Burial Insurance for Seniors
Burial Insurance for Seniors
Here, we will address burial insurance or funeral insurance for seniors. A lot of times we speak with clients or client’s children who are trying to wrap up loose ends upon dying. So this article should answer many of the common questions we get as well as provide information that will be valuable for anyone trying to find this type of coverage.
Finding the Best Burial [Whole Life Insurance] Policies for Seniors
For the purposes of this report, burial insurance and funeral insurance will be used synonymously. We are referring to small, affordable whole life insurance policies that cover burial costs and funeral expenses. We are NOT referring to pre-paid burial or funeral plans.
Thanks to a recent survey and related report, we now know that funeral costs continue to increase every day. Families are faced with the difficult task of saying goodbye to loved ones. Did you know that according to the National Funeral Directors’ Association – as of January 2017 the national median cost of an adult funeral with vault costs $8,343.00 with additional expenses? Additional expenses can include a cemetery plot. Many funerals exceed $10,000 and that’s before any outstanding debts or medical bills.
Planning your funeral requires a careful consideration of all your final needs. Consider how you want to be remembered, where your final resting place should be, whether you wish to be buried or cremated and what type of casket or urn you prefer. A funeral director will give you a list of the services and products that it provides. The value of your final expense life insurance policy should cover the expense of the package you choose, plus any additional costs.
The most basic, economical option is generally an immediate burial plan. An immediate plan may include a modest service at the graveside and a simple casket. The expense of a viewing is not included in most immediate burial policies. The costs of the plot, a headstone and flowers must be paid for separately and should be included in the estimate of your final expense.
A traditional full-service option, including a viewing, a hearse, a formal ceremony and entombment and cremation is more costly than an immediate or direct package. When you consider the costs of a package, you must take every extra expense into account in order to arrive at an accurate estimate of your financial expenses.
Planning for the Inevitable
When planning for final expenses, it is important to remember that funeral and burial costs are on the rise. Over the past 25 years, funeral costs have consistently increased. The average funeral cost today is $8,5081. Additional fees for the cemetery, monument, flowers, & obituaries can increase this cost to $14,858. Considering the average costs over the past 40 years and projecting out at 5% inflation per year, by 2030 the cost would be $18,276.
The Social Security Death Benefit only provides a lump sum benefit of $255 for those who qualify. As well as threatening the financial future of those left behind, the family members often don’t have a chance to grieve when trying to arrange the funeral and find money which can lead to mental health issues (think stress and anxiety) in the years to come.
However, there is a solution so that the loved ones left behind do not have to handle the financial side of the funeral – burial insurance for seniors. This may be for you or life insurance on someone else, such as a parent, grandparent or even an uncle.
Burial Insurance Overview
As soon as society classes you as a ‘senior’ and you haven’t got a life insurance policy in place; it is often too late. If you apply for life insurance as a senior, your age will work against you, and the premiums may be very expensive.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg because they will increase even more if you have any health problems. Sure, you could buy guaranteed issue life insurance but the cost would be too high, and the death benefit doesn’t activate for around two years. Therefore, another solution is required.
Many choose to go on with nothing in place at all. This isn’t a great solution if you want to avoid all the problems we discussed earlier. Therefore, more and more seniors are choosing to go for burial insurance which is a small, affordable, simplified issue whole life insurance policy.
This policy ensures that a dedicated amount of money will be available for a beneficiary in the form of a death benefit. When the policyholder dies, the money will be paid out tax-free and can be used towards medical bills, debts, funeral costs, and any other final expenses or burial costs that arise. Today, we have useful information for you on this topic including where to go and what policies are available.
Burial Insurance Considerations
Before you start researching the best burial insurance policies and companies, we believe that everyone should start with a simple piece of paper and a pen. Once you are ready, take some time to consider exactly what you need from a policy.
At first, your answer is likely to be simple – ‘I want my family to have money after I pass away.’ However, you need to think about how much coverage is needed. For this, you need to decide whether you want to be buried or cremated first and foremost. When planning your insurance, this decision will affect your policy because of the difference in cost between the two.
After this, you also need to think about burial location, funeral service, memorial service, casket, flowers, arrangements for the wake, etc. With all these expenses, it isn’t hard to see why funerals can be so costly, as well as why having a good final expense policy is important.
Although it may not be nice, you should sit down with family members to discuss these decisions. Once you know these details and your family has them clear in their minds, you can better understand the sort of coverage you require.
Burial Insurance Company Reviews
Before we head into the costs of burial insurance and many other factors, we will try to answer the question of ‘who provides the best burial insurance for seniors?’.
