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Posts Tagged ‘Long Term Illness’

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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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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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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I want to comment on an exciting area of Elder Law that is not well known: Veterans’ Benefits. Why is this area so significant? Because roughly a third of seniors who are candidates for long-term care are either veterans or widows of veterans. None of these persons wants to go to a nursing home if they need only moderately skilled long-term-care. However, Medicaid will only pay for a nursing home, it will not pay for an assisted living facility. As a consequence, many feel they have no choice. Nevertheless, most of these veterans do not realize that they can qualify for an “Aid & Attendance” pension. According to the National Care Planning Council, approximately one-third of all seniors over 65 could be eligible for “Aid & Attendance” benefits, but only about thirty percent of those are actually receiving it. The amounts obtainable are these: monthly payment for an individual: $1519 ($18,234 annually),  monthly payment for a married couple: $1801 ($21,618 annually), and monthly payment for a surviving spouse of a veteran: $976 ($11,712 annually).  Assisted living centers typically charge between $2000-$4000 per month. Thus, many of these persons would not be able to afford the monthly rate without the veterans’ benefit (because they have only $500-$1500 in Social Security and pension). With these Aid & Attendance benefits, most can afford the assisted living care they need. (more…)

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As days of retirement approach, health problems often become a concern. Inevitable issues such as stroke, heart disease and cognitive impairment can mean a whole new way of life. 

Even after working long and hard to acquire resources for your retirement, there are more steps to be taken. It has become necessary to insure your funds so that the hard-earned money will still be there when you need it most.

 Many mistakenly believe that government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid will cover the costs of long-term care. Medicare will cover some skilled nursing for a limited period (100 days, if you are responding to treatment).  Medicaid will only cover long-term care costs for impoverished individuals or those who have implemented proper legal strategies. Health insurance does not cover nursing home or other long-term costs except for short-term rehabilitation. When age-related problems call for long term care such as a nursing home stay or assisted living, the out of pocket costs involved (currently over $6000 per month in Michigan) are sure to speedily drain retirement funds and leave the remaining healthy spouse in poverty. (more…)

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Many of my clients are being cared for by loved ones or are providing that kind of care for others. Sensitivity to the difficulties they face can help all of us provide better service to the elderly and their caregivers.

As the population of elderly people in our country continues to increase, so does the number of adult children who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their aging relatives. According to the Census Bureau, about 1 in 8 Americans were elderly in 1994, but about 1 in 5 will be elderly by the year 2030—and will increasingly require the assistance of loved ones to obtain the care they need.

According to a 6-year study on elderly people caring for spouses with Alzheimer’s Disease, the stress involved with caregiving can negatively impact your health. The study, done at Ohio State University in 2003, found a significant deterioration in the health of caregivers and a 63% higher death rate than the similar group of non-caregivers. The continuous demands placed on an adult child caring for an aging parent can induce illness and depression, limit the effectiveness of the caregiver, and even lead to premature death. (more…)

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