Medicare Open Enrollment: Going on Now til December 7th

Medicare, the health insurance benefit for all Americans once we turn age 65, offers an annual "open enrollment" period, the same as employer-based health insurance plans.  The open enrollment for Medicare just opened in October and will stay open through December 7, 2012.

Medicare does not pay for all the care needs a senior may require.  For instance, Medicare does not pay for ongoing care in a nursing home for seniors.  However, if a senior on Medicare has experienced a major medical event such as a stroke, hip replacement or heart attack and has been hospitalized, they will most likely receive approval from a medical doctor for rehabilitation in a nursing home.

As nursing homes have become an extension of a hospital stay, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a nursing home but the benefit may not cover all the daily costs.  Caregiverlist provides the only resource with the daily costs of nursing homes nationwide, to assist seniors and their families to determine the best nursing home for their rehabilitation needs.

Long-term care insurance is an additional option seniors may want to consider, to have a way to pay for the additional nursing home care, should the need arise.  Medicaid, which very low-income seniors will switch to, from Medicare, does pay for ongoing care in a nursing home.  As nursing homes may costs as much as $300 to $400 per day, sometimes seniors will exhaust their personal finances and will "spend down" to qualify for Medicaid.  This is never something we want to think about but Americans can know that they will always be cared for in a nursing home, even if they do not have their own personal funds.  Review the Medicaid financial qualifications in your state to understand the income limit for qualifications.  There is the anti-spousal poverty law which allows one spouse to maintain certain assets while the other spouse spends-down to qualify for Medicaid.  This can unfortunately be a need if one spouse has memory loss which requires around-the-clock care.

Caregivers should remind seniors to check their Medicare options during the Open Enrollment period.  Seniors with the Medicare Advantage plans which provide the private H.M.O.'s or P.P.O.'s, should just check in to make sure their plan is still the best option.  Remember, just as with health insurance plans provided for those who are not yet seniors, benefits may change from year to year.

Visit the website to access a tool that will help in comparing options for Part D drug coverage plans and Medicare Advantage plans, based on where the senior resides.  Seniors may also call, toll-free:  800-MEDICARE or 1-800-633-4227.  You may also want to access Consumer Reports' review of Medicare plans.  Seniors may also request senior care services in their area to understand the costs of care and plan ahead.



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Assisted Living Jobs: Senior Caregivers & Resident Care Assistants

Assisted Living has become the "new normal" for seniors looking for retirement options.  And the newer Assisted Living communities are places we all would want to live at any age.  Americans are living longer and also enjoying what is now being called the Third Age.  However, with longer lives, comes more years of help with care - which is why senior caregiver jobs continue to be available (senior care companies are constantly hiring part-time and full-time caregivers).  And some of these caregiver positions are available in the attractive and even posh Assisted Living communities.

The Villages, in Florida, is where one of my friend's parents have found a home for their retirement years.  They love it and their children and grandchildren also love this community.  My friend Lisa's father plays on 3 softball teams and her Mother enjoys a golf league, a knitting group and a book group.  In addition, one of their spare time activities has become a booming business.  They enjoy going to estate sales and auctions and now have a booth at an antique mall and even resell items on ebay.  Their knack for finding great items has been going so well that they have had to expand into 3 booths at the antique mall.

Back at The Villages, they can enjoy actiivites such as yoga at one of the recreation centers, go for a swim or enjoy live music at a Mexican restaurant.  If the time should come that the would need more assistance with senior care or even assisted living, these options are also available.

Assisted Living communities now often have spas and one in the Chicago area even has a rainforest.  The good news is that these Assised Living communities do need senior caregivers or resident assistants.

Caregiver duties at Assisted Living centers may involve assisting the residents during  meals and with mobility from one activity to the next.  Activities many times involve learning a new skill through creating a new craft project or discussing a movie or book.  Many times a Resident Assistant Caregiver will assist the residents in these activities.

Senior caregivers are available for residents of Assisted Living communities and usually when more assistance is needed with personal care a Certified Nursing Assistant is assigned to the resident.

