Ready to Downsize? What to Look for in Your Next Home

The nest has been empty for some time, and as you get older you have to ask yourself if you are you ready to finally take the plunge on your senior downsize? Most older adults know they will have to disencumber and downsize eventually, but they often put it off since it is such a daunting task. However, moving sooner rather than later gives you the time and flexibility you need to find the right home and settle in.

This post explains what to look for when buying your downsized home and how you can make sure your next home is your “forever home” and one where you can age-in-place.

Finding the Right Home for Senior Living

For seniors, downsizing involves more than shrinking their square footage. When looking for a downsized home, seniors are also searching for a house that offers convenience and accessibility for senior living. That means features such as:

  • Proximity to shopping, healthcare, and public transportation.
  • A safe, walkable community.
  • Level covered parking.
  • No stairs, Single Story.
  • Wide doorways and hallways or an open floor plan.
  • No high-pile carpeting or slick tile floors.
  • Ample lighting, especially natural light.
  • Elevated kitchen and laundry appliances.
  • Two-level kitchen counters.
  • Roll-in showers.

It is hard to find a home that checks every box, so it is critical that older home buyers work with real estate agents who understand their needs and specializes in finding homes that are more appropriate for seniors or near-seniors. An agent who is certified as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) is the best choice, but if it is not possible to hire an SRES, interview agents to assess their experience working with senior home buyers.

Preparing Your New Home for Senior Living

The features listed above cover the priority items seniors need for the downsizing plans and in their home, but it is not everything that makes a house safe, secure, and age-friendly. Below are some common changes seniors need to make when moving to a new home.

Accessibility Upgrades

Your goal when buying a home is to avoid properties that need major remodeling, but that does not mean you can escape all home improvements. There are a lot of little changes that improve a senior’s comfort, convenience, and safety at home, with a total remodel such as:

  • Replacing traditional light switches with rocker switches.
  • Replacing door and cabinet knobs with levers and pulls.
  • Installing grab bars in bathrooms (showers / toilets).
  • Installing task lighting / motion lighting
  • Building a parcel bench near the main entrance.
  • Automating home functions like lights and locks with smart technology.

Depending on your health and/or skill level, you may want to complete these improvements before moving in or budget for them one at a time. If you want to tackle renovations before move-in but your home is already sold, book a vacation rental for a short-term housing solution. You can even rent a property near activities you would enjoy and make a “mini staycation” out of it. As Turnkey reminds, Austin (and most cities), have plenty to keep you busy, from the area’s many gorgeous lakes to sporting events at the University of Texas to great restaurants to scenic walkways. What you do is totally up to you.

Landscaping

Time outdoors is great for seniors’ well-being, but most older adults are not up for the routine task of maintaining a lawn and garden. That is not a problem if you are considering an assisted living facility or 55-plus community where the grounds are maintained by staff. However, if have decided to purchase a home, you will most likely want to budget and hire a landscape designer to create an accessible outdoor space where you can sit, stroll, and even garden in raised beds. If you are working with a sloped lawn, consider grading it to improve accessibility. In Austin, you costs run between $1,157 and $2,837 depending on the size and scope of the project.

In-Home Care

Aging-in-place seniors may still need an extra hand at home. Even if you are getting along fine today, you may need assistance with housekeeping or home healthcare in the future. Start thinking about how you pay for the care you need so you’re prepared when the time comes. Depending on your needs, in-home care could cost $150 per day / $750 per week if you decide to you a private duty agency, as their average rate is $27 per hour with usually a 4 hour minimum. If you decide to hire a caregiver yourself and use a service like Well Beyond Care, with no minimums, you could reduce your daily / weekly spend to $30 per and $100 per week. Saving from $10,000 to $30,000 per year in care costs.

The decision to downsize is never an easy one, but for most seniors, it usually the right one. In a smaller, more accessible home, you can enjoy your senior years without being burdened by upkeep or a home you do not feel safe living in. Downsizing can be a lengthy process, however. Between searching for the right home, renovating to make it move-in ready, and packing up the old house, a senior’s downsizing may take a year or more from start to finish. Rather than putting it off, start taking the first steps toward your senior downsize today.

