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perception | Nevada Senior Guide

Mature Age Job Seekers – Beating the Bias

June 12, 2016 by · Comments Off on Mature Age Job Seekers – Beating the Bias
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Australian business is starting to see the light when it comes to their hiring policies for mature aged employees, and the positive impact they can have on the workplace. A brief visit to main street shopping centre and you will begin to see a few more weathered faces at work than you would have seen a few years ago.

However, if you scratch below the surface, you begin to see this trend still has a long way to play out. A few older workers get hired into the senior ranks where experience and maturity are greatly valued, more older workers are now being hired at the lower end of the corporate scale into unskilled roles, however the numbers being hired into the mid tier ranks remains low.

This barbell approach to hiring mature workers at the top and bottom of an organisation reflects an ongoing bias that remains difficult to overcome. A company is a microcosm of society, and in a perfect world employers should (within reason) seek diversity in the workplace and value skill, experience and aptitude, regardless of age, race or gender.

Unfortunately, we live in a far from perfect world. When it comes to mature aged workers they tend to be penalised on two fronts. Often the first to be made redundant in uncertain economic times, this setback is then compounded when they are regularly overlooked for someone younger as they begin searching for a new job.

As a result of these two biases towards mature aged job seekers, once out of work, the journey back can often be long and arduous. This is reflected in RBA statistics which indicate long-term unemployment at approximately 40% for those aged 45-64, compared to about 25% for those aged between 25 and 44.

So what are the reasons employers provide for not hiring mature aged workers? Typically, reasons include being overqualified or over-experienced. Taken at face value being overqualified or experienced might not seem so bad, but when you hear the same reason trotted out time and again, it becomes less palatable.

Openly negative feedback from employers tend to include perceptions that mature aged workers are not as IT savvy, do not possess the latest skills, or are not as flexible as their younger counterparts. While these reasons may hold true in many instances, many of the older job seekers I speak to, believe these are often used as convenient excuses to exclude them.

Employer feedback that you are not likely to hear include concerns about health (and subsequent cost) or worse insecurity. There are many poor managers in the workplace that may be intimidated by the experience a mature applicant brings to the role. Rather than leveraging the knowledge and experience an older worker can bring to the workplace, the insecure hirer is concerned about the potential competition, and the presence of someone who may know more than they do.

Dealing with many of these preconceived concerns and fears remains an ongoing challenge for the mature aged job seeker. Perhaps the following facts should be mandatory reading for hiring managers. These facts debunk many of the concerns and myths that persist in the workplace relating to mature aged workers;

    • Mature aged workers can deliver cost savings to employers through increased retention rates. For example, workers over 55 are five times less likely to change jobs compared to workers aged 20-24, reducing both recruitment and training costs. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006)Labour Mobility Survey,
    • Mature workers can deliver an average net benefit of $1956 per year to their employer compared to other workers due to high retention rates, lower rates of absenteeism, decreased recruitment costs and greater return on investment.Business, Work and Ageing (2000) Profiting from Maturity: The Social and Economic Costs of Mature Age Unemployment
    • Australians are living longer and are healthier.2005 ABS survey found the proportion of Australians aged 55-64 reporting their health as ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ was 75.5% – an increase of four per cent since 1995. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004-05
    • Mature workers were the least likely group to take days off due to their own illness or as a carer. In the two week period prior to the survey nearly half the number of mature workers had days off compared to workers aged 25-34. ibid
    • ABS data shows that Australians aged 55-64 are the fastest growing users of information technology. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) Year Book Australia,
  • Australian Health Management which examined the daily work habits of 4000 employees found that workers aged 55 years and over performed at their best for approximately seven hours out of an eight-hour day-an achievement that other workers in the study were unable to match. Australian Health Management (2006), Baby boomers give employers a bang for their buck

While government has been doing its part to address mature aged unemployment through initiatives like DEEWR Experience+, the introduction of the Age Discrimination Act (2004) and appointment of an Age Discrimination Commissioner, it remains imperative that older job seekers directly address some of these age bias issues themselves if they are to enhance their prospects for employment.

Following are some helpful hints that mature aged workers can utilise to make themselves more appealing to employers and thus improve their chances of a speedy return to the workforce;

Government or Community Assistance– Take advantage of government or community based initiatives and assistance. There is a considerable amount of free information and assistance available, and I would strongly recommend looking into these resources. For example, the DEEWR “Experience+” initiative provides free career planning and advice for over 45’s until June 2016, along with an Assistance Program delivering refresher and basic training in IT and social media applications.

Value Proposition– Whether writing your resume or cover letter, or sitting in an interview, ensure the focus of discussion clearly remains on the value that you can bring to an organisation. Discuss how you can help, what you have done in the past and what you can deliver going forward. Outline how your experience might bring special insights and perspectives that other candidates may not possess.

Training– Undertake relevant training or up-skilling. Keeping ‘up to date’ is critical if you expect serious consideration for any position, especially if there is a technical element. The benefit will be that an employer will see that you have not fallen behind and therefore will not require retraining, along with any associated cost.

Resume– You will need a properly structured and well written resume to be considered for most roles. Use an appropriate resume style that is tailored to your strengths, skills and experience. Also ensure primary focus of your resume is on the last 5-10 years (include older information where pertinent). Think about getting assistance from a professional resume writer, whocan add significant value if you are looking to ‘get it right the first time’.

Age Bias – To counter potential impact of age bias, you will need to carefully address the following with any potential employer;

Health– Don’t hesitate to communicate your good health and fitness to potential employers at opportune moments. Inform them if you play sport, run, walk or go to the gym regularly. This should allay any potential concerns about health.

IT Savvy –Take every opportunity to indicate your IT capability. Whether it’s your ability to use specialised systems, the MS Office suite or even your use of Facebook or Twitter, this will highlight your ability to embrace new technology.

Adaptability – Highlight your adaptability in the workplace, providing actual examples where appropriate. If you don’t know something, indicate you are keen to learn (and not that you wouldn’t know where to start). Highlighting your adaptability will help to dispel concerns of rigidness and inflexibility.

Team Player –Communicating that you work well as part of a team is critical. It shows a willingness to take direction and work for the common good, and can present you as less threatening, especially if the hirer feels concerned by a mature more experienced candidate.

Be Positive –Though you need to be fully prepared to discuss negative issues, make every attempt to keep the discussion on a positive footing. Unless specifically requested, there is no need to volunteer information of a negative nature.

While industry is beginning to see the light when it comes to acceptance of mature aged workers, the pace of change remains slow. While providence is on the right side due to the ageing Australian population and the inevitable necessity to hire older workers, the fact remains that age discrimination is still entrenched in much current thinking.

As a result, dealing with age bias will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. However with the combination of positive government policy, changing attitudes and a proactive attitude to making oneself more appealing to employers (as outlined above), the situation is not without promise.

Honing your individual approach and message will take time and effort. To strike the right balance the mature job seeker will need to walk a fine line between sounding experienced, but not old, adaptable, but not inflexible and appear keen, not desperate. There is no magic formula for success except practice, perseverance and occasionally seeking help where necessary.

