Choosing the Right Hospice

11035798 04a3e21f0c q 150x150 Choosing the Right HospiceThe decision to start hospice and trying to choose the right hospice is not an easy task. For many, there is an an overwhelming sense of sadness when this decision is made. However, most people soon realize what a tremendous help hospice can be to a patient and family members.

The importance of choosing a suitable hospice is critical for you and your family.  Many physicians will make recommendations for hospices and most hospitals and insurances groups operate their own divisions of hospice.  You have the right to choose any hospice you want, and your doctor must respect that right.

Commonly Asked Questions About Hospice:

  • What is hospice?
  • Are all hospices the same?
  • How do I decide what is right for me?
  • Who pays for hospice?

Hospice is a compassionate service for those with a life-limiting disease or illness.  The focus of hospice is comforting, not curing, the patient through pain management, medical care, and emotional and spiritual support based on the patient’s wishes and needs.  The patient’s loved ones will also receive support from hospice services.

If you are looking for the best hospice for you, ask the nurses and doctors within your care team and at the potential hospices you are reviewing what services would be provided for your specific needs. You need to make sure that you are asking these questions so that your treatment and the support you and loved ones will need is a good fit for you.  The care that you receive should be tailored to you and your needs.  If an individual hospice cannot provide this, then it is not the right choice for you.

Talking to local aging services, hospital staff, and charities can also assist you with your search to find the right hospice.  No one should force you into a decision; they should only offer advice.

In the midst of your research, contact several different hospices, such as Notre Dame Hospice. if you are in the Louisiana area.  They can give expert advice and answer the questions you may have about hospice care for you.

The Benefits of Hospice Care

For many, there are a plethora of benefits to choosing to undergo hospice care.  One of the main benefits is that the patient receives a robust care package. This is something that other care settings cannot always deliver.  In addition, there are more specialists  to deal with the terminal diagnosis of the patient.  The caregivers who work for the hospice company are specially trained to deal with the illnesses of the patients in their care.  They are able to tackle issues of grief and help patients and families work through these, as well as educate everyone involved about the death and dying process.

Some patients and families will seek out hospices because they can obtain additional care.  This means regardless of holidays, weekends and night shifts; they can still get the care that they deserve and need.  Hospices offer people dignity and tender loving care when it is needed most.   Having constant access to expert care and hospice facilities provides comfort to families and individuals who need additional support.

Hospices can also lessen the financial burden to those who are struggling to pay for medical care.  Insurance and Medicare usually pay for medical care, medication, and equipment related to the hospice diagnosis and treatment.  Be aware, there are things that Medicare won’t  pay for once a patient is on hospice.

  • Treatment to cure a terminal illness
  • Prescription medication to cure a terminal illness
  • Room and board- Medicare will pay for short term inpatient or respite stays in a facility if the hospice team determines that it is necessary
  • Emergency Room, Inpatient Facility Care, or transportation by an ambulance

Remember, when hospice care is chosen, it means that the patient no longer wants to treat their terminal diagnosis and the focus becomes “comfort care”.  Any hospice patient has the right to stop hospice care at any time.

Top 5 Features Of A Modern Medical Alert System

We’ve written extensively about medical alert systems here on The Senior List. We’ve done so in an attempt to educate the public on appropriateness of use, and to offer tips and advice on buying a medical alert system for your loved one (or yourself).

One of the things we haven’t focused on as much is what we think the perfect medical alert system consists of.  So with that as a backdrop, here is our wish list. Our top 5 features that would define the perfect (in-home) medical alert system:

The Best Medical Alert System: Top 5 Features

 

1.  The best medical alert system should be a small (discrete) waterproof form factor

I’m talking about a small pendant style medical alert system that doesn’t make you look like Flava Flave (of Public Enemy fame).  There should be options today on style, and there really aren’t many to choose from.  Our idea for best options include both the necklace style pendant alert button, as well as a small wristband type device.  Both should beflavor flav Top 5 Features Of A Modern Medical Alert System totally waterproof so they can be worn in the shower or the bathtub.  Not-so-fun-fact; Did you know that over 1 in 3 seniors fall every year, and according to to the National Institute on Aging, over 80 of those falls are in the bathroom.  This is why it’s so important for manufacturers to get this WATERPROOFING issue right now.  Most of the medical alert devices today are water resistant (not waterproof), leading many manufacturers to recommend that they not be worn in the bathtub or shower (at the very least not submerged).  This is a biggie folks, the best medical alert devices need to be waterproof.

