Baby Boomers Changing the Paradigms About Aging

Baby Boomers Changing the Paradigms About Aging

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Shared with us from our friends at Silvernest

Ask any Baby Boomer to reflect back to their childhood and their general perception of their grandparents when they were in their 60’s or 70’s. Most usually widen their eyes and exclaim, “old!” Images of a grumpy old man or wizened old woman come to mind. Many of today’s 65 year-olds look nothing like that. In a short thirty years, we have extended our lifespan, and opened up a third phase of adult life 50+ that is often filled with vibrancy, possibility and health. Yet, our society continues to perpetuate the notion that the “peak years” of life are around age 28. It’s all downhill from there. Really?

Ever heard of the word “ageism?” According to Ashton Applewhite, author of “This Chair Rocks, a Manifesto Against Ageism,” it is the last socially sanctioned prejudice, and a cultural narrative that impacts almost every aspect of life after 50. Have you ever felt compelled to lie about your age, or had someone compliment you and say, “You look great for your age?” That’s ageism.

In the past few months after the release of her book, Applewhite has been named “Influencer of the Year” by Next Avenue’s Influencers in Aging list, featured in the New York Times, appeared at the United Nations and is traveling around the country. She is the voice of a new movement, and on a mission to highlight the pervasive narrative that reinforces aging as something to fear, deny or dread.

She opens her book with the confession, “I’ve never lied about my age – I have no problem saying ‘I’m sixty-three’ loud and clear – but I know a lot of people who do. People who lie on resumes and on airplanes and on dates.”

Applewhite admits ageism is something it has taken years to fully recognize. “Any time we make an assumption about what any person is capable of, what they’re thinking about or doing on a basis of chronological age – that defines ageism,” she says. “Chronological age is a lousy indicator of pretty much anything abut a person, and all “isms” are based on stereotyping – especially because the longer we live, the more different from one another we become.”

The term “ageism” was first coined by Pulitzer prize winning physician Robert Butler, founder of the International Longevity Center, in 1968 – around the same time as the terms racism and sexism. “We experience ageism any time someone assumes that we’re “too old” for something – a task, a haircut, a relationship – instead of finding out who we are and what we’re capable of,” said Applewhite.

This Chair Rocks is a wonderful and fast read; full of powerful insights, and would make a fantastic book-club pick. Applewhite humorously breaks down pre-conceived notions about what it means to get older, and paves the way for trailblazing Boomer activism. Her zany style made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions, and nimbly poked to the inner core of what it means to get older in today’s society. In addition to the book, Applewhite has created a blog called, “Yo is this Ageist?” and a “conscious-raising” booklet to promote grassroots discussion called, “Who Me Ageist?”

“No one is born prejudiced, but attitudes about age – as well as race and gender – start to form in early childhood,” she writes. “Over a lifetime they harden into a set of truths: “just the way it is.” Unless we challenge ageist stereotypes – old people are incompetent. Wrinkles are ugly. It’s sad to be old – we feel shame and embarrassment instead of taking pride in the accomplishment of aging. That’s internalized ageism.”

SimpleFill Featured on The Balancing Act!

SimpleFill Featured on The Balancing Act!

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SimpleFill was recently featured on The Balancing Act, a popular talk show that focuses on bringing balance to our daily lives. The Balancing Act highlights ways that viewers can better manage day-to-day tasks that might otherwise be stressful or time-consuming. One such problem for many Americans is prescription fulfillment. At SimpleFill, we make it easy to research prescription assistance solutions, find the most affordable options and enroll our members into these programs so that you can be happy, healthy, and stress-free. Watch our feature on The Balancing Act, and learn more about the SimpleFill prescription assistance program. Continue reading

5 Heart-Healthy Habits for American Heart Month

5 Heart-Healthy Habits for American Heart Month

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Did you know February is American Heart Month? While it’s important to practice heart-healthy habits all year long, February is the perfect month to start prioritizing your heart health by implementing these habits into your routine.

