CarePatrol is committed to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Read the full letter from our Co-Founder and President here

Where Can Seniors Safely Go After Being Discharged from Healthcare Facilities?

PHOENIX, April 1, 2020 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — PHOENIX, April 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — CarePatrol, the nation’s largest senior placement organization, is partnering with healthcare providers to counsel families on options for moving loved ones to safer environments in order to make room for COVID-19 patients.

“When it comes to our vulnerable senior population, being discharged from a hospital or healthcare facility and going somewhere safe comes with incredible responsibilities,” said Becky Bongiovanni, Certified Senior Advisor and Brand President of CarePatrol. “There are important added measures we are taking to still get care for loved ones while our population at-large is also being told to shelter-in-place.”

The franchise network has introduced virtual consultations with families, offering online tours of senior communities at the same time that those facilities are taking added precautionary measures to keep their residents safe.

“During this time of uncertainty, our locations are continuing to work closely with our network of over 32,000 senior living communities across the nation and we are supporting families making difficult care decisions in order to prevent a worse situation for a loved one,” said Bongiovanni. “It is also our desire to support our healthcare workers who are the heroes on the front line.  Recently, CarePatrol locations have started donating hand sanitizers, face masks and meals to local healthcare workers. We will continue to support case managers with timely and safer discharges. We want to do what we can to relieve their burden by counseling families to find safer care options expeditiously.”

And for families hesitant to move a loved one into a community during the pandemic, CarePatrol owners are working closely with ComForCare franchisees across the country to arrange for in-home care as an alternative.

COVID-19 and CarePatrol

In the midst of the coronavirus scare, seniors are still facing transitions of care. How is CarePatrol responding?

  • We continue to communicate with seniors and their families at no cost or obligation to discuss strategies and options for safe care transitions.
  • We are monitoring the Assisted Living communities and keeping a real time database of current admission and touring policies and room type availability.
  • Our CarePatrol database is current with information and photography of our provider communities for accurate communication with families.
  • Our Certified Senior Advisors (CSA®) have both laptop and Apple devices for virtual touring via Zoom or FaceTime if communities are restricting property tours.
  • We are an intermediary between healthcare discharge and assisted living professionals to ensure timely communication of acuity and condition of our clients.
  • If a client is facing an imminent discharge and an interim care solution is required, we can assist families to identify options including a respite stay or offering home care recommendations.
  • We help minimize exposure risks for all parties because we only tour prequalified and appropriate potential new residents to communities.

Our mandate is to provide safe and appropriate care and housing solutions for our clients. We share the mutual goal of keeping those in our care safe and healthy – both at work and in their homes.

Please be safe and continue in diligent healthcare protocol and precautions.
We will continue to serve and pray for you and the seniors we all serve.
Let us know how we can additionally support you during this challenging time.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

“My Brain Is Falling Apart”

 

When we bring families together to talk about next steps in the senior living process for a loved one, it is often the first time the family has all been in the same room, at the same time, having what can be a very difficult conversation. At times, dysfunctional family dynamics can become apparent, and a lifetime of emotions can surface. Other times, something wonderful happens and children come together to support a parent in a way that can make even experienced senior advisors cry.

When a family recently contacted their local CarePatrol office, they knew that Dad could no longer live at home, and that the family, although willing, was not equipped to provide the necessary care. When I asked Dad about how he felt about moving out of his home and how he was navigating the activities of daily living, he told me he felt like his brain was falling apart. Alzheimer’s can be terrifying for everyone involved. Families watch their loved ones waste away and patients dread what they may become.

Currently there is no way to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s. The disease affects not only the patient but also the family that has come together to support them. As the ability to think, reason, recall and navigate daily life deteriorates and becomes more apparent to outsiders, the family starts to feel the affects of the disease. How do you respond when Dad does not recognize you? Do you tell them that the friend they are looking for died many years ago? How should you feel when Mom is confused and can’t find her way home?

