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Amada Senior Care - Senior Resources

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  • Jeremy Brooker
  • September 29, 2015 06:36:54 AM
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The Amada Senior Care blog discusses all things senior care - including in home care, assisted living, health and wellness, nutrition, long-term care insurance, and veterans programs.

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The Long-Term Care Insurance Investment: What You Need to Know

Fifty years ago, the average life expectancy in the United States was 65. Today, the life expectancy is over […] The post The Long-Term Care Insurance Investment: What You Need to Know appeared first on Amada Senior Care.

Fifty years ago, the average life expectancy in the United States was 65. Today, the life expectancy is over 75 for men and even higher for women, and the fastest growing group in the United States is persons over the age of 85. By the year 2040, it is estimated that there will be more than 1 million people in the United States reaching the age of 100. With longer life expectancy comes the need to plan not only for retirement, but for possible long-term health care.

“Americans are living longer and the consequence is more people needing long term care,” Jessie Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance said.

When many people think about preparing for future healthcare, they automatically think of nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, but those options aren’t always the best or even the most popular choice. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), 1.8 million individuals live in nursing homes. In comparison, the same source shows that 7.6 million individuals receive in-home care for terminal illnesses, long-term health issues, or permanent disabilities.

Long-term care insurance is an important investment, and a frequently misunderstood one. According to AALTCI research, half of all newly opened long-term care insurance policy claims paid for in-home care.

“Contrary to what most people think, the vast majority of long term care insurance pays for care in the home or in assisted living communities, not in skilled nursing homes,” Slome said. “Consider long term care insurance as nursing home avoidance protection.”

Currently, in-home care services cost anywhere from $14 to $28 per hour. However, the cost of long-term care is expected to increase in the next few decades. Thirty years from now, the annual cost will increase approximately 330 percent or around $300,000 per year, for in-home care. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities will increase even more. Even with savings and investments, it can be difficult to prepare for such a high-cost situation, which is why long-term care insurance is a smart investment in the long run.

Some may not see the value of long-term care insurance because they see it as an expense rather than an investment. According to policyholders and industry experts, however, the cost of in-home care can ruin you financially if you are not prepared.

Mrs. Mitchell, an in-home client of Amada, said purchasing a long-term care insurance policy was the best financial decision she ever made.

“I can’t even fathom the immense financial devastation it would have caused if I wouldn’t have had long-term care insurance,” Mitchell said. “I would be lost without it.”

The cost of a policy depends on many factors such as sex, age at application, health at application, the amount of coverage you want, and any discounts for which you qualify. AALTCI says that any buyer can purchase a good coverage plan for $1500 to $2690 per year. A couple in good health, both in their 60s, could get a combined coverage plan for just $1945 per year. Most plans have options to add more coverage over time.

Key Things to Consider When Purchasing LTCI

There are many options when deciding what type of long-term care insurance policy to purchase. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is most insurance companies will only cover the cost of in-home care when it is clear that the caregiver is helping with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs are non-medical needs, and include basic routines such as bathing, eating and getting dressed. But what other factors play a role in the type of policy you choose? There are four main factors to consider: benefit amount, benefit period, elimination period, and inflation protection.

The benefit amount is how much you want your policy to pay out at the time of claim. To decide this, it is important to know the average daily cost for home care in your area. Generally, a daily benefit amount is anywhere from $50 to $500. However, some plans offer a more flexible monthly option, which sets a maximum amount offered per month. The premium for the plan directly relates to the benefit amount that you choose.

The next thing to consider for your policy is the benefit period. For in-home care, the benefit period is anywhere from 3 to 5 years on average. The benefit period begins at the time that you claim your policy. Most insurance companies also offer a “pool of money” concept, in which you multiply your daily benefit amount by the number of days in your benefit period. For example, if you choose to receive $200 per day for five years (1,825 days) that comes out to $365,500. If you use the total $200 every day, then your period will last just the five years. However, if you only use $100 per day, it would double your benefit period, making it last 10 years. According to completelongtermcare.com, 91 percent of all people will have a claim that last 5 years or less, so most people can get what they need with a five-year benefit plan.

