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From Dutton & Casey – Professional Level Programs in October

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

Topics to be covered include: What legal options are available in planning and paying for long-term care? What are Powers of Attorney, Living Trusts and Wills and why are they important? How can Medicare, Medicaid, Long-Term Care Insurance and Personal Care Contracts maximize a person’s quality of life?

 Presented by: Kathryn C. Casey, JD, CELA

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Location: Covenant Home of Chicago, 2720 W Foster Ave., Chicago, Illinois

Time: Registration and Light Meal – 5:30pm; Program: 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Event Registration: This FREE program is both for family members and health care professionals. A 1.5 continuing education credits will be awarded to Illinois Nurses, Counselors, and Social Workers. There is no cost to attend, however registration is required by contacting 847-462-0885 or events@elderwerks.com

Prepare to Care

One of the hardest tasks in the world is putting together a plan you hope you and your loved one will never have to use. When the unexpected happens, however, it helps to have the documents in place to deal with life’s complications, especially when they are designed to help you care for someone close to you. This session will focus on the legal planning necessary to plan for today, and the future.

Presenter: Helen Mesoloras, JD

Date: Thursday, October 8, 2015

Time: 9:00am-10:30am

Location: Lexington Square, 400 W. Butterfield Road, Elmhurst, Illinois

Registration:  This program will award 1.5 continuing education credits will be awarded to Illinois Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and Nurses. There is no cost to attend. However, advanced registration is required  by contacting 847-462-0885 or events@elderwerks.com

 

 

 

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition; What Social Service Providers Need to Know

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition; What Social Service Providers Need to Know

When a diagnosis of a chronic medical condition is given, not only do clients need to prepare medically, they need to prepare legally. This session will address important topics such as Powers of Attorney, Living Trusts, Wills. What legal options are available in planning and paying for long-term care? How can Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and personal care contracts maximize a person’s quality of life? and more.

Presented by:  Kathryn Casey, JD, CELA

Date:   Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Program:   8:30 am – 10:00 pm

Location:   Belmont Village, 500 McHenry Road, Buffalo  Grove, Illinois

 OR

 Date:   Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Program:   5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Location:   Belmont Village, 545 Belmont Ave, Carol Stream, Illinois

Continuing Education: continuing education credit will be awarded to Illinois Nurses, Counselors, and Social Workers.

Registration:     There is no cost to attend. However, advanced registration is required by contacting 847-462-0885 or events@elderwerks.com

 

 

Program: 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.

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

 

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

Reverse Mortgage- Caution Needed

You see the ads on TV, in the newspaper, and online. They push the benefits of a reverse mortgage for homeowners over 62: pay off your existing mortgage, supplement your income, pay for healthcare expenses, and more. But is a reverse mortgage right for you? That depends. While a reverse mortgage may increase your monthly income, it can put your retirement security at risk if you’re not careful.

learn more from the Federal Trade Commission

 

Dementia, Ethics and Elder Law

Dementia, Ethics and Elder Law

Please join us for an interactive presentation and case studies of elder law & ethics topics such as: a framework for addressing common ethical dilemmas involving people with dementia, determination of decisional capacity, risk factors for neglect, abuse, exploitation, and undue influence, solutions for helping those at risk and more.

Presented by: Kathryn Casey, JD, CELA  and Dan Kuhn, LCSW

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00pm

Location: Friendship Village, 350 W. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, Illinois

Registration: This program will provide 3 continuing education credit hours in ethics for Illinois Social Workers and Counselors. There is no charge to attend. However, registration is required. Please contact lecia.szuberla@elderwerks.com to register

Elder Financial Abuse: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Financial Exploitation

Mistreatment of older adults is not just a matter of neglect or violence. Financial abuse is also all too common—and often, family members and caregivers are the culprits. Elder financial exploitation is defined as “the illegal use of an older adult’s funds or property for the benefits of someone besides the older adult. This includes theft, fraud, and use of influence over the senior to gain control over an older person’s money or property.” Join BMO Harris Bank, Aging Care Connections, and Dutton & Casey to learn to identify key warning signs and how to protect your loved ones from Elder Financial Abuse.

Presenters: Janna Dutton, JD, CELA; Ken Nimmo, Account Risk Services Specialist at BMO Harris Bank, N.A.; and Elizabeth Rivera, MSW, Adult Protective Services Supervisor at Aging Care Connections

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Plymouth Place – Dole Hall, 315 N. La Grange Road, La Grange Park, Illinois

Registration: Please call 708-873-1633 to register.

Illinois Expands Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) to Physician Orders on Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

Illinois Expands Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) to Physician Orders on Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

On March 14, 2013, the Illinois Department of Public Health released a revised version of its “IDPH Uniform Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive.”  The updated form is subtitled “Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment” (POLST)  This form represents a widely recognized best practice that documents medical orders for life-extending treatments for seriously ill patients. POLST is now in use in 38 states with adoptions by Illinois and Indiana in 2013.  It is intended to promote more patient-centered conversations between physicians/other healthcare professionals and the patient or legal surrogate.

click here to learn more

Program for Community Members and Professionals

Taking Control of Your Future: Strategies for Avoiding Legal Pitfalls

Adequate legal planning for older age involved more than writing a will. This session will address important topics which can impact your physical, mental and financial health. Doing some simple advance preparation now can help you avoid legal pitfalls down the road.

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date:  Wednesday. May 29, 2013

Time: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Location:  Terrace Gardens Assisted Living, 8415 Waukegan Rd, Morton Grove, IL 60053

This session is part of a 6 week series, “Resources for Navigating Life Transitions: Your Personal GPS,” being sponsored by Elderwerks, Terrace Gardens, Right at Home, and Dutton & Casey.  Click here for a flyer on the event.

There is no charge to attend this, or any session. However, advanced registration is required. Click here  to register.

One hour of continuing education will be awarded for Illinois Social Workers, Counselors, and Registered Nurses.

PROGRAM ON LEGAL PLANNING FOR LIVING

Taking Control of Your Future: Strategies for Avoiding Legal Pitfalls

Adequate legal planning for older age involved more than writing a will. This session will address important topics which can impact your physical, mental and financial health. Doing some simple advance preparation now can help you avoid legal pitfalls down the road.

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date:  Wednesday. May 29, 2013

Time: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Location:  Terrace Gardens Assisted Living, 8415 Waukegan Rd, Morton Grove, IL 60053

This session is part of a 6 week series, “Resources for Navigating Life Transitions: Your Personal GPS,” being sponsored by Elderwerks, Terrace Gardens, Right at Home, and Dutton & Casey.  Click here for a flyer on the event.

There is no charge to attend this, or any session. However, advanced registration is required. Click here  to register.

PROGRAM ON LEGAL PLANNING WHEN LIVING WITH A DISABILITY – MAY 9 IN SKOKIE IL

Legal Ability Planning – How To Prepare For and Prosper In Adulthood

Adequate legal planning for living with a disability, whether your own or your loved one’s, involves more than writing a will.  It requires legal documents designed for living.  Attend this session, led by an attorney practicing disability and elder law, as she discuss important topics including health care planning and coverage, financial and health care surrogate decision-making, long term care, and other important planning tools designed to protect your physical, mental, and financial health, or that of someone you care about, during life.

