Assisted Living

Important Medicare Information and How to Find It

On Monday, I participated in a training on the Social Security and Medicare programs hosted by the Mountainland Aging and Family Services department in Utah County. It is important for me in my profession to keep abreast of the rapid changes taking place with regard to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs that provide such important benefits to the aging population.

On an almost daily basis I run across misinformed statements about these programs and have to help my clients understand what the law really says they are entitled to. However, I have also learned that there are significant efforts being made by both the federal government, and local governments, to provide accurate information about these programs. I wanted to make you aware of at least two of these excellent resources for getting your questions answered on what can, at times, seem to be overwhelmingly complex topics.

Long Term Care Benefits Available to Surviving Spouses of Wartime Veterans

There are over 9 million surviving spouses of veterans currently living in the United States. Many of these surviving spouses are receiving long term care or will need some type of long term care in the near future, and there are funds available from the Veterans Administration (“VA”) to help pay for that care. Unfortunately, many of those who are eligible have no idea that any benefits exist for them or that an attorney can help them become eligible.

Benefits Available. There are three types of pension benefits available that provide monthly cash payments to surviving spouses who either have low income, long term health care needs, or both. The pension benefit is referred to as “Death Pension.” Below is an overview of the three benefits, and more detail will be provided on each benefit in the following paragraphs.

Aging and Big Brother: Orwellian Nightmare or Godsend?

The LA Times recently ran an article about new technology being developed by major health care companies (General Electric and Intel) to help the elderly population age in place.

For example:
• robotic cameras that move around grandma's house in California that can be controlled by a joystick from a family member in Montana;
• pill boxes with sensors that record when and how often medications are being taken;
• monitors in the hallway that measure the speed and gait of the resident as they walk through the house;
• devices that monitor facial expressions to look for signs of depression or anxiety
• robotic "pets" that have lifelike interactions with their owners
• and monitors on the bed that measure the rate of breathing of the occupant and can send warnings to a computer when the breathing becomes irregular or stops.
Many of these technologies are being developed in what one corporation's representative describes as a "race to see who's going to invent 21st century care services for boomers." There's a major market that is developing to serve the millions of baby boomers who are entering into the retirement stage of their lives.

Will Provo Seniors Benefit From Proposed "two-kitchen" Ordinance?

The Salt Lake Tribune recently reported on a proposed Provo ordinance that would make it easier for individuals over the age of 65 to add a second kitchen to their residence for an unrelated renter.  The idea behind the ordinance is to help seniors who want to stay in their homes do so more easily by renting out part of the house for additional rental income, or by providing an apartment for an unrelated live-in caregiver. 

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