Quality Care and Support for LGBTQ Aging Adults

Posted by:

In honor of Pride in San Diego this month, we’d like to discuss a topic of concern in the community: providing the support that is needed for aging LGBTQ adults. It is estimated that the population of LGBTQ adults in America over the age of 65 will double by 2030, reaching a level of more than 3 million people across the country. As the older LGBTQ population grows, there are unique challenges that need to be addressed so that our society is prepared to support the needs of full diversity in the aging population:

  • Caregiving and Decision Making: Unfortunately, many LGBTQ partners and their families of choice aren’t recognized by the law, which means that family members don’t have access to medical leave to take care of a sick partner. Additionally, in the absence of a health care advance directive, decision-making can be limited to immediate family members. This can negatively affect the partner’s ability to care for their loved one.
  • Health Care: Nationally, up to 80% of long-term care for aging adults is provided by family members and relatives. LGBTQ elders, however, don’t always have close family members to lean on for assistance. As a result, they need to rely on the services of hospital, assisted living, and home care professionals who may have little or no training in working with LGBTQ older adults. In addition, paying for professional care is more costly than receiving care from family members.
  • Cultural Competency of Care Providers: Even if the person has access to health care, about 20% of LGBTQ people avoid medical care because they are afraid of discrimination. Overcoming these cultural barriers is essential so that everyone feels comfortable seeking medical care when needed.
  • Health Disparities: Overall, LGBTQ individuals have lower rates of health insurance coverage. Health problems might occur and persist because of disparities in health care access, an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, and/or other chronic physical or mental health conditions. These disparities need to be corrected so that LGBTQ older adults have access to the health care services they need.
  • Housing Discrimination: It is common for older LGBTQ couples to be victimized by discrimination when looking for rental or senior housing options. Many individuals feel they need to re-closet themselves in senior housing to avoid the discriminating treatment from staff.

Everyone deserves to receive quality care and support during all stages in life. If you are in need of services, or if you know a friend or family member who needs help, then reach out to our team at Windward Life Care. With our membership in the Greater San Diego LGBT Health & Wellness Referral Network, we can help you with advance care planning; healthcare advocacy; and finding the appropriate resources in the area to support your needs.

0

Summer Heat Safety for Older Adults

Posted by:

The heat can be uncomfortable for people of all ages, but older adults are prone to heat stress, which can be a dangerous situation if left untreated. As a result, seniors can experience several heat-related health problems when the weather warms up outside.

Whether you are caring for your own health or you are a caregiver for another adult, it is important that you are proactive to stay safe in the heat.

Why Older Adults are at Risk

Why is the risk higher for older adults? Often, seniors have medical conditions that affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. Some chronic conditions can change the body’s response to heat.

Certain medications might have an impact on how the body sweats. For example, diuretics can increase the risk of dehydration due to water loss. Heart disease impacts the blood circulation, which makes it harder for the body to dissipate the heat.

Older adults’ sense of thirst also diminishes with the aging process. Feeling less thirsty, combined with some seniors’ difficulties with incontinence, can lead many people to avoid drinking water and other fluids. This increases their chances of becoming dehydrated which can lead to hospitalization.

Prevention is Important

Don’t wait for symptoms to occur before taking action against the heat. Being proactive is the best solution to prevent health complications:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned area as much as possible during the day.
  • Increase water consumption. Drink consistently throughout the day instead of waiting until you are thirsty.
  • Wear clothing that is loose-fitting and light in color.
  • If you are feeling warm, take a cool bath or shower to lower your body temperature.
  • Minimize physical activities, especially when you are spending time outside.
  • Use window coverings to keep the heat of the sun out of the room.
  • Turn on the air conditioner, even if it increases the utility bills; or, go to a public library, indoor mall or San Diego County-sponsored “Cool Zone.”
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol which can increase the risk of dehydration.

If you have an aging neighbor or family member, then it is smart to check in regularly to make sure they are staying cool. In the situation where the power is lost, it is essential to offer assistance to help the person get to a cooler place.

