Resources to Combat Elder Abuse

caregivers-large2Elder abuse and neglect is a common problem plaguing our nation’s elderly. Sometimes it is difficult to see the abuse and neglect that is happening. Other times we choose to ignore it because either it doesn’t seem relevant or we just don’t know what we can do about it. It is important that residents, care recipients, and their family members understand not only what is entailed in the categories of ‘abuse’ and ‘neglect’ but what they can and should do to prevent it.

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Helping Your Parents with Medicare Part D

The window for enrollment into Medicare Part D opens on October 15th and soon your parents will receive a thick envelope in the mail with a booklet designed to help them make an informed decision. Unfortunately, the result is more often information overload, leading to an inability to distinguish between their present plan and others that might be available.

Medicare Part D provides insurance coverage for prescription medications. Under this program, insurance companies and other private firms contract with Medicare (Medicare pays most of the premium) to provide prescription drug benefits to Medicare beneficiaries.

Each eligible Medicare beneficiary must select a drug plan and pay a monthly premium to receive the drug coverage. All drug plans (the choice varies by state) must provide coverage at least as good as the standard coverage specified by Medicare. Some plans may offer extra benefits such as no deductible, higher coverage limits, or cover additional drugs, in exchange for a higher monthly premium. Individuals with limited income and resources may qualify for help in paying for drug coverage. Continue reading

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October is National Residents’ Rights Month

Washington DC- Across the country, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with family members, ombudsmen, citizen advocates, facility staff and others will honor the individual rights of long-term care residents by celebrating Residents’ Rights Month. Residents’ Rights Month is an annual event held in October by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (The Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents.

National Residents Rights Logo 2014

The theme for Residents’ Rights Month 2014 is, “Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care” with the goals of educating the community about nursing home staffing.

“Nursing home resident experiences and more than 100 studies, articles and government documents have identified the important relationship between staffing and quality of care,” said Richard Gelula, Executive Director of the Consumer Voice.

The Nursing Home Reform Law, passed in 1987, guarantees nursing home residents their individual rights, including but not limited to: individualized care, respect, dignity, the right to visitation, the right to privacy, the right to complain, and the right to make independent choices. Residents who have made their home in other types of facilities  maintain their rights as U.S. Citizens.

Residents’ Rights Month raises awareness about these rights and pays tribute to the unique contributions of long-term residents. The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has worked for more than 30 years to promote residents’ rights daily. More than 8,000 volunteers and 1,000 paid staff are advocates for residents in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Authorized under the Older Americans Act and administered by the Administration on Aging, the program also provides information on how to find a facility, conducts community education sessions, and supports residents, their families and the public with one-on-one consultation regarding long-term care.

If you or your facility would like to get involved with promoting National Residents’ Rights Month in your community, click here for more information.

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Healthy Aging – Physically, Mentally and Financially

The month of September brings a welcome relief from the hot summer days. Cool breezes and colorful foliage appearing on the trees entice one to walk and bask in healthy fresh air.

September has also been designated as “Healthy Aging Month” with encouragement to seniors to renew their attitudes towards better eating, exercise, and mental stability. With the nation’s senior population growing there is more focus on programs to help seniors remain healthy and active as they age physically, mentally and emotionally. Continue reading

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New Study Reveals Future Housing Shortage for Aging Parents

This year I started receiving invitations to join AARP. As appealing as the hotel and restaurant discounts sound, I just can’t bring myself to be a card-carrying member. This site is primarily directed toward those of us who in one capacity or another are providing care to an aging parent, and yet as my brother reminded me recently, “we’re on deck.” A new study released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies for Harvard University, describes the next housing crisis (or opportunity for the optimistic) as supplying the housing needs for an aging population. The report opens with this sidebar: Continue reading

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When Mom (Dad) Wants to Remarry – at 80!

handsOne of the joys I get from lunching with Mom at her retirement community is to hear the latest gossip about the budding romances among the residents, most of whom are well into their 70′s and 80′s. There have been more than a few marriages that result from these new relationships, most occurring after a fairly brief courtship. As one fellow remarked to me one day, “son, at our age, it’s dangerous to buy green bananas.”

If you are the adult child of an aging parent who also happens to be single (either divorced or widowed), you may one day be introduced to a “special friend” in their life. Normally, your reaction may be something like, “how cute” or “way to go Dad” but if the relationship quickly becomes more serious or if you’re suddenly asked to give your blessing to their marriage, this can be a very troubling event. In preparation for writing this article, I googled “aging parent wants to get remarried” and most of the search results were forum posts from adult children seeking advice on how to deal with Mom or Dad’s new romance that has gone from sweet to sour because now they want to get married! All sorts of questions run through your mind and you may find yourself experienceing anger, fear, or resentment at the prospect of this person interrupting Mom or Dad’s perfectly lonely existence. Somewhere in-between the extremes of “I forbid it” (like that’s gonna work) and “It’s your life, do what you want” can be found a position of legitimate care for their happiness and concern that they not be hurt by the experience. Recently a judge intervened in the marriage of a couple in their mid-nineties due to concerns expressed by the bride’s daughter questioning the marriage’s legitimacy. Click here to read the article.

In his article titled “How to Deal With an Elderly Parent’s Remarriage – Resolving Issues” author and financial advisor, Michael Lewis, gives some wise advice when talking to your aging parent about their choice to remarry late in life.

  • Be Respectful. You are speaking with the one remaining person who brought you into this world and who will always love you.
  • Try to Put Yourself In Your Parent’s Position. They are trying to make the best of a very difficult situation. They seek your blessing and understanding, so listen carefully and thoughtfully before making your own point or expressing your doubts.
  • Avoid Accusations, Recriminations, and Ultimatums. Your parent has already experienced and worked through the guilt often associated with remarriage after the death of the spouse.
  • Curb Your Instincts to Attack or Belittle Your Parent’s Choice of Mate. It is never a good idea to potentially offend your mother or father in such a petty manner.

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Don’t Trust Anyone With Parents’ Finances

This week, the headlines of our local newspaper included another sad story of someone taking advantage of older clients and their families because they were in a position of trust. Some of the words that the victims used to describe this individual were “professional” “trustworthy” and  “knowledgeable.” It seems incredulous that someone described by these words would perpetrate the alleged criminal acts. Not only was the individual perceived as an “expert” by the victims but by the facilities who referred their clients to her.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned by this and countless other reports of elder financial fraud. Without commenting on this specific case, here are a few tips that can help you choose a qualified professional advisor to help you manage your aging parents’ financial affairs.

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