Tag Archive for: eldercare

WelbeHealth responds to Governor’s budget proposal

MENLO PARK, CALIF. – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom released his state budget proposal for fiscal year 2023-2024. The budget included several proposals in line with WelbeHealth’s policy priorities, including an increase in resources for Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) administration within the Department of Health Care Services and the maintenance of funding for key health and human services programs including CalAIM, behavioral health and housing programs, and ensuring access to health care for all Californians regardless of documentation or ability to pay. 

PACE enables frail seniors to remain in their homes while receiving coordinated, whole-person care and is a high-quality cost-effective alternative to nursing home care. In recent years, the number of PACE participants has increased significantly. 

“WelbeHealth applauds the governor’s support of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and other proven care models for frail and vulnerable seniors.  For every participant that enrolls in PACE, it saves taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars while increasing their length and quality of life, allowing them to live at home.  Whether from an economic, health care or social standpoint, this may be one of the best investments the administration could make,” said Si France, M.D., chief executive officer of WelbeHealth, in response to the proposed budget.

To learn more about Governor Newsom’s full budget proposal, you can click here: 2023-24 State Budget Invests in Californians while Safeguarding State’s Future

About Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE)

Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) is a comprehensive whole-person health care program for frail seniors living with chronic health conditions and other complex needs. As both insurers and providers, PACE organizations are able to seamlessly plan and manage all aspects of care for seniors – medical, social and supportive services. PACE participants are over the age of 55, live in a PACE service area and have been deemed eligible by the state for a nursing home level of care. 90% of PACE participants are dual eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

About WelbeHeatlh

WelbeHealth is a physician led, mission-driven organization founded to serve the most vulnerable seniors with compassionate and quality care, in a pure value-based model. WelbeHealth manages the entire care portfolio for participants including their primary and specialty care, ensuring they get to and from appointments, helping them navigate any necessary paperwork, providing assistance with activities of daily living, and ensuring they have enriched lives through social and emotional care. 

Contact: Cyndi Hillery, cyndi.hillery@welbehealth.com

WelbeHealth Deepens Commitment to Serving Seniors with Executive Hires

MENLO PARK, CALIF. – Physician-led healthcare organization WelbeHealth has added two seasoned executives to its leadership team: Chief Mission Officer Amy Shin and Chief People Officer Cathy Fraser. The leaders will play a pivotal role as WelbeHealth continues to deliver on its mission to serve the most vulnerable seniors in its communities.

As chief mission officer, Shin ensures that WelbeHealth’s mission is front and center in the community and among policy makers and our regulatory partners. She works closely with the operations teams to ensure that WelbeHealth is continually delivering on the highest standards of clinical quality and compliance. Shin has more than 25 years of healthcare leadership experience, most recently as chief executive officer of the Health Plan of San Joaquin, where she oversaw health care delivery for 350,000 MediCal lives in underserved areas of California.  Shin was the chief administrative officer at On Lok, the first PACE organization, and the Alameda Alliance for Health. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Southern California.

“Amy is a tremendously well respected and connected leader in California’s healthcare landscape, and she’s spent her career doing mission-driven work for vulnerable populations,” said Si France, MD, chief executive officer of WelbeHealth. “It is an honor that she would choose to support and advance WelbeHealth’s mission.”

As chief people officer, Fraser is responsible for the people strategies and services that enable team members to effectively fulfill and expand the WelbeHealth mission. Her focus is on maintaining WelbeHealth’s commitment to values and culture, developing career pathways, elevating team member experience, and investing in diversity, equity and inclusion. She most recently led human resources at Mayo Clinic, US News and World Report’s #1 Hospital, and Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE: THC), a large national healthcare services company. Earlier in her career, she served as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and worked in various finance leadership roles at American Airlines, Sabre, and General Motors. Fraser earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

“When we started Welbe, we started with the belief that we have to care for each other before we can care for our participants, so our team has always been the center of our culture and focus,” said Si France.  “With Cathy, who led dynamic people functions at Mayo and Tenet, we’re making a significant commitment to putting our people first.”

