All posts by aablog2012

How Medicare Works For Seniors in Palm Bay FL

How Medicare Works
By Stephanie Miles, senior editor

Medicare is the government’s contract to provide healthcare insurance coverage for Americans over the age of 65. But, as with all contracts, it’s always smart to read the fine print.

Medicare pays for about half of all medical costs for older Americans, including hospitalization, doctors, some nursing care, some prescription drug costs, and medical equipment and supplies. But there’s much that Medicare doesn’t cover, as well as an alphabet soup of coverages, premiums, deductibles, and eligibility requirements that can be difficult to navigate — especially for someone facing a health crisis.

Here are the basics everyone should know about Medicare, and where to look for more information if you need it:

What is Medicare?

Medicare consists of four categories:

Part A covers hospitalization, some skilled nursing facility and home health care, and hospice.

Part B covers doctors’ services and outpatient care such as X-rays, laboratory work, some home health care, physical and occupational therapy, and some preventive screening.

Then there’s Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, which is Medicare received through a private managed care system such as an HMO (health maintenance organization) or PPO (preferred provider organization). When someone enrolls in a Medicare Advantage plan, they receive all the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B, as well as some additional coverage provided by the private plan. As with other managed care, however, Medicare Advantage plans limit where and how their members may receive care.

Finally, there’s Medicare Part D, which consists of private insurance plans that partially cover prescription drug costs.

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Senior Care Palm Bay FL: How Medicaid Works

How Medicaid Works
By Joseph L. Matthews, Author

Medicaid is a federal government program to help provide healthcare coverage to certain categories of people who have low income and few assets (other than the home they live in). Among those covered by Medicaid are people over 65 and those with disabilities.

Each state runs its own version of Medicaid, with slightly different rules and coverage.

The Medicaid program has several different parts:

  • Medicaid medical coverage includes most common forms of healthcare, as explained in this article. Medicaid medical benefits cover at least the same healthcare services that Medicare does, as well as some services that Medicare doesn’t cover. Medicaid also pays Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-payments for people who are enrolled in both programs.
  • A separate part of Medicaid covers long-term nursing home care.
  • Special Medicaid-funded programs cover long-term, in-home personal care. Income and asset eligibility rules for these long-term, at-home care programs are usually quite a bit looser than for regular Medicaid medical coverage.
  • In some states, a Medicaid-related program can pay some of the cost of assisted living.

Finding out about your state’s Medicaid programs

To find out exactly what Medicaid and Medicaid-related programs operate in your state, what they cover, and who’s eligible, contact a local office of your state’s Medicaid program.

To find a local Medicaid office, go to the federal government’s website and choose your state. This will take you to a page with contact information for your state’s Medicaid program and information about local offices.

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Vitamin D Linked To Reduced Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk in Palm Bay FL

Vitamin D Linked To Reduced Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk
by Kangna Agarwal

Consider adding vitamin D in your daily diet. A new study suggests that high levels of vitamin D in older adults can cut the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin present in many foods such as fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel), fortified milk, breakfast cereals, and some juices. Available as a dietary supplement, it is also produced by the body when exposed to sunlight.

The sunshine vitamin is important for numerous reasons; it boosts immunity needed for bone growth, reduces inflammation and the risk of cancers, controls blood pressure, lessens joint pain, and helps prevent osteoporosis.

28 studies reviewed

A research team from the Warwick Medical School analyzed 28 studies to determine whether vitamin D lowered the risk of cardio metabolic disorders, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes [Also called non-insulin dependent diabetes; a condition in which the pancreas produces so little insulin that the body cannot use the blood glucose as energy; can often be controlled through meal plans and physical activity plans, and diabetes pills or insulin.] mellitus, and metabolic syndrome.

The studies published between 1990 and 2009 looked at 99,745 men and women across a variety of ethnic groups.

Nearly 14 studies were conducted in the United States; eight were European, two from Iran, three from Australia, and one from India.

Outcome of the study

Based on the data, the researchers found a significant association between high levels of vitamin D and lower chances of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

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If you or someone you know needs help with home care in Palm Bay FL and the surrounding area, contact the caregivers at Age Advantage. We provide quality and affordable in home care for many disabled and elderly loved ones in our community. Call us at 321-676-0103 for more information.

Why Caregivers in Palm Bay FL Need Respite Care

Why Caregivers in Palm Bay FL Need Respite Care

Giving Yourself a Break Helps You and Your Loved One

From Carrie Hill, PhD

Caregivers who use respite care often tell me that although caregiving is one of the hardest jobs they’ve ever had, they wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Helping a family member or close friend who has Alzheimer’s disease can provide a sense of purpose and great satisfaction.

