Internal Veterans Administration VA hospital ratings

The Boston Globe and USA Today obtained documents regarding internal Veterans Administration VA hospital ratings. The VA hospitals consistently scored poorer than private sector care facilities in 9 out of 11 key indicators. Out of 6 New England VA hospitals, only Bedford and Brockton had one star ratings, the lowest on the five point scale. Secret VA nursing-home ratings hid poor quality care from public By Nick B | Boston Globe Article World War II veteran Rosario “Russ” Bonanno was facing worsening dementia when his family took him last year to the Department of Veterans Affairs nursing home in Bedford. Continue Reading

When Can an Adult Child Be Liable for a Parent’s Nursing Home Bill?

Although a nursing home cannot require a child to be personally liable for their parent’s nursing home bill, there are circumstances in which children can end up having to pay. This is a major reason why it is important to read any admission agreements carefully before signing. Federal regulations prevent a nursing home from requiring a third party to be personally liable as a condition of admission. However, children of nursing home residents often sign the nursing home admission agreement as the “responsible party.” This is a confusing term and it isn’t always clear from the contract what it means. Continue Reading

Massachusetts deferred property tax program

Few Massachusetts residents participate in the deferred property tax program which assists seniors with limited incomes who want to remain in their home which allows them to defer property taxes until they die and the house is sold. Interest is charged on the amount deferred with municipalities setting the rate, capped at 8 percent. Follow our link to the Boston Globe article which details unintended consequences of deferred property tax for one Sharon family. An inheritance damaged by delayed taxes By Sean P. Murphy | Boston Globe Article Barry Arntz thought he and his sister owned the house passed down Continue Reading

Court Overturns Rule Protecting Investors Saving for Retirement

A U.S. court of appeal has struck down a Department of Labor (DOL) rule that was intended to prevent financial advisers from steering their clients to bad retirement investments, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed new regulations to at least partially address the same problem. Prompted by concern that many financial advisors have a sales incentive to recommend to their clients retirement investments with high fees and low returns because the advisors get higher commissions or other incentives, in February 2015 President Obama directed the DOL to draw up rules that require financial advisors to act like Continue Reading

Gay and lesbian baby boomers and long-term healthcare planning

Gay and lesbian baby boomers have seen extraordinary gains in social acceptance during their adult lives — especially in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Yet now, as they look ahead to old age, long-buried fears of isolation and discrimination are resurfacing. Men describe visiting a friend at his nursing home only to find him eating alone and isolated from other residents. Others interviewed for the article fear “going back in the closet” to avoid similar treatment by fellow nursing home residents and staff. To find out more about issues facing seniors in the LGBTQ community, read the Continue Reading

Reviews of nursing homes help families choose

It is important to research any facility that you are considering for a loved one. A recent study by gerontologists at the University of Southern California concluded that Yelp and other online platform reviews of nursing homes are an additional tool families may use when making decisions for their family member. Yelp uses software to weed out fake reviews and has partnered with ProPublica which created the tool, Nursing Home Inspect which uses federal data. Another online place to research is Nursing Home Compare which is administered by the federal government and uses a 5 star rating system. Its ratings Continue Reading

How to Judge a Retirement Community’s Financial Health

Are you considering moving to a retirement community? In addition to the facilities amenities, you should examine the financials of the places you are considering and learn how each invests the entrance fees that residents pay in addition to what any monthly costs are. Read on for more information in this NYT article. By Peter Finch | New York Times Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt has it all figured out. With their three children grown and out of their New Jersey home, she and her husband, William, will move into a full-service retirement community this year. It will be someplace “interesting and Continue Reading

A new trend in death planning is the green burial

A new trend in death planning is the green burial in which people cut down the impact of their burial on the environment by planning to use eco-friendly options in the disposition of their remains. Green burials require fewer resources for the care of the body which make them better for the environment; another benefit of a green burial is lower funeral costs. For more information about green burials, follow our link to the New York Times. Thinking About Having a ‘Green’ Funeral? Here’s What to Know By Sonya Vatomsky | New York Times A typical American funeral usually involves Continue Reading

Many Americans Try Retirement, Then Change Their Minds

Many people put a lot of care into planning for when they retire but not what they will do during their retirement. Numerous studies conclude that retirement is fluid with people returning to work after reaching retirement age. While for some, income is an incentive, for others, returning to work gives them a sense of purpose and social engagement. Read the complete NYT article. By Paula Span | New York Times Sue Ellen King had circled her retirement date on the calendar: March 8, 2015. She had worked as a critical care nurse and nursing educator at University of Florida Continue Reading

Detail Your Last Wishes

An important part of estate planning is designating a health care proxy and developing an advance directive for your care. It is important to give your primary care physician and health care proxy copies of these documents. In addition to giving them copies, you should request they are part of your electronic health records. Currently, the national standard for electronic records is that they need to have the capacity to show whether or not you have an advance directive somewhere. To learn about a real-life example of the importance of your advance care planning, read this NYT article. By Daniela Continue Reading