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The Return Of The Little Black Bag In Healthcare

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Right around the same time some private physicians are refusing to accept new Medicare patients in fear of lower government reimbursements, another physician based concept is taking hold. The Academy of Home Care Physicians has a mission statement that promotes the art, science and practice of medicine in the home. Established in 1988, the Academy “envisions a healthcare system in which any patient who needs it can receive comprehensive primary care in their home.” Research shows that for every elderly person in a nursing home, there are three more patients equally as sick and fragile who are living at home. In a recently article published in The New England Journal of Medicine on “Why Health Care is Going Home,” Dr. Steven H. Landers stated that, “Our financing system, malpractice laws, and consumer culture all encourage utilization of costly services and have contributed to unsustainable increases in the cost of care. In home care is often less costly, and since it is highly desirable for patients, it offers a potential win–win solution.”

He added that, “The transformation of patients’ homes into central venues for health care may take years or decades, depending on how the national and institutional politics play out. New payment models are needed to cover services that haven’t previously been offered at home and to realign physicians’ incentives. Yet, ultimately, health care organizations that do not adapt to the home care imperative risk becoming irrelevant.” In today’s generation of physicians, few have been educated in medical school or continuing education to provide the kind and level of care that could be made available. Few have been educated to provide home health agencies with professional support as medical directors; fewer still have learned the advanced team techniques that allow them to work with other health professionals, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists and others by providing continuity of care across the care continuum. Concerns over reimbursement also have been a barrier.

The American Academy of Home Care Physicians serves the needs of thousands of physicians and related professionals and agencies interested in improving care of patients in the home. Members and volunteers work to reduce barriers and enhance practice education. Notable successes include fostering increased reimbursement, sponsoring multiple educational and scientific seminars and providing the practice community with a variety of helpful publications. Academy members include home care physicians who make house calls, care for homebound patients, act as home health agency medical directors or refer patients to home care agencies. Specialties include internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, psychiatry, emergency medicine and more.
Other members are directors of agencies actively planning for future home care organizations, medical directors of managed care plans, nurse practitioners who make house calls, physician assistants, and administrators of medical groups interested in home care. The services provided by home care agencies and physicians are billed under a set of codes designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and physician assistants are required to oversee or directly provide progressively more sophisticated and more frequent home visits.

Beyond the licensure and certification processes, no similar evaluation mechanism exists for skills obtained through continuing education and practice experience. The Home Care Credentialing Examination fills this gap and enables home care medical providers to demonstrate their proficiency. Patients also benefit from proficiency testing and the Academy’s recognition of those who receive the credential since the exam assesses the knowledge and skills identified by respected experts as necessary to provide safe and effective medical care in the home. Upon the completion of this educational activity, the participant should be better able to:
Discuss and apply knowledge of clinical problems, effective approaches to end of life/palliative care, functionality, social services and legal/ethical concerns related to home care. Attest to his or her added competency in home care medicine by demonstrating knowledge, skills and proficiency in managing common problems faced in home care. As a public service, The American Academy of Home Care Physician’s website provides a list of its members and medical groups that provide home care.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care Chicago, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Facilities and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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Research Shows Home Health Care Healthy For Medical System

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The world’s health care system is already strained by rising costs and a shortage of qualified personnel. A recent study by the RAND Corporation found that moving care into patients’ homes is fast becoming an alternative to the high costs of institutional care. The study also identifies home health care as a major shift in the structure of the health care system, warranting consensus between patients, health care providers, insurance companies and policy makers before it can become an effective solution.
“The aging of the world’s population and fact that more diseases are treatable will create serious financial and manpower challenges for the world’s health care systems,” said Dr. Soeren Mattke, the study’s lead author and a senior natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Moving more health care into the home setting where patients or family members can manage care could be one important solution to these challenges.”

The findings are from a global study of the needs, expectations and priorities regarding home health care among key stakeholders in six countries – China, France, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Researchers conducted over 100 interviews with government officials, regulators, providers, insurers, manufacturers, distributors and patient organizations, as well as reviewing existing research about home health care. An increase in the world’s elderly population, coupled with better treatment for many diseases, is expected to increase the number of people living with chronic conditions and disability in the decades ahead, putting pressure on the finances and the workforce of health care systems. In the United States, for example, people age 64 and older represent 12 percent of the population, yet account for 34 percent of the nation’s total health care spending. In the United States alone, the aging population is projected to increase to 71.5 million by the year 2030, when one in five Americans will be age 65 and older. Home health care increases the chance for patients to age in place and avoid institutionalization.

