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HESSCO provides support for elders and those who care for them. Services include but are not limited to: home care services, caregiver support, nutrition and nutrition counseling, information and referral, money management and more.

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HESSCO Highlights and Happenings Fall 2016

By |October 20th, 2016|

HESSCO Fall 2016 Newsletter

alz walk

Eldercare Q&A Medicare & Your Maintenance Care

By |September 30th, 2016|

Eldercare Q&A                     November, 2016

 Medicare & Your Maintenance Care

Q: Do I have to “improve” to keep getting home health care?


A: No. One of the biggest mistakes that nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and home health agencies make is telling people on Medicare that they can’t get skilled nursing, home health care, or physical therapy because they’ve “reached a plateau,” or “failed to improve.” The courts have ruled that “improvement” is not a requirement for Medicare therapy or home health benefits. A federal judge recently ordered Medicare to do a better job of informing health care providers that the so-called “improvement standard” was no longer in effect.

Older patients with chronic and progressive diseases like Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, or congestive heart failure are unlikely to “improve” over time, but they can still get physical therapy or home health care. Rehabilitation therapy helps prevent declines in walking, eating, speaking, dressing and bathing.  Denying someone access to these treatments can worsening their disability, threaten their independence and result in more expensive health care needs.

People on Medicare might get confused reading their Medicare & You booklet, which describes on page 50 that home health is “part-time or intermittent.” That does not mean it has to be short-term. It is true that a doctor must approve your care, and you must be “homebound,” which is defined as having trouble leaving your home without help, and that leaving your home is a major effort. But you cannot be denied care because you are not “improving.”

In a 2013 court decision in Vermont, Medicare was ordered to pay for home health services to prevent a deterioration in a patient’s condition. The “stability presumption” was found to be unlawful. The Judge wrote: “A patient’s chronic or stable condition does not provide a basis for automatically denying coverage for skilled services. The determination of whether a patient needs skilled nursing care should be based solely upon the patient’s unique condition and individual needs, without regard to whether the illness or injury is acute, chronic, terminal, or expected to extend over a long period of time. In addition, skilled care may, depending on the unique condition of the patient, continue to be necessary for patients whose condition is stable.”

The fact that skilled care in a nursing home or at home has stabilized a person’s health does not render that level of care unnecessary. An elderly person need not risk a deterioration of her fragile health to validate the continuing requirement for skilled care. Your “failure to improve” cannot be used as a reason to deny you Medicare therapies or home health care. Your care cannot be cut off because you “exhibit a decline in functional status.”

If you are on traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage, and receiving services from a nursing facility, rehab facility or home health agency, and you think your covered services are ending too soon, you can ask for a fast appeal, referred to as an “expedited determination.” Your provider will give you a notice before your services end that will tell you how to appeal. For more assistance, call 1-800323-3205 and ask for the Medicare Advocacy Project.

September is Healthy Aging Month

By |September 2nd, 2016|

10 Tips For September Is Healthy Aging® Month

Think it’s too late to “reinvent” yourself? Think again. According to Carolyn Worthington, editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging® Magazine and executive director of Healthy Aging®, “it’s never too late to find a new career, a new sport, passion, or hobby.”

Worthington is the creator of September is Healthy Aging® Month, an annual health observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. Now in its second decade, Worthington says September is Healthy Aging® Month provides inspiration and practical ideas for adults, ages 50-plus, to improve their physical, mental, social, and financial well being.

“Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, what you really would like to do if money was no object,” says Worthington. “And try it! Who says you have to do something related to what you studied in school? Who says, you can’t become an entrepreneur, start your own home business later in life, test your physical prowess, or do something wildly different from anything you’ve done before? Only that person you see in the mirror!”

To get you started on reinventing yourself, here are some ideas from the editors of Healthy Aging®Magazine (www.healthyaging.net). Maybe they will help you think outside the box:

10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself during September Is Healthy Aging® Month:

  1. Do not act your age or at least what you think your current age should act like.  http://healthyaging.net/healthy-aging-month/10-tips-for-september-is-healthy-aging-month/

Elder Home Care Wait Lists to Begin in 25 Days

By |August 8th, 2016|

News from Mass Home Care – The Baker Administration has officially announced that starting September 1st, waiting lists for some elders will begin in the home care program.  Home Care Wait Lists Sept 1 2016 An Avoidable Crisis

Eldercare Q&A Keeping Your Cool on Very Hot Days

By |August 2nd, 2016|

Eldercare Q&A – September, 2016

Keeping Your Cool On Very Hot Days

Q: Are seniors at greater risk for hyperthermia?

A: Yes. Too much heat is not safe for anyone, but most people who die from hyperthermia are over the age of 50.

