|The month of September brings a welcome relief from the hot summer days. Cool breezes and colorful foliage appearing on the trees entice one to walk and bask in healthy fresh air.
September has also been designated as “Healthy Aging Month” with encouragement to seniors to renew their attitudes towards better eating, exercise, and mental stability. With the nation’s senior population growing there is more focus on programs to help seniors remain healthy and active as they age physically, mentally and emotionally.
Opportunities for seniors to use their work experience and talents in volunteer work benefit not only them but their communities as well. Many seniors take educational courses to improve their minds and seek out opportunities to use this newfound knowledge in productive ways. In another direction, senior sport programs have been developed that encourage those who miss their days on the basketball court or playing other sports to take it up again. The National Senior Games Associations sponsors a competitive Senior Olympics.
There is no limit to what a healthy attitude can accomplish.
100-year-old Virginia, who suffers from glaucoma, received her first computer, an iPad. With the zoomable screen it is ideal for her to read books (she’s read 2 already) and write limericks (she’s composed 12).
A new population of seniors and those nearing senior status are looking for some type of financial support to maintain their quality of life and pay for eldercare during their final years of life. The need for some form of long term care will happen to 3 out of every 5 people. Paying for this care can be devastating for those who are not prepared.
Planning for the final years of life by dovetailing government programs, with your assets and other funding sources is a vital, yet complicated necessity. The National Care Planning Council’s “Life Resource Planning System” relieves some of this burden by providing recommendations pertaining to any or all of the items below that may be important to your living out the rest of your life in dignity.
Healthy aging – physically, mentally and financially – is a definite “can do” with all the resources available to seniors and a little planning for the future.
And of course, you can always reach out to The Powers Law Firm, P.C. for tailored advice specific to your unique situation.
Who Knows Your Medical Wishes?
National Healthcare Decisions Day is on April 16th, and it’s an important reminder for every adult to let someone know their most private wishes about medical treatments and possible end-of-life care.
Far too many people assume that their families would make the choices they would want in an emergency. Yet everyday we hear stories of adult children, siblings or other relatives battling during a health care crisis over “what their loved one would have wanted” in that situation.
The Terry Schiavo case is a great example of this. At the young age of 26, Shiavo suffered sudden cardiac arrest and slipped into a permanent a vegetative state. She never documented her wishes about things like feeding tubes, life support and long-term quality of life, leaving her family to battle for years over these questions in court.
Her husband eventually had her feeding tube removed claiming, “That’s what she would have wanted”. But was it really? We’ll never know because Terry didn’t make her healthcare wishes known to her closest family and friends.
But it’s not enough to just tell someone about your wishes. You need to clearly document your preferences, too. Remember, emotions can run high during a health care crisis, and it might be hard for your loved ones to stop life support when they desperately want you around. Having your wishes spelled out in writing helps make these types of decisions easier for your loved ones, especially in cases when other family members don’t agree.
So in honor of National Health Care Decisions Day, I encourage you to start tough conversations with loved ones about your personal medical preferences for medical or long-term care. Here are some important questions to consider:
· What are your thoughts on feeding tubes, life support and other artificial life saving devices?
· Is there any type of medical care you would NEVER want?
· If you were permanently disabled or incapacitated, what things would contribute or take away from your “quality of life”?
· Who do you trust to make important medical decisions if you are unable to speak for yourself?
· What are your thoughts on nursing home vs. in-home health care? Who would you trust to manage your long-term care?
These are not the most fun conversations to have, but they will help to ensure that your most personal wishes are honored in a true medical emergency. Talk them over with loved ones and get something in writing that spells out your wishes and the care you want if something happens to you. If you have questions, talk to us and get your health care proxy done NOW before an unforeseen emergency strikes.
And if you have been procrastinating, The Powers Law Firm is offering FREE health care proxies at our office at 120 Allens Creek Road, Rochester, NY 14618 on April 16th from 9am to 5pm. No appointment is needed!
My clients come to me to protect assets and preserve the wealth they have worked hard to accumulate. But the problems that create the risk of losing that wealth are not usually related to the world of finance or investing; we are trying to protect assets against the tragic costs of long term care that can result from a fall or sudden medical crisis. Seniors, especially, need to be savvy about staying safe in their homes. The Home Safety Council devotes significant space on their website to tips geared towards making your home safer for seniors.
In addition to modifying your home, another way to maintain yourself at home safely is to work to increase your physical strength. A home care assessment followed by strengthening exercises under the supervision of a physical therapist and personalized nutrition can mean the difference between additional years in your favorite place or a one-way ticket to nursing home level care. One of our local home care agencies, HCR, spearheaded the Lifelongevity program, the first program of its kind in the Rochester area specifically tailored to keeping seniors in their homes. Depending on the individual's medical needs the initial assessment may even be covered in full by Medicare.
We are here to provide planning assistance and referrals, but remember that you need to take advantage of the services available in the community before crisis hits to have the most choices available.
Barbara Friesner, who writes the wonderful AgeWiseLiving newsletter and created The Ultimate Caregiver's Success System, just sent around some tips she compiled for elder-friendly gardening. I have reprinted it below for those who love to muck around and those who just want to help the seniors in their lives continue a hobby they love, safely.
