Assisted Living and Nursing Homes


In my job we come across a lot of confusion around the differences between Assisted Living Communities and Nursing homes. 
Due to the lack of information people have, I’ve decided to write a little something to help clarify the differences.  Because, let’s face it, this is a situation or conversation we will all encounter one day and it’s best to be prepared.

Assisted Living communities are often confused with nursing homes. This is because they both provide a form of senior living and although carry similarities they are quite different. Deciding which is the right fit for you can be a stressful and complicated experience. Let’s try to clear that up shall we?

A common misconception is that Nursing Homes are for those who need healthcare services and Assisted Living is for those who don’t.
While the level of care at a nursing home is higher than most assisted living communities it’s important to remember that assisted living communities DO offer health care services. A nursing home offers round the clock, 24-hour care. Assisted living communities offer a level of care that is catered to each individual’s specific needs. Generally, Assisted Living’s will not accept residents who require a 2 person assist. (When 2 people are needed to transfer from the bed to couch and back into bed) Nursing homes are designed for those who cannot perform most daily activities (bathing, eating, etc) without assistance whereas at an Assisted Living the resident is encouraged to live as independently as possible with assistance when needed.

Not only is the level of care a deciding factor between assisted living and nursing homes but the size of the actual residence varies as well.
Generally speaking, most nursing homes offer a single room, maybe 2, with the bare necessities; bed, sink, restroom etc. The resident is encouraged to bring items from home to decorate and add individuality to the room. An assisted living community however, can vary in size from a small apartment, to a luxurious condo, or even a multi-level house. Each state has different regulations on assisted living communities so be sure to check up on the state you are looking in. Here you can find Nebraska regulations and Iowa Regulations.

Another huge difference between the two involves money; the way services are paid for varies.
Most Nursing homes accept Medicaid while most Assisted Living’s do not. Medicaid pays for care for 7 out of every 10 nursing home residents. It’s important to know if you qualify for Medicaid before the search for long-term care has begun. Assisted Living’s are paid either out of pocket or through a long-term private health insurance policy. If you are between the ages of 30-50 it would be a smart idea to start looking at long-term care insurance policies. You can learn more about long-term care insurance here. For more information on Medicare and Medicaid you can visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-633-4227.

There are similarities between the two as well for example; both probably offer a cafeteria service. For nursing homes this will be the residents main source of nutrition while at an assisted living they may have their own kitchen still and have the independence to choose where they have their meals.

Assisted living communities tend to provide a communal living with lots of planned activities and the freedom to decide which activities the resident wishes to participate in. Nursing home residents are under 24-hour medical supervision and often are not allowed to leave the campus due to mental or physical illnesses.  

 

Still confused? Check out these two articles for further explanations.

http://alzheimers.about.com/od/helpyoumayneed/f/nursing_home_vs_assisted_living.htm

 

http://care-one.com/things-to-consider/care-options-and-definitions/

Check out my companies communities as well!

http://dialretirementcommunities.com/

 

 

 

2014

It’s 2014!  A new year! New beginnings, new ends, new stories!  Everything new!
Image

 

This year will be a year to focus on things that I want to change about myself.  I’ve set two goals for the year. 

1)    Save more money and encourage others to save as well.

2)    Live a healthier lifestyle.

 

I’ll be documenting my progress on these two goals throughout the year.  Starting with this post. 

 

Lets start with the money.

I find myself always saying I’ll save more and start putting money away and sometimes I do (once I even had a substantial savings account) but then life happens or some other excuse and I would spend the money I had saved.  It was essentially like losing all your save data on your favorite video game and having to start from scratch and I’m running out of lives.  So I’m doing 4 things to save this year.

