Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Monday, December 11, 2023

Exploring ECDOL: A Comprehensive Senior Resource Webpage and Living Directory

ECDOL stands for Excellent Care, Decency, & Optimal Living. We aim to help seniors and their families find the most reliable and appropriate independent living, assisted living, and home healthcare options. Family and seniors can access an extensive directory to choose their state and find senior living options and by province in Canada. Our directory includes contact information for facilities in your region so you can quickly contact a senior care provider to see if they are the right fit for you or your aging loved one. We also include services provided, amenities, and housing features for each facility. We believe it is crucial to have reliable and accurate resources. Finding the right senior living and caregiving options can be challenging, and we want to help seniors and families make informed decisions.  

ECDOL's Senior Resources 

There is a range of resources available on the ECDOL website. Initially, the directory details some of the senior living and caregiving options available in each state. We describe the different types of senior living and healthcare options in the United States. Our helpful resources for aging adults provide valuable insight into what seniors may struggle with and offer practical tips and information. We want to support seniors and their families with up-to-date information to help them make informed decisions. The navigation is user-friendly; everything can be reached with one mouse click. The resources offer detailed information. 

 Senior Living Directory on ECDOL  

The senior living directory gives a brief introduction for each state. It also lists different independent living and assisted living communities in the state. Each listing provides information on the types of services provided, the amenities available, and the different housing options. When using the directory, it’s a good idea to have an idea of what state would be considered or a city or community within the state. It’s also ideal to know what type of care options are needed and begin contacting facilities. There are numbers listed on the directory, along with services, amenities, and housing features. All of this information helps to make an informed decision. Personalizing search options like this helps families find the right options based on location, amenities, and care needs.  

Highlighted Resource: Seniors Guide to Fentanyl 

 Our Seniors Guide to Fentanyl is a printable three-fold pamphlet that offers an understanding of fentanyl, its threat, and how to have conversations with adult children and grandchildren. The fentanyl epidemic has shown no signs of slowing down, and it has impacted every age demographic. As the population ages, an increasing number of older adults will be affected by problematic opioid use and opioid use disorders. Studies have shown that substance use among older adults is a concern that is often under diagnosed. The prevalence of opioid use disorders among older adults tripled from 2013 to 2018. While the rates of diagnosed opioid use disorders are relatively small among older adults, exposure is not uncommon. The Seniors Guide to Fentanyl aims to provide valuable information, tips, and resources to help seniors and their families. This includes tips for recognizing the signs of fentanyl use, having conversations with grandchildren, and how to speak to adult children about fentanyl.  


Overall, ECDOL wants to empower seniors with information they can use to make informed decisions. We want to help families and their older loved ones with accurate and current information they can use to find the very best senior living and caregiving options. We want to encourage everyone who visits the website to use the directory, explore the resources, and read the information. We strive to keep information current and examine what problems impact seniors. Educational information plays a vital role in supporting the well-being of anyone. We believe it can be particularly valuable for seniors and their families. It’s important for anyone who visits this website to come to a point where they can make informed decisions that benefit themselves and their families. 


Wednesday, October 11, 2023

What Options Do I Have When My Loved One is Suddenly Hospitalized and Cannot Return Home?

I've seen so many social media posts lately asking about what to do with their loved one who is in the hospital and really should not return to their own home. The first step should be to contact the Case Manager (CM) or discharge planner, as we called them in the "Olden Days." If you don't know who that is, ask the nurse taking care of your loved one. S/he can arrange for the CM to contact you. Then you can begin discussing options and short and long term plans for your loved one. 

Is Rehab Care an option? 

Possibilities may include some rehab time in a skilled nursing facility where they will get nursing care along with daily physical and perhaps occupational therapy to follow up from the hospital plan. Speech therapy is another rehab service that your loved one might require in the event of a stroke or other speech or swallowing disruption.  The attending physician must order this, your loved one must meet certain criteria such as having real rehab potential. Be prepared for resistance because your loved one "just wants to go home." Discuss the benefits to them and to you and investigate your options.

Medicare will pay up to 100 days per calendar year for rehab stay after a qualifying 3 day hospitalization. This is typically for patients who have suffered an injury with or without fractures, a stroke, surgical interventions, and/or de-conditioning due to a hospital stay for an illness such as COVID or pneumonia. Eligibility requirements must be met. The rehab only continues if your loved one makes measurable progress towards goals. Another CM will follow your loved one through the rehab process at the facility. This is usually the social worker or other designated person at the facility. Ask who will be assisting with review of your loved one's case. Be sure to meet with them at admission and discuss your goals, concerns and needs so they can be assessed and worked on while your loved one is in the facility and not the day before, or of, discharge!

