CarePatrol is committed to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Read the full letter from our Co-Founder and President here

What Is Transfer Trauma and How to Avoid It

Older adults must sometimes move to a new home to meet their current needs. However, uprooting the life of a senior can cause immense stress and disruption known as “transfer trauma.” The big life change, especially for older adults with dementia that cannot participate as much in decision-making, can be very triggering and negative. 

When a move is necessary, there are steps you can take to reduce the effects of transfer trauma and make the experience more positive for the senior. 

Read on to learn more about how to avoid transfer trauma. 

What Is Transfer Trauma?

According to Tracy Greene Mintz, LCSW, the nationally recognized expert in transfer trauma, transfer trauma, also known as relocation stress syndrome, includes a cluster of symptoms that occur in a senior after moving. The mood, behavior and physiological symptoms include:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Irritability 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Confusion
  • Combativeness
  • Screaming
  • Complaining
  • Wandering 
  • Withdrawal
  • Refusing care 
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss/gain 
  • Increased coping through bad habits 
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Sudden onset of irritable bowel syndrome 

Older adults suffering from transfer trauma will often complain about their situation and ask to go home. They may question why they are there and how/ when they can leave. The symptoms tend to be worse when the move is sudden or unwanted, like when an older adult breaks a bone during a fall and must go to rehab, but then ends up having to stay. 

Who Is at Risk for Relocation Stress Syndrome?

Any older adult can experience transfer trauma when moving. Transfer trauma is centered around the loss of control and choice producing fear. However, the risk increases for people with dementia because they have a hard time taking in the new information, and are not able to actively participate in the decision making process. Seniors that do not have dementia but have severe physical issues that force a move are also at risk. 

How to Help a Loved One Experiencing Transfer Trauma 

Typically, relocation stress syndrome occurs in people leading up to a move, and within the first three months. It’s important to remember that the trauma can overlap with symptoms of dementia, so you should keep a lookout for any changes in eating, sleeping, cognition, and self-care. If you suspect a loved one is battling with transfer trauma, acknowledge their fears, and be supportive. Additionally, you should avoid moving them again during this time as it will only compound trauma. 

Tips for Avoiding Transfer Trauma

  • Prepare the new facility for transfer trauma, ensuring that they have a protocol in place and will monitor the development of it. 
  • Try your best to include the older adult in the decision-making process, bringing them to visit before moving. 
  • Help your loved one engage in their new community by finding events and organizations they may be interested in. 
  • Make the new place feel like home by decorating with family photos, comfortable items from their last hoe, and familiar scents. 
  • Visit your loved one on a frequent basis to provide a sense of familiarity. 

Moving can be incredibly stressful for older adults, especially those with dementia. By recognizing the signs of transfer trauma and taking precautions to avoid it, you can help your loved one make the move in a safe and healthy way. 

Are You as Old as You Feel?

They say, “age is just a number,” but as the years pass it can seem like this number controls your life. As the number of your age increases, it’s easy to let it dictate your feelings and quality of life. 

However, some people feel far younger than their chronological age. In fact,  80% of people feel younger than their chronological age. According to the New York Times, those people are healthier mentally and physically than their counterparts who feel older. Simply feeling younger can lead to better outcomes. 

Is age really a mindset?

Chronological vs Perceived Age

Your chronological age is the number of years you’ve lived, and this number is set in stone. But increasingly, we are realizing that there is a difference between chronological age and how old a person feels. The majority of people over 40 feel younger than their chronological age and the “discrepancy between felt and actual age increases with years.” Another research study found that over half of adults between 65 and 90 years old felt at least 20 years younger than their age!

Chronological age is really just a number. There is another important aspect to age that is often neglected, how old we feel. 

Positive Outcomes Associated with Feeling Younger

Feeling younger is incredibly beneficial for older adults. According to the American Psychological Association, a lower perceived age is related to better health, longevity, and memory performance. Older people that feel younger display higher levels of capability, specifically in a grip strength test. 

How to Feel Younger

Strangely enough, this idea of perceived age is absent in cultures that highly respect elders for their experience and wisdom. However, “internalized ageism can worsen no just people’s outlook, but their health.”  In Western cultures that stereotype older adults as incompetent and unhealthy, feeling younger is important. 

