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A Place for Mom: Eldercare Advisors

One of the difficulties faced by our aging population is that many senior children find themselves taking care of their even more senior parents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the “oldest old” (those 85 years or more) are projected to be the fastest growing part of the elderly population into the next century. I lost my mother when she was 92 years old and I remember her saying that she never expected to live that long.

Tracy Hanavin, Eldercare Advisor

Another challenge is that the children may be living miles away and yet must makes arrangements for their parents. What they need is a service that can search the country for the necessary resources. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about a senior fair. At that fair were several wonderful vendors one of which was A Place for Momwww.aplaceformom.com. It is a free eldercare referral service assisting families in finding resources of every kind in every part of the country. Tracy Hanavin (shown on the left) is one of the advisors in the mid-Atlantic region.

While I know many companies in our area that cater to senior needs for in-home care, this was the first company that I had come across that covers the country and will cover your specific situation for geographical, financial, and clinical preferences before referring you to care providers.

To contact A Place for Mom, call 877-MOM-DAD5 or visit their Web site above.

Best New Products for Older Adults

George Mason University Science & Tech Bldg

Isn’t it amazing how a resource can be in your own back yard, and you not know about it? Finding out about the resource is like opening a surprise birthday gift on your birthday. It started with Steve Gurney’s blog post. Steve is well-known in the Washington Metropolitan Area as an expert and publisher of Guide to Retirement Living.

In his blog, he published a press release for the “Nana” technology competition at George Mason University located in Northern Virginia. It was the second annual New Product and Technology Awards sponsored by the Mature Market Resource Center. It’s a recognition for innovative products and services for older adults and their families. The winners have not been announced, but the entrants were in the categories of Internet and computer technologies; monitoring/detection devices; prevention/health maintenance products and services; housing and design; safety products; fitness/recreation/hobbies and more.

Unfortunately, by the time I had arrived, they were getting ready to shut down and there were very few products on display. But in speaking with one of the judges, he showed me a device that the judges liked — a very small phone that you’d wear, much like the alarm button that many seniors wear, but with a lot more features.

Perhaps in the next few weeks, when the winners are announced, I’ll be able to post a list of the winners and their products. But I encourage any creative folks out there to think about us senior folks and how you can help make our lives easier.

I also learned that not only was George Mason University named the number one national university to watch in 2009 by U.S. News & World Report, it also now has a major in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration. They have had a program in the area for a few years, but now they actually have a major — the first academic curricula in the nation dedicated exclusively to the senior housing and care industry. Click here to learn more.

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DermaView — Facial Skin Analyzer

DermaView at the Seniors Fair

In my last post, I talked about skin agers. Last week I attended a “Seniors Fair” at a local hospital. They were offering several tests, one of which was DermaView, a machine that is a  facial skin analyzer. It shows you damage to your skin that you cannot necessarily see with the naked eye. For the most part, it’s ugly. Did you know that most people receive 80% of their lifetime exposure to the sun by the age of 18? By the time you’re a senior, chances are your face will have definitely suffered from sun damage. So imagine your face covered with brown splotches. That’s what you, as well as the technician on the other side, will see in the DermaView mirror.

I had this same test done about a year ago and I saw a vast improvement. I attribute it to a skin care system that I use. It’s a system that normalizes the skin and I am so pleased with the results that are definitely visible to the naked eye.

Skin cancer is very slow to develop. It is the result of sun exposure and sun burns over the years. Here is a test from the American Melanoma Foundation to determine your risk for skin cancer.

  • Hair color: 4=blond/red, 3=brown, 1=black
  • Eye color: 4=blue/green, 3=hazel, 2=brown
  • When exposed to 1 hour of summer sun you: 4=burn & sometimes blister, 3=burn, then tan, 1=tan
  • Freckles? 5=many, 3=some, 1=none
  • Where is your job? 4=outdoors, 3=mixed, 2=indoors
  • Has anyone in your family had skin cancer? 5=yes, no=1
  • Where in the US did you live most before the age of 19? 4=south, 3=midwest, 2=north

Results: 10-15 = below average risk; 16-22 = average risk; 23-25 = high risk; 26-30 = very high risk

A basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common...

Image via Wikipedia

Although skin cancer may take a long time to develop, once you get it, it can spread. A former yoga classmate of mine has a son who started with skin cancer on his leg. By the time he decided to see a doctor, it had spread to his brain. I pray that he is recovering, but unfortunately, I no longer see her so I don’t know the outcome. Cheers to sun screen! Use at least an ounce to cover all exposed areas.

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Cold Relief — Can Ionic Silver Help?

