Recession Provides Assisted Living Discounts

Today's Chicago Tribune features an interview with Caregiverlist's Senior Living Expert, Lisa Sneddon, discussing how the current economic downturn has resulted in new pricing values at Assisted Living Communities.  Since many seniors cannot sell their homes, their retirement plans to downsize and relocate to an Assisted Living Community have been derailed. 

However, there are now new options available for relocating to a senior community, from bridge loans until the senior's house is sold to waived move-in fees from the senior community. 

Lisa's service is paid for by the Assisted Living Communities as she will provide unbiased information to seniors and their families to give them the scoop on services and amenities at communities beyond just the costs - you know, if you are going to move in to a new community, it is the same as buying a house, you want to know a little about the neighbors and the community activities.  And, it is important to consider the care services that will be available as you age - from dementia care to nursing care.  Lisa will take the senior on a tour and will answer all the questions you might have been afraid to ask if you were shopping on your own.  She helps make sure the move-in will be a success and permanent.

Check out the Chicago Tribune story here.

 

 

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Nursing Home Inspections and Nursing Home Violations

The government has been advertising the Medicare.gov website to let seniors know the nursing home inspection reports are available online (they also allow other websites to download this information and Caregiverlist also provides it).  I have been hearing the ads on NPR and elsewhere.

The nursing home inspection reports are a nice starting point  for seniors and their family members when evaluating a nursing facility for a short or long-term nursing stay.  But it is important to realize that these nursing home inspections are only performed once every 15 months.  Ask any Certified Nursing Aide who has worked at a nursing home (working at a hospital or nursing home is required as part of their certification training) and they will tell you that most nursing homes have an alert "code" that goes out when the nursing home inspectors walk in the door - - - it could be just announcing on the P.A. that "Minerva is on line 1".  This means everyone is on their best behavior.  It reminds me of elementary school when parents sat in on the classroom - even the bullies were nice to everyone on those days, including the teacher.

In addition to the inspections only being made every 15 months,  the nursing home violations are not included in the inspection report, and, actually, this is the information you really need to know when evaluating a nursing facility. 

If you really want to make sure you are going to be moving a senior into a quality nursing home, the best way to find out the quality of the care is to find out the number of nursing aides on staff per number of beds and to talk to the staff.  In addition, find out the monthly nursing home violation report in your state.  As you'll see from the June, 2008, violations in Illinois, many of the violations most likely happen because there just aren't enough caregivers to manage problem residents and to assist with bed sore management.

This is why more seniors are opting for care in the home by a one-on-one caregiver.  Senior Home Care Agencies provide in-home care for a cost of between $16 - $28 per hour, depending on what part of the country you live in, and this fee provides for all the payroll taxes, insurance protection and active management of the caregiver.

Nursing Home Violations For The Month Of June 2008

SPRINGFIELD, Ill – The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced the following type “A” violations of the Nursing Home Care Act were cited during the month of June. An “A” violation, which is the most serious licensure violation imposed by the state, pertains to a condition in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result.

The statement of violation for each facility can be obtained by clicking on the facility's name.

Alden Alma Nelson Manor, a 268-bed skilled facility located at 550 S. Mulford Avenue, Rockford, has been fined $32,500 and notified of license revocation for failure to prevent and protect residents from abuse. Three residents were physically attacked by another resident. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status was held February 26 and settlement negotiations are underway.

All American Nursing Home, a 144-bed skilled and intermediate care facility located at 5448 N. Broadway Street, Chicago, has been fined for failure to maintain a sanitary kitchen and ensure proper food handling to prevent hazardous food borne illnesses. Kitchen staff was observed preparing food without washing hands or using gloves. The facility requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A hearing was held and the facility paid $1,200.

Allen Court, a 16-bed intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled located 1650 E. Main Street, Clinton, has been fined $20,000 for failure to implement its own policies to prevent neglect of a resident. Staff failed to provide a thorough assessment of the resident’s symptoms and did not provide immediate medical attention after a fall. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case was held February 25.

Belhaven Nursing & Rehab Center, a 221-bed skilled care facility located at 11401 S. Oakley Avenue, Chicago, has been fined $30,000 for failure to provide necessary care and services to residents to prevent pressure sores and treat new sores. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case is April 16.

