Care Seeker Resources

A collection of resources to help you navigate the care continuum.

By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: February 06, 2017

Tech making an impact on home health care services

Carelike's senior housing and elder care directory, coupled with its CareMatch technology, lets care providers quickly and easily post business information and service offerings.

Home care aides have long been facilitators of independence and good health for seniors. From providing assistance for individuals who want to age in place to ensuring their clients remain active participants in their communities, it's crucial that care providers have the means to promote this self-sufficiency.

Thankfully, an assortment of emerging technological devices and internet platforms have arisen that ease the facilitation of this independence and health lifestyles for seniors.

Social media keeps everyone connected

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media outlets have made the world more interconnected than ever before. While Facebook began solely as a means for college students to stay linked, it quickly transformed into a global network accessible to people of all ages. Increasingly, older adults are using the channel. According to a 2016 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 62 percent of online individuals ages 65 and older log in and use Facebook - a jump of 14 percentage points from the 48 percent of this cohort who reported using the site in 2015.

"Facebook keeps seniors connected with friends and families."

One of the great things about social media is that it allows seniors to interact with friends, families and even strangers - a key component to remaining independent and healthy. However, the service also provides a channel for seniors to keep everyone updated about health problems or other issues preventing them from living life to the fullest.

Wearable technology

As computers become smaller and more ubiquitous, innovative companies have been incorporating technology into just about everything. This has facilitated the advent and growth of wearable technology. And it's having an impact on the home health community for good reason. 

Each year, roughly 33 percent Americans ages 65 and older and half of people 85 and older, experience a life-changing fall, Live Science reported. These slips can cause severe injuries and prevent individuals from reaching their phone to contact an emergency service.

A medical alarm system that includes a pendant or device that senses a sudden fall and impact reduces the chances for long-term injuries or worse. These devices have become much more advanced in recent years, with internet connections and immediate contact methods if the wearer doesn't respond.

Increased access to wearable technology allows home care aides to stay informed of any potentially dangerous slips or falls that might occur to the seniors they assist.

 

New technology has been key in allowing home health aides boost their quality of care.

New technology has been key in allowing home health aides boost their quality of care.

Matching with the best care aides

Finding the right home care aide and matching him or her with the ideal person is crucial for maintaining solid relationships. 

Carelike's senior housing and elder care directory, coupled with its CareMatch technology, lets care providers quickly and easily post business information and service offerings. The information is then sent to Carelike’s network of Channel Partners who license and view the provider information in order to make referral recommendations to their patients.  This robust and comprehensive search technology connects the most ideal care provider candidate best suited to the care seeker’s needs. For a minimal fee, care providers can set up a detailed profile with a comprehensive list of qualifications and experiences. This enables the CareMatch technology to produce more accurate connections that allow for better relationships between care providers and care seekers. 

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: December 01, 2016

Financial assistance for making your home wheelchair-accessible

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:

  • Push-button access to doors that replace traditional door handles.
  • A walk-in shower.
  • Handrail installation on staircases, both outdoors and indoors.
  • Altering kitchen counters so that they are lower and easier to reach.
  • Wheelchair ramps that help you get inside and outside more easily.

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.

 

There are several resources that can help you make your home wheelchair-accessible.

There are several resources that can help you make your home wheelchair-accessible.

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.

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By: Stephanie Jackson  |  Type: Article  |  On: October 06, 2016

Is your home healthcare covered by Medicare

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.

Medicare does cover some types of home health services.

Medicare does cover some types of home health services.

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:

  • The home health care plan must be reviewed and established regularly by your doctor.
  • A doctor must verify that you require one or more of the following: intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology or occupational therapy.
  • The agency you choose must be Medicare-certified.
  • A doctor must confirm that you are homebound, meaning it is not recommended you leave your home due to a condition (this excludes infrequent absences from home, such as attending religious services once a week or adult day care).


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.

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