During the winter, many of us catch colds. It generally takes several days to get rid of a cold and some people like those in broadcast journalism or those in business for themselves need something that can get rid of a cold as soon as possible. For seniors with health challenges, it often leads to secondary problems and not getting cold relief can present even greater challenges. This winter I started using an ionic silver product each time I felt something coming on. I escaped winter without a cold. According to testimonials I’ve heard, even those seeking cold relief after a cold has started, shortened their cold with the help of ionic silver.

Curious about ionic silver, I did further research. Simply put, germs cannot survive in an environment of ionic silver. Furthermore, ionic silver is used not only for colds, but for many other diseases as well. But first, let’s clarify the difference between ionic silver and another term heard frequently, colloidal silver. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably and I get the feeling that the authors are not even aware that there is a difference.

Colloidal silver is a fluid containing particles of silver. Most of the colloidal silver products are actually silver ions (dissolved silver) and not particles of silver. Ionic silver is a solution consisting of water and single atom silver ions and contains no silver particles.

According to the National Health Federation, “Ionic silver is increasingly being recognized for its broad-spectrum antimicrobial qualities and the fact that it presents virtually none of the side-effects related to antibiotics.  Ionic silver is entirely non-toxic to the body. Research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has shown that some resistant strains of disease cannot develop with ionic silver the way that they will with antibiotics.  Reports of any pathogens developing resistance to ionic silver are rare.  Some reports indicate it even kills drug-resistant strains of germs.”

Silver has a long history of medicinal benefits. It can kill harmful organisms and leave friendly bacteria in tact (unlike antibiotics). Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, colloidal silver was used widely in hospitals. Hence, ionic silver is effective for a long list of illnesses and diseases. According to Fred Peschel in The Real Truth About Colloidal Silver – Scientific Facts Squash Stupid Rumors and Marketing Hype:

A tiny amount is a tremendous aid to your immune system, as each cell can use it to kill pathogens, relieving our over worked immune system to do daily housekeeping. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, aids mast cell production for more effective healing, etc.

IS Defense

When you choose an ionic silver product, be sure the company reveals all of the supplement facts. Click here for more information on the product I take from Vitamark International. Developer of the product is B. J. Biagioli, NMD.

In conclusion, for cold relief, can ionic silver help? I believe the answer is a resounding yes.

Outstanding Nursing Home Administrator


Nora in a wheelchair being pedaled on a Draisin bike by Steve Gurney, publisher of SourceBook, a Guide to Retirement Living

Last Friday, I attended a ProAging luncheon at The Fairfax Lifecare Retirement Community in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The keynote speaker was Ben Cornthwaite, a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator at Greenspring. Cornthwaite (known as Happy Sunshine) spent one week as a resident of the nursing and rehabilitation center he manages. He entered the facility in a wheelchair with only the admissions person and his wife knowing about it.

He did not feel that issues he faced were typical of only Renaissance Gardens at Greenspring, but impacts any nursing home. The moment he entered in a wheelchair, he said the place looked totally different.

He simulated the following challenges:

  • Wheelchair bound needing total assistance
  • Incontinent
  • On 10 medications (M&Ms were used in place of medication)

Some of the things he learned seems obvious, but he had no idea about the problems because no one talked about them. In some cases, design creates dependence instead of independence. For example, the closet rods were too high and therefore, he had to call for assistance, instead of being able to reach for his clothes by himself.

Ben Cornthwaite

Ben Cornthwaite

For anyone who has sat in a wheelchair for any length of time, it is not a comfortable chair. Hence, they purchased high quality gel cushions for the wheelchairs and for residents that wanted them. Additionally, door hinges were changed so that doors to bathrooms swung outwards. Otherwise, the residents could never have any privacy because they could not close the doors with the wheelchair in the bathroom.

Another problem with nursing homes, like hospitals, is that you cannot sleep through the night because you are awakened for medication. Can you imagine not being able to sleep through the night because of external influences? So it caused them to take a hard look at scheduling. Cornthwaite said it’s all about changing a mindset.

Most of us have no desire to enter a nursing home. I remember the day I had to put my dad in one. I took him for a hair cut, had lunch, and all the while with butterflies in my stomach. When we arrived at the nursing home, his face read fear. He knew where we were and he had no desire to go in. He lasted only three weeks.

I am grateful for creative thinkers like Ben Cornthwaite who now has a much deeper and compassionate understanding of the handicapped senior population in a nursing home. We need more people like him as well as Steve Gurney, seen in the first picture above, who works tirelessly for the senior community. You can read his Everyone is Aging blog here.

For further information see Happy Sunshine Visits Renaissance Gardens.

