Reblogged: Please, Stop Sending Dreamcatchers: Or, How I Tried to Tame Charities Asking for Money

Marti Weston:

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Check out the Mom and Dad Move In blog for some interesting insights and observations about caregiving.

An especially great post focuses on a charitable giving issue that affects lots of people. It is especially a problem for seniors who believe in the importance of giving and helping others and give lots of smaller contributions to many organizations. The situation is further complicated when elders give a memorial gift and the organization automatically adds them to the mailing list, thus adding even more solicitations.

Originally posted on mom and dad move in:

Our mailman, Chet, already struggled to deliver the bevy of catalogs my husband and I generated when it was just the two of us.

But after my parents moved in, Chet fled the U.S. Postal Service for a career in nursing. I always imagined his job change was fueled in part by the stacks and stacks of mail my parents received from charity and non-profit groups seeking money.

Giving money to organizations you believe in, groups that have a proven track record and groups that wisely spend your money  is admirable.

But we were pummeled with pleas from scores of charities, from the established SPCA to some group that claimed to help armless children paint with their toes. (These groups asked for money on the phone, too, but that’s a whole other story).

So we cut back on giving. Way back. I used the free website to ferret out…

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Watching Opera With Lots of Older People

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 9.29.27 PMThis weekend I went to the Metropolitan Opera to watch Renée Fleming, Sir Thomas Allen, Nathan Gunn, Kelli O’Hara, and a host of other polished singers offer amazing operatic performances. No, I was not in New York City, and I did not sit in the Met’s gigantic performance hall that holds as many as 3,800 people. I did not purchase one of those hugely expensive tickets (though someday I’d love to buy one), and I did not get all dressed up. But the opera was still superb.

On Saturday afternoon my husband and I went to a local movie theatre to watched Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow streamed live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera. Along with several hundred other, mostly gray-haired, people we watched with rapt attention as the performers sang and danced on a huge screen, streaming into our theatre while the plot unfolded in the hall at Lincoln Center. We even got to see the bows and curtain calls.

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Good-bye to The New Old Age Blog

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Read Paula Span’s Final Post at The New Old Age Blog

For years now The New Old Age blog at The New York Times has been a must-read for people with aging parents as well as for people who blog about aging and caregiving issues. Started in 2008 by Jane Gross and later presided over by Paula Span, The New Old Age always had its finger on the latest aging research, the best ways for people to approach growing older, and of course, caregiving for aging parents.

Now the blog is closing up shop, though the years and years of amazing blog posts will continue to be available to readers. Paula Span will write new columns two times a month for another part of the Times, but these will not be added to the blog.

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AsOurParentsAge – 2014 Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 100,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Why Can’t We Do Something About Phone Scams???

Visit the Federal Trade Commission to learn more about telephone scams and discover  how to protect yourself.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission to learn more about telephone scams and discover how to protect your aging parents and yourself.

I detest scam telephone calls, and I am specially upset about how these scammers take advantage of elders.

I am off work during much of the time this week, and today alone I’ve received three scam telephone calls — two from the people who claimed that my Microsoft Windows has a glitch and one from Rachel at cardholders services. It’s only 10:00 AM in the morning.

Why can’t we put a stop these calls? I know how to identify them and basically hang up — but they are truly irritating, not to mention a huge waste of time. Moreover, while I have the knowledge to ignore the phone calls when I feel like it (or sometimes give the swindlers a hard time), plenty of other people, including many elders are victims of fraud.                           Continue reading

Medicating Elders in Long Term Care: Is It Necessary?

If your fragile elder parent is in long-term care or assisted living and memory issues are ongoing or developing, take a few minutes to read or listen to a December 9, 2014 National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast, This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs. The piece, by Ina Jaffe, describes a long-term care community, Pathstone Living in Mankato, Minnesota and how the staff went about lowering the use of antipsychotic drugs.

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CMS graph depicting state-by-state drug use in long-term care. Click for a larger version. Link to CMS graph is below in the resources section.

The nursing home aimed to reduce the number of residents who were taking antipsychotic medications. Although they set modest goals for the first year, they experienced great success, discovering that they could take most people off the medications.

By extending the policy to other long-term care communities, the non-profit organization that runs Pathstone along with other long-term care communities, the organization set a new goal to reduce the drug use by 20% in the first year, but instead they reduced it by 97%. These communities achieved their goals by looking at each patient and seeking ways to directly address the reasons that the medication was given to each person in the first place.

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