How Do You Purchase the Right Long-Term Care Insurance Policy?

December 10, 2008

Filed under: Long-Term Care Insurance — Tags: , — Alexis @ 3:38 PM

If you can afford the premiums, long-term care insurance (LTCI) is usually good investment in your future.  The right policy will pay for at-home care, medical equipment, nursing home care, and maybe even some of the monthly fees at an assisted living.  Actuarial tables demonstrate that in many cases, families that paid LTCI premiums over many years and then needed some increased care came out ahead as opposed to paying out of pocket for home care, nursing home care, etc. 

But how do you pick the right policy?  A December Wall Street Journal article described that Conseco, Inc. has shed its LTCI unit to a trust run by the state of Pennsylvania.  Observers suspect that this will not be the only company to give up its LTC customers.  

The best way to pick the right policy for you – and that may be very different from the right policy for your neighbor, sister, or best friend – is to work with a trustworthy financial advisor.  A good advisor should be able to generate quotes for you from several different companies and should walk you through the differences to help you make an informed decision.  While no one can predict the future, a good advisor should have a handle on which companies have strong holdings backing up their policies.  Your elder law attorney should have a relationship with one or more qualified advisors. 

And remember – financial advisors are paid by commission depending on which policy you ultimately buy.  Ask the advisor if he is willing to show you the commission statement associated with each of the quotes to make sure he is not steering you towards the one that benefits him the most, unless, of course, that happens to also be the policy that is best for you. 

Caregiver Stress Check Quiz

December 9, 2008

Filed under: Alzheimer's,Caregiver Issues — Tags: , , , — Alexis @ 3:01 PM

If you are a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s or any other debilitating disease, take a look at the National Alzheimer’s Association’s Caregiver Stress Check.  It’s very well done.  Based on the issues you check off (ex., you feel like you are doing everything yourself with no backup, you think that your own health is suffering from the overload, etc.), the quiz takes you to different resources that can help you.  

This quiz only takes a minute and can make a big difference to your own health and outlook, to your relationship with the person you care for, and to the quality of care you provide. 

Newton Health Care Center

December 4, 2008

Filed under: Health Care Facilities — Tags: , , , — Alexis @ 2:53 PM

On a beautiful December Wednesday, I drove to Newton to tour the Newton Health Care Center.  The owner, Healthbridge, also has the Weymouth Health Care Center on the South Shore.  From the outside, it looks like an old-fashioned, brick nondescript nursing home, but inside, there is a lot going on.  They offer an Alzheimer’s care unit, long-term care, short-term rehab, and post acute care.  

Most interesting, though, is their “orthopedic unit.”  This is a 22-bed wing designed for people who need a short stay while recovering from hip replacements, knee replacements, or other orthopedic surgeries.  It is such a change to see a unit built for baby-boomers – rooms are private, each has a flat screen TV, there is internet access, and the wing is spacious and tastefully decorated.  Very different from the usual institutional experience!

Through all the units, I noticed a few things that I liked.  One was sunlight – lots of it.  Plenty of natural light is key to mood and health.  Despite being right off the highway, there were also peaceful views out many of the windows, whether of trees or a neighboring gold course.  Again, soothing, natural sights help life mood and promote health.  The courtyard used by the Alzheimer’s and dementia residents is larger than at many other facilities.  And the two things I also look for when visiting facilities – the staff looked happy and calm, as did the residents.  

Asperger’s Association of New England

December 3, 2008

Filed under: Special Needs — Tags: , , — Alexis @ 2:49 PM

Have you checked out the Asperger’s Association of New England?  What a busy place.  They provide services and support to teens, adults, family members, and educators and professionals.  

Are you a teen looking for a social network?  Are you a parent seeking workshops on parenting and advocating in the schools?  Are you looking for a support group or an online chat room?  They have it.  

Or are you a friend or family member who simply needs to learn more about Asperger’s and on what to expect of your diagnosed friend and on how to best interact with her for a fruitful and loving relationship?  They have information for beginners, too. 

Be sure to check out especially the social outings and workshops – many are held at headquarters in Watertown, but there are several in Canton (held at the offices of Enable, Inc.), as well.