The Cost of Long Term Care

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Decrease the number of years in long term care by replacing hormones.

This episode of the BioBalance Healthcast podcast delves into the cost of long term care for our aging population. As people age, the burden of care falls on families. With hormone replacement therapy administered earlier in life, we can offset disease and aging symptoms so that we can stay healthier longer into our old age. This keeps us out of nursing facilities and hospitals possibly until only the last couple of years of life.

Transcription

Cost of Long Term Care, BioBalance Healthcast 76
with Dr. Kathy Maupin andBrett Newcomb
Recorded on March 28, 2012
Podcast published to the internet on April 28, 2012

Dr. Kathy Maupin: Welcome to BioBalance Healthcast. Iʼm Dr. Kathy Maupin.

Brett Newcomb: And I’m Brett Newcomb and today we’re going to talk about long term care and the cost of long term care and why it’s important, obviously, to delay long term care questions in your life for as long as you can. In the previous podcast we talked about the cost savings that can accrue for bioidentical healthcare hormone replacement. And just to summarize it in case you don’t want to go back and watch all that, roughly for the cost of a Starbucks a day for women and a Starbucks a day and a donut for men you can receive BioBalance Healthcare hormone replacement treatment and that’s just the monetary cost. The non-monetary cost, at least immediately non-monetary cost, are improvements in the quality of your health and quality of your life. And Kathy’s going to talk about a list of specific things that are typical for both men and women in terms of benefit gains, in terms of the way they feel, issues they no longer have or issues they avoid developing because in a timely way they obtained these treatments.

KM: When patients have taken BioBalance pellets, estrogen and testosterone, for a long term, more than a year, several years, they develop benefits in their future health. Your bones get stronger, loss of osteoporosis. Not only do you save the money you would have on a medicine for osteoporosis, but you also improve your bones so that when you’re 90 you’ll be standing straight up. Because the lack of osteoporosis, people don’t really think about that. Why are people over like this? Well, there are two reasons people are using walkers to walk. Three, actually. First is their bones are thin and they feel frail to themselves and their bones kind of become kythotic, they look down to the ground, and that has to do with thin bones. Keeping your bones thick is very important to staying independent, staying healthy. The next thing is muscle strength. Your muscles hold your bones straight and give tension to your bones which is very important. And also muscles keep you standing straight up and make you able to walk. Muscles are from testosterone so you absolutely have to have testosterone to keep your muscles strength. What we see nowadays are people who have not had testosterone, they’re all leaning over or using their walkers or wheel chairs because they don’t have enough muscle strength. The third thing is balance. So the third thing has to do with maintaining your body so that you can be independent, walk, do things until the last day of your life, has to do with your balance. Because if you’re always falling over your going to break something or hurt something. Balance is important and testosterone provides balance for people. It’s one of those unusual things.

BN: Because it causes muscle strength. Muscle mass and muscle strength.

KM: And balance in your inner ear.

BN: And balance in your inner ear.

KM: So that’s one of the big things to keeping people out of nursing homes, out of hospitals, and keeping them healthy and not having them have the costs of depending on a child. None of us, unless you’re unusual and I’ve never met you, wants to have their child wheeling them around in a wheel chair.

BN: Yea well sometimes I’m a little masochistic and think that my son deserves to pay for me when I’m older.

KM: Well I can counsel you on that.

BN: Yes.

KM: I never want my daughter to have to do that and I don’t think any of our parents that we now take care of that are now in nursing homes wanted us to have to do that. And that’s another thing we are trying to prevent by maintaining hormonal balance. Another thing is our brains. The minute testosterone leaves in women we can’t remember names, things, anything and when we get our testosterone back we can remember just like we used to remember at 35. So it also gives you a long term effect of not getting you dementia or Alzheimer’s. It delays those for 20 more years.

BN: So if you’re genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s this can intedict that for a number of years?

KM: Yes, actually it just postpones it. But the goal is to postpone it past the time you are going to die from something else. So you never get it, but that’s another reason people are in nursing homes.

BN: So they can all sit around and say at least she didn’t die from Alzheimer’s.

KM: At least they didn’t have to watch her lose her personality while she died of Alzheimer’s, which is a horrible death because nobody even knows who you are.

BN: Lights are on but nobody’s home.

