Avow Hospice

Avow Hospice

Avow was founded in 1983 as Collier County’s original, nonprofit hospice. Today, Avow’s nonprofit companies provide palliative care consultations for adults facing chronic or serious illness, hospice care and bereavement support services for children and adults

Avow delivers a better quality of life by providing comfort, care, understanding and dignity to those who are seriously ill and their caregivers, as well as those mourning a loved one’s passing. We are a support system in our community, providing our  services to anyone who needs them, including those whose loved ones were not in our programs. We also support those who are suffering the illness or loss of a companion animal.

Avow’s promise is to help members of our community provide care at home and live at home during an illness or death, surrounded by the people, pets and things they love most. We are teachers and guides, offering our expertise and loving support but always respecting the beliefs, choices and wishes of those we serve.

We often make positive, life-altering changes in someone’s life in as little as a moment. Therefore, even if our time with a patient, family member or community resident is brief, we bring it our full attention and focus on resolution and healing.

Help for Those in Grief

Whether you’ve lost someone who utilized our hospice care or not, Avow welcomes the grieving with open arms.

The following grief support services are available to anyone in the community…

  • Grief and bereavement support through individual or group meetings and regular follow-up.
  • Support for children who will or have experienced the loss of a parent or other loved one.
  • Help planning a private memorial service, if desired.
  • Community memorial programs including Butterfly Releases and Avow RememberingSM  memorial services. Invite family and friends.   Click Here To Learn More (Check our calendar for the date of our next offering or call us.).

  • Pet Loss Support, for those who have suffered the death of a companion animal.

Support for the mind, body and spirit

Dealing with the symptoms of any painful or serious illness is difficult. Palliative care can help. Palliative care can be offered at the same time you’re receiving treatments for your illness. Its primary purpose is to relieve the pain and other symptoms you are experiencing and improve your quality of life.

Live your life more comfortably

Palliative care provides relief from distressing symptoms including pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, problems with sleep and many other symptoms. It can also help you deal with the side effects of the medical treatments you receive. Most important, palliative care can help improve the quality of your life.

Palliative care also provides support for you and your family and can improve communication between you and your health care providers.

It’s never too early to learn about the benefits of hospice care. It’s not just for people in the last days of their lives. The reality is that, in many cases, hospice care can actually help people live longer. In virtually every case, hospice care brings significant comfort, peace and dignity to patients who are fearful, vulnerable, confused or exhausted from curative medical treatments that have failed to stop the progress of their illness.

Hospice cares is for people who are terminally ill and have an estimated lifespan of six months or less. Hospice is for anyone, of any age, who has a life-limited illness.

Each hospice patient and family has a team working together that supplements, but does not replace, the care provided by families, staff at an adult living facility, and other full-time caregivers.

Caregiver Support Programs

Caring for someone with a serious illness can be very rewarding, but it can also be difficult and overwhelming. Avow is here to ease your mind and help you cope. We offer a variety of services including support groups, volunteer support and help finding resources in the community that can help you.

Avow’s caregiver support groups are open to anyone in the community; neither the caregiver nor the patient needs to be associated with Avow’s hospice services in any way. Attendees may be parents, spouses, children or friends of people suffering from cancer, dementia, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, frailty or any other condition. Attendees can participate at whatever level they feel comfortable. Group leaders also help caregivers find resources in the community for whatever types of assistance their loved ones may need. See the link at the bottom of the page to view monthly support group schedules.


For more information, go to www.seniorhousingsolutions.net 

Seniors Blue Book

Seniors Blue Book

The Seniors Blue Book is Southwest Florida’s most comprehensive and reliable source to find and compare Senior Housing such as Retirement Communities, Assisted Living, Memory Care,  Skilled Nursing. Health at Home options like Home Health Care, Non-Medical Home Care, Hospice and Senior Resources.

