Articles

List of Articles:

(Please scroll down the page to the article you wish to read.  Hyperlinks are not yet set up on this page.  Thank you!)

1. Detailed Guide – How to Find the Right Nursing Home

2. “My Medicare Matters” Resource and Tool

3. Review of “Benefits Check-up” Tool

4. PACE program – Program All-inclusive Care for the Elderly

5. Age in Place with Non-Traditional Retirement Communities

6. New Interactive, Web-based HealthCare screening

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Detailed Guide – How to Find the Right Nursing Home

Here’s my overview of an information-packed “step by step” guide on how to find the right nursing home for your aging parent. The article is quite long but worth every minute of reading time. It includes critical probing questions that you should consider and ask before making your decision. (See the link to the full article at bottom of this post.)

1. Figure out whether a nursing home is needed. Describes the importance of a thorough geriatric assessment and the value of community resources as well as professional geriatric care managers.

2. Pick the best nursing home candidates.
Factors include distance, ratings by federal government, numbers of nurses/nurses aides. A great piece of advice is “buddy up to an advocate”. Reach out to ombudsmen, advocacy organizations, state information and foundation websites. This section will help you understand what data you should be reviewing and why, as you narrow your list of choices.

3. What to do on your visit. How to size up a nursing home.
“Be ready to use all your senses”. Look for a full parking lot. What do you hear? Laughter, music? Of course, smells are a big telltale sign. Ask to see their most recent Form 2567 survey; ask about how any violations are being addressed. Discuss staffing and turnover. Ask specific questions for your parent’s needs whether for rehabilitation or chronic conditions. Ask how falls are prevented. And, spend time watching how staff interacts with residents and with each other.

4. Follow-up. Making sure you picked the right nursing home.
“Vigilance is the price of good care”. Expect an adjustment period. Watch for dramatic changes. Be firm, but don’t yell. Connect with the staff, share your special knowledge about why your parent may be reacting in a certain way and what things worked well at home.
Be alert to major changes in the nursing home such as change in ownership.

As I said, the article is well worth reading in its entirety:
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/29636865/

© 2009 Transition Aging Parents. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use this article on your website or in your own e-zine, you must include the following:

Dale Carter, founder of Transition Aging Parents, is dedicated to providing insight and information to adult children of aging parents so their parents may “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her bi-weekly articles on resources, options, and new innovations for aging parents, visit http://transitionagingparents.com.

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“My Medicare Matters” Resource and Tool

Thanks to “Seniors For Living” (http://www.seniorsforliving.com) for my guest blog opportunity!

“My Medicare Matters” is a user-friendly portal providing Internet-based educational tools that help those with Medicare Part D assess their coverage options and create a “personalized” comparison of available prescription drug plans.
Here’s a great resource for seniors and family members with Medicare coverage: “My Medicare Matters.” Sponsored by The National Council on the Aging and the Access to Benefits Coalition, “My Medicare Matters” is a user-friendly portal providing Internet-based educational tools that help those with Medicare Part D assess their coverage options and create a “personalized” comparison of available prescription drug plans. I recently used this tool to review my mother’s current Medicare drug plan.  We were surprised how easy it was to use and how quickly it identified immediate cost savings!

You will find this tool useful:
* To educate yourself on Medicare plans, requirements and terminology
* To determine if you can save money right now on prescriptions with your current Medicare prescription drug plan
* To review and compare drug plan choices during Open Enrollment each year, November 15 through December 31

In preparing to use this tool to generate a “personalized” drug plan comparison, I suggest the following:
1.    If you are unfamiliar with Medicare programs, I recommend a review of Medicare programs and terminology.
a.    Go to http://mymedicarematters.org/
b.    Click on “Learn About Medicare.”
c.    Follow the links on the left hand side.  (Get a grasp of the major concepts. Read the detailed definition for any term you’re unfamiliar with.   Take your time.  There is an incredible amount of information there.)
d.    If you have limited time, pay close attention to “What Medicare Costs” and also “Medicare Savings Program.”  (This includes qualifications for extra help.)
2.    Obtain the personal information you will need to use the tool:  Medicare Number and effective date, date of birth, Zip code, county, name of current drug plan, names of all medications, dosage, and quantity (per month).

