November 7, 2018

The Short Version of Veterans Aid and Attendance

By: Darleen Mahoney

This weekend, our Nation will reflect on the sacrifices that our Veterans and War Heroes have made over the years as it became a national holiday in 1938. As their sacrifices have provided safety, security and the freedom our country continues to enjoy, it’s important to know what benefits our Veterans may be eligible. Its important that they be aware and utilize what is available, especially if they find themselves in unexpected need.

According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, “Elderly Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans.”

What exactly is Aid and Attendance? Its super simple, the veteran must require help Veterans Benefitswith daily living or activities at home, assisted living, nursing home, or skilled nursing. Their need does not have to be related to any military service.

If you are applying for “Aid and Attendance” and would like benefits based on a housebound status, the Veterans Agency will allow some costs and annualized medical expenses if it’s for medical care. Those aging in place and using Home Health services do not have to be licensed. However, if the beneficiary or Veteran has been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s, a physician’s statement must indicate that a protective environment is in place.

If you are seeking Aid and Attendance benefits while living or would like to move to an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility, the facility will be required to sign a statement verifying the type of care being given or what they are expecting that resident to receive.  You will also be required to submit a “Care Provider Report”.

How do you know if you may qualify? Here are a few simple indictors:

  1. Age: you or surviving spouse must be 65 or older or officially disabled if younger.
  2. Period of Military Service- you must be considered a “wartime veteran”, meaning that you have served a minimum of 90 days with only one of those days during wartime dates. You did not have to serve in combat to qualify.
    1. World War II: December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946
    2. Korean War: June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955
    3. Vietnam War: August 5, 1964-May 7, 1975
    4. Gulf War: August 2, 1990-Undetermined
  3. Discharge Status: you cannot be dishonorably Discharged

Applying and understanding these benefits can get very complicated, seeking the professional guidance and advice of a licensed, professional Elder Law Attorney is encouraged to help guide you through this process. If you can receive a referral from a family friend or your Trust and Estate Planning Attorney, this may help guide you in the right direction.

If you are needing additional funds to cover the cost of Home Health services, Assisted Living, or Skilled Nursing for you and your spouse, you may qualify for:

Living Veteran                                                  Monthly Rate

Housebound Without Dependents:                       $1,340

Housebound Without Dependents:                       $1,680

Aid and Attendance W/O Dependents:                 $1,830

Aid and Attendance W/ Dependent:                     $2,169

In October 2018, the VA made new rules to fiscally qualify for benefits. The new net worth limits of $123,600 became effective. They will look at the Veteran’s overall net worth in addition to income. There are also other rules that could affect a Veteran from qualifying, seeking professional guidance may be helpful.

If you believe that you or a Veteran loved qualifies for Aid and Attendance, it can always be helpful to speak to the Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing facility that you are considering, and they may have folks who are trained to assist you through this process as well.

If you find that you or your Veteran qualify, and you begin your process to apply, you are encouraged to get organized, make sure that all your paperwork and forms are completed. Above all, do not get discouraged.

Share

November 2, 2018

Skilled Nursing or Assisted Living, What’s the Right Choice?

By: Darleen Mahoney

Making the right decisions for an elderly loved can be overwhelming and confusing. Often you may find yourself not really understanding what your options may be or if you even have options when it comes to be the best care of your loved one.  Clearly, you want what is best for them and what is the best facility that can manage their skilled nursing or assisted livingneeds and provide the environment that your loved one requires. Many caretakers ask themselves if they should be choosing an assisted living community or a nursing home/skilled nursing facility?

When making this decision, its important to consider your loved one’s physical, social, mental, and health needs. These will be indicators on the level of care that each will be able to provide your loved one making them a better fit.

Let’s discuss a few of the differences to better assess what each facility will be able to provide your loved and the long-term goals that you are looking to achieve or financial options available to you.

Assisted Living Communities: Typically, the residents at these communities are still active and maintain their own privacy. They may not require significant medical care or constant monitoring, but still receive 24/7 care support. They will have assistance nearby if they do need help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication. Activity programs are provided, keeping residents active and social and thriving. Although, there are different levels of nursing and medical care offered at some Assisted Living Communities which you may want to explore on an individual basis.

