One of the biggest issues solo agers face when living alone is, "who do I discuss medical and legal issues with?" It's not like we have a person in the other room to ask for an opinion or tap for advice.
Even a study (550 participants in the Elder Orphan Facebook Group) confirms that the high ratio of solo seniors have no one to discuss concerns:
Being a solo senior, I don't have quick and easy access to another person's input about my health, nutrition, or legal matters. I could call my doctor's office and schedule a visit but it takes a month to get in. Not good if I just want a follow up visit, or get professional advice to help me think through a decision or treatment plan.
And if I have a non-emergency question or simply want a second opinion about a health care matter, I rely on the web for answers. However, a search engine isn't the same as getting information from a live expert or professional.
So, I did more research about my Medicare Advantage Plan. I learned that the Humana plan offers access to an on-demand doctor visit without leaving the house. The visit takes place using a smart phone, tablet, or computer 24 hours a day. The problem, it costs $30 out-of-pocket per visit. And $75 if the health care plan doesn't offer the added perk (service.)
That's why I subscribe to the Family Caregiver Benefit Plan. I have enjoyed the features and what it helps me accomplish -- get quick access for a second opinion from a real physician. I've enjoyed it so much that I've decided to sell the plan.
But first let me illustrate what the plan has done for me and why I promote it.
One of my biggest health concerns is my constant eczema (inflammation) flare up. It's my belief that inflammation is the strongest offender causing the eczema. I'm not a doctor, but the web and other medical information points to it.
I have seen 3 dermatologists in the past 3 years, plus, I've asked my primary physician several times what can I do to remedy the eczema problem.
It's been frustrating for the lack of advice and treatments.
So, instead of paying out of pocket and co-pays to specialty doctors like dermatologists, I took my eczema issue to the plan for advice (second opinion) from a doctor. Communications are done via email and usually takes up to 3 to 4 hours max for an answer.
Here's my question and what I received, now you decide. Is it worth $5.00 a month?
Received: 8/28/2019 11:53:00 AM
A dermatologist diagnosed eczema as my skin condition. One dermatologist prescribed Clobetasol, a very strong steroid, while another recommended using CeraVe healing ointment which has helped remedy the issue for two years, however CeraVe is no longer effective. I started using Clobetasol again (used once) - I hesitate using because it is a strong steroid. Can you recommend another solution by chance? Thank you.
Dear Ms. Marak, Can you tell me what parts of your body is affected? Is it more on your arms, hands, face, etc.? Do you have any open areas that are bleeding or draining, or just the red, scaly patches, or red bumps? Have you tried any other moisturizing treatments besides the CeraVe?
Received: 9/10/2019 8:25:00 AM (through my own fault, I failed to respond right away)
Subject: RE: Eczema
Thank you for the response and sorry for my delay getting back to you. My face (in small areas) are affected, plus the heels of my feet (more so.) No open areas - or bleeding, just red, scaly patches and red bumps. CeraVe is the only one I've tried and it's worked until recently. What others do you recommend?
Thanks for the additional information. I would suggest a few things for you to try. I like Cetaphil moisturizing cream. I would try that instead of the CeraVe since that is no longer working for you. You can use it several times a day if you want, but it is not really that convenient, so probably twice a day is more realistic. For your face, try some hydrocortisone 1% cream once a day on the affected spots. This is a steroid cream, but it is very mild, and is fine to use on the face. Once it seems to be improving somewhat, then you could try using it about 3 times a week, then if it is still doing well, go down to once a week. Once a day, drape a warm, wet wash cloth over your face and allow it to rest there for about 10 minutes. This can be a good time to practice some relaxation as well! When you take it off, immediately apply the Cetaphil cream to the area. You could put the hydrocortisone cream on then as well, just put it on before the Cetaphil if you are doing both. For your heels, I am going to recommend a whole process that may sound strange, but it will work! You will need the following supplies: Gauze wrap bandages (the 3 inch size works well), Any brand of cling wrap that you have in the kitchen, Hydrocortisone ointment (if you can't find the ointment, cream will be fine), Cetaphil cream A pair of socks that are not slippery on the bottom, so that you can wear them safely to walk around the house. Here is the process: Soak your feet in warm water for about 5-10 minutes at a time, shortly before bedtime. You can do this by running a shallow tub or use a pan with water in it. Pat them dry gently, then apply hydrocortisone ointment to any area that is affected. After that, apply a very liberal amount of the Cetaphil cream. Put it on thick and don't worry if it all rubs in or not. It is actually better to have so much that it won't all rub in. Take your gauze wrap bandage, run it under the tap to get it wet, then squeeze it so that it is wet but not dripping. Wrap one around each foot, primarily around the heels if that is where the problem is worst. Then wrap the cling film around the gauze, covering it entirely. It should stick to itself, so you don't need any tape. Put your socks on over the cling film. Leave that on overnight, and take it off in the morning. You can reuse the gauze several times if you want, as long as it is not getting blood or dirt on it. After one week, you should see dramatic improvement. If you don't, you should see your doctor for evaluation. If you are seeing improvement, then you can again, decrease the frequency of going through this whole process. I know it is time consuming. You should be able to get down to doing it once a week easily, over time. You can do this on arms, legs, feet, hands. It is harder to do on the hands without help! But you can alternate and do one hand each night. My son has eczema, so I have tried many treatments, and this is the best treatment that we have tried for the extremities with the least exposure to steroids. Try it and let me know how it works for you.
A week before, I had contacted my primary care physician -- and here's her advice:
----- Message -----
From: Carol Marak
Sent: 8/28/2019 11:39 AM CDT
To: My Primary Care Physician, Dr. Caryn R.
Subject: Other (Not Refill Related)
Hi Dr. R, I have eczema and have been using Cerave healing ointment per dermatologist instructions however, on the worst place, my foot heel, CeraVe isn't working that well anymore. Do you have any suggestions or recommend seeing another dermatologist? I can send a photo of the breakout if necessary.
All that in the last 2 months and for only $5.00 a month.
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