Category Archives: In Home Care

Caregiving Decisions Can Often Be as Clear as Mud

By Dr. Mara Karpel

Psychologist, Host of Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, and Author of The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age.  Find her at: DrMaraKarpel.com

 “It is not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lena Horne

Whether your loved one lives with you, in the same time zone, or thousands of miles away, there are often big decisions that need to be made involving their care, living situation, medical procedures, medications, etc. Often, the right choices are not at all clear. There are many choices, frequently none of which are “perfect,” and you will likely be asked to decide — or to help your loved one decide — which is the best decision that fits for them.

Being responsible for such heavy decision-making about such important issues that can be so unclear can certainly keep any of us up at night and cause plenty of anxiety. Here are some tips for better wading through the muddy waters:

  • Get as much information as possible. Talk to professionals, research on reliable websites, ask other caregivers whom you know might have had experience with similar issues. Talk to your loved-one’s doctors, therapists, paid caregivers, and get second opinions. Read books related to the topics at hand.
  • If you’re still feeling confused and anxious about the decisions, take a break. Take walks, exercise, meditate, get out in nature, to take your thoughts off of the subject for periods of time. This will give your mind a chance to quiet down from the anxious thoughts and allow your inner knowing, your higher wisdom, to process all of the information you’ve been given and to find the answer that best fits for your specific situation. The answer may come to you as a feeling of being shouted out by your inner self, “this is it!,” or it may come as a whisper.
  • If this still doesn’t work, spend time, again, quieting your mind. Sit quietly, close your eyes, take some slow deep breaths.   Then imagine that you’ve made a decision. See and feel what life is like after that particular action has been taken. Now quiet your mind and imagine what it looks like and how it feels after making the opposite decision. This can often give greater insight about the best decision for you and your loved one’s unique situation.
  • Finally, remember that there are no perfect decisions and we only discover mistakes in hindsight. Most of us don’t own a crystal ball and cannot predict with 100% accuracy how it will work out, no matter which way we go. As I wrote about in my blog, Tips for Caregivers – Near and Far -Tip #10 – Forgive Yourself, “We all make mistakes. We’re human.” Don’t be hard on yourself for doing the best you could to figure out the right course of action.

Read similar blogs by Dr. Mara and listen to her internet radio showNow also available on Apple Podcasts.

Be sure to follow her on Facebook for updates on her show and new blogs.

And check out Dr. Mara’s internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age!

Looking at Long Term Care Insurance in a new way

Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) is not new and over the past few years, has not had the best reputation. It has been understood that while LTCI is great for helping people afford caregiving in their homes, the use of this insurance has been declining for the last 10 years.

Recently, there has been a lot of changes in the Long Term Care Insurance industry as they have seen the escalating costs of private duty care eat into their ability to offer a substantial benefit to their clients. One of the biggest changed to help with making LTCI more affordable and increase the benefits for elder Americans was allowing individuals to use companies like Well Beyond Care to hire their own caregivers instead of having to use the more costly private duty agencies in order to get reimbursement.  Lauren Tarrant, Well Beyond Care’s COO and Chief Nursing Officer was able to talk recently with, Randal Parker, who works in the LTCI industry and he was able to shed more light on some of these changes and how LTCI should be used by more people.

Mr. Parked stated that the driving force for him to offer these (LTCI) policies to families and seniors is, “I get to see firsthand what a difference I can make in someone’s life. To get a hug from a daughter after signing a policy  which allows her parents to afford care in-the-home or God-forbid a nursing facility.” He added, “I’ve delivered death claim checks and benefit checks and the hardest thing for me would be if I wasn’t able to help them in their time of need. To be appreciated by my clients is important to me. I used to be in the business of selling John Deere Tractors in Vermont. Now I’m here and this feels so different. Maybe because I’m aging or maybe just because I can help people in a totally different and more personal way.”

Mr. Parker outlined two LTCI policies that not only offer great benefits, but allow individuals to get reimbursed when hiring their own caregivers. One is from New York Life and one is from Kemper Reserve National. Disclaimer: Mr. Parker offers policies from both New York Life and Kemper.  He explains that there are many moving parts and LTCI used to be very pricey and limited, but much of that has changed recently.

First, New York Life (NYL) offers a policy through AARP.