2.  The best medical alert system providers should never ask you to sign a long term agreement

Our favorite providers out there have month-to-month options for families and they don’t gouge the customer for choosing this option.  Believe it or not, there are some medical alert system providers that have conned consumers into 3 year contract commitments, which is appalling.  Just sniff around The Senior List medical alert system articles and you’ll hear directly from consumers that got stuck… and aren’t happy!  Always, always make sure you’re signing up for a commitment that you are comfortable with, not something a sales person pushes you into signing.  In fact if you do get pressured like that, just walk away.  Tell them you’ll be sharing your story with us, and we’ll make sure to warn other consumers of nasty sales tactics.  Frankly, we’re tired of it.

3.  The best medical alert system should be comfortable and lightweight

One of the worst ttimex ironman Top 5 Features Of A Modern Medical Alert Systemhings that could happen after investing in life-saving technology like a medical alert system is that your loved one doesn’t wear it.  Our wish list includes something that looks fashionable or sporty, and isn’t bulky or hard edged.  If it’s as comfortable as my Timex Ironman watch band, it’s going to be worn all the time.  If it’s big, bulky and clunky like my Tissot dress watch… it’s only going to be worn for special occasions.  And that’s not good enough!  Many of the form factors (pendant or wrist style) all look alike today… but hey this is a wish list right?

4.  The best medical alert systems should have fall detection technology that works

We’ve heard from countless community members here on The Senior List that fall detection on the devices today stinks!  While we love and respect your feedback, we’re in the camp that believes it’s good… not great (yet).  Fall detection has been around for years in these devices.  A number of companies over the years have bit-the-big-one (read failed) trying to develop a fall detection device and stand on that leg alone (as a major differentiator).  Frankly, it’s tough to do for a huge number of reasons.  First, expectations of what fall detection devices should or shouldn’t do vary widely with both consumers and industry experts.  The algorithms that constitute what a fall is and what a fall isn’t are difficult to define and fine-tune.  Finally, we all fall a bit differently.  A fairly active adult may be doing exercises in the home and fall into the couch to catch a breather.  Is this a fall? Will this set off the device?  It’s a very tough thing to perfect.  But for our wish list, we’d like the option of fall detection that really works.

5.  The best medical alert systems should have communication options in the case of an emergency

What I mean is… Who do you want your PERS (personal emergency response system) to call if you depress the button?  Do you want this device to call a loved one?  Do you want it toOneCall speaker 150x150 Top 5 Features Of A Modern Medical Alert System ring a call center?  Do you want it to dial 911 directly?  These are all options of one or more of these medical alert systems.  We’d like to have the option to program this device to ring a family member AND a call center (in that order).  If it’s a minor emergency, I’d rather speak to a loved one.  If that loved one can’t be reached or they can’t reach me… It’s forwarded to the call center for possible dispatch.  Also, since this is a wish list we like the idea of a mini speaker phone built into our pendant or wristband.

So that’s it… Not to much to ask is it?  What did we miss?  What do you want to see on your ideal medical alert system?  Let us know in your comments below!

Happy Fathers Day 2014

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” ~Mark Twain, “Old Times on the Mississippi” Atlantic Monthly, 1874

fathers day1 Happy Fathers Day 2014Wishing all of the dad’s out there very special wishes on this fathers day!  Here’s hoping you have a great day surrounded by family, or hearing from those most special to you.  This isn’t the only day I think about my own father, but it does force me to reflect more than I normally do.  More than anything, I think about all of the lessons I learned from my dad without knowing they were lessons.  Maybe that’s the magic of fatherhood.

A Successful Man (author unknown)

That man is a success – who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of
children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.

Have a special memory of your father or father figure? Share it below!

