What is Kin-Keepers' value?
Blessed are the Kin-Keepers that unite the family. Kin-Keepers addresses the aging narrative with a continuum of solutions that begin with early retirement and continue into the end of life. Along the way, we provide physical, emotional, and most importantly, psycho-social tools that allow Seniors to first Age in Place, then Age Together in Co-Housing dwellings among Families and Friends. We are keen to tackle the affordability of retirement and long life, now facing over 50 million Americans, and millions more around the world.
What is the problem?
The problem elders face is lonely isolation. With the best of intentions families and caregivers remove all forms of feedback leaving the sufferers dependent on those who care for them. That creates confusion, frustration, and even anger for the elder. It becomes a burden for the caregiver and engenders dread, hopelessness, and resentment. Unknowingly when a child tells a parent what to do without understanding the nature of the disease, misguidedly they slowly erode the identity of the senior.
Loneliness: There are 12 million adults in the U.S. living without a spouse or partner; many are single by choice, widowed, or divorced. They may be childless or not in touch with their children or other family members.
When elders feel lonely, they say "I want to go home." All they are seeking is a lighthouse that will illuminate the way. Elders living with Alzheimer's and other forms of Dementia live in a confusing, frightening sea. Kin-Keepers has created for them a lighthouse in the form of a Smart Parrot. It is not a cure, but it helps them find meaning and certainty in an otherwise unforgiving world.
Why are we doing this?
People are living longer with fewer offspring and the institutions for aging no longer suffice. Traditional cultural ways of retiring will not work as they once did. Furthermore, many seniors have not been able to save enough to carry them through retirement. Currently, the average monthly Social Security benefit for retired American workers is only around $1,360. That's less than $16,320 per year when reduced by an automatic Medicare deduction, ($144.60 in 2020 up to $9.10 from $135.50 in 2019) which isn't enough to cover the basic needs. (2022 update: Social Security recipients will get a 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their monthly benefits starting in January. The average individual retired Social Security beneficiary is expected to see a monthly benefit jump from $1,479 to $1,503, an increase of roughly $24 per month or $288 for the year.) Why despair when aging folk can band together with Family and Friends, pooling their Social Security checks or pensions to meet their evolving needs?
As bad as it is now to care for elders, it will get worse. In just a few short years the world will see a convergence of forces that will alter humanity. Amidst all the coming calamity it will be much harder (practically impossible) to prioritize the needs of our most vulnerable elders.
- Population growth - Today, over half the world’s population lives in cities. This share is expected to rise to 68%, or nearly 7 billion people, by 2050. Fortunately, in the long term, the planet's population will level off at around 10.6 billion. But that will be towards the end of the century. Before then we will see crowding in cities and contention for scarce resources. The economic impact will be severe. Cities contribute 80% to global GDP - but they also account for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Integrating nature-positive solutions can help protect cities from growing risks associated with extreme weather while driving sustainable economic growth. Globally, by 2030 more people will be over the age of sixty than under the age of ten (Milken Institute 2021). The caregiver support ratio for every older adult over the age of eighty is declining rapidly in many Western countries. In the United States, for example, this ratio was seven to one in 2010 but is expected to drop to four to one by 2030 (Riberio et al., 2019).
- Climate Change - The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to about 417 parts per million in the last 151 years. On average, Earth will become warmer. Some regions may welcome warmer temperatures, but others may not. The effects of change from sea level rise to dramatic weather will lead to mass migrations. If nations make good on their latest promises to reduce emissions by 2030, the planet will warm by at least 2.7℃ this century, a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has found. This overshoots the crucial internationally agreed temperature rise of 1.5℃.
- Biodiversity - Despite ongoing efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide and this decline is projected to continue or worsen under business-as-usual scenarios. A dwindling diversity of species both among animals and plants has already disrupted delicate ecosystems and threatened our sources of food and medicines. There is growing scientific consensus that to keep the planet and its population flourishing, 30% of Earth needs to be protected by 2030. More than 1 million plant and animal species face extinction and, if current trends continue, up to 90% of the world’s coral reefs could disappear by mid-century. However, only 7% of oceans and 15% of land are protected. As of 2019, one in four species on earth are at risk of extinction, and rates of extinction now compared to the times before human activity is about a thousand times higher (with higher rates predicted in the future). Humans are directly impacted by biodiversity loss when it comes to things like water availability and agriculture, which can become stressed as species die out or suffer.
