I found two articles of particular interest in the August issue of SmartMoney magazine (http://www.smartmoney.com/smartmoney-magazine/), though unfortunately neither one made the free online viewing links. Better hit the library or newsstand.
In the first, Peter Keating devoted his latest installment of “The New Retirement” to the topic of choosing a nursing home. Keating made the excellent observation that older adults should have at least a passing familiarity with their local homes and figure out which might be the best for them before they find themselves lying in a hospital bed with a list in front of them and a few hours to choose where they will go.
While this may strike some as a bit alarmist, it pays to be educated. A recent audit of people who moved to St. John’s Home in Rochester, NY for long-term care showed that about 2/3 arrived following an acute hospitalization, after being told they could not return home. Others came from assisted living or other adult apartments and only 10% arrived as a direct move from home.
Keating starts readers off down the party line path of Nursing Home Compare’s five star rating system. Unfortunately, this rating has many flaws. Their system uses a variety of quality measures which, unfortunately, are largely steeped in the institutional model of thinking, and don’t adequately capture measures of good care (as opposed to treatment), innovation, meaningful engagement or well-being.
But he redeems himself by asking readers to look further into homes that seriously pursue “resident-centered care”, and on that note he specifically mentions The Eden Alternative as a leader in this movement.
As my friend Steve LeMoine says, “Unsolicited advertising is the best.” Thanks, Peter!
I was also captivated by the closing article by Anne Kadet, “Boob Tube Anonymous”, in which she took advantage of a cable outage and freed herself from her television.
Even though average TV watching time is at a record 35 hours per week (!), Kadet mentions that “800,000 U.S. households have canceled their TV service over the past two years, and their ranks are expected to double by the end of 2011.” A burgeoning trend?
I am one of the folks who still has the basic $9.95-a-month, 6-channel cable. While I still enjoy Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, a few sitcoms like 30 Rock and the sporting events that make the networks, I haven’t been tempted to pay up to $100 per month for more.
In reality, all I would likely want to add is The Daily Show and some more sports, and I can get that and more online for free. Even so, I do that kind of watching only on occasion.
Kadet writes about all of the things that have engaged her since she “unplugged”, from volunteering, to fitness, to reading classic literature. But it’s not for everyone, apparently. She mentions that one relative declined a dinner invitation because he couldn’t watch the Celtics game! (Okay, perhaps it was Game 7…)
Still, the possibilities make me wonder: could we all engage even more if we spent more time off our computers (BlackBerries, iPhones) as well??
Be sure to check my blog before you unplug!