Can My Parent with Alzheimer’s Remain at Home?

Can My Parent with Alzheimer’s Remain at Home?

Since 1983, November has been recognized as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. In the past 35 years, the number of individuals diagnosed with the disease has increased from less than 2 million to more than 5 million.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are steps you can take to help an individual with the disease. These include things like keeping a daily routine, saying only one thing at a time, providing reassurance and remaining calm at all times. Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient becomes more difficult over time as the disease progresses and many families believe that a nursing home or memory care facility is the only way to keep their loved one safe. This is not always the case, however.

When a parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the immediate reaction is often to immediately move them to a memory care facility or hire a full-time caregiver. While this may be necessary down the road, early stage Alzheimer’s is often mild and can last for years. In other words, you don’t have to make any hasty decisions.

The first thing you need to do is to talk to your parent’s physician to see how far the disease has progressed. If they are still in the early stages, ask yourself a few questions. Is your parent able to make their own meals? Can they remember when to take medications? If they want to stay in their own home, it is likely that they can do so with only a few adjustments.

What follows is a list of some of the things you need to consider if you have a parent who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and would prefer to say in their own home:

  1. Transportation: When the time comes for your parent to stop driving, you will need to come up with a schedule for friends and family members to drive them where they need to go such as the grocery store or doctor appointments.
  2. Meals: As Alzheimer’s progresses, it can be difficult and unsafe for your loved one to cook. Thankfully, there are several options such as meal planning kits and Meals on Wheels. You also could come over to help your parent prepare meals that can be microwaved throughout the week.
  3. Companionship: A home healthcare worker can prevent your parent from feeling isolated. This person also can help with bathing and light housekeeping. A home healthcare worker can assess your parent’s condition and call you if there are any changes in your loved one’s memory, behavior or overall well-being.
  4. Safety. Any elderly person who lives alone, especially one who has Alzheimer’s, must be kept safe. Your parent should have their phone nearby at all times with phone numbers of people who can help them already programmed into the phone. They also should carry a card with the name of a family member and physician to contact in an emergency. Cameras placed throughout the house and wearable devices also are good ideas.

Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s is no easy task and the first reaction is often to move that parent out of their home immediately. If your parent wishes to stay in their home, however, there are ways to make that possible.

Wearable Devices Help Combat Many of the Challenges Seniors and Their Caregivers Face
How (and Why) to Get Your Elderly Parent to Wear a Health Monitoring Device
Your Elderly Parent Has Been Discharged from the Hospital

When an elderly parent is discharged from the hospital you are likely to feel a variety of emotions. While it is certainly a cause for celebration, the discharge process and transition can be stressful. This is especially true if you are unsure of the level of care your loved one will require once they leave the hospital and return home.

When it comes time for a parent to be discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation center, it helps to know what to expect. Before the big day comes, Joan Davelis, RN, of Physician’s Choice Private Duty, recommends adult children ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Does my parent’s home have the necessary equipment to keep them safe?
  2. Will there be a responsible person at home with my parent?
  3. Who will be responsible for making sure that my parent gets the proper nutrition?
  4. What guidelines are in place for the correct distribution of medications?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help reduce the chance of being blindsided when your parent arrives home. It also is essential that you talk with your parent’s primary care physician well in advance of discharge so that a specific health care plan can be put in place.

The more you know what to expect regarding your loved one’s living situation in advance, the better. It is important to write down any questions you have for your parent’s primary care provider so that you don’t forget any. What follows is a list of questions to get you started:

  • What specific therapies will my parent require?
  • Will we need help with bathing or dressing?
  • Will my loved one require someone to be with them 24 hours a day?
  • What problems or symptoms do we need to look for?
  • Who do we call in an emergency?

If your loved one requires medical equipment or an in-home caregiver, you should talk with their health insurance carrier or Medicare to find out what is covered before your parent leaves the hospital.

Most elderly patients returning home after a hospital stay or stint in a rehab center will require time to adjust to their “new normal.” While in a perfect world you could be there with your parent 24 hours a day while they adjust, this is not always possible. The next best option is to arrange for in-home care.

If your loved one was relatively independent before their hospital stay, it may take them some time to get used to having to ask for help. Here are some ways to make that easier:

  • Interview potential caregivers to ensure that they are a good fit for your parent. A quality home health care agency will work with you to make sure your parent is comfortable with their in-home caregiver. Consider having the caregiver visit your loved one in the hospital so they can become acquainted.
  • Ask the home health care agency to evaluate the safety of your parent’s home and recommend any areas that need to be addressed. For example, adding toilet safety rails.
  • Let the caregiver know your loved one’s likes and dislikes. This includes everything from food to television channels.

