All posts by Samantha Colaianni

Make the Most of Holiday Visits: What to Look for When Visiting Aging Adults

Holidays are occasions that many of us spend with family, whether we live down the block or across the country.  For those with aging parents or loved ones, these visits are an important time to take stock amidst the hustle and bustle, and to make plans. 

Make the Most of Holiday Visits: What to Look for When Visiting Aging Adults

By Heather Imhoff, MSW, LMSW – Aging Life Care Association™ Member

Notable changes in an aging person’s appearance, behavior, or environment can be warning signs that his or her health, mentation, and function are changing.  Make the most of your holiday visits and note any changes from your last visit. If you notice changes, dig in while you are there to further assess the situation and determine if intervention or help is needed.

Start by Making Observations

Person-centered:

  • Has your loved one’s hygiene changed?
  • Is he or she wearing clothing that is dirty, falling apart or inappropriate for the weather?
  • Has there been a significant weight change?
  • Has his or her gait changed? Are they “couch surfing” or using furniture items for support while walking through the home?
  • Any bruises or cuts that you can see?
  • Are they using mobility or other adaptive equipment properly?

Behavior:

  • Has mom or dad stopped going out for social engagements? Discontinued activities that were important to them?
  • Do they have any new friends or organizations who they have a lot of contact with? Is anyone or any organization asking for repeated or large donations or loans?
  • Do they seem forgetful or more repetitious in conversation?
  • Does he or she seem more withdrawn or sad?

Environment:

  • Looking at their home environment, are there areas of disrepair? Obstructed walkways?  Burned out light bulbs?
  • Any changes in cleanliness of the home, especially in the kitchen and bathroom? Are there items piling up on counters, table tops, or spare rooms?  Unopened mail?
  • Check the fridge to see if there are expired or spoiled food items.
  • Does their car have scratches or other areas of damage?
Important Conversations

If any of these questions lead to concerning answers, it is vital to start a conversation with your loved one about your observations.  Try to remain open and curious, not making assumptions or judgement since issues great and small can lead to similar presentations.

Here’s an example:

Dad is wearing light summer clothing even though it seems too cold.  This may be because his cognition is declining and he is not oriented to what month or season it is.  Alternately, you may learn that most of his warmer sweaters have buttons and his advancing arthritis makes it difficult for him to manage these closures.  Perhaps his winter clothing is stored in the attic or a high shelf that is difficult to access because of strength or balance issues.  Or he may relay that he’s been very busy with his men’s group and just hasn’t gotten around to switching out his wardrobe.

It is important to understand whether your loved one is aware of the issues you’ve noticed, and if he or she sees it as a problem or not.   What are her thoughts, has she attempted to address the situation? What are the barriers that he or she has encountered to resolving the problem.

It can be difficult for someone with a lifetime of independence to admit that they need assistance.  Many of these red flag issues are highly personal in nature, so depending on the circumstances and the personality of the older person, these topics may need to be approached gently and with compassion.

Preferences and Health Care Wishes

Also consider talking about what is important to your loved one.  What gives them a good quality of life?  And a vitally important question: What are their health care wishes?  People fall all over the spectrum when it comes to thinking about, talking about, and making legal documents specifying their health care wishes.  Wherever your loved one falls on this spectrum, it is important to check-in regularly or in some cases, for the first time about their thoughts and preferences about medical care, where they want to live, and what they want their lives to look like.

If dad has already prepared legal documents designating health care decision-making agents and even some advance directives about treatment options, does he still feel the same?  Do the appropriate people and organizations have copies of these documents?  If this conversation has never been broached, test the waters.  See if this is a topic your loved one avoids or welcomes.

The observations made and conversations that take place during holiday visits are most often starting points rather than final conclusions.  Most of these topics are on-going and evolving as your loved one continues to age.  There are resources available in all states to help navigate elder support services and having as clear a picture as possible about what your loved one is struggling with will help target these resources.

A good starting point is your community Area Agency on Aging offices or connect with an Aging Life Care Professional™ in the area who can offer assistance.  Most importantly, enjoy your time together celebrating and giving thanks!

About the author: Heather Imhoff has eight years of experience as an Aging Life Care Professional in both publicly and privately funded sectors.  She is currently a care manager at EGIS Care & Support in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Follow Heather on Twitter at @egis_care or email her at heather.egisnm@aol.com.