In society, being older is associated with losing abilities and ultimately control. The best way to feel younger is to have a greater sense of control. As a senior, this means taking control of your health by living an active lifestyle. For many caretakers and family members of older adults, you can facilitate control by offering more choices, and making sure the senior is involved in discussions about his or her care, treatments, etc. 

The idea of feeling younger inside also makes it easier to understand why older adults sometimes resist medical directives or want to continue working after retirement. Age really can be a mindset, and not every older person will enjoy the same activities because they may feel a lot different from their chronological age suggests. 

Having the right living environment is critical for a senior’s overall well-being, but certainly for their perceived age. Care Patrol will help you and your senior find the right living community, and make sure the senior feels a sense of control over their future and living situation along the way. At no cost to you, we will complete a detailed care assessment and find the best recommendations to meet your needs and preferences. Find your local CarePatrol senior advisor today by clicking the link HERE

How to Stay Connected With Your Older Loved Ones

Older adults are at high risk for COVID-19 and serious complications. Unfortunately, senior communities have faced extreme challenges trying to keep older residents safe during the pandemic. Despite stringent policies and an emphasis on hygiene, 2 of 5 COVID-19 deaths in the US have been in long-term senior care facilities. 

To help protect seniors and reduce the incidents of COVID-19 in senior care facilities, the CDC recommended strict limitations for visitations among other important guidelines. For many months now, people have not been able to visit their loved ones in senior living communities. Even when visits do resume, they will not return to pre-pandemic visits for a very long time, if ever. 

For both seniors and their families, staying connected is incredibly important. Isolation and loneliness are very common for seniors, and they pose serious health threats. In this post, we will offer some ideas for ways to stay connected with your older loved ones while keeping them safe.

Use Technology 

There is an abundance of technological solutions for staying in touch. It is now easier than ever to stay connected with loved ones from across the world. If you are not able to visit the senior in your life, use technology to keep in touch and share updates. Luckily, there are many different options available for this. 

Of course, you can call your loved one on the phone. Many seniors are familiar with basic phones and will love to hear your voice and catch up. 

If your senior has the technology and ability to, it is a great time to video chat as well. Video calls give a more personal experience, allowing you both to see each other’s faces. You can show the grandkids, pets, your home, and even virtually bring your loved on to the park or around the house. Additionally, you can have group video calls with other members of the family. You no longer need an iPhone or complicated software for video chat. Some of the platforms you can use for video calls include:

  • Apple FaceTime
  • Zoom
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Google Hangouts
  • Skype
  • WhatsApp

Send a Small Gift

Another way to stay connected is with small gifts. Communicate with the community team to find out what is allowed and how you can send your senior something. Some ideas include:

  • Letters
  • Photos or drawings
  • Food delivery (dinner, dessert, fruit arrangement, and more!

Visit Within Guidelines

While visits are certainly not what they used to be, some senior living communities are beginning to allow a new form of visits. Many times, visits must be scheduled in advance and may be limited to certain hours, so make sure that you call ahead and find out the community’s policies. Depending on the community, you may be able to schedule an outside visit or one through the window. 

At CarePatrol, we understand how important it is that your senior has a safe care option. Whether you are looking for independent living, memory care, assisted living, or in-home care, our knowledgeable team will help you find the best option for your senior- at no cost to you. Learn more about how we can help you and find a CarePatrol advisor near you

Solutions for Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed all socialization for all of us. However, those with increased health risks, like senior citizens, have faced the most isolation during these times. Assisted living and nursing homes are incredibly strict and have had to cut the social gatherings and activities that many seniors relied on for social activities. While health and safety are top priorities, isolation poses its own health risks for seniors. 

Loneliness was already an issue for many older people, and COVID-19 exacerbated the issue. Luckily, there are ways to combat isolation and loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to find out more about the solutions for isolation and loneliness in older adults during COVID-19.