Home Health Care Option 

Another option is to take your loved one home either to your home or to their own home with a caregiver. The CM should have helped and advised you to find, and hire said caregiver. Or you or a friend or relative may choose to be the caregiver at least for the time being. In addition, your loved one’s primary physician should order home health care visits from a nurse and any necessary therapists to evaluate the living situation, home safety issues, instruct in medications, provide any nursing care such as wound care, and therapists will provide a home exercise program for rehabilitation purposes. 

Home health agencies may also offer services from a home health aide for personal care and hygiene, and a social worker for assistance with short and long term care planning. Understand first and foremost that the home health care professionals do not substitute for caregivers. Home health care is not a caregiving solution. Custodial care is not covered by Medicare or insurances. 

These services are intermittent visits from nurses, therapists, aide, or social workers. Medicare and private insurances cover the service. There may be a copayment as well as limitations as set by the insurance carrier. The primary requirement is for your loved one to require SKILLED care from a licensed healthcare provider (nurse or therapist) and make measurable gains towards goals. If the skilled care need ends or patient meets goals, or stops making progress, the home health care will be discontinued. It’s not designed to be a long term process or solution. The main goal of home health care is to teach the patient and caregiver how to provide the care necessary and discharge. 

The nurses, therapists and aides will make visits that typically last 30-60 minutes and are usually spaced 1-3 times a week, depending on the skill and needs. As a home health nurse, many times I found patients expecting me to be a companion or a personal caregiver when I arrived. I was greeted with expectations and assignments such as washing dishes, washing out underwear, or vacuuming. Indeed, these were needs, but they don’t require the education and skill of an RN to perform. While I usually tried my best to help that one time, not every nurse will do this, and it is not to be expected! 

Role of the Home Health Nurse

The role of the home health nurse is to be the eyes and ears for the physician, to assess the home situation for safety and whether it meets the level of care the patient requires. The RN will assess vital signs including any pain or other signs or symptoms, discuss nutrition, assess hygiene needs, and medication compliance and understanding. If the patient requires and specific treatments such as wound care, the nurse will perform and instruct the patient and/or any willing and able caregiver in how to perform and what to report to the MD. The nurse will report to the physician and discuss any additional care needed such as Physical. Occupational or Speech/Language therapy and a home health aide or social worker. The nurse and the patient and family will work together to establish a plan of care and work together to achieve goals to make the patient as independent as possible with the best possible quality of life. 


You will find many posts on this blog about finding and hiring care givers and where to find assistance to pay for it. Search in the box at the top on the Left sidebar. Check with your CM at the hospital, and if ordered, your home health social worker. Local chapters for disease specific organizations such as Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Lung Diseases, Heart Disease, and others can give you direction and resources. Your local senior citizens agency. The Veteran’s association is a great resource if your loved one served in the armed forces during a war such as WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan, but use the official organization. Many home health agencies may often have a private duty care division to meet your caregiving needs. This would be private pay as well.



Friday, April 21, 2023

Make Sure EOL Wishes Are Known!

I am currently a party to a situation where a relative has died and left no instructions, will or trust. It's sad because no one knows if the person wants to be cremated or buried. We don't know if there's a paid plot or cremation service, and even moving his remains from the county morgue has been an ordeal. 

This person was found dead in a wellness check that a neighbor called for and the coroner was called. So fortunately, there was  no need for medical advice or attempts at resuscitation. But had s/he been found alive, apparently not having a Power of Attorney for Healthcare would have been an issues had s/he not been able to voice choices at the time. 

Missed Opportunities- Don't Delay Decisions

In this situation, the person had begun vague discussions about EOL wishes, but was only seeking preliminary information. No discussion happened regarding a health care power of attorney, burial wishes or any plans already in place, and certainly not wishes for division of the estate. S/he became totally overwhelmed with the little information provided and wasn't able to complete even the simplest of tasks. So now, we're caught starting from scratch. Of course there is some money involved and that will bring out the worst in some of the relatives no doubt. 

This matter has been, and will continue to be very sticky. It will be a long, drawn out process. Just hoping for no objections and in-fighting about what actually happens now. It has already taken significant time and that will impact some of the first decisions. These situations are not rare and my hope is that you will each resolve these items before it become a sticky mess for you.