KM: Right, it’s not like you’re taking care of your parent anymore either, because we’ve gone through this. It’s like you’re taking care of a stranger because they don’t know you and you don’t know them and they act totally different than that parent did. And it’s so sad.

BN: Right. They go through anger and depression and fear.

KM: And fear because they may get a flash of knowledge and then they look at you like “I know who you are now” and then “I forgot”.

BN: And they’re afraid because they don’t know where things are.

KM: Well they can’t live alone, I mean that’s the biggest problem because people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia have to be cared for. So these are the things that maintaining your hormonal balance helps prevent even if you have a family history. Even if you don’t have a family history of it, if you live long enough you’re going to get some form of dementia. That’s just the vessels in your brain are going to get tiny.

BN: You’re going to get senile.

KM: You get senile. We’ve talked about dementia and Alzheimer’s before. Testosterone is also a good treatment or prevention for Parkinson’s. It maintains the neurotransmitters so that Parkinson’s doesn’t happen as early so they lump that into dementias but it’s not exactly a dementia. There’s also muscle loss with Parkinson’s. So in any case that’s an old age disease so we’re trying to prevent that. Our hearts are stronger so we are less likely to be incapacitated by heart attacks.

BN: What about things like cancer?

KM: Well everybody who is going to get cancer eventually has some kind of a genetic trigger or problem that’s waiting for some kind of environmental trigger to turn it on, or for you to lose, , testosterone because testosterone improves your immune system. Often times cancers will happen because your immune system is suppressed by stress or it’s suppressed by chemicals or it’s suppressed by some other illness that caused you to take a medication that suppressed your immune system. They always happen years before we find them but it’s that one cell that got loose and didn’t get caught up by your immune system. So it’s really more of an immune problem than it is cancer isolated. It’s a poor immune system. So I watch people with testosterone replacement improve their white count, improve their bone marrow response to illness. They usually get better faster form viruses.

BN: Human growth hormones.

KM: Well testosterone improves human growth hormones so that does help that. But testosterone alone stimulates the T cells ,your white cells, the T cells that kill viruses and cancers as well as bacteria. So you get better faster. I mean I haven’t been as sick as I was prior to replacing my testosterone. Except when I was in my 30’s I was never sick and I was around sick people all the time. So that’s another thing. Auto immune disorders that debilitate people starting usually in their 40’s, testosterone goes down and the immune system hyper reacts. So testosterone is kind of a modulator. It either makes the immune system go back to normal by increasing it or if it’s hyper reactive it brings it back to normal.

BN: So what you’re painting is a picture of life potential without hormone replacement, including all of these horrific things. Not everybody gets all of them but everybody gets some of them and none of them are very good, are very comfortable as the quality of life begins to deteriorate. We all know elderly people, relatives, friends, people at church, whatever, who become reclusive that become fragile that become angry and frightened that begin to avoid engaging in life because physically/emotionally they can’t do it anymore.

KM: If you can’t speak and have someone understand you and have to hunt for words all the time it’s embarrassing. So out of embarrassment you may be a recluse. The things I was describing are all the reasons that the present aging population, over 70 now, is debilitated is because they don’t have these things and these are things that the hormones provide and it’s why we don’t have these things when we’re younger. Our hormones are working. When they stop working then we stop making all the proteins and blood cells and protection that we had our whole lives. So if we can replace that and stop it. I mean it’s a huge thing to stop this in action and rebuild everything, rebuild your muscles, rebuild your bones, rebuild your heart. One of my patients, God love him, and we won’t mind that I say Tom, Tom had a terrible heart attack he had only been on pellets a short time but he had felt better. But he had a heart attack anyway, he had arthrosclerosis and his heart muscle was damaged and he asked his cardiologist who then called me, if he could take his testosterone because testosterone made him feel better and made him be able to walk more and exercise and recover and so his cardiologist and I talked and I gave him all the medical information on testosterone and he told him that he thought it would help his heart muscle but not to expect too much because his heart muscle was never going to be better than 20%, 20% of what he’d been before. So he was devastated but Tom’s not the kind to let things stop him especially when he’s on testosterone, he’s the same old guy he was when he was 30. So he just did everything he was supposed to, rehab and everything and now his heart is actually back to normal and his cardiologist is stunned, stunned, and he can do everything including having sex which makes him very happy.

BN: Has the Cardiologist made an appointment with you yet?

