Mission: To educate and improve the experience of aging for mature adults and their caregivers.

Senior Housing

Homebound Services Offered by the St. Louis Library

In home caregiverHomebound Services Offered by the St. Louis Library

The St. Louis Library offers many programs available to homebound seniors. If a person is unable to visit the library due to illness, age or disability or other extenuating circumstances, the library will mail materials. They might include the latest fiction, classics or cookbooks, music, movies and more. This service is also available to the caregivers of someone who is homebound. The items will arrive in a zippered bag with a label for returning materials to the library when finished.

The Homebound Service staff will call and discuss what interests you. You may choose your material or have them selected by the staff. Items must be returned after 4 weeks. There are no overdue fines for Homebound Service users.

To sign up, call the Outreach Dept. at 314-994-3300, ext. 2333 or fill out an online request form at www.slcl.org/outreach/homebound_service. You will receive an application to confirm eligibility. You will need a library card. If you don’t have a library card, the Outreach Dept. staff will be happy to assist you in obtaining one.


Other Services Offered to Seniors at the St. Louis Library System.

Book A Librarian – This program allows a senior to bring in their laptop or ipad and in a 30-60 session, the librarian will show them how to download e-media in the library. If the person is in a senior living facility, they can contact their Activities Coordinator to arrange a session. Otherwise, call 314-991-3300, ext 2050 to set an appointment.

Book Discussion Kit – For residents in a senior living community, the library will send book discussion kits to their facility. Each kit will contain books on CD, and large print books. Call Outreach at 314-994-3300, ext. 2333 for more information.

Bookmobile Service – Bookmobiles will visit senior living facilities. To schedule a visit, email at outreach@slcl.org or call 314-994-3300, ext. 2333.

Special Programs – A Senior Programming Specialist presents programs for resident of nursing facilities, independent and assisted living centers, adult day centers and other qualified organizations. They are designed to stimulate social interaction based on life experiences using audio, tactile and video materials. To schedule a visit from a Senior Programming Specialist, call 314-994-3300, ext. 2335.

Call the Outreach Department staff to learn more about senior programming.

Planning for Retirement in Senior Housing

How Much Money Do My Parents Need to Enter Senior Housing?

That is a question that is often on the minds of seniors as well as adult children who are trying to help them find housing when they need additional help. Some facilities in the St. Louis area have indicated that they like to see at least $200,000 in their accounts before they come into a facility. In other cases, it could bSenior Housinge more.  Partially, it depends on how many services the elder will utilize and what kind of accommodation they select as well as what area they live in.

Most senior facilities are for profit and they will turn a senior out when they run out of money.  If you feel that your loved one will qualify for Medicaid at some point, be sure to determine if a Medicaid bed will be available for them when the time comes and stay in touch with the social worker to enhance a smooth transition.

When you are bent on selecting a senior housing situation, consider a continuum of care facility.  That means when your loved one has a setback, they will not have to relocate but can receive increasing care in the same complex. That way they will be familiar with staff and residents and have the support they have learned to expect.

In some areas, there are group housing units that take care of a smaller number of residents in a more homelike setting. This would not be suitable for a person with a lot of disability.

What Are the Alternatives to Senior Housing?

What If A Senior Does Not Have Enough Money for Senior Housing?Senior Housing

When an elder has not saved enough money to qualify for senior housing, they can apply for ‘Affordable Housing’ through the St. Louis Housing Authority. There is a Housing Authority for the city and county as well.  Click on http://www.haslc.com/ to arrive at the St. Louis County Housing Authority website.  Affordable housing is available to seniors who have to spend more than 30% of their income on housing in the commercial marketplace.

In affordable housing, seniors have their own apartments with ample closet space, small kitchen, bedroom, living room and bathroom. They receive assistance from a social service worker who puts them in touch with other services that may be available to them. Meals are provided daily and they have transportation to doctor’s appointments, shopping trips and events.

Another alternative may be sharing housing with a relative or friend; going to adult day care during the day while living with an adult child or bringing someone into the home on a consistent basis to make sure meals are prepared and they are maintaining their health. You could hire a Geriatric Care Manager to arrange care and oversee workers if you do not have time to do it. These are some of the alternatives that might be available if a senior is no longer safe at home.

Three Simple Steps to Guarantee Great Nursing Home Care

Advocate for Loved Ones

Advocate for Loved Ones

Three Simple Steps to Guarantee Great Nursing Home Care

By Joanna R. Leefer, Senior Care Advisor/Advocate

Families rarely want to place a family member or friend in a nursing home.  But when faced with the responsibilities of providing 24-hour care for an aging person who has ever-increasing physical needs, a nursing home frequently becomes the best alternative.

One of the biggest fears about nursing homes is that a loved one will not get proper care.  We have all read new stories about nursing home staff neglecting or abusing residents. But remember people are more interested in reading stories of misconduct than reading about an aide that refused to leave the side of a dying patient.

Senior HousingMost nursing homes fall between these two extremes.  The majority of nursing homes are capable of offering good care but it takes an added ingredient to insure a loved one to get optimum care. That ingredient is you.  You, or a person you assign, can make the difference between so-so care and great care.  Here are three simple steps that insure a resident gets great nursing home care.