While this trend sprouted in the developed world, it is increasingly taking root in developing and transitional nations. For example, Singapore has become the world’s most rapidly aging country and already 80 percent of all deaths in China are caused by chronic disease. Soeren Mattke, senior scientist at Rand said that, “by 2014, China will have more people living with chronic disease than the entire U.S. population.” The demand for non institutional care in these countries has spurred the development of the home health care concept. Home health care is an attractive solution because it empowers patients to self manage their conditions to a larger extent and helps to shift care from high cost institutional and professional settings to patients’ homes and the community. Such a change could both save money and ease pressure on health systems suffering from worker shortages and capacity constraints, researchers say.

The best evidence so far comes from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration, which uses remote monitoring equipment to help veterans manage diabetes, hypertension and chronic heart failure. The 2008 VA study of 17,025 home telehealth patients showed the devices cut the average number of days hospitalized by 25 percent and produced a 19 percent reduction in hospital admissions.
Home health care technology spans a broad spectrum from basic diagnostic tools, such as glucose meters, to advanced telemedicine solutions. Those advances have pushed the frontier of care management further into the home setting. The advances have the potential to not only support current care delivery, but to fundamentally change the model to a more efficient and more patient centered one, according to the report.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care San Diego, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Facilities and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Skilled Nursing As A Long Term Care Option – Know the Medicare Policy

August 4, 2011 Leave a comment

A nursing home, also known as a skilled nursing facility, is a place for people who no longer need to be in a hospital but are unable to care for themselves at home and require some medical assistance. Most nursing homes have skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day. A doctor can help patients decide if a nursing home is the best choice for their situation. Some nursing homes are set up like hospitals. The staff provides medical care as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy. There is most likely a nurses’ station on each floor. As a rule, rooms are shared by two residents but most have options for private rooms. Many residents and their families hang photos or other personal memorabilia to create a more home-like atmosphere. Other nursing homes are designed to be more like homes and the day-to-day routines are less structured. Staff and residents seek to create a neighborhood feel. Kitchens are sometimes open to residents and staff is encouraged to develop strong relationships with the residents.

Some nursing homes have visiting doctors who see their patients on site. Other nursing homes provide transportation for residents to visit their doctor’s office. Nursing homes sometimes have separate areas called Special Care Units for people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias. When considering a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, it is important for families to think about any special needs that are present or may be anticipated in the future. Look. What choices are in your area? Is there a place close to family and friends? What’s important to you—nursing care, meals, a religious connection, hospice care, or Special Care Units for dementia care?
Ask. Talk with friends, relatives, social workers and religious groups to find out what places they suggest. Ask doctors which nursing homes they feel provide good care. Call. Get in touch with each place on your list. Ask questions about how many people live there and what it costs. Inquire about waiting lists. Visit. Make plans to meet with the facility director and the nursing director.

Important things to look for:
Medicare and Medicaid certification
Handicap access
Strong odors (either bad or good)
Food choice options
Residents who look well cared for
Staff to patient ratio

Talk. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask how long the director and department heads such as nursing, food and social services have worked at the facility. If key staff members change frequently, there may a problem. Visit again. Make a second visit without calling ahead. Try another day of the week or time of day so you will meet other staff members and see other activities. Stop by at mealtime and observe if residents seem to be enjoying their food. Understand. Once you choose, carefully read the contract. Check with your State Ombudsman for help if the contract is not fully understood.

Do Nursing Homes Have to Meet Standards?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires each State to inspect any nursing home that receives money from the government. Homes that do not pass inspection cannot be certified. Ask to see the current inspection report and certification of homes you are considering. A good website to check for certification policies is Medicare.gov.

Payment Options for Nursing Home Care
Medicare. Many people mistakenly believe Medicare will pay for long term stays in a nursing home, but it does not. For example, Medicare will only cover all or portions of the first 100 days in a skilled nursing home for someone who needs special care or rehabilitation after leaving the hospital. State/Federal Medicaid programs may pay for long term nursing home care, but there are many stipulations for qualifying. It is important to check with Medicare, Medicaid, and any private insurance company to find out the current rules.