- Water aquifer depletion - Water reserves in 21 of the 37 largest aquifers have declined since 2003, according to a study led by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, who analyzed data from NASA’s GRACE satellite mission. Moreover, 13 of the aquifers are depleted to the point that regional water availability is threatened. If the aquifer goes dry, more than $20 billion worth of food and fiber will vanish from the world's markets. And scientists say it will take natural processes 6,000 years to refill the reservoir. We are getting close. The United Nations predicts a global shortfall in water by 2030. About 30 percent of the planet's available freshwater is in the aquifers that underlie every continent. More than two-thirds of the groundwater consumed around the world irrigates agriculture, while the rest supplies drinking water to cities.
- Soil degradation - 75% of Earth's land areas are degraded. Damage threatens the well-being of 3.2 billion people. Continued soil degradation directly impacts the environment and our ability to feed a growing global population. At the least, it undermines the ability to use land optimally, and at its worst, it can lead to desertification, rendering land unusable. In places like China, food crops may experience a 9% loss in productivity by 2030 if the soil continues to be degraded at the current rate business-as-usual scenario. Productivity losses will increase to the unbearable level of 30% by 2050 should the soil be degraded at twice the present rate.
- Pollution and Plastics in the Ocean - Currently, plastic accounts for 85 percent of all marine litter. It's already in our bodies, too. And according to the National Academy of Sciences, by 2030, 58.4 million tons of plastic will be added to the oceans across the world each year. And that much plastic is bound to have an impact on ocean ecosystems. In fact, plastic production and consumption are predicted to double over the next 10 years. That means that if we don't do something now, we could be facing 250 million metric tons in the ocean in less than 10 years. The human body is vulnerable. Plastics are ingested through seafood, drinks, and even common salt in the form of microplastics. They also penetrate the skin and are inhaled when suspended in the air. In water sources, this type of pollution can cause hormonal changes, developmental disorders, reproductive abnormalities, and even cancer.
- Antibacterial resistance - Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats we face as a global community. Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, including 230,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. The problem is compounded by the use of penicillin in animal production which makes for meat but allows bacteria to evolve and become immune to drugs. By 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty.
- Aging Infrastructure - Even if the United States manages to address its infrastructure needs with the Build Back Better Program, still, the rest of the world will have to modernize too. It can't be put off. Around the world, as much as 2.5% of GDP will need to be dedicated to infrastructure by 2030, crowding out other priorities.
- Unsustainable Debt - How will our children know they face a crushing debt burden? At the moment the largest cost to the U.S. economy is Health, growing annually 5%, and now nearly 20% of GDP. Along with all other expenditures, CBO’s latest projections put the debt at $35.3 trillion in 2031. Let’s assume that the rescue package and other issues raise the debt for that year by 10 percent, or $3.5 trillion. This brings the interest burden to 2.7 percent of GDP. That’s still below the 1990s level. Furthermore, insofar as the rescue package and other initiatives are successful in boosting growth, GDP, the denominator in this calculation, will be larger, which will at least partially offset the higher interest burden. However, with debt comes a weaker dollar. And right now the fastest growing economy in the world is China. By 2030 China will displace the U.S. as the largest world economy and with that attain coveted reserve currency status. Overnight everything will become more expensive, including aging care.
- Automation and the future of Work - Stop the world, I want to get off, has been the refrain heard to address rapidly advancing change since the industrial revolution. Back then, Luddites destroyed cotton spinning looms because they destroyed jobs. But by and large, society accepted the change because its impact happened gradually, certainly not all at once, within a generation. However today we live in the Information Society with the impact of technology happening just as soon as creative ways can be deployed - worldwide. The horizon for 2030 looks both exciting and scary. Exciting for novel discoveries may arrive for health and wellbeing. Scary because it portends forms of automation driven by Artificial Intelligence, which may permanently, and suddenly displace large swathes of the working population.
- Geo-Political Tensions - All the above will drive up, not down more wars, less attention, more polarization. However, there is an optimistic scenario. If we get things right, by 2030 the global carbon concentration will drop to 350 parts per million from 407 parts today. By then, the energy sector will largely be electricity, and at least half of the electricity is from renewable resources. And that may be just in time, because...
- Too many old people? -The global population aged eighty years or over is projected to triple between 2017 and 2050, increasing from 137 million to 425 million—that’s a lot of people who will require care and not enough humans to care for them (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2017).