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Jewish Community and Family Services, 5150 West Golf Road, 2nd Floor, Skokie, IL 60077

Registration:  There is no charge to attend this program. However, advanced registration is required. Click here to register.

YOUR Legal Update from Dutton & Casey – Attorneys at Law (Estate Planning I Probate I Elder Law)

In case you are new to reading our blog, this is the link to read all of our newsletters.

The goal of our newsletter is to provide helpful, and understandable, information on estate planning, probate, and elder law related topics.

Please feel free to share this resource.

PRESENTATION: Understanding Key Legal Issues for Family Caregivers

Understanding Key Legal Issues for Family Caregivers

This session will attempt to answer legal questions common to all family caregivers in the hope of assisting you avoid legal pitfalls. Questions to be covered are:  “What are the duties and authorities under a Power of Attorney for Property, Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Trust or Living Will?”; “What options are available in planning and paying for long-term care?”; “How can family caregivers can utilize Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and personal care contracts to maximize another’s quality of life?”

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date: Monday, April 22, 2013

Time: 830 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. (Janna’s session is part of the event, “A Systematic Approach to Building Your Caregiver Network”, being sponsored by Midwest Palliative & Hospice Care Center, Elderwerks,  and Northshore Senior Center.

Location: Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center, 2050 Claire Court, Glenview, Illinois

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However, advanced registration is required. Click here to register.

Are You Really “In” The Hospital

If you have Medicare, did you know that even, if you stay in the hospital overnight, HOSPITAL you might still be considered an “outpatient”?

Your hospital status (whether the hospital considers you an “inpatient” or “outpatient”) affects how much you pay, qualification for rehabilitation, and more.

Resource Information –

Next Step in Care, a campaign of United Hospital Fund, provides hospital admission and Emergency Room guides to provide basic information about “observation status” and what to ask. This information is important as it is a rising trend to be in an “observation” rather than “in-patient” in the hospital.

Click here to open the hospital admission guide.

Click here to open the Emergency Room guide.

Click here to read it as a standalone piece.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

For their publication on hospital status (observation or in-patient), click here.

Resource for People who have Parkinsons Disease

AWARE IN CARE KIT

From the National  Parkinson Foundation….  Aware In Care Kit. You can order your free kit by calling their national toll-free Helpline at 1-800-474-4636.  There is almost a total lack of understanding on the part of hospital, rehab, and nursing home staff of the disease itself, the medications used to treat it, and the importance of timing when administering medication.  This kit can make a future hospital stay a success rather than the disaster that many people with PD have endured.

 

Preparedness Tips for People with Cognitive Disabilities

Preparedness Tips for People with Cognitive Disabilities

Provides tips to help people with cognitive disabilities prepare for emergencies that may happen in their community. Communicating with those around you, having a radio nearby and an emergency preparedness kit can help you during an evacuation. This information is also in Spanish, and can be downloaded as a PDF document and in MP3 audio format.

Visit Disability.gov for more resources that can help you prepare for, or recover from, an emergency or disaster.

 

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Resource for Family Caregivers in Chicago Area

Powerful Tools for Caregivers Class

Thursdays, October 4 through November 8, 2012

3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Rush University Medical Center, Tower Resource Center

1620 W. Harrison Street, Suite 04527, Chicago

REGISTRATION REQUIRED

This six-week education program is exclusively for family and friends caring for older adults with long-term conditions. Each weekly class provides family caregivers with the skills and confidence to better care for themselves while caring for others. Many caregivers have raved about the class, including those caring for a spouse or partner as well as adult family members and friends caring for an elder. Class members will receive The Caregiver Helpbook, developed specifically for the class.

Participating caregivers report they:

  • · Are better at caring for themselves
  • · Have fewer feelings of anger, guilt and depression
  • · Have increased confidence and ability to cope with the demands of caregiving
  • · Take more advantage of community services

Skills learned build upon each other from week to week , plan to attend all six sessions.

Rush Generations member: $30 (parking validated and scholarships available)

Non-member: $50 (parking not validated)

Please call 1-312-563-2703 for more information or to register.

 

National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association

Did you know that  “Spasmodic dysphonia (SD), a focal form of dystonia, is a neurological voice disorder that involves “spasms” of the vocal cords causing interruptions of speech and affecting the voice quality. SD can cause the voice to break up or to have a tight, strained, or strangled quality. ”

For more information on this disorder, information and resources, go to their webiste at http://www.dysphonia.org/

 

Advocacy Needed to Prevent Proposed Medicaid Changes in Illinois

The STAMP Act, HB 2840 just passed the executive committee  of the Illinois General Assembly and will go to the floor next.  If passed, the STAMP Act will dramatically cut the  Illinois Medicaid program. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services proposed many changes  incorporated into the Bill which will significantly restrict Medicaid eligibility of seniors for long term care coverage. 

 Please click here to read more and learn how you can help.

Helping your parents stay out of the nursing home

Aging parents and their children sometimes disagree over the issues of safety versus independent living. Here are steps you can take to make your parents’ home safer.

By Karen Ravn, Special to the Los Angeles Times

February 6, 2012

 

 

Your parents say they couldn’t bear to lose their independence. Their hearts are set on staying in their own home for the rest of their days. And you understand. It’s what you’d like for them too. But they’re not as young as they used to be. Not as strong and on top of things. And you can’t help wondering if their plan is really wise, or even feasible. So you worry.

The question of what’s best for mom and/or dad is one that bedevils many children with aging parents, says Dr. David Reuben, chief of the geriatrics division in UCLA’s Department of Medicine. “One of the things older people want most is to stay in their own homes. But there’s always a tension between autonomy and safety. Children may want to err on the side of safety, but parents may want to err on the side of autonomy.”

Of course, the time may come when physical or cognitive limitations make independent living impossible. But until then, there are steps you can take to make your parents’ home safer, their lives in it easier — and your concerns about them a little less daunting.

To make a home more elder-friendly, a safety assessment is a good place to start, says Myra Hyatt, a specialist clinical social worker at the Landon Center on Aging at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. That means having an occupational therapist inspect your parents’ home for safety concerns and suggest ways to deal with them. These are some of the main issues that often come up in such assessments.

Stuff happens, so be prepared. If they have a personal emergency response system, your parents can call for help, 24/7, with only a push of a button. Newer systems can detect when a person has fallen down, so even if they’re too injured to push the button, the system will automatically alert an operator, Hyatt says.

Being prepared can prevent stuff from happening. An emergency response system is a very fine thing, but in the long run it’s more important to create an environment where such a system is needed as rarely as possible, says Linda Ercoli, director of geriatric psychology at UCLA. “If you fall and break your hip, you might be able to push a button and get help, but the fact remains that you’ll have broken your hip.”

