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2017-10-29 08:37:17

 

Looking For A Different Type Of Senior Care?

October 19, 2017 By Margaret Hicks  Eagle Staff Writer: mhicks@theoklahomaeagle.net

At Overcomer’s Home Healthcare (Overcomer’s), they measure success with smiles. They are a faith-based home health service that prides itself on superior service. Their healthcare services offer a unique combination of premier benefits to the people of greater Tulsa by providing services to people in need of Alzheimer’s and dementia care, non-medical services, companion care, and personal care.

 

 Alzheimer’s And Dementia Care

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common cause of dementia. It is estimated that more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease.

Overcomer’s customizes individual companion care plans for their clients which include medication reminders, being a watchful companion who will create a positive environment with meaningful activities for their clients which results in peace of mind for the client and his/her loved ones.

 

Non-Medical Services

Overcomer’s also provide non-medical services such as helping with laundry, meal planning and cooking, housekeeping, running errands, and leisure activities. The Overcomer’s team encourages and promotes safe independence.

Overcomer’s also provide sitter services for clients who may be in the hospital, a nursing facility, or have that need in their own home.

These services are provided to couples as well as single clients.

 

Personal Care

Overcomer’s provides basic companion care plus assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and ambulation assistance. These services are initially assessed and regularly monitored by their staff in line with Oklahoma State Health Department regulations.

 

About Overcomer’s Home Healthcare

Overcomer’s located at 1831 E. 71st Street, in Tulsa, is the brainchild of Timmetha Harris. While attending church, Harris said she was inspired by a message from her pastor, which motivated her to step out in faith and follow God’s plan for her life by serving people. As a nurse, Harris said she “uses her faith, inspired heart and skills to nurture people back to health, while leading and empowering her staff to first seek God in all that they do and second, serve people with their hearts.” Their mission states, taken from Acts. 20:35, is “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

 

The Overcomer’s Team

Overcomer’s certified team of caregivers provide quality and continuity of care right in the comfort of their clients’ home or in a facility. They are bonded and insured, and available immediately for long-term or short-term care. For more information contact 918-877-2634 or visit www.overcomers-cares.com.

2017-10-19 10:23:57

 

Congestive heart failure

Requires a medical diagnosis

Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, and rapid heartbeat.

People may experience:

Pain areas: in the chest

Cough: can be dry or with phlegm

Whole body: dizziness, fatigue, inability to exercise, or loss of appetite

Respiratory: fast breathing, shortness of breath at night, shortness of breath on exercise, or shortness of breath on lying down

Gastrointestinal: water retention or bloating

Also common: excess urination at night, palpitations, swollen feet, swollen legs, or weight gain

2017-06-18 12:40:12

 

Alzheimer and Dementia safety.

Safety is important for everyone, but the need for a comprehensive safety plan is particularly important for a person living with Alzheimer’s as the disease progresses.

Alzheimer’s causes a number of changes in the brain and body that may affect safety. Depending on the stage of the disease, these can include:

  • »  Judgment: forgetting how to use household appliances.

  • »  Sense of time and place: getting lost on one’s own street.

  • »  Behavior: becoming easily confused, suspicious or fearful.

  • »  Physical ability: having trouble with balance.

  • »  Senses: experiencing changes in vision, hearing, sensitivity to temperature or depth perception.

    Taking measures to improve safety can prevent injuries and help a person with dementia feel more relaxed, less overwhelmed and maintain his or her independence longer. 

2017-05-04 13:53:55

 

It’s time to start worrying about elder care costs

By Jonathon M. Trugman

August 13, 2016 | 6:05pm

Last week, the two presidential candidates laid out their economic plans.

Both plans touch on caregiving, albeit differently. Donald Trump’s has a $10,000 tax savings on child care, while Hillary Clinton’s has a $1,200 savings for caregivers.

It’s great that both candidates want to save caregivers some tax money, but Hillary’s plan amounts to finding a $5 bill on the street and Trump’s plan, a $20. Hooray! Both may put a smile on your face, but neither solves nor even addresses the problem.

As baby boomers grow older, forward-thinking financial types worry about the massive future cost of elder care to the economy.

The choices are currently few and far between for families taking care of their parents.

Today in America, the average monthly cost of an assisted-living facility is $3,628 per month — that’s $43,536 a year.

In New York, it’s $4,136 per month, or $49,632 a year.

In NJ, the land where everything costs more for no reason, it’s $4,950 per month and $59,400 per year.

