Posted by: options4care | June 2, 2013

Who Chooses My Home Health Agency After A Hospital Stay?


Home Health Care-The Choice is Yours

After a hospital stay, but before the hospital discharges you. Your physician or the Dischrage Planner may recommend home health care for you as follow up care. The decision of which agency you should hire is strictly YOUR choice. The Discharge Planner should provide you with a list of reputable and certified home health agencies in your area. If a hospital does not provide you with a list, you can complain to your local Department of Public Health.

Congress passed a law in 1997 stating that patients needing post hospital care must be provided with a list of home health providers in their area. Regardless of whether the patient is private pay, has Medicare or Medicaid or private insurance. The Home Health Agency List must be provided to you before you are discharged from the hospital. If need be ask your Discharge Planner to provide you with such a list. Ask if the list is current.

If the hospital or physician refers an agency to you they must disclose any financial interest they may have in the home health agency that they are referring to you. The hospital must respect your right to choose whichever provider you want and not choose the one that they refer to you.

When the home health agency that you choose contacts, ask questions. Examples of some questions you should ask are: How quickly can services be provided? What can I expect at each visit? How long will my nurse stay at my home each visit? Does the home health agency have employees or 1099 contractors? Is the home health agency insured? What specific services will I receive, nurse services, physical therapy, occupational therapy etc?  How will my home health visits be scheduled?  Will I have to wait all day for my home health nurse?  If need be, can I contact the agency 24/7?

In Lake County IL, Assure Home Health Care, Advocate Home Health Services and Meridian Home Health Services are just a few of some good home health providers. Knowing who to trust can be difficult and confusing. We invite you to contact us at anytime for any questions you may have at: http://www.heartsofgoldhomecare.com

You can find more information on choosing a home health agency or ratings on a nursing facility at: http://www.medicare.gov


Your Home — Typically the Desired Setting for Elder Care

Most of those receiving long-term care and most caregivers prefer a home environment. Out of an estimated 8 million older Americans receiving care, about 5.4 million or 67% are in their own home or the home of a family member or friend.

Most older people prefer their home over the unfamiliar proposition of living in a care facility. Family or friends attempt to accommodate the wishes of loved ones even though caregiving demands might warrant a different environment. Those needing care feel comfortable and secure in familiar surroundings and a home is usually the best setting for that support.

Often the decision to stay in the home is dictated by funds available. It is much cheaper for a wife to care for her husband at home than to pay out $2,000 to $4,000 a month for care in a facility. Likewise, it’s much less costly and more loving for a daughter to have her widowed mother move into the daughter’s home than to liquidate mom’s assets and put her in a nursing home. Besides, personally taking care of our parents or spouses is an obligation most of us feel very strongly about.

For many long term care recipients the home is an ideal environment. These people may be confined to the home but continue to lead active lives engaging in church service, entertaining grandchildren, writing histories, corresponding, pursuing hobbies or doing handwork activities. Their care needs might not be that demanding and might include occasional help with house cleaning and shopping as well as help with getting out of bed, dressing and bathing.

Most of the time these people don’t need the supervision of a 24/7 caregiver. There are, however, some care situations that make it difficult to provide long term care in the home.

It is precisely the ongoing and escalating need for help with activities of daily living or the need for extended supervision that often makes it impossible for a caregiver to provide help in the home. Either the physical demands for help with activities of daily living or the time demand for supervision can overwhelm an informal caregiver. This untenable situation usually leads to finding another care setting for the loved one.

On the other hand if there are funds to hire paid providers to come into the home, there would be no need for finding another care setting. By planning for eldercare in advance and providing the funding necessary to remain in the home, no one need go to a facility to receive long term care. With enough money, anyone who desires, can remain at home to receive the necessary care. Visit http://www.longtermcarelink.net for information on long term care.

Plan ahead. Educate yourself on services that are available if you or your loved one make the choice to remain at home. Knowing who to trust can be difficult. The right home care company will take care of your needs, answer your questions and concerns and be available to you at all times.

We welcome your questions anytime. For more information or to see if in-home care maybe the right solution for your needs visit us at http://wwww.heartsofgoldhomecare.com


Nursing Homes for Veterans

Nursing home coverage for veterans is available from two sources within the Department of Veterans Affairs — the veterans health care system and the state veterans homes system.

Nursing Home Coverage through the VA Health Care System
Nursing home coverage along with other long term care services such as home care and assisted living as well as geriatric care management are available through the Veterans Health Administration for qualifying veterans.

In order to get into the veterans health care program, the veteran must have service-connected disabilities, or be below a qualifying income level or be receiving Veterans Pension income. Once in the system, veterans are not guaranteed long term care services, including nursing home care, unless they meet specific requirements. Here is a list of these requirements for nursing home coverage.

