Types of long-term care

While “aging in place” has its benefits, it is expensive to get such individualized care. Plus, it’s rather isolating. Group options require a move, but are more social and cost effective.

  • Assisted living. People move to assisted living when they are ready to stop cooking, cleaning, and maybe even driving. They enjoy social activities but need more help than an independent retirement community might offer. Though not a setting for people with advanced dementia, a portion of assisted living residents may have memory problems.
  • Memory care. With activities specifically for people with significant dementia, memory care may be housed in a wing of assisted living or operate as an independent facility.
  • Skilled nursing or “rehab.” Geared for short stays—several days to several weeks—a skilled nursing facility can be thought of as a place to get stronger or learn to do things in new ways after a setback. Then you move to a more homelike environment.
  • Nursing home. This setting is a long-term version of rehab but for those with complex conditions who don’t need a hospital, yet aren’t independent enough for assisted living.
  • Continuing care retirement community (CCRC). This large “campus” offers all of the above and more. Move in while fully independent and able to enjoy the pool, golf course, etc. As care needs change, residents move to the different care buildings yet stay on the same property. Ideal for a couple when one needs more support than the other.

Let us help you understand the different options. Give us a call at 916-524-5151.

Learn more about our aging life care planning services.

Home care

Support is available for those who wish to stay at home. However, one-on-one care is expensive. And it’s not always easy to find caregivers. Community services can sometimes be patched together.

To stay at home, it helps to have a knowledgeable person check in periodically who knows eligibility requirements and can supervise and coordinate all the players.

  • Home care. People who do not need medical attention, but simply help with household activities, running errands, or light companionship, benefit from home care. The key to success is finding a good match between the caregiver’s personality and your own.
  • Adult day care. If someone is available for nighttime care of a person with dementia or light medical needs, then adult day care can provide engaging daytime activities, meals, and relief for the caregiver. Ideal for working families or a spouse who needs a break.
  • Home health. Patients are able to leave a skilled nursing facility yet continue receiving needed therapy through visits at home. This is a short-term service, ending when the patient has improved as much as can be expected.
  • Hospice at home. Hospice is for people with a life expectancy of up to six months who opt for improved quality of life over the hardships of treatment. Nurses visit at home a few times a week to monitor pain and comfort and to support families as nature takes its course.

Call us at 916-524-5151 to start the planning process for aging in place.

Learn more about our aging life care planning services.

VA Aide and Attendance and Social Security Increases – 2020

Did you know Cost of Living Allowances (COLA) for VA Aide and Attendance and Social Security is now at 1.6%? For Social Security you should receive a statement regarding your benefit. There is also an increase in Medicare. Pay attention to your statement. Most will be paying $145 Plus starting 1/1/2020. This will come into play if you are also receiving the VA Aide and Attendance.

The 2020 increase for Aide and Attendance is as follows:

  • Married Veteran and Spouse; $2266.00 monthly, $27,195.00 Annually
  • Single Veterans; $1952.00 monthly, $22,939.00 Annually
  • Widow of Veteran; $1229.00 monthly, $14,742.00 Annually

Have you ever wondered whether you’re eligible to receive public assistance like Medi-Cal, Social Security, or Veteran’s assistance Benefits like the VA Pension Fund? Well I host FREE seminars that cover how to receive many different types of public assistance. 

To Find Out More, Go To: http://www.advancedwellnessgcm.com/seminars/

Honoring Veterans

With Veterans Day coming up, you might be wondering how you can show your appreciation to the veterans in your life and community. There are plenty of large and small gestures you can take to make a veteran’s day and to perform an act of kindness. Here are 4 thoughtful ways to honor Veteran’s Day and all those that serve our country.

Donate to a Veterans’ Charity
If you’d like to help out but don’t have the time to volunteer, you can always make a donation to a reputable organization that represents veterans With more than 40,000 U.S. charities dedicated to assisting U.S. veterans, you might not know which one to choose. Consider donating to a charity that helps out veterans in your area, or perhaps offer funding to organizations that provide support on a nationwide level.

