Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Foundation’s 2016 Honoree Event

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) will host its 2016 Honoree Luncheon Event on Sunday, Nov 13th at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank. This annual event is an opportunity to recognize the work of others that enable NJFA to advance its mission-aligned activities. NJFA focuses on policy to address senior and caregiver issues; public education to improve access to services; and professional education to support high standards of care. Aging Insights is a 30-minute monthly TV program broadcast across NJ. NJFA began producing the program in 2011 and now has released more than 60 programs which are also on NJFA’s website, and on YouTube.

This year’s distinguished honorees include:

Diane Riley, Anti-Hunger Advocate and Aging Insights Guest.  

For over a decade, Diane has been a leading voice for the hungry and poor in New Jersey. Joining the Community Food Bank in 2011, Diane led a coalition of stakeholders to raise awareness about hunger, engage in public dialogue, and influence policies that address underlying causes as well as solutions. As a member of numerous organizations and at every opportunity when Diane addresses hunger issues she always calls attention to the plight of seniors who face economic challenges daily.

Eileen Doremus, Advocate for Seniors and Caregivers and Aging Insights Guest

Eileen Doremus has served as a former NJFA Trustee and in her current role as the Executive Director of the Mercer County Office on Aging and throughout her career has championed the issues of aging and caregiver services especially when looking at the needs of fami­lies coping with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. She is a dedicated advocate and an expert on caregiving and creativity.

Piscataway Community TV Station, Technical Director and Aging Insights Partner

Piscataway Township became one of the first towns in NJ to have its own TV station. Over thirty years later, Piscataway Community TV (PCTV) is still producing local programming, sports coverage and providing local in­formation to the residents of the communities it serves. NJFA partnered with PCTV to initiate the monthly series Aging Insights. PCTV’s knowledgeable staff and dedicated volunteers produce a stellar program with NJFA staff each month.

The event will feature Jazz pianist Tara Buzach, a Silent Auction and a 50/50 raffle.

For tickets and sponsorships please contact NJFA’s office at 609-421-0206 or visit



Monday, October 10th, 2016

Don’t hide your caregiving issues under a rock. A lot of caregivers downplay their roles. “Oh, me, I’m not a caregiver, I just take my mom to doctor appointments”. “I help my Aunt go grocery shopping and with housework, I wouldn’t say I’m a caregiver”. But these tasks are part of caregiving. Sure, some caregivers are providing hands on care or handling medical needs of family members, but anytime we take time from our daily lives to help out- that’s caregiving. So, don’t hide it under a rock- be proud of your role as a caregiver.

Don’t hide your concerns about the care of a loved one under a rock either. Or your need for help with their care for that matter. There is help. You can start by reaching out to your County Office on Aging to learn about available programs and services to help you or your loved one. You can find their contact information on our website-

You could also contact your local Senior Center to find out what kind of programming they. This could help get your loved one out of the house and give you some respite. Senior Centers are much more than bingo these days! They have classes on everything from computers, to languages, art, exercise and more. Depending on what your town offers, it could be a great way to get involved and stay active. The best way to find your senior center is to call your municipality.

We also feature great, informative content online for both seniors and caregivers. There is our online magazine, Renaissance; our TV program Aging Insights; and this blog!

So, stop hiding under that rock and reach out for information and help! And show us that #agingrocks

Aging Rocks!

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

For our magazine, Renaissance, we feature a senior profile in each issue. The senior profile is a way to highlight positive aging and showcase seniors who are an inspiration to their community. Recently, we wrote a blog about a local community art project that has inspired one NJ town to share kindness through artwork-  #HamiltonRocks has included and encouraged those of all ages to paint, hid and hunt rock art.

Another example of art knowing no age limit is the NJ Senior Art show, which helps older adults with artistic talents to showcase those talents. Because of the art show, seniors are able to share their art with the community and their peers.

