The Transitional Aging Program

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The Transitional Aging Program
Cantrell, Randall
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Randall Cantrell.
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This is an introduction to a more comprehensive series of fact sheets in progress.

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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In Memory of Sandra A. Cantrell By Dr. Randall A. Cantrell Dept of Family, Youth and Community Sciences College of Agricultural and Life Sciences PO Box 110310 McCarty Hall D, Ste 3008C 352 273 3554; 443 996 1582; Gainesville, FL 32611 0310 The Sand ra A. Cantrell Transitional Aging Program 1 Table of Contents Topic Dat e Created Page Introductio n 18 Oct 2018 1 Expectations 29 Oct 2018 2 Healthcare 19 Nov 2018 3 1 If you desire to help support this research program please clic k on th is link and visit the UF Foundation.


1 18 Oct 2018 Introductio n Aging adults often living or more restrictive living environments. However, this process does not necessarily proceed smoothly nor in that order. Many reasons contribute to the con sternation of this tran sitional aging process. There is independence, possessions, finance, etc, to mention a few issues that can interfer e with smooth transitions along this aging continuum. If these various activities do not transition from stage to stage, the aging individual can be at risk of succumbing to a reversal in the healthful aging process ( e.g., falls, hospitalization, depression), or eventually and possibly an unfortunate premature death. Researching how to continue these transitions in a seamless fashion so that th e aging process can continue, safely and in a fiscally sound manner is the basis underlying this program. Each of us comprise a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual attribute We are born with these elements of our personalities, and we develop them ( or do not) as we progress through life. Ideally these elements would be seamlessly integrated into a whole that is greater than its individual parts ; however this research might reveal this be the exception rather than the rule This is where aging ente rs the picture because it is here that the deterioration of the physical -for certain -and perhaps oftent imes the mental and emotional as well occurs Meanwhile and u nsurprisingly, the spiritual often grows deeper as the end of life approaches. Maybe this is a rational attempt to calm ourselves as we transition along the final stages of the aging continuum It seems plausible that one of t he central question s f or any study of aging should therefore attempt to address how well equipped we are to deal with the aging process. As we experience the natural physical and possibly mental deterioration associated with the aging process, is our ability to comprehend and proactively react to what is occurring in our lif e di minished as well? For all intents and purposes : 1) we are at a point in our life when we possibly are least equipped to engage unfamiliar stimuli ( i.e., effects of the ag ing process ) yet we need mo re than ever to be able to engage it, and 2) what, if a nything, can or should be done by a civil society to assist the aging population to better engage this unfamiliar stimuli? Many within the aging population are simply ill prepared and lack a proper support system to cope with what they face on an increasin g ly more challenging daily basis, so the re sometimes is a tendency to revert to the comfort of clinging to what they know most intimate ly their possessions. Much as a child clings to a baby doll in times of distress, it appears to be a similar natural emotion for aging persons to cling to their most familiar possessions during times of confusion. Thus, one topic t his research program intend s to explore is whether those who do not have adequate support systems in place as they age can be assisted toward some sort of gentler path throughout the agin g continuum than what traditionally has been available. The systems currently in place do not offer an optimistic outlook for creating alternative solutions, but it is still worth exploring the question of what might possibly help aging persons transition more smoothly especially toward the end of the aging continuum