Take a Daily Walk

Starting an exercise routine doesn’t have to be a huge chore. For now, you can skip the gym membership and complicated lifting regimen and just try to take a walk every day. Tie in your walk with something you do every day so that it’s easy to keep up the habit. If the weather is keeping you from walking, try heading to a big box store or the mall to do your walking indoors.

Try Meditating

While you may be picturing someone sitting cross-legged on the hardwood floor and chanting, meditating can be casual and fun. Plus, meditating can help alleviate stress, which can exacerbate many heart problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. Don’t know how to get started? There are some great meditation apps for your phone that offer short guided meditations and meditation reminders.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

You already know that eating healthier contributes to heart disease prevention but starting to eat healthier can also be overwhelming. Unless your doctor has expressly forbidden certain foods, try getting into better diet habits by eating more fruits and vegetables rather than restricting yourself from foods you love. This is a natural and non-intrusive way to start changing your diet for the better.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

The importance of a good night’s rest is obvious but actually making it happen can be hard. Try healthy sleeping habits like turning off screens an hour before bed, implementing a relaxing sleep routine, and choosing a nightly bedtime and sticking to it. If you suffer from sleep apnea, be sure to use your CPAP machine, as untreated sleep apnea can be detrimental to your heart health.

Follow the Doctor’s Orders

One of the best ways to keep your heart healthy is to follow the doctor’s orders, including everything from maintaining diet restrictions and exercise requirements to making sure you’re taking your heart medications as prescribed. If you’re having trouble affording your pills, Simplefill Prescription Assistance has programs to help pay for medications. In fact, we offer financial assistance for eligible heart medications likes Diovan, Effient, Isordil, Plavix, and Toprol XL. We also provide plenty of resources to help you navigate the health care system and live a healthier life, including our guide to the 2019 Medicare Part D changes and these tips for dealing with chronic medical issues while on Medicare.

If you’re having trouble affording your prescriptions for any reason at all, start an application online or call us at 1.877.386.0206 and a Simplefill Advocate will respond within 24 hours.

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers

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According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, nearly 44 million Americans provide “informal” (unpaid) care each year for family members and friends with chronic diseases or conditions. Informal caregiver duties can range from buying groceries and helping around the house to making important medical appointments and decisions. Depending on how much time and care is required, informal caregivers can find themselves burnt out, isolated, and with health problems of their own. These New Year’s Resolutions for informal caregivers can help you find your footing in 2019 and avoid caregiver burnout.

Take Care of Your Own Health

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you’ve no doubt heard the instructions to put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child. This same principle is important in caregiving: if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll be unable to take care of your friend or family member. While this seems obvious, it’s easy to let your own needs slide, especially when they feel less urgent than the needs of your family member. Schedule your yearly check-ups, find ways to implement a workout routine, get the recommended amount of sleep, and prioritize your own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs whenever possible.

Find a Support Network

Taking care of someone else can be isolating, but it’s important to realize you’re not alone. Not only are there plenty of people in the same situation as you, but there are organizations that exist to help you connect with them. Even if you can’t find a caregiver support group in your area, there are online caregiver support groups designed to help you connect with others, even when navigating a busy schedule.

Ask for Help When You Need It

It can be hard to ask for help, but you’d be surprised how many people are willing to offer assistance, especially when they know what would be most helpful. Next time someone asks you if there’s anything they can do to help, be prepared to answer. Maybe you’d love an hour or two a week for a favorite workout class or for a date night with your spouse. Maybe you’d be better able to attend to your own needs if someone else took care of dinner one night a week. If it makes it easier, remember that you’re asking for help for your loved one, not just for yourself.

Take Advantage of Temporary Respite Care

Did you know that many nursing homes offer temporary respite care? Rather than waiting to plan a vacation until a sibling or other family member is able or willing to come into town to help, you can arrange short-term stays with professional caregivers who are prepared to properly care for your loved one. This can also be a great way to give full-time care a trial run before making any long-term decisions. You can even find in-home senior care providers to spend some time with your loved one in the comfort of their own home.

