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Parkinson's disease is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Generally it mainly affects the motor system. Symptoms usually come on slowly over time. The most obvious early symptoms are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking. Thinking and behavioral problems may also occur. Dementia becomes common in the advanced stages of the disease. Depression and anxiety are also common. As it progresses many will require long-term care (help with normal activities of daily living) or even supervision if memory issues are involved.

As many as one million people live with Parkinson’s disease in the US and it’s the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. However, there is still much to learn about Parkinson’s disease on many levels, says Tanya Simuni, MD, director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Read about the seven things you may not know about Parkinson’s disease:

For people with Parkinson's disease and their families who are thinking about the possible need for long-term medical care, it is important to understand what help may be available through Medicaid. Unless you have Long-Term Care Insurance, the costs of the care required for those with Parkinson’s disease will come from your own savings until a person spend-downs assets, in most states $2000.00. If a person has few assets to start with there is no issue. However, those with savings will feel a huge financial disaster as they will see retirement savings and other assets disappear.

 This is why many people add affordable Long-Term Care Insurance to their future retirement plan. The benefits from a policy will safeguard assets and ease the burden long-term care places on family members. Parkinson’s disease is just one of many things that cause extended care. People required long-term care due to illness, accidents or just the impact of aging.

The best time to get a Long-Term Care policy is before you retire. You must be in fairly good health to approved for a policy. You can’t wait until you need care to get a policy. You must act in advance. However, if you do you will enjoy the peace-of-mind knowing your savings are protected and your family will not be burdened. You, your savings, your family and your lifestyle will be impacted at some point by long-term care. An advance plan will help you with a successful future retirement.

Posted: April 18th 2017

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men according to the American Cancer Society (after skin cancer), but it can often be treated successfully especially if diagnosed early. A man's prostate produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Symptoms include difficulty with urination, but sometimes there are no symptoms at all. Some types of prostate cancer grow slowly. In those cases, monitoring is recommended. Other types are aggressive and require radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or other treatments.

The Urology Care Foundation says about 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in American men with about 1 in 39 men who will die from it. Growths in the prostate can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

Men and the women in their lives should understand the screening for prostate cancer. Men 55 to 69 should talk with their health care provider about prostate-specific antigen (PSA)–based screening for prostate cancer. That's according to new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force:

Read more here:

Advance screening for prostate cancer is something all men should do. For every man diagnosed with prostate cancer there is usually a wife or partner for whom that diagnosis will mean a life change as well. Advance planning for health is important for you and your families well-being. Advance planning for long-term care is also something men and women should accomplish as part of their overall retirement planning. Your health can and does change at a moment’s notice. People need long-term care due to illness, accidents or the impact of aging. The financial costs and burdens of aging will impact you, your family, your savings and your lifestyle. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will safeguard your assets and ease the burden extended care can place on loved ones. Act before you retire.

Posted: April 15th 2017

Florida participates in the federal/state Long-Term Care Partnership Program authorized by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA). Florida’s Long-Term Care Partnership Program is a partnership program between Medicaid and private long-term care insurers designed to encourage individuals to purchase private long-term care insurance.  Long-Term Care Partnership policies are tax qualified (a portion of premiums paid may be claimed as a tax deduction) under federal law; provide policyholders with inflation protection; and most importantly, provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection in the event the policyholder needs to apply for long-term care Medicaid assistance. For every dollar that a partnership policy pays out in benefits, a dollar of assets can be protected from Medicaid spend-down requirements.

The intent of the plan is to encourage people to make better plans for their future long-term care needs. Plans must meet state and federal requirements to be considered a partnership plan.

For example, if your partnership policy paid $300,000 in benefits the state will disregard an equal amount in the spend-down requirement for Medicaid. This means you would not have to exhaust a majority of assets in order to qualify.

Long-Term Care Medicaid spend-down is $2000. A spouse’s minimum asset allowance is $120,900.

Most states have reciprocity with other states' long-term care partnership programs including Florida. This means if you move from or to Florida your partnership asset protection follows you as well. Click here to see the states which honor each other's program.

A variety of products are available in Florida for Long-Term Care Planning.

There are no current state tax incentives available at this time, federal tax incentives do apply.

Posted: April 12th 2017

Palliative care is an to relieve symptoms and stress for people with serious illnesses. In a larger sense, this caregiving philosophy helps ensure that a dementia patient’s life retains a sense of meaning, despite the devastating effects of the disease. With so many people aging and, as a result of illness, accident or the impact of aging (including cognitive issues) needing long-term care managing their care needs becomes more difficult especially with a person who suffers from memory issues.

As symptoms worsen, people with dementia may struggle to express themselves. While pain is not a symptom of dementia, patients may have other medical conditions that cause discomfort (such as arthritis or neuropathy), which they may not be able to describe.

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While it is hard on the person receiving care, the emotional impact on the person’s family is tremendous. The financial costs and burdens also place a burden on families. This is why an advance plan for the financial costs and burdens of aging will ease the burden on loved ones and protect assets as well. Without any advance plan, as your progression of care expands the burden becomes larger. It might start with you needing help with bill paying. Then it progresses with shopping. It then expands with help with activities of daily living and supervision for those who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues.

Health insurance, Medicare and Medicare Supplements will not pay for long-term care beyond a limited amount of skilled services and only if you are improving. Medicaid will only pay for care if you are poor or you exhaust your assets to the level of poverty. This is why advance planning is key to safeguard your savings (401(k), IRA, 403(b) and other assets.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the resources for quality care and help with a plan of care which eases the burden on loved ones. The time to plan is before you retire and before you have health issues which could make you harder to insure or perhaps impossible to insure. LTC policies are medically underwritten so you can’t obtain coverage when you need care. Premiums are based on the amount of benefit you choose and your AGE and HEALTH at the time of application. Premiums are intended to remain level based on that criteria. Act before you retire and add peace-of-mind to your retirement plan.

Posted: April 11th 2017