Why Elderly Need Google Home

Google Home for your elderly parents? How seniors with mobility or vision issues can benefit from a smart speaker. Control the temperature or call for help with just your voice.

Google Home for elderly
Google Home for Elderly

Google Home Smart Assistant

“Hey Google, call Mom”. Worried about your mother? Ask your smart device to give Mom a call.

Follow this link If you want to know how to set up smart speakers to make phone calls.

You can also search for video instructions. As a visual learner, I find it much easier to follow video instructions.

Nurses Like Smart Devices

What triggered this interest in Google Home for seniors?

A few weeks ago one of my news alerts had this teaser headline, “Why Google Home is Perfect for Seniors“. Up to this point I considered smart speakers to be a novelty. There are a few in my home, split between the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

I haven’t (yet) plugged into the whole “smart home” program. I still turn on the lights with my hands and TV with a remote.

Coffee is made in a French press, so no way to make it smart.

According to Nurse Next Doorone of these technologies is Google Home, a voice-activated daily assistant that can control devices around the house, make calls, provide entertainment, and answer over 100 million unique questions. You can link it to the TV, radio, thermostat and more by installing a compatible device and activating connections on your phone’s Home app. This virtual helper responds to voice commands, which means that someone with limited vision or reduced finger dexterity can easily use it.”

Why Elderly Need Google Home

Google Engineer Helps Dad with Parkinson’s

I also discovered this story about Stephanie Wilson and how she helped her parents live a fuller life with Google Home and Smart Assistant.

Wilson’s parents, Fred and Linda, live in a condo, and Fred uses a wheelchair. About 10 years ago, the University of Toronto philosophy professor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a degenerative brain disorder that leads to loss of muscle control.

When Wilson heard her father talking about how hard it was to control the lights, she installed smart bulbs around the condo. Now, her parents control the lights by speaking to Google Home.

Link to Stephanie’s video and very moving story.

Hey Google – How Does Medicare Work?

Word of advice. If you ask Google about Medicare you will most likely hear “Sorry, I don’t know that one”.

If you want solid Medicare advice, ask GA Medicare expert Bob Vineyard. If you just want rates check out GA Medigap Quotes.

#GAMedicareExpert #GoogleHome #SmartDevice #GAMedigapQuotes #GAMedigapRates

Hospice Patients Aren’t Dying

Medicare has a problem. Hospice patients aren’t dying like they are supposed to. When you are approved for hospice you are expected to die within 6 months. When hospice patients don’t die, the cost to Medicare goes up.    hospice patients

Over the past decade, the number of “hospice survivors” in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren’t actually dying, a Washington Post investigation has found. Healthier patients are more profitable because they require fewer visits and stay enrolled longer.

Washington Post

Hospice patients that don’t die are big business for companies that care for the dying.

The hospice “movement,” once led by religious and community organizations, was evolving into a $17 billion industry dominated by for-profit companies. Much of that is paid for by the U.S. government — roughly $15 billion of industry revenue came from Medicare last year.

88% of hospice patient revenue is paid for with taxpayer dollars from Medicare. End of life care is big business.

Care for hospice patients is a covered expense under Medicare Part B. When you have original medicare and a Georgia Medicare supplement plan you are covered. Medigap plan F pays 100% of your approved Medicare Part B expenses.

Are you still paying too much for your Medicare supplement plan? If you have Medigap plan F from AARP (United Healthcare), Blue Cross of Georgia, or Mutual of Omaha you are probably paying more than you should.

Shop and compare your plan costs now.

GA Medigap Quotes

Do you want to know what Medicare covers if you are a hospice patient? Click to review Medicare Hospice Benefits.

At AseraCare, for example, one of the nation’s largest for-profit chains, hospice patients kept on living. About 78 percent of patients who enrolled at the Mobile, Ala., branch left the hospice’s care alive, according to company figures.

That’s good news for the patients and their families, but bad news for Medicare. One wonders if these runaway costs will catch the eye of lawmakers that will respond with reduced funding for hospice patients.

Convalescent Care and Nursing Homes

Convalescent care and nursing homes in Georgia presents a challenge.

Which nursing home is best for my loved one?

Where should I get my surgery?

Consumers often have no clue on choosing a health care facility for themselves or a loved one.

Sometimes they’re guided by a physician. But having more data about the quality of care at a hospital or nursing home can allow a person to choose more confidently.

