SBB University Senior Care Spotlight | The Benefits of Preplanning

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Mar 18, 2021

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Seniors Blue Book publisher, Kathleen Warshawsky, BSN, RN welcomes Sonya Wells, Community Services Advisor with Restland Funeral Homes to educate us on the Benefits of PrePlanning.
Learn about the Circle of Protection.

Preplanned Memorial Services
Cemetery Property Rights
Outer Burial Container
Opening & Closing (Interment Fees)
Memorials & Markers

Download to the Free PrePlanning Guide
To Learn more about Restland Funeral Homes from Sonya, watch the video and click on Restland Funeral Homes.
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16 Veterans Benefits, Programs, and Services for Seniors

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several programs and services to help Veterans access the long-term care they need. From financial assistance programs to residential living options and services and programs that help Veterans who live at home, VA aims to support U.S. military Veterans in living comfortably and accessing the care they need. Here, we explain 16 Veterans benefits that senior Veterans can receive to maximize their quality of life, safety, and comfort whether they live at home or want to live in a long-term care facility.Financial assistance programs for VeteransVA offers various financial assistance programs to U.S. military Veterans. Some provide additional income to individuals who have significant health needs. Other programs offer loans to Veterans, and still others provide grants that allow Veterans to improve their homes without needing to repay the funds. Lets explore these financial programs designed specifically for Veterans.Aid and Attendance benefitVeterans who require assistance with daily life may qualify to receive additional income every month through the Aid and Attendance benefit. This VA benefit provides income directly to qualifying Veterans. Surviving spouses can also qualify for this benefit. The maximum monthly benefit may change each year, and VA makes this determination at the end of each calendar year for the following 12 months. Currently, benefit recipients can receive over $2,000 per month if they are eligible.To qualify, Veterans must meet requirements in military service, health needs, and income. Generally speaking, the military service criteria require that the Veteran served in active duty during an approved wartime period (though serving in an active combat zone is not required). The Veteran must require help with at least two activities of daily living, need to live in a facility to protect their safety due to a cognitive or other health issue, or have a vision impairment. The Veteran must also meet the net worth limit set by Congress.Veterans interested in applying can do so on their own through VA or work with a third party that can help them determine their eligibility and get assistance with the application.VA home loanAging in place, or living at home for as long as possible, is often the ideal situation for many people. However, doing so can require capital to purchase a home or improve its accessibility. Veterans needing funding assistance to make their homes safer and accommodate their care needs may qualify for a VA home loan.The U.S. government backs these loans, and the VA guarantees part of the loan to a lender. With the VA standing behind the Veteran in the loan, the lender often offers desirable terms. The borrowing Veteran could have a zero or low down payment, a lower interest rate, or a cap on closing costs, among other benefits.To qualify for a VA loan, the Veteran must meet certain service requirements and get a Certificate of Eligibility from VA.The Special Home Adaptation grantThe Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant provides funding to qualifying Veterans who want to buy or modify a home to meet their needs due to a service-connected disability. The Veteran can use funds to buy or build a home or modify their existing home. In addition to meeting the health and disability requirements, the Veteran must also own or soon own the home they want to improve or purchase. Eligible individuals can apply online through eBenefits, by mail, or in person after filling out VA Form 26-4555.The Temporary Residence Adaptation grantHelp is also available to Veterans who temporarily live in a home that doesnt meet their accessibility needs. If a Veteran can qualify for the Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant or the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant but temporarily lives in a family members home, the Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant may be able to help fund necessary modifications to support the Veterans accessibility needs.The Veteran must meet disability criteria and not own the home they want to modify. Veterans can apply online through eBenefits, by mail, or in person after filling out VA Form 26-4555.The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grantThis grant is for Veterans who are not trying to fund new construction but instead want to fund home modifications for greater accessibility in their homes. The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant can cover alterations to home entrances, installations of roll-in showers or walk-in bathtubs, adjustments to counter heights, and other similar accessibility improvements.To qualify for the grant, the Veteran must meet various criteria, including receiving a prescription written by a VA physician deeming the improvements necessary. The Veteran must also complete the application, submit a notarized statement from the owner (if the Veteran rents the home) approving the improvement, obtain an estimate of costs for the project, and submit a photo of the original unimproved space.Residential care facilities for VeteransSome Veterans may need significant assistance with activities of daily living, so moving to a residential community may be the best way to maintain comfort and a good quality of life. Others may opt to live in facilities because of the camaraderie, socialization, and round-the-clock access to care staff and professionals. While there are many senior living communities around the country, VA provides two types of communities that specifically serve U.S. military Veterans: VA nursing homes and state Veterans homes.VA nursing homesA nursing home is a residential long-term care facility that helps people who need significant assistance with personal care tasks, like bathing, dressing, eating, and other activities of daily living. These facilities also staff skilled nursing professionals, like registered nurses and other skilled care professionals. They can provide skilled care, like wound care, medication administration, and other nursing tasks. While there are many nursing homes around the U.S., VA runs its own nursing homes, also called VA Community Living Centers, that cater to U.S. military Veterans.In order to live at a VA nursing home, the Veteran needs to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as their service-connected status, level of disability, and income. The Veteran must also be enrolled in the VA health system and be medically and psychiatrically stable.Depending on the Veterans service-connected disability and financial status, they may be responsible for a copay. VA social workers and case managers can advise interested Veterans, and applicants can complete the Application for Extended Care Benefits (VA Form 10-10EC) to apply for residency.State Veterans homesState Veterans homes are residential communities that provide varying levels of care, like independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and adult day health care. The state where the facility is located owns and operates the community.A benefit of living at a state Veterans home is that most residents are U.S. military Veterans. Some state Veterans homes may admit non-Veteran spouses and Gold Star parents, while others may admit only Veterans. This allows residents to bond through having the common experience with the military, which can foster and support strong relationships. Not only do the residents better understand one another, but the staff are also trained on unique issues that Veterans may