Why Seniors Should Ask Pharmacists: How Much Will My Prescription Cost without Insurance?

how much will my prescription cost without insurance

Seniors and caregivers are in the habit of using insurance benefits to pay for prescription medication. But sometimes, the cash price could actually be cheaper. FamilyWize explains how new laws will allow pharmacists to share the best price option and how asking a few simple questions saves seniors money on prescriptions.

 

Did you know that seniors could save money by paying cash for their prescription medications?

If your older adult’s health insurance covers prescription drugs, they most likely always use their insurance benefits when buying medication. But that might not be the lowest price.

Due to restrictive contracts between pharmacies and insurance plan providers, pharmacists haven’t been able to point out when a patient could save money by paying the pharmacy’s lower cash price rather than the price negotiated by their insurance plan.

The good news is that, in the future, these so-called “gag order” clauses will become illegal.

Find out how new laws help seniors save money on prescriptions, what questions to ask pharmacists to find the lowest price, and why shopping around results in a lower prescription price.


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New laws allow pharmacists to help patients find lower prices

On October 10, 2018, the Know the Lowest Price Act and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act were signed into law.

These new laws ban Medicare Advantage plan providers, providers of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, and commercial health plans from including “gag orders” in their contracts with pharmacies.

That means that after the laws go into effect on January 1, 2020, pharmacies will always be able to let patients know when they can provide a lower price than insurance.

Even though pharmacists will no longer be banned from discussing lower price options with their patients, they also won’t be required to disclose cash options.

That’s why it is so important for seniors and caregivers to feel comfortable asking questions at the pharmacy counter in order to get the lowest prescription drug prices.

 

How to ask pharmacists for the lowest prescription prices

It’s a good habit to always ask about the lowest price at the pharmacy counter. In generally, this information is quick for pharmacy staff to look up.

To get the best information, especially if pharmacy staff are busy, try to be as specific as possible.

You might want to ask:

  • What will it cost if we choose NOT to use our insurance?
  • Do you offer a lower cash price for this prescription?
  • Do you have any suggestions for saving money on [specific drug name]?

 

Prescription pricing is inconsistent; save money by shopping around

Often, an insurance copay will be the cheapest option for your older adult’s prescription medication.

In other situations, getting the lowest price may mean paying cash for the prescription rather than using insurance.

Sometimes, pharmaceutical manufacturers’ coupons or prescription discount cards may be the best choice for saving money with or without insurance coverage.

It’s also important to remember that not all pharmacies charge the same price for the same prescription drug.

Even though an insurance copay will likely stay the same no matter where you use it, the retail price of a drug may change depending on the pharmacy your senior uses.

For example, some big box retailers have negotiated very low cash prices for popular generic blood pressure drugs, blood thinners, and cholesterol medications.

If your older adult takes a commonly prescribed maintenance medication (a treatment that will continue indefinitely), it pays to compare prices at local pharmacies and big box retailers to find the lowest price.

 

Expect even more prescription price transparency

In the future, federal officials are debating forcing pharmaceutical companies to disclose list prices of prescription drugs in their television advertising, increasing transparency in the industry.

The New York Times reports that some people compare the proposed regulations to sticker price requirements for automakers.

All of this is a great reminder that there are many different ways for seniors to afford their medications, whether they use their health insurance or not.

 

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Guest contributor: Ken Majkowski, Pharm.D, is the Chief Pharmacy Officer at FamilyWize, an organization that provides a free prescription discount card and mobile Rx app to help people better afford their medications, regardless of insurance coverage. Ken brings more than 40 years of healthcare experience to the FamilyWize team, including 14 years of clinical pharmacy experience in retail, hospital, and home care.

 

Image: GreenLight Pharmacy

 

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


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Source: CareTips

Want to Stop Emotional Eating? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions

Stop-Emotional-Eating

Have you ever thought about the tiny number of things over which we have actual control?

There are so many things in life that go on regardless of us actually ‘doing’ anything to make them happen. Trees get leaves and plants grow. It rains. The earth turns on its axis.

Our bodies alone do amazing things every minute of every day without us having to direct it. Our hearts beat. We breathe. We don’t have to think, “Time to release some gastrin so I have enough acid in my stomach to digest my lunch!”

Yet we waste a lot of energy trying to control things that we can’t. We allow our inability to control these things make us miserable. And we don’t control some of the things in our lives that are within our control.

As a weight loss coach, I see how these factors seriously interfere with a person’s ability to lose weight and keep it off.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Karen’s 22-year-old daughter Lily (who has her own apartment) gets a job as a server at Hooters.

Karen is very alarmed by this and doesn’t want her daughter to work there. Karen tries to convince Lily to get a different job, but Lily refuses. She’s making a good wage there, and the customers do not touch her, as that is not allowed.

The more Karen tries to convince Lily to switch jobs, the worse her relationship with Lily becomes. Lily starts avoiding Karen because she’s sick of her mom bugging her about this job, which Lily actually enjoys.

