Health Advice

ACA Dates and deadlines for 2018 Health Insurance

The 2018 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.
Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2018.

If you haven’t applied for insurance on HealthCare.gov before, here’s what you need to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes known as the health insurance “exchange”).

The Health Insurance Marketplace is for people who don’t have health coverage
If you don’t have health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered.

If you have job-based insurance: You can buy a plan through the Marketplace, but you’ll pay full price unless your employer’s insurance doesn’t meet certain standards. Most job-based plans do meet the standards.
If you have Medicare: You can’t switch to Marketplace insurance, supplement your coverage with a Marketplace plan, or buy a Marketplace dental plan. Learn about Medicare and the Marketplace.
What you pay for insurance depends on your income – and you’ll probably save
Your savings depend on your expected household income for the year. Over 8 in 10 people who apply are eligible to save, and most can find plans for $50 to $100 per month (after accounting for savings).

Get a quick idea if you’ll save. Based on your income estimate, we’ll tell you if you qualify for:

A health insurance plan with savings based on your income

You may qualify for a premium tax creditthat lowers your monthly insurance bill, and for extra savings on out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments.
The plans are offered by private insurance companies with a range of prices and features.
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Medicaid and CHIP provide free or low-cost coverage to millions of people and families with limited income, disabilities, and some other situations.

Many states are expanding Medicaid to cover all households below certain incomes. See if your state is expanding and if your income is in range to qualify.  Your children may qualify for CHIP even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid.

You can apply for coverage 4 ways Applying on HealthCare.gov is easier than ever, and many people can apply, pick a plan, and enroll in a single sitting. You can apply any way that works for you:

After December 15, you can enroll in 2018 health insurance only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Don’t let stress get the best of you

Finding support and identifying coping strategies are essential steps in combating the effects of stress.

Stress gets a bad rap, but anxiety in general doesn’t always have to be negative. In some cases, stress serves as motivation to get things done. It can help us act when were in dangerous situations, as our bodies are wired with a fight-or-flight response that gives us the ability to run faster and think more quickly in the face of an emergency.

Problems can occur when a situation is too stressful or the stress is chronic, wearing us down and bringing on negative effects. Think of cars going over a bridge. Over time, the bridge starts to show some cracks in it. Your body reacts the same way with repeated stress. If you’re tense, you’re more likely to have problems like muscle strains. You’ll also have a lowered immune system and be more susceptible to getting sick.

You might also notice that you’re increasingly irritable and more apt to snap at others. In addition, you may have trouble sleeping, which just results in more stress creating a cyclical pattern in which you’re less adept at dealing with things and increasingly unable to get a good nights sleep. Stress can also elevate your blood pressure, which in the long run could put you at greater risk for heart problems.

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to mitigate the effects of stress. The most important step is to find support wherever you can. Maybe its meeting with a regular group of friends twice a month, finding a message board online where you can vent or chatting one-on-one with friends or family on the phone. There’s comfort in knowing other people understand you and your situation.

Don’t overlook something as simple as the laughter of a good friend. It’s quite beneficial.

A number of other techniques are useful to reduce stress. What works best for you depends on your talents and tastes. Here are some ideas:

  • Keep a journal
  • Go for a walk
  • Listen to music
  • Do yoga
  • Practice belly breathing
  • Get a massage
  • Paint
  • Knit
  • Dance
  • Complete a fun home improvement project

Find something that calms you and gets you in the right mindset to face the challenges in your life. It could be something you used to do that brought you joy. Oftentimes the things we drop when we get stressed are the things we need most in order to better take care of ourselves.

If managing your stress seems impossible or you’re feeling really burnt out or depressed, you might consider seeing a professional for more individualized methods of coping with the stress you’re experiencing.

Whatever you do, pay attention to how you’re feeling the goal is to keep stress at minimal levels so that its motivating, not debilitating.

By Dr. Andrea Bonior:  Andrea Bonior, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who serves on the adjunct faculty of Georgetown University and maintains a private practice. Shes the author of the book The Friendship Fix: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Losing, and Keeping Up with Your Friends.

Epilepsy and Seizures in Older Adults

Did you know that seizures are more likely to develop in older adults? Learn to recognize the signs of seizures and how you can help.

