Dear Savvy Senior, Is there a good rule of thumb on when dementia patients should stop driving? My 82-year-old...
Atria Senior Living is expanding in the Denver area with the opening of Atria Englewood and Atria Westminster....
I was told to find a job that honors my passion and what I love to do, and I would never work a day in my life...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER On Feb. 14, the economic development and health and wellness groups of th...
SUBMITTED BY GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., a lodging real estate investment trust...
SUBMITTED BY FAMILY FEATURES Do you get short of breath doing daily activities? Feel like you’re unable to tak...
I am astounded by the number of programs designed and funded to assist individuals with life challenges such a...
Dear Savvy Senior, What are the early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease? I was just diagnosed with it after...
Keener Pledges to Take Chamber and its Members to “New Level of Service” The South Metro Denver Chamber (SMDC)...
Worry has been described as a rocking chair. It keeps moving but goes nowhere. Worry is also like a para...
Dear Savvy Senior,
Is there a good rule of thumb on when dementia patients should stop driving? My 82-year-old mom has early stage Alzheimer’s disease but still drives herself around town just fine.
Most doctors agree that people with moderate to severe dementia should never get behind the wheel, but in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, driving performance should be the determining factor of when to stop driving, not the disease itself.
With that said, it’s also important to realize that as your mom’s driving skills deteriorate over time from the disease, she might not recognize she has a problem. So, it’s very important that you work closely with her doctor to monitor her driving and help her stop when it is no longer safe for her to drive. Here are some additional tips that can help you.
Watch for Warning Signs
The best way to keep tabs on your mom’s driving is to take frequent rides with her watching out for key warning signs. For example: Does she have trouble remembering routes to familiar places? Does she drive at inappropriate speeds, tailgate, drift between lanes or fail to observe traffic signs? Does she react slowly or make poor driving decisions? Also, has your mom had any fender benders or tickets lately, or have you noticed any dents or scrapes on her vehicle? All of these are red flags.
If you need some assessment help, hire a driver rehabilitation specialist who’s trained to evaluate older drivers. See AOTA.org/older-
driver or ADED.net to locate one in your area.
Through your assessments, if you believe it’s still safe for your mom to drive, you should start recommending some simple adjustments to ensure her safety, like driving only in daylight and on familiar routes, and avoiding busy roads and bad weather. Also, see if she will sign an Alzheimer’s “driving contract” (see ALZ.org/driving to print one) that designates someone to tell her when it’s no longer safe to drive.
You may also want to consider getting a GPS car tracking device (like MotoSafety.com or AutoBrain.com) to help you keep an eye on her. These devices will let you track where she’s driving and allow you to set up zones and speed limits that will send you alerts to your smartphone when she exits an area, or if she’s driving too fast or braking harshly.
Time to Quit
When your mom’s driving gets to the point that she can no longer drive safely, you’ll need to talk to her. It’s actually best to start having these conversations in the early stages of the disease, before she needs to quit driving, so she can prepare herself.
You also need to have a plan for alternative transportation (including a list of family, friends and local transportation options) that will help your mom get around after she stops driving.
For tips on how to talk to your mom, the Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence offers a helpful guide called “At the Crossroads: Family Conversations About Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia and Driving” that you can get at TheHartford.com/Publications-on-
Refuses to Quit
If your mom refuses to quit, you have several options. First, suggest a visit to her doctor who can give her a medical evaluation, and prescribe that she stops driving. Older people will often listen to their doctor before they will listen to their own family.
If she still refuses, contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if they can help. Some states require doctors to report new dementia cases to the DMV, who can revoke the person’s license.
If these fail, consider hiding her keys or just take them away. You could also disable her vehicle by disconnecting the battery, park it in another location so she can’t see it or have access to it or sell it.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
Atria Senior Living is expanding in the Denver area with the opening of Atria Englewood and Atria Westminster. Both newly constructed modern communities offer 130 units and provide independent living, assisted living and memory care services.
Located at 3555 South Clarkson Street, Atria Englewood features amenities including a fitness center, movie theater, library, restaurant, private dining room, café, bistro, salon, two outdoor terraces and garage parking. The six-story community is across from the Swedish Medical Center and close to Cherry Hills Village.