A.J. Bond, is the proprietor of Absolute Resume Writing Services ( http://absoluteresume.com.au ), an Australian based consultancy specializing in the provision of Resume and Cover Letter writing services.

Absolute Resume assists a broad range of job seekers to find their preferred roles, including mature aged job seekers, individuals out of work for a period of time and those made redundant.

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Part Four: Current and Future Anti-Aging Treatments

May 1, 2016 by · Comments Off on Part Four: Current and Future Anti-Aging Treatments
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As previously noted, many anti-oxidants are essential nutrients. Natural anti-oxidants, like vitamin C and E, work synergistically. Anti-oxidants may be more effective if obtained from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Nutritionists recommend eating 6 or more daily servings of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Everyone agrees the use of antioxidant supplements for anti-aging may be helpful, but there is no agreement on what the most effective supplement dosages should be.

Anti-aging medicine acknowledges that stress of all kinds causes aging but has not yet developed individualized treatment for this. There are countless sources of internal and external stress and individual stress levels vary greatly. One overlooked cause of internal stress is improper hydration. Water is essential in for the correct operation of many internal functions. Too little or too much water causes age producing stress. When one is old (80+) thirst perception declines and dehydration can easily set in. Other overlooked sources of stress are antioxidants themselves. High doses (or doses above certain yet unspecified amounts) of supplemental anti-oxidants are a known cause of stress.

To be helpful, antioxidant supplements must prevent other types of stress more than the stress they themselves create. Knowing the correct supplement dosages that can do this is an essential part of anti-aging treatment. A healthy young person in his twenties, who is properly nourished, will have less internal stress that an older individual in his sixties. For a young individual, lower amounts of antioxidants may be safer than higher amounts. A older person, whose many internal homeostatic mechanisms are less able to deal with internal stress, may benefit more from higher amounts of antioxidants. Theoretically an anti-oxidant based course of anti-ageing treatment will slow the rate at which cellular damage occurs. Cells will become “sick” more slowly. Over time, as fewer sick cells are replaced at a slower rate, the number of cells retaining longer telomere chains will be higher. You can then reasonably expect this to result in an increase in life expectancy. For now the recommended but imprecise approach to decrease the rate at which cellular damage occurs is to increase your per day intake of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables, to slightly increase your intake of antioxidants, and to take various vitamins and small amounts of anti-aging supplements on a daily basis. One study has shown taking a good multivitamin supplement is associated with longer telomere length.

Ideally anti-aging treatment should to be fine tuned for each individual. The key here would be to measure and minimize the cumulative effects of different kinds of stress on an individual basis. Easily measurable practical bio-markers for various types of stress do not yet exist or are not being used. When they are used it will be easy to customize individual antioxidant dosages so that everyone have “optimum” levels throughout their life. “Optimum” levels would maintain a safe reserve of protective antioxidants in the body.

Next I will briefly discuss the most popular nutrients associated with anti-aging. The most popular of the anti-oxidants, vitamins, and nutrients often associated with good health and anti-aging include: beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, various Flavonoids,Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Co-enzyme Q10, Lycopene, Selenium.

There are dozens of supplements that are known to effectively treat specific symptoms of old age. A few of the better known supplements include: DMAE, Acetyl-l-carnitine, L-carnosine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DHEA, L-arginine, and melatonin

Good food contains some of the anti-oxidants previously mentioned. A few other popular foods associated with anti-aging include: Green Tea, turmeric, and red wine.

All of the above have unique biological properties and, in my opinion, are “good” for you if taken in small or moderate amounts. Some (ex. vitamin C) may also be “good” for you in larger amounts. Various studies on each of these may conflict with each other. You need to carefully research each substance on your own but researchers have already found several nutrients to be associated with longer than average telomere lengths. These include: Green Tea, Omega-3, Vitamins A, C, D, and E.

Vitamin E has been associated with telomere lengthening anti-aging properties.

Green tea contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C, E and flavenoids.Flavenoids form a large antioxidant class (including catechins and quercetin) that has many anticarcinogenic, antihypercholesterolemic, antibacterial, (helps prevent dental caries), and anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves of the tea plant are rich in polyphenols. The consumption of 3 cups or more of green tea daily has been associated with longer than average telomere length.

The Omega-3s are essential long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory and help prevent heart disease, stroke, memory loss, depression, arthritis, cataract, cancer. Omega-3s slow down the shortening of telomeres; i.e. they may protect against aging on a cellular level.

Vitamin C is an abundant internal water soluble antioxidant that protects cellular components against free-radical formation caused by pollution and cigarette smoke. Many studies have associated high vitamin C intakes with lower rates of cancer of the mouth, larynx and esophagus. Vitamin C has shown promise in treating premature aging and possibly aging itself.

Due to limitations on the number of links I can incorporate into this article I could not provide more reference links supporting the preceding paragraphs. If interested please email me at the email address shown at the end of this article and I will forward them to you.

The sooner you start some sort of anti-aging treatment the better but it is never too late to start. All real treatments will help you maintain a longer than average average telomere chain length.

The goal of the programmed death theory of aging is to address the root causes of aging. This goal includes attempts to slow or reverse the telomere shortening process. Two such treatments are: TA 65 and human genetic engineering.

TA 65 is a telomerase activating product produced and marketed by Sierra Sciences. The key ingredient in TA 65 is Astragalus, a plant extract known to have telomerase activation properties. The product may work but I do not recommend it for several reasons. TA 65 is too expensive for the average person. A number of expensive health spas incorporate TA 65 in their programs. Again these are financially beyond the reach of the average person. The marketing tactics of Sierra Sciences have been questioned by many and there are law suits pending against TA 65.

The big issue I have with TA 65 is one of scientific honesty. The company genetically engineered mice that allowed telomerase to be switched off and on at an early age. TA 65 was able to switch telomerase back on in these mice and allowed them to live normal lives. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101128/full/news.2010.635.html

Using this to show how effective TA65 treatment is, is dishonest. This is not how telomerase normally works and there was no real extension of the lifespan beyond what it would have been without the genetic modification. In normal mice the effects of TA65 were temporary and little or no life extension was seen. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/04/11/anti-aging-pill-new-study-on-ta-65-sparks-controversy.html

Human genetic engineering is the real answer to fighting and defeating aging. It can directly address the root causes of aging. Advances in this area (ex. CRISPR) allow DNA base pairs to be inserted or deleted at specific place in our DNA. This means the human genome can now be precisely edited as needed. The lifespan of old mice has been modestly increased using telomerase gene therapy. In humans gene modification therapy has frequently been used for various medical problems. On September 15, 2015, Elizabeth Parrish was the first human to undergo anti-aging gene therapy. Anti-aging treatments will rapidly advance as our knowledge of the specifics of the human genome grows.

