Haley Conklin

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Bladder Infections in Elderly – Everything You Need to Know

In elderly it isn't uncommon for urinary tract infections or bladder infections to occur. Because elders often have a weakened immune system, they are more susceptible to getting a UTI.

Bladder infections are not just annoying, they also pose some serious potential health risks.

Warning Signs of UTIs

Specifically in elderly there are some lesser know signs that might be a result of a urinary tract infection. These warning signs, however, might also be caused by other medical issues.

  • Dementia-like behavior
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Falling
  • Hallucinations
  • Other unusual behavioral changes

UTI Symptoms

Some common symptoms of urinary tract infections include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Night sweats, shaking or chills
  • Bloody urine
  • Strong or foul-smelling urine
  • Pressure in lower pelvis
  • Frequent urge to urinate

Causes of Bladder Infections

Bladder infections could be provoked by a number of conditions or factors, but bladder infections are caused by bacteria that enters the bladder. E. coli is usually the kind of bacteria that causes UTIs and are normally not a problem. The infection and problem begins when the bacteria get into the urethra and travel to the bladder.

Bladder Infections in Females vs Males.

Because bacteria can more easily reach the bladder in women, women are more prone to get bladder infections. For men it is more difficult to contract a UTI, than for women for basic anatomy reasons. However that doesn't mean it can't happen. Everyone should keep good hygiene and stay hydrated to help lower the risk of UTIs.

Bladder Infections in Elderly

As we age our immune systems weaken and sometimes health problems arise. This makes contracting a UTI much easier in old age. Conditions in elderly that increase risk of UTIs include:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney stones
  • Urine retention (not being able to full empty the bladder)
  • Use of urinary catheters
  • Surgery near bladder
  • Enlarged prostate

Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis

Bladder infections are sometimes difficult to diagnose in elders because of uncommon symptoms that might occur. If a bladder infection is suspected, the easiest way to get a diagnosis is to go to the doctor's and have a urinalysis done.

With a simple urine culture a doctor is able to tell whether you have an infection or not, what kind of bacteria caused your UTI and what antibiotic should be used to treat it.

UTI Treatment

In order to treat urinary tract infections, most doctors often prescribe antibiotics that will help to get rid of your bladder infection.

Amoxicillin and nitrofurantoin are the most common antibiotics that are prescribed to treat a UTI.

With an antibiotic if you start them as soon as you can and take them as prescribed your bladder infection should be gone in a few days. If you decide to stop taking your antibiotics it increases the chance of antibiotic resistance.

UTI Prevention

It's not realistic to prevent all urinary tract infections from happening but there are precautions and things you can do to help reduce the risk of getting one.

Drinking plenty of water is one way to help lessen the risk of UTI. This is because more water in your system prompts more trips to the restroom, flushing out the bacteria.

Changing incontinence pads often and keeping good hygiene is crucial to helping prevent bladder infections.

To catch a bladder infection early or prevent it all together, looking for signs and taking the steps of good hygiene is the first way to go.

Why Is Minute Clinic Care Growing in Popularity Among Elderly?

Minute clinics or retail clinics are becoming increasingly more popular among many people in our country, even with our elders. For injuries that might not require immediate emergency care, but do need some attention, minute clinics are great for.

With the rise of minute clinics comes many difficult questions. Are they as efficient or safe as a trip to the ER or doctor's office? How does one know when a minute clinic is necessary over the ER (and vice versa)?

What is a Minute Clinic?

You might be wondering what a minute clinic is. If you have ever been into a Walgreens, Walmart or a Target you might have seen little clinics. These are exactly what we are talking about; minute clinics. According to the American Geriatrics Society, the percentage of elderly that are utilizing these minute clinics has gone from 7.5% to 15% in a matter of just three years.

Because of this increase in elderly going to minute clinics, the providers and clinics themselves are trying to cater to the needs of the elderly. This happens when the clinics offer free wellness exams to Medicare participants.

Pros of Minute Clinics

Saves Time

One of the most obvious reasons why someone would want to go to a minute clinic is because it is less time consuming. It might not take just a minute like the name suggests, but it is almost always better than a long wait in the emergency department of the local hospital.

Accepts Medicare/Medicaid

Most retail clinics take Medicare and Medicaid which makes it even better for our elders.

Open Hours

These clinics are typically open 7 days a week including hours in the evening and on the weekends. This is obviously much more convenient as doctor's offices aren't usually open on the weekends.

Cons of Minute Clinics

Quality

Some maybe say that store based clinics don't have the same quality of care as your primary doctor's office.

This might be because these clinics are staffed with a mix of nurse practitioners and physician assistants rather than board certified doctors.

Regular Care

Sometimes elderly may really like the convenience of retail clinics. It is important that this doesn't take the place of the primary care provider. They hold an important role in managing the health and care of elderly patients.

Are Minute Clinics Safe?

Because some people might question the quality of care many might also consider whether or not it is the safest option to go to a minute clinic.

Since the retail clinics are still fairly new it's hard to get a good opinion of them. As far as regulations and care standards not much has been done yet.

When you think about it, the clinics are being set up by larger companies who probably won't promote and open up something that isn't safe for patients and consumers.

What Are Retail Clinics Good For?