Risks of Social Isolation for Seniors

Loneliness is a common issue that seniors deal with, and it has health consequences. Pandemics are incredibly stressful and the required health actions can make people feel even more lonely. According to the National Institute on Aging, loneliness increases the risk for heart disease, obesity, immunity weakness, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and ultimately death. Furthermore, unexpected loneliness can have the highest risk, and COVID-19 has certainly prompted unforeseen social isolation and loneliness for many seniors. 

Ways Seniors Can Combate Isolation and Loneliness During COVID-19

Unaddressed loneliness will have serious health consequences for older adults. COVID-19 and the social restrictions it prompted have exacerbated loneliness for many older adults. Thankfully, there are many ways to help solve loneliness during the pandemic. 

Alternative Socialization 

While we cannot always spend time with our loved ones face-to-face right now, there are other ways to socialize and mitigate feelings of loneliness. Some alternative ways to socialize include:

  • Phone calls
  • Facetime
  • Sending letters 
  • Sending voice messages
  • Sending photos/ videos of grandchildren, pets, family members, and just daily life. 
  • Social media 
  • Online chatrooms or groups. 
  • Playing games with others online. 

Physical Activity

Exercise boosts our mood and helps protect us from depression. Additionally, it occupies our time which is important when we are feeling lonely. Staying active during the pandemic will be very helpful for seniors. Seniors can stay active right now by:

  • Taking a walk outside while practicing social distancing. 
  • Following a virtual workout class or online workout video. 
  • Stretching. 
  • Dancing. 

Staying Mentally Active

Keeping your mind active is important for combatting loneliness as well. Flex your brain by:

  • Drawing
  • Writing/ journaling 
  • Working on real or digital puzzles 
  • Learning a new language
  • Exploring the planet with Google Earth
  • Reading books

Loneliness and isolation are serious concerns for older adults always, but especially during COVID-19. Implementing the solutions above can help mitigate the risk of loneliness while keeping seniors as safe as possible from the health risks of the coronavirus. 

What to Consider Before Becoming Your Loved One’s Caregiver

The coronavirus pandemic is concerning for all of us, but it poses an even greater risk for vulnerable populations like older adults. Long-term care facilities are a great option for many seniors, families are understandably concerned at this time. Even though assisted living homes and nursing homes follow the CDC best practices and most stringent guidelines to keep their residents safe, over 35,000 residents in facilities around the nation have contracted COVID-19. 

After many weeks or months of not even being able to see relatives in senior care facilities, many families are beginning to consider bringing their senior home and becoming their caregiver. 

While it can be tempting to imagine bringing your older loved one back home, there are some really serious considerations that come with being their caregiver. In this post, we explain the reality of being a caregiver and the key factors you must consider before removing your senior from long term care. 

Long-Term Care Facilities Are Taking the Right Steps

Nursing homes and assisted living communities are filled with older adults who have underlying conditions, which makes them danger zones for COVID. When the disease enters a facility, it poses a serious health risk to all residents. The outbreaks in some facilities, combined with the inability to see loved ones is a major source of concern. Before you remove your older loved one from a long-term facility, you must remember that these communities are still some of the safest places for seniors right now because of all the precautions they are taking. Workers are diligently sanitizing shared surfaces, closely monitoring residents, testing staff, limiting group activities, and following all CDC protocol. Additionally, these facilities are doing this while still meeting all of the care requirements of their residents. 

The Role of a Caregiver

Before you can even consider caregiving, you should fully understand the responsibilities of the role. Being a caregiver is not just about helping out here or there, as a caregiver, you must help the person with all daily needs. That means, you may be responsible for:

  • Assisting with bathing and hygiene 
  • Navigating social services and personal finances
  • Calling and transporting to the doctor and other essential appointments
  • Managing and administering medications
  • Food preparing and serving
  • Speak with care managers about the person’s needs
  • Handling unexpected situations
  • Being on-call at all times

Do You Have the Resources to be a Caregiver?

To be a caregiver to your relative, you must have the right resources. Unfortunately, many family members who try to become caregivers do not have the necessary training to properly do each and every task, which can cause them to strain themselves. 

Before you can caregiver, you must also fully prepare the home to meet your senior’s needs. You will likely need to make many numerous adjustments to make the home safe and functional for at-home caregiving. You must also learn about any illnesses or disabilities the senior has and you should take a CPR class. Additionally, you must assess the financial situation and find out about any legal matters you should know about. 