When to See a Doctor

Certain symptoms might indicate that it is necessary to see a doctor: strong or rapid pulse, feeling faint, confusion, increase in body temperature, or dry, flushed skin.

Whether you have questions about heat-related symptoms or you need assistance with other medical concerns, Windward Life Care is here to assist. We can help you find the right resources to match your needs. Call to learn about the services that we provide.

0

Aging Life Care Manager Helps “Bill” to Age Well

Posted by:

Windward’s Aging Life Care Managers help clients to make positive life changes that result in better health and quality of life. Here is one example of a client, “Bill,” whom Care Manager Heather Arsenault has had the honor to work with for the past year and a half.

Bill was referred to Windward Life Care® by his estate planning attorney. Bill has required help most of his life due to the effects of a brain aneurysm he suffered as a teenager. After a lengthy recovery, Bill was able to go back to school and graduated in the mid-1960’s. He worked on and off, including several years as a cashier at a local convenience store. Bill is now 73. He has a heart of gold and loves a good conversation.

One of the challenges Bill has faced in his life is social isolation. To help with companionship and incorporating meaningful activity into Bill’s life, Heather introduced a home care aide, Zahrina. With the dependable structure that a daily home care aide provides, Bill now fills his days with activities that further his physical and mental health and bring joy to his life.

Each morning Bill and Zahrina play Windward Life Care’s “Memory Match Game” with cards that have personal photos of people, pets, and places in his life. Other activities they enjoy are: going to Padres games, walking at Seaport Village, walking at Spanish Landing, and eating out. Bill has a personal trainer and a therapist who both come to the house weekly. Heather also worked with Bill’s Power of Attorney to get him started in swim therapy classes this summer. As a teenager, Bill was an avid swimmer so he was excited to return to this favorite pastime.

Aging Life Care® Manager Heather Arsenault visits Bill monthly at his home, or out at one of Bill’s favorite restaurants.  Heather has weekly contact with Zahrina to share information and ideas for helping Bill. Heather determined that Bill would benefit from safety upgrades at his home. She arranged for a company to initiate bathroom improvements, upgrade flooring, and remove floor rugs to make his environment safer.

Heather has also facilitated Bill’s visits with his health care providers to ensure that his chronic conditions are well-managed and that crises are averted.

Bill’s consistent routine including in-home caregivers, engaging activities, and taking steps toward a healthy lifestyle have led to an “aging well” story.

 

Windward Life Care’s interdisciplinary team of Aging Life Care® Managers has certification and professional training in a number of areas related to healthy aging, including nursing, geriatric care management, and social work. If you would like us to create a personalized plan for yourself or someone you care about, please contact us at (619) 450-4300 or [email protected] lifecare.com.

*Out of respect of our clients’ privacy, some names have been altered. 

0

What You Need to Know About Preventing Elder Abuse in La Jolla, CA

Posted by:

Contributed by Chris Jaccard, CFP®, CFA

It is a sad fact of life that often those who are close to us are the ones who have the ability to hurt us the most, even trusted caregivers or family members. Members of the La Jolla community may recall the chilling case of Robert Stella, an elderly man who was tied to his bed, starved, and forced to live in squalor by his ex-wife (NBC, 2014). Elder abuse can happen to any older adult in any community, but the subject of our story today is how our community members in La Jolla, CA may defend themselves and their loved ones from elder abuse.

Elder Abuse: The Silent Perpetrator

Elder abuse takes many forms. In some cases the crime is overt and violent, but most of the time the unsuspecting victim is silently preyed upon for a period of time by a familiar person.

