Early Alzheimer's Diagnosis Beneficial for Patients, Caregivers

Early Alzheimer's disease detection and diagnosis is the theme of this years’ “Let’s Face It” campaign waged by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Canada and internationally, Alzheimer’s organizations are urging people to diagnose early.

Although diagnosis in an early or asymptomatic stage is a challenge, researchers are looking at biomarkers to diagnose early, before the disease has a chance to affect the brain. And while there is still no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, experts assert that early detection is helpful in many ways.
  • Helps reduce anxiety on the part of the affected person and his or her family about the cause of symptoms
  • Allows for the person with the disease to partake in planning for the future
  • Allows physicians and caregivers to be aware of patients who may have difficulty managing their own health care, such as when and how to take other prescription medications
  • Allows potential management of symptoms with medication or other interventions that maintain the best possible level of health and functioning for the person with the disease
  • Allows for coordination of primary and specialty care which may help prevent prescription of medications for coexisting conditions that worsen cognitive function
  • Aids the management of possible behavioral symptoms for the benefit of both the person with the disease and their caregiver
  • Allows caregivers and family members to access training, education and support services to help them with caregiver tasks and reduce negative effects of caregiving, such as stress and depression
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the following are 10 signs & symptoms of early Alzheimer’s and may signal the need to seek medical attention:
  1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationship
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.
Of course, skeptics question the value of early detection and wonder if it is just an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to target a new group of customers. Also, they raise concern about the stigma associated with the disease. However, because of other chronic medical conditions associated with the disease such as diabetes and vascular disorders (hypertension), many physicians urge screening and tout the many benefits of early detection.

Early detection also affords the ability to put one’s financial house in order. It would be prudent to understand the ways to pay for senior care if you are facing many years of care as a result of living with memory loss.

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Senior Communities Emerge on University Campuses

Not content with the retirement lifestyle of their parents’ generation, aging baby boomers are finding a viable alternative lifestyle on a variety of college campuses. Seniors are taking college courses, attending campus cultural and sports events, making use of college fitness facilities and university health services and enjoying inter-generational social interaction by going back to school in their retirement years.

Campus Continuum works with developers and universities in constructing mutually-advantageous university-branded communities, on or near college campuses. The mission is to help provide residences that foster life-long learning.

While most of these campus communities are categorized as Independent Living for active seniors, some, like Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame, offer Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing as well.

Two miles from Duke University in North Carolina lies The Forest at Duke, a continuing care retirement community. Their website describes the synergy between Duke and The Forest: “Cutting edge health care and the strong and diverse cultural arts and educational opportunities so close to us have profoundly shaped The Forest's culture.”

University Commons of Ann Arbor , a 92-unit condominium community near the University of Michigan campus, was founded by faculty members and built on land made available by the University.

Research shows that “healthy aging” has many components, but certainly keeping mentally active and enriched provides positive health benefits. This relatively new senior residence model is perfect for the baby-boomer generation who, as they age, still retain their intellectual curiosity, wish to pursue new interests or revisit forgotten avocations.

If you have questions regarding assisted living options, feel free to drop a line to Caregiverlist’s Assisted Living Expert, Lisa Sneddon.

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Siblings Caring for Aging Parents

When my mother brought my brother home from the hospital for the first time, she joked that she had had another child so I wouldn’t be alone in taking care of her in her "old age". Now that she needs the assistance, I am grateful for a sibling who shares the responsibility of caring for our elderly mother.

Not all families are so lucky. Simple geography might determine which sibling is best able to provide face-time with the senior parent. Long-time family dynamics can be challenging when siblings revert to old childhood roles. Some may find the stress of juggling work, raising children or caring for spouses limits their ability to help with parental support, so the family member with the fewest perceived obligations winds up providing the lion’s share of care. Some siblings may feel they are doing too much while others feel they do too little.

Feelings of frustration, anger, guilt and resentment do nothing to help with caring for an elderly parent.

In her book and her blog, They’re Your Parents, Too!, author Francine Russo explores and helps navigate the oftentimes tumultuous landscape of sibling tensions when dealing with eldercare. She covers topics ranging from acknowledging and accepting your parents’ aging, family decision-making and sustaining the family connection into the future.

