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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

 

 

 

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.

Read more >

 

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

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.

read more.

 

 

Before paying with bitcoins…

If you shop online — and who doesn’t? — you might notice that some websites let you pay with bitcoins. Virtual or crypto currencies like Bitcoin can be a fast way to pay online, or in person with a mobile app.

But using virtual currencies comes with risk. Their value goes up and down — sometimes sharply — depending on demand. In addition, payments made with virtual currencies aren’t reversible and don’t have the same legal protections as some traditional payment methods. Once you hit send, you can’t get your money back unless the seller agrees. That’s why it’s important to know who you’re buying from and what policies they have regarding refunds, returns, and disputes.  

learn more from the Federal Trade Commission

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

 

Spread the Word About Summer Meals

Don’t let kids go hungry this summer. Just because school is out doesn’t mean they can’t get the same free or reduced-cost meals they rely on during the school year. In fact, any kid or teen 18 and under can eat for free at designated summer meals sites across the country. But too many families don’t know, or don’t take advantage of the program.

Find summer meals in your community. And use these tools to let people know they’re available.

 

Clinical Challenges in Determining Competency and Understanding the Surrogate Decision Makers

Clinical Challenges in Determining Competency and Understanding the Surrogate Decision Makers

Presented by: Kathryn C. Casey, JD, and Renato DeLossantos, MD

Date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Time: 10:00 am – Noon

Location: The Bridges Poplar Creek Country Club, 1400 Poplar Creek Drive, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

Continuing Education: 1.5 hours will be awarded to Illinois Social Workers, Nurses, Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists.

Registration: There is no cost to attend. However, advanced registration is required. Please contact donna.siegler@alexian.net to register.

Elder Law and Ethics, 2013

Please join us for an interactive presentation and case studies of elder law & ethics topics such as:
Determination of decisional capacity
Risk factors for neglect, abuse, exploitation, and undue influence
Solutions for helping those at risk
Changes to Medicaid

Presented by: Kathryn C. Casey, JD

Date:  Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Registration:  8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Program: 9:00 AM – 12 Noon

Location:  Friendship Village, 350 W. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, IL 60194

Continuing Education: This program will award 3.0 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers,  Professional Counselors, and Nurses. This program satisfies the Illinois social  worker 3 hour ethics requirement.

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

Professional Level Program – Elder Law and Ethics, 2013

Elder Law and Ethics, 2013

Please join us for an interactive presentation and case studies of elder law & ethics topics such as:
Determination of decisional capacity
Risk factors for neglect, abuse, exploitation, and undue influence
Solutions for helping those at risk
Changes to Medicaid

Presented by: Kathryn C. Casey, JD

Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Registration: 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Program: 9:00 AM – 12 Noon

Location: Friendship Village, 350 W. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, IL 60194

Continuing Education: This program will award 3.0 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and Nurses. This program satisfies the Illinois social worker 3 hour ethics requirement.

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

CHANGES TO THE DISABILITES PARKING PROGRAM THROUGH THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

By April 1, 2013, a new Disabilities License Plate/Placard Unit, which will handle and process all permanent placard and plate requests, will be operating in Springfield.

Because of the passage of House Bill (PA 97-0845) creates a new two-tiered parking program for persons with disabilities allowing for only persons with certain types of disabilities to qualify for meter-exempt parking in cities and municipalities.

* In addition to the current blue (permanent) and red (temporary) disabled parking placards currently used in Illinois, a third placard, distinctive from the blue and red placards, will be introduced for those persons qualifying for meter-exempt parking.

* Beginning in April 2013, the Secretary of State will start the recertification process for all current applicants by mailing information to them along with a new certification form.

* The recertification form will have a new section for the physician to execute indicating whether the applicant has a disability that would qualify them for meter exempt parking.

…………………………

Types of Disabilities That Will Qualify an Applicant For Meter Exempt Parking

* Patient cannot manage, manipulate or insert coins, or obtain tickets or tokens in parking meters or ticket machines in parking lots due to the lack of fine motor control of BOTH hands.

* Patient cannot reach above his/her head to a height of 42 inches from the ground due to a lack of finger, hand or upper-extremity strength or mobility.

* Patient cannot approach a parking meter due to his/her use of a wheelchair or other device for mobility.