Can You Care for Yourself?

One major challenge of caregiving is self-care. 61% of caregivers also work, but how would it feel to work another job, take care of your own family and responsibilities, and caretake for a senior with unique needs? Being a caregiver is difficult, challenging work, even if you love the person you care for. This is why 23% of Americans say caregiving has made their own health worse.

It is impossible for you to safely caretake, let alone manage your own family if your own health starts suffering. Caregiving is a very challenging work that can take a toll on you mentally and physically. 

Find the Best Care Option 

While being your loved one’s caregiver may be a great option for some families, it is not the right option for everyone. There are many different types of care available for seniors, and it is critical to find the one that is safest for your loved one. That’s where we can help. At no cost to you, we can provide a detailed assessment and find the best care environment for your loved one. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us HERE.

Ways to Prevent Ageism During COVID-19

Seniors, or people 65 years and older, are one of the groups most vulnerable to COVID-19 and its worst symptoms. While many family members and medical professionals are concerned for seniors during the pandemic, the event has also brought out the issue of ageism. 

Ageism is not new to COVID-19, the idea of stereotyping based on age is one that preceded this pandemic. However, COVID-19 and its effects on older adults has sparked even more issues of ageism. From how the healthcare industry treats the elderly to how we speak to our loved ones, ageism has grown during the pandemic. 

Read on to learn more about how we can prevent ageism during COVID-19. 

The Problem of Ageism

Ageism is discrimination based on age, and it frequently happens to senior citizens. The negative ways we often unintentionally treat the elderly are tied into our “senior profiling” and stereotypes that older people have sedentary lifestyles, compromised cognitive ability, and diminished capabilities. 

Older people may not get the healthcare they need because their issues are misdiagnosed or brushed off due to old age. Ageism is actually a huge problem that can lead to seniors receiving a diminished level of care. In fact, one in five Americans over the age of 50 experience discrimination in healthcare settings. 

While ageism in healthcare is a serious issue that can impact the outcome for many seniors, how we treat and communicate with the seniors in our own lives is often a problem as well. Many younger caregivers assume that their senior family members need extra care and are too fragile to take care of themselves or make their own decisions. Letting stereotypes guide our communication styles leads to patronization and worse outcomes. 

Reducing Ageism in Healthcare

The seriousness of COVID and its impact on seniors have only heightened ageism in the United States. First and foremost, we must take steps to prevent ageism regarding healthcare. Some of the best ways to keep ageism at bay in these settings are by:

  • Learning more about individual seniors. Find out their life story and take the time to understand them personally. 
  • Do not make assumptions about functional ability. Not every senior has the same ailments or requires the same treatment. 
  • Speak with both the caregiver and senior. If you are the caregiver, be sure to include the senior in the conversation with doctors and ensure they are spoken to directly and not just spoken around. 
  • Include anti-ageism training and orientation in healthcare. 

Prevent Ageism at Home

Looking after your senior family members is very hard and stressful. It is easy to get frustrated and fall back on ageism. Here are some ways to prevent ageism when communicating with your senior:

  • Instead of just telling them not to do something, suggest different options.
  • Support your senior with social interaction in a safe way that adheres so social distancing recommendations. 
  • Introduce technology. Seniors are not incapable of learning to use technology.  Introduce some technology solutions and be patient. 
  • Remember diversity and individuality. As with any cohort, the elderly are a very diverse group with different interests, capabilities, and personalities. 

While negative stereotypes about older adults are culturally ingrained, we can all work together to fight them. With COVID-19 posing a major threat to seniors, now is the time to do everything we can to prevent ageism and ensure seniors are getting the care and communication they need. 

Protecting Older Adults: Resources for Families

It’s an uncomfortable topic to think about – elder abuse. But as the older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and one out of every 10 Americans 60+ experiencing some form of elder abuse, it can’t be ignored. 

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Here are some ways you can take action. 

