Mesothelioma and the Elderly

In almost any explanation of mesothelioma treatment options, there is a clause. The routes available depends on numerous factors, one of which is age. This clause — that age, among other factors, could limit treatment — is usually specific to just one option: surgery.

A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology suggests that age might be the most often-used factor when determining if a patient is eligible for mesothelioma surgery.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer for which there are already limited treatments. Removing the most effective one just because of a person’s age? We at Mesothelioma Guide hope surgeons and doctors consider far more than just that number.

In Review: Mesothelioma Treatment for Elderly Patients

The study involved examining the National Cancer Database for all patients at least 80 years old with recently diagnosed non-metastatic malignant pleural mesothelioma. In other words, the patients’ disease is in its early stages and hasn’t spread to vital organs — but it could, and likely will, if untreated.

The researchers found 4,526 patients who met the criteria and looked into the treatment approach used for each. According to the study’s results, which was published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Just 2% of the patients had surgery (likely pleurectomy with decortication) plus chemotherapy
  • Around 13% had just surgery
  • 22% had only chemotherapy
  • 63% were “observed,” meaning they didn’t receive any curative treatment

The average age of pleural mesothelioma patients is 72 — the disease is more likely to impact the elderly than many other forms of cancer — and restricting these patients to chemotherapy or nothing is usually an early death sentence. The median survival times were:

  • 4.1 months for those observed
  • 9.5 months for those receiving just chemotherapy
  • 12.2 months for those undergoing surgery and chemotherapy

By comparison, the figures for pleural mesothelioma patients under 80 years old were:

  • 17% only underwent surgery or had surgery and chemotherapy (median survival of 17.7 months)
  • 47% had just chemotherapy (median survival of 12.2 months)
  • 36% were just observed (median survival of 6.6 months)

More to the Story for Mesothelioma Treatment
The argument against elderly patients having surgery — or even chemotherapy — is that their bodies may not be strong enough. Other complications may arise due to surgery. However, not every 81- or 82-year-old patient has the same health. One may have poor nutrition or other health concerns. Another could be a former marathon runner who eats healthy and exercises regularly.

While the study says the 90-day mortality rate for those having mesothelioma surgery was 28.5%, this figure does not consider the quality of patient selection. As author Justin Karush says on the Society of Surgical Oncology website, “When selecting patients with mesothelioma for surgery, it is paramount to consider the ability to offer adjuvant treatment.”

Additionally, a survival time enhanced by 200% — the difference, according to the study, between no curative treatment and surgery plus chemotherapy — could be enough reward to take the risk.

Quality of Life Due to Surgery
For people with peritoneal mesothelioma, the benefits of surgery are just as great — if not greater. A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology reviewed the quality of life in 46 patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). The median survival of these patients was 3.4 years, and 36.5% lived for at least five years.

By comparison, only 18% of peritoneal patients in general live for at least five years, and the life expectancy of elderly patients with this disease is at most two years. While there are similar risks associated with elderly patients undergoing cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, the increased survival time is relevant.

So is the increased quality of life. The study suggests that patients who underwent surgery experienced improved emotional well-being and social functioning, fewer emotional issues and less pain. The study concluded, “(Quality of life) returned to baseline or improved from baseline between three months and one year following surgery. Despite the risks associated with this operation, patients may tolerate HIPEC well and have good overall (quality of life) postoperatively.”

Unfortunately, many elderly mesothelioma patients will never get the chance to enjoy that improved quality of life since the general assumption is they should stay away from the operating room. That is a discouraging one in the medical industry, and one we at Mesothelioma Guide hope changes going forward.

Note to Mesothelioma Patients and Their Loved Ones
If you’re a newly diagnosed mesothelioma patient, we are on your side and will do anything possible to help you through this difficult time. Most importantly, we can help you find the best treatment available.

Our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, is the No. 1 resource for learning more about mesothelioma. She also can refer you to a mesothelioma specialist with a track record of success in helping patients live long past the average prognosis. Email her jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com to begin your path to recovery.

About the Author, Devin Golden
Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin’s objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

About Mesothelioma Guide
Mesothelioma Guide provides patients and their loved ones with resources, answers, and information over a wide spectrum of free assistance options.

