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6 Essential Medication Safety Tips For Seniors

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Assisting Seniors With Their Daily Medication Procedures

Over 700,000 visits to emergency rooms can be attributed to medication and drug errors every year. These errors commonly include accidental overdose or consumption but may be related to other reasons. The goal of Assisting Hands Houston is to reduce this error rate related hospital visits.

Follow these health and safety tips to prevent medication and drug errors:

1. List It

Make a list of all the medication that is currently being taken by yourself or a loved one. Present this list to a healthcare provider at every visit or appointment. It will help them determine your current medical conditions, eliminate the need to prescribe more medication of the same type and prevent drug interactions.

2. Storage Instructions

Read the storage instructions on the medication or ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Most medications should be stored in a cool dry place but some may need to refrigerated or have additional storage instructions. Keep in mind that moisture and heat could change the chemistry of a drug affecting its efficacy or make it hazardous to your health. It is essential to keep all medication out of reach of children and pets and preferable to lock them away safely.

3. A Weekly Medicine Box

A medicine box provides separate compartments that medications can be placed in for each day of the week. Using a medication box greatly reduces the risk of drug errors occurring. It also simplifies the delivery process for caregivers as well as allows them to determine the safety of each medication taken within the whole.

Should there be any concern whether a dosage has been missed or taken twice, it is a simple matter of checking which compartment is still full? If an error has occurred, the dosage will need to be adjusted according to the instructions or advice from a healthcare provider.

4. Dosage Instructions

Assisting Hands Houston | In Home Care Services in Houston TexasNever stop taking a medication just because you feel you or your loved one no longer needs it. Also never adjust the dosage because you think the drug may be ineffective or the side effects are too severe. Always consult with a healthcare professional to voice your concerns and ask them to adjust your dosage if necessary.

Keep in mind that dosages are carefully calculated to meet the specific treatment requirements of different health conditions as well as the individual patient. Adjusting your medication could have severe consequences such as ending up in the hospital.

5. Knowledge Is Power

Ask your health care professional pertinent questions regarding the medication that they prescribe like what is for, how it works and how long you can expect to take it. If you are unsure about anything, get a second opinion.

Create a dialogue with your primary healthcare provider so that they can better understand your needs and concerns and to provide you with a better understanding of your health conditions and treatment plan.

6. More Hints And Tips

If you have any additional drug and medication health and safety tips, please feel free to call or contact Assisting Hands Houston and help us reduce the rate of errors and related hospital visits. Should you simply require more information regarding our services, our staff will be happy to assist.

Assisting Hands Helps You Understand Differences Between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

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Understanding The Differences In Assisted Living Or A Nursing Home

Assisting Hands Houston | Nursing Homes in Houston TexasThere is a common misconception that both assisted living and a nursing home are the same. Even though both of them offer homes for seniors, the purposes are very different. The assisted living facilities will help seniors work on maintaining an independent lifestyle while providing basic aid. Nursing homes in Houston are there to help people that are in need of constant and active medical supervision.

Both of these avenues have their merit, however, you need to understand the differences before you sign a contract with either one. Without the right information, you could be hurting a loved one without even realizing it.

Extracurricular Activities

Nursing Home – The individual has to be signed out by a family member or close friend before being able to leave the home. Any of the interactions will also be highly regimented.

Assisted Living – The individual will be free to leave as they please and there are a number of social activities that are put together with the enjoyment of the residents in mind.

Health Care

Nursing Home – There is constant medical monitoring, as the function of a nursing home is to provide round the clock medical care to senior residents that need it. While the social activities for your loved one may be sparse, they will be getting extensive medical care. If your loved one is not able to go to the bathroom on their home, an attendant from the nursing home will be there to assist.

Assisted Living – You will find medical monitoring along with amenities. The assisted living will offer care, yet there will not be round the clock attention. The residents are expected to be much more independent and take care of basic needs themselves, including using the bathroom.

Living Space

Nursing Home – The living space is sparse, yet functional. There are decorations allowed, but the seniors might have to clear their personal items with the staff prior to putting them out.

Assisted Living – There are a lot of living space selections, including studio apartments, one bedroom apartments, and some locations may have cottages that your loved one can move into. Assisted living will also engage residents in various activities and take them off to run errands or to local events.

Personal Care

Nursing Home – There is frequent attention, including eating and dressing, bathing and more. The nursing homes are crafted with custodial care and needs in mind. Independence is never expected.

Assisted Living – You will find independent options when you deal with activities each day, including cooking, eating, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom and more.

