Designing Your Future Plan – 2018 Aging Gracefully Expo

Designing Your Future Plan – 2018 Aging Gracefully Expo


Upbeat Music – Good afternoon. I’d like to take a moment,
first of all, to introduce you to our beautiful panelists
that we have today. To my immediate left
is Jennifer Murray from the South Dakota
Department of Human Services. Wave. Then we have Leacey Brown from
the SDSU Extension office. (audience claps) To her left is Kristi Barber, who is a certified aging
in place specialist. (audience claps) And finally, on the end
we have Jenny Schmidt, who is a Black Hills advocate. (audience claps) Well, it’s now time to turn
what we know about aging in a little bit
different direction. Much of the knowledge that
we have from an earlier time when living beyond
the 60s was rare. Today we can experience
many will thrive into their 60s, 70s,
become centurions, and the question is, how do we want those
aging years to look? Or more importantly, how can
we live past those years? Our panel discussion today is hopefully gonna
spark some possibilities for those years of your life, and also help you learn
some tips and tricks to plan for the unexpected. First of all, I’m
gonna ask each panelist to just give a
brief introduction. Jennifer, will
you start, please? – Sure. Hi again, my name
is Jennifer Murray. I’m with the state, the
Department of Human Services, the Division of Long Term
Services and Supports. Quite a mouthful, so you may
be wondering what that means. But we serve individuals
aged 60 and over, and also adults with
disabilities aged 18 and over. So our goal is to
provide connections, services, and supports to people to help them stay at
home in their communities and prevent or delay
any institutionalization
or placement. – My name is Leacey Brown. I am a gerontologist
with SDSU Extension, and for the benefit of those who have never heard of
gerontology, I study aging. As thrilling as that sounds. I personally think
it’s thrilling. – Good afternoon, my
name is Kristi Barber and I and my husband have
just recently retired from running a business
for the past 30 years. I’m also a certified
aging in place specialist, and in that role
I do home audits for people who are
thinking forward about wanting to
stay in their homes for as long as
they possibly can. Welcome, everybody. – My name is Jenny Schmidt. I’m the founder and
CEO of a company called Black Hills Advocate
here in Rapid City. Black Hills Advocate serves
seniors and vulnerable adults as they navigate
aging, health issues, and all of the many questions
that go along with that. – Alright, thank you. Our first question, I’m gonna ask Leacey
to address this one. What are the common
misconceptions people
have about aging, and how can we communicate
more effectively our desires for the
future regarding aging? – How much time do I have to talk about the
misconceptions about aging? I think we’ll just say
the primary misconception that is a barrier to
us achieving our goals is that somebody else is aging. I can’t tell you how many times when I tell people about
my work, they’re like, oh, I have a 90-year-old
mother you could help. They’re at least 65. So that’s a misconception, is that aging is happening
to somebody else, and I think one of the key ways to help make aging
better for all of us is to basically when
we talk about aging, talk about, as I age, as we age. So instead of
talking about aging as if it’s happening
to somebody else, talk about it in our
own context and life. – Excellent point, Leacey. I just had a birthday
recently and my 13-year-old told me I’m now a double nickel. Next time I’m double
something, it’s 66. (laughing) Kristi, how did your
personal insight into the lives of
people that you know influence the decisions
that you’ve made? – My father-in-law started
our construction company back in the late ’80s. My husband joined him
shortly thereafter, and then I came onboard. And my father-in-law
in the past five years has had his health
decline significantly. It’s been a struggle
watching him decline and how it is
affecting our family. We’ve had close friends
and close relatives that have passed away in
the past several years. We recognize that we did
not want to end up that way. My father-in-law worked up
until the day he had a stroke, and then he was no longer
able to work anymore. If he wouldn’t have
had his stroke, he would’ve kept on
going, bless his heart. He was a workaholic, and my husband followed
in the same footsteps, and so to make this
decision has been a real emotional one
for me, especially. I know my husband is
going through some things. The reason why is because
our work defined who we were, and now we don’t have that work, and we’re treading on
some different ground. And so watching all
of these loved ones that we see go through
all of these trials, we realized that we wanted
to travel a different path. And so now we’re in the midst
of this whole life transition. – Thank you. Jenny, what can
individuals do now to prepare for life in their
60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond? – I’m gonna kinda piggyback
on what Kristi said. I think that one
of the assumptions is that you’re gonna work
hard and you’re gonna retire and life’s gonna be great. And so I deal with
a lot of people who maybe didn’t
retire with a roadmap. I think that just
like we have planned, and in many cases,
over-planned, our work life, and our raising kids and
participating in civic duties and pursuing our interests, we need to approach
those retirement years with the same kind of planning. To retire without a plan is
in some cases a plan to fail. I encounter lots of elderly
people who are depressed, who are lonely, who are losing friends and
family members around them, who maybe if they would
have taken the time earlier on in life to really discern
what retirement was
going to look like in their 60s and 70s and 80s and kind of ask themselves all of those what-if
questions ahead of time, who might have made
different choices, maybe the choice to move into a senior living