Caregiver job descriptions for senior caregivers are similar for caregivers in assisted living communities to those working with a senior in their home.   If the caregivers is hired as a Resident Care Assistant they will provide some hands-on care but their primary is role is helping all the residents on one wing with Activities of Daily Living (ADL"s).  Smaller Assisted Living communities may also have the Resident Care Assistant help with meal prepration and activities.  If a senior has memory loss and is in the memory care unit of Assisted Living, the Resident Care Assistant may need to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.).

Apply for a senior caregiver job near you and review requirements for working in an Assisted Living community on Caregiverlist'sCareer Center.





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National Memory Screening Day

Memory loss occurs for all of us at certain moments: where, oh where are my keys? Right? And everyone will begin experiencing some memory loss after the age of 85. 

Alzheimer's disease presents a certain form of memory loss where there is confusion of person, time and place. Because of this, many refer to Alzheimer's disease as the "long goodbye".  Senior caregivers know the challenges that come when caring for someone with memory loss but the good news is that medications can slow the progression.  In addition, by implementing a steady daily schedule and mental exercises and meditation, seniors can lesson the impact of memory loss on their lives.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) is inviting healthcare professionals to participate as screening sites for the 10th annual national memory Screening Day on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012.  Community sites nationwide will offer free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials to the public. 

Learn more about the memory loss screenings where the AFA will provide a comprehensive toolkit, including screening tools and marketing and educational materials all at no cost.  The memory loss screening sites are searchable by zip-code and state. 

Sign-up as a Memory Loss Screening Site.

For more information you may contact melissa Austen, AFA"s National Program's Manager:






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Seniors Appear to Follow Generational Voting

Election 2012 looms on the not-so-distant horizon. Political pundits look for data to slice and dice information about possible supporters. Constituents are wooed based on race, sex, religion, economics, as well as a host of other factors. This election season, there’s a new line being drawn in the sand and it marks a generational division.

According to the Pew Research Center’s The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election, this election especially is seeing a difference in the way people vote as informed by their generation.

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1993, and turned 18 somewhere between 1999 and 2011. Shaped by the politics and conditions of the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies, this group, according to the New York times “holds liberal attitudes on most social and governmental issues.” Staunch supporters of Obama in 2008, this time around they appear less politically engaged. This most diverse generation remains upbeat about the future.

Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. They turned 18 between 1983 and 1998. Similar in views to their Millennial counterparts, they are mostly liberal, but have soured in their view of big government. This group experienced the Reagan era and voted both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton into office. While giving most of their votes to Obama the first time around, currently their votes as a group are split between Obama and Romney.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964) turned 18 between 1964 and 1982. This largest group of registered voters have expressed their frustration with government as they face an uncertain financial future. Older Boomers tend to vote more Democratic than younger generation members, but this election sees the group vote shift as many must look to delaying their retirement.

The Silent Generation (1925-1945) 67-87– came of age between the late 1940s and early 1960s. This group of over 80% of Americans age 65 and older – has held historically conservative views. Once one of the most Democratic generations, the majority identify as conservatives and tend to vote the Republican Party. They prefer the GOP’s stance on most issues except for Social Security which, not surprisingly, is listed as this group’s main concern. They are vocal group and their vote may sway the entire election.

One group didn’t make it into the PRC’s study are our nation’s Centenarians. The relatively small voting group of those over born before 1925 (72,000 according to the Census Bureau) are, as a group, Obama supporters. Many cast their first votes for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and may have even seen Theodore Roosevelt in the flesh. They saw the advent of women’s right to vote and many (but certainly not all) tend to vote Democratic. President Obama has a great showing among this group. And interestingly, because of aging well, this group is the fastest growing group in the country. Gallup points out that the generational divide exists primarily among non-Hispanic white voters. According to the poll, age makes little difference in voting preferences among nonwhites, more than 70% of whom support Obama regardless of their age category.

How about you? Do you fall in with your generation’s ideals? What social events shape your political views? Perhaps you are the caregiver to a Centenarian. Does their political outlook vary differently from yours? It will be interesting to watch the election results with an eye on the generation gap and how it will figure into the election results.