face, such as PTSD, depression, and other common challenges that can result from time served in the military.Interested Veterans must apply for residency. State Veterans homes are located throughout the country.Help at home for VeteransMany Veterans choose to live at home, but even if they do not live in a VA residential community or a senior living facility, they may still need care services and support to live independently. There are a number of services that help Veterans who live in the community rather than in a facility. From adult day health care and respite care to homemaker services and even end-of-life care at home, VA offers a range of services to eligible Veterans. Lets take a look at those services now.Adult day health care (ADHC)Veterans who live at home may live alone or with a family member. Adult day health care (ADHC) services could be just what the Veteran and their caregiver need to live successfully at home. VA adult day health care programs operate during the day and serve as a place for Veterans to go and receive care services and socialization. They can also access care from visiting and on-staff professionals. Social workers, nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals offer their services to program participants.Veterans can utilize this program as often as needed, whether a few days per week for part of the day or on a full-day schedule. ADHC programs can be found at VA medical centers, state Veterans homes, or other organizations if none exist in the Veterans area. The programs can also offer family caregivers a much-needed respite from caring for the Veteran. The caregiver will know that their Veteran loved one is in good hands and getting the specialized care they need, all while the caregiver can have time for themselves or take care of other life responsibilities.If a Veteran is eligible for community care and meets the clinical criteria for the service, and if there is an ADHC program in the area, the Veteran can participate. VA care managers can guide interested Veterans on the application process and explain the potential copay the Veteran may have based on their disability status and financial information.Respite careVeterans with family caregivers, like spouses or adult children, may benefit from utilizing VA respite care program services. Respite care benefits both the individual and their caregiver because the individual receives care that the caregiver normally provides, allowing the family member to take a break from their usual caregiving responsibilities. VA respite care is convenient because Veterans and their families can access the services in a few ways. Veterans who live at home can have a respite caregiver travel to the home to provide services. The Veteran can also attend a VA adult day health care program if there is one in their area. For longer periods of care, the Veteran can receive respite care services at a nursing home. This option may be suitable for Veterans whose caregivers need to be away from the Veteran for a few days due to a trip or another responsibility. Veterans may qualify for VA respite care services if they meet the criteria and if these services are available near them. Services vary by location. The Veteran may be responsible for a copay based on their disability status and financial situation. VA case managers can help interested Veterans determine eligibility, learn if they have a copay, and apply for the service.Home-based primary care (HBPC)VAs home-based primary care (HBPC) program can offer invaluable help to Veterans who find it difficult to leave home for medical care. This service brings health care to the Veterans home if they live within 40 miles of a VA medical center. Medical professionals, such as physicians, nurses, therapists, dietitians, and other health care professionals, can provide services in the Veterans home. Veterans who are enrolled in the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package are eligible to receive home-based primary care if the service is available in their area and they meet the clinical criteria. VA case managers can help Veterans learn whether they meet the requirements and whether there is a program in their area.Skilled home health careSkilled home health care can be an important part of a Veterans recovery from an injury or hospitalization. The skilled home health care program provides skilled nursing services to Veterans transitioning home from a hospital or skilled nursing facility but still needing care at home.If a Veteran is eligible for community care and meets other criteria, they may qualify for the skilled home health care program. VA case managers can help determine eligibility and assist the Veteran in applying for the service.Homemaker and home health aide programIf a Veteran needs help with activities of daily living and maintaining their homes cleanliness, the VA homemaker and home health aide program may be a great fit for their situation. Through this service, the Veteran receives care through a VA-approved home care agency that sends caregivers to the Veterans home. Typically, these caregivers can help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, and assistance with bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living.Veterans eligible for community care may qualify to participate in the homemaker and home health aide program. VA case managers can help Veterans determine whether they qualify and will have a copay in addition to helping them receive the services.Home hospice careVeterans can receive home hospice services during their final stage of life. As with typical hospice services, providers help manage the patients symptoms while the patient is no longer seeking curative treatments for their illness or condition. In addition to symptom management, the Veterans family and loved ones can receive grief counseling services.This service is part of the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package. Enrolled Veterans are eligible for home hospice care if their physician determines theres a clinical need. Hospice care requires no copayments from the Veteran. Palliative careAlthough palliative care also aims to manage chronic conditions and maximize quality of life, it should not be confused with hospice care. The main difference is that patients can use palliative care services while receiving curative treatments, whereas those receiving hospice care cannot. Through the VA palliative care program, Veterans work with doctors, nurses, social workers, and other professionals to manage pain and other symptoms associated with one or more chronic conditions. The palliative care program is part of the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package. A Veteran may be eligible if they demonstrate a medical need for it. VA social workers can help determine potential copays and processes for initiating this type of care.Home telehealth assistanceThe home telehealth assistance program allows Veterans living at home to use technology to monitor their health and communicate with their health care providers. With remote patient monitoring, health care providers can access real-time data about the Veteran patient. Phone visits and video communication can allow Veterans who are homebound or live far from their providers to contact doctors quickly and as needed.Veterans can talk with their health care provider at the nearest VA medical center about the home telehealth assistance options in their area.Veteran-directed careVeteran-directed care is more of an approach to how the Veteran chooses to receive their care than a specific type of care. Many Veterans receive care from VA-directed health care providers, but through Veteran-directed care, the Veteran chooses their care service providers. They are responsible for hiring, managing, and paying their providers with the budget they receive. This program fosters autonomy and allows the Veteran to take the lead on who provides their care.To participate, the Veteran must be eligible for community care and meet health requirements. VA social workers can work with interested Veterans to determine the individuals eligibility and inform them on how to get started.Whether a senior Veteran wants to live at home or in a long-term care community, they can turn to VA to receive the care they need.

