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Aging Parents With Differing Care Needs? Here’s How to Tackle the Challenges
Handling the relocation of your aging parents is a big responsibility, particularly if one of your folks is declining while the other remains in good health. You’ll be managing the cost and logistics of finding appropriate living quarters for each of them while providing the compassion your parents need to bravely face these big changes. Here are some tips for successfully navigating this challenging situation.
Focus on Long-Term Requirements
Finding the ideal care facility for your ailing parent is a priority. Start by assessing what type of place best fits your mom or dad’s specific needs; typically, a nursing home offers skilled medical care while an assisted living center does not.
Be realistic about the future; although your parent’s current condition may be stable, it’s better to find a facility that provides escalating care if you expect his or her health to decline. Ask friends for recommendations, or consult referral services to find homes that meet your location, cost, and service requirements.
Review Financial Resources
Quality care doesn’t come cheaply, so examine all potential resources for covering the expense. Experts note that demand for long-term care insurance is increasing, but if your parents don’t have a policy, you may have to tap their savings, veterans benefits, or home equity.
Selling the family home is another way to provide funds for nursing care while relieving your healthy parent of the hard work of maintaining a house. If you go this route, keep in mind you may need to fix up the place to get it market-ready. While you can leave some cosmetic updates to the new owners, you should fix major issues like roof or foundation problems, leaky plumbing, and damaged windows to attract a wider audience of buyers.
If you’re selling your mom and dad’s house to cover the cost of a nursing home for one of them, you still need to address other parents’ living situation. Moving in with you or one of your siblings, renting a smaller house, or settling into a retirement community are the main choices, and each likely requires downsizing.
Once they’ve found the best option, make the transition easier for your parent by hiring a mover for packing and transporting services. Some providers will even remove items for donation or disposal to make paring down less difficult. Find a local company with excellent reviews and recommendations on Angi.com so the move is handled professionally by a reputable team.
Throughout this process, it’s easy to let troubling emotions get the best of you. Anger, worry, and frustration may all wear on your compassion, causing you to lash out unintentionally.
Acknowledging that what you’re experiencing is normal can help you let go of hurtful feelings and focus on the empathy and kindness both of your parents need from you at this time. By actively showing compassion, you’ll also improve your own well-being so you’re better able to tackle the situation without giving into negativity.
From finding the right care facility like Regency Jewish Heritage Nursing and Rehabilitation for your ailing mom or dad to transitioning your healthy parent into a new home, these tips will make these major responsibilities easier to handle. Just remember to maintain your sense of compassion as you manage these challenges, so you and your parents come through the process as successfully as possible.
Take a look at our latest testimonial published on the independent healthcare website for consumers, Caring.com!
Visit Regency Jewish Heritage Online, at: www.regencyheritagenursing.com
Take a virtual tour of the facility by clicking on THIS LINK!
As part of the transition of our patients from short term to long term care, the families will typically apply for Medicaid on behalf of the resident (acting as their proxy) in order to secure a long-term payor source for 24 hour skilled nursing care.
Inevitably, Medicare is synonymous with short term rehab only.
Traditional Medicare is finite and only allocates up to 100 days of in-patient skilled rehab and based upon specific conditions and criteria.
However, Medicaid is the go-to long term payor source for all residents living in a nursing home, because they cover (long term) custodial care.
In securing Medicaid there are financial and clinical criteria to determine eligibility which sometimes requires a private pay ‘spend-down’ period. Thereafter, the patient must be considered ‘Medicaid Pending,’ which is the period during which the Medicaid application has been successfully submitted to the State, but not yet fully executed by the State.
In successfully submitting the application and in order for the application to be considered ‘pending,’ it must be correctly done and without any anticipated difficulties and/or penalties which would preclude the applicant from qualifying once the state takes a close look at the documents.
To this end, families will often require help from a specialist who is versed in the minutiae and tedious nuances of various State mandates and ‘look backs’ and information gathering etc.
There are two types of facilitators in the field of Medicaid applications; there are Elder Attorneys and Medicaid Specialists and families have the ability to choose one over the other.
What is the difference between the two?
Let us first understand the definition of Elder Law and what it encompasses.
What is Elder Law?
The practice of Elder Law is a specialty practice that encompasses a broad understanding of aging and the law, and the interaction between the varied issues which may affect the elderly.