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Live-in Caregiver Jobs: Earn a Full Week's Pay in a Few Days

Live-in senior caregivers are in demand – wait, you say, I don’t want someone to move-in with my mother or father, or, if you are a senior caregiver, you are thinking you don’t want to move-in with a senior.


But wait, we say, because it doesn’t work that way.


Live-in caregivers do not actually move-in with a senior when they are working for a licensed senior home care agency.  Many states actually have passed legislation which requires all professionals referring seniors to caregiver services to only refer to licensed senior care companies. Why?  Well, it turns out the #1 type of senior abuse is financial abuse. Usually this takes place by a relative or caregiver.


We also always like to point out that senior care is not at all like babysitting – yes, we know some babysitter websites have tried to dabble in senior care and we also know that has not worked out so well for them – nobody wants to lose a lifetime of a senior’s assets to a hire-direct caregiver, not to mention the lack of payroll taxes, insurance and training that is missing in a hire-direct situation (one fall or injured back and there goes the family’s assets).


Northwestern University in Chicago also released a caregiver study recently which expressed concern over lack of language skills and training for hire-direct senior caregivers. You won’t find this when working with professionally licensed senior care companies - they deliver one-on-one care which can even be superior to care in an institutional setting.  Look for more and more states to pass legislation to protect both seniors and caregivers from the lack of insurances and benefits in the hire-direct situations.


Senior care requires managing care for perhaps a senior who is

resistant to help.  Combine this with memory loss and the senior care services can take a toll on a caregiver.  Senior home care agencies provide emotional support and Care Management for live-in senior caregivers and provide the same level of professional services a senior would find in a nursing home (except there is one C.N.A. or caregiver providing one-on-one care where nursing homes will have one C.N.A. for every 10 to 15 residents). Review the daily costs of nursing homes to see that most nursing homes will charge from $200 to $350 per day for the care services (and the sharing of one C.N.A. for as many as a dozen residents).


Seniors are dealing with age-related illnesses which advance at different paces, along with the emotional challenges of losing loved ones.  This requires proper training and support by professional senior care companies.  In addition, senior caregivesr deserve the benefits that senior care companies provide, such as Social Security benefits, Worker’s Compensation insurance and Unemployment insurance.


Having your friends pass away every other month and then waking up in the morning only to discover a new body ache would not be pleasant at any age, right?  My brother and sister and I always joke that our parent’s social life is going to funerals.  But the truth of the matter is that funerals are just part of their monthly mix of activities.


Back to live-in caregiving – this is exactly why live-in senior care is in demand – because there is some comfort in knowing that while you are losing many things you are not losing your home and all the memories that come with it.  All of us in senior caregiving can tell you stories about the senior who relocated to an Assisted Living community or to a child’s house and passed away the next day or week.  Home is where the heart is, for some, and a live-in caregiver keeps the senior’s heart at home.


What do live-in caregivers do?


Job Description for a Live-in caregiver includes assisting the senior to “age-in-place”.  The caregiver will spend the night a few days in a row and keep the household running.  And then they will go back to their own home.


As the former owner of a senior home care agency in Chicago, my company provided live-in senior care services for many senior clients.  I very much enjoyed working with these seniors, as usually they did not have family members who lived nearby and just wanted to find some joy in their last days within their own home and the neighborhood that they knew.  As I grew up on a family farm which has been home to our family for more than 150 years, I very much appreciate the sense of home and having roots – deep, deep roots which support the tree of life.  Of course the tree won’t survive if you separate it from it’s roots – I totally understand the need to age-in-place in your own home.


Live-in caregivers usually work in a team of two caregivers who will rotate every few days.  Somehow, the stars align and a senior home care agency can always staff the best team of caregivers for a live-in senior care client.  I truly can tell you that we would always find just the right two caregivers for each client.  The senior could have the live-in caregiver who talked a lot for a few days and then have the live-in caregiver who had few words for the rest of the week.  You interview the senior and understand their needs and you always find just the right combination of caregivers.


