Sunday, October 17, 2021

How To Handle Two Care Arrangements For Aging Parents

A guest post from Annabelle Harris

 

If your parents are still living but one is showing signs of aging faster than the other, you may be concerned that they’ll no longer be able to safely reside by each other's side. Unfortunately, this happens in cases where one parent is younger or healthier than their spouse. However, there are a few ways to make the transition into separate living arrangements easier for everyone. Here, we cover a few topics that can help you as you help your aging parents make a life-changing decision.


 

Budget Considerations

 

One of the first things that you must consider is their budget. Can your aging parents afford for one to live in their current home and another to move to assisted or nursing care? If the answer is no, there are options. The first is to help them take out a reverse mortgage; the second is to sell their home so that they can move into a senior community with multiple care levels available.

 

Taking out a reverse mortgage is a process where the bank essentially buys equity while your parents are still alive and still live in the home. If one must move to more hands-on care arrangements, the other can stay at home without a mortgage. They receive a monthly payment, which can be used to cover nursing care for the other spouse. According to the FTC, the spouse remaining in the home must continue to pay taxes, maintain the home, and keep an active homeowners insurance policy.

 

Selling the home outright may be an option for those that can move into a CCRC (continuing care retirement community). This is a senior-oriented living arrangement that can change over time without having to move to a new location. A CCRC may start out as independent living and allow the residents to seamlessly move into assisted and then memory care without additional fees. Both parents may live together while one receives more hands-on assistance than the other. This is an expensive arrangement, and you will need to understand your loved one’s assets, including how much home equity they have. To calculate this correctly, check the current market value of the property against the mortgage balance.

 

Practical And Emotional Concerns

 

Chances are, if one of your parents is transitioning into nursing care, the other has been the primary caregiver for many years. Taking this labor of love off of them can be emotional, and your loved one may feel no longer needed. Although they likely felt anxious and exhausted through the process, losing these responsibilities can make them feel as though their “better half” has moved on. Remind the healthier parent that they are still needed, and that the reasons behind them no longer providing hands-on care are so that they can care for themselves. If one parent has moved into Alzheimer’s or dementia care, you can involve your other parent in deciding on treatment choices such as memory training, psychotherapy, and medication.

 

Practical issues to consider are when, how, and where your parents will get to interact. It might be best for as many family members as possible to visit as often as possible for the first couple of weeks. The Family Caregiver Alliance explains that outings, such as to lunch or dinner, might not be a wise idea in the early days, particularly if their memory issues are significant. It takes work, but, eventually, both parents will adjust to their new living arrangements. It will also help if you visit the non-institutionalized parent often so that they are not wracked with loneliness.

 

When only one parent needs a helping hand, deciding on how to handle two living arrangements is a challenge. However, there are many hurdles associated with aging, and this is just one. Take solace in knowing that you have options for both parents that may keep them together. And, if they can no longer share a bed, there’s no reason they can’t share a visit to keep their bonds as strong as ever.

 

 

Image via Pexels

Thanks for these great tips Annabelle!


Monday, September 6, 2021

Guidelines for Seniors Seeking Relief from Financial Worry


 

Guest Post from Dan Hall 


Financial stress can be especially burdensome for older adults who see fewer resources on their horizons. The burden of financial worry is compounded when age has brought with it health complications that limit one’s options and create added money worries. It’s important for seniors, as well as their caregivers, to be alert to the dangers of financial decline and be aware of resources to assuage anxiety over money when problems arise. 

About Aging Parents offers the following guidance when navigating these difficult situations. 

What are the most common financial problems seniors deal with? 

Some of the financial worries that plague older adults include the threat of financial scams, the effects of cognitive decline, healthcare costs, and simply the fear of running out of money. In an ideal world, all these worries would be addressed well in advance of one’s retirement years. But not everyone has the opportunity or resources to plan sufficiently, and life can drop surprises on us we haven’t planned for. Seniors who find themselves in the middle of financial troubles can still take control of their situation and find a way out, as well as develop good habits for coping with financial anxiety. 

