The Rapidly Growing “Sandwich” Generation

Are you part of the “Sandwich Generation”? No, we’re not talking about a generation of people that like to eat sandwiches, it’s a newer growing group of individuals that are facing sometimes insurmountable challenges. This group is tasked with not only raising their own children, but also providing care for their elderly parents at the same time.

According to Pew Center for Research in January 2013, nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). And about one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15%) is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.

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Members of the sandwich generation are oftentimes pulled (or yanked) in many different directions. The result is a mental, emotional, and financial toll that can be extremely difficult to deal with. Oftentimes, these individuals are working full-time trying to juggle the roles of several people combined. With all the added responsibilities of caring for an elderly parent can come burn-out, exhaustion, insomnia, and many other stress-related illnesses.

Here are some helpful tips to help reduce manage the added responsibilities:

◾Carve out a block of time each week to participate in a hobby or interest that is relaxing and can help you rejuvenate

◾Plan meal and schedules ahead of time to help alleviate stress

◾Talk to siblings or other family members that might be able to help go shopping, run errands, or provide companionship to your parents

◾Find a home care company that can help provide short-term “respite” care to give you a little break each week.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is available to help provide short-term/long-term and part-time/full-time care for your aging parent. We understand the importance of having someone there when you cannot be and hope you will contact us should you need assistance in the future.

Enriched Life Home Care Services  |  www.ELHCS.com

With Dementia…Time is My Enemy

It’s been awhile since we’ve shared a guest blog from Rick Phelps. Rick was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in June of 2010 at the age of 57. Rick is passionate about bringing awareness to this disease and is the Founder of Memory People, an Alzheimer’s and dementia support and awareness group on Facebook. In the latest blog article, Rick tells us how time has become his enemy with his disease.

“Sometimes yesterday, can seem a million years away.” This is the beginning of “While I Still Can…” a song my dear friend Dan Mitchell penned for me.

He took some of my quotes and put them to music. The reason the first line of the song is about yesterday, is because when you have dementia you have no yesterdays.

I no longer have any concept of time. I can tell time, but there is no concept of it. Ten minutes can seem like an hour. If someone says “I will call you in a half hour” that half hour is long forgotten in just minutes.

Many patients suffer with the loss of time. When you are able to tell time you need a reference point. Take for example, if you know you have to be at an appointment on a certain day, at a certain time, the first thing that goes through you mind is a reference of that time.

If it’s Monday at 3:00pm. you might reference that too it’s your first day back at work, and you have to be there when the kids get of school, at 3:00pm.

This doesn’t work when you have dementia. I can’t keep track of the time of day it is, let alone the day of the week. I have no reference to go by.

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Telling your loved one you will be taking them to the doctor tomorrow, Monday at 1:00pm means absolutely nothing. Chances are they don’t know what today is, let alone tomorrow and if you tell them they will simply forget.

Again because they have lost the concept of time. Not many people talk about losing the ability to tell time or know what day it is, but it is a huge problem for the dementia patient.

Everything you do, everything you have planned from the time you wake up till the time you go to bed at night, dictates because of your reference to time.

Right now I know it’s Wednesday, only because I just looked. I had to fill some paper work already this morning, and did it before Phyllis June was up.

That was a mistake. I put the date as September 31rst. There is no September 31rst. I looked at the calendar and everything, but still wrote in September 31.

She checked it luckily and said its Oct.1, not September 31. She didn’t go into there is no September 31, knowing that it wouldn’t register any ways.

Out of habit, you will tell your loved one about a certain date, or time. And that’s fine. It’s what you have been doing forever. Just try to remember, they have no reference of time, and will likely not remember it in just minutes.

So, if it’s important you have to be the one to make sure they are ready to go or do whatever it is at any given time.

The second verse of the song goes, “Time is my enemy, that’s why I’m living for right now.. Tomorrow just to far to think about, my heart only knows one task.”

Time indeed is my enemy. And it most likely is your loved ones as well…

We’d like to thank Rick for sharing his personal stories with us to bring awareness of this disease to others. To learn more about Rick and his story you can visit his website at http://whileistillcan.net

If you or someone you know has been touched by dementia or you’d like more information, please join other patients, caregivers, and advocates all walking this journey together at the Memory People Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180666768616259

Helping Aging Parents with Money Matters

It’s all too common these days that people in their 50s and early 60s notice their elderly parents having trouble with memory loss and with handling finances. In fact, one in eight Americans 65 and over and 43 percent of individuals 85 and over have Alzheimer’s disease.

Financial advisors and accountants say elderly parents and adult children alike are too slow to seek or provide help in the early stages of decline. Denial is part of it. Hoping to stay independent, parents may minimize their difficulties. Adult children hesitate to step in and help out and oftentimes ignore warning signs.

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Reporting in Smart Money, Kathleen Michon, an attorney and editor at Nolo, a provider of legal information and products, says the damage can be dire: closed accounts, damaged credit, money lost to scam artists, even foreclosure.

