Evaluating Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities, better known as nursing homes, promote care to those individuals who can no longer care for themselves at home. A wide range of nursing, rehabilitative, social and medical services are delivered on a 24-hour basis. Skilled nursing facilities help people during a time when they cannot adequately care for themselves. These facilities provide necessary nursing and medical intervention while promoting the restoration of a person’s maximum independence. Evercare Connections

1. Know your rights. If a hospital informs you that your loved one must be discharged within 24 hours, remember that you have appeal rights under Medicare. This could allow you to extend your relative’s stay by two additional days and give you more time to research nursing homes. For details about appeal rights, ask the hospital for a copy of “An Important Message from Medicare,” or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

2. Turn to the Eldercare Locator for help. This resource will connect you with your local agency on aging, which can give you the names and locations of all nursing homes in a given area. Call the Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116.

3. Prepare to do lots of clicking. Consumer Reports recently completed an investigation of nursing homes across the country and made its findings available free of charge online. This will ultimately lead you to nursing homes in your state to consider and to avoid.

4. Tap into other resources. You also can check less complete surveys of nursing homes through the Nursing Home Compare database on the Web site of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Many state health agencies also track nursing homes in a similar way. To find such a resource, do a quick Internet search using the name of your state along with the words “health department.” Then visit that state Web site and find a phone number you can call. Ask the person who answers whether there’s a way for you to see nursing home surveys or ratings for your state.

5. Check state survey reports. When you visit a nursing home, ask for a copy of a report known as Form 2567, or the state inspection survey. This report will reveal the results of unannounced visits by state surveyors who spoke with residents and checked on sanitary conditions and care issues.

6. Contact your state’s long-term care ombudsman program. Another important resource for you can be the ombudsman who monitors nursing homes in your state or local area. You can do another quick Internet search using the name of your state and the word “ombudsman” to find the contact information you’ll need. You also can ask for this contact information when you call your state’s health department.

7. Make unannounced visits more than once. As you zero in on two or three nursing homes, visit them at different times of day. Are many residents still in bed at 10 a.m. or so? Do many eat dinner in their rooms rather than in the dining room? Both of these can be signs of an under-staffed facility that isn’t giving residents enough stimulation.

8. Stay alert for other telling details. Are toileting needs being met right away? Are safety precautions in place to prevent accidents? Are exercise and rehabilitation sessions scheduled regularly? How does the staff interact with residents? How does the food taste to you?

9. Sit down with the administrator. Ask about his or her views on long-term care, and find out if the nursing home has seen a lot of high-level turnover in recent years. If it has, that could be a sign of instability.

10. Inquire about Medicaid. If your relative lives in a nursing home for a long time, his or her financial resources most likely will be exhausted or “spent down,” and he or she will then be eligible for Medicaid. Get in writing the nursing home’s payment policy once private funds or Medicare reimbursements run out. Does the nursing home accept Medicaid payment eventually? If so, at what point?

Sources: Consumer Reports’ Nursing Home Guide, “Consumer Reports Complete Guide to Health Services for Seniors” by Trudy Lieberman and the Editors of Consumer Reports, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services © 2009 MSNBC Interactive. Reprints

10 tips for buying or selling a home

1. Prepare your house for sale:
* The best looking house for the best price will sell first.
* First impressions are extremely important – there are NO second chances.

2. Selling your house:
A small amount of time or money invested in repairs will reap $100s or $1000s back at closing.

3. Take a walk around the outside of your house – look at it the way a potential buyer would, then address those items that might bother that potential buyer.

4. A good welcome mat outside and inside the front door will welcome prospective buyers and protect your carpets and floors.

5. The interior should sparkle – pack all those extra items and photos away NOW – they will need to be packed when you move anyway.

6. Looking for your next dream home?
Make your wish list: how large a house or condo, number of rooms, type of rooms, amenities desired, location, neighborhood, beach, 55+, golf, maintenance free, etc. This will provide a good starting point.

7. Speak with the mortgage loan officer and/or your financial planner to get an idea of your price range before you begin your search.

8. If you are financing, shop for mortgage rates but remember to also ask about ALL costs & fees. Costs such as origination fees and discount points can add up. Ask for a Good Faith Estimate listing these and other costs of the loan. It will give you a good idea of the total cost.

9. Be patient, every home you visit will help define your next dream home.

10. Keep good notes: if you visit too many it’s easy to forget which was which.

Last Let your realtor and the other professionals guide you through the process; then after the closing, go and enjoy your new home!

Judy Nicolosi, Realtor
Judy Nicolosi, Realtor

Senior housing offers a better lifestyle

Traditional lifestyles have evolved greatly in America over the past several decades; perhaps nowhere is this more evident in than in the senior living industry where the old stereotypes of senior communities have been replaced with model lifestyle and care environments.

“Life expectancy in America is now at an all time high, says” Kelly Foley, Executive Director at Brookdale Senior Living in Lutz, FL. “Now seniors and families have new questions about where and how seniors can find the best lifestyles and care options. But really, it’s all about knowing where to turn for help, because the services are all out there and available.”

Take, for example, activities. There are many places where senior centers offer daily programs and meals to older adults, along with a calendar of activities that include exercise, discussion groups, arts and crafts, health information and social events. For those with physical or other issues which preclude them from remaining unsupervised, there are also adult day care programs.

Many hospitals provide wellness centers, and those who have loved ones with specific senior diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can usually find an association that provides help and answers for them.

“Beyond the traditional care outlets, today there are home health agencies, in-home and care companions and hospice care,” says Foley. “And if full time senior living is an option there is every kind of lifestyle and care option available, from independent living, to assisted living and Alzheimer’s care, skilled nursing and communities that offer continuing care within a Life Care Plan.”

The move to pursue senior living with or without care services at a rate the senior or their family can afford is often triggered by life-changing events when a decision must be made quickly. The biggest problem is– knowing where to turn for a quick education about the choices and options in the senior living network, especially where the health of the individual is an issue.

“There is no substitute for planning ahead,” says Foley. “But the good news is that there is help available for anyone who needs it. At our community we probably spend more time getting to know and advising individuals and families who are making this decision for the first time than we do working with those actively seeking to move into our community.

“It can be difficult to navigate through all the options, especially where old stereotypes exist,” says Foley. “But we’ve found that many people are just happy to get the information they need to make the right decision – and we’re happy to help them chart the best course for their families.”

For more information call Kristin Albritton 813.909.9679
brookdale lutz

Welcome to Senior Information Resources!

bc sunnyWe are a group of professionals who help people over the age of 50 remain independent, healthy, and aging in place.

Our disciplines cover the gamut of growing older in America from leaving the gainful employment arena to arriving (hopefully) at the pearly gates.

Please peruse our site and glean information enabling you or your loved ones to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Getting older isn’t for sissies!

bc sunnyMost people won’t seek help until their hair is on fire!

Here’s a startling fact: Today’s baby boomers will live 40-50 years beyond retirement.  For some, that’s longer than they were in the work force!

As the last self-sufficient generation in America, we are expected to maintain control of our physical and financial well being.  We must learn how to maximize assets and utilize all  possible benefits in order to remain independent.

In a split second, you can become one of 65 million Americans who is caring for a loved one, spending thousands of dollars annually and taking as much as 10 years off your life!

Where do you go for help?

Search our website for the help you need.

From being downsized at the job–to preparing final arrangements for a loved, we’ve all been there!  We know how costly it can be to make the wrong choices or fail to plan for the inevitable.

Our goal is to help others navigate through the maze of growing older in America while living well in our community.  With some forethought and planning, your hair will remain intact!