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While this is not a pleasant topic, the problem of bowel and bladder incontinence is an issue we all will face either ourselves or a loved one or family member. With aging the issue becomes greater and is hard for both the person who suffers from it as well as a caregiver who is helping the person.

John Hopkins Medicine says Incontinence is defined as the involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder. Incontinence can affect both men and women in any age group but is more common in women and the elderly. As the population ages, the number of people suffering from bladder control problems is increasing. The costs of this problem are personal, physical and financial, and many with incontinence suffer social embarrassment, isolation, ill health and even depression. 

The University of Virginia Health System describes bowel leakage or fecal incontinence as the inability to control the passage of liquid or solid stool from the rectum. This condition affects 15 percent of all adults in the United States. Because people are embarrassed to talk about their symptoms, many people go untreated.

The National Institute on Aging tells us incontinence can happen for many reasons. For example, urinary tract in­fections, vaginal infection or irritation, constipation, and some medicines can cause bladder control problems that last a short time. When incontinence lasts longer, it may be due to: 

  • Weak bladder muscles
  • Overactive bladder muscles
  • Damage to nerves that control the bladder from diseases such as mul­tiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease
  • Blockage from an enlarged prostate in men
  • Diseases such as arthritis that may make it difficult to get to the bath­room in time

 Visit NIHSeniorHealth to learn more about causes of urinary incontinence.

 The University of Virginia Health System  says there are different types of fecal incontinence: 

  • Flatal incontinence: the inability to control the passage of gas from the rectum.
  • Fecal incontinence: the inability to control the passage of liquid or solid stool from the rectum.
  • Double incontinence: the inability to control both the passage of stool and urine.
  • Rectovaginal fistula: when a connection develops between the vagina and rectum and results in stool being passed uncontrollably through the vagina.

 Aging has the greatest impact on bowel control in women over the age of 40.

 Those in a care situation often suffer from one or both of these issues. Often, this is in addition to other health or age issues which has caused the need for extended care. This is difficult, especially on family caregivers who are not really prepared emotionally to deal with it.

There is treatment that is available which can manage these situations. Depending on what is causing or contributing to fecal incontinence, your health care provider may recommend one or more of the following: 

  • changes in diet
  • medications
  • pelvic floor muscle exercises
  • “bowel training”
  • surgery
  • other therapies

or a combination of the above may manage the situation.

The National Institute on Aging says there are more treatments for urinary incontinence than ever before. The choice of treatment depends on the type of bladder control problem you have, how serious it is, and what best fits your lifestyle. As a general rule, the simplest and safest treatments should be tried first.

Bladder control training may help you get better control of your bladder. Your doctor may suggest you try the following: 

  • Pelvic muscle exercises (also known as Kegel exercises) work the muscles that you use to stop urinating. Making these muscles stronger helps you hold urine in your bladder longer.
  • Biofeedback uses sensors to make you aware of signals from your body. This may help you regain control over the muscles in your bladder and urethra. Biofeedback can be helpful when learning pelvic muscle exercises.
  • Timed voiding may help you control your bladder. In timed voiding, you urinate on a set schedule, for example, every hour. You can slowly extend the time between bathroom trips. When timed voiding is combined with biofeedback and pelvic muscle exercises, you may find it easier to control urge and overflow incontinence.
  • Lifestyle changes may help with incontinence. You may benefit from: losing weight, quitting smoking, saying “no” to alcohol, drinking less caffeine (found in coffee, tea, and many sodas), preventing constipation, and avoiding lifting heavy objects.

People with a number of health issues including MS and those in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease often have problems with urinary and fecal incontinence. This can be a result of not realizing they need to urinate, forgetting to go to the bathroom, or not being able to find the toilet.

Advance planning, prior to retirement and any health issues that may arise, will help provide for quality care and ease the burden this creates on family members. Incontinence and bowel and bladder issues impact your activities of daily living. The cost of long-term care is not generally covered by health insurance or Medicare. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will safeguard your savings and ease the burdens placed on family members when these problems arise.

Long-Term Care will impact you, your family, your savings and your lifestyle. An advance plan addressing the financial costs and burdens of aging will add peace-of-mind for both you and your family. Act before you retire.  

Posted: April 30th 2017

The State of Georgia participates in the federal/state partnership program authorized by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2005. Most states have these plans in place. The Georgia Long-Term Care Partnership Program is administered by the Department of Community Health in collaboration with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services, provides an alternative to spending down or transferring assets by forming a partnership between Medicaid and private long-term care insurers.