Still, the emotional and physical demands of caregiving make it hard to be a caregiver 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without respite care — a temporary break from the demands of caregiving — you may be more susceptible to the effects of caregiver stress, such as depression, exhaustion and other health problems.

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The caregivers at Age Advantage are available to talk with you and your family about all of your live-in home care needs. Age Advantage is a home care agency providing quality, affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and the surrounding areas. Call 321-676-0103 for more information.

Senior Care Palm Bay FL: February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month

Heart health is an area of grave concern among healthcare professionals, policy makers and the government. Heart disease has killed more Americans than any other diseases or chronic illnesses. It is the leading cause of death among patience of all race, gender and age. About 785,000 patients in the nation suffer their first heart attack every year and 470,000 of them have recurring heart attacks in a year. It has been estimated that heart attack affects one patient in every 34 seconds in America, costing a whopping healthcare bill of $316.4 billion a year. The risks of heart disease also dramatically increases with age affecting one in every five women above the age of 65 as compared to one in every 10 women between ages 45 and 65.

For 37 years, the American Heart Association tirelessly organized and campaigned for the fight against heart disease. February is the ‘American Heart Month’ where efforts are spent to increase awareness and raise funds for research and education on heart disease. 

Heart disease is a lifestyle-related condition. Risk factors that can lead to heart disease or stroke are physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and alcohol. As more elderly patients tend to have high cholesterol, high blood sugar or high blood pressure conditions coupled by weaker immunity systems, healthy living to promote elderly health is one of the primary concerns during American Heart Month.

Good heart health can be attained by adopting change in lifestyle, diet and regular monitoring of one’s blood sugar level, cholesterol level and blood pressure. The following are five healthy living tips to good senior health that not only help keep heart disease at arm’s length but also increase one’s quality of life.

Regular Exercise or Physical Activity

Moderate exercise on a regular basis is the best remedy for elderly health and wellbeing. Walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, golf, dancing and others help to build strong healthy hearts and help to improve blood circulation. In fact, statistics show that a sedentary lifestyle is a leading threat to heart health; those who are physically inactive and seldom participate in regular exercise program are 39.5 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke.

Balanced Diet 
Healthy living starts with balanced diets rich in fiber and low in trans fat, sugar and sodium. Elderly patients should also consume high nutrient foods that are good for the heart and body as a whole. Greasy food and food high in trans fat found in cooking oil and meat should be avoided to prevent gradual formation of blockage in the arteries especially among elderly patients’ whose body metabolism decreases with age.

Control blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level 

Senior health checks should never exclude regular monitoring of seniors’ blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level as these are among the top risk factors to cardiovascular disease. Senior patients can perform regular monitoring of their conditions at home and take precautionary measures such as diet and prescribed medication if levels are higher than normal.

Maintain Healthy Body Weight
Being overweight can also lead to heart disease or stroke; it is as unhealthy to one’s heart as it is to one’s bones and joints. Excessive fats in the body can strain the heart and cause additional stress on the bones and joints. Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial to good senior health as it helps to prevent adverse conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol that can potentially lead of heart disease.

Stop Smoking and excessive Alcohol intake
Smoking and excessive intake of alcohol are harmful habits that are especially damaging to elderly patients. Smoking increases the chances of blood clot and accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, hence increasing the risks of coronary heart disease. It can also increase the chances of a relapse or recurring heart attack. Smoking is also linked to many elderly health conditions such as cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.

Home care counselors at Age Advantage are available to talk with you about your live-in home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and the surrounding areas.

Elder Care Palm Bay FL: What Does It Feel Like To Be 75?

What Does It Feel Like To Be 75? Say Goodbye To Spry

by Jennifer Ludden

While reporting my recent series on Aging At Home, I came across a special suit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. It’s meant to help 20-something engineers feel the aches and limitations of an average 75-year-old so they can design better products for them.

Think of it as working like those outfits Superheroes put on, only backward. Of course, I couldn’t resist. Now, I’m 40-something — no spring chicken. But if the crosswalk light is blinking, I can still dash across the street, no problem.

Until, that is, MIT researcher Rozanne Puleo starts strapping me into what she calls her Age Gain Now Empathy System. I pull a harness around my waist and Puleo starts attaching things to it. First, stretchy rubber bands connect from my waist to the bottom of my feet. "It will limit your hip flexion," Puleo explains.

The act of having to balance makes you more fatigued. – MIT researcher Rozanne Puleo, talking about foam-padded sandals that are part of her Age Gain Now bodysuit. That means no more sprinting. More stretchy bands restrict my arm movements.

There are knee pads and Velcro wrist braces; rubber gloves to lessen sensation in my fingers; yellow goggles to limit my depth perception. Everything on the suit is carefully calibrated to mimic the loss of function that happens as we age.