PROS:

  • Home Environment
  • More Private
  • Amenities offered at many
  • Lower Cost than Skilled Nursing/Nursing Home
  • Long Term Care Insurance and Veterans Aids and Assistance may help with costs
  • Scheduled Activities
  • Outings/Transportation

CONS:

  • Does not have extensive Medical Care on Premise
  • Many are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare

Skilled Nursing/Nursing Homes: The residents rely on the staff to provide all or most of their daily living such as bathing, dressing, meals, using the bathroom. They are facilities that provide 24/7 skilled, licensed nurses on staff to provide medical care and assistance. Most of the residents have severe health and cognitive issues. They typically do not leave the facility unless they are being transported to a scheduled doctor’s appointment or hospital.

PROS:

  • Medicare and Medicaid may cover some or most of the cost
  • 24/7 Medical Care with licensed nurses and clinical staff

Cons:

  • Limited personal freedom
  • Hospital environment, including shared rooms
  • Less privacy
  • More expensive than any other Senior facility, but offers the most in subsidized funding

If you are just starting your journey in your search for either Assisted Living or a Skilled Nursing Facility for your loved one, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com . Visit each listing, taking notes on which one may offer your loved one what they need most, the costs and what insurance may provide before making an appointment to visit their location.

This may very well be the hardest decision you ever have to make, make sure that you have all the information and options available to you. Talk to your loved one if they are cognitive, know what their wishes would be for their own healthcare.  When visiting these facilities enter armed with as much information as possible and ask as many questions as possible to help you make the right decision on their behalf.

Share

September 6, 2018

Meal Planning For Seniors: Tips and Tricks!

By: Darleen Mahoney

Nutrition is important at any stage of life, but seniors even more so as their nutritional needs change.  Maintaining a well-balanced diet is necessary for health, overall wellbeing, and vitality. Many seniors may suffer from physical health issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s, mood, and/or diabetes. Many of these can be improved with daily nutrition.

Many older adults lack basic vitamins that are especially important to aging bodies:

  • Calcium and Vitamin D-needed for bone health, as we age less calcium is absorbed
  • Vitamin B12
  • Fiber
  • Potassium

Pro-active planning for nutritional and delicious meals for a senior may seem like a lot of work on the front end but in the long run may take away the stress of making a variety of meals every night that should to be healthy and nutritious. Seniors need to eat on a schedule, they are very routine oriented especially if there is any cognitive decline. Routines for those suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s can improve their day to day moods and irritability.

While the idea of meal planning may seem daunting, check out these positives:

  • Saves Time (all meals completed in one day)
  • Saves Money
  • Variety
  • Taste

While a meal of broiled chicken, steamed broccoli, and brown rice is healthy, you probably won’t have too may asking for seconds. Most Seniors are going to opt for a tasty dish over a healthy dish, they also have diminished olfactory senses with impacts seniors interest in food. In other words, if it doesn’t tickle their taste buds, they will be significantly less inclined to eat a meal.

Now, I mentioned that meal planning can save time.  This you will find interesting and requires organization in the beginning. This can be accomplished by utilizing a few cookbooks that are tried and true with recipes that are delicious, healthy and time saving. They must also be easy to follow and uncomplicated. Once you have chosen your cookbooks, code your recipes with colored stickies by which ones are around 20 minutes prep time and protein/vegetable. Develop a meal planning sheet or utilize a Google Meal Planning Doc for 3-4 weeks of meals. Once these have been completed, you can reuse them ongoing week after week. Keeping in mind that a variety is as important as taste, rotating a schedule for example: Chicken, Fish, Beef, Fish, Chicken, Vegetarian, Fish to ensure 3 out of 7 days of fish and only one beef day.

How does meal planning save money? How many times do you “run” to the grocery store? If you are planning ahead with less trips to the grocery store, you are saving money. For example: if you “run” to the grocery store to pick up a lemon for a recipe, do you ever just come home with a lemon?

If you are thinking that this all sounds amazing, but time is truly not on your side. There are other options to consider in food delivery services specializing in the dietary needs of senior adults and more generic health or whole foods centric that offer meal delivery right to your front door.  These services may be found online by doing some your research.

As a Senior may transition over from an aging in place environment and meal planning is no longer an option; nutrition, healthy eating, and tasty food should still be an important factor in considering any type of Senior community or Assisted Living.  So, taking into consideration the Senior community or facilities dietary offerings is as important as any other amenities. When you begin your research, visit us online at SeniorLivingGuide.com to check out the different menus, Chef’s, and dining options available at Senior communities at any location where you may want to make your next reservation. Bon Appetit!

Share

 

Home | Privacy | Disclaimer | Advertising | Media Kit | Definitions | Help | Contact
Copyright ©2009 Fairfax Publishing Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Nations Premier Online Senior Housing Resource

  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube