Memory Care Facility Opens in Austin

A new memory care assisted living facility opened in Austin, Texas this month.

Facility Accommodates Growing Population

The epidemic of Alzheimer’s sweeping the nation isn’t going to get better anytime soon. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates Alzheimer’s and other cases of dementia will triple by 2050, affecting more than 15 million Americans.

This explosion in cases has led to a problem: there aren’t enough facilities equipped to deal with dementia patients. Many dementia patients end up living in regular nursing homes. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to isolation of the patients. If the staff is busy taking care of multiple patients at a time, patients with dementia can easily be alone for most of the day. This lack of social interaction is problematic as it is a risk factor for dementia. This means if a patient already has dementia and is not engaging in social activities, the risk of the disease worsening increases.

Focus on Dementia

The Silverado Senior Living-Onion Creek opened in early May and is now the company’s 8th facility in Texas that focuses on dementia patients. The community strives to provide care that is specific to each individual and focus on the strengths that the patients possess rather than their deficiencies. CEO Loren Shook explained how Silverado Senior Living Communities has “created a culture that is really supportive of everyone we touch,” he said.

The center has features that are quite different from regular nursing homes including 24 hour visiting hours, pet therapy, and drug reduction efforts. The center wants to decrease the high number of drugs that most residents are on to improve patient health and cut costs. Shook told Impact News that “in a typical long-term care situation, a resident may be on 10 to 12 prescriptions on average,” but Silverado Senior Living centers “have an average of 5.7 prescriptions throughout the company”.

Dementia and Long Term Care in Texas

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are the leading reasons for needing long term care services. Many assisted living facilities have set up separate memory care wings. Texas has two of the top five markets for memory care units under construction, according to Chris McGraw, a senior research analyst at NIC who tracks the construction of different industry facilities in top metro areas.

The median annual cost for an assisted living facility in Texas is just around $40,000 according to Genworth Financial, a leading provider of Long Term Care Insurance. Most people cannot afford to pay these costs out of pocket, especially given the average benefit period of long term care is 3 years.

Long Term Care Insurance provides a reliable way to protect your assets from being exhausted by health and long term care costs. LTCI helps cover the cost of long term care, ensuring you receive the quality care you deserve. Read more about how Alzheimer’s affects Texans here.

Boomers Lag on Preventative Services that Could Help Improve Health

Keeping up with your health as you age can seem difficult. With work, family, bills to pay, and errands to run, you may think that focusing on your health isn’t as important in your middle-aged years, but a recent report shows it’s more important than ever.

Preventative Care in Middle Age

A report by the AARP Public Policy Institute found that most middle-aged adults significantly underuse preventative services that are recommended for their age group and it often leads to detrimental consequences.

Services like mammograms, pap tests, colorectal cancer screenings, and flu shots are suggested to adults during the middle-aged years in their life, but very few actually follow the suggestions and receive these preventative services that could potentially bring an otherwise unknown issue to light.

Currently, 44% of US adults between the ages of 50 and 64 have high blood pressure. In addition to that, 33% of middle-aged adults are obese. These risk factors for diseases such as heart disease and health incidents such as stroke pose serious problems that many people refuse to address. Rather than take part in preventative services and attempt to change their lifestyle for the better, most people simply continue on the path of least resistance and live their unhealthy lifestyle until it causes them more tangible problems.

Few States Keeping Up

Southern states have the highest percentage of risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol. The Northeast, on the other hand, has the highest percentage of preventative services used. Still, even these states didn’t meet the federal targets for usage.

States across the country have target numbers set for the preventative services offered and little to none have actually met the targets proposed by the federal government. Only 5 states met the past year’s colon cancer screening target and Utah is the only state that met the set target for smoking. None of the fifty states met the target for flu vaccinations.

According to the report, anywhere between 25,000 and 40,000 deaths could be prevented annually if middle-aged adults altered their lifestyle to include healthy activities and took advantage of these preventative services.

Healthy Living

Healthy lifestyle factors include quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthful foods, and exercising regularly. Typically, it is the things that unhealthy people take pleasure in like lounging around, eating junk food, and smoking that cause them the most harm in the end.

Making simple lifestyle changes can be extremely effective at lengthening your lifespan and reducing your risk of disease. There’s no doubt that Texans enjoy delicious food, and you don’t have to give that up to be healthy, but moderation is key when it comes to foods that we know aren’t that great for our body. On top of that, getting out of the house and taking a walk, even just for 30 minutes, can make a big difference in your health, as well.

You can access the full report here or read more about how the state of Texas ranks in senior health nationwide.

