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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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Go green with home cleaners

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(Family Features) If you’re among those looking for ways to clean your home while also going green, it may be easier than you think.

Consider these easy and affordable solutions to help you live more environmentally friendly. You may be surprised to find you already have many of these household products on hand.

Baking soda: A natural, safe, effective and gentle solution, baking soda can serve multiple home cleaning needs. Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Rub onto silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry for shining serving or decor pieces. Additionally, you can sprinkle baking soda on upholstery and carpet to get rid of odors.

Vinegar: With the acidity to help get rid of dirt and grime around the home, vinegar can be used to clean cloudy glassware. Simply soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around both the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit before rinsing clean. To remove lime deposits on your tea kettle, add 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar to the water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, boil the vinegar for a few minutes then rinse with water.

Lemons: With a fresh, natural smell, lemons have the acidity to remove soap scum, clean and shine brass and remove hard water deposits. Just spray some lemon juice on tile surfaces to remove soap scum or hard water deposits. Squeeze lemon juice on a cloth and use to polish brass around the home.

Houseplants: Plants serve as natural air purifiers. African violets and ferns are beautiful ways to help clear the air.

Other easy, green ideas for keeping your home clean include opening windows and doors while you clean to improve air quality and taking off your shoes when you come inside, which can help avoid tracking dust, dirt, pollen and more throughout the house.

Visit eLivingtoday.com for more eco-friendly advice.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


SOURCE:
eLivingtoday.com

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Tool to help hobbyists, professional get the job done

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(Family Features) Whether you’re into woodworking, metalworking, building models or another craft or hobby, the right tools allow you to work faster, easier and smarter.

A capable and versatile project partner, the IQ Vise System by Work IQ Tools is a problem-solving bench vise system that is transforming the way DIYers, craftsmen, hobbyists, makers and pros get the job done. It features a ball and socket design that articulates and rotates 360 degrees for optimal work positioning while complementing task-specific jaw sleeves are crafted to create the perfect grip for an extensive range of shapes and materials.

Plus, with four ports built directly into the vise, you can attach the plug-and-play workshop accessories including the IQ Connect Work Light, Magnifying Glass and Cell Phone Holder directly to the vise or take them where you need them around your workspace.

With three mounts – a bench mount to screw directly into your workbench or stud wall, a magnetic mount that can attach to any metal surface and a clamp mount that functions like a common c-clamp for quick and temporary mounting to any surface edge 2 1/4 inches or under – it’s like having an extra set of hands to help tackle whatever project you’re taking on.

Find more tools to help you work smarter at workiqtools.com.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=lkSVaIVDVtE%3Fmodestbranding%3D1%26rel%3D0%26showinfo%3D0


SOURCE:
WorkIQTools.com

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High-ROI home projects

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(Family Features) Spring is nature’s cue to renew and refresh. Whether you’re looking to add value for potential sale or simply create a more comfortable living space, you can make the most of the season and breathe new life into your home with projects that provide a high return on investment (ROI).

Consider these top home renovation projects to tackle this spring from the experts at Westlake Royal Building Products – a leader in innovation, design and production of exterior and interior building products including siding, trim, mouldings, roofing, stone, windows, outdoor living and more – based on the 2024 Cost vs. Value Report from “Remodeling Magazine.”

Remodel the Kitchen and Bathroom
The average seller can expect an 96.1% return on a light touch to the kitchen, according to the report, and 73.7% on a modest bathroom renovation. Because personal preferences can vary widely among buyers, minor upgrades can provide a higher ROI than large, upscale remodels. A few easy ways to refresh your kitchen or bathroom include updating shelving or adding new hardware. Decorative trim and mouldings are also cost-effective ways to add visual interest.

Upgrade with Stone Veneer
As natural and textured home trends continue, homeowners are gravitating toward stone veneer, or manufactured stone, as it can replicate the look of real stone, adding comfort, character and beauty to homes. An option like Versetta Stone from Westlake Royal Building Products offers the authentic, handcrafted look of stone in a panelized format that’s easy to install with nails and screws. There’s also no need to paint, coat or seal once installed. Ideal for its ability to add texture and dimension throughout both home interior (accent walls and fireplaces) and exterior applications (siding, entryways and walkways), stone veneer – which comes with a 153.2% ROI – can influence mood, emotion and energy levels while serving as a focal point of your home’s design.

Install New Windows
Depending on the harshness of winter in your area and the age of your home, you may notice certain windows have developed drafts, allowing cold air to enter and heat to escape. Replacing drafty or outdated windows with modern, energy-efficient models is one of the most effective ways to enhance your home’s energy efficiency. Additionally, a vinyl window replacement brings approximately 67.1% ROI.

Replace Siding
In some cases, applying a fresh coat of paint is enough to refresh your home. However, if you’re looking to enhance your home’s curb appeal while making a long-term impact, consider installing new siding or replacing existing siding. Because vinyl siding serves as an additional layer of insulation, improving the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, it offers a 80.2% ROI. Weather-resistant, low-maintenance siding like Celect Cellular Composite Siding, which is now available in on-trend colors including Imperial Red, a robust shade of red; Deep Pewter, a compellingly modern forest green; and Timberland, a rich, natural brown, won’t warp, sag or buckle and is built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Its patented interlocking joints provide a seamless look and it’s easy to install in small spaces, like along a knee or pony wall.

Update Decking
If you want to entertain guests outside, spring is a perfect time to get your patio or deck ready. While a new coat of stain can update your existing deck’s appearance and help protect it, spring is also an ideal time to build a deck if your home doesn’t currently have one. When choosing a decking material, cost and maintenance are two factors to consider. Composite decking offers a 68.2% ROI and is low maintenance as it’s not susceptible to cracking, warping and weather damage.

Find more ideas to update your home this spring at WestlakeRoyalBuildingProducts.com.


SOURCE:
Westlake Royal Building Products

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