Learn about the issue. Elder abuse can happen to anyone anywhere but certain populations are at higher risk such as people with dementia or poor physical health. There are several kinds of abuse including physical, emotional and financial, and perpetrators are most likely to be family members. It’s believed only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.

Look for signs. Older adults may be reluctant to report abuse because they feel ashamed, embarrassed, scared or are even in denial. They also may not be able to speak out due to mental impairments. However, there are physical and emotional changes that may indicate someone is being abused. Here are some of the common signs to watch for from the National Institute on Aging

Ask questions. Signs of abuse may also surface when talking with an older adult. The National Center on Law and Elder Rights suggests asking questions such as: Is there anyone you don’t trust or who makes you feel uncomfortable? Has anyone hurt you, called you names or treated you poorly? Have you received any paperwork, in the mail or delivered to the door, that you don’t understand or that frightens you?

Report concerns. If you suspect someone may be the victim of the abuse, neglect or exploitation, contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) office. Calls are confidential. APS offices investigate the concerns and determine what services, if any, would be beneficial. Individuals always have the right to decline services. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the police. 

Everyone deserves to live a happy life, full of love and respect. At CarePatrol, safety is our top priority. Each care option in our network goes through our rigid evaluation process, which includes evaluating the care and violation history. This helps us recommend safer senior living choices. 

Assisted Living Is the Safer Option

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of our daily lives in many ways, but seniors have been hit particularly hard. According to the CDC, people over 65 years of age are in a high-risk group for coronavirus. Due to the increased risk, many seniors and their families now are facing difficult situations. To stay safe, seniors must be even more vigilant with social distancing, which only makes it increasingly complicated to handle their living environment and care. 

Group environments like assisted living are actually still a valid option for many seniors who cannot remain at home. Assisted living communities are taking safety precautions very seriously, which actually makes them a safer option for many seniors. 

Strict Safety Measures

Since coronavirus spreads so easily from person to person, community living is a place where it can thrive and infect many. Without any proper precautions, assisted living communities would be very risky for seniors. However, these communities have overwhelmingly embraced all of the policies and recommendations from the CDC for preventing, controlling, and treating COVID-19. Some of these measures include:

  • Educating employees on COVID-19 and associated policies. 
  • Follow strict infection control procedures and protocol every day.
  • Reinforce hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment. 
  • Sick leave policies. 
  • Screen employees prior to each shift. 
  • Restrict visitation and implement alternative methods. 
  • Create separate space to monitor and treat residents with COVID-19.
  • Cancel group activities. 
  • Remind residents of social distancing and hand hygiene. 

Made for the Elderly 

Unlike apartment complexes or other community living environments, assisted living facilities are specifically designed for seniors. Therefore, assisted living communities are aware of their at-risk residents and the important steps they must take. Additionally, these facilities have the best resources to care for and treat the elderly with or without COVID-19. Aside from protection from coronavirus, assisted living facilities also provide seniors with the necessary care they need to stay as healthy and strong as possible. 

Challenges of Keeping Seniors Safe at Home

It is difficult to match the strict policies assisted living communities are embracing in a home. While you may be wary of moving your senior into assisted living at this time, but it is often the safer option. Since the coronavirus is easily spread, it poses a high risk for seniors, especially those with underlying health conditions. If someone in your family picked up the virus while getting groceries, they may pass it on to the senior in your home, even if that person is not experiencing symptoms. Assisted living communities have the team and resources to follow all recommended procedures for preventing the virus, and these measures are very difficult to do on your own to the degree that your senior needs. However, you can still do your part to limit the spread by:

  • Keeping your hands away from your face
  • Limiting contact with others, especially family or friends with symptoms
  • Following proper handwashing techniques
  • Covering your mouth and noise, especially while caring for a senior
  • Maintaining a distance of at least six feet in public 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting commonly used objects and surfaces, including your phone

Who Should Consider Assisted Living During Coronavirus?

For many seniors, assisted living is still the right choice. Seniors who require the care of assisted living should still live in these communities during COVID-19. People who should consider assisted living include:

  • Those already residing in assisted living.
  • Seniors who need help with daily living activities like bathing, dressing, and eating. 
  • Seniors who may need urgent attention for a medical condition. 
  • Seniors living with family members who are unable to practice social distancing due to their job or with family members who traveled internationally in the last two weeks. 
  • Seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory impairment that makes it difficult for them to follow hygiene protocol. 
  • Seniors living alone with a serious medical condition.

