Monday, January 28, 2013

Take a Look at "Human Arc" Website.

I received a letter from our healthcare provider offering a special service through Social Security. We are in the process of filing for SSI for Will so I decided to call and see what they had to say. Will is not able to take advantage - we have to go through SSA but they do offer lower income and the elderly options that should be checked out. The company involved is 'Human Arc'.
(picture from Human Arc website)

They have over 25 years of helping people find additional benefits. There is a free discount drug card that you can print out (looks similar to one AAA has) - just make sure you understand how it works! Unless something has changed, when I checked it out for my mom, it was not to be used with other discount plans; only when the other plans did not kick in and drugs were full price, like when you fall into the doughnut hole.

There is a "Benefits Check-up" tab which will lead you to questionnaires to fill out and it says they have over 1500 public and private benefit programs from all 50 states: programs for prescription drugs, food (like SNAP),utility assistance, healthcare, etc. I looked at the questionnaire it looks fairly easy to fill out and submit online.

The "Resource" tab leads you to many national and community services; just click on whatever you need. I tried a few and it worked great.

There under "Hospital Services" it mentions that they offer Medicaid assistance for adoption services. They list a variety of benefits from medical coverage, flexibility, no geographical limitations.

All in all, this is a good website to look at to see if you can take advantage of what they offer. Questions?? Lots of email addresses to use. We had a toll-free number on our letter but I only saw one for drug benefits on their website. Anyway the number I had, I left a message for them to call me back, but they never did. The next time I called, their voice mail said I had to wait about 10 minutes but it was only about 3 minutes. So I guess it depends on the day you call.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tips for Long Distance Caregivers.

In this Sunday's paper in RI, there was an article written by Pamela Yip who writes for the Dallas Morning News. The article is called 'Taking care long distance'. Pamela discusses a variety of things to think about and put in order for your elderly parents if you are a distance away. She refers to Kathy O'Brien, senior gerontologist at the MetLife Mature Market Institute - "We know that many more people are caring for family members than ever before". Another person, Kay Paggi, a Dallas geriatric care manager says "The big issue for long distance caregivers is not really knowing what is going on"; "A lot of time, Mom and Dad rally don't want you to know what's going on. They are used to being the parent, the wise person, the independent person, the problem-solver. They are not going to tell you they are failing every day, even if you ask".

Many long distance children worry about falls, eating habits, medications. You don't always have current information, if any. What if there is the beginning of dementia or Alzheimer's? Are you getting the correct information when you speak with your parents?

According to the article, the experts advise:
* create a network: have a care plan in place where you have people in place to call you or you can call and who can oversee your folks. Get to know their neighbors. Get an emergency response service pendant/watch with a button they can push for help.
* make sure you have a detailed list of doctors (and their phone numbers) and medications (why they are taking them), get friendly with your parent's pharmacist, make sure everyone knows what over-the-counter vitamins or supplements they take or herbal teas.
* maybe hire a geriatric care manager - they can go to the house and do an assessment of the home and how your parent(s) function. The care manager can put a plan into action and supervise the homemaker who goes in. It states that the care manager costs $100 - $150 per hour.
* use the web - pay their bills online for them, see if you can get copies of Medicare information to make sure they keep up with medical bills.
* get legal authority for housing, finances and medical. Get powers of attorney to handle financial matter if they cannot do things and a medical one to make decisions if your parent cannot make decisions. Get HIPAA authorization so you can have access to medical information.

There is good information here that will work for children who are close by as well. Basically, as the old saying goes 'you need to have your ducks in a row'.

Footnote: I lived near mom but we did do all these things. I knew her doctors very well from going to appointments with her. She verbally told them that they could speak to me any time I called but we did end up doing the appropriate paperwork. We did give the pharmacist a copy of the power of attorney so I could talk about her meds. We found a local agency that was able to make modifications to her home so it was easy to stay there longer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"My First Christmas in Heaven"

I was going through some papers that needed to be filed away and found this note that came from a good friend of mine this past December since she knew my mom and aunt passed away recently. She mentioned how it helped her that first Christmas after her parents passed away.

It really is beautiful. Even though Christmas has gone, I wanted to share it with you.
I can only hope it will help anyone else out there who may have lost a loved one.

My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow,
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear,
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me. I see the pain inside your heart,
But I am not so far away. We really aren't apart.
So be happy for me dear ones. You know I hold you dear.
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above,
I send you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift, more than pure gold,
It was always more important in the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do,
For I can't count the blessing or love He has for each of you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear,
Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

It was followed by a credit to -- Ben aged 14.

She followed it with:

"Whether alive or dead, we belong to the Lord.
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord.
So then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For this is why Christ died and
came to life, that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. For we
shall all stand before the judgement seat of God, for it is written:

'As I live', says the Lord, 'every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall
give praise to God.' So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.
The Word of the Lord"

Pass it on to anyone who may be feeling the sorrow of losing someone.

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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload

ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink


You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.

A Caregiver's Poem

I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!

Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom:
(picture from Caregivers Blog)

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

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