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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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15 Healthcare Podcasts For Caregivers


Caregivers must manage the stress and difficulties of professional or family caregiving each day. But helpful advice, informative sources and personal stories can lift a little of the burden in this role. Podcasts offer a simple and convenient way to connect to other caregiver’s experiences.

Here are 15 healthcare podcasts caregivers should start listening to.

1. Agewyz

Highlighting caregivers behind the scenes, Jana Panarites discusses the healthcare industry and brings in experts to raise awareness about the aging process. With a focus on informing the world through media, she addresses creative efforts to display different diseases and conditions related to aging.

2. Club Sandwiched

Andrea Weber emphasizes with others caring for two generations. Offering advice on raising kids and managing elderly parents, she takes listeners through the chaos of both responsibilities.

3. Life Is a Sacred Journey

For both seniors and caregivers, this show encourages everyone to find the positives in aging. Micheal Pope and her guests talk about everything from technology to pride in relation to older family members and friends.

4. The Healthcare Policy Podcast

As policy issues come to light, David Introcaso weighs in on the pros and cons. Caregivers can stay current with updates in the healthcare system with this insightful tool.

5. Transition Aging Parents

Dale Carter shares her findings on handling parents who are declining in health. Several supports, like financial tips and advice on VA benefits, make her podcast a significant resource.

6. Drew Wilson Discusses Telemedicine

Attorney and legislative specialist Andrew B. Wilson sat down with First Healthcare Compliance to address telemedicine in this podcast episode. As telemedicine rises, it has the potential to impact healthcare delivery, and this informative podcast covers these changes.

7. Senior Life Journeys

Executive director and author Carol Howell concentrates on dementia and specific scenarios she encountered with her mother. Her commentary helps others wade through the confusion of caring for a patient with dementia.

8. Healing Ties on the Whole Care Network

Christopher MacLellan, affectionately known as “The Bow Tie Guy” is a former working family caregiver, began the podcast to promote advocacy and communication before, during and after Caregiving end. The Whole Care Network is a story-based platform allowing many podcasters to share their caregiving stories, knowledge and resources.

9. TEDTalks Health

From the popular media organization that hosts TED Talk videos, this podcast offers engaging presentations about health. Various doctors, researchers and experts give their recommendations on healthy practices and medicine.

10. Caregiver SOS: On Air

Gerontologist Carol Zernial and veteran broadcaster Ron Aaron analyze common questions that plague caregivers. Along with Dr. James Huysman, an author and psychologist, these professionals go over issues like transportation and brain changes in the elderly.

11. Caregivers’ Circle

Featuring caregivers tending to children with disabilities, too, this podcast pinpoints unique issues in caregiving. It leads back to the fact that different levels and kinds of care still have universal links.

12. Medtech Talk

Pick up on the complexities of the healthcare industry by listening to commentary from the experts and leaders. Medtech Talk goes over trends and innovations from reliable perspectives. Search through their inventory of episodes to learn about specific solutions that might apply to aging individuals.

13. People With Parents

In storytelling style, comedian Leighann Lord delves into the role reversal aspect of caregiving. As a lighthearted review of the ups and downs of interacting with older parents, she gives her personal account of this unfamiliar terrain.

14. Happy Healthy Caregiver

Consultant Elizabeth Miller examines ways to enhance the routine of a caregiver. With tips for self-care, she encourages those in this role to avoid burnout.

15. Dave, the Caregiver’s Caregiver

Dave Nassaney and Adrienne Gruberg each take one-of-a-kind perspectives to this show as they interview other caregivers. Moving forward through grief and making life full for those in their care is a substantial portion of this podcast.

Tune Into a Helpful Podcast

While caregiving is an intense role, the daily compassionate efforts of professionals and family members are worthwhile. Podcasts can efficiently spread the stories and resources for caregivers as they support their loved ones.

Authors Bio: 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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Feeling Good When It’s Your Job To Care: Tips For Caregivers


Photo via Pixabay by Silviarita

Taking care of someone is a big job that often requires quite a bit of physical strength and emotional reserve. It can be difficult to manage your own life around someone else’s needs, and sometimes, that job can take a toll on your physical and mental health. For that reason, it’s imperative to make sure you take good care of yourself, learn to cope with stress and anxiety, and find ways to relax and focus on your own needs once in a while.