So, Karen eats as a way to distract herself from her feelings about the situation. Karen had been trying to lose weight, but because of her emotional eating, she’s gained weight.

What is the problem here? It isn’t that Lily got a job at Hooters. The problem is how Karen is thinking about it.

Because Lily is an adult, Karen can’t control where Lily works. Karen’s efforts at trying to control the situation are alienating her daughter from her. And by allowing her thoughts to make her miserable about the situation, Karen has lost control of one thing she can control: what she puts in her own body.

So what should Karen do? The only thing she realistically can do under the circumstances. Manage her thinking.

One of the few things in life over which we do have control is how we think and what we think about. Knowing how to manage our thinking is not only the key to a happy life but is also the key to losing weight and keeping it off.

Because our thoughts create our feelings, we can actually change our feelings by changing our thoughts.

I’m not saying it is always easy to do this, but as humans, the most evolved part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex, actually allows us to control our own thinking. With practice, we get better at it.

So back to our friend Karen. Not only is she upset about her daughter’s job, but now she’s also upset about the weight she’s gaining because of dealing with the situation by eating when she isn’t hungry.

What can she do to change her thinking and get back on track with weight loss? She can ask herself these six questions:

What Am I Feeling that I’m Trying to Avoid by Wanting to Eat?

I’m feeling disgusted, scared and angry because my daughter is working at Hooters.

What Is the Painful Story or Thought I’m Telling Myself That Is Causing That Feeling?

Working at Hooters is not only offensive to my feminist values, but it is dangerous. Creepy men will be staring at my daughter’s body and trying to grope her boobs and butt! What if she gets raped by some perverted patron?

Is That Thought or Story True? I Mean, Really True?

Could you prove this story factually, with evidence to a jury? Values are a judgment, which means they are a thought, not a fact. Although Karen is entitled to have her feminist values, she cannot expect other people to have the same values as she does, even her own daughter.

What about the groping and rape part? Lily has told Karen that the customers are not allowed to touch her and that they are normal people.

Karen doesn’t have any evidence that the customers Lily is serving are dangerous or threatening to her. She’s never read about anything bad happening to Hooters servers. Karen can’t prove that this story is true.

When I Think This Thought, What Do I Do?

Karen eats when she isn’t hungry. Then her body stores that energy as fat. The result is that she gains weight when she wanted to lose weight.

How Do I Want to Feel?

Karen just wants to feel at peace about Lily’s choice, have a good relationship with her daughter and not let it upset her every time she thinks about it.

What Can I Think Instead to Feel the Way I Want to Feel?

Karen can think that she can be less judgmental about Lily’s choices and more accepting, even if she doesn’t understand Lily’s choice.

She can think that Lily may be going through a phase and that she will not make this her life career. Lily has made a choice for now for financial reasons, and her job is not dangerous.

By using her prefrontal cortex to reason about the situation and to purposely choose how to think about it, Karen can be at peace with the situation. She feels better. She stops her emotional eating, and she starts losing weight again.

Are you an emotional eater? What do you do to avoid indulging and instead stick with a healthy eating regime? Let’s discuss the issue in the comments below.

The post Want to Stop Emotional Eating? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions appeared first on Home Health Care News.

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Source: CareTips

3 Ways for Caregivers to Worry Productively

caregiver worry

Worrying hurts caregiver health and relationships

One thing all caregivers do is worry.

What if dad doesn’t take his heart medication? What if mom gets scammed and loses her savings? What if my spouse has another stroke?

These are all legitimate fears, but constant worry is stressful and will wear you down. Too much worry can create anxiety, paralyze problem solving, and cause tension in relationships.

Being completely worry-free isn’t realistic. But what is realistic is taking steps to get some control over your worries.

We’ve got 3 ways to reduce your worrying and help you turn it into something more positive and productive.


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1. Get your thoughts and worries down on paper

Write all your caregiving worries down on paper. Yes, all of them.

Just writing things down helps you let go of some of the worries you’ve bottled up.

Seeing your thoughts in black and white can give you a better perspective and help you identify the specific things you’re concerned about.

 

2. Separate productive vs. unproductive worries

Caregivers have both productive and unproductive worries.

An unproductive worry is something we have no control over, like the fact that your mom’s health is declining.

If you can recognize some of your worries as unproductive, you can get into the habit of telling yourself “there’s absolutely nothing I can do about this, so it’s a waste of time to even worry about it.”

Soon, you’ll be able to stop worrying and accept it as an unchangeable fact.

A productive worry is something where you can do something to improve the situation.

For example, if you’re worried that your dad will fall in the house, you can declutter and make key safety updates in each room like adding grab bars or other quick fixes that reduce his risk of falling.

 

3. Ask “what’s the worst that could happen?”

Tackle a worry head-on and ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen if this worry came true?”

Then, think about what you would do if it does happen. Preparing for a situation can reduce the power that worry has over you.