Elder Law addresses a multitude of needs and issues, including:
What is a “Medicaid Specialist?”
Conversely, a Medicaid Specialist is usually a firm that specializes in the emerging niche market of facilitating Medicaid eligibility for elderly people by coordinating the entire effort to procure the appropriate and requisite documentation which the State requires and actually applying for Medicaid on behalf of the resident.
The Medicaid specialist is typically not an elder attorney and will therefore not specialize in (or otherwise pursue) estates, trusts and other such matters concerning the elderly.
Instead, they focus exclusively on applying for Medicaid on behalf of their clients and on following up with the often time consuming process of seeing the application through to its successful conclusion.
Who to use?
There are benefits inherent in using or preferring each of these two different business models and much of it will be subjective and personal.
I will enumerate and highlight but a few of the differences for your considerations:
In all instances, however, it is vital that you conduct proper research and do your due diligence before making an important decision of this magnitude.
With the Regency vaccinations now (successfully) in the rearview mirror (we were in fact, from the first skilled nursing organizations in the state of NJ to vaccinate our residents) it is tough to believe that we are finally starting to turn the corner with the pandemic – and we are so very grateful!
From the very beginning of the pandemic, Regency was at the forefront of the effort to keep our residents safe. Our heroic caregivers stepped up to the plate in a big way to heal our patients amidst this global crisis.
And we were recognized.
Our Founder and President, David Gross, demonstrated tremendous leadership with his constant email outreach and updates to keep our families informed and empowered.
The grateful letters we received were well received and resonate even 1 year later.
I’d like to remind you of this positively stunning letter we received last year on June 23, 2020.
I actually have it bookmarked because it is a source of constant inspiration for me and for my colleagues.
What inspires you?
Have a great weekend!
Whether you’re 20 or 80, healthy or sick, there is an important conversation you need to have with your doctor at your next annual exam.
It’s not a conversation about your current health concerns, but about your future ones.
It’s a conversation about Advance Care.
Advance Care Planning involves thinking about the types of medical decisions you will want made for you if you are in a situation where you cannot state them yourself.
Sound like a depressing topic? It doesn’t have to be. This is a time for you to think about and communicate your personal values and desires regarding end-of-life care.
If you’re receiving Medicare benefits, this conversation is even covered. Medicare will pay Advance Care Planning at your Welcome to Medicare Exam and at each Annual Wellness Visit.
The specific decisions you make are written into a legal document called an advance directive.
Some of the decisions in an advance directive could include whether you want to be put on a ventilator if you cannot breathe on your own, and whether you want CPR if your heart stops.
Bear in mind that these decisions are not set in stone. You can change them at any time, if your situation, your health, or your feelings change.
You may have difficulty considering what you would want at some unknown future point, especially if you are currently in good health. For these reasons, it is best to designate a healthcare proxy, someone who you can trust to make medical decisions for you.
Your healthcare proxy might be a relative, but it doesn’t have to be. You might feel that a close friend or someone in your spiritual community might have a better sense of your values — and might have a clearer head in an emergency.
Both the advance directive and healthcare proxy form are legal documents, but in New Jersey they do not need to be notarized or completed by a lawyer. You can find these forms, as well as more information about advance directives and healthcare proxies in New Jersey by clicking here.
If you have Medicare coverage, the best time to have these discussions with your doctor is at the Welcome to Medicare visit or at your Annual Wellness Visit, when Medicare will cover the entire cost. But if you have missed that opportunity this year, don’t let that stop you. Medicare will still cover Advance Care Planning through Medicare Part B.
Of course, we will still continue to cover the hot button healthcare topics and updates on this blog as well, but we wish to invite all our readers here, to bookmark our corporate blog and stay abreast of the many additional articles we will be posting there.
Click on the photo below (or on THIS LINK) to read a new article just published today on our Corporate Blog, and see why Regency Nursing continues to set the standard of care for the entire Skilled Nursing industry!
Among the alphabet soup of medical abbreviations, you may have heard of an LTACH and wondered what that was.
Long-term acute care hospitals (LTACH), also known as Long-term Care Hospitals (LTCH) are hospitals specializing in patients who require extended hospitalization. The legal definition of an LTACH is “a hospital that has an average inpatient length of stay of greater than 25 days.”