Indeed, your parents’ home may be booby-trapped with all sorts of falls waiting to happen — including slippery showers or tubs (add grab bars), slide-prone throw rugs (get rid of them or tape them down) and fate-tempting steps and stairs (consider installing ramps or even chairlifts). Poor lighting is another open invitation for your parents to take a tumble or bang their heads or stub their toes. With brighter, better-positioned lights, you’ll be sure they can see what they’re doing and where they’re going.

Be an alarmist. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be standard in every home. But your parents might also benefit from other, more specialized alarms, Hyatt says — for example, an alarm that goes off if a pot has been left unattended on the stove for too long, or one that reminds them to take their medications (and alerts someone else if they don’t).

Life-simplifying devices. Clothing that fastens with Velcro — instead of buttons or zippers — can make a welcome difference for fingers stiff with arthritis. And for backs no longer terribly keen on bending, an extra-long shoehorn can be a real blessing. Speaking of recalcitrant backs, a handy-dandy reacher/grabber allows for bend-free retrieval of items that fall on the floor as well as stretch-free retrieval of objects from high shelves.

Staying connected. Isolation can be a problem for seniors, especially as they become less mobile. If their hearing has also gone downhill, talking on the phone may be difficult. But a phone with amplified speakers can help, Hyatt says. And if their eyes aren’t so sharp anymore, big buttons can help too. So can email with big fonts.

Senior centers and adult day care are other good options for those who can get to them — as are pets, at least in the right circumstances. “They make great companions,” Reuben says. “People relate to them exceptionally well.” On the other hand, he warns, “if your parents can’t walk very well themselves, they obviously won’t be able to walk a dog. And pets can get underfoot.” Tripping over a leg-rubbing cat or toy-chasing dog can cause falls. Think goldfish?

Food. Nutrition can be problematic for seniors, Ercoli cautions. “Will they eat right — or even at all?” Perhaps your parents are eligible for Meals on Wheels services. Also, senior centers often offer no- or low-cost lunches. You might even hire someone to shop for groceries and prepare meals.

Professional services. Staying in their own home can be a lot easier for your parents if they don’t need to worry about keeping it clean or keeping the yard looking good. You can hire professionals to do those and almost any other chores your parents might no longer feel up to.

Taking care of business. Maybe it’s time for you to take charge of your parents’ finances — pay their bills, balance their checkbook. And it’s important for them to consult an elder law specialist, Hyatt says. How they handle their assets can have big-bucks repercussions down the road, affecting their eligibility for programs like Medicaid, to name just one example.

Take care of yourself too. Worrying about and caring for your parents can wear you down, Hyatt says. “You can become isolated yourself and find yourself thinking, ‘I want my life back.’ Part of the challenge is the guilt you feel.” That’s where caregiver support groups come in, she says. You can be open and frank there, even about the feelings you’re least proud of. “Everyone there will get it,” she says. “They won’t think you’re a monster.”

Resources. Countless agencies and organizations are dedicated to providing invaluable — but often free or low-cost — senior services. Information about many of these is available from your local Area Agency on Aging, which in Los Angeles County can be reached at (800) 510-2020 or css.lacounty.gov (click on the “Programs” tab). There you can find help with many of these issues, as well as others. Also, for a thorough “Housing Safety Checklist for Older People,” visit and click on the “Housing” tab.

“Find help,” Hyatt says, “because it’s out there. And it can mean you stay the course and keep your parents at home as long as you can.”

health@latimes.com

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For information on how the law firm of Dutton & Casey can assist you assist you, or someone who you care about, plan for today…and tommorrow, please click here.

Medicaid, Spousal Impoverishment and Same-Sex Couples

SAGE, the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults has published a booklet on  Medicaid, Spousal Impoverishment and Same-Sex Couples.

Click here to go to the SAGE website for the guide and other helpful information.

One of the Practice Areas of  the law firm of Dutton & Casey is Medicaid planning. For information on we can assist you, or someone who you love, please click here.

Illinois Department of Transporation’s Life-Saving Yellow Dot Program

IDOT Unveils Life-Saving Yellow Dot Program

Program Provides Emergency Responders with Crucial Medical Information to Help Crash Victims

The Illinois Yellow Dot program, a life-saving, traffic safety initiative that provides first responders with critical information to improve emergency care for persons involved in vehicle crashes. IDOT along with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois Department of Aging (IDOA) and county health departments across the state are working together to increase awareness of the voluntary, federally funded program, and provide distribution centers and information for interested residents.

“Roadway safety is always a top priority at IDOT, and the Yellow Dot program can help improve roadway safety by providing first responders the crucial medical information they need to treat injuries and save lives, beginning at the scene of a crash,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “This important program gives IDOT and our partners another important way to improve our exceptional record on traffic safety. I encourage all motorists to participate in this unique and effective program, which could make the difference between life and death for individuals involved in crashes.”

Because the first hour following an injury is the most crucial, the Yellow Dot program provides essential personal health information to emergency responders in order to promptly care for a crash victim. This ‘Golden Hour’ is critical in the treatment of crash victims, and the medical information provided through the program could be a lifesaver.

When a crash occurs, emergency medical first responders such as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians are immediately dispatched to the scene. These responders usually have basic information such as the location of the crash and the number of victims. Frequently, minimal personal information is available during this early, most critical time period.

“This is a great opportunity for older drivers to update their medical information and have a voice in their emergency treatment in the event of an accident,” said John K. Holton, Ph.D., director of the Illinois Department on Aging. “The Yellow Dot program will serve as a lifeline to alert first responders of crucial medical information which can help the victims who may be unable to communicate at the crash site or may have forgotten to share the information.” Yellow Dot participants are supplied with a simple, bright yellow decal for their car and a corresponding yellow folder. The decal is placed in a conspicuous and consistent place – in the lower left-hand corner of the rear window, driver’s side. The yellow dot signifies there is a folder in the glove compartment containing the following medical information about the motorists: participant’s name, close-up photo, emergency contact information, patient’s physician information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies and a list of current medications. Having access to this information allows first responders to make important decisions regarding emergency treatment and can better prepare emergency hospital staff in the receiving room.

“Time is critical in an emergency situation. If paramedics and emergency medical workers know what medications a person is taking, if the person has allergies or a chronic condition, they can make better decisions about treatment,” said Acting IDPH Director Dr. Craig Conover. “Delaying treatment can mean the difference between life and death in some cases. Something as simple as having your medical information on a yellow card in your glove compartment can potentially make a big difference in the emergency care you receive.”

The Yellow Dot program, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, was originally introduced in Connecticut in 2002. For more information on the program and to find a distribution center near you, visit www.yellowdotillinois.org.

 

Chicago Snow Corp

Chicago Snow Corps is a new program that connects volunteers with residents in need of snow removal, such as seniors and people with disabilities.  Chicago Snow Corps aims to help minimize potential heavy-snow emergencies by matching volunteers with blocks where the neediest citizens have requested help.

 How do I request a volunteer?

Call 311. We will try out best to make volunteers available to you, but the services available depend on the number of volunteers in your area. Volunteer matching takes place Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers will not clear alleys, personal parking spaces, back porches, or any alternate entrances. Do not let the volunteer into your home. Do not offer payment for the shoveling services.

