Articles Posted in Resources for Seniors and Caregivers

Medicare-300x169While Medicare does not pay for long-term care, it will cover up to 100 days of care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). There are, however, some fairly stringent and somewhat confusing qualifications patients must meet before Medicare will extend this benefit. Unfortunately, because there is some nuance to the rules, many patients find themselves having to pay for SNF care they assumed would be covered.

To help you navigate the ins and outs of Medicare’s SNF benefit, we put together a quick cheat sheet that explains the basics and a few of the details that are not always so obvious.

The Basic Requirements: Hospital Stays, Observation, and Skilled Care

Picture1-300x265Can you hear me now?

It’s an unkind stereotype—the aging person who is constantly saying, “Eh?” because they can’t hear what someone else is saying. While it might make for a funny bit on a TV show or in a movie, in real life, hearing loss is no joking matter. And of course, it’s not only older people who experience hearing loss, it can happen at any age.

Impaired hearing is not only inconvenient and a detriment to quality of life, it can also contribute to physical injury (the inner ear is critical to maintaining balance and avoiding falls) and depression (withdrawal from social situations due to embarrassment can lead to isolation).

Ask-the-question-300x200Many a well-intentioned family member has taken on the responsibility of caring for an aging parent only to realize that they’ve committed to more than they can handle on their own.

And many more people will need to step into a caregiver role in the coming years.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population of people 65 and older will grow by approximately 50% over the next 30 years!

hoardinghouse-300x300Some people joke about hoarders, but those people haven’t lived with the pain, frustration, and very real physical dangers caused by this mental illness.

While hoarding usually presents when a person is still a child, it is a disorder that—like dementia—becomes more prevalent and severe with age. It is an illness that is very difficult to treat, and one that affects not only the hoarder, but everyone around them.

Sadly, like many other mental illnesses, hoarding is often very misunderstood and even maligned. People wrongly assume that hoarding is simply a matter of someone collecting too many things or being too lazy to keep their home tidy.

handcaregiver-300x200There is a compassionate and hard-working army of heroes working in our midst, and they are not being fairly compensated for the critical work that they do.

We’re talking about home care workers.

These people—mainly women, many of whom are immigrants—fill a vital role in helping care for our aging loved ones, and yet many of them cannot even earn a living wage based on our current systems.

Aging-Quote-300x200Aging isn’t easy, but we all have to do it. Contrary to the myth our culture tries to sell us, there is no escaping the march of time and the changes it brings to our bodies, minds, and lives. And these days, understanding how to age well is increasingly important since our golden years stretch out for much longer than they used to. In the last hundred years or so, the average life expectancy has increased by almost thirty years.

The key, as it turns out, to being happy during the latter part of life is to discover and embrace the concept of positive aging.

This can be tricky, especially in a country like the United States, where getting older is something most people either ignore or fight. But science is proving that while aging may not be a bed of roses, there are lots of things we can do to make the process more enjoyable and ensure greater happiness and better health along the way.

pinecone-300x300All across the country, the pandemic numbers are trending steeply in the wrong direction. Epidemiologists have long warned of a difficult winter season, and we certainly seem to have arrived on the threshold of that prediction.

Sadly, this rise in cases coincides with the winter holidays, traditionally a time for friends and family to gather in year-end celebrations that begin at the end of November and run through the New Year. This means that families will be facing some very hard decisions about get-togethers in the upcoming weeks.

The problem is that COVID-19 doesn’t recognize holidays. And while people may be exhausted by the grueling experience that we’ve all been in since March, now is not the time to relax our guard.

AdobeStock_41168140-300x225By Esther Corcoran

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing older, as many people seem to think. It is a disease that impairs memory and intellectual abilities to the point where their daily life is being affected. When people notice things in their daily life changing, there are 10 early signs to be aware of and to keep into consideration before seeking medical help. 

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially forgetting recently learned information. Other instances include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

downsizing

“Downsizing” is one of those words that seems simple, but can be wrought with overwhelming and emotional baggage. While it’s easy to embrace the concept – a smaller space, fewer possessions – actually getting rid of stuff is often harder than expected.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise since we spend most of our lives accumulating “stuff.”

Year after year, we buy and collect, receive gifts, and save mementos, and it slowly fills up every drawer, shelf, attic space, closet, and corner of the garage. And then, in the course of a few weeks or months, we’re faced with undoing decades’ worth of acquiring.

It’s not easy. Continue reading

This is the first in a 3-part series about the process and practice of becoming your parent’s healthcare advocate. In this part one, we talk about how to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. 

As Bette Davis once said, “Getting old is not for sissies.”

It’s also not something that anyone should have to do alone, especially when it comes to navigating the exhaustingly complex and sometimes downright intimidating territory of personal healthcare.

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