Tag Archives: Age In Place

A Look Back at Older Americans Month 2019

Connect, Create, and Contribute Older Americans Month

Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the national observance of Older Americans Month. The month-long celebration focuses on healthy aging strategies, addressing challenges to community living for older adults, strides in elder care research to improve medical support systems, and changing senior landscapes.

May is also a celebration of significant turns in legislation and science that have had an immediate impact on the quality of life for older Americans.

The Expansion of the SNAP program and the Older Americans Act to help alleviate the financial burden of aging and the risk of malnutrition.
National Anti-Aging Movement
Preventable Issues Drive

Healthy Aging Strategies

One of the most significant focuses of Older American’s Month 2019 was aging as healthily as possible. The science behind aging is reasonably conclusive when it comes to the causes of overall health degradation. Put as simply as possible, aging itself is a slow decline in health. Not taking the proper steps towards aging healthily substantially accelerates the whole process drastically by introducing everything from heart disease to diabetes. While many of the health challenges we face as we age are unavoidable and a natural part of the aging process, there are countless avoidable health debits that can be better managed by seniors. There is a laundry list of healthy living strategies, and trying to parse all of them out can be incredibly intimidating; for the sake of simplicity, a few are listed below.

Keep consistent track of blood pressure to maintain heart health
Start thinking about diet before any health issues arise
Practice preventative care
Exercise, exercise, exercise! You will thank yourself for it in the years to come
Maintain an uncluttered living space
Addressing Challenges to Community Living

The research on the positive health benefits of community is robust and conclusive. It is a fact that seniors, and any other humans really, benefit significantly from both a mental and physical health standpoint by participating in some form of community.

Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean living in a senior home or giving up even a shred of independence. There are millions of healthy people participating in community events every day. Bake sales, volunteer work, staying active in your grandkids lives, even just getting out and doing the shopping. There are so many ways to get out and about with other people, and the benefits are numerous and undeniable.

The Connect aspect of Older American’s Month speaks on this point at length, with a particular focus on new prescriptions that began being offered this year. Doctors can now medically prescribe “Socialization” to seniors that are suffering from issues related to isolation or depression. The early results show substantial improvements in mental health, which tend to have positive effects on physical health nearly across the board.

Expansion of the SNAP program

Between 40-50% of all retired seniors are estimated to suffer from some form of malnourishment. While malnourishment can be caused by a lack of nutrients, it is most often caused by a lack of consumption. Millions of seniors can barely afford food, and the food that they can afford is often severely lacking in vitamins and nutrients. Picture a college students’ diet, with a senior’s immune system, and you can imagine why malnourishment is such a massive health issue for seniors.

The SNAP program was expanded in 2019 to include a more significant percentage of a growing senior population, providing millions with proper dietary options. However, it has been an uphill battle informing as many seniors as possible of the benefits available to them. There was very little press surrounding the expansion of the program, and adoption has been limited, even though it is a godsend. Another challenge that has proven difficult to navigate is pride. Most individuals on social security at this point are Baby Boomers, and selling any form of government assistance to them is extremely touchy. Regardless, OAM 2019 focused heavily on spreading this information, and hopefully by this time next year, the discussion will be centered around how effective these adoption campaigns have been.

National Anti-Aging Movement

There is a national movement to remove language related to anti-aging from products and general medical terminology that has taken flight this year. AARP officially announced that they would no longer advertise anti-aging products or run any articles related to the subject. Citing the term as something that stigmatizes the completely natural and healthy aging process. There is no need to be “anti-aging” since aging itself isn’t a bad thing at all.

The language has shifted towards aging with happiness, or grace. Instead of continually saturating seniors with all of the ways they can prevent something inevitable, the focus is on owning seniority. It is an excellent message, and based on the trends being established this year, it will likely only continue to grow as more large senior brands adopt it.