The third thing to consider is the elimination period. This is this waiting period from when a claim is made to when the policy pays out benefits. Most companies offer anything from zero-day (first day) coverage to a 365-day max, with exceptions in some states and special cases. Another option is a split elimination period, in which you have a 90-day period toward facility care and a zero-day period toward home care. This would be beneficial if a policyholder eventually ends up in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. It is important to know if the elimination period is counted by calendar days or by the number of days that a policyholder actually receives care. In the latter case, it may take longer to receive benefits.

The final factor to consider is inflation protection. There are four levels of inflation protection in long-term care insurance policies. The first is no protection, which is self explanatory. In this plan, the buyer should get as much daily protection as possible to make up for inflation costs. This plan is best for older buyers (over 80). The next level is the guarantee purchase option, in which there is either no up-front cost added, or a minimal charge. Every two to three years, the daily benefit can be increased with no additional underwriting. The cost of each new increase is based on the age of the insured, so this option is best for buyers in their 70s.

The next option is simple inflation, which adds 40 to 60 percent to the premium. Every year, it automatically increases the daily benefit by five percent. In about 20 years, the daily benefit will be doubled, making this a good option for buyers in their 60s. The final option is compound inflation. Compound inflation can double your premium, but it also adds five percent to the daily benefit, doubling it in 14.5 years. This is a good option for anyone under 60 years old. All inflation plans can also have additional features, optional riders, and exclusions, so it’s important for each buyer to examine his or her individual case and decide what works best.

Every state now also provides a partnership policy option. This is when private insurance companies partner with state Medicaid programs to cover individuals who have exhausted their long-term care insurance benefits. This is a good option for low-income individuals who want to protect their assets. However, check to be sure that Medicaid in your state will cover the cost of home care.

Given the number of available options and features listed above, it’s easy to see how with a bit of research, a person can find the right long-term care insurance policy for their unique needs and situation. It is important for buyers to understand their policies to ensure that insurance companies fulfill their promises. While the value of long-term care insurance is proven, policies can be difficult to decipher and the options for coverage can be overwhelming. The help of a professional, such as an Amada Senior Care Advisor, can be crucial to getting the most out of your policy.

Amada’s team of professionals can help educate seniors on long-term care insurance policies, and help them manage and analyze existing policies. Amada Senior Care acts as an advocate – negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of seniors and policyholders.

“They are professionals. You just know you’re in good hands with them,” Mitchell said of Amada Senior Care. “With someone like Amada, I don’t really have to worry about the claims process or anything else. I just get to focus on my own health and on getting well.”

Written by Taylor French, Amada blog contributor.

The post The Long-Term Care Insurance Investment: What You Need to Know appeared first on Amada Senior Care.


Losing a Spouse in Your Elder Years

February’s “season of love,” marked by Valentine’s Day last Sunday, is a time of year many of us look […] The post Losing a Spouse in Your Elder Years appeared first on Amada Senior Care.

February’s “season of love,” marked by Valentine’s Day last Sunday, is a time of year many of us look forward to. For aging seniors whose spouse passed away during their elder years; however, this month can bring moments of grief over a “lost valentine.”

Bill felt grief, sorrow, numbness, shock, fear, guilt, anger, and other frightening emotions when his wife of 58 years, Elizabeth, died unexpectedly after a short illness. Months later, he found he still had trouble sleeping and not much of an appetite. He found that he couldn’t keep up with household chores without Elizabeth’s helping hands. The initial heartbreak of losing his life partner became a progressive depression as he realized his life would never be the same without her.

Missing a Spouse Felled by COVID-19

Also grappling with the realization of spending their golden years alone is the large segment of seniors whose spouse died during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 8 in 10 deaths have been among people 65 and older, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the experience of grief, sparking a “psychological shockwave,” writes Samoon Ahmad, MD, for Psychology Today. “Given that spousal bereavement is associated with excess risk of mortality, a well-documented phenomenon known as the ‘widowhood effect,’ the coming months may see notably higher fatality rates among senior populations despite declines in the number of new cases of COVID-19.”