Finally, Puleo fits me into a hard hat and attaches yet more things to that. And that’s when this all starts to feel like a bad idea. It has become work simply to stand up straight. And to walk? Puleo has me in Crocs sandals, with bits of rubber foam taped to the bottom. I haven’t exactly lost my balance, but it feels like I easily could.

"The act of having to balance makes you more fatigued, makes you more tired," she says. MIT researchers say baby boomers, of course, aren’t the first to get old. But Joseph Coughlin, the head of the AgeLab, says they’re the first to say, "Wait a minute, there’s gotta be a product, a service or something to make this better, easier, more convenient." It’s much harder to dash across the street in the suit. And that’s the AgeLab’s mission.

Puleo has outfitted graduate students in her age suit and taken them grocery shopping. Each had a list of typical items a senior might want. "What we found," she says, "was a lot of the low-sugar, low-sodium items were either at the top of the shelf or the bottom of the shelf — not in a place where an older adult would have the easiest time locating."

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The Caregivers at Age Advantage are available to talk with you and your family about  home care and your loved one.  We are a home care agency providing caring quality and affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and the surrounding areas. Call 321-676-0103 for more information.

Caregiver Spotlight is on Work, Life Balance in Palm Bay FL

Caregiver Spotlight on Work-Life “Balance”

by Isabel Fawcett, SPHR

There’s no avoiding stress in caregiving, at work or in life. Stress, both “good” and “bad,” will always be a part of our human existence. That’s all the more reason for caregivers to be proactive in managing stress. Shining a spotlight on your work and personal life is one way to identify and better manage stress. Be prepared, though. It requires serious commitment on your part.

Are you still with me?

What is Work-Life Balance?
“Work-life balance” is a misnomer. In real-life, there is no such thing as equal balance – other than maybe on a well-calibrated scale. When humans are involved balance would be perfection. If you’re not a perfectionist, you know that human perfection doesn’t exist.

Although it may sound like an oxymoron, the word “tension” may be the better word choice. “Tension” has multiple definitions, including competing pressures that require learning how to better balance push-and-pull opposing forces. The push-pull tension of work competes with the push-pull tension of caregiving and other forces in each of our lives.

The force is truly with us, so to speak.
“Work-life balance” requires continuous prioritization by individuals, self-examination and seamlessly deriving pleasure or satisfaction in daily living. However you choose to reconcile and (de)value competing elements in your life is entirely within your control.

So much to do, so little time!
Doctors appointments, pharmacy runs, medical supplies, emerging symptoms, caregiver or elder general malaise, Medicare and other insurance tangles,  financial spaghetti bowls, family sparring, swirling emotions and more, will run caregivers into the ground if we are not mindful.

Caregivers’ Stress Management Tips
Stress management presumes gaining or re-gaining life control and greater balance.

  • Check your blood pressure at least once monthly.  Discuss your monthly readings with your physician.
  • Schedule medical appointments early mornings or as late in the day as possible. Aavoid needless back and forth between work, home, and medical offices.
  • Consider taking pre-approved vacation leave on medical appointment days. Enjoy breakfast or lunch before or after appointments, whether alone, or with your loved one or a friend.
  • Treat yourself at day’s end. You’ll feel refreshed at work the following day.
  • Consider the most strategic use of Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) based on your own preferences in addition to your elder’s medical needs. Decide whether intermittent (working reduced hours at work) or consecutive FML eases competing elements in your life. If approved by your employer, consecutive FML is a block of leave as allowed under FMLA.
  • Leave home earlier than rush hour traffic. Leave work later than rush hour traffic. Take the long way home occasionally.

May the (right) force be with you!

Home care counselors at Age Advantage are available to talk with you about your live-in home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and surrounding areas.

When Elderly Spouses Care For Each Other at Home in Palm Bay FL

When Elderly Spouses Care For Each Other at Home Something Has to Give
By Isabel Fawcett, SPHR For LTC Expert Publications

“In sickness and in health, until death do us part,” are words used in traditional marital vows.

The harsh realities of caring at home for a spouse or domestic partner in old age can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating.

It is difficult for aging spouses who must face and assist with their partner’s incontinence, declining health, mental confusion, uncertainty of care circumstances and medical prognosis. Some partners make a promise to self and/or partner that they will do the honors or perceive that they have a responsibility to do the caregiving at home honors – for the duration. Nothing is further from the truth, however.

A marital or domestic relationship does not mean that an aging partner should not ask for, and/or seek outside help.

Benefits of Home Care and Aging at Home
If there is any care circumstance well-suited to home care, aging spousal caregivers may
be one such ideal profile, for many reasons.