Who is Eligible for Nursing Home Care

  • Any veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or more;
  • A veteran who is rated 60 percent service-connected and is unemployable or has an official rating of “permanent and total disabled;”
  • A veteran with combined disability ratings of 70 percent or more;
  • A veteran whose service-connected disability is clinically determined to require nursing home care;
  • Nonservice-connected veterans and those officially referred to as “zero percent, noncompensable, service-connected” veterans who require nursing home care for any nonservice-connected disability and who meet income and asset criteria; or
  • If space and resources are available, other veterans on a case-by-case basis with priority given to service-connected veterans and those who need care for post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.

VA’s nursing home health system programs include VA-operated nursing home care units and contract community nursing homes. Many VA hospitals operate nursing home care units located in or near the hospital. Other hospitals, without adequate nursing home beds, contract with approximately 2,500 community private nursing homes nationwide to provide services.

State Veterans Homes
State veterans homes fill an important need for veterans with low income and veterans who desire to spend their last years with “comrades” from former active-duty. The predominant service offered is nursing home care. VA nursing homes must be licensed for their particular state and conform with skilled or intermediate nursing services offered in private sector nursing homes in that state. State homes may also offer assisted living or domiciliary care which is a form of supported independent living.

Every state has at least one veterans home and some states like Oklahoma have a number of them. There is great demand for the services of these homes, but lack of federal and state funding has created a backlog of well over 130 homes that are waiting to be built.

Unlike private sector nursing homes where the family can walk in the front door and possibly that same day make arrangements for a bed for their loved one, state veterans homes have an application process that could take a number of weeks or months. Many state homes have waiting lists especially for their Alzheimer’s long term care units.

No facilities are entirely free to any veteran with an income. The veteran must pay his or her share of the cost. In some states the veterans contribution rates are set at a certain level and if there’s not enough income the family may have to make up the difference. Federal legislation, effective 2007, also allows the federal government to substantially subsidize the cost of veterans with service-connected disabilities in state veterans homes.

State Veterans Homes Per Diem Program 
The Veterans Administration pays the state veterans homes an annually adjusted rate per day for each veteran in the home. This is called the per diem. The 2008 nursing per diem amount is $74.42 and for domiciliary care it is $34.40. Adult Day Health Care – up to one-half of the cost of care — cannot exceed $66.82 per day. The goal of state veterans homes is to get Congress to increase the per diem rate for nursing care to 75% of the state private nursing rates. In most states the per diem falls well short of this goal.

The per diem program and construction subsidies mean that State veterans homes can charge less money for their services than private facilities. Some states have a set rate, as an example $1,400 a month, and they may also be relying on qualified veterans receiving the Pension benefit with aid and attendance plus the per diem to cover their actual costs. Other states may charge a percentage of the veteran’s income but be relying on other subsidies to cover the rest of the cost. Some state homes can receive Medicaid support as well.

Most of the states with income-determined rates are selective about the veterans they accept. These states may rely on a variety of private and public sources to help fund the cost of care.

Eligibility and Application Requirements for State Veterans Homes
From state to state, facilities vary in their rules for eligible veterans. And even in the same state it is common, where there is more than one state home, for some homes to have very stringent eligibility rules and others to be more lenient. These differing rules are probably based on the demand for care and the available beds in that particular geographic area.

Some homes require the veteran to be totally disabled and unable to earn an income. Some evaluate on the basis of medical need or age. Some evaluate entirely on income — meaning applicants above a certain level will not be accepted. Some accept only former active-duty veterans, while others accept all who were in the military whether active duty or reserve. Still others accept only veterans who served during a period of war. Some homes accept the spouses or surviving spouses of veterans and some will accept the parents of veterans but restrict that to the parents of veterans who died while in service (Goldstar parents).

Federal regulations allow that 25% of the bed occupants at any one time may be veteran-related family members, i.e., spouses, surviving spouses, and/or gold star parents who are not entitled to payment of VA aid. When a State Home accepts grant assistance for a construction project, 75% of the bed occupants at the facility must be veterans.

Domicile residency requirements vary from state to state. The most stringent seems to be a three-year prior residency in the state whereas other homes may only require 90 days of residency.

All states require an application process to get into a home. Typically a committee or board will approve or disapprove each application. Many states have waiting lists for available beds.

A current contact list of all state veterans homes is available at http://www.longtermcarelink.net/ref_state_veterans_va_nursing_homes.htm

For information and help with Veterans Aide and Attendance benefits  for Veterans visit:

http://www.helpforagingveterans.com/hearts-of-gold-helps-veterans-with-home-care-in-round-lake-il/

Posted by: options4care | December 12, 2012

Are Veterans Eligible for Nursing Home Care in Grayslake IL?