 The Emotional and Physical Effects of Grief

Many seniors who lose a spouse will find it difficult and upsetting to be alone after years of sharing a life with someone. They might have to manage tasks that their spouse took care of before and will probably have trouble making decisions alone. They can become concerned about their safety if living alone and fearful of what’s to come in the future. They can experience depression and anxiety, especially if the mourning period lasts for a long time and becomes unhealthy.

No matter the circumstances of death, grieving the loss of a spouse can take a toll on a senior’s health. The American Psychological Association reported that the first year of widowhood lead to increased reports of physical and mental problems in women, like depression and poor social functioning. Another study from the University of Gothenburg found that a widower who is still single a few years after his wife’s death has an increased chance of developing mental health disorders, and are more likely to use sleeping pills and antidepressants.

Grief can even actually be heartbreaking, according to a study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Heart attack risk within a day of a spouse’s death is 21 times higher than normal, and six times higher within the first week after death. Dr. Murray Mittleman said the stress and anxiety of losing someone close can trigger biological processes that damage the heart.

“All of this can cause a physiologic response with an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and also can cause changes that makes blood a little bit more sticky. This can increase the risk of having a heart attack,” Mittleman said. “For at least a month the risk remains elevated and likely stays up even longer.”

Mittleman warned family members to be aware of the bereaved senior showing symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. “Don’t assume it’s just stress and anxiety; it may be a heart attack and should be taken very seriously,” he said. “When an individual is grief-stricken, they often ignore their own needs and may not be as compliant with medication, may not take care of themselves as well.”

Leaning on Friends for Support

 

Isolation during the grieving period can lead to further depression and a longer recovery time. While it’s never good for the widow or widower to be alone, a recent study said it is better to be supported by friends than family members.

A team of researchers from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., studied a group of elderly women to investigate the connections between better physical health and the presence of a close confidant. They found that those with who received emotional support from relatives had poorer health than those who received support from friends. Study author Jamila Bookwala said this may be because friendships are discretionary, while family relationships are obligatory, and therefore less beneficial during times of stress.

“Family relationships are more likely to be characterized by ambivalence than are friendships,” Bookwala said. “Such ambivalence—feeling both close and bothered by the person—may occur even within confidant relationships with family members. This ambivalence may reduce the likelihood of health benefits from confiding in a family member.”

However, a close friendship is less likely to be emotionally complex and ambivalent, she said. “As a result, having a friend to confide in may be more conducive to protecting health in the face of stress, such as becoming widowed,” she said. “And this may explain why having a family member to confide in resulted in no protective health benefits for those whose spouse died, but having a friend to confide in did.”

Coping with Grief

It is important to remember that working through the grieving process is a natural and necessary part of experiencing loss. Seniors should first focus on taking care of themselves during their mourning period – eating right, exercising, taking medications, getting enough sleep – and should strive to stay in touch with caring and supportive friends.

It may help to join a grief support group or to seek professional help from a doctor, therapist, or counselor. Call your local hospice to ask what kind of bereavement services are available. A newer support program is GriefShare, offered by churches across the country. Reach out to an Amada Senior Care advisor who can direct you to resources for yourself or a loved one, including in-home care support or companion care. Call 866-752-1961 or click here to find a list of Amada offices.

 

“Losing a Spouse in Your Elder Years,” Written by Taylor French and updated by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributors Photo by pixpoetry on Unsplash.

 

The post Losing a Spouse in Your Elder Years appeared first on Amada Senior Care.


Senior Care for Veterans: The Aid and Attendance Benefit

If you think you or someone you know may be eligible for veterans benefits to pay for home care, […] The post Senior Care for Veterans: The Aid and Attendance Benefit appeared first on Amada Senior Care.

