seniors

Navigating the Financial Decisions Seniors Face After Becoming Widowed – And How Caregivers Can Help

Experiencing the loss of a spouse is a major change for anyone to deal with, but for seniors who have shared their life with one person for years, losing a spouse often brings about unexpected consequences. Besides dealing with grief, there are also financial issues to confront.

Seniors who are going through this loss often feel overwhelmed by the decisions they need to make and how those decisions will impact their future. This is where adult children or other caregivers can make a big difference by helping your loved one make sense of it all, so they can move forward with a solid financial plan.

Read on for some more thoughts from International Rehabilitation Consultants.

Knowing When and How to Help

 As a caregiver of someone in this position, one thing you may be concerned about is whether your senior loved one should continue managing their own finances. Next Avenue points out that it’s important to address this concern openly before making any decisions. If you both feel like it’s a good idea for you to help, you will want to have your loved one sign a durable power of attorney, which will give you legal authority to access and manage accounts.

In some cases, your loved one may be able to manage their own accounts with a little assistance. Tech-savvy seniors should look into online banking, or as Bankrate recommends, consider trying apps that help, such as SilverBills or Ready, Set, Bank.

If your loved one wants to set up a nonprofit in their spouse’s memory and honor, you can help walk them through the process. Visit Zenbusiness to learn about legal requirements you need to tend to set up a nonprofit.

Health and Safety Concerns

 Besides helping with the mundane financial tasks, you can also help by looking over your loved one’s financial statements to make sure their health needs are being met. This is especially important if your loved one is living alone because health and safety could become a concern.

One specific area to discuss is healthcare coverage. You can start by asking what kind of Medicare plan they have or if they get insurance through retirement benefits, either their own or through their spouse. This is a crucial question, as the death of a spouse may change your loved one’s eligibility for employer retirement benefits.

If your loved one has Medicare, you may want to look into whether a Medicare Advantage plan would be right for their financial situation. These plans are sold through popular companies like Aetna, and many seniors like the expanded benefits they provide, such as dental and vision care and prescription drug coverage.

Taking the Next Steps

 Once you’ve looked at your loved one’s overall financial outlook, the next major question is “Where do we go from here?” Depending on your loved one’s income and savings, they may not need to make major changes. However, some seniors who become widowed are dealt a financial blow as a result of losing their spouse’s income.

In this case, it’s a good idea to seek advice from a financial advisor so that you don’t rush into decisions that could prove detrimental in the long term. For example, there are some tax implications of becoming widowed, including the decision to make early withdrawals from retirement savings. Doing this may seem like a good option for replacing a spouse’s lost income, but your loved one may lose out by having to pay additional taxes and penalties.

Another major consideration is whether your loved one will continue living at home. This is a personal decision, and finances are only part of the equation. If your loved one decides to sell their home, this is another issue where you want to do your research and consult with an expert, such as an attorney, who can guide you in the legal aspects of selling as a widow or widower.

By |2023-06-30T10:36:49-05:00July 3rd, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Navigating the Financial Decisions Seniors Face After Becoming Widowed – And How Caregivers Can Help

Guest Post: Keeping Seniors Safe at Home

While there’s no 100% absolute way to ensure your elderly parent or loved one doesn’t fall,
there are things that can be done to help minimize the risk. I’ll give you a quick checklist of
five steps to a safer home for a senior. Likewise, click here for some alternative ways to
steer clear of falls.

1. Furniture, accessories, and narrow pathways:
Is there furniture crowding a room or creating narrow pathways? Are there inessential
items or decorations all over the house? None of us like to throw things away and we all
know seniors love to keep antiques and knick-knacks, but sometimes they can pose a
hazard to elderly home safety. That old rug underneath the coffee table can trip you easier
than you think. Make sure there is nothing impeding easy travel throughout the house. A
straight path is the easiest path so there should be no navigating around corners or edges.

