Palliative and hospice care are often interpreted as being synonymous, but there are many differences between the two specialty healthcare services.
Palliative care is supportive care for patients with advanced illnesses and provides treatment for symptoms even when the underlying disease cannot be cured. Anyone with a serious illness, regardless of life expectancy, can receive palliative care.
The goal of a palliative care treatment plan is to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families while seeking continuing treatment for the advanced illness. The palliative care treatment plan considers the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of both the patient and their families.
Palliative care is available for illnesses such as stroke recovery, kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. The types of services included in a palliative treatment plan include providing comfort care, pain management, and symptom management that can address nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety, weakness, fatigue, delirium, and constipation.
When the disease the palliative care plan is treating progresses to an incurable condition the palliative care team will assist the patient and their families with the coordination of hospice services.
Hospice care also considers the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the patient and their family; however, hospice care is offered when a cure is no longer probable. A patient with a serious illness and a life expectancy that is measured in months, not years, would qualify for hospice care.
Hospice care can be provided to the patient in the comfort of their own home or in an in-patient unit setting.
Concordia Visiting Nurses and Good Samaritan Hospice, a mission of Concordia Lutheran Ministries, along with Concordia Hospice of Washington, a partnership of Concordia Community Support Services and Washington Health System, work in collaboration to serve their patients in need of palliative and hospice care.
Did you know that Pennsylvania has the fifth largest older adult population in the nation with 3.4 million individuals?1 As the population continues to age, more people are weighing their options when it comes to downsizing, moving into a senior living community, or choosing to age in the comfort of their homes. According to a 2021 Home and Community Preferences survey by AARP of 2,826 U.S. adults, about 75% of people over the age of 50 expressed that they would like to remain in their current houses and communitiesmeaning aging in place is becoming a more prevalent life choice among older adults.2What to Know About Aging in PlaceIf youre leaning toward spending your years in the place where you feel the most content and safe, then you need to be willing to make some modifications to your home. As you age, your needs change, which means certain features in your home may need to be adjusted. Wider doorways and walkways; accessible bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms; ramps and lifts; non-slip floors; and stability aids like grab bars and handrails are some of the most common enhancements that come to mind, but assistive technology can play an important role in aging in place too.Many people choose to age in place because they want to maintain their independence, and assistive technology helps make that possible. From smart home devices that allow you to control the temperature or lights with voice commands to amplified phones and doorbells, there are plenty of high-tech tools that can help you navigate your day-to-day with ease. If youre a senior with hearing loss, Captioned Telephone Relay Service is a free service that allows you to read captions of whats said to you during phone conversations using a uniquely designed CapTel phone.CapTel Makes Phone Conversations Clearer Using CapTel, you can confidently and securely age in place knowing that you can effectively communicate over the phone. Whether youre calling loved ones to catch up, chatting with your doctor, or contacting first responders in an emergency, CapTel is a dependable communication solution for older adults who have hearing loss.Best of all, the CapTel captioning service is free and available in English and Spanish, with captions appearing on the bright, built-in display screen of the CapTel phone just moments after the other caller has spoken. CapTel phones can be purchased directly for $75 through a third-party vendor, or qualified Pennsylvania residents can apply for a CapTel device through the states Telecommunications Device Distribution Program (TDDP)which provides specialized equipment to individuals who find it difficult to use a standard phone. Age in Place Confidently with CapTelTo learn more about CapTel, including how to purchase or apply for an assistive communication device, visit pactrs.com today!Sources:1Master Plan for Older Adults, Pennsylvania Department of Aging 22021 Home and Community Preferences Survey: A National Survey of Adults Age 18-Plus | Joannne Binette & Fanni Farago, AARP Research CapTel is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc.
Moving to a personal care home is a big decision based on many factors. Cold winter months are drawing near, and the Farmers Almanac is forecasting a Winter Wonderland for the northeastern United States. Keeping this in mind, and to avoid winter chores, this is a great time to consider a respite stay and experience first-hand what life is like living in a personal care home.Experience an easier moveWinter weather conditions like snow and ice can complicate the move to a personal care home. Moving before bad weather conditions arrive allows seniors to avoid potential weather-related delays, accidents or other challenges during transportation and when moving belongings.Try out the personal care homeRespite care offers seniors a chance to try out a retirement community without making a long-term commitment. Country Meadows offers all-rental retirement living accommodations, so seniors are not beholden to a lengthy lease or an ownership stake. A respite stay can help older adults see for themselves whether or not the community is a good fit for a permanent move.Avoid winter weather challengesMany older adults struggle with winter chores such as shoveling snow, chipping away ice, walking on icy sidewalks, managing heating systems and driving in inclement weather. A temporary respite stay at a personal care home eliminates these responsibilities, as well as many other daily chores, removing worries. It provides seniors the opportunity to settle into their new living arrangement without the added stress of winter weather.Access daily assistance and health servicesAlong with cold weather, the winter season can also bring several challenges for older adults to maintain wellness. A major benefit to living at a personal care home is prompt, easy access to health resources and assistance. This is especially beneficial for seniors with health concerns and mobility issues. If a resident requires assistance with medications, dressing, bathing or another daily activity, simply push a call button and a personal care associate can provide needed help. And a wellness team keeps an eye on each residents overall health.Reduce lonelinessMany seniors experience loneliness and isolation while living at home. The winter months can magnify these feelings. Respite care offers opportunities for social interaction and engagement with new neighbors and friends in the same age group, reducing feelings of loneliness and providing mental stimulation.Participate in activities, enjoy entertainment and outingsSenior living communities often offer a variety of enriching activities and events. At Country Meadows, our Vibe program considers each residents physical, cognitive, social and spiritual needs and customizes activities, entertainment, outings and purposeful service opportunities. Events are organized seasonally by categories and offer opportunities for socialization and fun. When living at a personal care home, one doesnt need to brave the elements outside, because all the fun during winter is happening indoors, fostering a sense of belonging among residents.Provide relief for family caregiversA respite stay offers a break for family members and friends providing care in a seniors private home. This break is especially appreciated during winter months when private caregiving responsibilities might become more demanding due to inclement weather, illnesses or holiday-related activities.When considering respite care at a personal care home or retirement community over the winter months, its important to do some homework. Families and seniors should research and visit potential facilities to ensure the community can meet specific needs and preferences of each individual. The decision for respite care should prioritize the well-being, comfort and specific needs of each person, aiming to provide a supportive and enriching experience. Contact Country Meadows Retirement Communities today.
