Senior Health (88)
More than 20% of Americans age 65 and older, don’t drive, according to an analysis of the federal government’s National Household Travel Survey by AARP’s Public Policy Institute.
Men typically outlive their driving days by seven years and women outlive theirs by a decade. People will be struggling even more with arranging for transportation, as the country’s 78 million baby boomers give up their car keys.
Transportation for outpatient surgery procedures, ongoing medical appointments such as dialysis, cancer treatments and physical therapy are just a few activities where assistance can prove invaluable. Often times a family member must take off from work to assist with transportation for appointments and procedures, as they are not aware that such services are available and affordable.
Companion care that includes personal transportation and personalized services can not only save money, they provide an added feeling of security, knowing someone is waiting to take you or a loved one home. Additional companion services are often available – such as picking up your prescriptions, preparing a meal for or even staying overnight.
Adult children/caregivers often live and work a distance from a parent, relative or friend. Companion care offers a safe alternative to taxis and public transportation with concierge services for a day of regularly scheduled activities. Families can stay connected by assisting a loved one with planned outings, which can improve individual mood and provide family with peace of mind, knowing a loved one is safe.
Companionship, activity and engaged conversation enriches all our lives and can make a special difference for an individual who lives alone. For some people, just getting through the day can often be challenging. If you have been searching for a company that specializes in care for you or a loved one, check out your options. We all owe it to ourselves to enjoy a safe, independent, happy lifestyle.
There is now a proven, direct connection between heart disease and stress. The heart has an overwhelming job to do. It is a constantly working muscle that cannot take a break to rest or heal.
Your heart also needs nutrients brought to it by circulating blood. Stress has a direct impact on the functioning of your heart and plays a major role in people with heart disease or hypertension.
Hypertension causes narrowing of he major vessels that supplement the heart, making it even more difficult for it to remain healthy. Research of the heart-mind connection shows us that how we think and react to situations in our lives has an effect on our hearts.
When under stress, your brain is constantly releasing nerve impulses and hormones to your circulatory system. In a past study at Harvard, subjects were monitored using certain relaxation techniques and the results were very concrete and measurable. Some of the clinical data showed that there was a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate, and overall muscle tension.
There are hundreds of different ways to meditate or relax. The main emphasis on the success of meditation is: do it consistently. Healing one’s self is an ongoing process. Just as disease processes take time, so does the healing process. May you recognizing your need to have an intervention, for the sake of your heart, be your first step.
Aging is a time of adaptation to change, and planning for the future. There is a broad array of housing options available to seniors, from staying in your own home to specialized communities that provide round-the-clock nursing care. The main difference will be in the amount of care provided. When researching a housing option, make sure it covers your required level of care and that you understand exactly what the community offers. A few areas of consideration to ensure a great quality of life consists of many facets to include:
• Physical and medical needs. As we increase in age, so will our need for physical help, particularly with what is called “activities of daily living” or commonly known as ADLs. This could range from shopping, cleaning, and cooking to intensive help with bathing, toileting, moving around, and eating. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) estimates about 70 percent of individuals over the age of 65 will require some type of long-term care services during their lifetime.
• Social and emotional needs: Social networks may change. Friends or family may not be as close by, or neighbors may move or pass on. Making sure that continuing opportunities for maintaining and building new social networks are sought out. Becoming isolated and housebound can have an adverse effect on mental health.
• Financial needs. Long-term care can be expensive, and balancing the care you need with where you want to live requires careful evaluation. Consulting with an expert that can help identify some resources that may be available.
It is impossible to predict the type(s) of long-term care one will require and at what stage of life such care will be needed. How, then, can a family plan financially in light of such uncertainty? Moreover, care options vary tremendously as far as annual median costs are concerned.
Refer to the chart below for a look at the annual median cost of the following types of care based on the 2012 Genworth Cost of Care Survey:
Breathe a sigh of relief: proper planning can mitigate the stress inherent to the aging – and care continuum – process. An individual may enter what is referred to as “the long-term care continuum” at any given stage: maybe they will start with home care and later require around-the-clock care, either at home or a facility. Perhaps they will never need to move to a facility. Whatever the case may be, planning ahead is more important now than ever before, because the latest data available shows that the cost of care among facility-based providers has “steadily increased” over the past five years.
Living a healthy lifestyle (i.e., eating right and not smoking) increases the chances one will live longer, but the uncertainty of life remains. Even the young and physically fit have been known to suffer heart attacks at young ages, develop cancer, and suffer from a variety of other illnesses. Alzheimer’s disease is but one example. Accidents are an entirely different topic, yet related in that we truly do not know when or what kind of care we will eventually need as human beings. The best we can do is to properly prepare, and for nearly everyone, it starts with speaking with an experienced and knowledgeable elder law attorney.