If you think you or someone you know may be eligible for veterans benefits to pay for home care, visit this locations list to contact an Amada Senior Care advisor near you.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total number of Americans over the age of 65 was about 54 million as of July 2019. Of that population, more than 12 million consisted of war veterans, their surviving spouses or both. They make up a segment of Americans who may be eligible to receive a VA Pension, such as the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit. Receiving the pension ultimately depends on income, assets and long-term healthcare needs, but due to the rising occurrence of long-term care, statistics show that 60 to 80 percent of this population will qualify for pension benefits at some point.

The Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension is a part of the VA Improved Pension, which has three tiers. There is the Basic Pension, which begins at age 65. The second tier is the Housebound Pension, which is for those who need more simple care, like assistance with activities of daily living. The third tier is the Aid and Attendance Benefit.

To apply for the Aid and Attendance Benefit, one can write to the VA regional office where he or she filed a Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation. Along with a DD-214 form (or military “separation papers”), a person should include evidence provided by medical personnel that they qualify, with specific details about the injury or illness or if they need assistance with activities of daily living. Is the veteran confined to his or her home? How well can he or she get around? These are details that will be needed in order to be considered for the benefit.

There are four basic points that qualify someone to receive the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit:

The first point to consider is the veteran’s military service. A person is required to have at least 90 days of active duty on his or her service record, with at least one day of service within a war-time period. The reason for leaving the service can be anything but a dishonorable discharge. A surviving spouse is also eligible, as long as the marriage was ended by the veteran’s death.

The following is a list that VA recognizes as wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits (from va.gov):

  • World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
  • Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
  • Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)

The second point to consider for qualification is the veteran’s state of health. A doctor needs to certify that the veteran’s health has declined to where he or she needs assistance from another person. To qualify, one specifically must need assistance with activities of daily living like eating, bathing and getting dressed. Other qualifications include blindness, or living in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. Even a healthy veteran can file for a sick spouse if the spouse’s medical needs qualify and medical bills deplete their monthly income.

The third point to consider is if the veteran is spending the majority of his or her monthly income on healthcare expenses. One’s net worth limitations and net income come into play, but there is no set amount to qualify. Each individual is considered on a case-by-case basis. Even if one’s income exceeds the maximum annual pension rate, one could still qualify for the benefit based on annual medical expenses. The Aid and Attendance Benefit provides up to $1,936 per month for a single veteran; $1,244 for a surviving spouse; and $3,072 for two married veterans.

The last point to consider is the veteran’s age. The older the veteran, the less he or she will receive from the benefit in most cases. Due to lower life expectancy as age increases, the VA will most likely decline older veterans if they have a higher amount of income and assets.

Rick Hagins, the owner of Amada Senior Care San Fernando Valley, says Amada works to help individuals understand financial resource management, in which VA benefits are just one category of many.

“Managing the Aid and Attendance benefit can be a difficult process because there are many things to consider such as military service, age, health, income and assets” said Hagins. “There’s also a lot of information out there concerning the Aid and Attendance Benefit that is simply untrue.”

With so much competitive information circulating and so many hurdles to jump through, Rick stressed the importance of good research and reliable information. “It’s generally good to speak to someone who’s familiar with the intricacies and details of these types of programs,” Rick said. “At Amada, we can help people find the right resources and connect them with others who are equipped to handle these situations.”

If you think you or someone you know may be eligible for veterans benefits to pay for home care, visit this locations list to contact an Amada Senior Care advisor near you.

Written by Amada blog contributor Taylor French.

The post Senior Care for Veterans: The Aid and Attendance Benefit appeared first on Amada Senior Care.


Heartfelt Habits for Healthy Aging

In recognition of American Heart Month, Amada Senior Care would like to offer a few tips for keeping your […] The post Heartfelt Habits for Healthy Aging appeared first on Amada Senior Care.

In recognition of American Heart Month, Amada Senior Care would like to offer a few tips for keeping your heart healthy so that you can reap the benefits healthy aging. “The more you do in middle age to prepare yourself for successful aging, the better,” said Sharon Brangman, a geriatrician at SUNY Upstate Medical University and former president of the American Geriatrics Society. “Whether it be physically, mentally, or socially, seniors have the power to take responsibility for their health and change it for the better.”

