Long term care: although it's rarely discussed with an aging parent, ensuring you have a plan in place is one of the most important things you can do when planning your golden years.
As health care costs continue to rise, paying for senior care can become increasingly expensive. For example, did you know that the average cost of an independent living facility in the San Francisco Bay Area ranges from $6,000-$10,000 a month for room and board alone? And that's usually in addition to the standard buy in fee of $100,000 to $250,000. Suddenly planning for retirement becomes a much loftier goal than most Americans realize. To check out the average cost for long term care services in your area, click the link here.
So, what are the options to pay for in home care and/or long term senior care? Below we've put together a list of the 10 most common ways adults pay for care.
Of course this first option should come as no surprise. Contrary to popular belief, long term care is not a benefit of Medicare. And with no other options in place, self-pay may be the only option to pay for in home care or assisted living. However, considering the average daily costs of care can range from $200-$500 a day, this method can quickly drain your savings before you know it.
#2 Family Pay
If you can't afford to pay for care out of your own pocket, the next option may be a possibility. However, relying on your adult children to pay for your care is also not a great long term solution, especially in this day in age where Americans are working more and earning less.
#3 Long Term Care Insurance
By far one of the best options, purchasing a long term care insurance plan is an incredibly wise investment. To qualify for long term care, you need to ensure you're independent in all activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, transferring, etc.). And purchasing a policy when you are young and spry can ensure you're paying pennies on the dollar each month with great benefits available when you need them. If you wait until you're much older, the monthly premiums become much more expensive.
#4 Reverse Mortgage
If you own your own home and plan on aging in place, the other possibility to pay for home care is to take out a reverse mortgage, which is a government backed program. This is a popular option, especially if the senior is seeking in-home care services or perhaps if a spouse must move into an assisted living facility, while the remaining spouse lives at home.
#5 Department of Veterans Affairs
Known as aide and attendance, the VA offers a pension benefit to either a veteran or a veteran's spouse to pay for home care or care in an assisted living facility or nursing home. "A Veteran is eligible for up to $1,788 per month, while a surviving spouse is eligible for up to $1,149 per month. A Veteran with a Spouse is eligible for up to $2,120 per month and a Veteran with a Sick Spouse is eligible for up to $1,406 per month." There are additional benefits offered by the VA to help pay for care depending on a variety of factors. Keep in mind, however, that it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year from the time you file paperwork with the VA until benefits are approved.
#6 Family Care
If a senior or aging parent doesn't have the funds or benefits to pay for long term care, an adult child or family member is typically forced to leave a paying job and thrust into the caregiving role. In fact, a staggering 83% of caregivers are directly caring for an aging relative. Often times, this leads to lost wages and future career opportunities. According to a MetLife analysis, the average loss in wages, social security benefits, and pensions tops $300,000 per person!
#7 Selling your Home
Even though 90% of seniors would prefer to age in place as opposed to moving to an independent living facility, assisted living facility or nursing home, sometimes selling your home or assets may be the only option to foot the bill for long term care. Remember, a reverse mortgage can only be utilized if you are receiving in home care. If a senior or aging adult requires care in an outside facility, a reverse mortgage is not an option.
#8 Convert Equity from a Life-Insurance Policy
One of the other options is to convert the equity from an existing life-insurance policy. Although each policy differs, some newer products allow the individual to either keep the life-insurance policy as is or use the equity that was paid into it over many years to pay for in home care.
#9 Qualify for Medicaid
"All states have a Nursing Facility Medicaid program that provides general health coverage plus coverage for nursing home services. These services include room and board, nursing care, personal care and therapy services. Nursing Facility Medicaid may pay for a stay in a nursing home if you:
#10 Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA)
The final benefit is a program established by the Department of Energy (DOE). If you or your spouse is a current or former employee of a specific DOE agency, and either of you succumbed to a specific type of cancer related to radiation or exposure to other hazardous chemicals, you can receive up to $250,000 to cover medical expenses and pay for in-home and/or long term care. For more information on this program, visit the Department of Labor online.
Although there are various options to pay for home care and long term care, most of these require very specific criteria or only benefit certain individuals. It's incredibly important to start the conversation with your parents or aging loved ones to ensure they have a plan in place, if and when they need care. Long term care is an unfortunate reality of life, and ensuring you have the finances set aside is just as important as planning for all of the other expenses we expect we retire--living expenses, vacations, and mad money.