The Cost of Long Term Care in Texas – Can You Afford to Self-Insure?

Self-insuring for long term care is a pretty common topic in the news these days, but how can you know if it’s the right decision for you or not? The truth is, self-insuring is really only possible for a small and specific group of people. It isn’t the best idea for most people, and there are a few reasons why.

Cost of Care

If you’ve looked into the cost of long term care, you know it’s expensive. Quite expensive, actually. In Texas, the average annual cost of a nursing home is $61,320. Surprisingly, that’s on the low end of the spectrum when you consider the average nationwide cost of more than $83,000.

So, if you need nursing home care in Texas for just one year, you should expect to have a good bit more than $50,000 set aside just for the base cost of care.

Most people simply don’t have that kind of money stowed away in their retirement savings. In fact, most people haven’t saved any money for long term care at all. They’ve saved for retirement itself, but retirement is full of other necessary costs that most certainly come before long term care, because chances are you won’t need care until you are in your 70s or 80s.


So who can self-insure for long term care? In all honesty, those with more than several million dollars in assets stowed away are really the only group of people who can successfully self-insure for such a large cost.

The rest of us may think we can, but when the time comes to pay for care, we may end up dipping much farther into our savings than originally intended. This is a mistake many people make, after being told by financial advisors that self-insuring is a better choice than Long Term Care Insurance.

The amount that you would pay in Long Term Care Insurance premiums is typically significantly less than the actual cost of care, so for most people, purchasing a policy is what makes the most sense. Not every one can afford Long Term Care Insurance, but for those who can, and there are many ways to make it work, it is a wise investment worth considering.

Long Term Care Insurance

The cost of Long Term Care Insurance varies widely from carrier to carrier, which is why it’s so important to shop the market before deciding on a policy. If you don’t bother comparing multiple companies, you could end up paying 50-100% more than you would if you did some more thorough research. We help consumers shop the market by sending them a free comparison of all the top Long Term Care Insurance companies.

Understanding each company’s rate increase history and financial ratings is paramount to understanding the risk of your premiums increasing later on. There is always that possibility, but in reality, most people will still opt to keep their policy and reduce their benefits because the value of the policy is still so high.

If you are advised to self-insure for long term care, seriously consider the cost that includes and whether or not you have the extra assets to afford it. Many people don’t and end up waiting too long to realize that fact.

If you would like your own personalized quote comparison, fill out this form and we will be in touch with you shortly. We emphasize a no-pressure process so the consumer feels they are getting all the information without being pushed towards any certain product. It’s crucial that you feel educated and informed about the topic before making any final decision. Read more about long term care in Texas or request your free quote now.

Foster Home Program Allows Texans to Remain in Community

The likelihood that we will need some form of long-term care services only increases as we age. For most people, nursing homes and long term care facilities are a last resort.

The majority of people would rather receive care at home than move into a facility, away from their families and other loved ones. Fortunately, a relatively new program in Texas allows veterans to receive long term care at medical foster homes throughout their community.

Long Term Care Foster Homes

The Veterans Affairs Medical Foster Home program is made possible by supplemental funding to Veterans Affairs centers throughout the United States. According to a September press release, the program began in Tarrant County just a few months ago.

Beginning in 2008, the foster home program provides veterans with an option other than living at home alone or moving into a long-term care facility. Though many older individuals would prefer to live at home as opposed to moving into a nursing home, families and loved ones often fear for their safety and wellbeing when they live alone, especially if they have mobility problems.

Moving into a nursing home, however, is often the last thing that people want to do because it takes them away from their community and often increases feelings of isolation. This new program allows them to remain in their community among their loved ones, receiving care from a local caregiver.


The North Texas Health Care System is seeking caregivers interested in joining the program and helping local veterans receive the care that they need. Caregivers must agree to provide constant supervision, as well as accept and partake in the veteran’s medical care plan.

Veterans might need care for the rest of their lives, so caregivers are expected to be prepared for a long term stay and provide any personal assistance that might be needed.

The Veterans Affairs press release encourages anyone interested in becoming a foster home caregiver to contact Joyce Sanders-King at 817-730-0335 or Czarvitto Rogers at 817-730-0268.

Planning for Care

Long term care can be an intimidating change for many, but this new program eases the transition and helps people feel comfortable and happy in their new care setting. Read more about the use of family caregivers for long term care or how to best plan for long term care.

Texas Announces Plans to Combine Medicare and Medicaid Benefits

For people who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits from the state of Texas, things might be getting a whole lot easier. The state of Texas just received approval from the federal government to test an idea that would combine the delivery of Medicare and Medicaid benefits to individuals enrolled in both programs.

