Articles Posted in Elder Care

12.28.18If you live far from your hometown, you may be used to seeing large changes in aging parents from year to year. However, if you are involved in their day to day life, you may not notice the changes, or they may seem to come and go.

When you are close to your parents, it’s hard to judge their competency accurately. Your dad, who was the perfect driver, suddenly isn’t quite as good behind the wheel as he used to be. Or your mother, who never left the house without being perfectly groomed, seems to have become a little casual about her appearance. They aren’t big changes, but the change is rarely sudden.

Other examples can be if your father forget to pay a bill…. or forgot that you called him yesterday. You recognize all this and ask if he is okay. He doesn’t think there’s a problem.

10.1.18“H.4116 An Act Relative to Alzheimer’s And Related Dementias in The Commonwealth” is now law in Massachusetts, following an August 15 ceremony.

A ceremonial signing took place in Massachusetts Governor Baker’s office as community members, legislators and members of the administration gathered at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Waltham office, where the governor signed the new bill into law.

“Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia is key to supporting the Massachusetts families who are impacted by this horrible disease,” Governor Baker remarked in an article in the Framingham Source, “Governor Baker Signs Law Strengthening Alzheimer’s and Dementia Treatment in Massachusetts.”

5.23.18People moving into an assisted living facility, should do a lot of research to make sure they get the quality care and the services they need. Their lives may depend on it.

Life in an assisted living facility is a welcome alternative to aging seniors who are no longer able to remain in their own homes, but don’t want or need to live in a nursing home, which often feels like living in a hospital. They can receive the services they need, while enjoying a full roster of activities and the companionship of their peers. It sounds like a good plan, and in many cases, it is.

However, Consumer Reports’ recent article, “5 Steps for Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community” says that finding the right residence can be a huge challenge.

12.12.17Parking a “granny pod” in the backyard may be the best way to have aging parents near, but not under, your own roof.

Finding suitable and affordable housing for aging parents is a real challenge for many families. A senior lifestyle community may be too expensive, but living on their own may be risky for them and worrisome for adult children. AARP reports that about 23 million Americans are caring for their elderly parents, but may not be able to or want to have their parents move in with them.

Older adults relocating to be closer to relatives, may soon have another alternative: a "granny pod" or micro-house. These small homes are designed for accessibility, but are compact enough to fit in a backyard.

11.13.17Americans in their fifties and sixties may want to think twice about putting off their “bucket list” trips and accomplishments. Recent statistics indicate you may be better off enjoying life now.

As the government shifts retirement ages higher and employees are working later in life, the health of Americans is changing, and not for the better. According to a recent article in Think Advisor, “Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker in Between,” millions of Americans will likely have shorter and far less active retirements than their parent’s generation.

The U.S. age-adjusted mortality rate, which is a measure of the number of deaths annually, increased 1.2% from 2014 to 2015, according to the Society of Actuaries. It’s the first year-over-year increase since 2005, and only the second rise greater than 1% since 1980.

2.8.17You might think that any doctor seeing patients over a certain age would automatically screen for Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diseases, but until now that has not been the case.

Starting in January, Medicare will now begin reimbursing doctors for screening and providing information about care planning for patients with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairment diseases. What seems like common sense public health policy, took many years of advocacy from patient groups.

Santa Cruz Sentinel’s recent article, “Diagnosing Alzheimer’s: Medicare now pays doctors to stop and assess memory loss,” reports that more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and as many as 16 million will have the disease in 2050.  The cost of caring for those with the disease and other types of dementia is also skyrocketing. In the U.S., it’s estimated to total $236 billion in 2016 and is anticipated to increase to $1.1 trillion by 2050.

8.15.16The cost of long-term care can take a huge bite out of retirement savings, exhaust family resources and create strain on relationships. Don’t count on Medicare, but do plan in advance.

At least seven out of ten Americans age 65 and over will need long-term care at some point. Most people simply underestimate the cost of long-term care, or they think that Medicaid will cover the costs. Your best defense against long-term care costs: advance planning with professional help.

The Memphis Daily News article, “Long-Term Care – Not for Everyone,” says that Medicare does little for these costs and only for a short time period. Medicaid doesn’t apply until the assets of an estate are spent down, so many people must pay for these costs out-of-pocket. The article says that there are only two ways to address these expenses: with your investment/retirement portfolio and with long-term care insurance. Most people review the cost of long-term care insurance and elect to roll the dice, but when that first round of expenses hits, they probably will wish they’d bought it long ago. Now it’s usually too late to buy it. If you can afford to self-insure, you can save your estate and yourself some serious money.

Self-management_senior_swimmingThere is an expression among elder law attorneys called being "elderproofed," according to the Huffington Post in "Writing an Eldercare Plan." This takes planning to the next level, and includes things like how the person wises to be cared for, medical treatment preferences, whether they want to be cared for at home or in a facility, and more. These cover the day-to-day decisions to ensure that desires are followed once a person is unable to make those decisions known.

It's very important for seniors and their loved ones to discuss a care plan for the future before disease or dementia come into play, or a crisis causes eldercare services to become urgently needed. Get the plan drafted while the senior is still fully cognizant and rational. They can be signed when other end-of-life documents are put in place.

In truth, everyone wins with early discussions. When the patient is involved in the decisions for his or her potential care, the family has a better understanding of their preferences and are prepared for tough questions.

Elder handsHere are six suggestions to help prepare for some of the most common stressful situations that can occur during elder care.

The role of an elder caregiver is not an easy one, and many Houston seniors find themselves taking on this role without any preparation.

A recent Forbes article, 6 Things Caregivers Must Do While There's Still Time,” explains that many family caregivers are part of what’s called “the sandwich generation.” They’ve just stopped caring for their own kids and now have to start to care for parents or older relatives.

MP900423013Much is undoubtedly delivered with great love and compassion. But, sadly, it is also provided by family members who have no caregiving skills.

Deciding on medical care later in life or setting it up for a loved one is a difficult process that should be thoroughly evaluated. While there are many options available, essentially the decision comes down to care at home or in a facility. Is the quality of care comparable, especially when it comes to in-home care?

The answer seems to range from “we don’t know” to an unhelpful “it depends.” With so many people receiving care at home, either by default or by design, it is an important option to understand. A recent article in Forbes, titled “We All Want To Live At Home In Old Age, But Know Nothing About the Quality of Care We'll Get There,” to a look under the hood on this subject.

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