Blue Island Nursing Home, a 30-bed intermediate care facilities located at 2427 West 127th Street, Blue Island, has been fined $15,000 for failure to adequately supervise residents and monitor a resident’s consumption of alcohol and prevent the resident from physically abusing two other residents and a staff member. The facility requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case was held February 26 and settlement negotiations are underway.

Brother James Court, a 99-bed intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled located at 52508 St. James Road, Springfield, has been fined $10,000 for failure to implement facility policy and procedure on Abuse and Neglect. The facility also failed to recognize the need for additional supervision of a resident after a sexual incident between two residents. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case is March 31.

Cardinal Hill Healthcare, 90-bed skilled care facility located at 400 E. Hillview Avenue, Greenville, has been fined $55,000 for failure to provide adequate supervision to prevent a resident from choking which resulted in death. A resident took another resident’s sandwich without staff knowledge; was later found without vital signs and pronounced dead. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case is March 31.

East Peoria Gardens Healthcare Center, a 103-bed skilled and intermediate care facility located at 1920 Springfield Road, East Peoria, has been fined for failure to provide necessary care and services to maintain health. In the case of 4 residents, the facility did not (1) perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), (2) provide adequate supervision, and (3) monitor worsening medical condition. As a result, 3 residents died and a fourth suffered gangrene to a toe. The facility requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A hearing was held and the facility paid $32,500.

Mosaic Living Center, a 150-bed long term care facility for residents under the age of 22 located at 7464 N. Sheridan Road., Chicago, has been fined $10,000 failure to provide nursing care in accordance with a residents needs. Due to the facility’s failure to properly monitor a resident with a history of removing a feeding tube, the resident lost almost 30 pounds. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status conference was held February 8 and settlement negotiations are underway.

Moweaqua Nursing & Retirement Center, a 70-bed skilled care facility located at Maple and Macon Streets, Moweaqua, has been fined $50,000 for failure to supervise a resident at high risk for falls. The facility did not assess nor make changes to the plan of care for the resident, after repeated falls. As a result, the resident fell and died after suffering facial fractures and head injuries. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case was held February 25.

Parents and Friends of the Specialized Living Center, a 100-bed intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled located at 1450 Caseyville Avenue, Swansea, has been fined $20,000 for failure to implement a diet order for a resident at risk for choking. The facility did not monitor the resident who had received the wrong texture and consistency of food. The resident was hospitalized after choking. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case was held February 25.

Regal Health & Rehab Center, a 143-bed skilled and intermediate care facility located at 9525 S. Mayfield, Oak Lawn, has been fined $25,000 for failure to adequately supervise four residents identified as unsafe smokers. Three of the four residents require continuous oxygen therapy. The lack of supervision resulted in one resident suffering burns to his face. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case is March 5.

St. Anthony’s Nursing & Rehab Center, a 120-bed skilled and intermediate care facility located at 767 30th Street, Rock Island, has been fined for failure to develop and implement a plan to address a resident’s sexual behavior toward other residents. The facility also failed to implement effective interventions to monitor the resident responsible for sexually abusing two other residents. The facility requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A hearing was held and the facility paid $12,000.

Timbercreek Rehab & Health Care Center, a 202-bed skilled care facility located at 2220 State Street, Pekin, has been fined $20,000 for allowing two Certified Nursing Assistants with findings of abuse on the Health Care Worker Registry to work at the facility. The facility also failed to protect residents from abuse by one of the CNAs, who was later found to have broken the wrist of a resident. Both were terminated. The facility has requested a hearing on the Department’s action. A status in the case is March 3.

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NFL Begins to Help Former Players with Dementia

Frank DeFord reported on NPR this past week that former Baltimore Colts football star, John Mackey, suffers from dementia.  And, due to efforts by John Mackey's wife and other players and their wives, the NFL and the player's union have started the "88 Plan" (named after Mackey's old football number).  The 88 Plan assists players with dementia.

The NFL does not admit that perhaps head injuries in football and the helmuts that were worn back in the early days of the game, which were not as protective as today's helmuts, contributed to player's experiencing dementia, but at least they are willing to help now.

The NFL has also developed a comprehensive study of brain damage and dementia in players and the results will be revealed in 2010.

