Hospice Care Doesn’t Mean Giving up on Faith

Posted in Elder Care, Home Health Care, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One at 1:52 pm by admin

What happens when the doctors have done everything they can do? What happens when Elderly Care has run its course, but nothing has changed. What do you do when the medical staff has thrown up their hands and said “we see no way out of this, and we think it is time you put your parent in hospice care”?

These hopeless are, for many, the enemies of faith. How can a religious family–whether Christian or otherwise–hold on to their faith that their senior loved one can get better while at the same time discontinuing the only medical care that is sustaining them?

From the outside, it might seem like an impossible situation. And indeed, it might be. Nobody will live forever, after all. But millions of people believe in a God that can heal and sometimes does. I am one of them. And their is a very real tension for many of them: if we put our parent or grandparent in hospice care, does that signal the end of our faith? Does it mean, in other words, that we no longer believe that God is able to make the situation better? Does it mean we are giving up?

Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice Care does not mean “a place to give up.” It is a different type of care where professionals no longer focus on curing the ailment. Rather, they focus on different types of discomfort: pain management, emotional wellness, and spiritual readiness. Hospices employ caring nurses who specialize in taking care of a patience physical comfort, and ministers who can communicate peace and love in the midst of their situations.

My father is a full-time chaplain at a hospice in Texas. As a minister, he fully believes in (and has personally experienced) highly unusual instances of immediate, unexplained healing. He believes in a God that can instantly make situations change, and diseases disappear. So why does he work in a hospice? Because he loves people, and he knows that this physical life is not all their is.

Hospices like his work with entire families, not just elderly patients. They help to foster a sense of family closeness, whether in the midst of onsite hospice care, or in a nursing home, or at home. And if the patient does pass on, they can help them through the grieving process. It is a much more holistic type of care than any other type of elderly care.

Keeping Faith While Letting Go

So how is committing your loved one to Hospice Care not giving up faith? It’s really simple, actually. When you believe God can heal, then you know he can heal a person in hospice care just as well as he can in intensive medical care. How is it giving up to say “Okay, God: the doctors can’t do anything else. So I guess it’s up to you now”?

Family members who might have to say goodbye to grandma or grandpa can rest assured that a choice for hospice care can still be a choice that is full of love and of continued faith. It does not mean “I do not believe.” Instead, it means “I believe. And I love.”


Respite Care Services

Posted in care at home, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One at 1:06 am by admin

Caregivers take on a challenging task when they decide to care for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. As the disease progresses, caregivers and family members are often overwhelmed by the changes that often happen in their loved one. The emotional and physical strain of caring for someone you love with these progressively increasing memory and physical challenges can make continuing care at home as sole caregiver difficult or even impossible. Because of tendencies to wander or forget safety precautions, many Alzheimer’s or dementia patients are unable to be left alone for any length of time.
These caregivers providing full-time care for their loved ones who have Alzheimer’s and dementia are extremely vulnerable to burnout. The good news? There are services available to provide respite care. Respite care centers often specialize in providing short-term care for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia to relieve their caregivers. Respite care services are often used when care is needed for longer than a day or during weekend days and evening hours when an Adult Day Care Center is closed.
Many caregivers are hesitant to take advantage or Respite Care because they feel uncomfortable placing their loved one in a strangers care, or removing them from their familiar home surroundings. While these concerns are understandable, respite care could very well be the only way some caregivers will be able to continue to care for their loved one for as long as possible. Respite Care Centers are staffed with professionals. Often visiting the Respite Center and meeting staff members can alleviate these concerns.

These centers provide caregivers a much-needed respite which can prevent burnout and at the same time give your loved one quality care by professionals who will ensure their safety. Taking advantage of Respite Care could prevent caregiver burnout and extend the length of time you are able to care for your loved one in the comfort of your own home.


