Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sierra Seniors Radio Show January 29th, 2011

Sierra Seniors radio show January 29th, 2011, sharing information for the well-being of seniors in and around the Motherlode.

 1450 KVML AM - 9:05am-9:30am
Written by: Roberta Goodwin
Host: Cathie Peacock

Today’s Guest: Ira Uslander  SENIORITY LIFECARE AT HOME

Topic:  Getting help when you're aging and need it. 

CATHIE: Ira, for our listeners, tell us a little about yourself, what do you do, also what you like to do - when you're not working - for fun etc.
IRA:  I was originally trained as an engineer, and worked at that for a number of years.  After my “first retirement”, I became a university professor, teaching engineering.  When one of our sons came out here to California, and had a “late baby” my wife and I followed.  I got involved here in senior issues when I saw the overwhelming needs seniors have in this area, and became involved with the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging.  I'm the director of the for-profit Seniority Lifecare and also involved with the non-profit Sierra LifeNet
CATHIE:   But how about outside of work?
IRA:  Well, not much actually.  My wife is very supportive of my work.  We are mostly concerned with seniors’ safety.  What is most disturbing to me is that people are not planning for their future needs.  Y'know, people come to me and they're not in a position to afford private pay care.  We counsel people what to do and not many people are covered by long-term care insurance.  They wait to get it, thinking “I will get it when I need it” but then pre-existing conditions mean they're ineligible when they’ve waited.
CATHIE: Yes, this idea of “wait till I need it” – they think they can just take care of it later.  I know I've had that thought myself. 
IRA:  It is just a form of denial.   And it is the worst thing that can happen.  In my era, the idea of making a will was bad luck, that you'd die the next day. 
CATHIE:  People still think that. In my more thoughtful moments at home, reading maybe, the thought of getting older and needing help comes to me, and I push it away, it’s really hard to think about it. 
IRA:  It’s very difficult to accept that you're aging.  I've learned so much in my two years here.  I'm very willing to spend time helping people understand their options.
CATHIE:  My problem as a single parent, I just can't seem to save any money toward retirement or long-term care, but my work with Interfaith, the Tuolumne County Commission on Aging and the Red Cross helps me to see what's out there.  So if I need something, who do I call, how does it work, do I come to you or you come to me? 
IRA:  I've gone anywhere and I'm also happy to speak to groups.  We have many opportunities out there.  You run Interfaith – and how many people know what you do?  When I mention Area 12 (ed. note: "Area 12 Agency on Aging"), people don't know about it, what they do. 
CATHIE:  I noticed more people came to Interfaith in January explaining how frightened they are and how they're not sure they can make it.  They ask me: “What can I do?”  We had some pet planning people on this show once and we had more calls for their pets than I have ever gotten for them. 
IRA:  A lot of people I talk to these days are panicked, don't know what to do.  They say “I'm in trouble”.  Nobody is ready and the end result can be part of the reason this area has one of the highest suicide rates, if not the highest, in the state. 
CATHIE: I live in the high country.  I longed for the isolation when I was younger, as many people do when they retire here, or move here, and that was fine when I was 35, but 85?  I think: How will I manage it when I get older.  Car, snow all that stuff.  You know, will an ambulance be able to get to my house? 
IRA:  Yes, with a ski chalet, it is great for a 35 year-old, but when you're 85, not so much.  When you call me, I listen to what people need, and explain options such as to how they can go to a retirement community, or perhaps stay in their home with some modifications.  In this new age, it’s possible to modify your home into one you can grow old in.  Your pets too.  There are all different family dynamics too.   A lot of family abuse, or maybe the family is not available for care....
CATHIE: That’s heartbreaking....
IRA: Yes, or the family might foist care on the elder person against their will, and there’s the question of whether some elders will ACCEPT care, especially in the case of dementia, and the family has to know how to DO it.  It can be stressful, and they might need respite.  AT Seniority Lifecare we do a lot of respite work. 
CATHIE:  How can someone reach you to ask questions?
IRA:  They can call me at 532-4500 and we can make arrangements to talk.  I will spend as much time as someone needs; this is more a passion of mine than a business.  I truly believe if you do good things, good things will come. 
CATHIE:  Also, the dilemma for one person means the person’s partner is involved in it too, and has to learn to deal as well.  Our time’s almost up, so I want to thank you so much, Ira, for your time, and I want to thank Mark Truppner of KVML too.  Ira, I want to give you the last comment.
IRA:  Seniority Lifecare focuses on client safety and independence.  Our caregivers are well-trained, licensed, and bonded.  But call me at 532-4500 even if your situation wouldn’t involve us.  I'd be happy to help. 

Business Address: 11 S. Washington St., Ste. 200
Sonora, CA 95370

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