All of this has got us thinking. How can you show us that #agingrocks? Is it through art? Community involvement? Sports? Letting your hair go gray like Jon Bon Jovi?

We’d like you to tell us how #agingrocks. Share your thoughts with us here on the blog or send us an email at We would love to share your stories with our readers. We welcome photos too! Or share your own message on social media with the hashtag (#) #agingrocks

Look for more rock related posts coming soon, it will be full of rock puns (all intended!!)



Rock Art Inspires NJ Town

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Example of a rock hidden, just waiting to be found

Never underestimate the power of community. Lora Durr did not expect that one little art project could grow into a community phenomenon and social media craze. Ms. Durr is an art teacher at Hamilton Township’s Crockett Middle School and she is always striving to bring her students fun, thoughtful lessons which also inspire the whole school and now the whole Township. That’s what led to the creation of #HamiltonRocks, which Ms. Durr describes as “Social Practice Artmaking”, meaning that an artist puts their work out in the world and it becomes art when society interacts with it”.


Some examples of the super talented artists participating.

Ms. Durr was inspired to create this project by a fellow educator from Jefferson City, Missouri (#JCRocks) that she met over the summer at a National Art Education Association conference.  She has also received guidance and inspiration from another project in Tennessee, #901rocks. The project, #HamiltonRocks! is simple, you find rocks (from a public, safe place) paint them, write #HamiltonRocks on the back and hide them in plain sight throughout Hamilton Township. When people find the rocks they can keep the rock if they love it, leave it where it is for someone else to find, or re-hide them in a new location.  And of course, all are encouraged to be inspired to paint and hide their own rocks! There is a Facebook group and Instagram account where people can share their creations and finds. Ms. Durr adds, “Social Media has been key to getting the word out”, however she also notes that it is not required to participate. People can still paint rocks, hide rocks and find rocks and spread the project by word of mouth.

The mission behind #HamiltonRocks and other community-based art projects is to spread creativity and kindness throughout the town.  What Ms. Durr did not expect was that this project would grow so quickly and spawn a real sense of community. “I didn’t think people would have time for it” Ms. Durr commented when asked about the quick growth of the project. Yet, it seems many have found time for it. It’s even sparked community activities. Some families have begun to make an effort to clean up local parks after discovering a lot of litter on their rock hunts. Now many are bringing bags to collect litter and encouraging others to do so as well. And this project is really for all ages. Families are having rock painting nights, where kids and adults alike are participating. Adults without kids have been inspired to paint and hid rocks too! hamilton-rocks-1hamilton-rocks-2

At the request of Ms. Durr, the NJ Foundation for Aging, also connected the project to a local Senior Center. Kathleen Fitzgerald at the Hamilton Township Senior Center invited #HamiltonRocks participants to come and hide rocks at the senior center before their annual senior picnic. Ms. Fitzgerald was amazed with the response and the seniors were so surprised to find many beautifully painted rocks when they arrived for the picnic. Ms. Fitzgerald reports that there were more than 500 seniors at the picnic, when asked about their reaction, she stated “What a hit it was with the seniors when they spotted them in the flowerbeds! They were all talking about how cute they were and what a great idea this art teacher came up with to get our community all involved.”

The interaction with the Senior Center was such a success that Ms. Durr is joining them on Oct. 13th for a Pizza and Paint night. They are inviting Seniors and their families/friends to come for pizza and Ms. Durr will provide some information on the project and tips for rock painting. Kathleen expects around 100 people to attend.

Many people are amazed with how this project grew and the way it is bringing joy to so many in the community. Other towns are hearing about this and creating their own rocks projects. If you like the sounds of it, find out if it’s happening in your area, Facebook is a great place to start, but you might also consider paying extra attention to your surroundings in case there is art hiding in plain sight! hamilton-rocks-6


Medicare Reminders

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Medicare Reminders

Some of us do not want to think about summer coming to an end, but surely it will soon. Before we know it, we’ll be talking about Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15-December 7).