KM: No the cardiologist is younger the cardiologist doesn’t need it yet, he’s making his own.

BN: But he’ll put it in his tickler file.

KM: Yeah, probably does. He’ll be sending me some patients.

BN: Actually I was talking to a physician the other day that knows you and he was laughing, because he and his wife are getting to the point where they’re beginning to discuss coming to see you and he’s been referring to you for years but hasn’t needed it. And now he’s saying “I’m aware enough that I think I need to go and see her.”

KM: Yes you should see the lights come on in my office when all the patients are sitting in the waiting room and I come out and say “Dr. blank come on in let’s talk.” And they go, because, we’re never dressed like doctors, white coats, when we’re in a waiting room. They don’t mind because they’re listening to all these women that are so much happier, they’re just getting their refills. So we are talking about prevention of all the things that cost money both to us as patients and money to the healthcare system. And that’s huge in this day and age, we’re looking for ways to save money so if we were all to have the hormones replaced I believe we would have less of these illnesses, less drugs, less everything, less nursing home care, let’s talk about nursing home care. Because I’ve had three parents that have had to use nursing homes and it is very expensive. From independent care which in the Midwest is like $3,500 a month to full care which in the Midwest has almost gotten to $7,000 a month and that’s food, that’s care.

BN: So independent care being you have an apartment or something and you live and somebody comes in and checks on you but you basically fix your own meals or some of your meals?

KM: Well some places you can fix your own meals, they usually have kitchens or something like that, and some places you go down to group dining.

BN: But somebody comes in and makes sure you haven’t fallen in the bathtub.

KM: Right there’s always somebody there, you can pull a cord and somebody will come up and help you.

BN: And full term care?

KM: Full term.

BN: Almost like being in the hospital?

KM: Yes almost being in the hospital, it’s a patient nurse doctor situation, and it’s not nearly as comfortable as home. Nobody would really wish that on anyone. But the cost of that is huge. It’s $6,500, lets go on the $6,500 amount, and I think we figured that was $66,000 a year.

BN: So if you live three years like that, that’s 200 grand.

KM: Right, who has 200 grand they want to dump on a nursing home when you can’t even remember who you are? And I always hear this, even our parents, “I want to be home, I want to be home.” They don’t know where home is, maybe. One had a problem with thinking. My dad is currently living and he doesn’t have any problem remembering where home is. But I can’t take care of him. And so it’s a full time job and he needs to be in a place like that and he needs to have three meals a day that are there waiting for him, and he needs to have nursing care. So I don’t want that.

BN: My wife’s grandmother lived with us the last couple of years and instead of putting her in full time care my wife actually quit her job and stayed home to take care and it was a full time job for her. So much so that she got so exhausted that we had to hire somebody to come in at night just to be there.

KM: I actually wouldn’t advise anyone taking care of someone full time, 24/7, because the person that’s the care taker always gets sick. And sometimes the caretaking wife or husband is the first to die rather than the person that is chronically ill. Statistics say that the caretaker will often die before the sick person and that is very upsetting to children who then have to step in and take care of everything.

BN: Especially today when we have people that are in their 50’s and 60’s who are looking at retiring and the end of their productive work life but they have parents who are in their 80’s and 90’s that are still alive and they’re trying to take care of. And some of those 50 and 60 year olds are debilitated because they haven’t done the things that you are talking about doing.

KM: Even if you take pellets, you can’t work 24/7, that’s just not smart. You have to have a life. But this is the cost that we’re trying to avoid. If you can delay it as long as possible, if we can delay nursing home care to the last year of our lives, I mean my mother in law was in a nursing home for 7 years, I mean 7 years, multiply that out. And she was mostly at the highest end of care. So medicine’s made us live longer, now we need to learn to live smarter so that we can stay independent and so we can stay out of our children’s lives. We’re all living so long that we’re going to have several generations that are starting to get debilitated unless we take care of this. So my goal is to never have my patients end up in a nursing home unless it’s for rehabilitation from an auto accident or something that can’t be avoided. The cost of nursing homes you have to consider when you’re considering keeping your muscles and bones healthy.

BN: Yes, because you’re getting to the age where you‘re having to calculate what are my resources for providing quality of life for the remainder of life whatever that’s going to be. And if you have to factor in long term care insurance or long term costs.

KM: Well let’s factor in long term care insurance. Because.

