Today, folks over age 65 are healthier than ever and that means they stay active longer, but too often the mental health of seniors is overlooked. Nevertheless, as age advances, many older than 65 citizens need help in protecting their health. At the center of anyone’s decision for mapping out their future health care plans is the primary care physician. Research suggests seniors with in-home care and frequent visits from family members are more mentally stable than those that are left in nursing homes without family members. Companion care is also linked to a better quality of life, since reports of nursing home abuse has risen over the past years.
Regular check-ups and maintenance visits for things such as vaccinations are important for keeping up the health of the more advanced age people of the United States.
There are many other issues surrounding protecting the mental health of seniors, that include:
- In Home Care Services or nursing home care? In-home care is preferred by an overwhelming number of seniors.
- In-home health care for physical therapy, respiratory therapy, and other healing arts or going to a clinic for service? Home visits are especially valuable to people needing nursing therapy or home health aide services.
- Medicare Advantage or Medicare supplemental insurance is another measure to look into for Medicare-eligible citizens. There are a number of plans available that cover the 20 percent of costs that Medicare does not cover. The plans are regulated by the federal government. There are a number of Medicare supplement plans and they are identified by a letter. The benefits under every plan under the same letter are identical – the only thing that differentiates them is cost. This is one time shopping around is easy and makes sense. There are some discounts available for some plans including insurance carriers offering discounts when both spouses enroll with the same supplement insurance carrier.
- Medicare Advantage is another way to protect senior health as it fully covers seniors in a managed care setting – think HMO with added benefits such as limited copays and some Medicare Advantage plans offer drugs without having to buy Part D (drug) insurance.
- Part D Drug Insurance is a separate Medicare eligible program that covers drug costs.
- Avoiding healthcare and drug provider scams and hustles that take seniors money and offer nothing in return. Included in this category is the prevention of identity theft.
The federal government Department of Health and Human Services keeps up an agency known as the Administration for Community Living (ACL). Many issues hamper seniors from thriving, and the AoA has programs to help seniors with these issues. Offices of the ACL include,
- Office of Supportive and Caregiver Services
- Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs
- Office for American Indian, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian Programs
- Office of Long-term Care Ombudsman Programs
- Supports a number of Aging and Disabilities Network Programs
How These Programs Help
First, let’s take a brief snapshot of the importance of health insurance for seniors. Did you know that Medicare Part A is the only thing you paid premiums for while working? Part A is for inpatient services. Part B, the part of Medicare that pays for outpatient care at 80 percent of the approved Medicare fee is a voluntary program that you sign up for, though Social Security automatically enrolls you in Part B unless you inform them you do not want it. Supplementary insurance, Medicare Advantage, and Part D drug coverage are also all add-on programs. They make the cost of healthcare less intimidating. Many states allow Medicaid to be used with Medicare. The importance of these three programs is that put in reach extended services that without the supplemental insurance are too costly for those without insurance. Good insurance allows seniors to proactively keep healthy.
If health services are needed on an ongoing basis, many seniors opt-in for in-home care. In-home care allows for seniors to enjoy the comforts of home while receiving services as varied as physical therapy to having an aide come in to do laundry.
Every day, thousands of Americans are victims of health care fraud and scams and identity theft. This is disturbing to most people, but, seniors are the primary targets of criminals who perpetrate these schemes. It is depressing for seniors who are scammed out of money or have their identity stolen. Certainly, this is unhealthy for seniors to say the least.
Seniors who keep up their health is a combination of good provider selection, access to providers and drugs, and protection from fraud and identity theft.