Health Care and ElderCare

- October 18, 2013
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Are you one of those adults who is now responsible for taking care of older adults?  Are you responsible for overseeing parents or older family members who now look to you for care? Or, are you someone who is in the business of elder care, and that is either your profession as a caretaker or business owner? Regardless of your status, if you are dealing with issues related to helping seniors or older adults and their health care and lifestyle, then you may need some additional advice along the way.
According to LifeHealthPro, elder care planning is essentially a comprehensive strategy that helps define a senior’s wishes and assists designated caregivers and/or advocates in handling the physical, personal and financial affairs of a senior aging into the last phases of life. Long-term care (LTC) is just one, very important segment of total elder care planning.

Unfortunately, LTC as well as other elder care issues are topics of discussion often avoided or delayed by families. But planning for elder care is one of most important discussions a family can have. When planning takes place at the eleventh hour, mistakes can happen and opportunities are lost. Helping clients become aware of what issues should be in order and how important planning is for an elder’s comfort shows the client the total value you bring as an advisor.

Discussing long-term care and elder care issues takes time and should be done step by step, with compassion. Unless you also practice as an attorney, you likely won’t be the person to implement some of the elder care plan’s steps. But you can provide a checklist your clients should consider completing, and if your clients lack the appropriate professionals to help get their plan in order, you can refer them to one of your recommended contacts, such as an attorney. More info can be found at this site:

Senior citizens have difficulty at times processing information. Changes in physical and mental abilities that may occur with age can be difficult to detect—for older adults and their family members, friends, and caregivers too. To help in determining when an older adult may need assistance in the home, according to, their site has compiled a list of 10 warning signs. Any one of the following behaviors may indicate the need to take action. It is also important to inform the older adult’s physician of these physical or psychological behavior changes. Has your loved one:
·         Changed eating habits, resulting in losing weight, having no appetite, or missing meals?
·         Neglected personal hygiene, including wearing dirty clothes and having body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, or sores on the skin?
·         Neglected their home, with a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation?
·         Exhibited inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at all hours?
·         Changed relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concerns?
·         Had physical problems, such as burns or injury marks, which may result from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications?
·         Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were once important to them, such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services?
·         Exhibited forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, piling of newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missing appointments?
·         Mishandled finances, such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money?
·         Made unusual purchases, such as buying more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements?

As people age and live longer, financial, legal, health care and long term care issues affect families, not just individuals. According to this website,   you can find significant details on this topics. And, here are some key considerations:
·         Figure out what financial benefits are provided by your parents’ Social Security and pension. Determine if they are eligible for other financial programs.
·         Ensure that each family member has a living will. Know where all your parents’ insurance policies, wills, trust documents, tax returns, investment and banking records are located.
·         Investigate what type of long term care insurance coverage may be best for your parents or for yourself! Generally, premiums are lower when policies are purchased at younger ages.
·         Identify what community services are available that can help your parents maintain independence in the home for as long as possible. Learn whether housing options are available to meet their changing needs.
·         Family members may not understand how their parents’ estate planning could impact their own financial status as well as that of their children.

Health care is a high-cost necessity, so it is crucial to know what is available to meet your family member’s needs, and what they are eligible to receive. Most adults over age 65 are covered by Medicare, the federal health insurance program that helps pay medical expenses for older Americans and younger people with disabilities. However, Medicare does not cover all needs, such as long term care including nursing homes or extended care, and Supplemental Insurance (also called Medigap insurance) might be necessary to cover additional health costs, according to
Medicaid, on the other hand, is the federal and state insurance program that helps pay the health care costs of low-income individuals of any age. Long-term care insurance is available through the private market to assist individuals to cover the cost of long-term care services such as home health and nursing home care. Ask...

·         As your health status changes, are you prepared to meet your long term health care needs?
·         Do you have proper health insurance coverage (not too much or too little)?
·         Are you comfortably able to pay for prescription drugs and other out-of pocket health care costs?
·         Who are your doctors and how can they be contacted?
·         Where do you keep your insurance card, Medicare information, and other important health care documents?

One of the most difficult things you may ever have to do is to hand over or share the caregiving of the seniors in your life. For some reason, either you think you know them best and therefore can care for them the best; or because you really feel it is your responsibility, you are very reluctant to trust others to care for your elders, according to . But this attitude, although admirable, in most cases is not practical or even doable for the family caregivers. So what can you do to move forward mentally and then actively to change this situation? More details can be found at this site:
Eldercare can be a challenge, especially if you have special needs or limited resources. Find resources in your community and online. There are many organizations that can help you. Realize that millions more have walked in your shoes, so you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and when you may start feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to reach out for assistance. Don’t try to go it alone, and remember that your senior relatives still love you even though they may have difficulty in expressing those feelings.

Until next time.
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