Tag Archives: Aging in Place

Beware of Phantom Pharmacies

Why am I not surprised to find out that federal health officials have failed in their efforts to police the emergence of phantom pharmacies?

These pharmacies are fly-by-night storefront operations that bilk millions of dollars in false Medicare bills and then vanish with the cash.

No permits are needed — there is no store or pharmacy as we know them. There are no medicines on the shelves, no employees, no real in-store customers, and yet these fake pharmacies produce huge bills for medication, defrauding Medicare of millions of dollars a year.

It seems the only people making money these days are the crooks.

How is this accomplished? Thieves, crooks and fraudsters use a legitimate address to establish a fake pharmacy business. Then, using stolen ID and patient insurance ID numbers (mostly from seniors), scammers write fraudulent prescriptions for expensive drugs that were never actually prescribed.

Next, they submit these fake prescriptions for reimbursement to insurers, Medicare or Medicaid. In a single claim, a fake pharmacy canmake anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000. Some “fraudster pharmacies” only exist a few days! By the time the fake reimbursements have been collected, the phantom pharmacies have long since closed and their operators have disappeared without a trace.

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Plan For The Worse…Live For The Best

Here is what I know – At 59 I’m healthier than either of my parents were at age 59. I have never smoked. I’m fairly active and exercise some but not overly. I eat fairly well, but not always. I drink socially but not in excess. So what are my odds of remaining healthy and being able to care for myself? Better, I’m sure than my parents but the fact remains that the odds of something happening to me beyond my control still exists. Any number of accidents could befall me. What then?

We Boomers don’t like to think or talk much about aging. For us, and many in our generation, the idea of needing long term care is down the road a ways.

We avoid discussing these issues for several reasons; most notably as discussed above is that of denial. Secondly, I think that we have come to expect that the government will take care of us through Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Unfortunately, we ignore the fact that these programs are not fail safe measures of obtaining care especially if we want to remain in our homes. Yes, it is likely some form of government benefits will be there but statistics and finances will make it more difficult for us to receive these benefits.

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What Is Home Health Care?

Simply stated it is the physical and mental supportive system and care services provided to those persons wishing to remain in their homes or assisted living apartments by a caregiver, caregiving agency, and/or assisted living environment when they can no longer perform (without help) the day-to-day activities of everyday living.

Today, many persons are opting for home care, and or home care assistance in assisted living environments as outpatient care has become the ‘norm’ for hospitals and insurance companies. Home care is appealing to many of us as we most often feel that our home is an extension of ourselves.  Receiving ‘in-home-health-care’ can be a great benefit to those recovering from surgery or other medical procedures that can limit their ability to easily take care of themselves, or maybe they just require a little extra help managing things as they grow older or maybe they are learning to live with a medical condition or disability. Whatever the scenario, I urge you to review and consider the questions below as this ‘issue’ nears closer to you and yours.

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Home Instead Senior Care Is On Cable!

Finally, we are ON AIR! Just wanted to let our BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK friends and readers know that the Home Instead Senior Care cable show is on! Hope you enjoy watching and hearing from those business’ and people who offer additional support and help to the growing population of seniors. It is my hope that the cable show will offer insight into better managing our families as we all enter into the ‘golden years.’ Here’s the cable station internet, AACS link where you may view the shows that have previously aired. Each week additional shows will be added. Lots more to come…guests are already booked through August. Any ideas for what you may want to know more about, your comments and/or input is always appreciated!

Elder Mediation: Helping Adult Familes Resolve Conflict

The disputes may start quietly, but they can and do brew into hot and heated arguments and believe it or not they have split families apart.

Take for example:

Mom left a pot boiling on the stove again…you are fearful she’ll burn the house down.

Dad is getting forgetful and isn’t paying his monthly bills. You, and your siblings live far away and through neighbors find out that the heat and electricity were turned off.

Dad’s got more scrapes and scratches on his car than the grandkids do on their knees…you want him to STOP driving.

As adult children you are concerned and decide amongst yourselves to take-over…One of you wants to get Dad declared mentally incompetent, so the family can take control of his finances. One of you threatens to take Dad’s car keys. He threatens to write you out of his will. Another one of your siblings wants the house to be sold and Mom to enter assisted living.

Dad is now very angry…Mom thinks you’re over-reacting. Both parents are mortified…Dad because his kids are looking into how much money he has and how his finances are organized and Mom because she feels as though the children are trying to control her life.

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Living with Alzheimer’s: Who Decides?

It’s imperative that we take responsibility for our senior ‘living situation’. If you don’t want others making this decision for you…be pro-active. With a little advanced planning it is possible to stay in your home even with Alzheimer’s as there are many additional support services available.

Having been regarded as competent, intelligent and able throughout my life I would hate to be relegated to only being allowed to make decisions as to what color to wear, where to place my furniture or where to keep photos and mementos…wouldn’t you?

