Wednesday, April 22, 2015

John Oliver Talks About Dr. Oz

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gullible Consumers, Many of Them Frail Elders, Ignore Growing Criticism by Medical Professionals of "The Dr. Oz Show”


"The Dr. Oz Show,” which is among the most highly rated daily television programs in the nation, has been criticized for several years for promoting worthless nutritional supplements for personal financial gain. Now the scrutiny of "America's Doctor" (He has trademarked that name.) is growing intense as a group of physicians have asked Columbia University Medical School to fire Dr. Mehmet Oz from its faculty, citing his history of weight loss and health quackery. In response, Dr. Oz insisted he's not a quack and only wants to help people  

In an April 16 letter addressed to Dr. Lee Goldman, dean of Columbia Medical School, 10 prominent physicians from around the country say Dr. Oz's "egregious lack of integrity" makes him unfit to remain on the faculty of the Ivy League institution.

"Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops," reads the letter (see above). The letter continued:

"Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.

Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgements about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both. Whatever the nature of his pathology, members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz's presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable."

Dr. Henry I. Miller of Stanford University told CBS News Dr. Oz is "a menace to public health" who should not be on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution.

"He's been so wrong and so misleading and so unconstructive and antisocial on that subject, I thought enough is enough," said Dr. Miller.

Miller added: “He’s a quack and a fake and a charlatan. I think I know the motivation at Columbia. They’re star-struck, and like having on their faculty the best-known doctor in the country. But the fact is that his advice endangers patients, and this doesn’t seem to faze them."

In response, a Columbia rep sided with Dr. Oz, saying, “Columbia is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion."

On April 17, Dr. Oz released the following statement in response to the physicians' calls for his firing, insisting he's not a quack.

"I bring the public information that will help them on their path to be their best selves. We provide multiple points of view, including mine which is offered without conflict of interest. That doesn't sit well with certain agendas which distort the facts.

http://www.examiner.com/article/doctors-want-dr-oz-fired-from-columbia-university-for-weight-loss-quackery

Other sources of criticism are mounting. Here are just a few examples:

" Oz is an experienced surgeon, yet almost daily he employs words that serious scientists shun, like “startling,” “breakthrough,” “radical,” “revolutionary,” and “miracle.” There are miracle drinks and miracle meal plans and miracles to stop aging and miracles to fight fat. Last year, Oz broadcast a show on whether it was possible to “repair” gay people (“From Gay to Straight? The Controversial Therapy”), despite the fact that Robert L. Spitzer, the doctor who is best known for a study of gay-reparation therapy, had recanted"

"Oz has been criticized by scientists for relying on flimsy or incomplete data, distorting the results, and wielding his vast influence in ways that threaten the health of anyone who watches the show. "

"when he tells his audience, with no credible evidence, that red palm oil may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, is he empowering people? Or is he encouraging them to endanger their health with another “miracle”?
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/02/04/the-operator 


"Dr. Mehmet Oz, known for his syndicated daily talk show, “The Dr. Oz Show,” came under some intense fire from Congress ...  Members of the Senate’s consumer protection panel scolded the celebrity doctor for making misleading claims about various weight-loss aids – notably the dietary supplement known as green coffee extract.  

The panel maintained that many of his claims were unscientific, arguing that Dr. Oz is encouraging money-hungry supplement peddlers to take advantage of an unsuspecting public.

"I get that you do a lot of good on your show," Chairman Claire McCaskill told Dr. Oz at the hearing, "but I don't get why you need to say this stuff, because you know it's not true."

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/06/18/dr-manny-senate-panel-exposes-dr-oz-for-what-is-sell-out/


"Oz's dubious medical advice wouldn't be such a problem if people saw the show as merely entertainment — if they simply watched the show but didn't take its claims to 

heart. But it's clear viewers really do heed his advice. There's the case of a man who followed Oz's suggestion of curing insomnia by pouring uncooked rice into socks, 

heating them in a microwave, and wearing them to bed. The man got second- and third-degree burns on his feet. He sued, but the case was thrown out because the judge determined that Oz cannot establish a physician-patient relationship through TV."

