Tag Archives: Caregiving

5 Tips for Self-Care on a Budget


The concept of self-care is not a new one. We hear it emphasized on the news, in magazines and from our favorite celebrities. With just over 18% of the American population suffering from anxiety, self-care is more important than ever. But, it’s easy to say “get a massage” or “go to Cancun” when in reality, your budget may not allow it. From this, I’ve learned a few tricks to still treat and take care of yourself, while staying on budget.

Tip 1: Take Glowing Bubble Baths

I’m a huge advocate for glowsticks. You may be wondering what this has to do with bubble baths, but it all started when I moved to a new city and didn’t know anyone. Through volunteering in the community, I met a few people and was invited out to a birthday party one night. I was nervous, though because I was going by myself and was scared I wouldn’t know what to talk about. I went to the dollar store to calm my nerves (my favorite place, but more on that later) and stumbled on an entire aisle full of glowsticks. I brought some with me that night, and they’ve been my go-to icebreaker ever since. You may be surprised to hear that grown adults get just as excited to see glowsticks as kids do.

When I started my new job in my new city, I was anxious to say the least. One day, I brought glowsticks to a co-worker with kids. He told me the next morning about how much fun his kids had with the glowsticks when they threw them into a bubble bath. That thought had never even occurred to me. I went back to the dollar store and stocked up on bubble bath, a 20 pack of glowsticks and 3 candles. It cost me about $5. When I got home, I filled up the tub, turned off the lights, lit my candles and relaxed in the neon glow of my bubble bath. I felt like a kid again!

Tip 2: Volunteer in Your Community

It’s an amazing thing to help someone else, especially someone you love, when they need the support. And they’re so lucky to have you! But, being a caregiver can be exhausting. You may think that the last thing you’d want to do is use the free time you have volunteering. Trust me, though, taking some time to volunteer for a cause that you really care about can be a nice break from your daily responsibilities. You can volunteer once a month, or even just once year!

It’s also a great way to make friends. As mentioned, I volunteer in my community every weekend at the farmers market for about 3 hours in the morning. I work the coffee cart, and have since made some of my best friends there. I love being able to meet and interact with people from all walks of life – and the free coffee I get to drink is definitely a plus! If you’re not sure where to look for opportunities, check out VolunteerMatch. You can set up a free profile and they’ll alert you when opportunities arise that you may be interested in.

Tip 3: Take Mini Road Trips

I had to buy my first car when I moved. I grew up in Chicago, so I never needed one. Actually, I think it’s completely impractical to own a car there. Parking is impossible and expensive, traffic is nuts and your car is constantly covered in salt from the 2 feet of snow in the winter. So when I bought one before I moved, I wasn’t sure I’d know how to take care of it. Since buying it, I have a whole new sense of freedom. The city I’m in now has limited public transit, so it’s necessary to have a car. But the even bigger bonus is that I get to take little road trips once in a while. When I drive back home to Chicago, I’ll stop in a little off-the-highway town and grab dinner at the local diner or stay in budget hotel for the night. The last one I stayed in was about $55 for the night. It was fun to stop for a minute and relax in a town I’d probably never go to again, and not break the bank in doing so.

Road trips are fun and can be completely on your schedule. Just remember, though, that if you or your loved one have Medicare to make sure you’re covered while traveling. Some plans have different service areas depending on where you are.

Tip 4: DIY Spa Days

Remember how I said I love the dollar store? That’s because you can find cheaper alternatives of luxury items like bubble bath, face masks, manicure sets and nail polish. I even found a $1 eye mask there – the ones you put in the freezer before using. The combination of these items can make for a spa day under $10. But don’t forget to grab some glowsticks!

Tip 5: Try Journaling

There are countless studies that have proven the benefits of journaling. Nevertheless, it took a lot of encouragement for me to try it. I just couldn’t understand how writing about my day in a book every night would make me feel better, but it works! You can find fun journals on Amazon or Etsy. And of course, at the dollar store. You can pick up some stickers and decorate it yourself. Or, this could be a craft to do with your loved one you’re caring for, your kids or your grand kids.

You deserve to take time for yourself. Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you treat yourself while sticking to your budget.

