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Pu A Spring InYour Step...Do Something Fun!

Posted on March 19, 2018 at 9:07 AM Comments comments ()
Dear Friends,

Often our clients say they have a limited budget and entertainment/going out  is expensive. So, I have decided to try to find something fun or purpose-driven to do that is no or low cost for the first week of Spring.

With the latest issue of Mimi's Magazine in hand, I circled all of the areas that interested me on Mimi's Calendar. Here's a sampling of local happenings.
- Planning for the Future, a free lecture at Huntington Woods Rehab Center in Westlake on March 20th.440.835.5661
- Forget-Me-Not-Cafe, a free arts enrichment and socialization cafe for memory loss, a the Farrell Foundation Studio in Westlake. 440.414.0434, ext. 2
- Glass Etching, create your own glass plate, at Bay Village Library 440.871.6392
- Drop In and Download, learn how to use E-books and emagazines and more at the Bay Village Library on Wednesdays. 440.871.6392
- Wow Factor 150 Yea5rs of Collecting Bold Clothes, at Porter Library, on March 22nd, 440.871.2600
- 4th Annual Angels on the Avenue, Rocky River Civic Center, March 24th, 440.360.0640.

I'm amazed, there seems to be something for everyone from craft shows, to free art and poetry classes, to nutrition lectures and more. So, do a little homework at the beginning of each week and you too will discover free movies, concerts and tours through our beautiful MetroParks.  Truly, the list is endless. Check my blog for ideas, or request our newsletter for additional ideas by calling me at 440.360.9010 or emailing me at [email protected]

Here's to putting a spring in your step, Jane

P.S.To get on Mimi's mailing list call 1.800.866.0107

Winter Blahs

Posted on February 22, 2018 at 9:32 AM Comments comments ()
I find myself longing for sunlight and fresh air. How about you? These past few days Mother Nature reminded us of what's right around the corner. With temperatures in the 60's, a welcoming, warm breeze, people in shorts walking their dogs, my mood picked up and a smile crossed my face. 

Remember, spring is only 25 days away. So, plan your garden or flower pot, begin to bring out your lighter clothes from hiding. Keep an eye out for many of our favorite signs of life: birds, daffodils, tulips, and yes sunshine. Brighter days ae just around the corner. 

Bring it on,Jane

Today's Affirmation: I love life and life loves me.

Getting Organized

Posted on January 15, 2018 at 3:39 PM Comments comments ()
I always like to start the New Year out on a fresh note. That means everything is in its place with minimum clutter.

Many of you know, last year I moved from a home with 3,000 square feet to an 800 square foot condo. I must say I have no regrets. My new mantra is, "Small spaces, work less and live more"

I find that the downsizing and ridding myself of clutter has made me happier, with a feeling of control. I have surrounded myself with things that I truly love, so my home is my sanctuary.

I couldn't have done this without the help of The Lang Group. Located in Lakewood, this small, and mighty company is comprised of a trustworthy team who have a penchant for organization. The team's leader, Natalie Lang was super to work with. Before, one thing was moved, we talked about a strategy for getting the job done and created a vision for what the end product would look like.

If you're looking around your home and are eager to get a fresh start, may I suggest calling The Lang Group for a complimentary consultation. The services are affordable, and they are are locally owned, and operated. For more information contact: 216.255.0634 or [email protected]

Happy New Year - Together, Let's Make a Difference

Posted on January 8, 2018 at 6:58 PM Comments comments ()
It's a New Year, a time to examine and reset. While I don't establish resolutions, I have adopted one simple goal. Every month I plan to honor someone whom I have encountered with a letter recognizing their good work, demonstrated kindness and compassion. I plan to send it or personally present it to the individual and to their supervisor.

Imagine what would happen if everyone did this. The world would be a better place. So, I am challenging my readers to do the same and Make A Difference in someone's day or life starting in 2018.

As always, please share your results.

