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Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet our December CSA Spotlight, Mack DeLeon

Everybody knows somebody with an inspiring story to tell. Eleven year CSA, Mac DeLeon, certainly fit the bill. The following is Mac’s 2011 nomination story for the Life Moving Forward - National Mobility Awareness Month award. The program was conceived by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association to recognize every day heroes to the mobility challenged.

Who is a hero caregiver? Is it a person who gives care or a person who really CARES and exhibits true compassion for the mobility-impaired, legally blind, or stroke-induced dementia victim? Mack DeLeon is all of this and more!

In January 2009, Mack’s mother Bea began dialysis three times a week. Kidney failure itself wouldn't have been an obstacle to overcome but Bea also suffered from neuropathy, which left her unable to walk. Plagued with congestive heart failure and diabetes she was required to undergo frequent testing. Mack was left with the task of arranging transportation to get his mother to and from the dialysis center. Prior to making these arrangements, Mack did everything he could to get his mother in and out of his own car to take her to doctor's appointments and dialysis treatments. In addition, he was handling all of her home maintenance issues. The day-to-day "incidentals", which we often give little accord (including picking up prescriptions, managing and navigating the health private-public sector plans, healthcare services system, etc.) were another story altogether. Mack lost countless hours of production from his own business waiting for the transport...which would, at times, take up to four hours.

Five months prior to his mother starting dialysis, Mack's sister was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer and was hospitalized. She slipped into a coma and remained in the hospital for three months. Mack visited every day, dealing with the doctors and nurses. Because of the cancer, she was forced to close her business, a large task that Mack also managed to complete for her. Since she was unable to handle the details, including associated paperwork, Mack served as her power of attorney. As a result of the chemotherapy she received, his sister remains legally blind, relying on a walker for mobility.

In 1999, Mack had his first encounter with caregiving when Ruth Roe, an 85-year-old female stroke victim, required daily lifting, transfers and feeding. While "Ruthie" would respond to no one else, she did accept food from Mack. Ruthie was Mack's inspiration for obtaining his nationally accredited professional designation, Certified Senior Advisor® , enhancing his senior advisory services business – Senior Financial – Resources – Benefit Services.

Mack is a truly compassionate, understanding, and kind individual. Name any situation he has encountered and he has tackled it, and if humanly possible, he has solved it. When others are unable to assist, they know they can count on Mack to handle it. And he does, and he will continue to do so because that's the kind of person Mack DeLeon is!

Here is what Mack has to say about his CSA designation…

“The CSA designation has been welcomed with great respect and I believe has assisted me to successfully manage and navigate the complex health care environment be it in the private or public sectors and also provides seniors with avenues to serve senior issues with trusted resources. The society's training, education, and resources have equipped me to address questions about senior issues as they arise. I would like to express my appreciation to the Society of Certified Senior Advisors® for enhancing the credibility and professionalism of my business.”

Contact Mack DeLeon, CSA

If you would like to nominate someone you know for the Life Moving Forward - National Mobility Awareness Month Award, Click here!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A New Trend - Vigiling so No One Dies Alone (NODA)

Unfortunately, many patients are going to end up dying alone in the hospital, either because they have outlived the rest of their family or because they are private people who don’t have any friends or family. I don’t know if you have heard of this but hospices across the country are providing a wonderful service called No One Dies Alone (NODA).

NODA services are provided by hospice programs that send volunteers into local hospitals to sit vigil with patients who are dying alone.

As much as nurses try very hard to be present with the dying, they have too many patients to care for and can’t stay just in one room. So NODA volunteers sit in shifts and stay with and comfort the person as he or she dies. Of course, these volunteers are highly trained and work cooperatively with the doctors and nurses. This program was founded by Sandra Clarke, an ICU nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon.

I think it would be wonderful if a similar service was provided for skilled nursing facilities and assisted livings. Medical hospices do an amazing job of caring for the needs of the dying in care communities, but they can’t stay with the patient 24/7. This leaves many of our seniors dying alone.

Maybe you would like to develop a program like this in the hospitals and facilities in your community or maybe you already have. If so, we’d love to hear about it. Please share your comments with us below.

About NODA:

Starting your own NODA program:


Viki Kind is a clinical bioethicist, educator and hospice volunteer. Her award winning book, “The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can't,” guides families and professionals through the difficult process of making decisions for those who have lost capacity.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meet our November CSA Spotlight, Jenn Chan

I’m an entrepreneur in the senior care industry, and I truly want to celebrate, appreciate, recognize and educate new senior caregivers with a party called a Senior Shower!

As a caregiver for my 95-year-old grandmother, I assist her with activities of daily living and exercise. Over the last seven years of caregiving, I’ve developed a passion for caregiving and learned that this role requires love, compassion, patience, hard work, communication, time management and a whole lot more. When I shared my caregiving duties with my colleagues, I noticed a majority responded with empathy but also with a lack of enthusiasm for the caregiver role. This response sparked my curiosity to research the common perception of the caregiver role within my social and professional network. While I personally looked forward to the rewarding caregiving experience, many others expressed that they would not know what to do as a caregiver or they would not feel confident in providing for an elderly person in their family. With this discovery, I recognized an opportunity to educate my peers about caregiving.