Why the Change?

Officials say that the combination of the two services could help make it simpler for enrollees to receive their benefits while also potentially reducing costs for both the state and federal governments.

“Combining a person’s Medicaid and Medicare services into one plan makes sense for the consumer and for the taxpayer,” said Chris Traylor, chief deputy commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. “We’ll be able to improve the coordination of care, helping people get the right care in the right setting, and we can save money for both the state and federal governments.”

Right now, Medicare pays for the covered services and then Medicaid picks up the rest of the tab afterwards. By merging the benefit services, it could help coordinate communication between the different programs and encourage better management of care that serves both programs, instead of only financially benefitting one. The new idea could help save money because combining the two services would increase the incentive to support policies that reduce the need for hospitalization, thereby cutting back on inpatient hospital stays and institutional care.

Who is Eligible?

400,000 people living in Texas are currently receiving benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid. Those people are eligible for Medicare based on either their age or disability and simultaneously eligible for Medicaid because of their income status. People enrolled in both programs are referred to as “dual eligibles”.

The program will be piloted in 6 Texas counties that include 168,000 of the dual eligible Texans. In order to enroll in the pilot program, you must be at least 21 years of age. The pilot will begin on March 1, 2015 and information will be sent out to eligible residents in January of next year.

For those who are dual eligible, the long term care expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover are picked up by Medicaid. For those who only qualify for Medicare (and therefore will not be included in this new program), it’s important to remember that despite your age, Medicare does not cover all of your health care expenses. There are many different kinds of out of pocket expenses that Medicare will not pay for, including long term care, which can be extremely expensive. Read more details about the upcoming program here.

To learn more about the cost of long term care in Texas, click here.

Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance Made Easy

We speak with consumers every day, most of them interested in buying a Long Term Care Insurance policy. What we find is that many of them are overwhelmed or confused by their various options and therefore less willing to make a decision. That’s why we put so much time and effort into helping educate consumers about the different options and why it’s so important to plan ahead.

Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance is one thing that seems to be intimidating to people. Not only do they have to think about themselves as old and fragile, but it also involves some financial decisions that require some consideration. This often ends up in people shying away from planning for long term care, often until it is too late.

Navigating the Buying Process

Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance doesn’t have to be hard; in fact, it shouldn’t be hard. After beginning the buying process, many people often end up kicking the can down the road. We want to provide information that helps consumers stop procrastinating and instead start taking action and preparing for their future. If you are looking into a Long Term Care Insurance policy, consider these ways to make shopping easier.

1)    Work with an independent agent – The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough. Some agents are what are called “captive” agents, meaning they are paid by companies to promote specific products. Even if one company’s policy fit your needs better, that agent might push you to buy another one because that would mean commission for them. It’s vital to work with an independent agent who can provide you with information from multiple companies and isn’t biased towards one or another.

2)    Compare multiple companies – This goes along with #1, but is so important it deserves another mention. Premium rates can vary as much as and sometimes more than 50% between carriers, so never go with the first policy option you see. Make sure you look at several different companies before you make a decision to buy, and make sure they are top rated blue chip companies.

3)    Start early – Don’t wait until you are in your 60s to start looking at policies. By then, it may be too late to qualify. Even if you can qualify, your premium rates will be much higher than if you’d applied at a younger age, say 50 or 55. Age has a big impact on the cost of a policy, so don’t overlook the importance of applying when you are young. Buying younger can also help you achieve the preferred health discount. Qualification criteria varies from company to company for the health discount, so again, look at several companies to see if you qualify for any before choosing a product.

Plan for the Future

For some reason, Americans are planning for retirement but leaving out the huge issue of long term care in their plans. Doing so can put your nest egg in jeopardy and put you at risk of turning to a family or friend to provide care later down the road. Long Term Care Insurance can help protect your assets and provide you with peace of mind during retirement, so don’t let the process of looking into policies scare you away.

Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance, if done with the right people, can be simple and easy to understand. Work with an agent who has experience in the industry to ensure you are getting the most accurate information.

We provide unbiased information on the top Long Term Care Insurance companies including their financial rating, rate increase history, and policy details. If you would like a free quote comparison, fill out this form and we will be in touch with you shortly.

Texas Alzheimer’s Cases to Increase One-Third By 2025

The number of Alzheimer’s cases in Texas is estimated to increase by one-third by the year 2025, according to the 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures report.