1. Become Your Loved One’s Health Care Proxy

A health care proxy is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to make health care decisions for you, if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. Some states may refer to this document by another name, such as Durable Power of Attorney or Power of Attorney for Health Care. Regardless of the title, these documents allow a patient’s wishes to be followed, even when she is incapable of communicating.  Whatever the name, this document allows you access to your loved ones medical records, and permits you to approve or disapprove particular medical decisions.  Even more important, it allows you to remain in the room when your loved one is being changed by a nursing home aide or by a medical person.  This is particularly important because it allows you the opportunity to see if your loved one is developing pressure sores or signs of bruising.

The health care proxy is an easy document to obtain; you can download it for free through the Internet.  To find your state’s contract, search the Internet under your state and “Health Care Proxy,” e.g.  “Health Care Proxy + Missouri.” You do not need a lawyer to activate it, only two adults to witness its signing.

2. Visit Often And Vary Your Schedule

The more you visit someone in a nursing home the better care they will receive. Every visit reminds the staff that you are concerned for your loved one and that you demand they get the best care. Be unpredictable! Don’t always visit on the same day or time. This will keep the staff on their toes. Be sure to visit on weekends, evenings, and holidays, when many facilities are not fully staffed. Come at meal times or in the evening to make sure your family member has not been put to bed too early, is not isolated, and is not left out of activities. You don’t have to stay long, just “pop in” and out.  When visiting, introduce yourself to all the staff members, so they know you are watching them. Make sure you let everyone know if you are having doubts about your loved one’s care.

If you live in another state or are unable to visit for some reason, you should appoint someone to visit your loved one, either another relative, a friend, or a professional like a geriatric care manager, senior care advisor, or social worker. Make sure you trust the person and feel assured that he will be vigilant in following your loved one’s care.

3. Become The Squeaky Wheel

You know the old adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Anytime you have a question about your mother’s care, voice your concern.  If you are not sure if she is being bathed frequently enough, ask. If you think her clothes are wrinkled, let the staff know. Make sure your dad’s hair is combed, that he is well shaven and involved in all the activities he is interested in. The more often you make a comment or ask a question, the more likely the staff will think of you as they care for your loved one.

If you are still not satisfied with your loved one’s care, be sure to document your concerns in writing.  You will then be armed with a written record showing names, dates, times, and events, which you can take to upper management to confirm your concerns.


These three tips are sure fire ways to insure the nursing home staff will give your loved one the best possible care. The staff will realize that you are alert to your loved one’s needs and will not allow less than the highest possible care. In this way you become instrumental in making sure your loved one gets the care she deserves.

Here is a preview of the book:  http://joannaleefer.com/book-preview/

Excerpted from “Almost Like Home: A Family Guide to Navigating the Nursing Home Maze”, now available at http://joannaleefer.com/almost-like-home-buy-now/. Special price for readers $9.95


Senior Housing

View this video to learn what you should look for when deciding on what senior facility will work best for your loved one!

What is Continuum of Care?

Continuum of Care is a term used in the aging community to describe a senior community that offers care at different stages of senior living.  It may have independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and a dementia unit.  That way when an older adult has a change of condition, there is somewhere in the system that can handle their level of care.

What is a senior community?

A senior community can comprise condo or apartment living for older adults 60 and over in a community setting.  Most senior communities offer meal preparation, laundry assistance, housekeeping, social activities, transportation to grocery, drug store, and more.  Independent Living communities are for older adults who can live on their own and handle all their own affairs.  Assisted Living is a designation that provides more assistance for older adults in the community who may need assistance with taking medications or handling activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, toileting, eating or transferring.  Skilled nursing is required when an older adult begins to require a higher level of assistance.  A nurse is on duty 24/7 in skilled nursing centers.  Medications will always be administered by the nurse in skilled nursing.

Senior Housing Options

Many Alternatives for senior housing exist today

There are more options available to aging adults than ever before.  When the WWI/II generation was growing up, there was only nursing homes which were essentially skilled nursing.  Since that time, it has evolved to include:

Independent Housing – This type of housing is similar to a condo arrangement but in a neighborhood of other similarly aged residents.  Activities and meals are often offered. Residents typically still drive and take care of themselves.  They are socially active.

Assisted Living options were designed to help those who are losing their ability to take care of themselves and may need assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing, assistance with eating, incontinence, medication administration, meal preparation and daily checks.  Continue reading

Criteria for Selecting Senior Housing

Select Senior Housing with Care

Before helping an older adult find housing, have them write down what they want out of a residence setting.  Each residence has its own personality and finding a match for the potential resident is imperative to their future happiness. Make sure they have a list of their financial assets because that information will be needed during admission.  Also bring along a copy of the Healthcare Power of Attorney and Advance Directive.  Provide the address and numbers of anyone that should be contacted during an emergency hospitalization.  Who will be the advocate for that person?  The person who does advocate for the individual resident will be able to attend monthly Care Plan meetings with staff. This will give an opportunity to address special needs and desires of the resident. Continue reading

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Alton Heart/Stroke Fair

Feb. 4th, Saturday 8:30-noon, Alton Memorial Hospital

May 17th, Caregiver Support Group Presentation, Chesterfield Villas

READ Live Long, Die Short by Roger Landry, MD