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  • 14 Nov 2017 4:41 PM | Greg West, Financial Advisor (Administrator)

    Thanksgiving is almost here. Ideally, this day should be about more than football and the imminent arrival of Black Friday mega-sales. After all, the spirit of the holiday invites us to be grateful for what we have and for the presence of our loved ones.

    But it’s important to look beyond just one day in November if you want your family to take part in your “abundance.” If you want to ensure your financial resources eventually are shared in the way you envision, you will need to follow a detailed action plan, including these steps:

    Identify your assets.  If you haven’t done so already, it’s a good idea to take an inventory of all your financial assets – your retirement accounts (401(k) and IRA), other investments, life insurance, real estate, collectibles and other items. Once you know exactly what you have, you can determine how you would like these assets distributed among your loved ones.

    Get professional help.  To ensure your assets go to the right people, you will need to create some legal documents, such as a will and a living trust. The depth and complexity of these instruments will depend a great deal on your individual circumstances, but in any case, you certainly will need to consult with a legal professional because estate planning is not a “do-it-yourself” endeavor. You may also need to work with a tax professional and your financial advisor, as taxes and investments are key components of the legacy you hope to leave.

    Protect your financial independence. If your own financial resources were to become endangered, you clearly would have less to share with your loved ones, and if your financial independence were jeopardized, the result might be even worse – your adult children might be forced to use their own resources to help support you. Consequently, you will need to protect yourself, and your financial assets, in several ways. For one thing, you may want to work with your legal professional to create a power of attorney, which would enable someone – possibly a grown child – to make financial decisions for you, should you become incapacitated. Also, you may want to guard yourself against the devastating costs of long-term care, such as an extended nursing home stay. Medicare typically pays very little of these expenses, but a financial advisor may be able to suggest techniques or products that can help. 

    Communicate your wishes. Once you have all your plans in place, you’ll want to communicate them to your loved ones. By doing so, you’ll be sparing your loved ones from unpleasant surprises when it’s time to settle your estate. And, second, by making your plans and wishes known to your family well in advance of when any action needs to be taken, you’ll prepare your loved ones for the roles you wish them to assume, such as taking on power of attorney, serving as executor of your estate, and so on. And you’ll also want to make sure your family is acquainted with the legal, tax and financial professionals you’ve chosen to help you with your estate plans.

    Thanksgiving comes just once a year. Taking the steps described here can help ensure your family will share in your financial abundance as you intended. 

    This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

  • 10 Feb 2016 1:03 PM | Anonymous
    There are an estimated 23.5 Million Veterans in the United Statesapproximately 8% of the population (www.Veterans-Express.com). 

    In particular, there are 9 Million Veterans age 65 or older, many of them battling chronic illnesses that can be an enormous financial drain on retirement funds. The availability of retirement funds for families to live on has greatly diminished over the past year. This is mainly due to increasing healthcare costs and the recent market decline affecting many investment and retirement accounts. Not to mention that some seniors are now outliving their retirement accounts due to retirement planning that did not account for the longer expected lifespan. How is a Veteran to afford home or facility care in their time of need?

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers an Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit for qualified Veterans that can provide up to $1,949 per month for a Veteran and his/her spouse to help pay for home or facility care. Qualified surviving spouses of veterans that were still married at the time of the Veterans passing may qualify for up to $1,056 per month for home or facility care. A single qualified Veteran may receive up to $1,644 per month for home or facility care. An application process is required before benefits can be granted as well as meeting various qualifying factors. For example, a home or facility type of care must be through a licensed agency not by an individual.  

    For more information contact your local VA representative; visit http://www.va.gov/ or (www.Veterans-Express.com); or call Jorge Giraldo, CEO/Owner of Senior Helpers, 1625 S. Florida Avenue, Lakeland, Fl 33803; 863-686-7333; jgiraldo@seniorhelpers.com This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it www.seniorhelpers.com/location/1203.

  • 10 Feb 2016 12:58 PM | Anonymous
    How is a reverse mortgage different from a home equity loan? Both a reverse mortgage and a home equity loan use the equity in your home to generate cash. With a home equity loan, you need to make monthly payments on the principal and the interest. With a reverse mortgage, you don’t need to make monthly payments for as long as you stay in the home. Your loan balance increases each time you receive a payment. Interest is repaid only after you sell or permanently leave the home.

    How much money can I get? The amount you can borrow depends on several factors: your age, the type of reverse mortgage you select, current interest rates, the location of your home, the appraised value of your home, and the Federal Housing Administration(FHA) lending limits for your area.