This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Choosing an Assisted Living Residence: Is Free Advice the Best Advice?

Choosing an Assisted Living Residence: Is Free Advice the Best Advice?

By Miriam Zucker LMSW, ACSW, C-ASWCM

Often when family members seek the guidance of an Aging Life Care specialist, it is at a time of change. The concerns may be about obtaining home care, learning of entitlements, a discharge from the hospital or a move from home to assisted living. With the latter, the ever-increasing prevalence of assisted living residences, can make the selection overwhelming.

The residences all look beautiful.  In fact, you jokingly say to yourself, “I wouldn’t mind living in one of these places myself.” Residents appear cheerfully engaged in a game of cards, attending a morning exercise class or eating what appears to be mouthwatering meal. They are attired in casual elegance with their snow-white hair coiffed to perfection. Beautiful places, beautiful people. Where to turn for advice?  In the back of your mind you recall a TV commercial or someone’s caring voice on the radio saying, “I’ve been there, I know how hard this decision can be and I can help.” You feel relieved, someone understands, there’s help and to make things even better, it’s free!

When this Aging Life Care specialist hears “free” it makes her think of those TV commercials. “Just add shipping and handling and we’ll send you the second vege-o-matic absolutely free.” There’s got to be a catch. And so it is with the free services offered in finding an assisted living residence. Let me explain.

The service is indeed free to the caller, but the offerings presented to you by the elder care adviser consists of only those assisted living residences that have signed on with the company. Those residences will pay a commission to the advisor representing the referral company, if you sign a contract with the residence they have recommended. So yes, it is free to you, with a commission coming from the assisted living once a contract is signed.

But this is the caveat, it is ONLY those assisted livings that have signed on to the referral program that the senior advisor will tell you about. What about the other senior residences that prefer not to sign on to this referral service? You, the consumer, may not learn about other assisted living facilities in the area and just maybe, they would be a better fit for your relative. Enter the Aging Life Care specialist.

The Aging Life Care specialist, is not bound by any restrictions. We have a familiarity with ALL the assisted living residences in the respective areas we serve. Often, we have had long standing relationships with the administrative staff. We have learned from our own experience and those of the families we have helped, the strengths and the weaknesses of each of these facilities. We know which ones to stay away from. The Aging Life Care specialists are looking to make the right match using their professional and experiential knowledge combined with their concrete knowledge of the array of senior residences.

So, two vege-o-matics may be nice to own, but when it comes to making the right choice for assisted living, the use of an Aging Life Care will bring a full spectrum of knowledge to the situation and only after a thorough understanding of the needs of the adult senior will recommendations be made.  And those recommendations will be based on ALL the residences in the desired geographic area.


Miriam Zucker, LMSW, ACSW, C-ASWCM is the founder of Directions in Aging based in New Rochelle, New York. She has been an ALC specialist since 1988. Throughout the years, she has been wined and dined by assisted living residences throughout Westchester County, New York.  But no matter the enticements, she has never been sidetracked by the fact that good food, aged wine and an annual Christmas gift, do not equate with quality care.

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Where to Turn: Resources for National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a time to help raise awareness and education about Alzheimer’s and other dementias. For the families confronted with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it is easy to feel lost and overwhelmed with next steps. Find resources below to help provide information and support to those with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.

Resources for National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is an opportunity to help spread awareness of educational tools and resources for families who are learning to live with the ever-changing stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As Alzheimer’s develops, it can present new and difficult behaviors and challenges, which can feel overwhelming for the caregiver. The Aging Life Care Association® has many resources available to help caregivers navigate this difficult diagnosis.

Press Release: Aging Life Care Professionals® Provide Support and Answers During National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

The Aging Life Care Association has published a press release that contains useful resources and links for caregivers looking for help with a dementia patient. This article can be shared with local news sources, on social media, or with family, friends, and clients. Find the release here.

Blog Posts: Understanding the Stages of Dementia

ALCA member Heather Imhoff writes about the stages of dementia, how to recognize each one, and what types of behaviors and challenges accompany them. Alzheimer’s can be different for each person diagnosed with it, making it confusing or overwhelming for families and caregivers. Learn more about the different stages and their symptoms here.