Author: Caroline Gillard is a public relations professional and freelance writer, focused on the health care and finance industries. Known to do stand-up on the side (and after the right amount of drinks), she aims to bring comedy to her writing while providing useful information for readers. carolinegillard10@gmail.com.

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Hospice Care: What To Expect For A Terminally Ill Loved One


Hospice care can be a relief for terminally ill individuals and their families, but there are so many things to consider when you’re getting started. Making sure your loved one is well taken care of is a priority, but you also have to think about keeping them comfortable and happy during their stay, as well as how to pay for the process. For seniors, Medicare covers hospice care, but there are co-payments for prescriptions and respite care. Talking to your loved one about their final wishes is also crucial, but this can be hard for both of you, and the thought of initiating such a conversation when they’re very ill can be difficult.

Creating a plan for your loved one will help to ease both your minds, so think about the best way to start a conversation about their needs and how you can help. Talking about what your loved one wants as far as their final wishes will allow you to plan for the cost while ensuring that they’ll feel as though they are being listened to, so don’t be afraid to bring up the difficult topics.

Read on for some tips on how to get started when your loved one needs hospice care.

Have a conversation about final wishes

Understanding what your loved one wants as far as final arrangements is important and necessary. Not only will it help give them peace of mind, it will allow you to plan for a very difficult time and prepare both financially and emotionally. Start a conversation about whether your loved one has a will and find out how they want to handle their end-of-life arrangements, including the funeral and/or memorial. Since hospice care can be expensive and health insurance doesn’t always cover the cost, you’ll also need to find out whether your loved one has made arrangements for their care in the long-term.

Keep your loved one comfortable

When someone you care about is very sick, it can be extremely difficult to watch them suffer. The pain and discomfort of a terminal illness is very taxing on the body, so it’s crucial to help your loved one find a bit of comfort where they can. Soft blankets, photos of family and friends, and familiar items from home will go a long way toward helping them feel more relaxed and will boost both their mood and their mental health.

Get to know all you can about the doctors

Hospice staff are often well-trained, caring individuals who do all they can to help their patients stay comfortable, but it may help you to get to know the people who are taking care of your loved one. Ask about their training and make an effort to find out all you can about their daily routine; this will help you feel connected and involved in your loved one’s care.

Help your loved one find peace

Mental and emotional comfort is just as important as the physical. Talk to your loved one about their spiritual needs while they’re in hospice care, as this can help them come to terms with their illness in a hopeful way and ease their own grief or sadness. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, either with you or with a counselor or therapist who can help them process the overwhelming feelings that come with being in hospice care.

Hospice care can provide so much for a terminally ill individual, but it’s important to be prepared as much as possible for your loved one’s stay. Knowing what to expect will help you manage the cost, emotional burden, and grief that accompanies a very difficult time.

Author

Ms. Duncan has been a caregiver to her 85-year-old mother for quite some time, and enjoys sharing caregiving tips she has gleaned from her own experience.  You can contact June Duncan via email at june@riseupforcaregivers.org

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How Seniors Can Use Medicare and Self-Care to Manage Diabetes


We welcome back guest writer June Duncan to The Purple Jacket.

Diabetes is extremely prevalent among seniors aged 65 and older, with one in four living with the disease, according to statistics cited by Senior Lifestyle. The most common diabetes among seniors is type 2 diabetes, which is caused by insulin resistance in which your body is unable to use insulin properly. Whether you’ve been living with the disease for some time or were just recently diagnosed, you’ll quickly discover just how expensive it can be. To help offset the cost and manage your diabetes, combine your Medicare coverage with proper self-care so that diabetes doesn’t hold you back from living your best life.

Educate Yourself on the Symptoms

When a sudden health issue crops up, it’s easy to dismiss it, but any sort of change in your body is your body’s way of trying to get your attention. Among seniors, the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes are lethargy, chronic weakness, urinary tract infections, excessive thirst, numbness/tingling in the hands, arms, legs, and feet, and dental issues such as inflamed gums or mouth sores. Before you start experiencing full-on diabetic symptoms, an elevated blood glucose level is an indicator of prediabetes. Medicare Part B covers two diabetes screenings per year if a doctor notices any risk factors. You are also eligible for the two screenings if two or more of the following apply: you are age 65 and older, have a family history of diabetes or gestational diabetes, or you are overweight.

