Finding the Best Nursing Homes in Texas

Long term care often brings about many difficult decisions that families must make. Along with the already stressful emotional aspects of dealing with a loved one who needs care, finding a good facility is at the top of the list of things families struggle with when faced with this kind of situation.

Fortunately, US News & World Report has compiled a resource to help families searching for information on nursing homes in their state.

Nursing Home Rankings

Best Nursing Homes 2014 was published recently to help make the search for a nursing home across the United States easier. The resource includes statewide rankings of the best nursing homes and even includes rankings for nearly 100 metropolitan areas.

Rather than have to search through dozens of websites to find information on nursing homes, this list provides a simple way to sift through all the facility options. It can help you avoid countless visits that may otherwise be a waste of your time by providing you with crucial information to make your decision easier.

Searching in Texas

The rankings for nursing homes in Texas can be separately searched in a number of ways. You can search by entering your zip code or the desired zip code of a nursing home to find the best facilities in that specific area. The list also has rankings for major metropolitan areas in Texas including Austin, Dallas-Forth Worth, El Paso, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio.

In addition to the metropolitan areas, you can search by geographical region if you are more flexible and willing to look in a larger area of the state. The regions included in the Texas list are Big Bend Country, Gulf Coast, Hill Country, Panhandle Plains, Piney Woods, Praries and Lakes, and South Texas Plains.

Detailed Ratings

Included in the rankings are separate ratings for health inspections, nurse staffing, and quality measures, that together make up the overall ranking. You can also find out whether or not the facility accepts Medicare, Medicaid, or both, how many beds are in the entire facility, and whether or not it is a continuing care retirement community.

A continuing care retirement community is one that allows residents to transition from assisted living to a nursing home setting to hospice care, without having to move from place to place. Planning for long term care can be stressful, but financially preparing by purchasing long term care insurance and using this new list can help make the process much easier. Read more about planning for long term care or visit the Best Nursing Homes 2014 rankings.

Biological Clock Can Tell Your Body’s Age and Possibly Predict Timing of Disease

The ability to predict disease may sound unreal, but researchers believe they may have found a tool that can help them predict when in someone’s life disease is most likely to occur. This new biological clock was developed by scientists as UCLA looking to get a better idea of how our body ages and what that age indicates for the future.

Measuring Age with DNA 

Steve Horvath, the lead author of the study and bioinformatician at UCLA, worked with other researchers to develop a way to use DNA to determine the age of tissue within the body.

After scouring more than 8,000 DNA samples from 51 different tissues and cells, they came up with a way to measure DNA methylation, which is the process by which genes are controlled and changed by the body to serve a new purpose.

The researchers discovered how to use DNA methylation, or DNAm, to determine the age of tissue within the body. They found that despite the fact that different parts of our body are all the same age in years, some parts age much more rapidly than others.

Looking at Tissue

Breast tissue in women, for example, typically tests two to three years older than the woman’s chronological age. Researches suggested this might be the reason that breast cancer is the cancer that most commonly afflicts women.

In the same regard, embryonic stem cells have an age of essentially zero when measured. UCLA has applied for a provisional patent for the DNAm biological clock.

By using this technology and comparing the age of certain tissues to the individuals’ chronological age, scientists may one day be able to determine which organs are aging at a rapid rate and are therefore more likely to experience disease.

Biological Clock

According to the study, our bodies age at different rates throughout our life.

“The clock’s ticking rate isn’t constant,” Horvath said. “It ticks much faster when we’re born and growing from children into teenagers, then slows to a constant rate when we reach 20.”

Horvath and the other researchers involved in the study, which was published in the journal Genome Biologyare looking to see whether or not this knowledge of tissue age can determine the effect that supposed anti-aging medications and solutions are actually doing their job. For now, though, they are still working through the mechanisms of measuring tissue age and determining how it impacts our body’s health.

Local Senior Care Organizations Receive Grants from St. David’s

St. David’s Foundation’s semi-annual gift will be distributed among more than 30 non-profit organizations across Texas, including many in the senior care industry.