Journal of Aging Life Care: Atypical Dementias

The most recent edition of the Journal of Aging Life Care contains information about atypical types of dementia, such as young-onset or frontotemporal dementia. These academic articles share information and personal accounts, bringing more light to these lesser known illnesses. Find the journal here.

Alzheimer’s Resources

Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest national voluntary health organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, treatments, prevention, and cure of Alzheimer’s disease and to providing support to the four million Americans with the disease, their families, and caregivers.

Alzinfo.org
Alzinfo.org is a tool of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation to educate people about this devastating disease.  The mission of the website is to educate, engage, and create an online community with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to information and support via online chats, message boards and the most comprehensive resource databases available.


This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Moving to a Nursing Home: Making the Right Choice for Your Family

Moving to a long-term care facility or nursing home can be a shock to an individual and to the family. And you’ve probably figured out how expensive it is. With questions ranging from cost to quality of care to food choices, you may feel overwhelmed or trapped. An Aging Life Care Professional™ can help you navigate the nursing home maze and be an extra set of eyes and ears.

Aging Life Care Professionals Know the Ins and Outs of Nursing Home Care

By Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC – Aging Life Care Association™ Member and
Fellow of the Leadership Academy

 

 Why Nursing Home Care

There are many reasons someone may be living in a nursing home. After a hospitalization, your loved one may have been placed in rehabilitation; and during that rehab stay, it may have become clear the person can no longer live alone. If finances preclude in-home care, nursing home care can be covered by Medicaid if the individual is clinically and financially eligible. Or if the individual’s needs are so complex that the care of a registered nurse on a regular basis, a nursing home is a practical solution.

Paying for Nursing Home Care

All of a sudden you are told your loved one’s time in rehab is up and that he/she must go home or move to long-term care.  While the rehabilitation stay may have been covered by Medicare, the transition to a long-term care can be confusing. You probably have figured out how expensive nursing home care is. Medicaid will pay for long-term care if the individual meets specific eligibility requirements. There are very specific rules, some depending on if there is still a spouse in the community, as well as others regarding how much money the elder can have spent for certain things. If you are confused or unsure about the Medicaid application process, reach out for professional assistance from an Aging Life Care Professional or even an Elder Law Attorney.

Choosing a Nursing Home

Which nursing home is best for your loved one? A great place to begin your research is with Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. Nursing Home Compare allows consumers to compare information based on yearly surveys conducted in person by the Department of Public Health. The website contains quality of care information on every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country – more than 15,000 nationwide.

For information beyond the survey, a local Aging Life Care Professional can offer up-to-date information and insider knowledge based on current or previous experiences with clients at particular facilities. Nursing home staff frequently turn over, so this personal, insider view is invaluable. Aging Life Care Professionals will know the little things like whether all those activities on the calendar actually happen.

Navigating the Maze

An Aging Life Care Professional can be your guide to all things nursing home. Whether you live in the same town or across the country, an Aging Life Care Professional can be your eyes and ears. These experts can also help you answer all of the questions that may be racing through your head, or that may come up along the way such as:

  • Does my relative get to choose a roommate?
  • Can she still have her favorite foods?
  • Who is my contact person at the facility?
  • Who do I tell that my mother never wears her hair that way, or that red lipstick makes her day?
  • Who is responsible for laundry and should clothes be labeled?
  • What if the roommate keeps the TV blasting late into the night?

Though nurses are on staff, the bulk of the care is provided by certified nursing assistants (CNA) who are taking care of a number of people on a daily basis. Forming a bond with the regular CNAs that assist your loved one will help you get timely information and also go a long way towards making sure your loved one is getting the care you hope for.

Nursing homes are required to have quarterly care plan meetings to establish exactly what they are doing for a resident. There need to be goals with progress towards those goals reviewed. Having an advocate attend with you – or in your place – can be invaluable. If the Aging Life Care Professional knew your relative before placement in long-term care, they may have important history to share with the facility staff.

With experience working in and with nursing homes, Aging Life Care Professionals are great partners to work successfully with nursing home staff. Find a local Aging Life Care Expert at aginglifecare.org.

About the author: Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC is an Aging Life Care™ specialist in Brookline, MA who works with families to find solutions to complicated elder care problems. She has been a leader in the Aging Life Care Association and quoted extensively in the media as seen on her website modiglianigeriatrics.com.