    How can I receive the cash from a reverse mortgage? You have a range of options: 

    • Lump Sum 
    • Monthly payments 
    • Line of Credit (take funds when you need them) 
    • A combination of the above
    Will my current income affect my eligibility? No. You don’t make monthly repayments with a reverse mortgage, so there is no income qualifications.

    What if I still owe money on a first or second mortgage? You may still be eligible for a reverse mortgage depending on the amount of your remaining mortgage versus the value of your home. The funds from a reverse mortgage would first be used to pay off whatever existing mortgages you may have on the property

    How will it affect my government benefits? The funds from a reverse mortgage generally do not affect regular Social Security or Medicare benefits. Your reverse mortgage consultant can help assess your specific situation. However, need-based benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income(SSI), may be impacted. Contact a tax professional about your particular situation.

    Can a reverse mortgage be refinanced? Yes, refinancing is possible. This option can be advantageous if the home increases in value, making more equity available.

    Besides the interest, are there other fees? Most reverse mortgages have an origination fee, closing costs, a monthly mortgage insurance premium, and a monthly servicing fee. These can be paid by the reverse mortgage itself, so there is no immediate burden to you. The costs are added to the principal and paid along with the interest when the loan becomes due.

    What has to be repaid when the loan becomes due? The loan balance needs to be repaid, including interest and fees. This is usually done through the sale of the home or other assets of the estate. Repaying the reverse mortgage through a conventional mortgage is also an option.

    How will a reverse mortgage affect the estate I leave to my heirs? When the loan becomes due, you or your estate must repay the lender for the cash received from the reverse mortgage, plus interest and service fees. The loan can be repaid be selling the property, by refinancing, or from other assets. Any sale proceeds in excess of the loan balance belong to you or your heirs. If you sell the home for a fair market price that is less than the loan balance, then there would be no proceeds to keep, but the bank cannot claim from you or your estate more than the sale amount received.

    When will the principal and interest charges become due? The reverse mortgage loan must be paid in full when one of the following occurs:
    • All borrowers permanently move out of the home 
    • The last surviving spouse passes away, sells the home, or fails to live in the home for 12 consecutive months 
    • You fail to pay property taxes or insurance 
    • You let the property deteriorate beyond what is considered reasonable wear and tear, and do not correct the problems.
    What is one of the co-borrowers passes away? The surviving borrower can continue to win and live in the home-and enjoy all the benefits of the reverse mortgage.

    For more information on Reverse Mortgages, please contact:
    Chris Bruser
    Reverse Mortgage Consultant
    MetLife Bank, N.A.
    813-464-5221
    cbruser@metlife.com
  • 10 Feb 2016 12:55 PM | Anonymous
    Myth or Reality? Do You Know The Difference?

    Myth: Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and nursing homes are the same thing – homes for old people. Reality: SNFs provide services to people with complex medical needs, such as post-surgery & stroke patients, as well as the long term care provided by “nursing homes.” Many new admissions to SNFs discharge home or to assisted living; in other words, a SNF stay is often short-term for strengthening & recovery. 

    Myth: Skilled Nursing Facilities “just want the money” – they don’t care about the patient. Reality: SNFs generally accept patients who are clinically appropriate, when a bed is available, and whose stay may be paid by Medicare, Medicaid, insurance or privately. SNFs can also provide education regarding Medicaid application for qualifying patients and their families.

    Myth: Skilled Nursing Facility residents are sick, frail and mentally ill. Reality: All SNF residents have medical needs, which could include medication administration and monitoring; assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, transferring and even walking; treatment for skin breakdown; or, queuing for activities; but, most are not acutely ill, weak or mentally challenged.

    Myth: Medicare pays for a short-term stay at a Skilled Nursing Facility. Reality: Medicare Part A beneficiaries can receive up to 20 days of “free” care in a SNFs following a 3-night qualifying stay in a hospital or other acute setting, but must require the care of a SNF in order for Medicare to pay the bill. After the first 20 days, there is a co-pay of $124/day (for 2007) for days 21-100, as long as the resident remains eligible; Medicare supplemental insurance policies may pay all or a portion of the co-pay, or one may pay privately, if able. If no supplement is in place, and the resident cannot pay privately, there are other options available to the resident/responsible party. Note: multiple stays in the SNF setting may limit benefits after the first stay – inquire at SNF/hospital.