The Role of Mental Health in Seniors

In observance of National Mental Health Awareness Month this May, the spotlight is now turning toward a previously overlooked demographic: seniors. While mental health has gained significant attention in recent years, researchers are uncovering the unique challenges faced by older adults. As we strive to pave the way for healthy seniors, its crucial to value the importance of a positive mental health mindset and habits.The psychology of aging is changing. As they start to retire, baby boomers are changing the way we think about senior citizens and mental health awareness. According to a study from the Institute on Medicine, approximately 1 in 5 older adults in the United States has a mental illness, substance abuse disorder or both.Researchers who have studied mental wellness over a lifespan noticed that older adults with chronic conditions, such as heart disease, are more likely to experience depression as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that for seniors, doctors may dismiss concerns of depression or loneliness, and seniors are left misdiagnosed or undertreated. In fact, due to the longtime cultural stigma around mental health issues, seniors may be more reluctant to seek help, or they may dismiss their own concerns because they do not believe that they need assistance to feel better. Reasons Why Seniors Struggle with Mental HealthThere are various reasons that seniors often struggle with mental health concerns, and while there are no set causes, research has shown that these factors are related to the risk of mental illness but do not necessarily cause it:    Medical conditions, such as stroke or cancer    Genes people who have a family history of depression may be at higher risk    Stress, including caregiver stress    Sleep problems    Social isolation and loneliness    Lack of exercise or physical activity    Functional limitations that make engaging in activities of daily living difficult    Addiction and/or alcoholism Life transitions related to the environment and changes in circumstances can also trigger periods of mental health disturbance. Transitioning from a lengthy career, experiencing family relocation or adjusting to life in a senior living community can evoke feelings of anxiety and depression in otherwise healthy seniors. During these times of transition, team members at Anthology Senior Living communities are equipped with the resources to aid residents. Dont be afraid to seek out mental health programs for older adults and encourage mental health improvement activities, such as exercising and meditation. Moving for SeniorsSome life events, such as a big move, can trigger more emotional changes in seniors. When moving into a senior living community, treat the transition with care. There are several emotional stages of moving, and some seniors could become depressed after moving to a new home. If emotions about moving arise, it can cause psychological challenges in older adults. To ensure quality of life for seniors who are moving, pay attention to any emotions or feelings your loved one might have, and help them process each consideration to help mitigate the emotional challenges that may come up.Talk to your loved one about the benefits of living in a retirement community, and if necessary, encourage conversations and utilize community and Anthology Senior Living support to gather resources about mental health services for seniors. Social Connections Are Essential for Healthy SeniorsAnother benefit of living in an Anthology Senior Living community is the opportunity to meet new people and create new social connections, which can ease the stress from moving. Communities like Anthology of Blue Ash help welcome new residents by introducing them to fellow neighbors and inviting them to dine with their new friends. Social connections are essential for not only surviving but also thriving. However, as individuals age, they frequently discover themselves spending increasing amounts of time in solitude. Research indicates that loneliness and social isolation are correlated with elevated levels of depression.