For example, if you’re worried that your husband could have a heart attack, think about what you could do if that did happen.

That helps you take proactive steps like:

  • Preparing a bag so you’ll be ready for an unexpected hospital trip
  • Researching and understanding how to help prevent heart attack
  • Putting together a list of family, friends, and medical professionals you can call during an emergency

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: AFT Projects


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Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease at 50 and Beyond

Preventing-and-Reversing-Heart-Disease-at-50-and-Beyond

Around the world, nearly seven million people die of coronary heart disease every year. And despite the continuing advancements in surgery, diagnostic techniques, and pharmaceutical interventions, that number keeps going up.

Mainstream Drug Treatments

As a cardiologist, I’ve treated many patients with heart disease. For years I prescribed drugs to patients who were suffering from high cholesterol and high blood pressure as the first step in treatment – because that is what I was taught to do.

But somewhere along the way, I started to notice that even though my patients’ “numbers” were improving, most didn’t look or feel any better. In fact, many patients were telling me that the drugs I had put them on, especially those for lowering cholesterol, were making them feel worse.

I knew there had to be a better way. And it turns out there is!

The Better Alternative

In fact, the data is right there for everyone to see – changing what we eat is the key to treating and preventing heart disease. So much so that studies have shown heart disease REVERSAL when lifestyle (and especially diet) are optimized.

The best part is, there are no side effects from eating better – just side benefits like lower blood pressure, better blood sugar control, weight loss, and a reduction in inflammation.

In one food-based study, 24 patients with severe coronary artery disease were offered an “experimental” dietary therapy on top of traditional medical care.

They were instructed to switch to a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet which consisted of whole grains, beans and lentils, vegetables and fruit. Of the 24 patients, 17 adhered to the WFPB diet and 7 opted out.

In the eight years before the study, those 17 patients collectively had 49 heart events including heart attacks, strokes, angioplasty, bypass surgery, and worsening angina. In the 12 years following their dietary change, they suffered no additional events.

None.

The Role of Medications

This doesn’t mean medications don’t have a place. There’s plenty of data to support their use as well. But medications need to be thought of as an adjunct to optimized lifestyle – not the complete answer.

I saw this first hand when I started to incorporate nutrition into every treatment plan I created. All of a sudden, my patients were requiring less and less medication to control their health issues – and best of all, they FELT better!

I’ve even had some patients become non-patients because their health improved so much through dietary change.

This isn’t a diet that’s restricted or bland or even expensive. And because we eat multiple times per day, every day, even small sustained changes can yield dramatic health effects over time.

Implementing Diet Changes that Help Your Heart

So, if you’re not ready to go all-in on a WFPB approach, you can still significantly improve your health by focusing on adding these nutrients to your diet:

Plant Sterols

Plant sterols are found naturally in many grains, nuts, seeds, veggies, and fruits. This nutrient helps lower cholesterol by blocking cholesterol absorption in the intestines. Broccoli, blueberries, and corn are rich in plant sterols. They’re also plentiful in almonds, walnuts, pecans, and flax.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3’s are the good fats. These fatty acids are essential to your health and can be found in fish like tuna, salmon, and halibut – as well as in nuts and seeds, including walnuts, flax, and chia. Omega-3’s help lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, while helping promote brain health.

Antioxidants

Found naturally in vegetables, fruits, coffee, and wait for it… chocolate and wine, antioxidants help prevent and stop cell damage. By incorporating these into your diet, you’re helping your body fight off disease and chronic ailments.

Whole Food Fiber

This plant-based nutrient is found in beans and grains, as well as fruits and vegetables, and helps keep food moving through your body. Fiber also aids in regulating blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol.

Supplements or Diet?

Together, these four nutrients play an essential role in keeping the main culprits of heart disease – diabetes, high-blood pressure, and high cholesterol – at bay.

But an important point needs to be made – getting these substances from food is preferable than getting them from supplements. Unlike the studies on food, studies on supplements have yielded generally disappointing results.

So, I encourage you to start incorporating more of these nutrients into your diet through small sustained dietary changes. It will make a big difference in how you feel, and most importantly, it will give you the best chance to improve your heart health and help you live well, longer.

The post Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease at 50 and Beyond appeared first on Sixty And Me.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor to get specific medical advice for your situation.

The post Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease at 50 and Beyond appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Balance for Seniors: 600,000+ Seniors Die from Falls Each Year… Don’t Be a Statistic!

Balance-for-Seniors-600000-Seniors-Die-from-Falls-Each-Year.

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” If you’re an older woman who dreads experiencing that TV commercial as a real-life drama, you’re not alone. In today’s video, Dr. Sarah Brewer and Margaret Manning share insights into why losing our balance and falling after 60 is such a problem for us – and tips to prevent it. Read on and don’t forget to watch the video!

“She’s Gone Off Her Legs”

Most of us consider diminishing balance and the increased risk of serious falls over 60 as inevitable. Dr. Brewer explains that the UK medical profession even has a term for it: “She’s gone off her legs.”