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.

Bank Fees and How to Avoid Them

Well Beyond Care’s dual mission is to save our clients $10K to $30K with caregiving costs compared to private duty care agencies and at the same time, increase a caregiver’s wages by 25% to 40% over working with those same agencies. With that said, we are always on the lookout for ideas and information that can save costs wherever we can find them. The that said, we have been given permission by Bankrate to reprint their article “9 ways banks may penalize you and how to avoid these pesky fees” authored by Matthew Goldberg. With the elderly on fixed incomes, and caregivers struggling to make ends meet, this advice can be a savvy way to make your dollars go further.

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

In football, getting called for a penalty can result in lost yardage. But when it comes to banking, being charged a penalty can be costly for your hard-earned money. That’s why it pays to steer clear of triggering them.

Common penalties such as overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees are pricey. Consumers pay as much as $17 billion annually in these fees, according to 2017 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimates.

“They’re all avoidable as far as I’m concerned,” says Ashley Coake, certified financial planner, at Cultivate Financial Planning in Radford, Virginia.

Knowing the most common penalties and fees on banking products, and how you can avoid them, can help you save cash. Here are nine things to game plan against to help keep the money scoreboard showing in your favor.

1. Early withdrawal penalties on CDs

CDs typically charge an early withdrawal penalty if you close them, or take money out, before the term ends. Early withdrawal penalties are costly and can reduce your gains and can even cut into your principal. Some banks don’t allow partial withdrawals, so that all-or-nothing mentality needs to be a part of your planning process.

An early withdrawal penalty on a five-year CD may range from 150 days to 540 days. But these penalties may vary.

How to avoid this fee: Determining when you’ll need your money is the best way to avoid early withdrawal penalties. Also, knowing the purpose of the funds is critical to avoid this penalty. Put a portion of the money into a savings account or money market account if you think you might need some of it during the CD’s term. Also, you may want to consider a no-penalty CD.

“Just really think ahead,” says Pam Horack, certified financial planner, at Pathfinder Planning in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.

A one-year CD is probably not the best option if you’re currently looking to buy a house, Horack says.

“If you’re concerned that you might spend that money and that’s why you want to put it in a CD, put it in a savings account at a different institution than your regular checking — just to make it a little bit harder for you to get to,” says Horack, who previously worked as a branch manager, teller and customer service representative.

2. Early closeout fees on accounts

CDs aren’t the only banking products that charge a fee if you close them too soon. At some banks, closing an account too soon will cost you. Banks with this fee usually assess it if you close the account in the first 90-180 days.

How to avoid this fee: Research whether your account has one of these fees. Know that you’ll need to keep one of these accounts open for the required time to avoid the fee. Keep this, and the minimum balance, in mind before opening the account.

In reality, if you plan to close an account this quickly it might not be the right time to apply or the right fit for you.

3. Maintenance fees

Some banks charge a maintenance (or monthly) fee if you go below a certain balance in your account. Banks may charge these fees to encourage deposits or certain balances. This helps banks guarantee you’ll either have a certain amount in your account or you’ll be paying a fee.

Maintenance fees usually range from a few dollars to $25. Banks that have these fees usually waive them if you maintain your balance above a specified amount or have a direct deposit set up. Making a certain number of transactions or being a student may also waive the fee at some banks.

How to avoid this fee: Check the fine print and choose a bank that either doesn’t charge these fees or one with requirements you’ll be able to meet. Be strategic about your banking choices. Use your direct deposit to help waive fees in one account. For other accounts, look for banks with either no minimum balance requirement or a low one.

Online banks — banks that don’t have physical locations — usually don’t charge these fees. So these types of banks should be included in your search.

4. Overdraft fees

Overdrafting is spending more than you have, resulting in a negative bank account balance. This could be caused by mismanaging money or accounts. For instance, you may have plenty of money in savings. But you write a check out tied to a checking account and forget to transfer the money needed to cover it fully from your savings. Or it could be a cash flow issue, with income coming in the near future.

Keep an eye on your account and know the minimum balance needed, says Coake.