If youre part of a blended family (meaning you are married with children from a prior marriage in the mix), youre no stranger to the extra considerations and planning it takes to keep your familys life running smoothly from which parent your children will be with for the holidays to figuring out the schedule for a much-needed family vacation. Youve also probably given some thought to what you want to happen to your assets and your family if something happens to you. But what you might not have realized is this: If you dont create a plan for your assets before you die, the law has its own plan for you that might not reflect your wishes for your assets, especially your retirement assets. And if youre in a blended family, this can have a significant financial impact on the ones you love and even create expensive, long-term conflict.This week, we explain how the law affects retirement distributions for married couples, and why you need to be extra careful with your retirement planning if youre in a blended family to ensure your retirement account assets go to the right people in the right amounts after youre gone.Be Aware of How ERISA Affects 401K DistributionsIf youve remarried, you and your new spouse have probably talked about updating the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts to reflect your blended family arrangement. (If you havent talked about it, you need to talk about it ASAP). Sometimes, people who are remarried decide to leave their retirement funds to their children from a prior marriage and leave other assets like their house and savings accounts to their current spouse. You may do this to avoid future conflict between your spouse and your children over your assets.But even if you want to leave your retirement for just your children, if youre married and your retirement account is a work-sponsored account, your children wont inherit the entire account even if you name them as the sole beneficiaries. Thats because the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs most employer-sponsored pensions and retirement accounts. Under ERISA, if youre married at the time of your death, your spouse is automatically entitled to receive 50 percent of the value of your employer-sponsored plan even if your beneficiary designations say otherwise.The only time that your surviving spouse would not inherit half of your ERISA-governed retirement account is if your spouse signs an official Spousal Waiver saying they are affirmatively waiving their right to inherit 50 percent of the account, or if the account beneficiary is a Trust of which your spouse is a primary beneficiary. IRAs Have Different Rules Than 401KsIf you want your children to inherit more than 50 percent of your work-sponsored retirement benefits, and completing a Spousal Waiver isnt an option, consider rolling the account into a personal IRA instead.In contrast to 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored plans, IRAs are controlled by state law instead of ERISA. That means that your spouse is not automatically entitled to any part of your IRA. When you roll a 401(k) into an IRA, you gain the flexibility to name anyone you choose as the designated beneficiary, with or without your spouses consent. On the other hand, if you want to ensure your spouse receives half of your retirement savings, make sure to include them as a 50 percent beneficiary or better yet, have your individual retirement account payout to a Trust instead. With a Trust, you can:Document exactly how much of your retirement you want each of your loved ones to receiveControl when they receive the funds outrightEasily update and change the terms of your Trust without having to remember to update your financial accounts.Beneficiary Designations Always Trump Your WillWhether you have an employer-sponsored 401K or an IRA you manage yourself, there is one critical rule that everyone needs to know: beneficiary designations trump your Will.A Will is an important estate planning tool, but most people dont know that beneficiary designations override whatever your Will says about a particular asset. For example, if your Will states that you want your retirement account to be passed on to your brother, but the beneficiary designation on the account says you want it to go to your sister, your sister will inherit the account, even though your Will says otherwise.Similarly, lets imagine that you get divorced and as part of your divorce decree your ex-spouse agrees that they will not have any right to your retirement fund. However, after the divorce, you forget to take their name off of the beneficiary designation for the account. If you die before updating the beneficiary designation, your former spouse will inherit your retirement account. If you forget to update your ERISA-controlled account and have remarried, your current spouse would receive half of the account and your former spouse would receive the other half. Thats why its so important to work with an estate planning attorney who can make sure your accounts are set up with the proper beneficiary designations and ensure that your assets are passed on according to your wishes.Work With An Attorney Who Makes Sure All Your Assets Will Be Passed On How You Want Them ToUnderstanding how the law affects different types of assets is essential to creating an estate plan. But theres more to it than just having a lawyer you need an attorney who takes the time to really understand your family and your assets so they can design a custom plan that achieves your goals for your assets and your legacy. Thats why we help our clients create an inventory of all of their assets to ensure that every asset they hold is accounted for and passed on to their loved ones exactly as they want it to.Contact Entrusted Legacy Law at 412-347-1731.