 Who should call 311?

Recipients of assistance must be age 60 or older and/or have a physical disability. They must also live within Chicago City limits and lack access to the available resources (financial resources or local family/friends) to assist with snow removal.

 When do I call 311?

Call 311 if you are unable to get out of your home after a snowfall. Only call 311 if the snow is significant and you do not have friends or family who can help you.

 

Making Sense of Memory Loss – 5 Part Educational Class

 Some memory loss is normal as we age, but some older people experience more than occasional forgetfulness. What should family members know and what can they do to help someone who is beginning to experience memory loss or other difficulties with thinking?

A five-part educational program has been developed to help family members of someone in the early stages of memory loss or with early stage diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. This special program is taught by Michaela Hoffman, MSW of Catholic Charities Northwest Senior Services and Bonnie Scherkenbach,MS, LPC of The Barrington Area Council on Aging.

The class includes the following topics:

ü Overview of Memory Loss & Related Symptoms

ü Communication Strategies

ü Making Decisions

ü Planning for the Future (Attorney Kathryn Casey will be presenting)

ü Effective Ways of Coping and Caring

 

WHEN: February 14 through March 13th, 2012

                   Every Tuesday from 1:00 to 3:30 P.M.

 

WHERE: The Community Church of Barrington

                    301 East Lincoln Avenue, Barrington IL

 

FEE:  $15 includes five, two and one half hour weekly sessions and the book “Alzheimer’s Early Stages” by Daniel Kuhn, MSW

 

To register or for more information please contact

Michaela Hoffman, MSW at 847-253-5500 ex. 333 or

Bonnie Scherkenbach, MS, LPC at 847-852-3890

 

American Parkinson Disease Association

In the current issue of their newsletter, dealing with Social Security and nutrition for someone who has Parkinson’s Disease are discussed.

How Social Security Evaluates Parkinson’s Disease

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), are currently going through the application process, or have previously applied and were not approved, this article will help you to understand how Social Security evaluates each case.

Nutrition for Parkinson’s Disease

Good nutrition is important for everyone, but especially for someone with Parkinson’s disease.  A healthy diet can help people with PD achieve or maintain normal body weight, increase energy level, boost their immune system, decrease risk factors for certain conditions or illnesses, and reduce constipation

To view these articles in their entirety or to subscribe their e-newsletter, please contact the APDA Young Onset Center at (877) 223-3801 or visit www.youngparkinsons.org.  

National Caregiver Support Line for Veterans

The Veterans Adminstration has established a National Caregiver Support Line for Caregivers of
Veterans — spouses, children, other family members and friends of Veterans as well as Veteran themselves.  

for more information on the program, please go to https://duttonelderlaw.com/resources/articles.html

Lewey Body Dementia Association Survey

The Lewey Body Dementia Association (LBDA) is conducting a survey to assess if there are differences in how grief is experienced by caregivers for individuals with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease with and without dementia, and frontotemporal degeneration.  The survey will also assess the well-being and quality of life for caregivers of individuals diagnosed with the neurodegenerative diseases. Internet access is required to participate in the study, and LBDA needs 500 caregivers who are currently providing care for each different disease that is being studied. 

http://www.lbda.org/go/caregiversurvey

Health Literacy and Older Adults

Health Literacy and Older Adults

CDC Releases Practical Advice on Developing Materials to Match the Health Literacy Skills of Older Adults. CDC’s health literacy web site (www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy) has a new section to help health and other professionals develop materials that will communicate more effectively with older adults and their caregivers. The web site includes self-assessments, background information on health literacy, steps to improve materials and links to resources about older adults and caregivers. The new content builds on CDC’s expert panel report on older adults and health literacy issues. 

www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/DevelopMaterials/Audiences/index.html

 

Medicare D

Just a reminder, Medicare beneficiaries have until December 7 to enroll in, or change, Medicare D coverage.

For Resources on Medicare D, please go to www.medicare.gov; www.medicareinteractive.org; www.insurance.illinois.gov/ship

Internet Scams

The Family Caregiver Toolbox

Don’t Become the Victim of a Scammer ToolBox

If you have a telephone or an e-mail address, you have no doubt been the target of a scammer. No one is immune from these criminals, who are using more sophisticated techniques every day. Some e-mail scammers have even learned how to make their correspondence appear as if it’s coming from a trusted government source, such as the IRS. The victims of Internet crime alone lose millions of dollars each year.

You can protect yourself and your loved ones. A variety of reputable agencies and organizations have compiled resources and tips that are a must-read for anyone who uses a telephone or computer.

A new toolkit from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), produced in partnership with the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation — “Savvy Saving Seniors: Steps to Avoiding Scams” — is helping to educate older adults and their caregivers about how to protect themselves from financial abuse and scams. The toolkit includes a list of signs for caregivers to look for when concerned about their loved ones. Go to www.ncoa.org/assets/files/pdf/Steps-to-Avoiding-Scam-Handbook-10-12-11.pdf.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center, provides helpful “Internet Crime Prevention Tips.” Go to www.ic3.gov/preventiontips.aspx#item-16. View more tips at www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud.

for more information on resources for family caregivers, go to thefamilycaregiver.org

Family Caregiving and Ambiguous Loss

   
 
 
 
Caregiving and Ambiguous Loss
 

Introduction

Caregiving for a loved one can cause stress in many ways. To manage the stress—which we know can be dangerous to a caregiver’s health—we must first know what the problem is. Surprisingly, many caregivers of individuals with memory disorders or dementia report that the main problem is not the illness itself, but the ambiguity and uncertainty it causes.

It’s a difficult challenge to care for someone who is here, but not here—here physically, but gone mentally and psychologically. You feel alone, and in some ways, you are. For many caregivers, it’s as if there’s a stranger in the house.

Adding to the stress, disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or traumatic brain injury cause unpredictable memory loss that comes and goes—one moment here, the next moment gone. This roller coaster of absence and presence is a very stressful kind of loss—what author Pauline Boss calls ambiguous loss. Unlike death, there is no closure, no official validation, and sometimes little community or religious support. You feel you are left to cope on your own; even the strongest caregivers feel anxious and depressed. The challenge is to learn strategies to cope with this ambiguity that is so much a part of memory loss.

 Symptoms of Overwhelming Stress

Caring for someone with a cognitive impairment—and the ambiguous feelings that arise—can create a constancy of sorrow that can immobilize caregivers. For example, decisions are put on hold, tasks pile up, chores delayed. Doubt, confusion, helplessness and hopelessness set in, and caregivers can feel anxious and depressed. Friendships are in limbo as caregiving takes more and more of your time. Conflict increases with spouse, children/stepchildren, siblings. Family gatherings and rituals that were the glue of enjoyable family life are cancelled or changed. When a caregiver feels increasingly isolated, the possibility of depression, anxiety, abuse, guilt, shame, lack of self-care, illness or substance abuse increases.

