by Kate Kutzleb
CHARLOTTE – At 87 years old, Robert Hinnant would not seem like someone who would sing the praises of the internet age, but this south Charlotte native wants to live at home, not in a residential care facility.
“I am old enough to have seen many of my friends and relatives leave their homes to move somewhere else, but it’s not for me,” he said.
Hinnant has an 11-year-old reason to want to stay put, and his name is Danny.
Danny is a miniature schnauzer, the most recent in a line of pups Hinnant has raised. But even with Danny as a companion, Hinnant found staying in his home difficult as he aged.
While at home alone, he would wait until the last minute to decide on a meal and then choose something easy rather than nourishing.
That changed when he began using the Milo service a few years ago.
Milo is a new approach to in-home health care for aging adults. Available in Portland, Orlando and now Charlotte, Milo not only provides Hinnant with an easy-to-use tablet but also meal delivery and companionship.
The tablet allows him to interact safely via the internet, checking news and weather and keeping in contact with family and friends. It also provides a daily meal delivered by an in-home Milo representative.
Hinnant said the right representative was key to Milo being the right service for him.
“She’s taller than me and she can reach things,” he said jokingly.
The meals have also made a big impact on his quality of life.
“They are willing to work around my idiosyncrasies,” he said.
Having grown up during the Great Depression with a father with stomach issues, Hinnant had limited exposure to fruits and vegetables. Milo ensures he gets at least one healthy hot meal a day.
“I can do breakfast myself,” he explained. “Pour milk, pour cereal, but I am not up to shopping and cooking a meal each day.”
The Milo representative’s daily visits also lessen the loneliness that can set in being on one’s own. Hinnant has two grown daughters living in Charlotte, but as many busy families understand, they cannot visit him daily.
Milo is the creation of Harvard educated Geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas and former Wall Street financier Lily Donohue. It is an offshoot of Holiday Retirement one of the largest residential retirement community provider with over 300 locations.
It’s part of a growing industry in anticipation of the “Silver Tsunami,” a growth in older adults that some census results indicate that by 2030, one in five Americans will be over 65.
According to its website, Milo is “upending the myth that institutional living or home health care are the only options for older adults. The truth is that prevention and proactive thinking are the future of aging with grace and independence at home. We’re rewriting the playbook because there is another way.”
The “Silver Tsunami” is the result of aging baby boomers living, working and planning on independence longer than previous generations.
The recent economic setbacks of the 2008 mortgage crisis is adding to the need for delaying retirement as many adults were forced to dip into retirement savings to make ends meet.
Hinnant is not a baby boomer but rather part of the greatest generation, having lived through the Great Depression and World War II, but he is benefiting from entrepreneurs preparing for the wave of retirees that will follow.
Milo delivers, meals, companionship and connection to the rapidly growing online technology. But for Robert all that matters as that he and Danny are right where they choose to be.