And “off your legs” is definitely not somewhere you want to go. It could mean bruising, fractures or a broken hip and a one-way trip to a long-term care facility. If you’re old enough that fear of falling makes you avoid essential tasks like bathing, shopping or even sweeping, however, it’s time to act.

If you’re not there yet, act anyway. Despite what you’ve heard, following Dr. Sarah’s tips now can help you preserve your balance and avoid falling once you reach 60.

Maintain Your Muscular Strength After 60

Picture a stereotypical little old lady struggling to open a jar. Where did her strength go? It disappeared with her muscle mass, thanks to a condition Dr. Sarah identifies as sarcopenia.

Proper exercise and diet, however, can slow or prevent sarcopenia. Eating an adequate amount of quality protein and exercising from 30 to 60 minutes on most days, or a total of 2.5 hours per week, can boost your mass enough to build back your strength.

Try brisk walking, for instance. Dr. Sarah calls it an excellent antidote for sarcopenia and shaky balance. Using a walking stick, or Nordic poles, provides security and takes pressure off of your aching knees while also building arm strength.

Weather not cooperating? Turn your couch or easy chair into a workout bench with leg lifts, arm raises and shoulder stretches. Just get your muscles working and blood pumping!

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

Does rising suddenly from a sitting or lying position make you dizzy enough to fall? Blame low blood pressure. The change can trigger a 20-point drop, according to Dr. Sarah. It’s especially noticeable if you’re in too much of a hurry to get out of bed.

Usually, a few under-the-covers yoga stretches can help ease you into the day. For Dr. Sarah, a great way to start the morning is to sit up slowly, swing your legs to the floor and pause before standing.

For many of us over 60, however, the water pills we take for high blood pressure are a problem. Prescribed to prevent heart attacks or strokes, they unfortunately affect our electrolyte levels. This causes dizziness – and a higher chance of falls!

Track your BP with a home monitor. If it’s low, talk to your doctor about adjusting your meds and balancing your electrolytes. Regular checkups also reveal problems like atrial fibrillation, a heart issue associated with poor balance.

Replenish Your Diminishing Vitamin D

By the time you reach 60, Dr. Sarah says your skin makes only 20 percent of the Vitamin D it did during your 20s. Vitamin D helps control your slow-twitch muscle fibers. They cause the reflexive jerking that helps us recover our balance while falling.

Our bodies manufacture Vitamin D from sunlight, but they don’t get enough of it during cold, dark winters. Dietary sources include eggs and oily fish such as mackerel, herring or salmon. For women over 60, however, supplementing is the best way to ensure adequate Vitamin D intake.

Be Conscious of Your Surroundings

Meditation is one way to help you become aware of fall threats in your surroundings, and it is especially helpful when traveling. No new attraction is worth a bone-jarring tumble to the tarmac!

Or, as many of our mothers chided us so long ago, “Watch where you’re going, dear!”

Dr. Sarah reminds us to be alert for home hazards such as curled-up carpet corners. She also suggests keeping a light on to navigate late-night bathroom runs.

Stand Strong Against Falls

We can’t expect the world to be responsible for keeping us “on our legs.” Falls among older women are a serious problem. It’s up to us to limit our risk by working on balance and strength after 60 and staying aware of what’s around us!

The post Balance for Seniors: 600,000+ Seniors Die from Falls Each Year… Don’t Be a Statistic! appeared first on Sixty And Me.

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Source: CareTips

10 Steps You Can Take to Fall in Love With Your Community

Community

Whether you’re a newcomer or a long-time resident, there are multiple ways to experience more joy and connection in your community.

After numerous changes of address and believing that a new geographic location would make her happier, Melody Warnick still felt restless. She wrote, This Is Where You Belong as she discovered how to feel more connected to the town she was living in. It worked. She hasn’t moved since.

I found her book at my local library and was curious to read what she had to say. She suggests a number of ways to reap all the emotional, psychological, and physical benefits of your neighbourhood.

I walked myself through her suggestions and discovered I’d inadvertently already been following many of them. It explained why I already love my community.

I’d like to share some of her findings with you so you can assess why you love your own community and perhaps discover a few ways to love it even more.

Create a Perimeter

Draw a circle with a one-mile radius around your home. What tasks can you complete within this circle while walking or cycling? Walking and cycling connect us more closely with our environment.

Within my own one-mile radius, I often walk to the grocery store, visit the library and museum, dine at local restaurants and visit our post office. My walks often have me chatting with my neighbours and observing the antics of our local wildlife.

Encourage Local Businesses

Commit to spending a total of $50 a month among three locally-owned businesses.

As most of the businesses in my small, rural community are locally owned, it’s easy for me to go over this limit every month.

Enjoy Local Activities

Do the stuff your town is good at.

My community is known as the Island of the Arts. It was the main reason we chose to live here. I attend many local music and theatre events and engage in as many of the arts as I have time for. I’m currently experimenting with painting and collage.

