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NAIPC News July 26, 2016

How Do You Age in Place?
Stepping inside the world of a Hoarder

Innovations in Driving Safety for older Americans

Also In This Week's Issue
  • NAIPC in the News
  • NAIPC Welcomes the Kansas City Chapter
  • Upcoming Events

How Do You Age in Place?

By Marty Bell
      Aging in Place may now be a familiar term, but it remains a vague idea. Those familiar with the term would most likely define aging in place as remaining in your home for as long as you would like to as opposed to relocating to a care facility. This is a comforting notion. Rather than envisioning spending later life cooped up in a nearly bare room amidst ailing people with that medicinal smell in the air, you can anticipate maintaining your active lifestyle amongst friends and the smell of your garden. But is it a false promise?

      As we age, we all tend to need assistance. It may be medical attention, caregiving to help us with daily activities, home modification, financial advice, or access to transportation. Over time, our children move on to their own family responsibilities and we may also lose friends, so we might need help finding the social interaction that has always brought joy to our lives. Some solutions to each of these needs may be conveniently available at home and on devices in this digital age. But as we develop cognitive, mobility and confidence issues, they are no longer as convenient. As Teresa Lee of the Alliance for Quality Home Health and Innovation says, “We have the gap between the healthcare system and so many critical long-term services, support and infrastructure that really are needed for people to stay healthy and age in place.”

      What aging in place needs to become (and to become commonly known as) is an in-home service delivery system. This is a big idea and a big task and I can’t think of anything similar that now exists to offer as an example. But two images come to mind that may make this idea easier to grasp:

      One is a department store in which each visitor has a personal shopper. Imagine such a store in which one counter is options for making your home easier to navigate, the next counter offers a choice of caregivers, another offers transportation services, still another provides food delivery, and you are accompanied by an expert in all of this who can help evaluate what you need and provide suggestions.

      The other image is an Amazon for Aging. Amazon began as a website that sold books. Now it sells everything. It’s a one-stop shop that you access from your desk or phone.
      The National Aging in Place Council is in the process of building this department store, establishing both phone and digital access and training the personal shoppers.

      NAIPC is an alliance of in-home aging service providers all across the country. It is a national organization that functions on a local level. Currently operating in 25 cities and expanding rapidly, people from many different service businesses, senior-focused organizations and government agencies unite in a community as the local chapter to educate residents about aging in place and make their services available via the chapter. In Atlanta or Charleston, for example, the local chapter offers more than 50 different in-home services that can be accessed at

      Eventually, we hope the local NAIPC chapter will be the one-stop shop in each community. It will save aging adults from having to search individually for the assistance they need to be able to age in place. It will also eliminate the trust issue. All of us are skittish about inviting strangers into our homes—and as we age this reluctance intensifies. But all members of the NAIPC chapter in your town have had background checks, been screened and interviewed by local chapter leadership, signed a Code of Conduct in which they pledge to put clients’ needs first, and, perhaps most significantly, have interacted over time with other chapter members who have observed their professional behavior.
Planning to age in place
      At a summit of aging thought leaders convened by NAIPC, the main takeaway was that we have a habit as a society of waiting for an emergency before we take any action. As an organization, we concluded that we needed to try to shift the aging conversation from simply explaining aging in place to helping people plan to age in place.

      To support this effort, NAIPC members from around the country collaborated to create a planning tool called Act III: Your Plan for Aging in Place that is available on our website, Act III provides a method for aging adults to assess their own circumstances. What do we have and what do we need? It is divided into five categories—home, health and wellness, personal finance, transportation and social engagement. In each category, users are asked a series of questions that lead to an evaluation of their current situation and provides a view of the assistance, services, and costs they will face as they age.
Aging in Place specialists
      So now that we have the planning document, how do we encourage people who need it to utilize it and help them navigate it? This made us realize there was a field of expertise missing in our culture, a new occupation that needed to be created—the Aging in Place Specialist. 

      To fill this gap, we decided the first step was to train all of our members across the country (as well as senior service providers who are not members but would like to participate) to not only understand the service their business provides, but also to understand all the other services available from their chapter. We began to achieve this via individual presentations at chapter meetings.

      Now we are about to embark on a series of seminars around the country in partnership with universities in which aging experts will train service providers to utilize the Act III planning tool and guide their clients through it.

      Our Act III Road Show will be presented at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC on December 2, 2016 and at the Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA on February 10, 2017. Additional Road Shows are in planning stages.

