Tag Archives: elder mediation

Getting The Most From Medicare Drug Plans

Thanks to Robin Smith for this informative article

While the majority of the healthcare delivery system is plagued by runaway costs and obtuse and arcane billing prac­tices, consumers often overlook aspects of their benefits that can actually save money, and possibly improve their health. All Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (aka “Part D”), include underutilized features that seniors who take multiple medica­tions may want to utilize. The first is medication manage­ment provided by the plan at no additional cost to the client. Details on this service, as practiced by individual plans, are in the membership booklet, or can be explained by calling cus­tomer service. Secondly, if the senior has a drug prescribed by the doctor which is not in (or has been removed from) the plan’s formulary, the senior does have avenues available to get the plan to cover the drug. Called “step therapy,” the patient’s doctor can write a letter to the plan, stating the rea­sons why the patient must receive the drug. Reasons can in­clude things like: all other drugs for the condition have been tried and failed, interaction with other drugs the client is tak­ing, etc. Once again, the membership book outlines how this benefit may be accessed.

Patients should always discuss whether or not they can afford the drug the doctor has prescribed, as cost is one of the main drivers of medication non-compliance. 78% of the drugs pre­scribed in the USA are now generics, although there is recent evidence that Big Pharma is fighting back by slowing the manufacturing of generics to create shortages. For seniors on multiple medications, consultations with pharmacists are free of charge. To prepare for a pharmacist consult, the FDA has a list of things the senior should bring. Seniors should always include non-prescription drugs on their lists, as drugs like Ty­lenol PM, with an active ingredient of Benadryl, can have very bad side effects when taken by the elderly.

When Medicare Open Enrollment comes around again, sen­iors can bring their medication list to Walgreens or CVS to determine the best PDP plan for them for 2012, free of charge


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.

For More:

It Might Be Time For Mediation

They are disputes that start quietly but brew into volcanic pressure and believe it or not they can split families apart.

Mom’s left a pot boiling on the stove again, so her daughters want her to give up her house.

An elderly father is getting forgetful and isn’t paying his monthly bills. His children who live far away find out that dad’s heat and electricity were turned off. One son wants to get his father declared mentally incompetent, so the family can take control of his finances. Dad gets angry when the kids try to help. He doesn’t want his kids to know how much money he has and how his finances are organized.

Dad’s got more scrapes on his car than the grandkids do on their knees so let’s take his car keys. The kids warn their father that they are going to take away his car keys. He threatens to write them out of his will. The father knows he isn’t driving well anymore but he just doesn’t want to give the keys up, especially to his children.

Might be time to call in a family mediator. Mediators come in as a neutral third-party to help families negotiate difficult situations and choices. With mediation, the family members, along with the parent, can usually come up with a unified solution.

Trickiest of all are the family dynamics. Unfortunately it is fairly common to hear one sibling reacting bitterly towards another. Long-established family roles can play out the minute siblings walk into mediation.

Good mediators make sure that the parents’ voice is heard… even if that person has Alzheimer’s or dementia and might have trouble following the conversation. Even with limitations on their capacity, people still have the ability to say whom and what family member they are most comfortable with…whom they respect, and trust, and where they like to live. They may not have the capability to make substantial legal or financial decisions, but they certainly have the ability to express opinions, wishes and desires.

The field of elder mediation is growing and has benefits over taking family disputes to court. Mediation provides an opportunity to come together, make decisions that tend to work as opposed to litigation that can be more expensive and more contentious. Mediation allows the ‘family’ to remain connected and feeling good about the consensus they have reached.

Although the field of ‘elder mediation’ is new and so far has little regulation, there are avenues to research:

State and community mediation centers.

Ask your local Council on Aging or Home Care Service for assistance in locating someone who has experience in this field.

And always feel free to contact us at Home Instead Senior Care….