Fortunately, there are several simple ways you can do this. Managing your stress may seem like a difficult task, but there are things you can do to help yourself learn to cope in a healthy way no matter what is going on in your life. Not only will this allow you to focus on your own needs and boost your mental health, it will also help you find the motivation and energy you need to help your loved one or patient.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to practice self-care when you’re a caregiver.

Get enough rest

Adequate sleep–or a lack of it–can be one of the biggest reasons a person feels unable to cope with stress or anxiety. When you aren’t able to rest, your physical and mental abilities are reduced, making even the simplest of daily tasks difficult. There are several things you can do to help yourself get better rest, but it all starts with a good mattress that addresses your unique sleep needs. If your bedding is more than ten years old, or if you wake up in the morning feeling stiff and unrested, it’s time for a new mattress; be sure to check online for ones with good reviews.

Take a timeout

It can be overwhelming to try to handle everything in your own life when you’re taking care of someone else’s every need, but it’s important to try to take some time for yourself when you can. Whether that means heading out of town for an overnight trip or just sitting with a good book at the end of the day, think of small ways you can reduce stress and have some time to yourself. This isn’t always easy for caregivers to do, so talk to family members or coworkers to see if anyone can help out.

Eat right

Caregivers are more at risk than others for symptoms of depression or anxiety, and it’s common for them to not get enough rest or eat well-balanced meals every day. When you don’t eat right or stay hydrated, your mood and energy level can bottom out, leaving you feeling exhausted and irritable. If your schedule during the day (or night) is hectic, consider packing yourself several small, easy-to-eat snacks that will keep your blood sugar stable and help you get the nutrients you need. Cut-up veggies and hummus, string cheese, whole-wheat crackers, yogurt, and water or 100-percent fruit juice are great starts.

Treat yourself

When you get some time to yourself, make an effort to find a way to treat yourself. Get a massage or pedicure, spend some time doing something you love, or cook yourself a delicious meal. Finding small, healthy ways to make yourself happy will allow you to relax a little and take the weight of your job as a caregiver off your shoulders.

Feeling better when you spend so much time taking care of someone else can be difficult because it can lead to guilt or anxiety. Try to keep in mind that it’s just as important for your patient’s well-being as it is for yours, because you can’t be your best self when you’re tired or stressed out.

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Can you claim compensation for a faulty pacemaker?


When they work properly, pacemakers can be lifesaving and have the potential to significantly improve quality of life even for those who are not at immediate risk of death.

Unfortunately, however, there have been a growing number of stories recently about people fitted with faulty pacemakers, which can have very serious health consequences, including the potential to be fatal for those with serious health conditions.

If you or a loved one have suffered harm to your health as a result of being fitted with a faulty pacemaker, you may be able to claim compensation depending on the circumstances. The manufacturer or retailer of the pacemaker (or anyone else involved in the production, distribution and sale of the device) may be legally responsible for the consequences of a faulty device. This could be grounds for a claim.

Who is liable for a faulty pacemaker?

This will depend on the circumstances. If the pacemaker was manufactured in the EU, you may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer or the retailer of the device. If the pacemaker was produced outside of the EU, you may be able to claim against the importer or the retailer.

It is also possible that others involved in the production, distribution and sale of the pacemaker may hold some degree of legal responsibility for the device, depending on the situation.

How have unsafe pacemakers ended up in use?

Under current EU rules, there is no single organization responsible for certifying medical devices as safe for use within the European Economic Area (EEA). Instead there are 58 different companies, known as ‘notified bodies’, who are allowed to issue CE marks approving medical devices for use in Europe.

This has resulted in varying standards between organizations for what is considered “safe”. Manufacturers, importers and retailers of medical devices are able to apply to as many of these organisations as they wish to try to secure a CE mark, meaning that even if a device is not considered safe by one notified body, companies seeking certification can simply keep trying other notified bodies until they get the result they need.

This scandal was uncovered as part of an investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, working in partnership with 59 media organisations around the world, including BBC PanoramaThe Guardian and the British Medical Journal.

How to claim compensation for a faulty pacemaker

If you or a loved one have been harmed by a faulty pacemaker, having expert legal guidance is essential to give you the best chance of securing fair compensation. Many claims can be resolved out of court, through negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), but court action may sometimes be required to achieve the right outcome for your interests.