Ditch Unhealthy Habits

It’s never too late to kick a bad habit to the curb ­– especially if it’s a dangerous one like smoking. Studies show that even in seniors who have been smoking for decades, health improvements begin within hours of quitting. Replacing cigarettes with a healthy snack or a new activity will help you avoid temptation and quit for good.

Follow a Nutritious Diet

A healthy diet is one of the best tools for preventing or managing the symptoms of chronic diseases like stroke, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s/dementia. Since metabolism slows with each year after age 40, monitoring the types and amount of food you eat is key to maintaining weight and avoiding obesity, especially for those seniors who aren’t able to exercise as much. A diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains and fiber is a basic template for any senior. Certain nutrient-rich foods – including salmon, blueberries, avocados, green tea, and more – have been shown to boost brain function.

Exercise Regularly

You may think that as you get older, it is better to take it easy rather than continue an exercise routine. However, regular exercise will help prevent chronic conditions – such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure – that are common in seniors. According to the CDC, older adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. To get the most of your exercise routine, be sure to include a combination of not only strength and endurance exercises, but also flexibility and balance exercises, which help protect seniors from dangerous falls.

Get Enough Sleep

Seniors may notice their sleeping patterns changing as they age. Some changes include sleeping for less time, taking longer to get to sleep, waking up more often during the night, waking up earlier, feeling sleepier earlier, and increased napping during the day. Limiting naps during the day and avoiding stimulants like caffeine can help seniors stay on schedule and get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night, which is essential to physical and mental health.

Stimulate Your Brain

Significant memory loss isn’t a normal part of aging; in fact, the brain can generate new cells at any age. Mental exercise and stimulation such as memory exercises, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, or learning new skills will help seniors remain mentally young. Finding time to relax and eliminate stress will also improve mental health. Stress will “disturb cognitive processes such as learning and memory, and consequently limit the quality of human life,” Jeansok Kim of the University of Washington said.

Keep Up with Preventive Care

Why wait until you’re sick to see your doctor? Preventive care (regular exams, check-ups, vaccines, and screenings) not only protects a senior’s health, but also saves them worry, money, and time in the future. Since the elderly are more susceptible to illness and certain medical conditions, seniors should be sure to stay up-to-date on things like seasonal flu vaccines, Shingles vaccines, heart and lung screenings, and cancer screenings.

Stay Socially Engaged

Social engagement is as crucial to a senior’s health as diet or exercise. Isolation leads to a greater risk of depression, lethargy, heart problems, and death. The Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center reported that seniors who are highly social lowered their rate of cognitive decline by 70 percent. There are endless ways to engage socially, but it’s important to be proactive. Sign up for a class at a senior center, join your local walking group, find a part-time job, volunteer, and connect with friends on Facebook to build relationships and ward of isolation.

Be Financially and Legally Prepared

Are you prepared for the likelihood of needing long-term care? A long-term care insurance policy is one of the best tools for avoiding financial crisis due to costs of care. It’s also smart to have an Advance Directive for healthcare, which is your written wishes for accepting or refusing life-saving treatments in the event of an emergency (it also allows you to name an agent to speak on your behalf). Being prepared for the unknown will give you and your family peace of mind.

 
“Heartfelt Habits for Healthy Aging” by Taylor French, Amada blog contributor. 

The post Heartfelt Habits for Healthy Aging appeared first on Amada Senior Care.


The Transition to Care: Helping Your Loved Ones Adjust

Families often have a difficult time navigating through the delicate process of helping an elderly loved one transition to […] The post The Transition to Care: Helping Your Loved Ones Adjust appeared first on Amada Senior Care.

Families often have a difficult time navigating through the delicate process of helping an elderly loved one transition to senior care. It is hard to know exactly when a senior needs help, but it is usually when activities of daily living (ADLs) become too difficult or dangerous for them do alone. This is one of the main signs that a senior has reached the transition point. Some seniors are resistant to the idea of needing help, and many will not admit that they need it. Transitioning can be an emotional process, with seniors often feeling afraid, vulnerable and even angry that they cannot go it alone anymore, and the family members feeling stressed and guilty that they cannot be of more help to their loved one.

