Posts Tagged ‘long-term care’

Eldercare Locator – A Free, Public Service For Connecting Older Adults and Caregivers with Community Resources

October 27, 2010

The Eldercare Locator is a service of the U.S. Administration on Aging.  It’s been around for nearly 20 years.  Its toll free number is 800-677-1116.  Its website is http://www.eldercare.gov.  It  provides information about long-term care alternatives, transportation options, caregiver issues and government benefit eligibility.  This information is also available in Spanish and other languages.  There is an extensive database of links, publications, and other resources.

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Finding at-home help for aging parents

July 20, 2010

When an older relative starts to need help to get through the day, many families want to avoid institutions. To keep their loved one at home, they need to either hire a home-care aide or become one.

There are two main kinds of in-home care. Personal or home-care aides provide companionship and support a person’s activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, preparing meals and doing laundry. Home health aides may do all those things plus tasks such as administering medication or recording changes in a client’s condition. They also may work under a nurse’s supervision.

Here are questions to ask when thinking of hiring or becoming a caregiver.

What kind of care do you need and can you afford?
Before looking for a home-care worker, families need to make sure they can afford to hire one. Families typically pay for these services out of pocket unless the older person meets Medicare’s coverage conditions or has a private long-term care insurance policy that covers such needs.

If you don’t know what kind of care is needed, a specially trained geriatric care manager can help. Assessments cost about $500 to $800 depending where you live. The Alzheimer’s Association offers assistance with an always-open phone line at (800) 272-3900 and at www.Alz.org/carefinder. Medicare’s website has a Home Health Compare tool.

Rates from $14 to $22 an hour for non-medical in-home care are typical, but keep in mind that assisted-living facilities can run $2,800 to $4,400 a month. Agencies’ rates often are toward the top of the scale. Caregivers who work independently tend to be less expensive.

Should you hire an independent worker directly or go to an agency?
The advantage of using an agency is that it takes responsibility for paying wages, taxes and insurance. Agencies also run criminal background and driving-record checks, and provide back-up aides should the main caregiver get sick or go on vacation.

Families who decide to hire someone on their own should make sure they follow all state and federal employment laws, including any provisions for overtime pay. You don’t want someone going after your estate or the family member’s estate because something wasn’t handled correctly.

How do you find the right home-care aide for your needs?
Experts recommend interviewing at least six candidates. Families should interview applicants in the home so the aides know in what kind of environment they would be working. For example, having a smoker or pets in the home may be an issue. And don’t forget to include the elder’s input. Finally, don’t balk if someone who stands out is a little more expensive. Paying a little more for someone you really like is worth the extra cost.

Do you have a plan to take care of yourself?
If you’re caring for a loved one yourself, you need to plan time away to tend to your own physical, social and emotional needs. If you don’t, you risk health-draining burnout. Churches, synagogues and volunteer groups may offer short-term relief. Adult day-care centers may be another option. The Alzheimer’s Association and Agency on Aging groups also provide respite-care resources. For overnight breaks, check with assisted-living facilities, which may offer furnished rooms, meals and nursing staff on a temporary basis.

Family caregivers can find more resources at www.familycaregiving101.org, a website run by two non-profit organizations.

May is National Elder Law Month

May 7, 2010

It’s a good opportunity to share some information I’ve come across that you might find helpful.

Retirement planning calculators can be misleading
How much do you need to save for retirement? You can get an idea by using any of the dozens of retirement calculator tools offered for free on the Internet. But a recent study by actuarial experts on retirement forecasting shows that many popular calculators have serious flaws. These problems could lead to serious miscalculations when you’re plotting your retirement. The report by the Society of Actuaries analyzed 12 retirement calculators created by financial services firms, software companies, nonprofits, and government for consumers and financial planning pros. All but one of the six consumer calculators were free, but they had a host of problems. “These tools take a project that is fairly complex and boil it down to something simple,” says John Turner, an economist and co-author of the report. “They don’t ask you to consider a lot of important variables.”

It’s important to be aware of these variables when it comes to online retirement calculators.

2010 Cost-of-Care Survey
Genworth Financial has released its 2010 annual survey of the cost of various long-term care services around the country, including average costs of home care providers, adult day health care facilities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

SUMMARY OF 2010 FINDINGS

Long-Term Care Services National Median Increase over  2009 5-Year Annual Growth
Homemaker Services (Licensed)

Provides “hands-off” care such as helping with cooking and running errands. Often referred to as “Personal Care Assistants” or “Companions.” This is the rate charged by a non-Medicare certified, licensed agency.

Hourly Rate $18 3.0% 2.4%
Home Health Aide Services (Licensed)

Provides “hands-on” personal care, but not medical care, in the home, with activities such as bathing, dressing and transferring. This is the rate charged by a non-Medicare certified, licensed agency.

Hourly Rate $19 2.7% 1.7%
Adult Day Health Care

Provides social and other related support services in a community-based, protective setting during any part of a day, but less than 24-hour care.

Daily Rate $60 12% Data not available
Assisted Living Facility (One Bedroom/Single Occupancy)Provides “hands-on” personal care as well as medical care for those who are not able to live by themselves, but do not require constant care provided by a nursing home. Monthly Rate $3,185 12% 6.7%
Nursing Home (Semi-Private Room) Provides skilled nursing care 24 hours a day. Daily Rate $185 5.7% 4.6%
Nursing Home (Private Room) Provides skilled nursing care 24 hours a day. Daily Rate $206 5.1% 4.5%

A nifty clickable map allows a snapshot look at state averages.

New Wisconsin law increases penalties for swindling seniors
A new state law gives tougher penalties to those caught swindling money from the elderly. The law allows double the punishment and higher restitution payments for those who con victims 65 and older. Patricia Struck of the state Department of Financial Institutions says up to half the securities fraud cases it investigates now involve older victims. Last year, all but 10 of the agency’s 27 enforcement orders were for cases involving victims older than 65. Going into this year, the department had 93 investigations still pending.  Struck says many older investors are worried that they’ll outlive their retirement savings – and swindlers prey on those people.

Statistics – Long-term Care Insurance

February 12, 2010

I have discovered that getting good statistics on long-term care is equally as difficult as getting them for disability. After reading the New York Times article on disability statistics, I couldn’t help thinking that there might be the same problems with what was being said to encourage people to buy long-term care insurance. I made some inquiries and today I got a 137-page report on the subject from the Society of Actuaries.

I intend to read it this weekend. I’ll report back next week with my conclusions.

This is especially important to me because I am in the process of buying long-term care insurance for my wife and myself. As many of you may know, I have been an advocate of this insurance. Now I’ll be forced to reexamine my thoughts on the matter.