WILKES-BARRE — It’s been known that most seniors want to stay at home as they age — about 94 percent, according to research from Home Instead, Inc.
But, what it means to age in place is changing. Today, one in four older adults plan to move to a new home to age in place.
To help seniors make plans for where to age, the five Home Instead Senior Care offices serving Northeast Pennsylvania are introducing new resources to navigate options and select what “home” means for individuals.
“We know how important it is for older adults to feel a sense of independence as they age. For many, that means staying in the same home where they raised children and created a lifetime of memories,” says Robert Vielee, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care offices in Clarks Summit and Tannersville. “But, now we also see a growing number of seniors who are choosing a new home to live in as they age. One that is better suited to their wish to remain independent. Whatever their wishes, we want to provide the resources to help with that decision and to help them make a plan.”
For some seniors, the decision to look for a new home as they age is a practical one, with the top desired features including single floor living (85 percent), easy maintenance (84 percent) or low cost of maintenance (83 percent). For those who want to continue to age in their current homes, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) have also considered age-friendly modifications, such as adding grab bars to bathrooms or other safety measures.
While many older adults have given thought to how they will age in place – and know they want to stay at home in some way – many still have work to do when it comes to finalizing plans. Just one in four seniors surveyed report having specific plans for where they will live as they become older. That’s where Home Instead wants to help.
The new “Home Your Own Way” program from Home Instead Senior Care offers a wealth of free resources for seniors and families to assess needs and options, and to determine what aging in place might look like for them.
“There are so many factors to consider when talking about where you may want to live as you age and what makes sense for you,” says Alyssa Maria, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care in Luzerne. “The conversation needs to include not only the physical space, such as accessibility and safety precautions in the home, but also emotional elements such as memories, companionship and sense of community. We want to help seniors think through both these areas to determine what best fits their needs.”
For older adults who want to stay in their homes — either a current or new home — some seek assistance to make it possible. A professional caregiver can help address the physical demands of aging, such as personal care or Alzheimer’s care, as well as the emotional aspects, like companionship.
Whether seniors age in their current home, downsize, move to a senior living community or choose to live with relatives, the goal of the Home Your Own Way program is to help them make an informed choice about where to live as they age.
To learn more about defining home your own way visit www.HomeYourOwnWay.com or, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office or visit www.homeinstead.com for details on how seniors may navigate this important life decision.
Voters should request absentee
ballots early for May Primary
Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar this week encouraged eligible Pennsylvania voters to submit applications for primary election absentee ballots before the May 14 deadline.
Under the state election code, applications for absentee ballots must be received no later than one week before Election Day. For this year’s May 21 primary election, the deadline falls on Tuesday, May 14. Voted ballots must be received by the appropriate county election office by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 17.
“The election code sets a tight turnaround time — just four days — between the last day Pennsylvania voters can request an absentee ballot and when their completed absentee ballot must be received,” Boockvar said. “That’s why it’s important to request an absentee ballot well in advance to ensure the vote is received in time to be counted.”
Absentee ballots may be cast by individuals with illnesses or disabilities, individuals who will be away from their municipality on business on Election Day, Pennsylvania students attending out-of-state colleges or universities, and deployed members of the military.
Completed ballots may be returned in person or mailed to the voter’s county election office. The voted ballots must be received in the county office by 5 p.m. the Friday before the May 21 primary. A timely postmark is not sufficient.
Absentee ballots voted by members of the military deployed overseas will be received until 5 p.m. May 28 by county boards of elections.
Comprehensive information about absentee ballots, including a downloadable request form (PDF), can be found at the Department of State’s website votesPA.com.
Applicants will be asked to supply basic voter registration information and to specify a reason for applying to vote absentee.
Pennsylvanians applying for an absentee ballot must provide their driver’s license or PennDOT ID number. If they do not have a driver’s license or PennDOT ID, they must give the last four digits of their Social Security number. If a voter has neither, he or she must present a copy of an acceptable photo ID. A list of approved alternative types of identification (PDF) is available at votesPA.com.
An absentee voter can designate someone else to deliver the absentee application and ballot if he or she is physically unable to do so. Certification of Designated Agent forms (PDF) are also available online.
For additional information, call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.
Department of Health warns
of dangers of indoor tanning
Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine this week encouraged all Pennsylvanians to be aware of the dangers of indoor tanning, which can cause cancer and eye conditions.
“Indoor tanning is dangerous and can lead to numerous health issues that can impact individuals for the rest of their lives,” Levine said. “This time of year is very popular for people, especially high-school aged students, to go into tanning booths because of events such as prom and graduation. It is important to remember that tanning is illegal for minors 16 and younger, and parents who know their minor is tanning indoors are also breaking the law. Additionally, a 17-year old is only allowed to tan with written permission from a parent or guardian.”
All indoor tanning facilities are required to register with the department to operate. Those facilities that are not registered are operating illegally. All Pennsylvanians should know that tanning at an unregistered facility is against the law.
Even though indoor tanning devices operate on a timer, the exposure to UV rays can vary, depending on your age and type of light bulbs used. It is possible to get a burn from indoor tanning. A tan is the body’s method of responding to the effect of UV rays and is a form of injury. Having a base tan does not protect you from future damage to your skin, or from being sunburned.
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause numerous health effects such as cataracts and eye cancer. Indoor tanning can also cause skin cancer. Types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.
Melanomas often resemble moles, and some develop from moles. This is why it is so important that if you have a mole that seems abnormal or seems to be changing, to have it looked at by a physician. Melanoma that is recognized and treated early is almost always curable. If not detected early, it can spread and be fatal.
Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in Pennsylvania, with nearly 3,700 new cases in 2016. One in 41 Pennsylvanians are at risk of developing melanoma in their lifetime. While nearly 90 percent of people who develop melanoma survive, in 2016, 388 people died from this cancer.
Avoiding tanning and UV tanning beds is one of the best ways to prevent melanoma and other skin cancers. In addition, it is important to prevent sunburns by using sunscreen that contains broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) coverage with an SPF of 30 or higher. Newborns and others at risk of issues from the sun should prevent exposure.
For more information on indoor tanning or skin cancer, visit the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov or on Facebook and Twitter.