 Tips for Coping with the  Ambiguity of Memory Loss

To manage the stress of caregiving, try to connect with other people: if possible, join a support group either in person or on the Internet, attend a book club, social event, or faith-based group. Here are some ideas, questions and tips to help: 1. Name your problem.
Know that one real culprit causing your stress is the ambiguity from a loved one being here, but not here. Call it “ambiguous loss.” It is neither your fault nor the patient’s. It is caused by an illness.

2. Practice both/and thinking.
It helps to think “both/and” rather than in the extremes of “either/or.” Instead of thinking the care recipient has to be either here or gone, think of him or her as both here and gone. This means balancing two different ideas at the same time—present, and also absent. Both/and thinking is less stressful than continuing to search for an absolutely perfect solution.

Here are some examples:

“I am both a caregiver—and a person with my own needs.”
“I take care of both him—and myself.”
“I both wish it was over—and that my loved one could keep on living.” 
“I am both sad at my loved one’s illness—and joyful with my new grandchild.”
“I am both sad about my lost hopes and dreams—and happy about some new plans and goals.”

Now add your own examples. “Both/and” thinking may come faster if you practice with another person.

3. Know your “family” and community information and support systems.
You need predictability (not ambiguity) about whom you can talk to and count on for help. Have some other people become “like family” to you? Does your community offer help and social support? Spiritual support? Recreation and respite? Information support? Talk with your Caregiver Resource Center about what help is available to you. Check the web—a quick online search for “caregiver” offers a wealth of information and online communities. If your biological family offers no help, perhaps you can create a “psychological family” that will be there for you when you need help. Talk about how to divide up the work among a “care team.” Make a written plan to know who will do what and when. Who will come once a week so that you can take some time off to do as you wish? Who will come for a week twice a year so that you can take a vacation from caregiving? Several websites can help you establish your caregiving community (see Resource list below).

4. Continue—but revise—family holidays, celebrations and rituals.
Do not cancel, but rather, simplify the gatherings with the people you care about to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and religious events and rituals. Families, friends, and communities connect to celebrate life’s transitions. Human connection can help lower your stress in times of sadness. It can help you and a person with dementia feel the spirit of life around you. This is essential to staying strong when the person you care for is not able to connect fully with you. Think and talk about this: what family rituals did you celebrate as a couple or family before the memory loss? Now? How can you simplify your family rituals and celebrations to fit the circumstances now? Young people can be especially helpful in answering these questions, because of their strong imaginations and new perspectives.

5. Revise family roles.
To manage the stress of caring for someone with severe memory loss, alterations are needed in what you and other family members previously did. There are changes in family roles as a result of the memory loss. What tasks are you now responsible for? What tasks have you lost? How do you manage these changes? What would help? Is there agreement in the family about who should do the caregiving? Are you resilient enough to change or do you feel you have to do  it all as before? Talk about who plays what roles in  the family.

Finally, based on roles, think about how you see yourself now. You might ask: Is it right for me to take time off to go out with friends when my spouse is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? Do I still feel like a son or daughter or more like a parent to my parent? If my spouse has memory loss, do I still feel married? How should I act?

6. Be aware of family rules.
 Who is allowed to do what in your family? Is there a team approach or are you expected to do all the work alone? Become aware of your family’s rules and question them. They can change. Do your family’s rules about race, religion, class, age, or gender get talked about? For example, is there an unspoken rule in your family that only females can be caregivers? Are certain people excused from helping? Why are they excused? There may need to be a new family rule about “teamwork” so that caregiving does not fall to one person alone. Include children and teenagers in the circle of information about the illness, its effects, its unclear prognosis, and your need for help and teamwork.

7. Understand that anger and guilt are normal, but avoid harmful actions.
While mixed emotions are an understandable outcome of memory loss, the negative feelings can come out as anger or, worse yet, abuse—and that is not acceptable. Talk with someone—a professional or another caregiver—about your negative feelings to prevent acting out your anger. Remember, feeling angry about the ambiguity in memory loss is normal, but acting out that anger against the patient or yourself is not.

8. It seems contradictory, but imagine something new to hope for.
To stay healthy, everyone needs hope. When your loved one is ill, and you are tied to caregiving, you must discover new hope. It helps to talk about this with other people—and again, with young people. They might help you imagine new dreams for your future—new connections, new hobbies, new travel plans, new skills, new relationships.

Given the stress from caregiving and the ambiguity of memory loss, what can you plan for the future that is clear and certain? How about an outing, a firm date for dinner with a friend, a hobby that has clear outcomes, a TV program that you clearly enjoy? New hopes and dreams will emerge when you can balance the ambiguity with some activities that have clear outcomes, no matter how small.

9. Check on your own health.
Seek professional help if you:

  • Feel depressed, physically sick or hopeless.
  • Feel like hurting yourself or hurting or yelling at the person you care for.
  • Depend too heavily on alcohol or recreational drugs.
  • Fight with your spouse, children, stepchildren, or other family members and friends.
  • No longer take care of yourself.

When you are a caregiver for someone with memory loss, the stress of ambiguity adds to the usual pressures of caregiving. You have a duty and a right to take care of yourself.

 Summary

This Fact Sheet is a caregiver’s guide to managing the extra stress from ambiguous loss. To sum it up, think of managing the ambiguity as learning to walk in the fog. Keep moving forward, despite the stress of not knowing what lies ahead. But at the same time, reach out for support and human connections to stay resilient and strong.

 Credits

About Ambiguous Loss. See www.ambiguousloss.com/about_ambiguous_loss.phpBoss, P. (2000, paperback). Ambiguous loss. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Boss, P. (2006). Loss, trauma, and resilience: Therapeutic work with ambiguous loss. New York: Norton.

 Recommended Readings

Bayley, J. (1999). Elegy for Iris. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

McKeithen, M. (2006). Blue peninsula: Essential words for a life of loss and change. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Schulz, R., & Beach, S. (1999). Caregiving as a risk factor for mortality: The caregiver health effects study. Journal of the American Medical Association, 282(23), 2215-2219.

Sparks, N. (1996). The Notebook. New York:  Warner Books.

Film adaptation: Cassavetes, N. (Director), Harris, L. (Producer), & Johnson, M. (Producer). (2004). The Notebook [Motion picture]. New York: New Line Cinema.

TeleCaregivingsm Workshop Audio Archive

Here but Not Here—Finding Hope When Your Loved One Has Memory Loss (Podcast)
http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=2061

Caregiving and Depression
http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=393

Caregiver Health
http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=1822

Caring for Adults with Cognitive and Memory   Impairments
http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=392

Dementia
http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=569

Grief and Loss
http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=404

Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family  Caregivers
http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=847

 Resources

Family Caregiver Alliance
180 Montgomery St., Ste. 900
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 434-3388
(800) 445-8106
Web Site: www.caregiver.org
E-mail: info@caregiver.org
Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) seeks to improve the quality of life for caregivers through education, services, research and advocacy.

Identifying Family Caregivers

Identifying Family Caregivers

Suzanne Mintz
2011-NFCM-Sm

There are more than 65 million family caregivers in America. Some are just beginning the caregiving journey while others have been providing care for five, 10, 15, even 20 years or more. It’s hard for those who are just beginning to help Mom and Dad with a few activities each week to relate to those of us who are providing more than 40 hours of care a week to a spouse/ partner, child, or parent who is severely ill and/or disabled, who lives with us, and who needs help with virtually all the ordinary activities of daily living such as dressing, toileting, eating, etc.

