Tag Archives: aging parents

Financing Senior Care: Understanding Your Options

With the average lifespan increasing and costs of living rising, more and more aging adults that need care are finding their savings accounts depleted. The cost of care then falls back onto the family, who have financial burdens of their own, and often get overwhelmed by expensive care options.

According to the Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey, the average annual cost of a one bedroom apartment in an assisted living community is $42,000 per year, and a private room in a nursing home averages more than $87,600 per year. Independent home care is generally less expensive, so many seniors and their families opt for this option because of the potential for savings and the benefits of aging at home. However, quality in-home care providers with screened and trained professionals are still relatively expensive, and thus financing senior care requires understanding options through research and careful planning.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance (LTCI) helps pay for costs that private medical insurance does not cover, and  minimizes the financial impact of long-term health care needs. In general, long-term care insurance covers the cost of home care, assisted living, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, nursing home and Alzheimer's care facilities. However, most companies will not insure people with preexisting conditions, so it is best to buy LTCI before health issues arise.

Learn more about long-term care insurance

Life Insurance Policy Conversions: Long Term Care Benefit Plan

Rather than allowing a life insurance policy to lapse, the owner can convert their policy into a Long Term Care Benefit Plan. It is a unique financial option for seniors because it pays for immediate care needs, all health conditions are accepted, and there are no premium payments. There are also no wait periods, care limitations, costs or obligations to apply, and no requirement to be terminally ill. Policy owners have the right to convert an in-force life insurance policy to enroll in this benefit plan, and are able to immediately direct tax-exempt payments to cover specific costs like senior housing and long term care.

Government Funded Long Term Care

Contrary to popular belief, Medicare is not universal health care for people over 65, and it does not cover long-term care costs for seniors. However, Medicare, Medicaid and the US Department of Veteran Affairs do offer assistance programs that can help pay for eldercare in certain circumstances. You can also follow some tips to make sure you are making the most of your Social Security benefits.

Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage - also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) - is a kind of loan for homeowners over the age of 62 that turns home equity into cash. When a reverse mortgage is secured, the money from the home equity can be used while still living in and retaining ownership of their home. There are no restrictions on how the money from a reverse mortgage can be used. The relatively high closing costs can be a disadvantage, but it could be useful if there is concern about not being able to make the payments on a normal loan, or the money is needed for any purpose.

By planning ahead, financing senior care doesn't have to be such a burden on you and your family. Your financing options can be a part of your long term retirement plan, and can help you and your family feel prepared and secure. American In-Home Care offers affordable, compassionate, and qualified in-home care services. Contact us today at 1-844-505-0004 to schedule your free in-home consultation to assess your care needs and determine the care options that are right for you and your family.

Home Care For Aging Parents: What To Do When The Time Comes

There comes a time when we realize that home care for aging parents is necessary. The moment of realization usually comes in the form of a crisis, perhaps mom fell and broke her hip, or maybe dad went on a walk and couldn't find his way home. Moments like these are frightening, and can bring up feelings of anxiety for what is to come.

How do you talk to your parents about a very complex and sensitive situation? How do you take time away from your job or your own family and children's needs? How do you take care of your parents the same way that they cared for you?

These are all very legitimate questions that arise during a time like this, and the most important thing to do when mom and dad need care is to remain calm and not get frustrated.

1. Have your parent talk to someone outside the family about personal matters

Because many older adults can find the transition to receiving advice and care from their own children somewhat embarrassing, it can often be very difficult and frustrating to try to talk to our parents about topics like installing safety equipment in their home, giving up their car keys, or wearing an ID bracelet. But these are conversations that need to be had. To make it easier on both you and your elderly parent, try having them talk to a third party outside of the family about these issues. This third party can either be a friend, or a professional in the form of a therapist or someone in the geriatric care profession.

These third party individuals can help provide a feeling of equality for your parent, and at the very least their advice is more likely to be taken.  Having an outsider to be the one to make unbiased recommendations to your parent about potential safety issues can be instrumental in getting your parent to cooperate.

2. Determine your own needs as well as your parents'

Taking care of an aging parent can add unneeded stress to an already very busy life and schedule. Because of this, it is important to make a plan delegating your wants and needs as, well as the wants and needs of your parents, to ensure that you can enjoy the time with your parents rather than spending it arguing.