Around the same time, I attended my friend’s baby shower where attendees were congratulating the mom-to-be on her new parental role, happily sharing parenting advice and stories, giving useful gifts and thoughtful presents and having fun together. At this party, I realized that new senior caregivers can benefit from a similar party model.

So, I developed a new party concept called Senior Shower. At a Senior Shower, family and friends get together to recognize the individual on his/her new caregiver role, celebrate the love involved in the caregiver role, talk about their senior caregiving experiences, discuss community resources and bring useful gifts for the new senior caregiver. I believe this party is an educational experience for all attendees and provides everyone, especially the new caregiver, with insight on caregiving and senior-related topics.

With my sales and marketing background, I started the Senior Shower Project to spread the word about Senior Showers. But as I conducted market research and attended senior care-related conferences, I realized I was missing the big life picture. With the party, I was only focused on the beginning stages of senior care, but I did not address the rest of the aging care process. I researched senior care educational programs online, and I found the Society of Certified Senior Advisors’ (CSA®) website. As soon as I watched the "Becoming a CSA" video, I immediately knew I wanted to complete the CSA course. The curriculum offered the big picture I was looking for. The course provided the structure for me to become a resource for caregivers when they need help with senior-related financial, health and social matters.

With a Senior Shower, I hope to provide individuals with celebration, education and support at the beginning of their senior caregiving journey. And when the party is over, I, as a CSA, will offer my help and advice to families throughout the caregiving and aging journey.

Jenn Chan, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor®

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Homewatch CareGivers Heroes of Hurricane Sandy

Blog posting courtesy of Belinda Gordon, President, Homewatch Caregivers. 11.7.2012

Over the last two weeks the talk in the Lehigh Valley has gone from the predictions of how badly Hurricane Sandy would hit our area, to enduring the storm itself with its high winds and torrential downpours, to dealing with the aftermath of fallen trees, downed wires and no electricity as temperatures dropped below freezing.

When it was all over the stories emerged. Where ever people met, they swapped accounts of the damage Sandy caused. These sometimes tragic stories were tempered by the inevitable tales of people rising to the occasion and becoming heroes to those around them.

I talk a lot about how wonderful our team is at Homewatch CareGivers of the Lehigh Valley. I tell anyone who will listen that they are simply the best around. But last week many of them rose to the level of Hero in my book. Let me tell you some of their stories.

On Tuesday driving around the Lehigh Valley was next to impossible, everywhere you turned trees and downed electrical wires blocked the road. Several of our caregivers, including Jody Berger and Enid Aponte, walked to their clients- who they weren’t even schedule to see- taking them food and water. Jody was actually supposed to be on vacation that day. Loretta Lomonaco also checked up on as many clients as she could reach.

It took days for many people in the valley to get their electrical service back, and that included a number of our clients as well. Peter Stamm and Maribel Nunez welcomed their clients into their homes so they could remain safe and warm while they waited for their electricity to return.

Some caregivers cared for their clients as best they could without electricity and, when it became just too cold, helped move them temporarily into the home of a family member, facility or shelter where they would be warm. Chibogo Anosike and Alison Holben took care of their client at the hotel where she was staying with her husband.

When talking about the heroes on our team I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about our wonderful office staff. Josh Benavides went into the office on the Saturday before the storm to process payroll so everyone could get paid on time despite of Sandy. Ruth Luciano, Tiffany Ramos and Maritza Feliciano, all losing electricity at their own homes, sought out family and friends who had electricity and worked off their cell phones to keep the ship running- checking in with clients and caregivers to make sure everyone was safe and had the care they needed.

These are just the stories that have reached my ear. I have no doubt that there are many many more. How can I be so sure? Because our caregivers and staff do these kinds of generous, thoughtful things whenever they see a need. It’s part of their DNA.

So let me take this opportunity to thank these wonderful people who work for me. I hope these stories have given you a sense of the type of people they are. I’m proud to call them members of the Homewatch CareGivers team.

Belinda Gordon, CSA
Homewatch CareGivers of the Lehigh Valley

Monday, November 19, 2012

No More Questions: Medical Health Records Enter the Digital Age

Excerpts from the October 2012, Senior Spirit newsletter

“What medications are you currently taking”? “Please list all of the operations you have had in your lifetime.” “How old were you when you had measles?” “When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?” “Are you allergic to any medications?”

Chances are that if you are 60 or older and have visited a physicians’ office, dentist, clinic or hospital in the last year, you have had the sheer joy of responding to these and/or a multitude of other personal health history questions for at least the 25th time in your life. And, unless you are extremely well organized or have a knack for remembering events or dates (or events and dates in combination), you found yourself wracking your brain or searching through pockets or purses for a dog-eared piece of paper—the same behavior you experienced last year—to come up with reasonably close-to-correct responses.

