Disclosing a dementia or MCI diagnosis

Disclosing a dementia or MCI diagnosis

Once you have come to terms with your diagnosis, it’s a big step to let others know. You can’t control their reactions, but you can help them learn more about your condition and how best to support you.

Choosing a health care agent

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. To honor the importance of advance planning, we present issues to consider when you appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you should you become unable to voice your own wishes (a coma, dementia, under anesthesia during surgery). This person is known as your “health care agent.”

What is a “life plan community” (aka “CCRC”)?

What is a "life plan community" (aka "CCRC")?

If you want to make one last move to where you can receive all the levels of care you might need all in the same place, you may want to consider a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). From independent living with high-end amenities to assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing, it’s all available on a single campus.

Living apart together

Living apart together

If you don’t wish to remarry or live together, there is a growing trend of older adult couples keeping their respective homes while enjoying a romantically exclusive and intimate relationship. They are freed from expectations of domestic chores and eventual caregiving, yet enjoy more emotional support and companionship than if they were simply dating.

Medicare: Wellness and prevention

Medicare provides a yearly opportunity to address prevention and wellness with your doctor. These visits are 100 percent paid for by Medicare. But they are NOT the “annual physical” you were accustomed to in younger years. It’s wise to understand the difference.

Making friends in later life

Making friends in later life

Good friends are good for the soul—and for your physical health! Loneliness and social isolation create health risks equivalent to smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. But the older we get, the more we need to intentionally cultivate new friends.

What is IRMAA?

Have you been told you owe Social Security extra money (IRMAA) for your Medicare coverage? Learn more about this significant but little-known fee and what you can do to reduce it.

Crime proofing your home

Seniors experience property crime thirteen times more often than violent crime. Burglary is the most common. (Interestingly, it typically occurs between noon and 4:00 pm!) The average loss is roughly $3,000, although that does not account for the emotional impact: A profound sense of violation and vulnerability.

Sharing your home

The boomer generation meets the Golden Girls. Homesharing is on the rise! And for good reason. It’s an affordable alternative that allows for shared expenses, help around the house, and light companionship.

Saying “no” when your kids ask for money

Saying "no" when your kids ask for money

As a parent, it can be challenging to keep your wallet closed, especially if there’s a history of extended financial support. But there are ways to encourage your child’s solvency while minimizing the risk to your relationship.

“With a little help from our friends”: The Village movement

Are you looking for alternative ways to age in place and get the support services you need—now and in the future? The Village project is a national network of grassroots self-help groups that empower older adults to affordably assist each other as volunteers, reducing isolation and building community in the process.

Medicare coverage while traveling

One of the joys of retirement is the ability to travel. But you may not have Medicare coverage where you go. The rules for traveling outside the United States, and even outside your local network, are very strict and can be very limiting. Learn about the general coverage options for original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Part D plans. Also gain tips about purchasing travel insurance.

Solo aging: Eyes wide open

Aging comes to us all. What makes solo aging different is the need to be more proactive about arranging for help. Twenty-two percent of older adults acknowledge they will need to take care of themselves. (Even if you are partnered now or have children, you are wise to consider the possibility of solo aging because, well, things can change … death, divorce, estrangement. In that light, we are all potential solo agers.)

How to pay for long-term care

Most people are surprised to learn that Medicare pays for only a limited amount of the daily care you are likely to need in your lifetime (about 14%).

Medicare covers only services delivered by medically trained professionals. That means you need to have savings or insurance and rely on a collection of local programs. Or family and friends who may be able to pitch in with labor or funds.

Choosing a home care provider

Allowing a stranger into your home can leave you feeling quite vulnerable. It’s important that you trust the individual and the company that does the background checks, verifies training, and puts together the schedule.

You also need to interview each company to find out pricing and minimum number of hours, and to see if they have independent quality ratings.

Choosing a long-term care facility

Choosing an assisted living community, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), or a memory care facility is a big decision. You want to get unbiased recommendations for a good match from the start.

Assembling your support team

Your elder care support team will include friends and family, health care providers, and professional advisors. An Aging Life Care Manager can help you select wisely and coordinate these services effectively.

Paying for care at home

How you pay for care at home depends on whether the service is by medically trained staff or by nonmedical caregivers. Also, what you can mix and match in terms of community programs and help from friends and family.

Medicare pays only for care in the home that requires the skills of a nurse, nursing assistant, physical therapist, or other medically trained professionals.

Medical emergencies: Are you prepared?

Accidents by their very nature are unplanned. That doesn’t mean you need to be unprepared for a fall or a serious incident (e.g., a heart attack or stroke).

Those who are prepared and have a professional advocate, such as an Aging Life Care Manager, are more likely to get the care and the outcomes they desire. Plus, they can recuperate in a setting most in line with their personal needs and preferences.

What is an Aging Life Care™ Manager?

Imagine your life as a movie. If you are the director, an Aging Life Care™ Manager is your production manager.

He or she is a deeply knowledgeable guide (usually a nurse, social worker, or allied professional) who finds you high-quality help, arranges care “locations,” and advises you about needed services.

Aging Life Care Managers are part of a national organization with training requirements, codes of ethics, and a nationwide network of experienced colleagues in case you need to move to a different part of the country.

Types of long-term care

In your elderhood, it may be that your best, most affordable option is a group care setting. Learn the difference between assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing (rehab), a nursing home, and a continuing care community (aka life plan community).

Home care

Support is available for those who wish to stay at home. However, one-on-one care is expensive. And it’s not always easy to find caregivers. Community services can sometimes be patched together.

To stay at home, it helps to have a knowledgeable person check in periodically who knows eligibility requirements and can supervise and coordinate all the players.