New Jersey Regency Nursing Center Makes Guinness World Record for Largest Gathering of Centenarians

America's seniors are living longer than any previous generation and to prove it, a senior living residence in Somerset, New Jersey gathered 31 seniors age 100 and above and received a mention in the Guinness World Records for the largest gathering of centenarians. And, only 2 of those in attendance were men!

Babies born today have a life expectancy of age 100. Now that we know more about ways to enjoy a healthy lifestyle, it is expected that many Americans will easily reach age 110 or older. This means we will need to rethink what our retirement years will look like and how to better save money to pay for retirement care.

Medicare health insurance covers all seniors age 65 and above in the U.S.A. and does not pay for long-term care. Medicare only covers hospital stays and short-term nursing home stays for up to 100 days after a major medical incident. All long-term care must be paid for by the senior unless they have limited assets and income and qualify for the subsidized Medicaid program. 

Seniors can research nursing homes in their area and learn more about Regency Jewish Heritage Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to plan ahead for their senior care needs. As nursing homes are often an extension of a hospital stay, seniors should learn about their preferred nursing care center in their area.

How to Pay for Senior Care

Senior care costs are not covered by Medicare, the health insurance for America's seniors. Only short-term stays in a nursing home, after a major medical event, are covered. This means everyone must plan ahead for the possibility of caregiving needs as they age. Insurance actuaries estimate all of us will need some senior caregiving services for at least 2 years.

Caregiving for someone with memory loss, called "dementia" can be one of the longest journeys and cost the most. A new conversation around how we want to age has begun, with the book "Being Mortal" igniting many conversations on the topic. Aging is part of living and so is dying. Understanding the benefits Medicare does and does not provide is part of creating a healthy aging plan.

Retirement planning must include planning for how to pay for the costs of senior care. Perhaps a senior will only need caregiving services for a short period of time while recovering from surgery such as hip replacement or a stroke. However, it is healthy to accept that part of aging includes our bodies, and sometimes our minds, will no longer regenerate cells and perform as when we were younger. This is natural. Or as the song says "that's life"!

Learn about the costs of senior care and how to structure a caregiving financial plan with a complimentary telephone consultation provided by Transamerica and download their free caregiving guide. Start talking with your family members about how you would like to both pay for and receive care as the gift of a long life presents itself.

Alzheimer's Disease Treatment has had Little Progress since Dr. Alzheimer Identified Brain Plaques in 1906

Congress recently passed a budget bill in December, giving a few hundred million towards the research of Alzheimer's disease. 

While we are able to identify the existence of the same brain plaques Dr. Alzheimer found back in the early 1900's, we still are not sure why some people develop these plaques while others do not. 

Researcher Sam Cohen shares some of the facts around Alzheimer's disease research.  One reason Congress included research for finding a cure for Alzheimer's is because of the huge costs associated with full-time senior care for those with memory loss. Medicare does not currently pay for ongoing senior care needs but Medicaid, for low-income seniors, does.




Facts About Senior Care

So few of us plan for our long term care, yet the majority of us will need to avail ourselves of professional senior care at some point in our lives. By 2030, the U.S. population aged 65+ will exceed 70 million. According to the American Geriatrics Society, the vast majority of these older persons will have at least one chronic disease, and substantial numbers need assistance in performing basic and more advanced activities of daily living

There are a variety of professional senior care options to choose from, based on need and cost. Most seniors prefer to age-in-place, at home. If there is no family member to care for them, many times professional in-home care, provided by a trusted Home Care Agency is the go-to option. Residential options include Independent and Assisted Living Communities, and nursing homes. Nursing home costs vary widely based upon the state in which you live.

Our good friend, colleague, and elder law expert Ben Neiburger writes about the five key facts of long-term care.

1. Statistics
Nearly 41% of people under 65 and approximately 70% of people who live to age 65 will need some type of long-term care.
2. Medicare
Medicare covers skilled short-term medical care as well as short-term assistance with nursing home costs, but only if the circumstances meet strict requirements. However in most situations, this is simply not a viable long-term care option for most people.
3. Medicaid
Medicaid is a state-based program supplemented by Federal funds that provide health services to the poor and impoverished. Medicaid might cover your loved one, if he or she meets your state’s poverty criteria.
Many people attempt to spend down their assets to state-required levels or transfer their assets to family members to become eligible for Medicaid, but the state has the right to look back into your finances for 5 years before the date you apply for coverage, and may refuse to pay for your long-term care if you don’t handle your money “appropriately” during those 5 years.
4. Nursing Homes and other Long Term Care
Both Medicare and health insurance are intended to cover skilled, short-term medical care as you recover from an illness or injury—NOT long-term care. That means a health insurance policy rarely covers ongoing long-term care, especially if one is over 65.
5. Private Pay
Personal savings are one way to cover long-term care expenses. Keep in mind however, that in 2011, the national average annual cost of long-term care services in a semi-private nursing home room was $75,555. Since the average length of stay in a nursing home is 2.4 years, that would come to approximately $181,000 out of your savings.

