How does my health factor into Long-term Care Insurance?

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

My parents need to move! Why should I choose a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)?

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

www.LynnMattecheck.com

Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead

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.

 

For more information about how to prepare, visit  National Preparedness or Red Cross.

 

2017 Cherie Henry and Catherine Camp

Autumn of Life Senior Housing and Advisory Services

How do I know if Long-Term Care Insurance is right for me?

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

Low-Cost Options for Aging in Place

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.

Safety Improvements:

  • 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.

Convenience Factors:

  • 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

Senior Identity Theft

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.
  • Moni
    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.

 

http://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer/Pages/elder_care.aspx

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

 

© Catherine Camp  – Autumn of Life Senior Housing and Advisory Services

The Spring Selling Season is in Full Bloom

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.

 

© 2017 Lynn Mattecheck , Principal Broker and Seniors Real Estate Specialist

Re/Max Equity Group

Spring into Action

Winter is almost behind us and spring is right around the corner. I don’t know about you, but that always makes me want to start some “spring cleaning.”   It seems like there are always projects to do, things that needs to be done.

In fact, when we are helping to care for others it can feel like there are so many things that need to be done.  There are projects and tasks to complete and at all the same time, even things to do that we don’t even know need doing.  Can you relate?

Often times, getting an answer to even just one question, can help to “make our day,” and even reduce some of the stress we feel.  Here are some questions you might have and tools for how you can “spring into action” to find the answer to one or possibly more of your concerns.
* My Mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.   Where can I find support and encouragement?  Check out  https://www.seniorcareorganizer.com/content/links/  . There are several great books written by authors who have dealt with family members with Alzheimer’s.

* I need to find some local senior care support in my County.  This link allows you to put in the zip code to find local resources. http://eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx

* My Father lives alone.  I keep thinking if he fell, no one would know it.  I’ve heard of the emergency pendants, but which one is the right one?  Reviews.com has done quite a large review of medical alert systems. http://www.reviews.com/medical-alert-systems/

* My brothers and I have different ideas about whether Mom and Dad can stay in their own home now that they both have medical needs.   Is there anyone who can give us some advice?  Contact a Geriatric Care Manager.  http://www.aginglifecare.org/

* My Mother is 80 years old, in good health, but doesn’t have anyone close by to help her move. Where can I find help?   Contact a local Move Manager.   http://nasmm.org/

* My Dad was a Veteran.  Is help available for long term care for him and Mom?  Here are a couple of national groups that can help.  http://www.veteranaid.org/    http://www.veteranscarecoordination.com/

* I need to handle my parents’ Social Security.  Do I need authorization?  How does this work?  Become a Representative Payee.  https://www.ssa.gov/payee/faqrep.htm

* My Father is definitely having problems with driving.  Maybe it’s time for him to give up his license?  Check out this Link:  http://keepingussafe.org/

* I really should get more organized as it relates to senior care issues.  Is there a resource for this? There absolutely is.  It comes both as a downloadable interactive PDF and the Notebook version.  http://www.seniorcareorganizer.com/.

By Claudia Rumwell, Senior Care Organizer

Facing Challenges

“You’re going to be new parents! Congratulations!” The joy and excitement of becoming a new parent is a lifetime memory. New parents have at their fingertips limitless resources to help them overcome what they believe are parenting challenges few in the history of the world have ever encountered. From the day we were born our parents lead us to reach milestones, cheering us upon each completion.  As time marches on we find ourselves looking more towards our parent’s milestones than our own and the sounds of cheering are often replaced with voices of concern.

 

As adult children, we begin to notice our parents with their graying hair, deepening wrinkles and other subtle or not so subtle signs of their advancing age. We subconsciously push aside any thought of when milestones ahead are to be reached, often thinking mom and dad have many more years ahead of them before things could take a turn.  We avoid setting a firm date for that conversation of when we have to “tell” our parents what we see. Yet, it’s on our mind frequently, “Dad needs to stop driving.” Or “Mom is getting more and more forgetful.”

 

Inevitably, there will come a time when we can no longer wait for our parents to act on their own. When their safety and well being is at risk and we must step in and become more involved. You may feel alone and think you are one of the few people who has had to deal with such an emotional issue. Preparing for that most intimate of conversations to discuss their future milestones can be overwhelming. Likely, you’ve never been an adult child to an aging parent with elder care issues before. It’s a world you’ve never entered and it can be complex and overwhelming.

 

You have at your fingertips a remarkable group of professional resources who are experts in helping families prepare, process, and complete the many areas of help needed at various stages of an aging parent’s life. NW Retirement Professionals is there for you. You can come to the family table with solutions, answers and the confidence of knowing these can guide you in one or all of the following areas whether it is for your parents or for yourself:

 

Organizing and Downsizing

Long Term Insurance

Estate Planning & Elder Law

Medically Based In-Home Care

Personal safety & Health Solutions

Senior Housing Placement

Residential Real Estate

Estate Sales & Appraisal Services

 

There is so much to figure out and most of us don’t have a clue where to start.  NW Retirement Professionals believes that education is the key to successful aging. In addition to providing services we also have designed several educational series to help folks understand and prepare for the issues and decisions they will face as they age.  Future issues of this newsletter will arm you with information and resources,so you will be better prepared to face your future aging and support your loved ones.

By Catherine Camp

Got the Music in Me

musicWith one in eight baby boomers expected to develop Alzheimer’s, care giving communities must continue to pursue ways to reach people where they are through music, art, athletics, pet therapy and even the way we use language.

No truer example of how music can touch detached residents than in a YouTube video called, “Old Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ.  (Get ready for the tear ducts to start flowing!)  This video has been viewed over an astonishing 6 million times. Obviously, loved ones and care providers are actively engaged in learning more about inspiring therapies as an instrumental addition to their care giving programs.

“Measure of the Heart: Caring for a Parent with Alzheimer’s,” is a memoir by author, broadcaster and former jazz singer, Mary Ellen Geist. She writes she always found a song to sing to her father at the start or the end of his day.

“Music changed everything in the way I was able to communicate with my father,” she said. “It made him come alive. I don’t know how it worked in the brain, but music seemed to cue him to wake up; he would remember verses, sing entire songs. It elevated his mood, but when he was done he didn’t remember what he did.”

We have found that Retirement Communities of every level use music as a part of their regular programing, including Adult Care Homes, which most people are not aware of.  The key being “from their era” or “age appropriate” music.  The music must mean something to the people hearing it. Won’t it be interesting to see how that changes as the different generations age?

At GPS we always make site visits to facilities prior to showing them to our clients. It’s imperative to provide our client’s with the opportunity to participate in daily activities and interests.  We know they can vary greatly from facility to facility and it’s clear to see and compare their offerings. As communities continue to embrace new ways of engaging their residents we look forward to telling you more about who is putting forth such programs.

by Cherie Henry and Diane Delaney of Golden Placement Services at goldenplacements.com