About WelbeHealth

WelbeHealth is a physician-led organization founded in 2015 that coordinates senior care, including all medical and dental care, physical and occupational therapy, transportation to medical appointments, meals and personal care services, in a fully coordinated program. WelbeHealth teams close the loop on comprehensive care to keep the most vulnerable seniors living safely in their own homes. WelbeHealth delivers these services through the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicare and Medicaid program. WelbeHealth operates four programs across California, including the cities of Stockton, Modesto, Pasadena, Long Beach and Fresno. WelbeHealth served more than 1,000 seniors in 2021.  For more information, please visit welbehealth.com.

WelbeHealth Executive Director Mindy Wilds Honored with Prestigious PACE Award

Mindy Wilds, executive director of WelbeHealth’s Fresno Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), was recently honored by the National PACE Association (NPA) with the prestigious Marie-Louise Ansak Award.

The Marie-Louise Ansak Award, named after the founder of PACE, recognizes the ingenuity, hard work and sacrifice of an individual PACE program employee who has worked to improve the quality of life for one or more frail older persons during the past year.

“We are proud to recognize Mindy with the Marie-Louise Ansak Award,” said Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the NPA. “Mindy earned this high honor through epitomizing the innovative team player that is core to delivering PACE.”

Wilds received the award at the October NPA Annual Conference in Seattle.

“I love this model of care because we can think outside the box and provide common sense solutions for our participants and their families,” said Wilds.

Mindy Wilds with Award
Mindy Wilds with the Marie-Louise Ansak Award

Wilds joined WelbeHealth in February 2021 as the executive director of WelbeHealth’s Fresno Center, which provides medical care, physical therapy, social and recreational activities, meals and nutritional counseling, transportation and other support services to PACE-eligible medically frail seniors age 55 and over.

“Mindy is a model for all of us. Her tireless commitment and dedication to seniors in our communities enables them to thrive and live longer with greater connection, vitality and meaning,” said WelbeHealth CEO Si France, M.D.

About WelbeHealth

Founded in 2015, WelbeHealth provides comprehensive home-based medical and social services to more than 1,500 vulnerable seniors across California, including the cities of Stockton, Modesto, Pasadena, Long Beach and Fresno. The company recently became the first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provider to convert to a public benefit company, meaning it is obligated to take into consideration the concerns of all stakeholders while prioritizing corporate responsibility and sustainability.

An alternative to nursing homes, PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps keep people in their homes and communities. PACE programs are proven to reduce depression, lower hospitalizations, decrease rehospitalizations, reduce nursing home admissions and improve preventive care, according to recent data from the National PACE Association.

For more information, please visit welbehealth.com.

Contacts

Jennifer Wezensky
jennifer@jwprmarketing.com

Senior playing jenga

Love Your Brain: 5 Simple Ways to Support Brain Health  

As we get older, it is important to find ways to support brain health. About 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers expect that number to double by 2050. 

But, there is good news. You can support your brain health and lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. Growing research has shown that lifestyle changes can significantly impact our brain health. 

Here are a few brain health tips you can put into practice! 

Exercise to Improve Blood Flow in Your Brain 

We all know exercise is good for our body, but it also benefits our noggin! Participate in regular exercise that raises your heart rate. This increases the blood flow in your body and your brain, helping you think more clearly. Several studies have shown that regular physical activity may decrease cognitive decline.  

Improve your brain health by adding some of these activities into your routine: 

  • Walking indoors or outdoors 
  • Swimming 
  • Aerobic exercise classes 
  • Dance 
  • Yoga 

Fuel Your Brain with Antioxidant-Rich Food 

There is no magic food or supplement that will prevent the onset of dementia. But, eating a balanced diet is just as good for your brain as it is for the rest of your body.  