Although the baby boomer generation may not be as quick to adopt new technology, aging or homebound seniors can greatly benefit from a variety of service based apps available at the touch of a button. If you're an East Bay Senior needing assistance at home and have an iPhone or Android device, check out our favorite ways seniors can age in place with technology. Need help getting set up? We can help with that too.
Amazon Prime Now
They're certainly not new comers to the home delivery game, but Amazon's recent introduction of Prime Now to Oakland, Hayward, and San Leandro certainly raised the bar. With a touch of a button, a home bound senior can browse groceries, household products, vitamins & minerals, pet supplies & more. Once ready to check out, it's as simple as choosing a delivery window that's most convenient for you. And within 2 hours, a courier will show up to your door with all of your purchased items. This service is completely free to Amazon Prime Members ($99/year). Not ready to commit just yet? No worries--they offer a 30 day free trial to test it out. It's also worth nothing Prime Members receive access to unlimited e-books, on-demand tv shows, music and movies. Try it today to help your aging parent remain more independent at home.
Uber & Lyft
On demand car services are becoming more common place every day. If you're an East Bay senior who has lost the ability to drive, Uber and Lyft can be excellent alternatives to getting you where you need to be without having to rely on a friend, loved one or senior caregiver. It's as simple as downloading either app, creating a basic profile with payment information, and selecting your destination. Once you've made a request to be picked up, you'll receive an alert with the estimated time of arrival and estimated cost for your trip. When you pull up to your final destination, simply get out of the car, and all fees and taxes are billed to your card on file. How easy is that? Uber and Lyft help seniors stay active in the community by offering easily accessible on-demand transportation. Worried about safety? Keep in mind all Uber and Lyft drivers undergo thorough background checks, motor vehicle screenings, and more before contracting with the company. Want a free trial of Uber? Click the link here and receive your first ride free (up to $20).
If you're an East Bay senior aging in place at home, you know it can be hard to keep up with all of your home's on-going maintenance projects. Here's where TaskRabbit can help: need a piece of furniture built, a shelf-mounted, or someone to pick up the clutter? Type a brief description of the task you want completed. TaskRabbit will then either suggest prices and automatically schedule a same day contractor or you can browse through available contractors, view their skill-set, and arrange for them to come by at your convenience.
If you're an East Bay senior who has difficulty navigating around the kitchen or perhaps you never learned to cook in the first place, not to worry--Seamless is a great alternative to ensuring you always have a hot, tasty meal delivered right to your doorstep. All you have to do is type in your home zip code, and a list of restaurants delivering to your home will appear. You can browse by cuisine type, price range, and more. View menu items, make selections, and easily check-out all from the comfort of your smart phone. When the order is confirmed, you'll get an email with the delivery estimate. And your food will be on its way. It's as easy as that. Want to try it out? Click the link here to receive $7 off if your first order.
Doctor On Demand
Nobody likes going to the doctor. So why not bring the doctor to you? Doctor on Demand is revolutionizing tele-health by doing just that. From the comfort of your home, open up the Doctor on Demand app. For a flat rate of $49 per call (for a PCP), you will speak to a board certified doctor that will give you undivided attention and provide an assessment through your phone, computer or tablet's camera. Once they've made a diagnosis and answered your questions, they can electronically send a prescription to CVS for you to pick up. They take most insurance and treat a variety of ailments ranging from cold & flu, UTIs, diarrhea & vomiting, skin issues & rashes. Want to learn more? Head on over toDoctorOnDemand.com.
Parkinson's Disease is a progressive neurological condition that impairs coordination and movement, affecting approximately 7-10 million people worldwide. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson's and most of the disease's symptoms are managed through surgical procedures (such as Deep Brain Stimulation), pharmacological methods (like Levodopa) and lifestyle modifications. A recent study conducted by a neuroscientist at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute discovered that one such lifestyle modification could drastically improve Parkinson's symptoms in patients: bike pedaling.
Jay L. Alberts, the primary investigator for the study, first recognized a possible correlation between bike pedaling and reduced exacerbation of Parkinson's Symptoms in 2003. Alberts was participating in a charity bike ride to raise money and spread awareness for Parkinson's Disease. During the charity bike ride, he shared a bike and rode in tandem with a female Parkinson's patient. After completing the race, he noticed that his bike partner "had improvements in her upper extremity function" which sparked his interest in further investigating "the possible mechanism behind this improved function." In fact at the end of the race, his partner stated, "It doesn't feel like I have Parkinson's when I'm on the bike."
