Skip to content

The “Real Question” About Hospice When Loved One Has Alzheimer’s

August 28, 2013

A friend suggested that it might be time for Marie Marley’s life partner, Ed, to begin hospice care. A doctor confirmed that Ed, who had Alzheimer’s disease, would qualify for it. Yet Marley couldn’t bring herself to request it—until a doctor put hospice into perspective for her.

“I knew it was silly but somehow, I felt that signing the papers would be tantamount to signing his death warrant,” Marley writes at The Huffington Post. But then she spoke with a doctor who specialized in end-of-life care.

He answered all of my questions about hospice. Then he looked at me kindly and told me the real question for the caregiver is “How can I help this person have the highest quality of life possible in the time that’s remaining?”

That really turned me around. I changed my focus from dwelling on Ed’s impending death to thinking about his remaining life. I signed the hospice care papers and spent the remaining months doing everything I could think of to bring Ed pleasure. We then had a beautiful and peaceful conclusion to our 30-year life together.

In the post, about “controversial” decisions faced by people caring for someone who has Alzheimers, Marley also lists some concrete signs it may be time for hospice.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Nursing Homes Now Required to Have Sprinklers

August 27, 2013

Nursing homes that want to participate in Medicare or Medicaid must now have sprinkler systems, reports McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. If they don’t, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will cite them for a deficiency. Then they have three months to come up with a plan to remedy the problem.

“The requirement was first issued in a final ruling in 2008, with a five-year implementation period,” McKnight’s explains. “According to CMS’ release, Illinois has the largest number of unsprinklered and partially sprinklered facilities with 214. New York has 213.”

Late last year, we talked about how a sprinkler system kept a fire in an assisted living community from spreading.

For more things to look for in nursing homes, click here.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Hospital Trying to Improve Surgical Outcomes in Elderly Patients

August 26, 2013

In Baltimore, MD, one hospital is trying out new techniques for predicting how elderly people will respond if they have surgery, reports The New Old Age. At the Sinai Center for Geriatric Surgery, patients undergo more prescreening evaluations than at other hospitals—which doctors can use to direct surgical and after-care decisions.

The evaluations include simple, quick tests for:

  • Frailty, “including assessments of grip strength and walking speed, that have been shown to predict how older patients will withstand surgery”
  • Cognitive decline
  • Depression
  • Hearing loss

There’s also a medication review and even a questionnaire for caregivers “to determine how they will handle the stresses of caring for an older person after surgery.” Hospitals in other areas are interested in starting similar programs, according to The New Old Age.

You may also be interested in these previous posts:

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

People Still Struggling to Get Timely Retirement Community Refunds

August 23, 2013

Certain retirement communities may promise a refund or partial refund of fees once you vacate your residence. But in June, we talked about how some people were having to wait a long time to get that refund because they were only set to receive it once their previous residence was rented out again.

The Des Moines register reports this is still going on but mentions a twist: Some people are being offered a lower refund for potentially faster money.

After waiting three years for a refund from one retirement community, Evelyn Libby Arnot “said she was asked to take $5,000 less than she is owed and was asked if she was willing to be paid over six years when the place is rented out,” the paper reports.

“It would rent for $2,300 a month, which would be paid to me monthly until the entrance fee is paid back,” she complained. “However, if the renter moves out before the six years is up or I have my $143,000 back, payments to me would stop until they get another renter or buyer.”

In response to the new complaints, [the retirement community's general manager] said: “Families offer to accept a lower refund with a corresponding lowered sales price to make the suite more desirable to the market. This is optional and controlled by the family. We do not coerce or force this in any manner.”

Lawyers are trying to help some people get their refunds, the article reports.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Family Members Training As Home-Health Aides

August 22, 2013

Instead of hiring a home-health aide for their aging parents, some people are training to become an aide themselves, reports The Arizona Republic. This can work out well, but there are some potential pitfalls to be wary of.

The Republic tells the story of one woman, Jessica Hutchison, who became a certified nursing assistant to help care for her grandmother. She felt taking the three-week course at the Arizona Medical Training Institute in Mesa would help her give better care and also help the family save money.

Hutchison learned how to recognize common diseases and their symptoms, such as the signs of low blood sugar that may signal diabetes. She also learned to recognize infection, how to record and monitor vital signs such as blood pressure, the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and how to provide assistance with bathing, grooming and toileting.

But physical training isn’t everything, the article points out. There are a number of things family members doubling as home-health aides should watch out for—such as having compromised objectivity and not being emotionally ready.

You may also be interested in:

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

How In-Home Care Can Help Restore Family Roles

August 21, 2013

In-home care can change family dynamics—well, change them back.

An article in The Oregonian points out that in-home care doesn’t just benefit the aging parents who receive it. It also benefits their adult children. It can relieve stress and return their ability to be the kids again.

“Caregiver burnout happens to children. When you’re worried about your mom or dad being safe, you carry that around with you all day,” [Marybeth Jones, director of home care for Willamette View,] says. Additionally, adult children end up stepping into the role of parent, which strains familial bonds.

“What we try to do is put the roles back where they can enjoy their parents again, and the parents can enjoy their children,” she says. “It’s really important that they can have that relationship back.”

The article tells the story of one mom who was calling her daughter eight or nine times a day. The family hired a caregiver, and that person became the mom’s friend, not just aide.

(You can search for in-home care in your area here.)

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Nursing Home Report Card: 10 States Ace, 11 Fail

August 20, 2013

Is your state on the list?

Families for Better Care, a nonprofit elder advocacy group, has graded states on their nursing home care. Some are doing well; others, not so much.

The grades are “based on 2012 federal data combining staffing, inspections, deficiencies and complaints,” CBS News reports.

States that got As: Alaska, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota and North Dakota.

States that got Fs: Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Nevada, Illinois and Iowa. …

“You’ve got to be able to have a good vetting process to be able to determine which people, the caregivers, are going to treat the residents with dignity and respect,” [Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care,] says.

Lee tells CBS News that both states and nursing homes are accountable.

For tips on choosing a nursing home, check out these OurParents articles:

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,013 other followers