Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Long Term Care Insurance

Barbara knows that her mother is getting older and, although she is in fine health now, she is starting to prepare for the financial responsibility of caring for her elderly loved one. With rising healthcare costs, Barbara is worried that she and her husband will not be able to afford to support both her mother and their children. While doing a bit of research on available insurance plans, Barbara discovered long-term care insurance.
A type of insurance of which many people are unaware, long-term insurance may be just  the thing to help Barbara take care of her mother. A unique insurance plan, long-term insurance covers many aspects of care that health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare do not, including:
  • Home care
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Respite care (short-term care allowing families who look after their elderly loved ones to take a break)
  • Hospice
  • Nursing home facilities
  • Specialty facilities, such as homes for elderly individuals who have Alzheimer's Disease
These benefits will be of great value to individuals who need assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Oftentimes, elderly individuals who are in great health need a bit of assistance with these tasks; however, paying for senior care can become expensive and difficult to afford for elderly individuals and their families. With long-term care insurance, you can be sure that your elderly loved one will have access to the care they need without having to worry about its cost.
In addition to the services that a long-term care insurance plan covers, it also provides other benefits to the elderly individuals who use it. First and foremost, their children, like Barbara, do not have to stress over the financial burden that senior care can present. Furthermore, many premiums are tax deductable for both individuals and businesses.
There are several different types of long-term care policies, so it is recommended that you speak with an insurance professional to determine which policy is right for you or your elderly loved one. The earlier you purchase a premium the less expensive it may be, so you are encouraged to learn more about your long-term care options as soon as possible. Barbara and her family have found security in long-term care insurance, and you may be able to as well!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Obesity in the Elderly

Hank is genuinely worried about his father's health. At age 70, Stan has put on a great deal of weight that has started to interfere with his ability to perform basic daily functions, such as walking and dressing. Not only does Stan have a difficult time sitting and standing, Hank knows that he is at a greater risk for diabetes and heart disease because of his obesity.
Unfortunately, elderly obesity is on the rise (although trends have shown that obesity has increased across all generations, not just within the elderly population). Stan and other elderly individuals who battle with obesity face a unique challenge, as they must cope with both excess weight gain and the many signs of aging that take shape as an individual grows older. For this reason, the approach used to maintain their weight is different from that used to help younger people shed excess pounds.
In an article on DocNews.com, a part of DiabetesJournals.org, Bruce Goldfarb asserts that, generally, people have the most body fat during their sixties. While losing weight is important in maintaining health, and staving off diabetes and heart disease, Goldfarb notes that weight loss has been associated with mortality in elderly individuals. For this reason, the weight loss tactics developed by healthcare professionals must focus on a loss of body fat without an accompanying loss of lean muscle mass. To help elderly individuals lose their extra weight without becoming frail, Goldfarb's article notes that progressive resistance training may be a good option.
Due to underlying illnesses and the effects of aging, many elderly individuals who suffer from obesity are unable to perform high intensity workouts that are geared toward weight loss. While younger generations may benefit from daily trips to the gym, elderly individuals should take a less intense and more targeted approach to weight loss.
If your elderly loved one is suffering from obesity, talk to their doctor to ensure that the appropriate approach to weight loss is maintained. Although obesity can lead to heart disease and diabetes, overworking the body can cause elderly individuals to become frail and may cause damage to their delicate systems. Hank knows that his father needs to lose weight, and, with the help of his doctor, Stan has been able to stick to a targeted, healthy weight loss plan.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Managing Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that can be very dangerous if not properly managed; however, by taking the right steps, you can help your elderly loved one maintain control over diabetes. When managing diabetes, there are three areas of concern that should be addressed: diet, exercise, and medication.
  • Diet: Diabetes occurs when an individual experiences a higher than average blood sugar level. The goal in managing diabetes, then, is to keep blood sugar levels, or blood glucose levels, within a healthy range. A large part of this task is a healthy diet.
    • Consult with a doctor to determine a meal plan for your elderly loved one. Based upon the severity of their condition, as well as any other medical issues, the doctor will be able to recommend which foods to avoid and which to add to their diet. Typically, foods that are high in sugar will need to be avoided. Additionally, the doctor may suggest steering clear of simple carbohydrates and fats.
    • Maintain a regular routine. To keep their blood sugar levels balanced, ensure that your elderly loved one is eating regularly, not just one or two times per day.
  • Exercise: Being active allows the body to utilize blood sugar and keep blood glucose levels down. It also increases the sensitivity of the body to insulin, the hormone that turns glucose into energy.
    • Discuss a regular exercise plan for your elderly loved one with their doctor. The more challenging this plan is the better, but even light to moderate activity can help manage diabetes.
  • Medication: Your elderly loved one's doctor may prescribe medication to help keep their diabetes under control. Learn more about this medication, including when and how it should be administered, and help your elderly loved one remember to take it. If they are starting a new medication, help monitor their blood sugar levels to ensure that the dosage and timing are correct.
Helping your elderly loved one manage diabetes can be a challenge, but senior care providers can help by reinforcing the importance of appropriate diet, exercise, and medication administration on a daily basis. Although diabetes may be a dangerous condition, it can be managed with the proper level of care.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Overcoming Resistance to Care