 

1)   I’m investing a separate savings in the stock market.
I’ve set up an automatic deduction from my account for 25 dollars every paycheck, roughly 50-75 dollars a month, and have been purchasing small cap stocks and trading on my mobile phone during downtime.  (waiting in line, doctors office, traffic light, etc.) These stocks are rarely above 5 dollars per stock and don’t make huge gains.  However, the more you buy the more money you make when it increases 10 cents.  Now that 10 cents might not be fantastic but over the course of a year you’re penny profits will add up plus your initial investment.   With a $50.00 a month contribution you should have at least $600.00 in your investment account.  (assuming your stocks don’t tank, I recommend using your downtime to research stocks and companies before purchasing, perhaps you wait to build up 100 dollars and research until that point you’ve still saved and learned something about the market)

2)   I’m participating in what’s been dubbed “the 52 week challenge.”
The rules are simple; you must contribute $1.00 for whatever corresponding week of the year it is.  The first week is $1.00, the second $2.00, the third $3.00 and so on until the 52nd weed which is $52.00 contribution.  At the end its roughly $1,400.00 saved.  To make it fun I’ve invited several friends to join me and to use the saved money to take a group vacation.  I’m thinking the Caribbean!!  You can keep the money in an account or like us we are using jar to visualize the savings on a daily basis.

3)   In my regular savings account I’ve set up to deposit $25.00 per paycheck automatically. 

4)   I started a 401k where I am contributing 1% of my yearly income. 
It is deducted from my paycheck pre-tax and is an excellent idea for anyone whose company offers a 401k program.  If your company does not offer a retirement program I recommend a Roth I.R.A or something similar.  It’s never too early to save for your future.

 

With these 4 practices throughout the year I’m guaranteed to save at a minimum $2,000.00.
I won’t count the stock investments, as it is technically variable although I anticipate having over $1000.00 balance in my investment account this time next year.
As I learn and adventure in the brand new world of investing I will share my progress, hopefully we can all learn from my journey. 

Another housing collapse?

History repeats itself they say.  It’s cyclical; A pattern to be repeated in a certain amount of time.  Generally, its not for the best either.  Rarely do we hear of pleasant, feel good stories that happened today and 100 years ago.  I find it strange that man has the tendency to repeat mistakes.  One in particular that should still be fresh in the minds of every American today.  The housing collapse of 2008.

The United States likes to encourage home ownership.  It’s an idea that every person is entitled to be able to afford a house whether or not they actually can.  Congress tries to help and support this cause but also tends to create conflicts unintentionally, we hope.  Before 2004 the majority of mortgage-backed securities were issued by government-endorsed agencies.  These agencies were regulated and had a few specific rules they had to follow.  What this means is that the majority of loans secured for a mortgage were insured by agencies selected by Congress.  Congress wanting every American to have a home had the Fed hold interest rates artificially low, something that is also currently happening today.  The problem with artificial interest rates are that the typical American assumes he can afford a low mortgage payment and doesn’t think about the interest hike that will happen 10 years down the road.  Since most mortgage loans are 30 years, a 5% unexpected interest hike left millions of Americans in foreclosure.  More was involved in the housing collapse but most economists will argue that the main reason was that banks were loaning money to people they knew couldn’t afford it.

This past year Congress passed the bill known as Dodd Frank to impose more regulation and requirements on attaining a mortgage in hopes to prevent a housing bubble to burst again.  They required banks to take on 5% of the risk which was a very smart move.  If a bank is required to take on risk selling the mortgage outright to prevent any risk is no longer an option.  However, there were three exemptions allowed that many can easily maneuver around.  This allows the borrower who meets an exemption the option of not providing of a down payment.

Two of the exemptions involve removing the risk.  If a home mortgage is insured by a federal agency they are insured 100%.  This leaves no incentive for the bank to research the borrower’s actual ability to make payments since they’ve taken no risk.  The other removes all risk if the mortgage is sold to either Frannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the two culprits of the first crisis.  The difference is since these companies went bankrupt they are now in federal conservatorships so now when a mortgage is sold to Frannie or Freddie it’s essentially being sold to the Federal government.  And when a person defaults on their loan American tax-payers will be held liable for the losses.

