Tuesday, January 19, 2016

4 Types of Medical and Long Term Care Services Provided by Nursing Homes

Nursing homes provide a wide range of medical and long term care services that help people
maintain the best level of functionality even if they are dependent to others for care. The following are some of the programs/services they offer.

1. Alzheimer’s and Dementia Program

As most caregivers can attest, caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia related disorders is one of the toughest caregiving duties. Caregivers not only have to take care of the patients’ day to day needs; they also have to put up with their mood swings, wandering habits and changes in their behavior. Realizing this, most nursing homes offer care plans specific for patients with these kinds of brain disorders.

2. AIDS/HIV Program

Nursing homes also have long term care plans specific for people with AIDS. Extreme precaution must be done in handling patients with this disease to avoid infections and complications. Take note that AIDS victims are vulnerable to other diseases due to their weak immune system. Furthermore, the virus that causes the disease is also transmittable so a caregiver must pay extra attention when treating open wounds, sores, etc.

3. Coma Program

Comatose patients tend to need extended care, and hospitals charge them with a very expensive rate. To lessen the financial burden, it is best to let patients be cared for in nursing homes which can provide the same level of care at a lower cost.

4. Hospice Care Program

Patients who are suffering from a terminal illness may choose to participate in a hospice care program of a nursing home. Hospice care program offer long term care services and spiritual counseling. To participate in this kind of care arrangement, the patient or his family must first secure a certification that he has a life expectancy of six months or less.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Top 3 Reasons Why Women Should Start Planning for Long Term Care

Women might be the primary providers of long term care but they are also its primary recipients. It is exactly for this reason why insurance companies decided to increase long term care insurance premiums for policies sold to women. In an article published by The Wall Street Journal, Steve Zabel, Genworth Financial’s senior vice president for long-term-care insurance, said that insuring women bears greater risks than insuring men. This is because they make up the greater percentage of the population who needs long term care.

The following are the top three reasons why women should plan for long term care:

1. At least 75% of nursing home residents are women. Most of them have coronary heart disease brought about by long hours of caregiving for a spouse, parents and parents-in-law.

2. Women are more likely to receive care in nursing home, where services are more expensive. This is because they tend to outlive their husbands, so by the time they need care, they are on their own with no one else in the family to take care of them.

3. Women are more financially challenged than men. Because the husband tends to need long term care earlier than the wife, most of the couple’s conjugal assets are spent to pay for the husband’s care needs so when it is the wife’s turn to need care, there is very little left in their life savings.

Since it is highly probable that women will need long term care at some point, and since they tend to require services that they might not afford, it would be best if they plan how to pay for it. To date, there is no financing option for long term care that is as cost-effective as long term care insurance. Women must have a good insurance policy in place so by the time they need care, they won’t have to live on welfare.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

4 Factors that Affect the Costs of Long Term Care Coverage

When a choice has to be made, most of us would choose to have insurance for our home and car rather than buy long term care coverage. This is because we find it difficult to associate ourselves with old age, of which long term care is commonly linked. However, the odds of acquiring a debilitating condition that would make us dependent to others for care is higher compared to the odds of a home fire (1 in 1,200) or an automobile damage (1 in 250).  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 7 in 10 of us will need long term care at some point. Having a good insurance policy for this kind of need, therefore, is necessary if we do not want to live on welfare during our most vulnerable years.

Introduced in the mid-1970s, long term care insurance is regarded as the most important insurance product due to the strong likelihood of us needing the services it covers. As long as benefits are chosen carefully, owning a policy need not be as financially challenging as most thought it would be.

The following are four of the main factors that affect the costs of long term care coverage.

1. Daily Benefit Amount

The daily benefit sets the maximum payout the policy owner can receive from his insurance provider. In indemnity policies, the exact daily benefit amount is paid regardless of how much the cost of care is while in reimbursement policies, the insurance provider pays for the valid costs of care up to the exact benefit amount of the policy. A high benefit amount would lead to more expensive premiums.

2. Benefit Period

The benefit period refers to the length of time the policy will continue paying for benefits from the point of claim. The longer it is, the more expensive premiums become. The most appropriate benefit period is 3-5 years because according to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, the average length of claim is just 2.8 years.

3. Elimination Period
The elimination period is also referred to as the waiting period, and it refers to the length of time that the policy owner has to pay for his own care before his policy starts paying. People who want to save on premiums can choose to have longer elimination period, however, they must be prepared for higher out of pocket expenses by the time they need care.

4. Inflation Protection

The inflation protection rider increases the benefit amount in a yearly basis to keep up with inflation. This could be one of the most important long term care coverage riders; however, it can also increase premiums.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

5 Easy Steps to Plan for your Retirement

Retirement is a vast subject that often overwhelms people. There are myriad of factors to consider which discourage most Americans and thus they face the future with no retirement plan.

People should start changing their attitude in order to live for a comfortable life after retirement.