Be Aware of Available Resources

Whether you’re looking to better understand different health problems and caregiving issues or the 2019 changes to Medicare Part D Coverage, you can find plenty of caregiver resources online. There are even programs to help pay for medications, including Simplefill prescription assistance. Apply for prescription help online today!

How to Pay for Prescriptions Without Insurance

How to Pay for Prescriptions Without Insurance

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Unfortunately, if you missed the Medicare and marketplace open enrollment for 2019, you might find yourself without health insurance for the upcoming year. We understand how scary it is to face medical issues during a period of being uninsured, which is why we’re committed to helping you out during this trying time. If you’re without insurance and unable to afford your medication, here are some steps you can take for prescription help.

Ask About Generic Prescription Options

Wondering how to pay for prescriptions without insurance? One way to save money on prescription medication is by requesting generic options. Just like when you shop at the grocery store, generic prescription options are often more affordable than their name-brand counterparts. While the prices are different, they frequently have the exact same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. If you decide to use a prescription assistance program like Simplefill, we’ll even help you do the research to find affordable generic prescription options.

Sign Up for a Prescription Assistance Program

With or without insurance, Simplefill’s Prescription Assistance Program can help you afford your medications. Because we understand how complicated it can be to navigate the healthcare system, we do everything we can to simplify your experience. Not only do we take the time to learn about your specific medical and financial situation, but we take care of all the research and paperwork in order find the best possible option for you.

What to Expect from Simplefill

  • We research your situation and work with you to complete applications for any available prescription assistance programs, discount brand drug programs, discount generic drug programs, and/or available grant funding.
  • We help research alternative medications that serve the same purpose but have a lower price tag.
  • Depending on your specific illness, we help you research and apply for alternative funding programs, including government grants.
  • If you’re eligible, we can help you enroll in the Social Security Extra Help Program.
  • We assign you an advocate who monitors your medications and eligibility in the programs and continues to provide support even after the medication is received.

If you suffer from a chronic disease like cancer, HIV, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or depression and are having trouble affording your prescriptions for any reason at all, start an application online or call us at 1.877.386.0206. A Simplefill Advocate will respond within 24 hours.

4 Tips for Dealing With Chronic Medical Issues While on Medicare

4 Tips for Dealing With Chronic Medical Issues While on Medicare

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Dealing with medical issues is always challenging but coping with a chronic illness is especially difficult. These four tips for dealing with chronic diseases while on Medicare can help you live your happiest, healthiest life.

Choose the Right Medicare Plan

The Medicare system can be confusing, and the internet is full of misinformation about how Medicare works and what it covers. When choosing your Medicare plan, be sure to check information against the official U.S. Government Site for Medicare to ensure that you’re getting the right information. That said, no one should be denied Medicare coverage based on a pre-existing, chronic condition, and if you’re having trouble securing coverage related to a chronic medical issue, there are people who can help. Groups like the Center for Medicare Advocacy can help answer your questions about Medicare coverage and skilled coverage, as well as helping you choose the right Medicare plan for your health journey.

Ask Doctors for Written Instructions

Especially if you have a chronic condition, it can be hard to keep track of changing treatment plans, medication schedules, and lifestyle instructions. Asking for written instructions from your doctor prevents confusion and ensures that you have the information you need to make smart medical decisions. It can also be reassuring for family members who might not be able to attend a doctor’s visit with you.

Take Small Steps Toward Better Habits

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks.” But just because you’ve developed bad health habits doesn’t mean you’re doomed to repeat them. Small changes can make a big difference, especially when it comes to chronic conditions, and it’s much easier to commit to a small habit change than a large one. Think about your health challenges and find low commitment habits that might help. You might, for example, try to take a short walk after dinner or make a certain day of the week “dessert free.” You can work toward bigger lifestyle changes in the future but starting small will help keep you from getting overwhelmed or discouraged.