Take Part in the National Two Minutes of Silence
Whether you’re at work, at home, or in your car, you might consider taking a few minutes to silently reflect on the impact members of the U.S. armed forces have made in the country. If there are any veterans who mean a lot to you, take your time to reflect on your gratitude for these special individuals. This two-minute period takes place at the same time nationally, but different times depending on individual time zones.

Wear a Poppy
Veterans Day is a significant day for former members of the U.S. armed forces. Many veterans wear hats, pins or uniforms to share their pride in their service. If you are not a veteran but want to support the veterans in your community and around the country, you can wear an American flag pin or red poppy to show your gratitude for these service members. You might be wondering what the significance of the red poppy is. Its connection to Veterans Day comes from the famous World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” in which the red flowers were the first to bloom in the fields after battles in France and Belgium. Poppies are also considered a symbol of appreciation for veterans in various European countries.

Send a Gift to a Veteran
One way to show your gratitude to a veteran you know is by sending them a thoughtful present. You might decide to bake them a fresh batch of their favorite cookies or get them a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Maybe you’d rather give them something that will brighten up their home? A nice selection of Veteran’s Day flowers bring color and life to any home. When you send someone a bouquet of flowers, you will show your gratitude for their service. When they see their bouquet out of the corner of their eye, they will think of your kindness.

When to Have the Talk About Hospice

Hospice care, as defined by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is “quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury…involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes”.

The earlier you have the conversation about bringing in hospice care, the better. When given a prognosis that doesn’t clearly indicate a specific survival time (such as Congestive Heart Failure or advanced cancer) but is a life-limiting illness, your loved one may think they have longer to live than they actually do and not be ready to admit that hospice care is an option. Respecting this uneasiness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discuss it. And one of the benefits is that hospice helps families to deal with the grief and anger and denial through the counsel of social workers and chaplains.

How to actually have the conversation includes the following:

Be understanding of your family members’ feelings. Fear and grief are very personal and each person expresses them differently. Patience is needed by you so that they can become ready to talk about hospice care.

Include family members in the conversation, and respect the wishes of your relative if they say they don’t want specific family members present. Those who have been caring for the relative in the home should be part of the conversation from the beginning.

Don’t expect a decision immediately. There may be questions and a request to think things over. Allow your relative the time to adjust to the idea. As their illness progresses, you can introduce the hospice option again.

Convey to your loved one that you truly want them to have the best care possible. You want to bring in hospice care to help ease their pain and offer additional support and guidance through this last phase of their life.

It’s not an easy conversation to have, but if you approach it with patience and kindness, it can help make the experience of bringing in hospice care more comfortable for you and for your loved one.

-Helen Justice

Have you ever wondered whether you’re eligible to receive public assistance like Medi-Cal, Social Security, or Veteran’s assistance Benefits like the VA Pension Fund? Well I host FREE seminars that cover how to receive many different types of public assistance. 

To Find Out More, Go To: http://www.advancedwellnessgcm.com/seminars/

WORKING SONS AND DAUGHTERS

What happens to your business or work when you get the call Mom or Dad is at the hospital? Are you ready? What are important documents you need before you go racing to the hospital. What happens to your own business and how long will you be absent? Not earning income. 

First, breath when you get the call because you are prepared.  You got this!

Documents you need now:

  • Copy of Health insurance Cards
  • List of Medications and even the new ones
  • Healthcare Proxy – so you can speak on behalf of your parents
  • Advanced Healthcare Directive
  • Power of Attorney

Have a copy of these documents ready in your car or with you. Without these you are not able to speak on behalf of parents. More and more hospitals and health care provider are requiring the right documents. 