It is important to determine how closely you are able to be involved with parents' care, while still maintaining the personal and professional jobs and duties of your own. It can be beneficial to speak with a geriatric care manager or an in-home care specialist in this situation to help ensure that the needs and desires you have determined are going to be met.

3. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to seek professional help

This is a time that can be very difficult and frustrating for both you and your parents, so leaning on the advice and expertise of professionals who have experience with elder care can be very beneficial. When you start asking yourself the following questions, it may be time to seek out professional help:

  1. Are my parents safe in their home?
  2. Are my parents' health concerns taking me away from my own family and obligations?
  3. Are my parents needs and concerns becoming more than I can manage?
  4. How can I make sure that both my and my parents' needs are being met?
  5. What kind of assistance can me and my parents afford?
  6. What resources are out there that could benefit my parents?
  7. What kind of help would increase my parents' safety while also maintaining their independence?

American In-Home Care always refers qualified and compassionate Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Home Health Aides, and Companions who provide a wide variety of services, so you can always find the care provider and care options that are right for you and your family. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Client Care Liaisons, call 1-844-505-0004 today.

Memory Loss With Age: Helpful Tips For Coping

Forgetfulness and memory lapses are common among older adults, and can be frustrating and embarrassing. As we grow older, we experience changes that can cause glitches in the brain functions that we have always taken for granted. Because it takes longer to learn and recall information as we age, we’re not as quick as we used to be, which can lead to feelings of frustration when we forget everyday things.

Memory loss with age happens because the region of the brain responsible for memories starts to deteriorate, and hormones and proteins that protect and repair brain cells decline. Older adults are also less efficient at absorbing brain-enhancing nutrients, which makes some memory loss a natural part of aging.

For this reason, most people experience occasional lapses in memory that are a normal part of the aging process and not necessarily a warning sign of serious mental deterioration or the onset of dementia. However, when memory loss with age becomes so severe that it disrupts your work, hobbies, social activities, and family relationships, then it is time to see a doctor and get evaluated.

When a loved one has been evaluated and is diagnosed with severe memory loss such as Alzheimer's disease, it can be challenging for the person diagnosed as well as their caregivers. Even though there are no medical treatments for curing severe memory impairments, changing the way things are done at home can help.

1. Use Lots of Hints and Reminders

Talk frequently about things that are coming up and important events that need to be remembered. Incorporate these reminders naturally into conversation so that it doesn't make the person feel foolish, or point out the fact that they can't remember on their own. Also use hints like "let's make sandwiches for lunchtime," which can help remind them what time of day it is and what meal is coming next. Words with context such as "lunch," "dinner," or "bath time," can be more useful than using numeric values such as "3 o'clock."

2. Use Calendars and Clocks

Make sure there are clocks placed throughout the house, and keep blinds and curtains open during the day so that it is easier to keep track of the time of day. Before getting in bed,  visibly cross off the day on the calendar so that the new day is apparent in the morning.

3. Keep Old Photographs and Mementos Around

While these will not necessarily jog any present memories, they are important to have around because they can be comforting and provide reminders of family and friends. People with severe memory loss are often better able to recall events in the distant past, so having heirlooms and pictures around the house can help to provide a means to recall these comforting memories.

4. Keep Choices Limited

Remove the need for extra choices to be made which can confuse and upset the individual. For example, only leave a few shirts and two pairs of shoes in the closet, keeping the other items in a separate, locked closet. And when asking for the individual's preference, limit choices and distractions by asking "do you want" questions, such as "do you want to wear the black shoes?"

5. Use Night Lights Around the House

People with severe memory loss can easily become disoriented at night, so keeping night lights around helps them know where they are if they wake up in the middle of the night and need to use the bathroom. Also, keeping the house illuminated helps prevent injury due to falls or bumping in to objects.

6. Provide for Other Sensory Changes

Changes in other sensory organs comes along with severe memory loss, meaning taste, hearing and sight might also be compromised which can be confusing and even lead to depression. Be aware of this as a caregiver and be sure the individual gets the proper glasses or hearing aids if necessary, and try cooking with more spicy or flavorful foods to compensate for deteriorating taste buds.