Take Advantage of Prescription Assistance Services

Especially when you’re suffering from a chronic condition, it’s so important to consistently take any medications that have been prescribed to you. Still, millions of Americans are forced to ignore doctor’s orders because they can’t afford the medication they need. Even with the closing of the Medicare Part D Donut Hole Coverage Gap, you may still find yourself in need of Medicare prescription help, either because your co-pays are too high or because your medication is not covered by Medicare. Using a prescription assistance program like Simplefill can help you afford the medication you need to treat your chronic illness.

If you’re having trouble affording your prescriptions for any reason at all, start an application online or call us at 1.877.386.0206 and a Simplefill Advocate will respond within 24 hours.

How to Find Help with the Cost of ADHD Medication

How to Find Help with the Cost of ADHD Medication

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According to the American Psychiatric Association, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects an estimated 8.4 percent of children and 2.5 percent of adults. October is ADHD awareness month, and here at Simplefill, our prescription assistance program is dedicated to helping with the cost of ADHD medication for children and adults.

In fact, our Pediatric Assistance Program can even help with non-prescription medical expenses, including counseling services for children with ADHD. Here’s what you need to know about ADHD, its treatment, and how Simplefill can help.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a mental disorder that typically manifests as trouble remaining still and/or a short attention span. Because it mimics typical childhood behaviors, it’s important to remember that these symptoms must be serious enough to cause distress or problems functioning at home or school. There are three types of ADHD: inattentive type, hyperactive/impulsive type, or combined type, which is some combination of the two.

Inattentive Type ADHD symptoms can include: trouble paying attention to details, repeatedly making careless mistakes, problems staying focused on tasks, trouble paying attention to people while they’re speaking, trouble following directions, problems organizing tasks, avoiding tasks that require long-term mental effort, frequently losing important objects, etc.

Hyperactive/Impulsive Type ADHD symptoms can include: fidgeting, tapping, and squirming, running and climbing during inappropriate times, an inability to be quiet, talking too much, blurting out answers or finishing other people’s sentences, trouble taking turns, frequently interrupting others, etc.

ADHD Medications Available with Simplefill Prescription Assistance

The cost of ADHD medication can be incredibly expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance. That’s why Simplefill prescription assistance offers low cost options for the following prescriptions for ADHD:

  • Vyvnase
  • Focalin
  • Concerta
  • Intuniv
  • Strattera
  • Quillivant XR
  • Quillichew ER

How Our Pediatric Assistance Program Can Help with ADHD Treatment

If your child has a chronic or life-altering condition like ADHD, our Pediatric Assistance Program can help! If you meet the income and diagnosis guidelines, Simplefill can help get funding up to $5,000 for nearly all medical expenses, including help with prescription drug co-pays, help paying for related counseling services, and help with other out-of-pocket costs that are associated with your child’s specific diagnosis.

At Simplefill, we work hard to help with medicine costs for the people who need it most. Whether you’re looking for discount prescriptions without insurance or help paying for unaffordable co-pays, Simplefill may be able to help relieve some of the financial burden. For help with paying for ADHD medication, insulin, or other eligible prescriptions, start a prescription assistance application online or give us a call at 1.877.386.0206 to find out if you qualify.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2019 Changes to Medicare Part D Coverage

Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2019 Changes to Medicare Part D Coverage

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Medicare plans and health insurance coverage can be confusing. Here’s a breakdown of what Medicare Part D is and what changes are in store for 2019.

What Does Medicare Part D Cover?

Medicare Part D is Medicare’s prescription drug coverage. It has its own list of drugs that are covered, which is called a formulary. Drugs are then placed in different tiers, which have different costs and coverages.

Medicare Part D Deductible Changes for 2019

In January 2019, the Medicare Part D deductible will vary. In some plans the deductible will go from $10 to $415. This means that you must pay $415 before Medicare begins to pay its share of the prescription cost.

