Long-term care by the numbers

Long Term Care Facilities

Long Term Nursing Care

Long-term care can be confusing and expensive for many people, with little opportunity for perspective. Below is long-term care by the numbers to help you better understand the state of nursing home and rehabilitative care in the U.S. for the elderly population.

8 million elderly U.S. citizens experience difficulty taking care of themselves on a day-to-day basis.

Another 13 million American adults have trouble performing independent activities association with living on their own.

44 percent of men in the U.S. will require long-term care in their lifetimes.

58 percent of women in America will have need long-term care in their lifetimes.

8.5 percent of adults in the U.S. aged 65 years and older reported spending at least one night in a nursing home in the last two years (2010).

Nursing home stays increased by 40 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Home healthcare visits increased by 50 percent during the same time period.

There is a 22 percent probability that a man will need more than one year in a nursing home in his life.

For women, the probability is 36 percent that they will require more than one year in a nursing home in their lifetimes.

2 percent of elderly men require a nursing home stay of at least five years.

Women have a probability of 7 percent of needing a nursing home stay of at least five years.

The average duration of a nursing home stay for a man is 0.88 years.

For women, the average nursing home stay lasts about 1.44 years.

14 percent of Americans 71-years-old and older have dementia.

The rate of dementia among adults 65-years-old is expected to increase by 40 percent from 2015 to 2025.

64 percent of nursing home residents in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia.

13.2 percent of Americans who received professional home healthcare in 2010 had long-term care insurance coverage.

Approximately 22 percent of long-term care costs come out-of-pocket.

Medicaid covers 51 percent of long-term care costs.

28 percent of Medicaid funding paid for long-term care costs in 2013.

8 percent of long-term care delivered in America is covered by long-term care insurance.

13 percent of elderly Americans that are covered by long-term insurance.

$7.8 billion in long-term care claims were paid out in 2014.

There are about 43.5 million adult family caregivers that look after someone over 50-years-old.

14.9 million of these adult caregivers provide care for a person with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

This totals to about $450 billion in unpaid care provided by these caregivers (2009 estimate).

The average caregiver is a female (66 percent) and 48-years-old.

 

Federal study reveals new blood pressure guidelines

New Blood Pressure Guidelines

New Blood Pressure Guidelines

We all know that managing blood pressure is key to longevity and higher quality of life, but perhaps we have been underestimating exactly how important it is, and what is considered healthy. A recent landmark federal study supports the aggressive treatment of high blood pressure, as it can greatly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death among people 50-years-old and older. The study urges doctors to reconsider the common blood pressure target and aim well below that.

Clinical guidelines thus far have commonly recommended that healthy adults have systolic blood pressure of 140 or below, and 130 or below for those with kidney disease of diabetes. Systolic blood pressure is the top number in the blood pressure reading. Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts, and blood rushes out of it.

However, the new study shows that a more effective goal is systolic pressure of 120. Physicians across the United States have made it known that there is a lack of clear standards for systolic blood pressure. This new study has set forth a clear standard and many doctors were surprised by how low it is.

The study was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and it looked at the effects of using medication to keep systolic pressure down to 120 or lower, and found that it lowered the rate of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure by nearly a quarter when compared to keeping the systolic pressure at 140.

Nearly a third of all American adults have high blood pressure – that’s 70 million people. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans and stroke is the third-leading cause of death. High blood pressure is the key ingredient in heart disease and stroke, and most adults in the U.S. do not have a good handle on it. Steps can be taken to correct diet and lifestyle behaviors that contribute to high blood pressure, although genetics are also a potent factor. As the study shows, blood pressure reducing medication may be the key component.

This doesn’t mean that doctors will begin prescribing medication in a carpeting manner. If a patient needs lower their blood pressure, doctors will still carefully consider if medication is right in the situation. Physicians consider age and other health and illness factors before prescribing medication. The key is to look into your medication options while also implementing lifestyle changes for long-term results.