"Not everyone agrees with the judge's reasoning. Rochester New York medical student and blogger Benjamin Mazer has been publishing anonymous stories sent into him from health professionals about the impact Oz has had on patient care. One reported that her dad had a heart attack and five stents placed in his heart, which required himto take aspirin and Plavix to prevent blood clots. "He was watching Dr. Oz, who said Plavix was not necessary, so he stopped taking it. About a month later, he had another massive [heart attack] and coded and had to be shocked back to life." She continued: "My dad admitted to following Dr. Oz's advice and not asking his own cardiologist.""

The making of Dr. Oz
How an award-winning doctor turned away from science and embraced fame
by Julia Belluz on April 16, 2015
http://www.vox.com/2015/4/16/8412427/dr-oz-health-claims


Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dr. Oz and Nutritional Supplements (HBO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA0wKeokWUU

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don’t Underestimate How Much Help Aging Parents Need At Home

by Robert E. O’Toole, President, Informed Eldercare Decisions
 Lots of people think of the possibility that their aging parents might need a little help. The parents may be struggling, but don’t want anyone coming into their home. They say “I’m fine” when their children suggest a helper. So, they all wait.

According to Carolyn Rosenblatt writing for Forbes.com, families seldom calculate the actual cost of help until a crisis hits. Like a fall and broken hip. After the hospital and then the rehab facility the next step is typically back home. Then the elder needing care or their adult children are shocked to discover that Medicare does not cover a home care worker to be there to help mom with her bath and meal preparation. Medicare covers only those services they consider “skilled care” such as nursing visits, physical therapy, occupational and speech therapy.

 Medicare does not cover anything else that is categorized as help with “activities of daily living” also known as “custodial care.” This is the type of care most elders need for the longest period of time either at home or in a facility. According to the annual Genworth “Cost of Care” survey in many parts of the country long-term care services not covered by Medicare or some other form of insurance can run as high as $100,000 per year. The concern is whether the adult children are going to have to pay for that help out of their own pockets.

Many aging parents do not have the income to cover this help. The Forbes.com article cited a report from the Congressional Budget Office cue about how many hours of daily assistance an aging person is likely to need. The CBO report says that those with functional limitations who receive assistance from others primarily rely on custodial care to obtain the assistance they need. Generally, this means family caregivers. The number of hours of paid care is highest for people who have difficulty with three or more activities of daily living and who are 85 or older. Many are widowed and thus without a spouse to care for them. People under age 85 with limitations in three or more ADLs who live at home rather in a care facility receive an average of 9 hours of assistance per day. People age 85 or older with that degree of impairment typically receive about 11 hours of assistance per day, mostly informal. The cost of a home care worker who provides basic care paid out of pocket, according to the 2012 Met Life study of costs of long term care is $20 per hour.


If you pay a worker to come to your 85 year old parents’ home to care for them with three functional limitations and dementia, the cost will be an average of $102,200 per year for daily, 14 hour a day help. Since most elders cannot afford this, the writing is on the wall. Family members provide much of the needed help themselves. Will this be you? Long term care insurance is the only private benefit that covers home help with activities of daily living, the kind of help most elders need. But most people in the U.S. don’t have it. The CBO report cites statistics from report prepared by LifePlans, Inc. among the adult U.S. population only about 3 percent had LTC insurance in 2011.


 "Eldercare in an Age of Scarcity" is a service of Informed Eldercare Decisions,
Dedham, MA 02027
781-461-9637
http://www.elderlifeplanning.com
1-800-375-0595


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Nursing Home Tries to Prevent Public from Learning the Truth about Safety Inspections

 One patient choked to death, another claimed he was raped.




Memphis TV station exposes very disturbing details about problems at a local nursing home.

The “On Your Side Investigators” at Channel 3 in Memphis also discovered these same details could be kept secret.