There are more and more companies and individuals out there to to help seniros and families with downsizing. These companies offer plans and checklists to ease the transition from one home to another. Companies like Downsize My Home, offer advice and guidance, as well as resources to make the process of downsizing as smooth and pain-free as possible.
Image via Unsplash

About the Author
Mike Longsdon provides advice to seniors on downsizing and aging in place as a contributor to Elder Freedom.  He is also an expert on topics like tackling home accessibility modifications, how to find a great contractor, and the benefits of aging in place to name a few.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Who Helps in Home Health Care

With the ever increasing complexity in the healthcare system in America, we though an outline of the types and titles of individuals would be in order when you finally need to have in home care. Below is an outline of the roles and responsibilities of individuals you may be dealing with then care is delivered in your home.

When a physician orders in-home care services to a home-bound patient with verified skilled clinical needs, there can be a variety of support personnel who come into the home to address each of the specific needs. Numerous caregivers can be wonderful, but also confusing. It is important for patients, families, and caregivers to know the role of each discipline and who to call for which services.

Ongoing changes to the allowances for in-home care by insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid have made it challenging for people to get the care they need at home when they are ill or injured. In fact, adult children are often considered the sandwich generation as they are caring for their aging parents, their own children, and even their own grandchildren at the same time. While some physician practices have a nurse liaison or care coordinator to assist patients with navigating the challenges of services, families need to strongly advocate to get their loved one the care that is needed to rehabilitate or to be safe in their home.

Once services are ordered, it is imperative for patients, families and/or caregivers to know the focus and tasks of each role:

Registered Nurse: A Registered Nurse, or RN, is a person who will usually get the in-home care started by meeting with the patient, family and/or caregiver (usually a family member) to collect a lot of information in order to create a plan of care for your visits. Even though your doctor may have all of the same information, the RN must still ask these questions in order to correctly capture all of the information. Be sure to have all of the medications and supplements available for the nurse to record.

Licensed Practical (or Vocational) Nurse: Also a nurse, the role of the licensed practical nurse (LPN or LVN) is to provide skilled tasks such as wound care, administering medications and/or patient education. The LPN carries out the tasks related to the plan of care created by the RN.

Home Health Aide: The role of the Home Health Aide (HHA) is to provide direct-care services such as bathing, showering, transferring to a chair or bed, and basic grooming chores. As the HHA is not a licensed caregiver like the RN or LPN, they cannot give medications or advise patients on healthcare issues or concerns.

Social Worker: Many times, patients and families need additional community support and resources to care for someone at home. The role of the social worker (SW) is to connect patients with resources such as applications for financial assistance or respite care. Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) can assist patients with mental disorders such as depression or anxiety and can help patients and families deal with life-changing events such as a terminal illness. See Social Work

Physical Therapist: Patients who require physical rehabilitation will mostly likely have a physical therapist (PT) providing care in the home. The PT will conduct an extensive interview, similar to the RN interview, along with a physical evaluation to create a plan of care to restore physical function to the patient. The PT’s plan of care will include a list of exercises that the patient, family or caregiver can administer between visits.

Physical Therapy Assistant: The physical therapy assistant (PTA) is a trained individual who helps patients with the exercises that are ordered by the PT. Although the PTA is not licensed, most have received degrees from programs specializing in rehabilitation services and exercise physiology.

Occupational Therapist: Patients who have lost the ability to care for their personal needs such as dressing or eating will need the support of an occupational therapist (OT). The OT provides patients with rehabilitation skills to return to optimal functioning after illness or surgery. The OT can also teach families and/or caregivers how to reinforce these skills in between visits.

Speech and Language Therapist: The speech and language therapist (ST) provides pathology services to patients who need to improve or regain speech and language skills. This specialist also provides evaluation services for swallowing to ensure patients are able to eat and drink safely without the risk of choking.

Over the past decade, Medicare has changed many of the qualifications for home care services which are often reflected in the private insurance world. Now that the question of who is providing the care that is ordered has been answered, which additional services are available and covered may require a bit more digging by the patient’s family and/or caregivers.