Patients commonly stay at an LTACH for care when they’re on a ventilator long-term, or when they’re battling more than one condition. Patients with very complicated illnesses that require extended hospital stays are also referred to LTACHs. Very often, their families are told they can get much better care at an LTACH than at a short-term hospital or long-term skilled nursing facility.
There isn’t a lot of evidence supporting better outcomes for LTACHs. In fact, new research suggests the opposite.
The study, authored by a team from Standford, MIT, and University of Chicago respectively, found that “substitution to LTCHs leaves patients unaffected or worse off on all measurable dimensions.” The study also suggested that Medicare could save 4.6 billion dollars a year by reimbursing long-term hospitals at the same levels as skilled nursing facilities.
In fact, their data showed that LTACHs didn’t produce statistically significant declines in patient mortality over a 90-day period, nor did they improve the odds that a resident would eventually return home.
Most of the services offered at a long-term acute care hospital can also be received at a skilled nursing facility like Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation. At Regency, we offer all skilled nursing services, including IV and oxygen therapy.
Some individuals, such as some ventilator-dependent patients, may require extended acute care. But according to this study, most patients—and Medicare—may be better off with skilled nursing.
Hey, New Jersey Medicare beneficiaries. As we mentioned in a previous post, you should soon be receiving your new Medicare cards if you haven’t already.
Your new card contains a new, eleven-character Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, consisting of both numbers and letters. The new identifier is completely random and is not associated with your social security number.
Besides for an update to the overall design, only your identifier number is changing. Your coverage and benefits, and social security number remain the same.
Beware of scammers asking for money or bank information over the phone. The new cards are free, and Medicare will NEVER call you and ask for your personal information without you asking them to call. If you receive a call from “Medicare” asking for your information or money, or threatening to cancel your healthcare benefits, hang up and call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
Your new card will arrive in the regular mail. You can check with Social Security by calling 1-800-772-1213 to make sure your mailing address is up to date. You can also visit your online account at ssa.gov/myaccount. Don’t worry if your neighbor receives their card before you do. Yours is on the way.
Your new card can be used as soon as you receive it. Make sure to destroy your old red, white, and blue Medicare card. Keep any Medigap, Part D, Medicare Advantage or retiree health plan cards—those did not change.
Starting January 1, 2020, only the new card and new identifier can be used. If you forget to bring your card with you, your health care providers can look up the number for you.
Medicare began mailing the cards at the beginning of the month, and they say it can take over a month to mail replacement cards to every beneficiary in the state. If you still haven’t received your new card by September 15, call Medicare’s office at 1-800-633-4227.
Dear Adult Children of Regency Nursing Residents,
First of all, we want to tell you we think you’re incredible. You come to visit as often as you can, you make sure your parent receives the care and compassion he or she deserves, and you handle any issue that comes up with composure and devotion.
You chose Regency Nursing because you love your parent and wanted the best for them. We’re deeply honored that your loved one is here with us.
But today, let’s talk about you and your future.
You know only too well how expensive aging can be. Your income is fixed, your health is declining, and the medical costs keep piling up. There are co-payments for drugs, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and procedures. Not everyone can get on Medicaid, and if you need skilled nursing care, well, let’s hope you have a 3-day qualifying hospital stay so Medicare will cover it.
And of course, you know that custodial care—that is, non-skilled long-term nursing care—isn’t covered by Medicare at all. Nursing home stays in New Jersey average $100,000 a year. Will you be able to shoulder these costs in your retirement?
Dear friend, you may be perfectly healthy and feel a world away from facing these financial challenges. But the time to plan is now. Experts say it’s never too early to start planning for long-term care, and starting in your 50s, or even 60s, isn’t too late.
Here are two ways to fund your own long-term care that you might want to explore:
Traditional Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance is a separate insurance policy that covers home, hospice, nursing home, and assisted living care. You may also be able to add an LTC rider to a new or existing life insurance plan.
You can prepare for your LTC needs using a reverse mortgage, annuity, or trust. If you’re young enough, you can also start saving now using a high-interest account or stock portfolio.
We urge you to sit down with your financial planner to explore your options as soon as possible. You know the costs—both financial and emotional—of long-term health problems. You know these challenges are almost always an inevitable part of aging. Why wait?
For more information, check out this page from the Administration on Aging: LongTermCare.gov Costs & How to Pay
Thank you for partnering with us in caring for your loved one, and we wish you a wonderful weekend!