Epilepsy is a broad term used for a brain disorder that causes seizures. In the United States, 2.4 million adults aged 18 years or older have active epilepsy.  About 1% of adults 65 years of age and older have active epilepsy, which is about 447,000 people. That’s about the size of Corpus Christi, TX. With the aging of the population, we can expect to see greater numbers of people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is more likely to develop in older adults rather than younger adults because as people age, the risk of seizures and epilepsy rises.3,4 Some older adults may have lived with epilepsy throughout their lives, but others might develop epilepsy later in life. It isn’t always easy to tell when you, a friend or family member, or someone you care for develops epilepsy later in life.

That’s because seizures are harder to recognize in older adults, and many go unnoticed. For example, memory problems, confusion, falls, dizziness, or sensory changes like numbness are often blamed on “getting older.”3,4 However, these can actually be signs of seizures.

There are many different signs of seizures because there are many types of seizures. When most people think of a seizure, they think of a generalized seizure. In this type of seizure, the person may cry out, fall, shake or jerk, and become unaware of what’s going on around them. However, complex partial seizures are the most common type of seizure, including in older adults. This type of seizure can make a person appear confused or dazed.

It is important to recognize and report these signs and symptoms to a health care provider so they can determine the cause and recommend the right treatment.

Challenges in Older Adults

Older adults with epilepsy may face greater challenges than other age groups. Balancing epilepsy treatment when taking medicines for other health problems can be difficult. Older adults also have a high risk of falls, which can lead to serious injury. Additionally, some epilepsy medicines can cause bone loss which can increase risk of falls and injury.

Epilepsy can limit daily activities such as driving a car. People who do not have control of their seizures are restricted from driving for different time periods, determined by the state you live in. After a lifetime of independence, losing the ability to drive can be especially difficult for older adults.

Most adults with epilepsy have good seizure control with medicines.  Like other age groups, older adults with epilepsy can live a healthy, independent, and active lifestyle. Epilepsy specialists can help older adults to find the right treatment. Learn how to find an epilepsy specialist at the Epilepsy Foundation website.

New Epilepsy and Seizures in Older Adults

About half of older adults who are told they have epilepsy do not know the cause of their condition.

Some Known causes include:

  • Stroke
  • Head injury
  • Neurodegenerative disorders (such as Alzheimer’s Disease)
  • Alcoholism and other substance abuse
  • Brain tumor

Prevent Stroke

Stroke is a common cause of new epilepsy in older adults. A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die.

You may lower your chances of stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices such as:

  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Getting enough exercise.
  • Not smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol use.

And controlling medical conditions such as:

  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Diabetes.

Physical Activity is Essential to Healthy Aging

As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.

Not doing any physical activity can be bad for you, no matter your age or health condition. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.

If you’re 65 years of age or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions you can follow the guidelines listed below.

For Important Health Benefits

Older adults need at least:

jogging 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and

weight trainingmuscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

OR

jogging 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and

weight trainingmuscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

OR

walking joggingAn equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and

weight trainingmuscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Older adults should increase their activity to:

jogging 5 hours (300 minutes) each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and

weight training muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

OR

jogging 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) each week of vigrous-intensity aerobic activity and

weight training muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

OR

walkingAn equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and

weight training muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

More time equals more health benefits

If you go beyond 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, you’ll gain even more health benefits.

Aerobic activity – what counts?

Aerobic activity or “cardio” gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. From pushing a lawn mower, to taking a dance class, to biking to the store – all types of activities count. As long as you’re doing them at a moderate or vigorous intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time. Even something as simple as walking is a great way to get the aerobic activity you need, as long as it’s at a moderately intense pace.

Intensity is how hard your body is working during aerobic activity.

How do you know if you’re doing moderate or vigorous aerobic activity?
On a 10-point scale, where sitting is 0 and working as hard as you can is 10, moderate-intensity aerobic activity is a 5 or 6. It will make you breathe harder and your heart beat faster. You’ll also notice that you’ll be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song.

Vigorous-intensity activity is a 7 or 8 on this scale. Your heart rate will increase quite a bit and you’ll be breathing hard enough so that you won’t be able to say more than a few words without stopping to catch your breath.

You can do moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or a mix of the two each week. Intensity is how hard your body is working during aerobic activity. A rule of thumb is that 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity is about the same as 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.

Everyone’s fitness level is different. This means that walking may feel like a moderately intense activity to you, but for others, it may feel vigorous. It all depends on you – the shape you’re in, what you feel comfortable doing, and your health condition. What’s important is that you do physical activities that are right for you and your abilities.

Muscle-strengthening activities – what counts?

