Archives for posts with tag: healthcare

As we grow older, normal aging causes elders to experience decline in cognitive functions. Leading a healthy lifestyle that’s both socially and intellectually stimulating combats normal, age-related mental decline.

Here are some additional tips to help keep the mind sharp and brain nourished:

– Paint, draw or doodle: Use your brain by using your hands. Join a local art class, whether stenciling, water color, or oil. Simply making a picture is an excellent workout for the brain.

– Listen to music: Music has been linked to improved cognition and memory functioning. Plus, it can be a mood enhancer or relaxing agent.

– Old dogs can always learn new tricks: Take in a lecture or historical presentation. Check out adult education classes on something you’ve always been interested in, or just something that sounds fun. Local colleges and senior centers can offer engaging, low-cost lectures and classes for older adults. You can learn a new language, become competent as a piano player, or learn new technology (such as an ipad, new computer or cell phone, etc.).

– Do puzzles: Or play cards. A brain challenge will stimulate your intellect, increase your mental capacity, and exercise your brain. Everything from crossword puzzles to jigsaw may be entertaining and helpful.

– Write: A short story? A letter to a long lost friend? Writing improves working memory and your ability to communicate. It can be an email, or a blog, or a private diary.

Maintaining an active, social, healthy lifestyle may be the best defense against dementia and brain disease.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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With people living longer these days, it is expected that by 2050, approximately 70 million individuals will reach age 65 and older. (That is approximately double the current age/population.) Obviously, this expansion of the elderly population will require more healthcare resources and personnel to meet the demand. But it will also necessitate a more proactive approach to monitoring one’s health – including more thorough knowledge of insurance and Medicare coverage. Preventative health screenings, along with advances in medical technology, will enable early detection.

For women age 65 or older, the American Cancer Society recommends cancer screenings as follows:

— Breast Cancer Testing: It is important that women report any changes in the way their breasts look or feel to their caregiver and/or a healthcare provider right away. They should get a mammogram every 2 years, or can even choose to get one every year, if they fall in the risk category (breast cancer runs in their family or they’ve had breast tissue issues before). It is important to know if a senior has a higher than average risk for breast cancer.

— Cervical Cancer Testing: No cervical cancer testing is needed if the senior has had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results during the previous 10 years. However, senior women with a history of a serious cervical pre-cancer should continue testing for 20 years after that diagnosis, and the testing is covered by Medicare.

— Colon Cancer Testing: Testing is recommended for colon cancer, and there are many testing options. Plan to consult your primary health care provider. Medicare covers colon cancer testing.

— Lung Cancer Testing: If the senior has a history of smoking, talk to your physician about whether you should get an annual low-dose CT scan to screen for early lung cancer. Screening may benefit the senior if they are an active or former smoker who has quit within the past 15 years. It is important to discuss and learn the benefits, limitations, and risks of screening with a healthcare provider before testing is done. Medicare does cover lung cancer testing.
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Taking advantage of “positive” health habits can make seniors less vulnerable to various forms of cancer. According to the National Institute of Health, advancing age is a high risk factor for cancer, with persons over 65 accounting for 60% of newly diagnosed malignancies and 79% of all cancer deaths.

Being “proactively” healthy requires some measure of discipline to incorporate nutritional diets and engage in any number of forms of exercise and other lifestyle habits. However, early detection and screening are extremely important in identification and diagnosis.

Cancer Screenings for Men Age 65 or Older

— Colon Cancer Testing: There are many colon cancer testing options. Talk with your health care provider about which tests are best for your unique situation and how often you should be tested. Medicare will cover the cost of testing.

— Prostate Cancer Testing: Important to consider overall health status, in addition to age, when deciding about the best prostate cancer testing. Men who expect to live at least 10 more years should talk with a care provider about the uncertainties, risks and potential benefits of testing to determine whether they want to be tested. Medicare covers prostate cancer testing.

— Lung Cancer Testing: Seniors who smoke are more at risk for lung cancer and should discuss with their health care provider whether they should get an annual low-dose CT scan to screen for early lung cancer. Screening may benefit seniors who are either active or former smokers. Medicare covers testing.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Health care costs will likely be your biggest retirement expense. For older adults, saving for retirement is only a start. Having enough financial resources and flexibility to live in retirement, PLUS cover expected health care costs as you grow older is a completely different planning equation.

Everyone will have a unique plan for aging. But forecasting options and strategizing about your “plan” is important – because it is likely that a significant portion of these future costs will come out of your own pocket.

Consider the following:
– Medicare covers only about half of beneficiary’s total health care costs.
– The higher your adjusted gross income, the higher your monthly Medicare premiums.
– Medicare generally does not pay long-term care expenses.
– Financial advisors estimate out-of-pocket health care estimates for a 65 year old couple can reach $250,000 – $400,000. over twenty years of retirement.
– Paying Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other shared costs will be elderly responsibility.
– A Medigap policy is an additional expense to consider. These are sold by private health insurance companies to help supplement original Medicare. This means it helps pay some of the health care costs that original Medicare doesn’t cover (like co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles). These are some of the “gaps” in Medicare coverage.
– Medicare Advantage Plans: A type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most Medicare services are covered through the plan and are not paid for under original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage. Of note: Medicare Advantage Plans may vary state by state, and county by county.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Re-posting a recent home care industry blog…

For years now, home care has been a more affordable option than any other type of senior care. Compared to the services available in nursing homes and assisted living residences, the cost for home care can be significantly less (although this may vary by state) and more controllable.

As the Baby Boomer generation closes in on retirement age, there is expected to be an increased demand for these types of support systems for growing numbers of seniors. As men and women live longer than ever, they also often face increased health risks, physical limitations, and other challenges.