Why don’t live-in caregivers actually move in?  Well, for the same reason the senior prefers to remain in their own home for the aging process – it is their home, they don’t want one person moving in and encroaching on their turf.  They want to keep their home as they know it.  A professional live-in senior caregiver stays at the senior’s home for 2 to 3 days and leaves everything as it is – they bring just their over-night bag with them.  It is a job, not their home. 


Live-in caregivers receive a few hours of down-time each evening and are paid a daily stipend (the Supreme Court has approved this = no over-time pay is required as long as the senior caregiver can sleep at night and have a few hours to themselves each evening).  They are able to prepare and enjoy meals with the senior (and if the senior must eat a special diet, they are provided with the food of their choice).  Many senior care companies will use a meal delivery service such as Peapod to deliver groceries to the senior each week.  This way the live-in caregiver can plan meals and make sure they are meeting the nutrition guidelines for the senior’s medical conditions.


Senior home care agencies will make sure the senior’s house is appropriate for live-in caregivers.  From proper sleeping arrangements, to all the little things like fresh new sheets and towels, the caregiver will be made to feel at home while they are caring for the senior.


Another advantage of working as a live-in caregiver is that you just have to take public transportation or drive to and from work once a week.  Many more mature ladies enjoy this type of arrangement.  One of my favorite caregivers who had burned out from working as a C.N.A. at nursing homes and moved on to only do live-in care, told me she would not still be married if she did not do live-in.  “it is perfect,” she would tell me, “just when I am sick and tired of my husband and he is sick and tired of me, it is time for me to run off for my 3-day live-in shift and by the time I come home he is missing me and my cooking!”


A few more answers to the questions you may have around working as a live-in senior caregiver.


Job Description for Live-in Senior Caregivers:


Assist senior with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s), including meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication monitoring, physical exercise and manage calendar and escort to doctor appointments and personal appointments.  Assistance with physical care may be required in some situations.  Seniors on hospice care may be bed-ridden and require more hands-on care assistance.  Companionship is also a top requirement of caregivers. Review the caregiver job description in the Caregiverlist Career Center.


Live-in Senior Caregiver Pay Wages:


Live-in senior caregivers receive a daily stipend – this was actually approved by the Supreme Court to over-ride over-time pay as long as the caregiver can sleep during the night and have down-time for themselves each evening. The Fair Home Health Care Act of 2007 upholds a long-standing U.S. Dept. of Labor regulation which exempts home care companions from overtime payment.  This works for both the caregiver and the senior as hourly pay would just not make sense nor be affordable. Live-in senior caregivers receive the benefits of 3 meals a day, time to rest and from $100 to $160 per day.  Other perks include being able to accompany a senior on trips and to special events and activities.


Apply for a live-in caregiving job near you to begin a career as a live-in senior caregiver.


Live-in Caregiver Contract:  Is there one?


No, the senior care company will have a Service Agreement with the family but in a professional live-in position with a senior care company you are an employee and there is no contract.  The live-in caregiver receives days off, benefits such as Social Security taxes, Unemployment and health care insurance, vacation pay and bonuses.  Ongoing caregiver training is also provided.  As an employee, the senior care company will re-staff you should the senior pass away.


Live-in Caregiver Training:


Senior caregivers receive basic non-medical caregiver training.  The 10-hour Caregiverlist Caregiver Certification meets the training standards in most states and prepares anyone for the job of caregiving.  Senior care companies will provide training in age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and assisting seniors who are rehabilitating from strokes, hip replacements and heart surgery.


How to find and apply for a Live-in Caregiver Job:


Many seniors do prefer to remain in their own home (or vacation home) as they age.  Many times live-in senior care will become a sudden need.  You may submit one caregiver job application on Caregiverlist and be considered for current and future job openings with senior care companies in your area.


Apply for Live-in Caregiver Jobs near you now – spread the word to others who may be interested in working as a senior caregiver – remember, the rewards are beyond the paycheck.  Many times early retirees enjoy the fulfillment that senior care delivers.  As long as you are a caring person and can pass a criminal background check, you can begin working as a companion caregiver which is the basic care services many seniors need.  Visit Caregiverlist’s Career Center to learn more.