Besides aerobic activity, you need to do things to make your muscles stronger at least 2 days a week. These types of activities will help keep you from losing muscle as you get older.

To gain health benefits, muscle-strengthening activities need to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition without help. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing one sit-up. Try to do 8—12 repetitions per activity that count as 1 set. Try to do at least 1 set of muscle-strengthening activities, but to gain even more benefits, do 2 or 3 sets.

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it’s at home or the gym. The activities you choose should work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms). You may want to try:

  • Lifting weights
  • Working with resistance bands
  • Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (push ups, sit ups)
  • Heavy gardening (digging, shoveling)
  • Yoga
  • Thai Chi

Flu Season is here, Your Best Shot is the Flu Shot

With fall approaching, it is a sure bet that cold and flu season will soon follow bringing the risk of flu illness. Some people will only be mildly sick or miserable for a few days, but for some, flu can be very serious and may even result in hospitalization or death.  Flu shots are highly recommended for Seniors 65 and older.

Flu viruses infect the nose, throat, and lungs and can cause a wide range of complications. Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from flu. Pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either flu virus infection alone or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria. Other possible serious complications triggered by flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis), and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure). Flu virus infection can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection. Over the past six flu seasons, the U.S. has experienced several flu seasons with high rates of hospitalization and severe disease.

Flu vaccination can help keep you from getting sick from flu. Protecting yourself from flu also protects the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness. People at increased risk of flu complications include older adults, people with chronic medical conditions, and children younger than 6 months old.

CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, it is the best tool modern medicine currently has to prevent infection with influenza viruses. CDC estimates that for the 2015-2016 influenza season only about 45% of the population were vaccinated. Still, influenza vaccination prevented approximately 5.1 million influenza illnesses, 2.5 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 71,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations. CDC experts calculated that a 5 percentage point increase in vaccination rates could have prevented another 500,000 influenza illnesses, 230,000 influenza-associated medical visits, and 6,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations across the entire population.

We have stated above that flu illness can be serious and that flu vaccine can prevent illness. There are other misconceptions that discourage people from getting vaccinated. To clear those up:

  1. A flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The most common side effects from a flu shot are soreness, redness and/or swelling where the shot was given, fever, and/or muscle aches. These side effects are NOT flu. If you do experience side effects, they are usually mild and short-lived, especially when compared to symptoms from a bad case of flu.
  2. Flu vaccines are among the safest medical products in use. Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years. There has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines. CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitor the safety of vaccines approved for use in the United States.

What vaccine to get this season:

CDC recommends use of injectable influenza vaccines (including inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines) during 2017-2018. Similar to last season, the nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) is not recommended for the 2017-2018 flu season. Both trivalent (three-component) and quadrivalent (four-component) flu vaccines will be available. There is no preferential recommendation for any of the licensed and recommended vaccines this season.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against flu. Take your best shot in the fight against flu! Protect yourself and your loved ones, and get a flu shot by the end of October, if possible.

If you have questions, talk to your doctor or other health care professional about the benefits of flu vaccination. Along with CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, and many other professional medical groups recommend an annual influenza vaccine. While there are many people who skip getting a flu vaccine, thinking that they do not work, or that the flu shot will give them the flu, there is a lot of research that disproves these misconceptions.

Source CDC

Five Minutes for Women’s Health

In Five Minutes or Less, You Can

  1. Learn about the number one killer of women.
    Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Learn the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke. You can save a life by knowing the signs and symptoms!
  2. Schedule a doctor check-up.
    Regular check-ups are important. Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to discuss what screenings and exams you need and when you need them.
  3. Protect your skin and eyes from the sun.
    Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States. In just minutes you can protect your skin and put on broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days.  Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and cover up with a hat and long sleeves.
  4. Find an HIV, STD, and Hepatitis testing site near you.
    Untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can have long-term consequences for women, such as infertility. Find testing near you to know your status.
  5. Take folic acid before and during pregnancy.
    The B vitamin folic acid can help prevent certain birth defects. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, her baby may be less likely to be born with certain birth defects of the brain or spine. All women who could possibly get pregnant should take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day in a vitamin or in foods that have been enriched with it.
    These tips are just a few of the many things you can do in five minutes or less. Learn more small steps you can take to improve your health.