An inspection report from federal and state health surveyors shows Signature Healthcare at St. Peter Villa in MidTown Memphis was hit with more than 20 deficiencies in August of 2014. The survey shows one resident choked to death after the facility failed to provide the proper diet, neglected to monitor the patient during meals, and never even attempted a maneuver to stop the choking.
It also reveals Signature Healthcare at St. Peter Villa “failed to thoroughly investigate” an alleged rape.

The resident wasn’t sent to the ER for a rape kit, and the nursing home never even notified police.

The local television investigators recently uncovered problems at another Memphis nursing home owned by the same company. Several viewers of the TV report confirmed the horrific details and encouraged the station to continue to inform the public but now some members of the Tennessee state legislature are trying to make it illegal for the public to be informed of dangerous and abusive conditions in the state’s nursing homes. The surveys that reveal the details of poor quality care for frail elderly patients revealed by WREG could soon be kept secret, if a bill sponsored by Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey and Representative Leigh Wilburn becomes law.

Senate Bill 889 would prohibit survey and investigation results from being used as evidence in malpractice cases.

You can read a copy of this legislation at the TV station’s Web site: https://localtvwreg.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/sb-889.pdf

 Cameron Jehl is a Memphis Attorney who has sued nursing homes before. He opposes the proposed legislation. “If the nursing homes violates federal law and federal regulations, they’re required to comply with in order to keep and take care of the elderly, then they should be held accountable for their actions,” Jehl said.

However, Senator Kelsey says attorneys will sometimes misuse negative survey results to paint nursing homes with a broad brush, rather than focusing on a single incident that led to a injury or fatality.

Source: http://wreg.com/2015/03/09/bill-would-ban-nursing-home-inspections-in-court-cases/

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reverse Mortgages Are Now Looked Upon More Positively by Financial Planners

The basics of Reverse Mortgages can seem so foreign to people that it has actually taken many financial advisors and personal finance gurus some time to understand the product. Many experts shunned the product early on thinking that it was a bad deal for seniors – but as they have learned about the details of Reverse Mortgages, experts are now embracing it as a valuable financial planning tool.

For many people, a Reverse Home Mortgage is a good way to increase their financial profile in retirement - positively affecting their quality of life. And while there are numerous benefits to the product, there are also some drawbacks.

The main advantage of Reverse Mortgages is that you can eliminate your traditional mortgage payments and/or access your home equity while still owning and living in your home. Given the right set of circumstances, a Reverse Mortgage can be an ideal way to increase your spending power and financial security in retirement.




Key advantages and benefits of Reverse Mortgages include:


Stay in Your Home and Improve Your Immediate Finances:  – you can also get access to money to use for any purpose.

Flexibility:  Households with adequate resources might consider the product as a financial planning tool.

Low Risk of Default: Unlike a home equity loan, with a Reverse Home Mortgage your home can not be taken from you for reasons of non-payment – there are no payments on the loan until you permanently leave the home.  

The Reverse Mortgage Lenders have no claim on your income or other assets.

No Downside: With a Reverse Mortgage you will never owe more than your home's value at the time the loan is repaid, even if the Reverse Mortgage lenders have paid you more money than the value of the home.  

Tax Free: As a Reverse Mortgage is a loan, the money from it is typically tax-free, whether you receive it as fixed income or in a lump sum.

No Restrictions: How you use the funds from a Reverse Mortgage is up to you  

Flexible Payment Options: Depending on the type of loan you choose, you can receive the Reverse Mortgage loan money in the form of a lump sum, annuity, credit line or some combination of the above.

Home Ownership: With a Reverse Mortgage, you retain home ownership and the ability to live in your home.  

Guaranteed Place to Live: You can live in your home for as long as you want when you secure a Reverse Mortgage.

Federally Insured: The Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) is the most widely available Reverse Mortgage. It is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs and is federally insured. This is important since even if your Reverse Mortgage lender defaults, you'll still receive your payments.


Source:http://www.newretirement.com/reverse-mortgage/reverse-mortgage-disadvantages-advantages.aspx? 