Privacy

Nursing Home – Individuals are closed watched by the staff and there are either private or shared spaces. There will be a higher chance of sharing a room with someone else in a nursing home. This is something that may be ideal for someone who needs special medical supervision.

Assisted Living – This is designed with privacy in mind, as the rooms are made for seniors who are able to get around while needing minimal aid. The living space will also be private unless it is otherwise noted.

Cost

Nursing Home – Being that this is a healthcare facility, there are many kinds of insurances and services that can help cover the cost.

Assisted Living – Long term insurance may cover many of the assisted living spaces. You could encounter some billing issues, but there will be a facility advisor that will be able to work with you.

If you are looking at comparing the costs of nursing homes in Houston, you will find assisted living calculators available online.

At Assisting Hands Houston we pride ourselves on bringing our clients and your loved ones with the need-to-know information you are searching for. Visit our blog for more information. We invite you to call or contact us to get in touch with one of our representatives if you have any unanswered questions!

Planning For Your Future In The Present

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Planning For The Retirement Years

In terms of putting enough money away for retirement, there are parallels to be drawn with watching your diet and exercise regimen. Everyone knows it is important, but not everyone follows through with what is required to succeed. Everyone offers up the seemingly valid reasons for procrastinating, but no matter your age, there really is no time to waste in terms of getting on a sound financial path. Even if you are late to the game, now is the moment to begin.

Tips for Saving Money

Even if you lack a clear path to building substantial savings, taking an affirmative first step mentally is key. The truth is that you may have to start on a smaller scale and work your way up to put away more and more on a monthly basis.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the true amount of money required for retirement will depend on a number of things, such as present age and proximity to retirement itself. A smart way to think about it is to remember that you will want roughly 70 percent or more of your pre-retirement take-home pay to have a comfortable retirement if you make at least $100k annually, or 90 percent of that if you make less than that amount.

Smart Investments for Your Retirement

If you work for a firm that provides access to a 401(k) plan, make sure to sign up for it and make maximum allowable contributions. If you do not work for such a company or happen to be self-employed, there are two other great methods for saving, namely the traditional IRA and the Roth version.

Each permits a contribution maxing out at $5,000 annually, and even more if you are already 50 or older. Both offer tax-advantaged status as well. But, only contributions to a traditional IRA account can be deducted for tax purposes.

Using Your Resources

Assisting Hands Houston | Houston Elder Care ServicesIt may seem daunting enough to decide the right way to build retirement savings and the proper amount to have, but it an often be just as difficult to know the proper way to spend those funds. Making a sound budget for your retirement years can make things a little easier. Understanding your fixed monthly expenses ahead of time will help ascertain the right amount to have on hand. After you are confident that you’ll have enough to cover basic, recurring expenses, you will have the freedom to spend money on fun things such as vacations and hobbies.

Ultimately, by promptly beginning the process of financial analysis and saving necessary for a comfortable retirement, you can start planning the life you wish to live once the burdens of the daily grind are far behind you.

Call or contact Assisting Hands Houston today!

Helping Your Loved One Move To An Assisted Living Facility

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Making The Move To An Assisted Living Facility: How To Help Your Loved One

Assisting Hands Houston | Assisted Living in Houston TXIt is not always easy to transition your loved one into senior living in Houston TX. The individual may not want to go to the care facility because they are worried about change or the inevitability of getting older. For some, simply the process of moving can be very disruptive, as is packing up a lifetime of memories. It is not easy to leave behind friends and neighbors and head into an unknown situation. As a loved one, your role is to help with the transition, in addition to physically assisting with the move itself. With that being said, there are also many benefits to an assisted living tour.

De-Cluttering

Often, your loved one will be moving from a larger space into a smaller space. This means that they have to give up some of their possessions. First, speak to the care facility to determine what they are going to provide and what you need to bring. Next, talk to your loved one about what is important to them. Select personal items that have meaning and that will help them view the new space as “theirs.” Decorating the room is an important part of the transition process and can help your loved one to adjust more quickly. Something as simple as a picture or a treasured blanket can give them the sense of security that they need.

Your loved one needs to take charge of the de-cluttering process. You do not know what is sentimental to them and what is not. Something may look like junk to you, but it could be an item that they want to keep more than anything else. Allow them to have some say in how things are sorted. For example, jewelry is a valuable item. Some may need to go with your loved one. Some may need to go into storage. And, your loved one may want to go ahead and give a few pieces to special people in their life. If there are items that your loved one cannot keep, but they are still in good shape, think about donating them. This might help your loved one feel better about separating from their possessions.

