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Smart choices for your health: Resources for selecting a provider

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(Family Features) Getting health care for yourself or a loved one is a big responsibility, especially if you’re just getting started with Medicare or have changes in your life, such as a new diagnosis of a condition or disease. It can be overwhelming if you need services like nursing home care, have to find a new doctor or get home health care.  

Using online tools like “Find Care Providers” on Medicare.gov can make it easier to make comparisons and help choose doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and more for you or the person you are helping provide care to. Consider these benefits of using the comparison tools to narrow your options.

A Resource for Research

The website provides a simple search and compare experience that allows you to find providers near you. Simply put in a ZIP code and the type of provider to receive a list of providers, their contact information and a map of locations. The information even includes “star ratings” and services provided. The tool can be used to find all sorts of providers, including doctors, hospitals, home health care agencies, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation providers, hospice and dialysis facilities.

For example, two sisters needed to find a nursing home that was right for their father. This proved to be a difficult, emotional decision. They didn’t know what nursing homes were in the area where he lives, so they entered his ZIP code and searched for nursing homes. They then received a list of each one in his area, complete with ratings as well as staffing data and inspection reports.

Using a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile device, you can see how patients rate their care experiences at the hospitals in your area and find home health agencies that offer the services you might need, like nursing care, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Contact information for local inpatient rehabilitation facilities or long-term care hospitals is available, as well as hospice quality care ratings and specific care details, such as which dialysis facilities offer home dialysis training.

Finding Health Care Services

Many factors influence who you trust with your health care. In some cases, family, caregivers or friends may offer referrals to a doctor or medical facility based on their own experiences, and that can be a helpful guide.

Whether you have referrals or are starting from scratch, you can compare health care providers near you using the Medicare.gov tool, pinpointing which category of services you need, whether it’s doctors and clinicians, hospitals, hospice and home health agencies, dialysis facilities, inpatient rehabilitation centers or nursing homes.

In addition to searching by your location using your address or a combination of city, state or ZIP code, you can search by provider type and keyword to generate a list of providers that could fit your needs.

Finding a Doctor Who Fits

When you’re looking for a new doctor and not sure where to start, the tool makes it quick and easy to find and compare doctors in your area. You can find contact information, practice locations, specialty and hospital affiliation as well as hospital ratings. 

Selecting the “compare” button allows you to compare up to three different health care providers at once. When you’re ready to schedule a visit with a new provider, be sure to take time during your scheduling call to verify general information, like the office location, whether the office is accepting new patients with Medicare and whether you need a referral to be treated.

Comparing Nursing Homes

Whether you’re planning ahead or need to make an unexpected decision, there’s a lot to think about when choosing the right nursing home for you or someone else. Many family members and caregivers prioritize location so they’re able to check in and visit frequently, but there are many other important factors you may want to consider, too.

The comparison tool at Medicare.gov provides filtering options that allow you to personalize your results by sifting through the criteria that matter most to you, such as inspection results, number of beds, staffing data and more.

You’ll be able to check out the nursing home’s overall “star ratings.” The information can serve as a guide of a provider’s track record to help assist you with finding a home that best suits the person’s needs.

Visit Medicare.gov/care-compare to access the tool and find health care providers and services in your area that fit your needs.

Paid for by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Caregiver Guide

Making decisions as a caregiver can be challenging but taking advantage of available resources can help you feel more confident in your choices.

For example, Medicare.gov allows you to find information about health care providers, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, home health agencies, dialysis facilities, inpatient rehab and long-term care hospitals near you. The website also provides quality ratings, so you can see the provider or facility’s history of service, among other details that help you make the most informed decision on behalf of the person you’re helping.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images


SOURCE:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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Gift decadence during the season of love

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(Family Features) Valentine’s Day may traditionally be a lovers’ holiday, but it’s also an opportunity to connect with those who make your heart happiest, whether it’s family, friends or anyone who enriches your life. Celebrate all types of love this Valentine’s Day with thoughtful gifts that show how much you care.

As the old adage says, the fastest way to one’s heart is the stomach. Sweet treats are a sure sign of your affection, and for centuries, chocolate has been revered as the flavor of love.

From gifting to hosting and all the other moments throughout the season of love, you can delight your nearest and dearest with gourmet chocolates from Ethel M Chocolates.

Treat those closest to your heart to a delicious experience and visit EthelM.com to explore more unique gifts this Valentine’s Day.

Handcrafted with Care
Topped with a red bow for a final touch, the Ethel M Chocolates 5-piece Love Collection features a series of heart-shaped, premium chocolates nestled in an elegant box. The sampler features popular selections including Milk Chocolate, Lemon Satin Crème, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter and White Chocolate. This sweet collection of handcrafted chocolate is a decadent way to show how much you care. It’s ideal as a thoughtful gesture of appreciation for friends and family, or for a more romantic connection, it’s the perfect item to pair with jewelry or flowers to surprise your loved one.

Heartfelt Appreciation
If your gift list includes chocolate aficionados, there’s no better way to speak straight to their heart than the Ethel M Chocolates 28-piece Large Heart Gift Box. This popular seasonal assortment showcases an expanded selection of mouthwatering, handcrafted, premium chocolates. The collection includes an array of flavors, from Dark Chocolate Sea-Salt Caramel and Milk Chocolate Raspberry Satin Crème to Milk Chocolate Almond Butter Krisp and Milk Chocolate Pecan Toffee Crisp. The gourmet variety is sure to delight, and the large satin-wrapped, heart-shaped box makes your affection deliciously clear.

 


SOURCE:
Ethel M Chocolates

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Conquer campus life with top tech

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(Family Features) Make each day in the classroom or lecture hall an educational success with technology that makes learning more enjoyable and managing all of life’s little details easier. From wearables that keep you connected to gadgets that encourage creativity, get educated about this season’s top technology to take to school.

Discover more options for tech-driven learning at qualcomm.com/education-laptops.

Lightweight, Powerful Computing

Designed to move with you throughout your day, the Galaxy Book Go 5G combines the best features of your smartphone with personal computer performance and productivity. You can answer emails over a latte before school, take notes during class, browse social media during lunch or video call a loved one before dinner with always on, always connected flexibility. Powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G Compute Platform, the device delivers instant boot speeds that allow you to turn on and immediately use your laptop, and lightning-fast 5G connectivity speeds to complete assignments and submit work quickly from nearly anywhere.

Creative Expression

Any of today’s smartphones support more than basic call functions, but the Samsung Galaxy S22 powers creativity and self-expression all at once. Built on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform, this smartphone also inspires a creator’s mind with a high-end camera, intelligent personal assistant and elite gaming experience. It delivers groundbreaking innovations in artificial intelligence, photography, gaming and connectivity, and is built with a bold, environmentally conscious design that makes it as aesthetically pleasing as it is high performing.

Time for a Watch that Does More

A powerful smartwatch won’t just help you make it to class on time; it’s a handy way to stay connected, keep tabs on your health and more. For example, theFossil Gen 6 Touchscreen Smartwatch runs WearOS by Google and is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ Platform, providing users faster application load times, highly responsive user experiences and more efficient power consumption. Key features include increased battery charging speed, upgraded health and wellness sensors, a swim-proof speaker and microphone, improved connectivity with Bluetooth 5 and more.

Sensational Sound

There are wireless earbuds then there are Noble Audio’s Falcon ANC equipped with Snapdragon Sound, enabling these earphones to deliver robust connectivity with high-resolution music streaming, low latency for immersive gaming and super wideband voice for crystal-clear calls. With hybrid noise canceling and multi-pairing, multipoint connection capability, these earbuds offer a high level of versatility for downtime entertainment. You can further customize your experience with the app that allows you to finetune a wide selection of settings.

Headset Hero

Designed from the ground up to drive advanced features, Snapdragon XR2 is the force behind the Meta Quest 2 headset’s freedom of movement and high-resolution display. This headset allows you to become completely immersed in the virtual reality applications and games you play for maximum adventure experiences. Even better, hundreds of hit games, one-of-a-kind experiences and a growing community await users of this next-level hardware that’s both easy to set up and safe to use.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (students)


SOURCE:
Qualcomm

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Upgrading your home oasis

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(Family Features) Picture this: You’ve purchased your home. You’re on the land you’ve dreamt about and you’ve got great ideas to turn your property into the personal oasis you’ve always wanted.

As you consider developing your land, building with environmentally sensitive choices becomes more important than ever. According to LightStream’s 9th Annual Home Improvement Trends Survey, more than 93% of homeowners see the benefits of undertaking renovations that have positive environmental impacts. Yet, one of the top barriers to making eco-friendly upgrades is that people don’t know what to do (27%) nor where to begin (24%).*

As a first step, homeowners can take on renovations to make their existing home or building greener. Among the many smaller-scale eco-projects are new insulation, HVAC systems, lighting or appliances. 

“One popular upgrade is installing custom windows and doors that are thermally broken, meaning they’re designed to keep out cold or hot temperatures,” said Sean Cain, president of Morton Buildings, a specialized construction company with decades of experience in eco-conscious construction. “It’s a big improvement that is not only energy-efficient, but it will immediately impact the overall comfort of your building and save money on energy expenses.” 

Reflecting larger visions, the survey also found that many homeowners are thinking outside the home itself, enhancing their properties by adding a separate garage, hobby shop, barn, office or accessory dwelling unit.

“Today’s homeowners are looking for a solid property improvement investment as well as construction specialists with the unique knowledge and know-how to deliver eco-friendly best practices and sustainable products,” said Todd Nelson, senior vice president at LightStream, an online lending division of Truist Bank.

In addition to return on investment and environmentally sustainable upgrades, homeowners are also increasingly interested in the longevity of their improvement projects.

“People today are keenly interested in the long-term sustainability of their building decisions including construction of ancillary buildings on their property,” Cain said. “Post-frame buildings with steel exteriors have advantages both for longevity and recyclability whereas shingle roofs or vinyl siding may need replacement more frequently, which often results in additional waste that cannot be recycled. Moreover, they have protective benefits as well, helping to mitigate inclement weather and extreme climate events. Most of all, their design flexibility makes them modern and stylish.”

FROM START TO FINANCE
Sustainability begins with material selection and production.

“There are many ways to make the manufacturing processes more sustainable, such as recycling or repurposing unused or misdirected materials and even capturing and reusing water,” Cain said.

Managing the Costs
Sustainable building options can also be more affordable, particularly if you’re looking at cost savings over time. 

“Reducing energy costs is important to many building owners,” Cain said. “Make sure your building or home is well-insulated because this can save you a considerable amount of money.”

Consider the Options
As consumers seek sustainability in their residential structures, more are considering their long-term financial impacts, too.

“We’re in era of rising interest rates,” Nelson said. “A fixed rate loan can save money and be the right choice for many reasons.”

Visit LightStream.com to see how unsecured, affordable home improvement loans can help finance your renovation.

*The 9th Annual LightStream Home Improvement Survey was distributed by Ipsos among 1,301 U.S. homeowners, between January 4, 2022 and January 13, 2022.

  Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC.

Photos courtesy of Morton Buildings, Inc.


SOURCE:
Morton Buildings and LightStream

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