Proactive Senior Plans Ahead at 73 Years Old

Learn the reasons why a 73 year old senior would plan ahead.  After living in a 55-plus retirement community for 15 years and watching neighbors struggle as they age, she and her husband wanted to live in a supportive environment that offers future health care.

Poor Seniors – Needing Care – What Will They Do?

Poor Seniors – Needing Care – What Will They Do?

older-woman-with-caneAround 12.9% percent of seniors live in poverty in this nation. They can’t ever enjoy a nice retirement or assisted living community with services! It broke my heart to participate in a health fair at a senior center in Riverside, California a week ago. About a 1000 seniors attended.

Most seniors were looking for Section 8 or HUD Housing retirement options. What are these options? It’s renting an apartment based on a percentage of their income or a flat fee. It is simply an apartment building that houses seniors. The senior will most likely not have onsite services and support as they age and dementia begins.

Subsidized senior housing typically does not offer meals, entertainment, wellness classes, transportation to medical appointments or pay for a senior’s cable TV.

It’s disheartening to know that American seniors will be pushed aside to fend for themselves. Why is America trying to save the world and can’t take care of our own seniors? In many states, low-income seniors have no way to afford assisted living. Sure we have Medicaid and Medical when a senior becomes almost completely incapacitated and needs skilled nursing care.

What about that in-between step when a senior needs support either physically, mentally, nutritionally or is lost in dementia? What about that intermediate stage when it has become too difficult to grocery shop or cook for themselves. What about when a senior’s arthritic fingers can’t open a jar or button a blouse?   Maybe they can rely on family, friends or neighbors? What if they need help at 7:00 AM or in the middle of the night? What if they don’t ask for help?

I spoke with seniors at the health fair who lived with their adult children. Other seniors had grandchildren depending on them for support. Finally, several seniors had adult daughters caring for them. I asked one frail couple, “What is your plan for your future health care?” They told me that their daughter will take care of them. I asked, “What happens when your care becomes more than your daughter can handle?” (I really wanted to ask if they were willing for their daughter to toilet them at some point.) They were sweetly oblivious to my inquiry and said that she would be able to handle it.

We have a crisis in this country. What can we do about it? Many seniors are living below the national poverty line. They can’t afford to bring in home care, nor can they afford senior housing. Meals-on-Wheels is a wonderful resource, but seniors have to be willing to ask for help.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Diane Masson is a sought after author, blogger, speaker and regional marketing director.  She is very passionate about advocating for seniors on a nationwide basis and educating them about their future choices.  She just published a book to help seniors take the guess work out of selecting senior housing options or staying home.  It is called, “Your Senior Housing Options.”  Her other book has been popular with senior housing professionals on a nationwide basis.  It is called, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.”  You can contact her through her website at

What Happens When a Senior Falls at 2:00 AM in Assisted Living?

What Happens When a Senior Falls at 2:00 AM in Assisted Living?

Falling in Assisted LivingI asked the same question to four memory care communities that were licensed as assisted living. The responses might surprise you and help you determine where to place your own mom or dad.

What happens if my mother-in-law wakes up disoriented at 2:00 AM and gets up to find the bathroom? Then she falls…

Memory Care Community A – “When we find her, a med tech would evaluate her. If she hit her head or something major happened, then 911 is called. My husband asked about the med tech training. Is it like an emergency medical technician (EMT) with a minimum of 140 hours of medical training? She said, “No, it is like a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). There are specific criteria that they are trained on.”

Does someone go with the dementia resident if they go out 911? No!

Diane’s opinion: In my experience, no CNA has the medical expertise to make a judgment call on a fall. My mother’s assisted living community always sent my mom out 911 from a fall in the middle of the night. It happened five times. It was highly traumatic for her. When someone arrives at the emergency room with dementia, it is scary and confusing. It would disorient her for days after each traumatic adventure.

Memory Care Community B – “We have certain guidelines to know when to call 911. In the past month we have had two seniors go out 911. Eighty percent of the time falls do not require 911. We would call the family to meet the senior at the hospital.”

Does someone go with the dementia resident if they go out 911? No!

Diane’s opinion: Some assisted living communities ship senior residents out by 911 because they don’t want liability of a mistake. The pattern I am noticing is that if a community is licensed as an assisted living (board and care) and they do not have a 24-hour nurse, they get shipped out by 911 after a fall during the night.

Memory Care Community C – “If she got up at 2:00 AM, the motion sensors go off and a care manager goes into her room immediately. There are two care managers and a nurse. She will be assessed. If she is okay they will try to help her complete what she was trying to do initially, like going to the bathroom. If the fall is major, then the care manager will go to the hospital with them. If it is not major, she will be continually monitored every 15 minutes.”

Does someone go with the dementia resident if they go out 911? Yes!

Diane’s Opinion: This was the most impressive answer I received to my question. This community had a nurse on staff 24-7 and was priced at the high end of memory care communities. Bad news: My mother-in-law lived at this memory care community and fell. The answer they gave above does not match the reality of what happened. My mother-in-law was found on the floor beside her bed for an undetermined amount of time. Fortunately, she did not have to go out 911.

Memory Care Community D – “A motion sensor goes off, we assess her, and the nurse can be called. We are hesitant to send them out 911 unless absolutely necessary. We do send them out if they have had a head injury. Some places just call 911 but it is too hard on the families. A staff member will go with them to the emergency room.”

Does someone go with the dementia resident if they go out 911? Yes!

Diane’s Opinion: This memory care community had a nurse 14 hours a day. The longer they have a nurse on staff in a 24-hour period of time the more likely they have enough staffing to accompany a resident to the emergency room. Good news: My mother-in-law lived at this memory care community too. She fell and they did accompany her out 911 on several occasions. Thank you!

What Happens When a Senior Falls at 2:00 AM in Assisted Living?

This is a vital question that you need to ask in order to evaluate and choose an assisted living or memory care community for your loved one. Be proactive. Be an advocate. When someone has dementia it is very difficult for them if you pull them out of their normal routine, it can mess them up for days or weeks depending upon the severity of his or her dementia. Assisted living and memory care communities should not send out a dementia resident without accompaniment. My poor mother was always terrified and disoriented at the emergency room.

What has been your experience?

Your Senior Housing Options,” has a simplistic title, but what’s inside this new book can save a you months of research time.  Hear Diane Masson’s interview of how her mother and in-law’s faced the pivotal decision to plan ahead or wait until a crisis.  Learn the pitfalls from transitioning from your home to senior housing.  Understand what questions to ask, insider tips and dirty secrets revealed.  The decision to stay home requires caregivers.  Prevent elder abuse by determining if a home care agency is reputable, before they move into your home.  You are just not looking for today’s needs, but for your future care.  Discover key differences between rental facilities vs Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  Do you have enough financial resources if you need to be in a higher level of care for an extended period of time?  For weekly tips join at: 

Diane Masson has worked in senior housing for 17 years and is the regional marketing director for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern CA (Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet).  Her first book “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” is being utilized by senior housing professionals across the country.  Both her first book and second book, “Your Senior Housing Options,” have a 5-star rating on