    Myths: All Skilled Nursing Facilities are smelly and dirty. Reality: Because some residents’ challenges with bladder control can negatively impact the “atmosphere” of a SNF in the immediate vicinity and for a short time, certified nursing assistants and housekeeping staff are in place at Skilled Nursing Facilities to help minimize the impact of such incidents on the overall environment of the SNF. Housekeeping also monitors the facilities for cleanliness, and is available to help maintain a safe and clutter-free care environment. Significant strides have been made in recent years in the skilled nursing care industry with regard to facility cleanliness. Please take a tour, and see/smell for yourself. 

    Myth: I can go to Assisted Living and receive the same care as I would at a Skilled Nursing Facility. Reality: Most Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) are not staffed to meet the needs of SNF residents; services not always available at ALFs include: IV medication administration, wound care, and onsite licensed nursing care. Physicians usually make the call based upon the level of care needed when it comes to placement in a Skilled Nursing Facility setting vs. an Assisted Living Setting. In addition, Medicare Part A can help pay for room and board charges during a qualified stay in a SNF, while most ALFs charge a resident privately.

    Myth: If I file for Medicaid, they’ll take all my money and my house! Reality: “Long Term Care Medicaid”, or “Nursing Home Medicaid”, does not require the immediate liquidation of all of one’s assets. The application process takes into consideration, among other things, whether a spouse exists, when and how asset transfer has occurred in the past five years, the estimated duration of a stay in a SNF, whether money has been set aside for burial, and current sources of income to determine eligibility. 

    Myth: They don’t really care. Reality: Ask the staff of a Skilled Nursing Facility whether or not they “care” about their residents, and you will generally get a resounding “Of course we do!” Many employees of SNFs have been employed by the same provider for many years, have made many resident friends, and consider their chosen occupation a “calling”, meaning they chose it for reasons other than money or benefits. Whether interviewing CNAs, members of the Dietary department, Maintenance staff, or management, you are likely to find many people who are in the industry because they “love what they do”. Those who work in facilities long-term reap huge benefits: knowing they are helping others; comforting families who are grieving or experiencing guilt; having a “family” aside from their own; educating and informing residents and families regarding disease processes; and, most of all, sharing the joy of LIVING with seniors who they respect and admire.

    Myth: Skilled Nursing Facilities are dishonest. Reality: Operating a SNF is one of the most rewarding business pursuits available, given the opportunity to serve families in need, care for residents on a daily basis, and promote involvement in residents’ lives by members of their communities. The quality of care provided often determines the success or failure of a facility, so the care incentive is priority one! 

    Ronni Shames, NHA
    Director of Community Relations Palm Terrace of Lakeland
    1919 Lakeland Hills Blvd
    Lakeland, FL 33805
    863-688-5612 

  • 10 Feb 2016 12:51 PM | Anonymous
    A recent study shows that 38 million seniors suffer drug complications every year, about 180,000 which are life-threatening. Diagnosing a medication overdose can be complicated as well, as often the harmful effects of taking too much medication or the wrong medication is diagnosed as something else, like a stroke or dementia.

    Part of the problem involves those myths that have sprung up over the use of medication. For example:

    • If one dose makes me feel good, a larger dose will make me feel even better. 
    • If one drug does not work, I should take two or three. 
    • If I can buy it over the counter, it must be safe. 
    • If my physician has not stopped the medication, I can still use it. 
    • If it helped my friend, it will help me. 
    The fact that seniors are most prone to medication problems is not surprising when you consider that 77 percent of those between 65 and 79 suffer from one or more chronic diseases, as do 85% of those over 80. As a result, the average senior ages 65 - 69 fills 13.6 prescriptions per year and those 80 - 84 have 18.2 prescriptions filled annually. In addition, many see multiple physicians for their various ailments. 

    Combine this with the physiological changes of aging, which alter the way the body processes and reacts to certain medications, and you can see the potential for disaster. As an example, the liver and kidneys do not metabolize medications as easily, and changes in the distribution of fat and muscle can make seniors more susceptible to adverse drug events. 

    Further compounding this problem is the economics part of this equation: many seniors do not take the medications they need because they cannot afford them (since they spend nearly four times as much on prescription medications as those under age 65). The biggest medication problems involve: 

    Not taking medicine correctly – either forgetting to take it or failing to follow instructions.

    • Allergic reactions 
    • Drug side effects 
    • Drug interactions
    • Duplication 
    • Wrong dosage
    • Unnecessary or inappropriate usage

    Some of the more common drug-to-drug interactions include taking aspirin with a blood thinner, like Coumadin, or certain diabetic medications; using antiacids with heart and blood pressure medications; and combining antihistamines with antidepressants. There can also be adverse reactions when taking certain medications with such common foods as dairy products, caffeine, fruit juices, and alcohol, or with herbal supplements like gingko biloba or kava kava. 