And that’s just for an assisted-living facility, not a nursing home. The difference is that those in assisted living get around mostly on their own, but there is some help when needed with walkers and reminders to take your daily medication. Meals and maid service are included, but there is no medical supervision.

The national average for a semi-private room at a nursing home is $6,844 per month, or $82,128 a year.

In order to qualify for Medicaid assistance, which is a ticking time bomb to begin with, there needs to be no more than $14,550 per senior in assets — such as money in a bank account. The limit is $21,450 for a married couple.

  Source: New York Post

2016-08-17 05:38:06

 

Trying to find adequate elder care

By Laura Katz Olson @lauralee111

July 27, 2016

I’ve been studying elder care for more than 40 years. My special interest is how social welfare policies affect long-term care. But what I have learned during my career didn’t fully prepare me when I was suddenly thrust into a grueling long-distance caregiving role for my mother, Dottie.

Mom had been a healthy athlete her entire life. In her older years, she won medals in the Florida Senior Olympic Games for swimming, basketball, and even bicycle racing. After my mom retired, she managed to get by on her small Social Security pension but didn’t have much of a cushion in savings or other assets. She lived contentedly alone for decades in a public housing apartment.

At age 83, my mom became steadily incapacitated by Parkinson’s disease and a gradual loss of vision. Finding care for her was a challenge, especially from 1,200 miles away.

I quickly learned that my research had vastly underestimated the complications of long-distance caregiving. Problems emerge often, whether you are readily available or not, and they tend to demand immediate attention. Nor had I fully comprehended the extent of the vigilance required to protect against insufficient, low-quality services, whether by home health agencies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or hospitals.

I initially thought about finding ways for my mother to stay in her apartment. Like many others studying elder care, I assumed that the recent national movement away from placing people in nursing homes would, under the Medicaid program, offer clear-cut advantages for older people and their families. I was wrong. Not only are there long waiting lists for government-supported services in Florida (and most other states), but there isn’t sufficient help for those with low incomes and multiple chronic conditions.

My mother, who needed significant assistance, got the maximum of in-home care available under Florida’s Medicaid plan — 10 hours per week. She was entitled to roughly the same amount of help when she moved to Pennsylvania, where I live. Adult children, mostly daughters like me, are counted on to fill in the remaining huge gaps, with devastating effects on their financial, physical, and emotional well-being. Unlike what I learned through research, I now felt the full weight of these burdens.

Despite my long familiarity with long-term care issues, I often felt helpless trying to surmount the countless and unwarranted hurdles that prevented my mother from acquiring vital services in a timely manner. The social welfare system is set up to be punitive and stingy — to discourage people from applying and keeping benefits, even when they are poor, aged, and disabled like Dottie. We had to prove over and over again that she was truly eligible for every single service she required.

Through my academic work, I was familiar with the general failings of nursing homes. But it shook me to personally witness the negligent and appalling treatment that my mom received in two Florida facilities for post-acute care. Nothing could have prepared me for the indifference to her physical and cognitive needs, the unpalatable meals, the disdain for government regulations, and the generally slapdash approach to patient care.

In 2012, a bad fall landed my mom in a nursing home for rehabilitation. The goal was for her to go home. However, the care in the facility was so negligent and the therapy so limited that she never regained her ability to walk and so couldn’t return to her apartment. She currently lives in a county nursing home near me, in Pennsylvania, where she is receiving relatively decent care. Mom, of course, needs an on-site advocate to protect her; I visit nearly every day.

Overseeing my mother’s care inspired me to reexamine a question that I had wanted answers to in the 1970s: Why is there such a stark disconnect between the billions of dollars in government funding for the aged (via Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, and other programs) and what older people actually receive? I’ve learned that the swelling budgets feed private financial interests, along with the medical industrial complex and service sector, at the expense of elderly individuals in need. Nursing homes, for instance, siphon off a considerable percentage of federal and state taxpayer money allocated for long-term care.

My mother’s experience prompted me to examine the financial profiles of the commercial entities that had served her so poorly. As is the case for many nursing homes and home health agencies, they are owned by either private equity firms or multi-chain conglomerates trading on public exchanges. Despite their extensive dependence on federal funds from Medicare and Medicaid for revenue, I found it tricky to penetrate their inner workings or lay bare the dizzying layers of control and spread of earnings flowing among them. What became obvious is that their main goal — ever-increasing profits — is patently at odds with the essential requirements of their frail clients.

Being thrown into caregiving taught me things that only on-the-ground experiences can convey. My elder care journey revealed the unreasonableness of our bureaucratic welfare system and exposed its stinginess and ongoing assaults on human dignity, things I never fully grasped in my academic work and, even more important, things that no older American or his or her family should ever be forced to live with.

