If you need financial assistance for home modifications to make your house wheelchair-accessible, there are several resources that may be able to help you get started.
Many seniors want to live their lives as independently as possible, and home modifications are an excellent way to help them do just that. If you need financial assistance for home modifications to make your house wheelchair-accessible, there are several resources that may be able to help you get started.
Common home modifications
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are a few common alterations that many people seek out once they rely on a wheelchair for day-to-day activities. Some of these may include:
Whether you are seeking resources for one or all of these alterations, it's important to speak first with your physical or occupational therapist to see what might work best for you and your home.
Get educated about home modifications
Getting yourself informed about making your home wheelchair-accessible is the first step, and there are plenty of resources and organizations that can help. The HHS also explained that repairs and alterations can cost seniors anywhere from $150 to $2,000, depending on the type of renovation you are seeking. A contractor will be the best person to explain to you what is needed in your home, how much it will cost and what kinds of reduced rates or fees might apply.
However, it's important to know that these modifications and their respective expenses are provided by the Older Americans Act, and then dispensed through the Area Agencies on Aging, according to the HHS. You can find out where your local AAA chapter is by visiting the Alzheimer's Association's Community Resource Finder (www.communityresourcefinder.org) and then clicking on the "Community Services" tab.
Resources and organizations
In addition to your local AAA, there are several other resources and organizations that might be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to financial assistance. The HHS recommends Rebuilding Together, Inc., which operates with local affiliates and volunteers to help low-income seniors find the resources they need. You might also be able to find rebates with the U.S. Department of Energy's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, though those discounts may vary state by state.
It's also worthwhile to contact organizations in your area, as many cities and towns offer grant funds through community development centers and local departments. Local banks and lenders might advise you to look into home equity conversion mortgages or reverse mortgages to cover additional costs for renovations as well.
If you're a senior looking to make your home wheelchair-accessible, there are many ways you can get the assistance you need, both from private and public sources. Be sure to ask family and friends about their own experiences with these types of renovations as well so that you gain more insight into the right contractors to hire for this important task.Read in 2 minutes
Carelike differentiates from its competitors by giving care seekers access and transparency to all providers in their area, not just those who pay for a profile. Carelike displays all available information, truly giving families the power of choice and the ability to make informed decisions.
Carelike, LLC. leads change in senior care referral industry
Stephanie F. Jackson
Tele: (404) 250-8370
ATLANTA, GA. (November 15, 2016) -- As many Americans (especially baby boomers) are discovering, finding the perfect care service for a senior loved one is challenging. Per data from a 2015 AARP report, approximately 43.5 million adults provided unpaid elder care, mainly to relatives. This number only stands to grow as baby boomers age, and Carelike has come up with a solution.
With most senior-placement companies, care seekers use online or call-in services to find an assisted living community or home health aide for their loved one. However, they only get information from a small, select number of providers who have a contract to be listed on that referral company's website. This means care seekers miss out on many providers who might more closely fit their needs, have more esteemed credentials or elicited better patient reviews.
The senior care referral industry has been around for years, and so has Carelike (previously SNAPforSeniors). The organization is well-connected and has the experience and expertise required to drive a much-needed change to the industry. Their business model has always put the care-seeker first. Everyone who is a licensed senior care professional - not just those who "pay to play" - shows up in Carelike's comprehensive database of providers. This is because Carelike pulls from 400 different sources to gather data on senior and post-acute care providers. The organization then goes to great lengths to clean, filter and augment the data to give care seekers the most up-to-date and accurate picture of each provider.
This methodology has made Carelike the preferred partner for organizations who help consumers find care, which include renowned health organizations, health insurance companies, care management companies, EAPs and patient advocacy groups, including the Alzheimer's Association.
If you haven't heard of Carelike, it may be because the company has always worked behind the scenes providing well-known, reputable organizations with data. Now that this company aims to appeal to consumer care seekers, Carelike will share providers' information with not only organizations who license the data but with family members looking for senior services through their new consumer search site.
Carelike is the only online senior listing company that provides that type of exposure for providers - to both consumers and professional care-seekers at organizations who license the data. Meanwhile, Carelike differentiates from its competitors by giving care seekers access and transparency to all providers in their area, not just those who pay for a profile. Carelike displays all available information, truly giving families the power of choice and the ability to make informed decisions. Discover the possibilities for yourself at CareLike.com.Read in 2 minutes
Seniors over 65 may be wondering what kinds of home health care benefits are covered under Medicare.