You will become the advocate for your parents. You are not at the hospital to make friends; you are there to get your parent the best care for them. The hospital is there to rotate the bed and keep it making money. The sooner one vacates the next person will fill the bed either in the hospital or ER. Don’t assume the discharge planner, social worker or the staff is your guiding light through the doors of hospital or ER. You want to know your options so you can make important decisions. You know best of your love ones not the person trying to do their job rotating the bed. You are not a medical person and it’s fast and confusing the decisions you need to make. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask until you understand because there is a medical language that is foreign to you.  Understand the diagnoses and treatment. Better yet is there surgery needed and you need to know what happens after surgery. 

Listening is the next weapon in your toolbox. Be the extra set of ears for your parents. Take notes when you are talking to the medical staff and doctors. If you don’t understand repeat the questions and ask for them to explain in a different way. 

Who’s at home? Let me explain. Most the time Mom is the caregiver for Dad. Statics show that the caregiver (Mom) will end up in the hospital before the sick person. Who will sit with the Dad that may have Dementia or Alzheimer’s? More and more families don’t have family nearby or they are single child with no siblings. 

How to handle your Job/Business:

This is an emergency call and you need to go fast. You can make calls from the hospital. Or you can have family members call your work. Let you manager/boss know so they can pick up the slack. If you choose to stay at work your focus is gone. Go ahead and work guilt free, we all handle crises differently. Have someone cover your shift, work, or projects. 

  1.  Talk candidly with your boss or manager. 
  2.  Use the Family and Medical Leave Act if you Can
  3.  Ask if your Employer has other Caregiving Benefits
  4.  Change your work hours temporarily
  5.  Consider hiring a Geriatric Care Manager

Having your team of professionals advising you along the way makes it so much easier and less stress. It also helps getting you back to your business or work. Having a working relationship with a Geriatric Care Manager that can be your eyes and ears on the ground. You might not be near your parents and you need someone now. Some pitfalls that happen when not prepared.

  1.  Thinking that my sibling is doing the parent care and I’m off the hook
  2.  Not giving appreciation and emotional support to the main caregiver
  3.  Falling prey to the “killer” misconception that “I shouldn’t have to ask”
  4.  Assuming that our sibling are the same people they were as kids

Think about 8 key areas:

  1.  Family support
  2.  Health safety
  3.  Medial needs
  4.  Cognitive health
  5.  Mobility
  6.  Personal Hygiene
  7.  Meal preparation
  8.  Social interactions

 Finally, think about your own needs and abilities. Does your own health allow you to physically are for someone? Do you live close enough to visit as often as needed? Would you want to live with them, either in their house or yours? Do you have the kind of relationship that allows you to spend a lot of time together without creating a lot of negative feelings on either side? Do you have the personality to provide the type of care they need? Are you willing to learn how to provide that care?

These are just a few of the areas you may not have thought of. Finances on both sides is major concern. You not working and earning income and parents may not have enough assets to handle the emergency. This includes in-home care, board and care, assisted living, home-health, palliative care, hospice, and finally arrangements. A Geriatric Care Manager will be your tool for guidance and recommendations. 

Advanced Wellness GCM, Inc

VIP Concierge Care Management

 VA Accredited Claim Agent (POA #27203)

 Medi-Cal Applications

RCFE Administrator and Instructor USAF Retired

Finding the Right Retirement Community for Your Parents

Your parents have been retired for quite a few years and they say they are now ready to move to a retirement community. They’ve asked for your help because they’re overwhelmed with the choices available and aren’t sure what they can afford or what kind of community they want to live in. Now it’s time for you to go shopping.

Begin in the immediate area where your parents currently live. There may be a city or county agency in your area with a resource directory that will make your research much easier. Your local library is a good place to go for this information, too.