Mission Statement

The mission of The Seniors Blue Book and SeniorsBlueBook.com is to provide seniors, caregivers and senior professionals a comprehensive source of services, senior housing options, resources and information that enrich the lives of our elder population while affording those businesses and individuals serving that population a unique medium to present their products and services

Our History

The Seniors Blue Book was first published in 1983 by Clifton Chadwick. At the time Cliff was 69 years old and enjoying his retirement when his wife experienced a debilitating stroke. Cliff became her full-time caregiver, a job he cherished, but he was distraught that there was no place to turn for a comprehensive list of resources and services. It was from the love for his wife and commitment to his community that the Seniors Blue Book was born.
It wasn’t until fifteen years later in 1997, when Cliff was 83 years old, that Gil & Marion Hersch crossed paths with Cliff and the Seniors Blue Book. With a history in publishing and Gerontology Gil & Marion were very impressed with the publication Cliff had nurtured along and wanted to become a part of it. After Cliff was certain that Gil & Marion had enough integrity to take over the guide and keep intact the many free listings and helpful editorials that he had published, Gil & Marion took over the Seniors Blue Book and soon joined forces with their children Oliver & Samantha. SeniorsBlueBook.com was launched soon after their arrival in 1999.


In 2009 Gil & Marion went into “semi-retirement” and the majority of the day-to-day operations are now controlled by Oliver. The Seniors Blue Book and SeniorsBlueBook.com has grown from a small 40 page publication serving one market into serving 27 markets throughout the United States. Our largest guide, South Metro Denver, is now over 300 pages. We print over 2.7 Million Senior Blue Books annually and SeniorsBlueBook.com receives over 500K page views annually. The Hersch family truly appreciates and values the opportunity we have had to work with and help the many communities we serve. We are looking forward to continued growth and providing this incredibly valuable resource to more communities in the future.

Senior & Caregiver’s Resource of Choice

The Seniors Blue Book and SeniorsBlueBook.com is the resource of choice in every market we serve. We are committed to providing the most complete and comprehensive resources available and are constantly working on compiling new information, expanding our distribution and enhancing existing categories. We list over 70 categories of information, most of which are free resources that support the community. We understand that there are many valuable services available, whether they are paying advertisers or not, and we are proud to support the communities we serve by listing all options available to our readers, not solely based on advertising. Seniors and Caregivers also love our senior activities calendar where they can find out about local events and activities, many of which are free, all of which are worthwhile.

Professionals Resource of Choice

The Seniors Blue Book understands the value of having a strong relationship with the professionals that serve the senior population, particularly with Case Managers, Social Workers and Discharge Planners. We now publish a special printing, just for Case Managers, Social Workers and Discharge Planners, that not only lists the comprehensive comparison grid information they have become accustomed to, but also lists address and fax #’s to help make their jobs a little easier. Additionally we offer a professionals networking calendar  and a job opportunities page as well.

For more information, go to www.seniorhousingsolutions.net 


Advice from a Senior Living Expert


Selecting a senior living community is not an easy task.  These are common questions we get asked.

My children live up north, should I move to be with them?  

As a son whose mom lives nearby, I truly understand the importance of having family close. Fortunately, we both live here in Southwest Florida, and we can be part of each other’s lives. The idea of moving out of state to be nearer to children is a big decision that involves many factors and changes. First and foremost, is the question of whether you are ready to give up your current lifestyle?  Do you have friends or a social network in their area, or will you be depending upon your children to provide you with the socialization you need?  Will you live with them, or will you find a place of your own?  You will need to think about changing your primary care physician and specialists, your bank, and your church.  How comfortable will you be driving during winter conditions?  Will the winter weather hamper your activity level and lessen your independence?  Are your children committed to continuing to live in that area, or could their careers take them to another location?  What happens if they retire, will they want to stay in that location?  As you can see, there are many factors involved in deciding to move closer to your children.  I would recommend before making that decision, to visit the senior living communities in this area.  You may be able to fulfill yours and your children’s desire for security and peace of mind without such a drastic change.

If I move to a senior living community, do I need to change doctors?

When you live at a senior living community, you can continue the relationship you have with your primary care physician and specialists. As a convenience to the residents, many communities do have relationships with physicians and these doctors maintain clinic hours at the senior living community. You are under no obligation to use these doctors; however, residents find it time saving and worthwhile to establish a relationship with a physician on site. If you decide to keep your physician, most senior living communities provide transportation to and from your medical appointments to make life a little easier for you.

