First-Time Caregiver? You're Not Alone and Hospice Can HelpTaking care of someone who is seriously ill or facing a life-limiting illness can be intimidating, tiring and sometimes frustrating. But your role as a first-time caregiver can also be rewarding if you:Lean on your hospice team for support, education and hospice-specific careFollow the advice and suggestions of experienced caregiversNearly 40 percent of Americans are providing long-term care to an older family member or friend, according to the Associated Press-NORC Centers Long-Term Caregiving Poll.1 Caregivers include 59 percent women, 41 percent men, with older caregivers likely to be caring for a parent or spouse, and those under 40 likely to be caring for a grandparent or friend.Hospice supports patients and their first-time caregiversIf your loved one has a life-limiting illness that qualifies for hospice care, start by calling VITAS to explore the home-based services and benefits that are available to first-time caregivers. Resources range from weekly visits from members of a VITAS hospice medical team (physician, nurse, aide) to home delivery of equipment, supplies and medications related to your loved ones diagnosis. Most hospice care is provided at home, wherever your loved one calls home.Explore Medicare benefits for hospice careThe costs of hospice care are fully covered for hospice-eligible patients by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. Talk to your love ones doctor about the requirements for a hospice referral, knowing that primary-care physicians can remain involved in your loved ones care even after they are receiving hospice services.The goal of hospice care is to relieve the burden on your terminally ill loved one by addressing pain, managing symptoms and supporting quality of life at the end of life. Hospice also supports caregivers by providing access to a hospice chaplain, social worker, volunteer and bereavement support up to 13 months after a loved ones death.The national caregiving poll found that prayer and meditation were common sources of comfort and coping for caregivers, and other strategies and tips from experienced caregivers can help first-time caregivers avoid caregiver burnout.Just remember that if youre a first-time caregiver, youre not alone.1Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. June-July 2018 poll of 1,024 U.S. adults. https://www.longtermcarepoll.org/long-term-caregiving-the-true-costs-of-caring-for-aging-adults/
The last two years have been a rough ride. As a reminder for 2022, if you havent taken the time to sit down and organize your familys finances, there is no better time than now to develop new habits and get your year off to a running start. These are the necessary steps to take.Find a Financial Planner. A financial planner will help walk through the whole process. It is important to work with a financial planner who works with people similar to you. Going on the internet and searching names is probably not the most effective way because you never know what you are going to get. Asking for referrals from friends or family is a great way to go. You know the financial planner has done a good job for them, which automatically creates trust and credibility. Remember, there are many options. Speak to a few people and see who would be a good fit for you and your family.Meet With a Financial Planner. The first step is establishing your financial goals. The financial planner will ask: What are the financial goals that you want to achieve? What are your dreams? Without setting goals, it makes it impossible to achieve them. A goal a client may have is, I want to send my children to school. So, right away I need to know what that means. Does it mean youre paying for all their tuition, or just part of it? A client may also say they want to save to purchase a home and need 20% down. Well, what type of home are you looking for, and in what price range? A financial planner will probe and dig deeper to get those answers.How Do We Get There? Your goals must be written down. When you begin to work towards these goals, budgeting becomes a vital part of this process. As a family, its about sitting down and looking at your monthly cash flows. This is a basic practice that every family and household must to be doing. You need to know what your budget is, to ensure you are not living outside of your means. Which means, you have enough money coming in to pay for the expenses going out. It doesnt matter if you are a billionaire or if youre making $20,000 a year on a side job, if you are spending more money than youre bringing in, you are going to find yourself in debt.Budgeting is Easier Than You Think. People tend to overcomplicate budgeting. Remember, budgeting is not one-and-done, it needs to be done on a regular ongoing basis. How much you spend on food or utilities varies from month to month, so you want to figure out on average how much you are spending. Once you start the process and go year-over-year, you really understand your spending. The same average holds true for how much money you are bringing in, because that might change from month to month depending on your job or career.Realize Your Debt. When working through budgeting, you will realize your debt. Now, you can work toward paying off your debt, as well as saving money for the future. People say, I cant save money, I need to pay off my debt first. This should not be an all-or-nothing thing; it should be more of a balancing act. You want to be paying off your debt while you are saving for the future, because you dont want to miss the early earning years in your career. Time is your friend when it comes to saving and investing.Have an Emergency Fund. If your hot water tank blows up, you need to replace it right away. You want to ensure you have cash immediately on hand, avoiding the I have to use my credit card. Or, if you lost your job, you want to have cash set aside to cover your expenses. If you are in a two-income household, the rule of thumb is to have three months of expenses saved as cash. In a one-income household, you want to have six months worth. Many people lost their jobs during the pandemic, and having cash would have helped them to get through. As were saving for the future, we want to make sure were saving for the emergencies that can happen today. That needs to be a top priority.Long-Term Saving. Were saving for our immediate expenses and now we need to be thinking long-term saving for our retirements. This includes saving for our children. If you will be sending them to school, starting a 529 Plan for their college expenses makes sense. Or, if you plan to send them to private school for K-12 education, a 529 Plan can also be used for that. Working with a financial planner on what your goal is for your childs education and future is as important as working on your investment planning. The sooner you start the better. Ill get more into detail about 529 Plans in an upcoming article.Term Insurance. Term insurance is used in case something happens to the primary breadwinner. You want to make sure your spouse is protected. What happens if the breadwinner passes away unexpectedly? Term insurance is great coverage to protect your family financially in those unforeseen situations. Working with your financial planner, and walking through these steps, youll know how much coverage needs to be there and for how long to protect your family to be financially secure now and in the future. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Certified Personal Finance Counselor professional with the Weber Group at Hefren-Tillotson, I have outlined these simple steps to protect you, your family, and your future. I stress the need for education because, as a former educator, I believe making informed and educated decisions about ones financial life is just as important in ones medical life. If you have concerns about getting your familys financial future in order, please contact me as I would be glad to help.