In the meantime, we want to remind you about some of the Medicare benefits you should be taking advantage of.

First, don’t forget that you get a free Welcome to Medicare Wellness Visit.

If you are new to Medicare you get an Annual Wellness Visit at no cost to Medicare beneficiaries.  As part of that visit, beneficiaries and their physicians can review the patient’s health and develop a personalized wellness plan.  Over 780,000 beneficiaries received an Annual Wellness Visit between January 1 and June 10. Additionally, more seniors have used the Welcome to Medicare Exam this year. The Welcome to Medicare is a one-time preventive health exam available to enrollees in the first 12 months they have Part B.

The new annual wellness visit can help spark the beginning of an ongoing conversation between patients and their doctors on how to prevent disease and disability.  Patients should take advantage of this time by reviewing their histories and making sure their primary care doctor knows about their other providers and prescriptions. They can also talk about the pros and cons of getting an influenza, pneumococcal or hepatitis B vaccination, or find out whether a diabetes test, a bone mass measurement, or any of several cancer screenings would be right for them.

You can find additional information on prevention benefits on line at

Second, don’t forget you can go paperless with Medicare.

Get your copy of the “Medicare & You” handbook or your Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs) electronically.

“Medicare & You” handbook

The Medicare & You handbook is a valuable resource. In an effort to save paper, Medicare is urging you to use the online version instead of the printed one.

You can do that by following 3 simple steps.  First go to  to sign up for the “go paperless” option of the “Medicare & You” handbook, you will see the three steps, which include entering your personal information (remember is a secure site, even more so if you have an account), confirming it and completing the request of the electronic version. Every year in the fall, they’ll send you an email with a link to the new online “Medicare & You.”

Have an eReader (like an iPad, NOOK, Sony Reader, or Kindle)?

Visit to download a free digital version of this handbook to your eReader. This option is available for all eReader devices. You can get the same important information that’s included in the printed version in an easy-to-read format that you can take anywhere you go. You’ll still get a printed copy of the handbook in the mail if you choose to download the digital version.

Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs)

You can get your MSNs delivered as electronic MSNs (eMSNs).

How to sign-up for eMSNs

You’ll need a account to sign up for eMSNs. If you don’t have an account, visit and select “Create an Account”.

Once you’ve signed up for your account (or if you already have an account), complete these 5 steps between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. (Eastern Time):

  1. Visit, and login to your account.
  2. Select “My Account” from the menu.
  3. In the “User information” tab, select “Email and Correspondence Settings.”
  4. In the “Electronic Medicare Summary Notices (eMSNs)” area, select “Edit.”
  5. Select “Yes” and then “Submit” and you’re done.

Always remember to visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE to get answers to all your Medicare questions.

Stay tuned to NJFA’s blog, Renaissance magazine and the Aging Insights TV program for Medicare Open Enrollment information.



ATM Safety

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

ATM Safety

Despite all the advancements in credit/debit card protections- like the new chip system- scammers are still targeting consumers in one of the most vulnerable transactions- the ATM.

You may have noticed when you got a new credit or debit card or noticed at the store that they have a new machine. It’s all for this chip technology, where you insert your credit card and that machine reads the chip instead of the magnetic strip on the back on the card. This technology is more difficult for thieves to counterfeit, hopefully protecting you from theft or fraud.

However, even with this technology, there is still one area where criminals have success and that is stealing information right from the ATM as you use it. According to the FICO Card Alert Service, the number of ATMs compromised rose more than 500 percent last year over 2014. Just as credit card companies and banks are developing new technology, so are scammers and thieves. There has been an increase in the number of sophisticated (and cheap) devices out there that make it easier for criminals to access your protected information. ATMs are susceptible to these devices known as skimmers. The skimmers are card-reading devices that fit over the existing ATM slot. When you put your card in the skimmer reads the information and copies the magnetic strip. In addition, the thieves usually install a hidden video camera installed the records you entering your pin. There are even devices available that can read the new chip technology, these are known a shimmers and work in a similar way as the skimmers.

