Should You Move Your Parents Close to You?

Do you still live where you grew up as a child? Chances are you don’t–only 42% of Americans live in or near their hometown. 

So as your parents get older and need medical assistance and support, you have a difficult choice: do you move them closer to you or leave them where they are? This predicament is all too common for Gen X, and soon it will become a hard decision for millennials. 

If your family members still live where you grew up, they’ve been there for decades, making it hard for them to leave. But if you move them closer to you, you can take better care of them.

It’s common to feel trapped In this situation. Use this guide to help you have this complicated conversation with your family member(s).

Why You Should Move Them Closer

When the responsibility to care for your aging parents is on your shoulders, the easy solution is to bring them closer to you, no matter how far you live.

Whether you’re single or have an entire family, it’s “easier” for your parents to move nearby than for you to uproot your life (home, work, school, community).

However, there is one thing to consider before moving your parents closer–what’s best for them?

The only way to answer this question is to have a conversation with the other family members.

When you talk to them about moving closer, consider using these talking points:

  • You can visit more often.
  • You can cater to their needs.
  • You can travel with them to doctor’s appointments.
  • You can care for them in your home (if you decide to have them move in with you).

Why You Should Leave Them Where They Live

On the contrary, not everyone is ready to move their elderly parents closer, or the elderly parent refuses to leave their home.

In situations like these, it’s essential to consider why it’s best to leave your parents where they live.

  • They’re familiar with the local care and medical facilities.
  • They have friends and family nearby.
  • They’re comfortable in their home.

Although this decision can be hard for you to accept, aging adults need to enjoy their living quarters and the local area.

After decades of living in one place, your parents made many friends who helped them through various phases of life. But these friends have done more than help them physically. They’ve helped them emotionally–people are happier when their best friends live within a mile of them.

Having essential people nearby might be the difference-maker for someone’s health to improve or spiral out of control.

What Should You Do?

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer on whether or not you should move your parents close to you–the two of you need to come to an agreement on what’s best for everyone.

And if you speak with your parents before making a decision, you can work out a schedule that fits everyone’s life.

If you decide to look into an assisted living facility, consider Pivotal Health Care. Our facilities are excellent for helping older adults adjust to new stages in life.

Are Medicare and Medicaid the Same Thing?

In 2020, over 297 million people had health insurance in the US. This number is a drastic increase from the previous decades. 

However, over 30 million people are still without essential health benefits, making up nearly 10% of the country.

Since 1965, both Medicare and Medicaid have helped retirees and low-income families get the covered services to pay health care costs.

Because these services have similar names, many people confuse them. In short, Medicare is for adults 65 and older and for those with specific disabilities. 

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Medicaid is for anyone who qualifies. Although adults 65 and older can use both plans if eligible, someone on Medicaid cannot necessarily use Medicare.

Since these two programs are different, when should you look into each one?

Everything You Need to Know About Medicare

When you join Medicare, there are four options available within the program. Understanding these four parts of the program is the best way to get the most out of your medical coverage.

Part ARequired under Social SecurityHospital insurancePay deductibles and coinsurance
Part BRequired under Social SecurityMedical insurance for services and equipmentDoctors visitsOutpatient care
Part CMany people who qualify for Parts A and B can sign up for Part C if they want.HearingVisionDentalPrescription drugsPay out-of-pocket
Part DPrescription drug coveragePay out-of-pocketDeductiblesYearly copaymentsAvailable for those who don’t qualify for Part C’s prescription drug coverage

Essential Information About Medicaid

Medicaid services are an option for those who need the federal government and state-run health coverage but are below 65 years of age.

Since there is no age restriction on Medicaid eligibility, many people qualify who don’t already have insurance if they fall under the income threshold.

There are a few types of people who may qualify for Medicaid programs:

  • Adults over 65 who need additional coverage to their Medicare plan
  • Adults under 65 who fall under the income threshold and meet the qualifications for their state.
  • Children who do not have any health coverage (children’s health insurance program).

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Qualification for Medicaid coverage varies by state, but the type of coverage also varies. Medicaid is a federal and state-run program, which is why there are variations depending on your location.

Make sure you check the qualifications for your state. Depending on your location, you might receive coverage for the following:

  • Hospitalization
  • Laboratory services
  • X-rays
  • Doctor services
  • Family planning
  • Nursing services
  • Nursing facility services
  • Home healthcare for people eligible for nursing facility services
  • Clinic treatment
  • Pediatric and family nurse practitioner services
  • Midwife services

One of the most significant differences between Medicare and Medicaid is that the latter provides nursing home and personal care services, which Medicare doesn’t typically cover.