About the Author
Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN is a board-certified nurse executive and contributing writer for www.registerednursing.org

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Common Problems with Private Duty In-Home Care Agencies

While the private duty industry has just released a report indicating that their turnover rate has reached an all-time high of 82% according to the 2018 Home Care Benchmarking Study by market research firm Home Care Pulse, a review of the common problems of the home health private duty care agencies is in order. Traditionally, hiring a private duty in-home care agency was seen as the only avenue for people looking to care for those with elderly parents who need assistance.  Through out the history of private-pay, private-duty care, working with caregiving agencies is often a daunting task that can be difficult for both elderly parents and their adult children. Part of the problem is that to date, getting a reliable, dependable, affordable caregiver is usually an exception rather than the rule and this situation is only getting worse.

For adult children looking to hire a caregiver or private duty agency to care for the elderly parents, there are many pitfalls that get covered up by private duty agencies. Most people believe that an agency is going to get a matched caregiver to you or your parent’s needs and pay them a decent wage, when in fact most agencies just field the next available caregiver in roster. They are more about making money than servicing the clients.  In case after case we hear about how caregivers at agencies often do not show up, are sleeping on the job, are not trained, or more seriously, sometimes abuse their charges.

In order to save individuals frustration and regrets, it is beneficial to review some of the most common problems with private duty in-home care agencies and how to avoid them. Below is a listing of the top client complaints concerning private duty home care agencies.

  • Lack of consistency of caregiver
  • Caregivers not showing up or consistently late
  • Communication Problems Between Client and the Agency
  • Insufficient Caregiver Training
  • Caregivers focused on technology not the client
  • Unwanted caregiver behavior
  • Cultural differences / not accounting for cultural needs

The most common problem with private duty home care is that either caregivers do not show up, or there is a new caregiver showing up ever other week.  These issues have been a chronic and persistent problem in private duty home care since its inception. While the industry has known about this situation for some time, the problem persists due in a large part to the inadequate pay afforded caregivers, and the fact that agencies tend to hire anyone who applies for the open job, instead of doing a real match to a client’s needs and the caregiver’s personality and skills. The bottom line is that agencies are more concerned with maximizing their profits rather than really taking care of a client’s needs.

Another common problem lies with poor communication from the private duty care agency and/or their caregivers. While you believe hiring a caregiving in-home care agency will give you some relief for people looking to take care of parents who are no longer able to adequately take care of themselves, it is amazing how even acknowledging that the basic activities of daily living (ADLs) are being performed do not get communicated to those who might be paying for those services. This is even more compounded if special needs are involved, or if the elderly client needs to be taken to the doctor or requires some form of clinical therapy.

On top of not paying caregivers adequately, another challenge for the industry is the fact that there is insufficient training for caregivers. In some instances, caregivers are not allowed to provide services in the home due in a large part to the Stare restricting what services a private duty agency can offer. On the other hand, it goes back to in home private pay care agencies just trying to get billings, knowing adult children are desperate to get care for their needy parents and are unable to personally attend to that need. Sadly, even basic skills such as cooking and cleaning, may go lacking with many of the caregivers private duty agencies hire, and should be questioned and evaluated before hiring a potential caregiver.

Technology can be a great tool for delivering care, but at the same time, many caregivers are distracted with their phones, social media and the internet in general, and this distracts them from performing their caregiving duties. While you may not like it, it is very difficult for home care agencies to police their caregivers on the use of their smart phones as a distraction to caregiving.

While the best-case scenario is when a caregiver feels like they are part of the family, it is vitally important to maintain some boundaries with the caregiver. This is especially true if they start to display some irresponsible behaviors. Occasionally, everybody is late, but with private duty home care agencies, this tends to be a chronic condition, and when you start to see a caregiver not show up for care, or have a substitute being called in frequently, it is time to reevaluate the use of this agency. The problem gets worse if the caregiver seems nice, but in actuality is just taking advantage of the situation. Remember, you are relying on a 3rd party to bring someone you do not know of have not vetted or chosen into your home. Too often people make the assumption that a private duty agency takes as much care as they would in choosing a caregiver, but most of the time, that is not the case.