Source: CDC

Natural ways to get rid of insects in your home

When insects have invaded your home, there are lots of nontoxic ways to get them to leave.  There are a lot of reasons you would want to consider these better natural remedies. There have been several studies which have linked certain types of cancers to pesticides.  Avoid risking your loved ones health and consider some of these less toxic ways to keep the pests out of your home.

Here are some ways to get rid of pests naturally:

  • Ants | Lemon juice. Cinnamon. Peppermint. Sounds like the ingredients for a great recipe, but they’re really some simple remedies to keep ants from invading your home.
  • Houseflies | From flypaper to flytraps, there are simple no-chemical ways to get rid of pesky flies. Maybe a bag of water might even keep them from ever coming into your house!
  • Stink bugs | You know it when you back one of these odiferous insects into a corner. Fortunately, a little dish soap might be a simple solution to get rid of stink bugs.
  • Roaches | Put down that bug spray and find a safer way to control insects that have invaded your home. It can take a while to get rid of these hardy critters, but there are nontoxic methods to keep roaches out of your house. It starts with lots of cleaning, and then sealing up the spots where they get inside.
  • Fruit flies | These annoying tiny pests love your leftover fruits and veggies. If you don’t want to share, try setting a delicious trap for the fruit flies. (It’s also smart, of course, to get rid of the tempting treats that lured them in.) The artificial sweetener in Truvia could also be a safe pesticide, according to a new study. The study was limited to fruit flies, but researchers say erythritol shows promise to wipe out other insects too.
  • Gnats | These irritating bugs go where the moisture is, so get rid of temptations like rotting bananas and soft potatoes. If that doesn’t do it, some solutions for removing gnats naturally include dish soap, vinegar and lots of hand clapping.
  • Fleas | If these bloodsuckers managed to infest your dog or cat and have taken up residence in your carpet and upholstery, don’t grab a flea bomb. First, go get your vacuum cleaner. Then consider boric acid, diatomaceous earth or flea traps to get rid of fleas naturally in your house.

Best Plants to Detox Indoor Spaces

In the late ’80s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Read below to see the best plants for your home.

Aloe (Aloe vera)

The easy-to-grow, helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. Aloe is a smart choice for a sunny kitchen window. Beyond its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant can help heal cuts and burns.

People have been using aloe vera for more than 6,000 years when it was known as “the plant of immortality”.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) Also known as Airplane plant

Even if you tend to neglect houseplants, you’ll have a hard time killing this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries. As an added bonus, this plant is also considered a safe houseplant if you have pets in the house.  kThese plants thrive in cool to average rooms and dry soil.

Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

This bright, flowering plant is effective at removing trichloroethylene, which you may bring home with your dry cleaning. It’s also good for filtering out the benzene that comes with inks. Add one to your laundry room or bedroom — presuming you can give it lots of light.  Water several times a week and let them be in 6 hours of sunny exposure

Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)

Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants.  This plant releases oxygen at night!

Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)

Another powerful plant for tackling formaldehyde, this fast-growing vine will create a cascade of green from a hanging basket. Consider it for your garage because car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde. Golden pothos plants need bright, indirect light and don’t overwater!  They are toxic to small children and pets.

 

The colorful flowers of a mum can do a lot more than brighten a home office or living room; the blooms also help filter out benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent. This plant loves bright light, and to encourage buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.

Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)

The red edges of this easy dracaena bring a pop of color, and the shrub can grow to reach your ceiling. This plant is best for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which can be introduced to indoor air through lacquers, varnishes and gasoline.

Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)

A ficus in your living room can help filter out pollutants that typically accompany carpeting and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Caring for a ficus can be tricky, but once you get the watering and light conditions right, they will last a long time.

Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)

Bring this beautiful flowering shrub into your home to combat formaldehyde from sources such as plywood or foam insulation. Because azaleas do best in cool areas around 60 to 65 degrees, they’re a good option for improving indoor air in your basement if you can find a bright spot.

English ivy (Hedera helix)

A study found that English ivy reduces airborne fecal-matter particles. It has also been shown to filter out formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products.

Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)

Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)

Combat pollutants associated with varnishes and oils with this dracaena. The Warneckii grows inside easily, even without direct sunlight. With striped leaves forming clusters atop a thin stem, this houseplant can be striking, especially if it reaches its potential height of 12 feet.

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’)

This easy-to-care-for plant can help filter out a variety of air pollutants and begins to remove more toxins as time and exposure continues. Even with low light, it will produce blooms and red berries.

