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The Leadership Lansing Blog is the open communication forum of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. In the Leadership Lansing Blog, we will highlight all things related to the Greater Lansing business community. We will feature posts from our staff, our membership and the legislative leaders of this region. If you have any questions or would like to be a contributor to the Leadership Lansing Blog, please contact Eric Dimoff, Marketing and Communications Director, at 517-853-6460 or edimoff@lansingchamber.org. We appreciate the continued support!

 

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8 Signs That Your Aging Parents Aren't OK To Live Alone Anymore

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, February 15, 2016

The holidays bring scattered families together -- giving adult children the perfect opportunity to closely inspect how aging parents are managing. It's not by chance that calls to Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities spike just after the holidays. This is when families detect hints of trouble or see catastrophes on the horizon.

So while you're enjoying the festivities of the season, take time to investigate the following eight potential signs of trouble. Remember, it’s better to be proactive than reactive in a crisis!

 

 1. Show Your LOVE with a Big Hug.

Look for:

·         Obvious weight loss. Depression, cancer, or even difficulty grocery shopping & cooking can be behind a noticeable loss of weight.

·         Increased frailty. Pay close attention to the way your loved one walks (do they shuffle more?), and moves (do they rise easily from a chair or have trouble with balance?). Compare these benchmarks to the last time you were together.

·         Obvious weight gain. Injury, diabetes, and dementia might be the cause. Money troubles that lead to fewer fresh foods and result in more dried pasta & bread can also be culprits.

·         Strange body odor. Changes in personal grooming habits, due to memory issues or physical ailments, might be noticeable on very close inspection.

2. Rifle Through the Mail.

Look for:

·         Unopened personal mail. Everybody leaves some junk mail untouched, but few of us can ignore a good old-fashioned, hand-addressed letter.

·         Unopened bills. This can be a sign that your loved one is having difficulty managing finances--one of the most common first signs of dementia.

·         Letters from banks, creditors, or insurers. They may be routine business. But it's alarming if they're referring to overdue payments, overdrawn balances, recent accidents, or other worrisome events.

·         Thank-you messages from charities. Older adults are often vulnerable to scams, and even those who have always been fiscally prudent are vulnerable if they're having cognitive difficulty (a common sign of Alzheimer's disease). Some charities hit up givers over and over, and your loved one may not remember having donating the first time.

3. Take a Drive with Mom or Dad Behind the Wheel.

Look for:

·         Nicks or dents as you enter & exit the car. These can be signs of careless driving or decrease in vision.

·         Does your loved one fasten his or her seatbelt? Basic routines are not always remembered by someone with mild dementia.

·         Signs of tension, uneasiness, or distraction. Is your loved one no longer willing to drive at night? Or on highways? Is it hard for him or her to talk to you or listen to the radio and also pay close attention to the road?

·         Signs of driving issues. Tailgating, slow reaction time, consistently going below speed limit, or confusing gas and brake pedals are signs to watch for. See #8 for more ways to assess someone's driving.

·         Dashboard warning lights. Does the car have sufficient oil, gas, antifreeze, windshield-wiper fluid?

4. Inspect the Kitchen--Refrigerator to Counter to Cupboards.

Look for:

·         Perishables past their expiration dates. Your loved one might be buying much more than he or she needs, but you want to be sure there's a reasonable ability to ditch the old stuff (rather than use it).

·         Multiples of the same item. Ten bottles of ketchup or a dozen different vinegars might indicate he or she can't remember from one shopping trip to the next what is still in the cupboards at home.

·         Appliances that are broken & haven't been repaired. Check the microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, washer, and dryer--any device you know your parent used to use routinely.

·         Signs of past fire. Look for charred stove knobs or pot bottoms, potholders with burned edges, a discharged fire extinguisher, smoke detectors that have been disassembled. Accidents happen, but accidental fires are a common home danger for older adults.

·         Increased takeout or simpler cooking. If someone who used to cook a lot no longer does or has downshifted to extremely simple recipes, the explanation could be a change in physical or mental ability.

5. Look Around the Living Areas.

Look for:

·         Piles of clutter. Especially if this is a change for your loved one, being unable to throw anything away may be a sign of a neurological or physical issue. Papers that spill onto the floor are a particular tripping hazard.

·         Cobwebs, signs of spills that haven't been picked up, or other signs of housekeeping that's more lax than it once was. Spills are a common sign of dementia; the person lacks the follow-through to clean up after a mess. Or your loved one may have physical limitations and simply need more housekeeping help.

·         Bathrooms that are not clean. Often those who make an extra effort to tidy for guests in main rooms neglect the bathroom, where a truer picture of how the person is keeping up with things may be reflected.

·         Signs that your loved one has cut back on activities & interests. Is a hobby area abandoned? Are there no longer engagements written on the hall calendar? There are many reasons people cut back, but a dramatic loss of interest in activities is a red flag for depression.

6. Inspect How House Plants or Animals are Being Cared For.

Look for:

·         Plants that are dying, dead, or just gone. How well other life is looked after may reflect how well your parents can look after their own lives.

·         Animals that don't seem well tended. Watch out for dogs with long nails, cat litter boxes that aren't changed routinely, dead fish in the fish tank, or any animal that seems underfed or poorly groomed.

7. Walk Around the Grounds.

Look for:

·         Signs of home maintenance problems. Look for discolored siding or ceilings that might indicate a leak, gutters choked with leaves, broken windows or fences.

·         Newspapers in the bushes. Check for papers that were delivered but ignored. –

·         Mail piled up in the mailbox. Watch for this indication that your loved one doesn't know to retrieve it regularly.