Adult Day Care

Posted in care at home, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Nursing home alternative at 12:46 am by admin

Sooner or later, most caregivers find they are unable to or uncomfortable with leaving their loved one at home alone long enough to run errands, take a much needed break, or work a part-time job to make ends meet. In times like these, it is impossible or at least extremely difficult to find friends or family members who can step in and help out and stay with your loved one at the times you need. Many caregivers are unaware of a growing service offered to help them out at these times: adult day care.
Adult day care centers are cropping up all over the nation to offer daytime care for individuals who are unable to care for themselves while their regular caregiver is away from home. The care services are usually offered during weekdays during typical office hours, but times of services can vary by location.

Adult Day Care centers usually offer activities, such as physical exercise classes, snacks and meals, intellectually stimulating activities, and social activities. Many Adult Day Care centers offer specialized care and securlty for patients with dementia, developmental delays, physical ailments, and neurological illnesses. Some offer hightened security for individuals who are prone to wandering.

Caregivers are often at first hesitant to make use of these services for fear of leaving their loved one with strangers in a unfamiliar environment, but visiting several licensed care centers before you find yourself in a bind will help ease those fears. Meeting the staff, checking out the facilities, finding out if they have any specialized care pertinent to your loved one’s condition, and seeing their daily schedule of activities will help you choose which center will best suit your loved one’s needs and safety requirements. Always check to make sure the Adult Day Care Center is licensed, and has a good reputation with both caregivers and clients.
While many caregivers feel uncomfortable with the idea of bringing their loved one to a Day Care, those who have utilized these centers realize they are a valuable service offering much needed help and respite to caregivers. The people who staff these centers recognize how demanding caregiving can be, their purpose is to offer you a helping hand and provide your loved one with a safe place to stay where qualified staff are available at all times to offer assistance. Turning to Adult Day Care Services in time of need might just prevent caregiver burnout, stress, and family friction, allowing you to continue to care for your loved one for as long as possible.
For other Elderly Care service options check out the home pagewww.elderlycareservices.org.


Affordable Senior Housing

Posted in Nursing home, Nursing home alternative at 9:12 am by admin

In today’s tough economy, many seniors and their families are looking for affordable senior housing. The section 202 program, implemented by the US Government, is designed to increase affordable senior housing in an attempt to meet the growing demand. This type of housing may be right for the senior who is 65 or older and still able to be independent, but not able to sustain mortgage or rent payments on a fixed or low income.
Section 202 housing is run by non-profit organizations who receive funding from the US Government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The total cost of living in these facilities is based on the individual’s income. These facilities usually also provide support services to senior residents such as community meals, housekeeping, and transportation. Services offered will vary by site.

Begin Your Search
Perhaps the most helpful tool in searching for section 202 housing is the Department of Housing and Urban Development website (http://www.hud.gov/apps/section8/index.cfm) which lists all section 202 housing facilities across the nation. Your first step is to decide where you would like to live, whether you want to stay in the same area or move someplace new. Plug in the location information to the HUD website, and it will provide a listing of all facilities in your chosen location.

Narrowing Your List
Once you have a list of housing locations ready, begin calling each facility and ask the following:

1. Is your facility still a part of the section 202 program?

The facilities and non-profit organizations running them must meet requirement to maintain their 202 status and receive government funding, so always check to make sure they are still actively a part of the section 2020 program. If the answer is yes, continue to #2. If no, continue to the next location on your list.
2. Do you have any vacancies?

Section 202 housing is in high demand, so if you do find a vacancy, you will want to follow up on it right away since housing cannot be held open for you until you make your final decision. Scheduling an appointment as soon as possible to visit the facility immediately and asking what type of information will be necessary to bring with you will show the agency you are truly interested. If there are no vacancies in your preferred location, you may ask to be added to their waiting list.

3. What type of housing is available?

If handicap accessibility is required, be sure to ask specifically about it. Again because of the high demand for affordable senior housing, you may not be able to be too choosy about the type of housing and exact location. Vacancies are usually snapped up quickly.  