Alzheimer’s and Seniors in Texas

There are currently 2.6 million seniors living in Texas and that number is expected to double by 2030.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia in the United States, with more than 5 million people currently afflicted by the disease. The average cost of Alzheimer’s in the United States is between $157 and $215 billion annually. In the past year, it has surpassed cancer and cardiovascular disease as the most expensive illness in the nation.

Alzheimer’s Research in Texas and Beyond

While there is no cure to Alzheimer’s, many studies are being done throughout Texas in an attempt to decode the mysterious disease. One Dallas couple participated in one of many Alzheimer’s research studies at UT Southwestern in an attempt to slow cognitive decline.

The Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) is an organization with physical sites around Texas that works to “improve early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s

In Texas alone, 1.3 million caregivers provided 1.5 billion hours of unpaid care in 2012, valued at $18.2 billion, according to the recent report. While many family members volunteer to care for their loved one, it can quickly become overwhelming. According to a recent study, Americans who have been caregivers for loved ones called it both worthwhile and stressful.

If in-home care from loved ones isn’t an option, nursing homes are usually the next choice. The Texas Long Term Care Partnership program estimates the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is over $61,000 a year. Most people cannot afford to pay these costs of out pocket, and may end up exhausting their assets and eventually, relying on Medicaid.

Is There a Solution?

Long Term Care Insurance can’t help you avoid Alzheimer’s, but it can help you pay for treatment and care. A government study estimates 7 in 10 seniors will need Long Term Care at some point.

Investing in Long Term Care Insurance and planning for your future ensures that you do not burden loved ones with the task of your care. It will also help you protect your hard earned assets by avoiding the high cost of nursing homes or paid in-home care.

Texas provides many great Long Term Care Insurance policies through their Partnership program. Read more here.

Dallas Nursing Home Spends Weekend Without Power

A nursing home in Dallas was forced to spend the past weekend without power.

Golden Acres Nursing Home

Golden Acres Living and Rehabilitation Center experienced a power outage last Friday and despite attempts to have the power turned on, no such thing happened until Monday afternoon. The facility has more than 200 residents at the moment.

In the mean time, the nursing home used backup generators throughout the weekend to help keep their vulnerable residents comfortable, but on Monday morning, they experienced a total blackout.

Repeated Attempts

A representative from Oncor, the utility company, said that they were unaware that the facility was a nursing home, otherwise it would have been higher on their priority list. Some say that isn’t the case, though, as they called the company repeatedly and specifically told them it was a nursing home.

Linda Roberts, daughter of a resident, told a local news station that her repeated pleas to the power company went unanswered for three days.

“It has been a very bad situation, especially this morning,” said Roberts. “Yesterday was bad enough, but today, when there is no lights, no heat, no power at all, it is very dangerous.”

Vulnerable Residents

Executive director of the home said that blankets, coats, and hats were used to keep the residents warm, but nonetheless, it posed a danger to residents. He also said that he was calling and texting the company to his best avail. Power was restored on Monday afternoon.

Residents are already extremely vulnerable during the winter, but a situation like this only serves to further worsen their vulnerability and could potentially cause health problems for those who are especially frail or sensitive to changes like extreme temperatures.

To read the full news report and see a video interview from Fox Dallas-Forth Worth, click here.

Texas Ranks 39th in Senior Health

In a new report released by the United Health Foundation, Texas ranks 39th out of all 50 states in overall senior health. This ranking sheds some light on the issues that seniors in Texas currently face.

What Was Measured

Americans are living longer than ever before, but our health just isn’t keeping up. Seniors across the nation are experiencing health issues and needs that may not always be resolved or met. This may be due to economic status, location, lack of transportation, lack of information, or other reasons.

The United Health Foundation used 34 different factors to comprehensively analyze the senior health of each state. The 34 factors measured in the report are of 2 types — determinants and outcomes. Determinants are factors that can affect the future health of the population, whereas outcomes represent what has already occurred either through death or disease. For example, physical inactivity is a determinant while hip fractures are an outcome.

Physical inactivity, poverty, hip fractures, drug coverage, obesity, smoking, premature death rate, and hospital re-admission rates were just some of the factors measured in the report. Texas ranked at the bottom of the list, at number 39 of 50. However, like any state, Texas has its negatives and positives when it comes to senior health.

Texas – What’s the Problem?

Although everything is bigger in Texas, bigger might not be better in all cases. The newly released report found that more than 690,000 adults aged 65 and older in Texas are obese, ranking 33rd in the nation for senior obesity.

The measures in which Texas ranked worst, designated state “challenges”, include a low prevalence of able-bodied seniors and a high prevalence of both activity-limiting arthritis pain and food insecurity. These are three hugely important issues that affect the overall quality of life. The high prevalence of arthritis pain and food insecurity could both play a large role in the low prevalence of able-bodied seniors across the state.