  • It can be as surreptitious as the plumber who “cases” the house on routine visits, only to return back through an unsecured window at a time when he knows that the victim is asleep or habitually out of the house. He pillages as much money and jewelry as he can from the places where he knows the victim keeps her valuables, and then leaves.
  • Elder abuse can happen over the phone. Let’s say an older adult suffering from dementia receives a solicitation from someone pretending to be a relative, saying that they have an immediate need to wire over some money to get them out of a pinch.
  • We’ve even heard of Medicaid facilities partaking of the monies awarded to the facilities’ patients to use for themselves while the patients starve or go malnourished.
  • Sadly, elder abuse even happens within families. Ex-spouses, children, siblings, cousins, etc., acting out of desperation, can act as perpetrators of this crime to their own family members.

Americans who are financially abused lose an average of $140,500, according to a Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards study (CFP Board, 2012).

Finally, the Industry Reacts

Over the past few years, several states have enacted regulations to protect vulnerable adults from exploitation and abuse and now the financial services industry is catching up – enacting the first uniform, national standard to protect vulnerable adults.

Advisors must now attempt to document the contact information for someone you trust – your Trusted Contact. If there is a suspicious withdrawal attempted on your account, advisors/custodians can now place a temporary hold on that transaction and further authorize the transaction via your Trusted Contact or notify authorities.

The Trusted Contact

A trusted contact is a new option you may elect on your account, and we encourage all our clients to do so. This person will be called upon in the event that the account custodian or advisor believes that there is financial exploitation going on. The trusted contact may also be called upon to confirm your health status or the identity of other important people who may be involved with your account such as executor, guardian, etc.

It’s important to understand that the trusted contact will not have the ability to view account information or initiate transactions. In fact, we think you should consider having a trusted contact be someone who is not authorized to do so – and more of a neutral third-party.

6 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Being a Victim of Financial Abuse of Older Adults

There are several basic steps you can take to help protect yourself:

  1. Have your durable power of attorney easily accessible by you and other trusted people. New state laws may require adult protective services to be called which can strip your ability to handle things alone.
  2. Communicate more financial information with people you trust. If there is abuse, it’s more likely these people will notice and say something.
  3. Consider opting out of Marketing Solicitations by electing to do so on websites such as https://www.DoNotCall.gov or https://www.beenverified.com/optout.
  4. Carefully consider who your trusted contact persons (primary and secondary) should be and share that information with your financial advisor or your trusted advisor.
  5. Use a third party, such as a financial advisor, as a “check and balance”. As financial exploitation may be perpetrated by a family member, you may want to have a third party you can consult with to determine if any behavior is concerning.
  6. Be aware of situations that encourage desperation. There are certain times when you are more vulnerable, for example, during the holiday season when people are more desperate for money.

What to do If You Suspect Financial Elder Abuse of a Loved One

We interviewed Windward Life Care, a provider of aging life care management services, to get a better sense of what to do if you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one.

Financial Alternatives: In your experience, when you’ve seen an elderly person be taken advantage of financially, what were the warning signs that his or her caretakers may have missed?

Windward Life: There are several warning signs of financial elder abuse. Often the perpetrator tries to isolate the victim from friends, family, former associates. They do so by creating distrust between the aging person and those they are close to.

Example: An aging mother is encouraged into a dependency on perpetrator. She becomes accustomed to deferring to the perpetrator for decisions that are inconsistent with perpetrator’s role in victim’s life.

Example: “I need to ask Paul before I decide to go on vacation”, or “Paul says I need to see a new attorney and go over some estate planning options that my old one may not have had me consider.”

You should also pay attention when you see someone close to the aging person engaging in behavior that is beyond his or her means, such as buying a new car or going on a luxury vacation. Any secretive, elusive behavior is suspect.

It’s fairly common to see the perpetrator interjecting him or herself into financial matters that are not his responsibility. For example, you may find checks written for work that has not been authorized.

Financial Alternatives: How do you recommend caregivers begin the conversation with an aging person if they suspect risk of financial abuse?

Windward Life: That’s a good question. Sometimes this can be a touchy subject to initiate conversation about. You’ve got to be very emotionally aware when entering into these conversations.

Use Distancing Anecdotes

The best thing to do is start off the conversation with a story about how someone else has been taken advantage of.