retirement situation a little bit sooner. Who may have made choices
to put some plans together from a pre-planning perspective. So I think a roadmap,
retiring with a plan, and then also
communicating those wishes. You know, lots of times we
can have all these ideas and thoughts, but if
we don’t tell our kids, we don’t tell the other
stakeholders in our life what those plans are, then when we get
to the precipice or we encounter
health challenges, it’s a big shock to everyone and everyone is scrambling to
find out what your wishes are. So I think a roadmap
and communication
are what I would say. – Excellent. Jennifer, what can
an individual person expect to pay for
nursing care on average, and is there any help
available to cover those? – For nursing home care? Well, that varies, but typically you
can expect that cost to be a couple hundred
dollars per day. That is a hefty ticket. Many are also much
more than that. So I think the second
part of your question was, is there help to pay for that? There is. Long-term care insurance
can help pay for that, and there’s lots
of different types of long-term care insurance
policies and plans. Some will pay a flat set amount. Some will pay a percentage. Some will also pay for care
for you in your home as well instead of a nursing home. I’m gonna refer
you to a website. This is the South
Dakota Long-Term Care
Partnership Program, so the website is LTC
for long-term care, LTCPartnership.SD.gov. And that’s a website that
has a lot of information about long-term care
insurance and options. LTCPartnership.SD.gov. G-O-V. And as I said before, the mission of the Division of Long Term
Services and Supports is to help individuals find basically every
last-ditch effort to help people stay at home, to age in place, to
be where they wanna be in their homes and communities. And there is also help
to pay for that as well. We also administer the Dakota
at Home referral call center. You may have seen the
booth out in the lobby. That is a referral service
that can connect you with people in your
part of the state that’s a free service
that the state provides. We provide what’s
called options planning. They can do that over the phone and kinda give you
some information on resources in your area. Or they can connect
you with a specialist. We’ve got 57 specialists
across the state. They can connect you
with someone in your
area specifically to come visit with you, and
again, that’s at no charge. They can talk to you about
what options are out there. I kinda veered off the
topic of nursing home, but there’s lots of
other options out there. And I’m not talking about, nursing homes are
very important. We’ve got great nursing
homes in our state. But we wanna make
sure that the people who are in nursing homes, that they are at
that level of care and they are the ones
that need to be there. – Thank you, appreciate it. If you have questions, please
write them on the orange cards and get them to
Jason, our runner. Jenny, a question for you. What is advanced
healthcare planning? – Advanced healthcare planning,
when you hear those words, you may think of healthcare
powers of attorney or some of those
kinds of things. Advanced healthcare planning
is a little more than that. I have an advanced
healthcare plan and I’m 46. Basically it’s sitting
down and asking yourself what you would want your
doctor to know about you or your providers if you were
unable to speak for yourself. Those can be detailed, those can be in the form
of an advance directive or living will, but
you’re also able to kinda sit down
and really write out and discern exactly what it is, what kind of care you
would like or not like. I’ve been doing aging
services for a long time, and mine basically
says pull the plug, pour yourself a drink, and then call someone
in about an hour. (laughs) Otherwise I think
that, you know, we run the risk, I’ve been
in situations many times where I know that the person would not want any
heroic measures, yet they have nothing
in place to say that they don’t
want those things. And our EMS and medical
providers are obligated to provide every
life-saving measure possible unless we’ve directed
it otherwise. In the state of South Dakota, the only thing that
is recognized is a
Comfort One bracelet. If you want more information
about a Comfort One bracelet and you don’t want any heroic
measures to prolong your life, let’s say you had a heart
attack out in public or whatnot, that Comfort One bracelet,
you have to be wearing it or they’re going to perform CPR and take you to
the emergency room. So I think the advance
directive piece, it’s kinda funny, I got a call from an attorney associate
of mine yesterday who said, “I just
wanna run this by you. “I’m doing an advance
directive for someone, “and they want me to put
in the advance directive “that the only clergy allowed
to visit her in the hospital “is a Lutheran minister
because she doesn’t want “any of those other crazy
religions trying to convert her, “and can she put that in
her advance directive?” And my answer was,
“Yes, absolutely, “put it in the
advance directive.” Because it is your
advance directive, it is personal to you, and
you are in the driver’s seat of how you are cared for and how you exit this life. So empower yourself that way. – [Lisa] Thank you. Leacey, you have
a couple comments? – Absolutely. Advanced healthcare
planning is extremely near and dear to my heart,
’cause like Jenny, I’ve seen how it can go wrong. So having that thought
conversation with ourselves is extremely important. Writing that conversation
down on paper and having that
conversation with our family is all critical,
’cause unfortunately, if our family doesn’t
understand our wishes, things could go wrong. And beyond that, we have
to make sure that person we identify to make
decisions for us will essentially be
willing to pull the plug. Sometimes a spouse
can’t do that, and that is very difficult. Another little fun thing, talking about the
random stuff we can add, I’m working on getting my
advance directive updated. I’m gonna have a