Joy with Alzheimer’s (and how to create it)

Alzheimer’s Cure

Alzheimer’s Disease and Exercise

Alzheimer’s is often looked at as a devastating disease that creates victims from those who have the disease and their caregivers. The initial diagnosis can overcome the caregiver with depression and what is known as anticipatory grief. The standard stages of grief accompany this. Caregivers may become angry at the situation, at God, and even at the loved one who received the diagnosis.

Looking at Alzheimer’s this way, it really a crippling disease. However, Alzheimer’s experts paint a different picture and strongly agree that a different reality can exist with this diagnosis. Alzheimer’s is undoubtedly a terrible illness, but those with the disease, their caregivers, and their loved ones can still enjoy life.

It seems that the key to quality of life with Alzheimer’s is the right support structure and environment, and thinking small. It’s difficult to create a perfect day for someone with Alzheimer’s, but you can focus on joyous moments and help keep an overall better mood. Alzheimer’s specialists recommend creative therapy outlets like art and music therapy to help keep the mind strong for as long as possible while also relieving stress. This is something caregivers can also participate in to alleviate some of their own stress.

Caregivers should also participate in physical activities with their loved one living with Alzheimer’s. Exercise is important for people with Alzheimer’s for the same reason it is a big part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone else. Being active keeps your mind sharp, reduces stress, and keeps you physically healthy, as well.

Studies have shown that physical activity has a positive effect on behavioral symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s. There are many Alzheimer’s drugs on the market, but exercise is free, has no side effects, and can significantly improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

The type of activity that is appropriate for a person will Alzheimer’s varies greatly depending on how old he or she is, how progressed the disease is, and body health issues that may limit mobility. If your loved one enjoyed gardening, continue this routine with them to help stay connected to valuable memories while getting low resistance exercise. Go for long walks around the neighborhood, which is perfect for jogging the memory and remembering old stories.

Whether you spend time going for walks or singing old songs, as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, it is important to focus on positive moments, step by step. Implementing lighthearted activities is a great way to distract from the other side of Alzheimer’s and create joy to together.

Physical activity invaluable for everyone (especially elderly)

Physical activity for elderly

Physical Activity and Elderly

A common belief among elderly people is that they are too old for certain things, or that it is too late. Older people often say that they are too old to learn something new, or too sick to be physically active. However, that is rarely the case, especially when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Health is something we must remain vigilant about, as there are many things people of all ages can do to help themselves, especially after facing health issues.

We often report new findings that support the importance of having physical rehabilitation after having surgery or experiencing a different health episode. Physical therapy and rehabilitation directly impact health outcomes after hospital discharge, but this is also an important lesson for just about everyone.

Exercise can benefit anyone and the same goes for older adults. It is unlikely that you will be making free throws on the basketball court, but even mild physical activity is still important. Being fit directly relates to a person’s ability to age in their homes and remain independent for longer. This is the secret to feeling like you’re 65 when you’re 85, but it’s important to start early.

It’s true that Americans are living longer than ever. In the next decade, more than 89 million people will be 65-years-old or older. This is going to be more than double the number of older people in the U.S. in 2011. Fitness can also lead to a longer life, but it’s really more about quality than quantity. It is important to be healthy in order to be able to enjoy these additional years.

Regular exercise and stretching can reduce risk of falls and broken bones, and it helps people bounce back from medical issues. Older people that have suffered triple bypasses and cancer have found salvation in physical therapy after a health episode, and many continue their commitment to being physically active from there. After all, it does improve your well being mentally, emotionally, as well as physically.

So what qualifies as low intensity exercise? Brisk walking or jogging, for those that are able to jog, and dancing are great aerobic exercises that are generally safe for seniors. Yoga will help keep you limber and flexible and there are many yoga classes designed especially for older people their unique needs. Balance exercise like tai chi can help you prevent falls and remain mentally alert for longer periods.

3 Primary Concerns of the Elderly

Concerns of the Elderly

People of all ages have concerns and worries and these things change and develop over time as we age. All concerns, as different as they may be, stem from desires and hopes. Growing older does not mean entering a carefree time, they just change from the time we are teenagers or parents to young children.