Is Assisted Living Always the Right Option?

Assisted living communities are an excellent option for many seniors during this time. However, it is not the right fit for every person. Some seniors may actually need alternative care options. Seniors who may thrive in a different environment include:

  • Seniors who have shown any symptoms of the coronavirus or any other illness. To protect others, seniors with any symptoms must wait until medically cleared. 
  • Seniors who need very limited help or only need temporary help may prefer home care. 
  • Seniors who have a support system that is able to fully practice social distancing. 

Find the Right Assisted Living with CarePatrol 

Assisted living is one of the safer options right now for seniors because of the vigilance these centers are taking to protect their residents. However, finding the right assisted living community is critical. You must find an assisted living community that is following all CDC and local government regulations while also providing the right environment and care.

Finding the right assisted living community is always a bit stressful, but it can be even more challenging during these times. CarePatrol is here to help. We have the knowledge and experience to help you find the safest senior living option. At no cost to you, we will conduct a detailed assessment to ensure you or your family member finds the right senior living environment. Find your local CarePatrol senior advisor HERE

The Top Ways to Stay Mentally and Physically Healthy in Your Golden Years

As we age, it is natural to slow down both mentally and physically. Many times, it feels like declining health is an unchangeable part of the process, but this could not be further from the truth! There are many different ways that older adults can maximize their physical and mental health throughout their golden years. With diligent awareness and care, seniors can live longer, healthier lives. The tips shared in this article are an excellent way for families and caregivers of seniors, as well as seniors themselves, to ensure mental and physical health during their golden years. 

Stay Active 

There is no doubt that our bodies change as we age. While it may not be possible anymore to do the same exercise you did in your 20s, there are many enjoyable ways to stay active as you get older. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise has a positive impact on your brain and also is shown to boost moods. By regularly exercising to the best of your ability, you will keep your body and mind stronger. You can find individual exercises or follow-along workouts for different ages and abilities on sites like YouTube. Some ideas for senior exercise include:

  • Walking 
  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Stationary biking 
  • Body weight strength and balance exercises 
  • Senior fitness classes 
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • And many more!

Engage the Mind

The brain needs exercise as well! By challenging your brain, you will keep your mind healthy and working better for longer. Two of the best ways to keep your mind challenged and occupied are reading books and playing games. Here are some great game ideas to engage your mind:

  • Puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Scattergories
  • Solitaire
  • Scrabble
  • Chess 
  • Checkers

Socialize

Retirement can be incredibly lonely, and loneliness negatively impacts both mental and physical health. Socialize and stay connected with family and friends to keep your mind healthy. Join a senior book club, game club, debate club, fitness class, or any other group that meets regularly to keep in touch with peers. Encourage your family to visit, and call them to stay connected. 

Monitor Your Health  

Health issues often sneak up on us, especially as we age. Watch for any early signs of mental or physical issues so you can seek treatment before any minor problems become serious conditions. Track your blood pressure, and take any medication you need daily. If you notice major changes in mood, energy, memory, or language, check in with your doctor as soon as possible. 

The Right Senior Living Environment

Making sure you are in the right senior living environment is critical for your health. In order to stay as safe and as healthy as possible, you must be in a living situation that is best suited for your individual needs. 

That is where we can help. Safer senior living is our main goal here at CarePatrol. CarePatrol conducts a detailed care assessment to ensure we help you find the best housing option for your needs and preferences. Get started today and search for a CarePatrol senior care advisor near you by clicking HERE.  

Senior Living Communities in the Future

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented times for us all. While the end of this era is uncertain, its lasting effect on our senior living communities is apparent. 

As seniors are an at-risk group for the pandemic, many senior living communities around the world are changing their daily operations to prevent the spread of the disease. While making these changes, providers are realizing that they must design future senior living communities with the same procedures in mind so that they can maximize the safety of their communities. 