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. That means limiting red meat and going easy on the dairy. You’ll also want to increase the amount of fruit, veggies, and fish in your diet.  

Next time you reach for a bite to eat, try some of these Mediterranean brain-healthy foods: 

  • Salmon and other seafood 
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Nuts 
  • Potatoes 
  • Fruit 
  • Leafy green vegetables 

Use Your Brain “Muscles” to Stay Sharp 

Staying mentally engaged keeps your brain sharp. Like the muscles in your body, it’s a “use it or lose it” scenario. Mental exercises can promote the growth of new brain cells, and this regular development of new cells may decrease your likelihood of developing dementia. 

Maintaining mental sharpness doesn’t require crosswords and jigsaw puzzles (though studies show those mind challenges can help). Even participating in stimulating conversation, picking up a new hobby, or playing a game of chess can benefit your brain health. 

Try activities that are: 

  • Creative – Pick up painting, quilting, photography, or drawing.
  • Challenging – Don’t just do what comes easy; try something that challenges you a little. 
  • Novel – Master a new language, skill, or concept that is unfamiliar to you.
  • Stimulating – Attend a lecture on an interesting topic or spend time discussing a book with a friend

Give Your Brain the Rest it Needs 

When talking about brain health, we don’t always touch on sleep. But, sleep is a crucial aspect in protecting your brain from cognitive decline.  

Beta-amyloid plaque is an abnormal protein that builds up in the brain of some people. The presence of this plaque is a known precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found that a lack of sleep can increases the amount of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. It is important to get quality rest to support your brain health. 

If quality sleep is something you’re missing, try some of these things: 

  • Reduce daytime sleeping.
  • Speak with your doctor about adjusting medications that may be keeping you awake. 
  • Avoid looking at your phone, tablet, or computer before bed. 
  • Meditate prior to bedtime.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. 

Get Mental Health Support to Protect Your Brain 

Untreated depression later in life has been linked to cognitive impairment and dementia development. Seek care quickly if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or have other mental health concerns. Your primary care physician may prescribe medication to help alleviate symptoms, refer you to a therapist, or both. 

Speaking with a trusted therapist benefits your overall well-being, including your brain health. Your therapist can help you process grief, develop healthy coping strategies, and give you tools to overcome your mental health concerns. 

Activities for seniors

Engaging Activities for Seniors of All Ability Levels

For many older adults, staying active is a priority. Keeping up with friends, exercising, and giving back to the community brings fulfillment and joy. WelbeHealth helps facilitate meaningful physical and mental activities for seniors of all abilities.

“At WelbeHealth, activities for are adaptable to any level of ability. We find ways for every participant to engage,” says Esther De Santiago, Engagement Supervisor, Adult Engagement and Activities in Stockton. “These activities are done in a group setting. It is wonderful how the other participants cheer each other on.”

Festive Activities for Seniors

Many of our participants’ favorite activities for seniors are related to holidays and other special occasions. Our centers celebrate birthdays monthly, and national holidays are also celebrated, such as Veteran’s Day. This year, one center honored participant Veterans by giving them a certificate and a special pin to wear.

The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) is a two-day Mexican holiday that reunites the living and the dead. Families create offerings to honor their loved ones who have passed on. Participants and staff at one WelbeHealth center worked together to create an altar to honor their friends and family members who have died. They read poetry to express their emotions and remember their loved ones.

Each Halloween, WelbeHealth staff and participants like to dress up in costumes. You’ll find all kinds of spooky characters at our centers––and Halloween candy, of course!

Thanksgiving is always a special time at WelbeHealth. Our centers serve a special candle-lit meal, display fall decor, and share what they are thankful for. After Thanksgiving, there is always lots of holiday cheer! Festive activities, meals, and decor make our centers cheery and bright all the way through New Year’s Day!

Sprint craft activity
Seniors at WelbeHealth do a craft activity.

