The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently started to focus on finding ways to support family caregivers by assisting them with resources to maintain their health, well-being, and financial security while they act as caregivers. As part of this, it has announced the implementation of a National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers.
HHS estimates that approximately 53 million people provide a broad range of assistance to their aging, health-compromised, or disabled loved ones each year. Millions more open their homes to grandparents as well as children who cannot live with their parents.
Burdens of Caregiving
Many caregivers put their needs last, often giving up income to step into a caregiving role. As a result, they may suffer quality of life and financial and health issues. When these scenarios become untenable, their loved ones are forced to enter nursing homes or other facilities, and taxpayers bear this cost.
In response to these issues, HHS has proposed its National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers, a collaboration between the federal government and the private sector. HHS plans to update this strategy every two years and seek input from the public, and from local and state councils and agencies that work with family caregivers.
The strategy’s primary goal is to provide caregivers with training, support, and opportunities for rest and self-care.
Two main categories of caregivers are the focus of the strategy — family caregivers and kin and/ or grandparent caregivers. Family caregivers usually assist a loved one with a chronic or other health condition, disability, or functional limitation. A kin and/ or grandparent caregiver refers to a grandparent or adult relative who takes on responsibility for grandchildren or other children who cannot remain with their parents.
The National Strategy outlines five main goals:
Learn more about the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers and the coordinated approach to supporting caregivers it hopes to achieve.
Did you know there are financial assistance programs available to veterans who need assisted living care? Our veterans made numerous sacrifices to uphold the freedom we enjoy today while their families kept the home fires burning. They are entitled to many benefits in appreciation for all they endured for America.Veterans benefits for senior living are available for qualifying veterans and their surviving spouses, as long as the veteran served at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during a wartime period, and received an honorable or general discharge.Veterans Aid and Attendance for assisted living careOffered through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Aid and Attendance is a monthly pension benefit that can help cover the costs of assisted living care. It is available for wartime veterans and their spouses who have limited income and require the regular attendance of a caregiver.Aid and Attendance is designed for individuals who need assistance from another person to complete everyday activities such as bathing, dressing and assistance with other daily activities. A veterans need for this benefit does not need to be the result of their military service.Funds received from Aid and Attendance benefits can offer a monthly benefit to help pay for assisted living and long-term care for a qualifying veteran and their spouse. The actual monthly benefit is determined by the veterans assets, income and medical expenses and conditions.Contact your local county Veterans Services office with questions on how to apply by visiting www.benefits.va.gov/vso.MedicareMedicare will pay for short-term care at nursing and rehabilitation facilities for seniors who need these services after an illness or injury that requires hospitalization. Medicare does not cover the cost for assisted living, home care or other senior living services.Long-Term Care BenefitsThe Veterans Administration provides both short- and long-term care in skilled nursing settings for veterans who cannot care for themselves. This benefit does not cover assisted living or home care.Housebound BenefitsVeterans confined to their homes and requiring assisted living care may be best suited to receive Housebound benefits. This program provides an increased monthly pension amount for those confined to their home due to a permanent disability.Applying for BenefitsThe Veterans Administration has regional offices that provide Veteran Service Organization representatives who may be able to answer simple questions about assisted living benefits, as well as provide free, basic advice on the application process.Many veterans seeking advice on applying for assisted living benefits hire a qualified attorney accredited by the VA or an accredited claims agent, who has passed a written exam about VA laws and procedures.The application process for assisted living benefits is often very lengthy. It is important to be thorough when completing the application and have all required documentation gathered and ready to submit.There are additional financial options to pay for assisted living care for individuals who do not qualify for veterans benefit. Click to find out more about financial options for senior living.Country Meadows offers affordable assisted living or personal care on its nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Our friendly co-workers are always available to help! Contact us today for more information.
