Q: I am researching long-term care and have encountered the term “activities of daily living.” Can you provide a list of these activities and a definition of each?

A: “Activities of daily living” are the basic personal activities each of us must perform daily. The list typically includes bathing, dressing, eating, continence, toileting, transferring and ambulating.

Bathing is defined as having the ability to wash oneself on a routine basis in the tub, shower or by sponge bath.

Dressing is the ability to put on and take off all garments and medically necessary braces or artificial limbs.

Eating is the ability to get nourishment into the body by any means once it has been prepared and made available.

Continence is defined as the ability to control bowel and bladder functions and maintain a reasonable level of personal hygiene.

Toileting is the ability to get and from the toilet without assistance.

Transferring is the ability to move into and out of a bed or chair and ambulating refers to a person’s ability to move about the home.

The need to discuss these activities comes into play when a care plan is being prepared for someone who needs assisted or long-term care.

Q: I retired before age 65 and have health care benefits from my employer. Will this be considered a Medicare supplement when I go on Medicare?

A: Since you are not yet 65 your employer-provided health care benefit is your primary coverage. When you turn 65 and go on Medicare these benefits, if they continue into retirement, could become your secondary coverage. They may or may not provide the same benefits as a Medicare supplemental plan.

Employer retirement plans are not the same as the state-regulated supplemental plans known as Medigap policies. They do not necessarily provide the same services since coverage depends on the contract between the employer and the insurer. Coverage will also vary depending upon whether the plan is a fee-for-service or managed care type plan.

To determine the adequacy of the coverage ask the following questions. What will the plan pay after Medicare has paid? Does the plan pay for services Medicare does not cover? Will the plan cover you if you move out of the area? Is the plan guaranteed renewable? Are there annual or lifetime limits on benefits? Do you have a choice of plans? What is the ongoing cost to you?

If your spouse is under 65 and covered by your retirement plan you will need to determine if that coverage continues after you reach 65 and your coverage becomes secondary.

Read your benefits booklet or health care policy carefully because these types of plans are changing rapidly. For all unresolved questions about your employer’s coverage call your employer’s human resources department.


Tuesday: Empowered Caregiver Series presentation “Retirement Planning: Paying the Bills when the Paychecks Stop,” 5:30-7 p.m. at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call 497-0189.

June 3: The Thousand Oaks Council on Aging meeting presentation “The Answer’s Clear – Volunteer,” 1 p.m. in the boardroom at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. For information call 381-7362.

June 4: Senior of the Year dinner and award ceremony, 5:30 p.m. at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $6 and available at the Goebel Center. For information call 381-7362.

June 7: Senior Concerns Love Run 10K, 5K and 1 mile run/walk at 3011 Townsgate Road in Westlake Village. For information call 497-0189.

June 9: “Will You Pass Your Next Driving Test?” seminar, 1:30-3 p.m. at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi in Simi Valley. For reservations call 583-6363.

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