In order for Medicare to pay for care in a skilled nursing facility the patient must have been in the hospital for three consecutive days. Then, no later than thirty days after discharge from the hospital, be admitted to a Medicare certified nursing facility. If these criteria are met, then days 1 through 20 in a skilled nursing facility are paid 100% by Medicare.  For days 21 through 100, Medicare pays all except your co pay which is currently $137.00 per day. The rate changes yearly and in 2008 was $128.00 per day. From days 101 and beyond, regardless of your condition, you are responsible for all of the facility costs. Medicaid. This State/Federal program provides health benefits to some people with low incomes and lack of resources to pay. According to Medicare.gov, if your income and resources are limited, you may be able to get help to pay for skilled nursing and other health care costs. If you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, most health care costs are covered. You may also qualify for the Medicaid nursing home benefit or the Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly. Call your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) Office for more information.

Once you have met the requirements of your state’s Medicaid program, keep in mind it can take up to 90 days to be approved. Private pay. Some people pay for long term care with their own savings for as long as possible. When that is no longer feasible, they may be eligible for Medicaid benefits. If you think you may need to apply for Medicaid in the future, ask the facility to make sure they accept that type of funding and if they are Medicare/Medicaid certified. Long-term care insurance. Some people buy private long term care insurance. It can pay part of the costs for a nursing home or other long term care such as an assisted living residence. Long term care insurance is sold by many different companies and benefits vary widely. Look carefully at several policies before making a choice.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing Los Angeles, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Leaving For A New Home In Assisted Living

August 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Leaving home or familiar surroundings, whether off to school, on vacation or moving into a new home can be a stressful or exciting time depending on the circumstances. Many times, it is both, combined with a lot of other emotions. Many senior citizens are rethinking their retirement years by opting out of staying in their long time family home with all the responsibilities involved. Many times as they age, they also find that they are unable to keep up with the chores and daily activities by remaining there. The choice to move into an independent or assisted living community undoubtedly brings with it, feelings of uncertainty and the melancholy of missing familiar friends and family whose faces will be replaced by those of strangers. In the beginning, as the regular routines are replaced with new social and practical activities, homesickness — the longing ache for the familiar can set in.

Homesickness is nothing new. It is mentioned in the Bible’s Old Testament book of Exodus and Homer’s “Odyssey,” and happens to just about anyone who finds themselves away from home. Athletes and actors who are frequently away from home for long periods have expressed these sentiments. Even so, only lately has there emerged a clearer sense of what homesickness is: distinct adjustment disorder with identifiable symptoms. In a paper cowritten by Chris Thurber and Edward Walton published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, homesickness is defined as “distress and functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as family.” Those who suffer from the condition feel some form of anxiety, sadness and nervousness, and more distinctly, obsessive preoccupation with thoughts of home, Thurber said. Yet despite the way it is coined, homesickness is not necessarily about home. And neither is it exactly an illness, experts said.

This is Home by *C4M30 on deviantART

Instead, it stems from our instinctive need for love, protection and security — feelings and qualities usually associated with home, said Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health. When these qualities aren’t present in a new environment, we begin to long for them — and hence home. “You’re not literally just missing your house. You’re missing what is normal, what is routine, the larger sense of social space, because those are the things that help us survive,” Klapow said. Klapow offered an alternative way of viewing homesickness: It is merely an emotion that comes in waves. “Very few emotions stay with you all the time, they come and they go,” he said. But when it strikes, both children and adults often are caught off guard by it, he added. “They think something’s terribly wrong. Nevertheless, it is normal and adaptive to feel homesick for some period of time. It’s just your emotions and mind telling you you’re out of your element.”

The staff at assisted living are hyper vigilant for signs of depression and anxiety, especially in new residents because they are aware of the emotional byproducts of making such a big change. New residents attend orientation sessions and faculty and staff help them adjust to their new surroundings and introduce them to new activities, new friends and opportunities. The staff encourages outside friends and family members to visit their newly relocated relative to help them ease into their new environment. Not surprisingly, in a short period of time, many new assisted living residents are so involved in the activities and pleasures of their new surroundings they begin to wonder what they were homesick for. The reduction in responsibilities attached to staying in and maintaining a residence of their own is often a huge relief.  Recognizing that they have as much freedom as they choose, together with peace of mind knowing that help is available if they need it, makes the freshman residents begin to experience that same old feeling of familiarity that feels like, well, ”home.”