Nursing Homes for Veterans

Nursing home coverage for veterans is available from two sources within the Department of Veterans Affairs — the veterans health care system and the state veterans homes system.

Nursing Home Coverage through the VA Health Care System
Nursing home coverage along with other long term care services such as home care and assisted living as well as geriatric care management are available through the Veterans Health Administration for qualifying veterans.

In order to get into the veterans health care program, the veteran must have service-connected disabilities, or be below a qualifying income level or be receiving Veterans Pension income. Once in the system, veterans are not guaranteed long term care services, including nursing home care, unless they meet specific requirements. Here is a list of these requirements for nursing home coverage.

Who is Eligible for Nursing Home Care

  • Any veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or more;
  • A veteran who is rated 60 percent service-connected and is unemployable or has an official rating of “permanent and total disabled;”
  • A veteran with combined disability ratings of 70 percent or more;
  • A veteran whose service-connected disability is clinically determined to require nursing home care;
  • Nonservice-connected veterans and those officially referred to as “zero percent, noncompensable, service-connected” veterans who require nursing home care for any nonservice-connected disability and who meet income and asset criteria; or
  • If space and resources are available, other veterans on a case-by-case basis with priority given to service-connected veterans and those who need care for post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.

VA’s nursing home health system programs include VA-operated nursing home care units and contract community nursing homes. Many VA hospitals operate nursing home care units located in or near the hospital. Other hospitals, without adequate nursing home beds, contract with approximately 2,500 community private nursing homes nationwide to provide services.

State Veterans Homes
State veterans homes fill an important need for veterans with low income and veterans who desire to spend their last years with “comrades” from former active-duty. The predominant service offered is nursing home care. VA nursing homes must be licensed for their particular state and conform with skilled or intermediate nursing services offered in private sector nursing homes in that state. State homes may also offer assisted living or domiciliary care which is a form of supported independent living.

Every state has at least one veterans home and some states like Oklahoma have a number of them. There is great demand for the services of these homes, but lack of federal and state funding has created a backlog of well over 130 homes that are waiting to be built.

Unlike private sector nursing homes where the family can walk in the front door and possibly that same day make arrangements for a bed for their loved one, state veterans homes have an application process that could take a number of weeks or months. Many state homes have waiting lists especially for their Alzheimer’s long term care units.

No facilities are entirely free to any veteran with an income. The veteran must pay his or her share of the cost. In some states the veterans contribution rates are set at a certain level and if there’s not enough income the family may have to make up the difference. Federal legislation, effective 2007, also allows the federal government to substantially subsidize the cost of veterans with service-connected disabilities in state veterans homes.

State Veterans Homes Per Diem Program 
The Veterans Administration pays the state veterans homes an annually adjusted rate per day for each veteran in the home. This is called the per diem. The 2008 nursing per diem amount is $74.42 and for domiciliary care it is $34.40. Adult Day Health Care – up to one-half of the cost of care — cannot exceed $66.82 per day. The goal of state veterans homes is to get Congress to increase the per diem rate for nursing care to 75% of the state private nursing rates. In most states the per diem falls well short of this goal.

The per diem program and construction subsidies mean that State veterans homes can charge less money for their services than private facilities. Some states have a set rate, as an example $1,400 a month, and they may also be relying on qualified veterans receiving the Pension benefit with aid and attendance plus the per diem to cover their actual costs. Other states may charge a percentage of the veteran’s income but be relying on other subsidies to cover the rest of the cost. Some state homes can receive Medicaid support as well.

Most of the states with income-determined rates are selective about the veterans they accept. These states may rely on a variety of private and public sources to help fund the cost of care.

Eligibility and Application Requirements for State Veterans Homes
From state to state, facilities vary in their rules for eligible veterans. And even in the same state it is common, where there is more than one state home, for some homes to have very stringent eligibility rules and others to be more lenient. These differing rules are probably based on the demand for care and the available beds in that particular geographic area.

Some homes require the veteran to be totally disabled and unable to earn an income. Some evaluate on the basis of medical need or age. Some evaluate entirely on income — meaning applicants above a certain level will not be accepted. Some accept only former active-duty veterans, while others accept all who were in the military whether active duty or reserve. Still others accept only veterans who served during a period of war. Some homes accept the spouses or surviving spouses of veterans and some will accept the parents of veterans but restrict that to the parents of veterans who died while in service (Goldstar parents).

Federal regulations allow that 25% of the bed occupants at any one time may be veteran-related family members, i.e., spouses, surviving spouses, and/or gold star parents who are not entitled to payment of VA aid. When a State Home accepts grant assistance for a construction project, 75% of the bed occupants at the facility must be veterans.

Domicile residency requirements vary from state to state. The most stringent seems to be a three-year prior residency in the state whereas other homes may only require 90 days of residency.