Nowadays, there are numerous companies on the market all suggesting that they offer the best coverage so what is the actual answer? In truth, it can be difficult because every single one of these companies has happy customers. Despite this, we are going to show you their A.M. Best ratings for finances as well as their options when it comes to burial insurance.
KSKJ Life Insurance offers a very competitive Whole Life product for applicants of all ages. Their whole life policies cover the policyholder for his/her entire life. The policy face amount is guaranteed and can be paid over a period of time depending on the policy. This policy is a great fit for individuals who need coverage for their entire life. The KSKJ Final Expense policy was designed for applicants between 45 and 85 years-old who are interested in covering their end-of-life expenses.
Losing a loved one is an extremely difficult experience. Picking up the pieces while dealing with the accompanying emotions can be stressful. There are also many expenses associated with death that can, on average, exceed $8,500.
Without a final expense life insurance policy, most families have a hard time coming up with these funds quickly. Final expense life insurance can save families from having to withdraw from their savings or sell precious assets to come up with the necessary funds required to bury a loved one.
Golden Eagle Final Expense is a permanent whole life insurance policy available as a simplified issue or as a graded death benefit. The simplified issue product is for issue ages 50 to 85 with a minimum death benefit of $2,500 to a maximum of $25,000. The graded death benefit product is for issue ages 50 to 80 with a minimum death benefit of $2,000 to a maximum of $10,000. An Accelerated Living Benefit Rider for Terminal Illness or Nursing Home Confinement is included.
Settlers Life focuses on final expense insurance via no exam whole life insurance policies. You can get any of the company’s plans without having to take a medical exam.
Settlers Life has not been around as long as some other final expense burial insurance companies. Although they are a little newer than some of the competitors in the market, they still serve thousands of people each year and provide valuable insurance to those who need it. Focusing mainly on final expense life insurance, they have created quite a niche for themselves in this marketplace.
Types of Burial Insurance
Now that you have your needs all written down, you can choose the type of burial or funeral insurance, and there are two main options – pre-paid and pre-need.
With a pre-paid policy, there will be an opportunity to pay for the funeral in advance – with this option, the details do not necessarily have to be finalized. When the insured passes, the details can then be confirmed by family members. If you know exactly what you want at your funeral, there is no reason why you can’t have it all arranged and paid for in good time, and this will remove a lot of the stress for your loved ones.
Benefits – When it comes to pre-paid funerals, there are some key benefits, and we should start with the fact that it provides peace of mind for all involved. Not only will you feel relieved that your family members won’t have to worry about finding money after you pass, but your family will also feel relieved that they don’t have to guess your last wishes. If you have an existing health condition, this is also a great way to prepare for the inevitable which will make it that little bit easier for the family.
Furthermore, the price of the funeral will remain the same regardless of how many years it is until you actually pass. Because it will not be affected by inflation, you can secure your funeral at today’s rates as protection. Therefore, last wishes and the finer details can be secured without worrying about price changes. Finally, we should also note that this type of arrangement allows for payments in installments which can be a great help.
Drawbacks – Sadly, there is often an issue with flexibility with this type of policy because some will not move as you move. Although some options today are transferable, there are still many that cannot be transferred so this is something you might want to consider when setting up the coverage.
In addition to this, refunds may not be available which means that you have to be sure that you want this coverage. In most cases, there is only one chance to get this correct, so you are absolutely right to be researching this topic right now.
Finally, one major drawback of pre-paid funeral plan vs.burial life insurance is the inability to pay for final expenses. With a good policy, such as burial whole life insurance for seniors, the death benefit can be used for whatever the beneficiary wants to use it for. In contrast, with a pre-paid funeral policy the only thing it buys is typically the specific funeral at that specific funeral parlor.
In addition to this, refunds may not be available which means that you have to be sure that you want this coverage. In most cases, there is only one chance to get this correct, so you are absolutely right to be researching this topic right now.
On the flip side, you will also see an opportunity to buy a pre-need burial policy, and this allows all details to be confirmed in the future. Instead of making huge decisions now, the policyholder can sit down and make decisions with their family a little later on. If you would prefer this type of plan, it gives you that extra time to make your mind up and then the arrangements can be put into place as soon as the time comes.
Benefits – With this plan in place, you can be confident that all of your desires will be fulfilled regarding the funeral and all the other arrangements. Whether it is important documents, flowers, or even the music that will be played, this will all be settled beforehand. Often, there is a focus on making it easier for the policyholder but let’s not forget that this will make it easier for your loved ones too. While trying to cope with losing a family member or friend, the last thing they want to be doing is making huge decisions that affect how you will be remembered so this plan lifts the pressure a little.
