Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Wire Monkey Never Works

If you had Psychology 101 in college, you may remember watching a film on social isolation with rhesus monkeys.   Dr. Harry Harlow conducted several studies through experiments on these monkeys to demonstrate the importance maternal roles in care-giving and companionship in social and cognitive development. There were a few types of studies that he worked with, but I want to focus on the three monkey moms used in the experiments and how the “wire monkey” didn’t work then and it’s not a good option in providing a service or solution now. 

The development of the monkey with a real rhesus monkey mom had the best outcome and development–they had a great life.  The cloth monkey mom wasn’t as good as the real monkey, so it had a good life, but not great.  The last monkey mom was made of wire, that baby monkey had the worst outcome in development.  They often appeared “schizophrenic-like” and I think it would  be fair to say they had a “bad” outcome.

 I think we try to solve problems for our seniors with the “wire monkey”, as a result we get bad outcomes.  I could go through a list of BAD and we would shake our heads and say, “why did they do it that way?”   Often times the “wire monkey” remedy comes into play when people don’t know what they don’t know.  Families try to patch the issue and don’t realize that Geriatric Care Managers can evaluate the situation and take it from BAD to GOOD and often times to GREAT in a short period of time. 

When we really want the best outcome for a senior, a plan needs to be put into place.  A plan that includes understanding personality types, needs, desires, goals, finances and legal issues.  If you need a plan, About Senior Solutions can help create your road map.  Remember, the “wire monkey” never works.  Get the help you need and take your situation from bad to good to great!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What Would Helen Do?

Some people have an incredible way about them and leave an impression on you.  Helen was one of those people.  She was always positive, supportive and always knew how to direct you to get what you needed for a senior. 

Helen was also a WWII Army nurse and remained gainfully employed as a nurse at 87 years of age.  She was a two time cancer survivor.  The third bout took her from us at the end of last month, but she was not afraid to die. 

When someone asked her how the chemotherapy made her feel, she said, “Great”.    She never seemed to miss a beat.  She was happy and confident that everything would work out the way it should.  She used resources when she needed them and she planned for her end without hesitation.

She was an amazing lady that taught so many of us around her not to worry–there was always something to be greatful for.  Now that she is gone, I will ponder and wonder, “what would Helen do in this situation?”  I have met so many incredible seniors that “I want to be like when I grow up”. 

This blog site is a place of celebrations, education and inspiration.  Please feel free to share your stories at and we will post it to our site.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Aging Ain’t for Sissies