Now you’re ready to use the tool. Here are easy-to-follow instructions:
1.    Go to http://mymedicarematters.org/

2.    Click on “Learn About Choosing Plans.”

3.    Click on “7 Simple Steps” on the left hand side and follow the prompts.

4.    “Step 5 – Picking a Plan” is where you will spend most of your time. (Important key concept: the site advises choosing the plan with the lowest overall annual cost.  You may initially think choosing the lowest premium will save you the most. But don’t overlook a high deductible or a potentially large expense when in the coverage gap.)

a.    Print out instructions for using Medicare.gov’s Prescription Drug Plan Finder.  Then click on “Medicare.gov’s Prescription Drug Plan Finder.”
b.    Click on “Find and Compare Plans.”
c.    Click on “Begin Personalized Search.”
d.    Enter required information and follow the prompts to view your current coverage and other prescription plans in your area.
e.    Next, enter all current drugs, dosage and quantity (per month). (Note: Once you have done this entry, you will be given an ID number for the drug list.  Record that number for future reference.)
f.    Now you will view a detailed cost breakdown using your current drug plan, as well as comparable prices through other available drug plans in your area.
g.    This is a key step to immediate cost savings! Click “Lower this Cost” for your current plan.  You will get a list of ways to save on current prescriptions, including suggested alternative drugs. If your doctor believes that the alternative drugs are acceptable, you may be able to begin saving money immediately.
h.    The remaining steps will help you change drug plans (usually during open enrollment).  On your “Personalized Plan List,” click on the “Estimated Annual Cost” and choose “sort.”  Choose up to three plans (including your current plan) to compare and click “compare.”

You now have your “personalized” drug plan comparison.  Print it out and review it carefully.  It contains a tremendous wealth of information.  My mother and I plan to use this tool each and every year during mid-November.  Why?  There may be changes due to congressional or state legislation, changes in prescription plans, and also changes in a person’s financial situation and medications. Prepare now by scheduling a follow-up check on your calendar.

© 2009 Transition Aging Parents. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use this article on your website or in your own e-zine, you must include the following:

Dale Carter, founder of Transition Aging Parents, is dedicated to providing insight and information to adult children of aging parents so their parents may “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her bi-weekly articles on resources, options, and new innovations for aging parents, visit http://transitionagingparents.com.

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Review of “Benefits Check-up” Tool

In these tough economic times, you will likely meet or talk with someone who is struggling financially. Here’s an overview of a helpful tool provided by the NCOA (National Council on Aging). The tool identifies federal, state, local and private programs that will help pay for prescription drugs, utility bills, meals, and health care.

The website shows that “As of Sunday, April 19, 2009 we have helped 2,271,236 people find over $7.1 billion worth of the annual benefits they deserve.”

How does “Benefits Checkup” tool work?
* Go to this website: http://www.benefitscheckup.org/
* Click on “Get Started” under “Find Benefits Program”
* You can select from several different options for particular areas of need. But, I assumed I’d be seeking help for someone who had never needed it before. So I clicked on “Go” under “Comprehensive”
* There is a Help option that tells you what information you’ll need to have on hand in order to answer the questions
* Once you gather that information, you then complete an “interview” form online that determines “potential eligibility” for benefits programs

The result:
* A personalized report (based on zip code, date of birth, income/expenses, prescriptions) of all the benefit programs the person appears to be eligible for, titled “Your Benefits Checkup Report”.
* For each potentially eligible program, the following information is included:
— A description of the program
— How to request assistance from the program (phone number, address, website)
— Supporting documentation you need to provide in order to get the assistance

The online “interview” form is easy to follow and complete. And, I was very impressed with the personalized report (in pdf format) that resulted. I think this is a very helpful, comprehensive tool for the elderly who are seeking assistance.

© 2009 Transition Aging Parents. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use this article on your website or in your own e-zine, you must include the following:

Dale Carter, founder of Transition Aging Parents, is dedicated to providing insight and information to adult children of aging parents so their parents may “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her bi-weekly articles on resources, options, and new innovations for aging parents, visit http://transitionagingparents.com.

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PACE program – Program All-inclusive Care for the Elderly

Jane Gross of the New York Times wrote an excellent piece on the PACE program.
For those who follow my Blog…recall that I had written about the alarming decline of geriatric-trained doctors and asked the question, do “Elderly Wellness Centers” exist?

The PACE program provides community-based comprehensive, coordinated care for elderly patients. Jane’s article includes an overview of the program and also, her first-hand account of one of the centers, the Comprehensive Care Management Corporation in the Bronx.