Preventable Issues Drive

Seniors practicing preventative care is a subject every single May, and every other month of the year. There are so many health issues that can be avoided completely by regular visits to your doctor and a healthy diet. AARP and thousands of doctors went on record this year stating that the single most important aspect of aging well is preventative care.

The most relevant issue seniors can avoid almost entirely, barring genetic predisposition, is heart disease. Heart disease is by a large margin the leading cause of death in Americans, specifically those that are seniors or middle-aged. There are medications that can help minimize risk once it is diagnosed, but it is better to just avoid the diagnosis entirely. Other issues include diabetes, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s & Dementia, and arthritis. All avoidable or at the very least minimizable with preventative care.

The drive for exposure this year has included the previously mentioned doctors’ campaign. Nearly every long-term care location or senior healthcare provider has also bought in. In some cases, with flyers in their waiting rooms, in others with full-on exposure campaigns that work with seniors interactively to get them moving.

Changing Senior Landscapes

Every year for Older Americans Month, the state of senior housing and accommodations is a primary focus. This year specific mention of the health benefits of maintaining independence well into your golden years was made.

There are several suggested ways to make sure you can age at home, or at the very least on your terms. Most of them root in maintaining or improving health, since at the end of the day being able to administer self-care is the primary barometer for independence. This has been the case every year since OAM started, physical health leads to independence, which maintains mental health, which facilitates healthy and vibrant aging.

There has been a slow, but steady shift in the landscape of senior housing that is beginning to reach a fever pitch, however. 2019 was a year of focus on how to maintain independence even with health issues that would typically force seniors into long-term care communities or nursing homes. Historically senior care took the “shotgun” approach towards long-term living. If a single health issue prevented independence, even if it required 30 minutes a day to address, a senior home was typically the answer. This led to a complete lack of independence and often culminated in the spiral so often associated with poor nursing home care.

A more precise method of care is growing increasingly popular now, at-home care. Not every senior requires round-the-clock medical attention and on-call medical staff; most don’t as a matter of fact. If you can handle most of your activities of daily living but have trouble bathing, for example, there is no reason you should have to move into a nursing home. You can age in place, and all it requires is a 30-minute daily visit from an at-home care professional. To put it into a term, the landscape for senior care in 2019 is shifting towards personally tailored care.

If you or a loved one are interested in a consultation to see which in-home care services would be right for your loved one, we can help. We refer qualified and compassionate care providers who can help with many different services to help prepare your loved one for the future and keep them home. For more information about our services and coverage area, contact us to speak with a Client Care Liaison.

Interested in our Senior Care Services ? Click here to see our locations and service areas.

Interested in Care Provider opportunities? Click here to start registration.

Aging In Place: Benefits of Staying Home

The ability to live alone is a way for older Americans to maintain their independence and identity, and it doesn’t necessarily mean being lonesome. Due to medical advancements and healthier lifestyles, people are living longer, healthier lives, which means they can stay in the workplace longer and save more money, making it an option to stay at home rather than move in with their children, or go in to a facility.

In fact, the percentage of older adults living with their children has dropped from 35% in the 1950s, to a relatively steady 12% since the 1980s, according to the Huffington Post. So why do more and more older Americans want to age in place? What is the allure of staying at home?

What makes aging in place desirable 

  • Familiarity: For older adults, being familiar with their home and surroundings is more than a nice feeling, it means safety. Knowing where things are and having a routine in their home is important for safe aging, especially if they are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's.
  • Comfort: There is a reason people get homesick, it's because there is no place like home. Being at home is going to be the most comfortable option that a senior can have. They have their own surroundings and belongings, and will feel the most at ease there.
  • Independence: Being able to remain at home to age means that seniors will have an opportunity to remain more independent. They will be able to continue doing many of the things that have been a part of their lives, and that they enjoy. They also have the ability to maintain relationships with friends and family who live around them, and who they want to visit with.
  • Emotional Well-Being: Our location and the place we live can impact how we feel mentally. When older adults age in place by receiving help at home, they are likely to have a better outlook and feel happier and healthier than if they were confined in a facility.
  • Affordability: With Assisted Living Facilities averaging a monthly rate of $3600, and Nursing Homes an average rate of between $220-$250 daily, depending on the privacy of the room, long term care can have  major financial impact on an individual and a family. In-Home care is generally the most affordably option for long term care, with Homemaker/Companion services and Home Health Aid services having an hourly average of $20 per day (Refer to Genworth Survey for specific statewide costs).

