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Guest Blog: 5 Ways Families Can Pay For Long-Term Care

Long Term Care Word Cloud

Depending on what long-term care option your loved one chooses, prices can vary. Many families may be surprised to find out that Medicare and private health insurance policies don’t typically cover the cost of care. Learn how you can pay for long-term care by reading on!

1. Long-Term Care Insurance

In addition to your health insurance, families can purchase an additional long-term care insurance policy for their loved one. Policies generally cover most services offered by a home care agency, nursing home, or assisted living facility. It’s best to purchase a long-term care insurance policy when your loved one is in good health as they may not qualify if there are any pre-existing conditions.

2. Life Insurance

If your loved one already has life insurance, they may be able to add a long-term care rider to their policy. An accelerated death benefit allows your loved one to get a tax-free advance on their policy while they are still alive to pay for the cost of care. If your loved one doesn’t require long-term care, their beneficiaries receive a tax-free benefit as long as the policy is in effect.

3. Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage allows the homeowner to draw on their home’s equity to pay for long-term care. Your loved one can receive a lump sum or monthly payment and even open up a new line of credit. In the event of their death, heirs are left with the remainder of the home equity after paying off the amount owed. There are both pros and cons of having a reverse mortgage.

4. Annuities

An immediate annuity and deferred long-term annuity can usually be purchased through your loved one’s insurance company. A single premium payment for an immediate annuity means they receive a specified amount of monthly income for a designated period of time. With a deferred long term annuity, they will have two sources of funding—one fund that is specifically for long-term care and another fund to use however they would like.

5. Out-of-Pocket

For seniors who don’t have an insurance policy or qualify for Medicaid, they must pay out-of-pocket. Planning for long-term care way before it’s needed can prevent stress and financial burden. This can benefit those who don’t want to pay high insurance premiums. However, only 1 in 4 adults over the age of 45 are actually prepared for the cost of care.

About the Author: Peter Kang is a writer for eCaregivers. He is inspired by his caregiver experience with his late grandfather and role model, a Korean War veteran, to help families find affordable care for their loved ones. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter.

By |2021-02-26T11:19:25-05:00February 28th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Ways Families Can Pay For Long-Term Care

Guest Blog: 5 Smart Senior Hacks for Independent Living

Getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your independence. If you’re looking forward to spending your golden years at home, you can make the experience safer and more comfortable with these life hacks.

1. Try Meal Prep
It can become harder to lead an active lifestyle, and still, pay time and attention to cooking at eating healthy. You may choose to arrange help in the kitchen or check out some quick and easy recipes for seniors. Cooking groups are another great way to meal prep, and can also help you build a network.

2. Update Home Security
There are plenty of reasons to consider home security. In addition to a new system, get familiar with your community. Arrange for friends, family members, or neighbors to pick up any mail, or keep an eye on your home when you’re not there.

Motion activated lights can also discourage intruders. Connecting a smartphone to your home security can make life more accessible. Try wireless doorbells, which will allow you to see, hear and talk to whoever is at the door.

3. Keep Your Contacts List Updated
Any senior living alone should keep an up-to-date list of emergency contacts and medical needs. Keep it in one place and up-to-date. Set up your smartphone so it takes simple voice commands. This way you can contact someone quickly when you can’t reach your phone.

4. Keep Your Home In Good Shape
Scheduling regular maintenance means you’ll spot any tears in carpets, loose fixtures, or anything else that may cause accidents. Ensure that you have regular maintenance done on the home. Setting alerts can help you keep your home updates on a schedule.

5. Smart Apps & Wearable Technology
We’ve already mentioned setting alarms to keep your home in good shape. But what about you? There are simple assistant apps that can help you stay healthy. For instance, an app to remind you to take your medicine, to drink water, or work out.

Apart from apps you install on your phone or tablet, there are health trackers that will ensure your health stays, well, on track. Fitness trackers can measure your heart rate and activity level. Medical alert accessories contain your health information, which can be important in emergencies.

There are many changes that make living independently complicated for seniors. But complicated doesn’t have to mean difficult. Try these tips and make living alone easier on yourself.

By |2021-02-26T11:18:58-05:00February 27th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Smart Senior Hacks for Independent Living

Guest Blog: Why You Need a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

It is no surprise that baby boomers are entering the elderhood phase of their lives, which often means seeking medical care or advice for themselves or for their aged parents. The role of the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) is quickly becoming more relevant as America’s older population is expected to grow from 15% to 24% over the next 30 years. With life expectancy increasing from 68 years old in 1950 to 79 years in 2013, the expertise of the AGNP is more valuable than ever as healthcare faces this “Silver Tsunami.”

AGNPs are trained to provide care across the continuum of adulthood from young adults to the frail elderly as a reflection to changes made to the national certification exams in 2013, which combined the adult and gerontological specialties into one certification. However, many AGNPs and still-certified Gerontological NPs choose to specialize in the elderly population, (those older than 65) with specific focus areas or competencies related to the aging adult.