As the child of an elderly parent or a primary caregiver, it is invaluable for you to understand the primary concerns that your parents face, as you are likely a primary caregiver or decider in the care of your loved one. You should know these concerns so you can help ease those worries and help provide peace of mind, and help your loved ones overcome these emotional obstacles. It may also be time to reach out to professionals for assistance with care.

Primary concerns of the elderly:

1. Money

People seemingly worry about money throughout their lives, and the senior years are no different. No one wants to outlive their savings, which is increasingly becoming true. Life expectancy is one the rise and it is wonderful that we are now living longer than ever before. However, this means that our savings have to cover those extra years even while healthcare costs continue to rise. The twilight years require extensive financial planning and changes can cause a lot of worry.

2. Usefulness

It is difficult to see your role in your family and in society shift. Most elderly people have led long, productive lives in which they felt useful. However, once the kids grow up and have kids of their own, elderly people can lose a sense of purpose. To counteract this concern, keep your elderly loved one close and express their value in your life. If possible, let them watch children or help in the kitchen, or engage in another reaffirming activity.

3. Being a burden

In addition to worrying that they are not actively contributing, seniors are concerned with becoming a burden on their loved ones. Growing old means that we become a lot weaker or ill so we can no longer take care of ourselves the way we once did, or do the things we used to. It is often up to the family to pick up the slack and carry the extra weight. Reassure your loved one that they are not a burden and, if necessary, find a suitable solution so that a professional can administer proper care.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Rehab Partner

rehab

When going through the rehab process, choosing the right rehab partner is essential. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy should all be available depending on the types of injury and the severity of the situation. At BRIA Health Services, we offer all three services to ensure you or your loved one receives the best possible recovery. However, keep in mind that the recovery process does not end after the rehab center. Follow-up appointments should be scheduled prior to leaving the rehab center. When making important choices like these, be sure you are informed on how to provide your loved one with the best possible care.

Physical therapy crucial after surgery and other health episodes

Physical Therapy Rehabilitation

Post Surgery Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is known as a miracle cure for various ailments that seniors face. While we usually warn to beware the snake oil, it is true that physical therapy is now lauded as one of the most effective treatment methods for many diseases and health issues, although most often it is recovery from a fall. Doctors prescribe physical therapy typically after a prolonged illness or surgery, and it has been widely used in treating a wide range conditions, from dementia to incontinence.

The American Physical Therapy Association says that physical therapy can restore strength, range of motion, flexibility, coordination, and endurance – and possibly even improve these functions. This helps seniors retrain themselves to perform everyday tasks, but most importantly (in the time directly after the health episode or procedure) physical therapy can help greatly reduce pain. Although physical therapy rarely makes a life or death difference, the fact of the matter remains that physical therapy (or lack thereof) is a major determinant of quality of life.

Physical therapy is applied to such a large variety of health issues because there are many different types of physical therapy. There are different categories, like sports therapy, but even in the medical classification for seniors and others in recovery, there are many different type like aquatic, hot packs, electrical stimulation, cool packs, and much more.

Physical therapy is also a tried and true treatment for normal ailments that settle in with age. By the age of 65, most people have arthritis of the spine. The most common treatment for this is a pain reliever, and physical therapy. Still, some seniors decline physical therapy after a serious health episode, as they see this as just a supplementary treatment. In reality, however, physical therapy is a primary treatment that is just as important as the surgery itself.

Families can help their loved ones regain health and strength by taking an active role in physical therapy. First, insist that doctor’s orders are followed and physical therapy is completed. Family members should remain positive and supportive, even though this will likely mean an increase in commitment and time. Many seniors elect to forgo this crucial treatment because they feel guilty and like they are a burden. They understand the strain that their health issues puts on others, and want to minimize that. It is the family’s responsibility to reassure your loved one and together make a renewed commitment to the best health outcome.