7. Show Not Tell

Because of the way the brain works, someone with a progressive memory disorder such as Alzheimer's would have a poor declarative memory (related to recalling facts), but still have a strong, healthy procedural memory (related to recalling how to do things). Thus, someone with Alzheimer's may be able to learn new skills or remember how to do tasks by practicing in small steps how something is done. It may take several weeks of patient practicing, but the sense of accomplishment and independence after learning the task is worth the effort.

8. Keep a Set Routine

People with severe memory loss do not function as well when there are changes and surprises in their day, so activities should be done at the same time and in the same way every day as much as possible. For example dressing before breakfast, watering the plants before lunch, and eating meals and exercising at the same time every day. If there needs to be a change, such as a vacation or a visit to the doctor, tell the person all the information beforehand in a positive, friendly way.

If you are worried that you or your loved one's memory loss might be getting serious, you can start by taking a quiz to test the severity of memory loss, but you should always see a doctor to confirm the results and start seeking treatment. People who are diagnosed with severe memory loss such as Alzheimer's or dementia often require constant and daily care to help provide for their needs, so do not feel overwhelmed or guilty if you cannot handle the care on your own - professional in-home care services can help your loved one remain safe, happy and under control in the comfort of their own home.

At American In-Home Care, we always refer compassionate, qualified, care providers that specialize in a variety of services, including Alzheimer's and Dementia Care. Contact a Client Care Liaison at any time to set up a free assessment of your in-home care needs; they can provide you with additional information about which care options are right for you and your family. We are available to take calls 24/7 at 1-844-505-0004.

Caregiver Burnout: How to Avoid It As The Sole Caregiver

When an aging parent starts to show signs of needing permanent care and assistance, many families are unsure of what to do, so often a family member single-handedly takes on the role of caregiver. However, being the sole caregiver for an aging parent can be a big task, especially when an already busy family member takes on the role. This can easily lead to the caregiver beginning to neglect his or her own needs, and if ignored, caregiver burnout is inevitable.

While providing care for a parent can bring satisfaction, trying to keep up with the growing emotional and physical needs of the parent can easily overwhelm the family member who takes on such a large, personal task. When the safety of the parent starts to come in to question, the caregiver can start to feel guilt for not providing enough care, which leads to added stress and caregiver burnout.

How to Recognize Caregiver Burnout

  • Feeling down, depressed and unhappy
  • Not wanting to or not having enough energy to participate in hobbies and activities
  • Developing abnormal eating patterns, and losing or gaining a lot of weight
  • Turning to alcohol or abusing drugs to cope
  • Developing unhealthy sleeping habits such as insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Withdrawing from friends and family, or becoming impatient or irritable with people around you
  • Getting sick more often or not being able to get rid of an illness
  • Thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or a loved one

Preventing Caregiver Burnout

  • Keep a daily routine for both yourself and your parent, and stick to it
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and be sure to drink lots of fluids and take supplements if necessary
  • Get sufficient rest. When your parent(s) is resting, you can rest too
  • Take a little time for yourself each day. Even 15 minutes of “me” time is important
  • Know your limits and do not try to do more than you are capable of handling
  • Don’t be afraid to ask family members or friends for help. They can give you days off or just help with certain tasks
  • Find a friend, support group or doctor that you can confide in and ask for advice and support when needed
  • Enjoy moments of happiness and laughter and try to focus on the satisfaction that you get from providing for your loved one

Caregivers are taking on a large, personal responsibility and so it is important to be able to recognize signs of burnout, and to be equipped to combat it. However, if you do find yourself suffering from burnout, reach out for help. Contact your doctor immediately if you become ill or start having suicidal thoughts, and join a support group who can provide support and ideas for making the experience easier.

Also consider in-home care services or Respite Care, as they can provide your parent with all of the expert, personal care and attention that he or she needs while allowing you to focus on your own health and well-being again. Remember it is important to take care of yourself first so that you can continue to be able to care for the ones you love for many years to come.

At American In-Home Care, we always refer qualified, screened, care providers that can assist you with your Respite Care needs. Contact a Client Care Liaison at any time to set up a free assessment of your in-home care needs; they can provide you with additional information about which care options are right for you and your family. We are available to take calls 24/7 at 1-844-505-0004.