Current general social-political attitudes seem to be favoring the further development of anti-aging research. There are no international recognized political programs to stop aging or extend life but since 2012 a few pro-immortality political parties have sprung up. Their aim is to support anti-aging and life extension research, and to help provide access to advances in these areas to everyone. Among the numerous organizations supporting anti-aging research, the SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) organization has come up with an anti-aging research plan. They want to develop anti-aging therapies to repair most forms of cellular damage. SENS, is a charitable organization. Any anti-aging advances resulting from funding it provides will become readily available public knowledge. In addition to the normal scientific research there is the $1,000,00 Palo Alto Longevity Prize that is being offered to anyone who can come up with an effective anti-aging treatment.

As of 2015, all known anti-aging treatments are only partially effective. Depending on when one starts a comprehensive anti-aging program, one can probably extend one’s life by 10 to 25 years. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health estimated that an anti-aging lifestyle can add 24.6 more productive years to one’s lifespan. Anti-aging knowledge increases at a rate of about 10 times every 10 years. This probably means that for many of us there is more than enough time to reap the anticipated benefits in anti-aging research. One day soon, aging, like many other diseases, will be cured. While we wait for those anti-aging technological singularities to occur the name of the game is to ensure we stay healthy long enough repeat their benefits.

As a former engineer I have a strong affinity to all sciences including biology.

My interests include following advances in the fields of anti-aging, health and nutrition. Rapid advances in these areas will vanquish the disease we call aging.
Through my articles and website I want to help you maintain your good health for the next 10 to 25 years. I believe this can be done by a daily program that includes moderate exercise, a healthy diet that includes vitamins and related supplements, and taking advantage of any advances in related research. My hope is that within the next 25 years or less, the fruits of anti-aging research will become available to everyone.

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The Development of Old Age and Related Issues

April 18, 2016 by · Comments Off on The Development of Old Age and Related Issues
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In traditional Chinese and other Asian cultures the aged were highly respected and cared for. The Igabo tribesmen of Eastern Nigeria value dependency in their aged and involve them in care of children and the administration of tribal affairs (Shelton, A. in Kalish R. Uni Michigan 1969).

In Eskimo culture the grandmother was pushed out into the ice-flow to die as soon as she became useless.

Western societies today usually resemble to some degree the Eskimo culture, only the “ice-flows” have names such a “Sunset Vista” and the like. Younger generations no longer assign status to the aged and their abandonment is always in danger of becoming the social norm.

There has been a tendency to remove the aged from their homes and put them  in custodial care. To some degree the government provides domiciliary care services to prevent or delay this, but the motivation probably has more to do with expense than humanity.

In Canada and some parts of the USA old people are being utilised as foster-grandparents in child care agencies.

SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS

What is Aging?

Aging: Aging is a natural phenomenon that refers to changes occurring throughout the life span and result in differences in structure and function between the youthful and elder generation.

Gerontology: Gerontology is the study of aging and includes science, psychology and sociology.

Geriatrics: A relatively new field of medicine specialising in the health problems of advanced age.

Social aging: Refers to the social habits and roles of individuals with respect to their culture and society. As social aging increases individual usually experience a decrease in meaningful social interactions.

Biological aging: Refers to the physical changes in the body systems during the later decades of life. It may begin long before the individual  reaches chronological age 65.

Cognitive aging: Refers to decreasing ability to assimilate new information and learn new behaviours and skills.

GENERAL PROBLEMS OF AGING

Eric Erikson (Youth and the life cycle. Children. 7:43-49 Mch/April 1960) developed an “ages and stages” theory of human development that involved 8 stages after birth each of which involved a basic dichotomy representing best case and worst case outcomes. Below are the dichotomies and their developmental relevance:

Prenatal stage – conception to birth.

  1. Infancy. Birth to 2 years – basic trust vs. basic distrust. Hope.
  2. Early childhood, 3 to 4 years – autonomy vs. self doubt/shame. Will.
  3. Play age, 5 to 8 years – initiative vs. guilt. Purpose.
  4. School age, 9to 12 – industry vs. inferiority. Competence.
  5. Adolescence, 13 to 19 – identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity.
  6. Young adulthood – intimacy vs. isolation. Love.
  7. Adulthood, generativity vs. self absorption. Care.
  8. Mature age- Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Wisdom.

This stage of older adulthood, i.e. stage 8, begins about the time of retirement and continues throughout one’s life. Achieving ego integrity  is a sign of maturity while failing to reach this stage is an indication of poor development in prior stages through the life course.

Ego integrity: This means coming to accept one’s whole life and reflecting on it in a positive manner. According to Erikson, achieving integrity means fully accepting one’ self and coming to terms with death. Accepting responsibility for one’s life and being able to review the past with satisfaction is essential. The inability to do this leads to despair and the individual will begin to fear death. If a favourable balance is achieved during this stage, then wisdom is developed.

Psychological and personality aspects:

Aging has psychological implications. Next to dying our recognition that we are aging may be one of the most profound shocks we ever receive. Once we pass the invisible line of 65 our years are bench marked for the remainder of the game of life. We are no longer “mature age” we are instead classified as “old”, or “senior citizens”. How we cope with the changes we face and stresses of altered status depends on our basic personality. Here are 3 basic personality types that have been identified. It may be a oversimplification but it makes the point about personality effectively:

a. The autonomous – people who seem to have the resources for self-renewal. They may be dedicated to a goal or idea and committed to continuing productivity. This appears to protect them somewhat even against physiological aging.

b.The adjusted – people who are rigid and lacking in adaptability but are supported by their power, prestige or well structured routine. But if their situation changes drastically they become psychiatric casualties.

c.The anomic. These are people who do not have clear inner values or a protective life vision. Such people have been described as prematurely resigned and they may deteriorate rapidly.

Summary of stresses of old age.

a. Retirement and reduced income. Most people rely on work for self worth, identity and social interaction. Forced retirement can be demoralising.

b. Fear of invalidism and death. The increased probability of falling prey to illness from which there is no recovery is a continual source of anxiety. When one has a heart attack or stroke the stress becomes much worse.

Some persons face death with equanimity, often psychologically supported by a religion or philosophy. Others may welcome death as an end to suffering or insoluble problems and with little concern for life or human existence. Still others face impending death with suffering of great stress against which they have no ego defenses.

c. Isolation and loneliness. Older people face inevitable loss of loved ones, friends and contemporaries. The loss of a spouse whom one has depended on for companionship and moral support is particularly distressing. Children grow up, marry and become preoccupied or move away. Failing memory, visual and aural impairment may all work to make social interaction difficult. And if this then leads to a souring of outlook and rigidity of attitude then social interaction becomes further lessened and the individual may not even utilise the avenues for social activity that are still available.

d. Reduction in sexual function and physical attractiveness. Kinsey et al, in their Sexual behaviour in the human male, (Phil., Saunders, 1948) found that there is a gradual decrease in sexual activity with advancing age and that reasonably gratifying patterns of sexual activity can continue into extreme old age. The aging person also has to adapt to loss of sexual attractiveness in a society which puts extreme emphasis on sexual attractiveness. The adjustment in self image and self concept that are required can be very hard to make.

e. Forces tending to self devaluation. Often the experience of the older generation has little perceived relevance to the problems of the young and the older person becomes deprived of participation in decision making both in occupational and family settings. Many parents are seen as unwanted burdens and their children may secretly wish they would die so they can be free of the burden and experience some financial relief or benefit. Senior citizens may be pushed into the role of being an old person with all this implies in terms of self devaluation.

