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Tuesday, August 20 News

Professionals team up to ‘connect the pieces’ while aging

Proactive planning is an integral part of aging.

But it can be challenging to navigate the health care system, plan for a financial future, and ensure a safe and healthy living environment is at one’s fingertips.

The Senior Care Resources of Western Connecticut group in New Milford is an educational resource ready to help seniors and their families in the New Milford community navigate the aging process.

“Wherever a person is on the continuum of aging, we can help you,” Michael Gold, Senior Care Resources chairman and owner and president of GeronNursing & Respite Care, said of the group’s purpose.

“We are here to educate decision makers — albeit a well spouse, an adult child or a senior — on the best direction forward,” Gold said.

The group aims to guide seniors and their families as they plan for and manage life events before a crisis arises.

About a dozen of SCR’s members — made up of business and health care professionals — recently met for the group’s quarterly meeting, the first of its kind with several new members who each shared a brief summary of the latest happenings in their industry.

Gold said the group is starting off the new year with a revitalized energy and a sharper focus on education. Members are also available for speaking engagements.

“We’re a resource in our community and can refer (families) with confidence,” he said, describing how members direct individuals to other members who can help with issues that arise.

Members represent numerous industries, including health care agencies, advance care facilities, senior housing, financial service providers, elder law attorneys, funeral homes, physicians, senior centers, advocacy groups and more.

Unfortunately, many individuals wait too long to plan for their future and wind up in a crisis, leaving loved ones to step up to make decisions at a stressful time, several members said during the meeting.

Deirdre Dolan Nesline, a declutter expert, move and age-in-place manager, said she all too frequently sees the pressure of trying to, for example, clean out a loved one’s home.

“I see adult kids taking care of aging parents and I see the stress on their face,” Nesline said. “I think ‘Save yourself and get help.’ ”

Many caregivers fall into “superhero” mode and think they have to do everything themselves, she said.

Deborah Bain, BSN and managing director of Prism Health Advocates in Kent, said family members need to “understand that it’s OK to get to the point they can say, ‘I can no longer handle it.’ ”

That’s where the members of Senior Care Resources step in. They’re there to “successfully manage health care and retirements issues by connecting the pieces,” according to the group’s brochure.

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Linda Arnold, an elder law attorney with Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri in New Milford, stressed the importance of “comprehensive planning” with an attorney and other qualified professionals to ensure an individual receives sound, legal and quality information while planning for their future.

Members also spoke of the latest happenings in their field, including the Jan. 25 Alzheimer’s community forum at the senior center; the Feb. 22 Drug Take Back Day at the senior center; the Feb. 24 Cold Homes, Warm Hearts walk to benefit the Community Fuel Bank of New Milford; the memory care unit soon to roll out at Village Crest Center for Health & Rehabilitation; the recent flu and vaccination clinics sponsored by the New Milford Visiting Nurse Association at Loaves & Fishes; the new contract with the VA at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation; and the revitalized children’s bereavement camp, Camp Stepping Stones, with the NMVNA.

The group was founded about six years ago as a community service with no cost to individuals seeking resources and information.

For more information, email scrwesternconnecticut@gmail

.com or look for Senior Care Resources of Western Connecticut on Facebook.

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