Four Essential Facts about Long-Term Care

Every year, more than 8 million people receive some form of long-term care. As care providers, it’s likely our loved ones will find themselves needing care in a facility that can provide personal care services for days, weeks, or even months. Trained professionals in these facilities help patients with ADLs, or activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, transferring from bed to chair, toilet needs, and eating.

Here are four essential facts you need to know about long term care.

There’s a Good Chance Someone You Know Will Need Long-Term Care

According to LongTermCare.gov, 70 percent of people over 65 will need some form of long-term care. About half of people who enter long-term care will need it for one year, while about 13 percent will need care for five or more years.

Family and Friends Aren’t the Best Providers of Long-Term Care

While it’s true that the majority of elderly who need long term care turn to family members and loved ones for help, in most cases, that results in family stress and financial hardship. The average long-distance family care provider paid $11,923 in out-of-pocket expenses in a 2016 study by the AARP.

Long-Term Care Often Lasts Years

Government-funded studies have found that women need an average of 3.7 years of long-term care, while men average 2.2 years of care. People typically receive care in their homes, with the average stay in a nursing or assisted living facility lasting about one year.

There Are Multiple Ways to Pay for Long-Term Care

Since long-term care is designed to address activities of daily living, Medicare typically only covers a portion of the cost. For example, in a nursing home, Medicare will cover an average of 22 days. That’s great, but the average nursing home stay is 100 days, leaving patients to seek other ways to pay for care. Specific populations, such as veterans or low-income individuals, might be able to access Medicaid for long-term care. Long-term Care Insurance, reverse mortgages, and life insurance are also common ways people turn to to help offset costs. Long-term care insurance can be costly—averaging $2,700 per year in premiums—but that’s considerably less than the average $87,000 long-term care typically costs annually.

Smartphones Can’t Compete with EasyCall

Who needs a medical alert system? According to occupational therapist Leah Bellman from the Commonwealth Care Alliance, it’s “anyone who is at risk of falling or having a medical emergency.”

Medical alert systems are devices that summon help with the push of a wearable call button. When the system is activated, professional dispatchers respond with help from first responders, friends, or family members.

Medical alert systems offer peace of mind for our elders or others who have compromised health and might need help in case of an emergency.

When we talk to customers about EasyCall, many respond with, “but my smartphone can do all that.” In theory, a smartphone can do everything a medical alert system can do, but there are some serious and life-saving differences. Let’s take a look at why smartphones can’t compete with EasyCall.

The Limits of Smartphones & Digital Assistants

The biggest problem? Odds are when an emergency strikes, you won’t have your smartphone within reach. Doctors report that most falls occur in the shower. That’s why EasyCall’s medical alert systems are completely waterproof so they can truly be worn everywhere you go.

Others might look to help from their digital assistants, whether that’s Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s HomePod. The problem with these devices is they can’t dial 911 emergency services.

Plus, if you’re not within earshot during your emergency, your smart device is of no use. And as good as voice recognition has become, these smart speakers are known for having trouble understanding garbled or muffled speech.

In the event of an emergency, the last thing you want is Siri asking you to repeat yourself because she misunderstood.

Smartwatches Have Problems Too

So now we know why smartphones and digital assistants can’t match up to EasyCall, but what about a smartwatch? That’s an internet-connected device that can be worn day or night. Can’t that replace EasyCall? The latest Apple Watch even includes fall detection.

Once again, the answer is no.

For starters, anyone who owns a smartwatch knows they need to be charged—a lot. Anytime your smartwatch is on its charger, it’s not on your wrist protecting you in case of an emergency.

The battery in an EasyCall button is rated for three years of trouble-free service. And we’ll replace any part that fails—usually the same day you call us for service.

Another problem? By default, the Apple Watch’s automatic fall detection is switched off unless you’re 65 or older. Plus, some reviewers have had trouble getting the watch’s fall detection to work properly.

Finally, it’s up to you to ensure all your smart devices are working correctly. With EasyCall, we remotely test the system every day to make sure it’s functioning and we alert you if there are any problems.

You can be sure EasyCall will work when there’s an emergency.

It’s the kind of peace of mind your loved ones deserve.

Care Givers: What to Know About Aging and Driving

Driving means freedom and independence, but as we age and our motor skills start to decline, driving can become as risky as it is rewarding.

Today, one in six American drivers is over the age of 65 and by 2020, the U.S. will have a population of 40 million senior drivers. Among that group, many seniors are approaching 85, or the age when fatal crashes peaks.

These findings are part of “Understanding Older Drivers: An Examination of Medical Conditions, Medication, and Travel Behaviors,” a report issued by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Here are some other important facts about aging and driving.

Seniors are Driving Longer

The report also notes that seniors are keeping their driver’s licenses longer, with 84 percent of seniors 65 and older keeping their licenses, compared to less than 50 percent in the 1970s.

Commuting Keeps Seniors Driving

Work habits have changed too, and many seniors are working well past the traditional retirement age of 65. This means many of those driving hours are spent commuting to and from work. In fact, today seniors are commuting more than twice as much compared with 20 years ago.

They’re Not Slowing Down

Older seniors don’t appear to be slowing down either. More than two-thirds of drivers 85 and older report driving five or more days per week.

Seniors are Cautious Mixing Meds and Driving

Almost all senior drivers (90 percent) reported taking at least one prescription medication, but the good news is seniors are taking precautions and reducing driving as a result of medication or medical issues. Three-quarters of seniors say they have reduced driving as a result of a medical condition, and 62 percent of respondents said they reduced nighttime driving as a result of being on prescription medication.

It’s essential for seniors and their caregivers to understand the effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications. To learn more about safe driving, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com for driving health check-ups, guides to fitting your car for a safe and comfortable ride, and more.

Vision Loss: How Audibooks Can Help Seniors

Aging often means losing some or all of one’s sight. Don’t let vision loss stop you from enjoying the books, news, and stories you love. Audiobooks and podcasts are great ways to stay current with current events.

Vision Loss Affects Many

Did you know that one in three people will experience some kind of vision-reducing eye disease by age 65? The most common causes are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy.

Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine estimate that by 2030, nearly 23 million Americans will experience some level of vision loss.

Losing one’s eyesight means losing the ability to participate in some of life’s most enjoyable activities. It’s no surprise then that vision loss is often associated with increased risk for depression.

If you or a loved one has experienced vision loss, audiobooks and podcasts are great ways to stay connected to current events, favorite topics, and great storytelling.

Here’s a quick guide to getting started with audiobooks and podcasts.

Why Should You Listen to Audiobooks & Podcasts

Audiobooks and podcasts let you absorb lots of information quickly. A 300-page novel that might take weeks to read can be completed in just 5 hours on an audiobook.

Since audiobooks and podcasts are digital files, they’re convenient and can be listened to anywhere. Using a smartphone or tablet makes listening even more portable.

Where to Find Audiobooks

Audible.com offers the widest selection of audiobooks and no wonder, it’s operated by online retail giant Amazon. You can also find many audiobooks for free on YouTube.comBooksShouldBeFree.comNewFiction.com, or Librivox.org.

Where to Find Podcasts

Podcasts get their name from Apples iPod, the personal music device phenomenon of the ’00s. While iPods have largely gone the way of the dodo, podcasts live on. Apple’s iPhones and iPads continue to come with great podcast software built in. People with Android phones can download Google’s free Podcast app from the PlayStore.

With so many resources for free podcasts and audiobooks, you can enjoy hours of entertainment and learning without spending a dime.