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Caregiver Training for Senior Caregivers Includes Online Training + C.N.A. Training

Caregiverlist CaregiverTraining for caregivers – where do you find it, how much does it cost and how do you know which training is the right one for you?  These are questions we are often asked by both professional caregivers and family caregivers.  We enjoyed meeting some of our professional Chicago Caregivers this week who visit to apply for a senior care job position whenever they are looking for caregiver employment (and use our resume tools and training information) - we look forward to meeting more of you at our job fairs.


Caregiver training involves learning skills to safely care for a senior’s physical needs, emotional needs and understanding how to monitor signs of new conditions such as depression or elder abuse.


Senior caregivers are hired as:


·         Companion Caregivers

·         Certified Caregivers

·         Certified Nursing Aides (C.N.A.’s)

·         Certified Home Health Aides (C.H.H.A.’s in NJ, CA)


Companion caregivers often work with seniors who have memory loss but just need a “companion” to keep their day on track. Certified Caregivers meet the 10-hour caregiver training requirement that has been established by many states and by the senior care industry.  Certified Nursing Assistants, or Aides, are called C.N.A.’s and must complete a state-approved course and then pass the C.N.A. exam.  Every 2 years a C.N.A. must renew their certification.


Becoming a caregiver for a senior can begin as a companion caregiver.  You may then take the 10-hour online caregiver certification course to be a certified non-medical senior caregiver.  Senior care companies often provide caregiver training but taking the online caregiver training course will help you know what to expect when you begin working as a caregiver.  You may also take a sample C.N.A. test to understand the skills taught at C.N.A. schools (and find an approved C.N.A. school in your area).


Apply for a caregiver job in your area, as senior care companies are constantly hiring in order to keep up with their staffing needs in this growing industry (seniors may quickly need care services after a stroke, hip replacement or when memory loss accelerates).


Caregiver pay is above minimum wage and can range from $8.50 to $16 per hour, depending upon what part of the country you live in and the level of skills required. Benefits such as payroll taxes, performance bonuses, paid vacation, flexible hours and health insurance also are available.


Caregiver job descriptions and caregiver stories are also available in Caregiverlist’s Caregiver Career Center to help you learn more about becoming a senior caregiver. You may also join the Professional Association of Caregivers to receive the 10-hour certified online training and a t-shirt and lapel pin and additional information to begin your caregiver career. Both family caregivers and professional caregivers may join the P.A.C.


Caregiverlist just attended a few C.N.A. school job fairs this week and all of the graduating C.N.A. students who talked with us shared they find working as a senior caregiver to be very fulfilling.  While you may have some days which present challenges, when you become a senior caregiver you will go home each day knowing that you are appreciated.  These C.N.A.’s also shared with us that they appreciate knowing they can continue to grow their career as there will continue to be many jobs in this industry which is predicted to be the top category for jobs in the next decade.  Apply for a senior caregiver job now in your area.

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Deepak Chopra & Rudy Tanzi Share Latest Alzheimer's Disease Study Plans at Chicago Ideas Week

 Deepak Chopra and Rudy Tanzi joined other experts in Chicago this week for Chicago Ideas Week and talked about their collaboration which has resulted in the launching of a new Clinical Trial to study the effects of deep meditation on those with memory loss.

Super Brain, their recent book, expands on their research and years of medical practice to show how to use the brain as a gateway for achieving health, happiness and spiritual growth.

Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D, is the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and director of the Genetcis and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).  As head of the Alzheimer’s Genome Project, Dr. Tanzi codiscovered several Alzheimer’s disease genes, including the first and is the coauthor of the book Decoding darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Deepak Chopra, M.D., is the author of more than 65 books including numerous New York Times bestsellers.  His medical training is in internal medicine and endocrinology and he founder of The Chopra Foundation.

Rudy and Deepak met at a urinal at a TED event (TED talks bring together those with ideas worth spreading to stimulate dialogue). Thus, Deepak says it was “karma” that brought the two of them together which is certainly going to have a positive impact for seniors as they tie together Rudy’s neurology research with Deepak’s mind and spiritual studies.  The results are that they now know in the deepest state of meditation you can reduce the tangles that are found on the synapses in the brain when Alzheimer’s disease is present.