2. Doorsills and steps:
Now, these two sound like obvious culprits, but you’d be surprised how often they’re
underestimated. A quick remedy is to paint doorsills a different color or buy reflective tape
for the edge as a reminder that they’re there. This goes for the edge of stairs as well.
Confirm that there’s no loose carpeting, unstable wood, or erosion of any kind on steps or
doorsills. Also, make sure any area with a step or uneven surface is very well lit.

3. Lighting:
This one is perhaps the easiest of all. Double-check that all areas of the house are well lit,
with bulbs at least 60 watts or higher in each socket. Remove all exposed cords and make
sure any lamp or light-switch is within easy reach. If the lamp closest to a favorite reading
chair is hard to reach while sitting, move it closer. Also, check that there is no risk of any
lamp falling or being tripped over. Again, lamps should remain within reach, but still out of
the way.

4. Telephones:
Keep a telephone, within easy reach, in each room. This prevents your elderly loved one
from feeling compelled to rush to a ringing phone. Not only can getting up too quickly cause
light-headedness or dizziness, but it can also cause an elderly person to lose focus on their
surroundings and mistakenly fall in an easily preventable situation.

5. Bathrooms:
Bathroom floors and shower tubs can get slippery, we know this. To combat slipping,
guarantee there are either bars affixed to the wall or a counter to grip while getting up and
down off the toilet and in and out of the shower. Also, purchase adhesive grip-tape for the
tub bottom and again, provide adequate lighting throughout the bathroom. Shower rugs
can also slip so place double-sided tape on the bottom of the rug to impede the rug’s
movement.

If you are worried about a loved one, these are very easy and painless steps to minimize the
risk of in-home falls. As mentioned before, however, there is no 100% way to prevent accidents so medical alert systems provide a great backup. Not only do they give you peace
of mind when you’re not around your loved one, but they make the wearer feel safe as well.

Jacob Edward is the manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix Arizona. Senior Planning is geared towards helping
seniors and the disabled with finding and arranging types of care, as well as applying for state and federal
benefits.

By |2023-05-30T11:56:36-05:00July 1st, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Post: Keeping Seniors Safe at Home

Guest Blog: How the Internet Has Changed How Society Cares for Seniors

Today’s technology is not only for the young. The digital age has brought with it innovations which aim to benefit seniors. A new age of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has made senior care better, more efficient and less costly. It aims to eliminate isolation, which has been a major concern for many years. It has provided caregivers in the healthcare industry a tool to allow seniors to be more independent and remain connected with friends and family.

When it comes to senior care, the IoT is revolutionizing the way seniors are living their lives. Assisted living communities are using the internet to connect and humanize senior care. Communities such as the K4Community leverage technology to make seniors’ life simpler, healthier and happier. These communities integrate IoT wearables such as watches or belt clips. They also have floor sensors that provide real-time monitoring to prevent falls and other injuries. Other types of sensors monitor heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels to immediately alert caregivers when there’s an emergency.

To lead a healthy, active lifestyle, IoT devices go beyond the standard activity trackers. Devices are more targeted towards the individual’s needs, alerting them when to rest, whether they’re standing up or down too fast and when to give their knees a break. Food and hydration is also considered, with wearables reminding seniors when it’s time to eat and how often to drink to maintain proper hydration. When it comes to sleep, sensors can also alert caregivers whether a senior needs help getting in and out of bed. With the internet being all about connection, keeping seniors in contact with friends and family is one of the best things the IoT can provide to improve senior health. Seniors are spending more time online, using social networks and other platforms to connect with loved ones.

This trend is only going to get more prevalent. Research shows that using the internet makes people happier and increases life satisfaction, especially for seniors. A study published in the Journal of Computers in Human Behavior shows that life satisfaction was much higher among seniors who use the internet than those who don’t. The ability to keep in touch and prevent the cycle of loneliness and isolation in an advanced age has done more for senior health than any medication. It is no wonder then that internet use among seniors rose from 8% to 34% between 2003 and 2012, as cited by the Journalist’s Resource. The empowerment that the internet and technology have given seniors is invaluable to their health. Such developments revolutionized the way society and healthcare providers care for the elderly.