Making Things Easier

Plan well in order to ensure the best transition possible. Let your loved one know in advance what will be happening. They deserve the chance to mourn the loss of their old life and begin to look forward to the future. Also, set up some fun events going forward, so that your loved one has something to look forward to.

In Conclusion

Providing Houston with the best in home care services is what we pride ourselves on. Assisting Hands Houston has continued to help you and your loved ones with this difficult yet benefiting solution. Call or contact us today with any questions you might have regarding you and your loved ones and which options are available to you both.

What To Consider When Looking To Cosign A Loan For Your Loved One

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Co-Signing A Loan

Someone just asked if you would cosign on a loan. So should you do this or not? At times some elderly advocates may consider doing this for relatives or friends. If you do decide to cosign, how can you protect yourself? You might be asked at some point in time to cosign a loan for somebody else. At least theoretically “cosigning” basically means “co-borrowing.” It means that you are agreeing to be 100 percent – or completely – liable to repay the loan as well as all of its related costs, which includes the loan principle, penalties, interest, cost of suit and attorney’s fees, if the other signer doesn’t comply with the loan terms. In addition, even if the loan is paid by the other signer, but they skip payments or pay late, those lapses are going to show up on your personal credit report. Given that there are so many burdens involved with cosigning, you should consider taking the following steps before, during and after you cosign.

There are several questions you should answer before cosigning a loan. Since prospective creditors providing the loan are going to be a debt of yours, will cosign on the loan affect your ability to be able to borrow in some way? Since you will be completely responsible for the loan should the borrower default, will you be able to repay the loan as well as all of its associated costs? Sometimes indebtedness will affect tax exemptions and have other tax consequences as well, will your taxes be affected by cosigning the law? Since sometimes loans are secured by other types of property like jewelry, homes, cars, etc., are you going to be asked to pledge some of your valuable property for this loan and will you be willing to risk actually losing this property?

Assisting Hands Houston | Elder In Home Care Provider in Houston TexasSupposing that you answer all of the questions above in favor of cosigning for the individual; you will then move to the considerations and steps to take while cosigning. For example, there are some states that do allow you to ask for a certain limitation to be instituted in terms of what responsibilities you have for the loan. In these cases, you are ability limit what your liability is on the loan principle and associated charge. Ask the lender to put it in writing. The limitations may state that the co-signer is only responsible for the principle balance on the loan and/or any other specified things. In addition, you can ask that the written agreement from the lender provide you with a written notice if the other signer has any misstep, like missing a payment or being late on any payments, or if any changes are made to the loan. That will allow to you react to any problems there are with the loan before they come critical and an attorney or collections department pursues you for payment. A cosigner can also take an addition proactive step to ensure that they are designed as the receiver of payment requests so that you can stay on top of all of the payments. Another request that you can make is to ask that you be provided with the exact dollar amounts by the lender of what you will owe and what the monthly payments are if the other signer defaults. Given that you are considered to be a borrower, along with the other cosigner, you are entitled to receive copies of documents like the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure Statement, the loan contract, and warranties, definitely from the other borrower or the lender. In addition, in some states like California, a lender is required to provide you with a written statements of what your obligations and rights are as a cosigner. It is a good idea to collect all of these documents and keep copies of them, which can help you in the event that something goes wrong with the loan.

After the loan has been cosigned, get the other signer to make the loan payment to you instead of the lender, and then you make the loan payments. That way you can make sure that all payments are made on time and in full. Then make sure to keep records of all of the payments that the other signer makes to you and payments that you make to the lender. If you don’t make this kind of arrangement where you are paid and then you pay the lender, then you will leave yourself open to a potential default by the other signer. In this situation, check on the status of the loan repayment periodically so that you can take action to remedy any problems if they arise. Either way, you should make sure to keep all of the documents that you receive that are associated with the loan payments. In the event that the other individual faults and you cannot handle issues as they occur, then you will be subject to collection/credit problems in the same way that you would if you were the original borrow. If this occurs, you will want to consult with an attorney who specializes in collections/credit in order to safeguard your cosigner rights.

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Co-signing A Loan

Co-signing a loan is a great way to help out a friend or family member in a time of need. The action can also put you in some serious financial trouble if handled incorrectly though, so make sure you consider the following do’s and don’ts before signing for anything:

The Do’s Of Co-signing A Loan

  • Think of your own financial future. Is signing this loan going to make it harder for you to borrow as well?
  • Prepare for the worst. If you’re going to co-sign for a loan, then you need to prepare as if you’ll have to pay the whole loan back yourself.
  • Understand the tax implications of signing for this loan. Your attorney or a licensed tax professional will be happy to consult you on the matter.
  • Figure out the collateral needed for this loan. You may be putting up property or assets that you aren’t willing to part with.
  • Attempt to get a limited liability clause, in writing, from the lender.
  • Ensure that you’re communicated with if any changes or problems occur.
  • Work with the lender to receive consistent payment updates.
  • Get copies of all documents, and keep them with your personal attorney.
  • Consider having the borrower pay you each month, and then you pay the loan payment.
  • Learn the collections process, just in case.

