The Caring Connection – Edition 1, Volume 1 January – March 2018

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Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know About In-Home Care

There are a lot of misconceptions about what in-home care is, when it is needed, how to pay for it and more. Here is a short list to clarify:

  1. You’ve got a friend. It’s called “companion care” and it’s about helping to alleviate loneliness. The fact is, many people in our society feel lonely and this can lead to depression. Some experts believe that it can even lead to dementia. Quality in-home care agencies will be committed to matching professionally-trained caregivers with clients so that they can strike up a relationship based on common interests or backgrounds. For example, a caregiver in her 30s may have been in the military and connected with a client in his 80s who also served in the military.
  2. Take a break. It’s called “respite care” and it’s about giving a family caregiver a change of pace or duties for a brief time. You can’t pour from an empty cup and that is very true with caring for someone. The family caregiver needs to replenish their spirit, their energy, and more. Hiring a professional in-home caregiver or just asking another relative, friend or neighbor to take your place for a few hours a week can provide time to relax and maintain connections to people or personal interests. The care recipient also benefits when their primary caregiver feels more rested and relaxed.
  3. You don’t have to choose just one. When it comes to long-term care, there are options. These can be overlapped for the maximum benefit for all parties. For example, you might need to move an elder loved one into an assisted living facility but you can still keep their in-home caregiver to help with anything from bathing to medication reminders, which aren’t included as part of the facility costs. Or, hire a professional caregiver to help with transportation after adult day care when you are still at work. Depending on the illness or condition that led to a need for assistance, a person’s abilities and therefore choices for care will naturally change over time.
  4. It’s too expensive. There are many ways to pay for in-home benefits (for spouses of veterans care services beyond your personal savings. There are veterans’ too), long-term care insurance, some life insurance, and in some states, if a person meets the qualifications, Medicaid care recipients may be able to pay a family member to be their caregiver. It can be complicated to research these payment options, but it can also be worth it to take advantage of a program that eases the stress on the caregiver and recipient.
  5. One size fits all. Quality in-home care should be customized to the individual. This is not nursing home care from the movies, but unique plans built around each person’s specific condition, abilities, and preferences. It starts with caregiver and client matching, professional training, and… listening. Who are you? What matters to you? What do you like to do? What do you need?

10 Things You Should Know About Your Parent’s Finances

10 Financial Questions to Ask Your Parent:

  1. Have they named a durable power of attorney to manage their finances? The first step is to find out if they have named a Durable Power of Attorney (POA). Without a POA in place, you’ll have to go to court to get guardianship of your parent in order to access accounts on their behalf.
  2. Where do they keep their financial records? Whether they keep their money and documents in a bank, a safe, or under the mattress, you need to know where to find records when you need them. Where are keys or codes to lock boxes or safes located?
  3. What are their bank account numbers and the names of their financial institutions? In addition to knowing where they keep their money, you need specifics on all accounts. What banks do they use? Who is their mortgage company? Do they have an investment firm?
  4. What are your parent’s monthly expenses? Gather information about their mortgage, car payment, credit card debt, electric bill and other expenses.
  5. How do they pay their bills currently? If there are automatic deductions being taken out of a checking account, you need to know about it. Do they use online banking or only paper checks?
  6. How much is their annual income, and where does it come from? Does your parent receive a monthly pension check? Do they have dividends coming in from investments? Do they get money for a disability or alimony?
  7. Do they receive Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security? If your parent becomes incapacitated, you may have to investigate the status and eligibility of their government assistance. Some government programs also require you to obtain additional permissions in order to manage their account(s).
  8. What kind of medical health insurance do they have in addition to Medicare? Do they have health insurance provided by an employer? If they are retired, are health benefits included as part of a pension?
  9. Do they have long-term care insurance? A “regular” health insurance plan does not cover the cost of assisted living or a nursing home. Did they purchase a long-term care insurance policy to cover the cost of long-term care? If they do not have a policy and can no longer live on their own, what can they afford in terms of care and housing?
  10. Do they have an accountant, financial planner or attorney? Who is it and how do you contact them? Have they done any estate planning?

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