Tag Archives: Service Providers

Pets and Senior Health

Do pets actually help improve ‘health’?

Experts say YES…Pet ownership can be good for your health both physically and psychologically…

Research indicates owning a pet helps reduce stress and blood pressure in owners, they increase longevity in those who’ve had heart attacks, and even relax and improve the appetites of Alzheimer’s patients…according to many psychologists owning a pet provides attention to something other than the patient themselves…

And we all know how difficult it can be to get some seniors (and others) exercising during the day…problem solved if you have a pet. Dogs insist on getting out and about, hence they have a strong tendency to get their owners moving…VOILA, instant daily exercise. In turn, studies continue to show that exercise helps improve your spirits…so instead of a vicious cycle of prompting your loved one to get up and moving without the slightest result…the pet has helped to create a positive one…and that’s a win win solution!

Pets have also been known to stave off loneliness.  Some seniors (and others) may actually consider their pets their “companion of choice”.

However, please remember, if you are considering introducing a live animal to a senior household to make sure you do plenty of research…choose a pet whose personality, size and requirements fit your senior’s needs, abilities and living situation…and don’t opt for more than ONE…more animals do not mean more health, just more responsibilities.

Lastly, even though pets bring many psychological benefits it’s important not to let your loved ones become too dependent on those animal companions…in the end pets should NOT be a substitute for human friends and family.

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Several Bills Currently In Congress

There are several bills currently in Congress that will impact Medicare and senior service providers:

The first is a reintro­duced initiative to forgive student loans for those medical professionals who agree to service seniors in underserved ar­eas.

The second is a bill which would modify the new rule requiring a face to face doctor visit for ordering Medicare home health nursing services, by expanding the rule to allow nurse practitioners to order the visits as well.

Third, patients, families, and facilities are negatively impacted by the arcane rule requiring a three day stay in the hospital in order for Medicare to pay for the skilled nursing facility charges. There is a bill before Congress that would change this requirement to include “observation” time.

Thanks to Robin Smith Consulting for these valuable updates

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.

Read the FULL story

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.

Read More Here

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.

For More:

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

Community Living Assistance Services and Supports

In February 2011 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provided an update on the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, created under the Affordable Care Act. The CLASS Act establishes a voluntary insurance program for people who are unable to perform two or more “functional activities of daily living,” such as the ability to feed or dress one’s self without assistance. Unfortunately, such impairments typically accompany the progression of Alzheimer’s and other diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS).

The program will help eligible individuals pay for non-medical services and supports to enable them to remain as long as possible in their homes and communities. Those who choose to participate in this voluntary program pay premiums while they are working and become eligible should they become functionally impaired, regardless of age. Adults who meet the eligibility requirements will receive a cash benefit of no less than $50 a day to purchase services such as adult day care and transportation services.

The Secretary is working on several key CLASS program benefits and enrollment issues before the program becomes officially available in October 2012. During her remarks, Secretary Sebelius emphasized the agency’s continued efforts – ranging from increasing public awareness about long term care services, to ensuring benefit flexibility for eligible individuals. The Alzheimer’s Association supported the CLASS program and its passage as it specifically includes within the eligibility requirements people who develop substantial cognitive impairment. This new voluntary insurance program will help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease remain as independent as possible – living in their homes and communities for as long as possible.

While we continue to work toward the day when we will have treatments that stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks, in the meantime CLASS can serve as an important part of an individual’s overall plan to be as prepared as possible to cope with Alzheimer’s impact. For more information

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.