Save the Date for Senior Living Week 2015

2015 SLW - Save the Date

2015 SLW - Save the Date2


2104 Senior Living Week Workshops

Senior Living Week is a FREE opportunity to gather information and resources to help you and your loved ones make decisions for better living as you age. This year, there will be 13 workshops – 3 at the Senior Living Week Expo on Friday, May 2nd and 10 throughout Senior Living Week. This is your chance to hear from and speak with experts in health, memory loss, downsizing and moving, financial issues, legal issues, inter-generational communications, and more. Click on the dates below to learn more about the workshop topics and where they will be held.

Friday, May 2

Monday, May 5

Tuesday, May 6

Wednesday, May 7

Thursday, May 8

Friday, May 9

Registration is encouraged as some locations have limited seating. Please contact         De Bora McIntosh at (734) 998-9338 for more information.

Workshop Registration_Page_1 Workshop Registration_Page_2

Care – When, What Kind, and Where?

One of the most common questions I am asked is when should care begin, closely followed by what kind of care and where.  The answers are not as clear as the milestones or benchmarks when raising our children.  Those tend to be age related and as our parents are demonstrating – age really is just a number and not necessarily reflective of wants or needs!  Our parents’ uniqueness as individuals has had a lifetime to grow, develop, and sometimes even become rigid or cast in stone.  There are no age-related growth and development charts for easy reference.  You can, however, visualize a pie chart with three equal pieces labeled Limitations and Medical Concerns, Quality of Life and Social Needs, and Financial Considerations. Begin filling theses pieces in, knowing there will be a time when the current arrangements will no longer work.

Functional limitations and medical concerns may include activities related to daily living such as nutrition, hygiene, dressing, activity (addressing literally how one gets around), medication, and chronic disease management.  Instrumental activities of daily living include how one interacts with their environment, such as preparing meals, doing laundry and housework, using the telephone, shopping, and driving.  Medical concerns like anti-coagulant therapy, memory impairment, visual or hearing limitations have a direct impact on daily living functions and need to be included here.  Try not to wait until the existing arrangement is not working!

Quality of life and social needs are not as easily measured.  These are the things that make us unique as individuals and one could argue – the most important consideration.  My father is a North Dakota native; farming is in his DNA.  His connection to nature and the land is amazing and unfailing.  Those are his guideposts for living.  He has made this piece of the pie very clear for us; he will not be leaving his beloved land and people.  For us, the where has been answered.  The when and what kind of care remains episodic, rather like a moving target, affording us plenty of practice in hope of getting it right.

Financial considerations are the black and white reality, though there is room for some creativity.  What kind of care and where balanced with quality of life requires ongoing learning and evaluation of the pie chart.  For many families this piece may not be clear.  Those of us raised in the 50s and 60s learned early on what our business was and what was not and we learned it well!  Having a clear financial reading provides clarity and opens discussion if there is going to be any creativity.  Assets, debt, and fixed incomes can all be successfully managed (no matter the level) once you have a clear picture.

Learning when care is needed, what kind of care and where, is as individual and unique as your parents are.  There is no one size fits all solution.  Continued evaluation and understanding of the pie chart will increase your chances of hitting the moving target!  Making informed decisions with or for your loved one requires due diligence and heart.

Senior Living Week, presented by UM Housing Bureau for Seniors, is an opportunity to begin or continue understanding when care is needed, what kind of care, and of course where.  Start filling in the pie chart at Senior Living Week 2014!  Beginning Friday, May 2nd and continuing through Saturday May 10th, there are workshops, open houses, free health screenings, and an Expo at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, with something for everyone.  There is free parking and free admission, so mark your calendar!

Learn more about how Certified Geriatric Care Managers can perform an assessment to help determine the needs of an elder loved one and find the right resources.  Certified Managers may also conduct a review of financial, legal and medical issues and refer your family to appropriate specialists.  Learn more about counseling, coping with illness, grief and loss, and planning for the future.  Learn what Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance will and will not cover.  Also, gather firsthand information from local resources to help you make informed decisions.  Just as important, learn why Ann Arbor is one of the leading retirement cities, our weather notwithstanding!  Please join this collaborative effort to share resources and information and start planning today!