Since retail clinics are still a new things, the American Geriatrics Society recommends that elderly still only use them for simple needs like:

  • Minor cuts/burns
  • Cold or flu treatment
  • Ear and sinus infections
  • Allergies
  • Regular vaccinations

Things to Remember About Retail Clinics

When visiting a clinic with a loved one or for yourself the AGS suggest you should do a number of things first.

  1. Take a list of current medications with correct dosage information (OTC and prescription)
  2. Notify providers or any allergies or problems with medication
  3. Ask about payment. Most take medicare or medicaid, but some do not.
  4. After the visit request hard copies of all of the papers recorded at the visit and give the clinic permission to send a record to the regular doctor's office.

5 Old People Jokes That Will Get Anyone to LOL

Everyone loves a good joke, even those in our elderly generation. There are so many jokes out there with punchlines about old age and our elders that will make them laugh out loud. Whether its a funny one liner or quote about retirement on a card, or a cartoon posted on a billboard, you are surrounded with old age jokes throughout the day.

You can find jokes about aging everywhere nowadays, but here are the top 5 old people jokes to tell any senior:

1. 3 Elderly Sisters

Three sisters ages 96, 94 and 92 all lived in the same house. One night the 96 year old sister went to take a bath upstairs. While she was putting her foot into the bathtub she stopped. She then called out to her other sisters and asked them, “Was I just getting into the bathtub or getting out?”

“You fool,” the 94 year old sister said. “I'll come upstairs and take a look.” As she reached halfway up the stairs she stopped and called out to the youngest sister, “Was I going upstairs or downstairs?”.

The youngest sister was sitting at the table in the kitchen drinking some tea and said to herself, “I hope I don't become that forgetful” and knocked on the wood on the table. The 92 year old sister shook her head and yelled to her sisters, “I'll be there to help both of you after I see who knocked on the door.”

2. Sharing Peanuts

A bus driver was driving a whole tour bus of elderly men and women down a highway. As he was driving one of the little old ladies tapped him on the shoulder to offer him a handful of peanuts that he gratefully accepted.

15 minutes pass and she comes back with another handful of peanuts. This happens about five more times. The bus driver finally decides to ask her, “Why don't you eat the peanuts yourself?” She replied and said “We have no teeth so we aren't able to chew them.”

Confused, he asks, “If you can't chew them, why do you buy them?” She replied “We get them just for the chocolate around them. We love it!”

3. 80 is the Worst Age

3 nursing home residents were talking about aging outside of their nursing home. The 60 year old resident said “60 is the worst age to be. You constantly feel like you have to pee but most of the time nothing happens.”

The 70 year old resident responds “That's nothing compared to being 70. You can't take a crap anymore. You eat all of the bran and take laxatives you can and still nothing happens.”

The 80 year old said, “You're both wrong. 80 is actually the worst.”

The 60 year old asked the 80 year old, “Do you have trouble peeing too?” He responded, “No. I go at 6 every morning. I have no problem at all.”

The 70 year old asked him, “Do you have trouble taking a crap?” “No, I go at 6:30 each morning” the 80 year old responded.

The 60 year old said “Let me understand you clearly. You go #1 every morning at 6am and #2 every morning half an hour later. What's so hard about being 80?”

The 80 year old concluded, “All of those things are true, but I don't wake up until 10am.”

4. Old Lady Speeding

One night a state cop saw a car riding along at 22 miles per hour. He put on his lights and pulled the car over. He approached the window and saw that there were 5 old ladies in the car that looked shocked and pale.

The old lady who was driving said “Officer, I don't get why you pulled me over. I was going the speed limit exactly. What is the issue?”

He said “Ma'am you were not going over the speed limit, however driving under the limit is dangerous too.”

The lady responded, “I disagree sir. I was going 22 mph, the exact speed limit.”

The officer laughed and said “22 is not the speed limit, it is the route number.” Feeling embarrassed she thanked the police officer.

He stopped and said “Before I let you go, is everyone ok? The other ladies seem a bit unsettled.” The lady responded and said “Oh they will be fine in a minute. We just got off of route 119.”

5. Old Couple Shares A Meal

An elderly couple went to McDonald's and ordered a burger, fries and a soda. A man next to them saw the old man split everything in half.

He went over to the table and offered to buy them each a meal if they couldn't afford it. The old man appreciatively declined and said that him and his wife shared everything in the 40 years they were together.

He went back to his own table and then noticed the old woman wasn't eating. She was just sitting there. He went back over to the couple and asked why she wasn't eating. She then said, “It's only because it's my husband's turn to use the teeth.”

Fidget Spinners – The New Tool For Dementia Patients

Fidget spinners are the latest fad of 2017, primarily amongst young children. You have probably seen them on the news, in a classroom or sported by a young kid. These toys are the latest tools in helping with anxiety and keeping focused. The debate on whether or not these gadgets are actually tools or toys, has been a long going challenge. Despite the controversy, some say that these toys might actually help.

Along with stress balls, rubix cubes and other toys used to keep little hands busy, fidget spinners have the same purpose. However, these toys aren't just made for children.

What Do You Do With A Fidget Spinner?

If you don't have internet, television or grandchildren, you might not have seen a fidget spinner in action. So you might be wondering what exactly to do with them.

Users spin the toy between their fingers to help them mentally or just for fun. There are so many different fidget spinner tricks and fidget spinner games out there that have come from these popular toys.

How Can Fidget Toys Help Dementia Patients?

For patients with dementia or Alzheimer's, it is very important for them to engage in some kind of activity. Which is why some people even recommend the popular fidgeting toy to elders with dementia.