Finally, there are the differences in cultures, likes and dislikes. Some of these are straightforward like language and ethnicity, but others deal with diets, foods, music, cleanliness, and religion. It is important that you address possible language and cultural barriers first. There are some cultural differences between hygiene and eating habits that may pose a surprise problem later on. Laying out expectations from the beginning can eliminate these problems. Working with private duty in-home can be difficult, but it does not have to be. There are new alternatives being offered, like Well Beyond Care, that allows people to how hire your own caregiver and steer clear of the frustrations of working with private duty and at the same time saving a substantial amount of money and letting you choose your own perfect caregiver.  Well Beyond Care teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover. The platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. This solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Well Beyond Care Launches Keep Safe Care

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Well Beyond Care, Inc.
(844) 4WB-CARE (844 492 2273)
press@wellbeyondcare.com

Well Beyond Care Launches Keep Safe Care
Launch of new entity to allow more people to own a private duty agency without paying the high cost of a franchise

Austin, TX, Apr 03, 2019 –Well Beyond Care, a company that is revolutionizing the private duty industry, has launched a new entity, Keep Safe Care, to address the growing cost and inefficiencies of the private duty agencies. In addition to Well Beyond Care nationwide care matching service saving saves families between $10,000 and $30,000 per year in caregiving costs in comparison to private duty agencies, its software has the potential to reduce the cost of operating a private duty agency by 50% to 60%.

Jeffrey Fry, Well Beyond Care’s CEO and President states, “The private duty model is dominated by franchisors who charge $100,000 to $250,000 to open a franchise. We know that our software can impact the efficiencies of a private duty agency severely. As such, we have launched a new endeavor that copies the Starbuck’s model of growth by offering licenses through our new entity, Keep Safe Care.”

The Keep Safe Care model will sell licenses for a fixed fee, right now targeted at $7,500, and charge a small monthly licensing fee, as opposed to a percentage of sales. Presently, most franchisors charge 5% to 6% of sales to its franchisees.

Mr. Fry adds, “We know that the largest cost in running a private duty agency has to do with recruiting, retaining, curating, and managing caregivers, and our software can reduce those costs by 80%. In addition, we have been able to reduce truancy and turnover to under 1%, where the industry standard is 25% truancy and 53% turnover. We are hopeful to have this program fully launched by the end of the summer (2019).”

Well Beyond Care has been approached by investors to accelerate the release of what the Company calls its non-franchise license and is presently collecting information of individuals interested in starting a Keep Safe Care private duty agency at keepsafecare.com.

About Keep Safe Care
Keep Safe Care is about revolutionizing the way that private duty agencies deliver care. The company wants to change the old mold of big companies controlling franchises, and eliminating franchises’ problems of caregiver truancy and turnover. Keep Safe Care’s goal is to reduce caregiver truancy and turnover by empowering caregivers and those who are receiving care. The company holds the promise of increasing Caregivers standard wage, while at the same time, reducing caregiving costs by 10% to 15% over other traditional private duty franchises. For more information go to keepsafecare.com.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

The Healthy Senior’s Guide to Foot Care (Infographic)

As we age, maintaining good foot health is vital to our well being, comfort and mobility.

For many people aged over 65, keeping up good foot health can be a challenge and one quarter of all seniors are affected by foot pain. Fortunately, many foot ailments are entirely avoidable by taking a few simple precautions. If you are aged 65+ and are interested in discovering more about foot care, we recommend that you read this helpful infographic provided by Walsh Brothers Shoes which lays out some of the most effective ways to keep your feet healthy and happy as we age.

Maintaining good foot hygiene will help keep foot problems at bay and may even cause some of them disappear altogether. Keep feet fresh by wearing clean, dry socks everyday and by switching up your footwear. Wash your feet thoroughly a few times a week and take extra care to dry and moisturize regularly.

Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain good foot health. However, if your feet are hurting chances are the prospect of physical activity does not seem appealing. It is worth bearing in mind that with reduced exercise comes loss of muscle mass and strength; reduced endurance; and higher risk of diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle. Walking is best way to exercise your feet, but if you cannot go outside, there are also many simple stretches that you can try at home.