The Don’ts Of Co-Signing A Loan

  • Don’t let others dictate the process. You have the leverage here.
  • Don’t let emotion rule your decisions. Finances always need to be handled in a logical way.
  • Don’t work off of the honor system. You need to do everything legally possible to protect yourself in the case of default.

It’s a very good thing that you’re doing by considering being there for friends or family in a time of need. You can’t martyr yourself for their short-term financial gain though, so you need to approach a situation like this with a clear head. Make them give you reasons to say “yes” instead of you trying to find reasons to say “no”. Emotion can make that process to hard for you. In the end, you have to be prepared to say no if the risk is going to be more than you can stomach. This’ll be hard, as no one wants to say “no” to their loved ones if they can avoid it. Financial situations are hard to deal with, and it isn’t fair for you to ruin your personal situation to bail out someone who may not be doing their best to be responsible. The best thing you can do is to remove the emotion from the situation. You have the information that you need now to go through the process. Stay logical, be fair, and you can’t go wrong.

Growing up isn’t always the easiest. If you happen to be struggling with your decisions Assisting Hands Houston is here to help you with the process. Please call or contact us today for information regarding the services we provide, and the benefits of elder in-home care for your loved one.

Preventing Identity Theft For Your Loved Ones

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How to Protect Your Senior Parent’s From Identity Theft

In today’s world, anybody can become a victim of identity theft. Elderly people are no exception. Unfortunately, many elderly people do not know they are a victim of identity theft until unexplained charges show up on their credit cards or after their bank accounts are empty.

Identity theft occurs when a person steals another person’s back account number, social security number or other personal or financial information. This information is often used to apply for loans, obtain new credit card accounts, access and drain the victim’s bank accounts or obtain professional licenses, birth certificates, and driver’s licenses illegally.

Why Do They Target Seniors?

Many identity thieves see seniors as an easy target. Older people are often more vulnerable because many are trusting, lonely, and socially isolated. Others may be suffering from memory loss or dementia. This creates the perfect victim profile for an identity thief. Often, seniors are sitting ducks for these scammers.

How Do These Criminals Steal the Senior’s Identity?

The identity thieves are always creating new ways to gather information from their victims. There are several common ways these criminals steal identities.

Stealing Mail

Identity thieves will steal the senior’s mail. They are looking for tax information, checks, bank statements and credit card statements. They don’t just take these documents from the mail. Some thieves steal the senior’s garbage, to gain access to carelessly discarded personal and financial information.

Sending Mail

Instead of stealing mail, some thieves send mail to the senior. This mail appears to be from a trusted source, such as a well-known company, charitable organization, or the victim’s bank. The mail uses “official” letterhead to make the senior believe it is from the actual company.

Calling the Victim on the Phone

Some identity thieves call seniors, pretending to represent the senior’s financial institution or a charitable organization. Unfortunately, many seniors trust that the phone call is actually coming from the trusted source.

“Phishing” Online

Phishing is a common practice online. Identity thieves pretend to be a well=known company, like eBay, or a financial institution. They send spam messages to seniors asking them to “verify” their social security number or account information.

Swiping Credit Cards

Wait staff at restaurants and sales clerks can gain access to a person’s financial records every time a credit card is swiped for a purchase. They use a tiny scanning device that steals the card numbers, then they are able to use the cards. They can run up an exorbitant bill before the senior is even aware that their credit card information was stolen.

Assisting Hands Houston | Elder In Home Care ServicesHow to Prevent Identity Theft

It’s important to remember that identity theft can happen on the phone, in a store or restaurant, online or in person. Do not share your personal information through the mail, on the phone, or on the internet unless you know who the receiver is and have initiated the contact where the information is to be provided.

Buy a Cross Cut Shredder

You or your senior parent should shred all sensitive mail and documents, including credit card offers, bank statements, credit card statements, and tax documents. Don’t just throw these papers in the trash. A thief can go through the trash and steal any information they find.