4. Do I need to make an appointment to view the facility?

Setting an appointment or making a visit as soon as possible is advisable since the vacancy may be filled up quickly.

5. What do I need to bring in order to complete my application?  

Section 202 housing requires residents to fill out an application and to show proof of low-income (pay stub or Social Security statement), proof of medical expenses (pharmacy or medical bills), proof of ability to live independently (a note from your doctor), and references from previous landlords. Make multiple copies of each of these documents if you are applying to several facilities.

It’s always a good idea to involve a friend or family member in the process of finding appropriate senior housing. In addition, there are HUD representatives available to tell you more about affordable senior housing and the section 202 program.

Because finding a vacancy in 202 housing is a challenge, it’s better to start your search earlier rather than later. Placing your name on waiting lists or securing a spot before your income runs out is of course advisable. With a little persistence, you can find affordable housing.


Seniors, Insurance, and Financial Security

Posted in Home Health Care, Insurance, Nursing home, Nursing home alternative at 4:00 pm by admin

American seniors who are financially savvy no longer keep their money in a sock under the mattress as in days gone by, but with a shaky economy, some may wonder if their hard-earned money’s still safe in the bank. My grandmother was one of those savvy seniors. She made it through the Great Depression without losing her shirt. Her advice rings in my ears now, “Divide up your assets in a variety of banks and investments, and make sure your bank is FDIC insured.“

I believe my grandmother’s advice still rings true. Here are a few things senior citizens should know about FDIC insurance.
FDIC insured banks give their customers a guaranteed peace of mind that their hard-earned dollars will be safe in case of economic crisis that would cause the bank to fail. The FDIC has temporarily raised its maximum insured amount per depositor from $100,000 to $250,000 until January 1, 2014 when all account categories except IRAs and certain other retirement accounts will return to the previous maximum of $100,000.

This means that if you and your family has less than the maximum in all of your deposit accounts at the same FDIC insured bank, your money is fully insured. And if you have accounts in different insured banks, each bank insures those accounts up to the maximum. Meaning? Make sure your funds don’t exceed that maximum in any one bank. Divide your money into separately chartered banks, because each bank is separately insured. Your funds are fully insured by each bank up to the maximum even if the banks are affiliated (belong to the same parent company).

It’s possible that you may qualify for more than the maximum coverage (currently $250,000) at one insured bank if you have deposit accounts in different ownership categories. The most common consumer account categories are single ownership accounts, joint ownership accounts, self-directed retirement accounts (IRAs and Keogh accounts for which you choose how and where the money is deposited), and revocable trust accounts (the funds in this account pass to one or more named beneficiaries when the account owner dies). Deposits in different ownership categories are also separately insured. So rather than dividing funds among different banks, you could simply separate funds into different accounts that have separate ownership categories. So your single ownership account that exceeds the maximum coverage could be split off into another account or trust in the same bank that falls under a different ownership category. For example, you could funnel some of your funds into an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or open a joint account with your spouse or another family member.
A reduction of FDIC insurance coverage is possible in the case of a death or divorce in the family. This means that if two people own a joint account and one dies, the surviving owner might need to restructure his accounts so that he doesn’t exceed the maximum limit as the owner of two single ownership accounts within the same insured bank. The FDIC rules allow a 6-month grace period after a depositor’s death to give survivors or estate executives time to restructure accounts. But once the 6 months are over, you run the risk of having funds that are no longer insured by your bank. Also, check with your bank if you have a trust account, because for certain trust accounts, there is no grace period in the event of a beneficiary’s death or divorce.

Bank failures are fortunately fairly rare in this day and age, largely due to the strict financial strength and stability requirements for banking institutions to qualify as an FDIC insured institution. But in the rare instances of FDIC insured bank failure, no depositor has lost even a penny of FDIC-insured funds. If your bank did happen to go under, FDIC insurance would cover your deposit accounts completely including principal and accrued interest up to the maximum covered. If you did have deposits exceeding the maximum covered, you still might be able to recover some, or rarely, all of your uninsured funds. But this is usually a risk not worth taking.