* Patient cannot approach a parking meter due to his/her use of a wheelchair or other device for mobility.

* Patient cannot walk more than 20 feet due to an orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular or lung condition in which the degree of debilitation is so severe that is almost completely impedes the ability to walk.

Please note: Economic need will not be a consideration to qualify for meter-exempt parking.

…………………………

* ALL applicants will need to visit their physician and have the recertification form competed.

* Upon receipt of the executed form, the Secretary of State’s Office will issue a new disabled parking placard to the applicant. If the person has a permanent disability that qualifies for meter-exempt parking, they will be issued the new color placard. If the person has a permanent disability that does not qualify for meter-exempt parking, they will be issued a new blue disabled parking placard.

* The placards will be valid through 2018, and expire on the applicant’s birthday.

* Qualification for the red (temporary disability) placard and the green (organizational) placards will remain the same; however, they will not qualify for “meter-exempt parking.

* Persons with any type of disabled parking placard will still be allowed to park in designated disabled parking spaces at malls as well as grocery and retail stores were no parking meters are present.

Resources For Additional Information:

 

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/services/persons_with_disabilities/disabilities.html

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/disabilitypub.html

Phone: 217-782-2434, 217-782-2887, or 217-782-2709.

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR SPRING 2013

TRUSTS :What They Are, How They Work, and How They May Help You or Someone You Care About

Presented by: Kathryn C. Casey, JD.

A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a “trustee,” holds legal title to property for another person, called a “beneficiary.” There are different types of trusts (revocable, irrevocable, testamentary, and special needs), and each type of trust serves a different purpose. Katie’s presentation style and vast knowledge on this subject make her the perfect person to speak on this important topic.

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Program: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Location: Kenneth Young Center, 1001 Rohlwing Road, Elk Grove Village, Illinois

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

Continuing Education: This program will award 1.5 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers and Counselors.

Elder Law and Ethics, 2013

Please join us for an interactive presentation and case studies of elder law & ethics topics such as:

  • Determination of decisional capacity
  • Risk factors for neglect, abuse, exploitation, and undue influence
  • Solutions for helping those at risk
  • Changes to Medicaid

Presented by: Janna Dutton, JD

Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Registration: 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Program: 9:00 AM – 12 Noon

Location: Covenant Home, 2720 W. Foster, Chicago, IL 60625

Continuing Education: This program will award 3.0 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and Nurses. This program satisfies the Illinois social worker 3 hour ethics requirement.

Registration: Registration is closed. This session is full.

Elder Law and Ethics, 2013

Please join us for an interactive presentation and case studies of elder law & ethics topics such as:

  • Determination of decisional capacity
  • Risk factors for neglect, abuse, exploitation, and undue influence
  • Solutions for helping those at risk
  • Changes to Medicaid

Presented by: Kathryn C. Casey, JD

Date: Friday, April 19, 2013

Registration: 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Program: 9:00 AM – 12 Noon

Location: The Admiral, 929 West Foster Ave., Chicago, IL 60640

Continuing Education: This program will award 3.0 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and Nurses. This program satisfies the Illinois social worker 3 hour ethics requirement.

Registration: There is no cost to attend. However, advanced registration is required and seating is limited. Click here to register.

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

Continuing Education: This program will award 2 clock hours to Illinios Social Worker and Counselors.

Registration: There is no cost to attend. However, advanced registration is required and seating is limited. Click here to register.

Are You Prepared to Serve All Seniors? Think Again.

As professionals, we are very aware of the challenges faced by our aging population, especially those who are frail or ill. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals facing a health crisis, the challenges are often magnified. Out of fear, both real and perceived, many LGBT seniors delay or avoid getting the care they need.

This training, offered through the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and sponsored by Dutton & Casey, the Senior and Community Resource Center at St. Alexius Medical Center, Center on Halsted, and Elderwerks, will provide you with information and resources to best serve LGBT older adults and address the unique challenges faced by this community. The training will include group discussion, interactive small group activities and break-out sessions.

Presenter: Britta Larson, M. NH, Senior Services Director at the Center on Halsted

Dates: Monday, April 22, 2013 or Monday, September 23, 2013

Registration: 8:00 AM – 8:30 AM

Presentation: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: St. Alexius Medical Center, 1555 Barrington Road, Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Continuing Education: This program will award 4.0 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and Nurses.