Guard Credit Cards

When your parent’s hand wait staff, salespeople, or anyone who needs to complete a sale, tell them to watch those people closely. Thieves use a tiny scanner called a skimmer to steal numbers. If they have unused or rarely used cards, get rid of them. The fewer cards your parents have the easier it is to monitor their use. Only provide your credit card information if you absolutely must.

Don’t Let Anyone Copy Your Parent’s Driver’s License

If a person has a copy of your parent’s license, they can gain access to their personal data, bank accounts and other things you want to protect. The exception is using a license to verify a check. However, you should not let someone take the entire license to use the other information on it, which is never necessary.

Mail Letters at the Post Office or a Postal Box

Your parents should try to avoid leaving outgoing mail in their home mailbox. Identity thieves can steal payment slips and checks from your parent’s mail, take the information and use it to steal their identity. The scammers can use the information to get new credit cards in your parent’s name and rob them of all they can get.

Never Provide Personal Information On The Phone

Phone solicitors often offer rewards and prizes as a way to trick people into providing their social security number, bank account information, or mother’s maiden name. With this information, a scammer can wipe out a person’s bank account in minutes.

If your parents order checks, have them delivered to a post office box or to the bank, do not have them shipped to your home address.

How Common Is Identity Theft Among Seniors?

No one can say how many seniors are scammed each year, or even tell the percentage of fraud that targets seniors. According to the Federal Trade Commission that compiles lists of identity theft complaints, nine million Americans have their identities stolen annually. However, this list is made up of victims who voluntarily registered by e-mail or over the phone.

How can you help your senior parents protect themselves? According to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2014 report, about 19 people become a victim of theft each minute.

We need to start by educating our aging parents that it’s dangerous to trust people on the phone. We also need to warn them that even their own children can steal their identity if they’re desperate enough. Mental illness, serious financial trouble, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse are all factors that can lead an adult child to steal their parent’s bank account numbers during a visit and raid their parent’s back accounts later. Adult children have been caught taking from the people most likely to trust them, their aging parents.

Seniors must be educated to stay alert for these dangers in their family and among their friends. If there is a ” black sheep” in the family with substance abuse issues or serious financial trouble, they should be considered a risk.

Is it possible to thwart an attempt to steal your aging parent’s identities? Even if it’s difficult, we should at least take protective measures. Often the simple solutions are the best.

Assisting Hands Houston is Houston’s #1 provider for elder in home care and assisted living. Visit here to review the other services we offer. Contact us or call today with any further questions you may have.

Assisting Hands Houston Addresses Stroke Prevention

This entry was posted in Assisted Living, Dementia, Elder In Home Care, In Home Care, Stroke Prevention and tagged , , , , , , , , on by .

Does Stroke Prevention Help Decrease The Risk For Dementia?

There are many precautionary measures that a person can take to ensure that their heart and brain health is doing well, this will help them to age well.

Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America per the Center for Disease Control. Other conditions on the list include cancer, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. As you age, the risk for all of these conditions rises which makes it important that you follow the right preventative measures to prevent such conditions.

Around the world, researchers are seeking answers to how these conditions form. Recently, researchers from the University of Western Ontario spent time on a study for stroke prevention for those over the age of 80. To help prevent strokes, we know that people must improve their diet, increase their exercises and this is yielding positive results to lower their stroke rates, however, it may also help in preventing dementia.

Assisting Hands Houston | Elder Home Care Houston TXThere is a link between dementia and strokes. When the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or slows, it may raise the risk for both strokes and dementia. According to the researchers in Western Ontario, there are some extreme lifestyle changes that can be made to help prevent strokes. These will help to combat the symptoms of stroke and dementia. High cholesterol, as an example, may lead to a plaque which can clog arteries. Thus, eating a healthier diet may help to lower cholesterol and thus prevent the risk of stroke and dementia.

Anyone who has had a stroke is at double the risk to develop vascular dementia according to the researchers. They will have a higher risk of memory loss, reasoning issues, judgment problems, and planning issues. As the blood supply is disrupted to the brain in a stroke, it also reduces the amount of oxygen which may cause permanent damage that may, in turn, lead to dementia.

When the researchers at University of Western Ontario were doing their research, they noted that there was a drop in the rate of strokes in the study participants that would lead to fewer cases of dementia. However, strokes aren’t the single cause of vascular dementia, blood clots, cardio issues, and even diabetes may all impact the flow of blood and reduce or cut off the oxygen levels to the person’s brain and cause serious damage to their cognitive abilities. This, in turn, can contribute to dementia. Following the same measures that will improve circulation to the brain and prevent strokes also were noted to prevent dementia.

It’s important that caregivers encourage their loved ones to remain active and reduce their risk of strokes and vascular dementia.