Ms. Russo recently appeared in a video segment on the ABC News Special Series on Eldercare with Diane Sawyer. In it, she acknowledges that “the (families) who got along best accepted that they all had different relationships (with their parents), but they were in it together.”

And when the family caregiver needs a break, consider utilizing the services of a quality senior home care agency for respite eldercare.


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Planning For Retirement - Will Your Golden Years Be Golden?

Guest Blog Post by Baby Boomers Planning for Retirement

Time passes quickly by, and the day of your retirement is drawing near. Will you be prepared or will you still be thinking about planning for retirement? 

"According to Scottrade's fifth annual American Retirement Survey, 60 percent of Gen Y-ers saved nothing toward retirement last year and 40 percent plan to save nothing in 2011." Is this your situation? Not planning for retirement, is a recipe for disaster. You cannot count on Social Security providing for all your needs in your golden years. It was never intended that Social Security would be a retirement pension. It was designed to be a supplement to your savings.

Like a three legged stool, if one leg is missing, you do not have a stable seat. Savings is one very important leg of your retirement planning stool. The sooner you begin saving a minimum of 10% of your annual income, the larger your retirement income will be.

Time, saving money, and the power of compounding of interest will work miracles for your retirement years.

Consider this scenario. Who do you think would have more money saved for retirement? Person A saves a mere 5% of his gross salary of $40,000, or $2,000 for forty years and invests it for a return on investment of 10% annually. Or, person B who gets a late start and saves $5,500 annually for twenty years also at 10% R.O.I.? 

Person A would save and earn a grand total of $885,185.11. Person B would only accumulate $315,012.50 before taxes. Had Person A saved and invested a full 10% of his salary, he would have accumulated a grand total of $1,770,370.22! 

When planning for retirement, the sooner you start and consistently contribute to your savings and investment plan, the better off you will be in your retirement years. 

If you have a 401(K) Plan where you work, you should take full advantage of this plan. Often employers will also contribute a portion based on your contribution. This is an additional boost to your savings. 

If you do not have an employer 401(K) plan, you must start either a standard IRA or a Roth IRA. Your savings will grow tax free under the Roth IRA plan under current rules. 

In November 2008, there were articles that appeared that Democrats in the House of Representatives were conducting hearings on the proposals to confiscate all IRAs and 401(K)s. These accounts would be converted to accounts administered by the Social Security Administration. 

In light of the debt crisis, this Draconian measure cannot be ruled out by a cash strapped government. The wise investor will not put all of their investment eggs in one basket or account type. You might consider hiring an asset protection attorney to protect your IRA from government confiscation. 

Planning for retirement begins with a savings plan. All good investors are good savers. You should learn how to invest. Stansberry & Associates Investment Research offers excellent newsletters that will teach you the essentials of wise investing. I have found them to be a great asset. 

Once you have an investment plan in place, I would also recommend that you plan for your health issues for your latter years. Most people will need some assistance in their last years. One way to pay for assisted living care or a nursing home, is to purchase a Long Term Care insurance policy that covers these expenses. 

The average number of years a man needs assisted living is two years. A woman needs a minimum of three years. Remember, that is just an average. Some residents with dementia have been committed for as long as ten years. 

Planning for retirement early will help you have a comfortable and financially secured retirement under normal conditions. 

For more articles on Planning for Retirement consult www.Baby-Boomers-Planning-For-Retirement.com.

And to get an idea of your area's nursing home costs, take a look at  Caregiverlist's Nursing Home Star-Ratings and Costs.

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Medicaid Redesign in New York

Guest Blog Post By David A. Cutner, Esq.

Last January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed a Medicaid Redesign Team and tasked it with reversing a decades-long crisis of overspending and waste in our Medicaid system. The Redesign Team made a variety of proposals, a couple of which would have been devastating to the elderly and their spouses, and to disabled children and their parents.

Fortunately, two of the most problematical proposals were not included in the State budget that was approved on March 30th, but there are some changes in the law that are significant for Medicaid planning.

Probably the most controversial proposal from the Redesign Team was to use the 5-year penalty period in connection with applications for community-based benefits, including Medicaid home care. Since February 2006, as required by Federal law, New York has applied the 5-year look back to Medicaid nursing home applications, and has penalized uncompensated transfers.