Assisted Living Tours: Find the Right Fit for Your Loved OneBy: Country Meadows | Assisted LivingWe spend our entire lives raising families, managing households, working, balancing checkbooks and making countless decisions. As we age, these everyday duties can become more and more challenging. Making a well-informed and thoughtful choice about assisted living for yourself or a loved one is a significant decision that can impact overall well-being. Too often people wait until a crisis occurs, necessitating a quick decision when selecting senior living. Preparing for assisted living by researching options and taking assisted living tours allows individuals to thoughtfully select senior living accommodations.There are many reasons why visiting and taking assisted living tours in advance are important.Facility atmospherePaying visits and taking in-person assisted living tours allow you to see for yourself the overall atmosphere and ambience of the community. This includes noting cleanliness and the layout as well as the general feeling of the environment. This firsthand experience can provide insights into whether a community is a good fit for personal preferences and comfort.Staff interactionDuring assisted living tours, meeting staff members and interacting with current residents can provide valuable insights. Note the level of professionalism, friendliness and responsiveness of the staff while gauging the overall satisfaction and happiness of residents. Pay attention to staff achievements and organizational awards such as certifications in programs that recognize great places to work.Establishing relationships with co-workers and management during a visit provides customers with insights as to the teams willingness to communicate and work with residents and their families, fostering a sense of trust and confidence in the care to be provided.Services and amenitiesAssisted living communities offer various services and amenities. By visiting and taking assisted living tours, you can personally evaluate the quality and context of services offered, such as dining options, activities, care, transportation and other options. This helps ensure the facility meets specific needs and expectations.Care philosophyEvery assisted living community may have a unique approach to delivering care. By visiting and taking assisted living tours, you can ask thoughtful questions and gain a better understanding of the facilitys care philosophy to determine if it aligns with expectations.Safety and accessibilityTaking assisted living tours helps seniors assess safety and accessibility features in a community. This may include building layout, emergency response system options and general safety measures and policies. Understanding these aspects is vital for ensuring a secure living environment.Stress and anxietyKnowing and being familiar with potential living arrangements in advance reduces the stress and anxiety associated with making urgent decisions. Taking assisted living tours provides familiarity with the location and offers a sense of security during what can be a challenging time.Good fitUltimately, assisted living tours help prospective residents ensure the community is a good fit for individual wants and needs. Factors such as cultural compatibility, community engagement and overall feel of the environment is subjective and only can be assessed through direct experience.Time for questionsDuring assisted living tours, visitors have the chance to ask questions and seek clarification about various aspects of what everyday life will be like in the community. This helps individuals obtain detailed information about policies, costs and other factors that help customers make informed decisions.Plan for the futureVisiting and taking assisted living tours before a crisis allows individuals opportunities for better long-term planning. It provides the time to explore different options, compare facilities and make decisions based on careful consideration rather than under the pressure of urgent circumstances.Country Meadows
Pet Friendly Senior Living Benefits All Animal LoversBy: Country Meadows | Senior LivingThe bond between humans and animals is complex and deeply rooted. Studies have shown time and time again that animal companions can offer numerous benefits for people of all ages and can be a valuable tool in healthy aging. In pet friendly senior living, furry friends enhance the overall quality of life for residents.Some retirement communities like Country Meadows offer pet friendly senior living. For residents who dont have a pet of their own, each campus has house pets for everyone to love, spoil and enjoy. And Dynamic Living teams plan visits to and from animal rescue groups, volunteer opportunities to make pet toys and treats and special events such as dog weddings and furry sweethearts.Pets provide many benefits, including:CompanionshipPets provide companionship and emotional support, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation that some seniors may experience. A pet friendly senior living community provides many opportunities to interact with animals, whether individual pets or therapy animals.Stress reductionInteracting with pets has been shown to lower stress levels and promote relaxation, which can be especially valuable for seniors dealing with the challenges of aging. Staff at a pet friendly senior living community can help older adults provide care for beloved furry friends when needed.Physical activityHaving a pet encourages regular physical activity, such as walking dogs or playing with cats, which can help seniors stay active and maintain a healthier lifestyle.Social interactionPets can serve as conversation starters, fostering connections between residents and encouraging social interactions within the community. At pet friendly senior living, meeting neighbors animals is a great way to break the ice, start conversations and make new friends.Routine and structureTaking care of a pet can establish a daily routine and provides a sense of purpose, providing responsibility and stability.Improved mental healthSeveral studies have shown that pets boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, contributing to overall mental well-being. Pet friendly senior living provides many opportunities for residents to interact with animals, whether the pet lives on campus, is visiting or is part of an educational presentation.Cognitive stimulationInteracting with pets can stimulate cognitive functions, such as memory and problem-solving skills, which are essential for maintaining mental sharpness in our later years. Activities involving animals are effective in helping residents living with dementia