Atria Westminster features amenities including a rooftop terrace, sky lounge, restaurant, private dining room, bistro, movie theater, salon, fitness center, garden and library. The five-story community is located at 9560 Sheridan Boulevard, off the Denver-Boulder Turnpike and minutes from Westminster Center Park. Both communities are built by CA Ventures and designed by OZ Architecture, a Colorado-based architectural design firm.
“The number of people turning ages 75 and older will grow especially fast from now to 2030, and we are excited to expand Atria’s presence in Denver to meet the growing demand,” said Abby Figueroa, a Senior Vice President at Atria. “We know what’s important for the well-being of older adults is to remain connected to others and their community in meaningful ways.”
Both communities are designed to help residents continue living active, social lifestyles. Atria’s Engage Life® program offers daily opportunities for continual learning, fitness, connection, personal growth and fulfillment. In the memory care neighborhood of each community, residents benefit from Atria’s approach to dementia care, with support and care services provided by specially trained staff.
Committed to supporting local organizations, Atria Englewood has formed a partnership with Englewood Arts and plans to host live performances by musicians associated with the chamber.
“We’re very excited to complete these beautiful, modern senior living communities in the Denver area,” said Ben Burke, President of Senior Living at CA Ventures. “Residents and visitors will be impressed by and enjoy the many amenities and attention to detail, as well as the outstanding care and events provided by Atria.”
For more information on either community, contact Shane Brown, Atria Englewood’s Executive Director, at 720-892-5600, or Michele Sepples, Atria Westminster’s Executive Director, at 720-805-9995.
I was told to find a job that honors my passion and what I love to do, and I would never work a day in my life. Very true. I have been blessed with a job that feeds my passion. I was made for this. Working to teach people how to do life and love well is in my DNA. I can’t imagine waking up each morning and dreading going to work. That is precisely what many do. No wonder we have a society filled with so many who need wine, a stiff cocktail or marijuana to cope with each day. Depression is at an all-time high, many feeling isolated, lonely and rudderless.
As an employer, discontent in the workplace poses a huge challenge. Underperforming employees and turnover rates has an enormous price tag . There is robust empirical data outlining the corporate costs of losing an employee estimating between $25,000 to $30,000 each. Add to this the lost productivity of an unhappy, unfulfilled worker. Having consistently high turnover rates impacts business and bottom lines. When an employee quits, companies spend a huge amount of money, sometimes twice as much as that employee’s salary, in recruiting, hiring, onboarding and training. Losing an employee also effects those who remain. Workplace morale is reduced and trust and confidence in the company’s leadership wanes. Word of high turnover rates gets around, and the company finds it difficult to recruit the talent they need since those with a high skill level might be reluctant to work with a company that has unhappy employees and high turnover rates.
There are many reasons people leave their job. They can be over-worked, overlooked, burned out, they can be frustrated with their colleagues or feel uneasy regarding leadership. They can feel undervalued, invisible, stressed, isolated and limited. There can be unresolved conflict, tension, a lack of unity and cohesiveness in the workplace that would foster cooperation and collaboration. Healthy relationships in the workplace is essential.
Recently, I overheard a conversation about a gal who left a good paying job at a wealth management firm because of what she perceived as dubious business practices and unethical colleagues. She now works at a firm for a substantially lower salary that has a high level of transparency, trust and enjoys healthy relationships with her team members. She is satisfied with a lower salary because she has peace and a feeling of comradery in her new job.
Because the goal of building a healthy workplace culture is imperative to the success of a business, the Center for Relationship Education has developed fun, interactive, experiential corporate workshops to assist with this goal. These workshops improve morale, increase communication and cooperation among employees, create a team approach, increase conflict resolution skills, increase each participant’s self and other awareness and impart skills for stress management and well-being. Many would call what we do soft skills development, we call it essential skills for employee satisfaction and corporate success. For more information about corporate workshops contact: email@example.com or go to www.myrelationshipcenter.org
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
On Feb. 14, the economic development and health and wellness groups of the South Metro Denver Chamber presented an important program on the economics of health care in Colorado. In addition to representatives of two of the state’s large hospital systems, the program included Simon Lomax, policy adviser to the Partnership for Affordability and Transparency in Healthcare (PATH). Lomax is also a former congressional fellow of the American Political Science Association and Bloomberg News reporter.