Diabetes Impacts More Than Just Glucose Levels

You already know that type 2 diabetes means your body doesn’t use insulin properly, so your body is unable to regulate your blood glucose levels. However, high blood sugar levels can cause various health complications. For example, diabetes often causes dry mouth, which can lead to gum disease and cavities. The changes in blood glucose levels can produce blurry vision, and as time passes, you are at greater risk for diabetic eye issues such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. For this reason, it is important that your Medicare coverage is working with you so that you can manage your diabetes and any health issues that may arise. Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage in areas such as dental and vision that regular Medicare doesn’t cover. If you think you could benefit from a Medicare Advantage plan, do some research on the plans available through Aetna to see if one is right for you.

Know What Medicare Covers

When it comes to coverage for diabetes, Medicare Part B and D are what you’ll need. Part B covers blood sugar testing monitors, test strips, lancets/lancet devices, blood sugar control solutions, and special diabetic footwear to help with circulation. In addition, Part B may even cover an insulin pump and insulin since it is considered durable medical equipment (DME), but you will likely have to pay 20 percent of the cost after you’ve met your deductible. Part D covers medical supplies such as syringes, needles, alcohol swabs, gauze, and inhalable insulin devices. It also covers insulin, but not if it is dispensed via an insulin pump; in this case, it could potentially be covered by Part B as DME.

Self-Care for Diabetes Management

In addition to taking your insulin and diabetes medication, diet and exercise should be an important part of your diabetes management routine. A diabetic diet isn’t much different from a regular healthy diet. It should be filled with fruits, vegetables, fiber, lean protein, and healthy carbs and fats. Also, be sure to limit sugar, salt, fat, and cholesterol. As for exercise, opt for aerobic exercise and strength training, as both help your body better use insulin and may increase your insulin sensitivity. Stress can also increase your blood sugar, so find ways to relax, such as breathing exercises, yoga, or journaling.

Managing your diabetes requires that you adopt a new lifestyle. It also requires an investment in supplies and equipment. By taking advantage of your Medicare coverage and incorporating diabetic self-care, managing your diabetes doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive.

June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is the author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.

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How to Take the Next Step in Your Career as a Carer


Carers have an incredibly difficult job. Even those who have gone into the vocation of carer with a career in mind will face struggles. From emotional, to physical, the job of a carer is not easy. If you feel fulfilled doing it, however, it can be a very rewarding job. Those that need extra help around the house, with learning, or with dealing with their medical chores will be eternally grateful to you. When it comes to making a difference for others, carers are at the front of the line.

Types of Carers

Generally speaking, there are three main branches of carers outside of the medical industry.

·         Adult Carers

These disability carers take care of adults or seniors who need extra care or support going about their day. They can be friends or family, or you can be hired specifically to help those with advanced needs at their home.

·         Child Educator Carers

Children with disabilities, special needs, or learning disabilities are still children who deserve to learn, which is why child educator carers exist. These carers teach as well as care for their patients to ensure they receive an education and are cared for appropriately while they are at school.

·         End-of-Life Carers

End of life carers can either work in a hospice or at the home of a person in need. Their jobs are some of the most emotionally taxing, as the expectation is that you will be there to care for them right up until their death.

Deciding Which Career Route is Best for You

It can be difficult to choose which career route is best for you, but thankfully, most roles bleed into one another. The only exception, of course, is when you want to teach children who have advanced needs. You will need to achieve certifications both to be a carer and to teach.

How to Further Your Career

To further your career, you have several options.

·         Go Back to School

This is ideal for teachers who wish to specialize and therefore improve the value of their skills. With Merrimack teaching degrees, you can either obtain an M.Ed. in Moderate Disabilities or achieve an add-on license.

·         Network

Networking is essential for every career, especially if you are working on a freelance basis. You need to build up your client list or find your way into a great agency so that you can find consistent work, are paid appropriately, and above all else have a support group behind you that you can turn to if a patient’s death or suffering hurts you.

·         Visit Conferences and Events

Conferences, events, and other industry-related workshops are great ways to improve your career. They are also essential networking opportunities, so either buy a ticket yourself or convince your employer to sponsor you.

·         Know How to Negotiate

Last but not least, remember that you will need to negotiate. This means negotiating your salary, or even for a day off. You have needs as well, and you need to take care of those needs so that you can, in turn, provide the best care for your patients.

