Category

Blog

The Older But Wiser Brain

By | Aging Brain, Blog | No Comments

It’s not all bad news! Yes, it’s true our reaction time is slower and it takes us longer to retrieve information … BUT we are more shrewd 🙂  In other words, our complex reasoning skills improve. We’re able to anticipate problems and reason things out better than when we were young.

And, there’s another area of improvement as we age: empathy — the ability to understand the emotional point of view of another. Empathy increases as we age.

One of the great discoveries from recent neuroscience research is that the human brain is always changing, from moment to moment and throughout life. It continues to develop, and even continues to grow new brain cells.

Physical Fitness Helps
Art Kramer, a neuroscientist from the University of Illinois has found that memory can improve with treadmill workouts. He writes that after treadmill training, MRI scans of his elderly test subjects revealed larger hippocampi and other brain regions .

Also Important!

  1. Eat right – Many foods, including nuts, fish and red wine, have been linked to a healthy brain. But concentrating on an all-around healthy diet may be the best nutritional strategy for keeping the brain sharp. And don’t skip breakfast!
  2. Good posture – Maintaining an upright, un-slouched posture improves circulation and blood-flow to the brain.
  3. Sleep well – A good night’s sleep is vitally important to a healthy mind, especially memory. Get enough sleep and take naps.
  4. Paint, draw, or doodle – Whether it’s a masterpiece or a mere doodle, simply making a picture is an excellent workout for the brain.
  5. Listen to music – Music affects the brain profoundly, and has been linked to improved cognition and memory functioning.
  6. Learn something new – Many colleges and senior centers offer engaging, low-cost lectures and classes for older adults. Ongoing education is a surefire way to keep sharp.
  7. Do puzzles – When you challenge and stimulate yourself intellectually, you exercise your brain and increase your mental capacity. Crosswords are a popular choice.
  8. Write – Writing improves working memory and your ability to communicate.

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors
and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Inspired Living @ 90!

By | Blog, Inspiration | No Comments

Stir in some Optimism, add a pinch of Curiosity, dowse in Humor.

She is a pioneer in a place few people have been. The far side of 90!

A long-lived lady in South Florida, a former writer and teacher, 93-year-old Esther has laid down her recipe for inspirational aging. Here are her secrets:

  • Find companionship. Loneliness is a huge problem in old age.  Make an extra effort to find friends through a senior center, library group or religious organization.
  • Exercise your body every day.
  • Use your brain.
  • Keep your sense of humor. At this age, life is tenuous and you can afford to laugh!
  • Dress well every day. No frayed pants or frumpy house dresses allowed. Dress as if you had a date. When you get a compliment, it makes you feel distinctive.
  • Find a theme song. Make it something cheerful.  Use it to smooth the soul when you see or hear something unpleasant!
  • Leave the door open for love. Love can happen even more intensely at this age because you know your life is shortened.
  • Offer a cheerful greeting. Never ask “how are you?”  Start out with a compliment about a women’s scarf or tell a man how handsome he looks today. Resolve never to discuss health issues in public.
  • Have a conversation starter. Stay current on the news and have a short list of topics to talk about when you see people.
  • Plan your day, every day. You can have a fuller life than when you were younger because your time is your own now.

Led by advances in medicine, the number of Americans living to 90 and beyond has tripled since 1980 and will quadruple by 2050.

_________________________________

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Playing The Odds On Long-Term Care

By | Blog, Long Term Care Insurance | No Comments

Long-term care insurance is a little like cod liver oil. Everyone tells you it’s good for you but paying all those premiums can be hard to swallow.

LTC insurance can protect your assets — and your peace of mind. One look at the cost of a nursing home — an average of about $61,320 annually — and it’s easy to see why the number of people buying LTC policies has increased dramatically.  Policies cover extended care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers, and even your home. A good policy also covers all types of care, not just skilled medical care but help with daily activities if you become chronically ill or disabled.

But LTC insurance doesn’t come cheap. Here’s what you need to know before you buy.

Who needs it
Whether a policy makes sense for you depends on several factors: your net worth, how much of it you’re willing to spend on healthcare, how much want to leave to heirs, your marital status, and your age.

Consider your family history, too. If longevity or a chronic disease runs in your family, you may be more likely to require long-term care at some point. And because women live longer than men on average, they are more likely to need nursing home or other extended care.

The idea is to buy a policy before you need one. The older you get, the greater the risk that you may develop health problems and become uninsurable. Even if you do get a policy, premiums will be steep. That’s why most financial planners suggest clients buy a policy by their mid-50s or early 60s.

In general, the richer you are the less you need a policy, and the poorer you are the more likely it is that you’ll qualify for Medicaid.  Between those poles, things get murky.

When it comes to long-term care insurance, you money pays for it
… but YOUR HEALTH buys it!