Here are some highlights:
1. A PACE program provides everything for a patient and their family, in terms of medical and social services. It provides for a system of coordinated care for the elderly patients. And, the annual fee is paid by Medicare and Medicaid.

2. PACE centers provide several advantages:
* lower cost to the taxpayer
* fewer and shorter hospital stays
* patients rarely end up in nursing homes
* satisfaction rate is close to 100%

3. Although the program was piloted in San Francisco 27 years ago and was proven a success, there are still only 40 such PACE centers in 22 states.

My question is this. How can this model be solidified and scaled so that these PACE centers can be established in every state? What entity needs to advocate for this?

To read all of Jane’s great article, here’s the link:
http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/health-care-delivered-as-it-should-be/

© 2009 Transition Aging Parents. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use this article on your website or in your own e-zine, you must include the following:

Dale Carter, founder of Transition Aging Parents, is dedicated to providing insight and information to adult children of aging parents so their parents may “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her bi-weekly articles on resources, options, and new innovations for aging parents, visit http://transitionagingparents.com.

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Age in Place with Non-Traditional Retirement Communities


Phillip Moeller of US News & World Report wrote a recent article on the trend of nontraditional retirement communities.  Below is my summary along with the link to his article.

Today there seems to be a real trend of people wanting to stay in their own home and communities, near friends and family.   An “exploding” concept in this Aging in Place trend are Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC).  They are communities that were not designed to be senior communities, but have ended up having a high concentration of seniors living there.

They can be
* an urban high-rise apartment building or spread out in rural areas (known as Naturally Occurring Retirement Regions – NORR)
* comprised of low income seniors receiving public services or high income persons paying $1,000 or more in annual dues

United Hospital Fund’s(UHF) Aging in Place Initiative was created in a New York City high-rise 20 years ago.  Director Fredda Vladeck described the important criteria for this type of environment:
* the physical environment
* the social fabric of the community
* the services and other kinds of specific supports

She says “This issue of social connection is very, very important…. Research has found that meaningful social engagement affects an aging person’s health more than whether they or not they smoke.”

Her advice for people interested in creating a NORC, “the first step is to gather like-minded people to ask … questions, and determine if this is a good place to grow old”.
The UHF maintains a website (<a href=”http://www.norcblueprint.org/”>http://www.norcblueprint.org/</a>) to explain the concept of a NORC and provide tips for those interested in creating an Aging in Place solution.

Source:
http://www.usnews.com/blogs/the-best-life/2009/2/27/more-seniors-opting-for-nontraditional-retirement-communities.html

© 2009 Transition Aging Parents. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use this article on your website or in your own e-zine, you must include the following:

Dale Carter, founder of Transition Aging Parents, is dedicated to providing insight and information to adult children of aging parents so their parents may “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her bi-weekly articles on resources, options, and new innovations for aging parents, visit http://transitionagingparents.com.

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New Senior Residence Concept in Downtown Chicago

For those of us who are seeking out quality living environments for our aging parents, read about a new concept in retirement communities, a high-rise in the center of a major city. The Clare at Water Tower, located in downtown Chicago, is a 54 story high-rise for senior citizens.

Chicago is renowned for its architecture. The Clare carries on that great tradition. If you have the time, be sure to click on the link at the end of this posting… to read the full Chicago Tribune article that details the architectural design elements of this unique building.

Here are some highlights about The Clare:
* developed and operated by the Franciscan Sisters
* the first skyscraper built by Chicago Service Corp, known for their low-rise continuing care retirement communities
* includes 334 apartments (most for independent living, the rest for assisted living and skilled nursing ). Corridors are designed with small wood shelves so residents can personalize space outside their apartments.
* includes “high ceilinged, light-filled communal spaces…a hotel-like three-story atrium that extends from the 17th to 19th floors, and a 53rd floor gathering space with spectacular lake views”
* is located within walking distance of downtown restaurants, churches and cultural attractions.

Last, but not least, The Clare opens up to the downtown campus of Loyola University Campus. Residents can walk to classes and Loyola students can use the tower’s chapel and other facilities, thus facilitating an intergenerational mix.

