Former first lady Rosalynn Carter was a caregiver herself and she believed that family caregiving is a cycle of life that touches everyone. In this issue, four people, each at a different point on the cycle, share their care stories from the heart, offering words of wisdom and points of caution. As you read, consider your journey on the Cycle of Caregiving.
If I were to open a crime college, a place to learn the fine art of thievery, one class that would assuredly be on the curriculum would be Advance Fee Frauds, commonly known as sweepstakes and lottery frauds. This con involves the victim being told the lie that money is coming their way (usually from lottery winnings, insurance refunds or inheritance) but a fee/tax/processing charge has to be paid first to receive it. This one scheme is responsible for more money being stolen in Hawai‘i than any other crime.
It is not just families who disagree about the interpretation of legal documents. There seems to be tension among estate planning attorneys in regard to recommending that clients write down their heartfelt intentions to accompany those documents. Many lawyers believe that it is the form that is most important — that the written legal language will communicate their client’s heartfelt wishes. Others believe that, no matter how carefully written, the form alone cannot transfer intention.
Many parents, in addition to planning for their own future, care deeply about helping their children find their financial footing as they enter adulthood. Having spent decades building up their nest eggs for retirement, they recognize the power of long-term financial planning and hope their children will capture the same benefits by starting to invest while they are young. Convincing someone just starting off in their careers to set aside money for retirement — which to them, may seem like light years away — can be a tough sell.
When hiring a caregiver, you may be tempted to try to make the process as simple as possible by treating the caregiver as a “private contractor.” You tell the person “I will pay you so much an hour, and you deal with the IRS and the State when it comes time to pay taxes.” After all, taking on the responsibilities of withholding taxes (and then paying the taxing authorities), buying Workers’ Compensation insurance, paying Social Security and Medicare tax, and all the rest, can be a real pain. However, the IRS and the State will take the position that the caregiver is an “employee,” that you are an “employer,” and that all the legal obligations that attach to those labels are applicable to your situation.
One question that is frequently asked by people about to turn 65 who have health insurance through an employer is: “Do I need to enroll in Medicare?” Good question! If you or your spouse are still working when you turn age 65 and have insurance through your employer you may consider delaying Medicare Part A and Part B until you retire if you have Creditable Coverage, which means coverage as good as Medicare. Or you can choose to elect your Part A, which is premium-free, and delay Part B until retirement. Depending on the size of the group, one plan would be primary while the other would be secondary.
Social Security benefits are paid each month. Generally, new retirees receive their benefits on either the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of each month, depending on the day in the month the retiree was born.
Volunteering is a popular antidote to feelings of isolation that can occur as we age. Here are two programs that enable seniors to share their time and skills with younger generations.
According to Kathryn Coleman, Director at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), a final rule issued in April 2018 has redefined the “primarily health related” supplement benefit definition. As a result, CMS expects Medicare Advantage plan sponsors to begin offering services for enrollees needing assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL) or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL).
When a senior member of your family is in need of 24/7 care, it is fortunate that Hawai‘i has many professional, caring and dedicated homes and facilities to welcome them. What every family wants to know is: “Will my mom or dad be happy living in someone else’s home, eat right, and stay mentally and physically strong?”
People living with dementia (PLWD) have challenges with verbal communication: language comprehension, speech production, and vocabulary. But they are not unconscious to what is going on around them. Even as the brain declines, emotional intelligence is preserved. PLWD take in data visually rather than auditorily and react to what they think is happening. As caregivers we must remember that PLWD are really doing the best they can with the abilities they have left.
Home healthcare providers are often asked what makes a better caregiver. The answer is that, while many factors come to mind, an interest in learning is high on the list, and essential to a caregiver’s progress. For example, an important role caregivers have is recognizing when an individual’s health condition is changing. Those who can reflect and learn from these changes often develop into better caregivers.
As we age, our hearing often loses its edge. Clinical research suggests that hearing loss can have a negative effect on some key measures of healthy aging as cognitive, physical and social functioning decline. A study by the National Institute on Aging indicates that people with untreated hearing loss are significantly more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Tai Chi, often referred to as “moving meditation,” is an ancient Chinese practice characterized by slow, flowing, low-impact movements and deep breathing. It offers wonderful benefits for any age group and is an incredibly effective and helpful practice for older adults.
A “modified squat” is one of the most beneficial exercises to learn. It strengthens the lower body and core and reduces the strain on the knees when done right. Unfortunately, most people never learn the PROPER way to squat.
October is National Physical Therapy Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Physical therapy may not be the first healthcare field that comes to mind when someone is undergoing cancer treatment, but physical therapists can play an integral role in promoting a speedy recovery and in assisting a return to previous levels of activity following surgery and radiation/chemotherapy treatments.
As hearing loss progresses, it often becomes more difficult to understand what is being said over the telephone. While texting on a mobile phone is one solution, the loss of manual dexterity as we age can make that very frustrating. It’s disheartening not to be able to communicate easily with loved ones and friends.
One of the trending online fraud schemes involves being contacted by either friends or relatives via email or through social networking services like Facebook about receiving large amounts of money through investments, a class action lawsuit, or even a random contest drawing. However, these “friends” or “relatives” are NOT who they claim to be.
Family caregivers of older adults undergo fairly predictable stages in their caregiving careers. Each stage brings different challenges and requires different kinds of help for both the care receiver and family caregiver.
Hawai‘i is fortunate to be the home of many centenarians, and I love writing about them. Most recently, I spent time with Edward Jurkens, who celebrated his 100th birthday on December 23, 2017. We planned to talk at his apartment then go to lunch. On the way there, I thought, “Where should I park so I can drive him somewhere?”
Need to work? Need to earn? If your answer is “yes” to either question, then here are three immediate actions that will improve the return on your most important investment — YOU!
If you attend any sports events involving the University of Hawai‘i’s Rainbow Warriors or Wahine, it soon becomes obvious that local kūpuna are among their most avid supporters. From attending home games, to donating to booster clubs, to picking thousands of flowers to make lei for the Women’s Volleyball Team, Hawai‘i’s seniors are with the athletes every step of the way.
The 12th Aging in Place Workshop held on August 18 at the Ala Moana Hotel brought our readers and their friends and family in contact with Generations Magazine’s partners in a vibrant atmosphere of sharing and learning.
Former first lady Rosalynn was a caregiver herself and she believed that family caregiving is a cycle of life that touches everyone. Here, four people, each at a different point on the cycle, share their care stories from the heart, offering words of wisdom and points of caution. As you read, consider your journey on the Cycle of Caregiving. Where are you? Are you prepared?