Friday, June 29, 2012

Tips on Medicare

The senior care professionals of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have helped many families through the Medicare process. Although it seems like an incomprehensible mass of information and forms, there are some wonderful resources available to help make sense of the Medicare program., or Medicare Information Source, is a website that provides information to individuals who need clarification regarding Medicare requirements, policies, documentation, and more. Here are some of the great pieces of information that this website provides:

  • You can secure Medicare coverage in two different ways: original Medicare or the Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • If you choose the original Medicare plan, you may also access a prescription drug plan or Medigap Insurance Policy, which is a supplement to Medicare.
  • Original Medicare is composed of two Parts, A and B. Medicare Advantage Plan is made up of Part C.
  • To qualify for the Medicare Advantage Plan, you must have Parts A and B before you can access Part C.
  • Medicare Advantage Plan will cover Part A and Part B expenses. Additionally, in many cases, it will also offer coverage pertaining to vision, hearing, wellness, and dental.
  • Medicare Advantage Plan cannot be supplemented with a Medigap policy. Additionally, it is not normally available in conjunction with an independent Medicare prescription drug plan.
  • Some seniors qualify for financial assistance regarding their Medicare coverage. One of these assistance programs is Extra Help, which covers prescription drug costs for qualifying individuals.
  • Medicare Savings Programs can assist in paying for Medicare costs associated with premiums and some of the expenses pertaining to Part A and Part B coverage. The four Medicare Savings Programs include: Qualified Medicare Beneficiary, Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary, Qualifying Individual, and Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals.
This information should provide some insight into the way in which Medicare is organized; however, there is much more information to dig through in order to determine which Medicare program your senior may qualify for. The best way to unravel the complexities of Medicare is to do your homework regarding the different requirements, coverage, prescription plans, and more. To learn more about Medicare—including the different plans—visit or call your local senior care professionals.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mourning the Loss of a Parent

The loss of any loved one is a difficult experience; however, the loss of a parent can prove extremely challenging to overcome. Your parents are there for you over the course of your entire life, helping you through obstacles and cheering you on as you move forward in your journey. When you provide senior care to your parents, you are able to return the support and attention that they have bestowed upon you. As such, it can prove exceedingly difficult to mourn the loss of a beloved parent.

The senior care professionals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have helped many individuals through the loss of a mother or a father. While it is unfortunate that this is a natural part of life, the residents of the Chapel Hill community have a strong group of senior care providers to call upon should they need guidance.
Here are some of the tips that senior care professionals have offered when helping caregivers through the loss of a parent:

  1. Allow yourself to grieve. A natural process, grieving is an important step in your emotional health and wellbeing. Take the time you need to heal from the loss of your loved one without letting your grief spin out of control.
  2. Try to stay positive. While this may seem like a tall order, focus on the good memories you have with your parent and the positive things they brought into their life. While this will be bittersweet, it can help you develop an attitude that revolves around gratitude, rather than the pain of the loss of your loved one.
  3. Remember that other people are also grieving the loss of your loved one and reach out to them for support. While you may feel as though only your siblings can understand the depth of your loss, and it is true that this loss will mean something different to different members of your family, remember that you have people who love you to help you through your grief.
Losing a parent is one of the most difficult experiences, but by focusing on the positive and relying on a network of support you can mourn the loss of your parent while keeping a positive attitude.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Home Care vs. Assisted Living

The senior care industry offers a wide variety of care options for your elderly loved one. From assisted living facilities to home care services, there is an option to fit virtually every situation. But how are you to choose between home care and an assisted living facility? What do these different services provide—and how can they benefit your elderly loved one?

Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities offer a community in which your elderly loved one will live with other seniors. This form of senior care provides basic services, including community events, assistance with activities of daily living, and resident supervision.

While the official definition of assisted living facilities varies from one state to the next, these organizations serve as a halfway point between independent living and the round the clock care provided in a nursing home. While these facilities do offer a strong community and regular supervision, they do not allow seniors to lead the independent lifestyles that many of them enjoy.

Home Care Services
Home care is a form of senior care that allows a certified elder care provider to offer assistance to your elderly loved one in the comfort of their own home. These services also assist with activities of daily living; however, instead of forcing your loved one to move away from their home and into an unfamiliar community, they allow them to continue aging in place.

Home care services enable seniors to retain their independent lifestyles without having to sacrifice their safety. Senior care professionals provide daily assistance with necessary tasks as well as companionship and, in some cases, transportation. As such, your elderly loved one can benefit from the services of a senior care professional without having to completely uproot their lives.
Choosing the senior care services that your loved one needs may seem like a difficult task; however, with the right information, you can make a decision in which your family can be confident. With the previous facts and a bit more targeted research on your part, you can choose a local service that best sees to the senior care needs of your elderly loved one.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

When providing home care to an elderly loved one, it is important that legal issues are taken care of to ensure that the best possible care can be given. For many seniors, this involves granting durable power of attorney to a trusted friend or family member. While power of attorney is a common legal matter, it is something that many elderly individuals and their caregivers are unsure of.