It is very noble to want to take care of a parent. Parents take care of us for the first 20 years of our lives, and we should be prepared to take care of them for the last 20 year of theirs. However, there does come a time when it is best to allow professionals to take care of them. CarePatrol is here to help guide seniors and their families to safe living options such as assisted living and memory care communities and in-home care professionals that are dedicated to providing the care that they will need and the support that families crave.

If you need free advice on how to care for a loved one with dementia, please call your local advisor.  CarePatrol is here to help!

What Is The Leading Cause Of Injuries In Seniors?

 

I received the call from Joe’s daughter that he had fallen and was in the ER. Very often that call means someone has just experienced a life-changing event  that may have denied them their independence, their mobility or even their mental capacity.  A hip or spine fracture, head injury, or broken arm – can all result in a major set back (or death) and eliminate a senior’s choice when it comes to senior-housing options.

At Care Patrol, we do very thorough Care Discoveries that help us evaluate a seniors need for assisted living, memory care and in-home care.  Sometimes, the evaluation suggests it’s time for a senior community.  For most of us, leaving the home that contains a lifetime of memories is difficult.  Many seniors wait too long to make that change, and during that time of indecision, falls often occur.

Falls can happen at home or in senior communities, but communities take measures to mitigate that risk. Here are some ways they help prevent falls:

• Communities encourage exercise and activity and staying active can reduce fall risk.

• Stairs are eliminated, proper lighting is installed and surfaces are maintained to reduce hazards like slipping.

• Bathrooms are equipped with roll in showers, grab bars, shower chairs and non slip surfaces.. Clutter is kept out of common areas. Night lights guide to the bathroom. Rugs are secured or removed.

• Meals are provided to maintain proper hydration, strength and energy.

• Medications are managed to make sure they are taken on schedule, prescriptions are refilled and side effects are monitored.

• If you do fall, pull cords, pendants and motion tracking devices can be used to call for help.

Care Patrol’s mission is to help seniors and their families find safer living options.  Call your local CarePatrol advisor today!

 

Beware of Caregiver Burnout

 

A call came into our Care Patrol office from a frustrated daughter that had become her father’s maid, nurse, chauffeur, laundry service, bookkeeper, personal chef and diaper changer.  She had become exhausted to the point that her own health was suffering, and she had not slept through the night in months. This is an all-too-common call, and fortunately she contacted us before things got worse.

If you feel you may be experiencing caregiver burnout, I recommend that you divide  your situation into three manageable tasks:

1 – Beware of the signs that you need help.

2 – Take steps to be an effective caregiver.

3 – Ask for help.

Are you angry or resentful with someone that you love? Are you always tired, feel overwhelmed or short-tempered? Do you notice that you are drinking more, your health is declining or you are feeling isolated?  Do your kids feel neglected or are you missing out on family activities? If you relate to these scenarios, you may need help.

Taking care of a parent is a noble calling. But, we can’t be good caregivers if we neglect ourselves and other responsibilities.  Don’t be afraid to delegate and let other families members help. Sleep and nap. Prioritize your obligations such as the kids school activities and working out. Find a support group. Skip the pizza and beer and eat healthy. Share your situation with trusted family and friends.

It is a tremendous relief when you realize that you can’t do it all by yourself. Ask for help! Assign doctor appointments to your brother, laundry to your kids and shopping to your husband. When it is time to bring in the big guns, call Care Patrol. We can bring in companion care, help you navigate the assisted living process and recommend eldercare resources like financial experts, eldercare attorneys, senior move managers and realtors. Call your local CarePatrol advisor today!

Community Services Increase In 2020

 

Part of the metamorphosis in USA healthcare is the increased focus on care in the home from medical professionals. Telemedicine, also known as Telehealth, Telecare, mHealth and a number of other names allows tracking specific health aspects from the home. Medicare is expanding the use of telemedicine in 2020 increasing the opportunity for community services to meet the needs of seniors.