New York Life: Benefits included in the policy.

Day 1 – Care Family Friends can be your caregivers and get paid.
Day 1- adult day care can start on day one and get reimbursed.
Day 20 – Home Care – Health caregivers can start coming to your home and can get reimbursed.
Assisted Living and Nursing Home care – you can choose from 30 to 365 days of waiting-
Extra Hospice Care is covered even with Medicare.
Dividends – You begin receiving dividend payments starting on year 10. These will reduce your premiums until your policy is paid in full.
Care Coordination support – You are assigned a person who creates a plan of care with your doctor, and then monitors your care for the whole time you are on claim.
Restoration of benefits– If you go on claim and then recover, all those used funds go back in your benefit pool.
NYL Financial Strength – New York Life has paid dividends for 172 years, and has $1.47 for every $1.00 in liabilities.
Plus, NYL  has another 29 billion in excess reserves, a 100 Comdex score, and only ever had 1 Increase in premiums (2014).

To learn more about this NYL LTCI offering – Click the link below to register: https://nylltc2020cc.eventbrite.com for an upcoming Online Long-Term Care Insurance Sales Presentation dates.

Here is the information about the Home Health Care plan being offered by National Reserve as part of the Kemper Insurance Company. This plan pays for both Home Care and Adult Day Care but not for assisted Living or a Nursing home. That is why the cost is so reasonable.  Concerning this plan, Mr. Parker stated, “So far, I’ve been able to help people with Parkinson’s, Autism, MS, pre- dementia, heart issues, cancer less than 1 year out from treatment, as well as individuals using walkers, canes etc. These plans are a gift for these people.”

Kemper offers two plans.  Each plan lasts for 365 days of care and pays up to $150 per day (or $4,5000 per month)  The reason to purchase the 2nd plan is to create uninterrupted care for as long as you pay the premiums. You can even overlap these plans for twice the benefit.

So what are the costs?

Kemper cost example: for a 65-year-old Male or Female.  The base plan is $27.25 per month. The inflation rider [5% compound] is $27.95 per month. That totals $52.20 per plan per month. Purchasing both plans  costs $110.40 per month, with the inflation rider included. This inflation rider guarantees that your benefit will increase to $232.00 a day or $6,960.00 a month in 10 years time.  The math is simple. You pay $110.40 per month for a $4,500 a month benefit initially, which  increases to $6,960 over time.

While the New York Life plan is nationwide, Kemper is only offered in 39 states. People 55 and older think that they might or will never need it. Kemper is different, as it offers lifetime benefits with just a 6 month waiting period. As long as you are making the premium payment, clients will have coverage of $150 per day today, and $232 per day after 10 years. With the inflation rider, benefit goes up every year.

So why are we at Well Beyond Care telling you about Long Term Care Insurance? Well, it is about letting you have more benefit without spending more money. Of course you can use a private duty agency and pay between $25 and $30 per hour, or you can use Well Beyond Care and do it yourself and pay between $15 and $18 per hour, or 35% to 50% less. That means you benefits go further.

As an example, if  you are receiving an $150 per day LTCI benefit and you care paying $25 per hour for care, you will receive reimbursement for 6 hours of care per day. Will Well Beyond Care, that turns out to 10 hours of care at $15 per hour. That is a 67% increase in the amount of care received. And this is huge.

Out company’s interest in LTCI started when we found that our client, Lois, had spent years and a fortune on LTCI but did not know how to get reimbursed and didn’t want to “bother” her daughter who lived out of town. She said to Lauren Tarrant, “She (my daughter) has better things to do than to hunt down signatures and forms, ahhh, just forget it.”

We could not just forget about it.

From our view at Well Beyond Care, people do not ask for reimbursement even when they have paid for years of coverage. If you have paid for the coverage for years, there should be an easy way to get reimbursement. Because of Lois, and many others since, we have simplifies Reimbursement Process for anyone who uses are system to hire and manage a caregiver. All you have to do is to complete the LTCI page with your LTCI information and your forms will be processed and waiting for you in the Finance Section. Payroll is performed weekly and the forms will only need to be printed and sent either by email, fax or mail by you for weekly reimbursement. Your choice.

We hope this has been informative, and thank you.

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.