With Baby Boomers contributing to an increasingly aging population, the need for caregivers and connected assisted living communities is becoming greater than ever. In order to provide quality healthcare to seniors, healthcare is not just about technology but also about the people who provide it. Maryville University details how general healthcare workers can specialize in senior services to provide care for an aging population. Healthcare and senior care are becoming two of the fastest-growing industries. Boosted with the aid of technology and IoT devices, they provide a way to create a better quality of life for seniors, while reducing the costs of healthcare at the same time.

Article submitted by Tanya Olivers

By |2023-04-27T16:02:44-05:00May 10th, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How the Internet Has Changed How Society Cares for Seniors

Guest Blog: Assisted Living Vs. In-home Care: Which Is Right For Your Senior?

Introduction

As our loved ones age, it’s natural to consider their long-term care options. Two popular choices are assisted living and in-home care. Both provide essential services, but they differ in several ways. Making the right decision can be challenging, but understanding the key differences between the two options is crucial.

Whittier assisted living offers both options, and selecting the right one depends on various factors, such as personal preferences, health conditions, and budget. In this article, we will explore the differences between assisted living and in-home care, so you can make an informed decision that ensures the comfort, safety, and well-being of your senior loved one.

Pros and Cons of Assisted Living for Seniors

Seniors who require some level of support with everyday activities can benefit significantly from assisted living, but there are also certain negatives to consider. The following are some benefits and drawbacks of assisted living:

Pros:

  • Seniors in assisted living facilities can get care and assistance from qualified carers around-the-clock.
  • Seniors can interact with other residents and participate in assisted living activities.
  • Seniors may find it more convenient to live their everyday lives thanks to the usual provision of meals, housekeeping, and other services.

Cons:

  • The expense of assisted living may not be covered by insurance or government programs.
  • Seniors living in assisted living facilities could feel as though they are losing their freedom and simple control.
  • Assisted living facilities may provide seniors less privacy than independent living in their own homes.

Overall, assisted living can be an excellent choice for senior citizens who require some help with daily tasks and desire to interact with other seniors. However, when making this choice, it’s crucial to consider the cost and loss of independence.

Would Your Senior Loved One Benefit More From In-Home Care?

In-home care is a popular option when thinking about care alternatives for your elderly loved one. Here are some explanations as to why it might be preferable:

  • In-home care offers individualized care catered to your senior’s needs, ensuring they get the support and attention they need.
  • Your senior loved one can continue to live in the familiarity and comfort of their own home, which can improve their mental and emotional health.
  • Your senior may preserve their independence and autonomy with in-home care, allowing them to enjoy life on their terms.
  • If your senior needs minor support with daily living activities, in-home care may be less expensive than assisted living.

Considering these elements, you may decide whether in-home care is a better choice for your elderly relative or friend, enabling them to get the care they require while maintaining their quality of life.

Evaluating Your Senior’s Needs

It’s critical to evaluate the individual needs of your elderly loved one before deciding on assisted living or in-home care.

  • Elements to consider include mobility and capacity for daily tasks, including eating, dressing, and bathing.
  • It’s vital to consider your senior’s social requests, remembering their requirement for organization and cooperation for bunch exercises.
  • Their choice for autonomous or helped living, as well as the administration of their clinical issues and doctor-prescribed meds, are significant elements.
  • It’s vital to assess monetary factors, like protection inclusion and clinical costs.

In-Home Thought versus Aided Residing: The Value of Cost Examination

Cost is an essential variable to consider while picking helped dwelling and in-home thought for seniors. The following justifies the importance of cost comparison:

  • The monthly cost of assisted living can range from $3,500 to $10,000, while the hourly cost of in-home care is generally between $15 and $30.
  • To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to assess the costs of both options and determine which fits within your budget.
  • Assisted living may have hidden costs, such as upfront fees, meal plans, and additional services, which can significantly impact the overall cost of care.
  • In-home care is more customizable, allowing you to pay only for the services your senior loved one needs, potentially resulting in lower costs.
  • The care location can also affect the overall cost, as assisted living may be more expensive in certain areas.

