Tag Archives: assisted living facility

The Power of a Hug

older-couple-in-loveJanuary 21st is National Hug Day, an unofficial event created by Rev. Kevin Zaborney in 1986.  Although it is not a public holiday, it is worthy of celebration.  The idea behind National Hug Day is to encourage people to reach out and hug a family member, friend, or maybe even a stranger more often.  No matter whom you decide to hug, the mental and physical health benefits are the same to all involved.

Rev. Zaborney realized that after the holidays, many people suffered from low spirits.  Therefore, he selected January 21st because it fell between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and Valentine’s Day.

Studies have shown that there are many health benefits related to human contact.  These studies have found that human contact improves both psychological and physical development.  Human contact, especially hugging can:

·      Help build a good immune system

·      Decrease the risk of heart disease

·      Decrease pain

·      Enhance alertness and performance

·      Decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in women

In a study of couples, a couple that hugs for 20 seconds has a higher level of oxytocin, which acts as a bonding hormone, than those who don’t.  According to the American Psychosomatic Society, a hug with a romantic partner can reduce stress and its harmful physical effects. 

Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, has studied the benefits of touch for many years.  Dr. Field found that in a study where elderly volunteers who were trained to give massages to infants experienced improved mood with less anxiety or depression, decreased levels of stress hormones, more social contacts and fewer doctor visits after just three weeks of contact.

 In another study, it was found that adults who had no human contact had higher blood pressure and heart rates.

So how many hugs does a person need?  Researchers suggest:

·      Four hugs a day for survival

·      Eight hugs a day for maintenance

·      Twelve hugs a day for growth

So what about seniors, those who live alone or are housebound?  How about a pet?

Older Man Hugging a CatIn a three-year study at Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, of almost six thousand people, pet owners had lower blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-smokers.  Pets have a calming effect.  People with pets do a better job of recovering from serious illness or injury and managing chronic conditions.  Pets depend on us to take care of them and to love them.  All of this takes attentions away from ourselves.  We are not only a source of love and comfort to our pets, but all that love and comfort is returned unconditionally.

Especially for the elderly, disabled, terminally ill, long term care residents or caregivers, the gift of touch is the most powerful healing you can offer another and give to yourself.  So what’s stopping you?  Start hugging!  It’s free and so easy to give. 

 

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Baby Boomer Tsunami

I had the pleasure of being the guest on Hello, Dr. CJ’s radio program today and we had a very informative discussion on baby boomers and assisted living.  If you are struggling with a declining loved one or are in need of assisted living yourself, please click the link below and listen in.  You will hear some very insightful advice!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hellodrcj/2013/04/05/hello-dr-cj-whats-life-about#.UV9eES4lku0.facebook

Hello Dr. CJ

How Do I Know It’s Time For Assisted Living?

KissingCouple_000These are a few of the most important questions I ask families when we are conducting an evaluation on a client that may need assisted living.  If you are still unsure as to whether they need in-home care or an assisted living setting, please feel free to call me to discuss the situation.  With just one phone call, I can help inform you on your options and possibly help with any necessary resources.  (480) 419-4202   http://www.assistedlivingadvantage.com

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, it is time to consider assisted living…

Can they respond appropriately in an emergency to help themselves or others?

Do you worry that they can no longer determine if they are in danger and would not know how to react appropriately?  For instance, if there were a fire in the home, would they alert everyone, call 911 and get out?  If you are a married couple and you are the caregiver, do you trust that your spouse would be able to assist you and get help if you had a heart attack or some other catastrophic incident?

Do they need 24/7 care?

If this is the case, it is obvious that they need assistance.  However, do you understand that the costs of bringing 24-hour care into a private home are often considerably more than moving them to an assisted living community?  It is in your best interests to understand the costs of all options available to you.

Are they able to manage their own medications?

If the answer is no, then this could be a life or death situation.  You don’t want to wait until they end up in the hospital because they overdosed or forgot to take a life-sustaining medication.  An option you would want to consider is a community that would manage their medications and make sure they are taking the proper dosages and at the scheduled times.