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A Guide for Carers: How to Continue Your Education


Carers have a huge responsibility on their plate. Their jobs can be incredibly difficult, demanding, and draining. For those who care for a loved one, it can even put your own career on hold. Thankfully, there are many online and part-time opportunities available for you so that you can take care of an aging parent without sacrificing your dreams.

It will take a lot of work, and you will also need to learn some key time management skills, but with the resources and support available you can continue your education while still ensuring your loved one receives the best care possible at your hands.

Know Your Options

Nowadays, there are many options to choose from when it comes to continuing your education. You can enroll in:

·         Night School –  Night school is the traditional route, which requires you to attend class after your working hours so you can fit it around your current job and responsibilities.

·         Part-Time – Part-time is more flexible and better for those who work freelance or unpredictable hours.

·         Online Degrees –  With online degrees, however, you can get the benefits of both night school and part-time with the added benefit of reduced commuting costs. Online degrees are offered by some of the top institutions around the world and are perfect whether you want a business degree or history degree. You can enroll right now to any of Bank Street’s online degree programs and take the first step towards continuing your education today. As it is done online, you can manage your carer responsibilities and your course load all at once without leaving your loved one home alone and vulnerable.

How to Juggle Caring Responsibilities and School

Now all that is left is trying to handle both your job as a carer and the course load that comes with an MA degree. Here are four different ways that you can do this.

1.    Invest in More Help

You do not have to take care of your loved one by yourself. You might need to invest in government aid or seek out the help of a sibling or other relative to make it easier for you.

2.    Ensure You Are Getting Your Caregiver’s Allowance

If you are caring for a loved one, who has advanced medical needs, ensure that you are getting the caregiver’s allowance. This allowance isn’t offered to everyone, but if you do apply, you can receive money to help you offset the costs and make it easier for you to sustain yourself.

3.    Work out a Set Number of Hours Every Day

You will want to schedule a set number of hours every day to focus on your degree. As you cannot predict what your loved one will need as the days go on, try to commit a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night.

4.    Look After Your Own Health

Above all else, remember that you need to care for your own health during this time. Being a carer can be stressful, and adding on an online degree, you can easily burn out.

You should never have to give up your life to take care of someone else. Instead, use the opportunities available to you to continue your education online and don’t be afraid to ask for help or take advantage of government support.

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How Caregivers Can Keep Cancer Patients Safe at Home


The Purple Jacket is pleased to welcome back guest writer, Kayla Matthews!

The cancer diagnosis is just the beginning of a long and difficult road for those with the disease. Many treatment plans include rounds of chemotherapy, a method used by doctors to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Along with that comes a slew of side effects, of which they and their caretaker should be made aware.

Indeed, it will be the caretaker’s job to ensure the chemotherapy patient stays safe when they’re not at their treatments. In the hospital, nurses know how to handle their patients carefully and keep everything sanitary. Once the patient goes home, though, it’s up to their caretaker to keep everything clean and safe for both the person fighting cancer and those around them. Here’s what to do if you’re stepping up for someone you know in chemo:

1. Know Chemo’s Side Effects

Depending on the way chemo is administered, a person can experience a range of side effects. Many people feel nauseous, or they vomit after receiving the medication. Of course, this all depends on the dosage and type of chemotherapy a person gets. As a caregiver, you should be aware of the typical side effects you can expect.

Plus, you should know that chemotherapy drugs stay around in a patient’s bodily fluids for up to seven days post-treatment. Everything from vomit to urine to blood will have traces of the drug, and those not on chemotherapy should avoid contact.

2. Clean up Properly

You’ll have to learn how to sanitize your home in the week following a chemotherapy treatment. Once a patient has a spill of any bodily fluid, start by putting on a pair of disposable gloves and wiping it up with a cloth. Double-bag the used material before throwing it into the trashcan to be extra safe. If the spill splashed onto a floor, use soap and water or naturally disinfect it with vinegar to clean up the spot after it has been wiped up with the aforementioned cloth.

If the same spills occur on a bed sheet or pillowcase, you can salvage them after a long wash on either a hot or cold cycle. Make sure the chemo patient puts the lid down before flushing the toilet, and invest in a bucket you’ll use during nauseous moments mid-chemo. Once the treatment’s over, dispose of the bucket.

