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Archive for the ‘Long Term Care’ Category

A new study released by Oxford University in September, 2010 found that approximately one out of every six persons over the age of seventy suffer from some form of “mild cognitive impairment”.  Unfortunately, fifty percent of those persons will also develop Alzheimer’s disease (named after the German scientist Alois Alzheimer who first described it in 1906).   This form of dementia is a brain disorder that causes destruction of brain cells, progressive memory loss and other behavioral disorders and eventually leads to death.   It is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.   Is there anything that can be done to prevent this disease?

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease.  However, the new Oxford study suggests that there is a treatment that can slow the disease or possibly prevent it altogether.   The study found that a vitamin B complex containing extremely high doses of vitamins B6, 9 and 12 taken regularly can slow the process of brain shrinkage by five hundred percent. (more…)

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On March 21, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became law. Some provisions of the new health care bill signed by President Obama will directly benefit senior citizens.

First, there is a new federal long-term care insurance program that can help meet the staggering cost of long-term care.  This part of the new law is called the “Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act” or the “CLASS” Act.  This federal insurance provides up to fifty dollars ($50.00) per day (approximately $1500 per month) for persons to use when they need help with the activities of daily living. (more…)

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The Social Security Administration has recently announced that they have added early-onset Alzheimer’s to the list of conditions under its “Compassionate Allowance Initiative”. This is a great help for those younger persons afflicted with this debilitating disease, giving them expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

In the past, people with early-onset Alzheimer’s have had difficulty when applying for Social Security benefits.  While they may have eventually been able to receive the much-needed benefits, it was usually after first being denied and having to file an appeal. This process could take several years, during which time medical care and other necessities were often compromised. (more…)

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It is not uncommon to have family members provide care for their aging parents or relatives.  This is understandable when one considers that most people would be more comfortable with their own family than with a stranger providing assistance with their activities of daily living. In fact, according to a recent study, about 21% of the population provides such family care.  These generous persons provide an average of 21 hours per week over a period of 4.5 years.

One problem with this approach, however, is that family caregivers are often forced to cut back on their employment or even quit their jobs in order to provide for their parents.  Especially in a difficult economy this can create financial hardship for the caregiver and that person’s immediate family.  Hence, many persons ask if there are any government programs that will pay family caregivers to provide care for their loved ones. (more…)

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Since 1927 the State of Michigan has provided funds to Veterans’ Service Organizations (“VSOs”) in order that Michigan veterans would have advocacy in obtaining and retaining veterans benefits.  However, budget concerns have prompted the governor to curtail the support that veterans have enjoyed for decades.

VSOs provide extensive support to numerous veterans’ organizations around the state, including but not limited to: the VFW, American Legion, AmVets, etc.  They provide free assistance to veterans in need, including help in filing applications for the aid & attendance pension, health and pharmacy benefits, burial and memorial benefits, survivors’ benefits, and numerous others.  They work collaboratively with the Department of Veterans affairs to help veterans and their dependents gets the benefits they deserve.  In the past, 75 to 90 percent of all claims originated with Veterans’ Service Organizations. (more…)

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It is becoming increasingly common for family members to provide care to a loved one from a distance.  This is an inevitable result of the shift from the days when families were multigenerational in the same area (or sometimes the same house!) to the modern trend where the family members are distant from one another.  Hence, it is not uncommon to find a child from a different area or state being responsible for an aging parent or parents.

With the distance approach, however, comes a unique set of problems.  The distant caregiver cannot generally take the proper amount of time to care for the loved one. This is especially true as the care needs increase over time.  The caregiver increasingly relies upon telephone contact with medical and other professionals to meet the needs of the loved one. (more…)

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In the past I have discussed various ways of paying for home care though the Veteran’s programs and private pay.  In this post I will discuss how and under what conditions Medicaid will pay for long-term care services provided in a person’s home.

While senior citizens usually think of Medicaid as a program that helps pay for nursing home care, there is the option of having Medicaid pay for care in the home.  The Medicaid program that handles home care is called the “MI Choice Waiver Program.”  It provides home and community-based services for aged and disabled persons who, if they did not receive such services, would require care in a nursing home. 

The MI Choice Waiver Program is administered by various branches of the Area Agency on Aging.  A list of the branch offices and the counties they serve can be found at: http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/pem/106.pdf. (more…)

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