just for older adults
WHY are people unprepared for the AGING PROCESS ?
for adults & children
A PLAN FOR
A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO CHARLIE YOUNG
s families prepare to reunite for the holidays, there is much reflection on years past, celebration of family traditions, the anticipation of Mom’s family-favorite apple pie while creating new memories
that strengthen the family bond. At this time of year, there is nothing more valued than family, especially as we witness the aging of our parents. At some point, a role reversal takes place where adult children become the protectors of their aging parents, much like their parents did for them growing up. We encourage adult children spending time with aging parents to consider giving them a special gift. It’s the gift of care, or better said, the gift of understanding parents’ wishes as they age. This holiday season may be the perfect opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with parents to truly understand how they want to live their golden years. Are there hobbies they want to pursue? Places they want to visit? And most importantly, do they want to stay in their home? Understanding their intentions today will help prepare you for the future. I’m sure it’s no surprise that the recent AARP report indicates that 90% of adults, 50 years or older, want to age in the home they love. To honor parents’ wishes and ensure their well-being and safety, it may be time to consider a little help with daily living from SYNERGY HomeCare for your parents. Honoring parents’ wishes is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Whether you have a meaningful conversation with your parents this holiday season or not, just know that there will be a time when you’re ready, or perhaps when they’re ready. One thing we know for sure is that being prepared for your parents’ needs as they age is a gift you can give yourself. In fact, we’d like to help you navigate your parents’ journey so that you can be prepared for what may come. Our gift to you this holiday season is our 20-page Ultimate Family Caregiver Guide that is an essential tool for every family with aging loved ones. It’s chock-full of everything you need to know about caring for loved ones, what to expect and it even includes how to have that meaningful conversation! Enjoy the season.
SCAN TO DOWNLOAD THE
Family Caregiver Guide
Charlie Young Volume
11, Issue 3.
Published by SYNERGY Home Care© 1757 E Baseline Rd, Bldg 6, Ste 124 , Gilbert, AZ 8 5 2 33
Finally, TV for older adults table of contents FINALLY, TV FOR OLDER ADULTS l PG. 3 WHY ARE PEOPLE SO UNPREPARED FOR THE AGING PROCESS? l PG. 5 A PLAN FOR SUCCESSFUL AGING l PG. 10 LIFE LESSONS FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN l PG. 12 WHY WE’RE HERE l PG. 14
altbox TV, the first free streaming platform designed to bring diverse, informative, and engaging programming to older adults, announced a partnership with SYNERGY HomeCare that allows its caregivers the opportunity to introduce the programming to its clients. This marks the first such arrangement between Saltbox TV and an in-home care provider. The agreement also allows SYNERGY HomeCare to provide original content to Saltbox TV. SYNERGY HomeCare, the fastest-growing home care franchise, has a presence in more than 400 U.S. markets. SYNERGY HomeCare franchisees and their caregivers can assist their clients to access Saltbox TV’s content library curated for older adults online at www.saltboxtv.com, or on Roku and Amazon Firestick devices. “We believe that our senior clients and their families deserve home care service that positively impacts them and allows them to move forward in their lives,” said Charlie Young, SYNERGY HomeCare CEO. “This relationship with Saltbox TV is another way that we can bring added benefits to our clients. Along with the entertainment options, we were
attracted to the Saltbox TV’s unique content, including programming on the aging process, dementia and Alzheimer’s, daily meditations, and senior fitness.” Saltbox TV’s interface is designed with older-adult friendly features, including easy to read text with increasable size options, a technical support hotline, and optimized high contrast color schemes. In addition, viewers can watch without creating a username or password. Viewers have a plethora of engaging content to choose from, with genres ranging from wellness and care, lifelong learning, arts and music, and everything in between. Some titles include Protect Your Loved Ones: Elder Care Law, A Positive Approach to Care with Teepa Snow, Just Ask Dr. Macie: The Social Gerontologist, Senior Fitness with Meredith, Chair Yoga with Kristin Cork, and nostalgic programs such as The Lucy Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Last Time I Saw Paris.
Free, easy and fun
Saltbox TV founders, and husband and wife duo, Jerry Goehring (TONY & GRAMMY-nominated Broadway/West End Producer) and Patty Carver (entertainer/writer) recognized a discrepancy between the prominence of digital media and lack of platforms dedicated to serving seniors, so they sought to change exactly that.