- A shortage of talent to care for the eldest - By 2030 as the boomer cohort reaches 85, we will not have enough caregivers, doctors, long-term care facilities, even cemeteries to meet the needs. In his 2017 book Who Will Care for Us? Paul Osterman calculates that by 2030, the US will face “a shortfall of over hundreds of thousands of direct care workers and several million unpaid family caregivers.” That's not surprising in a society where filial care has lost its meaning. Consider this: According to ZipRecruiter, the annual average salary for a caregiver in the United States, in 2021 is $25,878, with an hourly wage that’s just above the minimum. So many factors converge now that were highlighted during the pandemic – consider the need for telehealth services as an alternative to in-person visits. The lack of broadband access for older adults, the lack of internet access for vaccine sign-up, or even communication with families or friends. The slow rollout of Wi-Fi in senior living was, to say the least, a miscalculation about the future. And last, but certainly not least, the worsening staffing shortages, noted for years throughout the older adult service industry, is now a full-blown crisis. And these shortages in-home care, home healthcare, skilled nursing facilities, and senior living are juxtaposed with an overall labor shortage, just as the oldest baby boomer has turned 76 and has a significant remaining life expectancy. Consider that older adults are remaining in hospitals and rehab facilities because there are no workers to help them with care at home. And that's today.
In the main, all this spells inconvenience for those in power towards the eldest members of society. This is not only tragic but in someways irrational, for it perpetuates Ageism. And what is Ageism? In the words of Dr. Tracey Gendron, "Ageism is the manifestation of our prejudice towards our future selves."
Cranky Old Men
Why it happens
Since the 1300s western civilization has liberated itself from monarchies and powerful churches. The invention of the Guttenberg printing press in 1440 ushered in the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution - with words, now accessible to all. The triumph of logic led Rene Descartes to proclaim, “I think therefore I am.” We became enlightened, confident, independent, and self-reliant. That is not all bad. But the trends have also separated us from one another. We no longer see ourselves as part of a meaningful whole or part of a tribe, but simply as individuals out to maximize our selfish genes (Richard Dawkins). So now we stand on the threshold of collective challenges like climate, pandemics, droughts, and aging ... to name a few - which we are incapable of dealing with alone.
For aging people everywhere, what has materialized is loneliness; watching TV, waiting for visitors, waiting to die. Mistakenly these isolated souls try to revert to what formally worked: independence through self-sufficiency. However, now it does not work which frustrates, devastates self-esteem, and angers. Is it any wonder they may seem self-centered even narcissistic? As we age, lack of control turns to despair and even depression. It manifests itself not always in sadness or driving loved ones away, but in feisty behavior that tries to hide its vulnerability and attempts to reclaim its former vigorous self.
How it can be changed
The way out of this dilemma is to bring back the significance of emotions over reasoning and logic for eldercare. Even when people suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of Dementia, forget names, events - they remember how you make them feel. And how they feel, establishes how they behave. The human mind in old age, even with cognitive impairment still attempts to predict how it should behave to survive. Its behaviors of fear and aggression are nothing more than its reactions to its inner voices - opinions. Maintaining feelings of anger, despair and eventually, depression is not without cost. Especially for older folk whose bodies no longer muster the energy for it. There is a reason scripture suggests that we forgive those who offend us. It is just easier.
Trust that affection and the yearning for social bonding are stronger than isolation and independence. Have faith that showing vulnerabilities will not make you weak, but strong socially. Your elders will come around maybe not through logic, but through a desire for genuine love.
To get beyond self-centeredness, I turn to the mystics of the past, who saw themselves as part of nature, part of the universe, already blessed with goodness. For those spiritual souls, it was not about being an individual with an ego, seeking ways to find the eternal, but already eternal beings, anchored and confident in who they are, seeking ways to be better humans. Lookup a Franciscan monk. living in New Mexico, called Richard Rohr. You are not alone in this plight, just surrounded by people trapped in the materialistic identity of our times.
What's the Market Opportunity?
Today, over 10,000 U.S. boomers retire daily; with many more around the world. This population shift will not end with this cohort but will go on for the next 50 years These young seniors are just starting to worry about their own memory. If there is no sudden cure, 50% of them will have Dementia by the end of this decade. They are just starting to ask, how far will their own cognitive decline go? To them, we say “Have hope: Memories and places will fade, but emotions will stay with you until you die.” Hold on dearly to these emotions and through them learn to give and receive love. People's names will fade away, but never will you lose the bond of love.
To the extent that people are living longer, and resources for support are increasingly insufficient - it leads to an insatiable need that will not soon go away. Boomers will buy Smart Parrots for their parents and then use them for themselves, too. Smart Parrots incorporate sensors that enhance communication, noting that more than half of those aged 75+ have hearing loss. Though they can benefit from hearing aids, fewer than 30% have ever used them. Our Smart Parrots become assistive selves used for memory in the same way a cane is used for walking. These are not cures, they are feedback mechanisms that confer the certainty the brain craves to establish balance.
