By Kristi Campbell of Home Instead Senior Care

Lack of Activity Threatens Local Seniors’ Independence

Fear of frailty is a big concern for local seniors as well as their caregivers. Medical professionals describe frailty as a syndrome of weakness, fatigue and decline in physical activity.  And it can rob seniors of their independence.  

For some, frailty results from a heart attack or stroke.  Another senior might experience falls and weight loss.

Interestingly, what often leads to frailty is the lack of motivation and ability to stay active.  As it turns out, inactivity is also a big worry for seniors and family caregivers.  

We regularly see seniors who are literally trapped in their homes because they are too weak to remain safe and independent, or to even enjoy life.  That’s why staying active is viewed by so many as vital to healthy aging.  

Frailty can be difficult to define, but most know it when they see it, said the expert who helped us develop this program – Dr. Stephanie Studenski.  She is one of the nation’s foremost authorities and researchers of mobility, balance disorders and falls in older adults.  Dr. Studenski currently serves as director of clinical research for the University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging.  

Dr. Studenski and her colleagues conducted a series of focus groups with health care providers and family caregivers about how they view frailty.  She said that many family members base frailty on social and psychological changes they see in their loved ones. 

Doctors, on the other hand, focus on the physical evidence.  She said it’s important to look at all factors – social, psychological and physical.  

Most important, Dr. Studenski said that frailty can be both prevented and reversed by activity.  That’s why Home Instead Senior Care developed the Get Mom Moving Activity Cards and Web site at  These resources are designed to help keep seniors engaged and fit.  The tools provide the resources by which seniors can fight frailty. 

The activities have been listed in three categories: mind, body and soul.  All are important to helping seniors age well.  Here’s one of the mind activities:   

Change Direction

If a senior has a regular route through the grocery store or to the mailbox, he or she may want to try a different way.  Research has revealed that such a technique exercises the brain.

Or, if an older adult can’t leave the house, help a senior break a routine. Drink tea in the afternoon instead of coffee in the morning.  If he reads the newspaper in the morning and watches television in the afternoon, suggest that he try switching that around.  Make a note of what she likes and doesn’t like about the new order.

While she is going about her day, ask your mom to use her opposite hand to open doors and brush her teeth.  Or suggest to dad he wear his watch on the opposite wrist.  These activities will help their brains re-think daily tasks.

The Warning Signs

There are also warning signs that family caregivers and senior care professionals can observe to indicate whether an older adult is becoming more or less frail.

Change.  If a senior has always been interested in talking to the neighbors, reading the newspaper or volunteering and is withdrawing from those interests, suggest she see a doctor.

Inactivity.  If a senior suddenly becomes less active, investigate what could be the cause.

Slowing down.  If that senior always used to have a bounce in his step and now, suddenly, trudges along, that’s a bad sign. 

Loss of appetite and weight.  A senior who always had a healthy appetite and doesn’t any more should be of concern to their loved ones.

Unsteadiness.  Loss of balance comes with aging, but an increasing unsteadiness is a sign that something could be wrong.

Seniors have fears as well – issues that make them worried about losing their independence. 

This topic is at the heart of the concerns that we see each day in the lives of seniors and those who care for them.  Fear of frailty keeps seniors worried about whether they can stay home.  Following are the fears, in descending order of importance to seniors, according to our survey:

Senior Fear Factors

1. Loss of independence.

2. Declining health.

3. Running out of money.

4. Not being able to live at home.

5. Death of a spouse or other family member.

6. Inability to manage their own activities of daily living.

7. Not being able to drive.

8. Isolation or loneliness.

9. Strangers caring for them.

10. Fear of falling or hurting themselves.

Education is the greatest defense against fear.  So is support.  In a very real way, family caregivers and senior care professionals can encourage older loved ones, helping them stay healthy.  And that addresses seniors’ biggest fear of losing their independence.

To find out how you can help keep a senior active, contact Home Instead Senior Care for the free Get Mom Moving Activity Cards: “Activities for the Mind Body and Soul.”

These resources really should provide the information needed to revitalize the activities of seniors.  The good news is that family caregivers and senior care professionals can head off trouble by helping keep seniors on the move. 

The Big Spring Event

By Rachel Revill of PerfecTiming Concierge

Eliminating stuff is not as easy as it looks.  Taking on the task of organizing and de-cluttering can be daunting and exhausting work.  The big spring event – Spring Cleaning may look something like this.  There’s getting rid of clothes you no longer wear, reorganizing your closets and pantries, cleaning dust off the fans and out of the vents, brightening up your space and even refreshing the paint on your walls!

Guess what?  Getting organized and de-cluttering is about making hard decisions to let stuff/things go.  It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, thoughts and memories that can be overwhelming.  However, it doesn’t have to be a dreadful event. It’s time to hit the ole’ dusty trail and bring your family out of hibernation.

Check out a few tips to a successful spring de-clutter and renewal that will ultimately help you save time and exhilarate your senses.

