Deer Valley Times, November 2020

Page 10

Health Caring for A Loved One with Dementia? Hospice of the Valley Provides Free Support By Lin Sue Cooney


amily caregivers often feel overwhelmed, anxious and isolated while they are caring for a person with dementia. They want to keep their loved one at home for as long as possible but wonder how to make it all work. Thanks to a federal grant, Hospice of the Valley can now help these families at no charge.

The Administration for Community Living has awarded funds to 12 agencies nationwide to help families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. The three-year grant allows Hospice of the Valley to significantly expand its dementia support program, which provides home visits to help caregivers with education, emotional support, behavior management strategies, medications, respite, placement options and living wills. Families also have 24/7 phone support with a Hospice of the Valley nurse, social worker or medical director Dr. Gillian Hamilton.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to help more families who so desperately need this support,” Hamilton says. “Dementia is a vulnerable and challenging journey and no one should travel it alone.”

Offering assisted living, an inpatient unit, intergenerational adult and childcare centers and an education center, this unique facility will serve as a community resource for families struggling to cope with the challenges of dementia.

This program serves those at any stage and with any type of dementia, and — equally important — their family caregivers.

“Our goal is to help those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers live at home with high quality of life,” says Executive Director Debbie Shumway. “This campus and this grant will help so many families achieve that with confidence and peace of mind.”

“I don’t know what I would do without this kind of support,” confides Christiane Cole, who is caring for her husband Muryl. “I have a whole team of people helping me understand what to do as my husband’s dementia progresses. But they also take care of me, so I don’t feel so alone.” Hospice of the Valley’s commitment to superb dementia care also can be seen in Phoenix, where a comprehensive campus is now under construction to provide full-spectrum services to those with early, moderate and advanced dementia.

The grant also allows Hospice of the Valley to deepen collaborations with a number of local organizations to create programs with a special focus on people with dementia living alone; those with distressed behaviors; and those with developmental disabilities like Down syndrome, who may develop Alzheimer’s at an early age. These partners include: the Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia Caregiver Alliance, Duet: Partners In Health and Aging, Senior Adult Independent

Living Program, Tempe Fire Medical Rescue, University of Arizona Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities, and Valleylife. It also provides funding to train a dementia-capable workforce to better serve the rapidly rising number of people who will be diagnosed — a 43% increase in Arizona by 2025. To enroll or get more information on Hospice of the Valley’s no-cost dementia caregiver support program, call 602636-6363, email DementiaCare@hov. org, or visit Lin Sue Cooney is community engagement director for Hospice of the Valley.

Should You Switch Medicare Plans? By David Luna, Connie Health


ealthcare is expensive and constantly changing, especially for those 65 and older. That’s why trusted local experts – like our team at Connie Health – recommend you review your Medicare plan every year. Here are some things to consider, as open enrollment is now through December 7: Are you getting the best deal? Every year, smart shoppers find ways to save hundreds of dollars by switching to a Medicare Advantage plan. And even if you are already on a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be able to find a plan with lower monthly premiums and copays. On a $0 premium plan already? If so, you can still check if there are plans that cover your prescription drugs at a substantially lower cost than you are paying now. You can ensure that the plans with lower rates include the doctors that you go to and trust. Are you on the plan you need? Now is the time to review your current plan to make sure you have the right plan for your needs. If you are on a Medicare Supplement plan, for example, switching to a Medicare Advantage PPO plan can potentially save you thousands of dollars on premiums and get you extra benefits not covered by Original Medicare such as dental,

10 • November 2020 • DEER VALLEY TIMES

vision, hearing and more. In recent years, Medicare Advantage PPO plans have become increasingly popular because they combine the lower premiums of Medicare Advantage with the out-of-network benefits that allow you to see any doctor, similar to a Medicare Supplement plan. Are you getting the care you deserve? In recent years, many Americans on Medicare have experienced a lack in access to quality care. For some, it might be difficult for you to find quality doctors. For others, it might be that you have a good doctor, but they are not currently accepted by your insurance plan. You might be surprised that by switching your Medicare plan you might unlock opportunities for additional services. Are you getting the most out of your Medicare plan? Not all plans are created equal when it comes to benefits. Even if you have a $0 premium plan, getting a plan that covers the benefits you care about might save you even more money. Medicare Advantage plans cover benefits like dental, vision, hearing and gym memberships. They can even cover over-the-counter health and wellness products that you might be paying for out-of- pocket. Each plan covers these benefits in a different way, and it is important to find the plan that covers the benefits you care about. Luckily, with our easy-to-use Connie Health online tool and local agents, who are available 7 days a week during

the Medicare Annual Election Period, you can review the benefits you care about and see which plan covers them best. Do you feel overwhelmed by the idea of switching plans? Now through December 7 switching Medicare plans is easier than you think. Simply visit www.ConnieHealth. com or call 623-223-8884 to speak to a local Connie Health licensed Medicare agent for 100% free assistance. Connie Health Valley agents understand the local plans and healthcare networks and are best positioned to help you make the right decision. The team can meet you in person with masks, via video, or over the phone to answer any questions you might have. When you enroll with Connie Health you will be automatically enrolled in a white glove service and will continue to get support with your healthcare questions or issues after you enroll in a Medicare plan. David Luna is the co-founder of Connie Health, a free, personal Medicare advisory service combining the power of Medicare expertise, local agents and data-driven insights, to help individuals make confident and informed decisions about their Medicare coverage.