BN: You can try to cover yourself that way as well but that costs a lot of money too.

KM: Right and it doesn’t cover everything it covers a certain amount of money and by the time inflation hits who knows what it’ll be when we need it. But long term care insurance is about $120,000 per person and if you’re a couple that’s $240,000 that you usually they have a 10 year pay or you pay, if you’re younger than I was when I bought it, then you pay for a longer period of time. For you who are looking at it now who are younger than 50, then you could probably have less than a thousand dollar a month payment but that’s what ours is each.

BN: Yes, it’s one of the newer products in the last 15 years that has the population bubble of baby boomers starts to age people begin to develop products and service they need. And long term care insurance. When my parents were young there was no such thing it wasn’t available. and nobody thought about it. You just got old and died.

KM: Interestingly enough, we have the fear of nursing homes, none of us wants to be there, and we have the cost of nursing homes. So there are two benefits you can avoid possibly by being as healthy as you can and that means replacing your hormones, especially testosterone. The other thing is hospitalization, your hospitalization is going to decrease because you’re not going to have as many critical illness because your immune system is better, your heart is better, you’re going to recover from your heart better. What are you thinking about?

BN: I’m thinking about the old Fran oil filter commercial, where the mechanic says you know for the Fran oil filter you pay me $7 now or replace your engine for $700. You know you can pay me now or you can pay me later. You’re saying Bioblance Health costs x but it can save y. And Benjamin Franklin said in Poor Richards Almanac “a penny saved is a penny earned.” So if we can save all this money that we don’t ever have to spend than that money is available for us to live a better quality of life, to travel.

KM: And have more fun, play golf, go to the beach, I mean that’s the kind of stuff we should be doing.

BN: And feel better, whatever you’re doing and that’s an incalculable costs.

KM: We have great healthcare in America in terms of treating illness, we have the best healthcare in the world. Hopefully they won’t mess it up.

BN: From a political side.

KM: Right hopefully what’s going on won’t mess it up. But right now people come to America to get health care. Where are they going to go if they mess it up? But we make people live longer. Now we need to turn to the next thing, because we can’t afford to make people live longer and worse. If you live to 100 and you’re in a nursing home for 20 years, that’s not success.

BN: Well, you get into those ethical questions about quality of life.

KM: Success is only if you’re with it and you’re well, so we need to preserve the part of medicine and pay those doctors who are taking care of illness but we also have to start preventing health problems and part of that is replacing hormones. And interestingly enough that’s something they don’t pay for, that and preventive care of other things, sadly and I never thought I’d be in this position, but I really wish they would assist patients in preventive care.

BN: Preventive care is becoming a mantra and if you exercise good preventative care you can potentially save all these costs emotional, financial, physical that are going to happen in your life if you don’t take care of yourself and if you don’t take these preventive measures.

KM: But you know some people are having to work until they’re 70 now. How can you work till you’re 70 if you’re exhausted because you don’t have any hormones? A lot of my patients have, before they came to see me, lost their jobs or said they were too tired to work, and they’ve retired. And now they feel great and they’re going back to being productive and making money for their retirement so they can enjoy their retirement instead of just survive. A lot of that, even if you’re in that interim age group, like we are, you can save your productivity and actually continue to earn money and save yourself all this other pain. A lot of this is priceless, like the MasterCard commercial, because part of it is as people we want to be independent, we want to think, we want to talk, we want to be social, we want to be able to see our grandchildren. I don’t just want to see my grandchildren I want to interact with them, carry them around. I don’t want to be so frail that I can’t carry a child, can’t pick them up, I can’t get down on the floor and play with them that would be so frustrating. So in this way I think we can help people, and it’s not a guarantee, I can work with helping people get there, a lot of it is diet and exercise, you have to work too.

BN: And genetics.

KM: And genetics, but I think we have something really big here that can help people really be able to live their lives longer and more productively. That’s what we need now in the U.S.

BN: So hopefully this conversation will stimulate you to think about where you life is going and how you want it to go, and if you are intrigued by what Kathy has to offer, go to her website and look at the information or call the office and ask questions or contact us directly. Kathy how do they do that?

KM: You can contact us at podcast@biobalancehealth.com or you can go to my website at BioBalanceHealth.com or you can call my office at 314.993.0963.

BN: And you can always reach me at BrettNewcomb.com.