I want to move to a senior living community, but my husband does not.  What should we do?

It is very common for one spouse to not be on the same page as the other when considering a senior living community.  Many times, it is hard for someone to think forward and contemplate scenarios when they are less independent.  Most likely, your current residence will not be suitable as you advance in age.  It is not sensible to believe your health will remain as it is for the rest of your life.  Share with your husband that not putting a plan in place now would place the entire burden on your shoulders if something should happen to him in the future. It is easier to make the move when you are both able to select a community together, sell your home together, pack and move together, and make new friends together. Hopefully, he will recognize the importance of protecting you and creating a life which you both can continue to enjoy for many years.

There are so many senior living communities to consider in our area, where do I start?  

Locating a senior living community that meets your needs and preferences is not easy, especially if you try to do it alone.  As a senior housing advisor, this is exactly what we do. We get to know you and discuss which options best fit your needs and preferences.  We are familiar with all the options in the area and the nuances of each. We help you narrow down the search and create a road map of places that meet your requirements.  We are also familiar with the new communities on the horizon and have much insight about a community’s operational history. If desired, we can join you on your tour and ask questions you may not know to ask.  We help you understand the terms of the contract and even negotiate the fees, as appropriate. Trying to do it alone is a monumental task. The last thing you want to do is move somewhere and be unaware that the community is experiencing financial or operational issues. Taping into a knowledgeable resource will help you avoid these pitfalls.

Please explain how the refund programs work at Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)/ Life Plan Communities?   

CCRCs/Life Plan Communities offer a variety of entrance fee refund programs – 0%, 50%, 75% and even 95% refunds. The entrance fee is typically earned by the community at a rate of 1% to 2% per month. There is usually a 2% to 4% administration fee earned during the first month.  Each month that you live at a CCRC, a percentage is deducted (earned) from the entrance fee that you paid.  If you select the 0% refund plan, your entrance fee refund will decline over 4 – 7 years until your refund reaches zero. On the other hand, if you select the 50%, 75% or 95% plan, your estate will have a set amount refunded.  If you opt for a higher refund program, you will pay an “up charge” for these plans as compared to the 0% refund program.  Basically, you pay more upfront to be guaranteed a higher refund.

Some communities will offer different refund programs based on their health care plans. For example, a community might offer a 95% refund, but you would also be responsible for paying for higher levels of care as needed.  It is wise to consult with your attorney and financial advisor to determine which plan best fits your needs.

Are there resources available for low income seniors in our area?

Collier Senior Resources at the Golden Gate Senior Center has funding to provide financial assistance to low-income seniors in need. Call Maritza for more information at 239-252-4550.  The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is another valuable resource.  The Area Agency on Aging is committed to connecting older adults and adults with disabilities to resources and assistance for living safely with independence and dignity. They can be reached at 239-652-6900.

Are there any upcoming educational seminars for area seniors?

The Leadership Coalition on Aging (LCA) is conducting their Empowerment Series Panel Discussion on Sept. 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Collier County South Regional Library.   The topic will be Advanced Planning – Getting your Affairs in Order.  It will feature an attorney, a physician, an accountant, and a real estate professional.  The event is free.  For more information, please call 239-595-0207.

To have your senior housing questions answered in a future article, please submit your questions to:  [email protected]  

Senior Housing Expert and Advisor Bruce Rosenblatt is the owner of Senior Housing Solutions.  





Should we bring in help and hire home health or move to a senior community? Part 1

Should we bring in help and hire home health or move to a senior community? Part 1

Most people think they would rather bring in help and hire home health rather than consider moving to a senior living community. Is this truly the right answer?  In this two part series, we will discuss the pros/cons of staying at home or moving to a senior living community.

Short term solution for a long term problem

Bringing in help might sound like the easy solution. No need to uproot yourself and move somewhere.  You enjoy your home, your neighbors and you’re comfortable with you daily routine. In the right situation, bringing in help could be the correct solution, especially if you have a short term issue, however if your situation is more longer term, you may want to rethink this option.

It is important to think through the decision to not move and the impact (financially, socially and emotionally) this will have on you, your spouse and your family.