Find Time to Dive in Nature

Make a list of your area’s natural assets that help you get close to nature.

We have many local parks, beaches, and walking paths within our 22 square mile radius. I live rural with nature in my backyard. This includes deer, turkeys, eagles, hummingbirds, crows, ravens, orcas, dolphins, seals, and more.

Hike with a Friend

Invite a friend to join you on a hike.

We have a map of all our local hiking trails. I’ve just bought a pair of hiking poles so I can navigate steeper paths more easily. A friend and I have committed to regular forest bathing ventures.

Find a Place to Volunteer

When I first moved here, I volunteered at the Visitor Information Centre. I made friends there, and it fast-tracked learning about everything my community had to offer. I soon started volunteering for events within the art community.

Shop Regularly at Your Closest Farmers’ Market

Our Farmers’ Market runs from May to October and is a gathering place for all of us to meet, chat, and shop with each other as well as with local farmers and artists.

Don’t Forget Politics

Follow your local political representatives on social media and attend meetings, when possible.

I’ve always liked to keep up on what’s happening locally, so I know how to vote in each election. I have attended community meetings about local issues and volunteered at election time.

What About the Arts?

Find out about art events in your neighbourhood and plan to attend them.

As I’m fond of the arts, I keep myself informed about all of our local arts events. I attend as many as possible. We have so many that the hard part is deciding which ones to miss.

Read About Your Town’s History

Our Museum holds a lot of our past on display. I’ve read several books written about my island and the West Coast, in general. We also have a long-time resident who hosts a story-filled, guided tour of the Island during the summer months.

Be Creative

Now, it’s your turn.

Go through the suggestions on how to fall in love with your own community. Fill in your own answers. Think about trying any suggestions you haven’t yet pursued.

I like what Melody Warnick says about how she fell in love with her town. “Wherever you are, experience joy… I can soak up every last drop of pleasure to be had in my town. I can choose to make myself belong… If I had to, I could do it all over again somewhere else.”

The post 10 Steps You Can Take to Fall in Love With Your Community appeared first on Sixty And Me.

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Source: CareTips

Forget the Funny Sweater: Here Are 6 Real Benefits of Knitting

My mother was a brilliant knitter. I used to sit in awe watching her fingers fly over colored threads weaving intricate patterns. As she chatted with me while knitting, I would have the honor of helping her roll her balls of wool. It always amazed me that she could do such complicated knitting patterns while watching the television and talking to someone at the same time.

Exploring the Real Benefits of Knitting

She explained that during the war, knitting was something a lot of young women did to pass the time and calm their nerves while sitting for hours in air raid shelters. Later, knitting became a very practical skill when she had children. I remember very well some of her scratchy creations being so intricate and beautiful.

Today, knitting is having a big revival, according to Debbie Stoller, the founder of “Stitch ’n Bitch” knitters’ groups that now meet all over the world. She is considered the knitting revivalist leader and claims there are over 38 million knitters in the US alone. Knitting is one of those traditional crafts that are popular with younger women as well as older knitters.

What are the benefits of knitting? If you are a beginning knitter here is why your new craft is so good for you and is going to change your life – for the better!

Shopping for Wool is now a Sensory Delight!

Today, knitting shops are a visual delight. You enter to find a treasure chest of different wools in every color of the spectrum. There are different textures and styles including metallic, pastels, and mixed colors, pure whites and designer blends. The choices are amazing and allow knitters to create beautiful individual and unique pieces.

Skeins of wool tend to be reasonably priced and so for just a few dollars you can create a magical unique piece in just a few hours. You can also learn knitting and make new friends. Wool shops are great places to meet other women who have a passion for knitting.

Many also offer classes which improve your own skill and offer social connection as well. Knitting is an individual activity but connects you to a large following of creative women all around the world.

Knitting Calms the Nerves

There is something about knitting that makes it one of the best ways to relax. Whenever I have got something on my mind, I use knitting as a way to get my mind away from complexity to a simple repetitive activity. It just calms me down and feels very meditative. In fact research shows that knitting and yoga are a perfect combination.

The simple repetitive practice of breathing in and out, focusing on the rhythm of creating similar patterns over and over, is very calming. It helps to get you away from external stress and brings you right into the moment.

Having said that, knitting is also a great way to be productive while still being able to focus part of your attention elsewhere. You can knit while watching TV, while having a conversation, while riding in the car or on the train, or while keeping an eye on kids who are playing near you but who don’t need your full attention. It is also a great thing to do while listening to audiobooks.

Knitting Gives You Instant Gratification, but, Teaches Patience

Learning how to knit allows you to experience the joy of instant gratification. Being able to produce something within a few hours that you can actually wear is hugely satisfying. Achieving this immediate sense of accomplishment is important for both your emotional well-being and self-confidence.

Knitting is also a great activity for grandkids who have a relatively short attention span. There are many benefits of knitting when spending time with your grandkids. You can work together with your grandkids to create little scarves, mittens or purses, and something created, stitch by stitch, has a very special bonding significance.