Registration: There is no cost to attend. However, advanced registration is required and seating is very limited. Click here to register. for the April session. Click here to register for the September session.

Legal Planning for Family Caregivers: What Social Service Professionals Need to Know

As social services professionals, you are often the first people who families turn to for answers to their questions. Attend this session, presented by Kathryn Casey, an attorney who concentrates in elder law and disability and special needs planning, to assist in having these answers. Questions to be covered include: “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 utilize Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and personal care contracts to maximize another’s quality of life?” And… bring your questions!

Presenter: Kathryn C. Casey

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Registration: 8:30 AM-9:00 AM

Session Time: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Location: St. Alexius Medical Center, 1555 Barrington Road, 4th Floor Conference Room B, Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Registration: There is no cost to attend. However, advanced reigstration 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.

Emergency Planning : Are You Ready?

In light of winter approaching and the recent storms, we want you to be as ready as possible for emergencies.  When you prepare and discuss your plans with your family, friends and neighbors, you can better ensure your safety.   What can possibly happen?  

 Think about the possible emergency situations we can have in Northern Illinois…

 

* Ice Storm:  Can easily lose power for several days. 
* Snow Storm: Again, you can lose power as well as not be able to leave your home for days.
* Tornado or Wind Damage: Fallen trees can topple and take down power lines, resulting in loss of power for days, as well as trees blocking streets.
* Area Flooding: Do you know if you are in a flood plain?  Even if not, are you affected by run off water?

 Many agencies have recommended the following procedures and items for your safety and success in any emergency situation:

Make your plan:  have a safety kit, pack a suitcase, get your automobile ready, make a plan for your pets, and know where your nearest neighborhood shelter is located.  All of these items are extremely important and will take some of your time, but, upon completion of these details, you will be better prepared and will have enabled yourself, along with your family, neighbors, and friends, to be protected and ready for most any emergency.   

 One last thing that is, many times, omitted from an emergency kit is an Estate Plan. Your emergency Estate Plan should contain copies of your will, power of attorney, and trust information. What happens if you become in and can’t make medical or financial decisions? or are killed in the storm? While it is horrible to think of these events happening, unfortunately, they do. Emergency planning needs to include more than three days of water and medications.

Once you have all of these items completed, don’t forget that you should re-check all of these provisions every few months.  Just like checking the batteries in your smoke-detectors every month, re-visiting all of your emergency plans and supplies will keep you safe and secure.  If you would like more specific information on non-legal planning, please go to the websites for the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disabilities – Emergency Preparedness Initiative and Ready.Gov.  

Dutton & Casey concentrates on assisting people plan for today… and tomorrow. For information on how we can assist you, please review our  website or email us for more information.

Resource for Older Drivers

Older Drivers Topic Now Available on NIHSeniorHealth.gov

Site offers information on age-related health changes, safety tips and driving adjustments

NIHSeniorHealth has just released a new topic for older drivers and families seeking information on an often sensitive subject: Is it still safe to drive? The new “Older Drivers” topic, available at http://nihseniorhealth.gov/olderdrivers/howagingaffectsdriving/01.html, gives older adults and their loved ones information to help them address that question and others related todriving in later life.

Key points include:

  • how health and aging may affect driving
  • tips for road safety
  • steps to take when driving skills change  
  • making sure your vehicle is safe
  • regulations affecting older drivers
  • alternative modes of transportation, and more

“Older Drivers” was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

For more health and wellness information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health, go to www.nihseniorhealth.gov. NIHSeniorHealth is a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, both part of the National Institutes of Health.

 
 

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.

 

Being Prepared for an Emergency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Disability.gov (the federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide) urge all people, especially older adults and people who have a disability, to plan ahead in case of an emergency.

Not only should the plan include supplies, it should include legal planning such a powers of attorney and other tools. For more information on how Dutton & Casey, PC., Attorneys at Law, can assist you prepare for an emergency, please review our website or send us an email.

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.

End-of-Life Care Planning Decisions

Because each of us will face different scenarios related to disability, illness, and the dying process, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to end-of-life care planning. Memorializing one’s wishes in an advance directive document will help to avoid misinterpretation and offer guidance to those who will be making those decisions on one’s behalf when the individual is unable to do so. Two important documents related to health care are the Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Living Will. The Power of Attorney for Property and the Last Will and Testament concern financial related matters. Read More

A Guide to Special Needs Trusts

Why Create a Special Needs Trust?

A Special Needs Trust can be an important tool for a disabled individual who is, or may become eligible, for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid but has excess assets preventing eligibility. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the Social Security program that grants income to people who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled with limited income and assets. Medicaid is the state-run federally funded program that pays for medical assistance for certain children, and individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled with limited income and assets. Eligibility for both SSI and Medicaid is based, in part, on the amount of the applicant’s assets. Read More

Do You Really Need a Living Trust?

A geriatric social worker recently shared with me a conversation he had with an older woman who attends the senior program the social worker manages. The older woman, who I will refer to as Mrs. G, told the social worker that she attended a free seminar on living trusts after learning about the seminar from an advertisement in her local newspaper. Mrs. G told the social worker that the seminar discussed how living trusts help people avoid having their estates managed by a complicated and expensive legal process after they die. The social worker knew from previous conversations with Mrs. G that she did not want to burden her children in any way, including with her estate issues after she dies. Therefore, the social worker was not greatly surprised to learn that, shortly after attending the seminar, Mrs. G contacted the attorney who presented the seminar and paid the attorney to create a living trust for her. Read More

The New Illinois Power Of Attorney Act And How It May Affect You

On July 1, 2011, the new Illinois Power of Attorney Act will go into effect. Existing properly executed Illinois powers of attorney will remain valid; however, one may want to consider revising existing powers of attorney to make the most of the amendments to the Act. For any adult 18-years-of-age or older who does not have in place properly executed powers of attorney, this is a good time to obtain them.

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.

 

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.

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.

National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month.

 

In addition to providing emotional and physical support, family caregivers often give much more to those in their care. Nearly 40 percent of family caregivers reduce their work hours or quit their jobs, plus spend an average of more than $5,500 of their own money annually to help provide the care they give. Yet amazingly, unpaid family caregivers provide 90 percent of the long-term care provided in the U.S. So this November, be sure to remember and recognize the family caregivers you know. For more details, visit

 

 

www.thefamilycaregiver.org.

 

 

-We, at Dutton & Casey, thank the family caregivers, who we are privileged to assist, for your efforts to support your family members.

 

Driving and Dementia

Driving demands quick reaction time and fast decision making — because of this, a person with Alzheimer’s will eventually become unable to drive. Making decisions about when it’s time to stop driving can be difficult, but dealing with the issue early on can help ease the transition. Learn more at our online Dementia and Driving Resource Center, where you can watch how four families deal with different issues related to dementia and driving.

Click here to read the entire article, from the Alzheimers Association.

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).

Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Protections for Same – Sex Civil Union Partners

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.
On April 1, 2011, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that, effective immediately “[t]he Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will notify states of their ability to provide same-sex domestic partners of long-term care Medicaid beneficiaries the same treatment as opposite-sex spouses in the contexts of estate recovery, imposition of liens, and transfer of assets. This includes not seizing or imposing a lien on the home of a deceased beneficiary if the same-sex domestic partner still resides in the home. It also includes allowing Medicaid beneficiaries needing long-term care to transfer the title of a home to a same-sex domestic partner, allowing the partner to remain in the home.” In additional to these protections, the partner in the community is allowed to receive assets, in addition to the home, from the nursing home partner in an amount sufficient to bring the community partner’s assets to the Community Spouse Asset Allowance standard – presently $109,560. The community partner may also be eligible to receive income from the nursing home partner when Medicaid is paying for that partner’s long term care.
The new Civil Union law which became effective on June 1, 2011 provides that a “party to a civil union” is to be included in any definition used in state law where the term “spouse,” “family,” “immediate family,” “dependent,” “next of kin” and other terms that denote “spousal relationship” are stated. The Civil Union Act stops short of granting same-sex couples the right to “marry”; however, it does guarantee “[a] party to a civil union … the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits as are afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.
The Civil Union Act in Illinois mandates that the Illinois State Medicaid agency, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, treat partners in civil unions the same as married partners. The federal Medicaid agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, is allowing states to treat same-sex partners as opposite sex spouses for purposes of Medicaid. Therefore, same-sex partners in Illinois Civil Unions should be afforded Medicaid spousal impoverishment protections if Medicaid coverage of long term care becomes necessary for one of the partners. Dutton & Casey, P.C. is available to represent civil union partners needing long term care in accessing Medicaid and Medicaid spousal impoverishment protections. Please note, federal Medicaid spousal impoverishment protections apply to the Medicaid programs covering nursing homes and assisted living (supportive living) facilities, as well as to the home based services program, the Community Care Program, administered by the Illinois Department on Aging.