4 Major Categories of Problems or Needs:

Health.

Housing.

Income maintenance.

Interpersonal relations.

BIOLOGICAL CHANGES

Physiological Changes: Catabolism (the breakdown of protoplasm) overtakes anabolism (the build-up of protoplasm). All body systems are affected and repair systems become slowed. The aging process occurs at different rates in different individuals.

Physical appearance and other changes:

Loss of subcutaneous fat and less elastic skin gives rise to wrinkled appearance, sagging and loss of smoothness of body contours. Joints stiffen and become painful and range of joint movement becomes restricted, general mobility lessened.

Respiratory changes:

Increase of fibrous tissue in chest walls and lungs leads restricts respiratory movement and less oxygen is consumed. Older people more likelyto have lower respiratory infections whereas young people have upper respiratory infections.

Nutritive changes:

Tooth decay and loss of teeth can detract from ease and enjoyment in eating. Atrophy of the taste buds means food is inclined to be tasteless and this should be taken into account by carers. Digestive changes occur from lack of exercise (stimulating intestines) and decrease in digestive juice production. Constipation and indigestion are likely to follow as a result. Financial problems can lead to the elderly eating an excess of cheap carbohydrates rather than the more expensive protein and vegetable foods and this exacerbates the problem, leading to reduced vitamin intake and such problems as anemia and increased susceptibility to infection.

Adaptation to stress:

All of us face stress at all ages. Adaptation to stress requires the consumption of energy. The 3 main phases of stress are:

1. Initial alarm reaction. 2. Resistance. 3. Exhaustion

and if stress continues tissue damage or aging occurs. Older persons have had a lifetime of dealing with stresses. Energy reserves are depleted and the older person succumbs to stress earlier than the younger person. Stress is cumulative over a lifetime. Research results, including experiments with animals suggests that each stress leaves us more vulnerable to the next and that although we might think we’ve “bounced back” 100% in fact each stress leaves it scar. Further, stress is psycho-biological meaning the kind of stress is irrelevant. A physical stress may leave one more vulnerable to psychological stress and vice versa. Rest does not completely restore one after a stressor. Care workers need to be mindful of this and cognizant of the kinds of things that can produce stress for aged persons.

COGNITIVE CHANGE Habitual Behaviour:

Sigmund Freud noted that after the age of 50, treatment of neuroses via psychoanalysis was difficult because the opinions and reactions of older people were relatively fixed and hard to shift.

Over-learned behaviour: This is behaviour that has been learned so well and repeated so often that it has become automatic, like for example typing or running down stairs. Over-learned behaviour is hard to change. If one has lived a long time one is likely to have fixed opinions and ritualised behaviour patterns or habits.

Compulsive behaviour: Habits and attitudes that have been learned in the course of finding ways to overcome frustration and difficulty are very hard to break. Tension reducing habits such as nail biting, incessant humming, smoking or drinking alcohol are especially hard to change at any age and particularly hard for persons who have been practising them over a life time.

The psychology of over-learned and compulsive behaviours has severe implications for older persons who find they have to live in what for them is a new and alien environment with new rules and power relations.

Information acquisition:

Older people have a continual background of neural noise making it more difficult for them to sort out and interpret complex sensory input. In talking to an older person one should turn off the TV, eliminate as many noises and distractions as possible, talk slowly and relate to one message or idea at a time.

Memories from the distant past are stronger than more recent memories. New memories are the first to fade and last to return.

Time patterns also can get mixed – old and new may get mixed.

Intelligence.

Intelligence reaches a peak and can stay high with little deterioration if there is no neurological damage. People who have unusually high intelligence to begin with seem to suffer the least decline. Education and stimulation also seem to play a role in maintaining intelligence.

Intellectual impairment. Two diseases of old age causing cognitive decline are Alzheimer’s syndrome and Pick’s syndrome. In Pick’s syndrome there is inability to concentrate and learn and also affective responses are impaired.

Degenerative Diseases: Slow progressive physical degeneration of cells in the nervous system. Genetics appear to be an important factor. Usually start after age 40 (but can occur as early as 20s).

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE Degeneration of all areas of cortex but particularly frontal and temporal lobes. The affected cells actually die. Early symptoms resemble neurotic disorders: Anxiety, depression, restlessness sleep difficulties.

Progressive deterioration of all intellectual faculties (memory deficiency being the most well known and obvious). Total mass of the brain decreases, ventricles become larger. No established treatment.

PICK’S DISEASE Rare degenerative disease. Similar to Alzheimer’s in terms of onset, symptomatology and possible genetic aetiology. However it affects circumscribed areas of the brain, particularly the frontal areas which leads to a loss of normal affect.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE Neuropathology: Loss of neurons in the basal ganglia.

Symptoms: Movement abnormalities: rhythmical alternating tremor of extremities, eyelids and tongue along with rigidity of the muscles and slowness of movement (akinesia).

It was once thought that Parkinson’s disease was not associated with intellectual deterioration, but it is now known that there is an association between global intellectual impairment and Parkinson’s where it occurs late in life.

The cells lost in Parkinson’s are associated with the neuro-chemical Dopamine and the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are associated the dopamine deficiency. Treatment involves administration of dopamine precursor L-dopa which can alleviate symptoms including intellectual impairment. Research suggests it may possibly bring to the fore emotional effects in patients who have had psychiatric illness at some prior stage in their lives.

AFFECTIVE DOMAIN In old age our self concept gets its final revision. We make a final assessment of the value of our lives and our balance of success and failures.

How well a person adapts to old age may be predicated by how well the person adapted to earlier significant changes. If the person suffered an emotional crisis each time a significant change was needed then adaptation to the exigencies of old age may also be difficult. Factors such as economic security, geographic location and physical health are important to the adaptive process.

Need Fulfilment: For all of us, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, we are not free to pursue the higher needs of self actualisation unless the basic needs are secured. When one considers that many, perhaps most, old people are living in poverty and continually concerned with basic survival needs, they are not likely to be happily satisfying needs related to prestige, achievement and beauty.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Physiological

Safety

Belonging, love, identification

Esteem: Achievement, prestige, success, self respect

Self actualisation: Expressing one’s interests and talents to the full.

Note: Old people who have secured their basic needs may be motivated to work on tasks of the highest levels in the hierarchy – activities concerned with aesthetics, creativity and altruistic matters, as compensation for loss of sexual attractiveness and athleticism. Aged care workers fixated on getting old people to focus on social activities may only succeed in frustrating and irritating them if their basic survival concerns are not secured to their satisfaction.

DISENGAGEMENT

Social aging according to Cumming, E. and Henry, W. (Growing old: the aging process of disengagement, NY, Basic 1961) follows a well defined pattern:

  1. Change in role. Change in occupation and productivity. Possibly change in attitude to work.
  2. Loss of role, e.g. retirement or death of a husband.
  3. Reduced social interaction. With loss of role social interactions are diminished, eccentric adjustment can further reduce social interaction, damage to self concept, depression.
  4. Awareness of scarcity of remaining time. This produces further curtailment of activity in interest of saving time.