3. Follow the Treatment Plan

Your chemo patient will have an in-depth treatment plan, which includes the drugs they receive from their doctor directly and the medications they supplement at home. You should make yourself familiar with this plan too, so you know your loved one gets what they need when they need it. Be sure to check the medication’s storage requirements as well so the treatment doesn’t lose any of its efficacy with improper placement. The drugs have to go somewhere safe where kids or pets cannot accidentally ingest them.

4. Remember the Good to Come

No matter how happy-go-lucky a person may be, a cancer diagnosis — and the subsequent treatment — can be draining. As a caregiver, it’s up to you to also be a cheerleader. Remind your loved one what life will be like afterward, especially focusing on the joy that will come with survival. It’s the beginning of a tough road, but it’s not the end, and you should remind them of this as often as possible.

As you can see, the job of a caregiver is equal parts medical and emotional. Yes, you have to ensure they take their medicine on time and keep their living quarters sanitary, but you also have to serve as a support system in one of life’s most trying times. However, if you signed up for the role, it means you have the heart to do it — and now, you know the practical requirements of the job, too.

Kayla Matthews:  Kaylaematthews@gmail.com

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How to Transition from Floor Nurse to Healthcare Administration


If you’re a registered nurse, moving into healthcare administration can be an attractive career move. It provides excellent benefits and a good work schedule. You could supervise other nurses and advise the facility’s management on policy changes. You could work to make the ward the place nurses wish it was. This could also open up the door to positions in higher in management as well. Let’s take a look at what it takes to make the transition from floor nurse to healthcare administration.

Earn the Requisite Qualifications

Some people say that you’re only a nurse if you’re at the patient’s bedside. However, less than two thirds of nurses work as staff nurses or charge nurses. About one in six works in management or administration. Less than two percent are nurse educators. The remainder works in every other role imaginable from school nurses to consulting.
Moving into roles other than staff nursing requires training and education to prepare you for it. The best qualification for registered nurses is earning a master’s in health administration. You can pursue your MHA online so that you can continue to work while learning what you must know to move into administration. Getting your MHA program this way will be much less demanding, and takes far less time than trying to earn a dual master’s in business administration and nursing. Boston College has an online MHA program tailor made for healthcare professionals who would like to make the transition. You can learn more about it at the following link: http://onlinemha.bc.edu/masters-in-health-care-administration/.

Determine Which Role You Want to Fill

Becoming a medical administrator requires at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s in healthcare administration is considered the most desirable. The next question is where you want to go. Nursing administrators are not just the head of nursing departments. They are often found in laboratories, healthcare facilities like nursing homes, and doctor’s offices. You could work as a clinical coordinator or move into administration in forensic science. Once you’re qualified, the next step is deciding which jobs you’ll want to apply for.

Keep Up Your Certifications

Earning the master’s degrees considered necessary to work in administration doesn’t mean that you’re done. You’ll often be required to keep your certifications as a nurse up to date. This includes but isn’t limited to your RN license, CPR certifications, and basic life support certifications. If you earn optional nursing administration credentials, you’ll have to complete continuing education credits to maintain those as well. Fortunately, if you earned a master’s degree in healthcare administration, you’re exempt from the continuing education requirement for three years.

Keep Up with Everything Else You Need to Know

Nursing administrators face constantly evolving medical technology, government regulations, organizational rules and business practices. You’ll have to be able to complete documentation on whatever system the health records are maintained on while handling routine issues like staff evaluations, hiring new people, and ensuring that they’re trained. You may still need to assist with patient care from time to time; this is why maintaining your nursing certifications is essential though you’re moving into management.
Floor nursing may be the stereotypical job for nurses, but you can move into management with the right credentials. You may then be able to move up in the organization or make a lateral career move into whatever role you think is best.

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Everything You Need to Know About Going Back to School after Retirement


If you have been reading the articles that we posted here on Senior Outlook Today, you know that being a retiree does not mean you stop being productive. There are so many things you can do in your retirement days, including traveling more and starting your own business venture.

In recent years, more seniors are returning to school and pursuing higher degrees. This trend is picking up traction, as there are more students aged 55+ today than there were five years ago. Some universities even have programs for seniors.