Educational Activities

Malcomb Forbes, an American entrepreneur, said “It’s never too late to learn.” At WelbeHealth, we agree! Our activity directors bring in guest speakers to present on interesting topics such as poetry, history, and music. We’ve even had Hawaiian dancers come to share and give a hula performance.

We’ve also found that our very own staff and participants are extremely talented. We sometimes give a participant a little tap on the shoulder and ask if they’d like to present their expertise to the center. One of our participants gave a virtual presentation on her writing and art to her peers. She hopes to present in person eventually. We also had an amazing performance by a participant who is an expert in African dance and belly dancing.

One WelbeHealth staff member is a fire-breather. His performance really “lit up” the expressions of the center staff and participants!

Creative Activities

Many of our participants love to get their creativity flowing. Creative activities for seniors like embroidery, origami, knitting, and crocheting are done at the centers.

“Creative projects are something that people of all ages can engage in,” says De Santiago. “When you finish a project and realize that you created something, it can be very satisfying. Plus, we all have fun sharing ideas and creating together.”

Some participants have given back to the community through creative arts. At one WelbeHealth center, a group of participants crochet and knit clothing items to donate to a local NICU. The babies in the NICU get an article of clothing made with love by WelbeHealth participants, and participants get the fulfillment of serving these precious babies and their families.

Entertaining Activities for Seniors

We have a lot of fun at our day centers. If you ask us, fun includes dancing and singing! Participants of all abilities can engage in singing and some form of dancing. Activity directors always adjust so no one is left out of the merriment!

Thriller by Michael Jackson is a classic spooky tune played around Halloween. The famous “thriller dance” accompanies the 1982 song. At one center, participants and staff learned the Thriller dance,  standing or while seated in a chair. Laughter and cheers were shared by all!

Karaoke is a favorite activity for seniors at WelbeHealth. Many of our participants are vocally gifted and love to belt out a song for their peers. Whether you can carry or tune or not, staff and participants always cheer each other on. Whoever has the microphone is guaranteed to feel supported and celebrated!

Exercise Activities

We know that exercise is good for our bodies. It can be great for our minds too! That’s why WelbeHealth incorporates exercise into the daily list of activity options. For those who want to participate in the exercise activities, there are always modifications that can be made. Participants of all ability levels can take part and benefit from the movement.

Exercise activities done in the WelbeHealth centers include:

  • Chair Zumba: An exciting dance workout usually done alongside Latin-inspired music.
  • Tai Chi: A gentle exercise that promotes balance and stretching.
  • Therabands: Band exercise that provides light resistance to strengthen muscles.
  • Group Dance: Led by rehabilitation therapists, this is a fun, light aerobic exercise.

Supportive Activities for Seniors

WelbeHealth participants make it a point to support one another in times of loss and grief. Our participants are never alone in their pain. Each of our centers has support groups to connect participants and allow them to share their story and encourage one another.

As an example, the Forever Friends support group consists of participants and one WelbeHealth staff facilitator. The purpose of the group is for participants to support their peers as through life transitions.

In addition to support groups, WelbeHealth offers mental health services. Combined, support groups and counseling can provide the mental and emotional support seniors need to navigate loss and grief.

Join in the Fun at WelbeHealth

As you can see, there are a lot of activities for seniors at the WelbeHealth centers. An activities calendar is available to participants and their families, so they can see all that is offered. Our activities directors are open to suggestions too!

Learn more about becoming a WelbeHealth participant.

Elder Fraud: How to Protect Yourself

The FBI estimates that American seniors lose $3 billion a year to elder fraud. Unfortunately, scammers often target seniors because they can be trusting and may have built up a healthy savings account over their lifetime.

Being aware of scams targeting seniors can help you protect yourself. It’s important to recognize the common tactics used in elder fraud so you know if it is happening to you or a loved one before it is too late.

What is Elder Fraud?