Preventing strokes and dementia is often just a matter of following a proper diet and good exercise. As these lifestyle changes are presented patients should also keep in mind that reducing or eliminating tobacco products and sticking to a healthier diet and lifestyle will go far in helping to reduce the incidence of stroke and dementia. The incidence of strokes has dropped by 37.9 percent by following these measures and dementia has dropped by 15.4 percent. While little can be done about a genetic predisposition to such conditions, there are steps that can help to reduce the severity if one will follow a healthier diet and add in proper exercise.

According to the National Stroke Association or NSA, proper nutrition to prevent strokes includes:

  • Eating a variety of vegetables including both starches and leafy greens
  • Eating more fresh and whole fruits
  • Following a fat-free and low-fat diet especially with dairy products
  • Eating more whole-grain foods
  • Consuming lean proteins
  • Using heart-healthy oils

The NSA has also recommended that you not add sugar, sodium or trans fats to your diet. These should make up less than ten percent of a person’s daily diet.

It’s also vital to limit the intake of alcohol and men should have no more than two drinks per day while women shouldn’t have more than one drink per day. No tobacco should be used. Smoking especially can double the risk of the incidence of strokes and dementia. This can lead to the plaque buildup in the body and affect the required amounts of blood to the brain.

Exercise will help to strengthen the lungs and the heart and this will improve the blood circulation to the brain. Adults should have at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week. This can include brisk walks. They should also strive for two days worth of muscle strengthening such as weight lifting. Working things like crossword puzzles will also help to improve the health of the brain per Assisting Hands of Houston, which promotes Independent Senior Living Houston.

Always check with your doctor prior to starting any type of new diet or exercise to ensure that the person is well enough to participate in such activities. Some medications will interact with some diets so always have a doctor monitor any dietary changes as well. These steps may help to prevent strokes and vascular dementia.

We at Assisting Hands Houston hope that the information we have provided you not only helps your loved ones but also helps you to be a better caregiver. Please contact us or call today if you have any questions regarding elder in-home care or assisted living for your loved ones.

What You Can Expect Financially For Texas Assisting Living

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Paying For Assisted Living In Texas

The month-by-month cost of assisted living in the United States averaged $3,628 in 2016. Individuals receiving additional care to address needs stemming from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease accounted for an additional monthly cost of $1,150, bringing their total to $5,100. These figures are a national average; actual costs vary widely in different regions. For the Mid-West and South, monthly averages range between $3,000 and $3,600.

Assisting Hands Houston | Houston Assisted Living FacilitiesFor Texas, average monthly assisted living costs hit $3,515 per month in 2016. This is just slightly below the national average reported above. In certain parts of the state (for example, San Antonio, Austin, Odessa, Victoria, and Amarillo), expenses are higher, with monthly averages ranging from $4,000 to $4,600. These averages serve to give some insight into the average assisted living Houston cost for an aging parent.

Addressing the growing care needs of their aging parents places stress on baby boomers who are juggling their own careers and the needs of their children in addition to their parents. Most boomers consider providing for their parents’ care to be a top priority, and thus they have a vested interest in understanding the true cost of assisted living.

Assisted Living: The Costs

Most Americans find themselves dealing with at least some – or even all – of the costs of assisted living for their relatives out of their own pockets. For most families, the financial burden is met with a combination of savings, pensions, and Social Security and/or Veterans benefits. Many individuals tap the value of home equity (through selling, renting, or taking a reverse mortgage) to help pay for assisted living. Note that in a reverse mortgage situation, a spouse will need to continue living in the mortgaged home.

For a few families, the financial burdens of assisted living are eased by long-term care insurance. Only about five percent of American seniors have this type of insurance coverage, but it is a considerable help in paying for quality assisted living care.

The Relationship Between Medicare And Assisted Living

Medicare cannot pay the expenses involved with basic assisted living services like room and board and personal care. Individuals who incur medical expenses while residing in an assisted living facility will be covered by Medicare in the same way that they would if they were receiving care at home, in a hospital, or in a clinic.

Assisted Living And Medicaid

In every state, Medicaid is a viable option for paying for assisted living expenses in the long term. Medicaid waivers can be used to reduce the cost of both assisted living and in-home care in some states. The regulations, eligibility requirements, and rules which govern the relationship between Medicaid and assisted living vary from state to state.

An assisted living facility is generally one which provides housing, food, personal care, and medication management to its residents. Historically these services fell outside the purview of Medicaid in Texas, but that is starting to change.