Long-term care insurance premiums are based on your age and the condition of your health when you purchase a policy. Assume a person is in good health. Consider that the average nursing home stay is 2½ to 3 years.

It may sound obvious, but make sure you buy a policy you can afford. Remember you are going to pay those premiums for years to come. If they’re too expensive, you may let your policy lapse and will have wasted thousands of dollars.  A good rule of thumb: make sure a premium does not exceed 5 percent of your current income.

Here are findings from the 2011 Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index:
Average price for a comprehensive long-term care insurance policy (100% home care benefit + skilled care coverage), 90-Day Elimination Period with Compound Inflation Protection Option (benefit increases 5% compounded annually).  The average of rates from selected leading insurers.

Age 55 – Single Individual
$150 Maximum Daily Benefit x 3 Year Benefit Period
Current Value of Benefits: $169,000 — Value of Benefits at age 75: $305,000
Cost: $1,480-per-year
Low Cost: $1,325
High Cost: $2,550
Individual Qualifies for Preferred Health and Spousal Discounts

Age 55 – Couple (both age 55 – Preferred Health – Shared Policy)
$150 Maximum Daily Benefit x 3 Year Benefit Period
Current Value of Benefits: $338,000 — Value of Benefits at age 75: $610,000
Cost: $2,350-per-year
Low Cost: $2,085
High Cost: $3,970
Individual Qualifies for Preferred Health and Spousal Discounts, Includes Shared Care Option

Age 55 – Couple (both age 55 – Standard Health)
$150 Maximum Daily Benefit x 3 Year Benefit Period
Current Value of Benefits: $338,000 — Value of Benefits at age 75: $610,000
Cost: $2,405-per-year
Low Cost: $1,985
High Cost: $3,970
Individual Qualifies for Standard Health and Spousal Discounts

Age 60 – Couple (both age 60- Preferred Health – Shared Policy)
$150 Maximum Daily Benefit x 3 Year Benefit Period
Current Value of Benefits: $338,000 — Value of Benefits at age 75: $527,300
Cost: $2,970-per-year
Low Cost: $2,605
High Cost: $4,935
Individual Qualifies for Preferred Health and Spousal Discounts, Includes Shared Care Option

_________________________________

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Tips For Boosting Vitality

By | Blog, Healthy Aging | No Comments

Don’t fall for the myth that aging automatically means you’re not going to feel well anymore.  Not all illness or pain is avoidable, but many of the physical challenges associated with aging can be greatly lessened by eating right, exercising, and taking care of yourself.

It’s never too late to start!  No matter how old you are or how unhealthy you’ve been in the past, caring for your body has enormous benefits that will help you stay active, sharpen your memory, boost your immune system, manage health problems, and increase your energy.

Eating well is more important than ever
As you age, your relationship to food changes along with your body.  A decreased metabolism, changes in taste and smell, and slower digestion may affect your appetite, the foods you can eat, and how your body processes food. The key is to figure out how to adapt to your changing needs.

Load up on high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Your whole digestive system is slower, so fiber is very important. Consume fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruit, and vegetables.  They will help you feel more energetic and give you fuel to keep going.

Put effort into making your food look and taste good. Your taste buds aren’t as strong and your appetite may not be the same, but your nutritional needs are just as important as ever.

Watch out for dehydration.  Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluid, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you’re not getting enough water, you’re not going to be as sharp and your energy will suffer.

Make meals a social event. It’s more enjoyable to eat with others than alone. Invite people over. You can share cooking and cleanup duties.

_____________________________

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors
and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Is A Personal Medical Alarm Right For You?

By | Blog, Personal Medical Alarms | No Comments

If you fell and couldn’t get up, could you get help? Maybe a Personal Medical Alarm is right for you.

Though experts agree that a wearable alarm system may not help in all situations or be appropriate for all elderly people, it could be lifesaving for some.

It’s estimated that one-third of elderly people living at home and two-thirds of those living in assisted living facilities fall each year. These mishaps result directly in about 1,800 deaths and contribute to at least 9,500 fatalities.

For many people, a personal medical alarm can be lifesavers. Whether the alarm is right for the individual depends partially on their mental and physical conditions and those of their caregivers.

So is a transportable alarm right for you or an elderly relative? To make that decision, you will have to consider the lifestyle of the person, their physical and mental abilities, the cost of the service, and what it provides.

The LifeCall Medical Alert System is priced as low as $27.45 a month, with no long term contracts. This complete and easy-to-operate emergency monitoring program means you will receive experienced, professional help from certified Emergency Medical Technicians when you need it.

Exercise is the key
Exercise is one of the most important ways to prevent falls. Exercise builds muscle strength and stamina, which help improve coordination and balance. Even people who have a lot of frailty can benefit from exercise in general. It can be argued that inactivity is the third leading cause of death in the elderly.