Drawbacks – If we look towards the negatives, you could say that the lack of payment at the time of installing the policy is a downside. Instead of getting the payments out of the way, they have to be made at the time of death which means that costs may rise from the start of policy to the date of the funeral. With a regular burial insurance in place, this should cover all the major costs we discussed before.
Cost of Burial Insurance
Overall, the cost of your plan will completely depend on what policy type you choose, be it guaranteed issue vs. simplified issue, the face amount you have chosen, the provider of the insurance, as well as your age and health at the time of opening the plan.
For most companies, you should have a little lower cost with the premium payments by paying annually, but with many, you can also pay monthly, semi-annually, or even quarterly.
If you happen to use a price comparison website such as this one to assess numerous different burial insurance quotes from different companies, you will also have to remember not to take these amounts at face value.
Nowadays, some insurance companies are known for increasing their prices over time, such as Globe Life, so you may want to avoid these types of policies. As long as you know exactly what plan you have, you should be confident that the price will remain fixed throughout the duration of the policy.
Burial Insurance Policies for Seniors
When we took you through the different companies that offered burial insurance, you would have noticed that some allowed you to receive a plan regardless of your health condition. Ultimately, these are called ‘guaranteed issue’ plans, and it is important to discuss because this will be important if you currently have a health condition. All things considered, there are a couple of types of policy depending on your circumstances.
Level Benefit Plans – When we took you through the different companies that offered burial insurance, you would have noticed that some allowed you to receive a plan regardless of your health condition. Ultimately, these are called ‘guaranteed issue’ plans, and it is important to discuss because this will be important if you currently have a health condition. All things considered, there are a couple of types of policy depending on your circumstances.
Although some people panic as soon as they hear this, more general health issues such as high cholesterol or any other minor health problems are normally fine. The main point of health questions for smaller simplified issue products is to vet out potentially high-risk life insurance clients, such as those with cancer or heart disease.
Graded Benefit Plans – Otherwise known as ‘Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance,’ this is when there is no health section to your application at all either because you want to avoid it or even if the questions cannot be answered to a satisfactory standard. Because the application cannot be rejected, they suit those with serious health conditions.
However, you will see some downside to this including a higher premium.
Furthermore, there may be a certain amount of time before the death benefit becomes ‘active.’ If you were to pass before this date, called the graded death benefit limitation, the beneficiary would not receive the death benefit but would typically receive all premiums paid plus a percentage added on top. A graded death benefit limitation is to protect the risky investment for the insurance company. In most cases, this period will be two years (sometimes, it can be just twelve months or as long as four years—read the fine print).
What are Some Common Expenses
As we have seen throughout, the different policies available will vary in their included terms and conditions. Despite this, there are some standard inclusions that will come regardless of the policy. If you were to take out burial insurance, you should expect your life insurance beneficiary to use the proceeds to pay the following costs
Choosing the Right Coverage Amount
With all of this information in mind, you might decide that you want to go ahead and get some coverage. However, how do you know how much you will need? When first deciding to get burial insurance as a senior, you should assess the current prices on the market for everything that will be needed for the funeral. Once you have an idea, you will be able to calculate how high the coverage should go if you adjust for inflation at around 3% per annum.
In addition to the cost of the funeral, you should also look into other costs that may arise such as medical bills and any outstanding debts you may have in this regard. Although you won’t be able to come up with completely accurate figures at this point, you should be able to calculate a ball-park figure to then go ahead and make a decision on your plan.
How to Get Burial Insurance
So you have worked out how much coverage you will need in a burial insurance plan, what now? As long as you fall into the age categories we mentioned earlier, typically between 45-85, you should be able to get yourself a policy.
Years ago, the process of getting quotes from insurers took a long time because you would have to contact each one individually, tell them all of your details, and then see a quote in return. Nowadays, you simply need to enter all of your details once into an online life insurance price comparison site and then you will be given quotes from many of the top companies in the industry.
These Programs have the Following Guarantees
- First Day Coverage: You are fully protected the very first day your coverage goes into effect with no exclusions and no waiting period.
- Ease of issue. No physical exams
- Your premiums will never go up. Lock into a rate at your current age, and the cost will never increase regardless of changes to your health or age.
- Your benefits will never be reduced because of your age or your health.
- All programs build cash value that you can access if needed.
- The death benefit is paid to your beneficiary on a tax-free basis.
- Your policy can never be canceled by the company as long as premiums are paid.
- Your policy is a protected asset that you will never be forced to liquidate.
