What To Discuss With Caregiver

[title size=”1″]What To Go Over With Your New Caregiver[/title]
If you have an elderly loved one who needs in-home senior care, once you’ve found the right match for your loved one, it’s important to make sure you cover all the bases with the caregiver who will be taking care of your loved one. Whether your loved one only needs help with simple tasks, like meal preparation, cleaning, and running errands, or needs medical assistance, like daily shots or medication, there are important things to discuss in order to be sure they know how best to care for your loved one.

When creating an instructional guide for the caregiver who will be caring for your loved one, here are 10 things to consider:

  1. Medications
  2. Food & Drink
  3. Cooking & Cleaning
  4. Napping & Sleep Habits
  5. Bathroom Needs & Habits
  6. Temperature
  7. In-Home Activities
  8. Exercise & Going Out
  9. Friends & Social Contacts
  10. Emergency Contacts

Medications – List any medications that your loved one needs to take, and include amounts, frequency, and time of day they should be taken or are usually taken. Also explain how your loved one prefers to take their medication, such as with juice or milk versus just water.

Food & Drink – List any likes or dislikes with food or drink as well as any allergies. Explain any specific eating or drinking habits, like if your loved one enjoys a cup of tea at a certain time every day, or if they like a certain meal on Sundays, ect…

Cooking & Cleaning – Explain whether your loved one needs assistance with cooking or cleaning, or if they should be encouraged to do these tasks themselves with supervision. Also discuss whether they will need assistance with eating, if they need their food cut into small pieces, cooled down, or need to be hand-fed. Discuss any regular cleaning that your loved one needs help with, such as straightening their bed, doing laundry, or washing dishes.

Napping & Sleep Habits – Jot down the typical hours that your loved one goes to sleep, gets up, and any naps in between that they enjoy. Also make note of any sleep preferences, such as having a light on, having music or the TV playing.

Bathroom Needs & Habits – List any special requests or needs for the use of the bathroom, whether they’re able to do this themselves, or if they need assistance with bathing or other bathroom functions.

Temperature – Make note of preferred thermostat temperature and any changes needed during certain hours of the day. Will your loved one need a blanket to stay warm, or do they enjoy keeping windows open and will this result in specific needs to stay warm or cool?

In-Home Activities – Describe what your loved one enjoys doing during the day and explain any specific schedule. If they enjoy watching a specific TV show, make note of the times and days that the show is on. Do they enjoy reading, playing card games, listing to music, or reading the newspaper?

Exercise & Going Out – List any preferential outdoor activities or outings that your loved one enjoys, such as walks, local YMCA, the movies, or perhaps the mall. Make note of anything that your loved one may need assistance with when going out, such as remembering to take their cane or walker, putting on sunscreen, taking allergy medication, or remembering their jacket.

Friends & Social Contacts – Does your loved one have frequent or occasional, unannounced visitors from friends or neighbors? Also list any friends or family that the caregiver could contact if your loved one needs some company or is feeling lonely. Does your loved one have a friend they like to call and talk to occasionally? List their contact information.

Emergency Contacts – This should be a given, but is extremely important. Be sure to list any family and friends, as well as the contact information for your loved one’s doctor. Include phone numbers, office location, and of course their names. You should also provide your contact information to the caregiver as well.

Many of these things may seem very self-explanatory, but having a list of things to consider can help ensure that you don’t forget any necessary information. This is especially important if you are not living with or close by your elderly loved one, or if you are hard to reach. Relying on your elderly loved one to provide the caregiver with this information is unreliable, and the information could be miscommunicated or assumed.

Need a senior caregiver in Phoenix Arizona? Contact Endeavor Home Care for friendly help.

What Elder Companions Do

[title size=”1″]In-home Senior Care & Companion Care[/title]
Most people would prefer to allow their elderly loved ones to remain living at home rather than putting them in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to spend all day with your loved one and while they may not need a lot of assistance, you may still feel uncomfortable leaving them home by themselves. That’s where companion care comes in handy. Elder companions can perform the basic functions around the house while providing companionship for your loved one. Elder companions will typically provide the following services:

  • Meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping
  • Errands

If your elderly loved one is able to take care of themselves for the most part and also doesn’t require any medical attention, then an elder companion could be the ideal solution to provide the extra support they may need.

