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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.
Blog Added: September 29, 2015 04:36:54 AM
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10 Senior Benefits to Remember for Financial Planning

Whether it is done independently or with the help of trusted advisors, seniors must organize their finances in the case of a crisis, but more importantly, before a crisis happens. The dreaded “health crisis” – a situation where a senior suddenly suffers injury or illness that requires treatment in a hospital – is usually what spurs families to organize the senior’s finances, health coverage, further treatment and living arrangements. The drawn-out task of...

Whether it is done independently or with the help of trusted advisors, seniors must organize their finances in the case of a crisis, but more importantly, before a crisis happens.

The dreaded “health crisis” – a situation where a senior suddenly suffers injury or illness that requires treatment in a hospital – is usually what spurs families to organize the senior’s finances, health coverage, further treatment and living arrangements. The drawn-out task of reorganizing a senior’s life after a health crisis is painstaking and sensitive to error; which can happen easily if done in a hurry. With financial planning done ahead of time, families can react with poise not only to health crises, but to accidents, housing issues, unexpected expenses and financial scams as well.

Senior citizens are at higher risk of health problems than younger, healthier adults. Long-term care necessitated by senior health problems can amount to the largest financial burden seniors and their families will ever encounter. In California, for example, a private room in a nursing home will cost a senior $149,650 annually, according to Genworth.com. Imagine a senior who requires this living arrangement for five years. Their total expense for long-term care would add up to $748,250. That can be up to 10 years’ worth of salary for an average middle-class American.

Health insurance policies may cover the cost of in-patient care and some rehabilitation. But non-medical, long-term care is a different, sometimes larger expense that seniors and families must plan for. Fortunately, when looking for funds to pay for long-term care, you can find relief in senior benefits.

Senior benefits tend to activate once an adult reaches the age of 65. Though some are the same for every senior across the country, certain benefit limitations vary from state to state. Through senior benefits, you can find extra money or financial relief that will enable you to pay for important things like long-term care. Your financial planning, or the planning you are doing for an elderly loved one should factor in these ten benefits. Through this article, you can learn what these benefits are, whether you qualify for them and how to receive them.

1.  Social Security Retirement Benefits

The Benefit  The most well-known senior benefit you should remember for financial planning is Social Security. Social Security is a vital source of income for more than 41 million retired Americans. It is designed to replace all or much of your working wages with monthly checks paid to your name. Healthy saving habits can prevent you from becoming reliant on Social Security alone, but if you require it, you can easily begin collecting.

Do you qualify?  To apply for social security retirement benefits you…

  • are at least 61 years and 9 months old
  • are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record
  • have not already applied for retirement benefits
  • want your benefits to start no more than 4 months in the future

How to apply  You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits online. If you do not wish to use the online application, you can set an appointment at your local Social Security office OR call 1-800-772-1213.

2.  Retirement Plans

The Benefits  You may have a pension plan or 401(k) from the company you were employed with before retirement. These retirement plans provide a steady stream of income once you retire.

Your pension is a contribution made by your company based on covered earnings and years of service. Pension benefits are usually paid in lifetime monthly payments. However, you can make an educated decision to receive your pension in one lump-sum payout. This option is becoming increasingly available through more companies today. Read this guide from Consumerfinance.gov to find out if the lump-sum payout option is right for you.

Your company may have offered you a 401(k). This plan was secured during your employment, when you withheld contributions (which may or may not have been matched by your company) from your paycheck.

Do you qualify?  Vesting, or acquiring the ownership of a retirement benefit, is the key to securing a pension benefit. Under your pension plan, you are either fully vested or not at all. Ask your benefits administrator about what type of vesting applies to you. Once you are vested, you are eligible to receive your pension as long as you are 52 years of age or older. Note that receiving pension benefits before you reach full retirement age (age 65) will affect the size of your monthly payout.

According to the IRS, you can participate in a 401(k) plan if you are at least 21 years old and have had at least 1 year of service at your company. Upon hire, you received a summary plan description (SPD) to understand the details of your 401(k). Know the particular provisions that apply to you, and be familiar with your plan provider. Your retirement age was most likely defined under the plan. This is when you can receive its benefits.