John Mackey's wife, Sylvia, also went back to work as a flight attendante when she was 56 to help make ends meet while caring for John, and to get the benefit of health insurance.  Finally, she had to place John in a nursing home to provide for his care.  Caregivers have even more challenges when caring for a physically large person, and former football players fit into this category.  And, when dementia starts when someone is younger, the challenge of financially providing for care is also presented as often they continue to be healthy physically.

The "88 Plan" has now been written into the NFL's labor agreement and provides up to $88,000 a year for nursing care or day care for ex-players with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or $50,000 for home care.  This will help both former football players who suffer dementia as part of aging and those who are not yet elderly.

Let's hope the NFL's move to provide for their employees who develop dementia will also spread to other industries to prevent financial devastation to families when memory loss develops - and remember that long-term care insurance, which can be purchased privately, also helps pay for these care costs.

And, cheers to Sylvia Mackey for successfully advocating for change in NFL benefits.

 

 

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Longevity Secrets (or, How to Age Well)

Explorer and writer Dan Buettner has written a book called The Blue Zones which profiles the areas of the world where the most people have lived the longest - and lived those years with happiness and vitality.

More seniors have reached 100 years of age in these “blue zones”, which include towns in Italy, California and Costa Rica.  The book brings to light their lifestyles that seem to suggest why they are living longer.

The website also offers a Vitality Compass so you can find out how well you are doing with healthy aging right now.  This provides a great tool for both seniors and their caregivers.

Included in The Blue Zones top-10 list for healthy aging are growing a garden, eating nuts, drinking Sardinian wine (has the world’s highest levels of antioxidants), meditating and having a personal mission.

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President-Elect Obama's Positions on Health Care Reform

As seniors analyze their Medicare options before the end of the year, it may also be a good time to learn more about
President-Elect Obama's positions on health care reform.  During the 2008 Presidential campaign, President-Elect Barack Obama announced a comprehensive health care reform proposal and laid out his positions on a number of other key health care issues.
Budget cuts will be necessary with the government's need to budget for the necessary economic booster programs and financial bailouts.  At the same time, President-Elect Obama's team has said they will be eliminating some of the government fat and favors implemented for special interest groups.  Many critics of the Medicare drug program have indicated that the prescription plans were somewhat out of whack because of the drug company's involvement through lobbying efforts (and when you try to understand why anyone would create a program with a "donut hole" as a term needed to explain coverage when a senior is left out of the prescription plan for a window of time, a red flag seems to go up that perhaps seniors best interests were not the only driver of this Medicare program).
Right now, Medicaid pays for long-term care in a nursing home, but not in the home (except in a few small population states which have recently developed home care programs).  Medicare only pays for caregiving in a nursing home and not in the home, yet statistics show most seniors prefer to stay in their homes for long-term care.  And, with the cost of nursing home care being from $150 - $350 per day, and home care costing from $18 - $25 an hour and providing one-on-one care from a caregiver, it may be time to look at how the government is allocating the funds for senior care.

The Kaiser Family Foundation prepared two reports to summarize President-Elect Obama's campaign health care policies and positions. They are based on information compiled from Obama's campaign Web site, speeches, campaign debates and news reports.  Check it out and let your voice be heard.

 

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Medicare Coverage Plans

Until December 31st, Medicare-eligible beneficiaries have the opportunity to manage costs by signing up or switching their current coverage in Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans.  During this time, Medicare beneficiaries may either enroll in or switch plans.

Remind your senior relatives to review thier "Annual Notice of Change" advising them about upcoming company-mandated changes to existing plans. 

Educate yourself, too.  There are 4 parts of Medicare.

Part A:  Includes hospital coverage

Part B:  Provides coverage for doctor's visits

Part C:  Medicare Advantage plan which means Medicare pays a private insurance company to provide and administer your Medicare and your plans' benefit

Part D:  Prescription drug coverage

And, remember, Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care, just short stays in a nursing home for rehabilitation.  Long-term care insurance is one solution for care needs, along with private pay.

 

 

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Considering Caregiving Needs at Holidays

As you gather with your family for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, remember to take time to really talk with the seniors in your family and notice if there are any changes they are experiencing as they age, and think about what you can assist them with to age well.  Remember, some age-related illnesses, if caught and treated early, can be given the proper medical attention in order to slow progression.  Take the time to think about any care needs your senior relative may need as their health conditions change.