We now know that, due to the longevity of our nation’s population, most of us will indeed need long-term care. Seniors once relied upon family members for elder care, and while there are many, many family caregivers (43.5 million of adult family caregivers care for someone 50+ years of age), many seniors will need to look to professional caregivers for their senior care needs.

Ways to pay for care that don’t include Medicare, Medicaid, or private pay includes long-term care insurance and reverse mortgages. Be vigilant in your research, however. Some long-term care insurance pays only for nursing homes and not for in-home senior care.
A reverse mortgage has its own pitfalls, making it an option of last resort.

U.S. veterans may be eligible for Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefit. For this benefit, you’ll need to apply and be persistent and patient. Those wheels tend to grind slowly.

Caregiverlist® understands the process involved in finding the right senior care can be arduous. Estate planning can assist you in determining your best options in how to pay for professional senior care for you or your senior family member.  

Ben Neiburger is an active member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education and through frequent speaking engagements and ongoing course work both locally and nationally, is in continuous pursuit of knowledge and insight to the laws and finances that affect our families and senior citizens. He brings this wealth of knowledge, his clear and common sense explanations, his patience, gentle humor and sensitivity to each of his legal consultations.To learn more about Elder Law, visit generationlaw.com.

Senior Health Care Costs Decrease Centers for Medicare Announces

The Affordable Care Act (also called Obama Care) has reduced the costs of prescription drugs and expanded access to preventative care for seniors across the country.  While the politicians have made hay, as they say, with arguing about all the downsides of the new healthcare law, the reality is that I have yet to meet a healthcare professional who will not say off the record that the new law is a step in the right direction and a must.  Certainly as with anything that was sorely broken, it will take time to heal and patch up our healthcare system.  Some things will need to be massaged and changed. But a geriatric doctor also told said to me once, "imagine if every senior had health insurance their entire life".  He told me that he was astonished at the number of seniors who had never had any healthcare until they turned age 65 and went onto Medicare or Medicaid.  After he finished medical school and began his practice he realized that the majority of seniors with acute health issues simply had the issue because there had never been preventive care for them.

As we move into year 2014, Caregiverlist with be highlighting the good news about healthcare for seniors to make sure everyone can take advantage of innovations in health care, medications and lifestyle guidelines that can make for a happier and healthier life.

Affordable prescription drugs are vital for seniors and the new healthcare law delivers this in addition to more preventive care screenings.

FREE Preventive Care Screenings for Seniors Under Affordable Care Act Include:

  • Mammograms
  • Colonoscopies
  • Flu Shots
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Blood Pressure Screening

These preventive care tests can save lives - and over time will save money for the Medicare budget.  As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans remain stable and strong.  The Center for Medicare Services announced that the average Medicare Advantage premium in 2014 is projected to be $32.60 and the average prescription drug plan premium in 2014 is projected to be $31 per month, keeping with the same rate for the past four years.

The deductible for standard Part D plans will decline by $15 in 2014, to $310 and since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, average premiums for seniors are down by 9.8%.  All good news for seniors.

Speaking of good news, apparently the happiest people on earth live in Denmark.  And guess what they have that may lead to this happiness?  Free healthcare and education, both provided for by their government.  If you don't have to worry about how to pay for healthcare or your college education, that takes away a couple of the largest issues we have in the U.S.A. Maybe once the new healthcare law becomes old news, we can give America's politicians something new to argue about and ask them to find a way to pay for everyone's college education but we'll stick to focusing on senior care.

Plan ahead for your senior care needs and understand the costs of senior care by visiting the Caregiverilst Nursing Home Directory which includes the daily costs of a single or shared room in a nursing home along with the Medicare and Medicaid acceptance.  Remember, too, as you celebrate the new year, that there continues to be a need for more senior caregivers and nursing aides so refer anyone who may be looking for a new job to the Caregiverlist Career Center.

Happy New Year!

Senior Care Costs: Shop Early Says Senior Living Expert Lisa Sneddon in Forbes Magazine

Senior care needs can arise suddenly.  In fact, I bet if you asked your friends what their retirement plans are, they would share with you some places they plan on traveling, where they want to live and talk about hobbies they would like to develop.  But mentioning the type of senior care they have in mind will probably be last on the list, if it even makes the list.