music playlist on mine so that if I’m unconscious
in the hospital, music is one of
my greatest loves. They can play music that
touches my heart and soul, even if I’m not there to talk. – Thank you. Jennifer, describe a situation when moving to a care facility
is really the best option, and how a married
couple can ensure that they go there together. – Well, a move to a nursing
home facility as the best option would be in that case when
you are at that level of care that you need that
advanced level of care. How a husband and wife can
ensure that they go together? That’s pretty tricky
for a nursing home, unless you are both
in that same condition and at that same level
of care at the same time, and that’s pretty rare
and pretty tricky. There are some communities
that have some other options of kind of independent
living and assisted living and nursing home, that
that might be an option for husband and wife
couples to stay together, but in order for both of them
to go into a nursing home at the same time, that’s
really quite difficult. – [Lisa] Leacey? – Oh, I wanted to touch on
what level of care means. It’s probably got
a fancy definition, but essentially it’s
like, how much care does a person require? Do we need a lot of help
with those activities of daily living, such as
bathing, hygiene, feeding? So that’s really what that
level of care is referring to. Somebody who just maybe
needs help with meals, we could probably
hire help in for that. But if somebody maybe
has a feeding tube that needs to be cleaned
or more complicated, they’re probably gonna need
a higher level of care. So that’s kinda what
they’re referring to. – Thanks for that
additional information. Leacey, can you tell me, is there a representative
here today from Home Instead? – [Leacey] Home
Instead Senior Care? Yes, we have Home Instead here. – Okay, thank you. – [Leacey] She’s waving. – Waving, alright. That was a question
from the floor. Kristi, I hear how passionate
you are about educating people in the choices that
they have as they age so that they can stay
in their own home. What suggestions can
you give us today so that we can remain in
our homes as we grow older? – Being able to
stay in your home is so important on so
many different levels. It’s a place that maybe
you’ve lived there for most of your life,
your married life. You’ve raised their
children there. You know your neighbors. You know how to get
there from here. You know how to get to
other places from your home. So the ability to
stay in your home is really in my opinion
a well-being item. Being able to stay in
your home can range from simple ideas
to super expensive. It just depends
on what the areas that need attention
in your home are and how much money you can spend or if you can find
funding for it. So a couple of ideas that
I would give you today. Falls are very important
to try to stay away from. A fall can take you out
of your home immediately. And so reducing the threat
of falls is one good thing. I would try to do that
in your bathrooms. Your bathrooms have
slippery surfaces. They have sharp edges
from your countertops. Some bathrooms are really small,
so you’re in a tight space. You have to get in
and out of the bathtub if you don’t have a
low threshold bathtub. So I would put in grab bars in
and around your bathtub area on all three sides
of your shower walls. I would also consider putting
grab bars around your toilet and on the back
side of the toilet. If you don’t have enough
room between your toilet and your sink, they
now make grab bars that you can attach
to the floor securely and raise them up when
you need to use them, and you can also
put them back down. Grab bars have evolved so much
in the past several years. They come in all
colors and shapes. They are no longer
institutional anymore. It’s not like you’re
going into the, using the bathroom
in the hospital. They can match the
decor of your bathroom. So grab bars are a
wonderful, wonderful thing. The second thing I would suggest is to improve the
lighting in your homes. We all have dark
spaces in our homes. Light those up. With the economical ways
to light dark spaces, with solar nightlights, it’s
just silly not to do it. When you go into the bathroom and you have your
solar nightlight on, you can see where you’re going
when you turn the light on. The nightlight goes
off, and when you leave, the nightlight comes back on. You can put it in a hallway. That can help direct
traffic to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I would put a nightlight at
the base of my basement stairs if I have to go down
there to do my laundry, and I would put it at
the top of the stairs so that every time I’m
traveling my stairs I’ve got some type of light
that I’m gonna be able to see. So lighting is very important. The third thing that I would do would be to remove the
clutter in your homes. You wanna create clear
pathways throughout your home so that you can reduce any
type of tripping hazards. Get stuff off the floor. Move your furniture so
that you can visually see a clear path through your home and not have to worry about
tripping over something in the middle of the night. Those are the top three things that I would suggest
to you today. – Thanks, Kristi, those
are all great things that are simple to do and
easy when you think about it. Doesn’t that make sense? I know I was at my
parents’ house recently and they have all those lights, and I thought, you know,
this is actually kinda nice. Everywhere I go
the light comes on. And I thought maybe
it was my personality, but I realized they had
little solar panels. Jennifer, a question for you. What thoughts do you
have about downsizing, or as Kristi said,
eliminating clutter do you have, and what
role do you see that plays as we prepare for our future? – Well, Kristi kinda
touched on that as well. Immediately removing the
clutter as a fall risk is extremely helpful,
and it sounds so easy and common sense, but that… That would be an immediate
thing that you could do to reduce your risk. As far as downsizing, that’s a tricky one because