The purpose of the 5-year look back is to determine whether the Medicaid applicant has transferred assets that could have been used to pay for care. The penalty calculation involves dividing the amount or value of the transferred assets by the monthly regional rate of nursing home care, yielding a period of time in months during which the applicant is ineligible to receive benefits. For example, a $100,000 transfer divided by the current New York City regional rate of $10,579 yields a 9.5 month Medicaid penalty.

While superficially it might seem logical to apply the look back and penalty to community-based Medicaid, any attempt to do so would be extremely difficult to implement, and very detrimental to patient care in many cases. This is because home care patients have widely-varying needs, and Medicaid does not cover any living expenses. Happily, the Redesign Team's proposal was omitted from the budget.

Many people are unaware that, in New York, there is no look back or penalty for transferring assets when applying for Medicaid home care. This remains the law.

The other highly controversial proposal from the Redesign Team was the elimination of spousal refusal and parental refusal. By eliminating spousal refusal, many applicants would have been ineligible for Medicaid benefits until the couple had spent down virtually all of their savings (including the individual assets of the well spouse) and had contributed a substantial share of both spouses income. Similarly, parents would have been required to spend down all of their savings before their disabled child became eligible for benefits.

Fortunately, this proposal was not accepted either. Spouses and parents need not be forced into poverty in order to secure care for their loved ones. (However, they remain subject to claims by Medicaid for contribution if their resources or income exceed certain limits).

One of the Redesign Team's proposals that was enacted is a revised and expanded definition of an individual's estate for Medicaid purposes. The expanded definition is obviously aimed at giving Medicaid the ability to recover greater amounts from the estates of Medicaid recipients. The expanded definition includes interests that have traditionally never been a part of the probate estate of a deceased person. These include retained life estates, jointly held property, and interests in trusts.

The expanded definition is problematical in certain respects, and at odds with legal precedent. For example, a life estate is extinguished upon death, and the holder of the remainder interest automatically becomes the 100% owner. Similarly, if property is jointly owned with right of survivorship, the survivor automatically becomes the 100% owner. It will be interesting to see how the courts decide Medicaid's estate recovery claims when they collide with these long-established rules.

Until the courts provide clarity regarding the application of Medicaid's expanded definition of estate, Elder Law practitioners will want to carefully consider their use and choice of trusts in Medicaid planning. While grantor, income only, trusts have been extensively used in the past, it may be prudent to consider substituting a family trust where the grantor retains no rights in the trust whatsoever.

Budgetary constraints at the Federal and State levels are going to put continuing pressures on Medicaid benefits, making it increasingly important for seniors and their families to seek advice from an Elder Law attorney and plan ahead.  Understand the costs for senior care and plan for your care before you need it.

Contributed by New York Elder Law Attorney, David A. Cutner. www.lamson-cutner.com

Remember, Medicaid rules and benefits change by state. Learn about your particular state services.

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Financial Steps for Caregivers

Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement provides caregivers with financial planning steps to organize budgets to be able to manage the costs of caregiving.  The institute works to improve the long-term financial security of all women through education and advocacy.

As the majority of senior caregivers are women, we are providing their Financial Steps for Caregivers:

  • Create a Household Budget
  • Considerations when Leaving a Job or Working Part-time
  • Discussing with Your Family the Impact of Being a Family Caregiver
  • Check to See if Saving Enough for a Secure Retirement for Yourself
  • Finding Extra Help for Older Adults
  • Understanding Financial Terms
  • Government and Non-Profit Resources
You may learn more at the Wiser Women's Institute website.  It is always a good idea to begin planning ahead before care services are needed.  You can learn about the costs and ratings of nursing homes in your area and find "by state" services on Caregiverlist.


What is the Veteran's Caregiving Benefit?

The current administration is lobbying for better benefits for our veterans - especially with more and more servicemen surviving injuries in Iraq, while living with the loss of limbs and with ongoing needs for medical assistance and caregiving.  It seems the least we can do for these servicemen is provide for their care needs when they return home.  I know I am grateful I live in a country where, as a woman, I can wear what I want, and earn a living and grateful for the servicemen who protect us and provide for our freedoms.....I wish we could air-drop bikinis to the women in Afghanistan....but back to caregiving for the American veterans.