As we get older, it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to our feet as they can indicate a wide range of ailments. Check your feet frequently and arrange to see a doctor or foot specialist if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Take a look at this infographic to learn more about foot health and care for senior citizens.  Here is to you good health.

Well Beyond Care Partners with Good Neighbor Rx

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Well Beyond Care, Inc.
(844) 4WB-CARE (844 492 2273)
press@wellbeyondcare.com

Well Beyond Care Partners with Good Neighbor Rx
Out of SXSW: Two Companies partner to continue the fight to reduce health costs in America

Austin, TX, Mar 12, 2019 –Well Beyond Care, a company that is revolutionizing the private duty industry, and Good Neighbor Rx, a technology company focused on helping Americans save money on their prescriptions, have formed a partnership to help reduce the ever-increasing cost of healthcare and medications in the United States. Good Neighbor Rx offers a free discount card that is valid in over 64,000 pharmacies across America and can save on average 62% on the cost of prescription medications. Well Beyond Care’s nationwide care matching service, saves families between $10,000 and $30,000 per year in caregiving costs in comparison to private duty agencies.

Jeffrey Fry, Well Beyond Care’s CEO and President states, “We love to partner with companies and organizations that can drastically drive costs down, while at the same time offer a superior product or service. We have been looking for some time and in discussions with numerous entities who offered a prescription discount service, but Good Neighbor Rx is best aligned with our vision and mission of ‘empowering caregiving’ and giving back.” Mr. Fry goes on to state, “It is a great fit that both companies are passionate about saving families money, while offering a service that keeps them safe in their homes. It is also a plus that both companies are located in Texas.”

Well Beyond Care is prepared to immediately start promoting this cost saving service throughout its nationwide network of nurses, as well as within its network of clients and externally to other partner network, including home health agencies, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and other partner organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers, the Veteran’s Administration (VA) and AARP.

The CEO and founder of Good Neighbor Rx, Danny Corprew adds, “We realize that everyday people are forced to choose between affordable prescriptions and food, or medical care, or clothing. And though we usually partner with other non-profits, we feel that Well Beyond Care’s mission of not only saving families tens of thousands of dollars in care costs, but also in raising the standard salary of caregivers, who tend to be female, is also a mission we can wholehearted endorse.” Mr. Corprew continues with, “their focus on saving people money, while at the same time curating great caregivers, keeping people safe in their homes, raising wages, and really just caring about people, is why we are so happy to work with Well Beyond Care. They, like us, help individuals and families from having to make that tough choice and have a nationwide focus.”

About Good Neighbor Rx

The Good Neighbor Rx mission is to help save money at the pharmacy on prescription medications, with or without insurance. Most Americans overpay for prescriptions. Millions leave the pharmacy without their prescription because they cannot afford it. Good Neighbor Rx is the fastest and easiest way to save up to 90% on prescription medication–and it is absolutely free to download and use the app. Find out more at goodneighborrx.com.

About Well Beyond Care

Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Well Beyond Care Helps Veterans

From our founding, Well Beyond Care has had a focus in helping veterans. Two of our original investors, are both veterans, and the Company was designed with a special place for our vets.

We know that many veterans would like to work as a caregiver, but have not due in part to the difficulty in finding a position that pays more than $9 per hour. Part of what makes our service veteran focused is that we can offer well paying caregiving positions for those veterans who would like to continue their “service” to America. Most notably, these positions pay 25% to 40% more than what a veteran can make at a private-duty agency and Well Beyond Care gives our caregiving Veterans the flexibility to chose the individuals they want to give care to and the hours they want to work.

The Well Beyond Care curation system matches veterans who want to work as caregivers with veterans seeking care. Veterans have asked the Company to give them veteran caregivers, and that is what we do. It is nice to have another vet dress your wound and hear “war stories” as opposed to having a 20-year-old-someone who does not understand the sacrifice a veteran made for his country in getting that wound.