Which One is Best for You?

If you are of retirement age, you more than likely qualify for Medicare. One of the great things about Medicare is that you can pair it with Medicaid if you qualify in your state.

In other words, you don’t have to worry about a lack of coverage when you retire. Contact your local state office or visit their website to learn more.

Where To Find Senior Living Community Reviews

Over the last couple of years, you have found yourself doing more work than usual to help your aging loved ones. You’ve decided it’s time to look for a senior living facility, but you aren’t sure who to trust. Use this guide to learn about the two types of websites to find reviews and how to tell if they’re honest so you can find excellent assisted living communities near you.

Third-Party Review Sites

Third-party review sites (like Yelp!) are a great way to find objective reviews on senior living communities. When scouring these sources, you want to employ a method I like to call “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” adopted from Clint Eastwood’s hit film, to help you find the perfect assisted living facility.

  • The Good–These five-star reviews praise the community and elaborate on specific aspects of care and life. These reviews should be 20-30% of the thoughts you read.
  • The Bad–These are the three-star reviews. Family members who rate a service three stars share good and bad things. These reviews should make up 40-60% of your readings.
  • The Ugly–These reviews are the worst of the worst. Please don’t spend too much time in this section since nobody has anything good to say, but don’t completely overlook it either. Ugly reviews can shed light on serious issues that might present themselves when you visit senior living facilities. Nonetheless, don’t spend more than 10-30% of your time reading these reviews.

When you implement this strategy on third-party reviews, you can synthesize the information and make an educated decision. But don’t stop there–visit the parent site for each assisted living community you consider.

The Parent Website

It’s essential to visit the assisted living facility’s website, so you can learn about the offered services and whether it’s a fit. While on this page, look for reviews, but take them with a grain of salt–companies traditionally only share raving reviews.

When looking at these reviews, pay close attention to ones that specify services and amenities–these will give you a clear indication of whether or not the review is credible and if the community fulfills its promises. 

How To Tell If Reviews Are Honest

The hardest part about this entire process is knowing whether you can trust a review. To help you harmonize dozens and hundreds of reviews, use these three tips:

  1. The General Consensus–Try to get a feel for how the general population using the specific community feel about their loved one’s treatment.
  2. Rating Average–Cross-reference the average rating with the reviews in that category, and that will give you a clear picture.
  3. Website Reputation–This tip is specifically for third-party reviews websites. If you find a review site you’ve never heard of and there aren’t many reviews available, don’t invest much time. Finding reputable reviews starts with a reputable site.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect independent living community is tough, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With the right tools, you can quickly navigate the online community to find a new home for your aging loved one that improves everyone’s life.

If you’re in the Midwest, look for a Pivotal Health Care community near you. We have over 50 years of experience in the management of assisted living facilities, so we know what it takes to provide top-tier senior care. Schedule a tour with us today at the nearest location to take the next step into your future.

How to Spot Phone Scams

Americans lost $29.8 billion between 2020 and 2021 from phone scams. These threats are highly manipulative and make it impossible to recover your money. While these people can trick you into giving them your money, they cannot force you. But how do you know if someone is trying to scam you? Use this helpful guide the next time an unknown number calls you.

Five Warning Signs of a Phone Scam

The ruse may change, but the purpose remains the same–phone scammers want your money, and they are willing to say anything to get it. Since these scammers can make verbal threats, it’s essential you know what to expect from them and how you can report phone scams. 

Here are five straightforward ways to know when to hang up on a scammer.

1. Prizes Don’t Exist

When we think of prizes, we think of an award or gift we receive after accomplishing something, and one of the most common phone scams is a promise of an award after payment. This request is a warning sign–no one pays for a real prize.

2. No One Can Arrest You

Fear-mongering is a scammer’s best friend. To get you to do what they want, a phone scammer will lie to you, threaten you, and promise your arrest. However, the police can’t arrest you based on a phone call like this.

3. You Have Time to Think

Legitimate businesses will never pressure you to decide on the spot. Even if the calling company is the IRS or your credit card company, they will never request a final decision over the phone. However, spam calls pressure you to decide before you take the time to think about it.