Contributed by Rawlin Myers

Are You Ready?

ValDeskFlat-1_edited-2It’s time for Senior Living Week 2014 and this year there is more information and resources to offer our community than ever before! Thanks largely to the due diligence of the Housing Bureau for Seniors, this year’s offerings are a reflection of community feedback through the years about what our residents and families need. Care Response Home Care began participating in 2006 and can speak to the progressive event changes keeping pace with community needs. We are honored to be this year’s Event Sponsor, knowing there is something for everyone and admission is free!

Aging in Ann Arbor continues to make headlines. From the 2008 AARP ranking of the healthiest U.S. City for retirement, to the 2012 report released by the Milken Institute citing Ann Arbor among a number of cities for the community support of their aging population. Encouraging factors include public transportation, strong health care systems, wellness, and living arrangements. Also mentioned were financial well-being, employment, community engagement, multiple universities, education, and overall learning environment. It would appear the country is catching up with what we have always known!

Planning for retirement can be overwhelming, so gathering information from multiple sources is a great place to start. There are several considerations including financial, lifestyle preferences, and ultimately the health and well-being of you or your loved one. Using this ‘three legged stool’ approach, you begin to paint a unique picture for planning.

My experience helping clients and families determine their unique picture usually begins with lifestyle preferences which makes sense as we know where and how we want to live. Having a financial and healthcare overview is often not as clear but there are professionals who can help you navigate these sometimes complex pathways. As a certified Geriatric Care Manager, I have a duty and an obligation to those I serve to stay current with the new retirement frontier. The good news is we have many options here in Ann Arbor; the perhaps less than good news is there is an overwhelming amount of particulars to sift through to arrive at an informed decision!

Elder law attorneys, estate planning specialists, assisted living facilities, respite care, home medical equipment companies, organization and downsizing experts, and geriatric nursing services are a few of the resources available during Senior Living Week. If your preference is socializing and an array of activity choices, you may want to learn more about retirement communities and downsizing. If your preference is to safely age in place in your home, you may want to learn more about private duty care, home healthcare services, and home modification services available in Washtenaw County. If you are just beginning your quest and have limited time, you may want to attend the Expo and gather all pertinent information available. The Expo, Health Screenings, Workshops, and Open Houses really do offer something for everyone. There is a lot to see and do so take advantage of this annual opportunity. Planning for retirement and long term care can be challenging but you don’t have to navigate it alone.

Care Response Home Care has provided individualized private duty services and dementia care in and around Ann Arbor for more than 10 years. Owned and managed by Registered Nurses, we are proud to now offer certified Geriatric Care Management services. Our experienced nurses foster informed decision making by identifying risks and helping clients make smart home health care choices. We strive to respectfully and compassionately meet the needs of our clients and their families, by listening, planning, educating and delivering the highest standard of individualized care. Our goal is to offer dependable client-centered home care services, one client and one family at a time. We want to thank the Housing Bureau for Seniors once again for the opportunity to serve our community and look forward to this promising event. We look forward to seeing you there!

–Valerie Dockter

Legal Issues for Seniors to Consider

Logo small (2)Legacy Law Center is proud to participate in Senior Living Week once again this spring.  Each year, our law firm hosts a booth at the Expo, and we enjoy getting to meet a wide variety of attendees and other professionals.  Terrence A. Bertram, our firm’s senior attorney, will be speaking on some estate planning basics that everyone should know.

Legacy Law Center is a firm in Ann Arbor that particularly specializes in elder law and estate planning.  The specific areas of law we practice include wills and trusts; powers of attorney to cover both  health care decisions and financial and legal decisions; decedent’s estates; Medicaid and Veteran’s benefits counseling and qualification; and guardianship and conservatorship  law.  Additionally, we serve as probate mediators, or neutral parties trained in facilitating peaceful resolutions among family members about issues that arise in caring for an aging loved one.

terry_bertramTerry’s presentation will cover the types of documents that should comprise a complete estate plan, and how to go about making the decisions and elections required in your plan.  Many interesting things are currently happening in the estate planning arena, so Terry will also have his pick of an array of special topics to cover in his presentation.  I will address just two of them here.