The short end of the stick is that banks were criticized for lending to whimsically and not assuming any risk and therefore never being held liable for when loans defaulted.  Now, instead of holding the banks liable it’s been put through a complex system that puts the risk on to the average American.  Now these are just exemptions and surely the majority won’t be using them right?  Wrong.  Nearly 85% of all loans will fall under these conditions placing 100% risk on the Federal government.  Should these policies go into effect within the next 20 years there will certainly be another crisis like the one in 2008.  Unfortunately, Americans have short-term memories and are more concerned about Republican versus Democrat that they’ll miss the signs; slowly headed toward another economic collapse all because everyone deserves to own a house.

Thank You for Smoking

The American Government is designed to be the collective idea of the people, but no matter what position there will always be an opposing side of the status quo.  The venue in which the opposition gets to voice their opinion is one that is quite favorable.  In Thank you for Smoking, Nick Naylor (Eckhart), subtly replies to his son, “our endless appeals system”, when asked what makes America the greatest country.  Anyone is allowed to play the game, as long as you have money and time.  That means rules and laws can be changed, created, or even eliminated completely based off who cares, or has to gain, the most from a particular outcome: the lobbyists.

Those who have a vested interest in a particular law or a potential law decide they need to do something about it, in the case of the movie the tobacco industry hired a silver-tongued lobbyist, Nick Naylor. This man spins the truth, twists the argument, and dominates the conversation so successfully extremists threaten and attempt to end his life.  He claims everyone needs to pay the mortgage, a thought that may require ‘moral flexibility’.  This is probably the majority thought of most lobbyists, a job is a job.  Regardless of ethics these jobs exist.  There are more than a thousand lobbyists for a thousand different corporations in America today.  Each person or firm is trying to make the law favor his or her business in any way possible.  The scope of influence that is required to make a difference that’s measurable requires money.  The natural thing occurs in this practice; the strong come out on top.  Everyone is allowed to the playing field but not everyone has the same gear.  The more money you have the more likely you can get a candidate elected who favors your position or better yet will owe you one.  Generally the big players can drown out the barely audible noise created by those they harm.

The funny thing is, we criticize and condemn systems for being abused and call out any shortcoming within reach, yet we apply the same principles a lobbyist does for a company to our own lives.  Nick is seen trying to persuade his ex-wife throughout the movie to let his son get to know him better.  The same tactics he uses to convince a court he applies at home, unknowingly.  Unsurprisingly the time the two spend together produces an eerie ‘like father, like son” scenario.  The son manipulates the mother and applies his newfound knowledge to his educational learning’s.  Smart kid.

Now, I know this is a movie and a satire at that.  Obviously these events are overdramatized and exaggerated.  Unfortunately, the shred of truth the story shares with reality is still an unpleasant picture.  The extreme elite of this country has an enormous influence and for the most part goes unnoticed to the public eye.  People all assume the worst; they pretend to understand the scope of corporate corruption; they concoct far-fetched solutions that never come to fruition because they can’t afford to fight the battles.  The average person is not willing to donate the time required to participate nor could most afford it.  The system has been hijacked.

The extremely unfortunate underlying problem that probably goes unnoticed throughout the film is the American collective thought: the public. An idea has been created, long before this film was ever made, that when something goes wrong someone must be held accountable.  Someone must make amends.  What better venue to hold someone accountable than the old fashioned lawsuit?  People expect tobacco companies to pay, or be held responsible for the deaths of lung cancer patients and other health issues associated with tobacco use.   Why?  It’s not an assumption when people say everyone knows the risks of tobacco use.  It is common knowledge yet despite these facts new smokers still arise every year.  As an adult making a conscious decision to smoke regardless of the risks places the responsibility on the individual.  I agree with quite a few of Nick Naylor’s positions and in the end have to support the existence of his job.  It is not the responsibility of the tobacco industry to pay for any damages caused while using their product.