But things are changing. The next time you walk into your healthcare provider’s office, you could have all the answers to those crucial but tedious questions already in hand—on your Internet-capable communication device (smart phone, iPad, laptop, etc.). During the next few months, this column will address the rapidly emerging trends in electronic health data and how we can be more informed and better prepared consumers of healthcare services in this digital age.

Creating and Storing Personal Health Information in the Digital Age

There are two major digital systems for creating and storing personal health information: personal health records (PHR) and electronic health records (EHR).

PHR. As the name implies, a PHR is an electronic record of your entire health history—created and maintained by you. Paper forms of health history records have existed for many years, but maintaining and storing such records are fraught with problems because files can get lost, be difficult to retrieve and/or require extra storage space.

PHRs provide you with ownership of your health information and allow you to share information with multiple healthcare providers. You can create and store the records on your home computer and download them to a small storage device such as a thumb drive, or upload them to one of several websites. Many health insurance companies and medical information sites, such as WebMD and even, have PHR record-keeping options, which we will explore in more detail in a future column. A functioning model of such electronic information sharing, which patients can readily use, is the MyHealtheVet website, introduced by the U.S. Departent of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2010 (Turvey). In a survey of 18,471 PHR users in the VA system, most respondents were interested in sharing access to their electronic health information with caregivers and non-VA providers (Zulman).

To continue reading this article or to download a printable copy, click here!

The Society of Certified Senior Advisors would love to hear from you. Are you or someone you love currently utilizing electronic health records? Please share your story with us!

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Good Options for Giving Up the Car

Excerpts from the September 2012, Senior Spirit newsletter

Recently, a 100-year-old elderly driver made headlines after seriously injuring a group of parents and children in Los Angeles after accidentally backing up his vehicle into the crowd. Such stories appear all too often, as if to demonstrate the dangers of senior driving.

For those who decide they do not want to drive anymore or if the decision is forced on them, (see Brain Exercises Reduce Senior Drivers’ Crash Risk, and How Seniors Can Become Safer Drivers), there are plenty of options for alternative forms of transportation. Availability of these options will depend on what types of programs your local government provides for senior citizens.

Public Transportation

Depending on where a senior lives, the local public transportation office may provide reduced fares for seniors and provide routes that accommodate wheelchairs or other special needs. Although locally operated transportation services are extremely important to elders, their availability and cost vary greatly from town to town.

Many communities try to meet senior transportation needs in some way. To help seniors save money on transportation, some areas offer vouchers to defray the costs, base prices on a sliding scale or provide free or minimally priced transportation. Another common option is a van that will pick up seniors at their homes and bring them to a grocery store or senior center. While sometimes slow, these vans offer seniors a way to get out and an opportunity to socialize with others in the van. This transportation option is often run by the local government agency on aging, although retirement communities often offer their own shuttle buses or vans.

Taxis or Private Driving Companies

Private transportation is another alternative to the personal car, but the costs of taxis and car services can be expensive, with urban areas generally costing more than rural areas. However, competition among providers in a particular area usually leads to lower prices. One government agency, the Prince William Area Agency on Aging in northern Virginia, has created a program for those who cannot use public transit. This agency's transportation voucher program enables eligible residents to use subsidized taxi and accessible transportation services.

Home Care Aides

Seniors or their caregivers can hire aides through local home care agencies, but they should check to make sure that the agency runs background checks and carefully screens employees. While this transportation and care option is extremely convenient, such individualized care can be expensive. In 2007, MetLife ( estimated that the average hourly cost of a home care aide worker was $19 per hour. However, in some states the surveyed rate was as high as $30 per hour and as low as $9 per hour. Similarly, a private individual can be hired, but care must be taken to find someone reliable. ( suggests that people find out how long the provider has been in the transportation business, ask for at least three references with contact information, request background details, and run a background check.

To continue reading this article or to download a printable copy, click here!

The Society of Certified Senior Advisors would love to hear from you. Have you experienced "giving up the car" or have you helped a loved one go through this transition? Share your story with us!

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tips on Lowering Drug Costs

Excerpts from the September 2012, Senior Spirit newsletter.

Recently, a caretaker posed a question to the Internet information site,, that highlighted the serious issue of seniors’ inability to afford prescription drugs. The question asked, “How can I find low-cost drug programs for my grandfather?”

“I have recently started caring for my elderly grandfather who lives on a very limited income. He has been prescribed Zocor for cholesterol problems, but this medication is so expensive it is becoming a choice for a place to live or his medication.”

Studies have shown that many older patients with chronic health problems are cutting back on their medications because they cost too much, not only impairing their daily functioning, but also endangering their lives. In 2009, the nonpartisan Senior Citizens League conducted a study in which 42 percent of the participants said they had either postponed filling their prescription medications or were taking a smaller dosage than prescribed by their physicians, due to the economic recession. Fortunately, low-cost prescription drug options are available for seniors through pharmacies, drug manufacturers and/or government-assistance programs.