At the same time, more complicated knitting projects certainly take patience, which is a great skill for the young, and young at heart, to develop.

Knitting Projects for Gifts and to Sell

Gone are the days when a knitted Christmas gift meant a scratchy pair of socks or a reindeer themed Christmas sweater. People actually look forward to receiving a handmade angora headband or a multi-color scarf and appreciate that it was something you made especially for them. There are some wonderful knitting projects for beginners to try.

For you, the process of knitting becomes a gift in itself as you put your thoughts of the recipient into the process. You personally feel the benefits of knitting when you weave your love into what you are creating. Finally, don’t forget that there is a big demand for unique homemade products, so why not try selling your handiwork on Etsy or other online marketplaces.

Knitting Boosts Brain Power

On the physical side, knitting is good for your brain. It improves hand eye coordination and by helping you relax, it also reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and generally minimizes stress.

Some evidence even claims that knitting helps to reduce risk of dementia, strokes and brain disorders. This is because the simple repetitive activity of knitting changes your brain chemistry, and produces more of the “feel good” hormones, serotonin and dopamine.

Knitting for a Good Cause

Since knitting is such a great way to connect people, there are many organizations that encourage knitting for good causes. Knit for Peace simply gets people together in groups around the world to break down barriers and differences through the simple act of knitting together. The goal is to get women and men from different, often competing tribes or communities, to come together in a casual friendly way to just knit peacefully in a constructive manner.

Another group in the UK called Grannies, Inc. has created a marketplace for older knitters and shares the profit from their online sales.

The post Forget the Funny Sweater: Here Are 6 Real Benefits of Knitting appeared first on Sixty And Me.

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Source: CareTips

Thrive: ‘Maniacal’ Finances, Companion Care Help Homewatch CareGivers Agency Ramp Up Revenue

When Reena Sharma opened her Long Island, New York-based Homewatch CareGivers franchise location in 2013, the odds were stacked against her.

New York was coming out of a moratorium, which froze licensing for new agencies. Though the state’s Department of Health was accepting applications from new home-based care providers, there was a processing backlog, leaving Sharma’s agency without permission to provide personal care services until 2016.

Rather than put the business on hold, Sharma operated the Homewatch CareGivers as a companion care-only agency for nearly three years.

“We couldn’t bathe,” Sharma told Home Health Care News. “We couldn’t dress. But we said, ‘Listen, we could build this business serving folks who have Alzheimer’s and dementia — [who] don’t need personal care — but really need safety and oversight. We tapped into that very early.”

Since then, Sharma has grown her agency — which now serves more than 400 clients per day with about 300 caregivers in New York’s Nassau, Sussex and Queens counties — to become one of the top revenue generating Homewatch CareGivers franchises in the country, according to the franchiser.

Sharma declined to disclose her agency’s revenue or profit margins but attributed much of her success to her background: Before entering the home-based care industry, she spent decades working in management consulting and investment management.

Ultimately, the experiences taught her to identify untapped opportunities and pursue them in a profitable way — while also inspiring her to pursue her passion in the first place.

“After spending 20 years in corporate, I just said, ‘Am I happy?’” Sharma said. “‘Am I really fulfilled? Am I doing something I just truly feel passionate about?’”

After realizing the answer was no, Sharma quit her job and began looking for business opportunities that would allow her to help people.

Because her husband worked in the pharmacy industry, health care seemed like the perfect fit. She chose home care after determining it had the most growth potential.

Globally, the home health care market is expected to exceed more than $7 billion by 2024. And that figure is only projected to grow in the future, with 10,000 baby boomers in the U.S. turning 65 every day and the nation’s aging population expected to double in the next 20 years.

Sharma’s ability to stay nimble and find a niche in the face of licensing challenges helped get her agency going — and eventually thrive. Her story serves as a lesson for other home care providers today, many of whom are also dealing with regulatory uncertainty and administrative backlogs.

Untapped opportunities and ‘maniacal’ finances

Since entering the industry, Sharma’s strategy has always revolved around pursuing untapped opportunities with a “maniacal” eye toward finances, she said.

It started when she chose to offer companion care while her personal care license was pending. Six years later, several industry players are making similar moves, catering to the needs of seniors, one in three of whom dies with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

For example, Maryland-based home care agency Regent Healthcare announced the development of its dementia caregiver training programs in November. Also last year, Sunrise, Florida-based Interim HealthCare and Omaha, Nebraska-based Right at Home rolled out dementia programs, with a big perk being creating specialized caregiving positions while also catering to clients’ specialized needs.

Once Sharma’s Long Island-based Homewatch CareGivers location earned a license to offer personal care services, it expanded its focus beyond companion care.

It’s next goal became winning market share of several different ethnic groups in the New York City metro area.

“As the licensure came, again I tapped into, ‘Where are the opportunities?’” Sharma said. “I happen to be of South Asian background, a born-and-raised New Yorker, and I said to myself, “I want to help my community.’”