[title size=”2″]Cost of Elder Companion Services[/title]
Companion care is generally between $15 to $25 per hour depending on where you’re located. This makes elder companions quite affordable while providing a wide range of assistance and bring comfort to your loved one. Companion care can also be provided on a flexible schedule, so if you typically spend your time taking care of your loved one but want a day off or a few hours a day off, then an elder companion can come in to provide assistance while you’re away. Elder companions can also provide 24 hour assistance as live-in elder companion care for seniors who may need assistance at all hours. This type of service is especially useful for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

[title size=”3″]Have additional questions about elder companions? Feel free to contact Endeavor Home Care.[/title]
Also Related: Ways to pay for in-home senior care.

Also Related: Benefits of In-home Senior Care

Reverse Mortgage Dangers

[title size=”1″]The Dangers of Reverse Mortgages[/title]
Reverse mortgages have been the solution for many financial problems that seniors have faced. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner, age 62 or older, to borrow money against the equity of their home. The recipient would then receive a lump sum or monthly payments to which they wouldn’t have to pay back until death or moving out, at which point the home would usually be sold to cover the loan. As great as it may sound, though, there are potential risks and dangers to look out for and it’s important to what they are.

[title size=”2″]Common Dangers To Look For In A Reverse Mortgage[/title]
The following are the main things to consider when applying for a reverse mortgage:

  • Ensure that both spouses have their name on the mortgage deed.
  • Avoid small and/or new lenders which don’t have track records.
  • Understand it’s not “free money”, the loan must be paid back at death.
  • Steer clear of the lump sum options which come with fixed interest rates.

Not to say that a reverse mortgage is a bad idea, as long as you protect yourself or your loved one and take the proper precautions.

Due to many of the larger banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo moving away from the reverse mortgages, many smaller lenders have moved in to fill the void. This has led to many deceptive sales pitches and scams resulting in an increase of defaults, sometimes leaving the borrower homeless.

Click here to learn about other ways to help pay for senior care services.

Common Senior Care Terms

[title size=”1″]Eliminate Confusion With Some Definitions[/title]
When dealing with social workers in regards to senior care services, you may find yourself trying to understand terms that you haven’t heard before. Understanding the different acronyms and abbreviations can help you make better choices and stay with the conversation. On top of that, the experts are likely to take you more seriously when you’re able to speak their “language”.

[title size=”2″]Common Senior Care Terms[/title]
AAA – Area Agencies on Aging – Nonprofit agencies who provide local seniors with convenience services to encourage older adults to remain at home.

AD – Advanced Directive – All the documentation regarding preferred care after death (i.e. Living Will).

ADL – Activities of Daily Living – ADLs refer to your typical, personal tasks and activities, such as eating or showering.

AHCD – Advanced Health Care Directive – Similar to the AD or living will and is used during medical complications which prevent a patient to speak for themselves.

CCRC – Continuing Care Retirement Community – Also known as a life-care community, CCRC is a retirement community which provides a variety of services from independent living to end-of-life hospice care.

DME – Durable Medical Equipment – Medical equipment used at home such as, wheelchairs, hospice beds, oxygen tanks, and more.

DNR – Do Not Resuscitate – An order from the doctor stating that no effort will be made to restart a patient’s heart or restart breathing if either were to stop. Based off the wishes stated in the living will, AD, or AHCD and is legally binding.

DPOA – Durable Power of Attorney – A legal document that allows another person or relative to decide financial decisions and is often times combined with an AHCD.

DSM – Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – A DSM refers to documentation that describes a diagnosis regarding a mental illness, depression or other mood disorder.

EHR or EMR – Electronic Health Record or Electronic Medical Record – EMRs are patient’s medical records which are shared within a healthcare organization. EHRs are patient medical records which are shared amongst multiple healthcare agencies.

GCM – Geriatric Care Manager – A GCM is essentially a consultant for future living arrangements and housing options.

HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act – HIPAA is a release form which allows another person or family member to receive medical information regarding a patient.

IADL – Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – Interchangeable with ADL but more specifically refers to more complicated daily tasks such as meal preparation or managing finances.

LTC – Long-term Care – Extended health care living arrangements such as assisted living or on-going in-home care for seniors.

MMSE – Mini-Mental Status Exam – An exam used to diagnose dementia.

NEMT – Nonemergency Medical Transportation – Means of transportation to or from a medical facility for appointments which not emergencies and do not require an ambulance (Wheelchair van, medi-car, taxi, ect…).

OT – Occupational Therapy/Therapist – Occupational Therapy is learning or relearning skills needed for independent living.

PERS – Personal Emergency Response System – A device used to send a signal to emergency response personnel.

POLST – Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment – Allows a patient to state their preference in regard to the use of life-extending actions such as CPR, feeding tubes, ventilators and others. It’s similar to an AD or AHCD but much more comprehensive.

PRN – Pro Re Nata – Meaning “according to circumstances”, PRN is used to describe treatment that is recommended on an as-needed basis.

PT – Physical Therapy/Therapist – Treatment involving physical exercise, stretching, and massage therapy in order to regain movement that was lost in result of an injury or illness.

RCF – Residential Care Facility – 24-hour supervised living arrangements which may or may not include full medical services.

ROM – Range of Motion – ROM refers to the full amount of potential movement in a joint.

SNF – Skilled Nursing Facility – The highest level of care available after hospitalization, a SNF is a facility that provides 24 hour nursing care.

Changes To Medicare Coverage

[title size=”1″]Medicare Contingent On Health Improvement[/title]
Until recently, continued qualification for Medicare required a health improvement, showing that the benefactor’s health was improving. This caused many seniors to lose their benefits when suffering from chronic conditions or diseases such as heart failure, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s. Chronic diseases and conditions would prevent seniors from showing an improvement in their health and therefore lead to a loss of benefits.

If you have a chronic condition, by definition your are not improving. Our view is that Medicare regulations were intended to allow people to maintain their health status. They don’t have to show they are getting any better. The point is to allow them not to get any worse, if possible.”

[title size=”2″]Recent Changes In Medicare[/title]
Thanks to a recent class action lawsuit, the government has finally agreed to a settlement plan which allows Medicare patients to maintain benefits even if they don’t show an improvement in their health. This settlement should also lead to an easier process of attaining the benefits of Medicare and hopefully provide better coverage.  These changes will obviously take some time to be fully implemented but should start going into effect some time in 2013 or early 2014.

If you have any other questions, please give us a call.

Also Related: Difference between Medicare & Medicaid

Medicare Vs. Medicaid for Senior Care

[title size=”1″]Covering The Costs of In-Home Senior Care[/title]
If you or a loved one as come to the point in life where in-home care has become a necessity, you may be considering the best way to pay for it. While in-home care can be quite affordable when only needing a few hours a day of service, long hours can really rack up the costs. Many seniors will turn to Medicare or Medicaid when attempting to cover those costs. While both can be helpful, it is important to understand the difference in order to get the best coverage possible.

[title size=”2″]Medicare Won’t Cover Long-term Care[/title]
Medicare can be extremely helpful in covering the costs of intensive in-home care when a serious medical condition occurs or in the event of sudden health problems, but, unbeknownst to many, Medicare does not cover long-term home care. When facing an event that requires short-term, intensive care at home, your best bet is to look into utilizing Medicare while determining a long-term solution.

Click here to learn about recent changes with Medicare coverage.

[title size=”3″]Medicaid Can Assist With Long-term Care Coverage[/title]
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid can provide assistance on a long-term basis but must by qualified for by presenting financial records over the past 5 years which indicate a low income and little or no savings. So if you or a loved one is facing the need for long-term, in-home care and can’t afford it, then you should look into applying for Medicaid. If you are unable to qualify for Medicaid, then you may want to look into some of these other ways to help pay for in-home care.