we all like our stuff, right? And we have spent many
years accumulating all of our favorite things. Having those conversations
with your family members, whether it’s your friends or
family or children or parents, having those conversations now before it’s an issue
about our stuff is really important. What was the rest
of the question? Now I’m kind of losing it here. – [Lisa] The role it plays. – Oh, the role it
plays in the future. As you simplify
things, it just… It creates harmony in your life, it creates more of
a sense of balance, and also it helps your
children and family members when you move to a different
setting down the road. It helps them that they
don’t have to deal with it. I’m kinda stumbling over
this really simple question. To me it’s really common sense. But not so easy, because
we love our stuff. – [Lisa] That is true,
we wanna hold onto them because one day we might
just need it, use it, or want it again. – Absolutely, but it
really is the kindest thing that we can do for our families. I have heard stories
of the garage being like Mom’s house now, ’cause all of Mom’s stuff
got moved into the garage after Mom passed away, ’cause Mom never went through it and now the daughter
doesn’t wanna go through it. So who’s gonna end
up going through it? Her kids. And it really is
the kindest thing, and as we age, for the most part we stay healthy and active– For a very long time. It’s not an issue, but as we
reach the end of our lives and we become more frail, the stuff becomes
a huge barrier. Wow, they’re testing
me, aren’t they? I’m electric. And it can make
it more difficult for us to be at home. And it’s also more work. I don’t like dusting. Most of the surfaces on my house
don’t have a bunch of stuff that I have to move and dust. It’s thinking about
that future life, but it’s also
thinking about what– What do I– – [Jenny] Here Leacey,
do you wanna trade? – Let’s trade. Jenny loves me. It allows us to
prioritize our time. Do we really wanna spend
all of our free time sweeping and mopping and
dusting and moving stuff? You know, I did it
recently myself. I had a sewing machine I
hadn’t used in two years. I donated it to the Hope Center. I’m not using it. Did I want it recently? Yeah. But I don’t use it. – [Lisa] Alright, thank you. Kristi, go ahead. – My in-laws lived in
their home for 40 years, and they had gathered
a lot of things. And when my
father-in-law got so sick and needed to move
into the nursing home, my mother-in-law decided
to bring the entire family back for a weekend, and she gave us little
colored stickers and we walked through the house and we put little colored
stickers on everything that we thought we would want. And it was an excellent
way for her to go from a 3,000-square-foot home into a two-bedroom apartment. She really had to scale down. And it’s emotional. It was so emotional for
her to go through that, but she recognized that
she needed to do it. So it’s a process. The planning piece
is so very important, and Leacey’s right: to be fair and not make
your kids go through it, Mom, my mom’s in the audience… Downsizing early
is a good thing. – Thank you for sharing, Kristi. That is important. It’s getting rid of those items or putting them where
they need to go. Leacey, the next
question is for you. It’s advice that you
would give the audience about finding
fulfillment as they age. – I enjoy this
question immensely. I’ve been asked it
in some shape or form quite a bit recently. I’ve had the chance to
talk about this event and what we’re working on, and one way is to create a vision. And this is very abstract, but I think having that
vision of where you wanna be, having that goal, here’s
one of my life goals. Is it gonna happen anytime soon? No. But a life goal for me is I
wanna write one good book. That’s a goal for me. So having those goals, and
they can be very diverse goals. They don’t have to be
anything in particular. I read a book recently, and the family,
the grandparents, was talking about one of
their life goals, mission, was to bring their
grandchildren together for a couple weeks every summer so those grandchildren
would bond and build relationships
with each other so that as the older
members of the family transitioned and passed on, the younger members
had this relationship. So the key is just
create this vision of how we want that part
of our life to look. – Excellent, thank you. So as a reminder, as
you write questions on the orange cards, if
you just hold them up, then our runner Jason
can bring those up and we’ll be addressing those after we finish our
panel questions. Jenny, this is a
question for you. What’s the most important
question that you’ve learned over your years of
helping older people? – This is such an
easy question for me, because the answer is to listen. To really listen to
whoever I’m in front of and approach that
with mindfulness and respect and to really
hear what people are saying. Deanna talked a
little bit earlier about the world of
technology that we live in and I’m here to say
that there’s nothing that can compare to a
face-to-face conversation, where we’re able to interact
one-on-one or one-on-two and really discuss
some of these issues. Everybody’s aging
journey is different, yet I would tell you
that it all sticks in the same places
for everybody. So although your situation
might be different and you’re an individual and
you bring who you are to aging, I would say that the
problems that we solve over and over again,
the faces change, but it’s not necessarily unique. It’s unique to you,
and I know that aging for a lot of us, me included, feels like a complete
and total odyssey, like I’m watching
it in third person happen to somebody else. However, there’s more commonality
between all of us, I think, than we would like to admit. So knowing that, I think having those
face-to-face conversations, not only with people
who you’ve put on your aging dream team, the brain trust that you choose
to surround yourself with to help you navigate
this odyssey that is happening you, but also taking the opportunity to have those conversations