When dementia patients get agitated, it can sometimes be a difficult task to try to calm them down. Fidget toys are said to help calm an agitated mind by giving them something else to focus on. For some elders with dementia there is a limited list of what they are able to do. The good thing about fidget spinners is that they are simple to work.

The spinners come in a variety of different colors, sizes and materials, but what makes these especially great for senior living facilities, is that they don't make a lot of noise.

Other Benefits of Fidget Spinners in Elderly

Not just for elders with dementia is a fidget spinner handy, but for those with arthritis as well. Because the spinners can fit into someone's hand, they can help strengthen the muscles in the hands and fingers to maintain the ability to use them. Using these muscles helps to reduce stiffness and pain in joints.

Fidget spinners can help with the physical well being of our elders, but also with their social well being. It provides a way for grandparents and great-grandparents to connect with their grandchildren. These youngins' have probably heard of fidget spinning, if they don't already have one themselves. Children will be ecstatic to know that their elder family members play with the same things they do.

They might be able to teach you a few tricks too.

Fidget Spinners in Senior Living Facilities

Following the trend of the rest of the youngsters in the world, staff at Senior Star Living Facilities started a program for their memory care residents to utilize fidget spinners.

The program allows residents to freely use fidget spinners that are found in the common areas of the facility. They can choose to keep the tools for as long as they like and many residents actually do.

One of the residents of the memory care facility has a collection of fidget spinners, but also uses a fidget cube to help fall asleep at night.

The executive director of the facility told McKnight's Senior Living, “Staff brainstorming prompted the research. Knowing that many interventions that have been effective with children with autism or ADHD have also been effective for those with dementia, we thought this would be beneficial to test out.”

They started the program with one specific resident in mind, but were surprised when other residents became curious too.

fidget-spinner-seniors

Through this program, the facility is measuring little things such as:

  • the amount of time residents played with the spinners
  • a decrease in wandering
  • a decrease in agitated behavior

Staff at the facility are hopeful that the results from the program will indicate that there are residents who have benefited from the activity.

For years, adults and children have looked to other objects to manage their fidgeting. Pencils, rocks, paper clips and stress balls have some new competition to watch out for these days.

As a caregiver, don't overlook the fidget spinner craze as just for children. It might just help to look into this new fad to see if it works for your patient or loved one.

You can find metal fidget spinners, light up fidget spinners and so many other cool ones! Below are just a few simple fidget spinners on Amazon that we would recommend to seniors.

Scared Nursing Home Residents Comforted By Well Known Actress Amidst Devastating Hurricane

Famous Actress, Kristen Bell was filming the upcoming movie, “Like Father” in Florida shortly before the monster hurricane Irma was expected to hit.

By the time she was done filming and ready to leave, she was not able to evacuate elsewhere prior to the arrival of the category 4 hurricane. She decided to wait out the storm at the Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

When she discovered that several thousand nursing home residents had evacuated to the same hotel she was staying in, she wanted to “brighten their days”.

She posted a selfie onto her Instagram, and captioned “We are gonna make lemonade outta Irma as best we can and I'm fueling up the only way I know how in order to call a few hours of BINGO!”

Bell posted several photos of her and some of her new friends to her Instagram account. She even posted a video of herself and John, who she called her “new side piece in Orlando,” singing a duet of ‘You Are My Sunshine'.

Below is a photo of the actress hugging a resident from Atria Senior Living. She says “Guys, Corey cries when she's happy too!!!! #soulmates”.

At the hotel on Monday night, late night show host Jimmy Kimmel shared a video call with Bell. She told Kimmel, “We're all safe and sound here. We've been making the most of a crazy situation.”

While in Orlando, the actress also visited Meadow Woods Middle School and performed “For the First Time in Forever” from Disney's “Frozen” for some evacuees staying there.

While at the shelter Bell expressed, “I hope maybe some of these songs are running through your head the rest of the day and will take your mind off the hurricane.”

Not only did she stop at encouraging others, she literally saved lives too. Other Hollywood Actor, Josh Gad, posts a photo of Bell and his parents. He captioned, “literally saved my parents and my entire family tonight from #hurricaneirma. When they were stranded in Florida, she got them a hotel room at her hotel in Orlando and saved them, my brothers, my sister-in-law and niece and nephew. They don't make them like this girl. Thank you Kristen You are truly an angel sent from above.”

If this story about this famous actress spreading love and encouragement to seniors inspires you, please SHARE this!

Story Credits: huffingtonpost.com

Ask the Experts: Tips Every Caregiver Should Know About

Caregiving is one of the most rewarding industries you could get into, yet it is also difficult at times. If you feel overwhelmed or frustrated sometimes, you are not alone. However, you can make it easier for yourself by seeking out advice from others in the industry. If you learn to manage stress and know where to go to for advice, it makes such a big difference in your caregiving career.

We reached out to several expert caregivers for you, to see what advice they think every caregiver should have.

ASK for HELP

“We caregivers are a quirky bunch. Work is play for us. We dive in, dig deep and don’t come up for air until… well… when we’re gasping and need a lifeline. This is not a good strategy and we know it, but we’re all guilty of it. When caring for someone who depends on us to help them make it through the day, we do our best in earnest. Whether it’s simple companionship or much more such as help with feeding and toileting, we need to acknowledge our limits, set down our superhuman capes and get some help.”

