Spending time with grandma

Not Sure How to Act When Visiting Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease? These Tips Can Help.

Spending time with grandmaIt may sometimes be a bit intimidating to know what to mention and how to behave when spending some time with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. And, sadly, due to a number of inherent elements of the disease, oftentimes family and friends feel so uncomfortable that they avoid going to see the person anymore. Understanding more information on the disease and things to anticipate, and planning ahead about how to best manage challenging behaviors can help.

The chief difficulties family caregivers and friends encounter with their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease fall into one of three categories: changes in behavior, changes in memory and communication ability; and the level of difficulty will probably fluctuate based on the particular stage of the disease the senior is currently experiencing.

To help overcome these challenges while making the visit as enjoyable as you can, Endeavor Home Care’s Alzheimer’s care professionals in Arizona recommend the following approach:

Begin your visit with a smile, and be prepared to re-introduce yourself if needed.

Use very simple language and brief sentences, and talk slowly.

Refrain from arguing with or correcting the senior.

Bring photos from a favorite past memory for reminiscing.

Listen to a number of the person’s favorite tunes together, and maybe even ask him or her to dance!

Taking a walk together if at all possible, or just about any other physical exercise, can make the visit more fun for both of you.

Remain calm during your visit, even when the senior gets agitated or exhibits inappropriate behavior.

Keep a sense of respect during your conversation, understanding the senior may repeat questions and statements.

Reduce distractions in order to give the person your full attention.

Above all, bear in mind who the individual was pre-dementia, and remind the person what she or he did which has inspired you or helped you become the person that you are today.

For additional tips on effective communications with those with Alzheimer’s disease, or for specialized hands-on care assistance, contact the Arizona dementia care team at Endeavor Home Care. Our skilled dementia caregivers are fully trained and experienced in a number of tactics to make sure seniors with Alzheimer’s disease remain secure and safe and are able to live life to the fullest, with the utmost respect and compassion all of the time. Call us at (480) 535-6800 or contact us online for more details.

care plan

Why It Pays to be Proactive When Talking About a Financial Care Plan

It’s a sensitive topic to go over with aging parents, but one which needs to be resolved at some point: a financial care plan. Many adult children are reluctant to step into their parents’ financial matters until there is an obvious need, but beginning the discussion ahead of the need provides ample opportunity to ensure everything is in order. Read more

Mature women talking

Dividing Caregiver Costs Without Causing Family Uproar

Mature women talkingDo you recall how challenging it could be when you were young to learn the lesson of sharing with your brothers and sisters? While the incredible importance of taking into consideration other people’s feelings, and also being fair, was impressed upon us early on, it may still be a challenging goal to minimize sibling squabbles regarding complicated decisions we struggle with in adulthood – such as how to fairly divide caregiver costs and requirements for our aging parents. Read more

Mature radiologist talking to senior patient

When Less Is Best: Seniors Can Receive Too Much Health Care

Mature radiologist talking to senior patientWe desire the right health care for our loved ones, but is it possible that on occasion, less is best? Based upon a recent report published in Plos One by Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery and health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a full 21% of medical care we receive is unneeded – meaning that millions of individuals subjected to various treatment plans, screenings and scans are getting little if any benefit. And these kinds of unwarranted health services come at a cost: up to $210 billion each year, as reported by the National Academy of Medicine. Read more

Taking Care of Parents

When Taking Care of Parents Turns into a Battle of Wills

Taking Care of ParentsIt is an amazing feeling to know that you are protected, safe and cared for. Dads and moms thrive on making certain their kids are surrounded in the comfort of understanding their needs will be fulfilled, providing the safety net that permits them the self-confidence to explore the world around them. Yet there comes a point in all children’s lives when the craving for self-sufficiency is more compelling than the benefit of protection, and they have to discover firsthand what it means to stumble, fall and get back up again independently.

These types of protective instincts quite often trigger once again for adult children who find themselves taking care of parents as they age. We wish to help them to reduce risks, to ensure they are safe from harm. Yet at the same time, it’s all too easy to fall into a pattern of overprotectiveness if we’re not always careful, which can result in feelings of bitterness as well as resentment on the part of the senior parents.

According to professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University Steven Zarit, “One of the scariest things to people as they age is that they don’t feel in control anymore. So if you tell your dad not to go out and shovel snow, you assume that he’ll listen. It’s the sensible thing. But his response will be to go out and shovel away … It’s a way of holding on to a life that seems to be slipping back.”