with your children about what you want them to know about you and about your life and about this next phase and
how you’re feeling about it and what it looks like for you. And also I think your
friendships become
super important. Your family’s always
gonna be your family, but your friends are
really the people that are going through
it alongside of you and who are experiencing
those same life challenges, health challenges,
economic challenges, insurance questions,
hospitalizations, you name it, that you are. So I think as we age,
those friendships become even more critical to
our overall wellness, to our well-being, and to
our safety and security. – Excellent, thank you. And you’re right, sometimes
those friendships, we are around those people
more than even people that are our children or
people in our bloodline. Jennifer, a question for you. How does the work that you do influence your own
planning for the future for you and your family? – [Leacey] We’re
down to one mic. – Knowing what’s available
for resources is tremendous. There are so many options to keep people at home. We’ve got some great
home care companies that provide home health. They can provide help with homemaking, personal care, nursing even, med management. There are assistive
devices available. The state can help with some of those
services and resources, and again, I’m gonna put my
plug in for Dakota at Home. Call them and they
can connect you. Knowing what’s
available is tremendous. There are so many
options out there, even for assistive devices. The home medical companies
that are in town, they’re so much more than
just walkers and wheelchairs. There are so many amazing
devices out there. There’s assistive
technology available now. Lots of options to help
people stay in their homes. So for me personally how
it’s affected my family, I have taken that step to have
those difficult conversations with my parents, my in-laws, because if you do it
before you need to, it’s much easier than
when you have to. That level of stress adds
a whole different dynamic if you wait to have
those conversations. Another visual aid I have. This is just a simple record
of important documents, and it’s just a form, there’s
nothing special about it, but it’s kind of a checklist of all of your insurance
policies, titles. You can fill this out and
just have it in one place. I have some up here, we have some at the
Dakota at Home booth. Even something as
simple as writing down where you have a
safety deposit box. – [Leacey] Thank you. – You’re welcome. For your family to
have that information, or even just for you to have it. Sometimes one spouse
knows all that information and the other one doesn’t, and sometimes the one that
knows all of that information all of a sudden isn’t able
to tell that other spouse where that is. So have those conversations,
make the plan. I think that’s kind
of our theme today. – And might it be that
we have that information and we personally
forget where we put it? – [Jennifer] True. – So does that help? The resources that you have, do they help with
downsizing too? – Yes. Yes, definitely. – Alright. Next question for Leacey: how can we change
what aging looks like? – The first step is to
understand that aging and disease are
not the same thing. They are two entirely
different processes, and what I see happen a lot is aging is equated to disease, and these health
challenges that we develop, we blame it on our age. We have to stop doing that. Our health is complicated. Some people were lucky. They have good DNA. They don’t develop any diseases. Some of us end up with
chronic health conditions at very young ages. I have chronic anxiety. It’s a very serious
health complication that I have to manage every day. That’s kinda one of those
most important things, is we have to
understand that health, the exercise, the nutrition,
the stress management, the sleep, all those
different things that people are telling us, that is how we age well. They’re deeply connected. They’re different processes,
but they’re related. That is step one, is
prioritize health. And I know it’s overwhelming,
I know it’s hard. Because they’re telling
us 20 different things that we need to
do to be healthy. Make small goals. Maybe you decide, I’m gonna
eat one salad every day. Maybe you make that your goal, and once you master that,
then you add something else. But just create those small
health and wellness goals for yourself to help improve
how we experience aging. – Thank you, those
are some great tips. I appreciate how
simplified you made that and easy to understand. Isn’t it simpler when you
start with just one key thing? A few questions from
the audience I’d
just like to address. Someone talked about a
Comfort One bracelet. Can you tell us, Jenny,
where we get those? The Comfort One bracelet. – Oh, you can get ’em
from your physician. I’m trying to think of the
office that administers it where we send them. But you can get ’em from
your physician’s offices. They have that application,
the paperwork there. My recommendation to you is, it’s a triplicate form. You’ll send it in to the state with a small fee to
get the bracelet, and then tape that yellow
copy that you get to keep to your refrigerator. So if you’re at home and
a medical event happens, as soon as those paramedics
walk in the door, generally they’re walking
past your kitchen, so I’ve found that a good spot
to keep it is on the fridge. – [Lisa] Leacey, you
had a comment as well. – Same is true for your
advance healthcare directives. Stick those on your fridge, write advance
directives really big, ’cause EMS, if they’re
there and they see that, they will take it with them. Another tip on
advance directives: file them anywhere you
receive healthcare. – One more thing
I’d like to add, and this is for
people who are caring for someone at work
who is vulnerable, spouse with dementia, whatever. I’m gonna give you
one of my tips. They now sell road ID bands. They were originally
made for runners. I usually have it
on my Apple Watch, but I don’t have it on today. And it’s a band that has