To better understand the possible affects that pedaling could have on Parkinson's patients, Alberts and his colleagues at the Cleveland Institute recruited 26 individuals from 30 to 75 years of age, all with a varying degree of Parkinson's symptoms.
The individuals were then divided into two groups: one group that would pedal on a stationary bike at his or her own desired rate and another group that was forced to pedal at an increased rate. The groups pedaled 3 times a week over the course of 8 weeks and had MRI's performed prior to exercise and immediately following. The MRI allowed researchers to determine increased activity levels in the brain as a direct result of the exercise, and they were able to correlate this activity to average pedaling rates.
At the end of the 8 week study, the researchers concluded that individuals in the group required to pedal at a higher rate, had increased brain activity, which promoted brain connectivity, and caused an overall reduction in Parkinson's symptoms. "Some of the benefits we have already seen are improved speech, improved gait and [improved] balance." Although the sample size of the study is relatively small, the results have since sparked additional research studies and movements to investigate the benefits of "pedaling harder" for Parkinson's patients.
In conclusion, although Parkinson's is a progressive, debilitating disease, there are interventions that can be utilized to reduce the exacerbation of symptoms. If you're interested in incorporating a new exercise routine such as daily pedaling on a stationary bike to determine if you might see improvements in your symptoms, speak to your doctor first. As with any exercise program, start slowly and increase your activity as tolerated. Set weekly goals for yourself and track your progress to stay motivated and improve your overall health. If you have any personal stories or experience with Parkinson's and exercise, please feel free to comment below and let us know.
Did you know that strokes are the 5th leading cause of death in the United States? In fact, every year, over 800,000 Americans succumb to strokes, which can lead to serious long-term disabilities, in addition to death. It's important to learn about and understand the types of strokes in order to make life-style modifications to reduce the risk of strokes in your aging loved-one's life.
Although anyone could potentially be at risk of having a stroke, seniors and adults over 65 years old are at a much higher risk and make up a higher percentage of stroke victims (about 66%). There are three types of strokes, and they fall into the following categories: Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeds), Ischemic strokes (clots), and TIA's (trans ischemic attacks).
Hemorrhagic strokes, also known as brain bleeds, account for 13% of all strokes in seniors. This type of stroke is usually due to one of two causes: uncontrolled high blood pressure or an aneurysm (weakening of blood vessel walls). In both scenarios, the blood vessels in your brain rupture, which result in active bleeding in the brain. And once the brain comes in direct contact with blood, the brain cells start to quickly die, which can cause major deficits and or death depending on the location and duration of the bleed.
The next type of stroke, ischemic strokes, are the most common. They make up the remaining 87% of all cases. Ischemic strokes occur when a clot forms in a blood vessel, which prevents oxygen and other essential nutrients from reaching vital cells in the brain. These brain cells essentially suffocate and die, which can also lead to serious deficits such as impaired memory, speech loss, paralysis and of course death.
And finally, the last type of stroke is known as a TIA or Trans Ischemic Stroke. Although a trans ischemic stroke is also caused by a clot forming in the brain's blood vessels, TIA's usually resolve within 5 minutes as a result of the clot quickly dissolving, thus restoring blood supply to the brain. The other important factor about TIA's is they never cause long-term impairments and symptoms quickly resolve without medical interventions.
Now that you understand the three types of strokes, stay tuned for our next installment where we explore the signs and symptoms and explain what emergency actions you need to take if you suspect the senior in your life is having a stroke.
Exercising is among the most powerful tools to improve quality of life for people with cancer. It lessens fatigue, anxiety and gastrointestinal side effects, increases muscle strength and improves breathing.
All of these benefits are helpful to people coping with mesothelioma, a cancer that primarily affects the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. The vast majority of people who develop the cancer worked occupationally with asbestos for years.
Treatment for mesothelioma involves chemotherapy and radiation therapy, both of which cause fatigue that exercise can lessen. Some people with mesothelioma qualify for surgery, and these patients greatly benefit from physical therapy exercises to aid recovery. It doesn’t take intense or even moderate exercise to see benefits. Even low-intensity movement around the house can make someone with mesothelioma feel better. Consider the following exercises to get started.
Take a Walk
While walking may not seem like exercise, it is for those with cancer-related fatigue. The kind of fatigue caused by chemotherapy can really knock someone down for a day or longer. Simply walking to the mailbox might be all you can handle one day. Walking down the block might be easier the next day. Take it slow and at your own pace. Seniors who had a regular walking routine before cancer treatment can try their best to maintain their old routine. They shouldn’t overdo it, but keeping the body conditioned to regular movement will help with recovery.