A recent study investigated the impact of stubbornness in older adults’ relationships with their adult children. While the seniors were less inclined to rate themselves as appearing stubborn, their younger loved ones more regularly noted stubbornness as an issue. The key for adult children is in knowing their parents’ reason for digging in their heels to hold onto their freedom and autonomy, and to avoid arguing and generating an attitude of defensiveness. Clear, open and truthful communication among both sides can go far towards smoothing the waters and making sure that each individual is heard and understood.

So what is the easiest method for taking care of parents without seeking to control them? A healthy dosage of patience, respect and empathy will go a long way. Positioning yourself within the senior’s shoes and knowing the importance of self-sufficiency allows adult children to step back, instead of stepping in. Allow the additional time an older adult needs to finish a task, rather than doing it for the person. Continue to look for opportunities to show the older person you appreciate his or her suggestions and recommendations. For additional suggestions about offering care that doesn’t cross the line, contact the San Diego home care experts at Endeavor Home Care by calling (480) 535-6800. And see our full California and Arizona service area here.

Medicare Appeals: How Older Adults Can Succeed in Getting the Coverage They’re Entitled to

On average, seniors are each taking 15 – 18 different prescribed medications, so Medicare coverage of these medicines is often extremely important. And with a typical price tag of greater than $11,000 annually for the most typical medicines prescribed for the elderly, it could be debilitating when Medicare suddenly denies coverage. Nevertheless, that’s taking place ever more frequently as Medicare plans are progressively establishing coverage limits on seniors – generally outside of affirmation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Because the Medicare appeals process for denied coverage can be so intimidating, unfortunately, a great many aging adults just accept the denial – at frequently an outrageously high financial impact, and also at potential risk to their health when necessary medicines are discontinued because of lack of Medicare insurance coverage. As stated by David Lipschutz, senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, “A lot of people fall through the cracks. They simply don’t know what to do. Or they try to go through the process, and it’s complicated and time-consuming and they just give up.”

Even though several medications must be covered by Medicare across the board (those for HIV/AIDS, depression, cancer, and seizures, to name a few), there’s a gray area by which medications are covered for other conditions – and preapproval is oftentimes required, or patients are given the criteria that lower cost methods need to be used first (also known as step therapy). Denials usually come as a result of neglecting to satisfy these requirements.

So, exactly what can a senior try to receive the drug insurance coverage to which they’re entitled? There are particular important steps:

  • First, obtain a formal coverage determination from the senior’s Medicare drug plan. Details on submitting this specific request can be found by clicking here.
  • When coverage is determined, there are five levels in the Medicare appeals process, detailed here.
  • Keep detailed documentation throughout every step of the process. To get more guidance, the Medicare Rights Center can help. You can reach them at 800-333-4114.

Keep in mind that it’s important to be persistent. Frequently, higher levels of Medicare appeals are approved even though initial steps result in disheartening results. Contact Endeavor Home Care, the number one San Diego home care team, for additional tips and hands-on assistance for seniors. We are able to provide resources that will help seniors in addition to their family members advocate for themselves, as well as specialized in-home care services to ensure that medications are taken just as prescribed, that prescription medication refills are taken care of, and much more. Call us at (480) 535-6800 and learn how to keep your senior loved one safe and flourishing!

Taking Care of Parents

Affording Arizona Home Care: Payment Options You May Not Know

Arizona Home CarePick a senior, any senior, and you’re likely to hear the same sentiments: the vast majority of older adults agree that they’d prefer to spend their elder years at home over moving to a nursing home facility. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about who pays for Arizona home care. Medicare? Medicaid? Insurance? The reality, per CPA Jerry Lowe, is, “For the most part, the clients who have home care are private pay.”

Although Medicare does cover home health care on a limited basis, if it’s deemed to be medically necessary, it does not cover homemaker services – and, most health insurance and Medicare supplemental plans don’t cover any type of in-home care.

According to Rod Perkins, VP of insurance regulation of the American Council of Life Insurers, “Baby boomers have seen their parents have long-term care needs and weren’t prepared. And it’s not just an old-age product. You could need in-home care as a result of an accident.”