Havighurst, R. et al (in B. Neugarten (ed.) Middle age and aging, U. of Chicago, 1968) and others have suggested that disengagement is not an inevitable process. They believe the needs of the old are essentially the same as in middle age and the activities of middle age should be extended as long as possible. Havighurst points out the decrease in social interaction of the aged is often largely the result of society withdrawing from the individual as much as the reverse. To combat this he believes the individual must vigorously resist the limitations of his social world.

DEATH The fear of the dead amongst tribal societies is well established. Persons who had ministered to the dead were taboo and required observe various rituals including seclusion for varying periods of time. In some societies from South America to Australia it is taboo for certain persons to utter the name of the dead. Widows and widowers are expected to observe rituals in respect for the dead.

Widows in the Highlands of New Guinea around Goroka chop of one of their own fingers. The dead continue their existence as spirits and upsetting them can bring dire consequences.

Wahl, C in “The fear of death”, 1959 noted that the fear of death occurs as early as the 3rd year of life. When a child loses a pet or grandparent fears reside in the unspoken questions: Did I cause it? Will happen to you (parent) soon? Will this happen to me? The child in such situations needs to re-assure that the departure is not a censure, and that the parent is not likely to depart soon. Love, grief, guilt, anger are a mix of conflicting emotions that are experienced.

CONTEMPORARY ATTITUDES TO DEATH

Our culture places high value on youth, beauty, high status occupations, social class and anticipated future activities and achievement. Aging and dying are denied and avoided in this system. The death of each person reminds us of our own mortality.

The death of the elderly is less disturbing to members of Western society because the aged are not especially valued. Surveys have established that nurses for example attach more importance to saving a young life than an old life. In Western society there is a pattern of avoiding dealing with the aged and dying aged patient.

Stages of dying. Elisabeth Kubler Ross has specialised in working with dying patients and in her “On death and dying”, NY, Macmillan, 1969, summarised 5 stages in dying.

  1. Denial and isolation. “No, not me”.
  2. Anger. “I’ve lived a good life so why me?”
  3. Bargaining. Secret deals are struck with God. “If I can live until…I promise to…”
  4. Depression. (In general the greatest psychological problem of the aged is depression). Depression results from real and threatened loss.
  5. Acceptance of the inevitable.

Kubler Ross’s typology as set out above should, I believe be taken with a grain of salt and not slavishly accepted. Celebrated US Journalist David Rieff who was in June ’08 a guest of the Sydney writer’s festival in relation to his book, “Swimming in a sea of death: a son’s memoir” (Melbourne University Press) expressly denied the validity of the Kubler Ross typology in his Late Night Live interview (Australian ABC radio) with Philip Adams June 9th ’08. He said something to the effect that his mother had regarded her impending death as murder. My own experience with dying persons suggests that the human ego is extraordinarily resilient. I recall visiting a dying colleague in hospital just days before his death. He said, “I’m dying, I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it”, and then went on to chortle about how senior academics at an Adelaide university had told him they were submitting his name for a the Order of Australia (the new “Knighthood” replacement in Australia). Falling in and out of lucid thought with an oxygen tube in his nostrils he was nevertheless still highly interested in the “vain glories of the world”. This observation to me seemed consistent with Rieff’s negative assessment of Kubler Ross’s theories.

THE AGED IN RELATION TO YOUNGER PEOPLE

The aged share with the young the same needs: However, the aged often have fewer or weaker resources to meet those needs. Their need for social interaction may be ignored by family and care workers.

Family should make time to visit their aged members and invite them to their homes. The aged like to visit children and relate to them through games and stories.

Meaningful relationships can be developed via foster-grandparent programs. Some aged are not aware of their income and health entitlements. Family and friends should take the time to explain these. Some aged are too proud to access their entitlements and this problem should be addressed in a kindly way where it occurs.

It is best that the aged be allowed as much choice as possible in matters related to living arrangements, social life and lifestyle.

Communities serving the aged need to provide for the aged via such things as lower curbing, and ramps.

Carers need to examine their own attitude to aging and dying. Denial in the carer is detected by the aged person and it can inhibit the aged person from expressing negative feelings – fear, anger. If the person can express these feelings to someone then that person is less likely to die with a sense of isolation and bitterness.

A METAPHYSICAL PERSPECTIVE

The following notes are my interpretation of a Dr. Depak Chopra lecture entitled, “The New Physics of Healing” which he presented to the 13th Scientific Conference of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Depak Chopra is an endocrinologist and a former Chief of Staff of New England Hospital, Massachusetts. I am deliberately omitting the detail of his explanations of the more abstract, ephemeral and controversial ideas.

Original material from 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

In the lecture Dr. Chopra presents a model of the universe and of all organisms as structures of interacting centres of electromagnetic energy linked to each other in such a way that anything affecting one part of a system or structure has ramifications throughout the entire structure. This model becomes an analogue not only for what happens within the structure or organism itself, but between the organism and both its physical and social environments. In other words there is a correlation between psychological conditions, health and the aging process. Dr. Chopra in his lecture reconciles ancient Vedic (Hindu) philosophy with modern psychology and quantum physics.

Premature Precognitive Commitment: Dr. Chopra invokes experiments that have shown that flies kept for a long time in a jar do not quickly leave the jar when the top is taken off. Instead they accept the jar as the limit of their universe. He also points out that in India baby elephants are often kept tethered to a small twig or sapling. In adulthood when the elephant is capable of pulling over a medium sized tree it can still be successfully tethered to a twig! As another example he points to experiments in which fish are bred on

2 sides of a fish tank containing a divider between the 2 sides. When the divider is removed the fish are slow to learn that they can now swim throughout the whole tank but rather stay in the section that they accept as their universe. Other experiments have demonstrated that kittens brought up in an environment of vertical stripes and structures, when released in adulthood keep bumping into anything aligned horizontally as if they were unable to see anything that is horizontal. Conversely kittens brought up in an environment of horizontal stripes when released bump into vertical structures, apparently unable to see them.

The whole point of the above experiments is that they demonstrate Premature Precognitive Commitment. The lesson to be learned is that our sensory apparatus develops as a result of initial experience and how we’ve been taught to interpret it.

What is the real look of the world? It doesn’t exist. The way the world looks to us is determined by the sensory receptors we have and our interpretation of that look is determined by our premature precognitive commitments. Dr Chopra makes the point that less than a billionth of the available stimuli make it into our nervous systems. Most of it is screened, and what gets through to us is whatever we are expecting to find on the basis of our precognitive commitments.

Dr. Chopra also discusses the diseases that are actually caused by mainstream medical interventions, but this material gets too far away from my central intention. Dr. Chopra discusses in lay terms the physics of matter, energy and time by way of establishing the wider context of our existence. He makes the point that our bodies including the bodies of plants are mirrors of cosmic rhythms and exhibit changes correlating even with the tides.