Seniors who are looking for a state-regulated final expense life insurance policy or a whole life burial policy often have medical impairments and conditions that may raise the cost of these benefits. We keep track of these medical impairments and conditions and contract with several carriers so we can find the most benefits for the amount of money that you spend. We review what we might see as we field underwrite these medical conditions. We can help you find first-day coverage at a very affordable rate using a simplified issue life insurance policy.
3 Top Reasons Why Seniors Use These Programs
- Because they do not have a DEDICATED amount for their funeral or final expenses.
- Because they’ve recently checked the pricing on what they currently have in place. They want to see if they can find more benefits than what they currently have.
- Because they want to leave behind a legacy, income for a surviving spouse, money for grandchildren, or to a favorite charity.
Looking for the best burial insurance for seniors? Often seniors have medical impairments and medications that may raise the cost of these benefits. We keep track of these medical impairments and medications and contract with several carriers in order to find seniors the most benefits for the amount of money spent. We’ll now run through some medical conditions and review some key points on how underwriting will affect a policy being issued.
Medical Impairments and Conditions
Impairments and Conditions
Needs assistance with Activities of Daily Living
Seniors who are Aging
Seniors with a History of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
Seniors with an Amputation due to Disease
For Seniors after an Aneurysm
For Seniors with a history of Angina
For Seniors after an Angioplasty
Seniors with Bronchitis
For Seniors with a history of Cancer
Seniors with Congestive Heart Failure
Seniors with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
For Seniors with a history of Cirrhosis
Seniors with Cystic Fibrosis
For Seniors with Diabetes
For Seniors after a Heart Attack
For Seniors after a Stroke
Seniors with Hepatitis C or other Liver Disorders
For Seniors with High Blood Pressure
Seniors with High Cholesterol
Seniors with Irregular Heat Rhythm (Atrial Fibrillation)
For Seniors with Mental Disorders (Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia)
Seniors with Multiple Sclerosis
Seniors with Seizures and Neurological Disorders
For Seniors with a Heart Stent
For Seniors after a Transient Ischemic Attack
A physical and mental dependence on alcohol, sometimes resulting in chronic disease and the loss of interpersonal, family, and work relationships. Continued daily use can result in permanent damage to the liver (cirrhosis). Other long-term effects include anemia, internal bleeding, impaired thinking, confusion, coma, multiple cancers, and premature death.
Symptoms: Weakness, impaired thinking, poor decision making, depression, separation from family.
Treatment: A history and physical exam will be performed along with other tests which may include: a complete blood count, liver function tests, blood sugar, and electrolytes. Treatment includes individual and group counseling (such as AA), talk therapy, and/or medications.
Dementia is a brain disorder that affects memory. In its more severe stages, the disease prevents people from performing their daily activities, recognizing their family and friends, and from understanding speech or speaking. It is a devastating disease that becomes worse with time and can progress rapidly in some individuals. Also, early identification enables families to prepare for the progression of the symptoms and arrange appropriate supportive services.
The disorder is more common in older patients although it is not part of normal aging. The likelihood of acquiring the disorder is also increased with a family history of Alzheimer’s, long-standing hypertension and previous head trauma.
Symptoms: The beginning of symptoms is usually gradual and progressively worsens. In some, the symptoms become worse rapidly. Symptoms include memory problems, inability to perform routine tasks, problems remembering people, change in personality, problems speaking, and behavior changes.
Treatment: Unfortunately, there are no medications that have been shown to slow the progression of the disease. Some medications can improve the daily functioning of the patient. These include donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), galantamine (Reminyl) and memantine (Namenda). Simplifying the patient’s daily routine can be helpful. As the disease progresses, it is important to provide support for the patient and families through caregivers and support groups.
Burial Insurance for Seniors after an Amputation due to Disease
An Amputation results after a surgical procedure to remove part or all of a limb or appendage. Some reasons for amputation include: peripheral artery disease, long-standing diabetes, severe traumatic damage to the limb, cancer and persistent infection despite antibiotics.
Possible Complications: Infection and pain. Rarely a patient continues to feel pain in the removed limb (phantom limb pain). The surgery can result in post-operative pain, infection or blood clots of the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolus). Patients can infrequently have bad reactions to the general anesthesia including allergic reactions and very rarely a heart attack or stroke.
An arterial expansion in the cavernous sinus. The cavernous sinus is one of the venous channels draining blood away from the brain. The carotid artery and cranial nerves pass through this sinus. The cavernous sinus is located at the base of the skull, behind the eyes. An aneurysm (arterial expansion) in the sinus can cause visual problems and headache; if it ruptures, the affected individual may have a red, bulging eye.