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.

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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.

Warning about a Scam

Warning about “Living Well” Grant Funds Scam

The U.S. Administration on Aging has alerted the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP programs) to a phone scam in which the caller tells the call recipients that they are eligible for a “Living Well” grant. The caller then instructs the recipient to complete a grant “application,” provide a cell phone number, and wire money through Western Union. The recipient is told that s/he will be contacted on their cell phone when it is time to pick up their “grant” funds at Western Union. 

This is definitely a scam. The Administration on Aging provides “Living Well” grants to several states, but those grants do not have anything to do with calling individuals or requesting money. If people receive calls like this, they should report the incident to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office consumer fraud hotline at one of the numbers below:

 (800) 386-5438 (Chicago)
(800) 243-0618 (Springfield)
(800) 243-0607 (Carbondale)

 Consumers are also encouraged to report calls like this to the Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

 The Federal Trade Commission has information available on their website about fake government grants scams like this one: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/government.shtml

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The Law Firm of Dutton & Casey, PC., is dedicated to serving older adults, persons with disabilities, and the people who care for them. Please go to www.duttonelderlaw.com for more information on our services and for additional resources.

Family Caregiver Training in Arlington Heights Illinois

Training Tips for the Caregiving Marathon, Speaker: Daniel Kuhn, LCSW

May 18, 2011     7:00-8:30 p.m.

Arlington Heights Senior Center, 1801 Central Road, Arlington Heights, IL

 Please call Kathy Peck at (847) 253-5500 ext. 375 to reserve your seat

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For assistance with the legal planning that is involved with being a family caregiver, please contact the law office of Dutton & Casey. Kathryn Casey is an experienced elder law attorney who sees clients in our Arlington Heights office. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please go to www.duttonelderlaw.comor email us at contact@duttonelderlaw.com

 

New Diagnostic Guidelines for Alzheimers Disease

In April, 2011,   new diagnostic guidelines for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease were released.  This information  is to important to only be shared once. Please review the guidelines, again, and share this information. We can all be part of the process to assist people receive the care they deserve!

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For assistance with the legal planning that is needed with a diagnosis of a cognitive disorder, please contact the law office of Dutton & Casey. We are compassionate advocates for older adults, people who have a disability, and the people who care about them. Please go to our website  at  www.duttonelderlaw.com  or email us at contact@duttonelderlaw.com. We will be honored to assist.

YOUR Elder Law Connection… From Dutton & Casey

The April, 2011 issue of the newsletter from the Law Firm of Dutton & Casey was published today.

Please take a few minutes to read the newsletter… it contains many helpful articles and resources focusing on older adults, adults who have a disability, and the people who care about them, including family members and professionals.

Should there be any questions on the newsletter, to learn more about the many resources that the attorneys and staff can provide, or/and to schedule an appointment with a firm attorney, please go to https://www.duttonelderlaw.com/

10 Common Estate Planning Questions

 Attorney Melissa Howitt recently wrote an article answering the 10 questions most often asked about estate planning.  Please click here to read this informative, and easy to understand, article.

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To discuss estate planning for you or someone you care about, please contact the office of Dutton Casey, PC, to schedule a consultation with a firm attorney. 312-899-0950 (Chicago), 847-906-3584 (Arlington Heights), 847-261-4708 (Skokie), or send an email contact@duttonelderlaw.com.

New Years Resolutions for Family Caregivers

At the New Year, many people make resolutions and establish new goals. For family caregivers, many of whom put their needs last, making, and sticking with, some changes, can be very helpful. 