All states require an application process to get into a home. Typically a committee or board will approve or disapprove each application. Many states have waiting lists for available beds.

A current contact list of all state veterans homes is available at http://www.longtermcarelink.net/ref_state_veterans_va_nursing_homes.htm

For information and help with Veterans Aide and Attendance benefits  for Veterans visit:

http://www.helpforagingveterans.com/hearts-of-gold-helps-veterans-with-home-care-in-round-lake-il/

Posted by: options4care | December 12, 2012

Dying with Debt


 

 

 

EldercareAt some point in our lives we may ask ourselves: “If I die and have debt, who or what will be responsible for paying back those I owe?”

The laws regarding debt after death are defined by each state so there isn’t a single answer to the question above for everyone. On most occasions, the only time a family member would be responsible for your debt is if they cosigned a loan with you. People generally do not inherit another person’s debt.

When we die, a new entity emerges, called our estate. An “Estate” represents your assets and your liabilities. Upon death, a legal process called “Probate” (which is the first step of administering the estate of a deceased person), will resolve your debts and distribute your remaining assets to your heir(s).

Creditors may legally seize assets within your estate (money or property) in order to cure a debt owed to them. If you have no assets, your creditors may have to take a loss on your debts. Depending on the state you live in, a creditor has a fixed amount of time to make a claim against your estate for payment.

There is a legal pecking order as to who is allowed first claim to retrieve money from your estate. The higher priority goes to funeral expenses, administrative expenses, and federal taxes. The estate may then pay off expenses from the last illness and state taxes. At the bottom of the barrel are unsecured creditors, like credit card companies.

Generally, all debts must first be paid by the estate before any remaining assets are distributed to an heir. An outstanding credit card balance, for example, must be paid before any money or gifts can be distributed to an heir. If there are not enough assets to pay the debts, then all assets and property will be sold to pay down as much of the debt as possible and the heir will inherit nothing.

In the case of secured debts (e.g. home mortgage or auto loans), property (which is collateral) may be distributed with its debt. For example, you own a car worth $15,000 and the loan on the car is $7,500. If you die and leave that car to someone, it will become that person’s obligation to pay off the loan.

Except for certain situations (which include joint property or joint debt), creditors are unlikely to go after surviving family members when a debt cannot be paid by your estate money. The majority of married couples have joint accounts and joint debt. In these situations, a surviving spouse will be held legally responsible for the debt of their deceased spouse even if they did not generate the debt themselves. This is something that will often cause problems for surviving spouses who financially cannot pay off old debt and meet their everyday needs.

If a creditor contacts a surviving family member about a debt of a relative who has died, the family member should give the creditor the contact information of the decedent’s representative. The representative is responsible for paying any outstanding debts from the estate. If a will exists, the representative is known as the executor; if there is no will, the representative is known as the administrator.

In community property states (where married couples are considered to own their property, assets, and income jointly) credit accounts opened during marriage are automatically considered to be joint accounts. This could affect what your spouse will have to pay, depending on the debt that you incurred. The following states are community property states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

To conclude, when you pass away, your estate is responsible for paying off any balances owed by you, not your family. If your estate goes through probate, your administrator (or executor) will look at your debts and assets and, guided by the laws of your state, determine in what order your bills should be paid. The remaining assets will be distributed to your heirs according to your will or state law. For more information visit longtermcarelink.net.

Posted by: options4care | October 15, 2012

Homeless Veterans Lake County IL


The Great American Tragedy: Homelessness Among Our Veterans

October 8, 2012

An article in USA Today reports that on a given night, more than 75,000 veterans (male and female) are living homeless on the streets of their cities. Nearly half (40%) of all homeless males are veterans. The homeless are often looked down upon in American society. They are often seen as lowly beggars, leeching off of the system. The true tragedy is when we see our brave, courageous, strong soldiers fall to homelessness. What we often don’t understand is what would cause our protectors, our soldiers, to give up on ambition and dreams to live an unfulfilled life on the corner of Main Street. We don’t understand this because we will never know, as our soldiers did, the trauma of war.

Veterans have to deal with high rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and often may have traumatic brain injuries or sexual trauma. Due to their experiences in war, Veterans may often want to be secluded and are more likely to live unsheltered and outdoors. According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Veterans are also most likely to experience long-term, chronic homelessness.

Generally, a homeless person is expected to have not graduated from high school, but studies show that 85% of homeless veterans have completed high school or received a GED. On the other hand, only 56% of non-veteran homeless have completed high school. Furthermore, our homeless veterans were not necessarily the ‘problem soldiers’ in the army. Eighty-nine percent of homeless veterans received Honorable Discharges and 67% served in the military for three or more years.