– Brenda Avadian
MA from TheCaregiversVoice.com

Build a Network

“Stress and caregiving, especially for an older adult, seem to go hand in hand especially for sandwich generation carers.
There is just too much to do and too little time to accomplish everything! Caregiver burnout caused by stress for those who keep trying to do it all is a growing problem and one that can be prevented. Building a network on which you can rely is key to reducing your caregiving stress.
A network could include:

  • Family members, such as children or siblings
  • Someone from your healthcare team
  • Home helpers, paid caregivers, community agencies that can support your needs, transportation assistance, and even local delivery people to bring you what you need.
  • Emotional supporters such as close friend or a faith provider who will give you a shoulder to lean on
  • Someone who can sit with your loved one so that you can get respite and go to the doctor yourself, get your hair done or just have lunch with a friend.
  • People who can provide socialization and companionship to your loved one when you aren’t there
  • Seek out support groups that can give you not only emotional support and friendship but knowledge about what you face as a caregiver

Your network is built with people you can trust to work in your stead, accomplish tasks and support you on your journey.
Asking for their help when needed is not a failure but a way to reduce your stress so you can keep caring.”

– Kathy Birkett
Co-Founder of Senior Care Corner
Twitter: @SrCareCorner
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/SeniorCareCorner

Fill Your Own Tank

“As caregiver, we often feel like the loved ones we care for are more vulnerable than we are, so we put our own needs last. But we need to realize that caregivers are very vulnerable too! We have high stress levels, are more likely to have depression and to rate our health as poor. If we don't care for ourselves, we may become unable to care for our loved ones.

I liken it to my car – I don't expect it to run on empty and I can't expect my car to! As caregivers, we need to keep filling our own tanks too! It's not selfish, it's just practical. Find ways to move that needle on your own “fuel” gauge. What gives you energy? What nurtures your soul? What relaxes you? What keeps you healthy? What motivates you to keep on going?

We all need to have:
1) Quick tank fillers – what can you do for a quick boost in 5 or 10 minutes? Drink a cup of coffee, make quick phone call, practice meditation or mindfulness, connect on social media etc.
2) Premium fill-ups: take a walk, get a few hours away, take a class, go to a movie.
3) full time-ups: take a vacation!
4) Routine maintenance: prioritize adequate and quality sleep, eat healthy foods, get exercise, go for routine and preventive medical appointments.

A balance of all these will help keep your tank on the full side AND help you be a better caregiver.”

Amy Goyer
Caregiving Expert, Author, Speaker, Consultant

Meet the Patient Where They Are At

What I discovered as a caregiver is in order to be successful in the role you must meet the person where they’re at. In caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia this may not be the easiest thing to do, because you want the person afflicted with the illness to be who you once knew them to be, but now you’re required to re-learn communication or at least you should. Regardless of behavioral changes, your patient or loved one is still in need of patience and understanding. You have to remember to speak to them and not at them, use simpler language, and keep choices to a minimal few.

Another successful tip is to get them engaged in little tasks, tasks that can help you while giving them a sense of accomplishment. Be organized, try to forecast your needs, appointments and things to do and remember to try to have fun in the journey. Caregiving is a great test, but if you allow yourself you can find joy and reward in this role.

-Pamela Rivers, confessionsofamastercaregiver.com

Multimedia Journalist, Blogger and one of Maria Shriver's Agents of Change

Go Into Her World

“When I moved back to Texas to help care for my parents, I was a rookie caregiver. I’d never had kids and had lived in New York and LA for thirty years. I had not the slightest idea how to deal with a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s. Spending six days each year at Christmas and a quick summer visit don’t begin to prepare you for that emotionally wrenching disease.

Six weeks after arriving in Austin, I was still reeling from my mother’s refusal to wear just five of the sixty dresses in her closet. She thought the others were stolen and would not be dissuaded from this belief. She was no longer living in the land of logic. Then she asked if we could go see her sister in Smithville, a small town about an hour’s drive away. There was only one problem: her sister had been dead for 8 years and I was too new at caregiving to avoid sharing this painful truth.

I said, “Mama, we can’t go see Estelle. She’s in heaven.” This was a terrible shock to Mother who began weeping, shaking, and reliving that death for the next twenty minutes. I knew I’d done something wrong, but all I did was tell the truth. The next day I got an emergency appointment with an Alzheimer’s expert and explained the situation. She gave me the best single piece of advice I ever received about caregiving. She said, “Jim, stop trying to bring your mother into your world. She can’t go there anymore. Instead, you have to go into her world.” I let that wisdom sink in and understood it immediately. For the next 14 years, as her cognitive abilities and speech slowly left her, I was right there – but always in her world.”

Jim Comer

Speech Coach, Author, Keynote Speaker

In the caregiving industry, it is a wise idea to consult with others to help encourage you and guide you through new experiences. If these tips helped you, please SHARE with your friends! 

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Best Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress

Caring for a loved one can be difficult even for the strongest people. As a caregiver it is important to take steps to care for your own health and wellness. With all of the stress many caregivers experience, it may be hard to manage before it gets to a point of complete caregiver burnout.

In order to keep your job rewarding and less stressful, there are things you can do. Here are some ways you can manage your stress in your caregiving position:

Ask for Help When You Need It

When you find that you aren't doing your job as effectively or that you are starting to wear thin, there's no shame in asking for help. If you try to put too much on your plate, things will only get worse. Using other people and caregivers as a resource or for help is highly encouraged in the healthcare industry. There is only so much one person can do.