It is sometimes easier for those who do not see their parents and grandparents often to notice changes than for those who have daily interactions with them.  Take the time to notice hearing, vision and overall appearance.  Are your elder relatives keeping up with their home maintenance as well as their own appearance?  Are they taking their medications at a regular time each day?  Are they incorporating physical exercise into their daily routine?  Are they maintaining social activities?

Healthy aging requires maintaining physcial and mental exercise and socialization, along with eating a nutritious diet.  Many seniors will find it necessary to change their lifestyle some to make sure they are keeping up with both health needs and social needs as they age.  And, sometimes, it is necessary to involve a family member or caregiving service to assist with care needs, at least part-time, as abilities change.

If you live far away from senior family members, take the time to investigate senior care options in their town when you are visiting.  Find out what quality Senior Home Care Agencies are in their area and learn about senior service programs.  Obtain names and numbers so you will be able to contact someone to assist if the need should arise.

 

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Planning for a 30-Year + Retirement

As the financial markets fall, many retirees are very concerned as they watch the value of their investments fall by 25% or more.  In addtion to investments in the stock market, many maintain the bulk of their assets in home ownership and have watched real estate values decline as well.  While Social Security benefits provide some support, they do not allow a senior to enjoy the same income they did prior to retirement.

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy in the United States is at a record high of 77.8 years and will continue to increase.  As a country of wealth and knowledge, we know how to stay alive longer, although we may not always remain in optimal health for all of these years.

Remember as you plan for retirement to keep in mind you most likely will need resources for at least another 30 years after you retire.  Outline your investments, and your plan for healthy living accordingly.  And remember, if you were to run out of money completely and need support for long-term care, the U.S. does offer Medicaid as a benefit for very low-income seniors.  Medicaid does provide for long-term care in a nursing home and in the home, too, in a handful of states.

 

 

 

 

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Longevity: Study Shows it Runs in Familes

A new study indicates that if your parents lived to be 100, chances are, you will too.  The November issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society reports the study results showing senior centenarian offspring retain important cardiovascular advantages from their parents compared to a similarly-aged group.

The findings show that the children of centenarian seniors have a 78 percent lower risk for heart attacks, 83 percent lower likelihood of stroke and an 86 percent lower risk of developing diabetes mellitus.

Additionally, the study found that children of centenarians who were followed in the study were 81 percent less likely to die than the reference group of similarly-aged patients during the follow-up period.

The survival rate is evidence that longevity runs in families, and the results reinforce the notion that there may be physiological and genetic reasons that longevity runs in families.  The authors claim the study is the first to assess the health of centenarian offspring over time and could be important for future research, as the subjects may be used as a model of healthy aging.

Aging well should be the goal for all who will live a long life.  Reserach shows that proper diet, exercise and socializaton are the keys to healthy aging, and ,according to this study, good genes are a plus!  Off to the gym.....(My Grandmothers lived to be 100 and 101 and Mom and Dad are still going strong).

 

The Slowing Economy Impacts Assisted Living

Many seniors who were planning on selling their homes or condos to move to an Assisted Living Community are now finding they must stay at home a little longer.  As home sales have slowed dramatically, these seniors are unalbe to sell their homes.  Yesterday's New York Times story interviews a few different seniors who have received a refund of their down payment back from a retirement community as their homes simply are not selling.

The slowing economy is impacting all of us but for seniors who may need more care, selling their home to move is much more a need than a want.

Alternatives to moving include hiring a Senior Home Care Agency to assist with care part-time.  And, if a senior is a veteran, they may qualify for the Veteran's Aid and Attendance benefit which will pay for a caregiver to assist the senior in the home part-time.  We provide information on qualifying for this benefit along with the Veteran's Aid and Attendance application on Caregiverlist.

The good news is, with occupancy down at many Assisted Living Communities, they are more willing to negotiate pricing - just remember to ask.  You may also want to track the stock of some of the Assisted Living Communities to learn more about the corporations and their financial health.

Some of the Assisted Living Corporations and their stock symbols are:

Sunrise Assisted Living SRZ

Assisted Living Concepts ALC

Brookdale Senior Living BKD

Emeritus Corporation ESC

 

 

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