4. Never Pay with Cash or a Gift Card

Scammers know that a debit or credit card is traceable and that you can seek legitimate refunds for money lost. Scammers will request you to pay in cash, wire transfer, or with a gift card to avoid getting caught and stay anonymous. They want you to pay this way because there isn’t a way to recoup your lost money, and it keeps them free from liability and tracking.

5. Government Agencies Don’t Use Phone Calls to Confirm Sensitive Information

One of the most common ruses is the government agency front. If you receive a call from a specific agency asking about your sensitive information, hang up the phone immediately. 

A federal agency will never ask about your social security number, bank account numbers, or other private information over the phone.

Conclusion

As technology develops and changes over time, so do the ploys for taking people’s money. When dealing with phone scammers, it’s always best not to answer a call from a number you don’t recognize. However, that is not always possible to avoid unwanted calls, so make sure you know how to recognize phone scams and use caller id. When talking on the phone with a suspected phone scam, listen for clues about prizes, arrests, government entities seeking private information, and payment methods. The moment you notice one of these warning signs, hang up the phone and report them.

2021’s Best Gifts for Seniors

senior receiving a gift

There are thousands, if not millions, of options available every holiday shopping season. The sheer number of great gift ideas is overwhelming. You know you need to get something that can make life easier for your senior, but you don’t know what to get them. Here are four thoughtful gift ideas focused on safety, independence, and family.

Amazon Echo

Smart Homes made a significant impact in 2021. Smart homes have been around for years, but now that most Americans have smartphones, you can control everything in your home from your pocket. Coupled with smartphones, the Amazon Echo is an excellent tool for monitoring and maintaining your home.

Seniors can use the Echo for assistance, including:

  • Playing music
  • Searching the internet
  • Ordering goods on Amazon
  • Controlling lights, thermostat, windows, and security systems

The Amazon Echo is a wonderful gift for your senior to have independence with a nearby assistant.

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Non-Slip Socks

Every hour, seven seniors die by falling. Coordination and health typically decline once a person reaches 65 years of age. Non-slip socks are great gifts for seniors. Bombas makes excellent gripped socks to keep your family members on their feet instead of their backside. From their high-quality material to unique design, Bombas are committed to keeping you on your feet.

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Digital Photo Frame

As more and more people use their phones to take pictures, printed photo books are no longer as popular as they once were. However, finding photos on your phone and learning new technology is tedious and challenging. A digital photo frame like View Clix is a great tool to share precious memories with your loved ones.

With View Clix, you can send images, keep a scrolling photo album, and video chat. It is made specifically for seniors, so the tool is simple to use and always on. View Clix is compatible with virtually all devices, so it doesn’t matter if you have Apple or Android. This digital photo frame and video chat service is the perfect way to keep your family together and share sweet moments with future generations.

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DIY Meal Delivery

One of the best things about 2021 is the simplification of cooking. Over the last several years, more and more meal delivery services have been popping up and making dinner time simpler for families across America. Everything about this process is easy. Regardless of which service you use, you order your meals online and the business sends your uncooked food in a safe box outfitted to keep your food cold. Once you receive your food, you have everything you need to make an easy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each shipment comes with a recipe card and all of your necessary ingredients. Services like HelloFresh and Home Chef keep seniors from running hours of errands at the grocery store and from having to carry the groceries into the house.

Conclusion

When you buy an Amazon Echo, Bombas socks, a digital photo album like View Clix, and a medical alert system, you are purchasing the very things your older loved ones need to stay safe. These gifts are as every much thoughtful as they are helpful and preventative. Buy safety and care this holiday season for your elderly family member.

Easy DIY Costumes for Seniors

Easy DIY Costumes for Seniors

Halloween season is upon us and stores are filled with costumes for you to choose from. However, you don’t really want to spend money on costumes you will only wear once for a little while with your grandchildren. Make your own costumes using things around the house and from your closet.

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5 Easy Halloween Costumes

Farmer

Farmers are a classic Halloween costume. Not only are they easily recognizable, but they are also easy to create with a few things at home.

Here’s what you need for your farmer costume:

  • Overalls
  • Boots
  • Flannel or plaid shirt
  • Handkerchief or bandana
  • Hat
  • Shovel or pitchfork (optional)

For this costume, all you have to do is get dressed and carry a few items around. You can save money and be super comfortable. Who doesn’t love a pair of overalls and flannel?

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Couples Costume: Popeye and Olive Oyl

For those of you looking to match your significant other, there are several options available. It’s normal for people to feel silly dressing up on their own, but when you can get dressed up and match someone, it becomes much more fun. Dressing up as Popeye and Olive Oyl is a classic Halloween costume with nostalgic roots for many seniors.

