Financial Steps for Caregivers

Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement provides caregivers with financial planning steps to organize budgets to be able to manage the costs of caregiving.  The institute works to improve the long-term financial security of all women through education and advocacy.

As the majority of senior caregivers are women, we are providing their Financial Steps for Caregivers:

  • Create a Household Budget
  • Considerations when Leaving a Job or Working Part-time
  • Discussing with Your Family the Impact of Being a Family Caregiver
  • Check to See if Saving Enough for a Secure Retirement for Yourself
  • Finding Extra Help for Older Adults
  • Understanding Financial Terms
  • Government and Non-Profit Resources
You may learn more at the Wiser Women's Institute website.  It is always a good idea to begin planning ahead before care services are needed.  You can learn about the costs and ratings of nursing homes in your area and find "by state" services on Caregiverlist.


Clinical Trials Provide Quality Care for Seniors

Drug Clinical Trials for Alzheimer's Disease provide seniors with this challenging disease to be part of a research team investigating the performance of new drugs.  By participating in a clinical trial, seniors receive ongoing monitoring of their health and are able to interact with a leading team of doctors.

Remember, every drug currently on the market was once being studied in a clinical trial.  Participation in clinical trials is free and sometimes a stipend for expenses and participation is paid to the senior and their caregivers.

Find clinical trials near you through the National Institute of Health's website.

Health Insurance Companies Concerned About Commissions

Healthcare reform is very much needed, those on both sides of the fence agree.  Because our current system does not provide health insurance premiums equally to those who are individually insured separate from those who are in group insurance plans and places the burden on employers, many Americans, including senior caregivers, do not have health insurance.

The Consumer Watchdog group, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, reports that insurance agents are paid as much as 20% of a customer's health insurance premium and that compensation should be cut.  The group promotes the communication of the details of issues and their impact on consumers and is highlighting this fact at the same time insurance companies and agents are asking to be exempt from the healthcare reform clause that requires insurers to use at least 80% of their premiums on improving quality and healthcare.

Yep, your current health insurance premium doesn't all go towards healthcare.  If the insurance companies were to play more fairly by using the premiums to format programs for preventive health care and better care, so the debate goes, everyone would benefit,  as the money would be going back into the service.

Many seniors have never had health insurance until reaching retirement age and qualifying for Medicare or Medicaid.  As healthcare reform continues, perhaps more preventive health care measures will be included to allow for health aging.

Long-term Care Insurance: Understanding the Value

Senior caregivers know the reality of the costs of senior care.  Unfortunately, many families do not consider the costs of senior care nor the care plan preferred for a parent until there is an emergency medical situation.  Harold Lustig's book, Naked in the Nursing Home, serves as an educational guide in understanding senior care costs and options.  Harold shares with us below the value of long-term care insurance in planning for retirement care and you can find the daily costs of nursing homes nationwide on Caregiverlist.

Too few people appreciate the value of long-term care insurance as the solution to the destructive emotional and economic consequences of longevity--until they use it. As you age you lose your mental and/or physical abilities, unless you die first. Where will the money come from to pay for long term care that costs on average $90,000 per year?

Baby Boomers and their families are realizing the difficulties associated with long term care—and the financial crises that can occur if there isn’t a financial plan in place to cover its’ costs. The constant changes being made to health care, insurance, Medicare and Medicaid only further complicate the situation. The scary part is that today’s care giving needs pale in comparison with those of tomorrow. Our aging population has fewer assets due to the economic downturn, lower savings and confusing access to public benefits that are constantly shrinking.  The population also has fewer children than previous generations; meaning there is less of a chance of the family sharing the burden of care and its costs.

Fortunately, there is a solution that can minimize the financial distress associated with aging and its associated care. A well designed long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy with inflation protection creates a tax free pool of money that is purchased at a discounted rate.  They also grow and pay out tax free. These policies pay not only for nursing home care, but for care in an assisted living facility or in the home. These are two things Medicaid generally does not pay for.

 If care costs on average $90,000 per year today, and a long term care insurance policy costs on average $3,000 per year (depending on amount, benefits,  and your age) which makes more sense? And, before you say, it’s too expensive ask yourself, “compared to what?” 

My forthcoming book, Naked in the Nursing Home: The Woman’s Guide to Paying for Long-Term Care without Going Broke, provides what you need to know about insurance, federal programs, how to avoid a family crises, how to avoid elder financial abuse and much more. The book can be preordered on Amazon.com.

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Understanding the Affordable Care Act

Health insurance has continued to attract the sensational pundits on both sides of the fence.  But what does the new healthcare law really include and not include?  It does make insurance available for everyone, including those with pre-existing conditions.  As Vice President Joe Biden has stated, we do pay for health care for everyone, although the backwards way, via emergency room visits as emergency rooms cannot turn patients away.  Medical doctors will also tell you this.

Find the answers to the questions, without the misleading tidbits of information the news media likes to bounce back and forth by visiting the Affordable Care Act's website.

Learn when provisions go into place and the impact on companies providing insurance along with the tax credits for small businesses.

Caregiverlist's survey showed that more than 50% of senior caregivers do NOT have health insurance.  This is because the current system does not make it easy for small businesses to provide for health insurance nor for the self-employed to have access to health insurance when they are not giving the insurance companies the benefit of spreading the cost among many as part of a group health plan.

It is interesting to note that with our current health care system, many seniors have never had health insurance their entire life until they go onto Medicaid upon retirement at age 65.  It would be interesting to guess the amount of savings Medicaid would enjoy if all of these seniors would have had preventive healthcare their entire lives.

Costs of Nursing Homes In Each State

Find the costs of nursing homes nationwide to assist with planning for senior care.  Medicare only pays for short-term stays in nursing homes, although low-income seniors with few assets can qualify for Medicaid which will pay for a nursing home stay ongoing.

Review the actual daily prices of nursing homes nationwide and compare Medicare ratings and costs by state on Caregiverlist's proprietary nursing home star rating service.

Alzheimer's Caregivers Growing

USA Today reports there are now more than 15 million unpaid caregivers assisting someone with Alzheimer's disease.  Usually caregiving requires multiple family members along with paid caregivers when someone has a form of dementia.

The Alzheimer's Association estimates that 5.4 million people are living with Alzheimer's disease.  While there is no cure, being aware of early symptoms can help to slow the progress of the disease by taking certain medications and performing mental exercises.

Learn more about caregiver training for those with memory loss and career opportunities in senior care as the industry continues to grow.

Costs of Senior Care: Home Care vs. Nursing Home Care

Planning for senior care includes deciding where a senior would like to receive care, should they require caregiving services.  Insurance actuaries advise that everyone should plan on needing at least 2 years of senior care services.  This is because short-term care may be required after a stroke, hip replacement or heart attack and longer term care may be required as one becomes older and may need assistance with all aspects of daily living.

Senior care costs should be researched to assist with determining the right care options.  Learn about the actual prices of nursing homes nationwide on Caregiverlist.

For instance, the daily price of a room at the Abington of Glenview, Illinois is $290 and at the Canterbury Towers Health Center in Tampa, Florida, the daily cost is $290.

Also learn about the costs of senior home care with a licensed senior home care agency which provides professionally managed one-on-one care in the home.

Elder Abuse Incidents Increased in 2010

Senior caregivers know the difficulties of caring for all aspects of a senior's care needs.  A long with health issues, there are the issues of memory loss and grieving as seniors out live their friends and families.

Professionals in senior care have always known financial abuse is the number one type of elder abuse.  A survey of Adult Protective Services professionals in the U.S. confirmed that seniors continue to be at risk for financial explotation, with 92% of the survey respondents citing financial exploitation cases increasing since the beginning of the economic downturn.

Self-neglect and emotional abuse cases continued to rise, resulting in an overall 78% increase in reported Elder Abuse cases in 2010.

Planning for senior care while you are still healthy can help to avoid any possibilities of financial fraud.  Learn about the daily costs of nursing homes nationwide and the Medicare and Medicaid benefits to create a senior care plan before you need one.

NPDA 2011 Caregiver of the Year: Tina Hartson

National Private Duty Association (NPDA), is a trade association for non-medical, private-duty senior caregivers.  As an advocate for the industry, the NPDA keeps up with licensing requirements in each state and legislation that will impact both seniors, caregivers and their employers, senior home care agencies.

As caregivers are the heart of the industry, this year the NPDA presented an award to the "Caregiver of the Year".   Tina Hartson, a caregiver employed by ResCare Home Care in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was the winner.  She received a trip to the national NPDA conference in Las Vegas, a cash award and a Vera Bradley bag.  She was honored for her dedication, caring for her clients who were impacted when the city experienced flooding and loss of jobs when businesses closed.  She kept caring and kept working, through all the difficulties.

Working as a senior caregiver pays benefits beyond a paycheck and by working for a quality senior home care agency, caregivers are able to enjoy active care management and benefits.  Learn more about working as a senior caregiver and apply for a caregiver position near you.
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