Nurse practitioners who specialize in adult and gerontological care can further their specialization by choosing a primary care or acute care concentration. No matter the setting, the AGNP provides multi-disciplinary care to treat the entire individual, not just their health concerns. As there are many facets of aging to consider, the AGNP addresses the physical, psychological and social aspects of aging not only to treat conditions, but to educate patients and the community on preserving function and preventing injury or further decline. Depending on the state in which they practice, AGNPs typically work with a supervising physician under standardized procedures in order to assess, diagnose, treat and prescribe medications.

Many studies have shown that patients are very happy to receive care from nurse practitioners in a variety of settings, including palliative care. Education regarding options for end-of-life care is typically managed by AGNPs in the acute care, post-acute care, home care, long-term care and primary care settings. As educating patients and populations is a cornerstone of the nursing profession, advanced-practice nurses such as AGNPs offer expert knowledge to guide patients and their families through the challenging maze of end-of-life planning. The role of the Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner has never been more valid or necessary as the U.S. begins to feel the surge of the silver tsunami.

Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN is a board-certified nurse executive leader and contributing writer for www.registerednursing.org.

By |2021-02-10T15:45:35-05:00February 24th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Why You Need a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

Guest Blog: How to Get Care with These Common Chronic Illnesses

Understanding health insurance in America can sometimes feel like it requires its own specialized degree, even if you are at an advanced age and have navigated the red tape for years. As we age, and more health conditions become apparent, and navigating treatment options and cost can become increasingly tedious. About 40 million Americans are limited in their daily lives due to effects from one or multiple chronic illnesses.

The questions can become daunting: Can I get coverage if I have chronic conditions? Does my coverage include treatment and/or therapy? Is my coverage capped or limited at any point? What if I have multiple afflictions? Luckily there are resources out there to help you navigate these obstacles, you just need to know how to find them. We’ve compiled some tips and resources to help you get treatment and care with common chronic illness.

Heart Disease
Chronic heart disease which is an umbrella term that includes coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathy, and others is the leading cause of death for men, women, and most racial groups in the United States (about 655,000 deaths a year). The average age for a first heart attack in the US is 65, which is why it is commonly labeled a disease of senior citizens. However, with the right treatment options, many people survive heart disease for years.

Luckily, Medicare offers both medical and hospital coverage for heart disease patients which includes one free heart screen every five years, along with cardiovascular behavioral therapy visits annually with a primary care physician for preventative care. These screenings cover blood tests for cholesterol, lipids, and triglycerides along with dialogues that cover risk factors.

Chronic Kidney Disease
The CDC estimates that 15% of US adults have chronic kidney disease, which translates to around 37 million people. Depending on when it is caught, and how diligent you are with treatment options, the impact of CKD can range from minor diet restrictions to organ transplant. Most patients do not experience kidney function loss until stage three of the disease or later. These patients should still regularly meet with their primary care physician, address underlying conditions that could be contributing to the problem such as a fatty diet, lack of exercise, or smoking, but they typically do not need treatment options.

However, those who suffer from End Stage Renal Disease (stage five) have lost sufficient function in both kidneys and must regularly receive dialysis treatment until they can receive a transplant. Medicare covers inpatient, outpatient, and home dialysis treatment options under their part B and part C coverage plans. This includes supplies, nursing services, lab testing and in some cases transportation to and from treatment centers.

Degenerative Brain Disease(s)
While CKD is a very specific diagnosis that highlights kidney efficiency, neurodegenerative brain disease is more of a general term that is meant to include other specific diagnoses such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, dementia and Spinal Muscular atrophy. Unfortunately most degenerative nerve diseases have no cure, and treatment coverage options vary based on diagnosis. For example, Medicare overs PET scans for those with FTD (fronto-temporal dementia) and Alzheimer’s, but only if patients meet eight additional conditions. In general, government assistance will cover hospital visits for any patient that has Part A coverage (thankfully), and most home care is also covered by Part B coverage.

However, like with previous examples, specific stipulations have to be met in order to receive the necessary coverage and treatment. Generally speaking, you should consult with your primary care physician and his staff to understand the right process for you.

Multiple Diagnoses
If the red tape with Medicare and a chronic illness is hard to comprehend, understanding how they prioritize and rank coverage based on multiple illnesses is akin to learning a new language. The CDC estimates that roughly 40% of adults in the US have two or more chronic diseases, and for those on medicare that represents a drastically different approach to how they receive coverage.

For those with multiple chronic conditions, Medicare Advantage coverage combines all the differences in parts A, B, and D and lumps them into one single service umbrella of coverage.
In 2018 the Senate passed the CHRONIC Care Act which expanded Medicare Advantage coverage and paved the way for those who require an elevated number of services like adult day care, caregivers, meal delivery, and more. To learn more about Medicare Advantage, we recommend this comprehensive write up here.

Susan is a guest writer on behalf of InsuranceFAQ.net. Susan wants to spread awareness on understanding health care and insurance coverage.

By |2021-02-22T15:35:15-05:00February 22nd, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Get Care with These Common Chronic Illnesses