When you’ve created a list of communities that warrant further research, use the following as a guide to insure that you’ve selected the right ones for your parents to choose from:

  1. Research the Community Restrictions. Pets, young children, outdoor grilling, parking vehicles anywhere other than a driveway are all examples of restrictions that can be found within any housing community. Whether the community is apartments, housing, gated or ungated, it is a community and there will be restrictions.
  • Home Care and Maintenance. Who will take care of the home while your parents are out of town or traveling? Some communities have onsite maintenance, repair and security services while others don’t. Caretaker and home-watch services are common in high-end communities and their costs can be added to the overall costs of living in that community.
  • Community Financial Health. Many retirement communities have been affected by the recent recession. You can ask to see the association financial records. You can also search the county clerks’ officer for foreclosures and liens in the community, as well as tax and property assessments.
  • Meet the Neighbors. Visit the community and meet some of the people living there. Social activities occur every day in planned retirement communities, making it easy to stop by and meet new people at any given time.
  • Nearby Medical Care. What is available? What will your parents need now and in the near future and as they age? Does the community have onsite medical services or is there a medical office nearby? If there is a hospital or clinic does your parents’ primary healthcare provider or specialists have privileges there?

Bring the results of your research to the conversation with your parents and choose the communities that interest them. Then do a site visit with your parents before the final decision is made.

A Few Common Myths About Aging in Place

Aging in Place is a phrase used by many industries to describe our desire to stay in our homes as we age, to put off going to a nursing home or assisted living facility as long as possible. There are a few common myths among those who are considered middle-aged that need to be cleared up a bit, and they include the following:

Myth: Aging in Place is a Conversation for Old People

Nobody wants to get older. And most people want to stay in their own home as long as possible. But, because they believe that “aging in place” is a conversation for old people, they hold off having that conversation or making decisions about making basic remodeling changes to their homes until it’s almost too late. Too late? Yes. Unless you have unlimited funds, waiting until you’re 70 years old to declare that you intend to “age in place” is too late. And, the longer you wait the more expensive the remodeling costs will be. Now is as good a time as any to begin making small, affordable changes. Changes such as replacing lower cabinet shelves with easy slide drawers, putting in a bench seat in the bathtub or shower, adding a safety bar in the shower to prevent falling, changing thresholds in doorways to prevent tripping, are all remodel changes that add convenience now to your daily living and will serve you well as you age in your own home.

Myth: Paid Caregivers Don’t Care About Their Client, They’re In It For The Money

This is a myth that stems from the idea that a professional nurse, therapist, or home care aide can’t care because they receive money for the work they do. These trained caregivers chose their profession because they care about the people they get to work with. And, as they work with each individual they establish a relationship so that the client will feel at ease while working with them. This relationship makes the work more enjoyable for the caregiver and removes anxiety and stress from the client – making life a bit easier for the client.

Myth: Paid Caregivers Are Only For The Very Sick or Very Old

Many seniors age without getting ill or experiencing serious injury. What they may experience is difficulty with eyesight so driving is no longer an option, or troubles with their joints so being able to pull themselves up from the bathtub or handle heavy pots and pans is a problem. Non-medical caregivers are available to assist with these daily living needs and are a great option to reduce the stress and anxieties of someone who can live on their own but has a bit of difficulty doing a few things around the house. An additional benefit is that these caregivers also offer companionship to the senior, removing the lonely feeling that can often be felt by someone with limited mobility who is living by themselves.

Myth: Caregiver Services Provided At Home Are Inferior

The skill level of a professional caregiver is the same whether that care is provided in the home of the client or at an institution. In reality, those medical professionals who work in the field and in the homes of the patient are often given a bit more training than those who work in a hospital or nursing home or assisted living facility. Whether the care being given is medical such as regular visits for intravenous medication or physical therapy, or is non-medical such as helping with household chores and shopping, each professional caregiver is trained and certified, and sometimes receive additional certification to be able to work in the field.

Stress and The Senior of Today

Stress is a part of life. Truly, it doesn’t matter what age a person is, they will and do experience stress. Children feel the stress of doing well in school and learning how to navigate social situations. Adults feel the stress of responsibilities to their work, their families, and to their households. Seniors feel the stress from changes they aren’t prepared for like the death of a spouse, loss of contact with friends who have moved into different housing, and the simple tasks of everyday life that used to be easy and are now a bit more difficult due to health and physical limitations.

The effects of stress on seniors can exacerbate mental and physical health issues, adding to the normal stress that is coming from Life and aging. It’s important to understand that this additional stress isn’t good and when identified can and should be relieved quickly.