Saltbox TV is a free service and requires no account sign-ups or passwords. Through a simple and user-friendly platform, Saltbox TV welcomes even those with no technical experience to enjoy our robust content library. Featuring categories such Saltbox Originals, Wellness, Lifestyle, Lifelong Learning, Music, Nostalgic Television, Movies, and much more! Saltbox TV is a “one-stop” streaming platform for older adults. Visit www.saltboxtv.com for more information.
“This is more than just a channel to watch television; it’s a place that’s breaking the stigma and changing the culture around older adults,” said Patty Carver, Saltbox TV co-founder. “We are always excited to partner with not only leaders in the senior industry, but companies that share our mission, and that’s SYNERGY HomeCare.”
“The first-ever free streaming service created for older adults. Easy to use—no technical experience needed! It’s a game-changer!”
SYNERGY HomeCare provides a wide array of services, including personal care, companion care, and specialized care for individuals who are aging in place, physically or developmentally disabled, living with chronic health conditions or recovering from illness or surgery. 4
WHY ARE PEOPLE SO UNPREPARED FOR THE
ging is one of the biggest inevitabilities of life, but still, we’re almost never prepared for it. This disconnect is probably one of the biggest hurdles for ourselves and our aging loved ones, and very often, it isn’t properly acknowledged or addressed. At SYNERGY HomeCare, we have called this the “awareness chasm.” A recent collaboration with Anne Asman, MS, a Gerontologist at the University of Utah, helps to explain the reasons behind this phenomenon. 5
What is the “Awareness Chasm?” This chasm is the grey area that exists between adult children and their older parents when it comes to discussing and informing each other about the aging process. Both groups have two different views on the subject and many times it can be difficult to communicate these differences to the other party. As a result, many things are left unsaid which can delay when and how aging parents get the care they need. In a SYNERGY HomeCare
SYNERGY HomeCare survey of approximately 150 clients and their adult children, over 40% of adult children reported a strain in their relationships with their loved ones as a result of this difficulty communicating.
According to Charlie Young, CEO of SYNERGY HomeCare, the survey was an important tool to help improve care for aging adults. “We’ve witnessed the stressors that adult children face in caring for their parents and we wanted to gain insight into those challenges. Our goal is to allow our aging loved ones to have the confidence to live a fuller and happier life.”
The reasons behind the chasm THE PARENTAL PREDISPOSITION TO PROTECT According to Asman, a key reason for the disconnect between parent and child is that older parents will often attempt to protect their children from difficult or potentially heavy decisions, including discussing their own needs and feelings, future care plans or talks about finances or advanced directives. Very often, these topics are avoided entirely or downplayed by the parents for fear of burdening their children. 6
OF ADULT CHILDREN HAVE NOT DISCUSSED OR REVISED THEIR PARENTS’ WILL, TRUST, OR ADVANCED DIRECTIVE IN OVER TWO YEARS * Experts recommend once a year.
OF ADULT CHILDREN SAID IT WAS DIFFICULT TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CARE PLANS WITH THEIR PARENTS
Adult children have different priorities Similar to how older parents are focused on the wellbeing of their adult children, those children also naturally focus on their own younger kids. Asman says that this natural focus creates a missing piece in our ability to understand the needs of Mom and Dad, who typically receive less attention as the adult children build families of their own with more immediate priorities. This is often the reason that older parents don’t receive proper care or attention until a crisis arises or until there is already a dramatic decline.
OF ADULT CHILDREN FEEL WELL-PREPARED IF SOMETHING WERE TO SUDDENLY THREATEN THEIR PARENTS’ WELL-BEING
Aging adults want to continue teaching Even though their children are adults, Mom and Dad never want to stop teaching their kids. The lessons learned from the aging process are no exception, as Mom and Dad are often willing to approach this in tandem with their children so they can be better prepared when the time comes to do so themselves. An overwhelming 75% of older respondents believe that their children will be better prepared for their own old age than they were, as a result of this cooperation.
In order to properly address and avoid the awareness chasm, the ultimate solution is better communication. Asman says, “Adult children and their aging parents will need enhanced communication to better align. As more families make decisions on how their older loved ones can age in place, the relationship between adult children and their aging loved ones needs to evolve to prevent delays in providing appropriate care.”