It’s incredibly easy to dress up at home. Here’s what you need for your costume:

Popeye

  • Jeans
  • Brown shoes
  • Black t-shirt
  • Red bandana
  • Captain’s hat
  • Pipe

Olive Oyl

  • Brown shoes
  • Black skirt
  • Red blouse

This costume is sure to get some smiles and may even win you a costume contest. Other options for couples’ Halloween costumes include Princess Peach and Mario, Oil and Vinegar, and Salt and Pepper.

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Milburn Pennybags

Milburn Pennybags, lovingly known as Mr. Monopoly is a great Halloween costume that is a surefire way to get a conversation started.

Here is what you need to look like the famous board game character:

  • Black suit jacket
  • Black pants or blue pants
  • White dress shirt
  • Red tie
  • Wooden cane
  • Iconic white mustache (real or fake)
  • Bag of money (optional)

If you notice, we didn’t mention a monocle, and that’s because Mr. Pennybags never officially wore a monocle. This Mandela Effect has confounded people for decades, but it is true. Wearing a monocle might look right, but it certainly wouldn’t be authentic.

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Punny Costume

Everyone loves puns. And there is nothing better than seeing the look of realization on people’s faces when they get your joke. This Halloween, try a clever costume and see how many of your family and friends get your joke.

Here’s what you need for this Halloween costume:

Breadwinner

  • T-shirt
  • Gold medal
  • Loaf of bread

Chip on Your Shoulder

  • T-shirt (color to match the color of the chip bag)
  • Bag of chips

Smarty Pants

  • Pants
  • Smarty candy

*You can use hot glue or scotch tape for each of these costumes to hold it together

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This Halloween, don’t settle for what you can find in stores. Nothing brings more joy and smiles than well-crafted DIY Halloween costumes. With these easy costumes, you are sure to spend more time with your family and friends and less time picking out a costume.

3 Best Dog Breeds for Older Adults

Dog’s are called “man’s best friend” for a reason. They are loyal companions who show unwavering love to their owners. Similar to people, there are thousands of breeds with a variety of personality traits. Some dogs are better with children. Others require a more active lifestyle. There are dog breeds for seniors that would be especially great for you. 

As you are looking for your next best friend, consider adopting a dog with the right energy level, manageable cleanliness, and a friendly personality.

What to Look For in Dog Breeds for Seniors

Dogs have an array of personality traits. It’s important to know what you are looking for in a dog before you start shopping. You need to consider the energy level, cleanliness, and friendliness of your next companion.

  • Energy Level: It’s essential to know the energy level you can handle with a dog. If you walk in the mornings and evenings, a more active breed will fit your lifestyle.
  • Cleanliness: Cleanliness is essential. Hypoallergenic and noshed breeds are great options to consider.
  • Friendliness: Most people want friendly dogs. It is crucial to consider the balance you desire between warm and protective.

Once you’ve considered the kind of personality and energy level you want in your companion, it’s time to start looking into breeds that fit your lifestyle and requirements.

3 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and West Highland White Terrier have proven to be the best companions for seniors.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These gentle lap dogs are an excellent choice for seniors. They are considered a toy dog breed and come in at 13” tall and weigh between 13-18 pounds. With a 12-15 year life expectancy, these pups will be your best friend for a long time. This breed requires moderate exercise. They are easy to train and incredibly friendly with all people.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgis are easy to train and love daily walks and exercise. Their playfulness translates well to being great around other people. This breed is an excellent senior pet, standing 10-12” tall and weighing in at around 30 pounds. With their playful demeanor and low maintenance, you will enjoy spending time outside with your pup.

West Highland White Terrier

These happy, loyal, and entertaining dogs are a joy to watch and own. They are small too. These Terriers are 10-11” tall and weigh 15-20 pounds. They also live for a long time with a life expectancy of 13-15 years. These dogs have loud personalities and love to make you smile and laugh.

Conclusion

When looking for a new dog, it is essential to find one that fits your lifestyle. The best dogs for seniors are smaller, friendly, easy to maintain, and easily trained. These kinds of dogs are great senior pets and will be around for 10-15 years. 

If you are interested in adopting these breeds, continue your research at the American Kennel Club. They have excellent information on all breeds, so you can find the right companion.