What is the basic offering?
What is Psycho-Social care?
It's about the group, not the individual. There is no way to reverse the dependence of aging. We grow old and our self-reliance goes away. The only way out is to fall back on support from family tribes. That means rediscovering how to have many generations under one roof, living in harmony. And that's what we do. Our offering is a software app that is embedded inside a toy PET, like a Parrot or Macaw. The algorithm is called the Assistive Self. With it, utterances of those suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of Dementia can be translated. The elder gets an assurance that what they say is being heard; the carer moves beyond frustration in finally understanding.
“My sick father says the wrong words and can barely understand when I’m speaking, so we both get angry and I know I’ve failed another test for caregiving. It’s too difficult sometimes. How do we talk to each other?”
What is offered for the Behavioral-Emotional Side of Care?
As humans age, culture erodes identity. First with Ageism, then with seclusion, and finally neglect. Young families have to participate in fast-paced, competitive, and always chased-for-time lives. For them, it gets harder and harder to afford attention to parents and challenged loved ones. To that end, Kin-Keepers offers tools to bridge the gap. We start with Family Tree news delivered over Alexa or Google Home. It is also optionally available online as a dynamic, interactive Family Tree.
Here is how it works: Grandma gets voice mail updates from the family and proceeds to curate the information for the rest of the clan. This activity only requiring voice (no computer skills) allows Grandma to contribute purposefully to the task of family Kin-Keeping while sharing the most expansive view of many in the family. Along the way, an AI Guardian PET assists with names, dates, and other memories that may fall away as Grandma ages. The AI PET also listens for voice Bio-markets that alert the family to moods, health conditions, and more. All Kin-Keepers' emotional tools are FREE.
Adding the perspective of intimacy to emotional care enhances the mystic experience of leaving behind self and becoming one with nature.
What is available for the Physical Side of Care?
We offer best-of-breed solutions from around the world that facilitate life. Things like Exoskeletons, Stair Climbers, Wearables, and Mobility aids all come into play at the right time. The solutions are previewed in TV videos where Seniors select and evaluate them for use. Viewers of the series also get a chance to vote and share opinions with others. The products are then sourced at a group discount for those in need, often with assistance from Government Agencies. Eventually, Ageing in Place, at home gives way to Multigenerational Co-Housing.
What's different about our Solution and why does it work?
What is meant by Intimacy?
Intimacy is more than the conjugal sense of the term. It comes from evolution. It is a reflection of self-worth one experiences in another; sees in another's eyes, feels in another’s voice, reads in another’s letter, or senses in another’s touch. It is embedded in our Christian faith. Jesus says if you’re not gathering, you’re scattering [see Matthew 12:30].
Maslow's Theory of Needs or Hindu Chakras applied to Aging
We address the needs of late elders, 85 and older. But not all elders arrive at that age with the same needs. So we assess each individuality with a Maslow needs framework. Look at the side diagram and ask where your loved one may be on this continuum.
Not surprisingly many advanced elders seek spiritual and transcendence fulfillment.
On to affordable Retirement
Is there a name for eventual senior communal living with relatives and friends?
Yes, it is called by its acronym “FLOORS.” It stands for Family (or Friends) Living Only On Retirement Savings – It represents continued economic self-sufficiency for later in life Seniors through Co-housing with Family and Friends and participation in Coop Supply services. For many, it is the only viable way to avoid an unfamiliar and expensive nursing home. We aim to replace the fear of aging alone with the satisfaction of growing older among family and friends. Peace of mind for all.
Envision a high-tech cooperative village, where family and friends retire together. If you own a home, you can share it with relatives and close friends. They, in turn, may be able to do the same and make for seasonal living in different places. If you have been renting, you may be surprised to learn that your FLOORS team can buy a home in out-of-the-way destinations or build by choosing one of the specially designed models that are constructed to lower costs. It all depends on how many members you bring in. Yours becomes a Smart Home. The structures come with roof solar cells, heat evaporation walls, rainwater catchment, "granny farming," and more. All these innovations provide a small profit back to its group. Smart high tech is used to monitor the health of residents and when possible, bring in telemedicine. Everything from autonomous vehicle transportation to skilled nursing exists, through shared coop buying services. There is a spiritual component, too. Best of all, grandkids are welcome!
What if I want to stay put in my present home?