Laura Katz Olson is a professor of political science at Lehigh University. Her latest book, “Elder Care Journey: A View from the Front Lines,” was published in June by SUNY Press.

 

2016-08-17 05:36:02

 

Long Term Care: 6 Faux Pas To Avoid Paying Too Much

The topic of Long Term Care is complicated and a not particularly fun one to think about. But guess what? Ignoring it will not make it go away and putting it off will only cost you more in the long run. 6 Tips to pay less for LTC coverage.

By David Rae, Certified Financial Planner™, Accredited Investment Fiduciary™

“A 65-year-old male with a long-term care insurance policy has a 32% chance of letting the coverage lapse before he dies, with his female counterpart having a 38% chance of doing the same.”
Time Magazine, October 6, 2015

Last month, I had three meetings in a row with new clients who were caring for parents currently in nursing homes. All of their parents are healthy enough to live well enough into the future, yet not healthy enough to care for themselves independently. This is never a fun topic, I can tell you, and all three were stressed and confused by the various Long Term Care (LTC) choices they have had to make on behalf on their folks.

But I can also report that this situation has had an upside for my clients; it’s been a wake-up call regarding their own futures. Still young and healthy enough to qualify, they’ve vowed to make arrangements for their LTC while it is still economically viable to do so and on their own terms.

With 10,000 or so baby boomers retiring every day I’m sure a few of you have already purchased some form of Long Term Care coverage. I’m guessing that probably a bigger group have at least thought about it. Here are a few of the FAQs I hear most often on the topic.

What exactly is Long Term Care?
It may include home health care, an assisted living facility, or the dreaded nursing home.

Does Medicare typically cover LTC costs?
No.

Should you buy some type of Long Term Care coverage?
Yes. Two exceptions: 1) if you’re dead broke and won’t be able to keep up with premiums or 2) if you’re Bill Gates and can pay out-of-pocket for any kind of medical care he wants. The question isn’t whether you need LTC insurance (you do), but how much you need and what kind of coverage to choose.

Can you afford to keep the coverage, or more to the point, can you afford to not keep the coverage?
The options are complicated, and policies often seem expensive, and the premiums seems go up every year by leaps and bounds. That said, researchers at Georgetown University estimate that 70% of individuals 65 and older will need some LTC during their lifetimes.

Do people shoot themselves in the foot when making important LTC insurance decisions? Boy, do they ever!

Here are the six major LTC faux pas I see over and over.

LTC Faux Pas #1: Doing nothing or waiting too long to act.
Realistically if you are healthy, your early 50’s is the best time to line up the LTC coverage that you may need. If you already have health issues or a family history of health issues, you’ll need to start even earlier and can expect to pay more for your premiums.

Premiums generally increase 3 to 4 % each year you delay applying for a policy. You may face further premium increases if your health deteriorates. Or you may not be able to get coverage no matter how much you are willing to spend. But it never hurts to ask, I’ve helped people even in their 80’s get LTC coverage.

LTC Faux Pas #2: Choosing your policy based on price not value.
All policies are not created equal. The value you get for your money can vary widely by policy. While the cost is important if something is priced too cheaply you may face unaffordable premium increases later on down the line. I won’t name the company here (there have been quite a few who have done this) but many people have faced annual premium increase in the range of 40% or more on several occasions. This is one of the reason I often look to other alternatives for clients looking for traditional LTC coverage. Other options may include LTC riders on Life Insurance or Hybrid Policies (more on this at another time).

LTC Faux Pas #3: Not taking advantage of couples’ options.
I rarely see new clients come in with a joint LTC policy. But many companies offer spousal discounts for policies purchased by married couples. These can mean as much as 30% off the premiums per year. Couples policies can also be an inexpensive way to increase coverage, or decrease premiums, as well as increasing the odds of getting some benefit from the policy.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Consider a couple that purchases a joint policy for two years of coverage each. Say the wife ends up needing care for three years. With a joint LTC policy, she uses her two years and one of her husband’s years. Obviously this leaves the husband with only a year of coverage, but they paid less in premiums, and decreased the odds of further out-of-pocket expenses. Most importantly they used more of the benefits from the policy.

Most LTC policies are use it or lose it, if you don’t need a nursing home and you pass away, the policy ends with no payout to an heir. With joint LTC coverage, the husband may end up paying out-of-pocket for additional care if he stays longer than one year in this scenario, but even then they would have had to pay out of pocket for the wife’s care anyway.

