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Aging Wisely September 2015 - Aging Wisely

Long Term Care Insurance, Medicaid, Planning…What You Need to Know


long term care, Medicaid planning

Do you and your family have a plan in place for what you would do if you need ongoing care when diagnosed with a chronic illness? Do you have the legal documents needed to handle your affairs? Do you understand Medicaid, Medicare and long-term care insurance? Do you have an understanding of the costs and options for long-term care? Do you know what’s involved with paying privately for care options versus your choices under Medicaid?

Long term care can be defined as the range of services or support that a person receives to meet their personal care needs, which may include medical, social services and various support services. One of the keys to long-term care preparation is to start planning early!

Linda Chamberlain, Medicaid planning attorney

This Aging Wisely educational series brings you expert advice from Linda Chamberlain, Board Certified Elder Law Attorney and founder of Aging Wisely and EasyLiving home care. Linda has been practicing elder law in Clearwater since 1991, and has achieved Martindale Hubbell’s highest rating as an AV® Preeminent™ Attorney. She specializes in Medicaid planning, Medicaid applications, and long-term care issues.

Make plans to join us for the first class in this series on October 27th from 1:00-2:30 pm.

What you should do before you get sick:

If you are nearing retirement age, it is crucial to start planning now. While specific decisions depend upon your unique personal circumstances, there are a number of steps that everyone can take, regardless of their circumstances. This is the time to ask questions about expected potential long-term care costs and options, to understand Medicare versus Medicaid and what is covered. This is prime time to gain control over your choices in the future, should you need assistance.

Click here to get the Aging Wisely educational series long term care flier. We invite you to share this great resource with anyone you know who might be interested!

Call us at 727-447-5845 for any questions about long-term care issues, to RSVP or to get information about future events. Sign up for our newsletter for all the latest educational events and news.

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The Aging Wisely Care Plan


care plan example

A care plan is an important element of ensuring the best eldercare for each individual. Nursing homes and hospitals use care plans to manage their patients’ needs. These are often dictated by regulations; facilities and providers usually have specific forms and rules they follow. If you’ve ever had a loved one in a nursing home, you probably received notifications about care plan meetings. The patient and responsible parties are supposed to be invited to these meetings, in which they and the staff review and discuss various aspects of the person’s care.

A care plan is just as vital for an elder who lives in the community. A care plan lays out how different needs are being addressed. A coordinated plan keeps the care providers on track and helps everyone work together to meet goals.

At Aging Wisely, our proprietary care planning process starts with our assessment. We identify key issues (drawing in the perspectives of the client, family and others as well as our expert evaluation) and make recommendations to address them. Some of these may be taken care of immediately, some may be priorities for the future and many will involve ongoing services and management.

The Aging Wisely care plan is both a document (which is being reviewed and updated on a regular basis) and a process. We use it in our plan for visiting and handling different tasks. We use it as the basis for communicating with clients and families about the steps we are taking and the things we will help accomplish.

The Aging Wisely care plan is also holistic in nature, like our comprehensive assessment. It is not simply a list of medical procedures or medications. The care plan can cover all aspects of the client’s life, from the medical and practical to social, familial and spiritual.

Examples of holistic goals we might incorporate into an Aging Wisely care plan:

Financial: To assist a client’s family in reducing the cost of medications by exploring Medicare drug plan options during open enrollment.

Spiritual: To hire a companion to escort the client to weekly church services and to get information on church support services.

Social: To help a client sign up for classes at the local senior center and to schedule transportation to drive her to her weekly bridge games and lunch outings.

We know that all of these aspects of a person impact the others. So, for example, if a client is suffering financially, he or she may go without needed medication or eat poorly thus affecting health. Lack of socialization and emotional/spiritual/familial support can lead to poor health and increased risk of cognitive issues. These connections are just a few of the many examples of why a comprehensive, coordinated care plan is so vital for safe, happy, healthy aging.

Want to learn more about the Aging Wisely care plan or get help providing the best care for your elder loved one? Contact our eldercare team at 727-447-5845 any time!

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Five Common Mistakes When Dealing with Elderly Drivers


elderly drivers

Concerned about an aging parent’s driving abilities?

This is a common issue for many families as their loved ones age. Dealing with elderly drivers is at once both a very personal and societal issue. It is essential that we find ways to stay healthy and active, yet safe, as an aging population.

Our Aging Wisely team offers a lot of resources for elderly drivers and their families (sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date and get free resources!). Today, we’ll share five common mistakes we see when families are dealing with elderly drivers and their concerns (and what to do instead).

1. Assuming elderly drivers should not be driving simply based on a particular age

Driving abilities are impacted by sensory deficits, certain health problems and cognitive issues, which often go along with aging. But, how these issues affect individuals varies greatly. A healthy 80-year old may be safer on the road than his 65-year old counterpart who is ill with Parkinson’s disease or mid/late stage dementia. Don’t assume your loved one should stop driving just because of hitting a certain age. Instead, track health issues and specific concerns. A senior driver assessment can help separate age from ability/problems.

2. Thinking your aging parent will be fine because he/she only drives in a limited area or during the daytime

Yes, putting limitations on driving does help and many elderly drivers can continue driving longer if they are aware of their own limitations (night driving is a common weak area due to changing vision). However, if you are noticing concerns, such limitations may or may not be enough at some point.

3. Ignoring your concerns because you don’t know what to do

If you feel strongly that there is a problem, your suspicions are probably correct. Our experts are available to talk to you anytime about how to proceed and different options. Don’t ignore potential driving safety issues…you could be putting your parent’s life (and many others) in danger.

4. Confronting your aging parent about driving without planning out the conversation or considering the approach

Take time to think about what you want to say and how to approach the conversation. When is a good time to talk? Who should be there? What approach works best with your aging parent? You should have specific concerns and issues you have noticed, as well as some ideas about what to do. You should plan enough time to listen to your parent. Don’t inadvertently treat your parent like a child. The conversation should take place over time when possible, perhaps starting with a proactive discussion of future needs (especially when faced with a diagnosis that will likely affect driving).

5. Not having a post-driving plan/resources

This is one of the most common mistakes we see. Families, understandably, are so focused on the issue of getting their parents to stop driving they give little thought to what might happen after (or assume this means the elder will have to move to an assisted living facility). It is vital to explore local senior transportation resources and have different options available. Often, adult children will offer to drive their parents or suggest asking neighbors to help, but give your parents other options so they don’t feel trapped or beholden to friends and family.

Our care managers are senior care experts and can perform assessments, assist in navigating the conversation, and help you create a customized “post-driving plan”. Call us at 727-447-5845!

Get our popular “Taking Away the Car Keys” handout, chock full of tips and resource for elderly drivers!

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Mission Statement

Our goal is to enable every individual we work with to live the most fulfilling life possible, with utmost dignity, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial wellbeing.