Find Caregiver Support Groups

Connecting with other caregivers who experience similar situations can help you to feel encouraged and to learn from your peers. Caregiver support groups can not only help you with your job, but with your social life. It doesn't hurt to make a few friends along the way.

Set Personal Goals

Keep your mind set on goals you have for yourself personally. Aim to go to the gym a certain number of days every week or set a goal to read a book in a few days. If you occupy your time with things other than just caring for your loved one, things will be easier for you. Certainly what you are doing for your family member or friend is extremely important, but it's also important that you don't lose yourself in the midst of everything.

Go on Vacation

Okay, we know this might not be as easy as it sounds. With buying airplane tickets, getting a hotel and all of the planning there is so much you have to worry about before sailing away to paradise. Even if you have family with a beach house or you take a “staycation” it makes such a difference to just be able to relax. If you are a family member caring for a loved one it might not be as easy as an employee at a nursing home.

Have a Healthy Diet

Time isn't something that you have a lot of when it comes to caring for an elder, but you should be taking the time to give your body the food and nutrients that it needs. A quick fast food meal might seem like an easy “pick-me-up” to save time, but it also tends to be a quick let-down.

Caring for yourself physically is key to having a healthy lifestyle as a caregiver. This isn’t another lecture about getting enough sleep and putting the right kinds of food into your body. However, we can’t stress to you how important it actually is. With the right amount of rest and a good diet, you’ll have the energy you need to perform well.

Take Your Breaks At Work

From caregiver to caregiver, we all know how hard it is to catch that well deserved break. Sometimes you just get caught up with so many tasks it can be easy to skip over your break. By making an effort to schedule a break and actually take it, it could make all of the difference.

Being a caregiver can be so rewarding if you know how to manage your work and personal life. One of the keys to a healthy balance in your life is to always remain positive. Instead of thinking of all of the things that seem difficult or that you can't do, think of all of the things you have done and the difference you are making in the life of your loved one.

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Medicare vs Medicaid: Everything You Need to Know

Each year millions of US citizens get medical funding and assistance through either Medicare or Medicaid. But how many of us actually know the difference between medicare and medicaid? Our guide will help you to discover the ins and outs of these government programs.

Medicare and Medicaid Basics

For some people, the lines between medicare and medicaid may not be clear. With similar names and the same basic purpose, many are often confused about what each program has to offer and how it works. There are many differences, however, both are programs run by the government to help citizens pay for their health care.

What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare is primarily funded by the federal government for a majority of United States citizens and permanent legal residents who meet the designated qualifications. This is not the same for Medicaid, which is funded by both the state and federal government. Medicaid is supportive of low-income families and people who meet all of the requirements of the program.

Medicare Benefits vs Medicaid Benefits

Medicare and Medicaid have similar benefits and coverages but some people might have dual eligibility, meaning they can get both programs. If you are dual eligible the two programs can be coordinated so that your health care costs are covered.

Medicaid Covered Services

From state to state different services might or might not be included since each state runs their own program. Although each Medicaid program is different, all programs are required to have certain coverage for specific services. Medicaid.gov states that mandatory coverages include:

  • Lab & X-ray services
  • Nursing Facility services
  • Inpatient and Outpatient hospital services
  • Nurse Midwife services
  • Medical care transportation
  • Rural health clinic services
  • and more!

Other benefits that might be included in your individual state's Medicare program include prescription drugs, dental services, hospice.

Medicare Covered Services

The Medicare program comes in parts A through D which all cover different services.

Medicare Part A

Medicare part A covers any home health care, inpatient hospital care, hospice, skilled nursing facilities, lab tests and surgery.

Medicare Part B

Part B of the Medicare program (medical insurance) covers outpatient hospital care, select preventative services, medical equipment, doctor services, home health care and other health care providers' services.

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C is supplemental plans that can be privately purchased to cover additional services that Medicare part A and B might not cover.

Medicare Part D

Prescription drugs are covered through Part D of the Medicare program. Each prescription drug plan has a different list of the drugs that are covered under each tier of prescription drug.

Who is Eligible for Medicare?

Medicare is a program that is connected with Social Security. Medicare is available to any US citizen or permanent legal resident who has been in the US for at least 5 years and is at least 65 years old. In certain situations it also may cover people with disabilities.

For those who are younger than 65 to be eligible for Medicare you must:

  • have received 2 years of SS disability benefits or a disability pension from the RRB (Railroad Retirement Board).
  • have Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Have permanent kidney failure and need regular dialysis or a kidney transplant

If you or your spouse have worked for at least 10 years and have paid Medicare taxes you could qualify for a premium-free Part A plan. To qualify for Medicare parts C and D, you must already be enrolled in Parts A and B.

Medicaid Requirements

Medicaid is offered to low income families and individuals who demonstrate a need. Therefore this program has firm income eligibility requirements which are different depending on the state you live in.

Who Pays for Medicare and Medicaid?

Payroll taxes and SS income deductions fund Medicare parts A and B. Participants in the Medicare program pay out-of-pocket for parts C and D. As for Medicaid each individual state has the option to charge a monthly medicaid premium and to have out-of-pocket requirements. However since Medicaid is a form of public aid that is paid for by tax dollars, usually recipients pay next to nothing for healthcare.