Dr. Chopra cites the experiments of Dr. Herbert Spencer of the US National Institute of Health. He injected mice with Poly-IC, an immuno-stimulant while making the mice repeatedly smell camphor. After the effect of the Poly-IC had worn off he again exposed the mice to the camphor smell. The smell of camphor had the effect of causing the mice’s immune system to automatically strengthen as if they had been injected with the stimulant. He then took another batch of mice and injected them with cyclophosphamide which tends to destroy the immune system while exposing them to the smell of camphor. Later after being returned to normal just the smell of camphor was enough to cause destruction of their immune system. Dr. Chopra points out that whether or not camphor enhanced or destroyed the mice’s immune system was entirely determined by an interpretation of the meaning of the smell of camphor. The interpretation is not just in the brain but in each cell of the organism. We are bound to our imagination and our early experiences.

Chopra cites a study by the Massachusetts Dept of Health Education and Welfare into risk factors for heart disease – family history, cholesterol etc. The 2 most important risk factors were found to be psychological measures – Self  Happiness Rating and Job Satisfaction. They found most people died of heart disease on a Monday!

Chopra says that for every feeling there is a molecule. If you are experiencing tranquillity your body will be producing natural valium. Chemical changes in the brain are reflected by changes in other cells including blood cells. The brain produces neuropeptides and brain structures are chemically tuned to these neuropeptide receptors. Neuropeptides (neurotransmitters) are the chemical concommitants of thought. Chopra points out the white blood cells (a part of the immune system) have neuropeptide receptors and are “eavesdropping” on our thinking. Conversely the immune system produces its own neuropeptides which can influence the nervous system. He goes on to say that cells in all parts of the body including heart and kidneys for example also produce neuropeptides and neuropeptide sensitivity. Chopra assures us that most neurologists would agree that the nervous system and the immune system are parallel systems.

Other studies in physiology: The blood interlukin-2 levels of medical students decreased as exam time neared and their interlukin receptor capacities also lowered. Chopra says if we are having fun to the point of exhilaration our natural interlukin-2 levels become higher. Interlukin-2 is a powerful and very expensive anti-cancer drug. The body is a printout of consciousness. If we could change the way we look at our bodies at a genuine, profound level then our bodies would actually change.

On the subject of “time” Chopra cites Sir Thomas Gall and Steven Hawkins, stating that our description of the universe as having a past, present, and future are constructed entirely out of our interpretation of change. But in reality linear time doesn’t exist.

Chopra explains the work of Alexander Leaf a former Harvard Professor of Preventative Medicine who toured the world investigating societies where people  lived beyond 100 years (these included parts of Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Southern Andes). He looked at possible factors including climate, genetics, and diet. Leaf concluded the most important factor was the collective perception of aging in these societies.

Amongst the Tama Humara of the Southern Andes there was a collective belief that the older you got the more physically able you got. They had a tradition of running and the older one became then generally the better at running one got. The best runner was aged 60. Lung capacity and other measures actually improved with age. People were healthy until well into their 100s and died in their sleep. Chopra remarks that things have changed since the introduction of Budweiser (beer) and TV.

[DISCUSSION: How might TV be a factor in changing the former ideal state of things?]

Chopra refers to Dr. Ellen Langor a former Harvard Psychology professor’s work. Langor advertised for 100 volunteers aged over 70 years. She took them to a Monastery outside Boston to play “Let’s Pretend”. They were divided into 2 groups each of which resided in a different part of the building. One group, the control group spent several days talking about the 1950s. The other group, the experimental group had to live as if in the year 1959 and talk about it in the present tense. What appeared on their TV screens were the old newscasts and movies. They read old newspapers and magazines of the period. After 3 days everyone was photographed and the photographs judged by independent judges who knew nothing of the nature of the experiment. The experimental group seemed to have gotten younger in appearance. Langor then arranged for them to be tested for 100 physiological parameters of aging which included of course blood pressure, near point vision and DHEA levels. After 10 days of living as if in 1959 all parameters had reversed by the equivalent of at least 20 years.

Chopra concludes from Langor’s experiment: “We are the metabolic end product of our sensory experiences. How we interpret them depends on the collective mindset which influences individual biological entropy and aging.”

Can one escape the current collective mindset and reap the benefits in longevity and health? Langor says, society won’t let you escape. There are too many reminders of how most people think linear time is and how it expresses itself in entropy and aging – men are naughty at 40 and on social welfare at 55, women reach menopause at 40 etc. We get to see so many other people aging and dying that it sets the pattern that we follow.

Chopra concludes we are the metabolic product of our sensory experience and our interpretation gets structured in our biology itself. Real change comes from change in the collective consciousness – otherwise it cannot occur within the individual.

Readings

Chopra, D. The New Physics of Healing. 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

Coleman, J. C. Abnormal psychology and modern life. Scott Foresman & Co.

Lugo, J. and Hershey, L. Human development a multidisciplinary approach to the psychology of individual growth, NY, Macmillan.

Dennis. Psychology of human behaviour for nurses. Lond. W. B.Saunders.

[http://www.psychologynatural.com/DepressionBroch.html]

Dr. Victor Barnes is an Adelaide psychologist and hypnotherapist. He has also had three decades of experience in adult education including serving as Dean of a Sri Lankan college (ICBT) teaching several Australian degrees. His overseas experience includes studies and consulting experience in USA, PNG, Poland and Sri Lanka.

National Report: Oral Health of Older Americans In A ‘State of Decay’

November 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Oral Health America Launches First-of-its-Kind Website to Connect Older Adults to Affordable Dental Care and Resources

The oral health of older Americans is in a state of decay, according to a new national report released today by Oral Health America (OHA).  A State of Decay, a state-by-state analysis of oral healthcare delivery and public health factors impacting the oral health of older adults, reveals more than half of the country received a “fair” or “poor” assessment when it comes to minimal standards affecting dental care access for older adults. Florida and Arizona, areas with large older adult populations, rank in the bottom five states due to a shortage of oral health coverage, a strained dental health work force, and deficiencies in prevention programs.

“While we are seeing improvements in certain areas of older adult dental care, there is still a lack of progress in advancing the oral health of such a vulnerable population,” said Dr. Ira Lamster, Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, ColumbiaUniversity, Mailman School of Public Health. “Older adults face significant health challenges if their oral health is poor, and there is no coordinated program to help fund necessary services.”

A State of Decay gave a rating of “fair,” “poor,” “good,” or “excellent” based on state level data analyzing five variables impacting older adult oral health: adult Medicaid dental benefits, inclusion of older adult strategies in state oral health plans, edentulism (loss of teeth), dental health professional shortage areas, and community water fluoridation.

The final evaluations in the report for each state are mixed, with several states performing well in some variables, but still in need of improvement in other important areas. The top findings of this report that require scrutiny and action are:

  • Persistent lack of oral health coverage across much of the nation. Forty-two percent of states (21 states) provide either no dental benefits or provide only emergency coverage  through adult Medicaid Dental Benefits.
  • Strained dental health work force. Thirty-one states (62 percent) have high rates of Dental Health Provider Shortage Areas (HPSAs), meeting only 40 percent or less of dental provider needs.
  • Tooth loss remains a signal of suboptimal oral health. Eight states had strikingly high rates of edentulism, with West Virginia notably having an adult population that is 33.8 percent edentate. Photo – PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com
  • Deficiencies in preventive programs. Thirteen states (26 percent) have upwards of 60 percent of their residents living in communities without water fluoridation (CWF), despite recognition for 68 years that this public health measure markedly reduces dental caries. Hawaii (89.2 percent) and New Jersey (86.5 percent) represent the highest rates of citizens unprotected by fluoridation, an unnecessary public peril.