Try Light Strength Training
Don’t think there’s any point to lifting 1 or 3-pound weights? Even light strength training will help you maintain appetite and weight. Keeping weight on throughout cancer treatment is associated with longer life expectancy.
Lifting canned goods or light books is an easy way to get started if you don’t have lightweight dumbbells at home. Bicep curls, lifting the weight above your shoulders or head and gentle squats are good exercises to strengthen muscles that support breathing.
Work with a Physical Therapist
Working with a physical therapist is one of the best steps a cancer patient can take to improve their physical well-being. By working with a physical therapist, patients can learn specific exercises that are uniquely tailored to their needs. Every person is different and that means not all exercises work the same for everyone. Some people need to strengthen their legs before they can strengthen their back muscles, while others have a need to focus on shoulder strength.Ultimately, people with mesothelioma should avoid inactivity. Gentle, low-intensity movement is all people with cancer need to get the benefits of exercise. Start with slow and easy exercise. When you feel stronger, you can increase activity incrementally to condition your body.
Author bio: Michelle Whitmer has been a medical writer and editor for The Mesothelioma Center since 2008. Focused on the benefits of integrative medicine for cancer patients, Michelle is a certified yoga instructor and graduated from Rollins College in Florida.
We all lead busy lives. Between work obligations and family life, juggling day to day responsibilities is a delicate balance, which in time, can take it's toll on your overall health. Whether you're a senior or an adult, in order to put your best foot forward and to prevent life's daily stressors from keeping you down, it's important to follow a healthy lifestyle. These 5 quick and simple tips will not only boost your immune system, but also set you on the path for success.
Did you know that the average person touches his/her face more than 3 times every hour? In fact, every time you touch a surface and then your face, bacteria, viruses, and allergens are all transferred to your mouth and nose, making it considerably easier to get sick. For these reasons and more, hand hygiene remains the most important step in reducing your overall risk of infection and promoting a healthier immune system. To ensure adequate hand hygiene, scrub your hands and nails continuously with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds and dry with a paper towel. Avoid touching doorhandles of public restrooms or hand dryers as these can easily spread dangerous microbes and cause you to get sick.
We all know how important water is, but most of us don't drink the daily recommended amounts to promote healthy living and boost immune function. Since the human body is made up more than 60% water, it's vital to consistently replace all fluids lost through normal metabolic processes such as perspiration and digestion. Drinking sufficient water allows your organs to operate more efficiently, which in turn boosts your immune system. While the amount of water you should drink varies from person to person, the average recommended amount is 8, 8-ounce glasses per day. A good way to check for hydration status is to observe the color of your urine. Clear, light yellow urine indicates adequate hydration while darker urine means dehydration.
There's something to be said for meditation. Taking the time to clear your mind and keep your daily problems at bay is a great way to boost your mental health and ultimately your immune function. Meditation helps you to better manage stress, and since stress weakens your immune system and makes it harder to fight off infections, it's no wonder why mindfulness exercises can optimize and improve your physical health as well. Dr. Deepak Chopra has a great article expounding more on the relationship between meditation and the immune system.
If you're like me, you know that exercise is a necessary evil to leading a better lifestyle and living longer, but finding the time and motivation to work-out is a whole other ballgame. If you're a senior or older adult, lower-impact exercises such as walking or swimming are great ways to support cardiovascular health and boost your immune system. In fact, studies have shown that immediately following a work-out, white blood cells (antibodies that fight infections) circulate more rapidly, allowing them to detect illnesses earlier than they might have before. Exercise also releases endorphins or feel good hormones, which helps to boost your mood and alleviate stress.
The easiest way to ensure that your body is getting adequate nutrition, vitamins, and nutrients is by eating a well-balanced and varied diet. You don't have to completely give up your guilty pleasures to lead a better lifestyle, but eating foods with higher saturated fats and lower nutritional value should be done so in moderation. Throughout your week, "eat foods high in the vitamins and minerals that benefit your immune system, including vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these nutrients help your body in various ways to increase your antibodies (or white blood cells) and maintain high levels of them. Vitamins C and E are found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly oranges, strawberries and cantaloupe. Zinc is found in very high concentrations in oysters--particularly raw oysters--and turkey. Carotenoids such as beta carotene--which the body then converts to vitamin A--is found in very high doses in carrots, as well as other vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids are plentiful in whole grains and fish products" (LiveStrong).
Carlin Longley is a Registered Nurse and entrepreneur who's passionate about helping others.