A mailbox stuffed with donation requests, checkbook mistakes, unpaid bills, and desks and drawers that were once neatly organized now scattered with paperwork, are all signs that help is needed.

Don’t try to suddenly step in and take over. To ease into their financial affairs, begin by offering help with such matters as filling out insurance claims, helping to adjust property tax bills or checking credit card statements.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is passionate about educating families and bringing awareness to issues facing aging loved ones. We are here to help answer questions that may arise as you are caring for your loved ones.

www.ELHCS.com  |  Enriched Life Home Care Services

How to Get the Right Long-Term Care Insurance Policy

Don’t grow old without it …

Long-term care insurance is getting more expensive and complicated. It’s also harder to get.

The insurance is now not very profitable for insurance companies. People are living longer, which drives up costs. Interest rates on investments are low, which makes it harder for companies to profitably invest premiums.

Some insurance companies are no longer offering the insurance.

273/365: 09/30/2013. Money, Money, Money!

peddhapati / Foter / CC BY

It pays to shop around for long-term care. The American Association for Long-Term-Care Insurance says coverage that is nearly identical to a few years ago can cost almost twice as much today. For a $150 daily benefit lasting three years for a married couple age 65, one company charges $317 a month, while another charges $594.

Besides age and health, the three factors with the most impact on premiums are: the daily benefit, the length of coverage, and the inflation protection you choose.

One insurance broker says, “The new reality is, something is better than nothing. Get what’s affordable and sustainable.”

If you select $250 a day for three years, you would have an “expense pool” of $273,750 ($250 x 365 x 3). If you use less than $250 a day, the pool of funds would stretch longer than three years.

Insurance experts say inflation protection is the most crucial part of a policy. People in their 50s and 60s need to make sure their coverage keeps up with costs. Age 80 is typically when people make their first claims.

The most expensive and most widely recommended inflation factor is 5 percent per year. Your pool of $273,343 would grow to $726,343 in 20 years.

You can also choose cash and flexibility. A few insurers offer policies with cash benefits up to half your monthly allowance and require no receipts. You need documentation from the doctor saying you require help with at least two “activities of daily living.” With the cash option, you can hire family members to care for you or even move to a resort. Most long-term care policies will only pay for home care if given by a person with a nursing degree.

According to The Wall Street Journal, some retirees are turning to permanent life insurance policies and deferred fixed annuities packaged with long-term care benefits. They avoid the risk of spending their entire savings on nursing care. When the limits of long-term-care are reached, bills are paid from the life insurance or the annuity. Whatever is left goes to the beneficiary upon the policy holder’s death.

Seniors Confused Over Healthcare Changes

With all of the changes in healthcare it is hard for many seniors to keep on top of what’s changing and what is not. Lori-Ann Rickard brings clarity for seniors in this blog article. Lori-Ann Rickard, JD, CPC, CAC, is a health care lawyer with 27 years of national experience navigating the law for the benefit of physicians, health care providers, employers and patients.

Many seniors are currently confused about all the information being released on the Accountable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as ObamaCare. Much of this confusion is caused by the media constantly releasing information. Much of the information is simply not true.

confusedsenior-MP900442327Let’s look at the facts. First, seniors should know that Medicare is not impacted by the ACA or ObamaCare. Medicare remains intact and unchanged. If the senior has already qualified for Medicare, he/she will keep their Medicare coverage. Similarly, the age limit for Medicare has not changed. Further, many seniors believe the “donut hole” coverage gap has increased. This is not true. In fact, the coverage gap has actually gone down by $7 Million dollars according to government sources. Thus, seniors do not have to change doctors, medication plans, their budget, etc.

The enrollment period for Medicare remains the same: October 15 – December 7, 2013.  This enrollment period should not be confused with the enrollment period for the health exchanges for ObamaCare which begins October 1. During the Medicare enrollment period, seniors will be able to select their Medicare coverage. Most seniors have gotten very good at determining which Medicare coverage is best for them. If they are in need of assistance, many hospitals, community groups, etc. offer help selecting the right Medicare coverage. Additionally, many questions can be answered on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) website that is very user friendly and helpful:  www.medicare.gov

It is important to remember that seniors cannot enroll in Medicare in the health exchanges being set up for ObamaCare. If you are trying to enroll in Medicare, you need to be looking at a Medicare website or contacting Medicare directly.

Further, it is imperative that seniors should never give out their personal information to anyone soliciting their information. There is a growing amount of fraud surrounding all the confusion over healthcare and all seniors should beware.  If someone they don’t know contacts them for their personal information, they should immediately report it to: stopmedicarefraud@hhs.gov or call 1-800-447-8477. Similarly, if they receive a billing statement from a provider they don’t recognize, they should report it.

Healthcare is ever-changing and confusing.  We need to work together to demystify all of the information.  But most importantly: Medicare is not changing.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is grateful to Lori-Ann for helping clarify how these healthcare changes affect seniors. If you would like to read more about Lori-Ann or other topics please visit her health blog at www.larlegal.com/blog or Twitter: @larlegal