LTC Faux Pas #4: Not factoring in inflation.
What may sound like a lot of coverage now, may not be adequate in 20 or 30 years after inflation. With the big wave of boomers retiring there will be further pressure upwards on LTC costs, which may far exceed normal estimates of future inflation. Inflation riders on LTC policies can greatly increase you coverage down the road, but these riders can appear quite expensive and often get skipped.

LTC Faux Pas #5: Not knowing exactly what you’re getting with your policy.
These aren’t one size fits all policies. Getting coverage is not a check the box type of thing. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at policies, and they provide appropriate coverage for your situation and overall financial plan. Other fine print type of things may limit things like home health care. If, like many, you want to stay in your home as long as possible, this would be a big issue.

LTC Faux Pas #6: Ignoring Hybrid Policies that may save you money or get you more coverage.
So called Hybrid Polices and been growing in popularity over the past few years. They often package LTC coverage with Life Insurance or sometimes even annuities. I think shoppers are attracted to these policies because they often increase the odds of actually seeing benefits. With LTC generally it’s use it or lose it. Personally I’d rather not use it, but I still want a great value from my policy.

If you look at a life insurance policy with living benefits like a LTC rider and the death benefit, the question is whether we get LTC coverage first. They may even include a cash value account which can grow tax free and come out tax free when handled properly. The upside is that life insurance has more protection from premium increases; the downside is you may end up with some extra fees to cover the life insurance cost.

Don’t put your head in the sand, if you are in your 50’s or beyond at least have the LTC discussion with your trusted CFP®. I like to think of investing in your LTC plan now is guaranteeing yourself some TLC later. There is real a value to knowing that you and your loved ones are appropriately covered.

Until next time, and as always Be Fiscally Fabulous, and remember Gay Money Matters.

 

DAVID RAE, CFP®, AIF® is a Los Angeles-based retirement planner with Trilogy Financial Services. He has been helping people reach their financial goals for over a decade. Follow him on Facebook, or via his website www.davidraefp.com

2016-08-05 10:45:38

 

Nursing Home Residents Still Vulnerable to Abuse

By THE EDITORIAL BOARDJULY 25, 2016

Credit Kieran Kesner for The New York Times

People entering nursing homes need to know that all reasonable safeguards are in place to ensure quality care. But federal rules to be finalized soon fail to hold nursing homes truly accountable to patients, their families or the law.

At issue are arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts that require consumers to settle any disputes that arise over products or services through private arbitration rather than through lawsuits. Corporations of all sorts love forced arbitration because it overwhelmingly tilts in their favor and shields them from liability. But in the process, it denies justice to consumers, investors, patients and others who find they have no legal recourse when wronged.

Forced arbitration is especially problematic in nursing home disputes, which are generally about care, not money. (Medicare and Medicaid pay many nursing home bills.) Typical claims involve neglect or abuse leading to broken limbs, dehydration and untreated pain.

The proposals, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, should have banned pre-dispute arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts. Instead, they basically condone them as long as these homes take some legalistic steps to explain and disclose the clauses and do not make signing them a condition of admission. Those provisions skirt the real problem. Prospective patients do not have the necessary information to make a decision about signing the clauses. How could they before a dispute even arises? In essence, families are being asked to anticipate the likelihood of grievous harm and legal ramifications. A nursing home admission is stressful and confusing enough without your being asked to sign away your right to sue.

The proposed rule acknowledges “concerns” about forced arbitration and notes that regulators solicited comment on whether the clauses should be banned. A ban is needed — and if nursing home regulators won’t impose one, the White House Office of Management and Budget, which will review the rule before its scheduled release in September, needs to ask for a revision. If the industry wants to seek private arbitration it should be allowed to do so, but only after a dispute arises, not before.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

2016-08-05 10:43:58

 

CMS urges states to use Medicaid to care for disabled at home

By Virgil Dickson  | August 3, 2016

The CMS has released guidance that encourages states to use Medicaid funds to keep elderly and physically and mentally disabled beneficiaries at home and in community-based settings instead of nursing homes.

The agency hopes the document will remedy a longstanding imbalance between institutional and home and community-based care, it said. There is evidence that's already taking place. Data for fiscal year 2014, the last year available, showed that 53% of total Medicaid long-term services and supports (LTSS) expenditures were spent on home and community-based services compared to 45% in 2009.

Total federal and state Medicaid LTSS spending was about $152 billion in 2014, up 4% from $146 billion the year before.