Deepak and Rudy were entertaining presenters at Chicago Idea’s Week and discussed the fact that we know our memories – imagine a picture of a red rose and you can see it.  But the problem is that science has not yet figured out where we store this photo in our mind.  We don’t know where the hard drive for these memories lies in the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and researchers now believe the disease begins perhaps decades before symptoms develop.  In Alzheimer’s the nervew cells and their connections, which are called synapses, deteriorate mostly in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus.  The cerebral cortex is a very densely formed maze that is associated with higher mental functions such as reasoning, thought, sensation and motion.  The hippocampus performs the role of processing information such as long-term memory and spatial memory (but we still don’t know where the picture of the rose is, remember). 

However, both the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus lose mass and shrink as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. Meditation practice is one of the most scientifically proven ways to elicit the relaxation response and reduce stress and when someone is in the deepest state of meditation, research is showing this can reduce the tangles that form on the synapses of the brain when Alzheimer’s disease is present.

Senior caregivers can develop meditation skills to share with their senior clients and also use The Better Memory Kit which includes a meditation CD.

End of Life Care: Should We Ration It? - Join Chicago Ideas Week Discussion Tonight

End of Life Care can involve many elements and for America's seniors, the care costs are paid for by Medicare or Medicaid (very low-income seniors qualify for Medicaid which does pay for ongoing care in a nursing home while Medicare does not).  All seniors receive Medicare health insurance at age 65. 

Tonight, in Chicago, an Oxford-style debate will discuss the issue of "End of Life Care" and when this should be rationed.  Just because we can extend life, should we? And should the government pay for this? The debate will air on 220 NPR stations nationwide and include live tweets and a vote from the audience at the end of the debate.

The Baby Boomer generation has started the journey into their retirement years (both Bill Clinton and G.W. Bush are age 66 and are at the beginning of the Boomer generation age group which includes those born between the years of 1946 and 1964).

Funding Medicare and Medicaid as the senior population more than triples in the next decade is a concern along with the advancements in technology which allow people to live longer, with the aid of medications and machines.

But when should end of life care be rationed?  Just because we can extend a life, should we?  The U.S. will spend more than $2.8 trillion on health care in 2012 and Medicare costs taxpayers $590 billion (remember, everyone age 65 and above receives Medicare health insurance and as many as 1/3rd of these seniors were without health insurance prior to Medicare which also contributes to higher care costs because of the lack of preventive healthcare - - - the new healthcare law may actually help reduce Medicare costs because of this fact).

But how much is an extra month of life worth?  If health care is a scarce resource, limited by its availability and our ability to pay for it, should government step in to ration care, deciding whose life is worth saving?

Chicago Ideas Week debates End-of-Life care tonight in an interactive format.  Moderated by John Donvan of ABC News, "Should we ration end of life care?" will take place:

Tonight, October 10th

Time: 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. Eastern Time

Place:  Albert Theatre at Goodman Thaetare, 170 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago

Live Tweets:  Use Hashtag #IQ2US

NPR Stations:  220 NPR stations will air this Intelligence Squared debate + PBS Channel 13, WNET, WLIW & NJTV

Streamed on WSJ Live

Chicago Ideas Week "End of Life, Should it be Rationed?" Debate Panel:

  • Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University (in support)
  • Art Kellerman, Chair in Policy Analysis at the RAND Corporation (in support)
  • Ken Connor, Ken Connor founder and Chiarman of the Center for a Just Society (argue against)
  • Sally Pipes, President and CEO of the Pacific research Institute (PRI) (argue against)

What do you think? Should End-of-Life care be rationed? How do you decide?  Who pays for it?  As all senior caregivers now, many times a prolonged ending can go on to long.  It will be interesting to hear the outcome of this Chicago Ideas Week debate tonight. Join the discussion and review the daily costs of nursing home care nationwide to understand the Medicare and Medicaid senior care costs and the financial impact and financial devastation that can also happen when extending life.