Southern Living actually calls the Chinese evergreen “the easiest houseplant” because these plants thrive in low light and will grow in places where other plants won’t grow. Because they are tropicals, they like humid air. If your air is too try, tips might turn brown, so you might want to mist the leaves occasionally.

Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)

Also known as the reed palm, this small palm thrives in shady indoor spaces! It tops the list of plants best for filtering out both benzene and trichloroethylene. This plant is also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde.

Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)

This climbing vine plant isn’t a good option if you have kids or pets — it’s toxic when eaten, but it’s a workhorse for removing all kinds of VOCs, and are very low maintenance. Philodendrons are particularly good at battling formaldehyde from sources like particleboard.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)

Shade and weekly watering are all the peace lily needs to survive and produce blooms. It topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.

Alternatives to Nursing Homes

Before you make any decisions about long term care, get as much information as you can about where you might live and what help you may need. A nursing home may not be your only choice. Discharge planners and social workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies can explain your options and help arrange your care.

Community services

There are a variety of community services that might help you with your personal care and activities. Some services, like volunteer groups that help with things like shopping or transportation, may be low cost or the group may ask for a voluntary donation. Some services may be available at varied costs depending on where you live and the services you need. Below is a list of home services and programs that are found in many communities:

  • Adult day care
  • Meal programs (like Meals-on-Wheels)
  • Senior centers
  • Friendly visitor programs
  • Help with shopping and transportation
  • Help with legal questions, bill paying, or other financial matters

Home care

Depending on your needs, you may be able to get help with your personal activities (like laundry, shopping, cooking, and cleaning) at home from family members, friends, or volunteer groups.

If you think you need home care, talk to your family to see if they can help with your care or help arrange for other care providers…

Medicare only pays for home care if you meet certain conditions. To learn more you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

If you or a loved one owns a single-family home, adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to an existing home may help you keep your independence. An ADU, sometimes called an “in-law apartment,” an “accessory apartment,” or a “second unit,” is a second living space within a home or on a lot. It has a separate living and sleeping area, a place to cook, and a bathroom.

Space like an upper floor, basement, attic, or space over a garage may be turned into an ADU. Family members might be interested in living in an ADU in your home, or, you may want to build a separate living space at your family member’s home.

Check with your local zoning office to be sure ADUs are allowed in your area, and if there are special rules. The cost for an ADU can vary widely depending on how big it is and how much it costs for building materials and workers.

Subsidized senior housing

There are federal and state programs that help pay for housing for some older people with low to moderate incomes. Some of these housing programs also offer help with meals and other activities like housekeeping, shopping, and doing the laundry. Residents usually live in their own apartments in the complex. Rent payments are usually a percentage of your income (a sliding scale fee).

 

Signs your Parent Needs Help

Admitting the need for help and accepting assistance is not easy for people as they age. The responsibility often falls on family members to recognize the signs that an aging loved one might need support with completing daily living tasks.

How do you know if it is time for in-home care? Here are many of the red flags you should be looking for.

  • Difficulty keeping track of time
  • Sleeping for most of the day
  • Poor diet or weight loss
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Difficulty getting up from a seated position
  • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
  • Unexplained bruising or injuries
  • Marks or wear on walls, door jams, furniture and other items being used to help with stability while walking through the home
  • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
  • Forgetfulness, including forgetting to take medications or taking incorrect dosages
  • Missing important appointments
  • Consistent use of poor judgment (e.g. falling for scams or sales pitches, giving away money)
  • Changes in Personal Hygiene
  • Neglecting Household Responsibilities
  • Unpleasant body odor
  • Infrequent showering (/Articles/elderly-parents-who-wont-shower-or-change-clothes-133877.htm) or bathing
  • A strong smell of urine in the house or on clothing
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care (e.g. unkempt hair, untrimmed nails, lack of oral care, wearing dirty or
  • stained clothing)
  • Little or no fresh, healthy food in the fridge
  • Dirty house and/or extreme clutter (/Articles/How-Do-I-Get-Dad-to-Move-Out-of-His-Cluttered-Unsafe-Home-133954.htm)
  • Dirty laundry piling up
  • Stains or wet spots on furniture or carpet
  • Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors
  • Utilities being turned off due to missed payments
  • Unexplained dents

If these signs are present, it doesn’t necessarily mean a move to assisted living or a nursing home is required. However, these red flags do indicate that daily supportive care is needed.  Home Care One has the professional team needed to assist families during these sometimes difficult transitions.  If you or a loved one are in need of support please call us today.  800-781-6004