Medicare Part D Initial Coverage Limit Changes for 2019

The Medicare Part D initial coverage will go from $3,750 to $3,820 beginning on January 1, 2019.  Once you and your prescription plan have hit $3,820 in 2019 for covered drugs, you’ve reached the Medicare “donut hole.” In the donut hole coverage gap, your prescription coverage is temporarily limited until you reach your out-of-pocket threshold.

Medicare “Donut Hole” Changes for 2019

With the Affordable Care Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, Medicare is trying to close the “donut hole” coverage gap. Beginning in 2019, Medicare Part D enrollees will now receive a 75% discount on the total cost of their brand name drugs purchased between their Initial Coverage and their Out-of-Pocket Threshold.

Medicare Part D Out-of-Pocket Threshold Changes for 2019

In 2019, the out-of-pocket threshold will increase from $5,000 to $5,100. This is the amount of money you must pay to exit the Medicare “donut hole.” In other words, once you’ve payed $5,100 for prescriptions through your plan, you begin your catastrophic coverage benefit.

Medicare Part D Catastrophic Coverage Benefit Changes for 2019

In 2019, the minimum cost-sharing once you’ve met your out-of-pocket threshold of ($5,100) will increase to either 5% or $3.40 for generic or preferred multi-source druga, or to either 5% or $8.50 for all other drugs.

How Can Simplefill Help Those Who Can’t Afford Their Prescriptions?

Simplefill prescription assistance can often help people in the “donut hole” coverage gap, people who are uninsured, people whose copay is unaffordable, or people whose medication isn’t covered. If you’re having trouble affording your prescriptions for any reason at all, start an application online or call us at 1.877.386.0206 and a Simplefill Advocate will respond within 24 hours.

 

Suicide Prevention Week: 4 Things You Need to Know About Crisis Intervention & Support

Suicide Prevention Week: 4 Things You Need to Know About Crisis Intervention & Support

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Note: If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

September 9-15 is National Suicide Prevention Week, which is why we’re outlining a few tips for how you can help prevent suicide throughout the year.

1.    Know the Warning Signs

While there’s no single cause for suicide, there are prominent warning signs to look out for if you suspect someone might be suicidal.

  • Negative talk, including making comments about wanting to die, expressing overwhelming hopelessness, stating that they have no reason to live, expressing concern that they’re a burden to others, or referring to unbearable pain
  • A sudden change of behavior, including increased drinking and drug use, researching methods for suicide, preoccupation with violence and death, withdrawing from people and activities, sleep pattern changes, doing risky or self-destructive things, giving away prized possessions, contacting people to say goodbye
  • Moodiness or frequently displaying negative emotions, including depression, anxiety, irritability, shame, anger, or sudden improvement or relief
  • Environmental and historical factors, including prolonged stress, financial crisis, exposure to another person’s suicide, previous suicide attempts, a family history of suicide, or childhood abuse

2.  Ask Hard Questions

If you suspect someone might be suicidal, one good course of action is to ask them if they are considering suicide. By being direct, you’ll communicate that you’re willing to discuss suicide in a supportive, unbiased, and non-judgmental way. You can also ask the individual how they’re hurting and how you can help. While it can be hard to hear about other’s pain, it’s important to listen to their specific answers and help them focus on their own reasons for living, not your personal reasons for living.

3.  Remove Immediate Threats

Once you know that someone is suffering from suicidal ideation, it’s important to find out if they’re in immediate danger. You can do this by asking if they’ve already done anything to try to kill themselves, if they’ve determined how they would kill themselves, if there is a specific time they’re planning on doing it, and if they’ve already taken steps toward this goal. Studies have shown that if you can reduce a suicidal person’s access to their intended method, you can drastically decrease their chances of killing themselves by that method, and even other methods.

4. Provide Helpful Options

For many, financial hardship or a lack of insurance creates another barrier for seeking help. If someone you know is suffering from depression or suicidal ideation, try providing a list of therapy options or detailed information about anti-depressants that might benefit their condition. Even small barriers, like having to make a phone call to schedule the appointment, might prevent them from seeking help. So, if you’re able, offer to do so for them.

