New Long-Term Care Insurance Benefit Plans May Offer Affordable Option for Paying for In-Home Care, According to Private Care Association

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C., Feb. 28, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Elder care experts advise that the emergence of new strategies enabling consumers to convert their life insurance policies into long-term care insurance benefit plans could offer millions of Americans a viable strategy for being able to afford the cost of paying for in-home private care.

"Two out of every five American adults are caring for an older loved one who is aging in place, a number that continues to increase each year as the demographics shift toward an aging population," said James Mark, president of the Private Care Association (PCA), the national association for private duty home care registries and referral agencies since 1977. "These families know first-hand the need for access to in-home private caregivers whom they can trust to help care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, Medicare and most privatehealth insurance plans do not cover the cost of non-medical in-home care."

In response to this growing need, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging (www.longtermcare.gov) has sought to inform Americans about a variety of options for using life insurance policies to help pay for long-term care services. These options include combination life/long-term care insurance policies, accelerated death benefits products and life settlements options for life insurance policies that might otherwise lapse.

Long term care benefit plans provide consumers who need care today — or in the very near future — to sell life insurance policies to a third party and have benefits held in an irrevocable trust that will pay benefits directly to the long term care providers they choose to provide care. This option differs from the accelerated benefit rider on many life insurance polices that will advance benefits if someone meets the HIPAA definition of chronically ill and has a life expectancy of less than 12 months.

"These new products convert a life insurance policy death benefit into an asset with living benefits that can be used to pay for in-home care services," said Mark. "This is a promising financial option that can almost immediately offer relief for seniors and their family members who are struggling with the challenge of being able to afford the cost of private duty caregivers."

A 2013 study published by the AARP Public Policy Institute concluded that the supply of family caregivers is unlikely to keep pace with future demand in America. The study found that the number of potential adult family caregivers for each American over the age of 80 is expected to plunge from seven potential caregivers in 2010 to just four potential family caregivers by 2030 and then down to as few as three potential family caregivers by 2050.

PCA member registries conduct background checks, verify credentials and check the professional references of caregivers before they are referred to consumers. At the same time, since the caregivers are self-employed, a caregiver registry can save families anywhere from 10 to 30 percent on their in-home care expenses. For more information about private duty home care registries and how to find in-home caregivers at an affordable price, please go to www.privatecare.org.

About PCA

Since 1977, the Private Care Association (PCA) has been the voice of private duty home care. PCA's membership is made up of home care registries that refer self-employed caregivers to provide assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, lifting/transferring, continence care, feeding/meal preparation, companion care, homemaker services and nursing services in the client's home. The PCA has an involved government relations program that actively presents its position to public policymakers at the state and federal levels and, as the national voice for home care registries, the PCA promotes the interests of the private duty home care industry, advocating the consumer-directed model of care and consumer choice. For more information, please go towww.privatecare.org.

CHAFFINS NAMED TO BUSINESS OBSERVERS “40 UNDER 40″

Joel Chaffins, President, Owner / Operator, No Place Like HomeCare, LLC

"40 Under 40"

With a slight country drawl and red guitar strapped over his shoulder, Joel Chaffins makes his way around town, visiting each of his “75 grandparents.”

Chaffins owns No Place Like Home Care, a private company that connects nurses and caregivers to adult seniors who prefer to stay at home rather than move to a facility. The company services clients in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

“We’re not just a referral or scheduling company,” Chaffins insists. He keeps close tabs on his 100-plus providers, popping in for visits every other week. He also personally answers calls from out-of-state adult children who want to check-in to see if “mom and dad are doing OK,” Chaffins says.

Within four years of opening, No Place Like Home Care became a $1 million company. Chaffins says the firm is on its way to reaching $1.5 million this year, and the goal is to hit $2 million next year.

“The beauty of our business is there is very little overhead,” Chaffins says. “We charge the patients x, we pay our nurses y, it’s very straightforward.”

His clients range from senior adults who need someone to stop by a couple days a week for meals or doctor appointments, to those with more serious medical issues that require around-the-clock care.

Chaffins and his wife, Danielle, recognized the opportunity seven years ago, while working in medical sales for Johnson and Johnson. The couple now splits business duties, with Danielle running the books and Joel in charge of marketing and client assessments.

They enjoy keeping the small-business feel, even as No Place Like Home Care grows. They’ve brought their Boston Terrier, Bartleby, to work for the last seven years. Now the couple brings their 11-week old daughter Samantha Elle to the office.

Growing up in a family of contemporary Christian musicians, Chaffins claims music was his first love. Today, bringing his guitar to work is just a bonus.