3.  Senior Discounts

The Benefit  Retailers, restaurants, hospitality companies and other vendors allow seniors to pay discounted prices for everyday product and service necessities. Senior discounts are available everywhere in the places you frequently visit. These are types of places that offer seniors discounts:

  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Restaurants
  • Retail & apparel stores
  • Airlines
  • Car rentals
  • Hotels
  • Cruise lines

Do you qualify?  Vendors will specify a time and the age limit when seniors can qualify for discounts. Many grocery stores, for example, require recipients to be at least 55 years old. Senior discounts also may only apply on certain days of the month. Simply being aware of these requirements will allow you to plan and budget according to the senior discounts you can snag. Review this list of senior discounts for savings near you!

4.  Homestead Exemptions

The Benefit  This senior benefit will vary from state to state.  Annual homestead exemption reduces your property tax burden by shielding some of the market value of your home from taxation. The amount of exemption depends on your state. If you live in California, for example, a $7000 exemption can remove $70 from your property tax bill.

Do you qualify?  This exemption is for a property that is occupied as a residence by a person who is 65 years of age or older, the owner of the property and who is liable for paying its real estate taxes. There are also income limits and homestead value requirements that will depend on what state you live in.

How to apply  Fill out a form application for Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption. This should be available from your county auditors. If you are approved to receive homestead exemptions, you will be notified by mail.

5.  Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The Benefit  The federal goverment has a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for the elderly, blind or disabled of any age who have extremely low income and very few resources. This benefit provides a monthly cash allowance for recipients in need. It is calculated by subtracting the beneficiary’s countable income from the federal benefit amount. Some states add a small supplement to the federal benefit.

Do you qualify?  To be eligible for SSI, your countable resources must be less than $2,000 for an individual, and $3,000 for a couple. Countable resources are cash, and money in bank and investment accounts. This does not include equity in your primary residence, personal property, the value of one family vehicle, burial plots, life insurance policies valued over $1,500, or educational grants.

How to apply  To apply for SSI, set an appointment at your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213.

6.  Elderly Veterans Benefits

The Benefits  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide Veterans with benefits and services that address changing health risks and financial challenges. These are some benefits the VA offers:

  • Disability compensatin
  • Pension
  • Education and training
  • Health care
  • Home loans
  • Insurance
  • Vocational rehabilitation and employment
  • Burial
  • Long-term care
  • Financial aid pensions

Since long-term care is a benefit the VA can help you with, and because it may be your largest expense, learn how you will be able to pay for it. Do you have coverage through the VA, Medicare or Medicaid? Do you have long-term care insurance? Your eligibility for long-term care services through the VA is determined based on your need for ongoing treatment as well as the availability of service in your location. Your insurance coverage also applies. If you need help learning how to pay for long-term care service from the VA, contact an Amada Senior Care advisor near you.

Do you qualify?  If you are one of over 12.4 million veterans age 65 or older in America, you qualify for VA benefits. If you served in conflicts like World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War or the Persian Gulf War, your needs are important and the benefits you can receive for them are well-deserved.

How to apply  Apply for VA benefits online through eBenefits, OR work with an accredited representative, OR visit a VA regional office. You can find your regional office here.

7.  The Senior Pass

The Benefit  If you love to travel, you should take advantage of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Senior Pass. The Senior Pass gives you lifetime access to over 2000 federal recreation sites across the nation, including national parks, wildlife refuges and forest lands. With the Senior Pass you and any passengers traveling with you in one vehicle gain admission and discounts to beautiful locations across the country. This will save you money and motivate you to enjoy the outdoors!

Do you qualify?  The Senior Pass is only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents 62 years of age or older. You must provide a drivers license, passport or permanent resident card to give photo verification of this.

How to apply  You can obtain a Senior Pass through the mail by completing this application. Mail it including a photocopy of proof of age and citizenship and residency as well as the processing fee. A mailed Senior Pass application costs a $20, which covers the cost of the pass itself and the application processing.

You can also apply for a Senior Pass in person at the recreation site you visit. This option is $10 and there is no processing fee. Before making a trip to get the pass, make sure you contact the site to ensure they have passes available.

8.  Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Plan (SFMNP)

The Benefit  This program provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers’ markets, roadside stands and community-supported agriculture programs. Its financial aid encourages seniors in need to maintain nutritious diets. Your state agency, such as the State Department of Agriculture or the Agency on Aging administers the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

Do you qualify?  Eligibility for the SFMNP depends on your income. You must be at least 60 years old and have a household income of not more than 185% of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines, which can be found here.

How to apply  Contact the state agency who administers the SFMNP in your area. Here is a list of SFMNP state agency contacts.