A question we are frequently asked is what benefits are available for retired veterans.  Here is the answer:

Veteran's of qualifying foreign wars do qualify for in-home senior caregiving services, with preapproval from a doctor and the proper documents submitted (doctors at a Veteran's hospital are your best bet for assisting with quick approval or you can also secure this benefit quickly upon discharge from a hospital with the assistance of the hospital social worker).

The veteran and their spouse, with financial assets of $80,000 or less (excluding home and cars) qualify for caregiving services in these amounts:

  • Up to $1,519 per month for a Veteran
  • Up to $976 per month for a Veteran's Spouse, even if the Veteran is deceased
  • Up to $1,801 per month for a Couple

    Any licensed senior home care agency that hires caregivers as employees and provides for all of their payroll taxes and insurances will qualify to provide for the care. 

    You may learn more about the Veteran's benefit, along with the forms to file, on this page of Caregiverlist.

     

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  • Health Care Reform Policy Debate Affects Seniors

    Health care reform policy debate affects seniors
    Summary: The health care policy options under debate could reduce costs and dramatically improve quality of long-term health care for seniors.
     
    On Wednesday, Members of the Senate Finance Committee will debate health care policy options aimed at making the health care delivery system more effective and efficient. Many of the proposed options have a high potential to benefit the long-term care of seniors.
     
    The policy options, released by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucaus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), would create incentives for health care providers to focus on high quality care and to closely coordinate with a patient’s other doctors and providers. This is important for seniors who seek care from multiple doctors and risk doubling up on prescriptions that could have harmful interactions.
     
    The proposed health care policy revisions, which will be debated in a closed-door hearing, also target changes in how private insurance companies bill Medicare patients, and are intended to reduce fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicare system.
     
    The following details, as released by the Senate Finance Committee, reveal aspects of the health care policy options that would have a dramatic impact on seniors who receive continued care for chronic illness:
     
    Promoting Quality Care: Medicare currently reimburses health care providers on the basis of the volume of care they provide. For every test, scan, or procedure conducted, providers
    receive payment – regardless of whether the treatment contributes to helping a patient recover. Medicare must move to a system that reimburses health care providers based on the quality of care they provide. The policy options would shift Medicare from volumebased purchasing to valuebased purchasing. Under valuebased purchasing, Medicare would provide new payment incentives for care that contributes to positive patient outcomes. The policy options would establish a valuebased purchasing program for hospitals starting in fiscal 2012, direct CMS to develop plans to establish valuebased purchasing programs for home health and skilled nursing facility providers by 2012, strengthen and expand programs that will eventually lead to valuebased purchasing for doctors, reduce inappropriate ordering of imaging services like CT scans and MRIs, and start inpatient rehabilitation and longterm care hospital providers on a path toward valuebased purchasing program.
     
    Promoting Primary Care: Primary care doctors are vital to reducing costs and improving quality in the health care system. Primary care doctors provide preventive care, help patients
    make informed medical decisions, serve a critical care management role and help coordinate with other doctors. Despite their critical function, primary care doctors receive significantly
    lower Medicare payments than other doctors, which has led to a shortage of primary care doctors. To encourage more primary care doctors to be part of the system, the policy options would provide primary care practitioners and targeted general surgeons with a Medicare payment bonus of at least five percent for five years, and provide Medicare payment to primary care practices that provide specific transitional care services for beneficiaries with high costs, chronic illnesses.
     
    Fostering Care Coordination and Provider Collaboration: Today, many doctors want to spend more time working together, but report that current payment systems often discourage care coordination. When providers in different settings, like doctor’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities work together, patients can get well sooner and costs in the
    system are lower.
     
    Chronic Care Management:To encourage chronic care management, the policy options will foster innovation by allowing broadscale Medicare pilot programs of patientcentered care
    coordination models for the chronically ill that improve quality and reduce spending, and allow preliminary rapidcycle Medicare testing of evidencebased care management and coordination models across various settings to determine best models for success.
     
    Provider Collaboration:To encourage hospitals and other health care providers to work together, the policy options will provide Medicare payment incentives to hospitals that reduce
    preventable hospital readmissions, and provide a single bundled Medicare payment for acute and postacute episodes of care.
     
    Payment for Accountable Care:To incentivize providers to improve patient care and reduce costs by offering patients access to care at a wide range of health care providers and settings, the policy options would address the impending cuts to physician reimbursement rates, allow highquality providers to share in savings they achieve to the Medicare program through increased collaboration, and expand Medicare participation in communitylevel health care delivery system reforms.
     