The movie is great at convincing the viewer to root for what would be notoriously known as the bad guys.  It covers a lot of points and is often hysterical dry as it may be.  It leaves a feeling that personal choice in the end is the solution.  These thoughts dissipate within a few days for most viewers but a few just might be inspired to become lobbyists to have their point heard.  Although, the real solution for a smoke-free world could be to change the culture at home in your local community.   Slowly changing the way society views smoking because lets face it, sometimes, laws just don’t work.

The Thought Train

I found myself in the middle of the earth. Not to be confused with middle earth. You know, the core.  I began to wonder how I found myself here. I took a look around and noticed an amoeba sitting next to me. He turned and spoke to me.
“Austin, a peculiar situation you have yourself in, isn’t it?”
I was taken aback, and mildly insulted. Pointing out the obvious is no way to introduce yourself.
“Do you wish to know how you ended up here?” he continued.
“Yes.”
That was it.
The sun was shining, I remember that, when I had realized that this was only a thought not reality. Confused and curious I wondered where it had come from. What had happened to cause me to produce this thought? To think this way seemed strange, to me. The first thing I did was go to the dictionary. The definition I found was,
Thought: an idea or mental picture, imagined and
contemplated.
It proceeded to follow this with the example ‘the mere thought of Peter made her see red’. The idea if she really saw red is a conversation for another time. Let’s focus on the definition, it claims its an idea or a mental picture. Which is explained through the words of your personal language. It’s imagined and contemplated, and my mind begun to understand. I had thought the definition would tell me what a thought was. After some considerable amount of time contemplating that thought, that idea of what a thought was, I came to the conclusion that the dictionary had in fact not told me this. It explained to me what a thought does, and how we interpret it. Or maybe I didn’t understand, or asked the wrong question to myself, but I wanted to know how a thought occurs. Where the thought came from, and why it came.
I sat there in front of an empty Google screen, trying to think of what question would provide me with an answer.

Next step: Science. Not a lot of knowledge was gained here, however I did manage to reason with the information I found that there are neurons in our brain, which is an excitable cell that can transmit information through electrochemical signaling, and are the core components of our brain. These neurons respond to through stimulus via touch, sight, or other sensory organs.

This made me feel like the actual thoughts that I have are a mere reaction to chemicals in my body and the environment around me. So, naturally, I attempted to recreate the thought. Silly idea I know, you may be thinking, how can you recreate a thought you’ve already had. I learned it is quite difficult to forget a thought intentionally, only to have the same thought again. Or was it the same thought? When you remember a thought are you using the same neurons that originally created the thought? I venture to say no. That each thought is separate from is predecessors. Different neurons processing information left by the previous. Well, that’s a memory! You might say. Perhaps. Based off of your current knowledge do you really know that? I don’t.
Along this thought pattern I started to think how large the differences in thoughts were from human to human.

“Be careful of your thoughts, they may become words at any moment.”
~ Iara Gassen

If we are to be wary of our thoughts, then that must assume society or humans as a whole know that we have thoughts we are not supposed to. Which could lead one to wonder why these thoughts aren’t ‘allowed’. And if we know we are not supposed to have these thoughts why do we continually have them? It was at this moment I remembered another quote, from a childhood memory.

“Do you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?”
~ Winnie The Pooh

Ah, the deep, simple, messages imbedded into our youth. Who would’ve known one day it would be useful. Makes me wonder what other ideas or concepts could be deep down in my mind, along with how many others share these thoughts. I realized here, along my journey to understand thought, that it was likely I never would. That simple phrase from Winnie the Pooh is happening every second of every day. Where you take a moment to think, and find yourself in a thought that had nothing to do with your intentions of thinking. That the reality is, you can not control your thoughts, you may monitor them from afar. Deduct what is shared with others from your mind, in the form of words, and what you will keep for yourself. In the end you have complete control of what anyone knows about you, whether it be true or a censored and edited thought you try to pass off as your original.

I haven’t yet found myself back at the core of the earth. I eagerly await another intriguing thought that perplexes me. Perhaps a return to the core, and another chance at a conversation with the amoeba could provide more insight. Alas, at the end of it all though, I find myself with more questions, and more theories, one in particular being how many thoughts can a human have? Is there a limited amount of space? Have I thought too much? These are questions for another time perhaps, or maybe the real thought is only just beginning.