One topic that is of perennial interest and importance is the need to have a valid health care power of attorney so that someone you trust always has the authority to make medical decisions for you in the event that you cannot.  Health care powers of attorney are a vital piece of your estate planning tool kit, yet statistics show that far too many people are still putting off executing this simple document that can save so much pain and uncertainty for your loved ones.

Second, since last October, we’ve been kept particularly busy by changes in the laws that govern powers of attorney in Michigan.  One of the main changes is a new requirement that your durable power of attorney have a signed acceptance page.  In effect, the person you nominate to act on your behalf, if you become unable to do so, now has to sign an agreement stating that they will act in your best interest.  Powers of attorney that were executed prior to October 2012 are still effective, but because banks and financial institutions are not required to accept them, we have recommended to our clients that they consider an update.

We are eager to participate in Senior Living Week 2013 and we hope to see you there.

Health Care Reform: What does it Mean for Seniors?

On Thursday, September 13th the Housing Bureau for Seniors held our annual meeting where Dr. Aaron David Cooke gave a presentation on this topic. Here is a synopsis of his presentation.

Dr. Cooke is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System. His presentation does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Michigan Health System.


What is in the Bill: 

Expanded patient protections

  • Eliminates pre-existing conditions clauses after 2014
  • No lifetime limits on care
  • New appeals process
  • Patient’s Bill of Rights

Cost Controls

  • Limit insurance overhead spending to no more than 15%
  • Insurance plans must justify 10%+ premium increases
  • Reduce Medicaid/Medicare fraud
  • Change payment model – quality, rather than quantity
  • Promote preventive care


  • Eligibility expanded to cover those at or below 133% of poverty (monthly income for 1 individual up from $931 to $1238, for 2 persons from $1261/month to $1677/month)


  • Annual health maintenance visit
  • Preventive services covered (and no co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles on these services) including colon cancer screening, mammograms, osteoporosis screening, cholesterol testing, blood pressure screening, more immunizations, dietary counseling for high-risk patients and smoking cessation
  • Closure of the “Donut Hole”
  • o By 2020, once patients have spent over $2830 on medications, they will have a 50% brand-name discount and a 25% co-pay.  Once patients reach the catastrophic range of over $6440, they will have a 5% copay
  • o Over the next 8 years, there will be increasing coverage for generic drugs

What is NOT in the Bill:

  • Death panels
  • Euthanasia
  • Setting maximum, lifetime limits on care
  • Health care rationing (limit health care procedures based on age)
  • Outlawing private insurance
  • Jail time for refusing to buy health insurance
  • Free health care for illegal immigrants

During this political season there’s been a lot of talk about the “Ryan Plan” and how it differs from the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the major provisions:


Affordable Care Act (ACA)

“Ryan Plan”

Individual Mandate Implements Eliminates
Insurance Exchanges and Premium Support Implements Eliminates
Medicare Eligibility Age Remains 65 Age begins to rise in 2022 until reaches 67 years old in 2033. In 2022 closes Medicare enrollment for persons turning 65, who will then receive $8,000/yr towards private health insurance
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Donut Hole Eliminates by 2020 Revert to pre-ACA, individuals pay 100% of annual medication costs between $2830-6440
Services Covered Retains current structure, adding preventive care benefits Minimum coverage standards; otherwise determined by individual insurance plans
Spending Growth Caps Limits spending increases to GDP growth + 5%If spending exceeds cap, payment advisory board recommends cuts, but not in benefits or coverage Limits spending increases to GDP growth + 5%Premium support payments are subject to a hard cap
Cost Control Mechanisms Reduce payments to providers, limit insurance overhead, pay-for-performance, best research practices, independent advisory board Assumes that free market competition will reduce costs
Medicaid Changes States encouraged to increase eligibility to 133% of povertyMaintains current federally-determined payment/benefit structureMaintains asset protection for community-residing spouse Eliminates expansion to 133% of povertyConvert Medicaid to fixed block grants, indexed for inflation but do not keep pace with costs. States set eligibility and benefits.Assets of both spouses considered for Medicaid coverage of nursing home payments; some seniors may lose nursing home care coverage

Want to know more? Check out these Web sites!