Symptoms: Headache, visual problems, seizures, weakness.
Angina is characterized by spasms of the coronary (heart) arteries causing decreased blood flow. The lack of blood causes chest pain and can result in a heart attack. In this condition, the patient’s coronary arteries do not have any fixed blockages (such as cholesterol plaques). Certain drugs or medications (cocaine, ergotamine) can trigger the events. Most events occur without a known trigger.
Symptoms: Chest pain at rest that occurs in cycles, shortness of breath, sweats, nausea.
Burial Insurance for Seniors after an Angioplasty
Angioplasty is required as a result of the narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that travels out of the heart delivering oxygen-rich blood to the body. This narrowing is usually located near where the aorta attaches to the heart. The heart has to work harder to pump blood through this narrowing. The symptoms experienced depend on the extent of the aorta narrowing and how long the condition has been present. This is a congenital abnormality and male infants are twice as likely to be born with this condition as females. Some patients with this disease will have other congenital heart defects as well.
Symptoms: Chest pain, shortness of breath, pounding headache, cold feet, elevated blood pressure with exercise, shortness of breath with exertion.
Treatment: Treatment usually involves surgical repair, but at times balloon angioplasty can be performed. Mild coarctation may not require surgery or angioplasty.
Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchi. The bronchi are the tubes that carry air through the lungs. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a virus. Chronic bronchitis occurs most often in current or former smokers.
Symptoms: Cough, sputum production (usually colored), blood tinged sputum, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, fever.
Cancer is characterized by an abnormal growth and spread of cells. Cancer is not a single disease. It can affect virtually any organ or tissue in the body. Its aggressiveness is highly variable, ranging from aggressive and rapidly life-threatening to slow-growing with little impact on the health of the organ or tissue.
Symptoms: Symptoms depend on the location and severity of the cancer. The most common are fatigue, bloody stool, a change in bowel or urinary habits, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, a breast lump and breathing problems. Cancer may cause no symptoms, especially early in the disease.
The heart pumps blood through the arteries and veins. With congestive heart failure, the pumping force of the heart is reduced. Left-sided heart failure results in fluid backing up into the lungs causing breathing problems, and right-sided heart failure produces fluid in the legs (edema) and the abdomen (ascites). Congestive heart failure (CHF) can have many causes with the most common being high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attacks, viral heart infections (myocarditis), congenital heart defects, and valvular heart disease. Patients with known CHF can experience worsening symptoms if they eat too much salt, stop taking their medications or have another co-existing illness such as pneumonia.
Symptoms: The heart pumps blood through the arteries and veins. With congestive heart failure, the pumping force of the heart is reduced. Left-sided heart failure results in fluid backing up into the lungs causing breathing problems, and right-sided heart failure produces fluid in the legs (edema) and the abdomen (ascites). Congestive heart failure (CHF) can have many causes with the most common being high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attacks, viral heart infections (myocarditis), congenital heart defects, and valvular heart disease. Patients with known CHF can experience worsening symptoms if they eat too much salt, stop taking their medications or have another co-existing illness such as pneumonia.
Treatment: Therapy depends on the extent of the disease and the severity of the symptoms. Treatment includes: controlling the blood pressure and reducing the work of the heart with blood pressure medications, increasing the urine output with diuretics, and maximizing oxygen with supplemental oxygen. Reversing the cause of the CHF exacerbation is essential to recovery. For severe cases that do not improve with standard medications, a heart transplant may be recommended.
COPD is a disorder that results in chronic blockage of the airways of the lungs. The two most common types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The primary cause is smoking although not all patients who smoke get COPD. The extent of disease and symptoms experienced can vary widely.
Symptoms: Shortness of breath, cough, cough with colored sputum, chest pain, wheezing, fatigue, bluish discoloration of the skin.
Treatment: Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms but may include: bronchodilators (such as albuterol or Atrovent), steroids, and/or antibiotics. Surgery to remove portions of severely affected lung and/or a lung transplant may be necessary for severe involvement.
Cirrhosis is a liver disease that persists over a long period of time, resulting in a progressive destruction of the liver. Normal liver function is essential for many reasons, including its production of blood clotting factors and its role in detoxifying the blood. In the end stages, patients experience excessive bleeding and can become confused. There are many cases with alcohol and viral infections being the most common. Hepatitis B and C are the most common viral infections related to this disorder. Less common causes of cirrhosis include autoimmune diseases, medications, hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease.
Symptoms: Abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, easy bleeding, vomiting, confusion, yellowing skin, weakness.