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Friday, April 3, 2015

1 out of 8 Americans Between the Ages of 40 to 60 is Raising a Child While Caring for a Parent at Home,

Are you part of the "Sandwich Generation"? It's a phrase used to describe middle-aged people who are caring for children and their aging parents.

The Pew Research Center estimates that one out of eight Americans between the ages of 40 to 60 is raising a child while caring for a parent at home, and those numbers are expected to rise.

The risk for stress, depression and other health problems also rise for these caregivers. Research is showing that women 45-64 years old have the lowest well-being of any age group.


Pam Mashburn with Potential Magazine offered several tips for “Sandwich Generation” caregivers:

• Get regular physical exercise and adequate sleep

• Develop healthy coping strategies - such as prayer, relaxation techniques, yoga or meditation

• Stay organized with paperwork and medical records

• Seek a balance between caregiving and the rest of your life

• Involve other family members in the care (even your kids)

• Model and discuss with your children so that they will know how to help you as you age

• Recognize you are human and you are doing the best you can

You watch the video from WBRC in Birmingham, AL at http://www.myfoxal.com/story/28614458/7-tips-for-sandwich-generation-of-adults-caring-for-kids-and-aging-parents

. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -Copyright 2015 WBRC. All rights reserved

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Thursday, March 26, 2015




About 70% of people turning 65 today can expect to use long-term care of some kind in their lives.

                                    CliffGoldstein/
Cliff N. Goldstein is a member of the personal finance team at NerdWallet, an unbiased source of tools and information aimed at helping consumers make smarter financial decisions. He previously worked as a financial investment professional in the Private Wealth Management division at Goldman Sachs, where he provided comprehensive financial solutions to high net worth individuals, families and foundations. Cliff's efforts are currently focused on building tools and writing articles to help people better understand the complex financial advisor landscape. He helps manage NerdWallet's "Ask an Advisor" platform, which enables people to receive professional answers to their financial questions while also streamlining their search for a financial advisor ideally suited to their unique needs. Cliff holds a bachelor's degree in International Economics from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and received an honors certificate in International Business Diplomacy. Follow Cliff on Twitter @CliffNerdWallet.

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As people live longer, it becomes more likely that many of us will need long-term care one day.
About 70% of people turning 65 today can expect to use long-term care of some kind in their lives, according to the Administration on Aging.
And with demand growing and health care costs rising, paying for that care requires some forethought. That's where long-term care insurance comes in.
"Most of us want to have a healthy, active retirement. But as you get older, the risk is greater that you may need extended care," says Nadia Allaudin, senior vice president of wealth management for Merrill Lynch in Century City, Calif. "Whether you are in an assisted living home for an extended period, or even in a convalescent center for a shorter time frame, a long-term care insurance policy is a valuable option to help cover incurred costs."
Long-term care insurance can be used to pay for various services that may be provided in a care facility or at home — for example, adult day care, skilled nursing, physical therapy and help with personal care, such as bathing. While Medicare and other health insurance cover immediate medical expenses, they fall short on long-term care related to chronic conditions. Medicaid can cover some services, but has very strict conditions that must be met before coverage kicks in.
How it works
With a long-term care insurance plan, you'll have to pay a monthly premium determined by factors such as your age, health and what you need in a policy. Your policy will usually include a list of what are called "Activities of Daily Living" (ADL) — for instance, bathing, dressing, eating and using the bathroom. Coverage, in the form of a daily benefit, starts when you are unable to manage a specified number of such activities on your own.
You can apply for long-term care insurance at any time, but since premiums rise as you age, it's best to buy between the ages of 55 and 64. Securing coverage when you're in good health can ensure a lower premium, and insurance carriers may reject applicants with pre-existing conditions or those who have undergone medical procedures.
When considering a long-term care insurance policy, look carefully into which benefits are covered; the process of getting paid; whether there are any blackout periods; what the monthly long-term benefits are; whether it includes inflation protection; and whether premiums can rise unexpectedly.
Take a longer view
Don't make the mistake of thinking long-term care insurance is only for retirees and seniors to worry about, says Mark Sullivan, a general agent for Genworth Financial and the president of the New England Long-Term Care Planning Group in Massachusetts.
"Many people often think 'that will never happen to me' when discussing someone else's health issues, but frankly, it can happen to anyone," says Sullivan. "Costs of nursing home care, as with other medically related services, are skyrocketing, and the family's retirement savings can quickly be exhausted if an insurance policy isn't in place."
Indeed, health care costs are rising among all sectors, including long-term care services. The average cost of a private room in a nursing home is around $240 daily, an increase of 4.35% over the year before, according to Genworth Financial's 2014 Cost of Care Survey. From 2013 to 2014, assisted living facility costs rose 1.45%, to $3,500 a month. In the same period, costs for home health aide services increased 1.59%, to $20 per hour.
"Knowing that you are protected may help ease the worry of having to depend on family members to provide care or financial support in the future," says Laura Knolle, a certified financial planner at Ballou Plum Wealth Advisors in California. "Having a policy also helps prevent depleting your estate if you would like to leave assets to loved ones when you pass."