You can; just join the FLOORS online, in a virtual way. This will allow you to stay in touch with your closest Family and Friends. Even as a virtual member, you can share in the Coop Services. However, at some point, you may opt for closer proximity and assistance of family members and friends, not the strangers you would encounter in a nursing or assisted living home. Plus, it will cost you much less.
What if my spouse disagrees with me?
It’s not uncommon for husbands and wives to see retirement needs differently. In America, men are expected to be self-reliant, individuals. Women are more social, collaborative. Longevity patterns make these harder too, because men often die before women, and rarely face retirement alone. Moreover, traditional multi-generational co-housing falters when Grandma moves in with the family at very old age; it’s hard for a 70-year-old to take care of a 90+-year-old parent. Conditions like stroke, dementia, or Alzheimer’s require full-time care. All of which are obtained through Cooperative FLOORS.
What’s the best time to form a FLOORS and what happens if I don’t?
Most seniors will prefer to remain in their homes for as long as possible. That may work well in their 60s 70s and even 80s, even if one spouse dies and the other continues alone. They will seek support from friends and purpose in volunteering. In their 90s seniors while professing to live happily alone, require increased vigilance from family caregivers. Seniors are usually not satisfied with outside support and will go through caregivers like water. The problem is compounded by aging orphans, women without children, now approaching 19% of the population. By their 90s seniors must seek support through Assisted Living or Nursing Homecare. Think ahead. So when’s the best time to form a FLOORS? Do it now while you can still plan, still build familial bonds, and gain peace of mind that you won’t become a burden or worse, a senior orphan.
Won’t the government pay for my health care needs?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70% of people turning 65 this year will require long-term care in the future. Can you beat those odds? Health insurance will pay some health care services costs, but only under specific circumstances, and only for a limited time. For example, Medicare will pay for skilled services or rehabilitative care in a nursing home for a maximum of 100 days. At this point, more than 2/3 of seniors look to Medicaid to defray the cost, but that will not work for the 78 million baby boom generation and beyond arriving at once. Long-term services like Nursing Homes account for 42% of Medicaid spending even while only 6% of the senior population use them. Currently, the average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers is only around $1,360 but even that is reduced by a monthly $184 Medicare deduction (as of 2019) per individual which by the way will not cover supplemental health needs.
How much do the FLOORS cost?
Our blueprints are free, but you will have to invest time and money to make ADA-compliant modifications. If you choose a home, you, your family, and friends will pay for your Co-Housing facilities through mortgages, financed through a portion of each members' Social Security Check. The cost depends on you and your FLOORS. You can remodel an existing home to meet senior needs or design independent homes around a central compound.
How difficult will all this be?
That's the easy part. We provide you with all the planning tools you will need for free. You use these to organize your FLOORS, get the commitment, do Virtual Reality tours to intended destinations, meet guides, make a trip, upgrade a home or design a village. And finally, we plug you into a coop of shared services. Engage your tribe while there is time to enjoy the journey. You will have fun, save a lot, and exchange uncertainty for a vision of what your sustainable retirement will be among loved ones.
Am I too old?
If you can still play games and engage with family and friends, then you are not too old. FLOORS are family communities in support of one another. It is where you belong
Is there a minimum size for Groups?
FLOORS can be of any size, but we recommend no less than 4 members. We assist small groups in finding and occupying homes, some in the tropics. It's up to you to create the group. In so doing, this becomes Your "OpusDei", your Work of God.
Who owns the FLOORS?
All are independent, contract-based organizations. We provide the tools and guidance for their creation and cooperative services for ongoing success.
Who runs the FLOORS?
Generally, it is a labor of love that falls to a senior caregiver in the group. Children and younger relatives contribute support by participating in the selection of Coop Shared Services. You will not be managed by anyone beyond the circle of love and acceptance that comes naturally from your family and friends. More importantly, you will not be alone.
What if I don't like my family or want to get out?
You buy into a family FLOORS through shares, which can be traded. You can exit, create your own or join more than one FLOORS. Rest assured that these will be appreciating assets as the world population grows, but the land does not.
Can I share this information with others?
Of course! Each time you do, you help retiring citizens thrive.
Kin-Keepers once provided this important family function. Now it is time to bring it back. Successful FLOORS are like Families. They depend on your passion and commitment. You must see this effort as the Kin-Keeper role for your family. Helping your family stay together is the best thing you can do to take care of Aging Parents. Seniors need your help to write their last chapter of life. Loneliness can only be solved with the self-worth elders see in your eyes.