Here are five of the most common symptoms of seniors experiencing too much stress:

  1. Eating Habits. Changes in eating habits that range from loss of appetite to overeating.
  2. Mood Swings. Irritability, sadness, depression, bursts of anger, bursts of laughter.
  3. Memory Issues. Lack of concentration and inability to recall names, places, or other things that just a short time ago came easily and naturally.
  4. Aches and Pains. Sleeping patterns, increased episodes of illness, the onset of aches and pains for no apparent medical reason.
  5. Isolation. Refusal to socialize, to participate in activities they normally enjoy.

Recognizing these symptoms and having a conversation with the senior about what’s happening in their lives can begin the process of reducing the stress and returning the senior to a more relaxed state.

Some things to address in the conversation include:

  1. Financial Issues. The recent recession reduced most of the retirement investments and savings of the senior population to an alarmingly low level, causing a lot of stress and angst.
  2. Healthcare Costs and Changes. The cost of healthcare services has increased dramatically over the past few years. In addition, how these services are offered has changed so much that many seniors no longer know how to navigate the options and offices, physicians and specialists that are now available (or not available) to them.
  3. Grief. Acknowledge the recent loss of a loved one or friend and offer the senior solace through your own actions or by connecting them with a religious authority such as a priest or rabbi.
  4. Loneliness. Don’t ask – but look to see who they are interacting with and when. Do they talk about the bridge club or the golf outing? Do they talk about other people as if they were friends?

Once it’s been accepted that the senior is experiencing too much stress, some ways to alleviate the effects the stress has caused include yoga, walking, cycling, and other physical activities the senior enjoys. These are great tension relievers while also helping to clear their mind and feel more energized. Socializing is one of the best ways to reduce stress and keep it away. Social groups can be found at the local library, volunteer opportunities at the local senior center. The best way to help the senior is to take an active part in their recovery from being overstressed, and that can be as simple as making a phone call or driving them to an activity.

How to Help a Grieving Parent When They Lose Their Spouse

There are few things in life more devastating to a senior than losing their spouse. Whether the spouse is your natural parent, step-parent, or your parent’s partner, it’s important to understand the level of despair and grief your  parent is experiencing.

Understand that there is no definite mourning period, nor is there an amount of time that needs to pass for things to return to ‘normal’. People don’t get through the pain of the death of a spouse easily, though they do eventually learn how to cope with it as time passes. Some parents will want to talk about the deceased, sharing memories that you both can talk about. Some parents will avoid the subject completely, especially if the death was painful or unexpected. Take your cue from your parent.

While you are adjusting to the level of discussion your parent is willing to have, you can help by attending to their physical needs, making sure they aren’t left alone for too long as depression from isolation can set in easily.

In the meantime, if the deceased is your parent, you must cope with the loss while also helping your grieving parent. Remember, losing a spouse is very different than losing a parent so don’t attempt to assure them that you understand how they feel.  But do share your own feelings of loss and memories – if your parent is ready to share with you.

Something to keep in mind is that your parent may appear to be coping quite well with the loss at the moment and then experience grief months after the fact. Delayed grief does happen and it’s important that you recognize the signs so that you can help your parent through it. Those signs include:

Forgetfulness. Your usually organized parent is missing appointments, locking their keys in the car, or mailing unsigned checks to pay the bills.

Disorganization. Unable to manage their time, taking longer than usual to complete everyday tasks.

Unable to Concentrate. Unable to finish a book or conversation without the mind wandering to a different topic.

Lack of Interest. Loss of interest in things they used to look forward to doing. They may say things like “what’s the use?” or “why bother, who cares?”

While all of these things can be alarming, in most cases by encouraging your parent to talk things out and to express their feelings, these things pass. If at any time you think your parent may do something harmful or be placed in a potentially dangerous situation with driving or around equipment, step in and offer a warning to remind them to be extra careful right now. If you believe your parent requires more than a reminder, talk to the primary care physician or care manager.