 "Eldercare in an Age of Scarcity" is a service of Informed Eldercare Decisions,
Dedham, MA 02027
781-461-9637
http://www.elderlifeplanning.com
1-800-375-0595


Providing services to elders and family caregivers
faced with difficult care planning decisions for more than 20 years

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Planning Ahead When a Family Member Has Alzheimer’s Disease

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), you need to start getting his or her health, legal, and financial affairs in order.


You want to plan for the future, if possible, with help from the person while he or she can still
make decisions. You need to review all of his or her health, legal, and financial information to
make sure it reflects the person’s wishes. Here is a planning checklist from the National Institute
on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center:

Update health care, legal, and financial information
• A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances gives someone called a trustee the power to make legal
and financial decisions for the person with AD.
• A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care gives someone called a proxy the power to make
health care decisions for the person with AD.
• A Living Will states the person’s wishes for health care at the end of life.
• A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Form tells health care staff how the person
wants end-of-life health care managed.
• A Will tells how the person wants his or her property and money to be divided among those
left behind.
• A Living Trust tells someone called a trustee how to distribute a person’s property and money.

Check for money problems

People with Alzheimer’s disease often have problems managing their money. As the disease progresses, a person may try to hide financial problems to protect his or her independence. Or, the person may not realize that he or she is losing the ability to handle money matters.

Someone should check each month to see how the person is doing. This person might be a family
member or the trustee.


Protect the person from fraud

Scams can take many forms, such as identity theft; get-rich-quick offers; phony offers of prizes or
home or auto repairs; insurance scams or outright threats. Here are some signs that the person with
AD is not managing money well or has become a victim of a scam:
• The person seems afraid or worried when he or she talks about money.
• Money is missing from the person’s bank account.
• Signatures on checks or other papers don’t look like the person’s signature.
• Bills are not being paid, and the person doesn’t know why.

 "Eldercare in an Age of Scarcity" is a service of Informed Eldercare Decisions,
Dedham, MA 02027
781-461-9637
http://www.elderlifeplanning.com
1-800-375-0595


Providing services to elders and family caregivers
faced with difficult care planning decisions for more than 20 years

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Elder Care in Norway is Worse than in U.S

Norway’s much-vaunted cradle-to-grave security was under legal scrutiny this week after the City of Oslo went on trial over its often-criticized elder care. At issue is whether the city was negligent and ultimately responsible for the deaths of two elderly women who police believe should have been placed in nursing homes.
Human rights violations
"While clean, well-functioning nursing homes are found, the standards of some elder care in Norway can be so low that the Norwegian Center for Human Rights recently released a report claiming that the human rights of the elderly were regularly violated at Norwegian nursing homes."