Buyer beware

First, let me state that there are some very good home health care companies in our area that are reputable, reliable and provide quality care. Unfortunately, there are equally companies that are not reputable and provide inadequate care.  If you know you don’t want to move, you should do your research before a crisis occurs.

Weighing the pros/cons of staying or moving involves many factors.  These include:

Who’s going to change the light bulbs?

A house is a living entity. There are many moving parts in a constant state of wearing down. Not only is it an expense to maintain your home; trying to quality workmen is a whole other challenge.  Living in a maintenance-free senior living community, you make one phone call and the maintenance guy comes an fixes whatever needs to be fixed. You don’t need to be home or even better, to pay him!

As you age, household repairs become more difficult to manage. Simple chores like changing light bulbs or rebooting your television cable box become monumental tasks. Unfortunately, people, especially the elderly, are vulnerable to unscrupulous vendors. You might be able handle everything today, however you need to think about the time when you or your spouse are unable.

Chef-prepared meals or soup in a can?

Meal preparation at home is a challenge as we age. Shopping and cooking are not fun anymore.  Especially, if you are alone, meal time is a lonely time.  Many times, someone doesn’t eat a nutritionally balanced meal because of the hassle of preparing it.

Most home health aides are not chefs. They might buy some groceries and cook what they buy. There is not a menu of entrée choices or chef-prepared meals like you would enjoy at a senior living community.

In addition, at a senior community, there is always someone to join you at your table. You will never worry about dining alone.

Transportation challenges

Transportation becomes a major issue for people who stay at home. You may not be able to drive yourself and the home care aide may not be able to drive you.  Ultimately, you don’t get out and you become very isolated. Transportation to doctors’ appointments, excursions to places of interest is included at a senior living community.

Every day is full of interesting activities

If you are living at home and not able to get out; your life will revolve around your television. You have nothing in common with the home health aide, so you park yourself in your easy chair and watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

If you lived at a senior living community, your days (and nights) are full of interesting and fun activities.  There is card playing, lectures, concerts, excerise classes, movies and endless parties and celebrations.

Like a cruise ship, you pick and choose which activities and excursions interest you.

Social Accountability

Personal hygiene is another issue for people who stay at home. People neglect to shower, brush their teeth, wear clean clothes or change their bed linens. Someone’s self-worth and dignity become lost.

If you lived at a senior living community, the staff can assist you with these tasks including personal laundry and housekeeping. There is also an on-site beauty salon, barber shop and even a visiting podiatrist. There is social accountability since you know you are going to dine with other people which forces you to shower, get your hair done, and put on clean clothes.

Limited access to services

There is a limit to what services can be brought to you in own home.  At a senior living community, you have access to on-site physical therapy where you can go multiple times during the week (and never worry about driving).  They also have visiting doctors and on-site nurses that can check on you. If you were at home and had an emergency during the window of time when you didn’t have a health care aide, you could be in a life or death situation.  In a senior living community, you have 24/hr. emergency response.

Select don’t settle

By deciding to move to a senior living community, you can select where you want to live. If you stay in your home and try to manage with home health care and realize that 1) it’s too expensive or (2) it is not working for you; your options are now more limited and you might need to settle on a place that wasn’t your first choice. Some communities have acceptance criteria so if you wait for something to occur, you may not get accepted. You want to move before a crisis occurs, so you can enjoy the lifestyle of the community, meet new friends and have access to the many on-site services and amenities.

It’s a new beginning

There are times when a promise has been made to a parent or a spouse that a move to a senior community will never take place. These promises are many times made without fully understanding the impact this will have (physically, emotionally and financially) on the spouse or family members. People also make these promises without researching other housing options and are basically unfamiliar with the many advantages of living at a senior living community. Being realistic and considering all the factors will remove any guilt and help create a better living arrangement for you or your loved one.

For more information, please go to www.seniorhousingsolutions.net 

Tips on How to Have “The Talk” about Senior Housing

Tips on How to Have “The Talk” about Senior Housing

In my 30+ years’ experience in senior housing, I have met clients who struggle with having conversations with their loved ones about making the decision to move to a senior living community.  There are many emotions involved in these conversations including guilt, fear, sadness and rejection.  Unfortunately, these conversations never get any easier and the longer it takes, the harder they become. Hopefully these insights will be helpful to you.