You might be wondering: “What are the steps when planning for retirement?”

1. Start saving money now in order to create a big retirement funds and enjoy your golden years.
2. Pay off your debts and avoid acquiring more.
3. Spend less than what you earn.
4. Start managing your nest egg, assets and investments.
5. Plan for long term care now.

For your viewing pleasure, I’ve shared an infographic of these tips below.

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Understanding the Risk Factors of Long Term Care

Long term care involves a wide range of services for people who need help in performing basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, eating, moving around, toileting and bathing. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 7 in 10 of those who survive to the age of 65 will need these services. No one can accurately predict who needs long term care but the following factors increase the risks:

1. Age

Long term care is not only for older Americans; younger people may also become recipients of such kind of care. However, the risk of losing the ability to perform ADL is greater among older people. As most would know, our cognitive and physical ability to do things deteriorate as we age.

2. Gender

The risks of acquiring a condition that requires long term care is higher among women than among men. In fact, about two-thirds of long term care recipients are women, and they account for at least 65% of all new long term care insurance claims. This is why most of the major LTCI providers are planning to increase premiums for policies sold to women beginning the 2nd quarter of 2013.

3. Family History

The risks are also higher among people who have family history of chronic or debilitating diseases. This is because some diseases that can incapacitate a person like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are hereditary in nature.

4. Living Condition

People who live alone are also more prone to needing long term care services. And when they need it, it is very likely that they will have to receive it in long term care facilities such as nursing homes or assisted living because they don’t have a family whom they can rely for care.

5. Lifestyle

People who have vices, poor eating and exercise habits have increased risks of needing long term care.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Alzheimer’s Association: 4 Kinds of Programs for Family Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s disease

Helping a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease perform basic activities of daily living is a very 
demanding task. It entails a lot of sacrifice – financial, physical and mental – on the part of family caregivers. It becomes even more difficult when the disease worsens, because family caregivers do not only have to provide long term care, they also have to put up with the behavioral changes that come with the disease. Fortunately, there are organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association that lends a helping hand and provide long term care solutions for family caregivers of AD patients.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a non-profit organization that finances projects and studies that aim to find a cure for the illness, among others. It also provides care, guidance and support to AD patients and their family caregivers. Below are some of the programs they have established.

1.     Alzheimer’s Navigator – A free online tool that helps AD patients and their caregivers develop a personalized action plans to improve caregiving practices. 

2.     Comfort Zone, MedicAlert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Run – These are location management help lines for AD patients who wander around.

3.     Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center – Provides useful and comprehensive information about the right way to take care of an AD patient.

4.     24/7 Helpline – An online tool that gives feedback for family caregivers with immediate concerns. It accommodates at least 250,000 callers per year.

5.     Support Groups – The Alzheimer’s Association has over 4,500 support groups all over the country. The groups provide peer to peer and professional counseling. Message boards and online chat rooms were created to make coordination and communication easier.

6.     Local Chapters – The Alzheimer’s Association also have 75 local chapters spread out all over America.

7.     Fund Raising Campaigns – The organization also launches fund raising campaigns such as the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.” Proceeds are used to fund their support services and researches.

Family caregivers of AD patients are encouraged to join the organization. Caregiving can be difficult, but caregivers don’t have to do it alone. 

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Senior Long Term Care Financing Option: How to Qualify for Medicaid Benefits?

Medicaid is a federal health assistance program administered at the state level for poor and indigent
Americans. It can help pay for senior long term care. However, there are general, functional and financial requirements that must be met in order to qualify for benefits.

General Requirements

As a general rule, Medicaid only grants benefits to people who are:

·       Age 65 or older
·       Permanently disabled
·       Blind
·       U.S Citizen or meet certain immigration rules
·       A resident of the state where the application is made

Functional Requirements

To qualify for long term care benefits, an applicant must receive certification from a medical specialist that he really needs long term care. In most cases, medical specialists decide that an applicant needs LTC if he has lost the ability to do two basic activities of daily living which include bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, eating and continence. Once it is determined that he needs LTC, the medical specialist will decide if he needs home or nursing home care.

Financial Requirements

After determining that the applicant needs long term care, the state will check if he is financially eligible to receive benefits.

1.     Assets – Medicaid only provides benefits for people who passed the poverty criteria of their states. Applicants must have limited worth of assets. Most states only grant financial assistance to people with no more than $2,000 assets. The financial value of the following are not counted in determining financial ability:

·       Home
·       Personal belongings
·       One care
·       Property that is essential to self support
·       Life insurance with no more than $1,500 face value
·       Burial arrangements
·       Assets held in specific trusts

2.     Income – Medicaid will also look into an applicant’s income. The income limit varies and depends upon the state where he is applying for benefits. Any amount received from the following sources are considered as income:

·       Social Security
·       Pensions
·       Salary
·       Wages
·       Interest from bank accounts
·       Veteran’s benefits