Those at the beginning of the journey don’t interact with the healthcare system as much as “high-burden” family caregivers — those of us who are putting in more than 40 hours a week helping a loved one. I fit into the latter group and I suspect that most of you reading this article do too. When there is talk about family caregivers needing help, about the nation’s most vulnerable citizens — and those who require the most resources — we and our loved ones are the people being discussed.

Within the caregiving community, advocates, scholars, researchers and others have all lamented the fact that as a rule, family caregivers don’t self-identify and that is the reason it is so hard to reach us with information and support. People at the beginning of the family caregiving journey are less likely to self-identify as family caregivers and that may be OK, but it is very important that high-burden family caregivers self-identify, or are identified as such by others.

The other day I had one of those “I should have had a V8” moments. I realized that it is less important for family caregivers to self-identify than it is for healthcare providers and the healthcare system to identify who are family caregivers. How can our healthcare system provide patient- and family-centered care, as we are told it should, if it doesn’t identify half of the equation? It doesn’t make sense really, and it certainly isn’t respectful. I have an idea about how family caregivers can be identified through their interaction with the healthcare system, an idea that is easy to implement and will cost virtually no money at all.

We’ve all filled out countless medical intake forms that become part of the medical record. They ask about our health history and even that of our parents, but they never ask, “Do you provide care for a family member or friend who is chronically ill and/or disabled?” or, “If you have a chronic illness or disability, is there a family member or friend who provides care to you or helps you manage your illness or disability?”

How can doctors, nurses and others pay attention to us, find out what care we provide at home, and keep an eye on our own health if they don’t know who we are? It’s important that they know exactly what type of care we provide our loved ones.

Do you do any of the following: take a loved one to the doctor regularly, manage his/her medications, or help him/her get in and out of bed and to the toilet, or eat or dress? How long have you been providing care? Do you have chronic back pain or feelings of depression? Knowing this type of information can impact the plan of care that healthcare professionals recommend and it can alert them to any problems you might have as well. While in some cases it’s obvious that there is a family caregiver, if it isn’t in the record, it isn’t official; consequently, we are truly invisible to the healthcare establishment, the government, and private insurers, despite the rhetoric to the contrary.

Given all the talk about patient- and family-centered care, not identifying family caregivers is at best an oversight and at worst hypocritical; either way, we need to correct this glaring omission. It’s important to inform healthcare professionals, key healthcare decision makers, the government, and private insurance companies that “family caregiver” is not just a term to pay tribute to, but, rather, that we are real people who provide long-term care for millions of Americans.

What you can do to ensure that family caregivers are identified in medical records:

  1. Attach a piece of paper to every intake form you fill out for yourself or your loved one. Put your name and your loved one’s name at the top and then write: “I am John Smith’s wife and his primary caregiver,” or, “My daughter, Nancy Dale, is my primary caregiver,” or a similar phrase. List the top five to 10 tasks you do and note the impact on your health and well-being (chronic back pain, depression) and your life (having to cut hours at work). Save this information on your computer and print it out each time you take Mom to the doctor or visit your own.
  2. Talk about the idea with your pharmacists, nurses, or others you come in contact with who have some connection to the healthcare system. They have probably never thought about the idea of identifying family caregivers on medical records.
  3. Write to your insurance company. Tell them that knowing who among their beneficiaries are family caregivers, and/or who have family caregivers, will provide them with an opportunity to find new ways to improve care and cut costs.
  4. Use social media to spread the idea. Talk to family, friends, and even clergy.

The goal is to create a buzz so that family caregivers and everyday people, as well as providers and decision makers, realize that something is missing on medical records: information about whether someone is or has a family caregiver. November is National Family Caregivers (NFC) Month. Let’s make NFC Month 2011 the time we began the movement to identify family caregivers in medical records.

 Click here for more information on the National Family Caregivers Association.

How to Tell When Your Parents Need Help…

How Do I Know When My Parents Need Help?

As your parents age, you may begin to wonder or worry: “Are they safe at home? How can I tell if they need help?” Your parents are independent, private people who are not going to share with you incidents that make you think they are not okay. They do not want to go to a nursing home and lose their independence. They love their home and enjoy being in it. So they are not going to tell you the things that happen that may send them to a nursing home. As a matter of fact, they will hide these issues from you. They are afraid of going to a nursing home, and this is a rational fear. They have seen their friends and neighbors placed into facilities when their health begins to decline. All of their possession are sold or given away, the home they have spent years in is sold, they can no longer sleep in if they feel like it or eat whatever and whenever they want; their losses are great. You need to acknowledge that this is a rational fear, something that may happen to them that can be unpleasant.

The following is a list of indicators for change. Observing any of these things happening does not mean your parent cannot live at home. What it does mean is the situation needs to be assessed. Professional or informal and volunteer services can be put into place to allow your parent to stay in their home safely.

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Falls, accidents or bruises
  • Forgetting food on stove (look for burned or scorched pans)
  • Unpaid bills or utilities being shut off
  • Housekeeping decline: dirty walls, floors, windows or bathtub
  • Unable to maintain home; broken items not being repaired over long time
  • Refrigerator and cabinets empty; not enough food
  • Unable to recognize or react to danger
  • Getting lost or locked out of the house
  • No longer able to transfer independently from bed to wheelchair
  • Incontinence
  • Lack of social support
  • Decreased interest in fun or social activities
  • Medication errors
  • Increased emergency room visits
  • Wearing dirty clothes
  • Needs to reminded to bathe; has dirty hair or personal odor

For more infomation, please click here

Family Caregivers: How to Avoid Holiday Traps

Family Caregivers: How to Avoid Holiday Traps

Caregivers can rewrite the holiday rulebook to reduce stress, increase joy

From Vicki Rackner, MD, 

Holidays, meant to be a celebration of shared joy and connection with family and community, can quickly become a time of burden and a reminder of alienation and loss.For caregivers, holidays can bring an extra measure of activities and caregiver stress1. “I wish the calendar would flip directly from November to January,” said Fern, 67. “We just got settled into a routine now that Mom moved in with us, and all I see are a longer to-do list and disrupted schedules.”Holiday celebrations can destabilize any family, and family caregivers know this better than most because people who attend to the needs of aging parents, a sick spouse or family friend already live on the edge of a delicate equilibrium. As Gary, 59, so colorfully said, “Since Dad had his stroke, my life is held together with rubber bands and bubble gum. I’m concerned that Christmas will herald its collapse.”

For self-preservation, many caregivers let go of rules about how holidays should be celebrated. “Being a caregiver for my sick wife offers many gifts,” said John, 73. “Maybe the most important is the invitation to look at our life in a new way. Almost out of necessity, I stripped down our holiday celebrations.”

5 Holiday Traps for Caregivers
There are several common holiday traps that family caregivers fall into, but they can be avoided. Just follow a simple concept: Free yourself from ideas about what shouldhappen, and give yourself permission to celebrate holidays in a way that works for you and your family.