Every Friday, he plays for long-term care patients at a nursing home. He also keeps his guitar in the car while on his client visits, always ready to play some tunes, upon request.

If Chaffins doesn’t get his fill for music during the week, he also performs as lead singer for the Bay Players Club, a 10-piece band in the area that plays weddings and large corporate events.

— Traci McMillan Beach

InHisWords

 

City of residence: Redington Shores

Birthplace: Prestonsburg, Ky.

Twitter handle(s): @jchaffins (Personal) and @NPLHomeCare (Business)

Years on the Gulf Coast:  10

Marital status/children:  Married to Danielle E. Chaffins with one daughter, Samantha Elle Chaffins (6 weeks old)

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: People generally want to do business with someone they like, trust and respect. Therefore you must treat every client or perspective customer with kindness, compassion, and a lasting impression that their needs are important.

One website that makes your job easier: Our own:  www.NoPlaceLikeHomeCareLLC.com (We market aggressively and use SEO to help find new families in need.)

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Justin Timberlake

Best award you ever received: Region Sales Representative of the Year – A Johnson & Johnson Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Company.  Most “Fun”:  Provider Idol Winner (Senior Business Providers competing in an American Idol-style competition).

Business Observer "40 Under 40"

Americans Enjoying More Healthy Years

Study found 2-year lifespan gain, fewer disease symptoms

THURSDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) — Americans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed government data collected over the last three decades and found that people today can expect to have two more years of healthy living than they could just a generation ago.

The data also revealed that people are reporting fewer disease symptoms and less trouble with everyday activities such as standing and walking. This was true for all groups examined in the study: blacks, whites, females and males.

"What we're talking about in this study is not simply life expectancy, but quality-adjusted life expectancy," Susan Stewart, a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research, said in a Harvard University news release.

"Many studies have measured this in different ways, but this is really the first time we've been able to measure it in the entire U.S. population using such a rich measure over a long period," Stewart explained.

The study was published Sept. 12 in the American Journal of Public Health.

"Ironically, many of the clearest gains have come at older ages, where people were once disabled by things like vision problems and cardiovascular disease," David Cutler, a professor of applied economics and a professor in the Harvard department of global health and population, said in the news release.

"Those conditions today are far more treatable than they were in the past, so what we're left with at the very oldest ages are things like Alzheimer's and dementia, while at younger ages we're seeing problems that appear to be related to a sedentary lifestyle," Cutler noted.

He said some of the improvements found in the study are almost certainly the result of improvements in health care.

"There are a number of conditions, such as heart disease, that used to be very, very impairing. It used to be that after a severe heart attack, people would essentially be bedridden, or they would wind up in nursing homes. We're not seeing that very much anymore," Cutler said.

Instead, chronic, degenerative conditions that are mostly untreatable, such as Alzheimer's, have taken the place of treatable diseases, he noted.

"We're coming to where those are the dominant health issues reported for the elderly, rather than heart disease or stroke-related impairment," Cutler said.

Along with the good news, the researchers also uncovered some troubling trends in younger age groups. Since 2001, anxiety has become an increasing problem among young and middle-aged Americans, and walking difficulties have seen a significant increase among the nonelderly population, the study authors noted.

The study provides insight into the past and current state of the health care system, but its value will increase over the next few years as provisions of the new health reform law are implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to Cutler.

"Part of the reason we want to do this type of study is because we need to know what's happening to the health of the population," he said. "That information is valuable in and of itself, but it's also important that we have a baseline that we can use to measure whether and how things change once the ACA goes into effect."

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians outlines what you can do to maintain your health.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Age-related Memory Lapses May be Reversible, A Study Finds

A new study suggests that older people who occasionally forget some things or memories should not be terrified that they may have Alzheimer’s as it is something reversible.

Dr. Eric Kandel, lead author of the 2000 Nobel Prize research which identified the molecular basis of age-related memory loss, and his team studied eight human brains from the New York Brain Bank at Columbia University donated by people aged 33 to 88. All of them do not have brain disease when they died.

The researchers removed two structures in the hippocampus, the portion of the brain believed to be the center of the emotion, memory, and automatic learning. These structures are the dentate gyrus (forms new intermittent memories, unaffected by Alzheimer’s) and the entorhinal cortex (stores the memory, linked to Alzheimer’s).

Kandel’s team observed the genes active in each structure and noticed that the 17 genes present in the dentate gyrus decrease as the brain age increase. Most significant gene they found was RbAp48 which distinctly dropped to 50 percent of its original number as a person age. They looked at 10 more human brains with ages between 41 to 89, as well as old mice, to verify their conclusion. The result remained the same.