A recent study conducted on behalf of AARP found the average private cost of a nursing home stay to be $70,000 per year but can exceed $100,000 in some locations. Assisted living homes average a cost of $34,000 per year, and hourly home care cost can range from $20 to $50 an hour, depending whether the aide is Medicare-certified or not. These are unavoidable costs that many seniors will be affected by in the future. About 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will require some type of long-term health care (LTHC) services during their lifetime. More than 40 percent will need care in a nursing home. Things that increase their risk or make it more likely that they will need long-term care include:
• Age: The older you get, the more likely you’ll need help.
• Living alone: If you live alone you’re more likely to need paid care than if you’re married or single and living with a partner.
• Gender: Women are more likely to need LTHC than men, primarily because women tend to live longer.
• Lifestyle: Poor diet and exercise habits increase the chance of needing LTHC.
• Personal History: Health and family history increase the chances you’ll need LTHC.
Long-Term Health Care includes the care and related expenses associated with an extended illness or injury, including rehabilitation and maintenance for people who are disabled and cannot care for themselves and are expected to need care for an extended period of time.
For seniors entering their twilight years, LTHC planning is often overlooked. It’s an area that we want to believe we will never have to face. But the fact that you have not planned for LTHC doesn’t mean that all is lost (just a bit trickier). It’s a fact that LTHC is very expensive, and the longer you wait the more you limit your options. Fortunately, there are a number of public programs which help pay for LTHC services. Each program has specific rules about what services it covers, how long you can receive services, how you can qualify for services, and in some cases, how much you have to pay out-of-pocket. Please be aware that these resources are limited, and the earlier you begin your due diligence, the better off you will be.
Do you remember a time from your early childhood when you were momentarily separated from your parent or guardian in a crowded place? It sticks out for many of us, because of the immense feeling of helplessness we felt, even though it may have lasted for mere seconds.
Even worse than the child’s distress is the desperation and heart-wrenching anguish of being the parent of the young child who has become momentarily lost.
But do you also remember that overwhelming sense of relief when you were finally reunited and you realized everything would be alright?
Perhaps the epitome of despair is feeling “lost.” Unfortunately, many of us feel this way when it comes to planning for our future long-term care needs, and this feeling of being lost is only amplified by the fact that, all-too-often, we are in the “sandwich” situation where we must consider our own retirement and care needs, as well as the needs of our children and our aging parents.
If you are feeling like a lost child or a lost parent again – whether you are a retiree yourself or an adult child of an aging parent, with or without your own children – a good elder law attorney can provide you with the sense of overwhelming relief you have been looking for.
You have surely heard of “estate planning,” but the field of elder law is much more involved than creating a will or a trust. An expert and trusted elder law attorney is who your family can turn to as the first and most important step in planning for the future. Don’t spend another day feeling “lost” and don’t allow your parent or adult child to feel that way, either. With educational seminars abounding, one need not look any further to find a guiding light, a friend, and an invaluable resource.
Never be ashamed when a familial paradigm shift takes place, because it is quite common. The most important thing to remember, however, is that time is of the essence.
The sooner you educate yourself and understand what must be done, the sooner you and your elder law attorney can implement the appropriate action plan. The feeling of being lost and helpless is often debilitating.
Find the right elder law attorney, and you will once again experience that overwhelming sense of relief that comes with the knowledge that everything will be alright.
This month we discuss the way our digestive system works, associated diseases and some healthy things we can do to improve how our digestive system works, associated diseases, and a couple of healthy things we can do to improve our digestive track.
Food is broken down before it can be absorbed into our bloodstream, through our GI tract and carried throughout our bodies. Dr. Hironmi Shinya, the founder of the colonoscopy, suggests and believes that all disease starts in the bowel. This is one of the keys to a multitude of health issues, from constipation to cancer. Some common ailments of the bowel include: stomach ulcers, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and many others.
Lifestyles and dietary changes are the first steps towards keeping a healthy colon. Healthy lifestyle changes can include consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables. As always, we encourage everyone to consult with their physician to learn more.
Did you know that elder law attorneys work with a number of senior-serving professionals to cooperatively promote the quality and dignity of life for clients? As an elder law firm, we know first-hand that serving as a caregiver is a tough job and a much-needed one for those clients wishing to stay at home. Whether you are a caregiver or your loved one is in need of care, a visit to your local elder law attorney may be the launch pad to form vital connections. But what makes a good caregiver?
Caregiving is a relationship. As such, the first pillar concerns the caregiver, whereas the second concerns the elder. Caregivers themselves must be healthy, both mentally and physically, because most caregivers are subject to extreme physical and emotional stress.