If you're a senior who struggles with maintaining your health and well-being on your own, you might be considering the help of a home health aide. Seniors over 65 may also be wondering what kinds of home health care benefits are covered under Medicare. Below we will break down who is eligible for Medicare coverage of home health services and actions you can take to get the care you need.
Eligibility, Medicare and home health
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, home health services have become increasingly popular for Medicare recipients, as they typically cost less and offer the same high level of care. Many home health services focus on preventative care to also reduce acute care costs and help seniors become more independent.
As a result, Medicare does allow seniors to attain home health coverage, but you have to be eligible to receive these services. Here are a few requirements you'll need to receive home health care, according to CMS:
What exactly is covered under Medicare's home health policy?
If you meet these requirements, you will not be expected to pay for home health care services per Medicare's policy, according to CMS. Additionally, Medicare will cover 20 percent of the amount approved from Medicare to be put toward durable medical equipment used while at home. Regardless of your home health needs, each agency should explain in full detail what is and what's not covered under these policies based on your condition, also known and the "Home Health Advance Beneficiary Notice."
Skilled nursing care is also covered when administered on a part-time or intermittent basis. Skilled nurses are defined as registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Some of the treatments you may expect from these medical professionals include changing dressings, informing you about your prescriptions or diabetes treatments, administering IV drugs or shots, as well as tube feedings, if necessary.
Skilled nursing care is covered under Medicare if on a part-time or intermittent basis.
What isn't covered under Medicare's home health policy?
CMS also stated that the home health policies under Medicare only direct revenue to the services you need from your chosen agency. However, doctor visits and other routine appointments are generally already covered by existing Medicare benefits. Meals, 24-hour care, housekeeping services like cleaning, shopping, and personal care like bathing and dressing, generally are not paid for under Medicare policies.
You have the right to appeal
CMS also indicated that once covered home health plans come to an end, Medicare recipients have the right to a fast appeal. During this process, a quality improvement organization (QIO) will review your treatment plan and determine if you still require home health services. Under Medicare policy, the home health agency will send you a written notice at least two days before your home health treatment is scheduled to end, and it will also give you a breakdown of how you can appeal.
Home health services are a part of your care plan as a senior if you need them, so it's important to understand what is and is not covered under your Medicare plan. If you need more information about home health services and Medicare, be sure to contact your doctor or home health agency.Read in 3 minutes
Saving money is an integral part of enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, but many seniors in retirement have gone far too long without doing this.
Saving money is an integral part of enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, but many seniors in retirement have gone far too long without doing this. In fact, this financial issue has become somewhat of a crisis in the U.S. According to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, the median savings for older adults on the cusp of retirement is only $12,000.
For those who haven't put away enough quite yet, there are still ways to get by later in life. This is even true when it comes to healthcare, which often comes with a hefty price tag. Check out these three money-saving tips for seniors:
1. Pick the right prescription drugs and pharmacy
You shouldn't have to choose between your medications and a meal, but for many seniors, that's a decision they face on a regular basis. According to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 8 percent of older adults without any prescription drug coverage will skip doses or come off entirely. This, of course, can have serious ramifications for one's well-being.
Beyond reviewing your health insurance options, you can also use certain strategies to save on medications. For one, always opt for generic versions of drugs when possible. Making this simple request with your doctor can significantly cut healthcare costs. A report published by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association found that this alternative approach resulted in $92 billion in savings for seniors in 2014 alone.
Additionally, as you might have already discovered, the cost for prescriptions varies between pharmacies. This is due to differences in businesses expenses, like overhead costs and profit margins. To find the best deal, shop around at both your privately-owned local pharmacies and retail chains.
Get flu shots for free.
2. Know what you can get for free
You don't have to pay a single dime for certain components of your wellness plan. For example, did you know many preventative services are free with Medicare Part B? This includes some vaccines, like the flu, hepatitis and pneumococcal shots, in addition to various screenings such as those for cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.
Certainly, a free flu shot is cheaper than getting sick and paying for doctor's visits and hospital stays. In fact, a 2010 study published in the journal Health Affairs found that the increased use of preventative services in the U.S. can lead to an annual average savings of $3.7 billion!
"Preventative services can save $3.7 billion annually!"