Lomax reported that 93 percent of Coloradans have health care coverage, slightly higher than the country overall, according to the United States Census Bureau. Most believe that the large percentage of Americans with coverage is attributable to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. It has not come without a cost. Nationally, over the past ten years, health insurance premiums have increased 54 percent while deductibles have gone up 162 percent.
In Colorado, within the 93 percent who are insured, two-thirds have private insurance, 90 percent of which is employer provided. The other one-third of Colorado residents who have health care are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. That also comes with a cost because the combined number of people on Medicare and Medicaid has grown in the past ten years from 20 percent of all those covered to 33 percent, and Medicare and Medicaid only pay hospitals 69 percent of what it actually costs them to provide health care services. If this trend continues, hospitals will lose more money caring for those patients. Those losses can only be recouped by increasing the rates charged to private insurers.
Still, the overall condition of Colorado’s health care industry can only be described as strong. Colorado has the 9th lowest-cost for premiums for employer-provided health insurance for single people and the 13th lowest for family coverage. In 2018, the employee’s share of the cost of health insurance as a percentage of median income went down five percent in Colorado while it went up five percent nationally.
Better still, as costs have been contained, the quality of health care services remains high. Colorado ranks in the top ten states in almost all levels of health care, especially the hospital sector. Three Colorado hospitals were just announced as having been included in Healthgrades’ list of America’s Top 50 Best Hospitals for 2020. According to Healthgrades, Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, and Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins “are in the top 1 %
of hospitals in the nation for consistently providing overall clinical excellence across a broad spectrum of conditions and procedures year over year.” Lutheran also won the award in 2018 and 2019. Good Samaritan also won it in 2019.
Erica Rossitto, chief nursing officer, HealthONE, explained to South Metro Chamber members that HealthONE sees 1500 to 1600 patients in its six acute care hospitals, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital each day. In the interest of being “responsible stewards in terms of not duplicating services,” HealthONE has developed specialty areas in its facilities. Swedish Medical Center in Englewood contains a specially-equipped comprehensive stroke center, Medical Center of Aurora has well-developed service lines in cardiac surgery and a 120-bed inpatient behavioral health unit, and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children receives young patients from areas in and outside of Colorado because of its level 4 newborn intensive care unit.
Leanne Naso, chief operating officer, Parker Adventist Hospital, said that Centura Health, which includes 17 hospitals across Colorado and western Kansas, is the largest health care provider in Colorado. It is a faith-based not-for-profit organization.
Both hospital systems report that they face challenges in workforce development. In response to the nursing shortage, HealthONE is collaborating with Regis University in a new program to train health care workers in a stairstep approach to allow students to spend more time in a hospital setting during their training. Centura providers speakers at local schools to encourage students to choose a profession in health care.
Looking toward the future, Lomax pointed to the well-known demographic trend in Colorado: we are an aging population who will need more health care in the next decade. According to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, our state’s population that is over age 65 was 555,000 in 2010. It will balloon to 1,243,000 in 2030, a 125 percent increase.
SUBMITTED BY GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT
Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., a lodging real estate investment trust specializing in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets, and RIDA Development Corp., announced plans for an $80 million, 317-room expansion of Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado.
Opened in December 2018, Gaylord Rockies was the first Marriott property to begin operations with more than 1 million net room nights on the books for all future years. Since that time, the 85-acre resort has experienced strong demand and closed the third quarter of 2019 with nearly 1.2 million net group room nights on the books for all future years, a 7.4 percent increase compared to the third quarter of 2018.
Colin Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said, “The initial performance at Gaylord Rockies has exceeded our expectations for a property in its first year of operations, and feedback from both group and leisure customers has been tremendous. These early results, combined with the demand we are experiencing as large group supply remains constrained nationwide, reinforce our belief that this is the right time to increase the capacity of this hotel.”
Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2020, and the expansion is expected to open in early 2022. Once complete, the expansion will bring the total room count at Colorado’s largest combined resort and convention center to 1,818. Ira Mitzner, President and Chief Executive Officer of RIDA Development Corp., said, “We take great pride in Gaylord Rockies creating a best-in-class large meeting destination for the state of Colorado. To date, nearly 80 percent of the groups at Gaylord Rockies had never met in Colorado before. We are truly growing the pie for this state.”