Aging Ain’t for Sissies

 A future geezer makes plans with the help of a special GIFT

By Ellen Snortland 04/30/2009

Geezerness. For lack of a better word, that’s what I call it when I get cranky about things I don’t like or understand. Geezerness is how I interact with equipment or technologies I would rather smash than take the time to learn. Duck! What was that? That was Ellen’s PC (a kind of computer prone to tossing), thrown through her window! Blog, schmog. Twitter, schmitter! I can just hear myself saying, “These kids today with their newfangled gizmos. I used a pen and the US Postal Service and it was plenty good in my day!” And, in geezerly fashion, I dread facing hard-core elder care geezer questions for myself and my husband.
Of course, I’m WAY too sophisticated to actually say these types of things out loud, but I sure think “geezerly” thoughts … more often, it seems, as every day passes. Help, I’m aging! And so, my friend, are you. That “state” of denial we are so fond of inhabiting? Most of us — including myself — if we haven’t already moved there, at least have a PO Box. Please send my AARP magazine to: Ellen Snortland, 455 Cranky Pants Drive, Geezerville, Denial 90ZZZ. Given how our society encourages us to deny that we’re all going to age and die, I wonder how well I’m going to take on the inevitable (gasp!): aging and dying.
I look at my own role models. My parents, Arnold and Barbara Snortland, were in some ways very much tuned in to their own senior years insofar as they were forthright and responsible for making sure they “were never a burden” to anyone. They planned their lives in such a way that they had everything they needed until they died.
However, other than living and medical arrangements, my father was not able to take on aging gracefully. Daddy fought his own mortality every step of the way. As with most characteristics, his denial about aging was an asset as well as a liability. He kept the grim reaper at bay by exercising and eating well. Long before the movie, he made a “bucket list” of things he wanted to do before he kicked his own bucket, prompting trips to Turkey and Panama without my mother, who hated travel. Dad exemplified “I intend to live forever, or die trying,” as Groucho Marx said. Me too.
The most painful part of my father’s sunset years was confronting him about driving. His car had new dings and dents daily. Deaf as a doornail, he was unable to hear the honking horns that hounded him wherever he went. His stubbornness was so entrenched that he actually drove around with his oxygen tank sitting next to him on the car seat. We three sisters had conversations about how we were going to make Dad stop driving. We even fantasized about calling the cops to have him arrested. The only time I ever saw my father get mean was when I confronted him about the danger he was posing to himself and others. He threatened to disinherit me if I talked to him about it again. Nonetheless, we all persisted and he — heartbroken — finally hung up his keys.
OK, so what about me? Childless, the youngest of three, with a hubby who also has no kids and very few relatives … I confront the queasiest geezer questions: Who will make decisions for me? Who will buy my Depends? Who is going to tell me to stop driving? And due to the recent collapse of our economy, the financial safety net I used to have for my own dotage is gone, gone, gone. Right now I can’t count on hiring caregivers. There’s going to be a big group of us childless “baby boomers” who will be dependent on … who? The Geezer Fairy?
Mary Winners, the founder of About Senior Solutions ( has made her life about educating all of us deniers on what to do and when to do it, either for our parents or now — more and more — ourselves.
Ms. Winners says, “I have coined the term GIFT as an acronym for planning. Planning is a ‘gift’ you give yourself and others who will be involved with your last years.”
Winners’ GIFT stands for:
G — Gather all the information you need to create a plan for yourself.
I — Inform those who you want involved with your decisions, including professionals — CPA, financial planner, attorney and health advocate.
F — Follow through to completion on all the documents that are necessary to activate your plan. If you don’t dot your I’s and cross your T’s, it will mean nothing! Update as you age.
T — Tell your decision-makers where these documents are, or share copies for them to have. Include contact information for your “team” to connect if the plan needs activation, so everyone can effectively work for your best interest.
Regardless of my own geezerness in railing against new technologies, we still, as a human family, have to confront the oldest “technology” of all: death. Thanks to people like Winners and About Senior Solutions, we will never be alone, even with no children.

Contact Ellen at
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009





About Senior Solutions


would like to invite you to an

informational seminar on



( Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment,

California’s newest form for staying in control of health care decisions, effective 1/1/09  )


Presentation by:

David Kessler, Co-Author of “Life Lessons

Of Citrus Valley Health Foundation


Leading legal and health care professional panel for Q&A


The seminar will help you to:

·        Stay on the cutting edge of information for your clients

·        Keep your clients in control of health care decisions at any age


Thursday, May 7, 2009

5:00 Appetizer Reception

5:30-7:00pm Presentation


 Pasadena Women’s Club

160 N. Oakland Ave

Pasadena, CA 91101



Please RSVP by May 5th to About Senior Solutions at 626-359-0108

(parking available on Madison Ave, South of Walnut)


Posted by About Senior Solutions in 00:31:32 | Permalink | No Comments »

Friday, April 3, 2009






BY Lisa O’Brien,

Sign Up for Direct Deposit at Your Bank


There’s no end to the creativity of scam artists, and seniors and people with low incomes are often the targets of scams. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from senior scams.

To avoid mail theft, avoid having checks mailed to your home.

If you receive any checks on a regular basis—like social security, disability, or stock dividends—have those checks deposited directly into your bank account.

Reduce Telemarketer Calls to Avoid Senior Scams


It can be hard to say no to a telemarketer, and that can mean financial disaster if you become a victim of a senior scam.

To avoid this situation, you can reduce the number of telemarketer calls you receive by registering with the federal government’s “Do Not Call Registry.”

You can register your land line phone or cell phone with the “Do Not Call Registry” online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Ignore Direct Mail Advertising to Avoid Senior Scams

Seniors are often the target of direct mail, which usually offers something for free or almost free but signs you up for further financial obligations.

If you receive a notice saying you won a contest or a cruise, read the fine print carefully for hidden costs to make sure it’s not a senior scam.

And if you decide to consider the offer, ask someone you trust for a second opinion before you sign up.

Seniors: Look Out for Medicare Drug Discount Card Scams


Medicare drug discount cards are offered by a number of companies, and they can save you money. Unfortunately they are also popular with scam artists.

The best way to enroll for a Medicare-approved discount card–and avoid a senior scam–is by contacting Medicare directly for a list of approved companies. You can do this online or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Medicare drug discount cards cannot be sold by phone or through door-to-door sales. In addition, you should not need to provide proof of income, because Medicare can access your records from the IRS. If you are asked to provide proof of income, including bank accounts, you may be dealing with a fraudulent company.

