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Archive | July, 2015

Too close to call

by Preston Reisig Consumer Education Intern, FTC

Got a question about a product or an account from a big-name online retailer that makes you want to speak directly to their customer service representative? What do you do first? Go to their website, of course. Can’t find a phone number there? Then you may do what seems like the next best thing and just type the company name into a search engine.

But the FTC warns consumers that it’s a mistake to assume that all toll-free numbers that pop up in a search are legitimate customer service lines. Some are run by scammers out to hijack your credit card number or install malware on your computer.

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Advocacy Needed

The current State Budget impasse threatens the viability of community-based agencies and their capacity to provide long term services and supports and behavioral health care for older adults and persons with disabilities.  I urge you to send letters to the editor of your local newspaper(s) to inform the public about the impact of the current stalemate on your agencies, programs, and clients, and urge the Governor and Illinois General Assembly to settle their political differences and enact a State Budget now.  I have prepared a sample letter to the editor which can be found on our website at: www.ilcmha.org .  You may customize the letter and send it to your local newspaper(s).

Thank you.

Michael O’Donnell, President

Illinois Coalition on Mental Health and Aging

 

Card cracking: Not what it’s cracked up to be

Card cracking: Not what it’s cracked up to beby Lesley Fair Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC

The scam is called card cracking and it may start off innocently enough. You see a post on a social media site announcing a contest. Or maybe a webpage that claims to have a celebrity affiliation is offering a gift card giveaway.

The variations are endless, but here’s the tip-off that fraud is afoot. At some point, you’re asked for your bank account information, PIN number, or online banking credential. That’s when you can bank on the fact that those “innocent” offers aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

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The ComEd Residential Special Hardship program

ComEd has set up temporary satellite sites to complete applications for their Residential Special Hardship Program beginning on Monday, July 27, 2015. The program will run until funds are exhausted. The ComEd Residential Special Hardship program is available for those who have “experienced a hardship due to job loss, documented illness, military deployment, senior or disability hardships, among others”, according to ComEd’s website. In addition, they must meet other eligibility guidelines to qualify for assistance. Please visit https://www.comed.com/customer-service/assistance-programs/Pages/residential-hardship.aspx or call 1-800-806-CARE for more information.

 

The 2014-2015 income guidelines are as follows:

Family Size 30-Day Income Annual Income
1 $2,431 $29,175
2 $3,277 $39,325
3 $4,123 $49,475
4 $4,969 $59,625
5 $5,815 $69,775
6 $6,600 $79,925
7 $7,506 $90,075
8 $8,352 $100,225

Elizabeth Lough, MPH, Benefits Access Specialist AgeOptions 1048 Lake Street, Suite 300 Oak Park, Illinois 60301 phone (708)383-0258  fax (708)524-0870

elizabeth.lough@ageoptions.org

ageoptions.org

Fraud Alert

Happy Birthday Medicare & Medicaid! Here’s to Another 50 Years
Medicare and Medicaid celebrate an important milestone next week. July 30th is the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing legislation that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It may be hard to imagine today, but in 1965, about half of all older adults in the U.S. had no health insurance. Today, Medicare and Medicaid cover almost 1 in 3 Americans, providing needed services for over 100 million people.

 

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Age in Place

If you decide to “age in place” — live independently in a home of your choice for as long as possible — you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you have the necessary supports and resources.

See how to plan if you want to “age in place.”

For more information, see “There’s No Place Like Home – For Growing Old,” a Tip Sheet from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH.

The information on Long Term Care was developed for NIHSeniorHealth by the Administration on Aging (AoA), a part of the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

 

 

Travel Tips for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s time for summer vacation! Taking a person with Alzheimer’s disease on an overnight trip can be challenging, but here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Keep your schedule realistic—allow lots of time for each thing you want to do.
  • Plan rest periods.
  • Follow a routine like the one you use at home. Try to have the person eat, rest, and go to bed at the same time they do at home.
  • If the person is prone to wandering, carry a recent photo of them on the trip.