    Quality Measure Development: The policy options will focus on quality measure development by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to partner with stakeholders to
    develop a national quality improvement plan and encouraging development of next generation quality measures that are aligned with delivery system reform goals like, for example, measuring
    care coordination for chronically ill.
     
    Health Care Workforce: Ensuring America’s health care system has a sufficient supply of health care professionals to meet the demands of a changing and aging population is essential to
    maintaining focus on highquality, cost efficient care. To strengthen the health care workforce, the policy options would increase graduate medical education training positions for
    primary care and implement other immediate modernizations to the Medicare GME program, and develop a proposal that requires Health and Human Services to work with external
    stakeholders to develop and implement a national workforce strategy, in conjunction with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
     
    Medicare Advantage: Private insurers that participate in Medicare should bring value to the program and to beneficiaries. Health care reform should ensure payments to private insurers in the Medicare Advantage program bring high quality, efficient plans into the Medicare program. The policy options would use current measures to pay plans for quality improvement, change statutory benchmarks or set benchmarks based on competitive plan bids, provide a bonus payment to Medicare Advantage plans that use evidencebased programs to manage care of the chronically ill, and allow plans to continue to offer extra benefits, but reducing wide variation among plans.
     
    Combating Fraud, Waste and Abuse: Reducing fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare will reduce costs and improve quality throughout the system. The Medicare improper payment rate
    for 2008 was 3.6 percent, or $10.4 billion, and the National Health Care AntiFraud Association estimates that fraud amounts to at least three percent of total health care spending, or more
    than $60 billion per year. The policy options combat fraud, waste and abuse by enhancing the review of health care providers prior to granting billing privileges, leveraging technology to
    better evaluate claims, educating providers to promote compliance with program requirements, monitoring programs more vigilantly, and penalizing fraudulent activity swiftly and sufficiently.
     
    Caregiverlist provides a helpful breakdown for individuals trying to better understand what Medicare covers.
     
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    Use Spring Cleaning for Senior Care Needs Check

    Do you think your parent or grandparent may be at a point where they need caregiving services to help them better navigate their daily living as they deal with the challenges of medical illnesses or memory loss?  Are you noticing they are not keeping up with some of their household maintenance or staying active in their interests?  And do you know where they would like to be cared for should an emergency arise - in their home by a Senior Home Care Agency or in a nursing community?

    It can be difficult to start the conversation about senior care needs with a loved one.  Holidays are often the only time relatives are able to spend lengthy time with their older family members yet they are not necessarily the best time to have these conversations about life changes since holidays are often already stressful times for seniors as they are reminded of lost loved ones and the realities of growing older.

    Taking the time for a spring cleaning visit can provide an opportunity to participate in a needed activity with your senior relatives while also checking up on their care needs. Parents usually are accepting of this as you are assisting with a needed task. And, while performing spring cleaning, you will have a closer look into their daily living habits to see if there are any additional care needs or medical conditions that should be checked to assist your senior loved ones to enjoy healthy aging.

    Catching a senior's medical and care needs early will assist in slowing the progression of some age-related illnesses and assist in maintaining a safe environment for the senior as they age. Seniors often will not share signs of age-related illnesses because of their fears associated with dealing with the new medical conditions and other times they simply do not notice the changes because they develop slowly. Spring cleaning offers the perfect opportunity to interact with a senior and to do a health check-up on their activities of daily living.

    Here are some senior spring cleaning tips and ways to incorporate checking on potential age-related diseases and conditions such as hearing loss, vision loss, weight gain, arthritis and forgetfulness as you are assisting your senior loved one with their spring cleaning.