For those seniors living in Assisted Living that often need in-person medical services from healthcare professionals, these changes can be liberating. The patient-centered experience coupled with the 24/7 custodial care can increase the applications and device usage where assistance is available. The life-affirming increase in community services is good news for seniors.

As the evolution continues for home-based services, remember that home is where we live. In a mobile society that can be a house the senior owned for years, a retirement condo with warmer weather, or an Assisted Living apartment that provides assistance with any needed activities of daily living, some states allow increasing the amount of nursing care by the senior housing community itself.

2020 will also see increased usage of adult care services, caregiver support services, free or reduced price non-prescription supplements, meal delivery and hearing aid financial assistance with some Advantage plans. While many of these are in their infancy and not available everywhere it points to the future for recognizing the importance of community services in an aging population.

Even with all these changes vulnerable seniors will need advocacy. Choosing the type of Medicare coverage, managing finances, coordinating outing activities and dealing with emergencies can become overwhelming. CarePatrol professionals know the placement of loved ones involve the holistic aspects of family life and know the right connections to make change as stress-free as possible.

Eldercare responsibility can include adult day care, care management, financial assistance, home health services, real estate connections, home health services, legal assistance, nutrition services, respite care, senior housing, transportation and more. It may be new to you, but we work through this with thousands of families. Safer Senior Living. Your Goal, OUR MISSION.

How Can Medicare Affect Senior Housing?

 

The Medicare program has been affected the past few years by the implementation of The Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the I.M.P.A.C.T. Act of 2014. These legislative changes were designed to move the risk of care costs from the Federal Government to healthcare providers. These adjustments mostly affect what is referred to as “straight” Medicare, not the Advantage Plans that insurance companies offer.  It does, however, affect the “gap” policies that insurance companies offer to pay the charges that Medicare does not cover.

Each year the rules that healthcare providers and insurance companies are required to follow change, so be sure to review your coverage every year. The commonality of the complicated changes each year is an idea called value purchasing. By focusing on each patient, a concept referred to as Patient- Centered care, the expense of healthcare can be reduced by shorter stays in hospitals and rehabs, fewer visit by home health professionals, and more responsibility for Primary Care Physicians, who should know the patient’s needs the best.

The entire system is based on family care, meaning the primary caregiver is a family member who provides unpaid custodial care at home for as long as each patient needs it. Custodial care is the assistance with activities of daily living, largely affected by the need to move about and accomplish personal care tasks. When a willing competent caregiver is available the system works well. Potential gaps include seniors living alone, spouses too frail to provide the family-care solution, or other family members unavailable due to careers.

Senior Housing, Independent, Assisted, and even Nursing Homes provide the meals and transportation required, as well as housecleaning.  Most provide or have available caregivers to replace the anticipated family member for care requirements.  When this is needed for short terms it is referred to as respite care.  Longer periods can be called long-term care, but a more common terminology for the assistance needed is Assisted Living. The industry has responded with a system that only requires a 30-day notice to leave.

With the peak of 10,000+ Baby Boomers joining Medicare daily still a few years away, it is highly probable that this effect will not change. The custodial care options are paid for privately, and not covered by Medicare. Therefore, caregiving by family or hired as homecare or Assisted Living care does not add cost to the Medicare system. Planning for the probable years that care will be needed is very important. CarePatrol is here to help even if there has not been a plan before. If Long Term Care Insurance has been purchased already, it eases the situation.

The Power of an Hour

 

The first hour after a traumatic injury, heart attack, or a stroke is often called the golden hour. That is because the most successful emergency treatment occurs in that first hour. Responding to an event like that is the ultimate in urgency, re-prioritizing anything else that was planned. Less dramatic, but just as crucial to life, is what we use each hour of the day to prioritize.

Mayo Clinic says to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week plus strength training for all major muscle groups. For seniors that combination is an hour at a time at least three days per week. A Lancet study found those who used the hour that way has a 28% reduced risk of premature death.  Movement is the key to healthy aging.

