Monterey, CA Advanced Healthcare Planning, Polst, Will & Living Trust Workshop At CHOMP

Nobody likes to think about dying, but it is extremely important that you prepare for the inevitable by drawing up an Advanced Healthcare Directive, POLST, Living Trust and Will so that your wishes are carried out.  Join experts at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, on Monday, February 8 from 4-5:30 p.m. or on Tuesday, February 23, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.  Learn how to document your wishes, receive expert medical coaching and submit your documents.  To register, click here


Monterey, CA Nursing Homes Hit Hardest By COVID-19

I recently wrote about the fact that although the number of cases of coronavirus in nursing homes is low as a percentage of all cases, they account for a full 40% of deaths from COVID-19.  California’s Department of Public Health has listed 21 skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities that have reported COVID-19 cases.  The worst by far is Windsor Monterey Care Center at 78, followed by Pacific Coast Post Acute at 72, and Windsor The Ridge Rehab Center which has had 67 patient cases and 62 staff members carrying the virus.  Cypress Ridge Care Center has had 49 patients with coronavirus and 40 staff members, while Windsor Skyline Care Center has had 47 patients and 14 staff members with the virus.

This data shows why local hospitals are discharging many patients to their homes rather than have them go to a rehab center prior to going home.

Long Term Care Facilities Account For 40% Of COVID-19 Deaths

published a story about how the fear of catching the disease has caused many patients to have gone weeks without a shower or having their teeth brushed, while residents with dementia have suffered from lack of human contact.  This often leads to depression, loss of weight, mobility and speech.  Sharon Wallace, a senior whose multiple sclerosis caused her to go into a nursing home, told the NYT, “I feel like my health is going downhill.”  This has made Aging In Place a more popular option as Assisted Living Facilities become hotbeds for disease.  “Nursing homes are really little hospitals, yet they’re not staffed like it.  If you asked an I.C.U. nurse to take care of 15 people, she’d laugh at you, but that’s essentially what we have,” Chris Laxton, the executive director of AMDA, the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine said.

Monterey, CA Isolation Of Nursing Homes Can Cause Seniors To Give Up Hope

The San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote a sad story about Shirley Drexler who died two months into the coronavirus pandemic, “not from COVID-19.  She died of despair.”  According to the article, she was called the “queen of Rhoda Goldman Plaza,” an assisted living facility in the Western Addition.  She joined in almost every activity, flitting from table to table during long lunch hours.  However, on March 17, Drexler and every other resident were abruptly shut in their rooms.  She stopped eating and didn’t want to get out of bed.  “It was like she lost the will to keep going,” Adrienne Fair, assistant executive director of the facility, told the San Francisco chronicle.  At Family inHome Caregiving, we find this story all too familiar.  When family members decide to institutionalize a senior, they often lose hope and quickly pass away.  Without the familiar faces of friends and family and their normal routine, they often lose the will to live.  At Family inHome Caregiving, we focus on giving our senior clients plenty of exercise, nutritious meals and plenty of social interaction.  We strive to allow seniors to remain in their own homes and independent for as long as possible and are seeing many families pull their loved ones out of local facilities to be brought back home so they don’t catch COVID-19.

Centenarian Kane Tanaka Turns 118 On Saturday

The world’s oldest person, Kane Tanaka, will turn 118 on Saturday.  She was born on January 2, 1903 and lives in a nursing home in Japan.  She wakes up at 6:00 a.m. and plays board games to keep busy.  She says that her key to longevity is eating good food and practicing math.

End Of Life Planning Must Be Addressed In This Pandemic

At Family inHome Caregiving, we always encourage our clients to have a nutritional diet, get enough exercise and do estate planning like setting up a living trust, signing a POLST and power of attorneys for both medical and financial.  However, getting exercise in this coronavirus environment is difficult and you would be surprised how many people have not set up end-of-life paperwork.  Kate De Bartolo, director of the Conversation Project, believes that end-of-life-care planning is something that more and more Americans will embrace dearly in light of the pandemic, even younger people.  Traffic and downloads of end-of-life planning material have surged this year, she noted.  One thing that has been  highlighted in the pandemic has been that many people may change their mind about asking for all available life saving methods in their POLST and medical power of attorney.  Given that COVID-19 victims are isolated and can’t see their family and friends before they pass away may make living pointless under those lockdown conditions.

Monterey, CA Nursing Homes Hit Hard In Coronavirus Pandemic

Almost all nursing homes in Monterey County have reported coronavirus outbreaks, and this may signal a paradigm shift where more people decide to live out their final years at home.  The U.S. currently has the largest number of nursing home residents in the world and accounts for the largest number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., a total of 115K.  Occupancy in nursing homes is down by 15%, due both to deaths and a decrease in admissions.

Monterey, CA Estate Planning In A Coronavirus World

AARP Bulletin in their November 2020 issue (page 22) had an interesting article about more and more couples looking at estate planning now that the coronavirus is making the future outlook bleak.  Keep in mind that you can write a will at any time, even if you are sick in the hospital.  Most estate planners recommend setting up a living trust, which gives you a lot of flexibility on how your assets are distributed following your death.  Experts warn that doing a joint will for a couple is a terrible idea—they aren’t even legal in some states.  Leaving more to one child than another almost guarantees that the will could be challenged.  Stepchildren aren’t automatically treated as children for legal purposes.  There are a lot of moving pieces in an estate plan so consult with your attorney.

Social Security Benefits To Rise 1.3% In 2021

The cost of living increase (COLA) for seniors and others receiving Social Security will rise only 1.3% in 2021, down from the 1.6% increase in 2020.  This works out to an average of $20/month for those receiving the benefit.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) sets the increase based on the Labor Department’s consumer-price-index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, also known as the CPI-W.

Monterey, CA Aging At Home Is Now In Vogue : Assisted Living On The Outs

COVID-19 has made aging at home in vogue.  The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article on how coronavirus is changing the way Americans face retirement by “accelerating developments already under way,” physician Bill Thomas said to the reporter.  “It’s going to make people rethink retirement altogether,” Laura Carstensen, director of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity said.  Most people will age at home, and remain independent, she said.  I believe that her view is true.  With roughly 40% of COVID-19 being staff and residents of nursing homes, nobody wants to go into a facility these days.  We have been getting a number of calls from fearful children who want to get their parents out of assisted living and back home, where they can reduce the risk of coronavirus exposure.  Although COVID-19 will eventually be wiped out, there will clearly be more devastating diseases in the future which makes these facilities dangerous.