Depression and feeling isolated are key issues in older people that can increase as they age. The reasons for becoming isolated are all to common: they may become less active due to health reasons, they may spend most of their time being a family caregiver to a spouse, they may be less mobile after they stop driving, etc. This can certainly lead to health problems such as an increase in stress, poor eating and sleeping habits, a decrease in muscle mass and physical stamina, among others. Visiting Angels senior home care co-founder has explored this topic. Read his article by going to http://bit.ly/U8Y9b2.
Archive for October, 2010
As we’ve mentioned, October is Long-Term Care Planning Month. You’ve thought about it, and have decided in-home care is the route you want to take, but how do you know which option is right for you or your loved one? In her Mercer County Woman article entitled, “I Want In-Home Care…But, How Do I Choose What Type Is Right for Me?,” co-owner Nora de Cárdenas explains the different types and gives important questions to ask elder care New Jersey home care agencies. Visit the Mercer County Woman’s website at http://bit.ly/VhxRTS to read the article.
Article from September/October 09 Mercer County Woman by Nora de Cárdenas, J.D.
October is Long-Term Care Planning Month. Have you made your plans? Below is a checklist to get you started! Remember, “A failure to plan is a plan for failure.”
- How much of your future long-term care costs will you be able to afford to pay on your own?
- Does your employer offer group long-term care insurance, savings plan annuities, or other long-term care benefits?
- Learn about long-term care insurance, trusts, annuities, reverse mortgages or other options—are they right for you?
- Seek more information from an independent financial planner.
Long-Term Care Insurance
- Look into at least three different companies’ long-term care policies.
- Carefully read each policy’s outline of coverage.
- For free on-on-one counseling and assistance with long-term care insurance, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance (SHIP). In New Jersey, dial 1-800-792-8820 (in state only) or 1-877-222-3737.
- Make sure all your legal documents are in an accessible location, are up-to-date and still express your wishes and meet your needs.
- Be sure you have a living will, durable power-of-attorney for health care or a health care proxy.
- Find a local attorney who can help you; find out consultation/preparation fees of the documents you need.
- Search for free legal clinics for seniors, such as Central Jersey Legal Services (Mercer County Office) 609-695-6249 and South Jersey Legal Services (Burlington County Office) 609-261-1088. The Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116 ) can give you additional phone numbers.
Talk With Family
- Have a discussion with your family about long-term care. Talk about your preferences and concerns, where you want to live.
- When the time comes for care, identify the type of services you need. Talk with family members and consult your physicians. Also make sure to weigh the risks and benefits of the different options, including potential liability, cost, reputation and your peace of mind.
- In the future, will you be you open to moving in with your adult children?
- For more information about talking with your family and friends about long-term care, contact
- 1-800-896-3650 or www.thefamilycaregiver.org.
- Find out what community programs and services are in your area and if they are free or low cost.
- Ask your religious community if they offer assistance with long-term care needs, such as transportation or in-home services.
- Ask your local doctor, social service agency or hospital to help you find different kinds of long-term care services.
- Call your local AARP for healthy aging tips (check under “Associations” in the yellow pages).
- Contact your local area’s Agency on Aging for information on community services available. Mercer County Office on Aging: 609-989-6661; Burlington County Office on Aging: 609-265-5069
Making Your Home Safe
- Make necessary changes to your home to keep it safe as you age, such as removing throw rugs, tightening railings, replacing floor coverings with slip-resistant carpet, or adding a bathroom to the ground floor of your home.
- Click www.aarp.org for a home modification checklist.
- Find a local contractor trained in counseling seniors about home modification by calling the National Association of Home Builders at 1-800-368-5242.
- For subsidized senior housing and home repair in your area, look under “aging” or “human services” in your local phone book’s government pages, contact the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (toll-free in NJ: 1-800-367-6543), or call The Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
- For information about home repairs for low income families, contact the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/203k/menu.cfm or contact the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Toll-free in NJ: 1-800-367-6543.
Home Care Considerations
- What type of care is provided? Skilled nursing care, non-medical care, personal care, companionship?
- Are the agency and home care workers bonded (insured against theft)?
- Are the home care workers licensed?
- Does the agency offer 24-hour care?
- Do the home care workers perform light housekeeping, shopping and errands?
- Does the agency perform background checks on the aides?
- Are workers supervised? Will a supervisor visit or call the client’s home?
- Does the agency accept long-term care insurance?
- Are the home care workers agency employees or contractors (private individuals on a referral registry)?
- Does the elder (and involved family members) have input into the client’s Plan of Care?
- Is there always someone from the agency available to take a call 24/7?
Sources: http://www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/Main_Site/Planning_LTC/Campaign/Kit/Documents/toolkit.pdf; http://ourvisitingangels.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/HomeCareChecklist.pdf