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Expert Insights

Analysis of trends in senior care, advice for people coping with an aging patent, and health advice for seniors.

Are you being observed? Inpatient vs. outpatient status

By Diane Weinstein, Executive Director, EPOCH Assisted Living at Melbourne

Diane WeinsteinDuring a hospital stay, do you know if you’re considered an “outpatient” or “inpatient”? According to AARP, for most patients the distinction between the two labels is meaningless – after all, you are getting exactly the same care. But a label can have costly consequences.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, your hospital status affects how much you pay for services such as X-rays, drugs and lab tests. It may also affect whether Medicare will cover care you get in a skilled nursing facility. Medicare will only cover the care you receive if you first have a “qualifying hospital stay,” which means you have been a hospital inpatient for at least three days in a row, counting the day you were admitted, but not counting the day of your discharge.

Tips on overcoming the winter doldrums

Winter bluesIt’s very common to feel blue during the winter months with the often depressing backdrop of overcast skies, limited sun and shorter days. For seniors with limited mobility, the poor weather conditions might cause them to become increasingly homebound and feel isolated. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of falling into a seasonal slump.

Friends and social activities are a huge help in lifting the mood, so setting a weekly get together is a smart idea. If you no longer drive, take advantage of public transportation to visit loved ones or participate in community events. Or you might invite friends and family to your home.

It’s also important to eat a healthy diet and continue to exercise, though often it can be hard to find the desire to do so when it’s cold outside. But staying active will reduce the risk of falling into a slump and keep your body healthy. 

Plan your loved one's care with the whole family

Being a caregiver for an aging family member is hard work. For many, the responsibilities are made more stressful by trying to juggle another job along with other family and social roles. Caregiving can become much more manageable when a whole family agrees to care for an aging relative together.

Initiating a family meeting is a great way to begin sharing caregiving responsibilities. You can set up clear expectations for each person’s role and help the primary caregiver feel less alone as everyone agrees to help and support each other. A meeting will also help aid planning for long term care to ensure your loved one will be well cared for even in the face of changing circumstances.

Make the most of your charitable contributions

Donation tipsDuring the holiday season, the spirit of giving is everywhere and many people want to do what they can to help others. Yet, if we don’t make our donations carefully, we risk not really making much of an impact or worse, falling victim to scams. Below are some tips to help ensure your contributions actually serve those you wish to help.

First, be wary of solicitations for charitable donations. Charity scams are common around the holidays, with many scammers posing as legitimate charities. And unfortunately, they frequently target seniors. You’re better off playing it safe and ignoring solicitations altogether. Instead, look for a charity you’re passionate about. This way you can better avoid scams while also supporting a cause that shares your values.

Tips for traveling with an aging parent

Traveling with an aging parentIf your aging parent’s health or mobility has been on the decline, long-distance travel can pose some challenges. Travel becomes even more difficult during the holiday season when airports are busier and more chaotic than usual. While you’ve likely already made your travel plans and purchased your plane tickets, there are still some things you can do to make your travel experience less stressful and your holiday more enjoyable.