Many elderly simply need a hand to hold, others extensive care and help. The City of Oslo is on trial after two elderly women died because of what police believe was negligence. PHOTO: Sarpsborg kommune
Many elderly simply need a hand to hold, while others require extensive assistance. The City of Oslo is on trial after two elderly women died because of what police believe was negligence. PHOTO: Sarpsborg kommune
Jorunn Marie Bukkøy, age 83, was found in a snowbank outside her apartment in downtown Oslo in March 2010. Police said Bukkøy froze to death after she had wandered outside in the middle of the night. A month later, another elderly woman, Gunhild Bringaker, was found dead in her Oslo apartment. Police determined she’d died at least two weeks earlier, and had been unattended.
Both women were supposed to be receiving hjemmehjelp, the help offered at home to those who aren’t granted or don’t want a room at a local nursing home. Oslo, along with many other communities in a country where elder care is administered through local governments, has a chronic shortage of nursing home capacity. Help at home is often the only form of help available.
“It’s very serious when two women die in the way they did,” prosecutor Pål Fredrik Hjort Kraby of the Oslo Police District told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It was important that we determine what happened here.” After a lengthy investigation, and state regulatory review, police noted that Bukkøy was dement, incontinent and suffered from various pain and infections. She also had a tendency to fall, yet the city region where she lived, Bydel Gamle Oslo, did not place her in a nursing home and its so-called “round-the-clock” care only amounted a short visits by city health care staffers totaling around two hours a day. It did not prevent Bukkøy from wandering outside on a cold late winter night and freezing to death.
Oslo has a chronic shortage of nursing home capacity. Pictured here, the Langerud Sykehjem on Oslo's east side, built in 1976. PHOTO: Wikipedia
Oslo has a chronic shortage of nursing home capacity. Pictured here, the Langerud Sykehjem on Oslo’s east side, built in 1976. PHOTO: Wikipedia
The police thus fined the city NOK 500,000 for negligence, but the city refused to accept blame or pay the fine. That’s why the case involving the two deaths has finally landed in court, five years after the deaths occurred. 
Elder care ‘not good enough’
While hospitals in Norway are funded and run by the state, nursing homes are administered through municipalities. When an elderly patient is ready to be released from the hospital, their local authorities are supposed to provide nursing home care. All too often the local authorities fail to do so, meaning the patients linger at the hospital on the state’s bill or are sent home and can’t care for themselves. Families generally step in, and private options are available to those who can afford them, but many elderly are single with no family in the vicinity, and thus are on their own
Human rights violations
While clean, well-functioning nursing homes are found, the standards of some elder care in Norway can be so low that the Norwegian Center for Human Rights recently released a report claiming that the human rights of the elderly were regularly violated at Norwegian nursing homes. Residents were seldom taken outdoors in the fresh air, for example, or weren’t helped to the toilet, were forced to use diapers and showered too infrequently, according to the report. No one made sure elderly residents were eating properly, or getting enough fluids. Nursing home management blamed a lack of staffing, while the elderly themselves are a vulnerable group who often are unable or unwilling to complain or demand their rights.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

 "Eldercare in an Age of Scarcity" is a service of Informed Eldercare Decisions,
Dedham, MA 02027
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More Americans are Facing Rising Caregiver Costs


 6 6LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

More Americans are facing rising caregiver costs. The financial challenge of caring for an aging parent can also create caregiver stress. Don’t allow caring for an aging parent or spouse to become a crisis. by Dustin Schofield


