Hudson - Litchfield News August 12 2011 - 11
Well Care by Christine A. Wirthwein
One of the most challenging scenarios we face as adults is taking care of those who first took care of us - our parents. Somehow we always expect to see them as strong, alert and independent. However, when age begins to diminish a parent’s ability to live independently, we have to face this new reality with clarity and be fully armed with our best options. When the time comes for assisted living - defined as help from others with the “activities of daily living” (ADLS) and includes dressing, bathing, transferring, toileting and even eating - adult children must know those options. Finally, those options must be weighed on an individual basis, matched to the health of our aging parent’s individual needs and in light of the economic realities they face - as well as the real life constraints faced by concerned family members. There are basically two options to consider for aging parents
who require assistance with these ADLS: Home care or an assisted living community. As the name implies, home care encompasses a range of services provided in the home, by a home care agency staff. Living in an assisted living community supports the aging parent or parents within an atmosphere of assisted living services, which are available around the clock. Like any two choices, there are trade- offs to consider. First, home care is generally more costly than assisted living.
However, because home care is paid on an hourly basis, costs can vary widely based on the type and duration of care provided. Regardless, home care costs only cover services and do not include room and board, or many other amenities provided in assisted living. When considering home care against assisted living, assisted
living is typically more affordable than in-home care. The all- inclusive fee structure of assisted living usually covers most needs, including a private apartment, all utilities, three meals each day plus snacks, daily assistance, transportation to medical appointments and for assorted recreational trips or shopping, and daily life enrichment programs.
Although assisted living is not covered by Medicare, some states
have subsidies. And, the Veteran’s Aid and Assistance Program can cover up to about $1,700 per month for eligible veterans or surviving spouses who served in Word War II, Korean, Vietnam or Gulf Wars. Assets must not exceed $80,000. One authoritative national survey showed that the average annual tab for home care can be more than twice the annual cost for an assisted living community. This is based on the 2009 national averages by the MetLife Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs. Level of care, amenities, apartment size, location and other factors may impact the cost.
Clearly the one benefit of home care is that the parent is able to remain in their house, and the environment they have come to know and love. The downside is that they are still left alone much of the time, and isolation is a proven precursor to rapid decline - in terms of both physical and mental health. And, there is a plethora of horror stories resulting from home care agency staffs who exhibit the
for care giving. The key is to make a fully informed decision that works for everyone - based upon both a short and long-term set of considerations. The good news is that moving into an assisted living community in America today can be the beginning of a very positive new season of life - even as the season of total self-sufficiency ends. For more facts on the various options available for aging parents in the local area, please contact Lynda Brislin, executive director at Wheelock Terrace in Hanover at email@example.com
Seniors who move to assisted living communities have the benefit of staff support around the clock and in a secure setting
“No call-No show” behavior, leaving the parent alone and the adult child frightened and frustrated. By contrast, many people who share their same interests and limitations surround the aging parent who moves into an assisted living community. This socialization aspect is now recognized as a major factor in “active aging” that maximizes potential at each step versus an atmosphere of decline. Adult children should also acknowledge that the need for assistance will only intensify as the parents continue to age, so the concept of a total care envelope in a safe and secure setting bodes better for their future than home care. This “bundled” approach also allows the adult child to plan the finances and budget, confident that costs will be largely controlled - and predictable - versus the a la carte approach of home care. Finally, home care still leaves many life burdens unsolved - such as housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, and transportation - which can loom as quite daunting for adult children, especially those not living close by their aging parents. There’s no question the peace of mind knowing the assisted living community is responsible for everything allows family members to focus on the more pleasant aspects of visiting Mom or Dad rather than having to attend to an arduous list of chores. On a personal level, the aging parent becomes well known within the assisted living community - and often deeply bonds with the community caregivers and other residents. By contrast, home care providers tend to rotate in and out much more often - and so the personal dimension often stays in the realm of “services rendered.” As stated earlier, each family has to make the best choice for their aging parents - and for themselves as the primary decision makers
What to Look for in an Exercise Facility
the street or easy to get to. When looking for an exercise facility, find one that’s either close to home or close to the office (preferably both if you work close to home). For those who work far away from home, the gym’s location should ideally be closer to home to promote working out on weekends when you won’t be anywhere near the office. * Fellow members: Certain gyms might
Whatever their preference, individuals should be
sure an exercise facility can meet their fitness needs before becoming a member.