In my experience as a home health and hospice nurse for years, I have had to initiate the uncomfortable discussions all too often when time was of the essence. Death and dying is not a comfortable subject for everyday conversation, but the truth is we will all die at some point. Most of us may have strong feelings about burial vs cremation and whether or not to have a simple service, or a huge event. Some decisions are influenced by cultural beliefs and customs. No matter what the decisions, they will incur expenses that aren't always planned for or paid in advance. 

In this case, we have no idea if there were any plans and if any were prepaid. It will be a real shame if there were prepaid plans and we are unable to discover them. End-of-Life (EOL) Estate planning does not have to be complicated. 

Start with Simple EOL Decisions

If only the bare minimum of decisions are made and made known to multiple family members, it can be a great start and very helpful for navigating the more complex EOL issues. There are numerous EOL related legal forms and software on to help you understand and expedite the process. They also have books to guide the process, and a network of attorneys if you so choose. 

Probate attorneys can be your best friend, but be aware that they are expensive. Finding a probate attorney can be a long process as well. Probates can take 18 months to 2 years on average to complete and that's a big commitment for the legal team as well as the administrator or executor. 

I encourage you to begin the conversation in casual, comfortable situation. Ask simple questions about whether your loved one has even thought about what they would like done. 

  • Do they want to be cremated or buried? Or have other ideas? Have they made any arrangements? Do the research. There are many affordable options that get overlooked when decisions have to be made on the spot. Or perhaps your loved one wants something lavish. Is there money set aside, or an insurance policy to cover these costs? 
  • Have they considered how to disperse assets and any property or other  items? Having a living trust can make this all much easier than going to probate.
  • Have they considered appointing a Power of Attorney for Health Care? 
  • Have they thought about their EOL health care decisions? 

Other Things to Make this Easier

Other issues to get in order will include things like making a list of their bank account numbers and information, any investments, a list of property, and any wishes regarding who should inherit what. They don't have to share this, but put the information in a spot where it can be found when needed. 

There are procedures that can make things easier should they become incapacitated or pass away such as adding your name to their accounts so that a smooth transition can be made. For instance, adding your name to your loved one's utility accounts can make it easier to make changes such as shutting service off or transferring it to your name, Also have them make sure beneficiary information is up to date on policies such as insurance policies, retirement accounts like 401k's and any stocks or bonds and other assets.Consult an attorney for any questions you have to ensure it all gets done the way you want it.

While you're helping your loved ones make these decisions and completing forms, check out the forms and processes you need for your estate as well. 



Friday, February 17, 2023

5 Plus Tips for Dealing with Your Aging Loved One's Pets

How do you deal with pet care issues when your aging loved one is losing the capacity to care for them? And the eventuality of a permanent new home.This can start with needing assistance with feeding, walking and cleaning up after the pet. It can also affect the finances of your loved one. Do they need assistance paying for food or medications? Does the animal need expensive medical attention? There are volunteers to assist with some of these tasks, and local vets often offer discounts and assistance for seniors. The unconditional love and affection as well as emotional support of pets can be most beneficial to your aging loved ones and maintaining these relationships for as long as possible is important.

Like any other part of their lives, you will need to incorporate the pet care issues into your overall plan for transitioning your loved ones through the late stages of their lives. Doing what's best for everyone is always a priority, but there may be some very difficult decisions to be made.The goal is to make this process as painless as possible.

In most instances pets are considered family and the commitment is real. This is the ideal scenario when adopting a pet and needs to be considered when it comes time to making new arrangements. Decisions must be well thought out and aimed at the best possible solutions. As you know already, or will discover with this journey, things can change on a dime and the plan must flex. You always need to have Plan B in the back of your mind.

Options to consider:

  1. One of the best solutions would be to be able to absorb the pets into your own life or perhaps the life of another close relative or close family friend. If the pet is familiar with the people and the environments, it can ease their transition and potentially eliminate future problems. This is not always possible for any number of reasons. If this is the solution you have in mind, always keep pace with any changes that can affect the plan. This could include, the adoption of other pets, change in housing situations that might prevent them from incorporating the pets into their household and lifestyle, changes in health status of the potential new caretaker. 
  2. Explore other options to re-home the pets through breed or non-breed rescue organizations and determine their availability, their rules and specifications, and an idea of how quickly they can help make the move possible. Again you'll need to keep pace with any changes in their situations. Never assume that it'll be your option months down the line. 
  3. Contact local veterinarians for resources and ideas on where and how to find help with caring for a pet and when the time comes, help to best re-home you loved one's pets.  Keep in mind that it's always a good idea to ask a re-homing fee to ensure the pets are wanted and being committed to and not being lured into nefarious situations. This can be discussed further once you've decided on a new home and feel confident it's a good situation, but don't advertise as "Free to good home."
  4. Post your needs situation on local social media sites such as the Next door app or local Facebook groups to see what interest you can elicit.  Be aware that this won't be the most popular move with some. You'll get criticism, but there may be that one gem who is looking for a new companion and you just touched their heartstrings. 
  5. If your loved one is on home health or hospice services, explore pet care or placement assistance with them. Some agencies run a foundation to assist with pet care and placement. The social workers at these agencies are usually a wealth of information and resources to help you find a solution. 

When exploring assisted living facilities, check whether pets can be housed with your loved ones. Most don't accommodate this, but some do. However, it might only be for cats, or you'll be expected to pay for extra services to feed and care for the pets.  

Make sure the pet's vaccines and licenses are up to date and you disclose any health conditions to the potential adopter, rescue or shelter.

As a least desirable option, a no-kill shelter surrender may be necessary. 

Additional options can include a trust fund set up by your loved one to help pay for feeding and and medical care for the animals. This can be helpful for anyone willing, but hesitant because of the financial commitments. 

Most importantly, planning for this eventuality is a must to help make the heart wrenching transition smooth and successful for all.

For additional reading:

 Photos from Deposit Photos 




Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Getting Older and Need a New House? Consider These Tips and Features

Source - Unsplash


If you are older and you are looking for a home, or you are younger and you want to find the perfect house to grow old in, then there are certain aspects that you will want to consider. Making the right choices ahead of time is essential, so you don’t have to fret later on. Here at About Aging Parents, we love to help our loved ones live their best lives, so we have some tips and considerations to make when looking for a new home for your older years.


Put Serious Thought Into Your Budget and Mortgage Payment


As you get older, you may find that you have less money than you did in your younger years, so you will need to take a close look at your budget to ensure that you will be able to afford a potential home as money gets tighter.


One way that you can stay educated is by going online and using an affordability calculator to enter in the potential cost of the home, your down payment, and the current interest rate so you can see what your mortgage payment will look like. Use that information to determine what you can afford now as well as your other expenses going forward.


Get a Home Inspection and Consider a Home Warranty


As the years go by, it will naturally become harder to make the home repairs that you used to make as a youngster. Since you never know what issues you could have, it is a good idea to consider a home warranty. A warranty can help you to pay for appliances and home systems that either break or require maintenance.


Before you apply for any home warranty, find out if it's worth it by having a home inspection completed, where you can learn about all of the weak points in your home. If there are a lot of red flags, then you should seriously consider going for the home warranty. An inspection that shows major issues like foundation problems or extreme termite damage should get your attention, and you may want to second-guess buying the house in the first place.


A One-Story House May Be Best


Although many of us like to think that the bigger the house is, the better, you need to think about the future. If you are getting older, then you may want to buy a one-story house. With less square footage, a one-story home is likely to be less expensive than a larger property.


On top of that, you will need to think about how easy it will be for you to walk and get around when you get older. A one-story home will have the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom all on the same floor, so you won’t have to worry about navigating stairs if you depend on a cane or walker later in life. You would have the option of installing a stair lift, but that can be an expensive endeavor, and you may not have adequate funds down the road.


Make Sure You Can Install Accessibility Options


While we all hope to be in perfect health for the rest of our lives, that is not always possible. If you believe you will have issues with mobility, then you will want to ensure that you can install items in your home to help you out. For instance, you may need to have a ramp added to the front of your house at some point. You may also require the need of safety bars and slip-resistant flooring in order to navigate the kitchen and bathrooms. While some of these options are easy to install, you will want to ensure that your potential home has the necessary space available.


As you can see, there are many features that you should look for in a potential home. The main takeaways are to heavily consider a home warranty, use a mortgage calculator to determine your costs, and think about the benefits of a one-story house. With all that said, we wish you luck. If you would like to learn more about our services at About Aging Parents then please check out our website.


This is a guest post from Theresa McArthur.

"Theresa McArthur knows firsthand that the life changes we encounter as we age can be difficult to navigate. From taking care of your health and choosing from numerous insurance options to deciding where you’ll spend your golden years and detailing your end-of-life wishes, the decisions that come along with aging can be overwhelming. She created Guides for Seniors so there would be plenty of information available to guide seniors through these processes and bring them peace of mind."

 Thanks Theresa for a great article!