Socialization is another high priority that dramatically affects emotional well-being. Statista 2019 shows that both men and women spend less than an hour per day socializing and communicating. The 2018 average was 41 minutes, yet numerous studies show more is needed for emotional health. Moving that average to an hour per day will pay health dividends.

In a Stanford University study, economics professor John Pencorel found productivity at work tasks sharply dropped after 50 hours per work week. Those who worked 70 hours accomplished no more than those who worked 55 hours. In today’s competitive workplace environment those with balanced lives accomplish more.  Is there an hour each day that can be better spent?

Numerous studies show American children spend two to three times more on screens than conversing with their parents. As they grow older it increases even more. Focusing a full hour each day will do wonders to parent-child relationships. As they become adults and even move away, use technology to have a regularly scheduled face-to-face, even if it is on a screen.

When families are searching for the right Assisted Living, Memory Care, or Independent Community, we tour them to a few appropriate locations to spend an hour experiencing the environment and culture to make the right decision. That hour does far more than viewing a screen or reading the ad copy to make a quality decision.

Once their loved one has moved into a senior community there is a question of how often to visit, how long to stay, and many times how to fit that time into a packed adult schedule. The power of an hour each week is a great balance between feeling guilty for not often enough or feeling guilty because other priorities get ignored. Use the power, it’s just an hour.

 

Post-Retirement Planning

The average American retires at age 62 with an average length of retirement of 13 years.  When average lifespans began to increase, the assumption was that retirement would just lengthen as well. For some that has happened but for most people a new time period appeared. We call it post-retirement. It is the number of years between when your body retires and your life ends. Planning for the time period is vitally important. In our lifetime the demise of the nuclear family has occurred, and families often no longer live in the same town or even the same state.

Middle-aged adults can find themselves in what is referred to as a sandwich generation –  elderly parents to care for, growing children that still need attention, career considerations, and all the unknowns with rapidly changing systems.  Seniors whose active retirement is near the end due to their bodies slowly deteriorating also have financial worries to consider with longer lifespans. All the major demographic groups average lifespans between 75 and 85. The slowing down of daily activities also reduces needed socialization available with communal living.

Safety comes into focus. 25% of seniors fall each year, 40% for those over 80. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries to older Americans. Each year 27,000 die from falls or their aftermath. The care for those who live costs $67 billion to care for. Diseases are far more common the older we get. This is the time to meet all the OLOGIST’s. It is also the time to ensure that the insurance to pay for medical care matches the need. Non-medical care costs need to be planned as well; they are not covered by Medicare.  50% of age 85+ have dementia.

Senior Living during post-retirement is what CarePatrol is focused on. Most people say they want to stay home but need to answer some questions before that is the best choice. When is staying home unsafe? What hands on care needs are there? Is there adequate socialization? Is independent living an option before Assisted Living? What are nursing homes for? We help families find Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living or In-Home Care. We review the care and violation history of all the facilities we work with.

Doctors and documents are key words in eldercare. Estate planning, probate and avoiding probate, Power of Attorney, choosing a healthcare surrogate, living wills. Trusts and wills need to be decided. All these documents make the decisions for you when you can’t. An elder law attorney is the specialist you should seek. As physical and mental capabilities change as we age, our willingness to accept help is important. The greatest post-retirement plan is wasted if it is not implemented. Plan who needs to know what in the event of an emergency.

Post-retirement plans mean you have aged longer than normal. Healthy aging rests on four pillars, all of which are enhanced by choosing a senior living community. Movement is a group setting is disguised exercise. Nutrition comes from eating with others, prepared by a chef, controlled by a dietician. Sleep comes from less worry, more lifestyle and having daily needs met. Purpose can always be found in others. Where better to find your purpose than surrounded by other people in a communal setting. That is the Senior Living industry.

 

What Exactly is Assisted Living?

