Once you get past 50, you start thinking about getting older and wonder if your memory is declining. This concern about declining health and dementia is natural as more people than ever need long-term health care due to increased lifespans.
Many people don't want to expose their estate to the high costs of long-term health care or place the stress and burden of caregiving on their adult children. The cost of care will drain assets and cause changes in your lifestyle. Family caregivers face their own health strain and emotional stress, and anxiety.
Where are the Car Keys?
We all have that experience of forgetting where we left the car keys. Some memory decline is expected, but that is not the type of dementia that will cause you to need help with daily activities or supervision. Is there anything we can do now to delay or avoid problems with our memory?
After more than a decade of research, led by Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) in St Lucia, Australia, shows the right amount of exercise can be very beneficial. Emeritus Professor Perry Bartlett and Dr. Dan Blackmore, and their team of researchers have found that 35 days of voluntary physical exercise improves learning and memory.
Professor Bartlett and Dr. Dan Blackmore
"We tested the cognitive ability of elderly mice following defined periods of exercise and found an optimal period or 'sweet spot' that greatly improved their spatial learning," Blackmore said.
Benefits of Exercise
The researchers also discovered how exercise improved learning.
"We found that growth hormone (GH) levels peaked during this time, and we've been able to demonstrate that artificially raising GH in sedentary mice also was also effective in improving their cognitive skills," Blackmore explained.
The research discovered that growth hormone stimulates the production of new neurons in the hippocampus – the brain region that is critically important to learning and memory.
"This is an important discovery for the thousands of Australians diagnosed with dementia every year."
Dementia, a Leading Cause of Death is a Leading Cause of Long-Term Care
Dementia is the second leading cause of death of all Australians. Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is the 6th leading cause of death for adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United Kingdom, it is also a leading cause of death.
However, before a person with dementia dies, they need, in many cases, years of long-term health care and supervision, placing a tremendous physical and emotional strain on family members.
The number of people with dementia is expected to increase worldwide in the decades ahead unless some treatment or cure is discovered.
Professor Bartlett said the research provides further proof that loss of cognitive function in old age is directly related to the diminished production of new neurons.
"It underlines the importance of being able to activate the neurogenic stem cells in the brain that we first identified 20 years ago," Professor Bartlett said.
Long-Term Care Costs Increasing
Meanwhile, the financial costs and burdens of changing health and aging continue to increase and place substantial financial pressure and family burden on those afflicted.
Health insurance and Medicare (including supplements) will not pay for long-term health care. However, Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for these services, but coverage must be obtained when a person is younger and enjoys relatively good health. Medicaid will only pay if the care recipient has little or no income and assets.
About the Author
Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.
Contributor since October 31st, 2017
People require long-term health care due to changes in their health, body, and mind. Whether you become ill, have mobility problems, or have other aging issues, being prepared will reduce the stress and anxiety placed on family members and give you peace of mind to enjoy your future retirement.
Family caregivers face physical and emotional challenges they must deal with as they juggle their work and family responsibilities along with being a caregiver.
Professional care services are expensive and adversely impact income, assets, lifestyle, and legacy. The costs are expected to climb even higher in the decades ahead, placing tremendous financial pressure on American families.
Start researching your coverage options before retirement. Most people purchase coverage in their 50s—the earlier, the better to save money and take advantage of good health discounts.
Available Resources on LTC NEWS
LTC NEWS offers several tools and resources to help you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis.
To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
- The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
- Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
- A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care
Benefits of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
Seek Professional Guidance
Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.
Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, insurance companies' premiums vary over 100% for the same coverage.
A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities
If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.
Take a moment and read -
Get Expert Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim
LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you, or a loved one complete the claims process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy.
You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
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You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.
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