Behavioral Health Concerns & the Real Costs

Posted on

Jun 08, 2021

One of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry today is ensuring people are getting the appropriate type of care as soon as possible. Humana Behavioral Health's expert clinical staff focuses on just that: the right care at the right time.


Case Reviews and Eligibility Verification


The team conducts prospective, concurrent and retrospective case reviews to ensure members receive care that truly improves their overall behavioral health. They also conduct eligibility verification, explanation of benefits, inpatient authorizations and specialty claims process and repricing management.
The utilization management team helps connect members with our network of more than 65,000 credentialed psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, social workers and licensed professional counselors.






Real Costs of Behavioral Health Concerns


With nearly one-third of adults having a diagnosable behavioral health disorder, the need for effective, managed care for mental health issues is more important than ever.* If left untreated, undiagnosed or undertreated, behavioral health issues can drive up healthcare costs and lower employee productivity in the workplace.
Consider that:
The economic costs of mental illness will be more than cancer, diabetes, and respiratory ailments put together, according to The National Institute of Mental Health, USA.**
The Institute also estimates that mental illness costs the country at least $444 billion a year.**
According to federal guidelines, employers who do not make accommodations for employees with serious mood disorders could be sued.**

*"The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America," U.S. Census.



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The Role of Mental Health in Seniors

In observance of National Mental Health Awareness Month this May, the spotlight is now turning toward a previously overlooked demographic: seniors. While mental health has gained significant attention in recent years, researchers are uncovering the unique challenges faced by older adults. As we strive to pave the way for healthy seniors, its crucial to value the importance of a positive mental health mindset and habits.The psychology of aging is changing. As they start to retire, baby boomers are changing the way we think about senior citizens and mental health awareness. According to a study from the Institute on Medicine, approximately 1 in 5 older adults in the United States has a mental illness, substance abuse disorder or both.Researchers who have studied mental wellness over a lifespan noticed that older adults with chronic conditions, such as heart disease, are more likely to experience depression as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that for seniors, doctors may dismiss concerns of depression or loneliness, and seniors are left misdiagnosed or undertreated. In fact, due to the longtime cultural stigma around mental health issues, seniors may be more reluctant to seek help, or they may dismiss their own concerns because they do not believe that they need assistance to feel better. Reasons Why Seniors Struggle with Mental HealthThere are various reasons that seniors often struggle with mental health concerns, and while there are no set causes, research has shown that these factors are related to the risk of mental illness but do not necessarily cause it:    Medical conditions, such as stroke or cancer    Genes people who have a family history of depression may be at higher risk    Stress, including caregiver stress    Sleep problems    Social isolation and loneliness    Lack of exercise or physical activity    Functional limitations that make engaging in activities of daily living difficult    Addiction and/or alcoholism Life transitions related to the environment and changes in circumstances can also trigger periods of mental health disturbance. Transitioning from a lengthy career, experiencing family relocation or adjusting to life in a senior living community can evoke feelings of anxiety and depression in otherwise healthy seniors. During these times of transition, team members at Anthology Senior Living communities are equipped with the resources to aid residents. Dont be afraid to seek out mental health programs for older adults and encourage mental health improvement activities, such as exercising and meditation. Moving for SeniorsSome life events, such as a big move, can trigger more emotional changes in seniors. When moving into a senior living community, treat the transition with care. There are several emotional stages of moving, and some seniors could become depressed after moving to a new home. If emotions about moving arise, it can cause psychological challenges in older adults. To ensure quality of life for seniors who are moving, pay attention to any emotions or feelings your loved one might have, and help them process each consideration to help mitigate the emotional challenges that may come up.Talk to your loved one about the benefits of living in a retirement community, and if necessary, encourage conversations and utilize community and Anthology Senior Living support to gather resources about mental health services for seniors. Social Connections Are Essential for Healthy SeniorsAnother benefit of living in an Anthology Senior Living community is the opportunity to meet new people and create new social connections, which can ease the stress from moving. Communities like Anthology of Blue Ash help welcome new residents by introducing them to fellow neighbors and inviting them to dine with their new friends. Social connections are essential for not only surviving but also thriving. However, as individuals age, they frequently discover themselves spending increasing amounts of time in solitude. Research indicates that loneliness and social isolation are correlated with elevated levels of depression.