Private Duty Nursing

Senior Driver Safety: Talking To Your Loved One

There are more than 30 million people over the age of 65 who are licensed to drive in the United States. Those 30 million senior drivers made up 14 percent of the total number of all car related fatalities in 2006. 14 percent. That is an alarming number, and it makes the need to address senior drivers even more urgent.

Talking to a loved one about senior driver safety can be a very difficult topic to broach, and so it often gets put off, procrastinated. But think how would you feel if the delay led to a serious car accident.

Realizing the possible consequences should help overcome some hesitation, but it still doesn't mean it will be an easy conversation; telling someone that they can't perform a basic task that they have done all their life, that they will be losing some of their independence, is never easy.

But it is a difficult conversation that must be had once there is concern about the safety of an older driver, especially because you don't want to wait until it is too late. Armed with the understanding that there is a tough process ahead, there are a few steps you can take to make it go as smoothly as possible.

1. Plan Ahead

This is the most important step you can take to ensure that the conversation doesn't spin off in to a heated debate, or end with feelings hurt. Know the points you want to make and be empathetic - try to imagine how it must feel to be in their shoes.

Set realistic expectations for how the conversation will go, and realize that you might have to revisit the subject later on. It might also be helpful to give up your own car for a few days or weeks to show that you are committed to helping and understanding what they are going through.

2. Bringing it up Initially

Once you have planned out what you want to say, it is best to broach the subject gently. Even though you might feel like it is an obvious decision and therefore want to be blunt about it, you must remember that the driver is likely going through some emotional internal struggles, and it is best to take a sensitive approach.

If their driving has become erratic or scary enough for you to take notice, they likely notice themselves and will be willing to listen. Try prefacing the conversation with a question about how they are feeling about driving or if they are finding it hard to manage. However, if they become angry and defensive, it is best to drop the conversation for now and try bringing it up again later rather than battling and likely not making any progress.

3. Practice Reflective Listening

You must be ready for some inevitable objections. It is natural to wonder how you will go about your daily life without a means of transportation - How will I get to my appointments? How will I get to the store for groceries?  However, instead of answering questions like this with a quick dismissal that they will all work out just fine, or jumping to a conclusion that a friend will be glad to help, try reflective listening instead.

Reflective listening is a technique to turn the question back on itself, which results in an engaged conversation and promotes discussion and reflection, an important step to working through major transitions.

4. Don't Rush the Conversation

This conversation is likely to bring up many emotions and could easily turn in to a trip down memory lane. But this is perfectly fine and you actually encourage it, as reminiscing could help come to terms with life transitions. However, some point in the conversation you should pose the question about what he or she thinks is best to do about driving. This should help them reflect on possible consequences and consider the best option for themselves.

Don't be afraid to suggest a break. Once you have had an initial discussion and gotten your points out there, give some time to let them marinate and suggest you all get back together in a few days.

5. Address any Issues that could be Affecting the Driver

If the person you are talking to admits that they are having trouble driving, it is worth checking to see if an underlying medical issue could be the cause. Make appointments with their physicians, and eye and ear specialists. Be sure to ask about medications they are taking and potential side effects, as it is possible that lowering a dose or changing a medication could fix the problem.

Once you speak to the doctors, you will have a better idea about when and if it is safe for them to be driving. If they get the clear from their doctors, it is a good idea to brush up on traffic laws and safe driving tips with them, possibly even take them on a few practice drives to make sure they feel comfortable. If it really is time to give up driving all together, help them find other reliable transportation options, and even ride the bus or train with them to make sure they are comfortable.

6. Be Proactive

Once you have had the discussion and you all have come to an agreement that it is time to hang up the keys, there are ways that you can be proactive to help ease the transition.

Make sure that you keep them connected. Start making it a habit to drop by their house and check in, even if it is just for a quick chat to keep them in the loop. Be sure to include them in family activities and outings. Also be sure that you offer to drive them to activities they enjoy, and urge them to connect with any friends who can drive. Suggest that they reciprocate in some way by cooking these friends dinner or inviting them over for tea.