She began reaching out to different religious and community groups and hiring bilingual caregivers.

Currently, Sharma’s agency provides companion care, personal care and, occasionally, nursing services. Although the bulk of the agency’s payments come from Medicaid, a “good portion” of services are also paid privately or with long-term care insurance, Sharma said.

Additionally, the agency offers a bevy of community services.

“[We have] a very open door policy with the community,” Sharma said. “It doesn’t matter what you need help with. We’re here. Bring your letters. Bring your stuff you’re confused with. Bring your food stamp application. We may not be able to help you on the spot, but we’ll guide you in the right direction.”

At the end of the day, the agency’s success lies in its finances, Sharma said.

“Anything can go wrong with Medicaid or even with your clients,” she said. “So we are … maniacal about our finances because you could go under within weeks. Your payroll is huge.”

As such, Sharma operates by a cardinal rule from her corporate days: You cannot manage what you cannot measure.

“I’ve been maniacal about making a process out of everything and knowing every part of the pipeline of my office operations and measuring every aspect of it,” Sharma said. “If we’re going way into overtime, I want to understand why. If people are challenging us with rates and we’re missing visits, I want to know why. Your success will be around managing your numbers.”

Thrive is a HHCN series that explores the successes, struggles and strategies of home care owners and operators on the local level.

The post Thrive: ‘Maniacal’ Finances, Companion Care Help Homewatch CareGivers Agency Ramp Up Revenue appeared first on Home Health Care News.

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Source: CareTips

Possible vs. Inevitable: The Importance of Preventing Falls… and How to Do It!

Preventing-Falls

Several weeks ago, a woman commented on an article I’d done about getting older vs. getting old. She told a story about taking a bad fall over a concrete curb, sitting there for a few moments, and then moving on.

What’s notable about her story is that at 76, she got up and kept going. She lost only a tiny fraction of her flexibility. She didn’t land in the hospital, decline and die within six months – unlike far too many older people.

The Senior Health & Wellness Blog posted a quick review of the stats on our ‘splats’, if you will, and the extraordinary cost we pay when we don’t keep our balance.

The Story of One Woman

The woman in question, let’s call her Marge, banged her head, elbow and a few other places. It took her a moment to get her bearings. Then she got right up and walked away. Most women of that age don’t get up again. Far too many die within six months of a fall.

Marge is different.

Why? When she wrote to me, she explained that she’d started doing yoga and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) when she was 62. She works out on weights. She works on her balance and flexibility. She’s not a lifelong athlete.

I’ll say it again: She began at 62.

When she did see her doctor, he was shocked not only at how little flexibility she’d lost but that the fall had done so little damage in the first place.

Why We Fall

And therein lies the point. Falls kill. They can be horrifically unforgiving. All too often, they happen because we’re trying to do something at the end of a ladder that we shouldn’t, or we have a slightly too-high opinion of our abilities that might be a tad too dated.

Or it’s just a touch of snow or ice in the wrong place on the sidewalk. Or for that matter, it’s a disease or a combination of prescription or OTC drugs we’re taking, which is a whole other matter entirely.

We all fall. I do it spectacularly, but I ask for it because of the sports I do. At 65, horse back riding is the worst offender when it comes to head injuries. Still I am off to ride for three hours this afternoon. With a helmet, of course.

Prevention Matters

But I also take other tumbles. What keeps me in the game is the same thing that Marge does: a combination of yoga, balance work, weights and aerobic activity.

Marge didn’t get there overnight. Nobody does. We begin where we are with gentility and a sense of humor. We ask permission and achieve small gains over time.

The body confidence that we can gather with those small gains makes all the difference when it comes to our personal freedom and our ability to enjoy life.

And to survive falls, which are inevitable for all of us at one time or another.

Techniques for Fall Prevention

Here’s the RX for fall prevention, and if you do fall, for the ability to get right back up again:

  • Start a gentle program (such as yoga).
  • Work on your strength and your flexibility. Find a program or class you love and will commit to do regularly.
  • Be patient with your body, especially if it’s been a while. Have a good chuckle at yourself and give yourself permission to be imperfect.
  • Celebrate the small gains. Who knows? That turn around the block may turn into a 10k race before you know it. When we begin a new effort, we have no idea where it may lead.
  • Get support by involving friends who will not only encourage you but support you along the way. Laughter goes a long way towards encouraging each other to keep moving.

The post Possible vs. Inevitable: The Importance of Preventing Falls… and How to Do It! appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post Possible vs. Inevitable: The Importance of Preventing Falls… and How to Do It! appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse of Seniors with Dementia

nursing home abuse

When someone with dementia lives in a care community and gets injured, you don’t know if abuse or neglect was involved or if it truly was an accident. Morgan & Morgan shares tips to find out what happened, spot signs of elder abuse, how to know if the nursing home was at fault, and what to do if it could be abuse.