When a person decides to make a com- mitment to a healthier lifestyle, that deci- sion is often accompanied by the decision to join a gym. Gyms can vary greatly. Some cater to specific activities, such as kick box- ing or martial arts, while others are more general in scope, with weight training and cardiovascular equipment and access to personal trainers. Regardless of which type of facility an
individual is hoping to join, certain external factors go a long way to dictating whether or not joining the gym will be a success. When looking for an exercise facility, the following items should be taken into con- sideration before signing an agreement. * Location: Even the most ardent of gym
rats would say it helps a great deal to find a gym that’s conveniently located. If the gym is too far away or getting there requires sit- ting in heavy traffic, then men and women are much less likely to visit the gym as they would be to visit a gym that’s right down
prove intimidating or uncomfortable be- cause of their existing members. While the members themselves might be warm and friendly, those new to working out might be intimidated if everyone else in the building looks like a professional bodybuilder. In addition, women sometimes feel more com- fortable working out at an all-female gym. * Cost: The cost of gym membership is ar- guably the foremost consideration for many people when choosing a gym, especially since the economy remains largely un- predictable. When looking for an exercise facility, inquire about membership costs as well as any initiation fees you may incur or discounts you may be eligible for. Because of the struggling economy, many gyms have waived or are open to waiving sign-up or initiation costs, which can cost in the hun- dreds of dollars at some facilities. Also, when discussing cost with a facility employee, ask if there are family discounts or if memberships are reduced if fees are paid all at once instead of every month. For example, a gym might charge $600 annually ($50 per month), but give a 10 percent discount to any members who pay a year’s worth of dues at sign-up. When discussing membership costs, keep in mind many gyms are open to negotia- tion, but prospective members must initiate any such negotiations. * Membership rights: Many gyms boast different types of memberships. Some memberships are all-access and allow members to use the weight room, sauna, pool, etc. Other mem- berships might cost less but not offer as much access. For instance, a basic membership might offer access to the weight room and cardiovascular ma- chines, but not to the pool or sauna. Choosing the right membership
depends on the individual. For those who don’t swim and won’t enjoy a post-workout steam, then the basic membership can save money while still meeting all of the desired needs. For those who want all-access, the more expensive membership might be more up your alley. Whichever membership is the better fit, be sure the membership agree- ment lists your rights as a member before signing any paperwork. * Hours of operation: Some people prefer
to workout before going to work, while others want to sleep in and exercise after a day at the office. Individuals should find a gym that fits their schedules and workout preferences. It’s also good to inquire about holiday hours of operation. A good gym won’t shut down entirely during a holiday, and instead stay open on at least a limited schedule.
* Equipment: Even those new to working out should be able to tell if equipment is up-to-date or outdated. A gym with out- dated equipment is best to avoid, as older equipment could increase risk of injury. A gym with the latest equipment is a gym that likely emphasizes giving its members the best possible environment in which to workout, and that’s important for all fitness enthusiasts, but especially those who are just beginning.
When it comes to caring...
• Independent Lifestyle • Private Rooms
• Home Like Atmosphere • Activities & Outings • 24 Hour Supervision • Medication Supervision • Warm, Caring Staff • Veteran’s Assistance Program • Affordable Assisted Living
Collins Dentistry for Children (603)635-1166
At Collins Dentistry for Children we
believe in prevention and early treatment.
Preventive & Restorative Care • Orthodontics • Emergency Appointments Available
Patricia & James Flynn
35 North Lowell Rd., Windham Convenient to Rtes 111 & I-93
Family Owned & Operated Since 1984
434-8827 • 434-9110 www.pinehillretirementhome.com
• Hospital Dentistry Available • In House Nitrous Sedation • Computerized Digital X-Rays & Intra-Oral Cameras • Saturday Appointments (resuming in Fall) • Healthy Kids
Come visit our office at 100 Bridge Street, Pelham, NH dr.ni
Christine Wirthwein is a senior housing and healthcare consultant, with decades of experience. Wirthwein has been involved with over 200 communities in 24 states throughout the United States and Canada. Having worked in the senior living industry since 1983, Wirthwein understands the vast difference between today’s seniors and those of the past. She understands that they’re not only living longer, more active lives but also bring significantly higher expectations to their retirement years. Her passionate work with seniors and their adult children over 27 years equips her to offer incisive perspective on the many - and often complex - options that exist.
A new reason to smile.
Advanced Dental Treatment in a Safe and Relaxing Environment
healthy body, mind, and spirit. When Parents Can’t Go It Alone: Deciding Between Assisted Living and Home Care Options
Monday – Wednesday 8 – 6, Thursday 8 – 7, Friday 8 – 6, Saturday by appointment
Located in the Village Green on Route 111 33 Indian Rock Road, Windham, NH
Complementary & Alternative Health
Terry Kenney, B.S.H.S.,CCA 603.235.3138 firstname.lastname@example.org
PAUL W. GOLAS, D.M.D. Family Dentistry
262 Derry Road
Litchfi eld, New Hampshire 03052 (603) 880-4040
Serving Southern New Hampshire for 20 years
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