African american female patient with oxygen mask, lying on bed in hospital roomWhat happens when you lose your capacity to make decisions about your medical care?

The news depicts stories about people on life support and their family members fighting over whether brain dead means something different than dead. What if you were the one on life support? What would you choose?

Ideally, you would have already chosen, and your wishes would be clearly spelled out in your Advance Healthcare Directives. Unfortunately, only about 30% of Americans have made their wishes known.

Grandson and grandfather playing video games together.By Jill Brightman

As the parent of “older” kids – one a tween, and one a teen – I see daily their incremental physical and personality changes that signify to me, they are not babies anymore!

And, I fully expect (and reluctantly accept) that as my kids go headlong into their teenage years that they, as teens tend to do, will choose to spend the bulk of their time with their peers and have less interest in hanging out with mom and dad.

Hand with marker writing the word Bewareby Carmine Perri

You want to apply for Medicaid – a complicated process – but you’ve heard that hiring an attorney specializing in Medicaid planning is expensive.

So why not use one of those services that say they’ll do the same thing for less?

But do they really do the same thing? Continue reading

Full length shot of a senior couple working on their finances at home.So you’ve decided a living trust is appropriate for you. You’ve met with your attorney, made all the decisions about how you want any money in the trust to be spent, you’ve signed the document and placed it in a safe place.

But you’re not done.

Funding your revocable living trust is just as important as setting up your trust in the first place.

Contemporary retired woman using voice commands to control smart speaker, mature woman talking to the digital virtual assistant at home, asking a question or requesting to switch musicArtificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing industries across the board — from healthcare to transportation, investing to marketing. One perhaps unexpected area where AI shows tremendous promise is in improving the lives of older adults. 

Although emerging technologies are generally associated with the younger generations, the integration of AI technologies is becoming increasingly central in a variety of tools and software that help foster independence and enhance the quality of life for older adults. From assistive technologies to companion robots, AI is reshaping the way older adults live and interact with their environments.

While there are both pros and cons to using AI technologies, the consensus is growing that these innovations have the potential to significantly improve quality of life while giving older adults the independence to age in place.

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. 

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