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living New York and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

The Shrinking Supply of Primary Care Physicians

July 6, 2011 1 comment

Primary care physicians are already in short supply in many parts of the country. The passing of the landmark Health Care Reform bill will bring them millions more newly insured patients in the next few years and promises even more of a strain. The new law goes beyond offering coverage to the uninsured, with steps to improve the quality of care for the average person and help keep us well instead of today’s seek-care-after-you’re-sick culture. However, to take advantage, you will need a regular primary care physician. Recently published reports predict a shortfall of roughly 40,000 primary care doctors over the next decade, a profession losing out to the better pay, better hours and higher profile of many other specialties. Provisions in the new law aim to start reversing that tide, from bonus payments for certain physicians to expanded community health centers that will pick up some of the slack.

The law offers incentives to encourage more people to enter medical professions, and a 10% Medicare pay boost for primary care doctors. Also at issue, is the need for affordable education for would be primary care physicians. To cope with the growing shortage, federal officials are considering several proposals. One would increase affordable enrollment in medical schools and residency training programs. Another would encourage greater use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. A third would expand the National Health Service Corps, which deploys doctors and nurses in rural areas and poor neighborhoods. The U.S. has 352,908 primary care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. However, the number of medical school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007. Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat and chairperson of the Finance Committee, said, “Medicare payments were skewed against primary care doctors, the very ones needed to coordinate the care of older people with chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Physician 2 by *stitchxwitch on deviantART

A number of new medical schools have opened around the country recently. As of last October, four new schools enrolled about 190 students, and 12 medical schools raised the enrollment of first year students by a total of about 150 slots, according to the AAMC. Some 18,000 students entered U.S. medical schools in the fall of 2009, the AAMC says. Medicare pays $9.1 billion a year to teaching hospitals, which goes toward resident salaries and direct teaching costs, as well as the higher operating costs associated with teaching hospitals, which tend to see the sickest and most costly patients. Doctors’ groups and medical schools had hoped that the new health care law passed in March, would increase the number of funded residency slots, but such a provision did not make it into the final bill. The residency is the minimum three year period when medical school graduates train in hospitals and clinics. There are about 110,000 resident positions in the U.S., according to the AAMC. Teaching hospitals rely heavily on Medicare funding to pay for these slots. In 1997, Congress imposed a cap on funding for medical residencies, which hospitals say has increasingly hurt their ability to expand the number of positions.

One provision in the Health Care Reform bill attempts to address residencies. Since some residency slots go unfilled each year, the law will pool the funding for unused slots and redistribute it to other institutions, with the majority of these slots going to primary care or general surgery residencies. The slot redistribution will create additional residencies, because previously unfilled positions will now be used, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It will probably take 10 years to even make a dent into the number of doctors that we need out there,” said Atul Grover, the AAMC’s chief advocacy officer.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Chicago and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Tube Feeding Depends On The Attitude Of The Facility

July 6, 2011 Leave a comment

By the year 2030, the number of people in the United States over 65 will soar to 71.5 million. The healthcare industry is keeping pace by providing communities with the housing and care resources needed to accommodate the nation’s aging population. Independent, assisted living and memory care facilities are oftentimes located on the same property and are known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  At a CCRC, residents can move within the tiers as their conditions may change over the years. Many assisted living facilities are also stand alone homes that frequently have wings for providing memory care to those residents with loss of cognitive skills such as those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Tube feeding is a procedure used in acute care hospitals for patients recovering from certain surgeries, those with neurological problems, some going through intense chemotherapy or for any reason, are unable to receive proper nutrition by swallowing. Feeding tubes, or the medical term, Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy, (PEG), are frequently utilized to provide nutrition for the elderly. Many of these elderly patients reside in assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities. Though the procedure is fairly routine medically, there are many complex issues surrounding PEG use, particularly for patients near the end of life, where the decision to use or not to use a PEG is frequently made without the participation of the patient.

The ethical picture is further clouded by several studies that question the medical benefit of PEGs in elderly demented patients, a group that receives a high percentage of the PEG procedures currently done. Other studies have found a surprisingly high death rate for those patients within one month of a PEG insertion. Tube feeding has been shown to have no demonstrable benefit in assisted living or skilled nursing patients with advanced cognitive impairment, yet its use within this population reveals a striking and unexplained variation within the United States.

Half complete memory by *Jangmai on deviantART

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a report on a study of patients with advanced cognitive impairment and found that 70% of feeding tube insertions were done in the acute care hospital prior to the patient being moved to an assisted living facility. The study suggests that higher insertion rates are associated with the following acute hospital factors:

For profit ownership vs. government owned
Larger size vs. smaller size (more than 310 beds vs. less than 101 beds)
A more aggressive approach to end of life care, meaning greater use of the intensive care unit in the last 6 months of life as opposed to a memory care facility or hospice.