Other advice from experts includes:

  • You should talk with your doctor about whether certain medications or medical conditions, including your vision and hearing, may be causing you to stumble or fall.
  • Check for stairs and railings that may be in disrepair and carpets that may have loose seams.
  • Get rid of throw rugs.
  • Add grab bars to your bathroom.
  • Don’t sit on furniture that is so low that it’s difficult to sit down or get up.
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable and fit properly.

_________________________________

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

 

Choosing A Nursing Home

By | Blog, Nursing Homes | No Comments

The decision is one of the hardest you will ever make. Your spouse, parent or another family member needs care that assisted living or home health care simply cannot provide. You need to choose a nursing home.

It’s a difficult and emotional task. The horror stories are well documented. Finding a good nursing home takes research and perseverance. You want a safe, engaging and pleasant environment with caring staff and solid medical practices.

Not to mention paying for a nursing home … another huge source of stress.

Medicare pays only for medically necessary care in a skilled nursing home, like physical therapy or intravenous medicine. It does not pay for custodial care — help with walking, eating, bathing and other daily tasks. Result? The majority of nursing home residents pay from personal money, long-term care insurance policies or, if they qualify, through Medicaid.

Unfortunately, the typical search for a nursing home is made under duress. Most admissions come from hospitals. The hospital is in a hurry to discharge and may move quickly to get the patient moved to an available nursing home bed, regardless of the nursing home’s quality or reputation.

The average cost of nursing home care is $200 a day, and that does not include additional fees for specialized services like care for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Start With The Data
Every year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services collect data on more than 15,000 nursing homes throughout the country. Health inspection data, staffing and quality measures are combined to come up with an overall ranking of one to five stars.

To look up nursing homes in your area, go to medicare.gov and click on the Nursing Home Compare Tool.

The site offers a useful brochure entitled Medicare’s Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home.

Visit, Then Visit Again
Nothing substitutes for what you see, hear and smell when you visit a nursing home. Be sure to visit more than once and at different times of the day and different days of the week. Be sure to take the Nursing Home Checklist with you!

Call Your Ombudsman
Each state has a federally funded long-term care ombudsman who is an advocate for nursing home patients.

This person can tell you if there are state rankings or surveys available in addition to the Medicare ratings. The ombudsman can also help you find the latest health inspection reports,
which are public information, on specific nursing homes. Ombudsmen can also tell you how many complaints the office has collected about a specific nursing home and the nature of those complaints.

You can find the ombudsman in your state online at the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.

_________________________________

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

Private Long-Term Care Insurance

By | Blog, Long Term Care Insurance | No Comments

Many consumers have never heard of long-term care insurance, and there’s a common misperception that long-term care is paid for by Medicare.

Big mistake. Long term care is basically “custodial” care, and it’s for those suffering the after-effects of a stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or other disabling condition.

Health insurance doesn’t pay for this kind of treatment. Medicare doesn’t either, generally speaking.

Who does? You do. The consumer pays out of pocket until his assets are exhausted, at which time Medicaid (not Medicare) kicks in. This is basically a welfare program — and it feels like it. Those on Medicaid often wind up in nursing homes, generally not a nice place to be.

Those with money or with a good long term care policy may be able to stay at home with the help of paid assistants or check into a comfortable assisted living facility.

Bottom line on The Dotted Line
It’s important to learn as much as you can before signing on the dotted line for this kind of insurance.

A good place to start is a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report. This report draws on data from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances and the 1996 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey to explore the feasibility of LTCI for working families and older adults. Specifically, the report looks at how many working-age families can afford LTCI, whether it is a sensible investment for people who are decades away from requiring long-term care, and how LTCI policies can be made more flexible, to keep pace with changes in long-term care delivery and financing.

The report also examines the affordability of LTCI for older people, what kind of policies make sense for seniors, and whether there are less costly products that might reach more buyers and still provide some meaningful protection.

_________________________________

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.

 

Resources for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

By | Alzheimer's Resources, Blog | No Comments

Alzheimer’s Association

> Additional Resources
> Best Websites for Family Caregivers

AlzheimersLocator
Customized list of pre-qualified memory care communities in your area. Information & support from a local Senior Care Advisor. Service is 100% FREE!

Senior Living Source
Browse listings complete with pictures, cost information, locations, nursing care reviews, and more. Request free information from communities of your choice at no cost or obligation to you.

ALZwell Caregiver Support
The original resource for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia caregivers since 1996.
“We don’t pretend that caring for a person with dementia is easy. It’s not. But it is doable and can be rewarding on many levels. Our goal is to give you the knowledge and wisdom to make the journey easier.”

 

_________________________________

Contact LifeCall Medical Alert Systems, one of the leading providers of BOSCH in-home health care monitoring solutions for seniors and at-risk persons seeking to retain their independence and remain in their own homes.