Website for The Clare: http://www.theclareatwatertower.com
Source:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/arts/chi-0222-clarefeb22,0,3782696.story

© 2009 Transition Aging Parents. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use this article on your website or in your own e-zine, you must include the following:

Dale Carter, founder of Transition Aging Parents, is dedicated to providing insight and information to adult children of aging parents so their parents may “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her bi-weekly articles on resources, options, and new innovations for aging parents, visit http://transitionagingparents.com.

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What the new GE/Intel Partnership Means for Your Aging Parents

Last week GE and Intel announced their $250 million partnership to sell high-tech devices that monitor seniors. These devices should help reduce visits to the hospital and help the elderly to be safer and remain longer in their homes.

What benefits will this partnership have for your aging parent?
1. New and enhanced products to track a person (in their home) with diabetes, chronic heart failure, lung problems or other chronic illnesses.
2. Replacement of regular phone call check-ins (as well as routine doctor visits to check vital signs) with …. “small simple touch-screen gadgets to allow elders to communicate and send vital-sign data to nurse managers via secure Internet linkups”.
3. Catching a problem early leads to an earlier diagnosis/treatment for better health and quality of life.

Benefit to the health community and the public in general:
1. This should reduce today’s $3 billion home health monitoring market. Part of that $3 billion includes the cost of nurses and other healthcare professionals to regularly phone and monitor chronic patients.

What does Intel bring to the table:
* Currently offers a product called Health Guide, a laptop-sized device with a touch screen.
* Patient plugs in digital scales and blood-pressure cuffs.
* Data is automatically sent to a nurse.
* Includes video linkup to the nurse station and an alarm if a patient fails to check in at pre-set time.

What does GE bring to the table?
* GE will use its marketing expertise to get hospitals and providers to buy or lease the Health Guide product.
* GE also currently offers a home motion-sensor system called Quiet Care for retirement homes that monitors movement and sends an alarm to nurse monitors if something seems wrong.
This and Intel’s product could certainly be enhanced to include more functions.

It will be very interesting to stay tuned in for news about this new partnership and the benefits it will provide our elderly as well as its impact on our health care system.

Source:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/02/ge-intel-elderly-business-healthcare-home-health.html

© 2009 Transition Aging Parents. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use this article on your website or in your own e-zine, you must include the following:

Dale Carter, founder of Transition Aging Parents, is dedicated to providing insight and information to adult children of aging parents so their parents may “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her bi-weekly articles on resources, options, and new innovations for aging parents, visit http://transitionagingparents.com.

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New Interactive, Web-based HealthCare screening

MySeniorCare is a web-based screening tool designed to be used by Seniors. It was developed by CareDataTrak to detect health risk factors for falls, incontinence, depression, and dementia. This is a tool that could be used by any organization that delivers healthcare to the elderly. Many senior facilities and elderly healthcare providers are experiencing shortages. Also, doctors are under increasing pressure to see more patients. Less time with patients can translate into missing diagnoses.

How does MySeniorCare work?
* It includes a personal computer and touch-sensitive screen in a home-like standalone wood cabinet.
* The survey process is started by a health care member.
* Then, the senior patient answers the questions in privacy.
* Finally, the system generates a report showing at-risk results.
* There is a reporting function that can be used to show results over time and also tracking treatment plan success.

Benefits for the patient using CareData Trak:
* The appearance is home-like and non-threatening.
* It accommodates hearing and visual impairments.
* Because the patient answers the questions in privacy, it eliminates any embarrassment or fear in answering honestly.
* The major benefit, of course, is timely identification of risk factors and early treatment.

As Dexter Klock, Founder and CEO of CareData Trak (developer of MySeniorCare) says, ” Given slow adoption of electronic health records…the larger vision of the healthcare industry is looking to bring technology…to the consumer at the edge of the network…the patient”.

CareData Trak sees the following benefits for healthcare organizations:
* Mitigate liability
* Increase efficiency and save time
* Reduce cost
* Improve quality of care
* Leverage existing staff
* Improve decision making
* Identify need for ancillary therapies

Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/caredatatrak/03302009/prweb2273264.htm

© 2009 Transition Aging Parents. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use this article on your website or in your own e-zine, you must include the following:

Dale Carter, founder of Transition Aging Parents, is dedicated to providing insight and information to adult children of aging parents so their parents may “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. To get your F.R.E.E. 5-Part E-Course and receive her bi-weekly articles on resources, options, and new innovations for aging parents, visit http://transitionagingparents.com.

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