      In addition, NAIPC is collaborating with the School of Social Health at Stony Brook University in New York to develop a college course for social work students to train them to be Aging in Place Specialists.
Testing the delivery system
      By the middle of 2017, we will have the beginning of a large national force of Aging in Place Specialists dispersing the same message across the country: You need to plan to age and we can help you do this utilizing Act III.
       At that point, we intend to launch a pilot program for the in-home service delivery system in Atlanta, Georgia in collaboration with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Atlanta Regional Commission. The “Call HAL” campaign will feature a Home Assistance Line on which people who need advice or assistance can contact a trained Aging in Place Specialist, share the results of their Act III personal needs assessment and be directed to vetted service providers who can provide the assistance they need. GTRI will monitor the outcomes of aging adults who utilize the “Call HAL” service. We plan for this to be a replicable model that we can then spread around the country.
Filling the gap
      At conferences and gatherings of those seeking solutions to the issues of aging, the conversation frequently focuses on the fragmentation of the senior service sector. There are great ideas emerging and many dedicated practitioners. But how do seniors learn about or find any of this?

      NAIPC’s program is designed to help solve this problem by organizing each community and providing local residents with the tools to plan their later lives and conveniently access the assistance they will need.

      To learn more or join the effort, visit

Stepping inside the world of a hoarder

      It has only been in the last two years that hoarding was defined as a mental disorder in the 5th edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). While researchers suggest that hoarding is a possible symptom of OCD it appears to be more common in people suffering from psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, and ADHD. While studies and research are being conducted on treatments and solutions for hoarders it remains a rapidly growing epidemic.

      TV shows like TLC’s Hoarders: Buried Alive has shed light on the precarious nature of the disease while simultaneously attracting horrified and compassionate audiences. The truth is that hoarding can, and usually does, have deleterious effects, emotionally, physically, socially, financially, and legally for hoarders and their families. Family members may begin seeing the signs of a pack-rat turned hoarder and out of shame, disgust, or lack of funds ignore the problem, but eventually the problem becomes too big to ignore. Recently, Next Avenue dedicated an entire newsletter to hoarding and the catharsis that can accompany the relinquishing of possessions.

The Painful Costs of Elder Hoarding and My Father is a Hoarder Rosanna Fay and Leslie Westbrook discuss the denial, heartbreak, and struggle of coming to terms with the disorder and how education helped them and their loved ones. For Westbrook the struggle was all too real. In the process of helping her father she began to notice she shared similar tendencies. By not living in denial and facing it head-on Westbrook and her father are overcoming their demons together. Sadly for Fay and her family turning a blind eye to a loved-ones hoarding has become a costly one—both financially and emotionally.

      For hoarders the idea that a possession may someday be necessary or even essential is what drives them to cling to, what most would consider, junk. However, in
The Art of Shedding Possessions and What Giving Away My Collections Taught Me Akiko Busch and Kevin Kusinitz acknowledge that once possessions have served their purpose liberating yourself from the clutter and sentimentality can have its own catharsis.

Innovations in Driving Safety for Older Americans

      According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are well over two million licensed drivers in the United States over the age of 85. With the impending “silver tsunami” as baby boomers hit the age of 65, there will be more elderly drivers on the roads than ever. Aging Americans are living longer. They’re more active. As the first generation where almost everyone earned their license in adolescence and has been driving ever since, this generation expects to be able to stay on the roads as long as possible.

The problem? All too often, older drivers are the cause of accidents and even fatalities across the nation’s highways. In fact, the CogniFit Senior Driver app was designed to improve reaction time, help older Americans handle multiple driving tasks and identify potential road threat recognition. Another great app, DriveSharp focuses on the visual aspect of safe driving and is clinically proven to train the brain to think and react faster on the road, which can decrease the risk of an accident by 50%.

      Thankfully, vehicle safety advances have kept up with the greying of America. They’ve made unbelievable progress over the last half century, and now, vehicle safety is entering an entirely new era. Speeding violations lawyer Zev Goldstein quotes General Motors CEO Mary Barra; “We’re going to see more change in the next five to ten years than we’ve seen in the last 50.” The emerging vehicle safety technologies which will soon hit the shelves for mass use will significantly improve the quality of life for baby boomers who want to remain behind the wheel for many years to come.

Intelligent Brake Lights
       All too often, it’s necessary to slam on the brakes quickly in order to avoid a collision—and if the car behind you is following too closely, that means that in avoiding one collision, you’ve moved straight on to another one! Thanks to intelligent brake light technology, however, cars will soon be able to communicate with one another. Drivers in following cars will get more warning that the individual in front of them has stopped, typically in the form of a flashing dash light indicator. This technology will improve visibility in bad conditions and give older Americans and those sharing the roads with them more adequate warning.