A survey by found that prescription drug prices can vary by as much as 35 percent from one store to another. The survey compared Walgreens, Costco and Target. In one case, 50 mg of Levoxyl cost $14 at Target, $35 at Costco and $42 at Walgreens, but for other drugs, the stores offering the lowest costs were reversed. This means that the drug user needs to contact different stores to find the cheapest prices.

A survey by found that prescription drug prices can vary by as much as 35 percent from one store to another. The survey compared Walgreens, Costco and Target. In one case, 50 mg of Levoxyl cost $14 at Target, $35 at Costco and $42 at Walgreens, but for other drugs, the stores offering the lowest costs were reversed. This means that the drug user needs to contact different stores to find the cheapest prices.

The downside of purchasing prescriptions based solely on cost is not being able to use one trusted pharmacy. One woman commented, on, “My husband has made a habit of going to the local pharmacy because the pharmacist is his ‘buddy.’ No doubt this has cost us tremendously. But I do not think we are alone in this situation. Local pharmacists can make it easy to do business—they provide advice, counsel and a more personal face on a difficult medical situation.” Also, using the same pharmacy means that the pharmacist is aware of other drugs being taken and can warn the customer in case one interferes with another or if combining certain drugs may cause harmful effects. (See The Risks of Taking Too Many Drugs in this issue of Senior Spirit.)

To continue reading this article or to download a printable copy, click here!

The Society of Certified Senior Advisors would love to hear from you. Please share any tips with our audience, that you have found useful.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meet Our CSA Spotlight, Charlotte Rosenberg

I am co-founder of Monarcares, LLC, a software-as-a-service company that has developed, an easy-to-use, secure and comprehensive web application for caregivers with comprehensive on-line tools and resources to make caregiving easier and less stressful.

My husband and I are among the over 45 million unpaid family caregivers in the United States. Our journey into caregiving began in 1999 with my widowed mother’s diagnoses of dementia. So we know first-hand the many challenges that families face when caring for a loved one. When our journey into caregiving began, we were living 50 miles away from my mother. It was overwhelming. We had no idea what we needed to know as caregivers. It was a slow and haphazard process for us . We scrambled to learn about such things as Medicare, the location of my mother’s will, whether she had a healthcare proxy or living will, the names and contact information of her doctors, and so forth. Then five years ago, my husband, Robert, and I moved with our children and my mother to North Carolina, while Robert’s aging parents remained in New York.

Since then my mother-in-law, Ilse, suffered a series of mini strokes, which resulted in vascular dementia and became non-ambulatory. My father-in-law, Alan, was diagnosed with late onset Alzheimer’s. While attempting to manage their care long distance, we scoured the Internet for a comprehensive website that we could use to help us manage his parents’ care, while providing helpful insights and resources. We found not one site that met our needs.

We decided to take matters into our own hands and was born. This comprehensive website provides easy-to-use features that are critical for the caregiver, all at the click of a button. The site securely stores proprietary information, including a copy of a home healthcare proxy, an up-to-date medical file, a family history, a list of known allergies and a current list of all medications. In addition, the website creates a network of caregivers such as doctors, lawyers, financial experts, home health workers, friends, neighbors and family members. Using email, text and internal messaging, the system tracks appointments and tasks, sends medication refill reminders and notifies users about impending insurance lapses. The site manages the finances of the care recipient, which not only enables the family caregiver to have a grasp of the monthly income and expenses, but is also extremely helpful in preparing taxes. Additionally, contains practical resources such as a home safety checklist, fall prevention tips, a Medicare guide, a sample healthcare power of attorney, a living will and more. I am passionate about what we have developed and welcome all my fellow Certified Senior Advisors® (CSAs) and caregivers to visit the website at

In the course of developing the Monarcares system, I was advised by Judy Shaw, a CSA and owner of LTCA Legacy Planning, to consider enrolling in the CSA course. I am so grateful that I heeded her advice. I am so impressed with how broad-based the course curriculum is in its coverage of the health, social and financial issues that seniors face every day. The knowledge I have gained has been immeasurable. There are so many disciplines involved in serving the needs of our rapidly aging population, and the Society of Certified Senior Advisors holds its members to the utmost level of integrity and ethics in their service of senior clients’ needs. I am honored to be a CSA and would advise anyone considering an entrance into the senior market, whether as a home healthcare provider, financial planner, long-term care insurance salesperson and so forth, to take the CSA course.

Charlotte Rosenberg, Esq., JD is a Certified Senior Advisor® (CSA) and co-founder of Monarcares, LLC.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dividend Paying Stocks Dow Strategy, Reinvesting, Timing & Investment Strategies by New York Wealth Manager

Dividend paying stocks are often a great option to traditional income investments. Investors measure dividend value through dividend yield, which is calculated by dividing annual dividends with the current stock price. Although the stock price tends to fluctuate, it might be a good addition to ones current strategy for those willing to hold for long term. In fact, the most popular dividend strategies such as the Dogs of the Dow, DRIPS, Proprietary Dividend Capture Strategy, to name a few, are straightforward and have relatively minimal capital requirements. The typical dividend is offered by mature companies that have graduated from the growth stage and are looking to provide additional investment incentives. Dividends may also lower a stock’s volatility as investors are more likely to hold dividend stocks longer than non-dividend stocks.