This public-private partnership creates an innovative program offering individuals quality, affordable long-term care insurance and a way to receive needed care without depleting all their assets. Georgia Partnership Long-Term Care policies provide Medicaid asset protection. For every dollar that a Partnership policy pays out in benefits, a dollar of assets can be protected (disregarded) from the long-term care Medicaid asset limit. The protected assets will also be exempted from Estate Recovery in an amount equal to the benefits paid by the Partnership policy.

Once private insurance benefits are used, special Medicaid eligibility rules are applied if additional coverage is necessary. This dollar-for-dollar asset protection makes sure you never exhaust all your assets no matter how long your care situation lasts. The State of Georgia has a website for more information on partnership.

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 Georgia. This means if you move from or to Georgia your partnership asset protection follows you as well.

A variety of products are approved in Georgia for Long-Term Care Planning. There are no current state tax incentives available at this time, federal tax incentives do apply.

The time to address the financial costs and burdens of aging is best done before you retire. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance, including Georgia Partnership Plans, offer asset protection. Most states have an active partnership program in place. Either way, LTC Insurance will add peace-of-mind. Long-Term Care will impact you, your family, your savings and your lifestyle. LTC insurance will safeguard your savings and allow loved ones to be loving and supportive when your time comes.

Posted: April 28th 2017

Many people think that dramatic chest pain will be the first thing they will notice if they experience a heart attack. That isn’t true, especially in women. Dr. Leslie Cho at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic says that while many people associate chest pain with heart attacks, for good reason, but it’s not the whole story — especially for women.

“While chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack, women can have symptoms that aren’t related to chest pain at all. They need to be on the lookout for other, subtle symptoms,” Dr. Cho says.

Read more from Cleveland Clinic

Being prepared for a heart event is always prudent. Making changes in lifestyle to decrease the risk of having a heart event is also a very good idea. In addition to obvious health issues of a heart attack, the need for long-term care can arise suddenly, such as after a heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Association says people have higher risks of suffering subsequent strokes and dementia if they had heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure before their first stroke, according to a study. Strokes and dementia are also leading causes for people to require long-term care which, in addition to impact family, have a tremendous impact on your income and savings.

Researchers compared 1,237 stroke survivors to a stroke-free group of about 5,000 people from an existing long-term study. They found:

•One year after suffering a stroke, survivors retained a high risk of a recurrent stroke or dementia for at least five years.

•After one year, first-time stroke survivors were three times more likely than those who hadn’t suffered a stroke to have a recurrent stroke.

•Stroke survivors were nearly two times more likely to have dementia than those who hadn’t suffered a stroke.

•Among stroke survivors, 39 percent of recurrent strokes and 10 percent of post-stroke dementia cases were attributed to pre-stroke cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure; diabetes; low levels of high-density lipoprotein good cholesterol; smoking; and transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke.

“We already know that stroke patients have an increased risk of recurrent stroke and dementia; what we didn’t know was whether this increased risk persists for a long time after stroke and whether heart disease risk factors present before the first stroke influenced the risk of recurrent strokes or dementia,” said M. Arfan Ikram, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Neurology and Radiology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Advance planning for protecting your future retirement savings from these health issues and aging is just as important as trying to prevent or delay these health issues. People require long-term care due to illness, accidents or the impact of aging. So this means you can be healthy and just need long-term care because of age. Either way, addressing the financial costs and burdens of aging prior to retirement is key to enjoying a successful retirement. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will safeguard assets and ease the burdens care can place on family. It will also provide the resources for quality caregivers, preferably at home, which most people are concerned about.

Long-Term Care will impact you, your family, your savings and your lifestyle. Advance planning will provide peace-of-mind.

Posted: April 28th 2017

If you are at least age 40 you should be saving for your future retirement. With putting money in your 401(k), IRA, 403(b) you are planning for a successful future retirement. You should also plan to protect that money from the financial costs and burdens of aging. For many people, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will safeguard your hard-earned assets and ease the burden extended care places on family.

Read article here:

This is a big issue, especially for Generation X and Late Boomers. Long-Term Care will impact you, your family, your assets and your lifestyle. Give yourself the peace-of-mind knowing your savings are protected and your family won't be burdened as you deal with your aging or health issue. Experts suggest you start planning for long-term care as part of your overall retirement plan. Do this before you retire so you can enjoy low premiums and good health. Since you must health qualify to get a plan and your premiums are based on the application age and benefit level starting early will save you money and give you the most options.

Posted: April 28th 2017