How do I Enroll?

Whether you are about to turn 65, you are ready to retire, or need help getting health coverage you should know about all of your options and how to apply.

Medicare Enrollment

Enrollment for Medicare is only open during certain times. Sometimes some people are even automatically enrolled in Medicare when they turn 65. The 7 Month Initial Enrollment Period starts 3 months before turning 65, includes your birthday month, and ends 3 months after turning 65. It is important to know about all of your options so that when the time comes you know just what you want before applying for Medicare through Social Security.

Medicaid Enrollment

If you are wondering how to sign up for medicaid, all you have to do is fill out an application in coordination to the state you live in. Call your state’s Medicaid office to learn more details about applying and what you need to know to fill out the application. If you are accepted or even if you are not, you should fill out an application every year to renew your plan or to see if your eligibility has changed.

FAQs About Medicare and Medicaid

My Medicare card is lost. How can I get a new Medicare card?

If your card is stolen, lost or damaged you should request a card replacement from the Social Security Administration. You can do this on the website, by phone number or at your local social security office. If you have received your card through the Railroad Retirement Board, you have to go through them to get your replacement card.

What happens if I miss my enrollment window for Medicare?

If you happen to miss your 7 month initial enrollment period you will be able to enroll during the general enrollment period which is from January 1 to March 31 every year. There is a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B and for those who have to pay a premium with Medicare Part A.

I can’t afford Medicare’s premiums. Is there help for me?

The Medicare Savings Program pays Part A and Part B coinsurance, premiums, copays and deductibles for those with limited income. For MSP assistance qualification one must earn less than $1,245 and a couple, $1,813.

How can I find a dentist that is covered by Medicaid?

To find an office that accepts Medicaid you can use the Medicaid dental locator.

Will Medicaid pay for my Medicare deductibles and premiums?

Medicaid will pay for the coinsurance, premiums and deductibles for Medicare Parts A and B for people with low income. These people are QMBs (Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries).

What is Medicaid Planning and how does it affect eligibility?

Medicaid planning is any assistance given to a prospective Medicaid applicant in preparation for the application. Medicaid planning is often used when the monthly income of an individual is close to the financial eligibility limit. With legal help, assets are rearranged so the individual becomes eligibility for Medicaid.

Yoga for Seniors: 8 Poses That Look Good at Any Age

Have you ever felt motivated to live a healthier lifestyle but didn't know where to begin? Yoga has several benefits and can be done almost anywhere, at any time. Some assisted living and nursing homes even offer yoga classes to their residents. There are countless poses and maneuvers to try. We’ll explore 8 of them as we move forward.

Benefits of Senior Yoga

Yoga for seniors has many benefits. It can improve blood glucose and blood lipids levels. It can lessen fatigue, and it can improve your sleep. It has also been shown to decrease pain.

It has also been shown to benefit social functioning, or the ability to effectively participate in society. Like exercise, it also benefits one physically by improving strength and balance.

Below, you'll find yoga stretching exercises for seniors, so you can get started improving your health right away.

Where to Begin?

Regardless of your current fitness level, you can do yoga. Some of you will have participated in athletics before, some of you may have never considered yourself an “athlete.” Either way, yoga can benefit you. Everyone is a beginner to yoga at some point.

With that in mind, let's get started.

Begin by dressing in comfortable clothing. It will be easier to do the following yoga poses if your clothing is not too tight or too baggy. Shorts and a T-shirt work great if you don't have any athletic clothing.

Now that you're appropriately dressed, you'll need a space to do yoga in. Any open space with enough room to stand, extend your arms in all directions, and sit down will work. You don't need a gym membership to do yoga. A living room will work just as well for a place to do yoga.

A yoga mat is useful but is not necessary. A blanket can also work to add a bit of cushion and comfort to these yoga poses.

If you are new to yoga or aren't sure how good your balance is, you may want to grab a chair to hold onto for balance. You may stumble a bit at first, so be sure always to keep the surrounding area free from objects that may injure you if you run into them.

Rely on your chair for balance as much as you need to. You'll see improvement in your balance over time, and soon you may not need a chair.

If you are concerned with your ability to exercise or do yoga, consult your local healthcare practitioner for guidance.

Differences Between Yoga for Seniors and Younger People

There are a few differences between yoga for seniors and younger people.

Unlike some younger people, seniors can have an easier time being mindful during yoga. While youths and young adults may focus on obtaining an aesthetic body, seniors are more able to focus on relaxing and feeling at peace.

On the other hand, younger people do not have to be as cautious when performing yoga. Yoga for seniors should involve extra care to keep those involved safe. This could mean modifying the poses by using a chair or bending your knees during certain poses if you aren't as flexible. It also means avoiding poses that are too physically demanding or which agitate existing conditions.

For example, if someone experiences shoulder pain, they should avoid doing yoga poses that place stress on the shoulders, such as the downward facing dog pose.

Yoga Moves

During all poses, be sure to breathe and concentrate on what you are doing. Focus on how your body is moving and how your body feels. Mindfulness is an important part of doing yoga. Pay attention to what feels good and what doesn't feel as good. Concentrating on your body and breathing will help you relax by keeping your thoughts in the present moment.

These yoga poses should be comfortable while you hold them. If they are not comfortable, adjust your body slowly until they become comfortable.