Daily, 10,000 Americans retire and only 2 percent do so with a dental benefit plan. The State of Decay analysis provides a tool for states to use in addressing shortfalls in oral health status, dental professional access sites, dental benefits for low-income adults, and population-based prevention, all of which affect the oral health of older adults, the fastest growing segment of the American population.

To help older adults and their caregivers address oral health needs and overcome many of the barriers to accessing affordable dental care, OHA launched toothwisdom.org. The website is a first-of-its-kind online tool that connects older adults to dental care and educates on the importance of maintaining oral health with age. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and Special Care Dentistry Association (SCDA) supported OHA and the launch of the website by encouraging their members to provide meaningful articles for the toothwisdom.org.

“Dental Hygienists have the opportunity to assist older Americans with the oral health challenges they may face as they age,”” said Ann Battrell, Executive Director, American Dental Hygienists’ Association. “We’re all committed to sharing the message that oral health matters and changing the common misperception that with age comes a decline in oral health.”

Few websites focus on oral and systemic health topics, and even fewer provide resources for older adult oral health. Toothwisdom.org offers oral care resources by state – including direct links to dental care, caregiving support, financial tools, social services, and transportation. It also shares the latest news and reliable health information from dental experts across the country on relevant oral health issues, the importance of continuing prevention with age, and the impact of oral health on overall health.

“My dental procedures have been very costly and I had to contact a social worker to help me understand my bills. Dental care should be more available and affordable because we know poor dental care affects overall health, which is particularly important for seniors,” said senior Patricia Cosgrove, a client of The Carter Burden Center for the Aging, Inc.  “Toothwisdom.org can help me find a community health center so I can finally get an affordable check-up and stay up-to-date on oral health information.”

A State of Decay and toothwisdom.org are part of Oral Health America’s Wisdom Tooth Project™, an initiative designed to meet the oral health challenges of a burgeoning population of older adults with special needs, chronic disease complications, and a growing inability to access and pay for dental services.

Links to the 2003 and 2013 editions of A State of Decay can be viewed on toothwisdom.org.

About OHA’s Wisdom Tooth Project
For 55 years, Oral Health America has been the leading national non-profit dedicated to improving the oral health and well-being of Americans throughout the entire spectrum of life. Over the decades, the organization has evolved and adapted to the dynamic nature of our country’s demographics and specific health needs. The Wisdom Tooth Project was born in 2010 due to the current and future implications of an aging population and the need for oral health resources for them mean that we must take meaningful action now.

About Oral Health America
OHA is a national, non-profit association dedicated to changing lives by connecting communities with resources to increase access to oral health care, education, and advocacy for all Americans, especially those most vulnerable. For more information about Oral Health America, please visit www.oralhealthamerica.org.

Top 10 steps to prepare for a remodel

June 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Top 10 steps to prepare for a remodel

NARI offers tips in honor of National Home Improvement Month.

  

Des Plaines, Illinois, May 8, 2013—In honor of National Home Improvement Month this May, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) advises homeowners of the 10 most important steps to take before the remodeling project starts.

“The planning and researching phases of a project are the most critical steps in the remodeling process,” says NARI National President Art Donnelly, MCR, CKBR, Legacy Builders & Remodelers Corp., based in Mount Sinai, N.Y. “The more knowledgeable and prepared a homeowner is, the more they protect themselves.”

What can a homeowner do to prepare for a remodel? NARI provides a top 10 list of steps homeowners should take before breaking ground on their next remodel.

  1. Research your project. Taking time to research projects on the Internet and NARI.org will provide a good sense of what is involved such as price, scope of work, return on investment and new product/material options. Also, research property values in your neighborhood to make sure your project is in line with other homes in the area.
  2. Plan project around the long-term. How long do you plan to stay in your home? How might your family structure change over time? Life can change quickly—these questions should be answered early on to ensure your project will fit your lifestyle long after it’s complete.
  3. Set your budget. Deciding on a realistic budget and arranging finances to support your project are essential. This number needs to include everything—the project, products, contingencies, etc. Don’t be afraid to share this with your remodeler; professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it.
  4. Use advanced search for professionals. The online world makes it easy to gather information about strangers. Ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals and then spend time researching that person online. Professional remodelers take their reputation seriously and hold credentials beyond licensing, such as certifications, memberships in trade associations and additional training. Look for examples of press coverage or involvement in industry presentations or events. Check online reviews and social media to see how they interact with past clients and peers.
  5. Ask the right questions. Time and cost are important, but getting the right information requires the right questions. Ask your professional remodeler about his educational background, training, specialties or past issues with clients. Ask about how the remodeling process will work.
  6. Verify your remodeler. Don’t take their word for it. Check the information given to you such as references, license numbers, insurance information and certifications by calling providers to verify. Request a visit to an active client’s jobsite. Make it known that you are checking on him—a true professional considers that as a positive sign to working with a homeowner.
  7. Review contracts word-by-word. A remodeling contract protects you and your remodeler. Homeowners should review this carefully. Professional remodelers have done this before, and know what should go in a contract. Homeowners are not as familiar with remodeling and should ask about terms if they don’t understand. Pay attention to details about change orders, payment, additional fees, timeline and responsibilities. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.  
  8. Keep design in mind. Your design guides the entire project. Think about what you dislike about your current space and the intended use of the new space. Use Websites such as Pinterest.com and Houzz.com to gather design ideas. Make sure you can articulate specifically what you like about that design when talking to your designer. Professionals don’t recreate a photo—they incorporate accessibility, functionality, ease of modification, style and value into your design.
  9. Make your selections. Deciding on products and materials is a larger process than most imagine. With so many options to choose from, product selections are one of the primary reasons for project timelines to get extended. Base decisions on quality, function, price, style and availability. Include selections in the contract to lock down pricing and keep your budget intact.
  10. Create a communication plan. A common downfall in remodeling is lack of communication between homeowners and remodelers. Your remodeler should lay out a communication plan at the beginning of the project. If not, ask them to do so. This plan should clarify roles of everyone involved, communication methods, availability, and frequency of communication that is expected.

As an industry that struggles with a persistent negative perception of remodeling contractors, these tips serve both the industry and consumers in elevating real professionals from the pack.

The first step to hiring a professional is through NARI, whose members are vetted and approved by industry peers to ensure they live up to the professional standards that NARI sets. “NARI members are proud of their affiliation and commitment to professionalism, and it’s a reputation they work hard to protect,” Donnelly says.

Consumers may visit www.NARI.org to find a qualified professional who is a member of NARI or call NARI National at (847) 298-9200 and request a free copy of NARI’s brochure, “How to Select a Remodeling Professional.”