Here's to spreading joy,

Visual Stimulation and Memory Support

Posted on July 6, 2016 at 7:14 PM Comments comments ()
Try these ideas at home when caring for someone who requires memory support.
Visual Stimulation – Aside from the brain, the eye is the most complex and incredible organ in the animal world. Vision is our most important sense, the one through which we gain most of our information, and the one that offers the broadest range of possibilities for stimulation.
As long as there is light, everything is visible, and potentially stimulating. Simply, vision is what happens when light enters the eye and is turned into electrical impulses by the eye’s retina. These impulses travel along the optic nerve to the occipital cortex of the brain. The brain then “sees” the image that the eye sends. Visual stimulation is brain stimulation, and brain stimulation is what we are after.
Visual stimulation for people who have Alzheimer’s can involve light, color, shape, or motion, or a combination of those elements. Gently animated lights, kaleidoscopes, colorful paintings, nature movies, fiber optic Christmas trees, a glorious sunset: all examples of visual stimulation. Some can have the added benefit of stimulating memory: a sunset might dredge up a memory of a similar sunset in the person’s past. He may remember a classic painting from a visit to a museum or from an Art Appreciation class in college. Light for visual stimulation.A most basic form of visual stimulation for Alzheimer’s and dementia is bright light therapy. This is totally passive, but can be effective for sleep and mood enhancement, especially in winter. Not everyone has access to a light source as bright as is needed for this, so provide much opportunity as possible to be in direct sunlight. Other sources of light, especially if they move or change color, provide a different type of visual stimulation. Avoid overly bright lights, except for lights that have been designed specifically for bright-light therapy, Also avoid lights that appear to move quickly or flash as these can cause confusion and over-stimulation. If you can find one, or still have one, the Lava Lamp® is a good source of soothing light stimulation. Don’t forget natural light. Bright objects that hang in the window, or even outside, and reflect the rays of the sun; stained glass trinkets that color the sunlight and allow it to shine through; mirrors that reflect incoming light and brighten the room; these all add stimulating possibilities to the environment.                                                                                                                                            Visual Stimulation for Alzheimer’s and Dementia,
By John Schmid on October 22, 2009 Alternative Therapy, Sensory Stimulation

Add these foods to your summe meal plans

Posted on May 31, 2016 at 12:01 PM Comments comments ()

Food For Thought

Ah summer—an amazing time of year when fresh produce abounds. Many of summer’s fruits and vegetables are brimming with secret health benefits. Here are four particularly good food and beverage choices in the summer—as reported on in EatingWell Magazine.   Nothing says summer like fresh sweet corn. Did you know that two antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—in corn may act like natural sunglasses, helping to form macular pigment that filters out some of the sun’s damaging rays? It’s true. The same antioxidants may also help lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration—the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60.  

Eating tomatoes could give you a little extra protection from the sun: consuming more lycopene—the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red -may protect your skin from sunburn. In one study, participants who were exposed to UV light had almost 50 percent less skin reddening after they ate 2 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  

Watermelon helps us to stay hydrated, keeps our memory sharp and
our mood stable. It also helps keep your body cool (by sweating) during hot summer months. The good news is that you don’t just have to drink water. You can eat it, too: in addition to delivering skin-protecting lycopene, watermelon is 92 percent water.  

Sure, a tall glass of iced tea on a hot day is refreshing, but did you know it might also do your body good? Studies show if you drink tea regularly, you may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes, plus have healthier teeth, gums and stronger bones. Tea is rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids. Regardless of the variety—black, green, oolong, white or herbal—maximize the power of tea’s flavonoids by drinking it freshly brewed.

Tickle Your Funny Bone

Posted on March 22, 2016 at 6:56 PM Comments comments ()
Everyone loves a good laugh. If you're in this category try reading Getting Old Ain’t for Wimps, by Karen O'Connor. It’s chockful of inspirations and stories to warm your heart and tickle your funny bone.

In the chapter entitled: They Say the Darndest Things, you’ll find the following short story. Mary Beth observed her sister-in-law showing pictures of herself when she was young to her granddaughter Audrey. The two enjoyed leafing though the album that displayed Grandma from birth to adulthood. As they closed the album, Audrey’s Grandma looked at her to see what comment, if any she had about seeing her as a child and a teen. It’s hard for little kids to imagine that adults were ever children themselves. Audrey looked up, then turned to her Grandmother with a quizzical expression. “Grandma, whatever happened to your face?”  You’ve changed!