1. You don’t have to do it all in one day. Taking time to decide what to keep and what to throw out or donate can be empowering! The ultimate tiebreaker in this game? If you haven’t used it in the last six months, donate it so someone else can enjoy it.
2. The big “O.” Organizing can be done in just a few simple steps. Rather than trying to tackle your whole house in one day, spend a few hours, two or three on one project or space until you complete it.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
3. The boutique critique. Clothing stores are always on top of moving old inventory. Try hanging your clothes with the hooks away from you in your closet. Whenever you wear something, return the hanger to sit the opposite way. If it isn’t turned around in six months, get rid of it.
4. Spring in to the mood. New season means new colors! Spruce up your rooms with bright curtains or pillows and set out some patterned or jazzy looking plates for the dining room table.
5. Carpet fresh. A good spring clean isn’t worthwhile if you’re looking at the same carpet that’s changed colors at least two times since last year. A deep carpet cleaning will help remove odors and freshen up your rooms.
6. Let there be light! Let that spring brightness in with freshly cleaned windows. Use a safe and toxic-free window cleaner to clean off dirt and built up grim.  Open your windows, listen for nature’s beautiful rhythmic sounds and let the fresh air flow inside!

Release the clutter; it’s about your space properly working for you.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day!

Here’s to creating more memories because you have Time!

Small Business Lending Solutions

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been in existence since 1953 and, as a US Government agency overseeing government-funded programs, there is no wonder that there are a million different stories (myths!) surrounding this long-lasting and successful government agency and its many programs!

Were you aware the SBA offers the following services? 

  •  LENDING PROGRAMS – SBA 7(a) loans*, SBA 504 loans
  •  EDUCATION/TRAINING/TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE – Score, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), US Export Centers
  •  FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE – Surety Bond Guarantee Program, 8(a) Program for government contract procurement, Small Business Investment Corp offering venture capital (SBIC)

As small business owners, many of these services can provide tremendous help to your company. 

Does your company need a loan? Here is a breakdown of the two primary loan programs: 

SBA 7(a) LOAN PROGRAM (multi programs) 

  •  REGULAR TERM LOANS* – For all business lending needs, up to $5,000,000
  •  SBA EXPRESS PROGRAM* – Up to $350,000 for all business lending needs,  term loan or revolving line of credit
  •  INTERNATIONAL TRADE LOANS – For businesses involved in the international trade  that have been hurt by foreign imports
  •  EXPORT LOANS – Short-term working capital for exporting
  •  CAPLINES – Monitored Working Capital lines of credit, Builder’s spec, Contract  and Seasonal lines of credit
  •  MICROLOANS – Under $50m, run through non-profits, not banks
  •  DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM – Loans to businesses or individuals, direct from  SBA

SBA 504 LOAN PROGRAM* (single program) 

  •  20-year term financing for real estate purchase or construction
  •  10-year term financing for large capital/equipment purchases
  •  Emphasis on job creation (1 job per $65,000 of SBA loan funds received)

Maybe you have heard these stories from people who tried to obtain an SBA loan: 

“It takes forever to get approved for an SBA loan and the paperwork is a foot high!” 

“SBA loans are small and only for “ma and pa” type businesses or new start-ups!” 

“The SBA will want your house as collateral, along with your first born child!” 

“You have to be turned down by a Bank three times before you can get an SBA loan!” 

Well, since 1953, the SBA has made miraculous strides in streamlining its SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 loan programs. Required documentation has been significantly reduced and applications are now submitted electronically. Banks can be designated as a “Preferred SBA Lender”, giving that bank the authority to approve a loan on behalf of the SBA. This results in faster decisions and quicker turnaround. In addition, material legislative changes have been made to the programs through the years, especially since 2008 and the Great Recession, when President Obama instituted changes to the rules with the hope of getting loans out to help stimulate the economy. The biggest changes?…increasing the maximum size of an SBA 7(a) loan from $2,000,000 to $5,000,000 and, instituting an alternative size standard allowing Banks to lend money to much larger companies (Tangible Net Worth up to $15,000,000). Although SMALL is in the name of Small Business Administration…the size of loans allowed to be made and the size of company allowed to receive them are certainly not small! Most companies in our Hillsborough/Pinellas/Pasco/Manatee/Sarasota market area are eligible for SBA financing! 

Prospective borrowers with strong liquid cash positions can now retain most of their liquid assets and still be eligible for SBA financing. Along with that, personal assets that may be called upon for additional collateral on an SBA loan is now limited to personal real estate holdings reflecting greater than 25% equity…and this is only when business assets are inadequate to cover the loan being requested. 

What are the benefits of obtaining an SBA loan versus a conventional bank loan? 

  •  Longer terms resulting is lower payment and improved cash flow
  •  Less collateral required to secure the loan
  •  More liberal underwriting criteria (allows financing of good will, longer terms on working assets, repayment based on projections)
  •  Lower cash injection required in purchase transactions, protect your liquidity
  •  No balloon maturities
  •  No prepayment penalties if the loan has less than a 15-year term
  •  Allows the business to grow, prosper and/or get back on its feet
  •  Solid banking relationship established for future funding needs
  •  Small business can obtain a loan it would not have been able to get through typical bank channels at reasonable rates

No, you don’t need to be turned down 3 times to apply for an SBA loan! SBA lending is a viable financing opportunity for all businesses. Check out for more information on the SBA programs or, contact your Banker! 

Please contact Diane McKelvey at [email protected] if you have questions about lending solutions for small businesses

*These SBA services are provided by American Momentum Bank, a Preferred SBA Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. 

© 2016 American Momentum Bank Equal Housing Lender Member FDIC