Get more useful travel information in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Traveling Overnight.

Adiós fake debt collectors

No hay mal, que por bien no venga,” as we say in Spanish. There’s nothing bad through which good doesn’t come.

 

It’s an appropriate phrase to describe the FTC’s settlement with Centro Natural – a telemarketing company that the FTC says deceived and harassed Spanish-speaking people into paying debts they didn’t owe. Thanks to the settlement, announced recently, the company is now banned from telemarketing and debt collecting. It’s an important case, because fraud really does affect every community. The case also aligns with the FTC’s work on how debt collection and credit reporting issues affect Latino consumers.

 

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Marriage Equality and Elder Law: Planning for Your Future

Marriage Equality and Elder Law: Planning for Your Future

Finally, all people can be married.   The implications of marriage, especially for older adults who are planning for their future, should be understood as it can impact you  both financially and legally.  Attend this session presented by Janna Dutton, Certified Elder Law Attorney, who has devoted her entire legal career to elder law, and learn what you need to know in order to make a decision that is appropriate for you and the person you love.

 Date: Friday, August 7, 2015

Time: 1:00pm – 2:00 pm.

Location: SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual Older Adults) in Bellwood, Illinois

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However, advanced registration is required. Please contact Eric Vironet at eric@wsseniors.org.

Understanding Estate Administration

Understanding Estate Administration

Whenever a person dies, their estate needs to be collected and managed. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the remaining assets. Not only are you dealing with the death of a loved one, the estate administration process can be overwhelming. Attend this program, presented by Attorney Hanny Pei-Rodriguez and learn more about preparing for, and managing, this difficult task.

Presented by: Hanny Pei-Rodriguez, JD

Date: Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm -7:30 pm

Location: Gilda’s Club Chicago, 537 North Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However advanced registration is required. Please contact 312 464-9900 to register.

 

 

Upcoming Program on Estate Adminstration

Whenever a person dies, their estate needs to be collected and managed. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the remaining assets. Not only are you dealing with the death of a loved one, the estate administration process can be overwhelming. Attend this program, presented by Attorney Hanny Pei-Rodriguez and learn more about preparing for, and managing, this difficult task.

Presented by: Hanny Pei-Rodriguez, JD

Date: Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time: 6:30 pm -7:30 pm

Location: Gilda’s Club Chicago, 537 North Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However advanced registration is required. Please contact JamieMazer@gildasclubchicago.org or 312 464-9900, ext. 30 to register.

Attention Grandparents: Watch out for phony debt collectors

My grandma kept an eye out for cheaters. (No, not that kind.) Back in the day, if a salesman knocked on her front door, she waved them off. Before caller ID, she hung up on telemarketers. But a call from a phony debt collector? She might have fallen for that one. Especially if the debt collector said she was responsible for her grandchild’s debt.

 

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Advice for older people on staying safe in hot weather

Summer weather can pose special health risks to older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. It is critically important that adults particularly susceptible to hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses know how to safeguard against problems. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has some tips to help avoid the hazards of hot weather.

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Unique interactive map helps meet needs of people with electricity-dependent medical equipment

This unique interactive map helps meet needs of people with electricity-dependent medical equipment

The HHS emPOWER Map, an interactive online tool, launched today to aid community health agencies and emergency management officials in disaster preparedness as they plan ahead to meet the emergency needs of community residents who rely on electrically powered medical and assistive equipment to live independently at home.

learn more.

 

Information on Wi-Fi Hotspots

Whether in a hotel or airport across the world, or in the coffee shop just down the street, chances are you’ve used free Wi-Fi hotspots. While convenient, they’re often unsecure. So how can you reduce your risk? Encryption — having your information scrambled into code — is key to staying secure online.

Watch this video from OnGuardOnline.gov to learn the signs that a site and hotspot are encrypted so you can protect your personal information when using public Wi-Fi hotspots.

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