Although senior care may be the best option for your elderly loved one, they may be resistant to the idea. Many people, especially those who are in need of home care services provided by professionals, may feel as though they are losing their independence by accepting help. Although pride may become an obstacle, there are ways to overcome resistance to senior care and ensure that your elderly loved one is given the attention they need.
Resistance to home care may occur for several reasons. Some elderly individuals do not want help, as they feel that accepting home care services compromises their independence while signifying that they are no longer capable of caring for themselves. Other elderly individuals may resist due to the cost of the care or their own misgivings about allowing another person into their home.
The best way to overcome resistance is to involve your elderly loved one in the home care selection process. Try not to take control of their lives; instead, ask them about the things they may need help with throughout the day. Furthermore, consider their preferences when determining who to hire. Does your elderly loved one prefer a caretaker who is the same gender as they are? Are they more comfortable with someone who is willing to sit and talk with them, or do they simply want their home care professional to perform the necessary tasks? By involving them in the process of selecting a home care professional, you can show your elderly loved one that you are not trying to take control of their life and that you know that they are still capable of making decisions for themselves.
Most importantly, you should be honest with your elderly loved one and the rest of your family. When approaching the subject, make sure that your family members understand why you feel as though senior care is necessary.
Overcoming resistance to home care may be a struggle, but it is one that you cannot give up on if you are certain that senior care is the best option for your elderly loved one. By keeping these tips in mind, you and your family can make the right decision concerning home care services. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creating a Family History

Maintaining strong ties with previous generations is important, especially as your elderly loved ones get older. Understanding where your family comes from, and sharing that past with your children, is part of creating a familial bond that spans generations. Not only is understanding your family's past interesting, it allows you to get to know your relatives in a much more profound way.
Creating a lasting family history requires you to put an effort into learning about your family's past and maintaining its traditions in the future. Here are some easy ways that you can start to build up your family's history:
  1. Do some genealogy research. You may be surprised to learn where your family's roots are planted. In addition to simply finding the names of your ancestors, take the time to learn more about the countries they came from, the cultures they were raised in, and the challenges they faced.
  2. Talk with your elderly loved ones. There are certainly many details about the pasts of your parents or grandparents that you do not know. Schedule a time to sit down with your elderly loved ones and speak about their lives.
  3. Scan all pictures into a computer. This will preserve the family's history for generations to come.
  4. Talk with your children and grandchildren about your family's past. Sharing the details that you have discovered is the best way to build a lasting family history. While speaking with them, encourage the younger generations of your family to ask questions and do some research on their own.
  5. Make a point to maintain family traditions. A rich family history is one steeped in tradition. Learn about the roots of your family's rituals, from the decoration of a Christmas tree to the celebrations at Thanksgiving, and share these stories as you act out these traditions. This will give younger generations a better appreciation of family customs.
Creating a lasting family history takes some work, but doing so will enable you to help enrich the lives of generations both young and old. By creating a bond between the generations of your family, you can help your loved ones better understand and appreciate where they come from. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Planning for Long Term Care

Long-Term Care: Planning for the Inevitable
The aging process is a natural part of life, and as such we all know that we are going to get older. Although the inevitability of long-term healthcare may seem obvious, many people do not plan for the financial challenges that long-term care can present. If you are taking care of an elderly loved one or are simply looking to avoid putting your caretakers through the difficulties of paying for long-term healthcare when you get older, here are some tips to help you plan for the future.
1.       Ensure that proper legal action has been taken. Your elderly loved one should complete the proper legal forms to allow you or another senior care provider the power to make decisions pertaining to their health and estate. The necessary forms include a Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Durable Power of Attorney. Through this paperwork, your elderly loved one can appoint someone to make financial and health-related decisions, as well as set guidelines through which those decisions are to be made.
2.       Review all necessary legal documents. By having important documents, such as Social Security forms, in order, caretakers will be better able to ensure that all necessary actions are taken when the time comes. Some items to review include: deeds, titles, wills, trust fund documents, credit history, insurance coverage (both life and health), and mortgage terms.
3.       Confirm and pay for funeral arrangements. Elderly individuals can help ease the impact of their passing on their families by arranging their funerals and leaving behind the funds to cover them. Not only does this ensure that elderly loved ones are given the memorials they want, it allows the family to quickly put their plans into action and decreases the stress that caretakers experience.
Long-term healthcare is something that seems to sneak up on many families. Instead of leaving preparations until the last minute, elderly individuals and their caretakers can prepare for long-term needs early. Doing so will prevent them from having to make quick decisions, will decrease financial stress, and will allow senior care professionals and family members to know exactly what elderly loved ones expect from their long-term care.