Elder fraud is any fraud that targets older adults. Scammers may target seniors by phone call, text message, email, or mail.

For victims, the financial impact of elder fraud can be devastating. The average victim of elder fraud loses around $34,000. Not only does it take a toll financially, but being a victim of fraud can hurt your mental and emotional health too.

Common Scams that Target Seniors

During the pandemic, there has been an increase in scams targeting seniors. As older adults spent more time online to connect with friends and family, fraudsters targeted seniors through emails and other online avenues.

Here are some of the top scams targeting seniors.

  • Romance Fraud
    The criminal targets widows and single elders, earning their trust. Eventually, the scammer asks for small sums of money and then larger.
  • Fake Grandchild
    Scammers will call a senior and say something like, “Hi Grandma, it’s your favorite grandchild.” Then they ask for money for rent, a car repair, or similar.
  • Charity Scams
    Using a fake charity name, criminals ask seniors to donate to a charity that supports a good cause. Online fund-raising pages can also be fraudulent.
  • Government Impersonation
    Criminals claim they work for the government and tell elders they’ll be prosecuted or fined if they do not comply with their request.
  • Tech Support Schemes
    A pop-up appears on the computer screen and says to call a number to resolve a computer issue. When the senior calls, the scammer poses as a tech support representative. They pretend to “fix” the computer remotely while gaining access to sensitive information and asking for payment in return.
  • Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
    Criminals call or email claiming that the designated senior has won a prize. They say that an initial payment needs to be made by the individual to gain access to the prize.
  • Phishing Emails
    Phishing emails may look like they’re from a company you know or trust. Scammers disguise themselves to gain access to your passwords, bank account numbers, and other sensitive information.
  • Widow Schemes
    Scammers will call a surviving spouse after losing a husband or wife. They claim to work for a financial institution associated with the deceased spouse and claim they need money to pay for fees, overdue bills, etc.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Elder Fraud

Scammers are always creating new tactics and avenues to target seniors. Here are steps you can take to stay on guard and protect yourself.

Hang Up and Call Back

Scammers often disguise themselves as a business or organization you’re familiar with. They may even disguise their number, so it looks like you’re receiving a call from a local area code. If you receive a call from a person claiming to be from your bank, the Social Security Office, or a particular charity, and they ask for personal information, hang up.

Then, find your most recent bank statement or the official phone number online and call back. This ensures that you speak with the legitimate organization or business.

Be Careful of Links and Attachments

Even if you know and trust the individual who sends you a link via email, social media, or text message, be cautious before clicking on it. You may want to call your friend or family member to verify that they sent you the link. Clicking on suspicious links can lead to viruses or spyware being downloaded to your device–something you want to avoid.

Be Aware of Acquaintances

Sadly, scammers aren’t always strangers. Be cautious when lending money to friends or family members with addiction issues, financial difficulties, or a history of criminal activity.

Reporting Elder Fraud and Scams

If you think you may be a victim of elder fraud, reach out to someone you trust. Don’t feel embarrassed. It’s important to address the issue before it becomes worse.

You can also report the scam to the local police, file an internet crime complaint, or call your local FBI office. Reporting the crime is the first step in getting the scam shut down so other seniors won’t be defrauded.

Lisa Gildea, dental hygienist, and Florentino

Dental Care Helps Seniors and Their Family Caregivers

At WelbeHealth, health care and dental care are integrated and coordinated. Once a medical provider does an initial assessment of a senior entering our program, the senior sees our dental team for preventive dental care and any necessary dental treatments.

Lisa Gildea, an RDHAP (Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice) at WelbeHealth, has made a difference in the lives of many seniors including Florentino, age 92, and his adult daughter and caregiver, Patricia.