The average thief takes $650 from each skimmed account. Getting your money back is possible, however it is important to report the crime quickly.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from skimming or shimming.

Use the ATM at your bank. The ATM at your bank is less likely to have been tampered with. And often have their own 24/7 camera surveillance for your protection.

Be alert. Take a look at any ATM before you use it. Is the card slot a different color than the rest of the machine? Are any parts of the machine off? Is the light obscured? Is something off center or hanging over the keypad? These are all signs the machine could have been tampered with. If the machine doesn’t take your card easily or anything looks off about the ATM, do not use it.

Take extra caution to guard your PIN. Use your hand to cover the keypad, be cautious of anyone standing too close. If something or someone feels suspicious, walk away.

Sign up for alerts and monitor your account. Checking with your bank about programs that provide transaction alerts. And be sure to check your statement on a regular basis to make sure all transactions were authorized by you.

To prevent big losses- you could create another account specifically for ATM withdraws and keep a low balance in that account. This way if your account is compromised the thief won’t walk away with all of your money.

You can also ask the bank to lower your daily limit for ATM withdrawals. A lot of these scams involve multiple withdrawals within minutes, having a low limit, like $100 a day, means the scammers wouldn’t be able to drain your account.

However, if you do fall victim to an ATM scam make sure you report it. It is important to do so immediately. Acting fast limits your liability for charges you didn’t authorize. Report the loss or theft of your card to the card issuer as quickly as possible. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service for such emergencies. Once you report the loss of your ATM or debit card, federal law says you cannot be held liable for unauthorized transfers that occur after that time.

Hot Enough for Ya? Make sure it’s safe enough for ya!

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

During the summer months, you should be careful when temperatures rise. We can expect several heat waves this summer and you’ll want to know how to stay cool. When temperatures hit the 90’s it can be dangerous to be outdoors for too long.   Children, older adults, people with disabilities and pets are most at risk during excessive temperatures.

High temperatures and humid conditions have the possibility of making outdoor activities and non-air-conditioned facilities extremely dangerous and uncomfortable. Be mindful of the threats that heat waves pose such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and sometimes death. These threats can be minimized and eliminated if we practice heat-related precautions and guidelines. Hot, dry skin, an absence of sweat and a rapid and strong pulse, are all signs of heat stroke. If you have elderly family members, friends or neighbors, be sure to check in on them to make sure they are keeping cool, especially if they live alone. Here are some heat related emergency safety tips:

  • Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible
  • If you do go outside stay in the shade
  • If your home is not air conditioned, spend at least two hours daily at an air conditioned mall, library or other public place
  • Wear sunscreen outside, along with loose fitting light colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible
  • Drink water regularly even if you are not thirsty. Limit alcohol, and sugary drinks which speeds dehydration
  • Never leave children or pets alone in the car
  • Avoid exertion during the hottest part of the day
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Be a good neighbor, check on elderly and people with disabilities in your community who may need assistance keeping cool

Additionally, residents should contact their local and/or county offices of emergency management regarding any open air-conditioned senior centers or cooling stations, or call  2-1-1.  According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and people with disabilities are more at risk for heat because they do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature; they are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat; and they are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.    The CDC also offers the following tips for older adults, persons with disabilities and/or their caregivers:

  • Visit older adults who are at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Encourage them to increase their fluid intake by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages regardless of their activity level. Warning: If their doctor generally limits the amount of fluid they drink or they are on water pills, they will need to ask their doctor how much they should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Take them to air-conditioned locations, if they have transportation problems.

You can contact your County Office on Aging to find out about help such as cooling centers (call 1-877-222-3737 or see this list For more information regarding heat related emergencies, please log on to, visit the National Weather Service Heat Safety Page (, or log on to NJ  2-1-1 (

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Water, creating a balance is essential.