    • Trap #1: Planning for the worst. Many caregivers think, “This could be Dad’s last Christmas, so I want to make it really special.” Wouldn’t it be great if we came into the world with an owner’s manual that included the expiration date! We do not. I have seen patients defy all medical odds and laugh about the doctor who gave them six months to live—20 years ago. Then there are the tragic untimely deaths. We should all celebrate as if this is our last holiday season!
  • Trap #2: Creating Norman Rockwell scenes. The idea of a picture-perfect holiday has an emotional tug that’s particularly seductive to family caregivers who may long to return to earlier, carefree days of health and vitality.While there is no perfect holiday celebration, you can create holiday rituals that are perfect for your family. Say at a family meeting, “Our lives are different this year, so we need to think about how our holiday celebration will be different. What are the two or three things that make the holiday special for you?” For most people, it’s the little things that make a big difference, like the Russian Tea Cakes, the special hand-embroidered tablecloth, or playing board games. Create a montage of your family’s perfect holiday.
  • Trap #3: Buying your way out of guilt. For people in the sandwich generation2, caring for both children and parents, the guilt that someone is getting shortchanged looms large. Who doesn’t wish for more hours in the day so that children and friends, even the person in the mirror, would get more time and attention? The life of a caregiver leaves big gaps. If you try to fill the gaps with gifts, you will undoubtedly find that it does not work very well.All family members, including children, need to know they are loved and treasured. Gifts are one way to say this, but what most kids of all ages really want is more of you. Consider a different kind of holiday gift, like a coupon for 10 minutes of undivided attention each day, a trip to the ice cream store, or a visit to the zoo.During a holiday dinner, how about shining a “spotlight” on each person at the table, with each guest offering a story that demonstrates why this person is special? You could write the comments on 3×5 cards and give them wrapped in ribbon or mounted in a collage.

    Consider inviting your kids to give rather than receive by touching the lives of those less fortunate. Serve a meal at a shelter. Invite a lonely neighbor to your house. Look for a chance to give a stranger a $20 bill, or whatever you can afford.

  • Trap #4: “Smile!” This instruction, given before every photo, captures the tone for holidays. Over and over, we’re told there’s a right way to feel during a holiday, and that’s happy. Family caregivers have a spectrum of feelings that rise to the surface during holidays, like sadness or anger or disappointment. It is sad that it’s not safe for Dad to live alone any more, so set aside some time to acknowledge those dark feelings. Suppressing the feeling does not make it any less real, and adds to your holiday burden. [Note: For help with handling feelings of grief and loss, see 5 Steps to Help You Through the Grieving Process3]
  • Trap #5: Party On!If you are an extrovert—someone who gets recharged from being in the presence of others—you are in your element during holidays. Party on!For introverts who get recharged by spending time alone, or those who have limited pep because of illness, holidays can be emotionally depleting. There is still hope for a joyous holiday celebration, it just requires some advanced planning.Plan a social calendar that’s reasonable for you as a caregiver and for your loved one. Be realistic about your energy limits before you make endless commitments, and ask family members to do the same. If either you or your loved one is an introvert, it’s perfectly reasonable to respond to some invitations with, “Thanks for the lovely offer. Unfortunately, we have other plans. I’m sure you’ll have a terrific time, and I’m sorry to miss it.” The host does not need to know that your other plans are a nap.

Your life became different when you became a family caregiver, and it’s time to do things differently. Free yourself from the idea that there’s a right way to celebrate a holiday. Look at your family and decide how to make holidays work for you, and then adjust the family expectations. That’s the recipe for celebrating the blessings in your life, and the joy and love you share with others.

Vicki Rackner, MD, FACS, is a surgeon who left the operating room to help patients and family caregivers enjoy better health. A noted expert on the doctor-patient relationship, Dr. Vicki serves employers through Medical Bridges4, and welcomes everyone to join her Caregiver Club5.

Medicaid Protection for Same-Sex Couples

When one partner in a long-term relationship needs expensive long term care, often the only way for the couple to pay for it is to look to Medicaid.  Historically, there have been no spousal impoverishment protections afforded to partners in same-sex relationships when one partner needs long term care and applies for Medicaid.  However, the combination of the new Illinois Civil Union Act and a policy change recently announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ensure that Medicaid spousal impoverishment protections are afforded to Illinois same-sex civil union partners.

 Click here to read the entire article.

Increase in Prevention of Spousal Impovershment Standards for 2012

The amounts for 2012 of monthly income, and total assets, that a person can keep when their spouse enters a long-term care nursing hom, supportive living,e or needs the services of the Illinois Community Care Program (CCP) and federal financial assistance is used to help pay for these services have been released.

Click here to read more.

National Council on Aging

National Council on Aging has updated its website to be more user-friendly and helpful.

Click here to read more about the National Council on Aging and its efforts. While you are on the site, make sure to look at benefits check up to learn about federal, state, and local programs for yourself, or someone who you care about.

Event: Navigating Legal Issues for Family Caregivers

Presented by Attorney Janna Dutton, this session will answer fundamental legal questions common to all family caregivers responsible for taking care of individuals who are unable to care for themselves. Learn to navigate the legal issues involved in caring for an another adult. What are the duties and authorities under a Power of Attorney for Property, Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Trust or Living Will? How does the law allow for a person to manage another person’s finances and healthcare? How can loved ones make financial, personal and medical decisions under the law? Is it possible for your clients to avoid legal pitfalls as a caregiver? What legal options are still available in planning and paying for long term care? How can caregivers utilize Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and personal care contracts to maximize a loved one’s quality of life.

Date:  Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: North Grove Manor, 5520 Lincoln Ave.,. Morton Grove, IL 60053

Registration: There is no cost to attend this program. However, advanced registration is required by calling 224-534-0584. Seating is Limited.

Confused about Medicare?

Medicare is the primary health insurance for people are 65 and older and younger people who have a disability.

However, Medicare can be very confusing. To learn more about Medicare, what is covers, deductibles, co-pays, etc., look at  

www.medicare.gov;  

www.insurance.illinois.gov/ship

In addition, go to www.medicare.gov/publications for a resource booklets on the various aspects of Medicare.

2011 Northeast Young Onset Parkinson Conference

Donate Now

National Parkinson Foundation 1-800-4PD-INFO

Register Now for the Free Webcast on Oct. 22, Live from
the 2011 Northeast Young Onset Parkinson Conference!

Can’t make it to Rhode Island? Watch the live webcast of the key speakers from the comfort of your home. Register now for the free, live webcast and learn about the following topics:

  • Impulse Control Disorders and Other Brain-Related Behaviors
    Joseph Friedman, MD, Brown University
  • Recent Developments in the Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease
    Richard H. Myers, PhD, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Understanding the Process
    Tai Venuti, MPH, Allsup, Inc.
  • DBS: What to Expect from Surgery and After
    Julie G. Pilitsis, MD, PhD, Albany Medical College
  • Beyond the Mask of Parkinson’s: Strategies for Overcoming Communication Challenges
    Linda Tickle-Degnen, PhD, OTR/L, Tufts University

This event is brought to you by the National Parkinson Foundation and the  American Parkinson Disease Association. Thank you to our generous sponsors: Teva Neuroscience, Ipsen and Medtronic.

