Category Archives: Aging

Older Americans Act Reauthorization

The House Has Passed the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act

March 11th, after nearly a year of bipartisan negotiations, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334), a bipartisan proposal that increases funding for vital programs that help aging Americans live independently and with dignity.

This passage reauthorizes the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) through FY 2024. The legislation will now move to the President’s desk for signature.

“This reauthorization supports the needs of unpaid and family caregivers who are playing an increasingly large role in supporting the needs of older adults,” said National Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s CEO Sandy Markwood. “It’s especially critical as we grapple with the implications for older adults, family caregivers and the caregiving workforce pertaining to the spread of COVID-19.”

For more information on this passage, please click here.

The Value of a Health Navigator

Some time ago, we wrote a post about the value of having a nurse navigator when trying to decide about in home care here: (The Value of a Healthcare Navigator), and now we are revisiting this issue with a contribution from our friends at RegisteredNursing.org.

Most people’s first thoughts of a new year center around new beginnings and possible resolutions to be made. While these are important considerations to start the year out right, the most important consideration for a new year can revolve around your health and healthcare coverage. If you are like most people, you were barraged with notices about getting health care coverage. Navigating the landscape of “Part This” and “Part That” is confusing and, when added to potential health issues or surgeries, is down-right overwhelming. Enter the Health Navigator (queue the harps and harmonic singing).

The role of the health navigator has progressively expanded over the past decade as programs such as Medicare have become extremely complicated. More than just a person to help assist you with which options to choose for medical coverage, a qualified and skilled health navigator will also assist people with local resources they might qualify for, such as county or state programs. For example, low-income families in Idaho may qualify for additional support and assistance for medical issues through a medically indigent program; a savvy health navigator will know which services are available in certain areas and how to access them for the patient or family.

Health navigators play a different role than the nurse navigators you may have experienced in various healthcare settings. Nurse navigators assist patients or populations through either a healthcare system or a specialized department. One example of this role is when a patient is scheduled for surgery or perhaps is diagnosed with cancer, a nurse navigator is assigned to provide advice and guidance to patients through each step of the journey for these devastating experiences.

Some community health systems, such as Terry Reilly, employ health navigators to reach out to patients in their service area to offer support in enrolling patients and families into the myriad of choices for healthcare. As many programs are time-bound and have enrollment windows, having a process to proactively reach out to help people navigate the programs is very strategic. By offering services directly, not only are patients more likely to choose the health system that assisted them, the organization is more likely to receive better payment rates if patients are correctly enrolled. Either way, offering help to patients and families to traverse the timelines, coverage options, and associated costs with each plan is a valuable service to offer.

Healthcare and medical coverage can be confusing, especially if there are already numerous healthcare members coming into a home to provide services. However, if you find yourself needing additional resources or information related to healthcare coverage choices, ask your doctor to recommend a reliable health navigator for clarification and assistance. You don’t have to face these choices alone.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.