Avoiding burden on a family caregiver

While all of these factors contribute to the desire for seniors to age in place, it is also important to remember that it might not be safe or healthy for some older adults to live completely on their own. Some might need assistance with daily activities, or just regular social interaction that they can't achieve on their own. When this is the case, it is important to get a care provider into the home so that they can age in place with reassurance and safety.

Often times, a family member will take on the role of caregiver for an aging parent that wants to stay home. However, being a family caregiver with no assistance from a professional could have serious impacts on personal lives and careers.

Being the sole caregiver for an aging parent can impact both work time and leisure time, having consequences on personal well-being, income, and relationships. In fact, 60% of family caregivers said being the sole caregiver had negative effects on their jobs, and 33% said they spent more than 30 hours a week on caregiving, according to the Genworth Survey.

Professional In-Home Care options

Bringing a professional care provider into the home allows the elderly loved one to reap all the benefits of aging in place, while giving family members the flexibility to have time for their personal and professional lives. With a professional care provider in the equation, family members can take a step back from the physical and emotional pressure, and define new roles in the caregiving process that fit with their lives and schedules.

There are many options for in-home care providers, so that you can find the best fit for you and your family. In-home care providers can range from Companion to Registered Nurse, and can provide a variety of services. To view rates, the Genworth Survey provides median cost of different levels of caregivers by state.

  • Homemakers & Companions:  Provide help with household tasks that cannot be managed alone. Homemaker services includes “hands-off”care such as cooking, cleaning and running errands.
  • Home Health Aides & Certified Nursing Assistants: Home Health Aides offer services to people who need more extensive care. It is “hands-on” personal care, such as assistance with bathing and dressing, but not medical care.
  • Licensed Practical Nurses & Registered Nurses: People who require medical care, such as wound care/bandage changes, enemas, catheterization and IV flush, require either Licensed Practical Nurses or Registered Nurses. RNs are also known for their critical thinking, leadership, and ability to teach patients about their care.

Care providers can perform hourly, live-in, or respite (temporary) care, depending on the needs of you and your family. Many care providers have specialized training to assist loved ones who may need dementia care or care specific to other chronic diseases like Parkinson's or ALS.  At American In-Home Care, all of the care providers we refer are highly qualified and credentialed, and have also been screened, bonded and insured. Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to assess your in-home needs.


Paying For Elder Care With Reverse Mortgages

As our loved ones start to get older, we want to do all we can to help them age comfortably. Often times this means caring for them in the safety and comfortable environment of their own home. However,  if and when there comes a time that you need a professional hourly or live-in caregiver to take care of your loved one, the issue of cost can certainly be a concern, especially as we realize that our loved ones might need more care than they have allotted for in personal savings.

So what can you do? Accessing home equity to pay for in-home care through a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan, commonly known as a reverse mortgage, is one possibility. Below is a simple guide to understanding how these loans work and how paying for elder care with reverse mortgages is possible.

What are reverse mortgages?

Reverse mortgage loans are a popular way for seniors who own homes to turn part of their home equity into cash. The money from this type of loan can be used to pay for anything, including in-home care services

Will my loved one get enough money to pay for care?

This questions is dependent on many factors. When trying to determine how much the loan would be worth, you should consider the amount of equity that the borrower (home owner) has in the home, the age of the borrower, current interest rates, the home's appraised value, and the borrower's mortgage balance.

What type of reverse mortgage is best for my aging parents?