Some of these seniors may require a minimal level of care and support at home while others might demand full-time, around the clock care from home care aides, visiting nurses, and other medical professionals.

Home health care can encompass many aspects of care and support, including the aforementioned visiting nurses, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and home care aides. It is designed to meet patients’ needs, and is adjustable based on each patient. There can be several payer sources including private pay, limited Medicare, some specific veteran pension benefits, and long term care insurance.

Home care aides are ideally suited to provide lower cost support and care for seniors and disabled adults. They don’t require medical training and, depending on the agency or other home care provider, they may not require any prior experience, but their physical and emotional support for these seniors is often immeasurable.

Each person is different and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to home care services. With regard to nursing home care and other options, seniors who may only require minimal care could find themselves in an uncomfortable environment that is far more costly than if they remained home, perhaps in a home they’d lived for many years.

More and more seniors are realizing the value of home care support for basic assistance and even companionship, and with private financial sources, they can be relied upon for anything the elderly client may need. It can be ideal for helping the senior get out of bed, to go to the store, or even assistance preparing breakfast, for example.

The cost factor of home care continues to make it a far better option, according to many, than any other type of elderly care.

Re-posting a blog post from ElderCare Matters. I hear this question frequently, and this is a quick and simple explanation…
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What are some early warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are often confused as being the same, but they’re not. Dementia describes a set of symptoms that include degraded memory, reasoning, and thinking. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes dementia, but dementia can also be caused by other conditions.

One of the challenges with identifying the symptoms of Alzheimer’s is that memory problems naturally increase with age. It’s important then to distinguish age-related memory changes from memory problems that interfere with daily life.

Here are ten early warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. If you notice any of them, please see a doctor.

— Uncharacteristic changes in mood and personality
— Withdrawal from work or social activities
— Decreased or poor judgment
— Misplacing things, unable to retrace steps
— New problems with words in speaking or writing
— Trouble understanding visual signs
— Confusion with time or place
— Difficulty completing tasks
— Challenges in solving problems
— Memory loss that disrupts daily life

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

The “sandwich” generation is currently juggling family, work, and caring for aging parents. There is simply not enough time in the day for everything, and providing care for family elders is very possibly the most time consuming.

Home care agencies provide the staff for elder care. Some relevant statistics to re-post…

At any given time, more than 20% of the workforce is dealing with a caregiving situation.

— 33% of caregivers decrease the number of hours they work
— 29% quit their job or retire early
— 22% take a leave of absence
— 20% change their job status or go part-time

Lost workforce productivity:

— 53% of caregivers admit that their job performance is negatively affected
— 84% make caregiving related phone calls during business hours
— 68% arrive late or leave early
— 67% take time off from work during the day

Increased healthcare costs (direct and indirect) for businesses: Even when employees are caring for someone not covered by the business health plan, those costs can go up!

— 75% of working caregivers report an adverse effect on their own health
— 50% report 8 additional visits per year to a health care provider (for themselves) as a result of their caregiving responsibilities
— 22% report a significant impact on their own health
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Our nation’s elderly population is expected to double from 2012 to 2050. This population shift will have significant impact on seniors and family members in areas including housing, finance, insurance, and health care. While some of these costs (ex., health care and Medicare) will be partially covered by governmental programs, elderly “living costs” may be largely dependent on families for support.

This is a difficult task for extended families with aging parents. And yet, not many families are currently taking steps to plan for such an eventuality.

Are you concerned about supporting an elderly parent(s)? Have you had the discussion with them about how to finance their elder years?

A recent survey from A Place for Mom revealed that 42% of Americans with living parents have not discussed anything at all with their parents about their potential need for senior care.

The survey showed that just over one quarter (28%) of Americans with living parents either currently support, or feel they will need to support their parents financially in their senior years.

However, as much as 86% of those people expressed concerns about their ability to do so.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

For many aging seniors, the continued ability to maintain lifestyle and self-sufficiency is a huge benefit — not only for their continued health and functionality — but to ease the worry for distanced family and friends who may live far, far away.

But sometimes elderly confusion, stubbornness, and the ability to make an objective, reasoned overview of lifestyle and “senior self-sufficiency” can be very difficult for long distance family. Your elderly parents have grown old without assistance. Why would they need it now?

Home Care can help.

Professional in-home caregivers are an important ally for treating depression in senior clients. They help elderly to insure a safe and secure living environment by attending to just some of the following functions:

— Preparing recommended meals.
— Accompanying clients on mood-boosting outings.
— Providing supervision for exercise.
— Picking up prescriptions, providing medication reminders, and reporting changes in physical and mental status.
— Transporting elders to appointments with the doctor or mental health professional.
— Helping seniors avoid isolation and loneliness by providing socialization, companionship and activities in the home.

If you or a senior loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression, discuss this with your doctor. For many aging parents, a little bit of help and socialization through homecare services can provide a big boost in “senior self-sufficiency”.
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

There are changes being implemented in the Medicare program.

Medicare beneficiaries at higher income levels will feel the brunt of the cost change. For example, individuals with incomes above $85,000 (or more than $170,000 for married couples) will see the Part B premium increase dramatically. In addition to paying the $121.80 monthly base amount, a monthly surcharge ranging from $48.70 to $268 will apply — depending on your income level. (It is important to note that the income thresholds for 2016 are based on the income you earned in 2014.)

The good news for individuals who already collect Social Security with annual incomes below $85,000 (and couples below $170,000), is that a so-called “hold harmless” provision will kick in. It essentially says your Medicare increase cannot be greater than the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA). There are no increases to COLA this year.

In 2016, Social Security recipients below those income thresholds will continue to pay $104.90 in monthly premiums for Medicare Part B. Those enrolled in Medicare who do not yet collect Social Security and remain under the same income thresholds will now pay $121.80.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com