8. Talk to Those in Your Loved One's Circle: Ask Neighbors, Church Family, Friends.

Look for:

·         Comments that reveal your loved one doesn't get out much. "We don't see her much lately.", "She doesn't call anymore.", "She quit coming to the Senior Center."

·         Statements that reflect that your loved one has complained about health or needs extra assistance getting basic chores done. "Has he had that heart test yet?" "We were worried the day the ambulance came."

·         Indications of concern in their voices. Listen for comments about your loved one; about his or her health, pets, anything.


We're here to help you.

Call our Community Specialist, Lisa or Michele to schedule your personal visit & discuss how we can provide peace of mind for you and your parent in a vibrant supportive community.

(517) 627-7585 | 4775 Village Dr., Grand Ledge, MI 48837 | IndependenceVillages.com

Tags:  Aging  assisted living  community  concern  dementia  frailty  grooming  injury  parents 

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Young Professionals on Why They #LoveLansing

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday, August 5, 2014

If I’d have been asked where I would start my career a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted Lansing.

I wanted to go off to a big city like many public relations folks do. But that was before I met my mentor. While interning in Lansing, my boss morphed into an incredible mentor. But she went beyond simply mentoring me as a PR professional; she personally introduced me to Lansing. Through this mentor-turned-ambassador, I got to see the close-knit community, affordable living, job opportunities and entertainment side of Lansing. I found that as a young professional, these attracted me to this unsuspecting city. 

With time, I also learned the impact individuals can have in Lansing. One person can easily make waves, and that’s something unique. While building my network, I’ve realized community members are willing to help one another toward success. In Lansing, I have the ability to make a difference. I’m enthusiastic and proud to call Lansing home.

Hannah Leibinger, Account Strategist at Piper & Gold Public Relations



Lansing, Michigan. Asking someone exactly why they live here will yield a myriad of responses: "I came here for college and, well...I just stayed," "I enjoy the peaceful quaintness," and "I can bike and walk anywhere I need to go." I, too, have similar reasons for why I came here, but the sense of community and the warm embrace of its collective culture is what made me call Lansing home. The hashtag "#lovelansing" represents the people of Lansing as much as it represents the city itself. The passion and love people have for Lansing is contagious. If you want to make a positive impact in your community, the support you get here is unmatched. 

 

 I have been lucky to find three wonderful communities in Lansing: an incredibly robust creative collective; a well-established Muslim population; and a world class clinical research community at Michigan State University. From the silhouette of Lansing’s hallmark smokestacks to the Brenke Fish Ladder and all the neighborhoods, our capital city has allowed me the opportunity to thrive and continue to develop my sense of self, for which I am thankful. Lansing, Michigan is where I hang my hat and that is something that makes me very proud indeed.

Khalid Ibrahim, epidemiologist at Michigan State University and the owner/lead photographer at Eat Pomegranate Photography


 

Why I chose to stay in Lansing: This is a question I get asked often, as many of my fellow MSU grads packed up all of those years ago were headed off to big cities around the country: Washington D.C., Chicago, Austin. They were moving out of state and here I was looking to put down some roots in the city I now call home- Lansing.

To me, there is no better place to be at this time in my life than Lansing. I am a young professional with big ideas. While I hold down a 9-5 in the policy world, I consider myself to be a community activist. First and foremost, I am a social justice advocate in all that I do, and hope to make my community as equitable, sustainable and fun as possible. Lansing gives me the opportunity to do just that!

Lansing is the type of community where if you have an idea, the stage is set to go for it! Sure, we may not have the food truck scene, biking infrastructure or environmentally sound policy that cities like, say, San Francisco have, but if you are interested in seeing those things happen, Lansing gives you the opportunity to become a part of that process. Rather than just supporting the ideals that I love, I get to be on committees and have a say in making them actually happen. It feels amazing.

Not to mention, the community of people in Lansing are truly one of a kind.

I am lucky to call Lansing home and hope to encourage others to put down some roots and join the movement of young professionals making a home in this city of endless possibilities and unlimited potential.

Shannon Nobles, Outreach Specialist, Michigan League for Public Policy  


 

Settling down in Lansing seemed like a logical choice for me after graduating from law school at Michigan State.  I grew up here and I already had a good job at a local firm.  However, I quickly realized that most of my friends from high school and law school were gone, and I didn't really know anyone aside from a few work colleagues.  It quickly became apparent that I either needed to make Lansing my own or pick-up and move elsewhere.  Once I started to get involved, the decision was easy.  I was shocked to see how much was already going on in Lansing that had completely flown beneath my radar and how many other young professionals actually lived here.  Given that the area is the seat of state government, home to a Big Ten university, and the headquarters for a number of major businesses, I now realize that this shouldn't have been surprising.  However, I still remain impressed by how easy it was for a young person to get involved in the community at a very high level. 

Lansing is a great place to live, work, and play.  For me, it strikes a perfect balance between life in a small town and life in the big city.  The cost of living is low, and the quality of life is high.  My monthly mortgage payment is lower than many of my friends pay to rent a studio apartment in a big city.  Yet we still have access to fantastic entertainment, from Michigan State athletics and Broadway shows at the Wharton Center to the countless festivals and concerts downtown and in Old Town.  And when it's time to work, there are positions available with world-class employers in virtually every industry, with realistic opportunities for advancement.  Sure, it may be a little easier to find a job in a big city, but in Lansing you can start a career.  As President of Grand River Connection and a member of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board, I am invested in helping Lansing attract and retain talented young workers by helping them to see Lansing as I now do.

I may have landed here by default, but I'm certainly glad that I stayed.

Brian Gallagher is an Employee Benefits Attorney with Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C. Brian is also President of Grand River Connection and serves on the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. 

Tags:  #lovelansing  affordable living  community  entertainment  Lansing  networking  young professionals 

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