3. Consider aging in place
Many seniors require long-term care, and there are plenty of options at their disposal. Those looking to remain cost-efficient might consider "aging in place," a phrase used to describe when older adults utilize home health services instead of assisted living communities. Not only does this allow you to remain in the comfort of your own house, but it can also save you a lot of money.
A semi-private room in a long-term care facility costs a monthly average of $6,235 while home health aides charge about $21 per hour, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Calling on these home health professionals for even eight hours each day would still cost less per month than seeking care elsewhere.
In addition to coming up with a wellness strategy that doesn't cause pain for your wallet, be frugal in all areas of life. That is, stick to a budget and cut out unnecessary expenditures to ensure you always have enough money to take care of your health.Read in about 3 minutes
It is important to understand home health care cost so you and your family can budget accordingly.
Many people benefit from home health services. This method of care allows seniors to spend their retirement years at home and for those facing disabilities to live a higher quality lifestyle. However, home health services come at a price, and it's important to understand cost so you and your family can budget accurately.
Generally speaking, this avenue of care is less expensive than long-term services from a medical facility. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one month of care in an assisted living community would cost about $3,293 for a one-bedroom unit. Meanwhile, rates for home health services fall far below that. Learn more about prices to determine which route is right for you:
"Patients typically pay $21 per hour for a home health aide."
Home health aide services
Home health aide services involve a caretaker coming to your home to help with a variety of daily living activities. As AARP explained, while these individuals haven't gone through medical school, they must have training and pass a competency test to serve in this position. As such, they can help with basic needs like administering medication and checking vital signs.
According to the HHS, patients typically pay $21 per hour for a home health aide, though this varies depending on the organization, where you live and the services required. Even if you used this service for four hours each day with the aforementioned rate, the monthly cost would still be less than that for assisted living. Additionally, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare may cover the cost of home health aides who provide intermittent or part-time services.
Hospice provides end-of-life care for individuals who have six or less months to live, focusing on symptom and pain management. According to a 2012 study published in the journal Health Affairs, this home service has a high price - costing more than $10,000 a month. However, under original Medicare, individuals pay nothing for this service, except for co-pays for prescription drugs.
In some regards, homemaker services that involve laundry, cooking and cleaning are related to a person's health and well-being. For instance, people with disabilities or arthritis may not be able to tackle these chores on their own. However, even under a doctor's recommendation, Medicare won't cover homemaker services. According to the Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey, customers pay $19 per hour.
These rates reflect averages, and what you pay depends on many factors. Thoroughly research your provider to ensure you get the best service at an optimal price.Read in 2 minutes
Are your loved one's home health services tax deductible? Find out!
Taxes can be tricky to navigate. With so many rules and regulations, you may have difficulty determining what type of medical expenses are tax deductible - there are a lot of options, after all. This challenge is especially true for those who use home health care. If your elderly parent uses a home health aid, here's what you need to know about this service and tax breaks:
Is home health care tax deductible?
In short, yes, but as with any tax break, there are certain stipulations. According to the Journal of Accountancy, the Internal Revenue Code does include home health care under the umbrella of tax deductible medical expenses. This is true only if the home health care costs exceed 7.5 percent of the individual's annual gross income. However, the home health service must qualify as long-term care, meaning the patient must be chronically ill, and the home health route was prescribed by a physician.
"The patient must be unable to complete two or more daily tasks."
Does my loved one qualify?
As noted, the patient must be chronically ill for the home health services to be tax deductible. At first glance, you may not be able to tell if your loved one meets this criteria, as he or she may not have common chronic illnesses like diabetes or cancer.
However, certain age-related conditions are classified as chronic, such as dementia and arthritis. In fact, there doesn't even need to be a label for your senior parent to have a chronic illness. As U.S. Code 7702B(c)(2) highlighted, to fit the description of chronically ill, the patient must be unable to independently complete two or more daily tasks for at least 90 days. Otherwise, the individual must have cognitive impairments that require the person to be supervised to avoid health and safety risks.
Your parent's doctor must be the one to prescribe home health services. The next step is determining if your older loved one is chronically ill. Based on the above definition, consider your parent's needs. Does he or she require assistant getting dressed in the morning and eating breakfast? Perhaps your older family member's home health aide administers medication to ensure safe dosages and drives the individual to doctor's appointments. Both of these scenarios may qualify for medical-related tax deductions.