Second, caregivers must be forward thinkers, beyond day-to-day tasks, so the long-term care and dignity of the elder remains preserved, if not enhanced.
Pillar One: Proactively Love What You Do
Sound difficult? The sad reality is that many caregivers wind up suffering from mental stress, anxiety, and even clinical depression. It can be explained as “anger turned inward.” As one author puts it, anger can be due to what is happening naturally: “we watch our loved one[s] struggle to do simple tasks . . . decline in mind and body . . . [and] lose independence.” If you are a caregiver suffering symptoms of depression, education may be very helpful (read on).
Are specific problems causing stress and anxiety? Are financial problems to blame? A depressed caregiver can’t possibly “care” to their full potential.
The good news is that there is help around the corner. If you are a caregiver and believe you may be struggling with depression, seek an evaluation from a licensed professional.
Pillar Two: Help the Family Get Financial Affairs in Order
Helping the family get financial affairs in order is by far one of the most critical elements of the job. Ask yourself: what would happen tomorrow if the person I am caring for suddenly had to move to a long-term care facility? Would the family be able to afford monthly nursing home bills? Would there be a financial “panic?” For this reason alone, caregivers often bring their loved-ones to an elder law attorney for help.
So much confusion exists when it comes to government benefits and programs available to help pay for long-term care and when to make that all-important visit. The key is proper planning at the right time. When is the right time? Today – it is never too late to seek the help you need.
Blood pressure is the force in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic pressure) and when it’s at rest (diastolic pressure). It’s measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). High blood pressure (or hypertension) in an adult is defined as a blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg systolic pressure or greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg diastolic pressure.
One in three adults in America suffers from high blood pressure. This condition impacts the health of about 68 million people, but many can help protect their health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always need prescription medications to lower your blood pressure. Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control this with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay, or reduce the need for medication. Many health experts recommend 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.
1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
2. Exercise regularly
3. Eat a healthy diet
4. Reduce sodium in your diet
5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
6. Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke
7. Cut back on caffeine
8. Reduce your stress
9. Get support from family and friends
10. Monitor your blood pressure at home and make regular doctor’s appointments
By following these steps, you could be on your way to adding years to your life, and you will definitely be doing your heart a favor.
If you have high blood pressure, you should make self-monitoring at home your number one priority. Learning to self-monitor your blood pressure with an upper arm monitor can really help motivate you. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before getting started. Regular visits to your doctor are also likely to become a part of your normal routine. These visits will help keep tabs on your blood pressure, while also being a major factor in your overall healthy lifestyle.
If you are fortunate enough to avoid high blood pressure by the age of 55, you face a 90 percent chance of developing it. Why wait until high blood pressure affects your life? Don’t allow yourself to be sentenced to a lifetime of prescription drugs; work to maintain a healthy lifestyle today.
Did you know up to a staggering 88% of seniors suffer from chronic pain? Perhaps the best way to prevent pain tomorrow is to take action today.
Why do so many seniors have chronic pain? For starters, as we age, muscles and joints become stiffer and less efficient. Additionally, recovering from injuries tends to turn into a slower process, and falling becomes a risk.
From the obvious to the lesser-known, the following three tips all have been touted by experts as very effective ways to prevent future pain.
Tip 1: Pay Attention To Pain Symptoms. There are more conditions associated with chronic pain the older we get, so it is imperative to pay attention to pain symptoms.
Visit your doctor regularly and always be honest about how you are feeling, whether you have been diligently taking any prescribed medications, and how you feel about any medicine you’re taking. Preventing pain is important, but when pain does exist, early detection of the cause is a key to mitigating any medical consequences.
Tip 2: Consider Alternative Treatments. Pharmaceutical pain relievers can have side effects that may be harmful to some people. When trying to minimize your pain, it is wise to consider alternative treatments. For example, chiropractic can be helpful for many kinds of pain. Acupuncture is also well-known as a possible treatment to relieve pain.
Less known are “biofield” treatments such as Reiki, which involves the channeling of restorative energy from practitioner to patient, allowing a jump-start of the patient’s own healing ability. The International Journal of Behavioral Medicine recently reviewed 66 clinical trials on biofield therapies.
The authors concluded that there was “strong evidence that [Reiki helps to] reduce the intensity of pain in general … [including those with] cancer.”
Tip 3: Plan To Be Comfortable: It’s no secret that one’s comfort level contributes to relative pain. Elder law attorneys can help with more than just estate planning and asset protection. Today, we can “plan” our comfort level into old age. This is achieved through the use of a “lifestyle care plan,” a written document that enables a future caregiver to understand and follow specific wishes.
Originally created by nurses, this type of plan is a self-directed document that can help ensure one’s quality of life is preserved and comfort levels are maximized.