Tag Archives: senior care

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.

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.