These men and woman risked their lives for our country. They gave of their time and their service honorably and without question. And now, nearly half of them are living alone on the streets, not knowing how to get the help they deserve.

When faced with these statistics, most peoples’ attention immediately turns to the government. They ask questions like “Why would the government allow their own veterans to suffer and beg on the streets?” and “Why has our government failed to help our homeless veterans?”

We may not currently see a large impact from government programs, but they are there, and they are helping. Our government cares about our veterans and so does our President. In 2011, President Obama set the goal to end chronic homelessness among veterans by 2015. When he set his goal, Obama implemented the plan entitled Opening Doors. Opening Doors is a federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness within five years.

Opening Doors implements five points. The first is to provide affordable housing to veterans and then second to provide permanent supportive housing. Supportive housing is shown to be a most affective bridge between homelessness and independent housing. A study was conducted as part of the Federal Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic-Homelessness, and it concluded that 95% of the participants were in independent housing after one year in a permanent supportive housing arrangement.

The third point is to increase meaningful and sustainable employment. It is important that the job a veteran receives matches his/her skills so that they feel their work is meaningful and that they are needed to remain in the job for a long period of time. The fourth point is to reduce financial vulnerability by enhancing information, reducing barriers, and improving access to services. This point emphasizes making homeless veterans aware of the government programs available to help them.

The fifth and final point is to transform the homeless crisis response system. This is the point at which the government transfers its burden to the community. There needs to be a quicker response to homeless veterans showing up in a city. People need to take notice and spread the word to these veterans about the help that is available to them. The community also needs to be involved with re-housing. The veteran will feel a greater connection to the community reaching out to them rather than the government.

Government programs are fantastic, and they are helping many veterans, but according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the VA Department of the United States is only able to serve about 25% of the veterans in need. This would leave approximately 300,000 veterans each year who are left to seek help elsewhere. When the government’s reach cannot go any farther, the community has an obligation to step in.

These 300,000 veterans who are not able to receive help from the VA will turn to local government agencies and volunteer organizations. They will turn to their community for help. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans states that the most effective programs are “community-based, nonprofit, ‘veterans helping veterans’ groups.”

The community and the individual within that community has a chance to help decrease the amount of homeless veterans. Our veterans gave their all for our country; it’s time that we take a moment to give back to them. The largest problem is a lack of information. In this area, community outreach can make a big impact on the amount of homeless veterans that are receiving help. Many veterans seclude themselves. According to a study of homeless veterans, 96% of them are alone rather than part of or near family. They don’t have anyone else, and many of them have no idea that there is so much help available for them. Beyond government programs, there are countless volunteer organizations and also local government agencies. It is the responsibility of the individuals within a community to help spread the word of relief to the veterans who are currently without family and without a home.

You can find more information on the government’s plan to end veteran homelessness as well as information on what you can do to help the homeless veterans in your community by following this link: http://www.va.gov/homeless/for_the_community.asp

For information on the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit call us today at 847-740-1550 or visit us at www.heartsofgoldhomecare.com

let us know your experience or story by socializing with us at www.facebook.com/homecarelakecountyil  We would love to hear from you.

Posted by: options4care | October 15, 2012

Who Pays for Your Long Term Care in Lake County IL


Will the Government Pay for My Long Term Care? 

A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that “people who reach age 65 will likely have a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home.  About 10 percent of the people who enter a nursing home will stay there five years or more. This year, about nine million men and women over the age of 65 will need eldercare. By 2020, 12 million older Americans will need eldercare.  Most will be cared for at home; with family and friends as the sole caregivers for 70 percent of the elderly”. Medicare.gov

A new population of seniors and those nearing the senior status are looking for some type of financial means to pay for long term care (eldercare) in case of failing health.  Many have taken care of family members who had no means to pay for their care or have seen their parents entire retirement savings wiped out because of medical and nursing home costs.

Does the government Medicare program pay for eldercare costs?

A statement on the Medicare.gov website clarifies what Medicare will pay for.

“Generally, Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care. Medicare pays only for medically necessary skilled nursing facility or home health care. However, you must meet certain conditions for Medicare to pay for these types of care. Most long-term care is to assist people with support services such as activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Medicare doesn’t pay for this type of care called “custodial care”. Custodial care (non-skilled care) is care that helps you with activities of daily living. It may also include care that most people do for themselves, for example, diabetes monitoring. Some Medicare Advantage Plans (formerly Medicare + Choice) may offer limited skilled nursing facility and home care (skilled care) coverage if the care is medically necessary.”

How does Medicaid cover long term care costs?

