Its Never Too Late To Say Thank You To Our Nations Veterans: Even At the End of Life

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Oct 30, 2018

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Americans across the country celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, a special day to salute the men and women who have bravely served our country in the military.
These fellow Americans have made profound sacrifices in defense of freedom and they deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. Honoring our nations Veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire lives, especially at the end.
As our nation marks Veterans Day on November 11, Heart n Home Hospice wants to share its commitment to increase Veterans access to compassionate, high quality hospice care for those who are facing serious and life-limiting illness. As part of this commitment, Heart n Home Hospice is a part of an innovative program, We Honor Veterans, developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Through We Honor Veterans, we are ensuring that our organization is equipped to address the unique needs of our nations Veterans.

It surprises many Americans to learn that every day, 1,800 Veterans die. Thats more than 680,000 Veterans every year or 25 percent of all the people who die in this country annually. A generation of World War II and Korean War Veterans are facing end-of-life care decisions now, and they are quickly being followed by younger Vietnam War Veterans, many of whom are confronting serious illnesses at an even earlier age.

The liberty that we, as US citizens, enjoy comes at a price paid by these valiant men and women. Let each of us make sure we do our part to recognize and support them throughout their lives.

If you know a Veteran who is in need of the special care hospice brings to people facing serious and life-limiting illness, please reach out and help them learn more about the services that hospice can provide. Contact us at gohospice.com to learn more about the ways we support our nations heroes.

To all our nations Veterans, thank you.

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The Importance of Medical Alert Systems for Seniors Who are Aging in Place