some medical information. On that, if you’re a caregiver
for someone with dementia, absolutely order one
of those ID bands that says on there that you
have a spouse with dementia or someone that
requires care at home and will allow you to
list an emergency contact and telephone number
of someone to call. I think that’s super important. If you’re out and about, you
go to run a quick errand, you get in a car accident,
100 things could happen, and you have someone at
home that can’t be left for a very long period of time, super important that
they get some supervision and help that they need
and necessary medication because it could be
hours or even days before someone figures that out and puts the pieces together. – Alright. These questions
I’m just gonna ask whoever feels the best
qualified to answer this, if you would. What’s the best way to
help an aging friend who doesn’t think
they need help? (laughs) – I had a feeling that
one was coming my way. I always say that the best way
is through the conversation. It’s to befriend that person. Just because you’re coming
over to check on someone doesn’t mean you have
to knock on the door and say, hi, my name is Jenny. I’m here to check on
your wellness today. It’s like, hey, I was
just in the neighborhood. I was stopping by. I’m just here to see
how things are going. A lot of times people can
be resistant to change because they fear it. I have lots of
clients who are like, they’re gonna carry me out
of this house feet first, and that is that. I am never moving
from this place. Okay, well, maybe it
starts with a conversation about how we can
make that happen. Maybe if that’s the
thing that they value and that’s the most
important thing, then how do we look at the
resources that are available through home care
agencies like Home Instead or Long Term
Services and Support, or all of these other options? How do we create and build
those services around the person so that we can
respect their wishes? Nobody likes to be
told what to do. Another tactic I
use a lot is like, well, I had a friend, then I kind of
mirror the situation, telling them about someone
else that I’ve encountered and what they did. But I think always just trying to keep those doors
of communication open, and then maybe reaching out to some of those
resources on your own to find out how you can
get some interventions to that person. Another thing that I always
say is that we have choices. We can either choose
to put a plan together to support us in the
situation we’re in and the needs that we have, or we can react to a
bad thing that happens. So we can choose to add maybe
some home care services. We can maybe sign up
for Meals on Wheels so that we’re getting a
nutritious meal once a day, or we can wait until
we’re malnourished and we are weak
and we have a fall, and then at that point
we go to the hospital and then we’re funneled
to a nursing care facility to do some rehab. And it might be a big
what-if whether or not we get to return home or not. So I always say independence, we all want
to be in the driver’s seat, but we also need to be
in the driver’s seat of putting a plan in place
that’s gonna enable us to stay in the situation
we wanna be in. – [Lisa] Leacey, would
you add a comment? – One thing I think is
really important for us to do is to embrace that we’re mortal, embrace that we’re weak, embrace that one day
we will need help. There ain’t a person here today that made it to where
they are right now without some sort of help. And acknowledging that is
a really good first step to say, okay, who’s
gonna mow the lawn? Who’s gonna shovel the snow? How are all these
things going to happen? Home ownership,
living in a home? Not even ownership,
just living in a home entails a lot of
different maintenance, and somebody has to do that when we cannot do
it for ourselves. So we have to think about
how we want to do that. – [Lisa] Excellent. Well, this next question was
one I asked Leacey as well. It’s, why are there
no men on this panel? So perhaps you wanna
address that one, Leacey. – Well, I am so glad
that somebody asked that, ’cause we invited a
couple men to join us, and they were not available. So that’s my short answer. And frankly, I only have
so many hours in a day to keep reaching out to people. So that is what happened, is the men that we thought
would be a good balance to provide the
expertise in this space, they were not available. And there are a lot of
women in this profession. I can own that. If we look around and we look in this
aging professional space, most of us are women. There are men, but
most of us are women. So it makes it a little
bit more difficult. But we have Carl,
our moderator, here, and he is using
his head right now to process everything
we’re talking about so that he can provide
one man’s perspective. – [Lisa] So you would say
he’s aging gracefully. – That’s an awful lot of credit. – Okay. Let’s go to the next question. With all the resources
that are out there, how do we know where to begin? Who do we talk to first? – I can take that. Dakota at Home, I think I have another
visual aid for that as well. Dakota at Home, it’s
a toll-free number. 833-663-9673, or DakotaatHome.org. You can also go online and
complete a form and submit it and someone will call you, or you can call this number
Monday through Friday. It’s staffed by our intake
specialists across the state, and they can point you
in the right direction. – [Lisa] Say the
number one more time. – The number again: 1-833-663-9673. – Wonderful, thank you. Kristi, this might be
something for you to address. It has to do with
your guidelines of renovating the bathroom
with grab bars and ramps. Who do we contact
for assistance? Can we call 2-1-1, or
how do we budget that if we’re on Medicare
Social Security? – I don’t believe that 2-1-1 addresses that type of instance. The thing that you could
do is talk to a contractor that you trust and
ask them to come in, or myself come in. We can look and see
what you have going on and we can give you
