Health
Thursday, November 28, 2013
 
Caring options for aging Baby Boomers

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
The aging Baby Boomer population has driven many trends over the years. As they approach retirement age, there will be many more retirees than there have been in the past. In addition, medical advances have led to a longer life span. This means that there will be many more parents looking for assistance with their needs as the Baby Boomer generation ages. We have already seen a boom in assisted living facilities. We know that long term care insurance is something that is important for all Baby Boomers to have in place. It is a necessity to protect their assets. One of the things on the horizon addresses those individuals who provide care for their aging parents in their homes. The parents do not go to an assisted living facility. They do not go to a long term care facility. They get their care from their children. Our current systems tend to make that arrangement a financial problem for the adult children who elect to care for their parents. Assisted living and long term care can be covered by insurance. Health insurance may cover some assisted living situations. Long term care insurance can cover some nursing home admissions. Medicaid can benefit patients with few assets. However, if the parents live with their children, there is not much financial support. They might be able to claim their parents on their taxes as an exemption. However, that is all that is currently available. That is likely to change in the future. There are already programs being set up to look at alternative arrangements. Some states are setting up programs through Medicaid to test this. The theory is that it will cost Medicaid less for individuals to live with their children than it would for them to stay in a long term care facility. One arrangement is what is called Cash and Counseling programs. These programs provide the elder individual with a cash allowance for his/her needs. They can then spend that money in a variety of ways. They can hire their children to take care of them. They can hire a friend to take care of them. They can hire out home care professionals to take care of them. This would provide financial assistance to the caregivers. Another arrangement is known as the Caregiver Home. In this situation, Medicaid actually pays a salary directly to the caregiver. The salary ranges from $10,000 to $18,000 per year depending upon the state that is conducting the project. Over time these programs will increase in frequency. There will also be additional programs available. It is also likely that caregivers might be able to work out a cheaper arrangement with insurance companies if they call to suggest that they might be able to do things more cheaply for their parents. What is clear is that there is going to be a growing number of parents living with their adult children in the future. They will need care from those children. Some of that care might be done more cheaply than a long term care facility. Insurance companies will be looking at ways to save money. There is thus an opportunity for parents to remain with their children and for the adult children to get financial support when that happens.

First influenza case in Sussex Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reports the first laboratory-confirmed case of influenza for Sussex County and the fourth case for the 2013-2014 flu season. The case is a pre-school aged girl from Seaford who was tested on Nov. 12. She did not require hospitalization. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus - types A and B - that routinely spread in people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. This is Delaware's first case of influenza B for the season.

DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu to get a vaccine as soon as possible. For DPH flu clinic schedules for this season, visit www.flu.delaware.gov. Delawareans are also encouraged to prevent infection by taking simple everyday measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick. These efforts help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu. For more on prevention, diagnosis and treatment call the Division of Public Health at 1-888-295-5156 or visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/index.html.

CHEER offers respite care services CHEER, in partnership with the Division of Services for the Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, (DSAAPD) provides respite service for caregivers who reside in the same home as the elderly person that they care for. CHEER is actively seeking new clients. The respite program is designed to provide the caregiver with brief periods of relief from the caregiver duties. Home health aides can provide personal care and grooming services while the primary caregiver gets a break. CHEER is able to identify and certify people to participate in this program as long as they meet the DSAAPD guidelines. For those that CHEER identifies as eligible for the respite program, service may be provided free of charge. If you know of members in your organizations, groups or in the community at large, relay their names and contact information to Home Services Coordinators Barbara Grogan or Sarah Dutton at 854-9500.

Hospice plans Lunch Bunch Lecture Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center will hold a Lunch Bunch Lecture on Friday, Dec. 6, where Dr. Judy Pierson, clinical psychologist, will discuss "Healing the Wounded Inner Child," at the Delaware Hospice Center, Milford, from noon to 1:30 p.m. While most people want to believe that the past is behind them, childhood experiences greatly shape the way adults view themselves, how they choose relationships and the way they behave. This workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of how their childhood experiences continue to shape and limit their lives. Participants will learn how to re-parent this wounded child and bring more love, support and joy into their lives. Lectures, which are organized by Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center to help members of the community reinvest in life, are open to the public. Registration is required as seating is limited and the cost of lunch is $5 per person. Register by Dec. 4 by contacting Michele August at 856-7717 or 478-5707 or maugust@delawarehospice.org.

Free home asthma assessment The American Lung Association in Delaware (ALA-DE) offers free home assessments for families with children 18 and under who are living with asthma. During a 20 to 30 minute phone call, a registered nurse or respiratory therapist helps parents with children who have asthma identify and eliminate allergens and asthma triggers found in their homes. In addition, the nurse or therapist offers education about the importance of a comprehensive approach to asthma management. The assessment also includes a three month follow-up call from the nurse or therapist. To sign up for a free assessment, contact Nicole Goldsboro at 302-737-6414 ext. 16 or ngoldsboro@lunginfo.org. Interested families should supply contact information and a time convenient for the free home assessment.