Medical equipment failure claims can be complicated and contentious due to the high value of the potential compensation involved, so it is important to work with specialists with specific experience in these types of claims. That way you can be confident that all of the right details will be identified and considered, and no potential angle will be overlooked.

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Spirituality Finds Its Way Home


Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez UnSplash

As the life-expectancy of the population rises, so does the interest in the role of spirituality in their lives. A survey from the Pew Research Center shows religion is considered very important among adults age 65+. Though important, spirituality has a different meaning to different people, including caregivers and their patients or family members.

What is Spirituality?
When people think of spirituality, normally the first thing that comes to mind is a single specific religion. However, the definition of spirituality is much more than a religion; it ranges from a specific religious belief to anything which provides meaning in life. Spirituality is more of an eclectic mix of beliefs and practices contributing to overall mental health and well-being.

Does Spirituality Help?
Caregivers understand helping on a physical level, but they also have the opportunity to help fulfill the mental needs of the one they care for. Spirituality helps by giving people hope, comfort, and the ability to cope with stress. For both the older adult and the caregiver, spirituality can allow them the opportunity to be a part of a community, and feel as if they have support with whatever issues they’re going through. Spirituality is appealing to those searching for meaning and strength in life, and offers the opportunity to develop a game plan for whatever life is bringing their way.

What Is Being Spiritual?
Setting aside time for meditation and other self-reflective techniques can assist caregivers dealing with stressful changes occurring in their lives. Finding positivity in their role and allowing it to make them stronger is an aspect of spirituality some might not have considered. Another possibility is speaking to a Chaplin or religious figure, which might offer the opportunity to have someone listen with a non-judgmental ear.  For the patients or loved ones they care for, it may mean community service to others to avoid isolation, or a personal belief that sparks a sense of well-being, positivity, and resilience.

Taking Care
The responsibility of care-giving is not easy to shoulder. If a caregiver is too focused on giving, their spiritual needs might fall by the wayside, affecting their well-being and their ability to cope. Spiritual stereotypes abound for both caregivers and older adults, but breaking through those may be the difference in the quality of life for everyone.

Guest blogger Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets. You can contact Jess at: jesswalterwriter@gmail.com

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Money Conversation: How to Manage the Finances of Your Aging Parents


Your parents might need a little extra help in their advanced age. Their finances are equally as important as their health. Aging people retire, meaning that they’re unlikely to come into any new sources of income. The money they have is the money they have, and it needs to last an indefinite period of time.

Talk to your parents about financial security as soon as possible to ensure their safe future.

Create a Productive Financial Environment

You parents may feel a deep attachment to their home, but can they still afford it? If the home is already payed off and the utilities are reasonable, they may not want to sell it. If the home is highly profitable and they’re willing to downsize, the profit they acquire from the sale of their home can give them some financial padding.

Smaller homes are typically less expensive to maintain. Utility bills cost less, especially for cooling and heating. Less property means a lower cost for lawn maintenance, and if the roof ever needs to be repaired, it’s a smaller roof. On top of the financial benefits, smaller homes equipped for seniors are often easier to navigate and maintain. They may allow your parents to experience independence for longer. You might also want to investigate assisted living facilities – your parents might need some extra help.

Use Savings in Conjunction with Investments

People of advanced age need savings to cover emergency costs. If they’re still active and vital, they might even want to take the occasional trip away for a week or so to socialize and enjoy their retirement. While savings are important, it’s important to note that their growth is meager. Even in a high yield savings account, the money will still grow slowly.

Your parents are never too old to start trading. By using some of their money to trade or invest, they’ll see larger returns much faster than they would patiently waiting on a savings account to deliver interest. A massive investment isn’t necessary. They can start by investing a little bit and slowly make more investments with what they gain. This is a great way for seniors with no expandable source of income to see more money than they ordinarily would have.

Set Up Autopayments

Seniors may not remember to pay their bills on time. By setting up autopay options for the things they use everyday (like their household utilities, rent, and phone bills), they won’t need to remember to make payments on time. This will prevent service interruption. In order to prevent autopay bills from disrupting the budget, a separate account can be created and funded specifically for autopayments.