 Consider working with a financial consultant

If you can find an affordable and reliable financial specialist, this can go a long way toward relieving both the real pressure of financial problems and the mental strain of trying to correct them. A financial consultant can assist you in creating your budget, investing wisely, making good insurance choices, and managing your debt. Read reviews carefully to be sure you are getting a reliable consultant in pricing that works for you. 

 Create a budget

Whether you are working with a consultant or going it alone, having a budget is crucial to good financial planning and ultimately digging yourself out of financial difficulties. Having a budget will allow you to assess where you might be overspending and how much debt you have to deal with, then plan better for future emergencies. Your budget will form the basis of your strategy for reducing or eliminating financial worry. 

Carefully manage service needs

It’s inevitable that your home will require maintenance and upkeep, and you may not be in a position to tackle these tasks yourself. While hiring out services will be necessary, it pays to be careful and diligent about whom you hire. For example, when the time comes to have your gutters cleaned, look for local contractors with the exact skills you need by using search terms like “rain gutter cleaning near me” or “residential gutter cleaning.” Sites like Angi make it easy to turn up contractors, and some providers even offer seasonal discounts or specials. 

See which expenses you can cut

Once you have a comprehensive budget, you can see where you might be spending money needlessly. Check to see whether you have any automatic withdrawals to stuff you don’t really use or need, such as streaming services or magazine subscriptions. See which of your expenses can be reduced by switching providers or service plans. Internet, television, and data use may all be available to you more affordably. You may need to cut down on some larger expenses, as well. This might involve choosing a different insurance provider or even relocating to a smaller home or more affordable neighborhood. Another option is refinancing to lower your monthly mortgage payment. This option is best suited for seniors planning to reside in their home for a while. 

Work to eliminate debt

If you are paying off a lot of debt, see where some of this can be eliminated. A financial consultant can help you determine whether some of these debts can be paid off in full, or whether debt consolidation is right for you. Be very cautious when it comes to debt management, however, as there are scammers out there who will try to take advantage of you with fraudulent programs. 

Seek financial aid

If you’ve consulted a specialist, made a budget, reduced expenses, and consolidated debt but still find yourself in financial distress, don’t panic — there are programs out there to assist you. These include programs to assist with housing, food, medical expenses, and utilities. Even if you are not technically below the poverty line, if you are struggling to make ends meet, look for information on financial assistance for seniors. 

Seniors ought to be able to enjoy their retirement years without these anxieties, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Luckily, many resources exist to assist seniors so they enjoy the peace of mind and security they deserve.

Image via Pixabay

Thank Dan!

 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Caregiver Education and Tips for Time Management

Sorry I have been missing for a bit. I've been quite busy on a few projects. Hope to share one with you soon. 

COVID Challenges Continue

COVID has presented so many challenges to all of us the past year and a half, especially with family responsibilities. It's not letting up like we hoped. I hope you have all been able to muddle through it and stay safe and well. The Delta variant is quite virulent and presents huge risks to the unvaccinated and to those who are immunocompromised. It's very important to be careful and not take any unnecessary risks. Your aging loved ones are always quite vulnerable; even those who have been fully vaccinated. So please take precautions. 

SELF CARE

Caring for aging parent
I also want to remind you to be sure to do something just for YOU to provide some replenishing self-care. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. Find a great book and a beautiful spot to sit and read for an hour. 

Course for Caregivers

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of my course for caregivers of aging loved ones on Teachable.com. It's $12 and about 2 hours of listening and caregiver education and valuable time- management tips. 

You can multi-task and listen while you accomplish something else. There are Power Point slides, but if you need to, just put on your headphones, or air pods in, and just listen. You can also purchase my book, The Everything Guide to Caring for Aging Parents on Amazon.com. It's available in a limited supply of paperback or download on Kindle.

 

  

 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Work Less, Enjoy More: Retirement With a Side of Work

Often, people think about work and retirement as two opposite sides of a coin. It does not need to be one or the other. Sometimes, people wish to continue earning money in retirement. This can be a helpful way to assist with your growing needs at this stage. About Aging Parents has plenty of great advice and tips to help people better navigate the golden years. 

There are many different types of work that you can pursue in retirement, from consulting to entrepreneurship. The best type of position for you depends on how much time, energy, and resources you want to devote to it. 

Determine Your Interests and Availability  

There are many factors to consider as you think about taking on a job during retirement. One of the first things to consider is how many hours you wish to devote to working. Do you want a full- or part-time job? The type of job you want is another point of consideration, as well as where you want to work — some seniors appreciate the social aspects of working, so a public setting is best, but those who prefer to work independently may wish to take on a work-from-home or freelance position. 

Image link: https://pixabay.com/photos/elders-retired-people-old-elderly-401296/ Image credit: Pixabay.com

 If you have expertise in a certain subject, it may be lucrative to take on a position as a consultant or advisor. You could also set up a home-based business in which you can use these skills to earn money. An example could be a retired teacher offering consultation for curriculum planning. 

Hobbies can also make a great sideline business — maybe your passion for baking can become an income-earner for your retirement years. There are endless ways to earn money during retirement, so be sure to choose something that you enjoy. If you are setting up a business, it may be wise to think about its structure and create a plan that works with your lifestyle. 

Structure and Formation 

The way you arrange your work schedule, the type of work you choose to do, and how you function in this new role are important factors, whether you work for someone else or opt to start your own business. Working during retirement looks quite different than it did when you were working in a full-time career, and it is important to maintain boundaries to prevent you from taking on too much. 

New business owners may find it practical to consider filing as a Limited Liability Company or LLC. With this type of formation, you can keep your personal assets safe, as well as enjoy a great deal of flexibility. There are different regulations for business owners, depending on what state you live in, but you can work with a formation company like Zenbusiness to take care of the process for you. It may be tempting, as a new business owner, to devote excess time and energy to tasks like this but be sure to set limits to prevent burnout. 

Make Your Work Sustainable 

Whether you opt to work for someone else or start your own business, keep in mind that sustainability is crucial. Seniors who are working need to make sure they are taking time for themselves. Participate in self-care daily. Remember, you cannot give water from an empty well — your physical and emotional resources need to be replenished. 

Retirement can be scary, especially when you have financial concerns to think about. Working in your golden years is more than possible and can even be a viable part of your master plan in your senior years. But rather than stretch yourself too thin, consider how to develop a business or work schedule that takes your entire life and needs into account.

This is a guest post from Annabelle Harris.

Annabelle Harris is a 67-year-old writer, wife, mother, and grandmother. She started blogging nearly a decade ago when she was still facing the prospect of retirement and old age. She was terrified and needed an outlet for her thoughts, fears, and uncertainties. It was through her first blog that she found the support of a community that truly helped her through the process of aging.


Thank you Annabelle


 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Navigating the COVID-19 Vaccine Process

The COVID-19 vaccine is now becoming available to others outside the healthcare industry, but it can seem like a dangling carrot with no real access. So how can you navigate the COVID-19 vaccine process? It won't be available from you primary care provider (PCP) because of the strict cold storage requirements. But some large healthcare organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, CVS, and Walgreens are able to safely store and provide it. Sites such as Disneyland or sports stadiums are allowing use of their parking lots for drive-up inoculations.

COVID Vaccine

Find Information Online

The best possible means of getting truthful and transparent information is through your county public health department. Trying to reach them by phone may be almost impossible, so you will likely need to access them online and it may be a slow process because literally millions are trying to access as well. Be patient but persistent!!  You may need a family member or friend to do this for you. Your local Senior Center also may be able to assist you.

A Google search for your specific county health dept. would look like: XXX county public health department. And then search for COVID-19 vaccine information. It might be front and center. Or you may need to start with your state health department website. Go directly to the government websites and please don't fall for any scams!!!!!  DO NOT pay anyone to help you access a vaccine! You can sign up to receive emails with updated information.

FREE Vaccine

The vaccine is free of charge, and you should NOT be asked for insurance information. Vaccines are provided on an APPOINTMENT ONLY basis. Don't just show up!

Some counties or vaccine sites are charging a fee to administer the vaccine and charging your insurance for this fee. This is questionable as to whether it should be allowed. But you might have to provide your insurance info or pay a small fee - be prepared. Hopefully this is not the case in your county. 

Why Delays?

There is a shortage of vaccine in many areas. The health department or other providers will only take appointments that they can fulfill. This is why it may appear that there are no appointments. Keep checking daily. More vaccine arrives each week and appointments will open up. You can also sign up for updates or alerts to notify you of available appointments. Understand that this process is under construction and evolving as quickly as possible to be efficient and get everyone vaccinated. It was not a well though out plan and in many cases dumped on the local health departments just a couple of weeks ago with little to no notice!

President Biden will also enact the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of the vaccine to meet the need for all Americans needing/wanting the vaccine. 

Is it Safe & Effective?

Multiple pharmaceutical companies and independent research agencies have been focused on corona viruses for years. The common cold is caused by a corona virus and for YEARS researchers have been trying to cure the common cold.

nurse with COVID vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is not like your typical vaccine. It does NOT contain COVID-19 virus!!! It will NOT give you COVID!! It's basically an immunity booster. It contains a protein that hates COVID and will kill it off if your body becomes infected. 

You will need two doses to become 95% protected. The second dose is given 21-28 days after the first dose depending on the manufacturer. When you receive your first dose you'll be notified how and when to get your second dose. Register for any website they tell you to follow. Some will make daily check ups for the first week.

Getting Your Vaccine

Once you have your appointment, arrive on time and allow yourself time to get into line. This will vary depending on your own habits. Running late will possibly lose you your appointment so be prepared to arrive early. Your appointment time will likely have a group of people assigned the same time and you'll be ushered to check in and then wait in another line, or possible be seated. Pharmacies and clinics offering the vaccine may have fewer people at each appointment to avoid crowding issues.

Once you receive your vaccine, you'll be directed to a waiting area to sit for at least 15 minutes to ensure you have no adverse reaction. You'll be dismissed once they are sure you're OK. You will receive a card with your vaccine information including the manufacturer (i.e. Pfizer or Moderna), lot number, date, dose, and person administering the vaccine. KEEP this card and take with you for your second vaccine. And the next time you see your PCP, take the card with you so they can enter it into your medical records. Keep this card with your important papers. If the entire process is efficient, it will take about an hour.  Watch your local news and newspapers for information to glean how well the process is running in your area and what glitches to expect.

Be Prepared to WAIT

The important factor is to be prepared to wait! Some sites may not be amenable to wheelchairs and you'll likely have to do a lot of standing.  Take weather in to account when going to your appointment. Dress accordingly. And be sure to wear clothing you can easily expose your upper arm in as there likely will not be privacy to undress.  Drive through locations may be preferred for the elderly.

What to Expect After the Vaccine

The main side effects include pain or itching at the injection site. This varies with the recipient and the administrator. Tylenol and warm compresses can alleviate discomfort. If it worsens or lingers, consult your PCP.

Of course, any major reactions should be reported and immediate emergency medical care sought  such as trouble breathing or sense of your throat closing up.  These are rare, but should not be ignored. 

Some are reporting more symptoms after the 2nd injection such as body aches and fatigue in addition to pain or itching at the injection site. It's suggested that you limit or avoid other activities on the day of and at least 1 day after the vaccine in case you do experience mild reactions. 

Continue to Protect Yourself

Continue to wear a mask, socially distance, wash you hands frequently and avoid any crowds or exposure. It will take 2-3 weeks to completely build your immunity. The vaccine will REDUCE your chances of infection, but not 100% protect you. It's important to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible to reduce the spread of the virus, lower infection rates, and prevent massive numbers of deaths. 

As with any virus, there are and will be mutations, and it will continue to mutate. The vaccine is thought to be effective against the new strains known to be present, but the effectiveness may be reduce. This should not deter you from getting the vaccine. As with any medical treatments or procedures, ALWAYS check with your PCP for recommendations and instructions. 

It is also important to stop the spread of false and misleading information. Please fact check your sources! 

Read more....

CDC answers Frequently Asked Questions