Warm Weather Activities for Seniors

As winter fades away and nature awakens, spring and summer emerge as seasons of renewal and rejuvenation. The longer days, milder temperatures and blooming landscapes invite us outdoors, offering a perfect opportunity to explore activities for seniors and embrace the new growth of the seasons. After months of indoor confinement due to cold weather, spring presents an ideal time for seniors to venture outdoors and engage in various activities that promote health and well-being. Whether its strolling through the communitys landscaped grounds, tending to garden beds or participating in outdoor exercise classes, the possibilities for enjoying the warmer weather are endless. The transition from winter to spring symbolizes a fresh start a chance to shake off the colder months and embrace a renewed sense of energy. By taking advantage of the natural beauty and pleasant weather of spring, seniors can invigorate their bodies, lift their spirits and reconnect with the world around them through their choice of activities for seniors. Health Benefits of Outdoor Activities  The cool sunshine of early spring brings a much-needed vitamin D boost from the sun after an overcast and chilly winter season. Just 20 minutes in the sun each day can help improve mood and mental health and provides opportunities to get outside and enjoy physical activity and increased mobility. As we age, maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle becomes increasingly vital for our overall well-being. For senior citizens, staying physically and mentally active is not just a recommendation; its a necessity for maintaining independence, mobility and quality of life. Spring is the perfect time to stretch those muscles with a variety of outdoor activities for seniors. Regular physical activity offers a bevy of benefits for seniors. It helps to strengthen muscles and bones, improve cardiovascular health, and enhance flexibility and balance, reducing the risk of falls and injuries. Staying active promotes mental wellness by reducing stress, anxiety and depression, while also boosting cognitive function and memory. Another great benefit of activities for seniors is the return of outdoor socialization activities to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while getting to know your neighbors. Our communities like Anthology of Olathe introduce activities for seniors into everyday life by serving meals alfresco or painting outside on the secure terrace. Summer and Spring Activities Tailored for Seniors Spring and summer open possibilities of many activities that are catered specifically for senior citizens. As we start to stretch our bodies after a winter inside the house, there are many low-impact physical spring activities for adults to try that will help your body acclimate to the warmer weather and a more active lifestyle. Walking trails: Our communities have accessible walking trails and paths with gentle slopes among manicured lawns. Sprinkled throughout the outdoor space are benches and chairs for resting and enjoying the view of the community, like those at Anthology of Simsbury. Community gardening: Many communities, like Anthology of Charlottesville, have gardens where residents are welcome to get their hands dirty in fresh soil, freshly sprouted roots and itty-bitty seeds. Gardening is a favorite spring activity for seniors, and gardening has great physical and mental health benefits, helping them relax and enjoy the weather. Further, fresh produce can be utilized in the community for resident meals as part of spring celebrations. Communities can create senior-friendly garden spaces by incorporating raised garden beds to reduce muscle and body strain when working in them and creating wide, clear pathways for accessibility. Outdoor exercise classes: In the crisp air, summer activities for adults are often moved outside to enjoy the sunshine. This is the perfect opportunity to host low-impact exercise classes such as outdoor yoga and Tai Chi. Birdwatching and nature observations: Anthology Senior Living communities are rooted in some of the most beautiful cities in the world in a variety of locales. Observing nature whether watching birds, meditating by a lake or exploring a botanical garden can be a lot of fun for seniors. Make time in your adult summer activities for a summer celebration! There is so much fun for seniors to have over the summer months, including barbeques, Independence Day celebrations, time by the pool and more! Precautions and Safety Measures for Outdoor Summer Activities Sun protection: While sun protection is important year-round, in the emerging sunshine of the spring, it is more important than ever during outdoor activities for seniors. Utilize a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above, ideally applied 15 minutes before going outside. Wearing light, breezy clothing and a light hat can help you from overheating from activities in the spring and summer. Allergies: Springtime activities also often come with spring allergies! Minimize your exposure by changing clothes after spending time outdoors and speak with your healthcare professional if you require an over-the-counter allergy medication for those outside sniffles and sneezes. Hydration: In the spring and summer, there is an increased need for hydration during the warmer weather, especially when experiencing outdoor summer activities. Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water and avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages. Seniors should aim to drink at least half of their body weight in water each day. For example, a 150 lb. person would aim for at least 75 oz. of water per day. What is your favorite way to plan great activities for seniors? Take the time to enjoy a summer celebration or escape the heat with indoors summer activities for adults. Enjoy all of our activities for seniors at our various Anthology Senior Living communities!