The federally-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is a popular reverse mortgage because it is protected by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This means that the borrower is protected from ever owing more than the value of the house when sold. Also, with this type of loan, the home is the only asset that can be used to repay the loan.

How are the proceeds from the reverse mortgage paid?

Reverse mortgages are flexible in their payment options. Borrowers can get the funds through a lump sum, monthly installments, a line of credit, or a combination of the three.

Can my loved one stay in their home if they get a reverse mortgage?

If your loved one gets a reverse mortgage on their home, they will be able to stay as long as they comply with loan obligations.  These obligations include the borrower living in the home as their primary residence, and not leaving the home for more than 12 consecutive months.  They are also responsible for paying property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and home maintenance.

What happens to the family home?
If your loved one leaves the home for any reason, any part of the loan that hasn’t yet been disbursed remains as equity in the home. The reverse mortgage becomes due and the heirs are given a reasonable time to sell the home. If the home is sold, the loan balance is paid off from the sale of the home, and any remaining balance will go to the estate.

To determine if a reverse mortgage is right for your and your loved one, take the time to research reputable reverse mortgage lenders who are members of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. Next, speak with a reverse mortgage professional who will take the time to understand your loved one’s specific situation, calculate estimated proceeds you could receive from a reverse mortgage loan, and provide information on loan risks and benefits.

Once you have determined if a reverse mortgage is right for you and your family, you can look into care options for your loved one. American In-Home Care refers qualified and credentialed hourly and live-in care providers that perform a wide variety of services to help your loved one age in place. Call us today at 1.844.505.0004 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the best options for your loved one.




Recognizing The Physical Signs Of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. With statistics like this, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms so that you can get the proper help and treatment for a loved one that is suffering. Because of the unfortunate commonness of the disease, most people recognize the usual cognitive symptoms - memory loss, inability to remember names or places, difficulty speaking, and mood swings - however, the physical signs are not as well known, but recognizing them is equally, if not more important to catching Alzheimer's in its early stages.

The physical signs of Alzheimer's Disease are important to recognize because often the cognitive symptoms are much more discreet and hard to determine, especially if your loved one is naturally forgetful, or if you aren't able to spend time with them regularly. By becoming familiar with the physical signs, it is easier to recognize Alzheimer's, even in its early stages, allowing you to get your loved one the help they need as soon as possible.

1. Repeating Actions

Keep an eye out to see if your loved one is repeating unusual actions. You might be able to carry on a coherent conversation with them, but repeating actions such as opening and closing the refrigerator repeatedly, aimlessly walking back and forth between rooms, or continually looking for an item that they have already found might alert you that they are suffering from Alzheimer's.

2. Wearing The Same Outfit

If you notice that your loved one has been wearing the same outfit the past several times that you have seen them, this could be symptomatic of Alzheimer's. Another sign associated with the disease is lack of personal hygiene - including doing laundry - either from forgetfulness or apathy. So if you notice that they haven't changed their clothes or dressed for the occasion, especially when that is uncharacteristic, this is an alerting factor.

3. Unexplained Bruising

This is an especially important physical sign to be aware of, especially if you aren't with your loved one every day. If when you see them and they have fresh bruises and cuts, and can't remember where or how they got them, this could be symptomatic of Alzheimer's. Common cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's are sundowning and wandering, both of which are very dangerous. These habits could be where the bruises and cuts are coming from, and it is important to get under control so that your loved one doesn't get hurt or taken advantage of.

4. Loss Of Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are what is required to hold on to small objects and make precise movements, and are affected by adverse brain activity, such as a stroke.  This is particularly noticeable at dinnertime when your loved one is trying to grip the utensils. If they are having a very difficult time grasping or holding on to these, that could be a sign that something isn't right.