“Or [know] ‘I’m about to write a big check, and I don’t have enough to cover it,’” says Coake, a former assistant branch manager.

Making purchases with a credit card, instead of a debit card, can be a way to avoid overdraft fees. But you’ll need to pay off your balance every month in order to avoid interest, Coake says.

The average overdraft fee was $33.26, according to Bankrate’s 2019 checking account and ATM fee study.

How to avoid this fee: Know your checking account balance before using your debit card or writing a check. That’s the best way to avoid this fee. But that can be easier said than done.

Using a credit card for purchases will also avoid overdrafts. It buys you some extra time, since you don’t have to pay for these purchases until your statement payment is due. But make sure you pay it then, otherwise high annual percentage rates (APRs) could be more expensive than overdrafts over time.

Savings overdraft protection may have no transfer fee in some cases. Or it could have a lower fee than standard overdraft fees. Savings overdraft protection is when your savings backs up your checking account.

5. Sustained overdraft fees

Some banks may charge you this fee if you have a negative balance for too long. In some cases, you might not have the money so it’s just adding to the problem. However, if you have the money in another account, make sure you transfer it over quickly to avoid this fee. This may also be called an extended overdraft fee.

How to avoid this fee: Monitor your accounts and set up alerts. Being aware of your balances and budgeting can help make sure you have cash on hand for these circumstances.

Using a credit card for purchases during this time, and using cash to make your account positive quickly, can buy you some time until the statement balance is due. Just make sure you pay your credit card to avoid paying interest.

6. Excessive withdrawal fees

Savings accounts and money market account are subject to Regulation D. This means you can’t exceed six withdrawals in a month in these types of accounts.

Many banks will penalize you by charging you an excessive withdrawal fee if you exceed that limit. Some may close the account or move it to a non-interest-bearing account.

How to avoid this fee: Keep track of the number of times that you withdraw from your savings account in a month. Try to use your savings and money market accounts as infrequently as possible so that the funds are truly there for emergencies.

Since the limit doesn’t apply to ATM withdrawals or trips to the teller, stick to these methods for withdrawing money, if you’re getting close to the monthly limit. Put more of a buffer in your checking account, and less in your savings, if you’re needing to transfer money often from savings to checking.

7. Paper statements

Receiving statements in the mail can cost you, as many banks now charge paper statement fees. Some banks may waive the fee on their top-tier accounts. Typically, there isn’t a fee for electronic statements.

How to avoid this fee: Sign up for paperless statements when you open your account or when you first login to your new account. Check online or with your bank to make sure paper statements do not incur a monthly charge

8. Fees for transferring your money

Banks typically charge you for official bank checks and wire transfers. Sometimes a bank will even penalize you for receiving funds via wire transfer. So it’s important to know if your account charges this fee.

How to avoid this fee: Wire transfers are often used when you need to get money somewhere fast. Planning ahead could make these unnecessary. Also, see if a bank has free wire transfers or other payment options, such as Zelle, that will allow you to move money to others quickly. A service like Venmo may also help you reimburse others for smaller purchases.

Your bank may offer an Automated Clearing House Network (ACH) transfer option. Make sure it doesn’t have a fee and or limit the amount you can transfer.

9. ATM withdrawal fees

ATM fees can quickly add up. The total cost of withdrawing money from an out-of-network ATM was $4.72, on average, according to Bankrate’s 2019 checking account and ATM fee study. The ATM surcharge is $3.09 and the fee to use the other bank’s ATM is $1.63, on average.

How to avoid this fee: Many banks either have a large ATM network or waive ATM fees if you use another bank’s machine. Look for a bank that won’t charge you an ATM fee for machines convenient to you.

Planning can make a big difference

You’ll be able to avoid nearly all of the above penalties and fees by keeping track of your transactions and saving.

“A little bit of pre-thought into what you’re doing and making sure you understand the rules around your account will help save you a lot of money and frustration,” Horack says.