Dividend Investing

Important Dates for Dividend Investing

There are four important dividend dates that investors should be aware of before investing in dividend paying stocks:

  • Declaration date - The board of directors announces all the important dividend dates, and the amount of the dividend payments.
  • Ex-Dividend date - An investor must purchase the stocks before the Ex-Dividend date to be eligible for dividend payment.
  • Date of Record - Two days after the Ex-Dividend date. The settlement of the trade needs to occur either before, or on the date of record, for investors to be eligible for the dividend payment.
  • Date of payment - The registered investors will be paid

Dividend Investing Strategies

1.)  The Dogs of the Dow is a high dividend yield investment strategy where the investor invests in the top 10 highest yielding Dow Jones stocks out of the 30. This strategy often offers diversification, less downside risk, and beneficial reward potential. The investor’s position is rebalanced after a year and a day to take advantage of more tax-efficient capital gains. To learn more about this and other variations to this strategy, consult your financial advisor.

2.) A Dividend Capture Strategy is when the investor purchases the stock before the ex-dividend date and then sells it ex-dividend, hence capturing the dividend. There may be many ways of doing this; thus it is important to work with your financial advisor to develop a strategy that best fits your needs.

3.) Dividend reinvestments are another effective way for investors to take advantage of dividends where stockholders can increase their holdings and accumulate the value of their investment over time. Although investors will still have to pay taxes on reinvested dividends, a reinvestment strategy may be attractive to smaller investors looking to build a larger position in a company through dollar cost averaging. Some corporations also offer specialized dividend reinvestment plans called DRIPs, which are usually free of brokerage and transaction fees. Some corporations may even offer stock at a discount to market price through their DRIP programs. Ask your financial consultant about available dividend reinvestment plans that might be suitable for you and your investment goals.

Choosing a Dividend Investment Plan

While dividend investing can provide an attractive source of income for stockholders, it is important to consider the timing and efficiency of your investments. Be aware that dividends are taxed at different rates than income, and may cause administrative hassle if done incorrectly. Consult your investment advisor to ensure that your dividend investment plan maximizes return and best fits your needs as an investor.

Blog posting provided by Conrad Capital Management
(631) 439-7878

Friday, October 5, 2012

Future Trends: The Secret Sauce to your Success

First it was Y2K and now it's the end of the world in 2012? Get over it!

Welcome to the second decade of the 21st Century! How did that happen so quickly? Seems like we just got over worrying about our computer systems imploding on the eve of 2000, which proves my point: Worrying about things that probably won't happen, is a waste of time. True futurists see possibilities as well as pitfalls and seek to prepare rather than scare. The times, while certainly changing and challenging, are also very exciting indeed.

Here are 5 major trends/possibilities to watch for and act upon in 2012/2013 and beyond:

1. Green Technology/Water Conservation

The terms Green technology, carbon footprint, climate change, eco friendly, re usable, recyclable will be the words spoken, written, discussed and planned for in huge proportions from now on. This will impact large industry as well as small businesses and households who will be compelled willingly or unwillingly to save the planet. Business travel will more limited as the "carbon footprint" is more top of mind. It will be replaced with online and virtual meetings. This will impact airlines, hotels and other travel related industries. However, it will also greatly increase opportunities for online learning, webinars and teleseminars. Hopefully, that will mean not only less carbon dioxide in the air but more quality time at home. Water shortages will replace gas shortages. Growing populations create agricultural and industrial growth. Everybody is going to need more water. Every industry, from agriculture to manufacturing to landscaping and pool services will be impacted. How can you participate in these growing trends? What service can you provide/create for this growing need to reduce the carbon footprint?

2. Elder Care

Life expectancy grows to age 100+. This will affect every aspect of society - from jobs, housing, health care, retirement needs, mortality tables, insurance costs, elder care/assisted living needs, the definition of a nuclear family and caregiver roles. Growth in a senior population will affect laws on inheritance, elder abuse, conservancy, real estate, investments, housing design and construction, medical care and medical support systems.

This phenomenon is causing a shift in elder care models. What worked for families with ailing seniors in the late 20th century may not be possible or practical now. Adult children live more hectic and demanding lives and may not live nearby. By the time senior parents need help, their kids are near retirement too! Savings and retirement funds are running out as people are living longer. What is to be done as the majority population of the western world continues to age? The need here is huge. What kinds of services can you provide to this growing population and their concerned families?

3. Internet:

It's getting bigger and more important by the minute. The worldwide web offers everyone who is "connected" to search for information, hire a professional, purchase homes as well as goods and services and even meet the person of their dreams. LinkedIn, Facebook and a myriad of other social networks allows people and businesses to connect. It's not going away. It's only going to get bigger and more important. If you still see yourself as only "local", you are in the minority and you are missing out on amazing internet marketing and sales opportunities. Individuals and businesses are now connecting all over the globe. If your website is 20th century brochure style - get moving and get interactive. Videos and blogs are not a passing fancy and really promote your website presence. What can you do to update your web presence right now?