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Water, creating a balance is essential.

In the NY Times Science Section’s Well, Personal Health column on May 10, Jane Brody shares her experience with mild dehydration after two very physically active days.  She cites Professor Barry Popkin who talks about things we do not truly know about water, like how hydration impacts our health and well-being, or how much is really required. While there are suggested guidelines, it can be difficult to know exactly how much water you need to drink. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. This can vary depending on your health issues, activity level, the weather, etc.  We probably need to drink somewhere within the suggested guidelines in order to be sufficiently hydrated each day.  This may be difficult since as we age the mechanism of thirst becomes a less effective trigger for reminding us to drink water.

How can you remember to drink enough water? Have a glass at the same time and in the same place during your routine every day. Get in the habit of drinking a glass of water right after you get out of the shower, or right before you wash your face at night, put a glass of water on your nightstand so you see it before you go to bed or have a glass waiting by the coffee maker so you remember to have a glass while your coffee brews.





Preventing Falls at Home

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Preventing Falls at Home

Falls are not inevitable; it isn’t something that just happens as you get older. Falls are linked to a specific cause.  It could be that more than one underlying cause or risk factor is involved in a fall.

Falls can be linked to a person’s physical condition or a medical problem, such as a chronic disease. Other causes could be safety hazards in the person’s home or community environment.

What are some Risk Factors for falls?

  • Muscle weakness, especially in the legs, is one of the most important risk factors. People with weak muscles are more likely to fall than are those who maintain their muscle strength, as well as their flexibility and endurance.
  • Your balance and your gait — how you walk — are other key factors. Older adults who have poor balance or difficulty walking are more likely than others to fall. These problems may be linked to a lack of exercise or to a neurological cause, arthritis, or other medical conditions and their treatments.
  • Blood pressure that drops after you have been lying down or sitting can increase your chance of falling. This condition — called postural hypotension — might result from dehydration, or certain medications. It might also be linked to diabetes, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, or an infection.
  • Your reflexes may also be slower than when you were younger. The increased amount of time it takes you to react may make it harder to catch your balance if you start to fall.
  • Foot problems that cause painful feet, and wearing unsafe footwear can increase your chance of falling. Backless shoes and slippers, high-heeled shoes, and shoes with smooth leather soles are examples of unsafe footwear that could cause a fall.
  • Sensory problems can cause falls, too. If your senses don’t work well, you might be less aware of your environment. For instance, having numbness in your feet may mean you don’t sense where you are stepping.
  • Not seeing well or other vision problems can also result in falls. It may take a while for your eyes to adjust to see clearly when you move between darkness and light. Other vision problems contributing to falls include poor depth perception, cataracts, and glaucoma. Having poor lighting around your home can also lead to falls.
  • Confusion, even for a short while, can sometimes lead to falls. For example, if you wake up in an unfamiliar environment, you might feel unsure of where you are. If you feel confused, wait for your mind to clear or until someone comes to help you before trying to get up and walk around.
  • Some medications can increase a person’s risk of falling because they cause side effects like dizziness or confusion. The health problems for which the person takes the medications may also contribute to the risk of falls.

Most Falls Happen at Home

Although falls can happen anywhere, well over half of all falls happen at home. Falls at home often happen while a person is doing normal daily activities. Some of these falls are caused by factors in the person’s living environment. For instance, a slick floor or a poorly lit stairway may lead to a fall.

Other factors that can lead to falls at home include

  • loose rugs
  • clutter on the floor or stairs
  • carrying heavy or bulky things up or down stairs
  • not having stair railings
  • not having grab bars in the bathroom

Simple changes can help make your home safer.

If you do fall, what should you do?

Well, be sure to talk with your doctor if you fall. A fall could be a sign of a new medical problem that needs attention, such as an infection or a cardiovascular disorder. It could also suggest that a treatment for a chronic ailment, such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia, needs to be changed.

