Health

Long-Term Care: What You Need to Know

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Long-Term Care: What You Need to Know

Understanding that long-term care is a reality for about 70 percent of people age 65 and over and that the costs related to that care are increasing every day, brings to light the importance of being prepared to deal with a long-term care situation, whether for yourself or a loved one.

While there are a variety of long-term care services and facility options, not all of them are available

in every community. Most people want to stay at home for their care, but even in the event that

they need to go to assisted living or a nursing home, the aligning services may or may not be

obtainable when needed.

Payment options for care also vary. Public payment options put the reliance for skilled, short-term

care on medical health plans and Medicare, and these plans do not pay for non-skilled custodial long-term care. Medicaid, will, however, pay for skilled and non-skilled care but there are asset and income qualifications and limit the individual to what types of care and care facilities can be utilized.

Private payment options allow for an individual to determine much of the course of his or her long-term care because of coverage decisions made at the time a long-term care insurance policy was purchased. However, due to the premium costs from an insurance policy and other determining

factors, this is not an option for everyone. The best you can do is prepare a ‘plan’ for your care to guide your family.

This series of blogs will offer you a look into long-term care and what the options are for care services, payments and the details of a long-term care insurance policy in an effort to help you prepare for and begin considering what long-term care means for you and your family specifically.

Long-Term Stress Can Cause Immune Problems

I was speaking with someone about some information she heard on Anderson Cooper.   While that show was about divorce (four key errors that will indicate you are bound to divorce), Dr. Gottman mentioned something that intrigued her.  That contempt (which is a form of stress) damages one’s immune system.

And, this has been known for a while.  Back in 2000, with a MacArthur grant, a group of researchers at Ohio State University found that stressful situations affect our immune system.  It turns out that stress disrupts the communication between various elements of our body- the nervous system, the endocrine system, and our immune system.  Once the chemical messages have been blocked, these three vital systems no longer can work in concert.

It seems that glucocorticoids (stress hormones) are produced continually in low amounts when the body is subjected to long-term stress.  These react upon the thymus (where lymphocytes, a critical component of the immune system, are produced) and also inhibit cytokine and interleukin productions (which affect the ability of our white blood cell functions).

So, why are we discussing that here?   Because, we know that caregivers have long-term stress issues.  Oh, they love the people for whom they care, but it’s still stressful.  And, those folks in the sandwich generation and older that provide care for loved ones have higher than average levels of cortisol (which is produced by the adrenal glands).  And, it is possible that this activity causes the adrenals to secrete fewer antibodies (which, in this case, were responding to the influenza vaccine).

In addition, some caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients (spouses) have been found to have lowered T cell activity. (To learn more about T cells in the immune system, check here.  It also has a good diagram.) These lymphocytes affect cellular immunity.  The problem is the caregivers affected most are those that have the least amount of additional help and the fewest number of friends.  (In other words, they were isolated, which augments the stress levels.)

We also know that massages reduce our stress levels.  And, data exists proving that massages are associated with more responsive immune systems.  (You can find a layman’s explanation here.)

So, these are all the reasons why caregivers need to insure they have some time off.  To recoup.  To reduce the stess levels in their bodies.  And, they need to insure that they have the time to interact with friends, which also elevates our general happiness levels.  So, they can stay healthy- and care for their loved ones.

Affordable Quick Care Service for Seniors

the North Bay’s premier provider of in-home care for seniors, began QuickCare, a very affordable service for those seniors who need just a little help in May,2011.

The first of its kind in this area, Sequoia Senior Solutions offers this quick assistance service to seniors living within the Petaluma city limits. QuickCare service can be provided for as little as 15 minutes and can cost as little as $7.50. Such services can include unloading the groceries from the car after shopping or even just dropping in for a quick medication reminder or a wellness check while a family member is out of town. It provides peace of mind for the family and is a great back-up for seniors beginning to find it difficult to perform one or more of their daily chores.

“Sometimes seniors know they need help, but are uncomfortable having someone in their home for long periods of time” says owner and CFO Stanton Lawson. “They may prefer to have someone drop by and help them with a specific chore or two, without committing to a four hour service, which is the minimum required by most home care agencies. QuickCare offers a convenient way to provide assistance to those who don’t yet have a great need but could certainly benefit from a little help.”

Lawson also points out that some seniors aren’t yet ready to admit they need help, and with just a quick “drop-in,” this is a great way to introduce them to the advantage, freedom, and reassurance that such assistance can provide in their lives.

Available currently to seniors living within the Petaluma city limits, QuickCare services can include: help moving things around the house, driving to appointments and incidental transportation, bathing assistance, light grooming, meal preparation, shopping, sorting and filing bills, and more.

QuickCare is also an ideal service also for seniors living in Independent or Assisted Living Facilities, who may need one-on-one assistance with bathing, getting to and from the dining area, or even just getting out of the facility to do some shopping or taking a drive in the country.

More about Sequoia Senior Solutions:

Recipient of the North Bay Business Journal’s “Best Place to Work” award in 2007, 2008, and 2009, Sequoia Senior Solutions was founded as a home-based business in 2003. As of today, the husband-and-wife owners, Gabriella Ambrosi and Stanton Lawson, have grown their business to include the six counties of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, and Solano, offering wide and varied services such as companionship for the elderly, personal care assistance, meal planning and preparation, transportation, bill paying, and light housekeeping.

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