Are their cognitive skills such as the ability to reason or their judgment impaired?

Are they making decisions in their best interests?  Are they putting themselves in danger or vulnerable situations?

Is their short or long-term memory impaired?

This can greatly affect their quality of life, especially if they are living on their own.  It can also affect those around them when repeated phone calls are made for the same questions or emergency trips occur to check in with your loved one because they can’t remember if they’ve eaten, taken their meds, etc.

Are they frequently confused or afraid to be alone?

Do they swear that nobody has visited them in a long time when you know a family member was just there yesterday?  Are they oriented as to where they are and what day it is?  This could very well be memory loss.

Are they increasingly becoming isolated from social functions?

This is another question that could be related to memory loss.  Perhaps they can’t follow conversations at the dinner table any more so they refuse to go to family get-togethers.  Maybe they recognize the faces at their weekly Bridge game, but can’t remember the names, so they are embarrassed and quit going.  When a person becomes isolated, their physical and mental health declines much more rapidly.

Do they have an unsteady gait or frequent falls?

You don’t want to wait until there is a fall and they seriously injure themselves.  I’ve had clients that were fall risks but insisted on staying home because they hadn’t fallen yet.  Then they fall one day, end up in the hospital, only to be told that the injuries are severe enough they cannot go back home.  This is devastating!

Do they have an increasing need for help with bathing, dressing, or other personal activities?

Are they no longer able to cook, clean or shop without assistance?

Do they wear the same clothes over and over again?  Are their clothes dirty?

With assisted living, these will all be taken care of for them.  They will be able to have help with their personal hygiene, laundry and housekeeping.  Meals will be provided for them and they won’t have to worry about cooking or grocery shopping.

It’s always difficult to suggest to a person that they are no longer able to care for themselves and that they need to move to an assisted living community.  But trust me, their safety and well-being must come first.  With these questions, you can rest assured that you are evaluating critical issues and warning signs and should be able to discuss them with you loved one, their doctor or anyone else involved in their care and reach the right decision!

Medicaid Gets Harder To Tap

There is a great article in The Wall Street Journal by Kelly Greene concerning Medicaid and long term care.  If you are wondering if Medicare or Medicaid can assist with the costs, this is a must read!  Thank you Kelly for such great information!

Medicaid Gets Harder To Tap by Kelly Greene

Families hoping to use Medicaid to help pay for long-term care are facing tougher restrictions—though some states are getting stricter than others.

In Texarkana, Texas, for example, you can get Medicaid to pay for a nursing-home stay after simply buying an annuity with any savings that exceed the qualifying limit, says John Ross IV, a lawyer who specializes in elder-law issues there.

[31family] Thomas Kuhlenbeck

But just across the state line, Arkansas’s Medicaid program has told him it won’t accept the same practice, he says.

Medicare doesn’t cover much in the way of long-term care. That falls primarily to Medicaid, the jointly funded state and federal program intended for the poor. The program now is shouldering 40% of the country’s long-term-care spending, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

To be eligible for Medicaid in most states, you generally can have no more than $2,000 in cash and investments, along with a house and a car. (Spouses are allowed to keep varying amounts as well in different states.) In the past, regulators looked at any gifts you made up to three years before applying for Medicaid. In 2006, a new federal law increased the “look back” period for most transfers to five years.

States are in charge of qualifying people needing long-term care for Medicaid, working within federal rules, and that leaves room for different interpretations, says David Zumpano, an estate-planning lawyer and CPA in New Hartford, N.Y.

“States are adopting the Nancy Reagan strategy—they just say ‘no,'” he says.

In some cases, states—many of which are anticipating budget shortfalls—are trying to retrieve money from the estates of people who used Medicaid to pay for long-term care, Mr. Zumpano says. Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia are all tinkering with ways to recover Medicaid expenses.

What’s more, some states are proposing Medicaid cuts to routine dental care in nursing homes, the elimination of adult day-health programs, and increasing the number of daily living activities that patients need help with to qualify.