The first step is to determine what kind of help is needed for the senior. If a senior needs minimal care, like assistance with activities of daily living, then a caregiver in the home for a few hours a day might be a good fit. If a senior needs more personal care, moving to an assisted-living facility may be the best option. The family member should choose a good time to ask the senior his or her preference when it comes to care options. If a senior is resistant to having a conversation about the care needed, loved ones can enlist the help of other family members and friends.

Family members should always make sure to describe the senior’s care options in a positive way, such as seeing an in-home caregiver as another friend. It may also help to explain that these care options can help the family members and their needs as well. The process will be easier if family members avoid fighting about minor issues and try to understand the senior’s point of view. Many seniors see these care options as a loss of independence, when in reality, they can actually prolong independence. Sometimes a trial run of a certain type of care can help a senior see the benefits.

 

Adjusting to an In-Home Caregiver

If a senior prefers to age in place, an in-home caregiver is a great option. Even if staying in familiar surroundings, the adjustment to a new caregiver can be difficult and can take some time. Because the caregiver will be assisting with some very personal activities—bathing, dressing, and toileting—it’s important that the senior feels extremely comfortable with the caregiver that is chosen. Also, because the caregiver is coming into the senior’s home and personal space, the relationship must be built on trust.

To help a senior adjust to having an in-home caregiver, it’s crucial to choose a good caregiver that will establish a relationship quickly with the senior and make them feel comfortable. Good caregivers are understanding of the adjustment period that most seniors experience during this process. One key factor to the transition is consistency. Once a good caregiver is found, most seniors will want to see only that caregiver. The home-care agency should work with the family to not only find the right caregiver, but to ensure that this caregiver will almost always be available for the senior. To avoid a situation where the senior is not familiar with the caregiver, any backup caregiver should be introduced to the senior ahead of time in case the regular caregiver can’t make it.

Transitioning to an Assisted-Living Facility

Some people view moving into an assisted-living facility as the ultimate loss of independence, but it can actually be a very positive experience for seniors. It provides them with opportunities to remain self-sufficient without having to worry about house maintenance, transportation, and socialization. That said, family members should remember that the senior is leaving a home that he or she may have lived in for decades. It’s important to acknowledge the sense of loss the senior may have and to help them cope with the grief.

As previously mentioned, it’s crucial to find the right community for the senior – one where the other residents and staff step up to make them feel welcome. Family members should find out all the information on the move-in process and what to expect. Adding decorations, hanging photos, and playing music can make the room feel more like home. Seniors should be encouraged to make friends and start participating in activities offered by the community.

It may take months for the senior to fully transition and accept the assisted-living facility as home. In this process, the senior might make comments like “I want to go home,” or be generally angry about the situation. When this happens, it’s important that the family members not dismiss these comments, no matter how petty they seem. In most cases, seniors may just want someone to listen to them and offer support. Family members should discuss with the senior the circumstances that led to the placement and reassure that it is the right decision. One way to help a senior get into a routine is to come up with a visiting schedule for family members. Even phone calls can be scheduled. It’s crucial to keep up communication so that the senior feels connected to loved ones.

The key to helping seniors transition to care is finding the highest quality care available. Amada Senior Care provides quality in-home caregivers, as well as placement advisory services for assisted-living communities. Whatever the situation, Amada professionals find the best option for seniors and their families to make the transition to care an easier and more pleasant experience.

 

Written by Taylor French, Amada blog contributor. Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash.

 

The post The Transition to Care: Helping Your Loved Ones Adjust appeared first on Amada Senior Care.


What to Look for in a Senior Care Agency

If a senior reaches a point where he or she needs care but wants to maintain a level of […] The post What to Look for in a Senior Care Agency appeared first on Amada Senior Care.

If a senior reaches a point where he or she needs care but wants to maintain a level of independence at home, in-home care is a good option to look into. If you’re looking to find home care for your loved one, you’ll want to find an agency that is compassionate, qualified, professional, and has client and caregiver safety protocols in place during this time of pandemic. So, what does that entail exactly? Here are a few things to consider when searching for quality in-home senior care.

