Hearing Health – Never Too Early to be Concerned

ANTHONY CIRILLO - FACHE, ABC, President, Fast Forward Consulting

Can you imagine living in a world where you can’t hear music? What about being unable tohear the dialogue of your favorite movie? Hearing loss is a problem shared by many of all ages, but did you know that hearing loss among seniors is rapidly becoming a growing public health issue?

Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that approximately 44% of people suffer from significant hearing loss by age 6966% by age 79and 90% after age 80. The number of Americans affected by hearing loss is also expected to shoot up- from about 36 million Americans today to 78 million by the year 2030.
Because of these stats, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s (NYEE) has announced a new hearing health initiative. 

The PSA was created to raise awareness about hearing loss, particularly among baby boomers and urges viewers to visit a new educational website about hearing health. Hearing loss can impact our relationships, work, leisure pursuits and even safety. That’s why all adults should take control of their hearing health as soon as possible.

As a musician I can relate to the hearing issue. Fortunately I have not suffered at least yet. I jokingly say I can hear two seniors talking to each other in the last row of a crowded auditorium and then shock them when I recite what they said. On the other hand, my wife says I cannot hear her two feet across the table!
Find out more about hearing health and take an Online Hearing Quiz to learn how healthy your hearing really is.
You can also visit their Facebook page and enter the NYEE’s Favorite Sounds Sweepstakes. Choose to “like” the page by recording your own favorite sounds, and by doing so enter the sweepstakes. The sweepstakes prize is the $5,000-value opportunity for the winner and ten friends to share dinner with Chris Botti at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s November 15 fundraising gala.

Who Gets Grandma After the Divorce?

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Who from my family will step up and care for me as I grow older? That is a question a lot of baby boomers are asking themselves. Because the prospects are scary.
In a study reported in Long-Term Care Magazine, divorce and remarriage is changing the role of adult children in caring for aging parents and the quality of family relationships is often trumping genetic ties argues a researcher from the University of Missouri.
Lawrence Ganong, a professor and co-chair at the university’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, found that relationship quality, a history of mutual help and resource availability influence decisions about who cares for parents and stepparents.
Ganong said: “How close family members are to each other, how much they have been helped by them in the past and what hardships caregiving might place on family members are important factors when people consider caring for older kin.”
Ganong and his research team presented study participants with hypothetical caregiving scenarios involving an aging parent or stepparent and a child or stepchild. Participants then responded to questions about their perceptions of who should provide care.
The majority of participants said biological factors are relevant in caregiving decisions, but they do not automatically require adult children to help older relatives.
“Based on what happens before, during and after marital transitions, family members may change what they think their responsibilities are regarding helping and providing care to kin,” Ganong said. “As a society that relies on families to provide much of the care for older adults, we need to better understand the effects of changes in families due to divorce and remarriage.”
Ganong recommended that middle-aged adults have honest conversations with parents and stepparents about expectations for caregiving and other types of assistance before needs arise.
Ganong’s study, “Who Gets Custody of Grandma After the Divorce? How Marital Transitions Affect Family Caregiving Responsibilities,” was funded by the National Institute on Aging.
So now I am praying that my stepson, whose mom I am divorced from, will stay married to my lovely daughter-in-law!

The Ripple Effect of the Economy on LTC

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nursing home

A recent Kaiser Health News article illuminated the Catch 22 seniors are in – wanting to sell their home to be able to afford assisted living and of course not being able to because the market is in the tank.

According to Kaiser, experts say thousands of seniors remain unable to move into senior housing because they can’t sell their homes quickly enough or for the price they need.

And that adds to caregiver pressure to either fund that care or take mom or dad into their homes. Not ideal situations in either case. Just ask my sister. Mom just moved in with her after a series of hospital and rehabilitation stints. Mom had no real estate to sell but has money in the bank, which she does not want to part with to pay an assisted living. That too is generational because the WW2 seniors feel some obligation to leave money to their kids. Despite our assurances that we don’t want or need it. (Maybe speaking personally here.)

People are therefore also entering assisted living at an older age and needing more acute services. And frankly many assisted living residents might be better off in a nursing home.

Kaiser reports that nationally, the occupancy rate for CCRCs fell from 94.4 percent in the first quarter of 2007 to 89.5 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC), a senior housing trade group. Meanwhile, occupancy rates for assisted-living facilities fell from 90.6 percent to 88.4 percent, and for independent-living facilities from 92.7 percent to 87.7 percent.

Interesting Solutions

So some enterprising providers are feeling compelled to enter the real estate business in a manner of speaking. Some facilities are buying people’s houses, freezing prices and offering move-in discounts.

Others are encouraging some seniors to share their living units.

Other CCRCs are letting people move if they promise that they’ll pay the entrance fees once their houses sell.

Since 2008, Brookdale Senior Living has signed contracts with seniors promising to buy their houses at a pre-determined price, based on an independent appraisal, within eight months, if they can’t sell them. Brookdale has entered into about 400 of these deals, but has had to buy fewer than 100 homes, most of which have been resold.

Another contributing factor and consequence is that seniors have a hard time grasping the depleted market value of their homes. And when they do and finally sell, they often buy into living arrangements that may not be best suited to their medical and other needs. In Florida alone it is estimated there are 400,000 seniors with dementia living on their own at home, with few or no services.

Nursing Home Impact

The housing slump also is affecting seniors who own a home and need to move into a nursing home. That’s because states require single seniors to exhaust nearly all their assets, including their home equity, to qualify for Medicaid. Federal Medicaid rules allow states to exempt the home from consideration in the financial eligibility test if the family is making a good-faith effort to sell, but not all states do. Depending on which state they live in, these seniors may not qualify for Medicaid if they can’t sell the home.

So you have read some of the interesting solutions. What are you doing to offset the slumping recovery and attract new residents?

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Source: Kaiser Health News

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