4. Personal Growth/Personal Health/Slowing Down the Aging Process:

As baby boomers are seeing their parents reaping the rewards of unhealthy living (smoking, obesity, lack of exercise) requiring walkers, wheelchairs and oxygen tanks at the end of their lives, they are beginning to rethink their own lifestyles so as not to suffer the same fate. It's not just about looking younger. It's about feeling younger... Health and Fitness is the wave of the future. Low glycemic index diets, exercise, and a new awareness that diabetes 2 is purely lifestyle related and not to be expected in old age is the new trend. This will affect restaurants and food manufacturing and packaging. Think brown rice and whole grains. Goodbye simple carbs, saturated fats and high fructose corn syrup. It's making us sick and we know it. It may be convenient up front but very costly at the end.

As mainstream churches struggle to remain relevant in the 21st century, New Age thinking, ala The Secret is on the rise. Meditation, Yoga, Retreats and Health Spas cater not only to individuals but companies looking for innovative ways to conduct business meetings and team building events. Blend making more money with getting healthier and you have struck gold. If you are in the health, wellness or hospitality industry, this is a major trend for you.

5. Re emergence of Entrepreneurship

In 1776 more than 95% of all Americans were entrepreneurs. By the middle of the 20th century, that number had dwindled to less than 30%. The industrial revolution enticed people to leave their farms and shut down small businesses to seek employment in the cities. The Great Depression accelerated the process. This resulted in the breakup of families and a dependence on manufactured goods and credit.

In 2012-2013, it is back to basics. Generation X & Y aren't so willing to give their lives to the corporation. Small business growth is seen as the savior of our downtrodden economy. Are you a small business owner? Rejoice. While you can buy a house or a car online, there are many services that must be done in person. If you are an electrician, plumber, medical care provider or other hands on professional, this is the decade for you. The key to your success will be customer service and follow up. In this ever increasing internet centered world, it will be the personal touch that you provide to your clients that will be the "secret sauce" that will grow your business.

There are many other trends in science and industry that are truly exciting - from smart machines that anticipate our every need to a possible cure for cancer and the end of inherited disease. While you are enjoying the benefits of these future trends, what will you do to contribute to them also?

Marilyn Ellis, CTACC, CSA, is an Author, Speaker, Professional Organizer, Senior Move Manager and Estate Liquidator. Her company name, Lighthouse Organizers, LLC reflects her true desire “to help people navigate through their busy and challenging lives.”

Join Marilyn, as she will be hosting the Society of Certified Senior Advisors monthly educational webinar: Future Trends / Future Opportunities in Business. This presentation wil be held on Thursdsay, October 25, 2012 at 12:00 Noon (MST).

Register for this event now!

Friday, September 28, 2012

My Snail Mail – Invasion Of The Time Snatchers

CSA Judy Rough tells us: If papers control your life, it’s time to control your papers. The goal she sets? To get control of your delivered mail and all the papers that come into your home on a daily basis!
Set Up a System

Managing today’s mail is even more complicated than in the past when everything came by snail mail. Whether you remain totally paper-based or manage most of your bill payments and personal business online, you need a system to manage the flow of paper in your home and in your life. 

Make a Commitment

Follow this step-by-step plan to help you to take control. This time, with a system in place, you can make it happen. Remember to adapt it to your personal situation.

Step 1. Create a home

§  Control the chaos by setting up a “home” for everything and a process that works for you to direct incoming paper where it belongs. 
§  Be sure to designate a clear organized space to write checks and correspondence and use the computer and the phone with everything you need at your finger tips - including an online filing system such as the Papervana Binder System for storing, if you have one.

Step 2. Gather the tools

§  Have the tools you need ready in the designated “home” location - letter opener, pencil/pen, pad, stamps, calculator, return address stamps or labels, a holder for outgoing mail and a small, portable file holder with 4 folders labeled: 

ü  Bills  
                  ü  File/Scan   
                  ü  To Do   
                  ü  Receipts

Step 3. Collect your mail and papers daily

§  Retrieve mail from your mailbox every day, if possible. Don’t neglect your snail mailbox. Especially if you receive most items electronically you don’t want to miss an important item needed for filing income tax or other date sensitive notifications.
§  Empty your wallet, purse, backpack, laptop case, pockets, glove box of your car, children’s backpacks etc. of all receipts on a daily basis 
§  Bring mail, receipts, school flyers, etc. into your home or office to the same designated location everyday. Be creative. Set up a place that makes sense for your living space

 Step 4. Purge and Sort Daily

 Take 5 minutes to open and sort all papers into the following 4 categories:
§  Recycle used envelopes, unwanted flyers, solicitations, junk mail and all unwanted print materials.
§  Shred – items containing your personal information to avoid identity theft.
§  Read – store notes, letters, magazines, catalogs, newspapers, etc. in the same designated place for reading time later.
§  Take Action  sort any papers requiring action into one of your four folders in your portable, small file holder.                         


