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Aging in Place

by Suburban Family-- Editorial Staff
Local experts offer tips and provide resources to help you help your aging loved one stay healthy and happy at home. “The best way I find to determine what an aging loved one needs is that they call someone like us to discuss what’s happening with their loved one and what exactly they’re looking for. We can do an in-home assessment free of charge to best determine what meets their needs. It depends on what they’re looking for and what they need.”
Gwen Cunliffe, RN, Director of Home Care Services, Protocare Home Healthcare

“The good news is New Jersey law now enables people with higher incomes to qualify for Medicaid benefits in their homes. The catch is that there is a requirement to establish a trust to hold all or some of the Medicaid applicant’s income. The state used to allow individuals with incomes above a certain threshold to qualify for Medicaid in a nursing home only. Now, by using the newly approved trust, people with incomes over or under $2,199 a month can qualify for Medicaid in their homes (or in assisted living).”
Dana Bookbinder, Founder, Bookbinder Law

“We created a respite care support group, which handles stages of dementia and helps to educate families. It’s open to the public as well. We’re here as a support system for local families. The support group ranges in different topics—how to deal with stress, the different stages of aging, practical care giving information, as well as local community resources. We also discuss finding challenges for difficult behaviors.”
Fallon Butler, Marketing Director, Arden Courts

“Geriatric Case Managers (GCMs) are often overlooked because of their cost, however, in the long run, GCMs are well worth their expense. They act as an advocate for the elderly person handling difficult situations and allow the children to remain as children providing the emotional support needed to their parent.”
Gwen Cunliffe

“There are veterans benefits to help pay for home care. To qualify, applicants have to show ongoing monthly medical or care bills that meet a certain threshold. The VA benefit provides a subsidy for the care up to a maximum amount. I give my clients strategies on how to qualify for the benefits, whereas a veteran’s service organization may be able to assist with an application but not help the applicant plan ahead and speed up eligibility.”
0Dana Bookbinder

“[Arden Court’s] Namaste program is more like a spa; it’s a healing center. We work with medications on a daily basis and have learned that some people would rather take vitamins and the holistic approach. Some people start to see a change in their behaviors from prescriptions. A lot of times different medications have different side effects that, as people age and progress, they don’t want to deal with. So we educate them and provide holistic opportunities.”
Fallon Butler

“As people age that support structure is getting smaller, and the biggest thing I see is a lack of socialization in aging in place. A lot of seniors are alone in the home, but we’re social creatures and need that socialization. There are day cares in the community and programs available that we try to get [seniors] involved in. Calling an agency and asking them what they feel needs to be done is the best way to provide answers. We have the experience with home care and that is very valuable.”
Gwen Cunliffe

“If you have estate planning documents that are several years old, there’s a good chance that they haven’t kept up with changes in your assets, family situations or the law. You should look over your documents every five years or so to confirm that they’re still able to accomplish your goals and, if you are concerned about the prospect of paying for long-term care—home care, assisted living and nursing home care—you should speak to an attorney to plan. Long-term care insurance is a great option to cover care costs, but many people can’t qualify or don’t want to pay the premiums. Planning ahead helps you retain a lot more control over your assets, which gives you and your family peace of mind.”
Dana Bookbinder

“When families go away a lot of times it’s over-stimulation for people with memory loss or in need of memory care. Going away, going to a beach, keeping up with the daily activities and stimulation of vacationing is not always comfortable to someone who needs memory care. So that family member can come to stay with us, and we’ll provide meals, activities, daily care, hygiene needs and everything they need.”
Fallon Butler

“One of the biggest resources that people overlook is the state and county Office of Aging. It’s incredibly helpful and they have so many services for elderly people. There’s services, connections to the bar association for legal advice, in-home services, senior snow removal programs, federal benefits. It’s a terrific resource for seniors and their families to get all sorts of counseling.”
Gwen Cunliffe

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 3 (April, 2016).
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