Service, Therapy and Emotional Support dogs?

What’s the difference?  I recently heard Diane Alexander from handi dogs speak and it was so informative I decided to post about it.  Service dogs are TRAINED to do a specific tasks to  take care of their owner with a disabilitiy.  Only dogs and mini horses are used.  These are the ONLY dogs that can LEGALLY be taken into most businesses and on airlines and be kept in , for example, a rental house..  If a company trains them, you’ll pay $12,000 to $25,000 for a dog.  However, if you use a service like handi dogs, you, the owner train your own dog.  In addition to the cost savings, you’ll benefit by training your dog yourself so if your condition changes and you need the dog to perform another activity, you can train it do so.  These dogs need permission to come into, for example, an assisted living facility.

They must be well behaved, not eliminate while there and have no aggressive behavior.  They prefer  dogs that are 5 months to 4 years old.  Smaller dogs live longer but if you need certain help, then you’d need a larger dog. Certain breeds are easier to train.

These dogs do not have to wear a vest, but you should always ask before you try to pet a dog with a vest.

Therapy dogs are not covered for access to public accommodation.  These animals are there to be loved on.  They can perform animal assisted activities.  Benefits of loving these dogs are reduced blood pressure and release of oxytocin.  They also give stress relief and can help patients have faster recovery times.  

Emotional Support dogs provide comfort and may help those with depression or other psychiatric concerts or to reduce stress-induced pain.  They must be allowed to live with the handler even in no pets housing.  Documentation from a physician or other professional  may be required.

See more at US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ADA 2010 revised Requirements

When You Need to Tell a Elder Loved One to Stop Driving    Thirty-six percent of adult children polled by the Web site and the National Safety Council said that talking to their parents about the need to stop driving would be harder than discussing funeral plans (29 percent) or selling the family home (18 percent).

 Senior driving, know the signs for when to have a talk about stopping.

Life The Next Phase

This is a book to help those who have a parent or loved one who may already or may need help in the future.  It is designed to help you navigate the most common issues of your aging parents or loved ones.  It will guide you through four of the situations they are likely to face: needing part-time assistance; needing full-time assistance, handling a crisis, and preparing for what might happen in the future.  It gives you best practices and tools so you can help them live the highest quality of life for their situation.   Pair this with the book “It’s Your Move: Choices for Senior Living”.  Both are available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble and as ebooks.


From Strategy Financial

Downsizing Can Help Retirement Savings Last

Ideally, in retirement, you reduce your monthly expenses. No more commute, less need for work-related clothes and dry cleaning, and the ability to eat lunch at home every day. But is it enough savings to balance the lack of income from work?

If you're like many retirees, near-retirees or even those just starting to plan for retirement income, you may have an uneasy feeling about just how much money you'll need and how long you'll need it to last. If you're just not feeling confident about it, there is one thing you can do to help: Downsize.

Downsizing to a less expensive condo, townhouse, apartment or smaller home offers numerous savings advantages, from reducing your monthly mortgage or rental costs, to lower maintenance, property tax and utility bills.

If you're thinking of moving out of state, perhaps to a locale where you've vacationed and dreamed of living for years, consider the pros and cons of what living there year-round may mean. Is it a dreary place in winter, or too hot in the summer? Does it feature a year-round community where you can make friends with locals, or is it pretty much abandoned when tourists or snow-birds are gone -- and could you bear that? Oftentimes those lovely vacation spots can be quite isolated during the off-season.

It may come down to your basic personality and disposition: do you prefer the opportunity to make good friends and always have people around with whom to spend time, or would you be OK with getting away from it all and minimizing outside relationships, at least for part of the year? Consider, too, how your spouse's answers may differ to those same questions.

Then, too, you should examine the practical side of relocating. For example, will the cost of living be higher or lower than where you currently live, and what can you expect in terms of health care and other expenses and amenities? After all, your large family home may not be as expensive as a tiny condo on the beach, complete with high monthly expenses and high property taxes.