Click here to see an online version of this press release.

EDITOR’S NOTE: NARI can provide hi-res digital photos of award-winning projects to accompany your story. Contact NARI with your photo request at marketing@nari.org or ask for Morgan Zenner at (847) 298-9200.

# # #

About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  The Association, which represents member companies nationwide—comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors— is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To learn more about membership, visit www.NARI.org or contact national headquarters, based in Des Plaines, Ill., at (847) 298-9200.

Gifts for Senior Citizens by David Stillwagon

May 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Whether it is at Christmas time or a birthday coming up buying gifts for some  people seems to take up time and a lot of pondering. Do you want to buy  something practical that they can use all the time or maybe surprise them with  something unique, much of the decision depends on the person that you are buying  for. One group of folks that tend to be difficult to buy for is senior citizens.  Gifts for senior citizens shouldn’t be any harder to find than for any other age  group. The perception is that since they are older they are pickier about what  they will like, which really isn’t the case. Another misconception is at their  age they probably have received just about every gift that you can think of,  which is also incorrect.

One of the best and easiest gift choices is books. Although you may think  that not everyone is a reader you would be surprised especially if you find a  subject that is interesting to the person you are buying it for with the World  Wide Web buying books like everything else is pretty easy. Not only can you  order the books from your home you can also send them directly to the gift  recipient. But take your time looking there are a million books out there; try  to find one that would be interesting the whole way through.

Is gardening an interest of the person you are getting the gift for. Although  gardening can only be done during the growing season it is great for older folks  because they get to stay active and they are outside. Tool sets or possibly a  garden caddy that makes it easier to cultivate the ground are great choices. It  is probably best to let them buy the plants, you never really know what kind of  flowers or vegetable they want in their gardens.

As we get older we help with certain things like keeping our balance,  remembering to take medication or remembering doctor’s appointments. There are  many products out there specifically for the elderly or senior citizens. Of  course you have to be careful getting something like this for some folks because  they may not feel that they need these things. But then again practical gifts  are always good especially if they can be put to use.

Funny or gag gifts are great ways to lift the spirit and bring on a good  laugh. There are many places on the internet that you can find such gifts, but  just remember to think about the person that you are giving it too. Are they  sensitive or can they take a joke?

If you take some time and a little effort buying gifts for senior citizens  isn’t that difficult at all.

David Stillwagon blogs about health and age issues like Gifts for Senior Adults

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Stillwagon

Gift Ideas For Senior Citizens Perplexing You? 5 Tips to Finding the Perfect Gift For Baby Boomers by Diane Carbo

April 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Gift ideas for senior citizens can be perplexing. Not to worry, I have  5 tips to help you find the perfect gift for seniors citizens in your life. Many  gift givers have the perception that as we age, we have accumulated everything  we need in life. In some case that may be so, but, just because we are getting  older, does not mean we don’t enjoy or appreciate a meaningful and well thought  out gift.

Tip #1 As we age, our needs change. Our thoughts focus on our past, what we  accomplished, what we wanted to do, but postponed due to life’s responsibilities  that came our way. Many fondly recall the dreams, plans and hopes of their  youth. There are many that have things in their life that they miss or wish they  had a chance to do. Now, because of their age, they think that this is no longer  a possibility. Trust me, there is a gift giving idea in those postponed dreams  and plans. And all you have to do is discover what they are.

Tip # 2 Every aging senior has different personalities, lifestyles,  interests, financial and health situations. This should be considered when  exploring gift giving options.

Take time to consider the senior adult for whom you want to choose the  perfect gift.

Are they an active senior, with lots of ability to get around independently?  Are they involved in church, community or group activities? Do they live  alone? Do they have limited access to social functions or activities due to  illness or inability to drive? What keeps them from getting out an about?   Do they have hobbies or outside interests? Have they had a change in  their physical or mental abilities that has affected their lifestyle?  Are  they able to take care of their home environment, yard or pets?  Is their  financial situation a problem or is money never a concern?  Are they an  individual that is open to trying new things? Or are they an individual set in  their ways?

More Gift Ideas for Senior Citizens Perplexing You? 5 Tips to  Finding the Perfect Gift for Baby Boomers…

Tip #3 To accomplish the goal of finding the perfect gift for the aging  senior in your life will take a little thought and exploration on your part.  Take time in your everyday conversations to ask questions about the past and the  present interests. Make this a part of your regular conversation. Gift ideas  will present themselves. Don’t hesitate to ask “Is there any thing that you  wished you had done?”  “Is there any thing that you miss doing or would like  to do some day?”  “Have you ever considered ________(this may be dancing  lessons, painting, doing wood working, trying a computer etc) ?”

Tip # 4 If you have done your exploration, you should have come up with some  great gift ideas. Or maybe you still feel stuck on finding the perfect gift. Now  it is time to be creative. If you have assessed the aging senior’s situation,  you can determine what is important to them. Would they benefit from some  special one on one time with you? Spending uninterrupted and unrushed time,  to do something that your aging senior will enjoy, not only will be appreciated,  but will have the benefit of creating a memory for you and your aging senior.   If they are an active senior, they may be open to trying something new and  different. You may want to plan a trip or activity that would be fun. Don’t  forget that learning is a lifelong activity. Check out the local colleges,  YMCA’s and online courses that may be of interest to your aging senior. You may  be able to introduce a new hobby or activity that will improve or maintain mind  and physical fitness.

Tip #5 Do not discount home made gifts or projects. Plan a family project  where the entire family can get involved. You may want to create a family tree,  organize family pictures. Create a slide show with old family pictures and have  your senior incorporate family stories behind those pictures. Or create a video  of your aging senior talk about the family history. This could be an on going  project with a planned family debut. Plan a party and ‘red carpet’ event for the  entire family to view.

Finding gift ideas for seniors can give you an opportunity to learn  and create a stronger bond between you. Finding a gift for baby boomers is  giving something needed, something wanted or something they have longed for, but  never expressed. Given with lots of love, will make it the “perfect”  gift.

Diane Carbo Registered Nurse has more than thirty five years in the nursing  field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified  to help those who want to live out their lives in their own homes. Diane has  developed a web site to make people aware of issues and options. You will find  the answers to many of your questions as well as helpful information that will  be continually updated. Please visit http://www.aginghomehealthcare.com/gift-ideas-for-senior-citizens.html for more information on gifting baby boomers and senior adults. Sign up for The  Caring Advocate Ezine her free newlsetter and receive a complimentary  copy of the Home Health Care Planning Guide.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Diane_Carbo

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  • Senior Industry Network Group Events

    Monthly SING Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at our NEW location below:

    Desert Canyon - HealthSouth
    9175 W. Oquendo Rd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89148

    S.I.N.G. Agenda:
    - Coffee and bagels will be served
    - A time to show gratitude by thanking those who have sent you referrals
    - Announcements around the room
    - One minute commercials
    - Open Discussion on topics of Self Empowerment

    * When? The 1st Thursday of every month. Networking starts at: 8:00am | Meeting starts at: 8:30am

    * How Much? It’s free!