Long-Term Care Insurance provides funds to help you cover long-term care costs in the same manner Health Insurance provides financial coverage for doctor’s visits and hospital bills. However, it is very important to understand that Long-Term Care Insurance and Health Insurance are two distinctly different types of insurance. Health Insurance would likely provide coverage for doctor visits, hospitalization, and maybe even some prescription medicines. But if the individual’s condition progresses to the point where he or she requires long-term care or constant supervision and assistance with daily activities, Health Insurance would likely not provide coverage for that care.
Health insurance was not designed to cover the long-term care expenses for those who may have suffered permanent paralysis from an accident or stroke, developed Alzheimer’s, or perhaps need care as a natural result of aging.
This is where Long-Term Care Insurance comes in. Long-Term Care Insurance has been designed to pick up and provide coverage where Health Insurance leaves off. So in the case where the individual’s condition has progressed to the point where he or she requires assistance carrying out basic activities of daily living (like bathing, eating, toileting, dressing and moving about), Long-Term Care Insurance would provide funds to help cover the insured’s long-term care expenses, in support of any care the family is able to provide.
Those who have purchased Long-Term Care Insurance share that it has also helped them maintain their independence and freedom of choice over how and where their care services are provided. Long-Term Care Insurance can allow you to protect your assets and help ensure that your long-term care needs will not create a physical, financial or emotional burden on your family.
Although you may not frequently move from one home to another, you may go through mini-moves within your living spaces. Perhaps a better term to describe it would be a transitioning.
There are a variety of housing transitions that can occur throughout our lives. There might be a time when you have to change the way your home is set up to accommodate a baby arriving, a young adult returning from college or an aging parent coming to live with you. Another transition might be the blending of two households and the struggle of knowing how to combine everything that is important without having too much. Maybe someone in your home is limited to living only on the first floor due to a short term or long term physical ailment. These transitions require us to rethink the use of our homes, to move and reorganize our possessions to meet our current needs. How do you transition your present space to fit your new specific needs?
Create a list – Begin by writing down the specific new needs for your space. This list may take some time to compile and will require repeated communication with everyone involved in the transition. Often when someone states a need, such as a first floor bathroom, they are making the assumption that you will see other parts of that need that are connected. In this example, it really means a full bath with shower because they aren’t able to climb stairs. Take time to talk through each need, discussing what is involved, why it is important and how it can be addressed.
Think outside the box – Sometimes it is hard to do this in our own homes. When the living room has always been the living room, it can be a challenge to be view the space differently. However, transitioning may require some creative repurposing. You may have always had the dining room where it is now, but perhaps the room could be changed into an office, a bedroom or a family room to fit your needs better. A fresh set of eyes or a new perspective may be needed to see the different possibilities for your space and furniture. In addition, you may find that one change may create a shuffling effect of other rooms or items. This is a part of the transition process, and though it may require some extra effort, working through this cascade of changes will help to make life run much more smoothly.
Stay flexible – Although you may have put a lot of thought into this space transition, you may find there is an aspect of it that doesn’t work well. Take note of this and be ready to adapt. Perhaps your transition was that someone is in a wheel chair and cannot reach the upper cabinets. You shuffled everything to the countertop and lower cabinets, only to find out that the things at the back of the countertops are still out of reach. Be willing to continue to make changes to optimize your space, and remember: transitioning is a process not just a one-time event.
No transition is easy, but with a little bit of planning and work, you can make your home transition so that it is able to meet your new needs.
© Beth Giles
Senior Move Manager/ Professional Organizer – NWOrganizingSolutions.com
Long-Term Care insurance is based on an individual’s physical and cognitive health at time of application. Each insurance company has different “health standards” which affect eligibility, timing and the price of your insurance policy. A health questionnaire helps a long-term care specialist learn about your unique health history, enabling her to make appropriate policy recommendations. All health information is kept strictly confidential.
A medical diagnosis related to chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis, may preclude you from Long-Term Care insurance. Most other conditions such as cancer, heart attack or stroke, are insurable after a period of stability, ranging from 3 month to 2+ years and depends on the severity of the condition and plan of treatment. Sharing your health information with your LTC specialists helps to determine the best product, timing for an application and insurance carrier for you to obtain coverage.
