Fearing that their aging parents could be injured, caregivers can become nagging nannies who try to stop Dad from working in his beloved shop or Mom from gardening. But insisting that elders avoid all risks can compromise their dignity and joy. So how do you find the right balance of concern and trust?
An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman
Finances can be a difficult topic to discuss in some settings, and talking with aging parents qualifies as one of those. But it’s essential that families discuss finances and how they will be handled when — not if, but when — one of them becomes incapacitated physically or mentally. Wise people appoint a trusted person as power of attorney (POA) before there is a health crisis. In the case of caregiver Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s Love Story, the legal documents for her parents were signed in time — barely.
“At Senior Lifestyle Advantage magazine, we speak to those who are 55 and older, encouraging them to live a healthier, more balanced life with hope. Each issue shares expert advice, easy recipes, travel, and feature stories about living with joy.”
These words are the short version of the message that Judith Stanton, founder and publisher of Senior Lifestyle Advantage, wants to spread. Stanton’s magazine focuses on the ways in which aging can be positive and fun, a viewpoint that is sorely needed at a time when ageism marginalizes a large percentage of our population.
Dear Carol: As my parents aged, we all thought that we were taking care of the legal issues necessary so that I, as Durable Power Of Attorney (DPOA) could handle anything that came along with their finances. Dad died two years ago, and Mom and I got through it. Now, Mom’s health is failing. She wanted me to change the account where her Social Security is deposited, so I called and found out that the DPOA would not allow me to do that. Fortunately, Mom’s memory is still good, so she was able to go to the attorney with me and she had me assigned as Representative Payee. The attorney told us that if Mom had a health issue where she couldn’t have answered the questions needed, I wouldn’t have been able to make the necessary changes. For us, that would have been merely inconvenient, but some people could have more important reasons for making these changes. Your column seemed to be the best way that I could think of to get the message out. Thanks for providing a great service. Janice
To my readers: All of AARP's Fraud Watch posts are terrific and I suggest that you sign up for the updates. That being said, occasionally I feel the need to make certain that as many of my own followers as possible see a posting so I pass it on. This is one of those times. Please read this for your own protection or that of your loved one:
Special Alert: Medicare Card Changes Means Opportunities for Scams
Congress passed a law in 2015 that requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards, which they will start doing in April 2018. New beneficiaries will get the modernized cards first, and then new cards will be issued to existing beneficiaries. This is an important change to help prevent fraud and protect people’s identity, but with any new change, scammers are taking advantage of potential confusion.
What You Should Know:
Medicare beneficiaries are getting calls claiming to be from Medicare asking for payment to receive their new Medicare card, or asking them to verify their Medicare number.
Medicare will NEVER call to verify your number because they already have it.
There is no cost to get your new card.
What You Should Do:
If you get a call like this, hang up immediately and report it to Senior Medicare Patrol. Find the number to call for your state at www.smpresource.org.
Warn others on the Fraud Watch Network Scam-tracking map.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon! Please share this alert with friends and family! You have the power to protect yourselves and your loved ones from scams.
...Even a general diagnosis can aid families in getting practical help for their loved ones and open up educational opportunities to help them through the difficult territory of dementia care. It can also ensure they are receiving appropriate medical care and help to prevent elder abuse.
More than half of Alzheimer’s caregivers are cutting back on everyday necessities in order to cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care, according to a recent survey by the Alzheimer’s Association. To dig a little deeper into the survey and its implications, I interviewed Beth Kallmyer, Vice President of Constituent Services for the Alzheimer’s Association, and Paul Hornback, who -- along with more than 1,100 other committed advocates -- attended the enormously successful Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C.
When Tony Rovere was caring for his mother he felt lost when it came to finding resources for caregivers. Because of his experience, Tony eventually founded Stuff Seniors Need at www.stuffseniorsneed.com. The site is a terrific place to go if you want to find good cell phone plans for seniors, information about hearing aids or dentures, and information on most other products and services.
Now, Tony is launching the National Caregiver Relief Giveaway to assist caregivers throughout the United States. The top prize is a multi-position lift chair. It is free to enter. You can find out more details at caregiverhappiness.com/home. There are other prizes as well, and it's free to enter. Check out Tony's website and also go to the caregiver happiness site and register for prizes. You'll have found another wonderful resource.
Just so you know, I don't have any connection to this site or it's products - I'm just a fan.
As I watched my 90-year old grandparents grieve the loss of many friends. I had to wonder how much fun it is to be the last one standing. My parents faced much the same situation. Mom, who once loved getting Christmas cards, found that not only did the number of cards she received dwindle, the ones that she did get often contained sad news of death or disease. As she and many other older folks have said, "aging isn't for sissies."
According to the national Alzheimer’s Association, in 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Also, Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs of their own in the same year. Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high, and more than one-third report symptoms of depression. Remember, this is just the cost for caregivers.