All the reason why saving and planning is critical to establish stability for our older years.

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The Economic Status of our Aging Adults

Many Older Adults are finding it harder to make ends meet. Consider some of the factors causing this problem; the soaring cost of living, increased healthcare costs for people 65 and older, the high costs of supplemental health insurance and prescription drug cost. Then for some, the exorbitant cost of long term home healthcare. When we consider that fifty percent of people ages 65 and older are receiving Social Security benefits as their principle source of income, it is not surprising why this has become a serious problem.

Currently, 3.4 million Older Adults live below the poverty line. Consider the demographics of elderly poverty below:

  • Elderly women have higher poverty rates. A lifetime of lower earnings due to wage discrimination, absence from the labor market due to childbirth, caregiving and jobs that are less likely to have employer-sponsored retirement plans has taken it’s toll.
  • Elderly people of color experience poverty at higher rates than whites. Elderly people of color are less likely than whites to receive private retirement benefits and are far less likely to have asset income, including interest on bank accounts and investments, dividends, rental income on property, and estates and trust.
  • Elderly people living in rural areas have higher rates of poverty than those who live in urban areas. Rural people are less likely than their urban counterparts to leave their homes when they retire, they also may have less access to necessary services and rely more heavily on private transportation.

Based on the information above, many older adult citizens cannot retire, but instead need to continue working. However, it is not only a matter of supplementing retirement income, there are other important reasons why seniors need to continue working, for example:

  • To stay engaged and active- Staying active during retirement is vitally important to living a long, fulfilling life. Work provides a means to stay physically and mentally active.
  • Forming new relationships- It is important to remain connected with friends, and acquaintances, but it is also important to form new relationships.
  • The opportunity to try new interests-Now’s the time to delve into things you have always wanted to but never had the time for.

If you are in the market for work carefully consider how much or how less you want to work. You may want to only do seasonal work, or you may want the freedom to choose when and how much you want to work. Once you have made this decision do your research. The internet has made research and job searching easy. With a little investigation you will be able to find the job of your choice. You can also check out “Workforce 50” and  “AARP”, just to name a few helpful sources.

Do not hesitate to rely on your past experience for employment. Perhaps you can start a small business; such as a home care agency, consulting, freelance, income tax preparation, bookkeeping, library assistant, pharmacy clerk, substitute teacher, online English teaching, handy work, sales, call center work, translator/interpreters, editor, researcher, tour leader, driver, teachers assistant, hotel/hospitality and you might be able to work for your previous employer in a reduced capacity. Review all of your options and don’t leave any stone un-turned!

Have a plan, set goals and take action! It is possible to change your economic status and be able to make ends meet. Keep in mind that:

A Dream Written Down

with a date becomes a Goal

A Goal Broken Down into

Steps Becomes a Plan

A plan Backed By Action

Makes your Dreams Come true

Reference Sources: ; ; http://www.retiredbrains.come;

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Blogger-Brown Eye

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Hospice Proved to be a Well-Oiled Machine

Mom was dying from lung cancer; it was my privilege to care for her until she died.

Mom had decided that she was done with chemo treatments and she did not want to try any other treatments, chemo had taken everything out of her and losing her hair was very devastating for her.

Mom told me that she did not want to talk about dying; she knew she was dying and she had expected that her faith would help her to go through the dying process with strength and dignity.

You can just imagine how concerned I was with having hospice come into our home to help with the dying process. I wanted to make sure that dying and talk of death was not mentioned to my mom at all. I wanted her pain to be well managed. In short I wanted my mom to be very well taken care of and I would not accept anything less!

The first step was finding the best hospice company. I had worked at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego California, doing 100 hours of volunteer service, just after I finished my Medical Billing and Coding course. During my volunteer service I was very impressed with Sharp Hospital.

I learned that Sharp Hospital had won many awards for example:

Sharp HealthCare, the largest health system in San Diego County, was one of five organizations to receive a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the federal government’s most prestigious business honor.

The first hospital in San Diego — and one of only four hospitals in California — to be recognized with a prestigious national award named for Florence Nightingale.