Smart Windshields
       In bad weather or with low visibility, it can be difficult even for drivers with 20/20 vision to adequately see everything that’s going on around them. Newly patented smart windshields, however, improve any driver’s ability to see and react to what’s going on around them. These windshields augment the available picture to share more information with the driver, drawing attention to potential obstacles and making it easier to avoid things like running animals or a pedestrian in the road.

Night Vision Enhancements
      Seeing in the dark is difficult for many individuals, but it’s worse as we age and our vision deteriorates. Thankfully, night vision enhancements are quickly making their way to the shelves. The latest available technology uses true night vision systems to project images of the surrounding conditions, making it easier for drivers to perceive everything from road markers and street signs to pedestrians and vehicles.

Automated Parking Systems
       Maneuvering in a crowded parking lot or aiming for on-the-street parking can be a challenge. Automated parking, on the other hand, removes the difficulty. With control handed over to the car, older Americans can sit back and let the car park itself, making their arrival the simplest part of the drive.

Lane Departure Warning Systems
      Whether they’re nodding off behind the wheel or simply having trouble navigating, drivers who drift out of their lanes can be the cause of serious accidents. Thanks to lane departure warning systems, however, it’s easier than ever to keep the car between the necessary lines. This warning system will notify the driver any time they start to drift, enabling them to move back into their lane before an accident occurs.

Crash Notification and Avoidance Technologies
       Rear backup cameras are already aware of impending accidents and able to notify drivers that it’s coming. With crash avoidance technology, no threat goes unnoticed. Any time something comes too close to the car, the driver will be notified. In this way, cars will help drivers avoid a potential accident.

Blind-Spot Detection and Back-Over Prevention Systems
      Careless drivers aren’t the only ones who can accidentally back over something—or someone—important. With blind-spot detection and back-over prevention systems, however, the car is safer than ever. This technology is designed to prevent accidents when the car is moving backwards, notifying drivers any time there’s something in their blind spot.

Fatigue Warning Systems
      Driver fatigue warning systems know when a driver is getting too tired to continue driving. They monitor driving behavior and other indicators to quickly and effectively let the driver know that they should not continue driving any longer, thus getting drivers off the road if they’re too tired to be there safely.

Forward Collision Warning with Auto Brake
      Many aging Americans struggle with depth perception issues that can make it difficult to tell when an object is coming too close. Others may allow their attention to drift for just a moment, not realizing that the car in front of them has slammed on their brakes. With forward collision warning, the car notifies the driver that the potential for a forward collision is coming. Even better, auto brake systems can automatically stop the car if a potential collision is detected.

Self-Driving Cars

       It won’t be long before self-driving cars hit the market, enabling older Americans to maintain their independence and reach their destination safely. This technology, while far from ready for testing in a regular market, will significantly advance independence while keeping the road safe for other drivers.

      Adults under 50 have been the target group for automobile advertisers for a long time. When it comes to buying new vehicles, however, older consumers are the best bet for many contemporary marketers. The emphasis on the boomer demographic is supported by the expected continuation of the greying of the population and the increase in the number of older licensed drivers. These new technologies, however, will help make traveling by car safer than it has ever been before, especially for older drivers who may need additional assistance behind the wheel.

NAIPC in the News:

      In Aging adults in rural locations have countless needs, a story on the issues of aging in rural communities, Nancy Ruffner from NAIPC’s Triangle chapter was one in a group of specialists asked to identify various actions one may take to support healthy and connected aging.   

      About 13% of American households are caring for both children and aging parents–the so-called "sandwich generation". To help Charleston area businesses better navigate this growing category of employees, NAIPC’s Greater Charleston Chapter and their Business Task Force is
offering a new educational program called The Sandwich Generation: Caregiving in the Workplace.

Welcome Kansas City Chapter

      NAIPC welcomes it's newest chapter, Greater Kansas City. Kansas City will be chaired by Ashley McCarter and will cover the Greater Kansas City areas in both the state of Kansas, as well as Missouri.

      Welcome to our newest members, we look forward to working with each of you.

Upcoming Events:

7/26/16 Council of Chapters Conference call
8/10/16 Long Island Chapter Meeting
8/30/16 Council of Chapters Conference call
9/20/16 Pittsburgh talk on Pre-Planning