A Caregiver’s Experience

Patricia has been delighted with the services WelbeHealth provides for her father, Florentino, especially the dental services and the in-home support they receive from Home Instead Agency—all provided through the WelbeHealth program. Patricia says, “The regular assistance with quality care from WelbeHealth and the Home Instead Caregivers allows me to continue working my full-time career, while still taking care of my father and my home. I cannot emphasize enough how much peace of mind this generates. If I can pull it off, anyone can. Just don’t give up.”

Patricia says, “Lisa Gildea has been extraordinary with my father. I have never experienced dental customer service like Lisa provides through the PACE program. Lisa spends significant time with me on the phone both before and after each of my father’s dental appointments. She assesses his situation, provides me with the supplies we need for his dental care, and answers all my questions.”

For Patricia, whose father still has a beautiful full set of teeth, it is important to help maintain his teeth now that he can’t do it for himself. Patricia says, “My father spent a lifetime taking care of his teeth, and now it is my turn to help keep them in good condition. As a caregiver, it is important to stay optimistic and tenacious. We have to persevere in finding ways to advocate and take care of ourselves and the elderly in our family and community.”

Patricia continues, “WelbeHealth sets up all his appointments, provides Lisa for his dental care, and picks him up for his appointments. They don’t give up on their geriatric patients. My father really responds to Lisa. She is creative with how she cleans his teeth, is kind, nurturing, and he picks up on that.”

Lisa Gildea and Florentino in a WelbeHealth center

Lisa Gildea and Florentino in a WelbeHeath center

Medical and Dental, all Under One Roof

Lisa Gildea talks about WelbeHealth’s integrated medical and dental services to seniors at community presentations in the Stockton and Modesto areas of California.

The presentations cover the services that WelbeHealth provides to qualifying seniors, with a special focus on its dental services. In each presentation, Gildea provides supplies for tooth brushing and flossing, and dental education such as diet, how to brush teeth and how to floss.

Table with supplies and educational materials at outreach event

Supplies and education for seniors at an outreach event

Gildea explains to senior groups that a WelbeHealth dentist typically handles the first dental visit. The dentist takes a set of x-rays, does an exam, and then explains the cleaning needs and treatment plan to the dental hygienist.

Gildea says, “I do an assessment, a cleaning, fluoride treatment, and put each senior on a routine maintenance and preventative care plan.” She adds, “At WelbeHealth, our goal is to keep seniors as healthy as possible while living in their own homes and communities.”

Gildea says there are advantages to having medical and dental all under one roof. “I can quickly talk to other providers if the senior needs a prescription, for example. Everybody understands what the senior needs—that’s part of the all-inclusive nature of the service.”

WelbeHealth transportation brings seniors to the day center for their appointments. Gildea says, “Many seniors don’t have their own transportation, so it is all pre-arranged according to their needs. If a senior comes in for a cleaning, they can also go to other appointments at the center that day, such as a routine medical check-up, lab work, or physical therapy. This minimizes the number of trips and separate appointments needed.”

Lisa Gildea at community outreach event

Lisa Gildea educates seniors at community outreach events.

The Importance of a Healthy Smile

A healthy smile can boost seniors’ confidence, keep them eating nutritious foods, and promote good health. Gildea says, “Many seniors have worked an entire lifetime and haven’t had access to dental care. I love providing seniors access to dental care to bridge that gap. At WelbeHealth, I have the flexibility to do what is best for the individual.”

Gildea continues, “Helping a senior go from poor oral health to good oral health is very rewarding. And it makes my job feel so much bigger than just doing dental cleanings. I teach seniors about the importance of good daily dental habits and routine dental care. The results are incredible and valuable because our general health is connected to our oral health.”

Gildea says she also enjoys helping seniors go from feeling nervous or fearful about their dental hygiene visit to being comfortable and excited about their visits.

COVID-19 Considerations

With COVID-19 still active in our communities, seniors are often concerned about safety. Gildea says, “WelbeHealth is very cautious about COVID-19, and has good safety measures in place. The pandemic also highlights a growing need to see seniors at home. When needed, I can visit seniors safely where they live.” Gildea takes a portable dental unit to home appointments with all the comforts of the dental office, and she has mobile X-ray equipment.