In addition, our nationwide network of nurses also inform vets about their “Aid & Attendance Benefits” afforded them as part of their VA pension and will help them with getting reimbursement for caregiving costs. These nurses also serve as a resource to medical resources in the areas were a veteran is receiving care. Because we are able to save individuals money and pair them with better caregivers, we keep vets out of the hospital, and aging in place more affordably (the get more care with less money). In addition, we have teamed with a palliative care / hospice organization that can offer doulas for those veterans facing end-of-life situations.

Below is a graphic on the benefits Well Beyond Care affords veterans. To get a larger view or download, just click on the image.

In summary, Well Beyond Care offers an online caregiving curation, matching and management system for those veterans looking for in home care. While most private duty care is administered by agencies, Well Beyond Care teaches and guides a Careseeker (most likely an adult child looking for care for a parent or veteran) on hiring their own caregiver. Compared to traditional private-duty agencies, veterans can save $10,000 to $30,000 per year, and caregivers who might be veterans, make $3 to $6 per hour extra using our service. It combines the best in caregiver hiring (matching, screening, ratings & background checks) with all the back office functions (verified time worked, payroll, scheduling, and documentation) to insure safe, reliable, dependable, affordable care is obtained for our deserving veterans.

Signs Your Loved One Needs Care

As individuals age, many of the things they used to do with ease sometimes become much more difficult to do.  Acknowledging the need for help and then accepting assistance is not easy for individuals as they get older. Often, the decision and responsibility falls on Aging Motherone or more family members to recognize the signs that your loved one might need support and aide in completing the activities of daily living. Many of these include simple tasks such as bathing, dressing, and cooking.

So, how do you know if it is time for in-home care for your loved one? There are some obvious signs that could signal a red flag that are listed below.  One may not be enough, but when these come in combination you should seriously look to have a caregiver aide in the home.

Reduction in Physical Abilities and/or Mental Status

  • Difficulty keeping track of time / forgetting appointments
  • Sleeping for most of the day / not waking properly
  • Poor diet or weight loss
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, activities or in socializing
  • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Difficulty getting up from a seated position
  • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
  • Unexplained bruising or injuries from falls or hitting furniture
  • Forgetfulness, including forgetting to take medications or taking incorrect dosages
  • Consistent use of poor judgment (e.g. falling for scams or sales pitches, giving away money)

Deterioration in Personal Hygiene

  • Unpleasant body odor due to infrequent showering or bathing
  • A smell of urine in the house or on clothing
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care (e.g. unkempt hair, untrimmed nails, lack of oral care, wearing dirty or stained clothing)

Neglecting Household Responsibilities and Upkeep

  • Inability to independently complete Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Little or no fresh, healthy food in the fridge
  • Unkept, uncleaned house and/or extreme clutter
  • Unwashed laundry piling up
  • Stains or wet spots on furniture or carpet
  • Spoiled or outdated food that does not get thrown away
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors
  • Utilities being turned off due to missed payments

Hiring a Caregiver or Caregiving Service
If many of these indicators are present, it does not mean you have to place mom or dad into an assisted living or a nursing home facility. These are often very expensive and may not be the right choice.  However, these red flags do indicate that some form of daily supportive care is needed. You may have to consider hiring a private duty care agency, or as a much more affordable alternative, hire your own caregiver using a service such as Well Beyond Care.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Private Duty Services for All!

Reprinted by permission from Elisabeth Hogue, Esq.; (877) 871-4062; ElizabethHogue@ElizabethHogue.net

In order to be appropriate for home care services of all types, patients must be able to care for themselves or have primary caregivers who can meet patients’ needs in between visits from professional staff from home care providers. This requirement is necessary in order to meet the eligibility of many payors, to avoid risk of legal liability and to help ensure quality of care.

Patients’ family members or others may be willing to serve as primary caregivers on a voluntary basis. If not, providers should offer patients and/or their family members the option to pay privately for primary caregivers. These services may be referred to as private duty or non-medical services.

The option to pay for private duty home care services should be offered to all patients who cannot care for themselves and who have no voluntary primary caregivers. Patients who can care for themselves or have voluntary primary caregivers may also wish to contract for additional assistance, so providers should offer this option to all patients who may benefit from these services.