 “He didn’t tell me how to live; He lived and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland

best dad Happy Fathers Day 2014

Book Reviews: Plan Ahead: Tools for the Caregiver

planahead cover 200x300 150x150 Book Reviews: Plan Ahead: Tools for the CaregiverBook Reviews:

While there are many books for caregivers and senior care in general, few are able to distinguish themselves as part workbook, part resource and part guide.  The author, Walt Sonksen has done a nice job putting all three together in this easy-to-read caregiver workbook.  In this book, Walt shares life experiences, as well as those lessons learned  from the deaths of his own parents.  The book encompasses many aspects of family care…  Such as gathering personal information and wishes, transition planning, safety concerns, caregiving options, financial and legal issues, and community resources.

 This handbook is meant to be used before a crisis so the family and their designated caregivers can spend more quality time with their family member.

Plan Ahead: Tools for the Caregiver is a workbook that can be used and written in and is small enough to fit in a purse or tablet pouch.  This is a tool that you will use over time and will add to it as you go along the journey of caregiving. Some of the information is specific to Oregon and Washington, the author resides in the Northwest, however a reader who is resourceful will be able to access similar information for their own area.   The book is geared to the adult caregiver and is focused on senior care, but could apply to any caregiving situation (dependent children, etc…).  Throughout the book you will find checklists, tidbits, personal stories and encouragement.  Several well-respected leaders in the elder care field are also contributors to topics like senior living options, downsizing and moving, and mental health.

The book can be purchased on Amazon for a list price of $16.95.  Additional details and a downloadable Emergency Medical Packet are available at the website, www.planaheadtools.com.


 

Mimi Foundation Fights Cancer With Kindness

mimi foundation 150x150 Mimi Foundation Fights Cancer With KindnessMyriam Ullens de Schooten founded The Mimi Foundation to help cancer sufferers fight for their health and wellness.  Myriam calls herself Mimi, and as a former cancer patient, she knows a lot about this process.  During cancer treatments Mimi was fortunate enough to have resources that helped her maintain a sense of dignity throughout the difficult treatment process.  Her resources included a close friends and family members, a psychologist, a beautician and a good wig!  Myriam believes that when cancer patients feel good about themselves they’re able to more effectively fight the disease, and in 2004 she turned her this passion into action.

“You know what I miss the most? Being carefree.” – Katy; Diagnosed 2 years ago

The foundation recently put together a wonderful example of what they do on a daily basis.  They invited 20 cancer patients to a studio for a makeover (and more).  A photographer captured the event as well as THE MOMENT… That moment when the patient forgets they’re a patient “if only for a second”.  This wonderful video captures that moment, and the result is magical!

From the Mimi Foundation on their Mission:

“The Mimi Foundation is convinced that cancer must be fought on all fronts, not only on the medical front. The well-being of patients during their treatment plays a decisive role in their struggle to survive, to give them both courage and strength.  The Mimi Foundation has made it its mission to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of people affected by cancer, more specifically during the entire period of their chemotherapy/radiotherapy treatment.  The physical suffering and emotional stress associated with cancer can be enormous and often originates from the side effects of the treatment.  The Mimi Foundation is available to patients during these difficult times in order to provide both physical and moral support.”

For information on how you can help support the Mimi Foundation, click here.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and this caregiving stuff is hard work!  And it’s usually not funny… Until Jeff Foxworthy and caregiver  Peter Rosenberger teamed up with AARP to provide some comic relief on the subject.

Across the country 42 million people, primarily women, between the ages 40 – 60 are faced with the challenge of providing care to their older family members and friends each and every day.

These are the unsung heros of today.  These caregivers support the people we all love.  Caregivers take on a variety of roles as providing this care can come in all forms.   From taking mom to the doctor’s office, to managing medications, to total care of a loved one.  New research from AARP suggests that caregiver’s personal health and overall well-being can be greatly affected by the physical and emotional strain of caregiving, but many caregivers are reluctant to ask for help.  The Ad Council has released a series of new Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) that explore the many roles caregivers take on and provide resources to help them cope with their daily responsibilities.

Here are some resources to share to help recognize caregivers everywhere for the important work they do:

  • The new website, ThanksProject.org, where you can share a message of thanks with a caregiver you know and post it publicly alongside other messages from people across the country to illustrate the number of caregivers nationwide.
  • A new online quiz to help identify if you are a caregiver: click here for online quiz
  • If you or a caregiver you know needs support, a caregiver support group is imperative for the health and wellbeing of the caregiver.

If you are a caregiver, or you know someone who is, please be a part of this important campaign. Visit aarp.org/caregiving for more tools and resources.  And hug a caregiver today.