Gildea says, “Some seniors are in memory care and cannot get to the dental suite, so going to them can be the best option for their dental care.”

Comprehensive Care

WelbeHealth is unique, as it serves as both the payor and the provider. There are no outside restrictions on services such as dentures, extractions, crowns, or fillings. The dental hygienist can do deep cleanings and create maintenance schedules that fit the individual’s needs.  The dentist and dental hygienist collaborate and share information to create a treatment plan that best accommodates the patient.

Seniors enjoy the benefits of personalized and coordinated medical and dental care and have access to activities and socialization along with meals at the center. Depending on the need, Gildea will see between four and six seniors in a typical day. Gildea says, “WelbeHealth allows me to take my time with each senior, and to see them as often as I feel is necessary. This setting gives me the freedom to make decisions based on what is best for the individual.”

Nurse coordinator

Care Coordination for Seniors

Seniors with complex medical conditions often need help managing their care. They see multiple doctors and specialists. They’re taking multiple medications, have several medical appointments a month, and may need assistance in their home. Professional care coordination for seniors can help manage a senior’s health care.

Research shows that 35 percent of those over age 65 have no one assisting them with coordinating their care. Thirty-four percent say a family member coordinates their care.

Care coordination can be beneficial for seniors and caregivers, especially for the 85 percent of older adults who live with one or more complex medical conditions.

What is care coordination?

Seniors, or their spouse or adult child, often do the work of coordinating their care. They make appointments, provide transportation, communicate with physicians, and assist in the home.

Professional care coordination for seniors is more in-depth and comprehensive. It involves multiple medical experts who specialize in the health of the elderly. The team helps the senior meet their medical needs, provides the needed resources, and updates the care team. Care coordination is personalized and uses the input of the patient and caregiver.

The benefits of care coordination for seniors and their families

  • Doctors stay informed. Living with a complex medical condition often means having more than one doctor who provides your care. One goal of care coordination is to keep all healthcare providers informed. This saves the patient from redundant testing, screening, and treatment. Changes in medication, new or worsening symptoms, and changes in medical history are all topics to be shared among your team of physicians.
  • Better healthcare outcomes. Studies have shown that professional care coordination results in better health outcomes. Patients are often more satisfied with the quality of care because it is personalized and streamlined.
  • Social and emotional needs met. Care coordination focuses on the patient’s physical, social and emotional health. Healthcare professionals connect the patient to resources such as counseling and support groups and promote wellness of the mind.
  • Relief for caregivers. Family members often take on coordinating care for their aging loved one. As their loved one’s condition grows more complex, it can be a lot to manage. Professional care coordination for seniors relieves caregivers of doing this, while keeping them informed. Therefore, they have more time to work, rest, or tend to their own health needs.

WelbeHealth provides care coordination for seniors with complex medical conditions.

WelbeHealth’s program of all-inclusive care for the elderly (PACE)  provides professional coordinated care to seniors.

Interdisciplinary Team

At the heart of WelbeHealth’s PACE is the interdisciplinary team. This team stays current on each senior in their care, and adjusts care as needed. Each team member specializes in caring for seniors with complex medical conditions. The team includes specialists such as:

  • Primary care physician
  • Nurse
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Recreation therapist
  • Dietician
  • Social worker
  • Home care coordinator
  • Transportation professional

Day Center

WelbeHealth’s day centers make providing coordinated care seamless. In the day center, seniors can get many physical needs met and socialize with other participants. Under one roof, participants can receive:

  • Primary care
  • Dental, vision, and hearing care
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Nutritious meals and socializing with other seniors and staff
  • Exercise
  • Personal care (bathing, grooming, etc.)

Telehealth and Home Care

Professional care coordination for seniors often involves home care. Seniors sometimes need help with housekeeping and personal care. WelbeHealth coordinates that care when it is medically necessary.