Are there specific services that are not deductible?
As Anderson Kill & Olick, P.C. Estate Planning and Tax Advisor explained, housekeeping charges are not tax deductible. This is true even if the doctor advised the patient use domestic services like cooking and cleaning because the individual would be incapable otherwise. As such, housekeepers or in-home cooks would not qualify for tax breaks.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, home health aides cost an average of $21 per hour in 2010. It is important, then, to find cost containment solutions to ensure your loved ones has access to long-term care.Read in 2 minutes
Paying for prescription drugs can feel like it costs an arm and a leg. Read some valuable suggestions on ways to reduce costs.
As a caregiver, you already know that prescription drug prices are sky high. We have some great advice on what you need to know about saving money for prescriptions.
Whenever possible, choose generic over brand named medications.
By law, generic medications must contain the exact same active ingredient as the brand named drug – the only difference between the two is what the generic manufacturer uses for the inactive ingredients.
Be aware of what online coupons sites actually offer.
Less can actually be more.
Work with the brand manufacturer and your pharmacy to reduce your outlay.
When generic isn’t an option, some brand manufacturers offer discount coupons for their high-priced medications.
Ask your doctor for samples.
Your doctor may have received samples from his or her pharmaceutical rep.
Conduct a trial.
Sometimes people do not respond well to new medications.
Some pharmacies are able to charge less for certain medications than others.
What to do when you have Medicare Part D – find alternatives.
Medicare Part D does not allow you to use discounts on prescriptions, and when the person in your care has reached the Coverage Gap (the so-called “Donut Hole”) portion of Medicare Part D, your costs can really skyrocket.
Ask your doctor and your pharmacist about alternatives.
Are there any other ways you can help the person in your care such as talk therapy, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic or vitamin supplements?
Start saving money today on prescription medications – Talk to your physician and your pharmacist!Read in about 4 minutes
Today, we want to talk about another aspect of care that you should provide: protecting the person in your care from falling victim to scam artists.
As a caregiver, your duties go beyond the physical and mental support you offer to the person in your care every day. You keep him or her out of harm’s way by creating emergency and back-up caregiver plans for them. We want to talk about another aspect of care that you should provide: protecting the person in your care from falling victim to scam artists.
Scam artists prey on the vulnerable to gain their trust and steal their money (including savings and their homes). The person in your care, who relies on you, can be considered vulnerable. Scam artists can be very cunning and appear to truly care about the person they are targeting. They know that gaining trust takes time and patience.
Is the person in your care starting to act frazzled, confused, withdrawn, afraid or unkempt? Have they been making unusual long-distance/international calls? While these changes in behavior may be signs of health problems, they could also be signs of scam artist abuse.
Be wary of new “friends.”
If a new “friend” has suddenly appeared, be wary of his or her true intentions. Listen carefully to what this so-called friend is saying to the person in your care and be mindful of their actions. Pay attention to what the person in your care says about their new friend. Has the person in your care told you that he or she gave their new friend a family heirloom? Has the person in your care lent money to this person? Has this person been doing odd jobs like painting and not rehanging artwork or replacing knickknacks on the shelf?
Question how this person interjected themselves into the life of the person in your care. Has this person’s behavior become more demanding? Is this person pressuring the person in your care to lend money, make investments or give away their valuables?
Scam artists (even family members) can gain access to bank accounts or ask the person in your care to write checks for them. They can easily con passwords and PINs out of the person in your care. To protect against this behavior, set up checking accounts that require two signatures. Ask your financial institution to alert you any time a withdrawal or charge is made that exceeds the designated amount you have set (anything over $50, for instance).
By arranging with the bank for electronic deposits and monthly payments, you can avoid having a checkbook that might fall into the wrong hands.
Arrange for purchases to be made in cash so that expensive items are not given to the scam artist. Whenever possible use a credit card so that you can dispute any charges that were made without permission.
You may not necessarily live with the person in your care, or you may be out running errands when someone calls or knocks on the door. Talk to the person in your care about the importance of ensuring that the solicitor isn’t a scam artist. The person in your care should never give out their Social Security number, their bank or credit card account or insurance information, unless they started the conversation.
Let the person in your care know that the IRS does not make phone calls or send emails. This government agency only makes contact through the mail, which means the person in you care should not believe what anyone posing as the IRS tries to tell them about past-due taxes if that imposter has called or emailed.