Take all items to be recycled to the recycle bin right away and do your shredding immediately - now you are gaining control!

Place all the “Read” items in a designated location when they arrive.

Set a deadline, such as recycle day in the first week of the month, to help motivate you to enjoy your “Read” file and prevent a pile up.

To pare down your pile of magazines and newspapers, cut out the articles you want to read, scan any articles you want to keep and recycle the rest!
Step 5. File items for later action

Place items requiring action directly into one of 4 folders in your portable, small file holder:

§  Bills and Payments to be made and Statements to be reconciled – then filed. 
§  File and/or Scan – medical statements, paid bills, reconciled statements, policies or anything  else you may need to reference later.
§  To Do – make a call, discuss a decision, send an email, collect items, etc.
§  Receipts – save for proof of purchase, warranties, tax related items, etc.
Step 6. Take care of business

§  Make sure to set an uninterrupted scheduled time to take care or your financial affairs . – once a week, twice a month, you decide.  
§  On your scheduled date and time bring your portable outgoing mail holder along with your portable small file holder to the location where you will pay your bills, send emails, make phone calls, read, etc.

If you are paying bills by mail:

§  Open the bill
§  Recycle the outer envelope and unwanted inserts
§  File the bill in the small file holder in the Bill folder
§   Use proper postage and return address information to ensure receipt. Write a “to be mailed by” date on a visible corner and file in date order in the outgoing mail holder with the date showing
§  Incorporate occasion cards and other date sensitive items into the outgoing mail holder with the mailing date visible and filed in order

If you are paying your paper bills online:

§  Open the bill
§  Recycle the outer envelope and unwanted inserts
§  File in the small file holder in the Bill folder
§  Set up e-bill, if desired
§  Scan into an electronic file, if desired
§  Have passwords handy 
Tip          There are several highly encrypted password vaults that you can use on your desktop to manage passwords so you only have to remember one password to access them all. They can even capture your User IDs and passwords as you create them and fill them in for you as you log in to a site. Search online for password managers, password keepers to compare software, if this appeals to you.


Handling all the To Dos 

§  Set aside a time each week to handle all your To Dos, mark it on you calendar, or set an alarm
§  Make a list and assign a priority order to the list, check it daily
§  Remember to do  one thing at a time
§  Delegate whenever possible
§  Be honest with yourself and only take on what you can handle while keeping your stress level as low as possible
§  When something is driving you crazy – create a new system that will last, it’s all about consistency
Build a habit, challenge yourself!  Commit to controlling your mail for the next 30 days then celebrate and reward yourself!

While clutter and a lack of organizational skills can be a nuisance, hoarding can be a serious illness which  expert Marilyn Ellis discusses in the most recent issue of the CSA Journal.

Blog posting provided by Judy Rough, CSA

Owner of Carefree Transitions, LLC - a Senior Move Management company and Owner of Papervana, LLC – a record and document organizing and management company

Judy works with seniors and their families on the emotional, as well as the physical aspects of moving and professional organizing. She can be reached at or 480-200-3415


Monday, September 24, 2012

You Don't Have to be a Loan Officer to Help With Reverse Mortgages

The need to liquidize assets in order to raise the funds necessary to maintain financial independence as a senior or even care for aging loved ones is a growing trend in America.  There are many products and services offered today that promise a senior will be “all set” financially, however it is essential that professionals invest the time to better understand these products in order to effectively serve their clients. A Reverse Mortgage is one method many seniors are utilizing to convert the equity in their homes to cash so that they can maintain greater financial security, meet unexpected medical expenses, make home improvements and much more.

CSA Alain Valles, an expert on reverse mortgages, will be presenting the next SCSA educational webinar: Reverse Mortgages: Help Clients and Increase Referrals. Valles is President of Direct Finance Corp., and was the first person in New England to receive the arduous Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) designation. He will provide attendees of this informational webinar with the pros and cons of Reverse Mortgages and will share his expertise in order to help other professionals improve and maintain the quality of life for their senior clients.
This webinar will not make you a loan officer, but rather will increase your knowledge in order to better serve clients whatever your discipline.
The webinar will be held Thursday, September 27th. To sign up go to Reverse Mortgage Webinar.
A reverse mortgage can be a suitable option for many homeowners, but they are not always for everyone. What experiences have you or a loved one had with a reverse mortgage, and what made this option work or not work for that situation?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

End-of-Life Coalitions for Improving Seniors' End-of-Life Care

As a clinical bioethicist, educator and hospice volunteer, the issue of how to help people have a good death matters a lot to me.  I wanted to share with you what is happening across the country.  Organizations called end-of-life coalitions are creating positive change for seniors and their families when it comes to better advance care planning and end-of-life care. 

These end-of-life coalitions have conferences, and offer training in better end-of-life communication, as well as updates on the legal changes coming to your state.  As CSAs, I would encourage you to check into these wonderful resources and opportunities to expand your understanding of how to improve a senior’s last days. 

Another great thing about these coalitions is the people you will meet.  The individuals involved in these coalitions are the movers and shakers in your state. They are also big-hearted, dedicated and passionate about making a difference – just like you.  You may find yourself getting caught up in the energy of a group that isn’t just talking about making a difference, but actually doing it. 