The Lantern Award, bestowed by the Emergency Nurses Association, recognizes emergency departments that demonstrate exceptional and innovative performance in the areas of leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research. Only 17 hospitals across the country will receive the award this year.

Therefore, when I learned that Sharp had Hospice Care, I knew that I was going the go with them. I am so happy I did.

I met with the Sharp Social Worker. We talked for hours. As she explained their Mission Statement; is to improve the health of those we serve with a commitment to excellence in all that we do. Our goal is to offer quality care and programs that set community standards, exceed patients’ expectations and are offered in a caring, convenient, cost-effective and accessible manner.

I was able to express exactly what I wanted and needed, and she assured me that I had chosen the right Hospice Care for my needs explaining the whole process. I was given very helpful information, for example:  they gave me the top cremation companies in the area and recommended that I check them out for myself.  I was informed of every step of the process and how Hospice fits into the process.

It was explained that Hospice offers a team approach to care that is focused on the alleviation of physical symptoms and the provision of emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual support to patients and their families. Hospice care is palliative, not curative in its goals of treatment for patients with terminal illness.

“Hospice affirms life and neither hastens nor postpones death. Hospice exists in the hope and belief that through appropriate care, and the promotion of a caring community, sensitive to their needs, patients and families may be free to attain a degree of mental and spiritual preparation for death that is satisfactory to them.”  (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)

I was given a folder with helpful information that I would use doing this process. I was offered all of the physical and emotion support I needed. It was evident to me that they perfected their program.

Mom was set up with an Attending Physician, a Nurse available twenty four hours a day seven days a week, a Hospice Aide, Hospice Medications, Medical Supplies and Medical Equipment.

Services included:

  • Medical Director
  • Nursing
  • Medical Social Service
  • Home Health Aide,
  • Home maker,
  • Volunteer Services
  • Counseling Service
  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy

I agreed to go with this Hospice Care.  It was amazing to see them work like a well-oiled machine.

My mother’s pain was managed quickly and they treated her with respect and dignity, they were very gentle with her and any medical supplies needed were delivered the same day. Anything I needed was handled expeditiously.

Everyone was positive and up-beat and my mom enjoyed them as well. As my mom went through the different stages, Hospice adjusted according to her needs. When the time came and she required a hospital bed, it was brought in the next day and set up by the worker. When my mom could no longer walk, the Hospice Care was at my house 24-7 and they stayed there until the end. Including, getting the Doctor to sign the documentation of her death, so we could proceed with cremation. They made the process so much easier, and I am very grateful.

Just as smooth as they moved in to handle the situation, they finished their work with the same efficiency as they moved out. Hospice is indeed a truly, well oiled-machine.

If you are ever faced with an end of life situation, find the best Hospice in town, and they no doubt will prove to be a well-oiled machine in your case too!


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Guest Blogger

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Music Therapy Evokes Emotions

When I studied medical coding, it was interesting to note that there is a medical job position for the Arts, including Music Therapy. I was aware that music can indeed be a mood changer, but the field of Music Therapy intrigued me and I wanted to find out more about it.

Across the continuum, care professionals and volunteers are collaborating to enable individuals to benefit from personalized music. Whether an individual needs hospitalization, nursing home support, adult day care, hospice, or some combination, his or her music goes along.

What is Music Therapy

It is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

Promote Wellness

Manage Stress

Alleviate Pain

Express Feelings

Enhance Memory

Improve Communication

Promote Physical Rehabilitation

How does it work

Music stimulates the entire brain in a way that nothing else can. When working with a patient with physical impairment, the rhythm and steady beat of music helps them to complete a motion in a time-ordered manner. This is important because when a patient is able to make a movement occur at a steady rate and evenly, they are usually able to also be more successful in completing the movement. The music also provides motivation for more repetitions. Everyone experiences emotions elicited by music, and music can be a powerful way to explore emotions. Music also serves as a non-threatening way to explore difficult feelings.

Music Therapy and Alzheimer’s disease

Music has power—especially for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. And it can spark compelling outcomes even in the very late stages of the disease.