Weve all seen the commercial with the infamous line: Help, Ive fallen and I cant get up! The advertisement itself may have been a bit melodramatic, but it raises an important question: what should seniors do if they actually fall and cannot get up?This is where a medical alert system can be critical.What are Medical Alert Systems?Medical alert systems, sometimes referred to as life alert devices, are emergency monitors for seniors to use as they go about their everyday lives. Many medical alert systems are used in the seniors home. These usually consist of a base unit and sensors that are mounted on the wall of the home. These types of systems can detect a fall in the home and trigger an automatic call to emergency services.Some systems also come with a portable option for the senior to wear wherever they go. The main feature of mobile options is the help button. When an emergency such as an injury or fall occurs, seniors can press this button to send out an alert and get the help they need.Oftentimes seniors wear these portable monitors around their neck like a long necklace, on their wrist like a bracelet, on their belt loop, or in their pocket. These monitors should be small and portable so the senior can wear them at all times, and waterproof so they can wear them in the bath or shower a common location for falls.How Do Medical Alert Systems Work?Most medical alert systems allow for real-time tracking through the use of voice, data, and GPS technology. This is important because it gives emergency services the seniors exact location in case of an emergency.With a mobile device, seniors can press the help button after a fall to alert emergency personnel. An in-home system will automatically alert emergency services when it detects a fall. Many basic systems simply alert emergency services once the help button is pressed. More elaborate systems are connected to a 24-hour call center that fields the emergencies and determines the next move. They are able to either alert the seniors emergency contacts (set up ahead of time) or send for emergency services if needed.Who Should Use Medical Alert Systems?All seniors could benefit from having a medical alert system, since you never know when an incident may occur. But, these emergency alert buttons are especially important for seniors who live alone or are aging in place. If a senior who lives alone has a fall and no one is there to help, a medical alert system is not just beneficial; it can actually be lifesaving.Additionally, wearing a medical alert system is one way for seniors to maintain their independence at home while still being prepared for an emergency. And it also provides peace of mind for family members and caregivers that their loved ones can access help in case of an emergency.Why Should Seniors Use a Medical Alert System?The main reason for seniors to use a medical alert system is to allow for fast action in case of a fall or other emergency. According to the CDC, around 36 million falls are reported among seniors every year. Falls can be caused by a number of reasons, such as certain health and cognitive conditions, loss of muscle mass, and weakened eyesight, reflexes, and balance. They can also be caused by unsafe footwear or safety hazards inside and outside the home, like steps, rugs, spills, and clutter.Falls should be taken seriously when they occur. Falls are the leading cause of accidents, serious injuries, and accidental deaths in seniors. To that end, emergency departments treat 3 million seniors for injuries from falls every year. That is more than 8,000 falls every day.The risk of falling can also be a major source of anxiety for seniors, as falls can threaten their independence, mobility, and physical health.Oftentimes when a senior falls, they need help from someone else to regain their balance and get back up. But, if they live alone or no one is around, they may not be able to get themselves up at all. Being stuck on the ground for a long period of time is extremely dangerous for seniors and prolongs their risk of serious injury. Therefore, getting help quickly after a fall is key. With a medical alert system, even a senior who lives alone can have peace of mind that help is available when they need it all at the push of a button. How Much Do Medical Alert Systems Cost?As with all technology, the price of medical alert systems can vary based on equipment, activation, monitoring type, extra devices, and additional features.Some companies allow you to rent their medical alert system equipment, and some require you to buy it. Buying the items may cost anywhere from $50-$350 depending on the type of equipment.In addition, many medical alert systems charge a monthly fee to use their service. This fee pays for access to the 24-hour emergency call center.Generally, the service cost for at-home medical alert systems is around $25 per month or $239 per year. The service cost for on-the-go-devices is slightly more expensive at around $30-$45 a month. Sometimes there is an additional one-time installation or activation fee that can range from $25-$100. However, this fee is often included in the package when you purchase and initiate a medical alert system.Are Medical Alert Systems Covered by Insurance?Usually medical alert systems are not covered by insurance. But, some options might be available to help you cover the cost.For example, your HSA or FSA may offer a deduction for medical alert systems. Medicare Advantage may also cover some of the cost of medical alert systems. You may be able to get coverage through Veterans benefits as well. However, make sure you check with your insurance provider or your states Medicare/Medicaid program, as benefits can vary by policy or state.If you need assistance funding a medical alert system, be sure to contact your local sheriffs office or Area Agency on Aging, which sometimes have grants or resources available. Best Affordable Medical Alert Systems for SeniorsThere are hundreds of companies that sell medical alert systems. Some of the top-rated, affordable options are as follows:MobileHelp - The National Council on Aging (NCOA) voted this company as Best All-Around System. Their monthly fees start at $19.95 and fall buttons are available for an additional $10 per month. They also offer a free trial period.Bay Alarm Medical - The NCOA voted this company as Best for the Price. Their fees start at $25 per month and fall buttons are available for an additional $10 per month. They also offer a free trial period.Lively - Voted Best Health Services by the NCOA, this companys fees start at $25 per month, with fall detection buttons for an additional $25 per month.Other options include Get Safe as a basic option, Medical Guardian MGMove as a wearable option, and Fast Help as an easy, quick option available on Amazon. Some other notable providers of medical alert systems are ADT Medical Alert and Life Alert.How to Help Your Senior Loved OnesMedical alert systems are one impactful way to gain confidence about your senior loved ones safety as they age. For some seniors, this is all the reassurance they need about their safety and independence. But, other seniors may need a little more support.Having a fall can reveal or trigger the need for additional support. Whether you are looking for support in a senior living community or are seeking home health care services, Florida Senior Consulting can help. Our expert senior advisors will find your loved one the care they need to lead a healthy lifestyle, stay safe and lower their risk of falls and injuries. With this peace of mind ultimately comes a better quality of life for seniors and their families.When the decisions become too overwhelming, our experts are here for you. And, we offer these services at no cost to seniors or their families.Senior living on your terms. The choice should be yours.For peace of mind, call us at (800) 969-7176 or visit us at FloridaSeniorConsulting.com.

What is the Aid and Attendance Benefit for Veterans?