9.  Housing and Urban Development Programs

The Benefits  These are 3 housing and urban development programs that can factor into your financial planning:

The Reverse Mortgage Program gives a guaranteed monthly income payment to seniors at or above the age of 62 who own their own home. Recipients must also have substantial equity value in the home. Seniors who receive reverse mortgage do not have to pay it back or make interest payments on it, as long as they continue to reside in their home.

Housing Rehabilitation Grants and Low Interest Loans can be used to pay for health or safety hazards in a senior citizen’s house. You can use these grants or loans to make repairs or modifications in your house so that you have better, safer mobility. They are administered on a state and local level.

A benefit called the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) gives assistance to eligible households for paying a portion of home heating expenses. Eligible senior households receive cash grants to improve their heating systems.

Do you qualify? 

For the Reverse Mortgage Program, you are eligible under these qualifications:

  • You are 62 years of age or older
  • You own your home
  • Your home is your primary residence
  • You have completed a counseling session with a HUD-approved counseling agency
  • Your home is a 4-unit maximum single or family home
  • You are financially able to pay your property taxes, home maintenance and any applicable HOA fees
  • You are not delinquent on any federal debt

For the Housing Rehabilitation Grants and Loans, eligibility depends on the state you are living in. Contact your state’s Department on Aging for this information.

Seniors who qualify for HEAP must need financial assistance for home energy costs. This table displays the maximum income level for applicants:

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $17,820
2 $24,030
3 $30,240
4 $36,450
5 $42,660
6 $48,870
7 $55,095
8 $61,335

 

How to apply

This guide presented by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association will teach you how to apply for Reverse Mortgage. Since Housing Rehabilitation Grants and Loans and HEAP are state-facilitated, contact your state’s Department on Aging to apply for them.

10.  Long-Term Care Insurance

So far, the senior benefits listed above may have already lifted several financial burdens off you or your elderly loved one’s shoulders. Wherever a senior can save money or keep assets is an opportunity to gain financial security and control. Long-term care might seem as the most burdensome financial monster gnawing at your checkbook, but there is a relief for that in long-term care insurance.

How should your elderly loved one pay for the monumental cost of long-term care? He or she might have a long-term care insurance policy. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) is a valuable tool to protect assets and finance long-term care. this is an investment to consider before it is needed. Without LTCI, long-term care’s costly expenses are paid using either Medicaid (if you qualify for it) or out-of-pocket savings (if you can afford it). Even with these other options, a senior without LTCI may deplete their personal savings or depend on family to pay for or provide care.

The benefit of long-term care insurance will surely play out for you after you have exhausted all other saving and funding options in your financial planning. Long-term care is of highest priority in planning the finances of a senior citizen. These senior benefits will help, but navigating long-term care insurance will help even more.

 

“10 Senior Benefits to Remember for Financial Planning,” by Michelle Mendoza, Amada Blog contributor.

 

 



How to Care for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

Caring for an aging loved one is challenging. When that loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the task can seem nearly impossible to even the best of caregivers. It’s difficult to know the person you are very close to may lose the ability to remember your name or worse recognize you. While every case is different, here are some general guidelines intended to help you provide the best possible care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. What is...

Caring for an aging loved one is challenging. When that loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the task can seem nearly impossible to even the best of caregivers. It’s difficult to know the person you are very close to may lose the ability to remember your name or worse recognize you. While every case is different, here are some general guidelines intended to help you provide the best possible care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a general term for cognitive decline and memory loss. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior. While the progressive cognitive decline is devastating, the most upsetting part of Alzheimer’s is it is currently irreversible.

  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s live an average of 8 years after symptoms have become noticeable.
  • Changes in the brain related to Alzheimer’s begin years before there are any signs of the disease.
  • Those with Alzheimer’s still experience joy and happiness, despite their increased confused state.

Those with Alzheimer’s disease still experience joy and happiness
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Caring Through the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

The intellectual impairment progresses gradually from occasional forgetfulness to complete disability. At first, the person may seem a little forgetful. Then, they may have more difficulty learning new skills or even speaking. As the disease advances, the job becomes more and more demanding.

With that being said, it’s important to remember even though Alzheimer’s disease can’t be stopped, there is a lot you can do to improve the overall quality of life of both you and the person suffering. By understanding how Alzheimer’s advances, you will be able to adapt and prepare for inevitable.


Although Alzheimer disease can’t be stopped, much can be done to improve the overall quality of…
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Mid-Alzheimer’s disease (early-stage)
The early-stage of Alzheimer’s is referred to as mid-Alzheimer’s disease or early-stage. This stage is the most difficult to recognize. Failing to remember appointments and conversations have just happened in as little as a few hours ago can be a red flag.

