So you worked all of your life and always had health insurance which was provided to you by your employers. Most people will remember that you paid a certain amount per paycheck and the rest was covered by your employer to see any physicians that were in your specific health plan. Now you realize you have nothing once you don’t work. It’s really scary but prior to retiring you will have decisions to make that can and will affect the rest of your life. So the first thing you have to decide on is whether you will fall into Medicare or Medicaid. There are financial responsibilities with Medicare which do not occur with Medicaid. Medicaid has very strict income requirements you need to meet to be approved. If you don’t meet the financial requirements for Medicaid then your option will be Medicare. Medicare can be very confusing when making the right decision. I would like to explain a few things that may be of...
Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Since this disease is progressive, symptoms are different for all patients. Some of the early signs may include: tremors in hands or other parts of the body when at rest, a slowness of movement, rigid limbs, and gait or balance problems. The cause of this disease remains unknown and there is no cure, only different treatment options.
Sometimes dopamine replacing medications are used to supplement the low levels in your brain. Non-motor symptoms can impact the PD patient more than the motor symptoms. Some non-motor symptoms include: loss of smell, lack of interest, depression, sleep disorders, constipation, and cognitive impairment.
Diagnosing this disease and getting treatment as early as possible will help with the progression. Treatments for PD are very individualized based on symptoms. As the disease...
Maybe you haven’t been the best planner for the senior years or maybe life threw you a couple curve balls and you had to exhaust all your savings that you did have. Presently you are working but only going to be collecting approximately 1500.00 from social security, and you collect no pension so you panic a little just wondering how you will manage your health care needs now and in the future. Since you have to pay for Medicare and a prescription plan you really can’t afford a supplement plan. Since Medicare will only pay 80% of the allowed amount you will be responsible for the other 20%. So if you happen to fall into this category you may want to apply for Medicaid.
Medicaid is a state and federally funded health insurance program that provides coverage for people who are aged, blind or disabled. It pays for hospital, doctor appointments, prescriptions, home care, assisted living and nursing homes depending on what you qualify...
COPD is a respiratory disease that long term affects your breathing. It stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The main cause of this disease is constant exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and your airway. Smoking is a major cause of COPD. Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis are the most common conditions of this disease.
Treatment can help, but this disease can not be reversed. The damage that is caused to your lungs will remain. Common symptoms of COPD which can easily be identified are: shortness of breath during exertion, wheezing, chest tightness, a cough where you produce mucus, lack of energy, and at times swelling in ankles and feet.
There are some things you can do to slow the progression of this disease. Stop smoking if you do smoke and this will stop further lung damage. Treatments can include inhalers that you may take on a regular basis that will help open your airways to make...
Years ago it was commonly believed that memory issues were only related to old age. Our grandparents would comment about their friends stating “they are senile”.
Currently today there is an actual avoidance from people of this generation stating or believing their loved ones have dementia. What people don’t realize is that the sooner they admit there is a problem and have a doctor test them and make an accurate diagnosis, the sooner something can be started to slow down the progression of the disease. So, I would like to tell you a little about what alzheimers/dementia is.
This disease goes through stages of irreversible progressive changes. People sometimes get confused between normal aging and mild cognitive impairment. I would like to explain to you a very easy way to understand this disease. You have to picture the brain as a large road map with an abundance of roads and bridges controlling different...
First, let’s talk about what an Assisted Living is...
Assisted Living is a home like environment with individual apartments and is supervised by nursing staff 24 hours a day. Privacy is provided with a call bell system that can be activated in an emergency. Meals are provided three times a day usually in a dining room setting allowing for social interaction with other seniors. There is also an activity schedule that provides daily exercises and activities and trips of interested parties to attend. Medicare does not pay for an assisted living environment. The only two sources of payment are Medicaid and private pay. Now some information that may be helpful when making a decision.
After a surgical procedure, has anyone ever said to you, “If you don’t use it you will lose it”? This quote is true in everything we do in life but becomes much more important as we age.
The trick is to never give in to what your particular ailment may be. For example, if you suffer from arthritis you must move around because the more you sit still, the stiffer your body will become. So start your day getting yourself into the kitchen. If your hands are stiff, running them under warm water will help to get them moving. Now you can make your breakfast and your much needed coffee so you can take your medication. After giving yourself an hour it’s time to move. Start with some simple stretches while sitting. The goal is aiming for 2-3 hours per week of low intensity aerobic exercises to provide adequate muscle strengthening. Examples of this would be golfing, swimming, gardening, or...
Sometimes when in a situation you have higher than normal anxiety and hear something that you don’t ask for clarification. Here is a little cheat sheet for some of the acronyms you may hear and really want to know the meaning.
Changing the routine or environment for a senior with Alzheimer's/dementia is very difficult and increases the confusion.
Seniors become more stubborn and set in their ways, and will fight with their children about the things that you observe that they probably shouldn’t be doing.
So your loved one has some cognitive decline but their doctor has not made a definitive diagnosis as of yet. Mom is telling you from time to time about how she lost the car at the mall and couldn’t remember where she parked, or how it took her an hour to remember where she put the keys, or the best one is how she was planning to go to a destination and ended up at a totally different location. You are only imagining how she is performing the skills of stop signs and traffic lights. The doctor has been watching the changes and has ordered the tests necessary to make the diagnosis. So the family has some discussions and decides that maybe...
Sometimes it's really hard to see when help is needed at home for mom. Patients have a hard time admitting they need assistance because they are used to doing everything independently. As the children or significant other, we tend to side with them not knowing the level of assistance they are going to require at the time of discharge. The best thing we can do is to allow the homecare agency with trained medical professionals to enter the home and complete their assessment to determine what assistance is needed at this point. So, mom is now being discharged from the hospital with a referral for a home care agency. Mom of course is saying “I don’t need help!” The social worker at the hospital disagrees. The family agrees to allow the agency to come to the home and complete an assessment of the current needs. At this point, you are not aware of what issues there are or if they are significant. The home care...