Tag Archives: parents living alone

Senior Abuse: An “Invisible and Silent” Crime

I was moved by an article in Saturday’s Boston Globe; Galvin Moves to Protect Elders’ Interests and thought that Patch readers might benefit from knowing more about this invisible, silent crime against elders.

Knowing that Secretary of State William Galvin took a first step towards rectifying the growing financial abuse against seniors by submitting a bill to the Massachusetts Legislature — a bill that would bar people with power of attorney from enriching themselves or otherwise abusing their authority — was satisfying, to say the least.

Better still is knowing that the legislation, filed earlier this year, states that those holding a power of attorney position must act in good faith. More importantly, it establishes that those holding power of attorney have a fiduciary duty to the people they represent — any action by them MUST benefit that person’s best interest.

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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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Time To Stay Hydrated!

Heat waves are upon us and summer has yet to be officially announced so be sure to alert the seniors around you (as well as others) to stay hydrated! Dehydration is dangerous and specifically more so in the summer months when seniors are most vulnerable. Seniors often forget to drink enough fluids and now when the temperatures are soaring it is even more crucial to their good health to be well hydrated…

Dehydration impacts our senior population frequently because
· Those with dementia often ignore the body’s cue for thirst
· Chronic illness, such as diabetes, and taking certain medications are risk factors.
· Even those seniors in good health tend to underestimate how much water they need
· Seniors may be weak and/or tired and may not have the energy to get up and get a glass of water.
· Seniors many times suffer from incontinence and hence limit their water intake to prevent ‘accidents’

Dehydration may cause:
· Confusion, fatigue, fainting, and unconsciousness.
· Kidney, bladder and bowel problems
· Muscle cramping
· (Depending on illnesses and medications being taken) toxin build up

To stay hydrated in it is best to:
· Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
· Encourage seniors (and others) to keep a glass or bottle of water handy
· Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, as they are high in water content.

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!

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men (don’t always work)

The clock may be ticking faster than you think. Are we ever really fully prepared…especially if we have waited to make those end of years ‘legal docs’ because our parents (or ourselves) appear healthy and after-all we have made it to our 60’s – 80’s with relatively no problem…

But then, in an instance, a family member’s health deteriorates and rapidly! They are admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and/or congestive heart failure, etc. What follows is a series of challenging moves from the hospital to a rehab center to a respite center, back to the hospital and even a possible nursing home stay.

In an instant all your research and eminent ‘senior’ planning is out the window. With a parent or both parents on a health roller coaster, it is impossible for you to properly evaluate their needs and the situation quickly becomes more than you can handle.

Thankfully Geriatric Care Managers have surfaced in this, the day and age of the rapidly blooming ‘baby boomers’ and their parents into senior ‘caredom’. Although the cost may be prohibitive to some, many long-term care policies cover the expense. Geriatric Care Managers will assess and coordinating your aging parents’ needs. They will assist in filling out long-term care paperwork, having medical records transferred, help with doctors and coordinate with the facility you eventually select.

Most Geriatric Care Managers provide unbiased advice because they are not associated with any one senior living facility so a surviving parent or caregiver can be at ease of receiving legitimate as well as helpful advice. Hiring a professional who understands the ins and outs of senior care can help families through their crisis. Their input will help you select the best facility available for your parents – something that will allow you peace of mind. If you are looking for a certified Geriatric Care Manager to assist with your family’s elder care planning needs, please consult this online Directory for an expert in your area.

Caring for a Loved One with Chronic Pain: The Four Caregiver Cornerstones

It’s important to realize, that as a caregiver, you are not alone. Articles such as the one recently written by Lee Woodruff in Huff Post portrays the many emotions and confusion all family caregivers may struggle through at one time or another. For additional information and support as it relates to non-medical senior care please click here for additional information.

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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Hearing Loss Linked To Dementia

Adults with hearing loss are significantly more likely than adults with normal hearing to develop dementia, according to a new study out today from researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging. The study, which finds that the greater the hearing loss, the higher the risk, may open a new avenue of research into dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Men and women in the study who experienced severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing. But even mild hearing loss doubled the risk of dementia.

The study followed 639 people ages 36 to 90 who initially did not have dementia, the insidious loss of memory, logic and language that interferes with daily living. The volunteers were tested for hearing loss and dementia every two years for nearly two decades.

Researchers found that those with hearing loss at the beginning of the study were much more likely to develop dementia by the end, even after taking into account age and other risk factors. The risk of dementia only began to rise once hearing loss began to interfere with the ability to communicate for example, in a noisy restaurant. The study also found that hearing loss increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but the two were not as strongly linked as hearing loss and dementia.

Frank Lin, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Otology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an author of the study, says this is the first large study to connect hearing loss to the development of dementia and should spur more research into this intriguing new relationship.

Lin says it may be that whatever causes dementia also causes hearing loss, but there’s no clear evidence. He thinks it’s more likely that the neurological stress of dealing with hearing loss contributes to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “If you are out to dinner with friends at a busy restaurant and it’s very, very loud, by the time you get home you’re exhausted, because you spend so much time trying to think about the words people are saying, to decipher everything,” he says. Then, too, it may be that the social isolation that comes with hearing loss contributes to the development of dementia.

People who have a hard time hearing can’t follow conversations or respond to questions. They feel frustrated and embarrassed and tend to avoid socializing. And previous research has linked isolation with a higher risk of dementia. Or, Lin says, it may be a combination of the neurological stress and social isolation.

Either way, this study may prompt men and women to pay more attention to hearing loss, a condition that affects more than 9 million Americans over the age of 65, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Lin says people don’t tend to give hearing loss the same kind of attention they give high blood pressure or heart disease. Instead, they accept hearing loss as an inevitable part of aging. But, says Lin, it may be time to take a more serious look at the condition.

Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., chief of the Longitudinal Studies Section at the National Institutes on Aging and another of the study authors, says it’s not yet time to recommend widespread action, but researchers have important questions to answer, including: If we cure hearing loss, are we going to prevent dementia? And can hearing aids make a difference?

Even if treating hearing loss only delayed dementia, that alone could have enormous consequences, researchers say. This study didn’t find that hearing aids decreased the risk of dementia, but volunteers in the study only reported whether or not they had hearing aids, not how often they used them or how effective they were.

Thanks to Elizabeth Agnvall, a contributing editor at the AARP Bulletin.

Long Term Care Insurance

Surprise bills do NOT make us happy! So if you haven’t researched long-term care, now may be the TIME to do so. Please realize Medicare does NOT cover long-term care. Medicare does offer LIMITED skilled-care nursing home benefits under certain conditions (maximum of 100 days) and in home skilled care benefits under very LIMITED conditions (medically necessary and NOT daily). Most long-term care policies reimburse for custodial, non-medical care…a service that is NOT covered by Medicare, Medicare supplements or health insurance. Costs for long-term care policies vary in every state, but here are some nationally recognized figures:

A median rate of $24 per hour for custodial care/non-medical services; approximately $192 for an eight-hour shift

The median monthly rate for a one bedroom unit in an assisted living facility is $4550; approximately $54,600 annually

The median daily cost for a private room in a nursing home is $321; approximately $9764 per month; or $117,165 per year

In addition, consider that inflation WILL increase the cost of care over time. On the bright side…most long term care policies now offer built-in inflation riders or options to purchase more coverage in the future (regardless of your health).

If you already have a long-term care health policy be sure to review it periodically with your carrier and if you haven’t yet opted in…think about consulting an agent. TIP: Vet several agents and companies before signing on the dotted line…it is MOST important that you know exactly WHAT you are paying for and the options the policy is providing!