As people age, you can help them create a preventative care routine to keep them happy and comfortable for years to come. While factors such as age, gender, and family history are beyond seniors control, preventative care can reduce the frequency and severity of conditions that develop. That can mean regular immunizations and wellness checks. For example, you can: Get regularly scheduled vaccines Schedule screenings for common diseases, conditions, and cancer Create a healthier and more joyful lifestyle are all habits that can ensure better wellbeing Its a good idea to join your family member for their appointments with healthcare providers to determine what the necessary steps are to help improve their health and protect them against sickness or injury. As always, positivity and connection can be strong influencers of overall health.Here are some ways to practice good preventative care: 1. Schedule Regular Screenings for Common Diseases and Conditions: According to the National Institute of Aging, the most beneficial thing you and your loved one can do in a doctors appointment is to be their notetaker. Make a list of all the questions you might have with regards to medical testing and a list of conditions that run in your family. Help make sure these questions are answered, and take notes.As a starting point, people 65 and older can ask their primary care physicians about the following tests:High Blood Pressure Make sure your loved ones healthcare provider checks their blood pressure once a year. This can help reduce chances of a heart attack and stroke.Weight Your loved one can work with their doctor to maintain a healthy weight, which will help prevent risks for heart disease and diabetes.Vision See the eye doctor for an examination once a year to keep vision strong and detect early signs of conditions like cataracts, presbyopia, temporal arteritis, dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Hearing Hearing loss can happen with age, but like glasses for vision, modern hearing aids can provide tailor-made correction for your specific hearing deficits. That makes a world of a difference and helps your loved one feel more connected with the world around them.Diabetes If high blood pressure, obesity, or cholesterol are concerns, then blood tests should be scheduled once every 1-3 years to ensure minimize the risk for diabetes. Exercising and eating healthy can also help decrease the risk.Depression Its important for doctors to ask questions about general mood and emotional being at least once a year. Depression can be common in older adults.Dementia and Cognitive Impairment Make sure your loved ones provider is periodically doing memory tests to see if any other testing should be done for cognitive impairment.Call your loved ones healthcare provider to learn what diseases and/or conditions they might need to be tested for.2. Schedule and Receive Screenings and Tests for Cancer:Its recommended that your loved one receive screenings for common cancers for doctors to detect it early. Breast Cancer Colon Cancer Cervical Cancer Prostate Cancer Lung Cancer3. Schedule and Receive Vaccinations for the following:A persons immune system can weaken with age, which is why many older adults are at an increased risk for diseases. Luckily, many of these diseases can be prevented, or severity can be lessened, with vaccines. Your primary care doctor can inform you as to how often your loved one should get vaccinated and whether any additional ones are necessary. Here are the following recommended vaccinations: Influenza COVID-19 Pneumonia Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis Shingles 4. Eliminate Risks for Disease by doing the following: o Quit SmokingQuitting smoking can increase ones life expectancy and lower risks of heart disease and some cancers, as well as improve overall lung function and blood circulationo Moderate Alcohol Use Limiting alcohol use can help your loved ones current medication (if they take any) be more effective and can also prevent risks of bleeding in the stomach, memory loss, sleep problems and liver disease.o Increase Exercise Physical activity can help treat and prevent many diseases and is excellent for better lung function and overall circulation! If your loved one has a difficult time performing more strenuous activities like jumping or muscle strengthening, then they can try the following:o Moderate walkingo Cleaning the houseo Gardeningo Tai-ChiIf your loved one can perform more intense physical activities without strain, then they can try the following: Yoga Working out with resistance bands and/or weights Brisk walking Swimming Eat a Healthy DietA healthy diet can be delicious and easy. A well-balanced diet should include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and poultry, and low-fat dairy. Meal-prepping saves time and makes balanced eating easier.5. Follow the necessary steps for preventing injury Remove fall risks Have your loved ones healthcare providers do an evaluation to check balance, walking ability, bone health, speed, and heart health so they know how to take extra care Make sure your loved one gets their hearing vision checked If your loved one needs, arrange for them to see a physical therapist to work on strength and balance Look into a fall-prevention or exercise program for your loved on Check your loved ones environment for potential dangers like slick floors, loose cords, and other trip hazardsImprove home safety Lower the water temperature in the water heater to prevent burns Install smoke detectors Install alarms and automatic shut-off features on appliances If you have any questions, please contact Comfort Keepers in Grand Junction at 970-232-2165.
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