Their final analysis aimed to link the said protein to age-related memory loss by extracting it from young mice through genetic engineering. The results show a decline in memory comparable to mice four times their age. The mice were placed in a water maze to measure memory performance. Afterwhich, they injected the protein back to the mice which immediately restored their cognitive performance.

"With RbAp48, we were able to reverse age-related memory loss in the mice," Dr. Kandel wrote in the study. "Unlike in Alzheimer's, there is no significant cell death in age-related memory loss, which gives us hope it can be prevented or reversed."

However, the researchers admitted that they couldn’t explain yet how the protein RbAp48 affects the memory. They believe though that this discovery may help in finding a way to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s.

By Julie S | Aug 29, 2013 09:35 AM EDT

The study was published in the online journal Science Translational Medicine.

‘Powerful effect of exercise’ against Alzheimer’s

  Exercising for 150 minutes each week may be the best treatment for Alzheimer's, according to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Public Health conducted the study, which reveals that exercise could improve cognitive function in people at risk of Alzheimer's by improving the efficiency of brain activity.

The study analyzed 17 participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – early memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease - alongside 18 controls. Both groups were of similar age, gender, education, genetic risk and had similar medication use.

The participants were asked to carry out a 12-week exercise program, which consisted of walking on a treadmill at moderate intensity while being supervised by a personal trainer.

Before and after the exercise program, both groups were asked to complete memory tests.

The first was a fMRI famous name discrimination task. This is a memory test requiring the participants to identify famous names as their brain activity was measured.

The second was a list learning task. This test involved the participants recalling words read to them from a list over five consecutive attempts, and again after being distracted with a different list.

'No drug can do what we showed'

Results of the study showed that both groups improved their fitness levels by around 10%.

But the fMRI test taken after the exercise program revealed a significant increase in the intensity of brain activation in 11 brain regions as the participants correctly identified famous names.

The areas of the brain activated with improved efficiency were the same areas of the brain that lead to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The areas included were the precuneus region – the area involved in episodic memory, the temporal lobe and the parahippocampal gyrus – an area that plays a role in memory encoding and retrieval.

Dr. J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the university, says:

"We found that after 12 weeks of being on a moderate exercise program, study participants improved their neural efficiency – basically they were using fewer neural resources to perform the same memory task.

No study has shown that a drug can do what we showed is possible with exercise."

Results of the study also showed improved memory recall within the list learning task.

Dr. Smith adds:

"People with MCI are on a very sharp decline in their memory function, so being able to improve their recall is a very big step in the right direction."

Memory boosted by 'moderate exercise' levels

The researchers say that what makes these results even more interesting is that these results were achieved using the levels of exercise that are in line with physical activity recommendations for older adults.

The guidelines encourage moderate intensity exercise over most days, totaling 150 minutes each week, the researchers add.

The study authors say that this research suggests that exercise could limit the need for over-activation in the brain in order to recall memory. They add that this is encouraging for those who want to preserve brain function.

Dr. Smith says for further research, he would like to look at a larger study involving more participants who are healthy but have a higher risk of Alzheimer's genetically.

Written by Honor Whiteman




Copyright: Medical News Today 

Who will care for an aging generation?