Fortunately, there is a government program that will help pay for long term care costs – Medicaid.  Unfortunately, this program is unfairly discriminatory and will only pay for care for individuals who have less than $1,500 to $2,000 in assets (and in about 22 states, the program will only cover individuals who fall below a certain income threshold).  All other individuals wanting help from Medicaid must impoverish themselves paying for their own eldercare services first, before Medicaid will help them.

Planning for the final years of life and dovetailing government programs, care provider systems and funding sources can be invaluable yet complicated.  This area of planning can be one of the most challenging endeavors undertaken by anyone attempting to help seniors in this final phase of life.

The National Care Planning Council has introduced a new long term care planning tool called “Care Resource Planning“.  It is impossible to predict what your future eldercare needs will be.  You cannot determine in advance if you will need home care, assisted living or even nursing home care, but you can have a plan in place that will provide the financial, legal and family support as well as protecting your assets, no matter what happens.

The goal of Care Resource Planning is to provide strategies and solutions pertaining to any or all of the items outlined below that may be unique to the client’s situation.

1.  Understand and Use Eldercare Support Systems

  • Objective 1 — Understand the Nature of Eldercare
  • Objective 2 — Understand Living Arrangements for Eldercare
  • Objective 3 — Understand How to Use the Life Resource Planning Team

2.  Identify Sources of Final Years Funding and Services

  • Objective 4 — Identify Programs to Increase Income
  • Objective 5 — Identify Government Programs to Pay Costs
  • Objective 6 — Understand and Use Community Aging Support Services

3.  Protect the Estate from Depletion

  • Objective 7 — Understand Strategies to Protect Assets
  • Objective 8 — Review and Update Legal Arrangements and Insurance
  • Objective 9 — Identify Tax Saving Strategies

With the help of a trained professionals who understand all of the issues pertaining to eldercare, a plan can be prepared to protect assets, locate appropriate funding and provide the necessary support to ease the burden for the final years of life.

For more information on Care Resource Planning for yourself or loved one please visit www.longtermcarelink.net/care_resource_plan.htm

In-home care in Lake County is a more affordable alternative for seniors that may require assistance to remain in their home.  In-home care can provide options and the right solutions for an elderly person’s needs. Hearts of Gold Home Care helps to educate families about resources that are available  to them before deciding on changing a loved one’s residence.   If you require information or would like to educate yourself on solutions for your unique situation please visit us at  www.heartsofgoldhomecare.com 

Socialize with us at: www.facebook.com/homecarelakecoountyil  and read our latest articles.

Posted by: options4care | October 15, 2012

Healthy Aging for Seniors Lake County IL


Healthy Aging – Physically, Mentally and Financially

The month of September brings a welcome relief from the hot summer days. Cool breezes and colorful foliage appearing on the trees entice one to walk and bask in healthy fresh air.

September has also been designated as “Healthy Aging Month” with encouragement to seniors to renew their attitudes towards better eating, exercise, and mental stability. With the nation’s senior population growing there is more focus on programs to help seniors remain healthy and active as they age physically, mentally and emotionally.

WebMD‘s online magazine’s feature article by Matt McMillen focuses on the “September National Theme” with “tips to stay at your peak!”

1. Get moving
Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body and brain.

2. Stay social
Take a class, volunteer, play games, see old friends, and make new ones.

3. Bulk up
Eat beans and other high-fiber foods for digestive and heart health.

4. Add some spice
Add herbs and spices to your meals if medications dull your taste buds.

5. Stay balanced
Practice yoga or tai chi to improve agility and prevent falls.

6. Take a hike
Brisk daily walks this September can bolster both your heart and lungs.

7. Sleep well
Talk to a sleep specialist if you don’t sleep soundly through the night.

8. Beat the blues
If you’ve been down for a while, see a doctor. Depression can be treated.

9. Don’t forget
To aid your memory, make lists, follow routines, slow down, and organize

Opportunities for seniors to use their work experience and talents in volunteer work benefit not only them but their communities as well.  Many seniors take educational courses to improve their minds and seek out opportunities to use this newfound knowledge in productive ways.  In another direction, senior sport programs have been developed that encourage those who miss their days on the basketball court or playing other sports to take it up again. The National Senior Games Associations sponsors a competitive Senior Olympics.

There is no limit to what a healthy attitude can accomplish.

100-year-old Virginia, who suffers from glaucoma, received her first computer, an iPad. With the zoomable screen it is ideal for her to read books (she’s read 2 already) and write limericks (she’s composed 12).

An article this month on the Mayo Clinic website titled “Healthy Retirement” states that:

“Most adults spend years looking forward to a healthy retirement. Whether you’re still planning your retirement or you’re ready to make the change, there’s much you can do to ensure a healthy retirement.

Start by learning what to expect as you get older, from changes in muscle mass and sex drive to vision and cardiovascular health. After all, your dreams for a healthy retirement likely depend on good health. Then consider ways to maintain a healthy retirement, from reducing your risk of falls and staying safe behind the wheel to improving your memory.