When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.

This happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing. They are influenced by the motor center of the brain that responds directly to auditory rhythmic cues. A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process because, again, these activities do not mandate cognitive functioning for success.

“One woman with early onset Alzheimer’s was completely withdrawn from her surrounding, family and her herself. We created a personalized playlist for her. Now when you visit, she’s sitting at the table, moving her feet. She’s engaged, calmer. The family finds it easier to be with her. It’s really been incredible.”

“We had an individual who was pretty impulsive, lots of out bursts, showed a lot of frustration,” she continues. “This individual enjoys jazz. Because of the music, her outbursts have been almost completely eliminated. It’s made a significant difference in her quality of life and visits with family. They’re able to enjoy each other again.”

“We have one woman who will only listen to opera,” “She is legally blind, hard of hearing, and doesn’t often participate in activities unless she has one-on-one attention. In the afternoons, she can become a bit agitated. We’ll put her music on as she sits in her recliner. She’ll close her eyes, move her head with the music and smile. When the music changes, she’ll say, “Oh, that was nice!’ It really calms her and helps us in a big way.”

As we can see, Music Therapy is helping many different people.   Music Therapy is not a drug, so there are no adverse side effects.  It is inexpensive, therefore affordable, so can be utilized across all eco-socio populations. It seems rather simple, however I am sure there is much more to learn about the powerful effect of this fascination field- Music Therapy.

Reference source: www.musictherapy.org


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Adult Day Care/ Respite Care

I have to admit that when I first read the sign Adult Day Care, I was incensed. I thought, “they have a lot of nerve calling this place Adult Day Care, as if the Older Adult are children, what lack of respect I thought, robbing them of their dignity.”

How wrong I was, after looking into what it was all about, now I can appreciate the helpful arrangement.

There are about 4,000 of these programs operating in the US and 50% of persons that use these facilities have some form of cognitive impairment and need assistance. Others are there for the day to give their caregivers a break.

Respite care is the provision of short-term accommodation in a facility outside the home in which a loved one may be placed. This provides temporary relief to those who are caring for family members, who might otherwise require permanent placement in a facility outside the home.

These centers offer a variety of time schedules from   several hours a day to 8 hours a day, five days a week and weekend services.

Three types of Adult care:

  1. Adult Day Social Care provides social activities, meals and some health care.
  2. Adult Day Health Care, deals with intensive health services.
  3. Alzheimer’s Specific Care provides services only to persons with Alzheimer or related dementia.

Adult day services benefit family caregivers by enabling them to remain in the workforce or receive needed respite. They provide cost-effective quality care while supporting individual autonomy, allowing individuals to “age in place,” and enhancing the quality of life for both participants and family caregivers.

The Older Adult has the opportunity to interact socially with their peer group, share in stimulating activities, and receive needed health care or therapies.

A day at the care center may include, supervised care: small group and individual activities such as reminiscence, sensory stimulation, arts, music: nutritious meals; transportation; case management: different forms of recreation and exercise: nursing care: education: assistance with activities of daily living; occupational, speech and physical therapies. These services are customized to each participant’s needs.

Cost/ Inexpensive option

If your funds are limited this may be an affordable option for you. Costs vary and can range from $25 to over $100 per day, depending on the services offered, type of reimbursement, and geographic region. While an adult day care center is not usually covered by Medicare insurance, some financial assistance may be available through a federal or state program (e.g., Medicaid, Older Americans Act, Veterans Health Administration).

According to the administration on Aging, the cost of long-term care provided by adult centers is the least expensive option currently available. “Adult day healthcare are without question, the most economical way to provide supervision and personal care for an elderly loved one on a daily basis. When compared with home care for an equal number of hours, adult day care usually costs a least 5)%less,”

How to locate a center

Start the process by thinking about what types of services you want, the ideal schedule, whether you want regular or occasional care, whether the elder would benefit from group interaction or just one companion, and whether the caregiver will need to provide any medical services.  Referrals are very helpful. Ask your friends, family members, Doctors, caseworkers and acquaintances if they have any recommendations or warnings about certain programs. Be sure to do your own research.