5. Stressed or Pained Physical or Facial Expressions

Take a moment to notice your loved one's expressions when you are with them. Facial expressions such as frowning, looking frightened, grimacing, keepeing eyes tightly closed, or rapidly blinking could all be signs of Alzheimer's and physical and emotional pain that are associated with it. Physical expressions such as rigid body posture, fidegting, rocking, or changes in walking patterns are also signs of this.

Because Alzheimer's disease is easiest to manage when it is detected early, it is important to recognize these symptoms and to be able to get your loved one help as soon as you might expect something isn't right. Do not hesitate to call your doctor, as they will be able to help you get all the resources that you need.

If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia, hiring a respite, hourly, or live-in care provider to help your loved one be comfortable and safe in their home is a great idea, as taking on sole caregiving duties can be taxing on personal lives and relationships. American In-Home Care refers qualified nurses, Home Health Aides, Certified Nursing Assistants, and companions that can help you and your loved one by specializing in Alzheimer's care and other services. Contact us today at 1-844-505-0004 for a no-obligation consultation to determine what care options are best for your family.

Recognizing Signs Of Depression In The Elderly

One in five Americans aged 65 and older are affected by depression. That means over 20 percent of the aging population is affected, making recognizing signs of depression in the elderly increasingly important.

Although the rate of depression in the elderly population is relatively high, that does not mean that it is a normal part of aging. Depression can affect anyone, at any age, but there are several risk factors that put older adults at higher risk.

Risk Factors For Depression In Older Adults

  1. Difficult life events and changes in personal circumstances
  2. Losing loved ones and friends
  3. Loneliness and isolation
  4. Lack of social support
  5. Pain and physical illness
  6. Being a victim of crime or abuse
  7. Financial crisis
  8. Family history or past episodes of depression
  9. Moving accommodations
  10. Alcohol abuse
  11. Over medicating

Recognizing the risk factors for older adults allows you to realize when a loved one might be at risk for depression, and to be able to prevent possible negative repercussions. As the risk factors vary with different age groups, it is important to be familiar with the factors for older adults specifically. Elderly people also display symptoms of depression differently than younger adults, so it is also important to recognize age-specific symptoms of depression.

Symptoms Of Depression In Older Adults

  1. Psychotic Symptoms
    1. Delusions
    2. Auditory hallucinations
    3. Catatonic features
  2. Cognitive Symptoms
    1. Disorientation
    2. Memory loss
    3. Poor concentration
    4. Easily distracted
    5. Apathy
  3. Behavioral Symptoms
    1. Feeling melancholy
    2. Anorexia or excessive eating
    3. Insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns
    4. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
    5. Thoughts of suicide
    6. Anergia
    7. Inappropriate feelings of guilt
    8. Pyschomotor retardation
    9. Note: sometimes medications can cause some of these same symptoms

Depression is a serious illness, and whether it affects people young or old, the condition's many symptoms make it very difficult for the individual to overcome it, or find a way out on their own. While depression affects around 6 million Americans aged 65 and over, only about 10 percent actually receive treatment. Perhaps this is because risk factors and symptoms are different in older adults and make recognizing the disease more difficult. Another factor could be the fact that seniors were raised in a generation when the disease was a stigma, and are afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.

Given the fact that depression can increase the risk for other serious diseases in older adults, it is important to make every effort to recognize and help get treatment for a loved one suffering. If you are caring for a depressed elderly person, you can make a difference by supporting them emotionally and making a point to be involved in their lives. Although you might not have the answer to fix their situations, sometimes just listening and giving support, companionship and love is enough to make a difference.

However, if you feel any concern, don't hesitate to contact a medical doctor for help and support. Also, if you are concerned about your loved one feeling isolated or lonely, and you don't have the chance to be around as much as you would like, you could consider a professional care provider. American In-Home Care, providers of senior home care Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and throughout Florida, refers care providers that can perform many useful duties, and provide companionship and excitement for your loved one, so you don't have to worry. Call toll-free at 1-844-505-0004 to schedule a free consultation to discuss all of your options and find a care provider that is right for you and your loved one.