Understanding the Level of Care Your Senior Needs

When choosing between assisted living and in-home care, it is essential to understand the level of care your senior requires.

  • If your senior has advanced care needs, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they may require the specialized care and support provided by an assisted living facility.
  • If your senior requires minimal ADL assistance, in-home care may be better.

Choosing Between Assisted Living and In-Home Care

When choosing between assisted living and in-home care, it’s essential to consider each option’s flexibility.

  • In-home care allows seniors to remain in the comfort of their own homes and maintain their independence while still receiving necessary care.
  • Assisted living provides a more structured environment with 24-hour care and access to various services and amenities.
  • Consider the level of flexibility your senior loved one requires and your preferences and lifestyle.

Safety and Security

Safety and security are key considerations when it comes to caring for seniors.

  • In-home care may require modifications to the home to ensure safety and accessibility, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom or ramps for wheelchair access.
  • Assisted living facilities provide 24-hour supervision, emergency response systems, and secure environments to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.
  • Consider the specific safety needs of your loved one, such as fall risks or wandering behaviors, and evaluate which option can provide the necessary support and security.

By prioritizing safety and security, you can ensure your senior loved one receives the care they need in a safe and comfortable environment.

Evaluating Your Options and Making an Informed Decision

Ultimately, finding the right fit for your senior loved one requires careful evaluation of all options.

  • Research and visit potential facilities or in-home care providers to evaluate their services and amenities.
  • Consider the costs, level of care, and flexibility of each option, as well as the specific needs and preferences of your loved one.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek advice from healthcare professionals, family members, or friends who have gone through a similar experience.

By evaluating your options and making an informed decision, you can ensure that your senior loved one receives the care and support they need to live a happy and healthy life.

Conclusion

In conclusion, deciding between assisted living and in-home care for your senior loved one can be difficult. It is essential to carefully consider their unique needs and preferences and the level of care and support they require. With the help of resources like Whittier assisted living, you can make an informed decision that supports your senior’s overall well-being and quality of life.

 

By |2023-05-05T18:57:22-05:00May 5th, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Assisted Living Vs. In-home Care: Which Is Right For Your Senior?

Guest Blog: When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

On a list of the greatest fears many seniors have, failing health, hearing loss, and falling often rise to the top. One major fear that few actually talk to their families and doctors about though is losing the ability to drive. In fact, a new AAA study found that over 80 percent of older drivers never discuss their safe driving ability at all with their care networks or medical professionals.

For many seniors, driving is the hallmark characteristic that defines independence. Being able to drive allows seniors to travel, to run their own errands, to get out of their house and socialize. Losing that ability to drive doesn’t just strip those things away, but it also requires seniors to ask for help and coordinate transportation, all of which can leave them feeling like a burden on their caregivers.

What is the danger then? Well not only do older drivers who have outlived their ability to safely drive a vehicle endanger their passengers and other drivers on the road, they put themselves at increased risk for injury and even death. Because older adults typically have more fragile bones and higher rates of chronic illness that can complicate an injury recovery, they are more likely to get hurt or even die in a car crash than younger adults.

Talking About Driving with Your Aging Parent

The bottom line is that simply conducting a dialogue about driving doesn’t mean a senior will lose their license or be held back from driving. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Just as using a cane for walking empowers a senior with mobility limitations to keep moving, talking about safe driving can empower seniors to take helpful steps that keep them safe on the road.

For example, the Senior Driving division of AAA offers loads of helpful resources, tools, and information that connect seniors with local refresher courses on defensive road wise driving, help them understand how medicine can affect safe driving, and much more.

If you need to have a conversation with your aging parent about safe driving, experts recommend approaching it from a place of compassion and empathy. Instead of accusing them of being an unsafe driver, confess the concerns you feel about their safety on the road and ask them about their own perspective. Discuss helpful driving tools, safe driving refresher classes, and even consider attending a senior driving expo together.

By |2023-03-01T15:58:35-05:00March 10th, 2023|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: When Should Seniors Stop Driving?