Treatment: Treatment depends on the cause of the liver failure and the extent of the liver failure but may include: diuretics for fluid overload, lactulose for confusion, blood products or vitamin K for bleeding, and/or antibiotics for the infection.
Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the cells that make mucous, sweat and digestive juices. The disorder causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract. It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and affects 1 in 3000 people. Before modern treatments were available, it was common for affected children to die during their teenage years. However, early identification and better treatment have allowed many people with this disease to live well into adulthood and beyond 50. Most patients die from lung infections and lung failure.
Symptoms: Delayed growth, poor weight gain, abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, no bowel movements in the first days of life, foul smelling fatty stools, excess fat in stool (steatorrhea), cough, increased mucus in the sputum, nasal congestion, wheezing, repeated lung infection, repeated sinus infection.
Treatment: Early detection and aggressive treatment can significantly extend a patient’s life. Treatment includes antibiotics for sinus and lung infections and some patients take these medications all the time to help prevent recurrent infections. Other medications include bronchodilators and mucus-thinning drugs. Nutritional supplements and pancreatic enzymes can help reduce some of the nutritional deficiencies experienced. Chest percussion can help break up the mucus and prevent lung collapse and damage. In the most severe cases, lung transplant and intestinal surgery are required.
Diabetes is a chronic disease of metabolism distinguished by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin, and/or a resistance to the insulin being made. Insulin is necessary for body cells to transport sugar into the cells and to process carbohydrates, fat, and protein efficiently. Patients with diabetes have too much glucose in their circulation causing damage to almost every organ in their body. There are three types of diabetes: Type 1 is usually found in younger patients and requires insulin, Type 2 develops later in life and is more commonly associated with obesity, and gestational diabetes is associated with pregnancy.
Symptoms: Increased urination, increased drinking of fluids, increased appetite, nausea, fatigue, blurry vision, numbness or tingling in the feet.
Treatment: Type 1 diabetes requires supplemental insulin either as an injection or as an intermittent continuous infusion delivered from an insulin pump. The insulin doses required are dependent on glucose measurements performed during the day. Sometimes, type 2 diabetes can be controlled with weight loss, dietary discretion, and exercise. Type 2 diabetes often requires oral hypoglycemic medications and may also require insulin
Damage or death of heart muscle caused by a blockage of an artery (coronary artery) that supplies blood to a part of the heart. Symptoms can vary widely and can be atypical in the elderly, diabetics and women. The most common cause of the blockage is a buildup of fat and calcium in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle (atherosclerosis). Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, family history of heart attacks and diabetes can all increase the chances of having a heart attack. Rapid treatment reduces but does not eliminate, the risk of death. Longer-term consequences of having had a heart attack include heart failure and stroke.
Symptoms: Chest pain (typically described as squeezing, crushing, or band like), some people may have little or no chest pain (elderly, diabetics, or women). Other symptoms include: jaw pain, arm pain, back pain, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, apprehension, fainting, dizziness.
Treatment: Treatment is aimed at improving the blood flow to the heart, treating life-threatening arrhythmias, and maximizing the heart function. During a heart attack, clot-busting medications (alteplase/t-PA) often are used to break apart the blood clot that has stopped blood flow to one part of the heart. In people with angina (and sometimes in people having heart attacks), coronary (heart) artery blockages are reduced by the following: balloon angioplasty, stent placement, surgical bypass, blood thinners and/or antiplatelet medications (aspirin, abciximab/ReoPro, eptifibatide/Integrilin, clopidogrel/Plavix). When arrhythmias are present they are treated with medications (amiodarone), cardioversion or a pacemaker. Medications for blood pressure and cholesterol (statins) are also frequently used.
Burial Insurance for Seniors after a Stroke
A stroke is typically the result of a sudden interruption of blood flow to a portion of the brain causing injury. Some strokes are associated with bleeding into the damaged area. Most strokes are caused by a blocked artery in the brain from hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) or from a blood clot that travels from another area (embolus). The symptoms experienced depend on the artery blocked. Survival and the best outcome depend on seeking medical care immediately. Also known as a stroke.
Symptoms: Weakness of an arm, leg, side of the face, or any part of the body. Numbness, decreased sensation, vision changes, slurred speech, inability to speak, inability to understand speech, difficulty reading or writing, swallowing difficulty, drooling, loss of memory, vertigo (spinning sensation), loss of balance or coordination, personality changes, mood changes (depression, apathy), drowsiness, lethargy, or loss of consciousness, uncontrollable eye movements, double vision, nausea, vomiting.
Treatment: A stroke is a medical emergency. Therapy depends on the size of the stroke, its location in the brain, the medications the patient is taking, how long the symptoms have been present and other associated diseases. Treatment may include blood pressure medication, anti-platelet medications (aspirin, clopidogrel/Plavix), anticoagulants (heparin, enoxaparin, warfarin), thrombolysis (tissue plasminogen activator/t-PA), intravascular thrombolysis, physical therapy, speech therapy, and/or occupational therapy. Blood pressure and cholesterol medications are usually recommended to reduce the risk of recurrence.
A liver disease that persists over a long period of time, potentially resulting in a progressive destruction of the liver. In the end stages, patients may have problems clotting their blood and can become confused. There are many causes with longstanding alcohol abuse and viral infections being the most common.
Symptoms: Abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, easy bleeding, vomiting, confusion, yellowing skin, weakness.
Treatment: Treatment depends on the cause of the liver failure and the extent of the liver failure but may include: diuretics for fluid overload, lactulose for confusion, blood products or vitamin K for bleeding, and/or antibiotics for an infection. A surgical procedure, called transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) or liver transplant may be recommended.
A term used for high blood pressure. There are two numbers with the first number representing the systolic pressure (normal less than 140) and the second number the diastolic (normal if less than 90). Hypertension usually causes no symptoms but is a major risk factor for a number of serious long-term problems including heart attacks, stroke, and kidney failure.
Symptoms: Usually none. If the level is very high the following may be experienced: chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, visual complaints, confusion.
Treatment: Treatment includes salt restriction, loss of excess weight, exercise and, in many cases, medications to reduce the pressure.
Elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood increase the risk of having narrowed arteries. The blockage is caused by a buildup of plaque and fat deposits (atherosclerosis). The diseases caused by this narrowing are dependent on the arteries being blocked but include heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease. People with elevated cholesterol also are likely to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes. There are two types of cholesterol that make up the total level of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. LDL is considered bad cholesterol and HDL is good cholesterol. To know a patient’s true risk of disease the provider must send a blood test that measures both LDL and HDL. In general, the LDL should be less than 130 mg/dL and anything greater than 160 mg/dL is considered too high. An HDL level lower than 40 mg/dL increases the risk of atherosclerosis. A person’s cholesterol level is determined in part by inheritance, and in part, by the foods he or she eats. Improving one’s diet and/or medications can generally reduce the levels.
Symptoms: There are usually no symptoms related to having elevated cholesterol.
Treatment: Treatment depends on how high the LDL level is and if other risk factors for developing blockage of the arteries (atherosclerosis) are present. Eating healthy foods, exercising more, and losing weight can improve mild elevations of cholesterol. Other treatments include medications such as statins (atorvastatin/Lipitor, fluvastatin/Lescol, lovastatin/Altocor or Mevacor, pravastatin/Pravachol, rosuvastatin/Crestor, simvastatin/Zocor), bile acid binding drugs (cholestyramine/Prevalite or Questran, colesevelam/Welchol, colestipol/Colestid), cholesterol absorption inhibitors (ezetimibe/Zetia) and combination drugs (ezetimibe-simvastatin/Vytorin).
Burial Insurance for Seniors with Irregular Heart Rhythm (Atrial Fibrillation)
Normal rhythmic contractions of the upper chambers of the heart (atria) are replaced by rapid irregular twitching of the muscular wall. The lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) respond irregularly causing an irregular and usually rapid heart rate. Atrial fibrillation may come and go (paroxysmal atrial fibrillation) or persist (chronic atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is common, especially in older people. The main causes of this disorder include mitral valve disease, high blood pressure, heart failure, excessive alcohol use, an overactive thyroid, stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamines), and stress from other illnesses.
Symptoms: Palpitations, racing heart, light-headedness, shortness of breath, fainting, chest pain, anxiety.
Treatment: Electrolyte abnormalities are corrected and oxygen is given if needed. The heart rate is slowed by administering medications such as calcium channel blockers (diltiazem, verapamil), beta-blockers (metoprolol, esmolol), or digoxin. Anticoagulants are given for persistent atrial fibrillation to prevent stroke. When appropriate chemical or electrical cardioversion is performed to restore the normal rhythm.
A psychiatric disease characterized by a distorted interpretation of reality resulting in hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behavior. Contrary to popular belief it does not mean a split personality. Untreated, the disease can cause severe emotional, behavioral, health, and legal and financial problems. Lifelong treatment is needed and can enable many patients to live normal productive lives. This is a serious mental disorder with about 10% of patients committing suicide. The disease usually first appears in the teenage years.
Symptoms: Symptoms typically begin gradually and worsen with time and include: trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, withdrawing from family and friends, bizarre motor behavior in which there is less reaction to the environment (catatonic behavior), false beliefs or thoughts (delusions), hearing voices, seeing things (hallucinations), thoughts race between unrelated topics (disordered thinking).
Treatment: Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms but may include: antipsychotic medications (haloperidol/Haldol, clozapine/Clozaril, risperidone/Risperdal, olanzapine/Zyprexa, quetiapine/Seroquel, ziprasidone/Geodon, aripiprazole/Abilify, paliperidone/Invega), psychiatric and psychologic counseling, and/or hospitalizations.
MS is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Nerve cells normally are surrounded by an insulating sheath made of a fatty substance called myelin that helps to transmit nerve impulses. In MS, this myelin sheath is inflamed or damaged. This disrupts or slows nerve impulses and causes nerves to malfunction. Scarring (sclerosis) occurs in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. These areas of myelin damage and scarring are called MS plaques. The disease periodically flares up with episodes of increased symptoms. The disease can be mild, and non-progressive disease, can slowly get worse, or get worse rapidly. It is slightly more common in women between the ages of 20 to 40.
Symptoms: Symptoms vary widely. They may come and go or remain permanently. Symptoms include impaired vision, numbness, weakness, decreased coordination, poor balance, halting speech, muscle spasms (especially in the legs), muscle spasticity, impaired bladder function.
Treatment: There is no definitive cure, but new treatments can help slow the progression of the disease. Medications that alter the immune response include: immune modulators such as interferon (Avonex, Betaseron, or Rebif), monoclonal antibodies (Tysabri), and glatiramer acetate (Copaxone). Short courses of a corticosteroid (prednisone) can decrease the severity of attacks. Medicines to reduce muscle spasms include baclofen (Lioresal), tizanidine (Zanaflex), or a benzodiazepine such as diazepam (Valium).
Burial Insurance for Seniors with Seizures and Neurological Disorders
There are many different types of seizures. The most common is called a generalized seizure. It has also been called a tonic-clonic or grand mal seizure. Other types of seizures include petit mal seizures, partial (focal) seizures, febrile seizures and alcohol withdrawal seizures. A person may have a single seizure or repetitive seizures. People with recurrent seizures or at risk for recurrent seizures have epilepsy. A seizure results from an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain. Seizures can occur for many reasons, such as a head injury, an infection, a metabolic problem (for example, low blood sugar), a tumor, or drug use. Often the exact reason for seizures is not found.
Symptoms: Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure. There is a period of decreased consciousness that might only appear as a short staring spell (petit mal seizure). Or the loss of consciousness may be associated with an uncontrollable shaking of the arms and legs, loss of control of urine and stool, followed by a period of confusion.
Treatment: Treatment depends on the circumstances of the seizure. If the seizure does not stop on its own anti-seizure medications will be emergently given since a prolonged seizure can cause brain damage. A blood glucose level should be immediately checked and corrected if low. If the patient’s anti-seizure medication level is low, he/she will be given more. If an infection is suspected antibiotics or anti-viral medications may be administered.
Burial Insurance for Seniors with a Stent (Heart Stent)
A stent is a medical device placed inside a blood vessel to hold it open after it is expanded. It is commonly used for keeping coronary arteries open after angioplasty. Some of the coronary stents contain medications to help prevent the vessel from closing again (drug eluding stent). Stents are also used to hold open other narrowed structures, such as a ureter, bile ducts, and pancreatic ducts.
Possible Complications: The artery with the stent can become blocked with the formation of a new blood clot or scar tissue. Rarely placement of a coronary stent can tear the artery requiring emergent surgery to bypass the vessel.
A temporary decrease in the blood supply to some part of the brain. The affected part of the brain does not function properly, producing the symptoms observed. The syndrome looks similar to a stroke except the symptoms resolve quickly, usually within an hour. The most common causes of TIA are atherosclerosis and atrial fibrillation. These patients need a prompt work-up to identify and treat the cause of the TIA because of the high risk of stroke, especially within the first week after a TIA.
Symptoms: Sudden onset of weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body, slurred speech, inability to speak, transient visual loss in one eye, loss of balance, and/or lack of coordination.
Treatment: The goal is to prevent the development of a stroke. Specific treatment depends on what is causing the decreased blood flow to the brain and may include: platelet inhibitors (aspirin, clopidogrel/Plavix, aspirin/extended-release dipyridamole/Aggrenox), anticoagulants (heparin, enoxaparin, warfarin, other oral anticoagulant drugs), and/or carotid artery surgery.