Another important aspect of healthy retirement is long term care. Consider your options now — including type of long term care, as well as how to pay for it — to help prevent hasty decisions later.“

A new population of seniors and those nearing senior status are looking for some type of financial support to maintain their quality of life and pay for eldercare during their final years of life. The need for some form of long term care will happen to 3 out of every 5 people. Paying for this care can be devastating for those who are not prepared.

Planning for the final years of life by dovetailing government programs, with your assets and other funding sources is a vital, yet complicated necessity. The National Care Planning Council’s “Life Resource Planning System” relieves some of this burden by providing recommendations pertaining to any or all of the items below that may be important to your living out the rest of your life in dignity.

  • Identify government income and care support programs
  • Protect and preserve assets
  • Facilitate favorable outcomes for health, medical issues and final preparations
  • Maximize family and community support
  • Find the right living arrangements

Healthy aging – physically, mentally and financially – is a definite “can do” with all the resources available to seniors and a little planning for the future.


Social Support Activities Lead to Better Quality of Life As One Ages

How important is social support as a person ages? This may seem like an easy question to answer. Most people would not choose isolation and loneliness versus spending time with companions. However, can lack of social support really hinder a person’s overall quality of life?

Lack of social support is related to negative impacts on health and well being, especially for older people. Having a variety of positive social supports can contribute to psychological and physical wellness of elderly individuals. Support from others can be important in reducing stress, increasing physical health and defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.

When considering who provides social support for an elderly individual our first thoughts are of family members. While it is true that most support does come from family members, there are many circumstances in which family members cannot be supportive (stress due to responsibilities, illness, death, financial problems, job relocation). In the United States the fastest growing age group of individuals are those 85 years and older. Due to this fact, family supports will inevitable decrease for these older individuals. A need for community-based services is more important now then ever before.

Community-based services can be extremely useful for elderly individuals. Services for older persons can encompass many areas, but one of the most important areas as discussed previously is social support. Support for elderly persons can be found in many places including: senior centers, assisted living facilities, meal delivery, religious affiliations, adult day care centers, etc. These services can provide positive social supports that can help older persons defeat loneliness and isolation. However, social support must encompass more then physical presence or conversation. Studies have shown that social support services should contain quality activities. These activities should promote positive self-awareness.

Self-awareness is key to a person’s overall quality of life and satisfaction. Many leisure social activities can be used to help increase an individual’s self-awareness. Activities for elderly individuals may include reminiscence groups, journal writing, readings of favorite book passages, group exercise, singing groups, etc. Individuals may also feel more self-satisfied if they are part of the planning of social activities that take place.

Two of these community-based service centers that provide quality social support services for elderly individuals are discussed below.

Senior Citizen Centers

Today, there are estimated to be about 15,000 senior centers across the United States. Senior centers act as a focal point for older Americans to receive many aging services. The most common services offered at a senior center include health programs (including Zumba and Yoga), arts/humanities activities, intergenerational programs, employment assistance, community action opportunities, transportation services, volunteer opportunities, education opportunities, financial assistance, senior rights counseling/legal services, travel programs and meal programs. These programs and activities can help promote positive self-awareness.

Lori Beckle describes how participating in her local senior citizens center has given her the independence and life satisfaction she thought was lost when her husband died in 2009. “ I was devastated and so frightened for my future without Ed. He was my only friend and the one I turned to when I felt alone. My daughter invited me to attend our local senior center where a bereavement group was being held for those who had lost a loved one. I met Phyllis during the group and now I have a new friend I call when I become afraid. Phyllis has helped me develop the skills to get through the tough times and focus on my immediate happiness.”

Adult Day Care Centers

According to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), there are currently more than 4,600 adult day care centers nationwide. Adult day care is a program in which activities are provided to promote social support and health services to an older adult during the daytime. Most centers operate Monday through Friday during daytime hours. Social support services at an adult day care can consist of musical entertainment and singing groups, group games such as cards, gentle exercise, discussion groups (books, films, current events), holiday/birthday celebrations and local outings. Not only are these social activities provided, but participants of the program can also develop lasting relationships with staff and other participants. Adult day care centers also provide meals and health services. Adult day care centers differ from other programs for elderly individuals, because they allow the participants to develop and increase self-awareness by encouraging independence.

Amanda describes her experience as a volunteer at her local adult day care center. She stated, “ I was involved in planning the activities for Thursday afternoons. I wasn’t sure what kind of activities my older friends would enjoy so I had them share their favorite activities they participated in when they were my age (23). I soon realized that I was hearing the most fascinating stories of hopping trains, college dances, swimming in the lake, etc We decided Thursday afternoons would be spotlights of each individuals’ lives as a twenty-something. One of the participants told me that Thursdays became a highlight for her week.”