For more information, please call NPF’s Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).

Event: Navigating Legal Issues for Family Caregivers

Presented by Attorney Kathryn C. Casey, this session will answer fundamental legal questions common to all family caregivers responsible for taking care of individuals who are unable to care for themselves. Learn to navigate the legal issues involved in caring for an another adult. What are the duties and authorities under a Power of Attorney for Property, Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Trust or Living Will? How does the law allow for a person to manage another person’s finances and healthcare? How can loved ones make financial, personal and medical decisions under the law? Is it possible to avoid legal pitfalls as a caregiver? What legal options are still available in planning and paying for long term care? How can caregivers utilize Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and personal care contracts to maximize a loved one’s quality of life.

Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Lake Barrington Woods, 22320 Classic Court, Lake Barrington, IL 60010

To Register: No charge to attend. Pre Registration is required by calling Lake Barrington Woods at

847-842-8900 by November 7, 2011. Seating is limited.

Event: Resource Fair for Adults with Disabilities and Their Families

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 9 a.m. – Noon
Bernard Horwich JCC Building, Heller Auditorium
3003 West Touhy Avenue, Chicago

The 2011 Linkages Resource Fair features two guest speakers, as well as opportunities for private consultations and personalized assistance from area service providers and attorneys specializing in disability-related issues.

9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Robin Jones, Project Director, Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center, Great Lakes ADA Center
Robin Jones will focus on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and other disability rights laws that impact housing, employment, travel, education, telecommunications, voting and other areas of importance.

10:45 – 11:30 a.m.
Attorney Laura Miller, Equip for Equality
Attorney Laura Miller will discuss recent legislative challenges related to deinstitutionalization of people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and physical disabilities.
Some of the service providers represented will include:
CJE SeniorLife / Jewish Child and Family Services / Life’s Plan / Clearbrook / Jewish Vocational Service /The Center for Enriched Living / Center for Independent Futures / Arts of Life / Access Living / Family to Family / The Arc of Illinois / Illinois Life Span / Thresholds / PACT, Inc. /UIC Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities

Some of the attorneys represented will include:
Dutton & Casey Associates / Equip for Equality / Attorney Julie Fox / Jeffrey A. Rabin & Associates

To register for this event or to request special accommodations, click here.

Resource: Chart of Benefits by Income Level – October 2011

New, updated Chart of Benefits. Here’s a breakdown of the updates:

  • Income levels for LIHEAP increased September 1, 2011. Clients have 2 options- Percentage of Income Payment Program (PIPP) or Direct Vendor Payment (DVP)
  • Income levels for the Weatherization program increased effective September 1, 2011
  • Income levels for SNAP will increase effective October 1, 2011
  • Income levels for Illinois Cares Rx decreased effective September 1, 2011
  • Illinois Cares Rx-Basic is for those who are under 65 and do not have Medicare or for those who are 65 years of age or older and are not a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen
  • Illinois Cares Rx- Plus is for those with Medicare or those without Medicare who are 65 years of age or older and  a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen
  • Seniors who want the Free Ride program must qualify by income effective September 1, 2011

 

To download the Chart of Benefits, please click on the path below to access the document on AgeOption’s website:

http://www.ageoptions.org/newsandviews/documents/ChartofBenefits-October2011.pdf

Event: Elder Law and Ethics, 2011

This program will provide an overview of Elder Law topics within an ethical framework. Discussion will This program will provide an overview of Elder Law topics within an ethical framework.  Discussion will include topics of importance to all individuals working with older adults.  These will topics will be presented via interactive lecture and case studies. The following topics will be presented:

  • Determination of decisional capacity
  • Factors that contribute to a person’s risk for neglect, abuse and exploitation
  • Solutions for helping those at risk
  • Updated on the changes to Medicaid (DRA) and what impacts they may have

 

Date: Wednesday, September 14 , 2011

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Firm Speaker: Janna Dutton, JD

Location: The Abington, 3901 Glenview Rd, Glenview, IL 60025-2467

Click here for a flyer.

To Register: No charge to attend. Pre Registration is required by calling Vicki in marketing department at The Abington. Phone: 847-729-0000  or sending an email to: vickibmktg@theabington.com

Event: Taking Pride in Wellness

The Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders at Center on Halsted provides enriching social, cultural and educational programs for the diverse lesbian, bisexual, and transgender older adult population of Chicago. This goal of this Wellness Fair is to educate older adults, caregivers and loved ones of ways to stay healthy in a holistic way. There will be workshops, participatory activities and a vendor fair with topics that touch on upon parts of wellness including intellectual, social, and spiritual health.

Date: Friday, September 16, 2011

Time: 10:00 am-3:00 pm

Location: Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60613

For the flyer on the program, click here.

Alzheimer’s: Early Planning Critical to Financial Health

In a recent article in Reuters Magazine, Alzheimer’s: Early Planning Critical to Financial Health, working with a certified elder law attorney is an important step in planning for the future.

Janna Dutton, founder of Dutton & Casey, is one of only 8 certified elder law attorneys in Illinois.

Click here to read the article.

For additional information on how Dutton & Casey can assist you, or someone who you care about, please go our website.

Planning for a Hospital……Discharge

An admission to, and a discharge from,  the hospital can be scary for the patient, and the family. The National Family Caregiver Alliance published a guide on the hospital discharge process. It is vital to pay attention, and be involved, in the plans being for when your relative leaves the hospital.

read the entire article.

……………….

The law firm of Dutton & Casey concentrates in assisting older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. Many times, plans following a hospital stay also include the need for legal planning.  With over 50 years in expertise and offices in Chicago, Skokie, Arlington Heights, and Vernon Hills, the advocates at Dutton & Casey are available to assist. Please click here to read more about how we can assist you or those you care about.

Driving Evaluations

Driving evaluations are an instrumental way to help determine if someone is safe to continue driving, whether it be for physical, visual, or cognitive reasons.  The evaluation lasts for three hours and is split up into three different sections.  The first hour is in the clinic with an occupational therapist.  The therapist evaluates range of motion, strength, reaction time, vision, memory, attention, sensation, street signs, and situational driving questions.  The next hour and a half is out on the road, where the driving instructor evaluates handling of the car and ability to safely drive.  The evaluation concludes with a sit down meeting to go over the results and recommendations that will be made to the doctor.  Individuals may pass, fail, or require further training sessions to practice their skills or with equipment if needed.   For more information please call Alexian Rehabilitation Hospital at 847-640-3119.  To see a list of area locations that administer the evaluation, click here.

What do you need to participate?: a current driver’s license and doctor’s order

How long does the evaluation last?: 3 hours

For more information on how to take care of yourself or your loved ones as they age, visit the website of elder law firm Dutton & Casey, P.C. to check out our resources or read about how our attorneys can help give you the peace of mind that comes with planning for your future.