Change is not easy

The common phrase I hear is “We have spoken with dad and he refuses to move.”   People who have dementia have a difficult time with change.  They become accustomed to their daily routine and surroundings.  If you bring up the subject about moving or bring in help, the immediate response will be “No, I don’t need any help.”  This is very common with people with dementia.  They resist any type of help and they don’t realize the impact that their decision is having on you or your family.  Until you realize that your roles have changed in your household, this cycle will continue.

Dementia effects judgement too

Many people think dementia is only about someone’s memory loss.  It is important to realize is that dementia can also effect judgement. This is especially difficult if the former decision- maker of the family is not able to make sound decisions anymore. Many spouses who are caregivers find themselves in the situation, where they expect their spouse to make logical decisions and have a hard time recognizing their loved one is not capable of doing so anymore.

Like a hike in the woods

A good analogy to consider is a hiker lost in the woods.  The hiker walks endlessly in the circles trying to find the right path out of the woods, however he is unable to find the right way out. It is frustrating, scary and a embarrassing to be lost.  Imagine now, you find this hiker and you take him by the hand and lead him down the correct path.  Yes, there could be some resistance along the way, however you know you are the doing the right thing.  You stay the course and eventually, you and the hiker arrive at a safe place that is familiar.  You have saved the day!   Discussing the senior housing option is very similar.  You need to take the lead and make the decision.  Yes, your role as the follower has changed.  You now need to take charge and be the leader.

The danger of doing nothing

Yes, you can do nothing and not ‘rock the apple cart,’ however doing nothing is actually doing something.  The end result may not be what you expected!  Too many times, the caregiver is the one that becomes ill and requires care.  By being the caregiver, your immune system is weakening and you are most susceptible to illness or experiencing a severe medical condition or even a fall.  If something happens to you, who is going to take care of your spouse?  Unfortunately, the person with dementia and the denial to do anything is creating a potentially dangerous situation for you.  In addition, senior housing options become more limited and more expensive if you wait until care is needed to force a decision.  It is always better to “select rather than settle.” Making a decision in a crisis mode is never a good idea. Being proactive and recognizing that it is important to have a plan for your future health care needs is a much wiser (and less expensive) route to take.

Conversation tactics

Prepare to be open, honest, and non-argumentative when discussing these topics with your loved ones. These conversations need to take place in a quiet and comfortable setting such as your living room or around the kitchen table.  Keep in mind that you already know the resistance you will be get.  Be prepared.  You also need to recognize that you know best in this situation and that even though you would like your loved one’s approval, a decision needs to be make.  Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option.  One tactic that I’ve found to be useful to tell your loved that a temporary move needs to occur.  It can because of a home repair or a pending vacation to go up North. A temporary change is much easier to handle rather than a permanent move. You can also tell your loved one that he needs to do this for you since you are not feeling well and you need some extra help.  Keep in mind that even though you would want your spouse’s agreement, you are in charge now and the decision is yours to make.  “Honey, we are going to do this and we are going to make the best of it together.”  

Seek counsel

Trying to resolve this by yourself is difficult.  If what you have been trying isn’t working, it’s time to call in the cavalry.  Seeking the help of an independent third party to step in is not a bad idea. Do you have a family member or close friend that can be ‘the heavy?’   You may also want to reach out to your doctor, clergy. attorney and financial advisor.  There are support networks such as the Alzheimer’s support network and other caregiver support groups to help you.  As senior housing advisors, we can also help.  We have year’s of experience helping people through these difficult situations. We do the research for you and have resources available to make this much easier on you. 

The new normal

Amazingly, once the decision has been made and you move to your new home at a senior living community, a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders.  There are many advantages of living at a senior living community and it won’t take long for your new home to be your new normal.   Your loved one, who put up so much resistance will develop his routine in very little time and be thankful you made the decision.  Just like the hiker in the woods, you have save the day!

For more information, please go to:  www.seniorhousingsolutions.net