This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Journal of Aging Life Care Summer 2017: Atypical Dementias

In the newest edition of the Aging Life Care Journal, Aging Life Care Professionals examine the issues faced by those who are younger and diagnosed with atypical dementias. Jennifer Pilcher-Warren, MS, PhD, CMC, is the editor-in-chief. Her message to readers is below. To read the entire issue of the Journal of Aging Life Care: Atypical Dementias, you can find it here.

From Jennifer Pilcher-Warren, MS, PhD, CMC, editor-in-chief:

Greetings!  I am very excited to present this latest issue of the Journal of Aging Life Care which explores the unique challenges for Aging Life Care Managers who are serving younger clients with atypical dementias. Having grown up in a family where both my maternal grandmother and aunt were diagnosed with Young-Onset Alzheimer’s disease, this is a topic near and dear to my own heart. However, for many of us in the care management field who have traditionally worked with geriatric clients, this is a new and often challenging population to work with.

Whether because of improved detection, increased awareness among medical providers or the fact that incidences are more frequent due to early baby boomers, the reality is we are seeing an ever-increasing number of younger clients with dementia in our practices. There is a high likelihood that these clients will have a less common type of dementia. For example, in 75% of FTD cases, onset occurs before the age of 65 (Onyike, CU; Dhiel-Scmid, J: The epidemiology of frontotemporal dementia, International Review of Psychiatry, 2013: 25: 130-137).

These clients may have recently retired or even forced to leave work, often not on good terms and thus may be experiencing devastating financial consequences. Frequently, these clients have grade school or teenage children living at home, further complicating the situation. Caregivers for clients with young-onset dementias experience levels of stress, burden, and depression that some studies suggest are even higher than for caregivers of clients with late-onset (van Vliet, D., de Vugt, M. E., Bakker, C., Koopmans, R. T. C. M. and Verhey, F. R. J. (2010), Impact of early onset dementia on caregivers: a review. Int. J. Geriat. Psychiatry, 25: 1091–1100. doi:10.1002/gps.2439). As a result, these clients, and their families, deserve a different care management approach.

Resources for this population are scarce. We, as Aging Life Care Managers, are often placing these younger clients in facilities where they have no peer group, where programming is often inappropriate, and direct care strategies are either unclear or insufficient. Moreover, in addition to age, facilities are often resistant or simply unwilling to accepting clients with atypical dementias such as FTD or Lewy Body Dementia due to stigma about associated behavioral issues. In fact, according to the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, most adult day programs and residential care facilities are not prepared to address the special needs of a younger patient, especially if their behavioral symptoms are difficult to manage. It is understandable why facilities would worry about the safety of their other residents who are not as healthy, mobile, and functionally capable as this younger population. However, as very few placement options exist for these clients, it can leave the Aging Life Care Manager perplexed and in a very difficult position.

This issue is designed to highlight the particular struggles of this type of client and increase awareness of their unique challenges. We hope the authors’ expertise provided in this issue will serve to educate and/or reinforce each reader’s understanding of the different types of atypical dementias, present real life situations where Aging Life Care Management has been effective in working with these clients, provide some strategies and techniques for working with these clients, and inform you about new, innovative, and practical ideas being used to care for this population. On behalf of the entire board and my fellow Guest Editor, Ted Aransky, MEd, LSW, CMC, we hope you enjoy this latest issue and find it beneficial.


This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

How to Recognize When It’s Time for Older Adults to Stop Driving

One of the most difficult conversations caregivers can have with their older loved ones concerns driving. Telling someone they are no longer safe to drive can result in hurt feelings, resentment, and arguments. ALCA member Susan Birenbaum addresses these concerns and directs caregivers to useful resources.

How to Recognize When It’s Time for Older Adults to Stop Driving

Susan Birenbaum, MBA, LCSW, C-ASWCM

One of the most frequent questions that I get from Adult Children as an Aging Life Care Manager is, “I am concerned about my parent’s driving but don’t know how to discuss it with them. My siblings agree that my parent should no longer be driving, and perhaps the other parent also agrees. We have tried to bring up the subject with my parent, but he is in denial and it leads to an altercation.”

What does giving up their license mean for an Older Adult?