The food that we eat plays a large role in our health, so if seniors are unable to access quality whole foods, their health will suffer. Eating the right foods can affect your arthritis, so it is crucial that those suffering from the disease have reliable food resources.

Community support for seniors was another area that Texas came in low, ranked 48 among 50 states. In addition,  Texas has one of the highest rates of seniors living in poverty at 11.3 percent of adults aged 65 and older. The high food insecurity in the state can be reflected back upon both of these issues. Community support programs for seniors, like those provided by the Area Agencies on Aging in Texas, can help provide resources that seniors would not have had access to otherwise, like Meals on Wheels, Nutritional Counseling, and other services that can help improve senior health and quality of life.

Simply participating in community programs and socially interacting with others can help seniors feel engaged with their surroundings. Benefits of social interaction in your senior years include lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of depression, and a potentially reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

It’s Not All Bad

Although Texas ranked 39th overall, the state still boasts some positives in terms of senior health. The report found that Texas’s strengths included a low prevalence of underweight seniors, a ready availability of home health care workers, and a high percentage of hospice care.

These measures show an indication of a shifting focus to the long term care industry, which is a positive thing for all seniors in Texas. Texas has a quickly growing senior population and the state is adjusting to keep up with this trend. Construction of long term care facilities that focus on memory care is growing in Texas, another indication that the state is catching up with the huge population of seniors.

How to Avoid the Health Crisis

One way to ensure you won’t be dealing with some of the issues facing seniors today is investing in Long Term Care Insurance. This insurance can help you cover the costs of long term care, should you ever need it. Long term care services are for those who have trouble with basic daily tasks, like dressing, bathing, and preparing food. For those Texans with activity-limiting arthritic pain, long term care may be necessary.

If you have a significant amount of assets saved, Long Term Care Insurance can help you protect those assets and provide you with the quality care you deserve. There are a number of great LTCI providers who have longevity in the industry and don’t have a large history of rate increases. Do your research and invest your money in insurance that will help you at the time when you need it most. You worked hard for your nest egg savings and should be able to enjoy retirement without worrying about how to pay for your next health care bill.

Just How Expensive is Long Term Care in Texas?

The cost of Long Term Care in the United States has steadily risen in the past decade. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and in-home care services are now more expensive than ever. Fortunately for Texans, Long Term Care costs in the Lone Star State are still significantly lower than the national averages.

The Texas Advantage

According to the 2013 Cost of Care Survey released by Genworth Financial, Texas has some of the lowest Long Term Care costs in the nation. While the national median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home is $83,950, the median cost in Texas for the same service is only $61,320. The difference of over $22,000 is a highly significant chunk  of money that could be put towards other expenses or saved for future use. Compare the cost in Texas to states like California where the median cost is just under $98,000 annually or Alaska where the median cost is a shocking $255,891, and it becomes clear that the difference in cost truly matters.

Furthermore, the national median cost for a private room in a nursing home was up 7.4% from $77,745 in 2011, but the Texas median only increased 1.8% from the 2011 median of $60,225. That indicates that in addition to lower costs overall, the cost growth rate is also lower in Texas compared to the nation as a whole.

The national and Texas medians were more similar when it came to assisted living facilities and in-home care services, but the numbers differed considerably again in regard to adult day cares. Adult day cares are non-residential facilities where caregivers can take a long term care patient for the day. These facilities incorporate health, social interaction, help with daily tasks, and therapeutic services. The national median cost for an adult day care center was $16,900 annually. In Texas, the median was almost exactly half that at $8,580 yearly.

Preparing for Long Term Care

Just because long term care services in Texas are cheaper than the rest of the country certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan to pay for them. Planning for your future long term care health needs is a vital part of retirement planning. Because Texas has one of the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates, the state health care system is struggling to stay afloat. More than 6.3 million Texans are uninsured, meaning a lot of people will soon be turning to Medicaid for their long term health needs. This has the potential to lead to substandard quality of care within the government subsidized health programs.

The looming Medicaid crisis in Texas only encourages Long Term Care Insurance more. With LTCI, you don’t have to run the risk of compromising care for cost. An LTCI policy will safeguard your assets from depletion, while ensuring you receive the quality care you deserve. The state and private insurers worked together to create a Long Term Care Insurance Partnership program for the state, offering a variety of plans to Texas residents.

Interested in Long Term Care Insurance in Texas? Read more about Texas LTCI Partnership policies here.

Get the latest LTCI quotes from the top cities in Texas here.