Specifically, this means that:

  • Hospital discharge planners/case managers should offer private duty services to all patients who may benefit from them and assist patients to arrange for such services post-discharge as part of the discharge planning process.
  • Other types of institutional providers; such as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), Long Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACHs), and independent rehabilitation facilities (IRFs); should also offer patients who are being discharged the option to arrange for assistance from private duty agencies and should arrange for such services post-discharge.
  • Assisted living facilities (ALFs) should offer private duty services to all of their patients who may benefit from such services.
  • Home health agencies should offer patients the option to private pay for services if primary caregivers are no longer available to provide assistance and if patients no longer meet the eligibility requirements of payor sources.
  • Home health agencies, hospices and home medical equipment (HME) companies should educate patients about private duty services even though patients may have voluntary caregivers and help patients and their families arrange for these services.

Providers may be reluctant to offer these services to patients and their families because of their cost. They may also erroneously conclude that patients and their families cannot afford them. Providers should not jump to conclusions about who can afford these services. Instead, private duty home care services should be offered to all patients and their family members who may benefit from them.

A home health agency, for example, decided that a patient no longer met the eligibility requirements of the Medicare Program. The staff of the agency was reluctant to offer the patient the option to private pay for additional services prior to discharge because the patient lived in a “shack” and drove an old, beat-up truck. They did so anyway. To the staff’s surprise, upon receipt of the offer, the patient got out of bed, extracted a wad of cash from under the mattress and told the staff that there was plenty more money to pay for private duty services!

Private duty care has a very important role to play in the provision of home care services. This type of care should be offered to all patients whenever it seems that patients may benefit from it.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, Well Beyond Care. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

 

Sandwich Generation Woes

A funny thing has happened in the United State over the past 50 years, which on the surface is good, but for a growing segment of the population is adding an additional stress in their life. Due in a large part to vast improvements in medicines and treatment, the median life expectancy has been steadily increasing, adding about one half year of life expectancy to the population ever two years. So, in 1959 the median life expectancy was under 70, now, it is 83.  At the same time, Americans on average have been holding offer getting married and starting a family well into the late twenties or early thirties.  As a result, the generational gap between grandparents and grandkids has grown from 20 years to now 30.

Elder care services are becoming an ever-increasing need as baby boomers continue to retire at an alarming rate. Combining the fact that the elderly are living longer, and individuals are holding off having children until they are older, a new dilemma has developed for individuals between 38 and 55. Many of these adults are becoming part of the what is referred to the “sandwich” generation. This is where an adult has to not only take care of their children, but one, two, three or even four parents dispersed across the country which they are also taking care of.

Accounting to a 2013 Pew Research report, nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). And about one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15%) are providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.  Combine the fact that most adults in America do not live within 100 miles of their aging parents, it becomes obvious that this trend is adding stress to when elderly parents get ill or need care.

As a fallout of this growing trend, when the parents of a working adult become ill or need assistance, presently that working adult child will need to leave and take extended time away from work to deal with the situation.  The average time away is one week, and sometimes stretches into three weeks! In most cases, these individuals will likely have to continue to visit their aging parents for extended periods of time for the next 5 to 15 years.

The reason why individuals have to take time off, is that up until now, there was no “on-line” way to get reliable geriatric care. As stated earlier, most adult children do not reside close to their aging parents, and as such, have to schedule time to travel in order to arraign for care from a private duty agency, which includes interviewing the agencies, developing a care plan, and signing contracts.

Not only is there an impact on work, there is also a financial impact on these adults. According to a recent AARP study, 30 percent of family caregivers dip into their personal savings to cover long-term care costs, 16 percent reduce contributions to their retirement accounts, and about half cut back on leisure spending in order to help take care of their parents.

The tough reality is that many families are not rich enough to afford the staggering cost of private duty long-term care. Yet at the same time, they do not qualify for Medicaid, a health care program for low-income and disabled adults. So, it is nice to have a lower cost alternative to the high priced private duty agencies, that also delivers a superior service like Well Beyond Care.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.