If your loved one has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most important things you can do for them is to get informed. The more you know about the disease, the more you will be able to understand what they are going through. When you have a better comprehension of the disease, you will able to manage their care better. You will be able to see why they are acting the way they are and will be more likely to cope with the enhanced level of patience your new role requires of you.

During this early stage, you should focus on maximizing their independence. You can accomplish this by supporting them in their decisions, providing the necessary companionship, and helping them prepare for their future. Taking the initiative to learn and prepare will help you overcome if not avoid many of the potential obstacles this diagnosis comes with.

For example, knowing a common side-effect of Alzheimer’s is aggression can go a long way. If your loved one becomes aggressive for seemingly no reason, you will be able to internalize it better. You will know it’s part of the disease, and you won’t take it personally. Knowing why something is happening can only benefit you and your loved one.

Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease (middle-stage)
The middle-stage is called Moderate Alzheimer’s disease. It is the longest stage and also requires the most flexibility on your end as a caregiver. You will likely notice your loved one has more difficulty with words and they may get frustrated more easily. They may also refuse to do tasks they find unappealing. This includes tasks such as bathing, which often becomes more of an ordeal as the disease progresses.

The care you provide is going to more demanding and require lots a patience. Give your loved one as much structure as possible and be prepared to adjust the parts of the routine that are not working.

Severe Alzheimer’s Disease (late-stage)
The final stage of Alzheimer’s disease is no-doubt the most challenging. During this stage, your loved one may have difficulty doing basic tasks such as eating and swallowing. They will need around the clock care and you will likely need help. You should take extra precautions to ensure your loved one is not in pain because they may have difficulty communicating it with you.

During this stage, you should take extra precautions to ensure your loved one is not in pain because they may have difficulty communicating it with you.

Much of your loved ones life is experienced through senses, meaning touch, sound, taste, sight, and smell. For this reason, you can care for them by directly targeting these senses. For example, you can read to them, play music for them, and make them their favorite foods.

But most importantly, the care you provide should focus on preserving their quality of life and dignity.

Communicating with someone who has Alzheimer Disease

  • Don’t talk about them when they can hear you
  • Talk to them NOT at them
  • Communicate with them calmly
  • Avoid arguing or trying to convince them of something
  • Refrain from communicating when either of you is tired

Remembering to Care for Yourself

Remembering to care for yourself is one of the things caregivers often need to be reminded of. It is easy to get caught up in all the responsibilities you have while caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, but if you are not well taken care of, you will not be able to provide the care your loved one deserves. When this happens it may cause you to feel as though you are falling short – creating more stress than you already have. Stress can cause you to do and behave in ways you normally would have. It even causes you to take out your frustration on the person you are caring for – which will only worsen the problem. Never neglect to take time off and accept help when you need it.

Knowing if Someone Has Alzheimer’s Disease

There are 10 signs of Alzheimer’s disease provided by The Alzheimer’s Association.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning and/or problem-solving
  3. Difficulty completing everyday tasks
  4. Confusing times and/or places
  5. Trouble understanding images and spatial relationships
  6. Problems with words when speaking and writing
  7. Misplacing things
  8. Decreased/ poor judgment
  9. Withdrawl from work and/or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and/or personality

Severe memory loss is never a normal part of aging. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, be sure to seek medical advice.


Severe memory loss is never a normal part of aging.
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Conclusion

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease far from easy. As the disease progresses, you will be required to learn a set of skills that will take time and patience to develop. With a little dedication and the willingness to understand, you will be able to provide your loved one with the care they need and deserve.

“How to Care for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease,” by Ashley LeVine, Amada Blog contributor.

Sources:
Nancy L. Mace, MA – The 36 Hour Day
The Alzheimer’s Association
Joy Loverde – The Complete Eldercare Planner



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 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, and professional. 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...

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, and professional. 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?

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.

Perhaps the most important thing 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, connection, confidence, commitment, communication, and capability. 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. 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 contributors.



Senior Travel Tips

The summer months are a popular time for taking vacations. Whether traveling alone, with family, or as part of a group, being prepared for and accommodating to seniors’ needs will allow them and their loved ones to enjoy a memorable and hassle-free vacation experience. The following are some senior travel tips to keep in mind.   Planning Your Trip  Of course, the first step in any vacation is deciding where your destination is. What are you looking for? A chance to explore a new...