More Intimate Senior Housing 

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many senior living communities are opting for meal delivery and in-room entertainment instead of large group gatherings. These practices can actually help control other health concerns like the yearly flu. More providers are planning to incorporate community designs that facilitate socializing and dining in smaller groups. Compartmentalization and separating levels of care within larger campuses are strategies that will be present in future senior living communities so that these communities can better avoid major disruptions. 

Room Design

While communities may not be specifically designed for quarantine, there will likely be a push for units that are better for sheltering in place. For example, providing ample private access to the outdoors immensely helps the mental health and overall wellness of people during a pandemic, so this may become critical in the room design of future senior living spaces. 

Technology 

Technology is majorly shaping the way we are planning for future senior living communities. Seniors and the providers are both embracing technology even more as a result of the pandemic. Remote communication tools are important for staying in touch with family, friends, and medical professionals. Virtual socialization is essential for combating the loneliness and depression that many seniors deal with. Telemedicine is also in the foreseeable future and is an excellent option for seniors who are unable to leave for regular visits. 

Finding Senior Living Communities in the Future

Senior living communities are rapidly adjusting to keep COVID-19 at bay and protect its residents. The providers are learning new practices that could keep senior living centers safer and more protected for smaller health concerns like the annual flu, and many of these practices will be built into future senior living communities. While the future of senior living communities is different, what you can expect from CarePatrol will remain the same. We are 100% committed to helping all seniors find the ideal living environment for their personal needs. At no cost to you, we will perform a detailed assessment and match you with the best senior living community for you. Head HERE to find your local CarePatrol senior advisor. 

Is Assisted Living a Tax Deductible Expense?

The majority of the one million American seniors living in assisted living communities pay the fees with their own money. With a median cost of nearly $4,000, assisted living is a substantial investment. A tax deduction may help ease the burden of assisted living, so many families wonder if assisted living is a tax-deductible expense. In this post, we will explain the basic factors that determine if assisted living is tax-deductible. 

Deducting Assisted Living Expenses 

“Long-term care services” are tax-deductible expenses on Schedule A, according to the 1996 Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA). To qualify, the long-term care services must involve personal care services such as:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Continence care
  • Eating
  • Transferring
  • Maintenance services- household cleaning and meal preparation. 

Qualifications for Deducting Assisted Living 

Only assisted living residents who qualify as “chronically ill” may qualify for tax deductions on that expense. Chronically ill seniors cannot perform two or more daily living activities. The “Activities of Daily Living” include:

  • Transferring
  • Dressing
  • Continence
  • Bathing
  • Eating

Seniors who require constant supervision due to “severe cognitive impairment” are also considered chronically ill. A doctor must certify the Assisted Living patient as chronically ill within the last 12 months. 

The second requirement is that a licensed medical professional oversees the patient’s care. The personal care services must include a plan of care created by a licensed health care professional. Typically, Assisted Living homes have a licensed healthcare practitioner on staff who works with the resident’s physician to create the plan of care, or “Wellness Care Plan” that describes all of the daily services the resident will get in the community. This is a common procedure for most assisted living communities, but you should always check with the community. 

Calculating Your Deductions

To qualify, the unreimbursed medical expenses and long-term care services must be greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Most taxpayers can deduct the medical expenses of his or her parents if the taxpayer can claim the senior as a dependent. 

The amount that you can deduct for tax purposes will differ depending on your particular situation. Some Assisted Living patients will be able to deduct the entire monthly rental fee, while others may only deduct the medical component of the assisted facility. Sometimes, the living cost for room and board will not be covered, while other times it will be considered part of the medical care. It is best to consult a tax advisor before deducting any assisted living expenses. 

For tailored advice, we recommend that you consult a tax advisor with the details of your personal circumstances. The IRS also has helpful documents including the IRS Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses, IRS Publication 501: Exemptions, Standard Deductions and Filing Information, and IRS Instructions for Schedule A

Navigating senior care is a difficult space, and CarePatrol knows the challenges seniors and their families face. Our dedicated team is here to help you answer your questions and navigate the many options available. We are happy to help you find the best senior living option and to provide you with the resources you need for tax deductions. Find your personal certified care advisor HERE