Melissa and her grandmother, Doris, live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Melissa has been taking care of Doris for five years, and in that time has come to understand her grandmother's needs and wishes concerning her health. Doris has experienced a series of strokes over the last year and decided that it was time to grant durable power of attorney to Melissa. The two visited Doris' lawyer to learn more about the process and fill out the required paperwork.
As Doris' lawyer explained, durable power of attorney grants individuals the right to act on behalf of someone else. If this power is legally recognized, then the agent, or the person who has been granted this power, is able to make decisions that are seen as legitimate in the eyes of the law. Here are some facts about power of attorney that Melissa and Doris found helpful when they were navigating the legal process.

  • Durable power of attorney is also called power of attorney, POA, and letter of attorney, although there is one major difference between durable power of attorney and the other forms of this appointment (see below).  
  • Power of attorney allows one individual to legally act on behalf of another.
  • The elderly individual granting power of attorney is called the grantor, donor, or principal.
  • The individual receiving power of attorney is called the attorney, agent, or donee. In some cases, they may also be referred to as the attorney-in-fact.
  • The grantor must be deemed in sound mental condition when appointing power of attorney.
  • Durable power of attorney is granted when the document states that the appointment is to continue should the grantor lose mental capacity.  
Melissa is much more confident in her home care abilities now that she knows Doris trusts her to make decisions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Communicating with Mom's Doctor

A major aspect of quality home care is the ability to communicate with your elderly loved one's doctor. This is important in terms of maintaining an understanding of your senior's medical needs, of any symptoms or health conditions you should look out for, and of the purpose of prescribed medications and other treatments. Paul and his mother, Marlene, who live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, know very well the importance of maintaining clear lines of communication with physicians. Doing so may not always be easy, but it is possible.

Why Communicating with Your Senior's Doctor is Important
Paul realized that he knew nothing about Marlene's health when he started providing home care to his mother. She was on several medications, and he administered them as directed, but he did not know if he should be looking for any adverse side effects or even what these medications were treating. He decided that it was time to speak with Marlene's doctor.

After sitting down with her doctor, Paul recognized that understanding her medical condition and the purpose of her prescriptions would make it much easier to provide home care. After the meeting, he was confident that he could provide the level of care that his mother needed because, finally, he understood what that level of care was.
Setting an Appointment with Your Senior's Doctor

Due to HIPAA and other privacy policies, you may find it difficult to speak to your elderly loved one's doctor about their condition; however, with the permission of your senior, you should be able to talk to their doctor about their medical needs.
Paul scheduled a consultation with Marlene's doctor in order to speak to him about her medical condition. Although this worked best for him, it is true that alternatives may prove more effective in other doctor's offices. For this reason, it is recommended that you call ahead and explain the situation. Tell the receptionist that you are providing home care to your elderly loved one and need to speak to the doctor about their medical condition. The receptionist should then be able to tell you what kind of appointment will work best.

After your initial meeting with the doctor, Paul and Marlene recommend accompanying your loved one to subsequent appointments to keep up to date on medical needs.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Client Testimonial...

We are very proud of our service to the seniors in our community.  This from one of our clients...
"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all you have done for my parents.  We are grateful for the care and compassion they have received from you and your Aides.  The wisdom you have shared in regard to elder care has been valuable and we are very appreciative of it."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Preparing for a Medical Emergency

Senior care providers often have to be prepared for medical emergencies, particularly if the elderly individuals they take care of have health conditions. Manny, a senior care professional in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, knows all too well the importance of preparing for the possibility of a medical emergency.

Manny provides senior care to several elderly members of the community, one of which suffers from diabetes. Diabetes is a dangerous condition that can cause many severe and even fatal complications. For this reason, being prepared for the adverse affects that such a medical condition can cause is imperative. Manny talked to the family of this particular patient, whose name is Joshua. He instructed the family to maintain an emergency kit of medical supplies and to teach all of the children in the family how to call 911 in case of emergency.
A few months after Manny started providing senior care to Joshua, he received a call from Joshua's niece. Joshua had lapsed into a coma due to a spike in his blood sugar. One of his grandchildren, who was 12 years old, dialed 911 and went through the list of emergency instructions that Manny had left with the family. Thanks to her quick thinking, Joshua survived and is back in the comfort of his home.

Senior care services are meant to keep elderly individuals safe while providing a level of security for both seniors and their families. Manny's work with Joshua's family illustrates the value that proper preparation for a medical emergency holds. To keep your senior safe, you and your family should create a medical emergency plan and educate all of your family members concerning its execution.
Here are some tips for preparing for a medical emergency:

  • Keep emergency supplies, such as insulin, an epi-pen, etc., in one central location.
  • With the supply kit, store instructions about how to use these items.
  • Teach all children in the family how to dial 911 and how to recognize when a medical emergency is occurring.
Senior care professionals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, are available to help your family prepare for a medical emergency if you would like assistance.