Senior Gazette

Fall 2009
by Carol Schmitkons, Director,
Amherst Township Senior Service Office (ATSSO)

Lorain County's Only Geriatric Assessment Center opens in Elyria

Lorain County's only Geriatric Assessment Center opens in Elyria at Wesleyan Senior Living. The new "Collaborative Care Evaluation Center" will now provide comprehensive geriatric assessments.

Dr. Swarnalatha Meyyazhagan, MD (nicknamed Dr. Mevy at Wesleyan), is the Medical Director at Wesleyan Senior Living, and will be leading the team of medical and geriatric professionals who will work with the seniors, their family members, the senior's physicians, and other care providers to provide a comprehensive medical, psychological, and social assessment. According to Dr. Mevy, "Our goal at Collaborative Care is to provide an independent life plan that allows seniors to live a safe, healthy, full life, in the comfort of their own home."

An assessment at Collaborative Care consists of the following steps:

  • An examination of the older person's current status in terms of their:
    • Physical, mental, and psychosocial health.
    • Ability to function well - to independently perform the basic activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, preparing meals, and managing medication.
    • Living arrangements, social network, and access to support services.
  • An identification of current problems or anticipated future problems in any of these areas.
  • The development of a comprehensive "care plan" which addresses all problems identified, suggests specific interventions or actions required, and makes specific recommendations regarding resources needed to provide the necessary support services.

The good news is that now over half of the seniors who thought they needed to move out of their homes are able to stay in their homes with a comprehensive geriatric assessment. You can Contact "Collaborative Care" of Wesleyan Village at 284-9201.

8:00 A.M. – NOON  (M-F)

Home-Delivered Meal Program

A variety of food choices at prices geared to income level are available to those over 60 or disabled adults over 18. Call 988-5822 for more details. ATSSO is also looking for 2 more meal drivers.

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D plans may be changed during the open enrollment period, which is between November 15th and December 31st each year. Medicare supplements may be changed between January 1st & March 31st.

If you wish to make sure your current plan is still the best choice for 2010, Amherst Township Senior Service Office will begin running comparisons as soon as the 2010 plans and premiums are announced or in early November. Those who have had comparisons run in the past can save a trip to the office by calling us at 988-5822 to update your medication list. We will contact you with the results. If you have never had a comparison run, call the office for an appointment or to schedule an in-home visit if you are homebound.

OSHIIP's Medicare Part D Check Up Event for Lorain County

On Tuesday, November 10th from 1:00- 4:30 pm, OSHIIP will be at the Avon Lake Public Library to discuss changes in Medicare for 2010 and to run Part D comparisons for seniors.

The Difference between "Home Health" & "In-Home Care"
By Jack Warren

So often when senior citizens are given their home-going instructions from a discharge planner at a nursing/rehab center or a hospital, they are given a list of possible providers, and instructed - "Here, call one of these names. They'll be able to help you." The helpless feeling that they are left with only worsens as they wonder which option is the best choice for them.

First, we need to respect the position of the discharge planners. Their job is to get you on your way home with as much information as possible. They CANNOT recommend one provider over another. Second, let's identify our options "Home Health Care" vs. "In-Home Care". Both occur in the home, but are markedly different in their service offerings.

"Home Health Care" is designed to bring "skilled services' to your home. Skilled services are those things like taking your vital statistics, providing wound care or a periodic bath or shower, or helping you to start your occupational or physical therapy. These things were ordered by your doctor and are most commonly covered under your Medicare Plan.

"In-Home Care", on the other hand, is designed to assist you AND your family with the everyday tasks such as shopping, meal planning and preparation, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, and dish-washing. Additionally, many home care agencies will assist with toileting, bathing/showering, dressing, and providing medication reminders. And the biggest benefit of such a service is companionship. In-Home care is NOT covered under Medicare because, by its definition, it is non-medical in scope.

However, many long-term care insurance policies recognize "In-Home Care" as a suitable alternative to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. So as long as the Client is safe in their own home, they will pay benefits to those using "In-Home Care" services. If you are not covered by a long-term care policy, the fees associated with"In-Home Care" are generally "out-of-pocket". If you or your spouse served in the armed forces during active war-time, VA pension options exist for you. Contact the Lorain County Veterans Service Commission for details.

Of course, cost is always a concern. I always recommend an agency over an individual, even though the hiring of an individual is less costly up front. At $17 to $22 per hour an agency will provide greater peace-of-mind in the long run.

The most important advice I have to offer today is this: If you are baffled by the home-going instructions, or if you feel you should have more options than what a discharge planner seems to be offering you, STOP. Ask them to slow down until you are certain you understand. If you still aren't sure, ask to see a "Patient Advocate" or an "Ombudsman". It is your right as a patient to have these services provided.

If you have questions concerning "In-home Care", you may contact Jack Warren directly at 440-458-4440.

Jack Warren is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and the General Manager and co-owner of "Comfort Keepers" in Elyria, an "In-Home Care Agency" specializing in Alzheimer's and Dementia Care.

New E-Mail Address!!: