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Published: Feb 21st, 2018

ER Visits for Older Americans May Signal Decline

ER Visits for Older Americans May Signal Decline

Often the first wake-up sign for an adult son or daughter that Mom or Dad may have some major aging issues is when they learn of an Emergency Room Visit.  This can signal the onset of serious health challenges in the elderly, even when they are not admitted.

“Illnesses or injuries that lead to ER visits can initiate “a fairly vulnerable period of time for older persons” and “we should consider new initiatives to address patients' care needs and challenges after such visits,” study co-author Thomas Gill, M.D., professor of medicine, epidemiology and investigative medicine at Yale University, told Kaiser Health News.

Accord to research published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine just six months after visiting an Emergency Room, seniors were 14 percent more likely to have acquired a disability — an inability to independently perform normal activities of daily living — than older adults of the same age, with a similar set of illnesses, who didn’t end up in the ER.

Prior research has indicated seniors who already had problems with activities of daily living were especially vulnerable to the aftereffects of an ER visit.

Longevity has become a major health and financial issue for people who are planning for their future retirements. For those American’s already over 65 many tend to cope with issues and hide these problems from family members. This means the ER visit becomes that wake-up call and creates “crisis management” unless that senior had planning for Long-Term Care in advance.

Why would seeking help in an ER often become a sentinel event, with potential adverse consequences for older adults?

Experts offer various suggestions: Older adults who previously were coping adequately may be tipped into an “I can’t handle this any longer” state by an injury or the exacerbation of a chronic illness, such as diabetes or heart failure. They now may need more help at home than what is available, and their health may spiral downward.

Experts suggest if you have an elder family member be sure to see how they are coping with their aging. Can they perform normal activities of daily living? Are they at risk for falls? Do you see any cognitive decline which may require them to need supervision? Find out of they have Long-Term Care Insurance. If they do, the benefits from the policy often provide resources for care at home, as well as adult daycare, assisted living memory care as well as the traditional nursing home.

Some people think they are protected because they have a trust in place. This is a fallacy. Trusts are normally not a plan for Long-Term Care or asset protection -

If your elder parent is in outstanding health, depending on age, there may still be time to put a Long-Term Care insurance plan in place.

The best time to plan is prior to retirement. Experts say Long-Term Care insurance is very affordable and much easier to obtain when you are younger.

“Even people in good health overall can be ineligible for Long-Term Care insurance at one point or another. It’s vital to sync up health and affordability when pursuing a Long- Term Care policy. Just like homeowner’s insurance—you can’t buy it when the house is on fire. Individuals often want to make use of this intersection early, when they’re young and healthy, to put a plan in place.” said Cassandra Watson, a leading Long-Term Care specialist who runs NextGen LTC.

Often, it is this “crisis management” that an adult son or daughter goes through that focuses the need for advance planning.

“Most of us never want to think about acquiring chronic illness, disability, needing help with our activities of daily living or having short term memory loss. Planning ahead can bring a tremendous relief for those closest to us.,” explained Brent Donarski a 30-year veteran of Long-Term Care planning who operates MyLTCSpecialist.

The National Institute on Health says the continuing increase in lifespan for the U.S. population, including those with chronic diseases or disabilities that require long-term care will create a demand for more and improved quality of long-term care. While older adults are healthier than ever, there continues to be large numbers of older people with chronic conditions and disabilities, especially at very advanced ages, along with cognitive impairments and depression, all of which can substantially diminish quality of life and functional status.

“Caregiving is hard on family members. Spouses, especially if they are older, are unable to provide quality care and risk their own health in the process. Adult children have their own careers and family responsibilities and can’t be relied on for full time caregiving roles. This is why an advance plan which includes affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is key. It will provide resources for quality care, thus safeguarding assets and protecting lifestyle while reducing the tremendous burdens placed on loved ones,” said Matt McCann, a leading expert on Long-Term Care.

If you have yet to plan to seek the help of a qualified Long-Term Care specialist who not only has extensive experience but works with multiple companies.

Be aware of elder family members and their aging issues and plan now, prior to your retirement, to make your future aging and health issues easier on your family.