Each story is followed by a heartfelt reflection and more.Pick up a copy at your local library or book store. It's a Hoot!

Fall Back - Time Change

Posted on October 4, 2015 at 6:38 PM Comments comments ()
I am sure you have noticed that our daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter. Tonight I observed that it was turning dusk at about 7:30PM. I also noticed that I began to yawn, and I believe that my energy level decreased too. It couldn't be time to go to bed already, could it?

Later I spoke with my friend who is a dementia expert and she said, imagine what it must be like for some with dementia. She went on to say that often, as the seasons change and daylight hours grow shorter caregivers may notice an increase in  sundowning in the person for whom they provide care.

WEB MD states,"If you’re caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, you may have noticed big changes in how they act in the late afternoon or early evening. Doctors call it sundowning, or sundown syndrome.It seems to be triggered by fading light, and the symptoms can get worse as the night goes on.

Sundowning can make caring for someone extra-challenging. They may be:
  • Agitated
  • Restless
  • Irritable
  • Confused
  • Disoriented
  • Demanding
  • Suspicious

 They also may
  • Yell
  • Pace
  • Hear or see things
  • Have mood swings
Up to 1 out of 5 people with Alzheimer’s get sundown syndrome. But it can also happen to older people without dementia.It usually starts during the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Sundowning symptoms fade as the disease gets worse. What Causes It?We don’t know for sure why sundowning happens.Some scientists think that changes in the brain of someone with dementia might mess up their internal body clock. The area of the brain that signals when you’re awake or asleep breaks down in people with Alzheimer’s. That might cause sundowning.Other things might trigger it, such as being:
  • Too tired
  • Hungry or thirsty
  • Depressed
  • In pain
  • Bored
Sleep troubles can also play a role. About one-third of people over age 65 have problems nodding off and staying asleep.What’s happening around someone can also set off sundowning symptoms. Some triggers are:
  • Less light and more shadows in the house. This can cause confusion and fear.
  • Trouble separating dreams from reality. This can be disorienting.
  • When you're tired or frustrated at the end of a day caring for someone, he or she can pick up on it, even without you saying anything. This can make them agitated too.

What can a caregiver do to help a loved one who is sundowning?

  • Note what things seem to trigger it.
  • Keep a daily routine with regular times for waking up, meals, and going to sleep.
  • Schedule appointments, outings, visits, and have bath time in the earlier part of the day. That's likely when they’ll likely feel their best.
  • Avoid giving your loved one stimulants like nicotine and alcohol. Make sure if they have sweets and caffeine that they just do it in the morning.
  • Either avoid naps or keep them brief and early in the day.
  • Make a big lunch, but keep their evening meal smaller and simple.
  • Don’t let them exercise later than 4 hours before bedtime.
  • In the evening, close curtains and blinds and turn on lights. Darkness and shadows can make agitation worse.
  • In the late afternoon and evening, cut out as much distraction as you can. Limit things like TV and loud music. Tell other family members (especially kids) or visitors not to make too much noise.
  • Get rid of clutter in your loved one's room.
  • Fix the room temperature so they're comfortable.
  • Try calming things: Put on relaxing music, read, play cards, or go for a walk to wind down.

How Should a Caregiver React?
  • Stay calm.
  • Ask your loved one if they need something.
  • Remind them what time it is.
  • Don’t argue with them.
  • Be reassuring. Tell them everything is OK.
  • If they need to get up and move around or pace, don’t try to hold them back. Just stay close by to keep an eye on them.
  • Keep them safe with night lights and locks on doors or windows. Use a gate to block the stairs, and put away anything dangerous, like kitchen tools.
Also, consider getting a baby monitor, motion detectors, or door sensors. They can let you know if your loved one is walking around.

About VA Benefits

Posted on May 24, 2015 at 8:32 PM Comments comments ()
First, let me say thank you to all those individuals who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. 

I have both a grateful heart and much respect for Veteran's and their families. At SCS we proudly serve Veteran's and seek out ways to better educate individuals about benefits to which they may be entitled. To that end, I am posting the following information made available at which is an outstanding resource for elder care and services. 

Applying for Veterans Benefits Can Be Confusing for Caregivers
"What are the VA benefits for veterans and their caregivers, and how do I know if my loved one is eligible?"
Believe it or not, this is the most common question caregivers ask Debbie Burak, founder of, about applying for veterans benefits. As the daughter of a WWII veteran, Burak is intimately familiar with the challenges that caregivers face when dealing with the VA. For nine years, she looked after parents who never had enough money to pay for their care needs. It was only after years of scraping together every dollar they could find that Burak discovered her parents had been entitled to approximately $165,000 in VA benefits that they'd never received.

"I'll never forget the expression on Mom's face when she realized the money she desperately needed was never going to come," Burak laments. The experience, as devastating as it was, inspired her to advocate for aging and ailing veterans, and to create a website that provides information for veterans and their caregivers.

Confusion about applying for veterans benefits
Eligibility may be the key question for many caregivers, but there are several other areas of confusion and misinformation that could significantly impact the finances of people seeking to obtain VA benefits:

The VA doesn't recognize Power of Attorney (POA): "A POA is worthless to the VA," says Burak. "It has no standing; no merit." This revelation often comes as a shock to caregivers who are used to hearing about the necessity of getting a POA as part of planning ahead for elderly care. In order to manage a legally incompetent veteran's financial affairs, an individual must be officially appointed as the veteran's fiduciary, according to Burak.

You can expedite a VA application: The VA has specific rules in place to expedite the applications of people age 90 and older. If your loved one is in this age group, make sure that the VA office that's handling their application is aware of this.

You don't have to be ill to get Aid & Attendance: One little-known element of the VA program is that when a veteran turns 65 they are considered 100 percent disabled in the eyes of the VA. This means that they could be eligible for the lowest level of Aid & Attendance assistance, even if they have no major health conditions.

Benefits get cut off when a veteran dies: If a veteran dies before their spouse, any Veteran Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefits being received by the couple will immediately cease. "People are just devastated to learn this because they're grieving and trying to make arrangements, and now they get to sit down and play the VA shell game all over again," she says. The "shell game" Burak is referring to is the one that requires the surviving spouse to submit a completely new application to the VA to get their benefits reinstated. Along with a death certificate, the surviving spouse (or their caregiver) must supply additional information and documents, including the deceased spouse's discharge papers; their marriage certificate; information regarding their income, assets and expenses; a physician's statement that details the surviving spouse's medical diagnosis and whether or not they can take care of themselves; and a statement from their long-term care provider (assisted living community, home care agency, etc.) that details their new cost of care information. Even if these documents have already been submitted to the VA, they all must be re-sent after a veteran dies. According to Burak, the average time to award a widow's pension is 10-12 months after it's been submitted, so it's important to start this process as soon as possible after a veteran passes.

What happens when you call the VA's 1-800 number: Burak has another tip for caregivers who call the VA to check on a loved one's application status. Make sure you're talking to the local VA office that services the area in which your loved one lives. Be aware that the 1-800 number for the VA automatically routes a caller to the VA office that's nearest to them. For long-distance caregivers, this is most likely not the same office that's in charge of their loved one's account. If the VA office they're directed to is not the same one that's handling their loved one's application, the caregiver won't be able to obtain any information since VA offices are not allowed to pull files on beneficiaries or applicants who do not live in their area.

In recognition of Memorial Day,

April is National Parkinson's Month

Posted on April 25, 2015 at 10:01 AM Comments comments ()
As we round the corner on the last week of April, I would like to encourage readers to continue to learn more about Parkinson's disease.  Since April is National Parkinson's Month several of you have come forward with interesting questions.

Let the dialogue continue long after April is over, as well as your support of those organizations who provide much needed information, services and research to better understand this disease and eradicate it. 

Parkinson's disease or Parkinson's-like symptoms have affected my family, many of our clients at Senior Concierge Services and their families. So, it is something that is very close to my heart. It is life changing.

I encourage you to visit several websites for more information:
  • National Parkinson Foundation at
  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation at

Here's to a better understanding,