Tag Archives: Service Providers

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.)



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

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!

Decisions Can Be Tricky and Emotional Regarding Senior Care

Decisions that concern the care of your aging parents can often be tricky and emotional. Each family will have its own solutions in regard to what’s best for them and their loved ones.

Your family may decide a move to a senior housing facility works because your aging parent no longer needs so much space or cannot manage the home. Or you decide your aging parent requires hands-on senior care in a long-term care facility.

In the case of long-distance caregivers, the notion of moving can seem like a solution to the problem of not being close enough to help. For some caregivers, moving a sick or aging parent to their own home or community can be a viable alternative. In other cases, an adult child moves back to the parent’s home to become the primary caregiver. Keep in mind that leaving a home, community, and familiar medical care can be very disruptive and difficult for your aging parents or aging relative.

Older adults and their families have some choices when it comes to deciding where to live, but these choices can be limited by factors such as illness, financial resources, and personal preferences. Making a decision that is best for your aging parent and making that decision with your aging parent can be difficult. Try to learn as much as you can about possible senior housing options.

Older adults, or those with serious illness, can:
· stay in their own home, or move to a smaller one,
· move to an assisted living facility or retirement community,
· move to a long-term care facility for seniors, or
· move in with another family member.

Experts advise families to think carefully before moving an aging adult into an adult child’s home. Consider the following issues before deciding whether or not to move your aging parent to your home:

1. Evaluate Your Aging Parent’s Needs

Evaluate whether your aging parent needs constant supervision or assistance throughout the day, and consider how this will be provided.

2. Identify Activities For Your Aging loved one

Identify which activities of daily living (eating, bathing, getting to the toilet) your aging parent can perform independently.

3. Know Your Caregiving Capabilities
· Determine your comfort level for providing personal care such as bathing or changing an adult diaper.
· Take an honest look at your health and physical abilities, and decide if you are able to provide care for your aging parent. If not, you might want to look into hiring a good CAREgiver for your aging parent.

4. Familiarize Yourself With Your Aging Parent’s Medical Condition
· Expect changes in your parent’s medical or cognitive condition.
· Consider the type of medical care your parent needs and find out if appropriate doctors and services are available in your community.

5. Know Your Senior Housing and Availability of Senior Care Homes
· Explore the availability of senior services such as a friendly visitor, in-home care, or adult day services.
· Investigate back-up senior care options if living with your parent does not work or is not your choice.

Talk to your aging parent regarding their situation, before deciding on whether to move your aging parent to a senior housing such as assisted living, nursing home or other senior care homes. Remember, it’s important that your aging parent is in the decision-making process. It is their life after-all.

To learn more about senior care options for your parents or aging relative

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….

Issues Surrounding Aging Relatives

One of the most difficult responsibilities families face is taking care of relatives who can no longer take care of themselves. It has been projected that boomers will spend more time taking care of their parents than they did raising their children. During a special week-long series, “Families on the Brink: What to do About Mom & Dad,” Diane Sawyer and several ABC News correspondents will take an in-depth look at the sensitive and serious issues caregivers face. This Special Series on the Issues Surrounding Aging Relatives and Those Who Care for Them began airing on “World News with Diane Sawyer” Monday, January 31st.

If you missed the first episode and want to catch up and follow the rest of the series…click here.

Have You Needed To Step In?

Are your parents ill? Have you needed to step in and assume some of their care?

If the answer is yes, you are probably already aware that it can sometimes be difficult taking care of your parents….many times the parent does NOT want the child to be in charge.

You can make the adjustment easier and certainly more smooth by just letting your parent(s) know you are there for them when they need you…that you have no plans to impede their independence…you are just helping out until they get better or no longer need your assistance.

Put yourself in their shoes…are you fairly set in your ways? Remember then, so are they…it may be hard for them to fathom that they are now needing care FROM their children!

If your parents are still mentally astute continue to let them handle those things that require that capability…and allow the decision-making to be theirs as it regards the future steps that may need to be taken. Doing this will help ease some of the stress both you and your parents may feel about the ‘role’ reversal.

Once you start caregiving for someone you can easily fall prey to being the ‘martyr’ and may start to first ignore and then lose a part of your own personal life. It is important to keep your life and your parent(s) life separate…if you are finding that this is too difficult to do…reach out for assistance. There are lots of avenues and resources to aid you in these trying times.

Take Action: Be Pro-Active to Signs of Aging

Once you’ve taken the time to review your parents’ situation be proactive and take action.

Share your concerns with your parents. Talk to your parents openly and honestly. Knowing that you’re concerned about their health may give your parents the motivation they need to see a doctor or make other changes. Consider including other people who care about your parents in the conversation, such as other loved ones, close friends or clergy.

Encourage regular medical checkups. If you’re worried about a parent’s weight loss, depressed mood or other signs and symptoms, encourage your parent to schedule a doctor’s visit. You might offer to schedule the visit yourself or to accompany your parent to the doctor or to find someone else to attend the visit. Ask about follow-up visits as well.

Address safety issues. Point out any potential safety issues to your parents then make a plan to address the problems. For example, perhaps your parents could use ‘assistive’ devices to help them reach items on high shelves or to help them stay steady on their feet. A higher toilet seat or handlebars in the bathroom may help prevent falls.

Contact the doctor for guidance. If your parents dismiss your concerns, you might call the doctor directly. Your insights may help the doctor understand what to look for during upcoming visits. Keep in mind that the doctor may need to verify that he or she has permission to speak with you about your parents’ care. Likewise, you may need to sign a form verifying that you have your parents’ permission to discuss their medical information with the doctor and his or her staff.

Seek help from local agencies. The local Council on Aging can connect you with services. For example, the county in which your parents live may have social workers who can evaluate your parents’ needs and put them in touch with pertinent services, such as home care workers and help with meals and transportation.

Consider home care services. If your senior parents are having trouble taking care of themselves, perhaps you could hire someone to clean the house and run errands. A home health care aide could help your parents with daily activities such as bathing and dressing. You might also consider Meals On Wheels and other community services. If remaining at home is too challenging, you might suggest moving to an assisted living facility.

So, basically…be aware and take steps to make sure your parents are comfortable and well during seasons that can be trying for even those that may feel ‘young-at-heart’!