Assign a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney gives a trusted person of your choice the power to make key financial or life decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Unfortunately, many people are taken advantage of by perpetrators of senior scams when they become ill or injured and cannot make good decisions for themselves.

Having someone who is legally empowered to make choices for you can save you from improper management of your finances, and it’s important to make execute your power of attorney before you become too ill to make this important decision.

Avoid Disclosing Personal or Financial Information to Avoid Senior Scams

Many senior scam perpetrators make calls or send email on behalf of a financial institution.

For example, they may say there’s a problem with your bank or credit card account and ask you to verify the account numbers.

If you get one of these calls, ask for a name and phone number you can call back, and make that call to be sure you are dealing with a legitimate company. If you cannot verify that the request is legitimate, do not provide the information.



Posted by About Senior Solutions in 23:48:47 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mary Winners Speaker for Senior Real Estate Specialists Webinar

On February 24th, Mary Winners was able to address Senior Real Estate Specialists about working with Seniors when selling their homes.  It can be a very difficult thing for a Senior to sell their home of say, 45 years or more.  

Mary was able to give the SRE Specialists several helpful hints in making the sale of a senior’s home successful for all involved.  The responsiblity of moving a senior should not be taken lightly.  Once a senior decides to move, a team specializing in older adults should be assembled to create the best outcome for that individual.  As a Senior Referral Service, About Senior Solutions is able to provide direction for assisted living for the move.

An additional resource to use is a relocation service such as Gentle Transitions.  Moving years of precious collections and memories is their specialty.  Downsizing is probably the most difficult part of moving for a Senior and something that Gentle Transitions does a fantastic job with.  It is also important for homeowners to understand that Realtors should have an additional designation to serve a Senior.  As Realtor and SRE Specialist, Mikki Poretta says, “It takes the years of my experience to move the memories of a life time.” 

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

FREE CD From About Senior Solutions on “The Team Approach”

On March 2, 2009, About Senior Solutions will be launching their free CD for seniors on the importance of the “team approach” to long term planning and the value of using a geriatric evaluation. 

We understand that sudden or gradual changes in a senior’s health can create a great deal of emotional concern and create overwhelming anxiety for families.  We can provide a better plan for care when a client’s legal, financial and health care services connect. 

The CD will include tips on how to:

  • Save money on care
  • Stay in control of care decisions 
  • Get the most from insurance before paying out of your own pocket
  • Use a professional team approach to ensure quality of life

Included in the program are “The 8 Insider Secrets to Avoiding the Worst Health Care Mistakes for Seniors” which outlines the benefits of holistic planning and how failing to plan creates risks.  Also included is “G.I.F.T.” a method of pulling your professional team together to create outstanding outcomes for care in the event that a senior has a health transition.

It’s very easy to work with About Senior Solutions.  Contact us by calling 626-359-0108 or go to our website at for more information on our services.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

About Senior Solutions in Smart Money Magazine

It was exciting to get a call from Smart Money Magazine last week about offering support for an up coming article—which is now out.  We were blessed to be mentioned a few times in the article, especially since About Senior Solutions is not national at this point.  Please feel free to review the article, I think you will find the information valuable.

Smart Money Article

5 Ways to Cut Elder-Care Costs
February 13, 2009
By Lisa Scherzer
Caring for an aging parent? Cut costs without skimping on care.

You can also copy and paste the entire address below into your web browser.

——————————————— is committed to protecting electronic privacy for users of its internet services. While hopes the page you received was forwarded by a friend, does not warrant the accuracy of the information’s content or delivery and does not verify the sender’s e-mail address.
Attn: Customer Service
1755 Broadway
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10019

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Monday, February 16, 2009

What is About Senior Solutions?

About Senior Solutions is a senior resource, evaluation and advocacy organization dedicated to serving the needs of aging seniors and their family members.

I founded the organization because I am passionate about providing families with answers to health care dilemmas.  When my dad survived a critical hospitalization due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm, I decided to leave a corporate environment to create an organization of support for other families dealing with difficult choices for a senior family member. 

When families are caught in the merry-go-round of health care options and what the best thing for their loved one is,  About Senior Solutions supports them with the answers.

Our primary purpose is to treat our families with the love and care that we would offer our own loved ones. We have a philosophy of “treating people the way you want to be treated”.

Every day is a privilage to do what we do.  We want to relieve stress and inspire families to get past the initial steps of fear, turning that into peace of mind.

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