The federal agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid has updated two websites that allow consumers to check out facilities near their homes.

The two sites, Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare, provide data on quality measures, such as the frequency of infections, how often patients have to be readmitted to the hospital, and the percentage of nursing home residents who report having moderate to severe pain.

Updates to Nursing Home Compare include the actual narrative text of nursing home deficiency reports, and figures that report a nursing home’s use of antipsychotic medications.

The Boston Globe published a series examining overuse of antipsychotic drugs to sedate elderly nursing home residents, many of whom suffer from dementia and are at risk of serious, sometimes fatal, complications when given these powerful medications.

Additions to Hospital Compare include new figures that cover the potential health risks of imaging services, such as exposure to unnecessary radiation.

The sites can be found online at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/ and www.medicare.gov/nhcompare/

http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2012/07/finding-place-care/#more-19963

Medicare only covers skilled care. To receive Medicare benefits for a nursing home stay you must be admitted to a hospital for 3 days (not including your day of discharge), you must be admitted to a nursing home within 30 days of discharge, and you must received skilled nursing care for the condition that caused your hospital admission.

Medicare coverage for a nursing home stay is limited to 100 days and you are required to pay a copay for 80 of those days.

A Convalescent Care insurance policy may help defray some or all of the expenses. Ask us about how a Convalescent Care policy can help.

Nursing Home vs Home Care

Nursing home operators, faced with soaring health care costs and shrinking Medicare and Medicaid financing, are closing some facilities and embracing an emerging model of care that allows many elderly patients to remain in their homes and still receive the medical and social services available in institutions.nursing home or home health care

The rapid expansion of this new type of care comes at a time when health care experts argue that for many aged patients, the nursing home model is no longer financially viable or medically justified.

In the newer model, a team of doctors, social workers, physical and occupational therapists and other specialists provides managed care for individual patients at home, at adult day-care centers and in visits to specialists. Studies suggest that it can be less expensive than traditional nursing homes while providing better medical outcomes.

The number of such programs has expanded rapidly, growing from 42 programs in 22 states in 2007 to 84 in 29 states today. In New York City, a program run by a division of CenterLight Health System, formerly known as the Beth Abraham Family of Health Services, has over 2,500 participants at 12 sites in the metropolitan area.

“It used to be that if you needed some kind of long-term care, the only way you could get that service was in a nursing home, with 24-hour nursing care,” said Jason A. Helgerson, the Medicaid director for New York State. “That meant we were institutionalizing service for people, many of whom didn’t need 24-hour nursing care. If a person can get a service like home health care or Meals on Wheels, they can stay in an apartment and thrive in that environment, and it’s a lower cost to taxpayers.”

The recent influx of adult day-care centers and other managed care plans for the frail elderly is being driven by financial constraints as President Obama and Congressional leaders seek hundreds of billions of dollars in savings in Medicare and Medicaid. Nursing homes, which tend to rely heavily on Medicare and Medicaid dollars, are facing enormous financial pressure — Mr. Obama’s proposed budget includes a $56 billion Medicare cut over 10 years achieved by restricting payments to nursing homes and other long-term care providers.

Nationally, the number of nursing homes has declined by nearly 350 in the past six years, according to the American Health Care Association. In New York, the number of nursing homes declined to 634 this January from 649 in October 2007, and the number of beds to 116,514 from 119,691.

Over the next three years, New York State plans to shift 70,000 to 80,000 people who need more than 120 days of Medicaid-reimbursed long-term care services and are not in nursing homes into managed care models, Mr. Helgerson said.

The move away from nursing homes was highlighted on Thursday when Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan announced that the Archdiocese of New York, one of the state’s largest providers of nursing home care, is selling two of its seven nursing homes and opening or planning to open seven new adult day-care centers over the next three years.

“Seniors and others who have chronic health needs should not have to give up their homes and independence just to get the medical care and other attention they need to live safely and comfortably,” Cardinal Dolan said in a statement before he opened a 250-patient program at Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Healthcare Center in the South Bronx.

These new adult day-care centers, known around the nation by the acronym PACE — Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly — provide almost all the services a nursing home might, including periodic examinations by doctors and nurses, daytime social activities like sing-alongs and lectures, physical and occupational therapy and two or three daily meals. All the participants are considered eligible for nursing homes because they cannot perform two or more essential activities on their own like bathing, dressing and going to the toilet. But they get to sleep in their own beds at night, often with a home health care aide or relative nearby.