  1. If a domestic partner or spouse has less assistive care chores to do around the home, he or she is likely to have more quality moments to spend with his or her spouse or partner and others.
  2. The healthier spouse may be at home and available to provide direct supervision and daily guidance to home care workers.
  3. The spouse or partner who is chronically ill is not left alone with a home care worker for extended periods of time if his or her healthier partner is not employed outside the home.
  4. The healthier spouse has ample opportunities to enjoy respite while the home health care worker is on duty.
  5. The healthier spouse may elect to do the assistive care honors on weekends only, for example. Regardless of alternating care days elected, the healthier spouse will still be doing less, rather than more heavy-duty assistive care responsibilities.
  6. If the couple wants a less invasive home care service, they may choose meal deliveries only, be it Meals on Wheels type programs, or private company services that deliver high-end, nutritious meals to their customers.
  7. Time and effort saved through a less invasive home care program or service may lead elders to consider additional home care programs or services, if the less invasive service is similarly successful.
  8. Home care services offer sustained relief to local and long-distance family caregivers if their elders are in good hands.
  9. If the home care provider nurtures the provider-elder relationship and builds trust, elders have someone with whom they can talk as often as the service allows.
  10. Given a choice, few elders would choose institutional care over in-home support.
  11. Elder independence is encouraged with skilled home care.
  12. The healthier spouse or partner no longer feels alone. There is someone else your elder can call locally.  Long-distance family caregivers are also encouraged to periodically touch base with the direct care provider to ensure greater checks and balances.

For many individuals, home is where their heart remains. Adult children can help our aging parents keep their homes as long as it is safe for them to do so. As with other major decisions in our lives, ongoing evaluation is important. What works today may no longer be effective at some future date.

To avoid surprises, let your parents know that you need and welcome their feedback in evaluating what works and what doesn’t in their home care services. Allow your parents to retain as much decision-making authority in their lives as reasonably possible. No one enjoys feeling powerless.

What is Home Care? What Can Your Family Expect?
If your parents only require companion services, there may be local volunteers available through care agencies and religious organizations. By far, skilled nursing care is the most expensive in-home care option. Nurses are licensed, as are physical and occupational therapists.

Home health aides and nurse’s aides are trained to assist with bathing, getting dressed, toileting, lifting and other personal care needs.

Start with your parents’ treating physician and hospital-based geriatric management services. They are trained to steer families in the right direction based on exhaustive medical assessments of your aging parents’ needs.

If you think that home care is not financially affordable, remember that most long-term care alternatives are costly. By comparison, home care may be the most affordable alternative for elders and caregivers.

For information about how Age Advantage can help your family with Elder Care in Palm Bay FL and surrounding areas,  call our caregivers at 321-676-0103.

Home Health Care in Palm Bay FL

Home Health Care

Options, caregivers and paying for care
From Marian Anne Eure, former Guide

Most seniors when questioned, state they would prefer to remain in their homes as long as is possible.

Seniors who go to nursing home or other assisted type facilities are unusually not in need of complex medical care but rather are having difficulty taking care of their personal needs. Unfortunately many seniors become depressed and discouraged when they move to nursing homes. Many see nursing homes as just a place where they are going to wait for death. Loss of independence is for many their greatest fear. Staying in their own home as long as is possible can mean a great deal to many older people. Familiar surroundings can be therapeutic.

Fortunately many seniors can stay in their own homes.

Home care can be a good option for many seniors. They are able to stay in the familiar surroundings of their own home, but have greater piece of mind. They will have more control over the decisions in life that can mean so much. Deciding what time to get up and what to eat can become very important, if there is a threat that those choices may be taken away from you. Nursing home care can also be very expensive, many times home care is a more cost-effective alternative.

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At Age Advantage, we understand the importance of quality home care for our loved ones. Age Advantage is a home care agency providing caregivers and affordable home care in Palm Bay FL and surrounding areas. Call us at 321-676-0103.

Aging Gracefully In Palm Bay FL: The Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults

Aging Gracefully: The Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults
It’s never too late to improve your health
By Sharon O’Brien, Guide

The notion that exercise is good for you has been around for quite a while, but until recently seniors have been left out of the picture.

Everyone Benefits from Exercise
Today, new information is emerging from research: people of all ages and physical conditions benefit from exercise and physical activity.

  • Staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities, including dementia.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that even moderate exercise and physical activity can improve the health of seniors who are frail, or who have diseases that accompany aging.

Don’t Be Afraid to Exercise
Exercise and physical activity are among the healthiest things you can do for yourself, but some older adults are reluctant to exercise. They may be afraid that exercise will be too strenuous, or that physical activity will harm them.

Research from the NIH shows that actually the opposite is true:

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Source:,Senior Living

Age Advantage is a home care agency providing caregivers and in home care in Palm Bay FL and surrounding areas. Contact us for information about how we can help your loved one. 321-676-0103.