You can also suggest other means of getting around. Ride public transportation with them and print out a schedule and map to make it accessible. Also try introducing them to new hobbies and activities that don't require them to leave the house, such as gardening, bird watching or walking the neighborhood.

Ultimately remember that you are a very important part of their lives, and your opinion and support matters. So keep trying if you don't succeed at first, and once they finally hang up the keys remember to be supportive and caring. Your presence and dedication can ease the transition and help ensure that your loved ones do not become just another statistic for car related fatalities.

At American In-Home Care, we always refer qualified, screened, care providers that can assist you with your in-home care needs, including transfers into and out of vehicles, and transportation. Contact a Client Care Liaison at any time to set up a free assessment of your in-home care needs; they can provide you with additional information about which care options are right for you and your family. We are available to take calls 24/7 at 1-844-505-0004.


Senior Driver Safety, 24 Hour In Home Care


7 Ways To Care For Your Mom

"Thirty million baby boomers are caring for their aging parents, often [it is] their widowed or single moms, often from far away," says Dan Tobin, MD. "This can be extraordinarily stressful for all involved."

It is sometimes difficult for children of aging parents to see their parents as they are now. It is difficult to come to terms with their aging and in turn, they choose to ignore or avoid the elephant in the room... that mom is getting old, and mom is changing.

Here are some ideas on how you can take proactive steps to improve the quality of your relationship with your mom.

  1. Schedule quality time. It is important to develop a routine and to stick to it! Spend routine quality time with your mom no matter how far away you live. Regular phone calls and regular visits help you be involved in your mom's life. "Being there" helps you monitor how she is doing with her daily living. Try to find activities that you both enjoy... but more importantly, that she enjoys doing - and do them together.
  2. Help your mother stay connected. Encourage your mom to stay connected to her community through volunteering, social and community activities, and through technology. Teach her how to stay connected with family and friends via email, through web-cam video chats, and many other senior friendly digital technologies. As people age, their world tends to get smaller, and that can lead to depression. Staying connected is so important.
  3. Focus on your mom's basic home safety and fall prevention. This is key for any senior who desires to stay safe in their own home. Click here for more info on home safety. Bonus Tip: Encourage physical mobility and exercise. This helps with bone strength, balance, and makes aging easier and safer.
  4. Rally the troops. Bring extended family together regularly for mom. Celebrate often! Remember to include her in your little everyday celebrations. It is a good idea to have siblings share the responsibility. I've heard of some siblings each taking a day of the week to call or check in on mom to ensure that regular contact is made but the burden is shared.
  5. Help mom talk about worries, concerns, fears. Depending on everyone's comfort level, it can be so helpful to ask your mom about issues - big and small. This can bring you deepen your relationship as you open up to each other. She may try to protect you by not sharing, but you may be surprised when she feels relieved that she can express her fears about the future. They are probably common fears like loss of independence, illness, frailty, etc. Getting them out and on the table might be incredibly therapeutic for everyone involved.
  6. Find high-quality affordable in-home assistance. It is not uncommon for older adults to do without, rather than asking for help. Possibly this is because they are concerned about money, but probably it is because they fear needing help - thinking it means that they will need to move. Or maybe they don't know how to go about finding help. Any help you can offer to help your mom feel comfortable with help will improve her chances of aging safely and happily in place - the desire of most.
  7. Laugh with her. Laughter is the best medicine. It releases tension and can brighten the moment. Gauge it to your mom's personality, but add as much humor to as many situations as possible. Go see a funny movie, read the funny section in the paper, laugh about a funny family memory.

It is very difficult to be part of the "sandwich generation" where you may be taking care of your parents as well as teens. If your loved one is your father, or uncle, or whomever... sub out the words mom for your relationship and adjust the pronouns as needed.

The best thing you can do for your loved one is being there, and helping them find help before they even ask. At American In-Home Care, we always refer qualified, screened, care providers that can assist you with your in-home care needs. Contact a Client Care Liaison at any time to set up a free assessment of your in-home care needs; they can provide you with options for and additional information about home care Orlando families trust. With 14 offices across the state of Florida, we offer services in Orlando and surrounding areas and are available to take calls 24/7 at 1-844-505-0004.

Long Term Nursing Care, Private Caregiver