Article: Making the Garden Elder Friendly
the beginning of June but with this year’s weather, we are well into gardening
season. For so many Seniors, having their garden is a very big reason they want
to stay in their home. Not only does a garden look pretty and give an enormous sense of
satisfaction, (and attract birds and butterflies) but it’s also a great
exercise and promotes flexibility and strength which also helps prevent
osteoporosis and reduce stress.
there are lots of really good reasons to have a garden. However, some
people can have too much garden, and for them, the garden can be
overwhelming. They can easily get it under control by reducing the size
of the garden to what they can easily manage and then hiring a gardener or a
neighbor kid to take care of the rest.
some people want a garden but have only a little bit of space – or none at
all. For those with no space at all, container gardens are a great
solution. (So you can have a garden in an apartment, too.) They can be
inside or out and you can plant anything in them (fruits, vegetables, flowers,
shrubs, trees). Plus they can be any size, shape or height you want.
Check out ContainerGardening
for more pictures of container gardens.
If you have any
outdoor space at all, I am a huge proponent of raised garden beds. They
are great for seniors and anyone who can’t, or doesn’t want, to spend hours on
their knees, killing their back! According to raised-garden-beds.com,
there are other great reasons for raised bed gardening, too.
roots need air. In an ordinary garden, you can’t avoid stepping in
the garden bed occasionally when doing your everyday gardening. With
the raised garden, you garden from the path and not pack down the soil.
beds tend to drain away excess moisture better than ordinary garden
beds. This is another advantage that helps the plant roots to
breath. In areas that have saturated soil like Florida and many
areas of the South, raised beds may be the only way you can grow many
types of plants.
conditions and types can be controlled more efficiently in a raised bed
and they can be varied easily from bed to bed. Raised beds are the
answer when topsoil is thin.
fertilizer, compost, mulch, etc. can be applied more carefully because
they only need to be applied to the garden beds.
studies have shown that raised garden beds produce 1.4 to 2 times as much
vegetables and flowers per square foot as ordinary beds, due mainly to the
above advantages so you can have a smaller and more manageable garden and
still produce more.
But as the
years go by, even container and/or raised gardens can be tough on the
body. So here is some advice from gardening expert, Rebecca
Kolls, on how to keep the strain to the body to a minimum.
up by doing a few stretches before starting any gardening activities and
working with your garden tools. Doing this will help reduce any muscle soreness
you may experience later on.
plenty of liquids (avoiding alcohol), to keep your body well hydrated.
sure to take care of cuts, bruises scrapes and insect bites right away to
help avoid infection.
in the garden early in the morning or late in the day to avoid blazing
midday sun and heat which can make even the healthiest senior ill or
comfortable clothes and shoes
a hat and gloves to cover exposed skin and use sunscreen to protect
against sunburn and sun damage.
you start to feel fatigued, take a break for a few moments.
your gardening tasks every half hour or so.
using tools that will put you in awkward body positions. If possible, take
advantage of the new breed of ergonomic garden tools which are designed to
reduce strain and injury because they work in conjunction with your body
movements. Check out the Today Show’s Home &
Garden segment about gadgets that will help keep seniors in the
garden. (There are so many great new gardening tools out there, it
almost makes me wish I were a gardener!)
your tools sharp, well oiled and in good working condition. This will help
avoid resistance when using them and cut down on the manpower needed to
execute certain tasks. Remember that proper body positioning will minimize
muscle soreness and fatigue.
that you have all this great information . . . go play in the dirt!
AgeWiseLiving™ 2010 Barbara E. Friesner, Generational Coach
and adjunct professor at Cornell University, is creator of “The
Ultimate Caregiver’s Success System"™, the ultimate eldercare
instruction manual that shows you exactly how to resolve your eldercare issues
by choice, not crisis. To get your F.R.E.E. downloadable MP3 and receive
Barbara’s weekly eldercare success articles, visit www.AgeWiseLiving.com.
The article below says it "may" be helpful to contact an elder law attorney. I would argue that the elder law attorney should be contacted as soon as there is a diagnosis of dementia or any condition that may lead to long term disability and the inability to take care of yourself or a loved one. Too often families listen to non-legal professionals or attorneys who do not focus on elder law and spend tens of thousands of dollars before they finally contact a skilled elder law attorney. The myth continues that sound legal advice is too expensive. Please tell that to the daughter who cried last year after ravaging her father's IRA to pay for the nursing home care he was receiving; her financial advisor told her there was nothing else to do. Had she paid for a two-hour consultation and hired me a year earlier her father would have qualified for Medicaid months sooner and had over $80,000 more left in his IRA to pay for non-covered things to make his daily life better. Luckily his children pay for the "extras," things like regular haircuts, cable television and special food that are not covered under the nursing home daily rate or the $50 he is allowed to retain as a Medicaid recipient. Oh, and to add insult to injury, he now needs to pay federal income taxes because his income was too high last year due to the IRA distributions. Too expensive? Listening to their financial advisor was the costliest decision this hard-working family ever did. Elder law attorneys are here for a reason. We do not offer investment advice. Investment advisors should not offer Medicaid planning advice. The good advisors work with elder law attorneys as a team. If your advisor does not recommend that you see an elder law attorney, question why.
If you or a loved one are facing impending changes that could halt your independence, please contact me. You will walk out with information and referrals to local professionals who can help.
Posted using ShareThis
AARP has a great portion of their website devoted to caregivers and resources for caregivers. Please check it out! If you have any problem with the link above, simply go to www.aarp.org, click on the Family tab and then click on Caregiving. If you have questions about local options in Monroe County, please contact me or check out the consumer guide available from GRAPE (Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly).
Best idea I've seen for a birthday, anniversary, holiday or any gift for an aging loved one in the Rochester area-
The team at HCR works with your loved one's physicians and other health care professionals to create and monitor a plan to keep the older adult home in the community. This is a private pay program, so there are no insurance restrictions to deal with, which makes this truly a unique plan for each individual. I am so excited I am going to give a program to one lucky client during the month of December. (Schedule your long term care consultation with me now to be included in the giveaway raffle.)