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Get Ready Financially For Assisted Living

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Making Financial Arrangements For Assisted Living

Seniors in need of assisted living services and the families that take care of them face challenges in finding the resources they need. Meeting the financial obligations of good assisted living care can be particularly daunting. Fortunately, there is plenty of information and assistance available for seniors and families facing this prospect. When it comes to finding information on home health Houston Texas has no shortage of places to turn.

Planning Ahead

Assisted living community/facility selection can take months, and moving a senior is a complex task in its own right. Getting the family’s financial resources sorted out is also a lengthy process. This is why seniors and their families need to start discussing the shift to assisted living well in advance. Planning the move out well ahead of time gives families a chance to address concerns that might well get overlooked, like insurance options for seniors in assisted living.

When In Doubt, Always Ask Questions

There’s no such thing as being too well informed. This is especially true when it comes to considering the merits of a specific assisted living community. Besides gaining a full understanding of the level of care a facility has to offer, thorough questioning is required to fully explore all of the payment options and financial angles. It may be possible to reduce initial move-in costs or even month-to-month expenses by asking the right questions. Any assisted living contract needs to be scrupulously examined prior to signing to confirm that all of the financial arrangements are acceptable.

Consider Bridge Loans

Sometimes a senior needs to transition into an assisted living facility quickly, and the financial resources tied up in their home are not available to ease the changeover. Bridge loans are ideal for relieving financial hardships in situations like this. A good loan gives families the breathing space they need to ensure that they get maximum value for assets like homes. Bridge loans are intended to meet all of the expenses of assisted living prior to the successful closure of a home sale.

Don’t Overlook Veterans’ Benefits

Both veterans and veterans’ spouses may be entitled to financial assistance that can help meet the cost of assisted living services. Senior veterans can get especially useful support through the Aid and Attendance Program. To get started, go online or call 1-800-827-1000 to get in touch with a Veterans Regional Office.

Alternative Living Arrangements

It’s a good idea to maintain flexibility when planning for assisted living arrangements. Shared suites in a community designed for companion living can economize while simultaneously giving seniors much-needed companionship. This is an excellent compromise that reduces costs without bringing down the level of care seniors will enjoy in an assisted living community.

Get Expert Financial Advice

Assisting Hands Houston | Affordable In Home Care in HoustonA financial professional with senior finance experience can help unlock the full range of opportunities available to seniors going into an assisted living community. Referred to as financial concierges or financial advisors, these experts have all of the knowledge and experience necessary to navigate home sales, lending, and credit options.

Certain seniors and families may find themselves in a position to benefit from tax deductions for money spent on senior care. Seniors who require advanced medical support are particularly likely to be eligible for tax relief. Speak with an accountant or tax advisor to learn more.

Another potential financial resource that can cover at least some of the cost of assisted living services is Medicaid. Similar to the tax deductions described above, this is more likely to be a partial support rather than a comprehensive solution. Some seniors may also be in a position to convert a life insurance policy into an asset that can help to pay for long-term care.

The assistance of a professional streamlines and simplifies the process of moving a senior into assisted living without letting anything important get overlooked. Consult a trusted advisor to verify that all of the useful options are fully explored. Expert assistance makes the process of paying for assisted living much less complicated and challenging.

By contacting Assisting Hands Houston or calling today you will not only help yourself but also your loved ones! We are here to help every step of the way and answer any questions you may have regarding the services we provide and how we benefit both you and your loves ones!

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 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!

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!