About Us

checkmark e1326578072735 About UsThe Senior List® is a community-driven portal focused on linking families to quality products and senior services online. The Senior List was founded by a team that believes that transparency is the key to finding quality senior services in local communities. The problem is that most people just don’t know where to start. They usually thumb through the yellow pages, spend unproductive hours searching online, or make phone calls to friends or family. The Senior List cuts through the clutter. This is a great place to start when looking for peer-to-peer feedback on local eldercare products and services. We invite you to join the conversation by commenting and/or providing ratings & reviews throughout our site.

The Senior List also sponsors a Senior Care Directory. It’s driven by real people, just like you. Our user community voices their opinions by way of customer testimonials, ratings and reviews. By doing so, the best service providers rise to the top (and get noticed)! Businesses on The Senior List Eldercare Directory range from Senior Housing Providers, to Professional Services, and even Ancillary Services. We hope that you’ll find The Senior List to be a valuable resource. If you do, please share us with a friend!

 

amie140 About UsAfter starting The Senior Resource Network (A leading Portland Oregon adult placement service), Amie Clark, B.S.W. turned her attention to helping families nationwide. Amie (and her team) created a website to link her clientele with the best local senior-service providers in the greater Portland Oregon area. With that, the idea for The Senior List was born. She has been a champion for seniors since graduating from the University of Montana’s School of Social Work. In 2006 she co-founded The Senior List, and the site has grown into one of the leading eldercare brands online today. Amie loves everything outdoors including; horses, gardening, long hikes, running, camping, and family time spent on the Oregon Coast

 

cc140 About UsChris Clark, Co-founder of The Senior List® has spent the last 20 years working in healthcare and related fields. He has held numerous executive positions in sales and marketing, and has worked with many of the top hospital/healthcare organizations across the USA. He is passionate about consumer empowerment (especially by way of technology) and the leverage it provides to buyers AND sellers. Chris graduated from the University of Montana with a B.S. in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing. Chris loves spending time outdoors… He enjoys fishing, hiking, biking, spending time on the boat with his boys, the Oregon Coast, the Portland Trailblazers, and writing.

 

canstockphoto2737786 150x150 About Us

Business Owners: Participating on The Senior List Provider Directory can provide significant benefits. There’s a great deal of online research indicating ratings and reviews influence consumers to act. Inclusion in our directory gives you the opportunity to generate direct leads, enhance your web presence, and manage your online reputation. You also have the option of purchasing an enhanced business listing to showcase your business. Our goal is to bridge the gap between eldercare providers and consumers, so that consumers can find what they’re looking for… And businesses can be found! Savvy business owners will invite their clientele to provide ratings and reviews on The Senior List. A December 2009 study by emarketer.com showed that 49% of baby boomers use online ratings and referrals to make purchase decisions. Add your business to The Senior List directory today.

 

We invite you to poke around The Senior List and come back often. We’d love your participation by way of consumer reviews, and comments to our blog posts (and product review areas). This site was built for user-participation. As you can imagine, there are millions of people just like you who are eager to start a conversation, especially when it comes to products and services for loved ones. Please take a moment to share your two-cents!

Long Term Care Insurance Advice: Video

Last year Suze Orman reported that she was paying around $30,000 per month for 2 full time in-home care nurses.  She’s doing this for her (then 96 year old) mother because she loves her very much, AND because she can afford it.  In this brief video, Suze offers advice on Long Term Care Insurance, and recommends that you get involved with your older parents money before it’s too late.

 “If you have older parents, and they’re not talking to you about what they’re doing… I’m asking you to get involved with they’re money!” — Suzy Orman

What is Long Term Care Insurance?

Wikipedia has a tight and concise definition that I like: “Long-term care insurance (LTC or LTCI), an insurance product sold in the United States and United Kingdom, helps provide for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period. Long-term care insurance covers care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.”

“Long-term care insurance generally covers home care, assisted living, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, nursing home and Alzheimer’s facilities. If home care coverage is purchased, long-term care insurance can pay for home care, often from the first day it is needed. It will pay for a visiting or live-in caregiver, companion, housekeeper, therapist or private duty nurse up to seven days a week, 24 hours a day (up to the policy benefit maximum).” — Wikipedia on the benefits of LTC Insurance

Long Term Care Statistics

According to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance:

  • 8.1 Million Americans are protected with long-term care insurance.
  • 322,000 new Americans obtain LTC insurance coverage in 2012.
  • $6.6 Billion in LTC insurance claims paid (2012).
  • Over 264,000 individuals received LTC insurance benefits (2012).