The Surprising Connection Between Health and Estate Planning

You already know that taking care of your health allows you to prolong your life and enhance your quality of life. But have you given serious thought to how your health directly impacts your future? Your legacy? The ones you love the most? What were talking about here is estate planning, and its every bit as important as your physical health. I know, I know, it could sound weird to equate health with estate planning but hear me out. By the end of the article, the connection will be clear.  The Link Between Your Health and Estate PlanningEstate planning often brings to mind wills, trusts, and other legal paperwork, and in fact, thats maybe what you initially thought when you read the title of this article. However, I want to challenge that assumption with this: the documents are merely the byproduct of estate planning. You may be thinking, how are documents the byproduct of estate planning? Heres what I mean.Estate planning is all about ensuring your wishes are honored if you become incapacitated so you can live and die with dignity. Its also about ensuring that the people you love most will know you loved them, that theyre cared for when youre gone in a way you cared for them while you lived, and that youve removed all the pain, potential conflict and expense they will have to endure if you have no plan in place. Estate planning supports your loved ones to grieve in peace rather than face a long, expensive court process or confusion regarding how to find your assets or understand what to do when you are gone. Estate planning is also about leaving a legacy. 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Youll come to see that by prioritizing your physical health, you can not only enjoy life with more ease, but also avoid complications in your estate planning. Longevity and Retirement Savings. Your physical health has a direct impact on your lifespan, which in turn affects how long your retirement savings need to last. If you maintain good physical health, youre likely to live longer (yay!) and will need a more extensive plan regarding your assets, for your longer life.Healthcare Decisions. Consider the potential need for long-term care. Alzheimer's or dementia could require long-term care solutions that you may or may not choose. In your estate plan, its crucial to not only make sure youre financially covered for these possibilities, but to also ensure youve made it clear how you want to be cared for, if you cannot make decisions for yourself. There comes a point in time at which its too late for you to make your wishes known and given that you are reading this now is the time to document what you would choose, if you could not choose.This is why you need a healthcare power of attorney, or a living will in your plan. These are documents that designate the person (or people) you choose to make medical decisions on your behalf if youre unable to do so. Your designated healthcare agent (or agents) will not only ensure that your healthcare preferences are respected but will also align your medical treatment with your personal wishes. Without these documents in place, a judge (i.e., a complete stranger) could appoint someone to act on your behalf. Maybe even someone you dont trust or wouldnt want making decisions for you. Or, in a worst-case scenario, a judge could even appoint a professional conservator who could drain your estate financially.Disability and Its Impact. Poor health can sometimes lead to disability, affecting your ability to manage your own affairs. Including a disability clause in your estate plan ensures that your assets are managed according to your wishes, even if youre not able to oversee them personally. A revocable living trust can be particularly useful here, as it allows your chosen person or entity to manage your affairs without the need for court intervention. Again, without a plan in place, a judge will make decisions for you, and those decisions may not be what you want.Having gone through the potential consequences of not prioritizing your physical health and its direct link to your estate planning, lets turn to practical steps you can take now to make sure you and your family dont have to experience any negative consequences. Practical Steps to Integrate Health and Estate PlanningUnless youre already incapacitated and cant make decisions for yourself, know that its not too late to take action. Its not too early, either. Death and incapacity dont discriminate based on age. When you face that fact, and then plan accordingly, you can live life with more ease, more joy, and less stress. Truly.So, if you havent planned for the future, here are some practical steps you can take now:Schedule Regular Check-Ups. It may seem obvious, but regular medical examinations are vital. They not only help in detecting illnesses early but also provide a clear picture of your health, which, as weve discussed above, is crucial for accurate estate planning. If you discover a new health condition, you can plan accordingly when youve caught it in time. If not, it could be too late to get your plan in place.Update Your Estate Plan Regularly: As your health changes, so should your estate plan. Make it a habit to review and update your plan on a regular basis or whenever there is a significant change in your health. As an Estate Planning Attorney, I can not only help you get your initial plan in place, but with a unique process I use called Life & Legacy Planning, I will always include a free review of your plan at least every three years. This ensures your plan works because it will be updated as your health, life and assets change over time. Without updates, your plan will fail, sending your family to court and increasing the probability of conflict. Discuss Your Plans Openly: Talk with your family about your healthcare wishes and how they relate to your estate plan. Taking this courageous, and maybe uncomfortable, step, makes a big difference when it comes to decreasing the likelihood of conflict in your family. 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The Power of Life Enrichment Programs in Memory Care Homes