in pet friendly senior living.Even if a resident chooses not to own their own furry friend, various animal-related activities are planned to provide opportunities for seniors to interact with pets. Some of these activities include:Pet therapyAnimals certified in therapy, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and even reptiles, visit pet friendly senior living communities to interact with residents. Therapy animals are known for their gentle temperament and are specifically trained to provide comfort and companionship. Residents can pet, cuddle or simply spend time with animals.Educational presentationsSome pet friendly senior living facilities invite animal experts to bring a variety of animals such as exotic birds, reptiles, small mammals and others, for residents to interact with and learn about.Volunteer opportunitiesMany residents at pet friendly senior living communities enjoy supporting local animal rescues. At Country Meadows, residents make dog biscuits for local shelters as well as toys and treats. And residents look forward to visiting shelters in their respective areas to donate items in person and meet shelter residents.BirdwatchingRegardless of whether or not one lives at a pet friendly senior living community, birdwatching is a fun opportunity to observe and enjoy local birds. At Country Meadows, residents often enjoy birding walks during which experts point out different birds, talk about their unique traits and educate residents about local habitats.Special activitiesPet friendly senior living communities like Country Meadows are able to offer unique interactions with various types of animals. At Country Meadows of Wyomissing, residents enjoyed a therapeutic puppy yoga session, which was more about cuddling than yoga. At the Forks in Easton location, residents spent their Valentines Day receiving pooch smooches from local shelter dogs, while at Country Meadows of Wyomissing, residents were invited to attend a doggie wedding.AquariumsHaving an aquarium in common areas or resident apartments can be therapeutic. Watching colorful fish swim can be relaxing and help reduce anxiety and stress. Aquariums often can be found regardless of whether or not a community offers pet friendly senior living.Pet friendly living at Country MeadowsWith research demonstrating that seniors benefit from regular animals, Country Meadows offers pet friendly senior living at each of its nine locations in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Please contact us today to request information or to schedule a visit to meet our residents-human, canine, feline and avian! We look forward to meeting you.
Our Firm Prepares You for Life What makes our firm different is that we were built with the needs of growing families in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You are raising children, and caring for elderly parents, while also working hard to build your own nest egg for a lifetime of support. You want to know youve made the best decisions for your family and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most. You want to make sure your minor children would be raised by the people you choose, and never by anyone you wouldnt want, and that your teens and adult children are properly prepared to care for you and what you leave behind. You want to feel confident that youve made the right choices, and handled everything so that you arent leaving behind a mess, when something happens. That is our focus as well. Weve developed unique systems to give you the same access to a Personal Family Lawyer as was previously only available to the super-wealthy, so you can have the guidance you need to build and maintain a life of prosperity and wealth. And, to keep your family out of court and out of conflict, which is the greatest risk to the people you love and all you have created, even if youve already worked with a traditional lawyer or created documents online. Our Team Is Here for You We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, weve thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises. We have a whole team to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you wont have to wait hours or days for a phone call back. Youll get your question answered, right away. And, if you need to schedule a more in-depth legal or strategic call with your Personal Family Lawyer, a call will be scheduled when you're both available and ready for the call so we can make the very best use of your time and not waste your time by leaving voicemail after voicemail back and forth. And, we ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime. We have a funding coordinator to ensure your assets are owned the right way throughout your lifetime and none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process or being lost to the state because they were missed after your death. Weve created unique membership programs to keep your plan up to date year in and year out as well as give you access to our Trusted Team of Legal Experts for guidance on ANY legal or financial matter. One day you will need a lawyer. I dont know why and I dont know when, but when you do, you will be grateful you can call on us and well be here to advise you or get you out of a jam. We Help You Transfer Your Life and Legacy Lastly, we believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall Life and Legacy Planning which is made up of your far more valuable and most often lost upon incapacity or death intellectual, spiritual and human assets. These assets are what make you who you are, and sum up whats most important to you. And, a survey of inheritors has revealed that what they care about even more than inheriting your money, is inheriting these intangible assets. Most estate plans only focus on the transfer of your financial wealth to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on the intangible, but very few ever get around to it. Its just not a priority, until its too late. How much do you know about your grandparents values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime? If you are like most people, you know very little. Thats why we build the capture and passage of these most valuable assets into every estate plan we create. Not only will we help you pass on your money, but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experience the truly valuable assets your loved ones care about the most. Weve developed a tool that allows us to capture and pass on your whole family wealth, including your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets. I cant go into all of the details here, but well definitely talk about it when you come in for your Life and Legacy Planning Session.