    The potential for drug medication problems has only increased with the advent of the Internet and the opportunity for consumers to purchase medication and supplements online. Consumers should stay away from purchasing medications that are not FDA-approved (i.e. vitamins and supplements), avoid sites that do not require a written prescription, and resist claims of “new cures” or “amazing results.” 

    Medication Management

    By following certain protocols, seniors and their family caregivers can manage their use of medication more effectively. Here are some recommendations: 

    • Throw out any expired or discontinued prescription medications. 
    • Only use medications that have been prescribed for you. 
    • Drink a full glass of water and do not lie down for 30 minutes after taking medication. 
    • Fill all prescriptions at the same pharmacy. 
    • Check the label when you get a prescription to verify that you're receiving the proper medication. If possible, read back the prescription to your pharmacist or health care provider. 
    • Read the patient information sheet that accompanies the medication. If you do not receive an information sheet, request it from your pharmacist. 
    • When possible, keep medications in their original containers to avoid confusion. 
    • Know what to do if you miss a dose -- contact your health care provider or pharmacist with any questions. 
    • Notify your pharmacist should there be a change in the color, size, shape, or smell of your medication when it is refilled. 
    • Do not take another person's medications. 
    • Do not take any over-the-counter drugs without first consulting your physician or pharmacist. 
    • Look for single ingredient products.
    • Immediately contact your primary care provider or pharmacy if you notice any problems with taking your medicines. 
    • Tell your health care provider if you are taking any dietary supplements or over-the-counter medications. 
    • Prepare a list of all medications you are taking including herbal and over the counter. The list should be updated monthly, with copies kept at home and shared with family members and friends. Take it with you to doctor appointments, hospital stays, or emergency room visits. 
    Using multiple medications -- the rule rather than the exception for most seniors -- can be a tricky proposition. By taking the necessary precautions, however, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of potentially serious consequences
  • 10 Feb 2016 12:46 PM | Anonymous
    What is an Assisted Living Facility and how is it different from Independent Living?
    Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) are licensed facilities that provide supervision, meals, assistance with personal care services, and assistance with or administration of medications and other supportive services to older persons and disabled adults who are unable to live independently.

    Some Assisted Living Facilities also provide a secured area specifically for those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

    Independent Living for seniors refers to residence in an easy-to-maintain, private apartment or house within a community of seniors. Some Independent communities provide several amenities including 24 hour security, transportation, meals housekeeping and social activities. 

    What type of license is required to operate an Assisted Living Facility?
    A Standard License is required by all Assisted Living Facilities to operate. This allows the ALF to provide routine personal care services. ALFs meeting the requirements for a Standard license may also qualify for the following specialty licenses. 

    Extended Congregate Care (ECC) License - Allows the ALF to provide some nursing services, development of a resident's service plan, monthly nursing assessments, and may include total help with bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting.

    Limited Nursing Service License – Allows the ALF to provide nursing services such as the application and care of routine dressings, care of casts, braces, and splints, catheterization, and other services as defined in Florida law. Services do not include 24-hour nursing supervision.

    Limited Mental Health License - Must be obtained if an ALF serves three or more mental health residents. Services must be provided for the special needs of such residents. Services must include a Community Living Support Plan and a placement assessment by the resident's mental health case manager.

    How is Assisted Living paid for?
    Although Assisted Living is usually privately funded, some long-term care insurance policies may pay for assisted living. There are also state and federal assistance programs available.

    VA Benefits may be available to war-time veterans, their spouses, or their widows based on the military dates served, as well as income, assets, and health care needs. 

    Long-Term Care Diversion and Assisted Living for the Elderly Waiver programs are available through the Medicaid. Eligibility is based on income and asset limits as well as health care needs.

    Optional State Supplementation is a cash assistance program available to those who qualify based on income and assets.

    How much does it cost?
    The cost for Assisted Living can vary greatly based on amenities provided, size of apartment and financial assistance available. Most facilities range from $1,500 – $4,000 per month. 

    What can i expect from an Assisted Living Facility?
    Most Assisted Living Facilities will provide room and board with some utilities included and amenities such as three meals a day, housekeeping, personal laundry, social activities, transportation for medical appointments as well as shopping and entertainment, medication management, help with bathing, grooming and dressing, 24 hour security and emergency call systems in each apartment. They may also include an onsite hair salon, library, fitness center or heated pool.

