Guardianship abuse leads to calls for reform

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

The growing problem of adult guardianship abuse is giving rise to calls for reform, as vulnerable elderly people caught up in this system sometimes end up being harmed and exploited by the very process that’s supposed to protect them.

A guardian is someone appointed by a court to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person, known as a “ward.” The process usually starts when a family member or social worker notifies the court that someone can no longer take care of himself or herself.

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Has Medicare dropped coverage of your drugs?

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

Medicare prescription drug plans can change which drugs they cover, possibly leaving you without coverage for a drug you need. Or you might switch plans, and find that your new plan doesn’t cover your medication at all.

In these circumstances, it’s good to know that Medicare drug plans are required to offer you a 30-day transition supply of the drug you’re taking.

All Medicare Part D plans must offer these transition refills, including Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage. Plans must provide a 30-day supply of an ongoing medication (unless a lesser amount is prescribed) within the first 90 days of plan membership or within the first 90 days of the new contract year.

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Long-term care premiums dip for men, rise for women

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

On average, long-term care premiums are decreasing for men and increasing for women, according to a study by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, an industry trade group.

For instance, a healthy 55-year-old man can expect to pay an average of $1,015 annually for a new policy offering $164,000 in long-term care benefits, which is down 4.2 percent from last year, according to the group.

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How sitting strains your back

submitted by Dr. Stephen Sell, Sell Chiropractic

It’s a simple activity that we do every day, whether we’re driving to work, typing on a computer at our desk, playing video games or watching television. A sedentary activity, sitting can cause our backs to become strained leading to discomfort or pain.

What you may not know is that too much sitting can also cause tightness in the hip flexors, important muscles that are responsible for easy movement.

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Medicare now covers conversations about end-of-life care

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

Did you know that 40% of people over age 65 have not written down their wishes regarding life support and other end-of-life treatment? One reason for this may be that people have not had a conversation with their doctor about the options that are available.

In the past, Medicare did not cover these doctor-patient conversations – except during the patient’s initial “Welcome to Medicare” visit, a time when the topic might not seem very relevant. Under new regulations, however, Medicare will cover these conversations at any time.

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How to properly plant a tree

submitted by Scott McIlvaine, Certified Arborist, Joe McIlvaine Tree and Lawn

Spring is here, and it is a popular time to spruce up your landscaping. It is important to have a good understanding of how to properly install trees and shrubs in order to promote good health and vitality.

Once you have selected your plant material based on the correct zone and plant location, it is time to prepare the hole. The depth of the hole needs to be based on the height of root ball to the base of the root flare (where the trunk enters the soil).

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Do women really experience more neck pain than men?

submitted by Dr. Stephen Sell, Sell Chiropractic

Most people around the world know how frustrating neck pain can be, making the age-old saying “pain in the neck” so relatable. Just last month, a new study presented by Loyola University set out to learn more about neck pain and answer the question: Do women experience more neck pain than men?

The Study

In a two-year study that examined more than 3,300 men and women, researchers found that 133 patients suffered from Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease (CDD) with 91 being female. Of those patients, 4.5% of women reported neck pain while just 3.3% of men did, concluding that women were 1.38 times more likely to develop the disease than men.

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Spring planting tips and guidelines

submitted by Wendy Leck, owner, Leck’s Greenhouses and Nursery, Feasterville

As the weather begins to warm up, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of spring and the start of the planting season. Unfortunately, despite the tease of some warm days, the “frost-free date” for our area is May 15th. It is best to wait until after that date before planting into the ground.

If you need to get a jump on flowers, they need to be brought in at night. Most plants are grown in greenhouses where the temperature is an average of 65 degrees, therefore, drastic drops in outdoor temperatures can shock plants.

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Be careful if different people handle your finances and health care

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

It is not uncommon for seniors to name one person in their financial power of attorney (POA) to handle their finances if they become incapacitated and to name someone else in their health care POA to handle their health care decisions.

For instance, a senior might live with one child or be very close to him or her, and trust that child to make medical decisions – because the child is familiar with the senior’s day-to-day health issues.

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If you must do it, do it right!

submitted by Dr. Stephen Sell, Sell Chiropractic

Whether we’re raking leaves, spreading mulch or planting flowers, these and other backbreaking chores can not only cause pain, but injury as well. Here are some valuable tips to help keep your back healthy the next time you tackle those outdoor to-dos:

  • Keep the rake or shovel near your body to avoid injury. Extending it away from you and then pulling sharply inward could spell trouble for an older or vulnerable back.
  • Try not to twist your torso.

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