some recommendations as to changes that
could be made. Funding-wise, Dakota at Home
is a great place to start. And Jenny has a comment. – I would also point you
towards Western Resources for Independent Living. There are periods of time
when the state of South Dakota will open up grant funding,
and I know Kristi’s company’s been a part of this, too, will open up grant funding
for low-income seniors who need modifications
to their homes. So whether that’s a ramp
or a it’s a bathroom redo to minimize fall risk
or a step-in shower for maybe someone
who’s had a stroke, we kinda never know when those funds are
gonna become available, but Western Resources
for Independent Living here in Rapid City,
they have a booth here, they’re on Kansas City Street, would be a good place
to start for that. – Housing is one of
my passion areas. I’ve done a research project. There will be a report
coming out here pretty soon. Many folks are reluctant
to put in grab bars, modified bathrooms, make the changes that
we’re all gonna need. There is something
called universal design, and this is this weird
abstract comment, it’s lifetime housing. It’s, how do we build housing
that we can reasonably expect to live in from birth to death? I’m sure they’re some
reluctance from the audience of this idea of making
our bathroom accessible because it’s gonna
look like a hospital, but as Kristi shared
earlier, grab bars alone have just changed so
much in the five years. Grab bars can be
disguised as towel rods and you wouldn’t even know. But beyond that, we
can create bathrooms where we can reasonably expect
to do our own personal cares for as long as possible. And who doesn’t want
to have the privacy to take care of the
bathroom stuff without help for as long as possible? Universal design allows that. So start looking up this
concept of universal design, and I will tell you if
you go to the internet and you search for
universal design and they show you a
ramp or a grab bar, that is not universal design. That is accessible
design, it is different. – Go ahead, Jen.
– I wanted to add that on some of those
assistive devices and supplies, Medicare
will cover some of those. Medicare will cover a
portion of some of those. Medicaid also covers
some of those. So I would check
with your physician, and again, you can also
call the Dakota at Home. – One little thing about
assistive technology: you don’t necessarily have
to buy specialized equipment. Sometimes that
equipment’s gonna cost you two or three times more than, say, if you went
and used your cell phone to remind you to take your meds. That’s what I do. I’ve been working on
improving my Vitamin D. I told you, find that one goal? Well, two years in a row
my Vitamin D has been low. So I have a reminder
on my cell phone telling me to take my
Vitamin D at 6:00 a.m. So you don’t
necessarily have to buy specialized technology. Maybe look at technology
you already have, and see if that will
do what you need. – Excellent,
excellent, thank you. Another question is, do
you have a price list for different places
and levels of care, or how would they find that? – Okay, so for pricing
for levels of care, we talk in these ranges. We talk assisted living:
3,500 to 4,500 a month. Skilled nursing: six to eight,
upwards of 9,000 at times. The reason why the
pricing is that way is because it’s based
on your level of care. So within the level of care,
there’s different levels that are assigned that
cost different amounts. So in assisted
living, for example, there’s six different
levels of care. In skilled nursing there’s
different levels of care. It’s really kind of impossible to figure out what exactly
your need is going to be at the specific time when you’re assessed that
level of care charge. Generally when you admit
to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, you’re charged the highest rate
at the highest level of care for the first month, and
then they’ll evaluate you during that first month
and then they’ll adjust it and you’ll get a credit back if you end up falling into
one of those lower levels. So that’s why it’s a range and not an exact price. – Okay.
– In-home services are also an option. They too have a range. But the thing is, many people
do not need 24-hour care. They need help with laundry. They need help
maybe cooking meals. Maybe they need help
getting started in the day. So you can hire Home
Instead, state home care, one of the different
home care agencies to do those things for you. And I’m just gonna give
you a range of 20 to 30 depending on how much you need. Per hour, yes, per
hour, thank you. If a person only needs,
say, 10 hours a week, that’s a lot different cost than a person who would go
into an assisted living. So it really takes us
looking at ourselves, looking at our home: could our home reasonably
be a place where, I mean, almost
you have to think, could our home be a hospital? It doesn’t have to
look like a hospital, but could it? If it could not,
then we have to think about that assisted
living option or a continuing care
retirement community or all the different language, ’cause there’s this whole
continuum of housing. – Thank you. Earlier we talked
about downsizing and
how you can do that, and I think this might
play into this question. How can a woman
who’s 95 years old, how can you help her decide if she should stay in her home or go to a facility? She’s overwhelmed by all
of the stuff that she has ’cause she’s lived in
her home for 61 years. – Okay, so this is
a great question. How do you decide? And the answer is you don’t. Their doctor decides. We have to let people fulfill the role that
they’re meant for, and so when you go to your
primary care physician with these questions about what level of
care do you belong in, they have a
scientific and very… Like a concrete way of deciding what that level of
care is or should be. I would say nobody’s really
able to diagnose that or to put someone, like you
belong in assisted living. The only person that you
should be listening to is your own personal physician when determining level of care. – Leacey?