Today there are two programs in Texas that can help pay for assisted living expenses through Medicaid. Specific criteria must be met to enter the programs. Besides basic Medicaid eligibility, you must also demonstrate a medical necessity for nursing home care. In the regulations, this is referred to as “meeting the nursing home level of care.” The two programs that can help are called STAR PLUS Medicaid Waiver and Community Based Alternative (CBA) Medicaid. Both of these programs are intended to help individuals find home, community, and assisted living services which can fulfill the same role as a permanent nursing home residence. STAR PLUS and CBA both have a limited number of slots, and neither program covers the entire state of Texas. You can learn more by inquiring at your nearest office of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability.

In Texas, Continuing Care Facilities, or CCFs, play a significant role in the assisted living landscape. CCFs deliver full-time supervision but omit the round-the-clock nursing care found in other facilities. Medicaid does not cover CCFs in Texas.

Financial Assistance Options

Beyond Medicaid, there are three principal forms of financial assistance for assisted living to consider.

  • Programs of the federal and state governments that offer financial assistance besides Medicaid.
  • Cost of living reductions designed to minimize the amount spent on family members and seniors, freeing up funds to pay for an assisted living facility.
  • Asset liquidation in order to create additional funds for paying for assisted living care.

As noted above, many families meet their financial obligations for assisted living using savings. This is a limited and diminishing financial resource. This complicates matters because many assistance programs set their eligibility requirements based on what financial resources an individual has available. The bottom line is that more assistance options open up the longer an individual stays in an assisted living situation.

This is why it’s important to include long-term financial planning as an integral part of any assisted living plan. Besides ensuring that your aging loved one receives quality care, smart planning will also minimize the adverse effect that care has on your family’s financial position.

Financial planning for assisted living can be very complex, especially when it needs to be flexible enough to accommodate multiple possible health issues. Families looking for help with this planning process.

There are free benefits counselors working for Aging and Disability Resource Centers and Area Agencies on Aging throughout Texas. Although these counselors are available without charge and have a solid understanding of local benefits, they may be understaffed and unfamiliar with less-common financial alternatives.

Some Geriatric Care Managers, or GCMs, include financial planning in the menu of services that they offer. GCMs involve out-of-pocket fees, but this also means that they generally deliver higher standards of service.

Because most families only start working with GCMs once the need for assisted living has become pressing, the options available to them are limited. Also, many GCMs focus more heavily on the healthcare side of geriatric care and thus lack financial expertise.

Financial Planners who specialize in elder care are able to provide the highest levels of expertise, but this also makes them the most expensive option for securing guidance. Their long-term planning acumen may also be balanced by a limited awareness of short-term options and local resources.

Assisting Hands Houston continues to be Houstons’ #1 choice when it comes to assisted living and elder in-home care. Please contact us or call us today with any questions you may have regarding your loved ones!

A Guide To Effective Caregiving In Houston Texas

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How To Be An Effective Caregiver Without Burning Out

Being An Effective Caregiver Also Means Caring For Yourself

There is a common misconception that people who are caregivers have to put all of their needs aside, only focusing on the person who is in their care. In a way, it is like they are expected to check their own feelings at the door, only focusing on what the other person wants or needs. This image of a caregiver requires them to sacrifice their wants and needs in order to support the person that they are caring for.

In reality, however, it is impossible to separate yourself from your emotions when you are a caregiver. As much as you try to focus on the other person, certain emotions are bound to bubble up during the process. It is important to learn more about what it is really like to care give for another person so that you can effectively deal with the feelings that you experience throughout the process.

Ask For Help If You Need It

One of the biggest mistakes that caregivers make is trying to do too much. Providing around-the-clock care for someone else can be physically and emotionally draining. In many cases, you may need to get professional help. If you are like many caregivers, the thought of hiring someone to assist with the process can feel like you are being weak or like you are giving up. In fact, however, getting support from a trained professional can make you more effective at caring for your loved one by keeping you from getting exhausted and overwhelmed.

Take Care Of Yourself

If you don’t take care of your own health and your own emotional needs, you won’t be able to effectively care for someone else. There are limits on what you can do. You need to be aware of these limits and take care not to push yourself too hard. Otherwise, you could burn out.

Emotional Responses Are Normal

it is impossible to care for another person without having your emotions come into play. Along with feelings of love and compassion, you may experience some negative emotions that catch you off guard. For instance, you may find yourself feeling frustrated or discouraged. These types of feelings are totally normal and are to be expected. You shouldn’t feel like you are a bad person or like you have done anything wrong if you find yourself experiencing emotions that could be considered negative.