 

When someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia lives in assisted living or a nursing home, they may become vulnerable to bruising, falling, wandering into unsafe areas, or forgetting their physical limitations.

But if your older adult can’t remember how they broke their hip, hit their head, or suffered an injury, you might wonder if it was truly an accident or if nursing home abuse was involved.

If a nursing home failed to properly care for your older adult, you may be able to file a lawsuit to cover your parent’s medical costs and receive compensation for their pain and suffering.

If it’s determined that your older adult was abused, an attorney can help you report it to the proper authorities and make sure their rights are protected.

Use these tips to find out how the injury happened, identify signs of elder abuse, how to know if the nursing home was at fault, and what to do if nursing home abuse is a real possibility.


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5 steps to find out how the injury happened

If your older adult can’t recall how an injury occurred, you may need to investigate on your own. Here are 5 steps that help you find out what happened.

1. Ask around
Ask other residents if they saw anything, especially if your parent has a roommate.

2. Request a care plan meeting
Meet with the Administrator and Director of Nursing to bring attention to the situation and determine how it occurred.

3. Contact the local ombudsman
If you’re not getting appropriate answers, report the incident to your state’s elder abuse ombudsman or the state agency that regulates nursing homes or assisted living communities.

4. Check for security footage
If the accident took place in a common area, a security camera may have captured it.

Note that private facilities aren’t legally obligated to share footage unless required by local authorities or a court order.

5. Have a doctor examine them
Your older adult’s physician can also do a physical exam to help identify possible causes of the injury and whether it seems to have been caused by abuse or if it was more likely an accident.

 

Look for common signs of elder abuse

If this isn’t the first unexplained injury your older adult has suffered, don’t rule out the possibility of elder abuse.

More than a third of people with dementia are psychologically or physically abused by their caregivers.

Warning signs of elder abuse include:

  • Unusual injuries – If bruises are large or in odd places like on the face, neck, upper back, or chest, investigate further. Also look out for burns or indications of physical restraint.
  • Severe injuries – A serious injury, like a broken bone, without an explanation of how it happened could be a sign that something is wrong.
  • Skin lesionsBed sores, ulcers, or pressure sores are obvious signs that your older adult isn’t being properly cared for.
  • Malnutrition – Sudden weight loss, dehydration, or bowel impaction (often caused by dehydration or insufficient fiber), could mean that your parent is malnourished.
  • Unsanitary conditions – Soiled clothing, dirty linens, or evidence that your older adult is being forced to lie in bodily waste are also clear signs of abuse.

Additional signs of elder abuse include:

  • Sudden changes in personality and behavior, including depression and withdrawal.
  • Your older adult becoming quiet when a certain staff member is present.
  • Your older adult refusing to see a doctor or dismissing the severity of their injury.
  • Caregivers not wanting you to be alone with your older adult.
  • Caregivers offering differing explanations or unusual excuses for the injuries.

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How to determine if the nursing home is at fault

Whether your older adult was hurt in an accident or abused by a caregiver, the nursing home or assisted living community could be at fault for their injuries.

3 top factors that could make the nursing home liable are:

1. Negligent staffing
The care community could be liable if they are understaffed, have unqualified people on staff, don’t provide adequate training, or if they hire people who have a history of abuse.

2. Inadequate security
A care community could be liable if they fail to install locks and alarms to keep patients from wandering inside the facility or leaving the building.

They could also be at fault if there are a lack of security cameras that could help prevent violence or abuse from occurring.

3. A hazardous environment
If the care community has failed to address tripping hazards like slippery floors or raised carpeting, they could be at fault for an injury caused by these hazards.

 

6 steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse

1. Talk with other families
Ask other families they’ve noticed similar injuries on their older adults or rough behavior by any staff members.

2. Report your concerns
File a formal complaint with the Administrator and/or the Director of Nursing.

3. Install a camera in their room
Installing a camera means that you can observe and record what happens in your older adult’s room.

Be sure to research the privacy laws in your area – you may need to put a notice on the door alerting others of the camera’s presence.

Note: Some states, including Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, do allow cameras to be installed in private nursing homes.

4. Visit regularly
Do your best to visit your older adult weekly, or even multiple times a week. The age-old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” helps your older adult get better care.

You want the care community’s staff to get to know you and, more importantly, to know that you care about your older adult and you’re keeping an eye on them.

5. Move them to another care community
If you fear for your older adult’s safety, move them to another care community as soon as possible.

6. Document everything and report it to the proper authorities
Having a record of what happened is important when reporting the incident to local authorities.

These could include the police, Adult Protective Services, or an ombudsman program in your area to advocate on your older adult’s behalf.

 

Recommended for you:

 

Guest contributor: Alexander Clem is an attorney for Morgan & Morgan. He represents clients who have been affected by nursing home negligence, personal injury, and wrongful death. Alexander is a former member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and has been recognized by his peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America since 2005.

 

Image: Dovedale Care Nursing Home

 

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


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Source: CareTips

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