  • Giving up driving is a very emotional issue for an Older Adult. They view it as judgment by their children, but more importantly as a loss of independence, especially if they live outside of a major city without easy transportation.
  • People have driven for years and it is viewed as an important part of their identity.
  • Often this can result in isolation, lack of ability to socialize, and reliance on other people.
  • This can result in a very emotional conversation with the children and can turn to anger.

How to Handle the Conversation & Topics to Consider:

  • Taking the keys from Older drivers;
  • Talking with Older Drivers who need to stop driving;
  • The warning signs of unsafe driving.

It can be helpful if you arrange for someone or someway to provide transportation that the Older Adult can continue to attend social events, MD appointments and avoid isolation, thereby helping them to maintain their way of life.

A resource which can be very helpful in handling this situation of having the older driver give up driving is his physician. Generally, the physician is viewed as an authority figure and the Older Adult will listen to him/her.

Where Do We Turn?  

AARP Driving Tool

The most valuable tool in this situation is the AARP Driving Tool (www.aarp.org).  It is an online seminar which addresses all these questions. The format is as follows:

When Should Older Adults Stop Driving?

  • AARP Driver Safety: available online and in a classroom
  • Older drivers and automobile safety
  • Driving Assessment for older drivers
  • List of when to put the brakes on elderly drivers
  • AARP Driver Safety Test
  • Driver Safety, Public Transportation and Mobility Caregiving tips

Modules I –The Meaning of Driving

Module II – Observing driving skills

Module III – Planning conversation

Guidebooks for Car Safety

There are many guidebooks for helping with the conversation. The Hartford Insurance Company, in conjunction with the MITAge Lab, produced guidebooks titled “We Need to Talk.”  These guidebooks can be downloaded at www.thehartford.com. Chapters include:

  1. Your Road Ahead
  2. Comprehensive Evaluations
  3. At the Crossroad, Family Conversations about Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia and Driving

A point to bear in mind is that just because the driver is older does not necessarily mean that he/she should stop driving.  Two ways to evaluate safety include: (1) AARP Safety Test; (2) Personally drive with the individual and see if he/she drives competently and safely.


Susan Birenbaum is a Certified Aging Life Care Manager and Psychotherapist specializing in Geriatric and family issues. She is a Principle, Humanittude LLC.

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

What’s Important to Consider Before Hiring In-Home Caregivers

In the Aging Life Care Association’s newest White Paper, “Agency or Independent: Considerations in Hiring”, ALCA member Bunni Dybnis examines the legal and financial questions one should examine before deciding to hire caregivers for the home. Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the White Paper; to read and download the entire document, please click here.

Agency or Independent: Considerations in Hiring
Bunni Dybnis, MA, LMFT, CMC, Aging Life Care Association Member
Fellow of the Leadership Academy

“For aging adults with physical and cognitive limitations who wish to remain in the familiar environment of their own home, paid in-home care workers often provide the solution. Understanding the differences in care providers and the roles and obligations of hiring are essential in creating a positive experience for all involved.

In-home caregivers can provide a wide range of assistance including personal care needs such as bathing, dressing, supervision, help with toileting, to medication reminders and assistance with daily living activities, such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and companionship. Those who are hiring paid workers to provide in-home care look for solutions from a variety of sources. Being responsible for the care of a dependent or older adult is a demanding job that often involves many tasks.

Choosing a full-service agency shifts the responsibility of care and liability away from the family and can provide respite from many of these demands. Primarily because of cost considerations many families seeking to hire in- home help will turn to private individuals rather than hiring through an agency. At first glance, this may seem reasonable; however, this can cause numerous problems and can create unexpected liabilities for the individual who becomes an employer. Understanding responsibilities and employer obligations is essential.”

White Papers are essays that have been written by Aging Life Care Association members on a variety of topics, including caregiver burnout and costs. These documents are free to access, read, download, and share; they are effective ways to educate and spread the word about the mission of the Aging Life Care Association and its professionals, who provide care management services across the country for a variety of clients. You can find the collection of White Papers here.