QA Eldercare September 2016 Keeping Your Cool On Very Hot Days-1

Senate Proposes Elimination of Crucial Medicare Counseling Program – Medicare Rights Blob

By |July 18th, 2016|

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved a 2017 spending bill that completely eliminates funding for the Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

Older adults, people with disabilities, and their families and caregivers need assistance understanding the A, B, C and Ds of Medicare. Operating in every state, SHIPs answer questions about Medicare and help people solve problems. Eliminating SHIPs would leave millions who need support comparing coverage options, appealing denials, applying for financial assistance, and navigating increasingly complex Medicare benefits stranded—with nowhere to turn.

Today’s Medicare beneficiary must choose among more than 20 prescription drug plans, an average of 19 Medicare Advantage plans, as well as various Medigap supplemental insurance policies—all with different premiums, cost sharing, provider networks, and coverage rules. For more than 24 years, SHIPs have advised, educated, and empowered individuals to navigate their state-specific Medicare choices. Specifically, SHIPs help beneficiaries resolve fraud and abuse issues, billing problems, appeals, and enrollment in low-income protection programs. . In 2015, SHIPs provided assistance to more than 7 million people with Medicare.

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Be Prepared for Extreme Heat

By |July 12th, 2016|

Be Prepared for Extreme Heat

July 7, 2016, by Kathleen Votava, Office of Regional Operations, Administration for Community Living

As summer is upon us, this is an important reminder regarding planning for and responding to periods of extreme heat. It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care. Whether you are an older adult, an individual with a disability, or a family member caring for a loved one with functional needs, each person’s requirements and abilities are unique. During periods of extreme heat, every individual can take important steps to put plans in place and prepare for potential risks, such as power outages. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan, you can be better prepared for any situation. Read More

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Tools, Tips, Resources

By |June 14th, 2016|

Tools & Tips

Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.

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Meals on Wheels Recipients Receive Gift from New England Patriots

By |June 6th, 2016|

HESSCO home delivered meals consumers received a special gift last week from The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.  Following a big fundraising event, the Foundation had a number of bouquets and flower arrangements leftover.  Instead of letting them go to waste, the flowers were donated to HESSCO to serve as a gift to their Meals on Wheels recipients.  Volunteer meals drivers delivered over 40 vases of beautifully arranged white gerbera daisies along with note cards to seniors in Canton and Sharon.  “It’s more than just flowers…The consumers received something special, in addition to their lunch, to put a smile on their faces. We are so grateful to be able to share this gift with them,” said Debbie Fradkin, HESSCO Community Relations Manager.

Pats flowers 6 may 2016Pats flowers 2 may 2016

 

Project 351 partners with HESSCO and Foxboro COA to Benefit Area Seniors

By |June 6th, 2016|

Project 351, an innovative statewide youth-driven service organization, recently selected Health and Social Services Consortium, Inc. (HESSCO) and Foxboro Council on Aging to be the recipients of one of their spring service projects benefiting local seniors.  Project 351 unites an 8th grade Ambassador from every city and town in Massachusetts for a transformative year of leadership development, enrichment, and impact. Through unique service opportunities, Ambassadors gain valuable skills, create positive change in communities, build a statewide network of values-aligned peers, and unite the Commonwealth in common purpose.  Each spring, the Governor and New England Patriots Foundation host Ambassadors and Alumni at Gillette Stadium for a Reunion celebration of youth leadership and service.  Reunion features a Town Meeting, leadership skill-building workshops, inspirational speakers, and the annual “Peace & Unity Walk”, a fundraiser in support of The Martin W. Richard Foundation.  Ambassadors at this year’s Reunion, held on May 21st, participated in service projects in partnership with the Summer Urban Program, Hope & Comfort, Fresh Truck, the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, the Foxboro Council on Aging and HESSCO.  The 351 Ambassadors shopped for garden fresh vegetables at Fresh Truck and packaged 400 the fresh food bags with the ingredients for summer salads.  They also compiled “Care and Compassion” bags which consisted of hand sanitizer, tissues, lip balm and framed inspirational quotes.  Through coordination with Foxboro COA and HESSCO, the 400 care and food packages were then distributed to seniors in Foxboro, Plainville and Wrentham at the HESSCO congregate meal sites and through the home delivered meals program.  “We are honored to have partnered with Project 351 for this truly inspirational event.  I was blown away by the care and compassion of the 351 students from across the Commonwealth.  The seniors in Foxboro, Plainville and Wrentham who were the recipients of over 400 care and food packages were extremely grateful to the students for their gifts,” stated Jayne Davis, HESSCO Nutrition Program Director.

Plainville seniors show off their fresh food bags they received from Project 351

Plainville seniors show off their fresh food bags they received from Project 351

Fresh food bags being distributed at Foxboro Meal Site

Fresh food bags being distributed at Foxboro Meal Site

Care & Compassion Bags given to Home Delivered Meals Consumers

Care & Compassion Bags given to Home Delivered Meals Consumers