Caregiver Stress Relief: Misty Lakefront

This week's stress relief photo was taken along the coast of Lake Michigan near Sheboygan, Wisconsin. This fog rolled in and back out just as quickly. It can seem almost magical as it blankets the world. Please enjoy and feel free to share the photo and inspirational quote with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. Senior care training assists caregivers to better manage a senior's care needs and manage caregiver stress. We hope you have a great week.

"Derive happiness in oneself from a good days work, 
from illuminating the fog that surrounds us."
-Henri Matisse

Under the Lighthouse: Stress Relief Photo

We hope you are enjoying the summer, and getting a chance to appreciate the beautiful outdoors. This week's stress relief photo was taken at the lighthouse on the lakefront in Port Washington, Wisconsin. Please enjoy and feel free to share the photo and inspirational quote with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. Senior care training assists caregivers to better manage a senior's care needs and manage caregiver stress. We hope you have a great week.

"Be fluid. Be like water. Flow around the obstacles." 
-Master Choa Kok Sui

Wisconsin Nursing Home Costs and Star Ratings Updated

I used to spend my summers in Wisconsin. Those nights were filled with lakefront bonfires, days at the Dells, and evening fish boils. Now, I visit Milwaukee for its world-class (and beautiful) art museum on Lake Michigan and lunch at Lakefront Brewery. And let's not forget about the one and only House on the Rock. There’s a lot to love in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s elderly population—age 65 and over—will have increased from 77,500 in 2010 to 1,535,500 in 2040, nearly doubling in 30 years. The very elderly population—age 85 and over—will have risen steadily from 118,500 in 2010 to 145,500 in 2025, then nearly double to 283,500 in the following fifteen years increasing—140 percent, according to David Egan-Robertson at UW-Madison Applied Population Laboratory. It is estimated that about one in eight people age 85 or older (13 percent) resided in institutions like nursing homes.

Caregiverlist® estimates the average annual price of a semi-private room in a Wisconsin nursing home is $212 per day, which translates to $77,380 per year or about $6,448 per month. The average daily price of a private nursing home in a Wisconsin is $236, or $7,178 per month or $86,140 annually. While Wisconsin’s nursing homes are the 18th costliest in the nation, Wisconsin is home to the most expensive nursing homes in the Midwest. Neighboring states Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan all have lower daily nursing home rates and adjacent Iowa’s average shared nursing home room rate is $142 per day.

Below is a snapshot of Wisconsin nursing home costs and ratings. You can also see our findings on our Wisconsin nursing home cost infographic.

Total Number of Nursing Homes: 417

Average Single Price: $236
Average Double Price: $212
Average Rating: 3.1 (out of 5)

Star Rating Snapshot:
5-Star: 29
4-Star: 202
3-Star: 135
2-Star: 25
1-Star: 26

The nursing home talk is a difficult one and most families avoid the discussion until the need is imminent. We believe an informed consumer is in the best position to make those critical long-term care choices. Wisconsin seniors and their families should understand the costs of nursing homes in their chosen area, along with their overall ratings. Hospitals often discharge the senior to a nursing home for post-hospital stay rehabilitation after a stroke or major surgery. If the senior’s stay is longer than the Medicare-covered 100 days, those costs becomes private pay.

In-home caregiving can be an attractive option if 24-hour care is not needed. In home care agency caregivers are also fully vetted, insured, and taxed, per federal requirements.

“The cost (of in-home senior care) is variable, but usually less expensive than an assisted living,” says Jeff Huguet, Caring Partner at Nurse Next Door Home Care Services in Green Bay. “Unlike a nursing home, which can have a ratio of 20-40 patients for each caregiver or a 20/1 or a 40/1 ratio, our home care service is 1 client-1 caregiver. That 1/1 ration allows us to focus all of our energy on the client, in their home. The costs can be as low as $60/week to an average of $1,500-$2,500/month, costs can be higher if the patient needs Skilled Nursing Care, but it will still be generally less than most nursing homes.”

Every family has to determine their own breaking point between cost and level of care. We recommend you consult with a professional who can come up with a financial action plan to anticipate future long-term care costs. They will help assess your future spending needs. Seniors and their family caregivers can research nursing home costs and ratings in any state nationwide through the Caregiverlist® Nursing Home Directory, the only resource with this trademarked information.

Will Wisconsin Seniors Pay More for Drugs?

For the second time during his tenure, Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker is proposing to cut the state’s popular SeniorCare prescription drug program by requiring Wisconsin's seniors to first enroll in the federal government’s Medicare Part D prescription coverage.

The majority of elderly in Wisconsin like the system the way it is. Some 85,000 SeniorCare members across Wisconsin pay a yearly $30 enrollment fee as well as co-pays of $5 for generic drugs and $15 for name-brand drugs, with no gaps in coverage. Medicare Part D can cost $30-$40 monthly and many plans include deductibles.

Governor Walker’s office disagrees. "In some cases, SeniorCare deductibles are higher than Medicare Part D," Laurel Patrick, a spokesperson for Gov. Walker, wrote in a statement to 27 News, Madison, WI.  "Also there is a provision under SeniorCare that requires some individuals to spend down their income, which means they need to pay for prescription drugs out-of-pocket in order to reach eligibility levels, that makes it less beneficial for many seniors."

The governor’s plan calls for seniors to first enroll in a Medicare Part D plan and SeniorCare would supplement coverage for any drugs not covered by the federal plan. His office estimates a $15 million, or 40 percent savings over the next two years in the state’s budget for the prescription drug program for low-income seniors.

Gov. Walker first proposed a similar plan in 2011. At that time, the proposal was dropped when it faced opposition from both Democrats and Republicans.

It’s interesting that when so many want less federal intervention and more statewide control, a state program with so much local support, especially when, during fall campaigns, elected lawmakers voiced their "commitment(ment) to fully fund SeniorCare."

Currently, Democrats Sen. Dave Hansen and Rep. Eric Genrich are launching a petition to drop the proposal.  They suggest the Republican governor is "putting the interests of big pharma above Wisconsin's seniors." AARP also denounces the plan, urging Wisconsin members to contact state legislators to encourage them to remove the provisions from the governor’s proposed budget.

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