The article, located at, http://www.agis.com/newyearsresolutions/default.aspx
provides some wonderful suggestions for changes.
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Item 8 mentions getting important papers organized…for you and the people who are cared for and about.

At Dutton & Casey, we can assist with this task and many, many more! Please visit our website at www.duttonelderlaw.com. While you are there, please sign-up for our electronic newsletter. This monthly publication contains information on programs/services/resources that can be valuable tools for older adults, people who have a disability, and the people who care about them, including family members and professionals.

Center for Medicare Advocacy Says: You Can Leave the Nursing Home

December is a time of holidays, celebrations and school vacations. Nursing home residents often want to join in family festivities and visit with children and grandchildren but may be under the impression that they will lose Medicare coverage if they leave the facility to do so. According to the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. (CMA) this is not true.

The Medicare Benefit Policy Manual recognizes that although most beneficiaries are unable to leave their facility, “an outside pass or short leave of absence for the purpose of attending a special religious service, holiday meal, family occasion, going on a car ride, or for a trial visit home, is not, by itself evidence that the individual no longer needs to be in a SNF for the receipt of required skilled care.

for more information, go to www.medicareadvocacy.org/infobytopic/skillednursingfacility/snf_youcanleavethe snf.htm

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.

Kindness…Something to Think About

This story is a reminder about the power of kindness.  Something to think about in all the business of our daily lives.

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget
by: Kent Nerburn

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers.”

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

HHS Launches New Consumer Focused Health Care Website

There are a lot of pieces to the health care puzzle, and you are not alone in wishing that information regarding affordable health care coverage was located in a centralized location.  In fact, enough people seemed to be interested in the same thing, because at the beginning of July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveilied an innovative new on-line tool that will help consumers take control of their health care by connecting them to new information and resources that will help them access quality, affordable health care coverage.  Called for by the Affordable Care Act, HealthCare.gov is the first website to provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, easy-to-use tool. 

HealthCare.gov  helps consumers take control of their health care and make the choices that are right for them, by putting the power of information at their fingertips,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “For too long, the insurance market has been confusing and hard to navigate.  HealthCare.gov makes it easy for consumers and small businesses to compare health insurance plans in both the public and the private sector and find other important health care information.”

HealthCare.gov is the first central database of health coverage options, combining information about public programs, from Medicare to the new Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan, with information from more than 1,000 private insurance plans.  Consumers can receive information about options specific to their life situation and local community.

In addition, the website will be a one-stop-shop for information about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as well as other health care resources.  The website will connect consumers to quality rankings for local health care providers as well as preventive services.

“This website is unlike any government website you have ever seen or used before,” said HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park.  “It was developed with significant consumer input and is remarkably easy to navigate.  This is despite the sheer volume of content it offers consumers: billions of health care choices through the insurance finder and more than 500 pages of new content, all of which is designed to grow with ongoing consumer feedback and as our health care system improves.”

As the health care market transforms, so will HealthCare.gov.  In October, 2010, price estimates for health insurance plans will be available online. In the weeks and months ahead, new information on preventing disease and illness and improving the quality of health care for all Americans will also be posted.  The website also includes a series of opportunities where users can indicate whether pages were helpful to them and we will continue to seek user feedback to grow and strengthen the site. 

“People need to see what choices are offered, what options cost, and how coverage works in practice,” said Karen Pollitz, Deputy Director for Consumer Support, Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. “Today HealthCare.gov takes an important first step in that direction.  In the coming months and years, we will add pricing and plan performance information so that consumers can see and understand and make meaningful choices about their health coverage.”

For information on how you can plan ahead to finance long-term care for yourself or your loved one, contact the experienced elder law attorneys at Dutton & Casey, P.C. at www.duttonelderlaw.com or (312)899-0950.

Encouraging Comfort Care: A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities

The Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Illinois Chapter is pleased offer a free online resource, Encouraging Comfort Care: A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities. This 21-page booklet provides useful information to families and staff of long-term care facilities about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, particularly care issues related to the late and final stages.

For families, this guide will enable them to make informed choices about a variety of medical decisions they may face on behalf of loved ones with dementia living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other types of care facilities. It will also equip families to ask good questions aimed at obtaining the best care for their loved ones, including a handy checklist of comfort care measures to be discussed with staff members of care facilities.