Modifications

If you are having trouble balancing during any of the standing poses, try holding onto a chair for stability as mentioned above. As you perform this exercise, your balance will improve. Once you are very comfortable balancing with a chair for support, you can then try the pose without a chair.

Relying on a chair still counts as doing yoga. These are not just generic “chair exercises for seniors.” You are still doing yoga even if you need a chair for assistance.

If you can't hold a pose for the full 20-30 seconds, don't worry about it. Just come out of the pose, regain your balance, and then get back into the pose at your own pace.

If you experience pain at any time during a pose, stop doing the pose or modify the pose to work for you. Feel free to modify poses depending on your flexibility. Gradually work your way towards better form. Not everyone is super flexible, just do what you can.

Yoga isn't a race. Take your time, and progress at your own pace.

Tree Pose

planting roots by Sweet Carolina Photography / CC BY 2.0

This pose will improve your balance and posture and will strengthen your ankles and legs. During the exercise, focus on standing tall and on your breathing.

  1. Begin by placing both feet together, toes facing forward. Make sure your shoulders are not hunched. Slowly lift your shoulders up to your ears, then roll them back, and lower them.
  2. Now, place your weight on a single foot by leaning slightly to either side. Lift the heel of the weightless foot, leaving the toes on the floor for now.
  3. When you feel balanced and ready, raise your foot completely off the ground and raise it until you can grab your ankle.
  4. Moving slowly, place the lifted foot on the inner thigh of the standing leg. Aim to have your lifted leg resting above the knee of your other leg. If you are unable to grab your ankle, you can try to place your foot on your thigh without using your hand. Or, feel free to only lift your leg off the ground and hold this pose.
  5. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds. Then, lower your lifted leg to the ground, and repeat the pose on the other leg.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog by Army Medicine / CC BY 2.0

This pose will improve your upper body strength, stretch the back, and improve concentration.

  1. Begin by getting on your hands and knees. Your hands, knees, and toes should be on the floor. Your hands and knees should be roughly shoulder-width apart and your back should be straight.
  2. At your own pace, slowly lift your knees off of the ground, lifting your hips into the air. Aim to achieve the pose as shown above, with a straight back and straight legs. If you cannot do this with straight arms and legs, feel free to keep your knees slightly bent. If you can, gently lower your heels to the ground.
  3. Hold this pose for 20 seconds to two minutes. If you can't hold it this long, just hold it as long as you can. To get out of the pose, slowly lower your hips until your knees are back to the ground.

Legs Up the Wall

Legs-up-the-wall by kellinahandbasket / CC BY 2.0

This pose can help with circulation, and it can also help alleviate pain in the lower back and legs.

  1. Begin by moving your yoga mat, if you have one, next to an open section of wall. If you want, grab a pillow to place under your lower back for added support and comfort. If you don't have a wall or are unable to straighten your legs against the wall, you can also do this exercise with a chair. Simply lie down in front of the chair and place your legs, with knees bent, on the chair.
  2. Sit down on your yoga mat next to the wall facing to the left or right of the wall. One side of your body (leg and shoulder) should be touching the wall.
  3. Then, rotate in place as you lay back until your legs are on the wall and your back is on the ground.
  4. Straighten your legs up the wall if possible. If at any time you feel the need to take a break, simply bend your knees and place the soles of your feet on the wall. Extend them back up the wall when you are ready.
  5. Hold this pose for five to 20 minutes.

Mountain Pose

Yoga Retreat In The Mountains by WeTravel.com / CC BY 2.0

This pose will strengthen your legs, abdomen, and glutes. It can also improve your posture. This pose is simple. You can do it nearly anywhere and anytime.

  1. Stand with your feet facing forward next to each other, about hip-width apart. Have your hands at your sides, with your palms facing forward.
  2. Distribute your weight evenly across both of your feet. Keep your back straight and your shoulders in the correct posture.
  3. Hold the pose for a minute or more. Focus on your breathing and on keeping your posture perfect during the pose.

This pose can also be done sitting in a chair. Simply follow the same principles above regarding upper body posture and breathing, but now you're doing it while sitting.

Bridge Pose

bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) by adrian valenzuela / CC BY 2.0

This pose strengthens the back, legs, and ankles. It also calms the body and mind.

  1. Begin by laying on your back, with your hands at your sides and your legs straight.
  2. Bring your feet and knees up so that the bottom of your feet are on the ground and your knees are bent.
  3. Lift your hips up off the ground, making sure to keep the bottoms of your feet on the ground. Aim to have your thighs and back in a straight line. Be sure not to arch your back.
  4. Hold this pose for up to a minute, then relax and lower your hips to the ground.

It may help to have a pillow under your lower back for added support and comfort when entering and leaving this pose.

Low Lunge

Yoga Retreat In The Mountains by WeTravel.com / CC BY 2.0

This pose stretches out the muscles in the legs and improves lower body range of motion.

  1. Begin by sitting on your knees. Have a chair next to your for balance if you want.
  2. Step forward with either foot, keeping the other knee on the floor. Place the top of your back foot on the ground if possible.
  3. Slowly lean forward towards your front knee, keeping your back straight. Only lean forward as far as you can.
  4. Raise your hands above your head if you are not using a chair.
  5. Hold this pose for up to a minute. Relax, shifting your body back to the starting position. Return to both knees and repeat the pose with the other leg forward.

Relaxation Pose

Presenter Amy Patee by Average Jane  / CC BY 2.0

This pose relaxes your body and mind, and it also reduces stress. The relaxation pose is simple.