How to Pay for In-Home Senior Care

[title size=”1″]The Cost of In-Home Senior Care[/title]
While the cost of in-home senior care isn’t outrageous and can often times be more affordable than most nursing homes or assisted living, it is still an extra cost which can sometimes be difficult to cover. In-home senior care typically costs between $16 to $29 per hour for health aids and $13 to $24 per hour for home aids without medical training. Those rates are generally pretty affordable when only requiring a few hours of service a day, but when it comes down to 12 to 24 hours a day for in-home senior care, it can add up quickly.

The following are 7 resources whereby you may be able to cover the cost of in-home care:

  • Reverse Mortgage
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Life Insurance
  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Annuity
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid

[title size=”2″]Covering The Cost of In-Home Care With A Reverse Mortgage[/title]
If you are over the age of 62 and solely own your home with most of the mortgage paid off, you could be eligible for a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage works by utilizing the equity value of your home to allow you to get cash either all at once or as monthly payments. A reverse mortgage does have its own restrictions and rules such as mortgage insurance and homeowners insurance so it’s important to review all of your options and talk to a qualified mortgage broker.

[title size=”3″]Using Veterans Benefits For In-Home Care[/title]
If you are a veteran you may be eligible for veterans benefits which can be quite helpful in financially assisting you with in-home senior care in the form of disability payments. Disability payments, known as “aid and attendance” by the VA, can be qualified for due to the need of long-term help with the activities of daily living or whose spouse needs such help. While qualifying for veterans benefits can be difficult as you must receive documentation from a doctor after a complex qualification analysis, there is help available from the Veterans Service Organization which can not charge you for their help.

[title size=”3″]Utilizing Life Insurance for In-Home Senior Care[/title]
In many cases, when the beneficiaries would no longer need the assistance, life insurance policies are “cashed in” so to speak, using accelerated or living benefits. This would allow the policy holder to essentially sell back their life insurance play for a 50 to 75 percent value of the policy value. If you or a loved one is in financial need while the beneficiaries would no longer need the assistance, you may want to consider talking to your life insurance agent to determine the restrictions on accelerated or living benefits to help cover in-home care services.

[title size=”3″]Long-term Care Insurance To Help With In-Home Care Costs[/title]
Long-term Care Insurance can be tricky when it comes to covering the costs of in-home care. Many policies will only allow you to use long-term care insurance to help cover the costs of assisted living or nursing homes and will only assist with the costs of in-home care when health needs are extremely serious and require a nurse practitioner or nursing aide. Some policies, though, are more flexible and will allow you to obtain coverage for typical in-home care. Speak to your insurance agent to determine if you are able to use your long-term care insurance to cover your costs of in-home care.

[title size=”3″]Using Annuity for In-Home Senior Care[/title]
Many seniors will take advantage of an annuity to turn a retirement savings or pension into a stable income stream that can pay out until death or for a set number of years. When investing in an annuity, though, it is important to beware of unscrupulous representatives who may attempt to take advantage of you or your loved one. Be sure to find a firm with a good reputation before investing in an annuity.

[title size=”3″]Paying for In-Home Care With Medicare[/title]
Although qualifying for Medicare coverage for the use of in-home senior care can be difficult, it has become much easier to obtain in the recent years and can be extremely helpful. It used to be that you could only qualify for Medicare coverage contingent on the fact that you or your loved one’s health was improving during the time you, or your loved one, was using in-home care. Now, due to a recent lawsuit, Medicare coverage for in-home care can still be received even if there are no health improvements. This is especially helpful for seniors who are suffering from chronic disorders such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

[title size=”3″]Taking Advantage of Medicaid For The Use of In-Home Care[/title]
Medicaid can be qualified for by having a low income or little to no savings or assets. If your loved one qualifies, they can use Medicaid to cover the costs, or most of the costs, of in-home senior care. While Medicaid can be extremely helpful when it comes to paying for in-home care, there are different rules and conditions on a state to state basis. Also, when verifying eligibility for Medicaid, the government will review financial information for the last 5 years, therefore, attempting to “hide” money by giving away savings to a relative or friend in an attempt to qualify for Medicaid, can lead to steep fines.

If you or a loved one needs additional information about ways to help cover the costs of in-home care, please feel free to give us a call for more information.