Example: You will have greater success if you generalize the risk.  “This could happen to anyone.  Have you ever experienced or felt you were at risk for something like this happening, Mom?”

Keep Communication Positive

Elder abuse is not a subject to take lightly but the conversation generally goes better the more positive you keep the dialogue. Here are some pointers.

  • Remind Mom that she took care of you for many years. Now it’s your turn to offer some assistance.  You consider it an honor to be able to reciprocate.
  • Show your sensitivity by pointing out that con artists are professionals at fooling everyone and there is no shame.  Recognize that embarrassment about possibly being victimized is more horrifying to the elder than the actual loss of money.
  • For the same reason, don’t point out past failings.  Stay focused on the specific concern in a caring, helpful, non-judgmental way. Older people are afraid of their own vulnerability and don’t want their family to see them declining.  Having an open-door policy of good, non-accusatory communication is the best plan.
  • Approach the dialogue from a calm, information gathering perspective.  Use facts, not accusations.  Ask Dad to review bank accounts with you to identify discrepancies.  Do this in a relaxed environment with no time constraints.  The process will be upsetting as it is; so try to minimize emotional distress as much as possible.

Realize That Third Party Resources May Be Necessary

As much as you may want to solve the problem yourself, realize that some issues are too deeply entrenched to resolve without the help of a professional.

For example, it is often a family member who lives in the home who preys on the elder.  This is the most difficult abuse to stop because codependency is not a quick fix.  A licensed mental health professional may be needed.

If abuse is suspected, Dad may be embarrassed and double down to keep the information from being revealed to the family.  The family may be able to persuade him to speak with a professional financial advisor.

Example: “I can see you are worried about something Dad, would it help you to talk with Sally (the financial advisor) to help sort this out?”

This approach may work because Dad may feel more comfortable talking with a third party who will not reveal the abuse to the family.

Financial Alternatives: If someone were in the market for a caregiver for their aging relative, how can they reduce the risk of working with someone who may take advantage of them financially?

Windward Life: The good news is that there are several things you can do and by exercising proper diligence you can reduce many of the risks of an aging relative being taken advantage of financially.

For starters, hire a certified care manager who is a member of the national Aging Life Care Association. The Aging Life Care® Manager will only hire thoroughly screened caregivers. In general, you should only do business with caregivers that follow the State requirements on background checks and training. State regulations vary by state, of course. There are several such licensed providers who can help you prevent elder abuse in La Jolla, CA.

In our organization we advocate for aging people to utilize trackable expenses through a True Link card and have only limited cash on hand. We also suggest that bill paying responsibilities be assigned to a fiduciary or other responsible family member. These individuals should conduct regular monitoring to assure the highest physical/mental health and awareness.

Summary on Elder Abuse in La Jolla, CA

Elder abuse in La Jolla, CA doesn’t have to be a fact of life. With the proper awareness and strategies, you can put mechanisms in place to prevent it, help your loved ones who are at risk, facilitate open communication, and if by ill fortune this does befall your loved one you can take actions to resolve the situation. In all cases, calling on the proper resources is key. For more information about how to protect your loved ones from financial elder abuse in La Jolla, CA please get in touch with us.

Sources

Summers, Dave. (30 May, 2014). Elder Abuse Suspect Dons Disguise to Get Close to Victim. NBC Universal Media; NBC 7. Retrieved from https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/La-Jolla-Elder-Abuse-Robert-Stella-Victoria-Turner-Disguise-Visit-261292301.html

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. (August 2012). Senior Financial Exploitation Study. Retrieved from https://www.cfp.net/docs/news-events—supporting-documents/senior-americans-financial-exploitation-survey.pdf?sfvrsn=0

0

The Link Between Caregiver Retention and Regular Performance Evaluations

Posted by:

Written by Renee Dills, Human Resources Manager at Windward Life Care.