The nonprofit groups that operate them receive a fixed monthly fee for each participant and manage their entire care, including visits to specialists, hospitalizations, home care and even placement in a nursing home. Because Medicare and Medicaid pay set fees instead of paying for specific procedures, center operators are motivated to provide preventive care to avoid costly hospitalizations or nursing home care.

Some elderly people, however, spurn PACE programs because under managed care, they would have to switch their physicians to those at the PACE center or in its network.

Most elderly people want to live out their lives at home, a desire evident in interviews in the PACE center the archdiocese opened in 2009 in Harlem, which has a staff of three doctors and is visited regularly by a dentist, a podiatrist and a psychiatrist.

Edna Blandon, 74, a diabetic weakened on her left side by a stroke who relies on a wheelchair, is transported by specialized van to the Harlem PACE center three days a week and appreciates that it provides not only a home care attendant but sends a nurse every two weeks to change pills in her pillbox and load a 14-day supply of insulin into syringes that she will inject.

“My spirits would drop if I went to a nursing home,” she said. “I love the fact that I can go home at night. There’s no place like home. I can sit down, look at the TV and go to bed when I want.”

James Harper, 70, a retired bank employee who spent 10 months at the archdiocese’s Kateri Residence, a nursing home on the Upper West Side, after a stroke paralyzed his right side, enjoys yoga breathing classes and discussions about black history. Yet he gets to spend nights and weekends with his wife, Albertene, and daughter, Traci, both of whom work during the day and are not around to care for him.

“This way I’m around people,” he said.

Dr. Fredrick T. Sherman, the Harlem PACE medical director, said that a 2009 study showed that PACE programs reduce lengths of stays in hospitals and delay assignments to nursing homes.

The archdiocese, whose new centers will serve a total of 1,500 people, receives an average of $4,000 a month from Medicaid for each participant and $3,300 from Medicare. By comparison, said Scott LaRue, the chief executive of ArchCare, the archdiocesan health care network, a month of nursing home care can cost the government $9,000.

Ultimately, the archdiocese hopes that half of its elderly clients will be served in community settings rather than in nursing homes, which currently serve about 90 percent of the archdiocese’s clients. For-profit companies have not yet moved into the managed care market, in part because of uncertainties about reimbursement formulas and the risks of taking on a nursing home population.

The PACE population tends to be younger than that at nursing homes, which raises the question of whether many PACE clients would really need nursing homes without PACE. Dr. Sherman replies to such skepticism by saying that his clients “need that level of service — the question is where they’re going to get it.”

Without PACE, he said, “they’re going to end up in nursing homes.”

Nursing Home Inspection

Nursing home inspection reports available online. Research more than 20,000 nursing home in Georgia and other states.

In February 2011, a nursing home resident in Michigan wandered away in a blizzard, unnoticed by staff. He was wearing only pajama pants, a sweater, canvas shoes and a knit cap. A technician driving to work found him half an hour later at a busy intersection, wet and covered with snow, government inspectors wrote.

Five months later, a resident at a different Michigan nursing home climbed out of a secured window in the home’s locked dementia ward, hitchhiked a ride and was picked up by police hours later in a restaurant some 65 miles away. Nursing home staff did not even realize he was missing, inspectors found.

Were these incidents, known as “elopement,” isolated? Or do they suggest a pattern? Until recently, no one could really say how often such incidents occur.

Now, ProPublica has an app for that.nursing-home

Drawing on government reports posted online last month, today we are launchingNursing Home Inspect — a tool that allows anyone to easily search and analyze the details of recent nursing home inspections, most completed since January 2011. As of today, that includes nearly 118,000 deficiencies cited against 14,565 homes, but we will add more each month as new reports become available.

Users can search across all the reports by any keyword, such as elope — a feature the federal government’s official nursing home website doesn’t have. The results can then be sorted by both the severity of the violation and by state.

Medicare only covers skilled care. To receive Medicare benefits for a nursing home stay you must be admitted to a hospital for 3 days (not including your day of discharge), you must be admitted to a nursing home within 30 days of discharge, and you must received skilled nursing care for the condition that caused your hospital admission.

Medicare coverage for a nursing home stay is limited to 100 days and you are required to pay a copay for 80 of those days.

A Convalescent Care insurance policy may help defray some or all of the expenses. Ask us about how a Convalescent Care policy can help.