Practical, affordable solutions for making the heart of the home a safer, more accessible place for older adults.
This guest post comes from an independent living community in Denver, Colorado.
Staying socially engaged leads to better health and longevity for older adults. Read this guest post for simple ways to use connect from near or far.
Richard Bitner of Visiting Angels shares winter travel safety tips for seniors.
Interested in submitting a guest post for publication on my site? Review these guidelines.
Quick tips on choosing the best (pet) companion for an older adult.
Discover the warning signs and ways to prevent loneliness and isolation in older adults, and the difference between the two issues.
Check out my thoughts, along with those of dozens of other elder care experts in a variety of fields and venues, about the misconception of aging that many Americans hold: http://www.seniorcare.com/featured/misconception-on-aging/
Many thanks to Carol Marak for compiling this valuable resource!
What do you fear most about growing older? In what ways have you prepared? In what ways should you be better prepared? Let's discuss this important issue in as many places as possible!
This guest post was submitted by Senior-Planning Services.
Qualifying for Medicaid for long-term care can feel like contending with a labyrinth of rules, exceptions to those rules, and exceptions to the exceptions. As if that were not challenging enough, Medicaid rules can also vary drastically from state to state, and as financial or living circumstances change.
Compounding the difficulty even further, those applying for Medicaid are typically under a great deal of stress and pressure as they cope with having to admit a loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility.
The entire conceit of Medicaid is that it is a “need-based” program. This means that the Medicaid applicant must have insufficient assets to pay for their own care.
Therein lies the kernel of the problem: Since the test for whether an applicant qualifies for Medicaid benefits becomes one of evaluating their assets to see if they pass a certain financial threshold, it naturally follows that there will be a great many seniors who may fall just outside that limit disqualifying them from Medicaid.
Without guidance, these seniors on the Medicaid borderline get caught in the unenviable position of too rich to qualify, but not rich enough to afford quality care, in essence, punishing prosperity.
Medicaid Spend Down and Asset Management
Fortunately, there are concrete strategies for dealing with this issue. In general, the idea is to make the applicant eligible for benefits by bringing the assessment of their assets under the limit. This is called Medicaid “spend down.”
In a spend-down, the applicant is required to pay bills from their own funds until their funds are depleted, at which point Medicaid kicks in on the condition that other eligibility requirements are met. Here, the single smartest decision an applicant can make is to hire a Medicaid planner to assist in the procedure, because doing so counts towards the ‘spend down’ itself.
An applicant can essentially use the free money over the limit (that must be spent anyway) to get themselves approved in advance through a Medicaid planning company, while at the same time receiving professional help with the process itself. An all around win-win.
A professional can assist with the classification and management of assets to help ensure that the applicant qualifies for Medicaid while still retaining the most wealth possible.
Many are unaware that items such as personal possessions, a car, prepaid funeral expenses, Term life policies German Reparation Payments, and financial instruments like trusts set aside for the care of a disabled child, or irrevocable trusts created over 5 prior to the Medicaid request date, are NOT counted against the applicant.
Meanwhile, checking and savings accounts, assets like CDs, stocks, bonds, IRAs and mutual funds, revocable trusts, whole life insurance policies, private business and company equities, and even more, CAN all count against the applicant in qualifying for Medicaid. Click here for more FAQs.
Quite often, a senior Medicaid applicant has shared his/her life with a cherished loved one. Under complex Medicaid laws, this can affect a spouse’s ability to qualify for Medicaid, and can lead to--for example--questions about whether a spouse can keep a primary residence if the other spouse applies for Medicaid. Generally, they can.
However, in some cases the Medicaid applicant’s name must be removed from the deed. There can also be Medicaid liens and other penalties enforced against the estate, except in certain circumstances, such as in the case of a surviving spouse. These are examples of just some of the many pitfalls.
Then there is the need for providing financial statements over the last 5 years, the so-called “look-back” period. In the past, seniors would give away their money and property to qualify for Medicaid, and so the look-back requirement was created in answer to that practice.
This has placed an enormous burden on seniors, who now have to document their financial lives even beyond the scope of an average IRS audit! It also puts renewed focus on enlisting the help of financial planners who can help seniors strategically earmark funds for care earlier in life, so their loved ones are not burdened with the cost of their care years before Medicaid takes effect.
All of this sounds like a lot to tackle without help, and it is! As you can see, the complicated financial aspects of qualifying for Medicaid are often best handled by an expert. Through a combination of sound asset management and responsible long-term planning by a professional, the transition into Medicaid-sponsored care for seniors can be as smooth as it is reassuring.
This guest post was submitted & written by Elena Watson, a blogger for JustHomeMedical.com and a student at Bard College. She spends her time researching and writing about health care, particularly child and senior wellness.
It’s not uncommon to experience a decrease in mobility as you get older. Sore joints, fragile bones, and a more frequent feeling of fatigue can all make it harder to get up and go. But being active doesn’t have to mean pushing yourself beyond your limits, and even if you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, there are still many ways for you to get out there and exercise without putting yourself at risk.
Go for a walk: Walking is a great way to stay active because even though it doesn’t feel like exercise, it still burns calories and strengthens muscles. During the hot summer months, consider taking your walk in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. And always bring along a bottle of water.
Stroll indoors: When it’s hot outside or the weather’s bad, you can still get some walking in. Places like museums, art galleries, and even malls are all great ways to stay on your feet while enjoying culture, shopping, and, of course, air conditioning!
Garden: Tending a garden is rarely seen as “exercise,” but it’s another activity that keeps you outside and moving, and it burns more calories than you might think. Plus, it’s a great way to add beauty or fresh produce to your home.
Take a dip: Swimming is the quintessential summer activity (or year-round, if you have access to an indoor pool. It’s fun, it cools you down, and it’s a great way to maintain mobility and strengthen muscles. Some community pools even offer water aerobics classes, which are less strenuous than traditional aerobics.
Get your groove on: Dancing might seem like just a fun activity, but it’s actually a great workout as well. If your community offers dance classes, sign up (and bring a friend!). If not, start a dance group yourself, or just boogie out to some music in your house.
Join a club: Many communities and senior centers offer a number of fun and invigorating classes that can help you stay active, and perhaps learn a new skill at the same time. You could sign up for a class or club dedicated to bowling, indoor aerobics classes, golf, baseball, and much more.
For seniors, keeping up mobility is important not only because it allows you to stay independent, but also because it can benefit your health and sometimes even postpone the effects of aging (nothing makes you feel young like a good blast of endorphins!). Thankfully, staying active doesn’t have to mean sweating away in the gym. By engaging in fun community activities like these you can improve your health and enjoy yourself at the same time!