In the unlikely event your bank does fail, the FDIC would issue payment promptly to you, the depositor, usually within a few days, and often by the next business day after your bank closes. Some competing insurance agencies have spread rumors that the FDIC doesn’t have adequate reserves to make payouts or that it takes years to make payments to insured depositors. This simply isn’t true. Recently the FDIC has increased its premiums for insured banks to ensure adequate reserves if there should be wide-spread bank failures.

Ultimately it is up to you to know what accounts and funds are insured by your bank, so ask! In economically unstable times, your best defense is to be aware and to make sure your hard-earned savings are protected.


Finding Elderly Care In My Area

Posted in Assisted Living, Assisted Living Facilities, Assisted Living Referral Service, Assisted Living Safety, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Nursing home, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One, Texas Elderly Care Services at 12:03 am by admin

Finding elderly care in your area is quite difficult because facilities can be deceiving. When you arrive at an elderly care facility try to look past the fancy looking lobby and dining room chandelier. Watch how the workers are treating the residents, what kind of food is being served, and ask many questions about the care packages that they offer (bring a copy of our chart off our blog titled “Elderly Care Facilities Choice and Comparison”). Write down what they promise and keep any brochures. If you find an elderly care facility that seems to be what you are looking for, you can request a copy of the state inspection from D.A.D.S. (Department of Aging and Disability Services). According to chapter 552 of the Texas Government code you can request certain records as they should be open to the public. Also when looking for an elderly care facility for a loved one keep his or her interests in mind. Does he or she have a friend that lives at a nearby facility? Does he or she like gardens or activities? Does he or she want you to be close by to visit often? Good luck on your search for the right elderly care.


Hidden Camera

Posted in Assisted Living, Assisted Living Facilities, Assisted Living Safety, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Nursing home, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One, Texas Elderly Care Services at 1:01 pm by admin

So you put your parent in an assisted living facility. You purchase a care package that provides the amount of care that your parent needs. You see your parent quickly declining and you wonder if the facility is providing the care they say they are. You can be sure of it with a hidden camera. You can purchase a nanny camera then set it up at the far wall of your parents room facing the door. You can watch the tapes and see how often a care taker enters the room and how long they stay.

If you can’t afford a nanny camera, you can show up unannounced to visit your parent and look around the room for dirty clothes, see if the bed is fixed, check the soap in the shower and depends to make sure they are being used up. Keep the assisted living facility in check. You purchased a care package and they must provide it, no excuses.


Vacationing with Elderly Parents

Posted in Assisted Living, Assisted Living Facilities, Assisted Living Safety, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Senior Citizen Fathers, Taking Care of a Loved One, Texas Elderly Care Services at 11:20 am by admin

Work is getting overwhelming and you are looking forward to a vacation. You start surfing the web for great vacation spots. But wait don’t forget about mom! Your parents could very well need a vacation too. Your parent’s needs might have changed over this past year making it seem impossible for them to go on a vacation. Plus it may not be a very relaxing time for you if it’s a full time job to care for your parents. But think about this, many people hire a nanny when they go on a vacation to help with their kids. Hiring someone to care for your parent on a vacation is not much different and may be a good option. Also there are assited living facilities that can accommodate your parent for short periods of time such as a vacation. Say for instance you are going to San Antonio. You could book a room at an assisted living facility for the week for your parents nearby where you are staying (there are many assisted living facilities in San Antonio) and pick them up when you are going site seeing, out to eat, or boating on the river. They would certainly enjoy that.

Make Sure Your Parents Needs are Met

If you are hiring a care taker for the trip remember to stay at places that are handicap accessible to make it easier for your parent. If you are booking a room at an assisted living facility be sure that they know your parent’s needs.

Have a good and safe vacation!