Adult children should not have to shoulder the burden of ‘a decision’ their parents should have made or at the very least should have acknowledge as the ‘elephant’ in the room. They have lots on their minds these days and may forget to take into consideration that you (who might have some diminished capacity) may want to continue living at home. Although it is true that a balance must be found as to the family’s ability (financially, emotionally and physically) to accommodate ‘aging’ at home the problem is whether you or your family know what ‘aging at home’ means and have you given any consideration (even marginally) to the factors involved.

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Contemplating The Inevitable

It dawned on me, albeit reluctantly, that I am perilously close to being classified ‘a senior’, hence my pursuit of information; i.e. ‘senior stuff’…the importance of which is far greater to me today. Several years ago I was clueless to the ramifications of getting older or the havoc the same could wreak in regards to the ‘quality of life’. AARP has been issuing me a ‘join’ card for several years (possibly 10), which I avoid, as if to do so would miraculously keep me ‘age stationary’. But I digress…

Currently on my ‘be informed and educate others’ list is to advocate and encourage baby-boomers to discuss and prepare for that which is inevitable so that they make ‘aging’ arrangements that satisfy their needs and at the same time keep others in the loop as to their wishes. As an employee of Home Instead Senior Care I am all too aware that many seniors reach ‘critical crisis’ mode before any plans for care, care-giving duties, payments, assistance or living quarters have been given any thought either by the senior, their children and/or their extended family members.

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Helping Mom and Dad Regain Their Mobility

It’s not unusual for us here at Home Instead Senior Care to hear stories of elderly parents having fallen or having been laid up for several weeks…Many times we are asked about seniors regaining their strength and suggestions on how best to assist that recovery by family caregivers…

In a nutshell, help get your parents moving. A study has shown that hospitalized elderly patients who work to get back on their feet even by taking short walks around a hospital unit tend to leave the hospital sooner than their more sedentary peers.

The research, conducted at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, draws on data collected from 162 hospitalized patients over age 65. Each patient was fitted with a pager-sized “step activity monitor” attached to his or her ankle – an electronic device capable of counting every step the patient took.

“Using these monitors, we were able to see a correlation between even relatively small amounts of increased mobility and shorter lengths of stay in the hospital,” said Steve Fisher, a UTMB Health assistant professor and lead author on the paper. “We still found this effect after we used a statistical model to adjust for the differing severities of the patients’ illnesses.”

Talk to your parents doctor or health care team about ways that you can get your mom or dad up and around. Most hospitals are eager to help their patients recover and will assist them in daily walks. If you want to supplement that care by assisting your parent, I am fairly certain they would welcome that encouragement. Or, if you are unavailable, consider hiring a caregiver companion who could help your parent in the hospital and/or after they return home as a way to keep your loved one motivated to move as well as to lend a helping hand with household chores such as meal preparation, light housekeeping and medication reminders.

Home Instead CAREGiversSM are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and capable of assisting your parents with several activities of daily living until they regain their strength. Home Instead Senior Care® also makes every effort to match CAREGivers with seniors of similar interests, which is a bonus for many older adults.

For more tips on how you can help your parents realize the important benefits of exercise, click here

Tackling Care as Chronic Ailments Pile Up

No one said it was going to be easy and with the most recent figures coming to light, all will have to agree that it isn’t going to be an easy task…but clearly our older seniors are requiring care that ‘someone’ is going to have to pay for; ‘looking away’ is not an option.

Anyone seriously interested in improving the health of Americans and reducing the costs of health care must be willing to tackle a growing and under-appreciated problem: the vast number of patients with more than one chronic illness.

The problem is actually two problems: delivering more efficient care to these patients and helping them not to get sick in the first place.

Both tasks require the cooperation of patients and caregivers, as well as the providers of health care and the agencies that pay for it — and, at least as important, a public willing to take proven steps to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The statistics, as reported in December in a strategy report from the Department of Health and Human Services, say it all. More than 25 percent of Americans have two or more chronic conditions — which, by definition, require continuing medical care, and often limit their ability to perform activities of daily living. (The conditions include heart disease, diabetes, obstructive lung disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, asthma, H.I.V., mental illness and dementia, among others.)

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More Prevalent Than You May Believe

The story below outlines the fact that senior abuse can and does happen in all walks of life. The rich and the powerful may be as susceptible to it as those living on median (or less) incomes. Abuse may be the result of family dynamics, stress, financial issues…whatever the cause…if you see it (or think you see it) please share your findings with someone who can help before a tragedy ensues. Actor Mickey Rooney has been the alleged victim of elder abuse at the hands of his own stepkids, according to restraining orders filed Monday. The 90-year-old actor, who, born into vaudeville has had one of the longest careers of any actor, was granted court protection from stepson Chris Aber and his stepdaughter Christina Aber, after he filed a case against them charging verbal, emotional and financial abuse, and for denying him such basic necessities as food and medicine. The court documents say that both Chris and Christina Aber have been keeping Rooney as “effectively a prisoner in his own home” through the use of threats, intimidation and harassment. Read More Here