Reed added, “We value the strong partnership with RIDA Development Corp. and the city of Aurora, and we are pleased to see our shared vision for Gaylord Rockies continue to take shape. Similar to recent projects at Gaylord Texan and Gaylord Palms, this expansion will allow us to accommodate the additional demand for this property in a way that seamlessly integrates into the existing hotel infrastructure.”
“Since the very beginning of this project we have said that the Gaylord Rockies would be an incredible economic development catalyst for the City of Aurora, Adams County and the State of Colorado,” said Wendy Mitchell, President and CEO of the Aurora Economic Development Council. “The quick timing of an expansion further proves that this has come to fruition and means even more positive impact for the region as we see significant development being catalyzed in the surrounding area. We appreciate the continued leadership and forward-thinking approach of all the stakeholders involved and look forward to the Gaylord Rockies delivering even more value to our community.”
Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman added, “The Gaylord Rockies is one of Aurora’s most significant accomplishments to date and a major driver in our growing economy. The project has put Aurora on the map and I’m proud to see so many new visitors coming here to experience all that our community has to offer. When we look at the economic development success story here, it’s clear that it is a win-win for everyone involved especially for our residents who now have the opportunity of more than 1,500 quality jobs and counting that were created through this deal. RIDA Development Corp., the Company, the City of Aurora, Adams County, and the Aurora Economic Development Council, and all others involved came together to make the Gaylord Rockies a reality and this partnership exemplifies how we like to do business here in Aurora.”
The planned expansion will be financed by the joint venture that owns Gaylord Rockies with additional borrowings from its term loan, which is set to mature in July 2023. The Company owns 62.1 percent of the joint venture.
SUBMITTED BY FAMILY FEATURES
Do you get short of breath doing daily activities? Feel like you’re unable to take deep breaths? Are you constantly coughing or wheezing? If you said yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a serious, potentially devastating lung disease also known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Though it’s easy to think of these symptoms as just part of “getting older’’ or as problems that come with allergies, often they are not.
Nearly 16 million people in the United States are currently living with a COPD diagnosis, and millions more don’t know they have it. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability.
In people with COPD, the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs become partially blocked, which makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. If left undetected, the disease can greatly affect your quality of life and your ability to complete even ordinary daily activities.
COPD often occurs in people who have a history of smoking or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke and other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts from the environment or workplace. The chances of getting COPD also increases significantly in people who have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a rare genetic condition.
While COPD develops slowly and worsens over time, its symptoms can be treated and its progression can be slowed, which is why early detection and treatment are so important. If you are noticing any issues with your breathing, talk to your health care provider about getting tested for COPD. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin. Your provider will design a treatment plan to help address your symptoms and improve your lung function and quality of life.
The key to keeping COPD at bay – or preventing it from getting worse – is to understand and recognize the signs and symptoms early and discuss them with your health care provider. The sooner this happens, the sooner you can get back to doing the things you love.
Through educational efforts like the Learn More Breathe Better program (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/breathebetter), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute shares valuable information about the symptoms of COPD, as well as how to diagnose and treat it. With these tools, those living with COPD can effectively manage the disease, and those who have symptoms can find the support and assistance they need.
I am astounded by the number of programs designed and funded to assist individuals with life challenges such as drug and alcohol addiction, poverty, school failure, loneliness, depression, suicide, violence, crime and other social issues. Many of these programs are siloed and target one challenge at a time. This is not an effective public health strategy. All of us committed to public service seek to connect the dots regarding primary prevention. There is a story about going upstream. Several individuals who are close to drowning are being pulled out of the water by well-meaning compassionate people. After several days of pulling people out of the water, one of the rescuers asked the question, “Why are these people falling in the river? The crowd of helpers were encouraged to go upstream and fix the fence that enabled people to fall, reducing the need to continue to rescue so many.