About Bankrate
Bankrate has over four decades of experience in financial publishing. Bankrate was born in 1976 as “Bank Rate Monitor,” a print publisher for the banking industry. In 1996, Bankrate made its online debut as Bankrate.com. Since then, Bankrate has grown to over 15 million monthly unique visitors, expanded its distribution outlets and added new content channels. Bankrate.com also publishes original and objective content to help individuals make smarter financial decisions. Their award-winning reporters and editors provide expert advice on nearly every major financial decision an individual or family may encounter — from purchasing a first home, to selecting a new car, to saving for retirement.

Seniors and Depression: How Medicare Can Help

Depression can be caused by genetic vulnerability, traumatic life events, serious medical conditions, faulty mood regulation in the brain, drug and alcohol use, and a number of other factors. It affects people of all ages, including more than 35 million Americans age 65 and older, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And unfortunately, depression in seniors is often more severe and has lower remission rates than in younger adults. However, Medicare can cover some types of depression therapy and treatment.

Signs of Depression in Older Adults

Signs and symptoms of depression in older adults often include ongoing feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness, as well as lack of motivation, loss of interest in hobbies, neglect of personal care, decrease in appetite, increase in sleep disturbances, alcohol or drug abuse, fixation on death, and thoughts of suicide. Also, some seniors don’t feel sad at all. In many cases, the predominant symptom of depression in older people is often physical complaints, such as headaches, arthritis pain, and other ailments.

If you or someone in your life is experiencing the signs of depression, professional help is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Medicare Coverage for Mental Health

When choosing Medicare coverage, it’s important to consider current mental health needs, as well as issues that may arise in the future. Begin by finding a mental health provider that accepts Medicare by using the search function on the Medicare website. Inpatient and outpatient mental health services can be covered, depending on your policies.

Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health treatment and services in a psychiatric hospital or a general hospital. However, for psychiatric hospital stays, there is a 190-day lifetime limit. In either instance, you will need to pay your deductible, and then your Medicare coverage would kick in. Examine your policy for details about possible daily hospital coinsurance amounts.

Original Medicare Part B provides coverage for outpatient care, including an annual depression screening, diagnostic testing, and medication management. Evaluations, counseling, and therapy by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and certain other providers are also covered. As long as a participating Medicare provider that accepts assignment is utilized, Part B pays 80 percent of the cost of these services. Providers who take assignment have agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amounts for covered services. Some patients may find it difficult to pay their share, but Medigap insurance can cover those costs.

Medicare Advantage plans provide the same services as Original Medicare; plus, they can provide additional treatment options. For example, some plans have management programs for patients suffering from depression. This program offers counseling, coaching, and support by care management staff to help patients adhere to treatment for depression.

During the Open Enrollment Period each year (October 15 to December 7), you should evaluate your health care needs and figure out if you need to make any changes. During Open Enrollment, seniors can switch over from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Switching to a different Medicare Advantage plan is also possible, and you can also sign up for prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) during this time.

Age-related diseases can worsen depression symptoms, and conversely be worsened by depression. If you or someone close to you is dealing with depression or other mental health issues, it’s important to get help in the form of professional counseling, medication, and/or other treatments. If the person in question is a senior, there is proof that they need to get help is even greater. Talk to your family and your healthcare provider to find assistance. It’s possible to secure successful treatment and get back to living a fulfilling life.

About the Author
Teresa Greenhilll is the co-creator of MentalHealthForSeniors.com, which is dedicated to providing seniors with information on physical and mental fitness so that they can be active and happy in their golden years.

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.

Fighting Aging with Success

Time does not wait for you, but, every once in a while, you can convince it to give you a break. Even though we are not able to stop the process of aging, there are plenty of ways we can slow it down. Being good to your mind and body will assist you in looking and feeling younger, which allow you to better spend your time.

In a lot of cases, fighting the pains of growing older involves abiding by conventional common sense. Eating responsibly, exercising, and getting enough rest each night can do wonders to improving your health and well-being. But what you do not do is just as important as what you do. The choices we make are responsible for making us look and feel older, such as choosing not to wear sunscreen on a sunny day.

Although we do not intend to spend all day soaking up the Sun, UV rays can damage our skin. Stress also has long-lasting impacts on your body, so it is vital to utilize relaxation techniques so your own worst enemy isn’t you.

For other critical do’s and don’ts when it comes to looking and feeling better, see the following checklist below.

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.