When Mary Sterling faces an obstacle, she remembers her mother's credo: You come from a long line of strong, independent women.
Now that Sterling is in her 80s, that advice resonates more than ever, especially when it concerns her health. She still lives in her own apartment and is able to drive. But being strong and independent doesn't mean the same thing as when she was in her 40s.
"I think we so-called living longer people have a myriad of problems," the Tampa resident said of the unavoidable changes that come with aging. "It takes someone with special experience to take care of us."
About a year ago, Sterling dropped her primary care doctor for a geriatrician, a physician who specializes in treating patients in their golden years. She says that physician listens more and asks more age-relevant questions than other doctors. Treating specific maladies is secondary to making her day-to-day quality of health better, Sterling said.
This sort of approach sounds appealing, but there are just a handful of these specialists in the Tampa area today. And there is little chance the numbers will improve, as many of today's medical schools, including the one at the University of South Florida, don't encourage students to focus on the nuances of treating a community's oldest members.
In 2007, the American Association of Medical Schools created minimum geriatric competency guidelines for all of the nearly 150 accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada. But how and what is taught to future physicians is inconsistent, especially in Florida, home to the nation's biggest percentage of residents age 65 and older.
Florida, like the rest of the nation, may never have enough trained geriatric specialists. But limited exposure to geriatrics risks creating another generation of primary care doctors who are ill-prepared to care for the state's increasingly older, longer-living population, said Ken Brummel-Smith, director of Florida State University's geriatric department.
"Just because (a physician) can take care of adults doesn't mean they can take care of the oldest adults," he said.
FSU's College of Medicine, founded in 2000 with an emphasis on geriatrics, is the only one of the state's six public medical schools that requires academic and clinical geriatric training in all four years of medical school.
Three schools, including USF, incorporate geriatrics into a single course or short clerkship that can last anywhere from a single afternoon to a month.
And two schools have no specific classes focused on elder medical care, but say they teach geriatrics in classes such as anatomy or health care policy.
"You're right. We can do more," said Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine.
Part of the problem stems from the relative youth of the geriatric field itself. It wasn't until the late 1970s and '80s that the medical community started to think of the diagnoses and treatments of conditions related to old age as its own branch of medicine.
Geriatrics, by definition, is a sub-specialty for doctors practicing family medicine or internal medicine. But these primary care physicians take more than medical diagnoses under consideration, said Laurence Solberg, chief of geriatric medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine.
For example, a 40-something patient may not need to leave the exam table for a doctor to assess health concerns. But geriatricians will watch a patient stand and walk to assess critical functional issues such as balance and strength of sensory muscles. And understanding a patient's ability to complete daily functions – say, getting dressed or cooking – is as important as knowing the chemical risks of prescription drugs.
"Those kind of clues are always key to the geriatrician," said Solberg, whose program at UF requires fourth-year students to spend a month practicing geriatric medicine. "Is this person going to be at greater risk for a fall? Get in there and talk to the patient. You can synthesize the keys."
Traditional medical schools are slow to adapt curriculum to newer ideas, despite the rapid aging of the nation's population, said Elizabeth Bragg, a geriatric education expert and associate professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing.
It doesn't help that geriatrics is unpopular among 20-something medical students, she said. Salaries are low and there's no glamour in treating elderly men and women with multiple, chronic and sometimes incurable illnesses such as dementia, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
"There has to be a critical mass of interest to get programs to change," she said.
Michelle Estevez, the lone staff geriatrician at USF's medical school, lectures every year to the college's third-year medical students, hoping to spark their interest in people like her patient Mary Sterling.
"They like me because I have energy and I'm young, but I don't think any of them want to think about going into geriatrics," Estevez said.
It's an uphill battle in a program that requires only a short-term clinical geriatric clerkship for internal medicine students, she said. Next fall, the 35-year-old will have her lecture time shortened to just one four-hour session in which to change minds.
"Why, when you are in your 20s, would you want to deal with (what you imagine are) a bunch of 80-year-olds with diapers and dementia," she said of her patients, who on average are in their 80s. "But I love my patients. They are fantastic human beings."
Some geriatric medicine advocates say focusing on undergraduate medical training is the only way to serve an aging population in Florida and elsewhere. Specialists can't meet the demand of nearly 3.3 million seniors in Florida.
USF's Estevez is among just 424 certified geriatric specialists practicing in Florida today, and one of 7,500 nationwide, American Geriatric Society data show. That certification requires doctors spend an additional year in a geriatrics fellowship after completing a three-year medical residency.
You're going to school longer, but you're making less than colleagues in sub-specialties such as cardiology, Bragg said.
Only 144 geriatric fellows are practicing in the United States this year, and only four are in Florida, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education reports.
USF, which discontinued its geriatric fellowship several years ago, is looking long-term at geriatric medical training, said Klasko, the medical school dean and chief executive officer of USF Health.
He would rather focus on long-term projects, such as USF Health's primary care practice in The Villages senior community in Central Florida. In mid-June, USF Health announced that a $3.6 million gift will create a post-residency geriatric fellowship program there.
The new Villages fellowship, which is being developed, will eventually lead to more concrete training for medical students in Tampa, Klasko said. Lessons learned in the primary care practices at The Villages can identify better ways to care for older patients, he said.
"It will create an optimum environment for geriatrics," said Klasko, who will leave USF this summer to lead Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. "It will lead to more geriatric classes."
In the meantime, Estevez said, she'll continue to cheer on any and all medical students who are the least bit curious about treating society's oldest citizens. And she will keep searching for that balance between treating her elderly patients' illnesses and helping them enjoy life the best they can.
"Every day, I make a couple of lives better," she said. "That's pretty good."

By Mary Shedden | Tribune Staff
http://tbo.com/health/who-will-care-for-an-aging-generation-20130721/

mshedden@tampatrib.com
(813) 259-7365
Twitter: @MaryShedden