The turnover rates for paid, professional caregivers are uncomfortably high nationwide and continue to rise each year. According to Home Care Benchmarking Study, national median caregiver turnover rates stood at 66.7% in 2017, up from 53.2% in 2013. Studies also show that the pool of available professional caregivers has continued to shrink over the past five years. Couple those statistics with the boom we are experiencing in the aging population, and it becomes clear why stable care options for your aging loved one may feel like they are hard to come by.

So how do we make sure our hardworking caregivers remain engaged and happy in their employment with Windward Life Care? It should come as no surprise that retention rates remain higher at companies where caregivers feel valued and know that their work is appreciated. At Windward, we believe taking the time to schedule regular performance evaluations with each of our caregivers is an important part of this process. The evaluations serve not only as opportunities to discuss performance feedback, but also as a valuable “check in” time for the caregiver to talk over any outstanding concerns they might have. It doesn’t hurt that each evaluation comes with the opportunity for a performance-based raise and/or bonus, making sure another well-documented piece of the retention puzzle – competitive wages – falls into place.

During these evaluations, our caregivers often share with us how thankful they are that the challenging work they do is noticed and appreciated. “I have been in this industry for years, and this is the first performance evaluation I’ve ever had. Thank you for taking the time,” a caregiver told us at her recent evaluation. We are grateful that so many of our caregivers feel this way about working with us. We are also proud that Windward’s caregiver turnover rate sat nearly 20 points below the national average in 2017 – and we feel we’ve only begun to scratch the surface on our retention goal. We are continually looking for new ways to ensure your favorite caregiver will be proud to remain a Windward employee for years to come.

As part of our continuous rigorous recruitment program, we’re always looking for people who are committed to our mission to improve the lives of our clients through services that center on the goals of the individual, and which foster a lifelong sense of purpose. We invite you to find out more about us by visiting the Careers Page on our website. Interested caregivers are able to apply online.

0

Aging Life Care Association® to Celebrate Aging Life Care™ Month in May

Posted by:

Note: Thank you to the Aging Life Care Association® for contributing this post.

The Aging Life Care Association is celebrating its 7th annual year of Aging Life Care Month, highlighting the Aging Life Care profession.

The Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) – the nonprofit association representing 2,000 leaders in Aging Life Care™ / care management – will celebrate the 7th annual Aging Life Care Month, which highlights the Aging Life Care profession during the month of May. The Association will begin its celebration with the 34th Annual Aging Life Care Association Conference in Chicago, IL, May 9-12, 2018.

While the practice and profession of Aging Life Care is not new, the field has been growing and is more crucial now than it ever has been. According to the 2017 Profile of Older Americans, “the 85 and over population is projected to more than double from 6.4 million in 2016 to 14.6 million in 2040 (a 129% increase).” In addition, about one in every seven Americans is an older American. As we age, our caregiving needs increase. Aging Life Care Professionals® play a significant role, as they are prepared to help aging adults plan for and face age-related challenges.

Aging Life Care is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing health challenges. The Aging Life Care Professional is a health and human services specialist who is a guide, advocate, and resource for families caring for an older relative or disabled adult. Working with families, these experts provide the answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off work for family caregivers.

They have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of resources in their communities. As members of ALCA, Aging Life Care Professionals must meet stringent education, experience, and certification requirements of the organization, and all members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice. Members may be trained in any of number of fields related to long-term care. These include counseling, gerontology, mental health, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, social work, and other allied health professions, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging.

Aging Life Care Professionals throughout the country will celebrate National Aging Life Care Month by providing seminars, webinars, special events, open houses, and other educational activities for the public. For more information, and to find an Aging Life Care Professional near you, visit ALCA’s website aginglifecare.org.

ABOUT the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA)
ALCA (formerly known as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families in the United States. Aging Life Care Professionals® have extensive training and experience working with older adults, people with disabilities, and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs. The practice of Aging Life Care™ and the role of care providers have captured a national spotlight, as generations of Baby Boomers age in the United States and abroad. For more information or to access a nationwide directory of Aging Life Care Professionals, please visit aginglifecare.org.

0
Page 1 of 11 12345...»