A field study was also done in two South Carolina assisted living facilities. Field studies are based on the idea that humans are best understood to the fullest possible context if it includes the place where they live, the improvements they’ve made to that place, how they are making a living and providing food, housing, energy and water for themselves or others, what language(s) they speak and so on. The study revealed a startling variation in the culture of the organizations and its influence on attitudes toward tube feeding. Key features in assisted living facilities with low use of feeding tubes:

A more home like environment in which food, mealtimes, and family are central.
Administrative support in solving feeding problems.
Emphasis on the value of, and sufficient staff for hand feeding.
Family inclusion in decision making.

In contrast, the high use feeding tube facility had an impersonal, institutional atmosphere with strictly scheduled and poorly staffed mealtimes.  Staff attitudes favored tube feeding, and though the decision making process was not clear, it emphatically did NOT include family. If you are considering a Continuing Care Retirement Community or a standalone assisted living facility that most often includes a memory care wing for the cognitively impaired, it is essential to ask about their policy on tube feeding. Using an experienced, qualified referral service to assist you in the process, can help you determine the attitudes and policies of the organization where you or your loved one will reside.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Philadelphia and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Sorting Out Family “Stuff” Before Moving Into An Assisted Living Home

July 6, 2011 Leave a comment

In a recent conversation with a friend to catch up on what she had been doing lately, I was reminded of a familiar scenario that many people with retired elderly parents seem to go through. My friend related that she had spent the weekend out of town at her parent’s home helping them sort through some of their possessions. When I asked my friend if her elderly parents were planning to move, she said, “No, they just needed help organizing and disposing of some unnecessary items that had accumulated over the years.”

Many times, whether consciously or otherwise, many elderly people feel the need to begin “sifting” through all kinds of the unnecessary household paraphernalia that tend to amass over the course of a lifetime. David Ekerdt, the director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas, decided to research the subject of “stuff,” with the help of funding from the National Institute on Aging and the assistance of colleagues at Wayne State University. Social workers, geriatricians and retirement community administrators seem to believe that the sheer volume of objects in a typical household, the enormous physical and cognitive effort involved in sorting out what’s essential, and the psychological toll of parting with what’s disposable, can lead to a kind of paralysis that keeps seniors in place, even when the “place” isn’t the best place.

Moving by *Static-Ending on deviantART

The premise is that possessions are an obstacle to people living where they can better manage their health and well being,” Dr. Ekerdt said. Maybe such undertakings are a subliminal effort by an elderly person to prune the belongings of their domain before the time comes when they can no longer physically lift, move and discard things themselves. They may also be preparing for the time Dr. Ekerdt described and they want to be in charge of the process. Moving into an independent or assisted living home is often times more of a relief for seniors than something to dread. When they make the decision to move from an apartment or sell their long time family home, having previously pared down all the paraphernalia they have collected, they often feel the relief of having a more simplified lifestyle.

Overcoming the obstacle and chore of paring down “stuff,” as Dr. Ekerdt describes it, is often a first step in moving on. According to an article published in the New York Times Blog on Aging, Dr. Ekerdt’s research, revealed that families frequently become part of the process helping their parents downsize, and they usually, “fall into two categories. They assist, or they assert.” The article states that, “acting as an assistant requires that the person in charge have the cognitive ability to make decisions without becoming confused or overwhelmed, even when someone else is supplying the muscle.” In such cases, this role “turns into the more paternalistic, assertive approach.”

“Family members take a stronger role and begin to preempt the elder’s own decisions, I think out of concern for the elder’s health and safety,” Dr. Ekerdt says in the article. It comes into play when a parent seems unwilling to throw anything away, or even to confront the need to. Or, when dementia has robbed him or her of the ability to make rational decisions. Dr. Ekerdt has seen adult children discarding “stuff” behind a parent’s back, figuring it won’t be needed. He’s also seen seniors retrieve things from the garbage afterward. “There can be exasperation and hurt feelings,” he said. “It can create sour memories.” But, in certain situations, it may be necessary. Other times however, the elderly parents are so eager to clear the hurdle and move onto a more carefree assisted living home, that the children become the ones who end up “rescuing” discarded items that hold family or childhood memories that are dear to them.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Los Angeles and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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