This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

More Than Just Things: Options and Tips for Downsizing

Life transitions often mean that we need to make decisions about what to do with years of accumulated personal property that no longer physically fits our new space, does not fit with our new lifestyle, or that needs to be liquidated to meet financial obligations. It is comforting to know there are professionals who can assist in providing effective advice and downsizing services during what is often a stressful time.  There are several options to consider:

I Have Too Much Stuff!  Options for Liquidation and What They Each Mean

by Marie LeBlanc, BS, MBA, – Aging Life Care Association™ Corporate Partner

Whether you are downsizing yourself or managing the estate of a loved one, there are several options for selling or liquidating personal property:

Fixed, Single Price Sale

In this option, a dealer will usually come to the home, look over the contents and offer a complete price for the entire lot. While this is the most painless and efficient method of clearing everything out, there is no way for the sellers to know if there were, in fact, items of significant value in the home nor to feel truly comfortable that they have received the “best price” for their personal property.

Auction House Placement

Placing pieces with auction houses and consignment shops allows the auction house or shop owner to likely achieve a very viable high market price for the items. However, this process takes a fair amount of time to complete the turnover of items to cash and large commissions are the norm, resulting in less cash to the client. Also, this process would only apply to a limited number of items within most households. This leaves the seller in the position of needing to find other avenues of liquidating or disposing of the remaining household items.

On-site or Estate Sales

Sales of this nature can be completed by the family or by professionals focused on that business. Items are left in the home and tagged with sale prices. The home is normally opened to the public for set hours over a two-day period while the sale is running. This option for liquidation can be emotionally and physically draining on family members and friends. In addition, most individuals are not in a position to make an educated determination on the appropriate price for pieces. Again, the seller is left in the position of needing to find other avenues of liquidating or disposing of the remaining household items.

Property Inventory

In some cases, the family, executor, or individual may simply need a comprehensive inventory of the items contained in the home along with basements, attics, garages, and other attached or detached storage areas.

High-Value Items/Collections

If there are specific items or collections that you feel are of significant value, arrange for an appraisal by a professional. If these items are determined to be of a value more in line with an auction sale, items can be sold through auction, netting the best market price. Auctions may be held through an auction house or on eBay, which is a web-based on-line auction center, as appropriate.

Full Liquidation

If full liquidation is needed, consider the benefits of working with a professional move manager. These professionals have the resources to completely arrange an on-site sale, including the arrangement and placing of items in an appropriate display, pricing and tagging all items, staffing the sale during all hours of operation, and collecting and tracking all monies. Once a sale is completed, you have various options for disposal of any remaining items, including donations to charity (with possible tax deductions), trash disposal, and sales to secondary market dealers which would yield further cash.

Just remember, you do not have to tackle “the stuff” alone. Contact an Aging Life Care Professional to find the right professional move manager and resources to make a smooth and stress-free transition.

About the author: Marie LeBlanc, BS, MBA, is the president and owner of Transitions Liquidation Services in Hyannis, MA, a move management and rightsizing company founded in 2002.  Transitions Liquidation Services has completed over 700 transitions and Marie is an active speaker on the topics of moving, rightsizing and hoarding.  Follow Marie on Facebook and LinkedIn.


This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

Ensuring Food Security: Meals on Wheels and Other Resources

Food security and hunger are issues that can strike at any point in life, and many Americans struggle with putting food on the table on a day to day basis. One of the more vulnerable groups is the elder population, particularly those without a strong network of friends and family. Physical limitations and restricted income can also play a role in making it difficult to eat well. Luckily, there are multiple programs that can help supplement an elder’s diet with healthy food and their lives with company.

Meals on Wheels and Other Resources for Elderly Food Security

by Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC — Aging Life Care Association™ Member and Fellow of the Leadership Academy

The very simple matter of older adults getting a meal on the table can become very   complicated. Physical limitations can make shopping almost impossible. Friends and family cannot always pick up the slack for a home bound individual. Even if supplies are on hand, the chore of assembling a meal, including standing at a stove, can range from challenging to unsafe.

Aging Life Care Managers know many resources in local communities to help seniors stay as independent as possible. For many, home is their chosen environment. A program called Meals on Wheels is a lifesaver. There are slight variations across the country, but most communities have a non-profit which supplies nutritious hot meals to seniors over age 60 at lunch time. In addition to the nutritional value, this is a daily check in. This provides social interaction, which is an important factor for well being. If the elder does not answer the door, there is an alert called to a concerned person to find out what could be wrong. There is no charge for the meals, but a donation may be requested.