If you and your senior loved ones aren’t prepared to pay out of pocket for home care in Arizona however, rest assured that there are some additional avenues to explore, such as:

  • Veterans’ assistance (click here to check eligibility requirements)
  • PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly)
  • Long-term care insurance policies that specifically include in-home care services
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Organizations geared to assist with specific needs, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, the ALS Association, and Easter Seals, may provide respite care vouchers
  • Community support, such as through religious organizations, the local Area on Aging, the United Way and area senior centers

The Benefits.gov site is also a great resource to determine what federal benefits you may qualify for. And, contact Endeavor Home Care for more resources and assistance with making sure no stone is left unturned when it comes to providing Arizona home care for your precious senior loved ones. We’re skilled at exploring every possible avenue to help families uncover any benefits for which their senior loved ones qualify. Let us help make professional in-home care services a reality for you by calling (480) 535-6800!

Key Documents to Include in Your Estate Plan

By the Phoenix area lawyers at Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker PLLC.

Estate PlanningThe older you get, the more important it is that you create an estate plan that addresses everything from distribution of your assets to expression of your health care wishes.

For those who have yet to form an end-of-life plan, here are a few important Arizona estate planning documents that you should consider creating as soon as possible:

Health Care Powers of Attorney

If you cannot make decisions about your health care towards the end of your life due to a tragic accident or because of a disease or illness, having a health care power of attorney will be important. A health care power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person to make those critical health care decisions on your behalf.

Financial Powers of Attorney

Just like a health care power of attorney, a financial power of attorney allows you to appoint another person to make important decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. In this case, the person you appoint will have the power to manage your financial affairs such as paying your bills.

Living Will

A living will is a document that allows you to express your health care wishes to doctors should you ever become incapacitated to the point that you are unable to communicate those wishes. Also known as an advance directive, a living will can address your feelings about pain medications, life-saving measures, life support, surgeries and more.

Last Will & Testament

A last will and testament is a document that dictates what will happen to your possessions and other assets when you die. It also names an executor, who is the person responsible for distributing your estate upon your death. If you die without a will, your estate will be distributed by the Arizona laws of intestate succession and not according to your wishes.

Do I Need an Estate Plan?

You are not legally required to create an estate plan. However, in practical terms, you should engage in estate planning. If you do not have an estate plan, you will have no control over what happens to you and your assets as you approach the end of your life.

When a person falls ill or dies without an estate plan, the person places a very large burden on the shoulders of their loved ones. This can lead to guilt, stress, and disputes between members of the family.

In all cases, it is always best to make these decisions yourself in advance. Express your wishes to all members of your family and put those wishes into writing. You must also make sure that all of your documents are legally valid.

Do I Need an Arizona Estate Planning Attorney?

Just like there is no requirement to create an estate plan, there is no requirement to work with an attorney. However, creating an estate plan can be very difficult, especially from a legal and tax perspective. For this reason, most people choose to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide them through the process.

Home health care: not synonymous to home care

home care

Home care is provided by non-medical caregivers, who are screened and employed by senior care facilities who assist with activities of daily living.

The phrases “home care” and “home health care” are sometimes used interchangeably, but recently, with an increasing emphasis on geriatric care, there seems to be an emerging need to distinguish one from the other.”Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury” as defined by Medicare, which covers most of its services.

While in both cases, care is provided to your loved one in the comfort of his or her home, the type of care and the provider may be different. Home care is provided by non-medical caregivers, who are screened and employed by senior care facilities such as Endeavor Senior Care and who assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as preparing meals, cleaning the house, doing groceries, taking medications, etc. Home health care, on the other hand, is provided by licensed healthcare workers such as nurses, occupational therapists and medical social workers. These professionals provide in-home medical care, which is “just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF)” according to Medicare.

A medical doctor will decide if home health care is the right option. After prescribing it, he or she may either choose to refer you to a home health agency available in your area or may allow you to contact one that will best meet your loved one’s needs. Either way, the home health staff will constantly be reporting back to the doctor about your loved one’s care and progress.

There may be times when both home care and home health care services are required. For example, your loved one may be in need of both personal and medical assistance. In that case, what do you do? Fortunately, Endeavor Senior Care has a registered nurse on hand and many caretakers in the Phoenix and Tuscon area. For more information on how these services differ from each other and how we can assist your loved one, please contact us at (480) 535-6800.