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Home-Based Business and Taxes

Today my husband and I made our annual trek to our accountant’s office to bring our tax papers. What a good feeling to have that project completed. In a couple of weeks or so, we’ll get the news … good or bad … but for us, it would be a lot worse without a home-based business.

Did you know that Hewlett-Packard started as a  home-based business? They set up shop in a one-car garage behind David Packard’s Palo Alto house. They flipped a coin to decide the company name and because William Hewlett won, the company was named Hewlett-Packard.

Coca-Cola was created by pharmacist Dr. John Styth Pemberton in his back yard on May 8, 1886. In 1976, Martha Stewart started a catering business with a friend in her basement. A decade later, Michael Dell started to build Dell Inc. from his dormitory.

Your 401(k), pension, IRA or whatever you were depending on for retirement may be smaller than expected. Even Social Security may run into problems if the number of retirees drawing benefits outnumber workers paying the Social Security tax. Today’s Washington Post reported that in my tri-state area of Maryland, Virginia, and DC, pension plans for local and state workers have lost more than $28 billion since last summer.

What’s the biggest benefit of a home-based business? It allows you to take the same kinds of deductions available to big corporations. The deductions will then allow you to decrease the amount of taxes that you pay. If you would like to read more about the tax benefits of a home-based business, I offer to my United States senior readers above 55 years old, a small paper called, “The Tax Times.” I have only a limited number of copies, so it will be mailed to the first 25 that request it. You need to e-mail me at nora@noranagatani.com. Please include your name and mailing address.

Happy filing!

Retail Job Losses and Retirement

Last year over two million people were unemployed. Isn’t that a staggering number?! It’s in the news every day. We can’t escape it. Yesterday’s Washington Post said that Macy’s will cut 7,000 jobs, but what was even more amazing in the article was the list of retail job losses announced this year (and we’re only in the second month of 2009!)
• Saks 1,100
• Neiman Marcus    375
• De Beers    Up to 1,000
• Harry & David    More than 100
• Circuit City    34,000
• Home Depot    7,000
• Target    1,500
• Macy’s    7,000

If you are close to retirement, what are you doing to protect yourself? I’ve been laid off twice – caught in the cyclical nature of real estate. It is a shock to the system. But thankfully, I always had a part-time teaching job. I’m focused on helping people protect their retirement, particularly grandparents, so that their retirement years can include enjoying their grandchildren.

As I’ve said previously, health should always be your number one priority and I will write more in the future. But next, I will share some websites for jobs for seniors.  However, start thinking of ways you might be able to add to your income. Share your passion. What do you like to do more than anything else? Perhaps one of my readers might be able to suggest something you’d never thought of doing with your passion. I invite my readers to help each other.

Inauguration of Barack Obama

What a proud day for all Americans as we inaugurated the 44th President of the United States. How wonderful that so many people across the country (and the world) were able to join in the festivities in Washington, DC. Some traveled nonstop for hours, like 16 hours on a bus from Selma, Alabama and they got emotional when they spotted the Washington Monument.

There are many different estimates, but some say just under two million people were in Washington to celebrate. In the parade itself, 13 thousand people participated, representing all 50 states. That’s awesome!

How strong of everyone to brave the cold weather and show up for the inauguration and/or the parade. And it was really cold! The temperature itself did not tell the entire story; it was the wind that made it feel much colder, feeling like it was in the teens. I chose to watch in awe in the warmth and comfort of my home, 15 miles south of Washington, DC.

Of course, there were glitches and problems. Some people had tickets and could not get in; others were defeated by the weather. But the fact that almost everyone remained in good spirits was amazing.

How ‘bout you? Would you rather be a part of history or would you rather be at home? Are you fortunate enough to have that choice? I am grateful to be an American and to be in a position to have that choice.


Two years ago, Paula Adkins whom I’d previously met in a networking group, Business Network International, and I co-founded a networking group for women in our area of town because we saw a need for it. We meet once a month for lunch and networking. Additionally, we have inspirational speakers who help us with our businesses as well as our personal lives. To start off 2009, we invited Kim Guarino, president of EVOLVE, who gave us 10 tips for jumpstarting your marketing in 2009.

The important lesson that I learned from this experience is that teamwork and keeping communication lines open are critical. Fortunately, Paula and I complement each other. We review each other’s work and she has saved me from embarrassment on more than one occasion.

I have been advocating that you start a part-time, home-based business so that you will have the funds to enjoy your retirement. I believe that the network marketing model is the least expensive way to start a business. It is a business that you’re in for yourself, but make sure that before you join any company, you have a team to help you. As a coach with Mentoring for Free, my team and I offer you the support and the system necessary to be successful. In these hard times, don’t do it alone; think team.