Are they Licensed and Qualified?

Is the agency fully licensed by the state? Most states require that home care agencies have a license and be reviewed regularly. You may also want to find out how long the agency has been providing home care, although experience does not always equal quality. Nowadays, you can find star-ratings and reviews online for almost anything, including home care agencies. You could also ask the agency for a list of references, which are usually doctors, discharge planners, and other clients who are familiar with the agency.

Qualified agencies will make a visit to your home before setting you up for care. A registered nurse will perform an assessment to determine the needs of the senior, whether medical or non-medical. Does the provider meet all of the senior’s needs? Some seniors may also have special needs, like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or language/cultural preferences.

Safety should be a top priority when looking for home care. One in ten seniors living at home suffers from some form of elder abuse, and it’s an issue that often goes under the radar. Be sure that the agency you choose performs extensive background checks on their caregivers. You can never be too careful when hiring someone to come into your home. It’s also a good idea to choose an agency that hires employees—rather than a registry or individual—who are covered by workers comp and liability laws.

What is the Quality of Care?

Caregiver Laci and client Sally of Amada Toledo (OH)

Are the agency’s caregivers trained, certified, and offered continuing education? Even non-medical care requires certain levels of experience. It’s important to find someone who is trained to assist seniors with activities of daily living—bathing, dressing, walking up the stairs, preparing meals, etc. Some seniors will also want the same caregiver every day, so be sure to ask the agency if they are able to keep the same caregiver on a case consistently.

Does the agency involve the family in the care plan? A good agency will not only include a senior’s loved ones in the development of the plan, but also keep them in the loop with updates on changes in the care plan and caregiver, how the senior is doing, and emergency situations.

One of the most important things to consider is what type of caregivers the agency hires. Are they compassionate and understanding? Are they reliable and punctual? Will they respect your senior loved one and also treat them as a friend? It will be easier for the senior and family members to transition if they know they are in good hands with their caregiver.

What About Financial Care Coordination and Help with Payment Sources?

Just because a home care agency is licensed and has great caregivers doesn’t make them the right fit. Frequently, one of the most difficult aspects of handling in-home care is dealing with funding sources and payment for services. There are so many things that can go into this—is care being funded by a long-term care insurance policy? Is the person being cared for a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran, and is the Aid and Attendance pension involved? Does the senior prefer to convert a life insurance policy to pay for in-home care? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you’ll want to go with an agency that can help you manage these aspects of your care. Interestingly enough, this is something many home care agencies claim to do, but that very few actually help you with in meaningful ways.

One of the great things about Amada Senior Care is that when it comes to long-term care insurance, we can file your claim for you, handle billing directly with the claims department, and completely remove the burden of paperwork from you or a loved one. We can do the same with a life insurance policy conversion, and when it comes to working with the VA – we’re here to help you understand how to apply for and get the benefits your entitled to.

Let Amada Senior Care Help You

At Amada, we look for caregivers who embody what we call the “6 Cs”—compassion, competence, communicative, commitment, confidently humble, and congenial. Every year, we recognize six caregivers selected from our franchise offices with our national 6 Cs Value Awards. We provide training and education opportunities for our caregivers to build their skillsets continuously. We choose caregivers who not only are qualified, but also dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors and their families. In addition, our online family portal allows families to know exactly what type of care their loved one receives every day.

We also understand that it may not be in the best interest of a senior to remain in their home, which is why we offer advisory services for the many options available for senior living. Amada Senior Care will also help seniors and their families navigate the options available for funding home care, like long-term care insurance policies and veterans’ benefits. Our team of experts will work to find the best care options for your situation. Click here to find an Amada Senior Care location near you.

 

Written by Jeremy Brooker and Taylor French, Amada blog contributors. Photo of caregiver Laci with client Sally courtesy Amada Toledo (OH).

The post What to Look for in a Senior Care Agency appeared first on Amada Senior Care.


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