OF ADULT RESPONDENTS WEREN’T MOTIVATED TO BEGIN THEIR AGING LOVED ONES’ CARE PLANS UNTIL AFTER THEY ALREADY NOTICED A DECLINE AND/OR A CRISIS SITUATION OCCURRED
A PLAN FOR
uch has been written about how Baby Boomers are turning notions about aging on its head. Every day we hear about ways they defy stereotypes of what it means to be a certain age. Not only do Boomers refuse to accept that aging brings unavoidable decline and illness, but they also refuse to accept that with aging comes oldness. What’s the difference between aging and oldness, then? Aging can be viewed as a process. We go on aging for years and years. It’s a matter of chronology. Oldness, however, is a state of mind. Oldness connotes frailty, inability, lacking vitality, a bleak outlook. But it’s possible to choose not to have that view of self just because we are a certain age. Indeed, studies have shown that beliefs of one’s self during aging may influence the course of aging: people with strong, positive attitudes toward aging tend to live about 7.5 years longer than those with negative attitudes.
For many Boomers, thinking positively about the aging process is perfectly manifested in how they approach retirement. For many, this transition from working to not working represents the start of a new life, not the entry into oldness. It’s a time that many look forward to and, not surprisingly, devote a lot of time toward planning. A big part of that planning relates to the financials, ensuring they’ll have enough money to fully enjoy a work-free life. But for some reason, they don’t spend as much time planning how to ensure they can enjoy a work-free life. That means investing in your health as much as you invest in your retirement account. Boomers have many ideas about what that work-free life will look like for them. But much of those aspirations depend on one’s ability to execute. While some aspects of health we can control, there are others we simply can’t. But the health issues that can often accompany chronological aging don’t have to contribute to feeling old if they are planned with intention. Understanding that makes it vital that planning for aging is an integral part of planning for retirement. As Boomers enter the first phase of retirement and consider where and how to live, let’s get them thinking about the later years of retirement, too. They should research their options now to age in place when the time comes. As Boomers perpetuate these positive changes, we will be at the forefront of guiding them to identify physicians, hospitals, rehab facilities, and even in-home care providers.
YEARS LONGER WHEN YOU
The reality is that today everyone wants to age successfully - without feeling old. And all of us working in this field can be a part of that success. By changing their mindset and their approach to include preparing for their elder years, they will indeed be golden!
HAVE A STRONG POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD AGING THAN THOSE WITH NEGATIVE ATTITUDES
FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN
hat’s the best life lesson your parents taught you? Maybe it was that honesty is the best policy. Or that there is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Or perhaps the value of adopting the practice of treating others as you would want to be treated.
current and long-term care options, we wanted to provide further insight for consumers on why the disconnect occurs. With our educational effort, our goal is to allow our aging loved ones to have the confidence to live a fuller and happier life. We worked with ASA member Anne Asman, a gerontologist at the University of Utah’s Department of Psychiatry, to dig a little deeper into the psychological factors contributing to this awareness chasm. We found that seniors possess a biological predisposition to protect their children. Thus the standard line, “I don’t want to be a burden to my kids.” At the same time, their adult children are wired to focus on the wellbeing of their own kids. They therefore seemingly only react to assist Mom and Dad in a crisis.
Typically, parents front-load life lessons early in their children’s lives. But when the children become adults, parents still maintain a desire to teach them. It’s in their parental DNA. What’s also in their parental predisposition is to protect their children from anything uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that can lead to an awareness gap – a chasm really – where aging loved ones do not share enough information about their health with their kids. At the same time, families often struggle to connect on care plans, finances, insurance coverage and other issues.
To help even further, we surveyed nearly 140 SYNERGY HomeCare clients – evenly split between senior and adult children – and gained even greater insight.
Recognizing how often our SYNERGY HomeCare franchisees and industry professionals work to facilitate constructive conversations about 12
SYNERGY HomeCare’s findings, only about 50% of respondents reported feeling well-prepared if something were to happen that would suddenly threaten their parents’ well-being.
The parental predisposition to protect
A life lesson that comes later in life
As a part of their parental instinct, older adults tend to downplay any issues with their health in an attempt to avoid becoming a burden and to protect their families from the stress of aging. But this desire often backfires. Our survey found that 40% of adult children felt a strain in their relationship with their parents when planning for their future care. Additionally, 64% of adult children who felt a strain in their relationship with their aging loved one also found it to be at least somewhat difficult to have a conversation about their parents’ future care plans.