2 29 Oct 2018 Expectations There are differ ing approaches regarding how to deal with aging persons, especially those with whom you have a close bond and their memory is beginning to show signs of deterioration. There is a they c ontinue to age, and there is a choice help maintain their spirts in as high of a mood as possible while they still are able to function as they always have. This topic will most likely be a contentiou s one regardless if following advice of The underlying issue is that many aging adults have been programmed to believe they will arrive at a certain point in their life, and it will be a life much as they have imagined for years. Perhaps a multi scenario based outcome that is laid out much earlier in life could be healthier for them to imagine rather than a single outcom e and more advantageous in the overall long run. What i f aging adults were acclimated early on to the notion that they might have access to a sort of trade off based bundled package of outcomes to expect during older life ? During mid life periods when they are routinely seeking financial and medical advice to learn more about what the probability of th ose particular aspects of future life might be, they also could be learning about what other important aging a spects of their future might look like. Some lesser understood aspects of the fu ture life of aging adults could deal more with where they might reside and with whom. Will they be able to drive themselves from place to place, and if so, for how many years ? Will they be able to travel, and if so, for how many years and for what lengths of distances? Will they be able to depend on family for moral, social, and emotional support, or will that be more realistically accomplished with others who are more their peers ? What will it be like if they have always been accustomed to being with family and then they find they must begin making new friends who are more their age or vise versa ? If the desired bundle d package outcome is to live in their home with their lifelong pa rtner and have family near them then adjustments need to be made earl y in the aging transition process. A home can never be physically/mechanically altered to o early to make it safe r and more accommodating for any age person to visit and live in. This can include children as well as aging adults. The sooner the alterations begin, the more realistic the plan for aging in place becomes. Are there accommodations for someone to assist with cooking and ensuring that medications are being dispensed safely and routinely ? These are not functions that are well served when delegated t o family members. Those are not the roles of family members, and it does nothing but deteriorate the relationship between them and the aging adult when they are responsible for being a caregiver. Family members have lives of their own that they are respons ible for, but that does not mean they do not love their aging adults if they are not able to care for them full time in addition to everything else they must do in their lives. The extended family worked well when families ha d certain members of the household staying home as unpaid professional s who took care of the family and home. This was taken for granted for decades and never incorporated into the productivity of a nation. However, when the same people began working profes sionally outside of the home, the extended family and immediate family in many instances, began to lose its focus as the place where home was a sanctuary and people w ere care d for there. It simply became a labor issue. If the labor had been transferred to the workplace where it was no w receiving real income, then the home and family necessarily w ere depleted of that labor/caregiver component except for instances where hired help was brought in to offset the missing labor/caregiver who was now employed in th e professional workforce.


3 19 Nov 2018 Healthcare Upon turning 65 years of age in the US, citizens have a right to government subsidized medical care via Medicare or Medicaid depending o n monthly income, which typically is distinguished at the $2,199 mark as to program eligibility. However, for those above that mark who qualify for Medicare, and do not opt to purchase private medical care, there are multiple options to choose from, which c an make this transition extremely difficult and anxious ridden for aging persons. The following paragraph outlines an example of such a situation. As of January 1, 2019 Medicare offers options such as its Part C plan. In signing up for this plan, one pe rsonal communication 2 conducted for this part of the preliminary Foundation research explained that although Medicare is a federal program, its implementation is quite localized in that its pr ograms are made available through insurance companies that have entered into contracts with Medicare to provide services by regions. Thus, in his county, he was limited to only five options from a handful of insurance companies for Part C plans that provide prescription drug coverage (Part D) and only one option for Pa rt C plans that do not include prescription drug coverage. Thus, the dilemma he a nd others in his situation face is that there is no objective source of information to assist persons to make the best choice for their particular situation when signing up fo r their Medicare option What does exist for persons to use when making decisions about signing up for Medicare options is: Medicare itself which offers much general information but its only specific assistance is in its star ratings for each plan S t ate level assistance through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), but some persons might not be comfortable with call ing a SHIP helpline and more than likely being asked to provide much personal information Your personal healthcare provide r, but you are asking them to be o bjective and forthright about answering questions that m ight lead you away from their care into the care of another provider T he insurance companies themselves. However, they have a financial interest in your business so once again their objectivity and advice might be questionable I n the end, decisions might have to be made based on what individuals feel or think is best for them (or they can hire a consulta nt to assist them ). However, it is difficult to be certain about your decision without knowing the details outline d in the 200 plus page Plan Coverage Package and the nearly 200 page Medicare and You booklet These details will more than likely be cited ba ck to you when you call later to complain about something and you claim you would have never chosen that option had you known that detail ahead of time. This personal communication leads me to ponder whether this research needs two concurrent components. There possibly needs to be an input function where citizens can communicate their experiences and lessons learned so education is occurring in real time. However, given that this is a research F oundation and based in Florida, all commentary and interaction would need to be closely monitored for accuracy between individuals sharing content with one another, and Florida related content would most likely need to receive higher priority for actual research effort regard ing the content being posted. This is a dynamic, modern day effort, which will evolve with user input over time to meet the needs of those users. 2 Personal Communication on 18 Nov 2018 with James T. Soncrant Academy Graduate.