 

When the parents of the Baby Boomer generation were raising their families, the average lifespan for Americans was 67.  For the small minority who did not live with their children as they reached old age, communities had rest homes or retirement homes. When the Older Americans Act and Medicare/Medicaid became law in 1965, the added healthcare created buildings known as nursing homes. While a few smaller board and care homes remained, federal government funding made nursing homes the new normal.

Increased institutionalism over the next couple decades opened an opportunity for a more homelike setting that also provided healthcare. The goal of the least restrictive environment became known as assisted living and quickly was influenced by the hospitality industry. Those three attributes – housing, healthcare and hospitality – resulted in the first public companies in the rapidly expanding assisted-iving industry in 1995.  In July of 1999 the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Olmstead case insisting on access to community-based care versus institutional care.

Today’s assisted living industry is preparing for those Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1965. Unlike their parents, whose lifespan ended a year or two after retirement, Baby Boomers expect 13 years of retirement. The post-retirement that comes from the increased longevity means those age 75+ is who the growth is focused on.  In 1970, less than 8 million Americans were 75 or older.  50 years later, before the first Baby Boomer turns 75, we have over 23 million in that age group.  By 2030 there will be 34 million Americans over age 75.

The number of assisted living communities around the country has grown dramatically along with the aging population. The demographics are undeniable as the growth is poised to increase even faster. This type of living provides a homelike apartment, meals, housekeeping, transportation, activities and includes utilities.  It adds hands-on care, medication administration or management, and other personal services including emergency response.  A variety of nursing services are available based on licensing in each state.

The socialization aspect of assisted living that is often missed is the serious health concerns that come from chronic loneliness. Studies have shown the positive effect socialization has on the immune system, sleeping patterns, and even blood pressure. In many markets the newest assisted living communities are more like cruise ships on land and provide almost a party atmosphere.  One-third of all seniors over 65 live in the four most populous states of California, Florida, Texas and New York. Investors in senior housing, however, see opportunity in all the states.

Alternatives to Aging

 

The concept of time means our lifespan will continue to be measured in years, days, and months, but aging is a totally separate subject.  In 1513,  Ponce de Leon showed up in Florida looking for the fountain of youth, and many before and after him also sought the elusive ability to get younger. Transparency Market Research says the anti-aging industry totals over $2 BILLION worldwide. This article is not about looking younger, it is about your ability to have a quality life and extend your longevity as a result. It can start today.

Program your vision of getting older, regardless of your number of years on earth. A Yale study found aging well translated into seven more years, primarily from attitude and lifestyle changes. That is the alternative to aging, embracing the additional time for a purpose. A traditional lifestyle in the USA has a career followed by retirement. IF retirement removes your purpose for being, reduces your social involvements, and does not include MORE exercise and nutritional focus, it can be viewed as a contagious disease.

Vitality, purpose, fulfillment, goals, movement, and wellness is attitudinal. Using the knowledge and maturity you’ve achieved to help others, gets included in the recognition of more value, not diminished physical or cognitive ability. How you look and feel and the environment you choose to be in is the key. Ageism includes a negative self-perception as well as negative stereotypes from others. Ingrained beliefs affect how our bodies react to the world around us as well. A false belief that youthfulness is better can result in self-sabotaging daily activities.

A recent study from The Gerontologist claims ageism adds $63 BILLION to healthcare expense in the country each year.  Being discriminated against due to age can be as subtle as being talked down to or being denied investigative procedures that could help avoid diseases.  A holistic view of our daily life includes spiritual, mental, physical, housing, nutrition, recreation, and transportation. The mundane activities of cleaning, laundry, cooking, yardwork, repairs, and driving back and forth to various doctor’s appointments do not help.

Thriving can best be achieved with a plan to address all of life’s challenges and joys, regardless of your number of years on the planet. An entire industry has sprung up in the past few decades to provide environments for thriving. Independent Living handles all the mundane activities giving you time to do what is really important. For those whose bodies require some assistance with activities of daily living, Assisted Living Communities create cruise-ship type atmospheres and add hands-on help as needed. Your CarePatrol advisor can show you locations appropriate for an alternative to aging.