Anytime you are away from the person in your care for extended periods of time, start up a conversation when you are back together and discuss their activity in your absence.
Report any suspicious behavior.
Call the police, contact your financial institution and reach out to government agencies to report suspicious behavior as soon as you are aware that the person in your care is being scammed. Here are some websites that provide more resources for you and where you can report scams:
Your diligence in protecting the person in your care from becoming the victim of a scam artist will no doubt help the person in your care live a more meaningful and enjoyable life.Read in 3 minutes
If the person in your care is already receiving Medicare benefits, the Open Enrollment period gives you the opportunity to make sure the person in your care has the most affordable Medicare plan available to them.
Caregivers, the Medicare Open Enrollment period runs from October 15 through December 7, 2015. Here are some important points to consider:
If the person in your care is already receiving Medicare benefits, the Open Enrollment period gives you the opportunity to make sure the person in your care has the most affordable Medicare plan available to them. Any changes you make will be effective January 1, 2016.
You are not required to change anything, and if you don’t request any changes, your plan will automatically roll over for 2016.
There are some changes Medicare is implementing for 2016
that will benefit the person in your care and that may
have some positive impact.
Medicare Part D (Prescription Drugs benefit)
The person in your care may see a reduction in out-of-pocket costs of up to $550 because the gap in coverage where individuals have to pay full price for their prescriptions is smaller. The coverage gap starts at a higher amount ($3,310) and ends once the person in your care spends $1,540 of his or her own money. In 2015, individuals had to spend $1,740 before the “Donut Hole” was closed. This is great news for someone who has a limited income and who also has a significant pharmacy bill every year. The “Donut Hole” will be reduced each year so that by 2020, it will be completely eliminated.
If the person in your care is enrolled in Part D coverage, check with his or her insurance provider to make sure there are no changes in coverage for prescription medicines. You may need to shop around for a provider that covers the specific prescriptions the person in your care needs.
Overall Additional Benefits
More good news! In 2016 Medicare will cover annual wellness check-ups, obesity counseling and smoking cessation counseling.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Some Medicare Advantage providers are also adding benefits to their plans such as vision, hearing and dental coverage.
Here are some resources to help you understand and make informed decisions about Medicare:
Most people start here:
The National Council on Aging has an easy-to-follow site which provides information about what Medicare covers, when and how to sign up for it, and whether to make plan changes:
Contact your Area Agency on Aging (search: Area Agency on Aging for your city or county).
Check with your local AARP chapter or your local community center for seminars to attend.Read in 2 minutes
We know that time is a precious commodity to you, and you may not be the type of personality who likes to deal with putting documents in folders – don’t worry: we have some tips for setting up a system that makes sense to you so that you can retrieve them at the drop of the hat.
Get your papers in order.
Caregivers, we’ve advised you about the important legal documents you should have to ensure that you can speak to the wishes of the person in your care in our blog, Top 3 Legal Documents Every Caregiver Needs. There are other important documents that you need to keep at the ready as well.
While you’ve been picking up around your home this spring, we suggested that you put all papers in one place so that you can organize them when you have time. We know that time is a precious commodity to you, and you may not be the type of personality who likes to deal with putting documents in folders – don’t worry: we have some tips for setting up a system that makes sense to you so that you can retrieve them at the drop of the hat.
Save These Papers:
Manage These Papers:
You don’t have to put any of these documents in any particular order, but it will help you tremendously if you sort them by category, clip them together, and store them in a safe place.
Original legal documents and copies of tax returns should be filed in a fire-proof box. You should also scan and file them with a file-sharing cloud service (see our blog for links).
Save receipts that you will need to file this year’s tax return (out-of-pocket monies that you’ve spent on behalf of the person in your care).
EOBs can be lumped together and kept in one place in case you need to refer to them when issues arise. Sorting them by year will make it easier to destroy them once they are no longer needed. If you’re on a roll, you might want to sort them by medical issue as well (i.e., doctor’s visit/lab work/x-rays/MRI all for the same ailment).
Medications list and prescription Information should be stapled together and kept handy for easy reference whenever you need to double-check reason for medications, dosages and side effects.
Spending an hour or so putting these papers in order and keeping them that way will save you plenty of hours down the road. You’re on a roll with getting your house in order after the long, harsh winter. Keep going!Read in 2 minutes