Nearly 10 million adults over the age of 50 provide care or financial support for aging parents. Their ranks have swelled significantly over the last decade and will continue to grow, according to a study on caregivers by MetLife.*
The cost of providing care for a loved one — whether an ailing spouse or elderly parent — can be daunting. Beyond medical expenses, such as in-house or nursing home care, it can also include lost income due to the large time commitment.
The MetLife study estimates caregiver responsibilities for the average person age 50 and older can result in a total of more than $300,000 in lost wages and benefits.
There is some good news. There may be ways to provide for an aging parent or loved one without jeopardizing your finances now or in the future. Here are some strategies to consider.
Talk to your employer
Caring for a family member can be a 24-hour-a-day responsibility. The demands of a full-time job can make taking care of an aging parent or spouse difficult. Discussing the situation with your employer as soon as possible may help create a better position for yourself.
For example, you may be able to negotiate flexible work hours that allow you to take time away for doctor appointments. Your employer may also be willing to allow telecommuting options. Working from home might allow you to stay productive while meeting the needs of your ailing spouse or parent.
Review your parent’s finances
While your parent is still healthy, sit down to discuss his or her financial situation. Talk about everything from retirement savings and monthly Social Security benefits to current health care premiums and housing costs.
These discussions can give you a better handle on just how much financial support you may be expected to provide.
Your financial adviser can help you weigh your options, and may be able to serve as a neutral third party during conversations with your parent about financial matters.
Your parent’s financial situation may even make him or her eligible for certain benefits. One example is income. If your parent’s annual income is relatively low, you may be able to claim him or her as a dependent on your tax return. This may defray the cost of care. Talk with your tax adviser before doing this to see if your situation qualifies.
Make sure your parent has an up-to-date estate plan. Be sure to review financial powers of attorney and health care proxies. You should understand what is included in these documents. Is an appropriate person named who has the authority to make critical financial or health care decisions if your parent becomes incapacitated?
These meetings should make your parent’s wishes clear.
Get (free) help
If your parent lives with you and needs periodic care during the day, hiring an in-home nurse can be expensive. It is likely not covered by Medicare.
Check on alternatives in your community. Many religious groups and local social service agencies provide free or low-cost care or companionship for elderly adults. These can help reduce your out-of-pocket caregiver costs.
Also check with your family. Other members may be able to participate in your loved one’s care and provide scheduled breaks for the primary caregivers.
To avoid surprises and reduce stress, talk to your loved ones about their wishes well in advance. Discuss what will happen when they reach the age when they need additional help caring for themselves.
This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Dustin Schofield, vice president of The Schofield Group Investment Management. Contact him at 435-674-3601 or theschofieldgroup.com.

 "Eldercare in an Age of Scarcity" is a service of Informed Eldercare Decisions,
Dedham, MA 02027
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Maria Shriver and Rob Lowe Discuss Their Personal Experiences Caring for Aging Parents (2 Minute video)

 Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe just completed an educational video series with Maria Shriver for Genworth Financial that focuses on families having conversations about later-life issues, specifically around the need for long-term care.
Barely a boomer, Lowe at 50 years of age is like so many of us; he's thrived, struggled and re-created himself. As successful as Rob Lowe has been, he has encountered many of the situations that we all have. That includes the need to speak with both our own children and our aging parents about their financial matters, as well as ensuring that our own financial situations are sound.
It was Lowe’s personal experiences that led him to sit down with me and discuss the need for families to have the "conversations that matter" about topics of later life, including long-term care.
You can view the introductory video at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/having-the-talk-with-rob-lowe-2015-01-08

 "Eldercare in an Age of Scarcity" is a service of Informed Eldercare Decisions,
Dedham, MA 02027
781-461-9637
http://www.elderlifeplanning.com
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Providing services to elders and family caregivers
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5 Steps to Avoid The "Sandwich Generation" Squeeze