A successful discharge from the hospital and transition back to home can be stressful on your parent and you. However, having a plan in place and knowing what questions to ask will allow for as smooth a transition as possible. It also will go a long way toward preventing readmissions.

In-Home Care for an Aging Parent Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

More and more older Americans want to stay in their homes as long as possible. Thankfully, doing so may be more affordable than they believe.

While in a perfect world, people would plan and save their whole lives for such situations, the reality is not everyone can or does—for a variety of reasons.

In its article, You Can Afford a Home-Care Worker, the AARP offers tips for those planning ahead so they can afford in-home care in the future, as well as those who are in immediate need of such care. For those who are planning ahead, the article suggests investing in long-term care and life insurance policies with in-home care benefits.

For those who are in more of a “crisis-mode,” the article contains the following advice:

  1. Research services on eldercare.gov and benefits.gov
  2. Check out PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), a Medicare and Medicaid program aimed at keeping frail seniors out of nursing homes
  3. Find out if any individual or group life insurance policies have cash value that can be used toward in-home care
  4. Investigate community resources such as the local Area Agency on Aging office and senior centers

Physicians Choice Private Duty offers quality in-home care for seniors. If you have a loved one who wants to remain in their home as long as possible, give us a call at 402-332-2273 to discuss how we can help make that a reality.

IN-HOME CARE COSTS BREAKDOWN

You Can Afford a Home-Care Worker

You Can Afford a Home-Care Worker

The majority of today’s seniors say they would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. At the same time, many adult children stress over how they will be able afford in-home care for their elderly parent. The truth is, it ends up being more affordable than they think.

You may believe that hiring in-home care for your aging parent is something you simply can’t afford. Think again. Not only is such care more affordable than you might think, there are resources available to families who need help.

How to Pay for In-Home Care

Wayspayihc1.jpg

In-home health care is not a luxury reserved only for the rich. Families from all income levels are able to afford in-home care for an elderly parent. The key is to do your homework.

In-Home Care Costs Breakdown

IN-HOME CARE COSTS BREAKDOWN

Keeping your elderly parent in his or her own home isn’t as expensive as you might imagine. It will, however, depend on things like the type and amount of care required.

When an elderly parent wants to stay at home, it is unlikely that they will be able to do so without some amount of help. Whether they will need assistance with personal care and daily activities or require specialized nursing care, it is the rare senior who can truly go it alone.

Even when family members are nearby to help, hiring in-home health care assistance will likely be necessary. The good news is that home care is usually much less expensive than moving your loved one to an assisted living facility or nursing home.

The need for in-home care is exploding with more and more aging baby boomers looking to age in place. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of home health care aides will expand to approximately 1.3 million by 2020, an increase of 70 percent from 2010.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report that Medicare and Medicaid currently pay for 65 percent of home health care costs. Other payments come from a combination of state and local governments, seniors themselves and private insurance.

Many adult children stress over how they will be able to afford in-home care for their elderly parent. The truth is, it ends up being more affordable than they think. Further, the IRS allows tax deductions for certain medical expenses. What follows are some of the most common ways to cover the costs of in-home health care:

Annuity Income.

When your parent uses savings to buy a conservative annuity designed for retirement, a lump sum is paid to a financial institution and a predictable monthly income is provided for life. A tax or financial advisor can help you decide if this is the best option for your parent.

Grants.

There are several nonprofit groups that help pay for in-home care, especially if the individual suffers from a specific medical condition such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes, for example.

Individual or Group Life Insurance Policies. 

Some policies have cash value that can be used toward qualified in-home care expenses. An accelerated death benefit charges for long-term care up to a certain amount per day or month. Typically, these benefits are capped at 50 percent of the death benefit.

Long-Term Care Insurance.

This type of insurance pays for health and personal care in a variety of settings—including private homes. Financial planners will tell you that it is in your best interest to buy this type of insurance before it is needed. It also is important to choose your policy carefully as different companies have different benefit conditions.

Medicaid and State Programs.

Medicaid benefits vary from state to state so contact your regional Agency on Aging to learn if your parent qualifies.

Medicare.

When in-home care is needed for only a short period of time, Medicare may cover up to 100 percent of the costs for low-income seniors. Seniors who don’t qualify for standard Medicare may qualify for in-home personal care through All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Reverse Mortgage.

This type of mortgage provides cash for in-home care but the homeowner is still responsible for taxes and other bills. Tread carefully with this option as equity in a home can run out while care is still required. A financial, mortgage or tax advisor can help you decide if this is a good option for your parent.

Veterans Benefits.

The Veterans Administration offers a variety of subsidized home care services for veterans and their families. Contact your local Veterans Administration office for information.

The majority of today’s seniors say they would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. In-home care provides them the freedom to do so without breaking the bank.