The health questionnaire will be completed in writing at the time of your application for coverage. While not all-inclusive, the following list will give you an idea as to the information you will be asked to provide.
- Age, Height, Weight
- Name of your primary care physician; date and reason for last visit
- Information about current prescription or over-the-counter medications taken routinely including name, dosage and reason prescribed
- Current and previous consultation/treatment history including, in- or out-patient hospitalization, rehabilitation, physical therapy, pending test results, request for additional testing, referral to a specialist
- Personal history of cancer, heart attack, stroke, diabetes or arthritis
- Disclosure of any use of tobacco products
Specific content will depend on the underwriting requirements of your preferred product and insurance provider.
2017 Becky Wehrli LTC
For more information about Long-Term Care Insurance
Contact Becky Wehrli 503-758-5725 or info@BeckyLTC.com
When the time comes that the family home is no longer the right fit for a senior’s living situation, calling on the services of a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) will be a wise choice.
A Seniors Real Estate Specialist is a Realtor who is uniquely qualified to assist seniors in selling or purchasing a home. The SRES designation is awarded only to Realtors who have successfully completed a series of educational courses on how best to help seniors and their families with later-in-life real estate transactions.
One size does not fit everyone’s needs or desires when the time comes to choosing the next place to live. The SRES is knowledgeable in many types of senior housing options. This could mean a condominium, an apartment, a 55+ golf course community or assisted living centers just to name a few.
It would be wise to interview a SRES in your local area. This will be a good time to find out if he or she has the kind of experience that will be of most help to you and your parent. Ask questions that are most important to you. Do they have references that you can contact? Do they have references for vendors who might need to be called in to help with the placement, the move or getting the house in shape before putting it on the market to sell? How long have they been actively selling real estate in the local area?
Your SRES should always work with your best interest in mind. They should be available to answer any questions that might come up before, during and after the sale or purchase of your home.
There will be many decisions to be made on the way to selling or buying a home so be sure to start right by choosing a Seniors Real Estate Specialist to help.
Lynn Mattecheck, SRES
As you know, it is virtually impossible to predict the exact time when a disaster will occur. Many of us can easily put an emergency kit together with a point and a click on an emergency kit website and our kits are delivered to our doorstep within a couple of days. When we send our children off to school we expect that during a disaster or emergency they will be cared for by trained staff regarding their safety, welfare and comfort.
However, how often do we stop to consider the same levels of preparedness for our aging loved ones in their Assisted Living community? The next time you stop in for a visit consider asking some emergency preparedness questions. Their answers may calm or concern you. Either way you’ll be able to make a plan of what role you will have in the event of an emergency and most of all what your expectations are of the community during a crisis.
Does the community have an emergency plan — and know that it works? An assisted living home must have a disaster preparedness and emergency evacuation plan approved by the state’s licensing agency.
Will the community be adequately staffed, no matter what?
There have been lockdowns of public transportation during weather events, terrorism threats or other crises. The staff’s ability to travel from their home to the community may be constrained by the emergency. It’s important to know if there’s a plan in place for adequate staffing during an emergency.
Will there be enough emergency supplies?
Find out how the facility stays supplied during an emergency and if staff prepare in advance. Will there be enough food and water? Are food and water supplies kept fresh? Are there extra medications for residents who will need them? Are there emergency generators and are they in working order?
Are there protocols to maintain clear lines of communication?
Find out in advance what the chain of communication is between staff and families of residents, and know where to look for updates. Some senior living organizations have centralized offices that collect information from individual communities experiencing a disaster and post it on the main company website or distribute it through emails to residents’ families.
How does the staff address residents’ worry when regular routines are disrupted?
Often when we walk by the rooms of assisted living residents, we see they are relaxing while watching their favorite TV shows. However, during a crisis seeing graphic images over and over on the TV can become overwhelming for older adults, especially for those with dementia. Inquire about what your loved one’s senior living community will do to help pass the time. Will they play games, tell stories or offer other engaging activities?