Take A Break If You Need It

No one can be expected to care for another person around-the-clock without having to take a break every now and then. It is important to stop and nurture your body and your mind so that you have the physical and emotional strength to care for the other person.

Caring for someone else can be an emotional roller coaster. One way to keep everything in perspective is to remind yourself of why you decided to become a caregiver in the first place. At the same time, you should be aware of how you are feeling so that you can gauge when you need a break. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or to take time off to recharge your batteries if you need to.

Assisting Hands Houston | Elder Care Houston Texas

Senior living communities in Houston can be a good resource if you need assistance caring for a loved one. They can provide professional in-home care that takes some of the burdens off of your shoulders, allowing you to stay healthy and strong so that you can support your loved one in the best possible way.

Trying to figure out the best course of action to take when it comes to caring for an elderly loved one can be challenging. Hiring a professional caregiver to provide advice and assistance can help make the process easier. Instead of being physically and emotionally overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks associated with being a caregiver, you can stay strong so that you can provide your loved one with the emotional support that they need.

Here’s Why You Should Bring Your Parent To The Assisted Living Tour

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A Challenge For Adult Children: Do You Bring A Parent With You On An Assisted Living Tour?

As an experienced provider of senior care services, we know that navigating your way through the various options you have for senior living in Houston Texas isn’t easy. As an adult, finding a capable facility to care for your parents is a real challenge. Many people who find themselves shopping for senior communities and facilities ask us about bringing up the idea of senior living care or even bringing their parents along when they visit such places for the first time. There’s no hard and fast rule regarding whether this is a good idea or a bad idea. We can help you make the right choice for your own situation by looking at some of the pros and cons. Here’s a look at the advantages and disadvantages presented by key assisted living considerations:

Handling Physical Limitations

The Pros

Assisting Hands Houston | Assisted Living Facilities HoustonIt may be useful to bring along an aging parent if he or she is dealing with mobility issues or vision loss. You’ll get a first-hand glimpse of how easily your parent would be able to cope with the design of the facility. Some communities are better designed to accommodate physical disabilities than others. If your parent doesn’t have any problems navigating through the community, that counts as a plus in that facility’s favor. If they have trouble getting around, that’s a strong negative.

The Cons

Shepherding a parent through a tour may slow it down considerably. If you have limited time, it may be more productive to keep your visits fast and cover multiple communities in a single day. You could narrow your search down to a handful of the most likely possibilities before bringing your parent in.

Clearing Out Senior Living Stereotypes

The Pros

There are a lot of seniors whose mental images of senior living communities are seriously out of date. We find that exposing parents to more up-to-date pictures of senior living in Houston Texas helps to allay some of their concerns about their options.

The Cons

You may find community tours to be more productive if you’re not hampered by a parent who is being contrary and stubborn about the idea of moving into an assisted living community. It may be better to get a good grasp of the best potential communities and then introduce your parent to the ones which best fit his or her interests and lifestyle.

Senior Decision Making

The Pros

If your aging parent is still capable of making well-reasoned decisions on his or her own, getting them involved in the hunt for an assisted living community early will help to make them feel empowered and independent.

The Cons

On the other hand, if your loved one is already struggling with memory loss or is in any way anxious about the shift to assisted living, it’s probably better to screen their options in advance before you bring them to any facility. Parents who fear change can find an assisted living tour stressful.

Holding Onto Independence

The Pros

Seniors will obviously find it challenging to downsize and say goodbye to a home they’ve known for years or decades. It often gives rise to the feeling that they’re losing their independence. Selecting an assisted living facility without giving them plenty of input can worsen that feeling significantly. By including them in your research process and taking them along on tours, you’ll help your parents maintain a much-needed sense of control and independence.

The Cons

If a recent health issue is a trigger that’s set you looking for a senior community, your parent may not be physically capable of handling the stress of multiple tours. Sometimes the need to make a change in a senior’s living arrangements becomes time-sensitive due to rapid changes in his or her health. You may need to tour assisted living facilities on your own and pick out the one which looks to you like the best fit for your loved one. Note that you can at least keep your parent updated by bringing them photos, notes, and documentation to help them learn more about your choices. While this isn’t really ideal, it will help your loved one ease through the transition and maintain some feeling of independence.

Guidance For Houston Families

If you’re grappling with the changing care needs of an aging parent, Assisting Hands Houston can help you weigh your senior community options. We recommend that you contact us for any other questions you may have regarding the list of services we provide. We understand it may be difficult to decide whether or not senior living is the right choice for your loved ones. However, you do not have to be alone to make this decision. Call us today!