When it comes to financing senior care, older adults are often unaware of how many financial options there are that can help. From life-settlement funds to bridge loans, there are a variety of programs designed to make it easier to finance senior care. One benefit that is often overlooked was created for veterans and their surviving spouses. It is the Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefit and is commonly referred to as the Aid and Attendance for Veterans Benefit.What is the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit?This benefit, managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides financial support to veterans to assist with the costs of long-term care. The purpose of this program is to ensure that veterans who served our nation receive the care they need.Aid and Attendance support is available only to veterans and surviving spouses who meet eligibility requirements. In general, the veteran needs to have served at least 90 days of active-duty service with at least one day during a recognized period of war.There are other eligibility requirements for the Aid and Attendance benefit for veterans that must also be met:Age or disability: To receive this pension, a veteran must be at least 65-years-old or be totally and permanently disabled. Seniors who receive home care, live in a senior living community or receive skilled nursing care may be eligible, as can veterans who are receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).Physical condition: The veteran and/or their surviving spouse must also meet one of these conditions to be eligible:Need regular, although not full time, supervision due to a physical, cognitive, mental or developmental condition ORRequire the aid of another person to perform 2 activities of everyday living tasks (e.g., dressing, bathing, feeding, toileting)How much does the VA pay for Aid and Attendance?The 2023 Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit rates are:A single Veteran may qualify for as much as $2,229 per monthA Veteran with a spouse may qualify for as much as $2,642 per monthA surviving spouse may qualify for as much as $1,432 per monthTwo Veterans who are married may qualify for up to $3,536 per monthThese amounts have historically increased by the same cost of living adjustments as social security.Commonly Asked Questions about Aid and AttendanceQ: Is this benefit different from a monthly military pension for veterans?A: Yes. This benefit is separate from and in addition to a monthly pension from a branch of the Military. This pension is from the VA and can be granted in addition to a Military pension. You cannot receive disability compensation or Death and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Pension with Aid and Attendance at the same time. If you qualify for both disability compensation or DIC and you also qualify for the Pension with Aid and Attendance, you can choose whichever is most advantageous for you. Surprisingly, the lower paying benefit is occasionally the better financial choice.Q: How does a veteran or surviving spouse apply for this benefit? Can you apply in person?A: Veterans or a surviving spouse can apply through their regional Veterans Affairs office. However, it is a complicated and time-consuming process and, similar to filing your taxes, you might want to work with a professional with expertise in the Pension with Aid and Attendance benefit. At Five Star Senior Living, we partner with Elder Resource Benefits Consulting to help our residents and future residents with consultation and guidance regarding the VA Aid & Attendance benefit.To learn more about this benefit and to book your appointment for your free benefit analysis we invite you to contact Elder Resource Benefits Consulting at 833-822-9273 or 508-485-0039 or go to elderbenefitsconsulting.com and select the Book Now option on the home page.Please have the following information ready before you call:Monthly gross income from all sourcesEstimated other annual incomeinterest, dividends, IRA contributions, capital gains, etc.Monthly health and/or long-term care insurance premiumsMonthly projected residency feeUnderstanding of applicants assets, including IRAsFive Star Affordability: Download our Cost of Senior Living GuideWe understand that senior living financing options can be confusing, so we created a resource to help. Download our FREE Your Complete Guide to the Cost of Senior Living eBook to get the answers you need. Learn about typical cost ranges, services offered and financing options, from Aid and Attendance to using bridge loans. Weve also included how to contact a senior living counselor who can help answer any further questions. Find out if theres a Five Star community near you or contact us to learn more.

Veteran Benefits for Senior Retirees

The past year has been difficult for many individuals and families, and especially for those in their retirement years. Veterans make up a large percentage of residents in our communities, and we here at Discovery Senior Living want to recognize our veterans and their spouses and give insight into the multiple benefits that are available to help support financial needs of those who have served our country. What Kind of Veteran Support is Available?The VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit (also called the A&A pension) is an available resource to both veterans and surviving spouses who need in-home care or who reside in an assisted living community, memory care community or other skilled nursing facility. In order to be eligible for the A&A pension, you must meet these requirements:1) You or your spouse must be a U.S. military veteran at least 65 years of age or older and permanently disabled.2.) You must have had at least 90 consecutive days of active service and must have served at least one day during wartime.You were discharged under anything other than dishonorable conditionsThe A&A pension is tax-free and can assist with certain fees associated with aspects of Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and other long-term care options. VA benefits may also help cover the cost of Respite Care, home health care and other short-term solutions.  Who Can Help You Receive Support?Not only can you ask any Senior Lifestyle Counselor for more information regarding the A&A pension, but speaking with a VA Accredited Advisor of the Department of Veteran Affairs is another wonderful resource when inquiring about veterans benefits. In fact, this would often make a fine first step, even if you or a loved one are actively planning a move or are already receiving care.  Theres no need to delay moving or postpone care, because payments can be retroactive back to the application date. Time is of the essence, however, since even with professional assistance, it can take up to five months to receive notice of acceptance and/or funds for reimbursement. Applications are processed in the order they are received, but some applicants do have the ability to request priority processing depending upon the circumstance. The A&A pension is a wonderful benefit for our veterans, and our team here at Discovery Senior Living wants to ensure that each of our current and prospective residents are aware of the benefits and resources that are available. We honor and appreciate all veterans who have served our country and are proud that so many now make their homes in Discovery Senior Living communities nationwide. Our Senior Lifestyle Counselors are always willing to answer any questions you may have regarding veteran benefits and other, available financial support. Contact a Senior Lifestyle Counselor at your community of choice today to learn more!