Not all states license and regulate adult day care centers. There may be a great deal of difference between individual centers; therefore, it is important to learn more about each center near you. If possible, visit the centers closest to you, and talk with the staff and other families that use the centers to determine whether the facilities meet their needs. You may also want to find out if your state has an adult day care association.

These day care centers have proven to be most beneficial on many different levels especially for the two groups involved, the Older Adult and the Caregiver.

Source reference:

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Blogger Marie

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The Question of Nursing Home Facilities

Ever since I was a child I remember mother telling all of us children, NEVER PUT HER IN A NURSING HOME WHEN SHE GOT OLDER AND COULD NOT TAKE CARE OF HER SELF!  Unequivocally she let us know that she did not want to be put in a home for Older Adults. Perhaps you have had a similar situation, or perhaps you know of some Older Adults who feels the same way.

In some cultures there are no Nursing Homes, take the country Mexico for example, that family oriented society takes care of their Elderly family members regardless of the situation. This is not the case in other countries.

In the US, in 2004, about 1.5 million people lived in nursing homes in the U.S. Most residents are Elderly: 88% of nursing home residents are 65 or older, and 45% are 85 or older.

Most Older Adults do not want to be put in a Nursing Homes because of what they have  seen or heard many of which are horror stories about Abuse in these facilities. Is this an accurate assumption are their feeling warranted?  Documented proof sheds light on this situation. Note the ABC NEWS Report below:

Reports of serious, physical, sexual and verbal abuse are “numerous” among the nation’s nursing homes, according to a congressional report released today.

The study, prepared by the minority (Democratic and Independent) staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, finds that 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States — 5,283 facilities — were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse over a recent two-year period, from January 1999 to January 2001.

Common problems included untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene, the report said.

Many of the abuse violations caused harm to the residents, the report said.

In 1,601 cases, the abuse violations were serious enough “to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury,” it said.

In light of the News Report above, my mother’s fears were based on facts, however, thankfully she never had to be put into a Nursing Home.

While it can be said that many Nursing Homes are less than desirable, not all nursing homes are not bad, in fact many Nursing facilities are excellent.

Note the situation of Kelly and her family:

My mother’s diabetes was out of control and because of this situation, she had to have part of her foot removed, now the family had to decide what was best for her. Not only did she lose part of her foot, but to add to the seriousness of the matter, it was very difficult to get her diabetes under control. The family decided that she needed a higher level of care than they could provide at home, so we began an all out search for a nursing facility that we all could approve. To our surprise we were able to find a very nicewellmanaged nursing facility that proved to be perfect fit for mother. Mother shared in the decision-making process and she was very please with this facility. It has proved to be the best thing for everyone concerned.

When, if ever should you consider putting your beloved family member in a Nursing Facility?

Some factors to Consider

  • Has the needs for you loved one change significantly, needing around the clock           professional help
  • Does your family member need rehabilitation or specialized supervision
  • Are you finding it difficult to continue hands-on care of your loved one
  • Do you feel emotionally drained or burnt out
  • Is the amount of care assistance needed likely to become so great that it is not a affordable option for the family

You want the best for your family member, therefore, it may be time to transition your love one to a care facility.

That being the case you must investigate your options. Find out what is available in your area, don’t be too quick to settle for just anything, if need be, enlist a trusted friend, other family members, it may be beneficial to hire a professional to help you find the best place for your love one.

You will find that there many great nursing facilities out there including other options that may work for you, for example private care facilities in nice home settings that has only 2-4 Older Adults, which allows the medical staff to give better care to each patient. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out what is out there and how many caring people have devoted their life and even made it a career to improve the conditions for Older Adults.

Be assured that if you have to transition to Nursing Facilities you will be able to find many options that fit the needs of your family.

Reference sources:

Nursing Homes – AARP


Guest Writer

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Prepare in Advance and Stop the Abuse!

