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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Social Security amendment proposes a caregiver credit

A proposed amendment to the Title II program (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act has been introduced. This amendment would provide caregivers credit for their role in providing care to a qualified dependent. There are certain stipulations, such as the caregiving must be 80 hours/month.
Learn more by clicking here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wearable Gadgets to Track Your Every Move: Monitoring the Older American with Technology

The latest tech products targeted at Older Americans include several wearable gadgets. These gadgets are similar to wrist watches and track movements, hoping to capture a person's activity level and send alerts when there are sudden changes in routines. There's even a device to monitor small appliances, sending notice to a long-distance caregiver when their loved one does not turn on the television in the evening or use the microwave at lunchtime as they do every day. Are these tech products improving the lives of seniors? While older "basic" technology for aging has shown to improve safety, such as the wearable medical alarm pendant, the newer technology has yet to win any massive acceptance. Only when there is meaningful data to support the benefits of using technology for aging will there be improved acceptance and inclusion as  standard of care.The new technology may be more stimulating and envious to younger generations who are considered tech-savvy and arduous to those who have failed to make the digital world part of their life. Monitoring the Older American using technology will require learning the device, putting it to use, troubleshooting, and using the data effectively.  Nothing changes the fact a primary caregiver or hired professional must be actively involved to handle the implementation and ensure appropriate actions are taken when needed. 

Five new Technologies for Aging in Place: July-August, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

At what age can an adult expect to need long-term care services?

An estimated 90 percent of adults over 65 have one or more chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and  hypertension.
About one-fourth of people with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations that require help. Chronic Condition? You are likely to need routine help. Learn more.
Among persons who need long-term care services, adults aged 65 and over are more likely than younger adults to receive paid help Click here to learn more from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Preparing for the probability of needing long-term care services is just as important as setting aside money for food and lodging when planning for retirement and older adulthood. With limited funding for care needs, savings get wiped out and choices diminish. Learn more about Long-Term Care Costs using MetLife Survey Data. Understanding your needs and desires for older adulthood requires taking a closer look and using a tool for discussion and decision-making. Eagleview West uses a 7-Step process which simplifies the process of long-term care planning. Contact for more information.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Changes to Itemized Deduction for 2013 Medical Expenses

Keep all receipts for medical expenses, including travel to and from appointments. Any unreimbursed medical and dental expenses you paid for yourself, your spouse, and/or your dependents qualify. Important information, especially if you are 65 and older. Read more:

Changes to Itemized Deduction for 2013 Medical Expenses

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The ignored and undervalued concept of advanced care planning

Last week there was a celebration in my living room. A commercial by a national investment & financial planning company was trying to persuade the viewer to plan for a retirement that lasts as long as 30 years or more. This was the second round of a campaign by this company to encourage Americans to prepare for a long journey through old age.  Hoorah for the healthcare delivery networks & providers who lay witness to the struggles within our communities in assisting older adults to obtain the needed care; whether it be due to financial woes, complex health issues or difficult social issues. Advanced care planning can help alleviate the stress and provide a framework for carrying out a person's wishes and identifying important factors such as caregivers, allocation of funds, end-of-life wishes, accessibility concerns for aging in place and community resources. With the average cost of home health care exceeding $50,000 per year and facility care ranging from $45,000-$90,000 per year, advanced care planning settles into a number one position when discussing retirement plans (Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2013). Professionals specializing in long-term care planning can assist by using a step-by-step method, establishing goals, and guiding a person through decision-making. Eagleview West specializes in long-term care planning. Learn More or Request a Care Planning Session.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The High Value of the Unpaid Patient Advocate

Providing health care is complicated. Getting health care is even more complicated. Health care providers strive to provide high-quality, cost-effective care  under challenging circumstances: Physician shortages, rising costs, increasing demands, decreased reimbursement and high expectations- all at a very fast pace. Emergency rooms move patients through a process of ruling out acute emergencies, admitting for ailments which require aggressive treatment, and caring for all others who often get discharged as quickly as possible, to make room for the next patient. Having a family member or friend available to serve as patient advocate helps improve communication and assists doctors and nurses to have a better understanding of what is going on. Advocates can also help reduce stress with hospitalization, prevent errors, help prevent falls, follow the course of treatment, improve understanding, and plan for on-going care needs. Recently, I experienced a bizarre illness which landed me in the hospital for 5 days followed by another 7 days in inpatient rehab. Now, I'm no stranger to hospitals. I've been a nurse for over 20 years with the bulk of my nursing career being at the bedside in the critical care unit. I've seen it all and I've spent numerous hours talking to family members and other advocates at the bedside. Nurses are grateful for the visitors who help care for their patients-alerting them to potential problems, improving comfort and consoling the patient. Today's healthcare trend is patient-centered care. If care is truly centered on the patient then we all need advocates at the bedside, asking the right questions, alerting the staff to potential problems, fluffing pillows, and consoling the weary-eyed, stressed out person in the bed. It makes life easier for the healthcare professional and the patient. While I was a patient, I was disabled by a profound weakness and problems with coordination to one side of my body. I was dependent on a walker to get out of bed. Numerous times the staff would leave after completing their bedside task, not noticing the walker they just pushed away to the side, out of their way and completely out of reach for me.
I would listen to the nurse call bells going off all day as well as the older, male patient next door who screamed out for help in lieu of using the call bell. It was obvious he rarely had a visitor the 4 days I occupied the bed next door. The last thing I wanted to do was push my call button. I pictured the overworked, busy, tired nursing staff trying to answer the call bells, pass trays, answer phone calls, give medications, talk to doctors, solve problems, discuss discharge plans, admit new patients,  the list goes on.
My advocate was my spouse most of the time. But truthfully, my advocate was anyone who would walk in my room to visit. I would find relief in having a friend or loved one there to help me understand the situation, think of questions I might not have considered, monitor my progress from a different perspective, fetch my walker, cheer me up, and best of all, tell the nurse if I needed anything without pressing that annoying call bell.  An advocate can help improve the relationship between the caregiver and the patient by helping explain personality traits and correct any misunderstanding, essentially helping to prvevent errors.  Patients easily become exhausted due to repetitive question and answer sessions as well as coping with their physical problem and mental stress. My advocate was my unpaid hero. An advocate is highly recommended and considered highly valuable when dealing with the consequences of a hospitlization, major illness, traumatic injury, or onset of chronic illness.

Learn more about the role of an advocate.

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