A new study by the Stanford Center on Longevity puts a wide lens on familiar statistics. America will continue to 'age up' for decades, they say. The over-65 sector will double from 40 million today to 89 million by 2030. Our families, neighborhoods, public policies and economy will all feel this shift.

In this decade, people are more determined than ever to stay in their homes as they age, and realize it makes financial sense to bring services in rather than move to facilities for expensive care. Also it ensures continued access to family and friends, and a greater sense of satisfaction and enjoyment each day.

Helpful Solutions for Living is part of this new life planning and supports your choice for independence. We are here to offer services when and where you need them. We listen to what you want and help plan to make that happen. We are committed to improve the ongoing changes in your life.

Recently back in the Cape Ann area, Stephanie Hobart is an entrepreneur and founder of Helpful Solutions for Living.

She moved to Cape Ann, north of Boston, where she worked over a decade in human resources as a coach and counselor designing workplace environments that create productivity. Her life principles include helping others in ways that effect positive change gaining her a reputation of serving with integrity, reliability and compassion. Stephanie arrives with excellent references and a desire to establish Helpful Solutions as a mainstay in the area to assist elders remain independent and living at home.


Why Is my voice like that?

I have a rare vocal condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia which is a neurological disorder of the larynx resulting in involuntary spasms of the muscles in the throat and vocal cords. Diagnosis and treatment is in its infancy and it is known to affect .02 percent of the population, coming on in midlife between ages of 20 to 50. It is becoming better understood as a result of genetically based studies at Mass Ear Infirmary in Boston. You may have heard the voices of a few well-known people with this disorder like Diane Rehm at NPR or Robert Kennedy Jr - both who have SD and are advocates for further study.

SD cannot be treated with speech therapy or vocal training. One effective way to treat it is with Botox injections directly to the throat and cords causing a temporary freezing of the condition, then a release of the tremor and spasms for a few months.

Although the condition is by no means life-threatening, it is life-changing for those that have it. Losing voice changes a primary, intimate connection to the outside world and affects nearly every aspect of our lives. It causes stress and draws attention when others hear this unusual breathy, and shaky voice which often signals distress - when there is none. Also, it can be a 'teacher' to us as we determine what is important in our lives.

Those of you who know me are aware that I am healthy and efficient at the work I do. SD creates some difficulty understanding me on the phone but otherwise clients understand me me easily, and often forget there is an issue. Those hard of hearing often ask me to speak up, but again, that is certainly a natural request anyway. Having you understand this disease helps me and others, so I ask that when you recommend me for these services, you mention this condition in advance and therefore help all of us by spreading understanding of SD.

Thank you so much.