What are the community’s emergency evacuation plans?
Does the community have arrangements with other facilities in the event the building becomes inhabitable after a fire, flood or other disaster? When your loved one moves into a community you’ll want to know whether it has this type of arrangement and with whom.
Knowing what a senior living community’s emergency procedures are and how to communicate during an emergency eases your worry and lets you focus on what you need to do at home. At the very least, make sure the facility has the information it will need to contact you, plus alternate ways to reach you if cell phones and telephone lines are down.
2017 Cherie Henry and Catherine Camp
We are all living longer, and the harsh reality is, if we need care, it’s going to be expensive…and we are not covered. Costs are soaring, statistically we are living longer and most of us are going to need care at some point in our lives. Medicare and your health insurance do not cover long-term care services. You will be faced with self-insuring to pay costs and liquidating or selling assets, all while ensuring you leave enough assets and income for future care of a surviving spouse. It can be a daunting challenge.
Well, the solutions have changed. No longer is traditional long-term care insurance the only answer.
Traditional LTC insurance provides the lowest premium with comprehensive benefits and features. However underwriting may be more challenging and premiums may increase over time. Additionally, you may not use your benefit.
Hybrid Products combine life insurance with LTC insurance. You receive a benefit either through use of LTC services, or a death benefit. Underwriting may be less restrictive, so it could be easier to qualify. Premiums are guaranteed not to increase and there is a cash value if the policy is cancelled. However, some policies require a single premium ($50,000 minimum) and you may be able to find lower premiums if you purchase life insurance and LTC coverage separately.
Short Term Care is insurance to pay for care of up to a maximum of one year. It can be an attractive cost-effective alternative to traditional LTC insurance. And the underwriting process tends to be less restrictive offering a solution to individuals with pre-existing conditions. However, the premiums for these policies may increase over time. And you may find that you utilize your benefit and still need care, thereby requiring self-pay or spend down to qualify for government assistance through Medicaid.
All these options are viable and beneficial in certain situations. There is no perfect solution that fits all situations. Education and consultation with a long-term care specialist is the key to helping you find which solution is best for you and your family.
© 2017 Becky Wehrli
For more information about Long-Term Care Insurance
Contact Becky Wehrli 503-758-5725 or info@BeckyLTC.com
Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Of course your ability to do this hinges on many factors, including the nature of the challenges you face in your current home. Major home renovations may be required, but there are also numerous inexpensive steps you can take to improve your living situation.
- Flooring: carpeting is preferable to area rugs because it reduces tripping hazards and can cushion falls. But if area rugs are used, make sure they’re secured to the floor.
- Handrails: on stairways, add a second handrail along the opposite wall for improved stability.
- Footwear: to prevent falls, non-slip shoes are preferable to slippers of socks.
- Non-skid safety strips:adhered to the floor of a tub/shower, non-skid strips are preferable to removable in-shower bath mats.
- Bathroom grab bars: ideally these should be anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible opt for a safety rail clamped onto the side of the tub.
- Quality step ladder: purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top to safely reach items stored out of reach.
- Lighting: whether it’s making a bathtub brighter or installing motion-activated night lights in the hallway, better lighting can help prevent falls and make hobbies, reading, etc. more enjoyable. Lighting improvements might be as simple as changing the bulbs (to higher wattages or to bulbs that mimic daylight instead of “yellow” soft lighting) or adding battery-operated units.
- Hand shower: convert a standard fixed shower head into a hand-held system with flexible hose.
- Raised toilet seats: no need to buy a new toilet when a removable seat can be added to most standard toilets.
- Mail catcher: mail delivered via a slot in the door may be easier to retrieve from a mail box, especially if a narrow basket is mounted below the door opening so the recipient doesn’t have to pick up mail off the floor.
- Knobs: replace round door and/or faucet knobs with lever styles, which are easier to turn. likewise, loop pulls can make drawers easier to open.
- Eating: specially-designed cups and eating utensils can minimize food spills, including weighted options that help counterbalance shake-prone hands.
- Cooking utensils: lightweight and ergonomically-designed options are readily available now, many offering non-slip handles and bright, attractive colors.