Federalism

This was an essay I wrote for an assignment.  We were to find Federalism in a news article and write an review and critique of the article.

Here is a link to the news article: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/28/politics/supreme-court-health-effects/index.html

Federalism

Since it’s conception the Affordable Care Act has caused controversy over many different groups of people, so much so that it was brought before the Supreme Court for a ruling on its Constitutionality.  What came from the ruling, as well as the propositioned law itself left confusion throughout the country.  News outlets immediately attempted to explain what happened.

This article attempts to explain what the Affordable Care Act, after the Supreme Court ruling in 2012, means for each individual citizen.  It ranges from the uninsured to small business owners, to the insured and big business insurance.  It states that the uninsured must be insured by 2014, insured are required to do nothing, young adults may stay on their parents health insurance until the age of 26, insurance companies can no longer deny an individual with pre-existing conditions, and small business and doctors have a bag full of new rules to adhere to.  The author’s point is to address what this law means for you, the citizen, the reader.  He takes little bias towards one side or the other and tries to tell simply what is happening and what it means.  It would seem he slighted the doctor’s and health industry personal with only a sentence mentioning, “medical groups have disagreed over the law.”

The article is riddled with content we learned in class; federalism and separation of powers just to name a couple.  The author states “the law threatens to remove existing Medicaid funding from states that don’t participate in the expansion” of Medicaid but reveals the Supreme Court ruled to remove that from the law since it would essentially have been the Federal Government bullying the State Government into doing what it wanted.  The act of the Federal Government creating the guidelines for the states and then allowing them to implement as they see fit is an example of cooperative federalism, which would be the rules for insurance companies and a general rulebook for what is expected from health insurance providers.

The fact that this had to be decided by the Supreme Court shows how our system is intended to work through a series of checks and balances.  The judicial branch in this case sided with the executive with minor concessions to the legislative. The law reaches out to the food industry now requiring chain restaurants to list calories under every menu item made possible through interstate commerce where the Federal Government has authority.  I would imagine local restaurants would not have to adhere to these provisions unless reinforced by the state, which is a prime example of federalism as well through shared responsibilities.

Though the law still draws controversy this article helps discern from naysayers and blind propagandists to what the law really means and how it will affect the individual.  More journalism should be fact based and less opinionated to allow for the readers to form their own opinion on the topic at hand.  He hints at a possible overreach by the Federal Government along with the good the law will do for the community but he doesn’t shy away from possible negative implications for small business owners and tax exemptions currently in place. From the Supreme Court stand point however, it has been deemed constitutional and has gone into effect.

The Ides of March ~ A film review/critique ~

The Ides of March displays a very believable scenario in American politics that makes the viewer think twice about their respective political system.  Unfortunately, the insight is not all pleasant.  Back room deals, extortion, and fraternization all plague Morris’ (Clooney) campaign, which are eerily familiar to a late night breaking news story.  Granted, it’s a broad generalization to say it happens as the movie portrays, but nonetheless these things have and do happen.

Stephen Meyers (Gosling) is an ambitious rising star in the political arena.  Savvy to the game and at the top of his field he guides Morris, a presidential candidate he actually believes in, through the battleground state of Ohio’s democratic primary.  His favorite reporter, Ida, teases him, “you really buy into all this crap. All this, take back the country nonsense.”  It’s a tale all too familiar with the average American voter.  The promises, the ideas, the innovation, the let down, the same cycle every four years.  Nothing really changes though does it? Both parties have the same overall agenda: stay in power.  It’s all fine and dandy as long as you get reelected.  With a two party system it isn’t even necessarily about reelection as it is ensuring that the other side doesn’t get elected.  Throughout the film the pedestal Stephen had Morris on came crashing down in a hotel room with a brutal verbal lashing from campaign manager Paul (Hoffman).  In a flash, his undying loyalty disappears once his career is on the line.  Stranded and excommunicated he plots his revenge, first being denied by opposing campaign manager (Giamatti).  What had once seemed so promising turns dark in the blink of an eye.