The real driving force behind this new trend, however, is the online degree. Top names like Baylor University are opening up their online programs to more students across the country, giving everyone – from professionals to seniors – a chance to go back to school.

There is no shortage of programs and degrees to choose from either. Before you start looking into different courses and degrees you can pursue, here is everything you need to know about going back to school as a retiree.

Why should you return to school?

Taking a course in a field that you like on its own is satisfying. It is a way to achieve more in life; a way that is now more accessible than ever. You no longer have to jump through hoops to enroll in programs from top universities and pursue degrees such as a nursing masters degree online.

Pursuing a higher degree is a great way to keep the mind sharp. You will be learning new skills and studying course materials as you pursue the degree of your dreams. You’ll start reading more and putting your experience to good use.

On top of that, going back to school is a great way to expand your personal and professional network. Even when you choose to study online, you can meet fellow online students – many of them younger than you – and widen your horizon in the process.

You can even return to a career – or start a new one – after completing the course. A graduate or postgraduate degree can help you secure a teaching position. The degree is valuable in today’s market, so you can return to work as an expert in your field once you complete the course.

What are the challenges?

Going back to school as a retiree has its challenges. Don’t think for a second that you will be treated differently just because you are a senior. Online programs from top universities follow the same strict standards as their offline counterparts, so you still need to perform well as a student to graduate.

For younger online students, time management is often a big hurdle. Since you are in your retirement, finding one or two hours every day for studying should not be a problem. You also have the freedom to study from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet.

Even better, you can choose to pursue a degree while realizing other retirement dreams. I know a lot of retirees who are spending their time traveling more while still working towards earning a master’s degree from halfway across the world.

The programs themselves have enrollment requirements that you need to meet. If you want to pursue the aforementioned nursing master’s degree online, for example, you need to be a nurse practitioner who meets the course’s specific enrollment requirements.

Is it difficult to get started?

No; not at all. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find a good online course to enroll in. As mentioned before, more universities are opening their online programs to students from all parts of the country, so you have more courses to choose from right now.

Online courses are substantially more affordable than the equivalent offline programs, so tuition isn’t something you need to worry about either. Besides, there are grants, scholarships, and programs designed to help seniors return to school.

A good example is when you are interested in teaching after acquiring your master’s degree. Using the right scholarship, you can go back to school, earn a master’s degree, and start sharing your lifelong experience with younger students.

You also need to prepare yourself for the course, but this too is an easy task to complete. As long as you can allocate some time – and know how to stick to the schedule – you will have no trouble taking the course and pursuing the degree of your dream. It is never too late to study. The number of graduates who are in their retirement is already close to 10%, so you know there are plenty of opportunities for you to seize.

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Are You Planning for Long-Term Care?


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You’ll probably need long-term care at some point, but are you planning for it? According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 68 percent of seniors 65 and older will experience a physical or cognitive impairment during their lifetime. For some, it’s a permanent disability that leads to a residence in a senior care facility. For others, it’s a temporary health condition that calls for extra help at home. In either case, an inability to finance care can put a senior’s health at risk.

Will You Need Long-Term Care?

Nearly one-third of seniors won’t need long-term care. If you’re healthy today, it’s possible you won’t need care in the future. However, when assessing the likelihood of long-term care, your current health status doesn’t provide the full picture. Seniors should also consider:

  • Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious, varied diet, and exercising daily protects against many lifestyle diseases, some of which are leading causes of death. A healthy lifestyle also protects mobility and functioning for increased independence in old age.

  • Family History: Your genetics may predispose you to certain health conditions, such as diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. Your family may also have a history of long lives, which increases your likelihood of needing long-term care.

  • Social Connection: With a strong social network, you may be able to rely on family and friends for help after illness or injury. However, seniors with limited social connections are more likely to require paid care.

  • Home Safety: Falls are a leading cause of injury and disability among elderly adults. According to Aging.com, 30 percent to 50 percent of falls are caused by environmental factors like poor lighting, slippery floors, and uneven surfaces.

If your assessment reveals a high risk of needing long-term care, there are changes you can make today to enable a safer, healthier future. Whether that’s improving diet and exercise to better your health, reaching out your community, or remodeling your home for increased safety, it’s never too late to make changes. However, recognize that while lifestyle changes reduce the possibility and extent of long-term care needs, they don’t guarantee you won’t require care.

How Will You Pay for Long-Term Care?

Many older adults believe Medicare will pay for their long-term care needs. However, Medicare doesn’t cover most types of long-term care. That means seniors must pay for care through private funding. Here are some ways seniors can pay for long-term care:

  • Savings: If you have enough retirement savings, paying for care out-of-pocket is an option. Keep in mind that full-time care costs thousands of dollars per month, even for the most affordable options.

  • Health Savings Accounts: If you funded an HSA while employed, you can use those funds tax-free to pay for long-term care or long-term care insurance. Because HSAs can only be used with High Deductible Health Plans, this option is best utilized when you’re still young and healthy.

  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance pays for your care in exchange for monthly premium payments. This allows you to spread out the cost of long-term care and reduce out-of-pocket expenses. However, premiums are higher for older buyers; for the lowest costs, purchase a policy before retiring.

When deciding how you’ll pay for long-term care, don’t forget to factor other end-of-life expenses. If you use all your savings for care, your family may be unable to finance a funeral. Ensure you’ve made arrangements for end-of-life expenses as well, whether that’s a final expense insurance policy, a payable on death bank account, or another prepaid option.

It’s unpleasant to think about growing ill or disabled as you age. But planning ahead for late-life disability makes the difference between a high and low quality of life during your final years. Take steps now to improve your health, but don’t neglect to plan for the possibility of long-term care.

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How Caregivers Can Create a Safe Environment for Their Patients


As a caregiver, you have many important things to remember and jobs to fulfill. One area that’s essential for your patients is creating a safe environment. Whether it’s in their home, a facility or even the hospital, there are steps you can take to create a place that’s safe and comfortable without undergoing an entire remodel. Simple steps, such as keeping medication within arm’s reach and removing slippery rugs, can make a huge difference.

Here are seven ways to make a space safe for your patients.

1. Start With the Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the easiest places for an accident with constant movement such as bending, sitting, leaning over and more. Depending on the person’s level of activity, you can purchase a portable toilet seat that sits on top of the toilet, so your patient doesn’t need to get up from sitting. You can also install adjustable tub seats or grab bars to make getting in and out of the bathtub or shower easier.

2. Keep the Bedroom Close to Family Activity

If your patient is still living at home, you want to make the space feel normal and safe. Consider moving the master bedroom toward the hub of the family if it’s currently located somewhere else. Try to position it so your patient has views of the outside world through a window or a sliding glass door. You can even rearrange the furniture for clear pathways and put the bed in a place where your patient can access it from all sides.

3. Keep Outdoor Spaces in Good Condition

It’s easy to think of a home modification as just the interior, but the exterior is just as important. You want your patient to have a beautiful outdoor space with plenty of room for them to enjoy certain activities. For example, try repairing any broken steps and installing plenty of lights in case your patient wants to sit outside at night. You can even get creative with colorful furniture or a swing that catches the eye and serves as a focal point.

4. Try Window Film

More hospitals and health care facilities are starting to use window film for protection and energy efficiency. For example, window film can help prevent damage from harsh weather conditions and give your patient greater peace of mind about their home or living situation. Specially designed window films will help shattered glass hold together in places where damage and burglary could occur. Try installing window film in your patient’s home to give it some extra protection.

5. Pay Attention to Floors

Floors can be a safety hazard all on their own. Scatter rugs, frayed carpet or loose edges can all cause your patient to trip. Remove what you can and tape or tack down the loose carpet edges. In the bathroom, try putting safety strips or a nonskid mat at the bottom of the tub to keep the individual from falling. If certain shelves or closets are too high, leave a step stool on the floor of the kitchen or bedroom, so your patient isn’t tempted to stand on a chair.

6. Keep Important Items Within Reach

Odds are your patient would like to keep a level of autonomy. An easy way to grant their wish is by keeping their important items within reach. For example, put a night light on their bedstand along with their medication. In the kitchen, you can keep their favorite snack on the table. Put their toothpaste and toothbrush on top of the bathroom sink. It’s the little things that can make a difference in how they move around.

Make the Environment Comfortable

It’s important to create a safe environment for your patients, but you shouldn’t sacrifice comfort. Give them all the tools they need to live safely and comfortably in your home, and you will exceed a job well done.

About the Author: Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

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