Aging Life Care Managers will be informed about other meal options in their communities. These range from frozen meals delivered by national companies to local private chefs who deliver custom meals. Seniors who attend adult day health programs receive a nutritious lunch and often breakfast and a snack as well. Some senior housing sites have a dining room where residents can purchase a meal and eat with others; however, I am not referring to assisted living, where all meals are provided.

Adequate nutrition is necessary for health, functionality and the ability to remain independent. Healthy eating can increase mental acuity, resistance to illness and disease, energy levels, immune system strength, recuperation speed and the ability to manage chronic health problems. Meals on Wheels ensures that seniors have access to adequate nutrition even when family support, mobility and resources are lacking.

For many seniors, the trusted Meals on Wheels volunteer or staff member who shows up every day with a hot meal and a warm smile is the only person they see or speak with all day. This special delivery is the reason to get up in the morning, something to look forward to, and a reminder to take good care of themselves. Seniors traveling to group settings for meals also receive valuable social interaction and companionship. All of us can attest that a meal can be much more than the food on the plate, but also the company across the table.

Along with the inevitable impacts of aging come the increased risks of medical emergencies, falls and other accidents. The safety check that accompanies each meal delivery ensures that, in the case of an emergency or problem, medics will be called, families will be notified and our seniors will not be forgotten.

 

About the author: Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC is an Aging Life Care Specialist™ in Brookline, MA who works with families to find solutions to complicated elder care problems. She has been a leader in the Aging Life Care Association and quoted extensively in the media as seen on her website modiglianigeriatrics.com.

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

doctor medicare medicaid

A Tale of Two Programs: The Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid may seem similar at the outset, but are in fact two very different programs. Each one has difference qualifications and serves different purposes, but deciphering and understanding those differences can be confusing. Here are a few points of distinction to help make Medicare and Medicaid more clear. 

A Tale of Two Programs

By Byron Cordes, LCSW, C-ASWCM

Medicare and Medicaid; there could not be two more confusing programs for seniors. The first problem is the names. They sound so similar that the consumer cannot keep them straight. The truth is that the programs could not be more different. In this post, I will try to give a quick differentiation to help make some sense of the differences.

Medicare

In its current form, Medicare is simply a health insurance program for adults who reach 65 years in age or become disabled. The individual or spouse must have paid into the Medicare insurance fund; seen on paychecks as FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act). Once on Medicare, an individual will have their medical expenses covered with some coinsurances and copays. Medicare has an automatic hospital benefit known as Medicare Part A, and a voluntary outpatient benefit called Medicare Part B. There have been additional programs added to Medicare over the years; Medicare C (or Medicare Advantage) is an assignment of the Medicare benefits to a 3rd party insurer, sometimes with additional care, but always managed by the new insurer. Medicare Part D is a prescription program introduced in 2006. To sum up, Medicare A is generally covered by premiums paid in; Medicare B is voluntary and at a fee with penalties if you do not accept it when first eligible; Medicare C is a voluntary assignment of your A & B benefits to another party; Medicare D is voluntary and at a fee with penalties if you do not accept it when first eligible. Medicare is not a social program, so it does not cover the cost of living or long-term care; it is only a medical insurance.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a more cumbersome program to describe. Title 19 created the Medicaid benefit as a joint state-federal program. Because each state administers its own program, Medicaid looks a little different in each state, with different qualification rules. Medicaid, at its core, is also a medical insurance program, but with a social services overlay. Medicaid is paid for through general tax revenues, not premiums, and is known as an entitlement program. This means a person who meets all qualifications cannot be denied. Medicaid for seniors and adults with disabilities typically pays for healthcare needs by itself or as a secondary to Medicare. The program can pay for additional services (unlike Medicare and only in certain circumstances) such as: as help in the home, nursing home care, or even modifications to the home.

While Medicare and Medicaid share similar names, we hope this helps clarify how different the two really are. An Aging Life Care Professional in your area can help guide families on how the two programs can benefit a senior. For more help, visit: www.aginglifecare.org.

 

About the author: Byron is recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts in Geriatric Care Management, derived from 25 years in the social work field. He has had his writings and interviews on geriatrics, families and caregiving published nationally. Byron served as the 2012 President of the Aging Life Care AssociationTM. He received his Masters in Social Work from the Worden School of Social Services at Our Lady of the Lake University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Oklahoma State University.

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.