So-called Medicaid planning—paring down assets in order to qualify—raises ethical issues for many people. And depending on where you live, Medicaid-funded long-term care may not provide the options you would prefer, such as home care or assisted living.

Still, there are situations in which asset-rich families—particularly those who own farms or timberland—need assistance, says Mr. Ross in Texarkana.

Here’s how to preserve some assets and possibly still qualify for help.

Get a professional opinion. Consider consulting a lawyer who specializes in elder care to find out what the current laws are where your loved one needing long-term care lives—and how the rules are changing. There are attorney directories at Naela.org and ElderLawAnswers.com.

Give the house but keep the cash. There is a waiting-period penalty for making a gift within five years of applying to Medicaid for long-term care, determined by dividing the local cost of care into the amount you gave away. So, for example, if care costs $8,000 a month in your state and you gave away $80,000, you would not be eligible for Medicaid for 10 months.

One strategy: If you have a house and some savings, and you need to enter a nursing home, you could transfer the house to your children and use your cash to pay for care during the penalty period, Mr. Zumpano says.

Fill the gap with insurance. John McManus, an estate-planning attorney in New Providence, N.J., has clients who are buying long-term-care insurance to cover the five-year look-back period. That way, they can use their assets until coverage kicks in, and then transfer what is left to their children.

“It’s a way to hedge their bets without having to buy lifetime long-term-care insurance coverage, which has gotten really expensive,” he says.

Create a trust. States are scrutinizing trusts along with asset transfers, but if you set up an irrevocable asset-protection trust more than five years in advance, it can work if it’s “properly drafted,” says Ann-Margaret Carrozza, an elder-law attorney in New York.

The key is to give the parent as many protections and powers as possible while ensuring the trust remains irrevocable, she says. Parents setting up such a trust also need to make sure that it spells out that they can live in the house and that no one can sell it without written consent.

When should you set up the trust? Ms. Carrozza’s rule of thumb is in your 50s. “The people who do it are adult children who have seen their parents go on Medicaid and lose their homes,” she says.

How To Find Quality Care For An Elderly Parent

“Recently, I was interviewed by Dana Anspach, a Phoenix financial advisor, and author of the column Money Over 55.  She wanted to know what I search for and my process for finding quality care for my clients seeking assisted living.  Here is the link for that article…    ~ Becky

http://moneyover55.about.com/od/postretirementplanning/a/How-To-Find-Quality-Care-For-An-Elderly-Parent.htm

Pet Enrich The Lives Of Our Elderly

I am a committed animal lover.  I cannot imagine a life without my furry loved ones any more than a life without my human loved ones.   During my years working with the elderly and helping them find assisted living, I have often seen families dealing with the trauma of moving a loved one to assisted living and knowing that they will have to separate that person from their beloved pet.

Thankfully, I have seen a very positive trend in assisted living communities during the past few years.  Communities are recognizing this important, life enhancing relationship and, more and more, are becoming pet friendly.  Allowing a person to keep their pet, which they almost always identify as their child, gives them a sense of hope and purpose.

If you are considering moving a loved one to assisted living and they own a pet, please do your research and try to locate an appropriate community that will allow them to keep the pet.  It will do wonders for their qualify of life!    ~ Becky

EVEN IN THE ELDER YEARS, LIFE REQUIRES US TO MAKE BIG MOVES

Are you one of the many who are faced with the fear that moving your parents to a care community will disrupt their lives and make them unhappy?  Do you worry that you are altering their lives in a way that reduce the quality of life?  I helped a woman who is a life coach with finding a care community and moving her parents from New York to Arizona.  As always, there was a great deal of concern whether she was doing the right thing and whether her parents would adapt and embrace the change.  Recently, she has been writing a series of articles about this process and the most current shares the big move.  If you are struggling with the decision to provide more care for your loved one and that means moving them, please read this positive true story and know that it can be the best thing in the world for your loved one.    ~ Becky

http://home.ezezine.com/25_3/25_3-2011.04.05.05.30.archive.html