Keeping People Active

Half of the profits from St. David’s hospital are given to the foundation, which then in turn uses the money to assist non-profit establishments in the form of grants. CEO Earl Maxwell explained how important it is to the Foundation to keep the grants local in order to best continue helping the elderly in their state.

“We are an aging population. We have 85 million baby boomers that are turning 65 year after year after year, and as we age that has a great impact on our health care and our health care system. The longer we can keep people active the more likely they are to remain healthy,” Maxwell said.

Non-Profits Awarded Grants

Meals on Wheels is one of the organizations set to receive a grant in the form of $90,000 for two new vehicles. Meals on Wheels delivers meals to the homes of elderly and disabled individuals who are unable to buy or prepare their own meals. The non-profit helps combat hunger by providing food to people who might otherwise go hungry or live in total isolation.

Family Eldercare is another recipient of a St. David’s grant. The organization is slated to receive $250,000 to go towards in-home care and therapeutic counseling. Family Eldercare helps provide Texas seniors with resources to remain in their community and receive various kinds of support, including long term caregivers.

Central Austin’s Caregiver University will also receive $250,000 for facility upgrades. St. David’s Foundation has another gift planned for June, when the amount will be even higher, according to officials.

Long Term Care at Home

Keeping seniors in their homes to receive care and assistance significantly helps reduce costs and ease loneliness and depression. Nursing home patients have been shown to have the highest rates of depression, while those who remain in their community have a lower incidence of depression and isolation. These organizations all help Texas seniors receive care without being forced into facility care, a fate that many seniors dread.

Read more about St. David’s Foundation or find out what changes and programs can help seniors remain in their homes and among their loved ones, reducing the need for facility long term care and improving the quality of lives of seniors across Texas.

Betting on Your House for Retirement? Bet Again

I’ve noticed talk lately about the different ways people plan to use their assets to fund their retirement. Some of the ideas are great and some are a stretch.

One of these ideas that seems to be pushing the limits of realistic possibilities is that of using your housing assets as your main retirement plan.

Using Your House as a Financial Plan

Betting on the value of your house for your retirement income might sound tempting, but it’s probably not the soundest solution to your financial worries. Granted, the value of your house may have increased over time, so you think selling it in several years and downsizing is a great opportunity to cash in a lot of extra money. There are other aspects of that situation to consider, though, as mentioned in a recent commentary piece.

Besides the fact that home value fluctuates often and it is not a sure bet in any way, shape, or form, it’s also crucial to remember that if the value of your house has gone up, it’s likely that other costs have risen, too.

Even if the asset value of your home has doubled since you moved in, chances are so have the cost of living and the cost of health care. Is that really a risk you are willing to take?

Big Costs in Retirement

In Texas, one year in a nursing home will cost you an average of $61,320. That number might seem like a feasible amount to cover, but that’s certainly not the only external cost you will be facing. Fidelity estimates that the average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2013 will need $220,000 just to cover health care costs that aren’t included in Medicare benefits.

Dental health, eye exams, over the counter medication, and of course, long term care, are much more expensive than most people plan for, and assuming your home asset will cover the costs is a big risk.

If costs are higher than you expected, you end up needing long term care, and your house can’t cover it all, chances are you will have to turn to an unpaid family caregiver or spend down your assets to qualify for Medicaid. Are you really willing to take that gamble?

A Different Solution

Instead of betting your retirement on your house, look for more tangible, reliable options like Long Term Care Insurance. The amount that policyholders pay into their plans is typically quite minimal to the actual cost of care, which is only projected to increase.

Investing in a policy and transferring that huge financial risk can be a smart move for those who can afford premiums. Read more about Long Term Care Insurance in Texas and how it can help you not only keep your home, but receive care there, too.

If you are interested in receiving a personalized quote of the top Long Term Care Insurance companies, please fill out this form and we will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your options and send you information in the mail to review on your own time, with no pressure.