    • Closets: Reorganize and assist with storing the out-of-season clothing and discarding the out-of-style clothing. Take a look to make sure clothing is being kept clean and well maintained.   Alert: Seniors developing vision loss, such as Macular Degeneration or memory loss, such as Alzheimer's Disease may begin to wear the same clothing over and over again and not keep up with laundry regularly.
    • Bathroom: Clean and organize the bathroom medicine cabinet and discard old or unused items. Check to see if the shower or bathtub is being used regularly and if anything is in need of repair. Check medicine cabinet and toss or remove any medications which are no longer prescribed.   Alert: Are non-skid rugs in place? Are there any new medicines or care products which would indicate new medical conditions you may not be aware of? Is it time for a grab-bar or raised toilet seat for safety? Bathrooms offer easy opportunities for falls for seniors with mobility issues which may be caused by age-related medical conditions or side-effects of medications.
    • Kitchen: Clean out the refrigerator. Are there any buried treasures with expiration dates long passed? Does it look like they are eating a nutritious diet?  Check all appliances to make sure they are functioning properly and that there have been no equipment damages due to misuse. Alert: Eating regular meals is important for good health at all ages. Consider what health conditions or medications may require special dietary needs. Check for sodium levels in prepared foods. Discuss the daily meal plans to see if additional kitchen tools might make meal preparation easier or if the senior needs help in diversifying their menu.
    • Living Room: Remove and clean curtains, vacuum and shampoo the carpet and dust and clean furniture. Are there any rugs or mats which could lend to tripping or falling more easily? Does the furniture need to be re-arranged for easier use?  Alert: Check to see if it looks like a daily routine is being maintained and notice if reading or television watching have decreased which could be signs of vision or hearing loss.
    • Bedroom: Change bed linens and check to see if bedding has been changed regularly and if they have been sleeping in the bed. Do they need new bed linens or is it time to discuss a new mattress to assist with more comfortable sleep? Alert: Seniors will sometimes begin to sleep in an easy chair or sofa instead of their bed due to a variety of conditions from depression to new physical conditions such as back, neck or leg pain or because they are becoming confused about time of day.
    • Driving: If the senior is still driving, take a ride with them to the grocery store or to run an errand to make sure they are driving safely. Check the car and garage to make sure there are no dents or damages from inappropriate driving.  Alert: Seniors who inappropriately drive risk their lives and the lives of others on the road. Learn about the senior driving laws in each state and how to find assistance if it is time to take the keys away. Office: Confirm the names and contact information for all the medical doctors and their pharmacy. Update list of medical conditions and medications. Confirm Power of Attorney for financial matters and for healthcare.

    While engaged in spring cleaning, you can find a time to talk about the long-term plans for senior care by discussing what otehrs are doing and finding out their current plans for care should the need arise.  Confirm what their plan for senior care needs would be and their retirement care budget so you can be prepared in case of an emergency. Discuss long-term care insurance policy options and the financial capacity to pay for private care, as Medicare does not provide for long-term care. Usually seniors will agree to have you help with their spring cleaning and because you are spending interactive time with them, you will be more likely to notice any changes in their care needs and make necessary arrangements in order to prevent a medical emergency later.

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    Preventing Elder Abuse

    Several cases of alleged senior abuse have crept up across the nation during the past month. On March 30, 2009, a 31-year-old former nursing home employee in Oklahoma was accused of abusing his senior patients and videotaping it, according to a Fox 23 news report.

    Experts say many of these crimes against the elderly in long-term residential care are never reported to law enforcement or to the state and say it’s imperative for us to always be vigilant if we have a loved one in long-term care,” reported Kaci Christian of FOX 23.  The article describes the shock a family felt when they discovered their 60-year-old female relative, who was living in a nursing home and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, “badly beaten, with her face swollen and discolored."

    There are many ways to reduce the risk of senior abuse. First, consider home-care options that allow more control over the caregivers who are in contact with your loved one.

    The process of selecting home care can be overwhelming, with more than 5,000 senior home care agencies nationwide.

    The Caregiverlist Checklist for standards of quality care for senior home care agencies is a resource that outlines requirements for safety and consistency in care, making it easier for families to make an educated decision. Regardless of what long-term care option is best suited for your loved one, it helps to be aware of some less obvious warning signs of abuse. The following warning signs are part of an extensive list compiled by the The National Center on Elder Abuse:

    • Broken eyeglasses
    • Physical signs of being subjected to punishment or signs of being restrained
    • Senior’s sudden change in behavior
    • Caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see an elder alone
    • Senior acting extremely withdrawn and non-communicative
    • Senior displaying unusual behavior usually attributed to dementia, such as sucking, biting, rocking

    If you suspect senior abuse, call the NCEA hotline at 1-800-677-1116. The NCEA web site offers a host of additional information on identifying elder abuse.

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