 To view and download the free guide, click here: http://www.alzheimers-illinois.org/pti/comfort_care_guide.asp

For more resources or to read about the elder law firm of Dutton & Casey P.C.’s  areas of concentration, visit www.duttonelderlaw.com or call (312)899-0950.

Haven’t Completed Your Census Form? It’s Not Too Late!

Have you been counted? Complete and return your census form… it seems like such a simple item, but as estimated 48 million households have not sent their’s back this year.  Why do it?  Well, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services like:

  • Hospitals
  • Job training centers
  • Schools
  • Senior centers
  • Bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects
  • Emergency services
  • and many other programs

If you haven’t recieved a census form, received one and can’t find it, or thought your information didn’t count and threw the form away, please call 1-866-872-6868 or go to 2010.census.gov to complete the census today.  It only takes about 5-10 minutes, but could help your community get the funding it needs.

Aiding Those With Hearing Loss

In order to provide quality services for, and on behalf of, our older adults, we need to understand how age affects our ability to hear.  This post provides helpful information on a topic that is important, for both professionals and clients, to understand.

In addition to hearing aids, there are many wonderful products to aid a person who has hearing loss. One such program comes from the Illinois Access Telecommunications Commission (IATC), which provides free amplified phones.  This program, funded by a charge on all local phone lines in Illinois, is run by the IATC and has been issuing equipment since 1988. 

In order to qualify for this program, you must:

  • be a legal resident of the State of Illinois,
  • have working land line phone service at the address shown on the application,

and

  • be certified as Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, Speech-Disabled or Deaf-Blind by:
    • Licensed Physician,
    • Speech-Language Pathologist,
    • Audiologist,
    • or designated DHS/DRS Counselor.

 (There are no age or income restrictions to qualify for the programs.) 

Click here to fill out an application, or for more information, contact the Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation at the information below:

phone: 217-698-4170 or 1-800-8411-6167 (V / TTY)
website: http://www.itactty.org

For more information on holistical care  for your loved ones, contact Erin Vogt, Care Advocate at Janna Dutton & Associates at evgot@duttonelderlaw.com or (312)371-0954.

Resources on Changes in Intimacy and Sexuality for Those With Alzheimer’s

In addition to the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Institute on Aging has wonderful resources for family and caregivers. There is a new list of resources focusing on changes in intimacy and sexuality, an often overlooked challenge for spouses, partners, and professional caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

For more information on holistic care  for your loved ones, contact Erin Vogt, Care Advocate at Janna Dutton & Associates at evgot@duttonelderlaw.com or (312)371-0954.

Geriatric Care Managers: Experts in Developing Personalized Care Plans

Caring for an elderly parent or loved one can be a full-time job. Even when a family can agree on a care plan, which is not always the case, the plethora of decisions that need to be made and the never-ending pile of documents that need to be filled out is overwhelming. In addition to that, you have your own life to live and yourself to take care of.

It’s tempting to want to handle everything yourself, but sometimes outside help can actually allow you to provide the best possible care for your loved one, not to mention allow you to take better care of yourself. In September, the New York Times published an article on geriatric care managers, or what they also refer to as the equivalent of a case worker. Aptly named, these care managers do just that–manage the care of your family member. They have both the time and the expertise that family members often do not, which can greatly improve your elder’s quality of life. (See complete article for costs)

A good care manager will thoroughly assess the individual and use that assessment to determine a care plan that will meet the individual’s needs. Amongst a variety of other changes, this could mean that home care is recommended, or that sleeping and eating times must be adjusted. Plus, using someone outside of the immediate family can help in a few ways. One family member explained that he couldn’t get his mom to listen to him, but she would always listen to the care manager. It also provides the family with the option to be the “good cop” while the care manager is the “bad cop.” Persuading an older person not to drive anymore is a good example of when the good cop/bad cop routine might come in handy (and be more effective).

Click here to see the article in full. It provides some examples of how geriatric care managers have assisted families in finding and maintaining the right kind of care, costs involved and ways to find the right care manager for your family.

Here is an interview from ChoiceElderCare.org with a registered nurse and care manager on the benefits of care management. 

For legal advice on long-term care planning for yourself or a loved one, contact the attorneys at Janna Dutton & Associates.