Use your parent’s main bank account for their daily, fluctuating expenses. They’ll only need to concern themselves with the , and having the bills come out of a separate account that has already been funded will prevent them from accidentally overspending and having a bill come due that will overdraft their account.

Create a Functional Budget

The kind of budget you create will largely depend on your parents’ level of independence. If they do their own shopping, rather than depending on grocery deliveries, they need to be able to understand how much money they have, as well as the minimums and maximums they can spend.

Bill money set aside, sit down with them and examine how much money they have left over. This money needs to be divided into categories and priorities. If your parents have a basic understanding of technology, you can set them up with budget tracking apps on their phones. They can input their expenses based on their receipts and actively track what they’re spending and when they’re spending it.

Simplifying your parents’ finances will allow them to enjoy their independence for as long as possible, helping them make the most of their agency and live a fulfilling life. Always be there to help when they need it.

About Audrey:

Audrey Robinson is a blogger, currently writing on behalf of online data libraries like Aubiz. She might often be found online, sharing her tips and suggestions for self-improvement, improving one’s career opportunities and living a more stress-free life. Feel free to reach out to her on @AudreyyRobinson

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7 Tips for Doing a Criminal Background Check of Your Caregiver


In some ways, a caregiver’s job is even more delicate than a babysitter’s job. Caregivers need to have medical and emergency response knowledge when providing care for a patient that has special needs. You’re entrusting this individual with a great deal of responsibility, and before you do that, a criminal background check might be in order.

  1. Inform The Caregiver of the Background Check

You might find yourself in hot water if you choose to run a background check without the consent of the individual. You should ask first and have the person sign a form that states that they consent to such check being run. The form should include all areas that will be explored during this check. Individuals who don’t consent to a background check might have something to hide – never take their word for it. Don’t work with someone who is uncomfortable with a background check.

  1. Perform Relevant Checks

If the caregiver’s job would put them in a position where they’re handling money or delicate assets, you might also want to perform a credit check on the individual. If they have a history of being reckless with money, you don’t want them to have any control over your loved one’s assets. Run these checks concurrent with the criminal background check.

  1. Know What is and Isn’t Off Limits

You may not be able to research all areas of caregivers background due to restrictions and limitations based on the availability of personal and confidential records to the public. Prying or attempting to obtain these off limits records through other means might be a crime. Never misrepresent your identity when conducting a background check and accept what’s given to you.

  1. Follow Local Laws

Every state, province, and territory has different laws regarding what information can be made available on background checks and how the person who obtained that information is allowed to use it. If you’re unsure of what you can legally do, check with a legal expert. If you live in Australia, get help from a lawyer in Australia. If you live in the United States, get advice from a lawyer located in the state you’re conducting a check in or the state where the caregiver’s record exists.

  1. Use Checks in Conjunction with References

Since some information may not be made available through a criminal background check, you’ll also need to vet a potential caregiver through their previous employers and educators. They can give you all the details and let you know if they’ve ever noticed any suspicious or borderline criminal behavior. Use this information in conjunction with the background check’s findings to make a thoroughly informed decision.

  1. Research the Agency Providing the Caregiver

It’s more likely than not that the caregiver already went through a top notch background and credentials check when they sought placement through the agency that represents them. This check may have been more thorough than your check. Talk to the agency about how they screen their caregivers. Research their history and reputation. If there haven’t been any reported problems with the caregivers they supply, chances are good that they have high standards.

  1. Speak with the Caregiver Following the Check

Even if the caregiver has a criminal record, this may not be a cause for worry. A minor marijuana charge from fifteen years ago may not have any impact on their ability to be an excellent caregiver. A disturbing the peace charge that resulted from a passionate form of activism doesn’t indicate that an individual is violent or a thief. Always speak to the caregiver about relevant findings before making a hiring decision.

While background checks help, you also need to follow your intuition. If your gut is telling you that you would be uncomfortable putting this person in charge of the care of a loved one, don’t do it. You need both the facts and your instincts on your side when making such an important decision.

Gust Writer Lucy Taylor is an avid blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and suggestions with her online readers. Working as a legal expert at LY Lawyers, Lucy often helps people dealing with legal problems, addictions and crime.  You can contact Lucy at lucytayllor.lylawyers@gmail.com

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