Unfortunately, we have seen many news items dealing with the abuse of children, women and older adults. I could blog about each one; however, I will consider the abuse of the older adults, as this is a topic close to my heart.

Consider the following: 

  • During an overnight stay in a hospital, a 75 year old man was told that he had a small spot on his lung. Upon his release the Doctor advised him to follow up with his Primary Care Physician. Being very concerned and anxious the man went to see his Doctor within a week. The Doctor told him that the only way to know for sure if the spot was cancerous was to wait 6 months. The worse case scenario came true, the older man had  lung cancer. Although his Doctor tried to explain the various options, the man was  distraught and overwhelmed and unable to clearly weigh the pros and cons of each  option.  In the end he decided to have the cancerous part of the lung removed.  Recovering from the surgery, while still in the hospital, the man falls as he tries to get  up to go to the restroom. To avoid liability, the hospital proceeds to discharge the  man the very next day, even though, the original scheduled discharge date was  supposed to be two weeks later. To make matters worse they discharged him  without any medication!
  • An older women with many health issues, is prescribed fifteen different types of drugs   for her medical problems. After many years of taking these drugs, a caring and concern Doctor told the older women that she is being over medicated, and that the drugs had   caused other serious health problems.
  • A grandmother complained to her doctor about the pain she was experiencing in her knees. Without further examination or even an x-ray, the Doctor proceeded to prescribed medicine for arthritis. In time the knee pain greatly increased. Later, it was discovered that the patient was in need of knee replacements.
  • An 80-year-old man lives with a drug addict relative who verbally and physically abuses him; the relative also steals from him. Other family members are aware of the situation but are passive and do nothing to help the man

These scenarios are only a few of the many situations faced regularly by older adults. What is the commonality between these four cases?

It’s possible that all of these situations could have been prevented if the older adults had had an Advocate. Concern, caring and adept Advocates are needed to help the aging population with problems that arise as they age. An Advocate can assure the best available medical care, long-term care, and financial assistance, along with other needed services.

The best way to stop the abuse is to prepare well in advance for the upcoming needs of our older population. Research the many health, social and financial resources available in your area. Do not give up, keep looking, trust me, it is out there. Many people donate money to non-profit organizations that assist older adults because they feel it is a good cause, and in many cases their donation is tax deductible.

I would be amiss if I did not mention the services of Legacy Protection Planning. Check out their services and resources, you may be pleasantly surprised, just as I was.

By Blogger-BC

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Care for Your Older Loved One

In the United States alone, one person in eight is over the age of 65. As the growing population ages, more help, services and resources are needed to care for our aging population.

If this has become your reality, you may feel that this situation happened all too soon and unexpected. Now, the race begins and you are running at full speed to fine the best resources available to care for your loved one. At this point you may feel like an ominous mountain has just been placed in front of you and there is no way around it. Rest assured that you are not alone regarding this situation; many others are facing the same reality.

There will be many different challenges. Although, there is one challenge that makes your task difficult; that challenge is maintaining the dignity of your aging parent while making heath care decisions that best fit their needs. Will those choices truly honor and respect your dear loved one? Things many not turn out as you expected.

How can this be managed successfully? Please consider the following information:

Be observant so that you may assess the needs of your loved one, Keep in mind that your loved one will not readily admit to needing help, for this would mean that they are losing control which, translates at least in their minds, as losing their independence. This is not a welcome change for older persons.

After observing the situation, make a list of the things your loved one can still do and then note the things that have become a challenge for them.

In a warm, relaxed setting bring up your observations and allow your loved one to agree or disagree with your observations. Elicit their suggestions and then adjust your list accordingly. Ask for approval from your loved one to get help with the things that have clearly become a challenge for them. Then discuss the resources available within your budget and allow your loved one to share in deciding what resources they feel comfortable with.

Keep in mind that the situation will continue to change depending on your loved ones physical condition. Make needed changes as necessary. There are many excellent resources to help you manage the care of your loved one, in a successful dignified manner.

Yes, you can be successful in caring for your elderly loved one. Plan smart and turn your ominous mountain into a molehill.


Guest Writer

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