In secret, in the back room of a bar’s kitchen, Stephen extorts Morris for his job back plus a promotion replacing Paul as Senior Head Campaign Manager.   He then brokers a deal with a senator for delegates in exchange for a cabinet seat and presumably Morris goes on to win the nomination.  Mind you, this is not even the presidential election; this was one faction of the political systems nomination process.  How cutthroat is the real deal?

Morris is an excellent politician; he’s likable and good-looking.  He also has a vision for the country and truly can make a difference.  He find’s himself at odds with his beliefs when he has to compromise to win.  In a conversation with his wife he states “Every time, I draw a line in the sand and then I move it.  Fundraisers, union deals, I wasn’t going to do any of it.  I won’t do it.  Not with Thomsen.” The deal Stephen eventually makes to win the election for him.  He means well but the reality was he has to win.  Again, striking that familiar chord of current politics.  Everyone wants to save the world, then they find out its not so easy.  Also, maybe its just something about interns but they can’t seem to get enough of them.  And just as strange the next day after a night with the ‘cleaning lady’ the speech emphasizes integrity.  Go figure.

Overall I really enjoyed this film.  It connects very well with the American viewer to describe a scenario often occurring in our modern day politics.  How a system can be bribed, coerced, and manipulated to suit the agenda of those with the most money: or power.   And how no one seems to care enough to make a change.

A Realm Reborn

As my last post indicated I have been absent for some time due to the release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.  This game is beyond fun.  I had been anticipating the release of Diablo 3 for playstation for quite some time, and had expected balance my time unevenly between the two greatly in favor of Diablo 3.  However, FFXIV is way more engaging that previously expected and I encourage all of you who appreciate a good MMO to purchase a copy immediately.  Log on to Hyperion, find me Theotis Compton and lets explore Eorzea together! 

Do not fret my friends, for those of you eager to read more of a Whimsical Tale, or A jaunt, for sure, please be patient.  They are coming.  And I’m excited to share with you where the Sir Potz and Sir Snotz find themselves next!

For now though, FFXIV is the topic.   I decided to play as an Archer, which at level 30 attains the Job of Bard: mana buffs.  Making my Archer/Bard now more appealing to mage’s since I have this nifty little spell that regenerates magic.  Which trust me, healers are hard to come by and they are necessities for Dungeon’s and Trials.  Needless to say I had reach level 30 as soon as possible. Also, the chocobo mount at 20 was a nice rewarding milestone. 

Now, the neat thing about this game is you can be every class with the same character.  It resets you to level one for that class, or whatever level you last left it as and you can easily interchange between them all.  There are penalties of course, you lose all your health (which regens over time) to discourage changing during battle, which is also not generally allowed. So to get the Bard I had to have a level 30 archer and a level 15 Pugilist.  Those are just the two battle classes I’ve played with.  I’m also a carpenter, a fisherman, and soon to be Alchemist.  Who am I kidding though, I intend to reach the level cap for every class.  As much fun as archer has been, I’m equally excited to be an Arcanist which summons monsters to fight for you. Fun fun!  Here’s a link if you want to check out my character and what items I have going on.  I haven’t spent too much time looking for gear as the missions have been riveting and the world absolutely breath taking.  I am eager to see it on the new Playstation 4 system.

http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/character/3102292

Stay tuned for more of a Whimsical Tale and A jaunt, for sure later this weekend!

-ac

Apology

Unfortunately due to the release of Final Fantasy 14 A Realm Reborn, AND play stations most gracious early access option I have been too distracted to write my chapter for A jaunt, for sure. I hope you were not eagerly anticipating it today. If so do not fret for I will release a double chapter next Wednesday. :)
If you’re on FF14 let’s linkshell!!

"I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterwards." -Albert Einstein

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