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Online Caregiver Training for Senior Caregivers

Caregiver training for senior caregivers - both professional caregivers and family caregivers - involves learning many skills, including how to manage the hands-on care, such as safely transfering a senior from a bed to chair, along with learning the emotional skills of assisting a senior who is experiencing memory loss.

Becoming a professional caregiver requires caregiver training, as senior care also involves managing a care plan, keeping care notes, monitoring changes in health conditions and being aware of signs of depression.  Specific training for age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are also necessary when caring for seniors with these illnesses.  Seniors with hearing loss and vision loss also require a special skill set from a caregiver.

Caregiverlist provides Senior Care Briefs to assist caregivers to learn how to care for seniors with specific illnesses and age-related diseases.

Senior Care Briefs include training for:

  • Hearing Loss
  • Hip Replacement
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Stroke
  • Medication Monitoring

Family members who provide care for a senior loved one quickly understand why certification is necessary for senior caregivers and nursing aides.  Review a sample certified nursing aide exam to undestand the skills taught in these courses which usually involve about 120 hours of training.

Certification for senior caregivers can be obtained in a 10-hour online course.  The training offers the basic caregiver skills including mobility assistance for seniors, nutrition, communication skills and understanding elder abuse.  Many  times one family member will carry the burden of the caregiving.  By taking a caregiver training course, you will have better skills to apply to caregiving.  This online training course allows you to learn each module at your own pace and re-take the test again if you need to revisit skills in order to score the minimum of 80% in order to receive the certificate.

Senior caregivers may gain experience as a companion caregiver working for a senior home care agency as many times companion positions are part-time.  Senior home care agencies do provide a Care Plan for each client and a schedule of activities for each day.  Apply for senior caregiver positions in your area to begin working as a senior caregiver.

Senior care has been predicted to be a top employer in the coming decade as the Baby Boomer population ages.  By beginning as a companion caregiver you can advance to become a Certified Nursing Aide, Licensed Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse.  Find C.N.A. schools near you to understand the admissions process.





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Medicare Recipients Saved $4.5 Billion on Prescriptions

Seniors on Medicare health insurance, which they receive at age 65, have saved more than $4.5 billion since the new provisions in the healthcare law took place in 2010, according to the Department of Health.

Previously, seniors with Medicare had experienced something called the "doughnut hole" where, just like the hole in a doughnut, there was a hole in reimbursements for medications during certain periods of their Medicare coverage, depending upon the type of medications and the dollar amount and their deductibles.  Yes our lawmakers had actually passed legislation that had such wacky reimbursements that it mirrored a doughnut - you were in the hole or out of the hole but it was very complicated to understand when you would be in the "hole' and not have prescription medications paid for by Medicare.

I participated in a focus group that was paid for by the Department of Health to find out if the prescription coverage with the donut hole was confusing - and everyone agreed it was extremely confusing.   Fortunately, the law was changed.  Drug companies do spend millions of dollars lobbying for Medicare coverage to go their way and that is what they even admitted happened to create the donut hole.

"We're seeing consistent, steady savings for seniors thanks to the health care law," said Jon Blum, director of the Center for Medicare. "In just 21/2 half years, seniors have seen billions in savings, and those savings will continue to grow as the doughnut hole is fully closed."

Drugmakers participating in Medicare agreed to give the government a 50% discount on premium drugs and 14% on generic drugs as part of the law, and the government passed those savings on to seniors.  In 2012, the coverage gap - or "doughnut hole" - is $2,930. The law eliminates that gap by 2020. So far, no research has shown that the drugmakers have passed costs from those discounts on to other consumers, as some opponents of the law had feared.

Clinical trials are another option for seniors, allowing those seniors who qualify based on their medical conditions, to participate in a drug study on new medications and to receive care and monitoring from the medical doctors who are administering the clinical trials.  Every medication on the market in the U.S.A. today was once part of a Clinical Trial study in order to be approved for sale by the FDA.

Check out Clinical Trials near you to see if you qualify for one of these drug studies for newer medications which may deliver positive results.


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