  1. Lay on your back with your arms at your sides. Place a pillow underneath your head or knees if desired. The goal is to be as comfortable as possible. Once you are comfortable, pay attention to your breathing, and do your best to relax. Think about how each part of your body feels. Your feet, your legs, your arms, and so on. Let your mind wander and be at peace.
  2. Stay in this pose for five to 10 minutes.

Staff Pose

 

Photograph by Jemasty (Wikimedia Commons) / CC BY-SA 3.0

This pose strengthens core muscles and improves posture.

  1. Begin by sitting down on the ground.
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you. Keep your legs straight and knees unbent if you can. Have your arms at your sides on the ground. Keep your back straight up, at a right angle to your legs. If you are unable to do this at first, try sitting with your back against a wall for support. If using a wall, keep your shoulder blades touching the wall, but do have your lower back come in contact with the wall.
  3. Focus on having good posture while doing this pose. Concentrate on taking even, controlled breaths.
  4. Hold this pose for one to two minutes.

16 Retirement Quotes to Get You Through Your Golden Years

Retirement is something we often look forward to later in life. It's not called your “golden years” for no reason. With retirement comes a new level of freedom and relaxation that you have never known before. What are you going to do with your life once retirement creeps up on you? Hearing a few good retirement quotes from retirees could help spark an idea in your mind.

Regardless of your plans for these last decades of your life, every retiree could use a few pick me ups, jokes and encouragements in their life. Here is a list of the best retirement quotes to inspire you in your new journey.

Retirement Quotes

If you are having one of those days where you don't know what to do with yourself, look back on these retirement quotes to brighten your day.

1. Think of Retirement As a New Adventure

retirement quotes new adventure

Think of retirement as not just an end to something, but a new beginning. Retirement is time to explore and enjoy the life that you have made for you and your family. Take that trip you've always wanted to go on or do something crazy. Now is your time!

2. Take Naps

“I've been attending lots of seminars in my retirement. They're called naps.” – Merri Brownworth

All of your busy days throughout your working years will become worth it. During retirement you can take all the naps that you wanted to while you were working, but couldn't.

3. Retire to Something Else

“Don't simply retire from something; have something to retire to.” – Harry Emerson Fosdick

In order to keep away from boredom you have to have things to retire to. Whether that's spending time with family, traveling, gardening, golfing or reading you need things to keep you occupied.

4. Work at Livingretirement quotes work at living

For all of those years before retirement you were so busy with working. Now as a retiree you have the freedom to just enjoy life and work on simply living.

5. Enjoy Every Day Off or Not (Depending on Your Perspective)

“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” – Abe Lemons

With retirement you get the benefit of having every day off from working. However, having no days off from retirement also comes with the new title “retiree”. Either way you look at it, you're retired and should enjoy everyday as it comes.

6. Do Nothing Without Getting Caught

“Retirement is wonderful. It’s doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it.” – Gene Perret

Throughout your working years you have probably had days where you feel unproductive. After retiring you can be as useless as the “g” in lasagna without a worry in the world.

7. Do You Have Life in Your Years?retirement quote life in years

Everyone who retires has years to their life. What you have done with those years is what really actually matters. Your age is just a number, but your life leaves a legacy.

8. Retirement is Tiring

“Retired is being tired twice, I've thought, first tired of working, then tired of not.” – Richard Armour

After all it isn't called re(tire)ment. Whether you keep yourself busy or you are tired of doing nothing, finding your groove is so important. Do what makes you happy, even if it means being a couch potato every now and then.

9. Be Young Again

“Stay young at heart, kind in spirit, and enjoy retirement living.” -Danielle Duckery

You've grown older, but that doesn't mean you have to act older. Retirement is your time to be young again. Be carefree and silly during these years.

10. Play Golf. Find a Hobbyretirement quotes golf

Any golfers out there know that the game isn't relaxing all the time. Finding a hobby to challenge and keep you busy is a great way to go through your golden years.

11. Happy on a Monday

“What do you call a person who is happy on a Monday? Retired.” -Anonymous

No more Monday Blues for you if you are retired. There's something about Mondays the working world does not like. Retirees, what's your excuse?

12. Dream a New Dream

“You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

Just because you are retired doesn't mean that you have to stop dreaming. Now's the perfect time to set new goals and be a dreamer once again.

13. Journey and Enjoy Retirement

retirement quotes journey

Find your new lifestyle in retirement and enjoy it. Go on a road trip you've always wanted to go on. Go out there and embark on a new journey.

14. Buy a Car

“My retirement plan is to find a shopping cart with good snow tires.” – Patty Doyle

There's no better time than retirement to purchase that baby blue 69′ Ford Mustang Convertible. Ok, it doesn't have to be that exact car, but you get the point. If you can, buy your dream car. It will make your retired years fun.

15. Marvel at the Life You Built

“Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, the tree outside my very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself.” -Hartman Jule

Inhale and take in all of the beautiful things that life has to offer. Spend time with your family, spend time in nature and find beauty in the small things.

16. Retirement = Bliss

retirement quotes bliss

Once you hit retirement, your life will change drastically. You can look forward to new opportunities and experiences that await you in your new life.

When you think of “retirement” you should think of happiness, adventure, wealth, and health. Hopefully these inspiring and funny retirement quotes will help you to realize just how special these years are. Now get out there and enjoy it!