If you plan to move to another state, you will need to investigate tax and estate laws to see if you'll need to update your wills and trusts. If you have a network of trusted financial professionals and attorneys, you may want to check if they are licensed to continue working with you in the state where you want to relocate.

Then again, you could just move to a smaller place in your current neighborhood or community. You may opt to live closer to relatives, which can offer the potential for significant savings when it comes to home care in your later years. If so, consider features in a new home that will be more convenient as you venture gracefully into old age, such as a single-story home with a low-maintenance yard and accessibility features. Also think about your locale of choice -- such as whether you'd like to move to a more urban scene in a trendy downtown location near art galleries, museums, fine restaurants and concert halls. Perhaps a condo with a skyline view, concierge and doorman would fit the bill. After all, if you spent the majority of your adult life raising a family in suburbia, retirement may be the time to enjoy other types of entertainment.

A third option is to move to a senior living community. According to a survey by the Demand Institute Housing & Community, one in five baby boomers is considering relocating to a senior-related housing or active-adult community.4 While many of these campuses have come a long way in featuring more cultural and upscale amenities, many still suffer from a reputation of the proverbial "old folk's home."

The key to downsizing -- or what some prefer to call "right-sizing" -- is to make the right decision for your lifestyle and finances. Some retirement-oriented communities may offer work and entrepreneurial opportunities so you can get out and about, make new friends and contribute to your retirement income. Do not under-estimate the value of a strong social network comprised of people of all ages. After all, if you're going to live a long and healthy life, why not live it among friends?

4 Media Post. May 15, 2015. "Redefining Senior Living for Boomers
5 Harvard Business Review. April 24, 2015. "The Remedy for
. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015

Seniors and Falls

Free PDF to download:  Make your home safe1!

How ironic as I recover from a fall where I broke my right wrist, that Strategy Financial Group emailed this:

Assessing Risks Reduces Severity, Frequency of Falls

Following the adage "Knowledge is power" can literally keep us from falling down.

In the U.S., one out of every three people over 65 takes a tumble each year, and 20 to 30 percent of those who survive incur moderate to severe injuries. Yet, those who have taken the time to assess the risk of falling in their homes are less likely to be in that one-third.1

It may not be surprising that, once someone has taken a spill, they inherently develop a fear that makes them more cautious about preventing another fall. For the majority of the population, that's a good instinct. But for seniors, it can make them withdraw from certain activities. Ironically, this new caution can increase their risk of falling again, particularly by preventing them from taking routine walks or another form of exercise.

To help address this phenomenon, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sponsored a study to measure whether a personalized program of intervention could help reduce the risk of an older person taking a fall. The program includes an in-home physical, emotional and cognitive functioning evaluation, a detailed record of a person's history of falls, an assessment of the home environment and an inventory of current medications that may impact the person's sense of balance. All of these factors are taken into consideration and used to create a customized recommendation for the individual.

Some risk factors are intrinsic, meaning they are linked to the person's health and habits. Other risks are extrinsic, which refers to those associated with the home environment."2

As part of the study program, participating seniors are educated on both types of risks and how they may be avoided. For example, someone who routinely gets up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night may have been doing it for so long they do not need to turn on a light. However, as they age, their senses may not be as sharp and they may not notice a new obstacle in the path. Installing a nightlight to guide their path to the bathroom could be a simple solution that greatly decreases their fall risk.

Participants in the study who received intervention training and recommendations experienced a 13 percent lower rate of falls than ones who did not, and those who did experience falls were less likely to suffer a serious injury. Moreover, their long-term insurance claims were 33 percent lower over a three-year period, suggesting that this awareness may have had a long-term impact on both cognitive and physical health. This isn't terribly surprising, seeing as the study also found participants were nearly 20 percent more likely to make fall-preventing modifications to their home than nonparticipants.3

1 Aug. 3, 2015. "Elders' Risk of Falling Is Falling."
. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.