Postcards From The Edge: May 23 1910

This Postcards From The Edge installment presents the second in a series we’re publishing called “Postcards From The Edge”. These postcards are a from a collection which has been cared for by my in-laws up in Western Montana. Rather than keep these hidden away in a box, we thought it would be fun to share some of these with our community members here on The Senior List. The postcards are circa early 1900′s and are written (mainly) by Francis Clark (1857-1950), my husband’s great grandfather. Frank was a railroad conductor and traveled around the country manning routes for The Northern Pacific Railroad.

Postcards were Frank’s primary means of communication back to his family back in Tekoa Washington, Kellogg Idaho, and Spokane Washington. They are addressed to his wife Clara, but also to other members of his immediate (and extended) family including his children. There are also several postcards in the collection from other members of the extended family to one another.   The postcards a turn-of-the-century “time machine”, and take us back to a time time in history when our country was changing ever so rapidly.

Keep in mind back then there were few telephones and very limited communication methods other than by post. I hope you enjoy the series. These postcards are very personal, and we’re happy to share them with you. **Note the 1 cent stamps… The actual postmark/stamp… The addresses on the cards (just a name and city in some cases)… And of course the story that each postcard reveals.

mont OH postcard front Postcards From The Edge: May 23 1910

mont OH postcard back Postcards From The Edge: May 23 1910

This vintage postcard features a photo of the North Side Court Square in Bryan (Williams County) Ohio.  It’s postmarked May 23, 1910 and is written by Addie Koch (a cousin) to Clara (Frank’s wife).  It reads:

“Dear Cousin, Received your card and was glad to hear from you.  We are all well except Grandpa has been sick since Wednesday.  Had a stroke of paralysis.  Can’t hardly talk.  Throat and tongue is affected.  It is raining today. From Addie Koch.” — Addie Koch to her cousin Clara

Medical Alert System Ratings and Reviews

eCare+Voice Medical Alert System Ratings and ReviewsIf you’ve visited The Senior List before you know that we love to post about technology, and how it affects the lives of boomers and seniors.  One way we do this is through product reviews, and another is through informative posts about the latest happenings in eldercare.  Some of the most interesting information comes from YOU (The Senior List community).  When readers become engaged, the comments come alive.  When the comments come alive, we can all relate and learn from each other.  Our community loves to share information when it relates to medical alert system ratings and reviews, and we’ve got all the top systems rated here on The Senior List.

Top Home Based Medical Alert Systems

One example of this is a popular post we wrote back in 2012, highlighting many of the top home based medical alert systems on the market.  That particular post offers a nice list of “tethered” (to a traditional home phone line) medical alert systems, with links to product reviews.  What is really interesting is the feedback in the comments located below that article.  There’s a lot of great information located on that page, and we’d like to thank those of you that have shared your experiences.  One of our chief goals is to continue to build a community that offers advice to others… A helping hand if you will!

“When readers become engaged, the comments come alive.  When the comments come alive, we can all relate and learn from each other.”

List of Mobile/Cellular Based Medical Alert Systems

If you’re searching for a list of mobile medical alert systems (cellular based), you’ll find that here on The Senior List as well.  We’ve reviewed a number of the top alert systems for seniors SureResponse lanyard Medical Alert System Ratings and Reviewsincluding GreatCall’s 5Star, the LifeTrac SecuraTrac, and the SureResponse from Verizon.  We’d like to encourage our readers to utilize the comments to voice your opinion following each post if you are so inclined.  In doing so, you’ll be providing feedback to others that could prove extremely valuable in their search for the right fit (and function) for any of the devices we discuss here on The Senior List.  Don’t forget to offer praise where it’s due either, there are a number of fantastic medical alert system providers out there offering great services to boomers and seniors.

If you (or someone you know) is currently using a medical alert system, we encourage you to take our Medical Alert System Customer Satisfaction Poll (located in the right hand side-bar).  Have a great weekend!