They say that with age comes wisdom. As seniors plan for their own aging – and by many accounts they admit they started too late – they want to make sure that their children do more planning than they did. We have found that SYNERGY HomeCare clients are having these important conversations with their children – which may suggest that the coming generations of older Americans may likely be more prepared. As mentioned earlier, aging is part of a parent’s life journey and they are taking advantage of this teaching moment. It is great to see that 75% of surveyed seniors believe that their adult children/ loved ones are more prepared for their own care planning, as compared to their own experiences. At the same time, 70% of the adult children have started their own aging preparations after doing so with Mom and Dad. More than half of this group has also started to discuss these plans with their own kids.
When we initially looked at other responses, we were heartened to see that almost all on both sides indicated they had previous conversations about their aging loved ones’ wills, trusts and advanced directives However, 80% of the adult children we surveyed said they had not discussed or revised these documents in the last two years. Likewise, it is common for families to delay revisiting their aging loved ones’ will, trust, or advanced directive.
While the psychological phenomena contributing to a communication gap between adult children and their aging parents may not be widely discussed, they are far from uncommon. By delving deeper into the subject, we might be able to help families adapt. As all of us in the industry work to communicate the importance of having these critical conversations, we may be able to shrink the awareness chasm and, maybe someday, eliminate it for good.
Adult children naturally focus on their kids Just like their parents, adult children face a natural predisposition to focus on their own children and spouse above all else. Because their focus is on their immediate family, adult children may not be fully aware of their parents’ health conditions. This means they have not been prompted to evaluate care options and how they could be ready in the event of a crisis, or even to avoid one. Based on 13
Why we’re here W
hen SYNERGY HomeCare was founded in 1999, in-home non-medical care was relatively unheard of, despite being a much-needed resource for family caregivers.
because so much of what we do is driven by compassion – an incredibly compelling why. As part of the process, we engaged with our caregivers, our clients and our communities to better understand what they needed and how we could do better at meeting their needs. We wanted to make sure we were all on the same page so that how we presented ourselves to our different audiences aligned with their expectations.
Fast forward to today: more than 10,000 people turn 65 every day, according to AARP, and in-home care is even more in demand. It’s no surprise that the field has grown correspondingly. As more providers entered the market, we realized we had an opportunity to better define what author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek calls our why – our reason for doing what we do.
The biggest “ah-ha!” moment of this research process played a pivotal role in how we repositioned ourselves. We learned that our focus on how in-home care can provide independence was missing the mark. Many clients fear losing independence as they age, which can be a reason for being resistant to in-home care.
He maintains that people don’t care what you do; they care why you do it. So we started reimagining ourselves by starting with our why.
What we heard loud and clear is that what the people we serve want above all else is confidence. Confidence to be able to keep doing the things
It was a very powerful exercise and I highly recommend it for anyone working in our field, 14
they want to do, even if they need some help. We realized that we had to focus our efforts on allowing our clients and their families to live fuller, more confident lives.
The experience has been both eye-opening and incredibly satisfying. What we’ve known since our humble beginnings has been more clearly articulated: We lead with our servant heart and that is what makes our care stand out. We are thoughtful and understand people’s needs. We make it easy to work with us so we can provide a world of care for all.
We now talk about our value by explaining that with care comes confidence, that the full support we provide can support fuller lives. And we captured the essence of what that can mean for families with this statement: It’s the difference between being overwhelmed and overjoyed.
If we believe Simon Sinek when he says that people are drawn to companies that are good at communicating what they believe, then we are hopeful that our new “language” will attract people who connect with our why and feel confident in our ability to inspire confidence in them.
On the caregiver side, we focused on “we can help propel life forward.” It’s a statement that has meaning for caregiver and client alike and reflects a symbiotic relationship that we know exists between the two. The compassion that inspires our caregivers in this line of work is amplified by the fulfillment that comes from a career of service, where they change lives for a living, including their own.
It’s why we’re here, after all.
SYNERGY HomeCare is America’s
fastest growing home care franchise *
Join Us! At SYNERGY HomeCare our franchise partners love to serve their community. They take great pride in providing best in class home care services to their clients and fulfilling careers to their care team. They are rewarded with a robust business that positively impacts the lives of those they serve.
If you would like to learn more about the opportunity to own a SYNERGY HomeCare agency please call 678-717-2740. Join our amazing family of franchise partners and imagine yourself owning a business that allows you to do well while doing good.
* Source: https://bit.ly/3oKVcA3