Telehealth can help keep seniors connected with healthcare professionals 24/7. This accessibility can help give peace of mind to seniors and their caregivers.

Coordinated Care is Impactful for Seniors.

Coordinated care is impactful for seniors with complex medical conditions. WelbeHealth provides personalized, coordinated care, keeping seniors living well, at home.

Caregiving for elders

Costs of Caring for an Aging Loved One

Many adult children care for a parent in their golden years. Some are surprised by the costs of caring for an aging loved one. Family caregivers spend an annual average of $7,400 of their own money on caregiving expenses. In combination with a possible loss of income due to time away from work, it can sometimes be a financial strain for families.

Here are three steps you can take to reduce out-of-pocket caregiving expenses and recover some financial costs.

1.  Create a budget and track expenses.

Caring for an elderly loved one includes many expenses that you may not think of. Keep track of these expenses. After a few months, you can better predict what your caregiving expenses will be and adjust your budget accordingly. If you have siblings or other loved ones who may share the caregiving costs with you, it is a useful tool to split costs evenly. If you haven’t already, consider asking your loved ones for help with these caregiving expenses.

Possible Recurring Caregiving Expenses Possible One-time Caregiving Expenses
·         Groceries

·         Medical co-payments

·         Travel to and from doctor’s appointments

·         Incontinence supplies

·         Clothing

·         In-home professional care

·         Housekeeping

·         Mortgage

·         Home modification (railings, shower seat, etc.)

·         Medical alert system

·         Vehicle modifications

2.  Research tax implications of caregiving.

Understanding IRS guidelines for caregiver and senior filing can save you money and help you recoup some of your caregiving costs. If you meet these seven requirements outlined by the IRS, you may be able to claim an elderly parent as a dependent on your tax return. You may also be able to deduct medical expenses and home modification costs up to a certain amount. If you’re not sure about IRS rules and guidelines, talk to a tax professional to make sure you qualify for these benefits.

3.  Consider professional support.

For caregivers who want to keep their loved one at home, participating in a local Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) can provide professional medical care and significantly reduce the costs of caring for an aging loved one.

PACE provides eligible seniors the following services, typically at no added cost:

  • Preventive care and routine screenings
  • Dental and vision care
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Medical supplies, home safety modifications, and much more

PACE participants have a team of health care professionals that work to develop a customized care plan for each individual.

To learn more about WelbeHealth’s PACE services, visit welbehealth.com.

Taking care of an elder

3 Tips to Stay Well While Being the Caregiver of a Senior

Nearly 17 percent of Americans are caregivers to an elderly adult over the age of 50. Choosing to care for an older relative is a selfless act. One of the best things you can do for them is to stay physically and emotionally strong. Here are three simple tips to maintaining your well-being as a caregiver of a senior.

1.  Take Care of Yourself

As a caregiver of a senior, it is important to continue taking care of yourself. Caregivers commonly neglect their own health needs. In the long run, this can wear you down and make it harder to provide care to your loved one. Make sure you continue to maintain your own doctor appointments, mental health, and other health and wellness needs.

2.  “Caregiver of a Senior” Support Groups

Caregiver support groups can be a source of community and friendship. By joining a support group, you can find the support and wisdom that makes a world of difference. Here are some resources to help you find in-person or virtual support groups to connect with other caregivers.

3.  Ask for Help

As the caregiver of a senior, it can be difficult to admit that you need help. But as a caregiver, asking for and accepting help can be a gift to yourself and your loved one. Siblings, in-laws, friends, and neighbors can often provide relief when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

If your loved one has more complex medical needs, then finding professional help may be necessary. At WelbeHealth, we provide caregivers with respite care, transportation to medical appointments, and home care assistance.

Learn more about how WelbeHealth can support you as a caregiver.

 

Did You Know? More than 58% of family members experience less caregiver burden after enrollment in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).