For more information about the author, click to view their website: Senior Helpers of Southwest Pittsburgh
It is estimated that there are over 3.5 million potentially preventable adult hospitalizations every year in the US. These are defined as hospital stays of at least three nights and do not include short trips to the ER.
As verified by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, most of these stays are related to seniors not properly managing their medical conditions! To prevent these hospitalizations, a Senior Care Agency that provides in-home care must perform an assessment of a senior’s living situation to understand what areas can be improved. This evaluation should focus on 5 key areas: Safety Risks, Medical Condition Monitoring, Independence, Quality of Life, and Caregiver Support.
The home care agency should evaluate 13 key areas that a Senior must have their needs met to successfully “Age in Place”. These areas include mobility, activities of daily living, and the number one reason for hospitalizations: proper medical condition management. After the in-home assessment is complete, the homecare agency can analyze the findings and make recommendations for corrective action. This will greatly enhance the five key areas of focus that were originally identified. To illustrate, on average, most Seniors participate in only six to eight activities that they enjoy each week. Tools such as a Quality-of-Life weekly Activity Planner can be utilized to track and increase participation in quality-of-life activities, leading to decreased depression, improved strength, and increased motivation. Safety hazards can be identified and mitigated. Furthermore, any additional gaps in the five key areas can be addressed and corrected. Some in-home care agencies can now do this electronically even generating reports that can be utilized cross-functionally across the healthcare spectrum (Doctors, Social Workers, Care Managers, etc.).
Proprietary tools such as LIFE Profile from Senior Helpers is one such example. In short, a thorough and complete initial assessment performed by a senior care agency can have a significant positive impact on seniors, leading to better outcomes.
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Jeff Kosor, owner of Senior Helpers of Southwest Pittsburgh. He can be reached at 412-851-3223 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
In the journey through the golden years, regular health check-ups emerge as a cornerstone of proactive senior care, offering a vital means of maintaining overall well-being. As our bodies naturally undergo changes with age, routine health examinations become essential for early detection and prevention of potential health issues. Regular check-ups enable healthcare professionals to monitor key indicators such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and glucose levels, providing invaluable insights into an individual's cardiovascular and metabolic health. Detecting and addressing these factors early on can significantly reduce the risk of chronic conditions, ensuring seniors can lead healthier and more active lives.Moreover, regular health check-ups serve as a proactive approach to holistic senior care, encompassing not only physical but also mental well-being. Cognitive health assessments, screenings for conditions like osteoporosis, and discussions about mental health concerns are integral components of these check-ups. By fostering open communication between seniors and healthcare providers, these examinations create opportunities for personalized care plans and the management of age-related health challenges. In essence, the importance of regular health check-ups for seniors extends beyond the diagnosis of illnesses; it embodies a commitment to preventive care, early intervention, and the promotion of a higher quality of life in the later years.
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.