The summer months are a popular time for taking vacations. Whether traveling alone, with family, or as part of a group, being prepared for and accommodating to seniors’ needs will allow them and their loved ones to enjoy a memorable and hassle-free vacation experience. The following are some senior travel tips to keep in mind.

 

Planning Your Trip

 Of course, the first step in any vacation is deciding where your destination is. What are you looking for? A chance to explore a new place? Rest and relaxation? A road trip? A trip for the whole family? You might also think about hobbies you enjoy: are you an avid golfer? A food critic? A beach bum? Do you want to stay stateside or go abroad?

There are many things to consider, especially for elderly travelers who may have some limitations. It’s important to factor in health issues and disabilities when planning a getaway. A destination that requires a lot of walking is probably not best for a senior who has trouble getting around, and long stretches in a car or plane can be hard on stiff joints. A destination that allows for a somewhat normal routine will help reduce stress for those seniors (and their loved ones) with cognitive impairment.

No matter the destination, it will help to plan travel times and activities for times that work best for the senior. It may be best to avoid late evening or night time travel, especially for those with Sundowner’s Syndrome, a condition that is common among those with dementia.  When scheduling activities, be sure to include rest time, meal times, and medication reminders. It will be helpful for seniors to have adequate buffer time when arriving at airports, bus stations, etc., and to get plenty of breaks on road trips and tours.

With all the details to think about, planning a vacation can often seem like more trouble than it’s worth. That’s why many seniors take a simpler route and go on pre-planned tours and cruises. These are a great option because they are completely planned out down to the last detail – usually including all transportation, lodging, excursions, and most meals – with staff who are there to help. There are many tour and cruise lines specifically for seniors, and some that are tailored for those with disabilities and special needs.

When planning your vacation, don’t miss out on the many perks to being a senior citizen. Organizations such as AARP and AAA offer senior discounts in a variety of places when you sign up. Take advantage of the fact that many airlines and hotels offer senior citizen discounts. All you have to do is ask!

 

Packing Your Bags

If possible, seniors should pack light to avoid having to carry large, heavy bags throughout the vacation. This should be more feasible in the summer, when you most likely won’t need to pack large coats or boots. Check the weather of your destination – if it’s warm, be sure to pack light-colored, breathable clothing to stay cool and avoid heat illness. However, don’t forget to pack a light sweater for cool nights or flights.

One crucial thing for traveling seniors to remember is to pack an adequate amount of their prescription medications. Pack these medications and other necessities – travel documents, snacks/drinks, eyeglasses – where they are easily accessible. Seniors can also pack a small notepad to jot down important details, such as room numbers or flight information.

 

Preparing for Emergencies

Some may see travel insurance as an unnecessary expense, but senior travelers are more likely to need it. Medicare is not valid outside of the U.S., and many insurance policies don’t cover internationally. So if traveling internationally, travel insurance could save you from paying out-of-pocket in case of an emergency.

Seniors and their loved ones should prepare a list of contacts to call in case of an emergency, back home and at the destination. It’s also a good idea to research and find the nearest medical facilities at the destination. While packing, remember to include insurance cards, prescriptions, and doctors’ contact information. If your senior loved one has dementia, The Family Caregiver Alliance suggests they wear identification, such as an ID bracelet in case they are separated from the group.

 

 

Written by Taylor French, Amada contributor. 



Five Reasons to Have Long-Term Care Insurance

Aging is inevitable, so it’s important to prepare for it as much as possible. Below are five reasons Amada Senior Care believes having a long-term care insurance policy is a smart investment. The possibility that you’ll need long-term care continues to grow. The fastest growing group in the United States is people over 85. In the next 30 years, an estimated 1 million individuals will reach the age of 100. As life expectancy increases, the need for long-term care does as well. At some point,...

Aging is inevitable, so it’s important to prepare for it as much as possible. Below are five reasons Amada Senior Care believes having a long-term care insurance policy is a smart investment.