When a loved one is facing memory-related conditions such as Alzheimers or dementia, it is important to provide them with comprehensive care that goes beyond meeting their physical needs. This is where life enrichment programs in memory care homes, like Northwoods Memory Care Suites, truly make a difference. These programs are specifically designed to engage residents on a personal level, nurture their sense of self, and foster a vibrant and purpose-filled life. In this blog post, we will explore the power of life enrichment programs and how they contribute to enriching the lives of individuals in memory care homes. Tailored Activities for Personal Engagement One of the key aspects of life enrichment programs is their focus on individual needs, interests, and preferences. The dedicated life enrichment team at Northwoods Memory Care Suites recognizes that each resident has a unique life story, experiences, and abilities. They curate a rich tapestry of activities specifically tailored to cater to these diverse interests, creating a personalized experience for each individual. For instance, if a resident has a background in art, they may be immersed in therapeutic art sessions, allowing them to express themselves and find solace in the creative process. Others who have a lifelong love for music might enjoy dance parties or concerts, which can trigger powerful emotional responses and memories. These purposefully designed activities engage residents on a personal level and ignite their passions, promoting a sense of joy, self-expression, and fulfillment. Stimulating Cognitive Function and Memory Recall Life enrichment programs in memory care homes not only focus on preserving cognitive function but also on sustaining the residents spirits. Activities are carefully designed to stimulate creativity, memory recall, and engagement. From morning exercise sessions that promote physical well-being to art and music therapy sessions, each day presents diverse opportunities for residents to maintain their cognitive abilities and connectedness. Art therapy, in particular, has shown promising results in improving well-being and reducing anxiety in individuals with memory-related conditions. Similarly, music therapy taps into the power of auditory stimulation, triggering emotional responses and reminiscences of past experiences. These activities are a lifeline to cherished memories, providing a source of joy and connection to a life filled with meaningful moments. Building Strong and Supportive Communities Life enrichment programs in memory care homes also foster a sense of community among the residents. Regular social events and group outings create opportunities for interaction with peers and caregivers, forming bonds and connections that combat feelings of isolation and loneliness. The monthly calendar of activities at Northwoods Memory Care Suites is thoughtfully curated to ensure a vibrant and engaging routine that encourages residents with dementia to participate and enjoy a shared sense of purpose. By participating in activities together, residents form connections that transcend their memory impairments, creating an environment where they feel valued, stimulated, and alive. These shared experiences not only benefit the residents but also provide support and connection for caregivers and family members, who can witness the positive impact of life enrichment programs firsthand. Life enrichment programs play a vital role in memory care homes like Northwoods Memory Care Suites. By tailoring activities to individual interests, stimulating cognitive function and memory recall, and fostering a strong and supportive community, these programs enrich the lives of residents facing memory-related conditions. They provide an avenue for self-expression, creativity, and joy, allowing individuals to continue flourishing despite the challenges they may face. With a commitment to personalized care, Northwoods Memory Care Suites exemplifies the power of life enrichment programs in promoting well-being, purpose, and fulfillment for residents in memory care homes.