– And that whole sense of being overwhelmed, we often have good intentions and we just don’t follow through and we find ourselves
facing this big process of downsizing when… Yeah, we don’t
want to, thank you. We don’t want to,
we don’t want to. I mean, facing end
of life is very hard. There’s no getting around that. And when we reach 95 and we are
facing the end of our lives, going through all of that stuff, I can guarantee you it’s
gonna bring the emotions back. You’re gonna remember
your brother. You’re gonna
remember your mother. You’re gonna
remember these people because the stuff that we have
is how we remember people. So I would recommend
enlisting help to go through that process. I recommend breaking
it into parts. Maybe you start with one room, or if one room’s too much,
you start with one box. And you create a process
to start going through it, ’cause I can assure you
those memories will bubble up and you have earned the
time to process them. So give yourself that time. – Thank you, excellent tips. Kristi, would you share
the name of your company and the phone number? – The name of my company is
Glenn Barber & Associates. We are general contractors. Like I said before,
we have downsized to just my husband and I, but we are still in business. We’ll do projects based
on needs, basically. Our phone number
is 605-381-6677. That’s my personal
mobile phone number. And please give me a
call if you need me. – [Audience Member]
Say it again. – [Leacey] Say
your number again. – 605-381-6677. – Thank you, Kristi. We might have
covered part of this, but let’s just go over
this one more time. Does Medicare or Medicaid
pay for any of the services from independent to assisted
living to nursing home? – I’ll start, and then
if I miss something. Okay, so depending on income, Medicaid may offer help. And there’s different helps
and I’ll pass it over. Medicare is not used
for long-term care. Medicare is solely
health insurance. So just because we have Medicare does not mean we have
long-term care insurance. We have to go investigate that. Medicaid, I’m gonna
pass this to Jennifer ’cause she’s gonna
have more details. – Medicaid can cover part
of your nursing home stay, assisted living, room and board, and also your in-home services. That’s a home health
agency to come and help provide supports with, like I said
before, personal care. Help you with the shower,
homemaking, meal prep, nursing, med management. We talked a little bit
about being independent, and we’ve kind of… We’ve had lots of discussions
about the word independent versus autonomous. And while we do wanna
be independent at home, you can also remain in
your home successfully and not be independent. You can be dependent on someone to help provide you
care in your home, but you are autonomous, still
making your own decisions, still in charge. You’re the king or queen
of your household still. – [Lisa] Did you have
something you wanted to add? – [Leacey] No, I’m
good, thank you. – We are just to
our final minutes, so I’m just gonna ask
each of our panelists if there’s anything
that you’d like to share for our listening
audience or those present, or how they can visit you and where they’ll find you today for the rest of the conference. Go ahead, Jennifer. – [Jennifer] I’m
sorry, say it again? – [Lisa] Where they’ll
find you, or what– – Oh.
– Any closing comment you want to share.
– Any closing comments. The Dakota at Home booth
is out in the lobby. It’s the booth with
the little baby, the little therapy
baby, I call her. Shannon and Dan are there and
can answer your questions. I’ll be out there
for a while as well. You can also come
talk to me afterwards and I can give you some
additional information if you need it. – Oh, what will the
gerontologist say? Aging is good. Aging, that passage of time, allows us to go through
that psychological process where we can develop wisdom. We can come to terms
with our mortality and the fact that our time
on this Earth is limited. So recognizing that there
is positive in aging. Are there challenges? By all means. I’m not trying to be Pollyanna. But we have to recognize
both the good and the bad as we experience aging. – My whole premise here today is I want you all to recognize
that you have choices that you can make as
to how you want to age and what it looks like and to have respect and dignity and honor in doing so. So please, please consider that. Please think about that. We all have choices to make. Planning is so very,
very important. And thanks for being here. – I heard a quote that
says aging is a privilege denied to many, and so I think that
aging is a blessing. I appreciate my elders and all that they have given me in the way of their
wisdom and their humor and sharing their gifts. I would say that
we need to embrace, embrace our aging
and be where we are. I will be over here at the Black Hills
Advocate booth afterwards and you can find me online
at BlackHillsAdvocate.com. And our phone
number is 519-5051. We help all kinds
of vulnerable adults with case management, deciding
between levels of care, putting together the right
recipe for people individually with where they’re at
and what they need. So I would love to
visit with any of you. Thanks. – Thank you, I’d just
like to ask our audience to give a huge round of
applause to Jennifer, Leacey, Kristi, and Jenny for their
great expertise today, and thank you so very much. (upbeat music)

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