What is happening in the lives of our neighbors causing them to fall into the life-threatening rushing waters? According to a robust body of literature, the biggest predictor of deleterious life and health outcomes is relational disconnection or misconnection. Loneliness and isolation create serious health risks. They are predictors of premature death. Insufficient social connection is a bigger risk factor than obesity and the equivalent of smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, according to Julianne Holt-Lunstad, an expert in loneliness research. She opines that loneliness and social isolation is at epidemic proportions and is getting worse. Misconnection also needs to be addressed. Mis-connection is defined by being connected in toxic and unhealthy relationships.
Although we are all at risk since more Americans are living alone than ever before, the elderly are in a particularly high-risk group because the number of older people without a spouse, child, or any living relatives is growing. Living in a marriage is not a magic bullet in combating loneliness. Many married people express they are lonely and disconnected in their marriage relationship.
Adolescents and young adults are particularly at risk given their excessive reliance on social media. Some experts opine that the use of social media hinders the development of the real-world social skills necessary to build close, meaningful friendships which requires more than emojis and “Likes” on Facebook or Instagram.
Loneliness is especially lethal for military veterans. The suicide rate among veterans is staggering. On average, 20 veterans a day commit suicide. Even soldiers who never saw combat are susceptible. What is devastating, for many, is the loss of the tight-knit community of their squadron or platoon and their shared mission which is hard to find when one leaves the military.
The Center for Relationship Education is addressing this public health crisis as Priority One. By teaching relationship development skills training to everyone including adolescents, emerging adults, singles, marrieds, divorced couples, mothers, fathers, military personnel and first responders, corporate clients and their teams of colleagues, as well as the elderly, we are fighting disconnection and going upstream for primary prevention and optimal health. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.myrelationshipcenter.org
What are the early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease? I was just diagnosed with it after noticing hand tremors for nearly a year, but looking back, I’m wondering if I missed any other early warning signs.
The Holy Grail in any progressive disease is to find it early enough to start effective treatment before irreversible damage has occurred. But recognizing the early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease is challenging because they’re usually subtle and can be easily overlooked, dismissed or even misdiagnosed.
Parkinson’s disease, which afflicts around 1 million Americans, is a degenerative disorder that occurs when the brain’s dopamine-producing neurons die or become impaired. This happens in the part of the brain that controls movement, which can cause tremors (or shaking), stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination.
The symptoms usually begin gradually and get worse over time, and the progression of symptoms is often different from one person to another. Some people with Parkinson’s become severely disabled, while others may experience only minor motor disruptions.
While the cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, scientists believe genetics and environmental factors (exposure to certain toxins) play a key role. Most people with Parkinson’s first develop the disease around age 60 or older, and men are more likely to develop it than are women.
Early Warning Signs
Parkinson’s disease is difficult to diagnose because there’s no definitive test to confirm it. Doctors, usually neurologists, will do an examination and evaluate a combination of warning signs, but symptoms can vary greatly by patient which often leads to confusion and misdiagnosis. That said, here are some of the key signs and symptoms everyone should know.
Thrashing around in bed or acting out dreams – kicking or punching – when asleep. This is a REM sleep behavior disorder and one of the strongest and earliest pre-diagnostic
symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Loss of smell
Not being able to smell certain foods very well like bananas, dill pickles or licorice. This too is one of the earliest symptoms.
Problems with digestion and bowel movements are a big problem for people with Parkinson’s, and an early sign that can occur up to 20 years before this disease is diagnosed.
Changes in handwriting
Writing may become harder to do, and your handwriting may appear much smaller than it has in the past.
Slight shaking or tremor in your finger, thumb, hand or chin. The tremor usually happens at rest, and when you move the extremity it may disappear. This is the most common and recognizable outward sign of Parkinson’s disease, but by the time tremors start, the brain has already lost more than half of its dopamine-producing cells.
Over time, Parkinson’s disease can slow movements, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk. It may be difficult to get out of a chair. You may drag your feet as you try to walk.
Speaking softly, quickly, slurring or hesitating before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone rather than with the usual inflections.
Loss of automatic movements
Decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, like blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
Impaired posture and balance
Stooping, leaning or slouching when you stand, and/or balance problems can all be a sign of Parkinson’s.
Currently, there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are a variety of medications that can provide relief from the symptoms. In some later cases, surgery may be advised. Other treatments include lifestyle modifications, like getting more rest and exercise.
For more information, visit the Parkinson’s Foundation at Parkinson.org.
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