American seniors should plan on a 30-year retirement, says Senior Living Expert's Lisa Sneddon in Forbes Magazine's Planning to Make The Right Move in Retirement article.  Lisa is a Caregiverlist advisor and owner of Senior Living Experts which assists seniors, at no charge, to evaluate and choose the right Assisted Living Community. 

Assisted living can be an enjoyable option for active seniors, especially now that builders are offering more innovative communities which include spas, gardens and regular activity excursions along with a continuum of care needs.  Some seniors may cringe when they hear that monthly rent for an assisted living community usually requires at least $4,000 to cover all the necessary extra items.  Supportive living communities may only require $2,500 or more.  However, Sneddon points out that maintaining a house that may have become too large for the senior, and paying for the property taxes, may already eat up this amount of money each month.

Remember, nursing homes really are for acute care needs and cost as much as $8,000 or more per month.  This gives some perspective to assisted living costs.

Learn more about assisted living communities in your area by submitting a request for a senior care plan and learn more about assisted living at Senior Living Experts.

Senior Care Planning: Living to be 105-Years-Old

Senior care costs vary widely, based on the care needs required for the senior and the living situation.  Does the senior live in a home that has been paid for fully and receive social security benefits?  If so, they can better pay privately for caregiving services.  If the senior does not own a home and requires full 24-hour caregiving services, they may qualify for Medicaid benefits, for very low-income seniors, and receive care in a Medicaid nursing home.  This is the safety net for all Americans currently.  However, as nursing home daily costs can vary from $100 to $400 per day, even the Medicaid senior care services are predicted to evolve as the number of seniors will quadruple in the coming decade.

Plan ahead for your own senior care needs to smooth the path for your family.  Remember, life expectancy of a child born in the U.S.A. today is 100 years.  Remember also that how you live your life today - eating right, exercising and finding a fulfilling life purpose, all impact the quality of your health as you age.  Nursing homes are often an extension of a hospital stay for seniors who may need rehabilitation and Caregiverlist's nursing home directory provides the daily cost of nursing homes nationwide.

Happy Birthday to this 105-year old senior who shared her photo with us celebrating her birthday at 105 with her great-granddaughter celebrating her 5-year-old brithday:  Birthday twins at 5 and 105!

Caregivers - let us know how old your senior clients are and if you can top age 105 - photos are welcome.  Enjoying sharing special life moments are another of advantage of working as a senior caregiver.

Senior Care Costs: Medicare vs. Medicaid and Health Insurance for Caregivers

Senior care costs vary widely, based on which type of senior care health insurance a senior has received - Medicare or Medicaid.  As the presidential election gears into high speed, much talk and confusion is now filling the airwaves around Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs.

American seniors receive Medicare health insurance beginning at age 65, unless they qualify for Medicaid instead, as a very low-income senior.  You may review Medicaid financial qualifications in your state, as Medicaid is administered by each state in combination with federal money.  This is why Paul Ryan, the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate received health care and Social Security payments while he was a minor after the death of his father when he was age 16.  Paul Ryan also requested a grant for a community health center in Racine, Wisconsin, via the new healthcare law. 

This highlights the fact that candidates from both parties know that healthcare is a need for both those who are low-income as well as for seniors.  Moving past the political posturing, the facts are often somewhere in the middle.

Senior caregivers often do not have healthcare as a benefit - if they work part-time or as a direct-hire for a senior.  One benefit of the new healthcare law is the ability for everyone, including small business owners, to have access to affordable healthcare and the benefit of knowing that you will not be dropped from an insurance policy.

As unemployment remains high in the U.S.A., knowing you can both find and purchase individual health insurance and not be dropped from a plan just because you are not part of a group health insurance plan is a comfort to many Americans.  This also will be a comfort for senior caregivers who currently do not have health insurance.  A Caregiverlist survey found that more than 50% of all senior caregivers do not have health insurance.

Medicare's largest cost that can be easily trimmed is Medicare fraud which amounts to billions of dollars each year.  AARP supplies this report on questions to consider for candidates around Medicare.  Meanwhile, remember that senior caregivers often do not have access to health insurance right now.  One of the benefits of the new Affordable Care Act, called the O'bama Care law, is that everyone will have access to health insurance. 

Remember, too, that Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care while Medicaid DOES pay for long-term care in a nursing home.  Review nursing home costs nationwide to plan for your senior care needs.