Amazing Superfoods For Seniors

Over the last several years, there has been a bunch of talk about superfoods. Fitness gurus have encouraged people to eat quinoa, kale, ancient grains, and the list goes on. We know these foods have been around for some time, so why do they get a random burst of attention? Better yet, what even makes a superfood a superfood? And who are they good for?

First off, a superfood is a food that is incredibly high in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. While there is no one food that provides your body with all the necessary vitamins, these foods are significantly higher in quality that other types of food.

 

Also, superfoods are great for everybody to eat! There really is no distinction in regard to who it is better for, but there are some considerations when thinking about your own personal health.

 

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Best Superfoods for Seniors

Nuts

One of the most chronic illnesses among seniors is cardiac health. While a lifelong habit of healthy eating is necessary to maintain a healthy heart, it is never too late to start. Nuts are an excellent way to introduce superfoods into your diet and improve heart health. Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, and many others are excellent sources of protein and will improve the health of your heart!

 

Dark, Leafy Greens

While bitter in taste to some, dark, leafy greens are excellent sources of nutrients and are incredibly versatile in the kitchen! You can easily have greens in a salad or as a side dish, but even better than that is you can have these greens in smoothies and breakfast drinks!

 

Greens are significantly high in folate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins. These nutrients, among others, are shown to improve mental health among seniors! So not only are you eating deliciously healthy food, but you are also giving your brain the nutrients it requires to properly function!

 

Tea and Coffee

Yes, you read that right! You can still enjoy your hot morning and evening beverage without worrying about it’s health benefits! Tea and coffee provide your body with caffeine and vitamins to go through the day. This superfood is great because it can complement all other foods you are eating. Tea is famously known to be packed with vitamins and weight loss attributes! While coffee sometimes has a bad reputation for making people jittery and anxious when over-consumed, there are studies showing that caffeine, and coffee in general, helps improve your memory pathways.

 

When it comes to superfoods, there are a ridiculous number of options available! Studies are constantly being conducted on the best foods to eat and the nutritional value in different types of foods. One of the best ways to find what works for you is to consider your health, what you need to improve about your health, and implement the necessary foods into your diet!

 

Nowadays, there are so many culinary options available that you don’t need to feel blocked in with a super strict diet. So go out there and eat some greens, or nuts, or drink all the coffee in the world! Remember, they’re superfoods!

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7 Ways for Seniors to Improve Video Calls (Part 2)

In 2021, video calls are necessary for staying in touch with family and friends. That’s why it is so important that each call has the best possible quality. Following last month’s article, here are 3 more tips to improve your video calls: limit the number of people on your call, turn the volume up, and use Wi-Fi.

 

Limit the Number of People on the Call

One of the greatest difficulties with video calls is losing connection or having poor connection. This issue increases when the number of people on the call increases. If multiple people in one house are on the same call, they are each using Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi uses broadband signal—a set amount of signal sent out to the house to be used.
The more people using the Wi-Fi at the same time, the weaker the signal will be for each device since the broadband has to be split several ways. When this happens, it is very easy for calls to be dropped. The best way to improve call quality is to limit the number of devices connected to the Wi-Fi at the same time.

 

Use Wi-Fi Instead of Data

Speaking of Wi-Fi, using Wi-Fi instead of data allows for seamless streaming and service for the video calls. Data can easily go out due to location and telephone service, whereas Wi-Fi is more consistent, and should a problem occur, it is easier to fix.
If you have a limited data plan, most plans will run on slower speeds once the limit has been met. On Wi-Fi, cellular data is not used, so you do not have to worry about exceeding your data limit. The one caveat to this rule is that Wi-Fi does have limits depending on your internet provider. Before making video calls, make sure your local internet provider has a plan strong enough for video calls. The last thing you want is to make video calls and exceed your internet usage limit!

 

Turn the Volume Up

The last thing to do when speaking on a video call is to turn the volume up. Starting the call with the volume turned all the way up makes for easy listening and allows for proper adjustment afterwards.

One of the most difficult things about video calls is not being able to hear the person clearly. This problem can be solved by simply turning the volume all the way up. However, the use of volume should be adjusted to the setting and the user’s hearing ability. It would be rude and inappropriate to blast the volume when sitting in a restaurant or in the middle of a store.

 

Gone are the days of only being able to hear a loved one’s voice. In 2021, it is possible to hear and see your loved ones all the time because of technology. Technology has improved our lives in more ways than we can fathom. Let’s take advantage of these opportunities and connect with those closest to us.

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