The holiday season is upon us and many families dealing with a loved one living with dementia need to be more flexible this month with annual holiday traditions. Below is a comprehensive guide to help all family members enjoy the season. It includes recommendations for setting expectations for family and guests, gift suggestions, how to involve your loved one living with dementia in holiday preparations, and much more.
The Boulder County Area Agency on Aging is sponsoring an all day wellness conference on November 3 at the Longmont Plaza Convention Center. From 8:30am-4:30pm you can attend session tracks on topics such as Technology and Innovation, Health and Wellness and Aging in Your Community. Keynote speaker will be Bob Hoffman, former VP of the national office of AARP. Call the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging to register at 303-441-3570. This agency is also sponsoring free individual Medicare enrollment counseling appointments at all Boulder County senior centers. Below are the dates and times that correspond to each location. You must pre-register to participate in a personal session to ensure you are enrolled in the most appropriate Medicare plan and prescription drug plan.
West Boulder Senior Center – Nov. 8 and Nov. 29 from 9:00am-12:00pm
East Boulder Senior Center – Nov. 2, Nov. 16 and Nov. 30 from 9:00am-12:00pm
Lafayette Senior Center – Nov. 3 and Dec. 1 from 9:00am-12:00pm
Longmont Senior Center – Nov. 6, Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 from 9:00am-12:00pm
Louisville Senior Center – Nov. 2, Nov. 16, and Nov. 30 from 9:00am – 1:00pm
Don’t miss the Colorado Chapter Alzheimer’s Association annual education symposium for caregivers, health professionals and individuals diagnosed with dementia. It will be held on October 30th at the Denver Tech Center Hyatt Regency from 7:30am until 4:30pm. Call 800-272-3900 to register. Opening keynote speaker will be Barry Petersen, CBS news correspondent and author of Jan’s Story about his personal journey caring for his wife living with Alzheimer’s. Closing keynote speaker will be Herb Magley, board member of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and caregiver for his wife with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s for 11 years. There will be numerous break out sessions that you can attend. Session topics include:
- The Need To Know Clinical Trials
- Living Well After A Diagnosis From Someone Who Knows
- Driving and Dementia Evaluations, Management and Legal Perspectives
- What’s The Connection Between Change and Grief
- The Power of Words
- Control Through Choice – Making Informed Decisions About Care and Treatment
- Practical Tips For Assisting Care
- What’s Love Got To Do With It? The Unspoken Challenge Of Providing Care For Someone You Really Don’t Care About.
Tomorrow at 9:00am is the start of the 3rd Annual Boulder Walk To End Alzheimer’s. The goal is to reach $230,000 ($50,000 more than last year). Due to excessive rain, the location of the festival field has changed. See the below link for details. The Denver Walk To End Alzheimer’s event will be held on Saturday, September 16 at 9:00am at Denver City Park. If you aren’t interested in walking during the Denver event, you can participate in their Sleep In To End Alzheimer’s! A brunch celebration will follow from 12:00-2:00. Contact the Colorado chapter for more details at 303-813-1669
If you haven’t heard of the Conversation Project, it’s time to learn about it. Its founder said that she talked with her mother about everything….except end-of-life decisions. So the organization has created free starter kits for families to use together to discuss personal values and end-of-life care as well as a starter kit for how to talk with your doctor. There are kits specific for families dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s and a pediatric kit for those dealing with a seriously ill child. The organization provides guidance on how to choose a health care proxy and forms to ensure that it is a legal document in your geographic location. If you want a trained Conversation Project coach to help facilitate a family meeting, they are available to assist during this process. Check out the starter kit below. Don’t wait. Fill it out today.
If you or someone you care about has been newly diagnosed with cancer, there is a non-profit corporation in Arizona that wants to provide you with organizational tools for managing your care plan and up-to-date treatment options. Bag It was founded in 2003 by survivors for survivors. The bag costs $35.00 and it includes a comprehensive patient navigation binder with numerous publications on coping, treatment options and care plan, current research and a calendar for appointments. Also included in the bag is a Fight the Fear USB wristband that is pre-loaded with 4 GB of storage capacity that contains helpful publications along with the ability for you to store your medical records and communications with medical providers. The company encourages donations and volunteers to help with their efforts. This is a very supportive and encouraging gift for someone recently diagnosed. For more information, check out their web site at https://bagit4u.org/our-story/
As of March 1, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is now open for enrollment. The new TRU PACE adult day health center is located at 2593 Park Lane in Lafayette. For eligibility, you must be 55 or older, live in the zip code that they service, need a nursing home-level of care, and be able to live safely in the community with assistance from the PACE program. You can currently have Medicaid or Medicare to qualify. If you have Medicaid, you will not pay a monthly premium for long term care under PACE. If you don’t qualify for Medicaid and you have Medicare, you will be charged a monthly premium as well as a premium for Medicare Part D. You also have the option for private pay.
The PACE program focuses on customized, coordinated care for each participant. The program has contracts with many local healthcare providers and long term care facilities. If you participate in the program you must utilize their providers, specialists and the PACE adult day health center.
To determine if you are eligible, contact a PACE Enrollment Specialist at 303-665-0115.
Effective February 16, 2017 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved a Corrective Statement to the 2014 Jimmo Settlement Agreement. It reads as follows: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reminds the Medicare community of the Jimmo Settlement Agreement (January 2014), which clarified that the Medicare program covers skilled nursing care and skilled therapy services under Medicare’s skilled nursing facility, home health, and outpatient therapy benefits when a beneficiary needs skilled care in order to maintain function or to prevent or slow decline or deterioration (provided all other coverage criteria are met). Specifically, the Jimmo Settlement required manual revisions to restate a “maintenance coverage standard” for both skilled nursing and therapy services under these benefits.
Many Medicare patients have been told that their skilled nursing and therapy services are based on an Improvement Coverage Standard when in fact that is no longer the case. They have been told that they plateaued in their improvement from the skilled services or didn’t improve fast enough so further coverage is denied. Maintenance Coverage Standard has replaced Improvement Coverage Standard which means Medicare will cover services that are necessary to maintain a patient’s current condition or prevent or slow further deterioration.
Remember to always question a denial for coverage. There may be new regulation or past regulation that has not been communicated or effectively enforced that will be applicable to your specific situation.
CURE Magazine is a quarterly magazine available online and printed format for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. It provides up-to-date information on cancer research, education, treatments, and inspirational stories of hope. Their annual Cancer Guide magazine is included with their subscription. A free subscription is available at http://www.curetoday.com/subscription. This issue focuses on Newly Diagnosed. It will provide information for you 1) once a diagnosis has been given, 2) prior to your treatment, 3) during treatment, 4) after treatment, 5) caregiving. An additional special issue magazine is also included that covers organizations that provide financial support specifically for cancer patients. To get started, you can call the Cancer Support Community for a free session either over the phone or in person to discuss all of the available financial resources specific to your needs. 1-888-793-9355.
Starting January 1, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will cover care planning services and cognitive assessments for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. This new benefit will be available through an individual’s Medicare benefit coverage. The Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act will enable physicians to monitor the disease progression and its symptoms while creating a care plan to improve the quality of life for their patients and care partners. For more information contact your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter or Medicare at 800-633-4227.