Moving Matters

Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Assisted Living, Assisted Living Facilities, Assisted Living Referral Service, Assisted Living Safety, care at home, Caregiver, dementia, Depression, Dimentia, Elder Care, Elderly Care, forgetting to take medication, Home Health Care, Nursing home, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One, Texas Elderly Care Services at 6:05 pm by admin

Do your mother and/or father need to be moved from home to an assisted living? Do they need to be moved from an assisted living to a nursing home? Or are they at a facility that you are not happy with? Moving your parents can be the best thing that you can do for them, but it can also be the worst thing.

Moving is a dramatic change for an elderly person, especially one with Alzheimer’s disease. A move from home to a nursing home may be the best option but look into getting care at home. Moving can confuse and depress an elderly person. If your mother or father is able to, let him or her be a part of the decision.

Elderly Man Looking Out of Window

When an elderly person is familiar with a facility or the staff at one assisted living or nursing home it’s usually best to keep him there. An elderly person is more likely to willingly receive care and feel comfortable with care attendants and nurses that he or she knows as opposed to a stranger. Also when elderly people are familiar with a facility, such as knowing where the dining room, medicine, activities, and their apartment is, they are usually emotionally stable longer than if they are moved from facility to facility and getting disoriented and confused.

However, when you see your loved one needing more care than what the facility gives, you need to act quickly. There are nurses that come to where your parent is and give care to him. Some facilities have care packages that start at minimal care (such as reminders to come to meals and take medicine) and maximum care packages (such as bathing, transferring from bed to wheelchair and feeding). If the facility that your loved one is does not offer more care and getting a nurse to come and care for him or her is not an option you should not leave him or her there, moving would be a must in that situation.

If your parents are at a facility and you are not happy with the care that they are receiving, talk to the management about your complaints. They may not be aware that your parent is being neglected. Also talk with the care staff and let them know that you care about your parents and want the best care for them. Politely tell the care staff your complaints (i.e. moms hair needs to be brushed, I noticed dad lost his dentures). Visit your parents often. Keep the care staff accountable by making visits at different times of the day or maybe spend a night there if possible. If the quality of care still does not improve make a complaint to DADS (Department of Aging and Disabilities Services) and move your parents to a more quality facility.

Most importantly make sure your parent is taken good care of and is happy.


Seniors in Tyler Texas

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, elderly and education, Elderly Care, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One, Texas Elderly Care Services at 2:46 pm by admin

Senior Events In Tyler Texas

This coming month is a great time to get out and go to events in your community in Tyler, TX. The senior community in Tyler has one event right after another this month and next. The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2nd Annual “Seniors Celebrating Life” at the Harvey Convention Center on April 3, 2008. This event is free to all seniors and lunch will be provided. It is designed for interaction and education. Vendor booths will provide information on services and goods that are available to seniors.

Senior Citizen’s Venue For Meeting

The Senior Citizen’s Center on Garden Valley Road in Tyler is designed for senior citizens to meet together for some fun and fellowship. Events include dominoes, card and board games, exercise classes, dancing, movies, day trips and much more. Transportation is available for seniors who cannot drive. The Senior Citizen’s Center is open from 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. For more information and weekly schedules call (903)597-0781.

Other events in Tyler:

-March 18-22 (7:30pm) “To Kill A Mockingbird” play at the Tyler Civic Theatre ($15).

-March 28-29 Quilt Show at the Harvey Convention Center

-March 28 (10am-5pm) and March 29 (9am-5pm) Main Street Flower Market at LeGrand Park (free admission)

-April 5 (10am-5pm) First Annual Azalea Trail Classic Auto Show- Rod Run at LeGrand Park (free admission)

-Walking Club at the Glass Recreation Center ($15) Dates are open. Call (903) 533-1397

-May 3 (2-4pm) Through the Goodman Lens: A Pictorial History of Tyler. Free admission, pre-registration suggested. Call (903) 531-1286

For more information on events in Tyler go to: www.cityoftyler.org

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