For the time immediately after a fall, here are some tips:

While you are still on the ground:

  1. Take several deep breaths to try to relax.
  2. Remain still on the floor or ground for a few moments. This will help you get over the shock of falling.
  3. Decide if you’re hurt before getting up. Getting up too quickly or in the wrong way could make an injury worse.

Once you are ready to get up:

  1. If you think you can get up safely without help, roll over onto your side.
  2. Rest again while your body and blood pressure adjust. Slowly get up on your hands and knees, and crawl to a sturdy chair.
  3. Put your hands on the chair seat and slide one foot forward so that it is flat on the floor. Keep the other leg bent so the knee is on the floor.
  4. From this kneeling position, slowly rise and turn your body to sit in the chair.

If you’re hurt or can’t get up, ask someone for help or call 911. If you’re alone, try to get into a comfortable position and wait for help to arrive.

For more information and resources, visit the NJ Dept of Human Services website:



Take the American Medicine Chest 5 Step Challenge

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Prescription Drug Safety and Disposal

Take the American Medicine Chest 5 Step Challenge

By: Angelo M. Valente

The American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) is a community based public health initiative, with law enforcement partnership, designed to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and provide a nationwide day of disposal – at a collection site or in the home – of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine. AMCC provides a unified national, statewide, and local focus on the issue of children and teens abusing prescription medicine. It is designed to generate unprecedented media attention and challenge all Americans to take the 5 Step American Chest Challenge.

It is important for households across the state of New Jersey to understand how easy it is for children and teens to abuse prescription drugs. “AMCC encourages families throughout the state of New Jersey to take the 5-Step Challenge,” said AMCC CEO, Angelo M. Valente. “We have come so far and so much has been achieved – hundreds of permanent disposal sites have been installed and thousands of tons of prescription drugs have been collected. Yet, we are still in the midst of an opiate abuse epidemic and the need for this initiative has continued to expand ever since New Jersey held the first statewide day of disposal in the nation.”

“When AMCC began addressing this issue several years ago, the answer seemed simple, dispose of the unused medicine in your home and prevent it from being diverted and abused by the young people in your life. Safe disposal opportunities have expanded in New Jersey, and now, residents in over 200 communities from across our state have safe and convenient access to a medicine disposal location,” said Valente. “The DEA recently reinstated their Drug-Take Back Day to provide additional opportunities, and the partners we have in the media are working hard to get the message out about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. We still know that these efforts are key steps in preventing prescription drug abuse, but now we must address the epidemic of opioid abuse on all fronts. Heroin overdoses are on the rise across the country and New Jersey is ground zero.”

According to a report released in 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. The report found that the strongest risk factor for heroin use is a history of prescription drug abuse. The greatest increases in heroin abuse have occurred in groups with historically lower rates of heroin use, including women, people with private insurance and higher incomes.

New Jersey has worked to address the issue in a 21 bill package, introduced by Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Chairman, Joseph F. Vitale, to tackle the heroin and prescription drug epidemic that is sweeping our state. One measure requires practitioners to have a conversation with their patient about the risks of developing a physical or psychological dependence before prescribing. Another, which is now law, requires physicians to utilize the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

There are many ways we can work together to prevent opiate abuse, and stem the tide of this epidemic; we can start in our own homes. “Please encourage all of those in your community, workplace, family, and home to take the 5-Step Challenge,” said Valente.

  1. Take inventory of your prescription and over-the-counter medicine.
  2. Secure your medicine.
  3. Dispose of your unused, unwanted, and expired medicine at an American Medicine Chest Challenge Disposal site.
  4. Take your medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.
  5. Talk to your children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse… they are listening.

Information on locations to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine can be found on the American Medicine Chest Challenge website: or by downloading the AMCC Rx Drop mobile app.

This initiative is provided without cost to any community, government, or law enforcement agency in the country.