Why Creating Road Maps is Essential

road-map

Advanced directives are simply another term for a living will, which are a way for you or a loved one to roadmap the medical future, even if you are unable to physically speak for yourself. One of the benefits of a living will is that you do not need a lawyer to complete this form, but instead may use the POLST form. “POLST” stands for “Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.” This form serves as a medical order that will ensure an individual’s end of life wishes are respected. It is important to note that the POLST form is not for everyone. Generally, the form is intended for those whom death within a year would not seem unexpected. The POLST form is not intended to replace Power of Attorney for Health Care (POAHC), but is instead used to supplement this form.

Study finds earlier introduction of palliative care leads to plummeting hospital bills and improved quality of life

Palliative Care Services

Palliative Care: Symptom relief during illness

There is a common misconception that palliative care is reserved for end-of-life treatment, but that’s not true. Hospice is the type of care that is geared toward chronically and terminally ill patients. Palliative care, on the other hand, is appropriate for patients at any age and at any stage of serious illness. According to a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, earlier introduction of palliative care for patients with advanced cancer is linked with lower hospital costs. (The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and National Institute for Nursing Research).

The JCO report indicates that earlier enrollment in palliative care also enhances the quality of medical care offered to the patient and does this at a lower cost than traditional oncological care.

Palliative care is special in that it provides focused attention to those with serious illnesses. The focus is placed primarily on relief from symptoms, pain, and stress. Palliative care also strives to provide help and relief to the patients’ families. The idea is reduce suffering all around. Although palliative care can be applied to patients suffering from many different illnesses, it is most often seen with patients that have cancer, cardiac disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease.

The study compared clinical data and cost data gathered from 969 adult patients who suffer from an advanced cancer diagnosis. These patients were patients were collected across five hospitals in the period from 2007 to 2011. Of these 969 patients, 256 received palliative care along with oncological care and the remaining 713 patients received only traditional oncological care.

This observational study yielded interesting information. The study shows that when a palliative care consultation was delivered within six days of hospitalization, hospital costs were reduced by $1,312, or 14 percent, compared to those that did not get this consultation. When the palliative care consultation was administered within two days of hospitalization, hospital costs were reduced by an additional $968, a total of $2,280 (which is a reduction of 24 percent).

Palliative care is offered in conjunction with traditional treatments by specially certified healthcare professionals like nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, and chaplains. Palliative care is known as “supportive medicine” that aims to improve quality of life as much as possible by focusing on the mental, emotional, psychosocial, spiritual, and physical ailments. In order to succeed in this, however, early identification, assessment, and implementation is crucial.

AARP tool shows livability score for aging in your zip code

What do livability scores by the AARP tool tell about aging in the U.S.

A big factor in the elderly choosing whether or not to remain in their homes as they age, versus moving to a nursing home, is the location in which they live. Few people may consciously consider the livability of their neighborhood and how conducive it will be to aging. The AARP recently developed a new online tool that reports Livability Index grades – for free.

The index is on a scale from zero to 100 and is meant to tell people where it is best to retire based on many factors that range from the superficial (like tax rates and sunshine) to the vital (like affordability, health care, and public safety).

This tool is revolutionary because you can input your zip code to pinpoint specific neighborhoods and drill down into the details to get expanded information. So far, the highest ranking big city is San Francisco with a score of 66 and La Crosse, Wisconsin has the highest score (70) of all small towns in the U.S. The low score of the top-ranked cities and towns is telling to the AARP.

The scores indicate that most places across the United States are not designed to take care of the elderly. It is important for people to start paying attention to the low scores now because households held by someone 70 years old or older is expected to skyrocket by 42 percent over the next decade.

Aging in place, or the ability to live independently and comfortably in your home as you age, is highly desired by many people. The reality of the situation is that a home can end up being a financial burden with mortgage, insurance, maintenance, and repair costs, and it take a lot of work to keep up. Most people as they age lose the ability to maintain proper upkeep of a home or are not healthy enough to perform daily lifestyle and medical tasks.

Now the AARP is finding that even if these factors are not present, aging in place may be much more difficult for many elderly people than living in a nursing home due to poor livability conditions in their areas.