For those of you in Missouri, I will be speaking at the 8th Annual Policy Summit of the Missouri End-of-Life Coalition Conference on September 27. It’s open to the public: professionals and families alike can register to participate in the Conference.  It’s sure to be an exciting and educational day.

For more information about the Missouri End-of-Life Coalition:

The California coalition is another leader in the country in improving the last days of seniors lives. They have valuable end-of-life resources that you will find useful in distributing to your clients, residents, patients or family members no matter where you live or what you do.

I know many of us are faced with end-of-life decisions for our clients, whatever our professional field. If you work with any good resources, or simply want to share your experiences, let’s hear from you!

Have a kind and respectful day.

Viki Kind is a clinical bioethicist, educator and hospice volunteer.  Her award winning book, “The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making:  Making Choices for Those Who Can't,” guides families and professionals through the difficult process of making decisions for those who have lost capacity.

For more resources on end-of-life issues from the Society of Certified Senior Advisors available for seniors and their loved ones visit Information for Life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meet CSA Spotlight, Delana Schneider

As a young woman I had an opportunity to work with “elders” and their families. Working in an institutional environment created a deep desire in me to be part of changing the attitude and landscape of senior care. It was obvious to me from this experience that the way we as a society meet the needs of the aging population has some serious flaws.

My business background led me to work in an administrative and consulting role, most recently, with a small company that had a big mission: support seniors during the transitions at the end of life.

My engagement with seniors and those on their way to seniorhood continued to deepen the more I served the aging community. Society of Certified Senior Advisors offered a way to “legitimize” my work and commitment. Seniors, often the most vulnerable of our population, need a way to identify who they invite into their homes, not only for their own safety but also for the peace of mind of their families. The CSA education and certification instills confidence and reassures my clients that they will receive quality service from a professional who is knowledgeable in all areas related to senior issues. This empowers them with the confidence that they have made a sound choice. I found the course to be very comprehensive, and it continues to be a valuable resource. An attorney friend who coached me through the legal chapters was amazed at the depth of the information and offered a glowing recommendation for the CSA course.

I am also trained as a hospice volunteer and own Hearthstone, a business that provides organizational and “right-sizing” services. Hearthstone also supports elderly clients and their families as they face end-of-life issues. We practice compassionate listening as we offer guidance and resources that will meet the clients’ needs gently.

Over the past four years, I have volunteered with the Monterey Bay Village founding council to explore, research and develop the “villages” concept and ultimately make the village opportunity available in our community. This not-for-profit, aging-in-place concept, modeled after Beacon Hill Village in Boston, provides a concierge of services, a type of safety net that enables seniors to age in place. “Stay home, stay active and stay connected!” On July 1, 2012, the Monterey Bay Village was launched (

My goal of seeing the senior landscape change, in terms of senior care and living, continues to fuel my passion with the vision that one day we will see intentional intergenerational communities replace the isolation of the current retirement communities that many seniors experience during the last chapters of life. If this interests you or your business supports this vision, please contact me!

Blog posting provided by Delana Schneider, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor

Are you a Certified Senior Advisor interested in being featured as CSA Spotlight in the monthly newsletter Senior Spirit? We'd love to hear from you. Contact us at

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Myths and the Facts of Long Term Care

As an older American, or someone who works with seniors, you may think you have a good understanding of what long term care (LTC) is. But do you? Marlene S. Stum is a Professor in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota and is nationally recognized for her research, teaching, and outreach work on family economics and social gerontology issues. “What many individuals believe about LTC is very different from the facts,” she says. There are many studies showing that people think they have LTC financial literacy. In reality they have insufficient understanding of LTC which results in LTC knowledge gaps that leave them vulnerable to financial insecurity and a reduced quality of life and care. “People think they know the facts, but all too often their beliefs are based on common myths or misinformation about LTC risks, costs, and alternatives,” she continues.

To better understand and plan for the impact of LTC you need to understand the potential for needing LTC, the associated costs of that care and the risk management strategies and financing alternatives. Dr. Stum debunks many of the myths surrounding LTC in her article, including myths on risk, cost and financing alternatives, in an effort to close the LTC financial literacy gap.

Myth: Men and women are equally at risk for needing long-term care.
Fact: Women face a greater likelihood than men of needing LTC.

Myth: LTC costs are the same regardless of where you live.
Fact: LTC costs vary considerably from state to state and from rural to urban settings.

Myth: Most LTC costs are paid by Medicare.
Fact: Medicare does not pay for LTC. Medicare coverage focuses on treating acute, short-term illnesses and only covers nursing homes and home care for a limited time.

Read more from Marlene in her article, “Long Term Care: Do Your Client’s Beliefs Put Them at Risk?” published this month in CSA Journal 52.

Are you LTC literate? What are some of the concerns you have seen or experienced? Have you been able to improve your LTC financial literacy or that of your family or your clients, or do you have resources you can share?

blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors