Eldercare Locator Announces Holiday Campaign to Help Prevent Financial Exploitation of Older Adults

Please help spread the word about this critical campaign against financial elder abuse.

Washington, DC — As financial exploitation targeting older adults continues to become more prevalent in the United States, the national Eldercare Locator announced today that it has launched a campaign to encourage older adults and their families to address this critical issue and to get informed about the warning signs and resources available to help prevent exploitation.  Research shows that as many as 5 million older adults are victims of elder abuse each year and financial exploitation costs seniors an estimated $3 billion annually.

The National Center on Elder Abuse has partnered with the Eldercare Locator to produce a consumer guide that is now available to help inform this discussion.  Click this link to get a copy of the guide.

“Financial exploitation of older adults can take many forms and can come in many guises including telemarketing scams, identity theft, fake check scams, home repair fraud, and even “sweetheart scams” whereby a con artist befriends or romances an isolated lonely older adult to gain control over their finances.  Unfortunately, financial exploitation can  often be committed by a person you know and trust—a friend, caregiver or even a family member, which makes it even more difficult,” said Sandy Markwood, CEO, n4a.

“There are steps older adults and their families can take and resources available to help identify and remedy this serious problem.  To ensure your safety and the safety and security of your finances, it is critical for you to assess your financial situation on a regular basis.  We are seeing more and more financial abuse across the country which is why this holiday season, we hope families will check in with their older relatives to be sure that their finances are in good order and in good hands.”

Signs of Financial Exploitation

There are several signs of financial exploitation for families to look out for, including-

Financial activity that is inconsistent with an older adults past financial history;

Multiple withdrawals within a short time period;

Inconsistent signatures on documents;

Confusion about recent financial arrangements;

New names added to accounts or other changes to key documents that have not been authorized;

A caregiver or beneficiary who refuses to use designated funds for necessary care and treatment of an older adult and

An older adult who feels uncomfortable or even threatened by a caregiver or another individual who is seeking to control their finances.

Families that are concerned about financial exploitation should report the issue to state agencies that deal with protecting the safety and well-being of older adults.  The campaign, which encourages older adults and their families to plan and be cautious, released tips to help prevent financial exploitation, some of which include:

Learn how to avoid fraud and scams 

–Consult with a trusted person before making any large purchases or investments.

–Do not provide personal information (i.e. Social Security number, credit card, ATM PIN number) over the phone unless you placed the call and know with whom you are speaking.

–If you hire someone to help you in your home, ensure that they have been properly screened with criminal background checks completed.  Ask for certifications when appropriate.

–Talk with an attorney about creating a durable power of attorney for asset management; a living will; a revocable, or living, trust; and health care advance directives.

“Financial Exploitation can be prevented if people know the right questions to ask and where to turn for help, said Mary Twomey, Director, National Center on Elder Abuse.  “Although it is a sensitive issue and one that can be difficult to broach, it is critical for families to address it, and there are many useful resources available to guide them through the process.”

About Eldercare Locator

The Eldercare Locator is the first step to finding resources for older adults in any U.S. community and a free national service of the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) that is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). Contact the Eldercare Locator at 800.677.1116 or the website Eldercare Locator.

November 2012 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Eldercare Locator, which has received more than 2.3 million calls since it launched in 1992 and assisted millions of older adults and caregivers connect with local aging resources.


Looking for a New Business? Start a Gym for Baby Boomers

I went to the gym the other night. Yes, I know I should go every night but sometimes I negotiate with myself and lose. But while at the gym I realized that the majority of the members were baby boomers. We attend for fun, respite from care giving and exercise. Actually any baby boomer reading this and thinking of a new business venture think about opening a gym just for baby boomers.

Imagine how much you will be able to meet the specific needs of this group that is very unique. For example, workshops could be offered on caregiving, financial planning etc available after or before your workout. After all you are already there and perhaps can plan to be there for an extra 30 minutes.

I even have a couple of possible names for the franchise that include:

Boomer Time Gym

Boomer Biceps

Boomer Fun Fitness

Boomer Workout Express

Here is a blog post I read that emphasizes the goldmine possibility in starting a fitness place for baby boomers.

Let me know if you create a start-up.  Meanwhile keep working out when you can.

Prayer and Laughter Essential Tools for Caregivers and All Baby Boomers

A fellow caregiver sent a really funny video to me. It is by a woman that was doing an invocation at a convention. She added a few funny words to the prayer that I just had to share for anyone you know that is a caregiver or just old enough to appreciate the humor.

Enjoy this funny video on a really great site called Caregiver Stress.

999 Ways to be Caregiver Friendly-#2

No one was available the day that Suzy needed someone to go with her dad to the doctor. She decided to take the day off from her job and take him. The receptionist could see the strained look on her face. Suzy knew that she would need to go into the doctors office with her dad but had forgotten her note pad.

She approached the receptionist and asked for a piece of paper and pen. The receptionist smiled and pulled out a very decorative pad and pen with the doctor’s name on it. “Here use this, the doctor wants all the caregivers to have something to record their questions and answers.”

The smile, notepad and pen made this facility CAREGIVER FRIENDLY!

Do you have some suggestions for making a facility or person CAREGIVER FRIENDLY?

999 Ways to be Caregiver Friendly-Number 1

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series 999 Ways To Be Caregiver Friendly

1 Make eye contact with both the caregiver and the person getting care when discussing medical alternatives, instructions or concerns.

So often the caregiver providing the information for a loved one is the only one who receives eye contact from the health professional. Now, it is natural to speak to the person speaking. But a quick connection with the person who is being talked about will involve that person no matter what the level of retention might be.

How does this help the caregiver?

Well, it makes the caregiver feel that they are not the only one involved in the decision making. Note that I said “feel” because it many cases they are the only ones who are making decisions. However, it also feels good to know that the health professional has not, in haste, left your loved one out of the discussion.

Take the case of Sally O who sat in a consultation with a doctor with her mom who was 89 years young with dementia. She listened as the doctor and his young attendee explained the effects of the new drug they wanted to use on her mom’s condition. She knew she would have to repeat every thing that was shared in a user friendly way later at dinner.

But Sally wanted the doctor to just look at her with some sort of assurance, some sort of hope. Then she would probably feel less alone in the process of dealing with her mom’s condition.  Her eyes looked to the doctor and shifted towards her mom to give her a clue to look at her. But the doctor just asked her to explain it to her again later.

But the young attendee saw her body language que and took her hand and said “I hope you feel better.”

Sally only wished that the young attendee was ready to open her own practice.

What tips do you have?

999 Ways For You, Your Organization and Office to be Caregiver Friendly

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series 999 Ways To Be Caregiver Friendly

For me being Caregiver Friendly, range from complex to completely simple. Many, many are preforming tireless acts, intervening with time and life saving steps plus more. Some are acts of volunteers and others are the hand holding and kind smile from a health professional to a caregiver.

I pondered over how good it would be to focus on this area after a recent visit to a doctor. My mom had to have an iron infusion. A wonderful nurse, named Veronica, said, “Sometimes, when we have a vacant recliner we make our caregivers lie down and take a nap”. She must have seen the fatique in my eyes and directed me to an empty recliner with a blanket. I hope I never forget that day. That room in that hospital was “Caregiver Friendly’.

Sure, I have lots of ideas just from those things I have observed while in the emergency room, doctor offices or even the grocery store. I have listened and chatted with many caregivers. Everyone has stories of pain and joy. The joy may be there in the midst of the pain. Yet, some have joy. A kind word spoken to them by a health care worker or fellow caregiver goes a long way to healing the drama associated with caregiving.

In the midst of the business of taking care of the needs of your loved one many health professionals are hard pressed to accomodate the caregiver. There are so many people to help and sometimes so few staff to preform do things that can make a facility Caregiver Friendly. But we must try.

I want everyone reading this article to help make it go viral. Please, share what you, an organization or office is doing. Please share your ideas and suggestions as a comment . Place a number next to the idea, suggestion or comment. I really am tallying all of them up. I really do want to reach 999 tips, ideas and best practices.

Thank you for caring.

Caregivers-Join AARP in Orlando or Streaming Sept. 30-Oct. 2

AARP is sponsoring what looks like an awesome event in Orlando for caregivers. The event is called Celebration of Caregiving and promises to provide resources and support for caregivers. But if you cannot be there in person, (because you are caregiving ) then they had the insight to set up a streaming option. How cool!

So just click on this link to find out more about this innovation event for caregivers.

We need all the help we can get, don’t you agree?

How Do Baby Boomers in the Sandwich Generation Cope?

What is the so-called “Sandwich Generation?

The definition below ,from the author of the term, gives you a firm explanation.

“Sandwich Generationers®,” those sandwiched between aging parents and their own children

If you are a baby boomer in the in the “Sandwich Generation” How are you coping? Please share some of your coping strategies as a comment. Also, share this question on your own blogs.  The answers can help someone else. Let’s try to make it go viral.

Will The Health Reform Bill Help Caregivers?

According to a recent article by Robert Stock, there will be super help for caregivers with the advent of the new Health Reform Bill. Take a few minutes to read his explanation. I for one, welcome all and any help I can get that will assist my mom for now and hubby and I in the future.

As a childless couple we do not have the foundation of children to depend upon for assistance. Yet, sadly, we know many who have children and do not have the needed support they need during their illness.

Read this insightful article below.

Health Care Reform Will Impact Long-Term Care

Robert W. Stock Contributor

AOL News
(March 26) — As health care reform became the law of the land this week, a huge bloc of Americans with a unique interest in the outcome sat watching on the sidelines.

The 49 million people who care for older family members were hidden in plain sight, as usual, quietly shouldering a burden that so often takes a heavy toll on their finances and their physical and emotional well-being. Many of them — I know a few — are opposed to the new health care law, even though it includes one of the most important steps ever taken to improve caregivers’ lot, especially those of the middle-class persuasion. Of course, hardly any of them are aware of that.

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, otherwise known as CLASS, provides for a national insurance program to help cover the cost of long-term care — something 70 percent of people over 65 will need at some point along the way. The premiums will be much lower than those for private plans, and you won’t get screened out because you’ve already had some health problems. Once vested after five years, enrollees unable to care for themselves will be able to claim cash benefits for as long as needed.

A health aide helps a patient at his home in Miami. The new health care reform law could “transform long-term care” and make it possible for more patients to stay at home, said the chief of the National Council on Aging.

If you’re rich, you don’t require much financial help with long-term care. If you’re poor and can no longer fend for yourself, Medicaid pays the bills, often at a nursing home. For the rest of us, long-term care — at home or in an institution — now requires that we, or our caregivers, choose from among some unpleasant options.

We can spend down our retirement savings until we’re eligible for Medicaid funds. We can protect our savings by taking out expensive long-term care insurance — it costs my wife and me more than $5,000 a year. Or, depending on how dependent we are, we can throw ourselves, or be thrown, on the mercy of our families.

My friend — I’ll call him Frank — was a retired lawyer and in great shape until four years ago. He had just turned 90 when emergency surgery laid him low for months on end. Then his sight and hearing began to go. “I’m one of the lucky ones,” his wife, Helen, told me. “His mind is fine. But he can’t get around on his own — he falls, even with a walker. He can’t make a cup of tea or shower by himself.”

For now, Helen can afford to hire an aide for a few hours a day to help with Frank and allow her to get out of the apartment. “James gives me a life,” she said. The future looks darker.

Surveys show that 90 percent of Americans want to age at home. Frank is no exception, but he never signed up for long-term care insurance. “If I couldn’t keep taking care of him, I don’t what I’d do,” Helen said. “If he went into assisted living, it would use up all our money. It’s very scary.”

CLASS, one of the legacies of the late Ted Kennedy, offers caregivers and care recipients another option. “If it’s successful, if a large enough number of people sign up, it will transform long-term care,” says James Firman, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging. “It will create a market-based economy for keeping aging people at home.”

That’s an important “if,” since the program, by law, must be self-sustaining. Premiums will generally be collected as part of workers’ payroll deductions unless they opt out. The younger the worker, the smaller the premium.

There is a vicious circle built into the current arrangements. Many caregivers must hold down a job and maintain their own separate family household while also watching over an aging parent. That kind of pressure can have consequences.

In recent studies, workers 18 to 39 years of age who were caring for an older relative had significantly higher rates of hypertension, depression and heart disease than non-caregivers of the same age. Overall, caregivers cost their companies an extra 8 percent a year in health care charges and many more unplanned days off.

In other words, the strains of family caregiving can hasten the caregiver’s need to be the recipient of care.

CLASS bids to crack if not break that vicious circle. Its benefits would make it much simpler and less expensive for families to make sure Mom gets the support she needs to be able to spend life’s endgame where she wants — in her own home. Good news for Mom, and good news for the future health of her caregivers.

In the last few days, I’ve conducted a poll of a dozen friends who have been closely following the health care reform debate. I wanted to find out how much they knew about CLASS.

Not one among them had even heard of it. It somehow seemed fitting that this major program, just like the caregivers themselves, was hidden in plain sight.

2010 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved.

107 and Still Going Strong? A Baby Boomers Goal

Ok,  this baby boomer now has a serious goal, live long life and keep going strong. Of course this is rather unusual so yes, I am glad to live what ever life God grants me and live it to the fullest.

I just read this story about a woman who is 107 years old in Newark, NJ.  She is from Georgia, just like my mom. So, of course before I posted this I spoke to my 82 year old mom and shared the highlights. We all need encouraging.

I also hope that her senior housing complex has a full time social worker. They have been missing on a full time basis in Newark Housing complexes for a while now.  Caregiving families need the advice and support when trying to keep their loved one OUT OF a nursing home for as long as they can.

This woman does have good support with her grandchildren. And it is a good reminder to us all to talk with our families to share in the support needed in caregiving. Of course I read it wishing I had had children to help me in providing support for my mom. But God has been good and when I have strength and a great homemaker life can rock.

Read this encouraging story about a 107 year old woman living in Newark, NJ. Tell me what you think. I was encouraged. Also, encourage families to sacrifice some time to visit when they can. Remember baby boomers our time is coming. Ha!