The document suggests states establish an open registry of home care workers to make it easier for beneficiaries to find them, outlines qualifications these workers should have, and suggests developing adequate payment rates for home care services.

Patient advocates say it's a good move, especially for workers.

“We know that turnover is very high among personal care attendants in particular and home care providers in general,” said Sita Diehl, director of policy and state outreach for National Alliance on Mental Illness, adding that improving recruitment and retention aids quality of care.

“Keeping the same attendant promotes trust, a crucial factor for people living with mental health conditions,” Diehl said.

Industry stakeholders responded similarly. "The guidance recognizes that state Medicaid programs need to consider that low payment rates can impede access to care,” said William Dombi, vice president of law for the National Association for Homecare and Hospice, which represents home health agencies. “We hope the state Medicaid programs take the guidance seriously.”

Lilly Hummel, senior director of policy at The National Center for Assisted Living said she hopes this isn't just a way for CMS to find cheaper options to care.

Last year, the median annual cost for nursing facility care was $91,250, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The median cost for one year of home health aide services, one the other hand, was less than $46,000.

Hummel noted there are some instances where nursing home care leads to better outcomes. She pointed out a 2014 study that appeared in the journal Health Services Research that found seniors getting supports and services at home were more likely to be hospitalized than those living in nursing homes, even though those in nursing facilities are often sicker than those in the community.

  Source: modernhealthcare.com

2016-08-05 10:40:59

 

Navigate the Medicare and Social Security Maze

Here's how to unravel the complicated programs

by Jane Bryant Quinn, AARP Bulletin, July/August 2016|Comments: 15

When a second marriage is involved, inheritance can get sticky. Here's what to consider when dividing property and assets. — Daniel Bejar

When you think about retiring, where will you get health insurance? "Simple," you might reply, "I'll go on Medicare."

Ha! Welcome to an intricate decision, especially if you (or your spouse) keep working past the usual retirement age.

Subscribe to the AARP Money Newsletter for more on work, retirement and finances

Medicare is for people 65 and up and comes in four parts. Part A, for hospital bills, is "free" and supported by the payroll tax, but also has copays and deductibles. Part B, which covers doctor bills, and Part D, which covers prescription drugs, charge monthly premiums. You might also buy private medigap insurance to pick up some costs that Medicare doesn't cover. Medicare Advantage plans (known as Part C) cover all these health services in their benefit packages. Which should you choose?

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To save money, browse your local Part C plans on medicare.gov. They often cost less because you're generally required to use only the doctors and hospitals in the plan's network. For more choice of providers, select Parts A, B and D.

If you (or your spouse) are still working at 65 or beyond and are covered by an employer health plan, consider signing up for free Medicare Part A. It can cover the portions of the hospital bills that your employer plan doesn't pay once you've met the Medicare deductibles.

If you reach your full Social Security retirement age, say 66, and are still working, you have another option. You can augment your salary by filing for your full Social Security retirement benefit (at that age, payments are not reduced for people with earnings). When you file, you'll be signed up, automatically, for Medicare Parts A and B. Keep the free Part A. But if you're still covered by an employer plan, call Social Security and decline Part B. There's no point paying extra premiums.

See also: AARP Social Security Calculator

You have two choices if you're under 65, you're on your spouse's health plan, and your spouse retires and goes on Medicare. Those close to 65 might go for the company's COBRA plan that can extend employee coverage for up to 36 months. Alternatively, buy coverage on the health-plan exchanges or from an insurance agent.

There's a catch-22 if your employer health plan comes with a health savings account. HSAs let you save money, tax free, to use to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses. You (and your employer) can make contributions. But you can't have Medicare and make HSA contributions, too. If you claim Social Security, which comes with Medicare Part A, you can still pay bills with the HSA savings that you already have, but tax-free contributions stop.

Here's advice on how to play your HSA, from Stephen Neeleman, M.D., founder of HealthEquity, which manages these plans for employers:

  • Consider deferring Social Security until age 70 if your employer makes the maximum HSA contribution ($3,350 for singles, $6,750 for a family).
  • If you have a family plan and your spouse goes on Medicare, you or your employer can still make the maximum family contribution.
  • You can't contribute to an HSA if your working spouse covers you under a traditional employee plan. So decide which plan is best.
  • Stop making HSA contributions in the few months before you retire. Medicare Part A can be backdated for up to six months. Any HSA contributions you made during those months will count as taxable income.

Health insurance — not so easy after all.

Jane Bryant Quinn is a personal finance expert and author of How to Make Your Money Last. She writes regularly for the Bulletin.

Source: AARP

2016-08-05 10:38:17

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