Financial concerns can be another barrier to seeking help. At Simplefill, we’re committed to making prescribed medications more affordable to our members. Some Simplefill eligible medications, including Cymbalta, Pristiq, Trintellix, Biibryd, Fetzima, and Symbyax can be helpful in treating depression. Just knowing how Simplefill works can help reassure individuals who are afraid they shouldn’t seek treatment because it isn’t financially viable.

 

The Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation

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Are you raising your own children and caring for aging parents? If so, you are part of an ever-growing group called the Sandwich Generation. The sandwich generation is typically people in their thirties or forties, responsible for bringing up their own children while at the same time, responsible for the care of their aging parents.  While this generation is probably well-versed in summer camps, daycares, and immunization schedules, they may also be familiar with topics like Medicare, Long-Term Care Insurance, or how to prepare for a decline in their parents’ independence. If thinking about all of that is enough to send you running for the hills, don’t. Knowledge, in this situation as in most every situation, is power and peace of mind.

The Sandwich Generation is rapidly growing as the number of people over the age of 65 is set to double over the next 25 years. Being a member of that generation means you are taking care of the people in your life who matter the most, but it comes at a cost, both financial and personal.

There are a number of things you can do to prepare for this potential situation and to reduce your stress load.

Take care of yourself. You need to sleep, eat well, exercise, and remember to laugh. Caretaking takes a heavy toll and if you are taking care of your kids as well as your parents, you’re getting hit by a double whammy.

If your parents are still able to manage their finances, you don’t know that they always will be. Talk with them about their finances and be sure to understand what they have, how they have it managed, and if they will need long-term care, how it will be paid for.

Educate yourself about Medicare. It’s an alphabet soup with Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D and you’ll want to know what your parents have and what they don’t.

  • Part A covers hospitalization, some skilled nursing facility and home health care, and hospice. Both your parents get this coverage free even if only one of them worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years.
  • Part B covers doctor’s care, lab tests, screenings and preventive services. Your parents will usually pay a monthly premium for this coverage.
  • Part C, also called Medicare Advantage, consists of Medicare-approved plans offered by private insurers that include Medicare Part A and Part B coverage in one package. Some plans also include coverage of prescription drugs.
  • Part D is the Medicare prescription drug benefit plan that your parents can purchase if they are eligible for Medicare. 
The need for help with transportation, growing hospital and medication expenses, and extra homecare increases substantially as we age. Learn about programs that are available for people juggling caretaking on both ends. 
  • Getting Around: Sometimes your aging parent just needs help getting around. Well, there’s an app for that and an app you are most likely familiar with—UBER or LYFT.  If you’re shuttling kids from soccer practice to friends’ houses, you probably can’t take your parent to every appointment. The use of these ride services among seniors is steadily increasing and helping many seniors get to doctor appointments, the grocery store, or invaluable social time with family or friends. One of the worst things for an elderly person’s state of mind can be feeling isolated or stuck. Ride services like Uber or Lyft can help alleviate that isolation and the pressure on the caregiver. See this article on senior.com about using Uber to care for elders.
  • Affording Medications: Getting sticker shock at the pharmacy when picking up your folks medications? Simplefill , the leading prescription assistance company, is here for you. As we age, our medication needs can grow exponentially and managing costs can be overwhelming for the entire family. A prescription assistance company like Simplefill helps patients find ways of affording their increased medication expenses. Simplefill is a service that is easy to use is well known for their customer care. Just call to talk to a service representative and she will walk you through the process.
  • Home Care or Assisted Living: There are reputable companies that can give you help in the home if your parent isn’t ready for a nursing home yet. Home Instead and A Place for Mom are two companies helping the sandwich gen care for their parents.

It’s stressful answering the needs of young children or teenagers while juggling the needs of an aging parent. It can feel like a never-ending battle. Remember to take joy in having your family around—at whatever stage of life. Know that you are able to give back to your parents all the love and support they gave to you. And know that you’re teaching your own children that we do what we can for our family.