Nursing home written on a sticky noteCurrently there are more than 1.1 million Americans residing in nursing homes (over 19,000 in Connecticut) and it is estimated that more than 3,000 new nursing homes could need to be built to keep up with demand.

Among the factors leading to the need for increased high-quality nursing home facilities and care are industry-wide staffing shortages, rising costs, and an aging (baby boomer) population.

Consider these expected population trends and the nursing facility numbers in Connecticut and nationwide:

Can gift cards affect Social Security income? Americans sure love their gift cards!

In fact, according to Capital One Shopping, the U.S. accounts for approximately 38% of the global gift card market (at a value of $339.5 billion), with a whopping 54% of US consumers buying gift cards as holiday presents.

But, if you are thinking about buying a gift card as a birthday or holiday gift for someone who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), first make sure you understand how receiving a gift card may affect the benefits on which the recipient may rely.

Preparing for a spousal deathThe prospect of losing your spouse may be the hardest thing you’ll ever face. Taking the time to put things in order before they pass will give both of you peace of mind. Preparation will provide a sense of relief during a sad, life altering time. Here are some important things to consider, and talk about with your spouse and family members:

Stay on top of the finances

If your partner has been in charge of your personal finances, this is the time to find out everything they know about estate plans, bank accounts, savings, bills, policies, and insurance. Do you know what your income will be? Will it meet your needs, or will you need to make some adjustments? The more you know, the better prepared you will be. Continue reading

AdobeStock_372942010-300x200This is the fourth and final installment for the empowered caregiver. This is about strategies for engaging in self care, even when that feels impossible.

When you are parenting your own kids, caring for the people who raised you, and also trying to hold down a job or build a career, finding time for yourself feels about as likely as winning the lottery. 

The reality is that caregiving quickly becomes a way of life, especially for caregivers who are part of the sandwich generation. It becomes second nature to put everyone else’s needs first, and after a little while you may stop even considering your own needs just to avoid disappointment. 

AdobeStock_125116470-300x200The third installment of this series is about how to manage some of the family dynamics that come with collaborating on caregiving.

Very few people are lucky enough to be part of a family that exists in perfect harmony, agrees on all decisions, and divides caregiving responsibilities and costs equally. The rest of us have to carefully navigate the challenges of working together for the benefit of an aging loved one.

As you venture into the role of caregiver alongside siblings or other family members, there are a few things you can do to help smooth the way for yourself and your caregiving partners. No matter what your situation, the best approach involves self-knowledge, communication, and flexibility. 

AdobeStock_601121955-300x168By Colleen E. Masse

Planning a secure, comfortable, and fulfilling future for a loved one with a disability is a huge responsibility. It’s not a task to be undertaken lightly, or without expert legal assistance. 

A strong plan has two parts. The first is the drafting and executing of core legal documents including power of attorney, a health care directive, a Will, and a special needs or supplemental needs trust. Each of these documents serves an important role, but they are just the foundation. 

AdobeStock_387670603-300x200In the first post in this series, we covered a few of the most important “big-picture” skills and knowledge that will help you build a strong foundation for your caregiving. This second installment of this 4-part series is about the importance of accepting that you can’t do everything yourself and learning to accept help from others.

Far too many caregivers back themselves into a very stressful corner by assuming that they need to do it all. It’s easy, when you’re already feeling overwhelmed, to overlook opportunities to accept support from family, community, or professional providers. But if you stop and really look at what’s available to you, you might be surprised. Continue reading

AdobeStock_224113424-300x199In this first installment of a 4-part series on caregiving tips and strategies, we’re looking at some important but often overlooked “big-picture” skills and knowledge that are critical to successfully navigating the caregiving journey.

Though becoming the primary caregiver for an aging parent is a responsibility many of us anticipate encountering at some point in our lives, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the physical, mental, and emotional demands of such a role.

And, if you are a member of the “sandwich generation,” you will be in the unenviable position of having to juggle caregiving and parenting responsibilities simultaneously, perhaps while managing your own work or career, and trying to have a life of your own.

AdobeStock_714895354-300x300An RV (recreational vehicle) is a home away from home on wheels that gives you the ability to enjoy a romantic lifestyle of freedom and adventure on the open road. It’s a fabulous way to see the country, and often a cost-effective way to travel. 

It is also, however, a potential liability when it comes to qualifying for critical SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid. 

Continue reading

AdobeStock_136516459-300x208Being a caregiver to an aging parent is both an act of love and a journey of challenge. Even if your parent doesn’t have any major health issues, you will likely face a variety of situations that are entirely unfamiliar.

It’s easy to end up feeling overwhelmed, out of your depth, and at a loss about how to make the right choices. And if there is a health issue or crisis, the stakes are that much higher, and the scenarios that much more complex. 

If you have the means to pay out of pocket for supplemental support, a geriatric care manager can help alleviate your anxiety, cover gaps in your knowledge, and even manage coordinating family engagement with caretaking. 

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