Adult Day Care Centers and Senior Citizen Centers help to provide an elderly individual the opportunity to participate in social support activities. Social support activities found in these programs can be beneficial to a person’s quality of life and overall satisfaction. With a higher self-awareness and quality of life an individual can reduce the risks of mental and physical health problems as they age.

Your emotion health is just as important as your physical health. There are aging adults who may no longer drive or  may have mobility issues. Making it difficult to socialize go shopping or run errands. In home care is another great way of providing social support for aging adults that may be homebound or that do not get out as often as they would like.  A caregiver can provide socialization, companionship, escort as well as well-being checks for  individuals through home care service visits.  By offering a vast array of  affordable home care services throughout Lake County IL,  at  www.heartsofgoldhomecare.com  we provide compassionate, caring individuals that bring comfort, companionship and assistance into your daily life.


         Senior Home Owners Find Financial Resource in Reverse Mortgages

For many seniors the equity in their home is their largest single asset, yet it is unavailable to use unless they use a home equity loan. But a conventional loan really doesn’t free up the equity because the money has to be paid back with interest.

A reverse mortgage is a risk-free way of tapping into home equity without creating monthly payments and without requiring the money to be paid back during a person’s lifetime. Instead of making payments the cash flow is reversed and the senior receives payments from the bank. Thus the title “reverse mortgage“.

Many seniors are finding they can use a reverse mortgage to pay off an existing conventional mortgage, pay off debt or help pay for home repairs, remodeling or long term care needs.

False Beliefs

The lender could take my house.” The homeowner retains full ownership. The Reverse Mortgage is just like any other mortgage; you own the title and the bank holds a lien. You can pay it off anytime you like.

I can be thrown out of my own home.” Homeowners can stay in the home as long as they live, with no payment requirement.

Virtually anyone can qualify. You must be at least 62, own and live in, as a primary residence, a home [1-4 family residence, condominium, co-op, permanent mobile home, or manufactured home] in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage.

There are no income, asset or credit requirements. It is the easiest loan to qualify for.

The amount of reverse mortgage benefit for which you may qualify, will depend on your age at the time you apply for the loan, the reverse mortgage program you choose, the value of your home and current interest rates. As a general rule, the older you are and the greater your equity, the larger the reverse mortgage benefit will be (up to certain limits, in some cases).

The reverse mortgage must pay off any outstanding liens against your property before you can withdraw additional funds.

The loan is not due and payable until the borrower no longer occupies the home as a principal residence (i.e. the borrower sells, moves out permanently or passes away). At that time, the balance of borrowed funds is due and payable, all additional equity in the property belongs to the owners or their beneficiaries.

The most popular reverse mortgage plan is the HECM. (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) Over 90% of all reverse mortgages are HECM contracts.

You must participate in an independent Credit Counseling session with a FHA-approved counselor early in the application process for a reverse mortgage. The counselor’s job is to educate you about all of your mortgage options. This counseling session may charge a fee to the borrower and can be done in person or, more typically, over the telephone. After completing this counseling, you will receive a Counseling Certificate in the mail which must be included as part of the reverse mortgage application.

You can choose 3 options to receive the money from a reverse mortgage:

  1. all at once (lump sum);
  2. fixed monthly payments (for up to life);
  3. a line of credit; or a combination of a line of credit and monthly payments.

The most popular option, chosen by more than 60 percent of borrowers, is the line of credit, which allows you to draw on the loan proceeds at any time.

Keeping money in a reverse mortgage line of credit in most states will not count as an asset for Medicaid eligibility.  It is best to get an opinion from an Elder Attorney in your state.

Tom MacDonald, in his article on “ReverseMortgageconsultant.com”, makes the following statement about Medicaid, Med-Cal or SSI requirements:

No matter how you take your money in a reverse mortgage, it is considered a loan. If you are looking at a financial statement, it is a liability, not an asset. The home is the asset. Many times we refer to the monthly payments incorrectly as monthly income. Neither the IRS nor Medicaid nor any other agency count the funds from a reverse mortgage as taxable income or qualifying income. Think of taking a cash advance from a credit card. It is money you owe to the credit card company. I’ve not see an agency consider the money from a cash advance as income. The funds from a reverse mortgage are similar.

The Medicaid, Medi-Cal or SSI guideline you need to be most cautious of is the cash on hand guideline. Once example is the requirement you have no more than $2,000 in your bank accounts. If you are taking $1,000/mo of payments from a reverse mortgage and spending only $500/mo, it is obvious that you will exceed the $2,000 guideline within a few months. So, when taking monthly payments, take no more than you know you will be spending every month.

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,613 other followers

%d bloggers like this: