Growing older brings the gift of a long life along with the challenges of aging. How do we navigate the waters of life as a senior? Americans are living longer and longer with life expectancy of a new born today being 100 years old. As we have knowledge of how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we do not necessarily implement those steps.
However, if we are going to live long, we might as well live well.
Step 1: Maintain a healthy body weight: 68% of Americans are overweight. This means whatever your current age, you should try your best not to be overweight. There are many tools out there and Weight Watcher's says they have more clients online than offline. The internet makes it easier than ever to access tools to help you stay healthy.
Step 2: Stay physically fit. Exercise and enjoy doing it. Go for a morning walk with a friend, take up tennis or golf or softball (my girlfriend's father retired to Florida and is having a ball playing softball on 4 different teams).
Step 3: Exercise your brain. Read the newspaper (before they become extinct) and do the crossword puzzle, play Scrabble or brige or poker. Take up knitting or take a class at a local community college. Do something to keep your mind thinking everyday.
Step 4: Stay connected and involved. Sustaining happiness happens when you feel engaged in an activity with a sense of purpose. One of the luxuries of retirement is having more time to spend doing the things you love to do. Share the wisdom you have learned throughout your life by volunteering in your community or participating in family activities or creating your own weekly events with friends.
The Better Memory Kit provides a convenient program for seniors and caregivers and includes flash cards with questions and games which are appropriate for older adults. Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa developed the kit and includes diet and exercise tools and vitamins which assist with memory improvement.
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Medicare fraud rings to the tune of $65 billion each year. It is difficult to imagine this number and to imagine any type of service or business could operate while having this much money stolen from them each year. But one of the benefits of the new health care law that has perhaps not garnered enough attention (politicians love talking about all the problems with it) is the fact that there is now a National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association and Medicare Strike Force.
The bad guys buy wheelchairs for people who don't need them and pocket the money and garner approval for medical services via doctors who also will bill for services that do not take place. Medical equipment has traditionally been an attractive platform for the Medicare fraud along with the home care certifications by medical skilled Medicare agencies. The Wall Street Journal also did an investigative report showcasing Medicare payments were rather generous for home health agencies with a bonus payout of $2,000 for an additional R.N. visit.
Before lamenting the costs of Medicare, perhaps the first focus by politicians should be on eliminating the fraud - just as any private sector business, especially public companies, would immediately move to fix fraud that was robbing them of $1 billion per year. It is also important the reimbursement rates are fair and not inflated for services such as medical equipment.
This is one positive aspect of the new health care law and let's hope that no matter who is leading the country, this focus on eliminating Medicare fraud will remain.
Seniors and their caregivers should be mindful of reviewing medical bills and making sure they are purchasing medical equipment from trusted resources. It is also important to be wary of telephone solicitations and anyone who claims they will process the paperwork for you. Eliminating Medicare and Medicaid fraud will take the efforts of everyone, including seniors who benefit from these programs.
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Senior caregivers are required to implement many skills while performing senior care duties. In addition to providing care for the senior's physical needs, a caregiver must be able to interact well with seniors with memory loss, hearing loss and understand the emotional challenges that come with aging.
Northwestern University's Dr. Lee Linsquist recently ignited a conversation about caregiver training after releasing a study that indicated many senior caregivers are staffed without proper background checks and training. Senior home care agencies must perform background checks to meet their professional insurance requirements and perform certain caregiver training to meet the licensing requirements in some states. Caregiverlist's 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training meets the training requirements advocated by the private duty association in the state of Illinois and required by the Illinois Department of Health.
Take Caregiverlist's Poll: How Many Hours of Training Before Beginning Work as a Professional Caregiver
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Medicaid is a government program that provides access to medical care for individuals and families who are otherwise financially unable to receive healthcare or medical treatment. Eligibility for Medicaid is primarily determined by an individual or couple’s financial assets and income. The maximum monetary limit for each of these is determined by each state, but consistency does exist among most states’ requirements.
Medicaid financial requirements for participation, with the exception of a handful of states, require an asset limit of $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple. This is the norm across the nation. In addition, most states placed a limit at less than $1,000 for an individual’s income and a limit of less than $1,300 for a couple’s income. Additionally, Medicaid typically allows an individual or couple to retain ownership of a house and vehicle and does not include these possessions in its consideration of assets. A financial “look back” of 5 years further exists nationwide, which prevents individuals from quickly transferring their assets to another’s possession in order to qualify for Medicaid.
Interesting trends in Medicaid income and asset limits reveal that states that maintain higher costs of living reflected these costs in their Medicaid eligibility requirements - Hawaii, Florida, and New York allowed the highest income and asset limits. For example, Hawaii has the highest income limit, allowing nearly $2000 for a couple and nearly $1500 for an individual. New York exceeded the asset limit of every other state by far, allowing an individual to retain nearly $15,000, while a couple is allowed more than $20,000 in assets.
While most states make their asset and income limits public, some states require an individual to file an application for Medicaid or to speak with a state worker about their situation in order to determine if they are eligible. However, nearly all states with publicly displayed financial qualifications for Medicaid include a disclaimer that individuals may still be eligible even if they do not meet the listed qualifications.
Qualifying for Medicaid seems to be a highly personalized process. While guidelines and limits are presented by many states, the lack of Federal regulation for Medicaid allows for customized cases and flexible financial limits. Find more information on Medicaid qualifications in your state and search for a Medicaid nursing home in our directory of 18,000 nursing homes nationwide.
Angela Manhart, Caregiverlist Blogger
Helen Gurley Brown passed away on Monday night, at the age of 90 and was known as the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and a leader in the movement for the fun, fearless female. She was also a senior who kept on living life and kept on working as she aged, setting example for all of us.
I met her once. On a business trip to New York City a girlfriend was also there on business, as she sold advertising for a magazine, and asked me if I wanted to attend the premiere of a movie called the "Gladiator". I sort of didn't want to see the movie but it was free and at the Ziegfeld Theatre and so I thought I might as well go. The movie turned out to be good. And then after the movie everyone walked to the back to mingle and there was Russell Crowe, but he wasn't famous then, and then I met Helen Gurley Brown. She must have been pushing 80 and she had on a mini-skirt and high heels and I thought to myself, yes, it will be just fine to grow older because you can keep on dressing fashionable and going out. A chic older lady - so nice to see!
A profile of her by a friend, in the New York Times, highlights her style and how she turned her publishing office into her own "assisted living" residence, as she showed up for work in her 80's. She was a career woman who paved the way for women to build a career along with a life. She will be missed.