  1. The possibility that you’ll need long-term care continues to grow. The fastest growing group in the United States is people over 85. In the next 30 years, an estimated 1 million individuals will reach the age of 100. As life expectancy increases, the need for long-term care does as well. At some point, it’s likely that even the healthiest of seniors will need assistance with activities of daily living.
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  3. You have more choices for how and where you’ll grow old. It’s ideal for many seniors to “age in place” at home. Long-term care insurance covers costs where Medicare doesn’t, like if a senior needs assistance with non-medical care like bathing, getting dressed, or cooking meals. Being financially prepared allows seniors to choose where and how they want to age. “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. Consider long term care insurance as nursing home avoidance protection,” said Jessie Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
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  5. You are prepared for the uncertainty of the future. You may not activate your policy for another 20 years, or you may have a medical emergency and need to activate it tomorrow. Whatever the situation, knowing you are financially prepared for long-term care can make the transition easier. Some may view long-term care insurance as an expense rather than an investment. However, the costs of long-term care (in-home care ranges anywhere from $14 to $28 per hour) are expected to keep increasing and can quickly exhaust even the soundest savings. Noretta 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.”
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  7. Your family will thank you. Families want their senior loved ones to receive quality care, even if that means taking on the caregiving responsibilities themselves. Especially for those in the “sandwich generation”middle-aged adults who support an aging parent as well as their own children – the physical, emotional, and financial burden of caregiving can quickly cause stress and burnout. Knowing mom or dad is financially prepared for aging with a long-term care insurance policy will relieve the worries of your family members.
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  9. You will have peace of mind. Long-term care insurance will provide financial security that can help seniors age with dignity and without becoming a burden to their families. Being able to afford quality care can help seniors enjoy a quality life – one with less worry, in which they can maintain a sense of independence while surrounding themselves with people and things that they love.

 
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.”

Click here to find an Amada Senior Care location near you.

 

 

Written by Taylor French, Amada contributor. 



UV Safety Month: Seniors in the Sun

July is UV Safety Month, which means it’s the perfect time to remind our readers about some of the best ways to stay safe in the sun. This is especially important for seniors, since skin cancers like melanoma are deadlier in older populations. Thankfully, there’s a lot we can do to take precautions against developing skin cancer. Here are three ways to stay safe this July: Don’t Forget The Sunscreen This may seem obvious but it’s something that slips so many people’s...

July is UV Safety Month, which means it’s the perfect time to remind our readers about some of the best ways to stay safe in the sun. This is especially important for seniors, since skin cancers like melanoma are deadlier in older populations. Thankfully, there’s a lot we can do to take precautions against developing skin cancer. Here are three ways to stay safe this July:

Don’t Forget The Sunscreen

This may seem obvious but it’s something that slips so many people’s minds. If you’re going to be in the sun for a time with a senior you love, bringing sunscreen to stay safe from damaging UVA rays is CRUCIAL. Most scientific studies suggest reapplying every two to three hours during the day. If skin is more pale in color, you may need to apply more frequently to avoid a burn.

If you’re not a fan of sunscreen or are looking to cut down on costs, you can use physical barriers like clothing and hats. If you wear a sun hat and a loose fitting long-sleeve shirt, this can drastically cut down on how much sunscreen you need to use – as the only exposed parts of your body will be the lower legs, feet and hands. Many people report that sunscreen breaks them out when applied to the face, so this can be a good solution for those with oily skin.

Get Checked for Skin Cancer Regularly

It’s commonly recommended that you see a dermatologist annually. You want to get all of the moles on your body examined by an expert to ensure they’re not cancerous. This is a quick, painless process and is usually covered by insurance. If the doctor notices anything suspcious, they will get the mole biopsied and sent to a lab for further testing.

You can and should also perform home checks. Give your skin a look-over before or after the shower and try to spot any abnormal growths or moles. Skin cancer misdiagnosis is a major issue, so being as informed as possible can help you avoid unnecessary treatment. One good rule to follow when performing self-examinations is the ABCDE rule: asymmetry, border, color, diameter, evolving. If one or more of your moles carries any of these traits, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist immediately!

Use Skin-Friendly Beauty Products

Many commercial hygiene and beauty products like moisturizers and makeup have toxic ingredients. Years of applying toxic, carcinogenic chemicals can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Women are more at risk for the side effects of these synthetic products since women use more beauty products on average than men.

To reduce your risk, try shopping for non-toxic natural bathroom products or make your own. There are many recipes online for homemade soap and shampoo. If you choose to purchase these items online, look for items approved by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit that researches consumer product toxicity.

By taking these steps, you can help protect your skin and health not only for UV Safety Month but for the future. Positive lifestyle changes can make an impact on well-being no matter what age you start them.

Start feeling better and improving your health today by challenging yourself to adopt all of these changes by the end of July! You’ll thank yourself for it in the future.

Guest blog by Amada Contributor ConsumerSafety.org



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