
friendly phone. And is it easy
to turn off and turn on? Right over here
just that silver button. Okay. And
it’ll say off, power on, very nice. Marianne
you talked earlier about your family and
your friends that you talk to, do you
have any idea how many minutes that you
use in an average month? People of that
age tend to not use data as much as the
Millennials let’s say and so our plans are
actually smaller. And so you pay just for
what you need and we actually call it for
moments that matter. As much as John
wants to be near Marianne at all times the
occasional separation is almost impossible to avoid. Today I
went outside just to water some of the
flowers Marianne decided to to connect the iPad
to recharge it or something and she
bent over and she flipped. If she had
the ability to press a button after
she fell I would have been right in the
house in split seconds. Of course
we’ve thought of a solution for them
on this as well. Alexandra Chapman from ADT
health is here and she’s brought along a
couple of devices that will come in very
handy for John and Marianne. Today I have
our regular medical alert system as
well as our fall detection medical alert
system and so what these pendants do is
that you can wear them 24/7 and
whenever you need help you’d be able to press
the button and a signal goes to our
ADT monitoring center. With ADT
medical alert Marianne can go wherever she
needs to go and feel the confidence knowing
that if she needs help she can get it
whenever she needs it. Tell me about the
fall detection system how does that
work? If
there is a fall there’s an accelerometer
in the system and it’s able to detect
that there is a fall and so if you’re
unable to press the button it will still
send a signal to our monitoring center. It’s reassuring to know that
there’s a device available that will
detect the fall. Well Marianne had a built
in alarm system before and
it goes like this John!!! Well the system that
we’re providing Marianne today is the ADT on the go
system so this is the system that has GPS
location so she can go she can leave the
home and live about her day and know that
she has ADT there for her at all times. It’s not
too heavy. No it’s not heavy and
it can also you know be tucked within a
blouse we can adjust it to be light a
little bit higher on your chest. You could just have access to
help 24/7 with when you’re wearing that so
we can press the button on Marianne’s
pendant and we can actually take it. Marianne she’s speaking to you. Not only
will the system help Marianne but we believe it’ll help John
because it’ll give him the ability to
leave the home and feel confident knowing
that Marianne can get help when he’s
not there. Coming up after the break
we will find out more about ADT health
and their mission to help people who are
at higher risk for falls. [Music] [Music]
John is awesome he never really would be
willing to say that he was willing to
leave Marianne’s side. To find
out more about ADT health I met up with
David Johnson. I’m used to ADT
security but I don’t know much about health. Yeah
absolutely ADT health is a division of
ADT security services it provides a
personal safety net for folks that wish
to gain some bit of independence. Once
the individual the care recipient
actually connects with someone on your
side what how does that happen and who
are they connecting with? That
connectivity is done via cellular
communication and that goes directly
from the device to our monitoring
centers. Our call center staff
are actually the creme de la creme
within our call center operations. What’s the
full circle of the service? Once
we receive a call one of our
specially trained staff members will take
that call they can locate that
individual via GPS they can also get alerted
whether it’s a fall detection or if they
or if the person has pushed the
button. So many
people say I want to just age in place I
want to age at home what makes this such
a special product for that? There’s of
course a cost to moving into a senior
living facility or or the like and so
this provides a really economical
opportunity. And then how about
the ADT pendant, don’t you feel better
if she has that on her? I think it would be
very good for her. Then are you
going to let the Comfort Keepers do what
they need to do? Absolutely. And
then you’re gonna maybe play golf
again right? Yes. Are you putting your feelings
aside a little bit? Dometime asolutely. I will not
allow myself to think oh I got a bad
deal when I got married it was for
better or for worse and I’m just doing
what I’m supposed to do, positive
attitudes change everything. And that keeps me going. [Music]

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