These are the five steps every family should take to avoid or, at the very least, help alleviate the pain of becoming part of the sandwich generation. Preparing for illness and taking care of a sick loved one, is never an easy task. However, if you don’t plan or help your parents to plan, you could find yourself sandwiched between guilt and confusion.
The “sandwich generation” is a term coined for families squeezed between taking care of an aging parent and raising young children or supporting adult children.
 Source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-ways-to-avoid-getting-sandwiched-by-parents-and-kids-2015-03-16
1. Family meeting
The family meeting is simple, but effective. Many families hold financial affairs close to their chests. As a result, when a loved one becomes incapacitated or dies, family members are forced to scramble to determine final wishes and wrap up financial matters. Transparency is essential. A family meeting is the perfect time to decide who will handle what decisions.
2. Updating legal documents
A good rule of thumb is to dust off legal documents and update every five or so years. If an aging parent has an incident, or is in failing health, it is a very good time to review these documents with your parents. Laws change and life has a funny way of changing situations. The basic legal documents you should have are an updated last will and testament, living will, health-care surrogate, power of attorney, and potentially a living trust.
3.Taking financial inventory
 Many families have believed for decades that their parents were well off financially, only to discover they were broke and that they had unknowingly become their parent’s financial plan.
The following is a short list of information you should store in a safe place:
  • Incomes and survivor benefit options on these incomes if both parents are living
  • Monthly operating expenses
  • Long-term care policies
  • Death and marriage certificates for previous spouses
  • DD2-14 (discharge paperwork) to research potential benefits for seniors
  • Financial information: Checking accounts, CDs, brokerages, qualified accounts, and annuities
  • Real property including land, primary residences and other property
4. Take tours and research options
Do we move our parents into assisted living or hire caregivers? Remember there is no right or wrong answer. Facilities have come a long way since their initial creation and establishment. Home health care can be a great option as well, but families should understand that it can be a luxury to stay in one’s home. Home care may initially be cheaper but it can gradually become more expensive than a facility and taxing on family members acting as caregivers.
5. Build a long-term care plan
A long-term care plan is not a product. It’s not something someone can sell you. A long-term care plan is a strategy with an established timeline and predefined milestones. It is built upon one fundamental discovery question: “If today you became ill or injured in an accident and could no longer take care of yourself independently, how would you like to be taken care of?“

 "Eldercare in an Age of Scarcity" is a service of Informed Eldercare Decisions,
Dedham, MA 02027
781-461-9637
http://www.elderlifeplanning.com
1-800-375-0595


Providing services to elders and family caregivers
faced with difficult care planning decisions for more than 20 years


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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tennessee Legislators Try to Protect Eldercare Facility Owners Who Abuse Residents in their Care





MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One patient choked to death, another claimed he was raped. Channel WREG has uncovered new and very disturbing details about problems at a local nursing home. The “On Your Side Investigators” at Channel 3 in Memphis also discovered these same details could be kept secret.

An inspection report from federal and state health surveyors shows Signature Healthcare at St. Peter Villa in MidTown Memphis was hit with more than 20 deficiencies in August of 2014. The survey shows one resident choked to death after the facility failed to provide the proper diet, neglected to monitor the patient during meals, and never even attempted a maneuver to stop the choking.

It also reveals Signature Healthcare at St. Peter Villa “failed to thoroughly investigate” an alleged rape. The resident wasn’t sent to the ER for a rape kit, and the nursing home never even notified police. The local television investigators recently uncovered problems at another Memphis nursing home owned by the same company.

 Several viewers of the TV report confirmed the horrific details and encouraged the station to continue to inform the public but now some members of the Tennessee state legislature are trying to make it illegal for the public to be informed of dangerous and abusive conditions in the state’s nursing homes. The surveys that reveal the details of poor quality care for frail elderly patients revealed by WREG could soon be kept secret, if a bill sponsored by Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey and Representative Leigh Wilburn becomes law.

Senate Bill 889 would prohibit survey and investigation results from being used as evidence in malpractice cases.

You can read a copy of this legislation at the TV station’s Web site https://localtvwreg.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/sb-889.pdf

 Cameron Jehl is a Memphis Attorney who has sued nursing homes before. He opposes the proposed legislation.“If the nursing homes violates federal law and federal regulations, they’re required to comply with in order to keep and take care of the elderly, then they should be held accountable for their actions,” Jehl said.


However, Senator Kelsey says attorneys will sometimes misuse negative survey results to paint nursing homes with a broad brush, rather than focusing on a single incident that led to a injury or fatality.

http://wreg.com/2015/03/09/bill-would-ban-nursing-home-inspections-in-court-cases/

 "Eldercare in an Age of Scarcity" is a service of Informed Eldercare Decisions,
Dedham, MA 02027
781-461-9637
http://www.elderlifeplanning.com
1-800-375-0595


Providing services to elders and family caregivers
faced with difficult care planning decisions for more than 20 years

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