- Keep things handy: move often-used items to easy-to-access locations.
- Eliminate excess “stuff”: having fewer items to store, sort, juggle, and handle can make aging in place an easier and more enjoyable proposition.
Lynn Mattecheck is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) with RE/MAX. You can count on her to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home. (503) 495-3258.
The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation is awarded by the SRES® Council, a subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). To learn more about SRES® and access various consumer resources, please visit SRES.org
With each passing minute a growing number of our seniors are becoming victims of identity theft. Identity thieves love to prey on older people because they are “sitting ducks”. They are often socially isolated, lonely, tend to be trusting and unprotected. Add early dementia or memory loss to the list and our seniors are the perfect victim profile for an identity thief to prey upon.
The sly tricks a thief uses to attain an elderly person’s social security number, bank account numbers and other financial or personal documents are quite simple. Most of our older population have been living in their homes for years and many have unsecured mailboxes. Stealing mail containing bank and credit card statements, tax information or even rummaging through garbage can lead to an easy creation of a new identity.
Thieves will even go to such lengths as to send mail, some with “official letterhead”, appearing to come from trusted sources such as the victim’s bank, charitable organizations or well-known companies. Almost daily we hear of thieves calling elderly people, pretending to represent charities, associations or their bank or financial institution. Unfortunately, many senior citizens believe that these phone calls are coming from a trusted source.
Knowing that identity theft can happen at any time and in various ways there are a few ways we can all initiate our own crime prevention tactics.
- Never give out personal information over the phone, through mail, or over the internet unless you initiated the contact.
- Shred all financial documents, bank statements, sensitive mail, credit card solicitations, and documents that contain any type of personal information.
- Guard credit cards. Watch sales people, wait staff in restaurants, and anyone who asks for your credit card. Destroy credit cards that are rarely used or unused.
- Don’t allow anyone to copy your driver’s license or similar information. Address and date of birth can be used to get other personal information.
- Get a locked mailbox or post office box.
- Be suspicious of emails asking you to click on link to confirm account or respond to an urgent need. It is safer to ignore the email and contact the company directly if you are unsure.
tor online correspondence for “phishing” e-mails from people asking for help with the promise of financial rewards.
According to the FTC, nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year. It’s impossible to say how many seniors are scammed, or even what percentage of known fraud targets seniors, because they are often too embarrassed or ashamed to let anyone know. There are resources you can use to further protect yourself and your aging loved ones as well as resources to help you know where to get help if identity theft has occurred.
© Catherine Camp – Autumn of Life Senior Housing and Advisory Services
The Portland housing market is in full bloom. You have probably seen signs of this as For Sale signs pop up in your neighborhood one day and a Sale Pending sticker appears the next day. This is a sign of more things to come as we continue to see more people moving into Portland for quality of life choices and jobs. Our unemployment figures have been trending downward and we are now at 4.4%.
Supply and demand and low interest rates are pushing our prices upward. New listings in March 2017 outpaced March 2016, however pending sales and closed sales lagged behind just slightly in March 2017. The average price of homes being sold in the previous 12 months ending March 31, 2017 increased by 12% with the average sales price of $404,300. This figure will differ by neighborhood. With inventory in months at just 1.3 months, the 2017 Spring and Summer selling season will be brisk.
Once the house goes under contract, an appraisal is ordered by the lending institution. If the home received multiple offers that pushed the sales price over the listed price, the appraisal might come in low. At that time the sale could terminate, or the buyer and seller will need to renegotiate the terms of the sale that will be acceptable to the lender.
Buyers are paying top dollar for homes and expect properties to be in top condition. Sellers are wise to spend some time and money to make sure their home will attract the right buyer. A pre-inspection will inform a seller of the necessary repairs that a buyer might want done prior to closing. The seller can disclose what they know about their home and how they remediated any of the repairs.
Making the home ready to show from the moment the buyer first steps through the door will help a seller obtain top dollar in this market. Windows that sparkle, fresh paint and kitchens and bathrooms with recent updates will impress the buyer and reward the seller with a quick close.
Re/Max Equity Group