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Chicago Senior Care Costs

Chicago seniors prefer to stay in Chicago.  Unlike some northern cities, Chicagoland seniors most often age-in-place and stay in their home or move to a senior living community.  Downtown Chicago has even begun to attract empty-nesters from the suburbs.

Chicago seniors have the following care choices:

  • Senior home care agency hourly or live-in caregiver services (professionally managed, meeting the state of Ilinois requirements which include 8-hours of training for caregivers)
  • Assisted Living Community (which will often require additional private duty caregiving services by a senior care agency)
  • Nursing Home

Chicago nursing homes range in costs from $106 per day at Margaret Manor on West Cullom Avenue to $291 per day at the Lexington of Schaumburg.  Nursing home staffing ratios of Certified Nursing Aides to residents is an important part of considering which nursing home will be most appropriate.

Senior home care agencies in Illinois must be licensed and must provide a minimum of 8 hours of training for caregivers.  Caregiverlist's Certified Caregiver training, powered by aQuire, has been customized to meet the Illinois Department of Health caregiver training requirements for professional caregivers.  Family caregivers and professional caregivers may purchase the training online.

Chicago seniors may review the Illinois nursing home costs and ratings in Caregiverlist's nursing home directory.

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Find Senior Care Costs

Costs of senior care vary widely, based on the location of the care and the type of care.  The first steps are to find out if the senior will continue on Medicare or need to switch to Medicaid.  Here are some guidelines and tools for finding senior care costs to enable family caregivers to plan ahead.

Medicare:  senior care health insurance for all seniors in the U.S.A. unless they have few assets and a low enough income to qualify for Medicaid which then replaces Medicare.  Medicare does NOT pay for long-term senior care, but only for short stays in a nursing home after a hospital stay.  Learn more about Medicare's benefits.

Medicaid:  very low-income seniors may qualify for Medicaid which has more benefits to pay for medications and long-term care, although the choices are limited based on Medicaid providers.  Medicaid is funded by both the state and federal government and because of this, each state's Medicaid qualifications vary slightly.  Caregiverlist provides the "by-state" Medicaid qualifications.  Usually no more than $2,000 in assets are necessary to qualify financially along with a low monthly income.  However, there is a spousal poverty prevention built into Medicaid which will allow for one spouse to maintain the home and car and some assets, while allowing the other spouse to spend-down to qualify for Medicaid.  This is usually necessary when someone has an age-related disease such as Alzheimer's disease and will need long-term care around-the-clock.  Medicaid will pay for nursing home care ongoing.

As all seniors who are not on Medicaid must privately pay for senior care, here are the senior care options:

  • Senior Home Care by Licensed Senior Home Care Agency
  • Assisted Living Community
  • CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community)
  • Nursing Home
  • Supportive Living*

Submit a request for services and rates of senior home care agencies near you to receive a price quote.  It is important to understand that senior home care must be provided by a senior home care agency in order to protect the senior and the family, as the agencies professionally train the caregivers and have all necessary insurances such as worker's compensation insurance, professional liability insurance and provide for payroll taxes.  This insures that the senior and their family are protected from elder abuse and financial fraud.  Many states have passed laws to require professional health care organizations to only refer to licensed senior home care agencies because hire-direct caregivers present opportunities for financial fraud and elder abuse and the elder abuse departments have become so overwhelmed with these cases that they want to educate consumers to stay away from hire-direct senior caregivers.  Senior care can be difficult and professional caregivers have proper training and the support of a care team.  Read more about hire-direct senior care fraud here.

Assisted Living communities vary widely.  Some independent living communities will also provide all the benefits of assisted living.  Reach out to a company like Senior Living Experts who provides Registered Nurses and Social Workers to assist families with understanding the costs and services of assisted living and takes the senior on tours of communities to determine the best solution.

CCRC's, or Continuing Care Retirement Communities require a significant down payment (many times seniors will sell their homes and use the proceeds as the down payment) and then the senior has the advantage of knowing they can stay in the community, transfering from apartment to studio to nursing care room, as needed, and being able to stay even if they should run out of money and go onto Medicaid (full time caregiving can be $80,000 a year).

Nursing homes usually are an extension of a hospital stay.  Find the costs of nursing homes nationwide along with their ratings in Caregiverlist's nursing home directory.

Supportive living communities are available in some areas of the country such as Illinois. Usually there is a financial requirement to qualify and a senior must still be active when they move in.  You can learn about customized senior living programs that have been developed in your area through your Area Agency on Aging, and you can find their contact information for each state nationwide in Caregiverlist's "by-state" directory.

 

 

 

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