    How can i get more information on Independent and Assisted Living Facilities?
    For more information about Independent or Assisted Living please call: Spring Haven Retirement Community 1225 Havendale Blvd. NW Winter Haven, FL 33881
    863-293-0072
    800-661-6459
    www.springhavenretirement.com 
    marketing@springhavenretirement.com




  • 10 Feb 2016 12:43 PM | Anonymous
    QUESTION: WHAT IS A GUARDIANSHIP, AND WHY IS IT BENEFICIAL FOR SOME PEOPLE? ANSWER: A guardianship can serve a very useful purpose, especially for those individuals suffering from a dementia related disorder, who have no family in the immediate area who can serve as their advocate. Under the protection of the Florida Guardianship Law, a Registered Guardian can act as an advocate for that person to assure that their bills are paid in a timely fashion, and that their needs are being met, while always considering the least restrictive alternative to meet those needs.

    QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “LEAST RESTRICTIVE ALTERNATIVE”? ANSWER: Under the Florida Guardianship Law, every Registered Guardian is expected to be prudent in making decisions regarding the care for their client, including the choice of living arrangements that best meet the needs of the client. First consideration must be in-home care. If inhome care is not considered appropriate in meeting the particular needs of the client, than choosing the best Assisted Living Facility in meeting those needs would be considered, if an ALF is determined to be inadequate in meeting the particular needs of the client, than choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility that best meets their needs would be considered.

    QUESTION: HOW AND WHEN SHOULD A GUARDIANSHIP BE CONSIDERED? ANSWER: Whenever a relative, friend or neighbor has a concern about a person’s ability to make sound decisions regarding healthcare or financial issues, they should immediately contact the authorities who will follow up with a personal interview. An agency such as the Adult Protective Services division of Dept. of Children and Families will research the concern, and will intervene should the concern be validated.

    QUESTION: HOW IS A PROFESSIONAL REGISTERED GUARDIAN DIFFERENT FROM A “POWER OF ATTORNEY” (POA)? ANSWER: A Professional Guardian must be Registered with the State of Florida, pass a criminal background check, procure a Surety Bond, and pass a “competency Exam” before they may be approved as Registered Guardians by the local Circuit Court of Florida. A Registered Guardian must file annual Guardianship Reports to the Court, accounting for every dime that has been spent from the Guardianship Assets. The Registered Guardian must also be Bonded. On the other hand, a person serving as a Durable Power of Attorney, reports to no one, and is not bonded.

    QUESTION: HOW IS THE APPOINTMENT OF A PROFESSIONAL GUARDIAN STARTED? ANSWER: When a person has been adjudicated by the Court as incapacitated, the Judge will appoint a Guardian to handle the healthcare and financial responsibilities for the person suffering from diminished capacity. This Adjudication of incapacity is made after an examining committee (consisting of a Psychiatrist, Medical Doctor and a Geriatric Social Worker), interview the “alleged incapacitated person” and file their report to the Court. After review of these reports and after hearing testimony, the Judge makes his/her ruling regarding the adjudication of incapacity.

    QUESTION: AFTER BEING APPOINTED GUARDIAN FOR AN INCAPACITATED ADULT, WHAT HAPPENS? ANSWER: The Court Appointed Guardian’s first responsibility to the Court and to the client may be to determine a safe living arrangement for the incapacitated person. After it is assured that the client is out of harms way, the guardian must secure the home and file a Verified Inventory with the Court.

    QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS CARING FOR A SPOUSE, OR AN ADULT CHILD LIVING WITH THEM WHO IS DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED? ANSWER: If the Caregiver is concerned about who will step in should he/she become unable (by illness or death) to continue serving as the primary caregiver for their loved one, they may interview a Registered Guardian, and if they choose, they may complete a document known as a “Declaration Naming Pre-Need Guardian”. Once this document is filed, the Court will first consider the Registered Guardian of their choice to care for their loved one in the event that they are unable to continue being the primary caregiver for their loved one.

    QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT APPOINTMENTS WITH THE DOCTOR, HOW ABOUT BILL PAYING? ANSWER: A Court Appointed Guardian will assume the responsibility for all these issues

    QUESTION: WHERE AND HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SERVICES OF A PROFESSIONAL GUARDIAN? ANSWER: More information can be received by contacting: David F. Dumont or Rosalyn Dumont (who have served the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Polk County for over 17 years) P.O. Box 91806 Lakeland, FL 33804 or by phone at (863) 859-5517, or you may visit their website at www.Florida-Eldercare.com

  • 10 Feb 2016 10:10 AM | Anonymous
    WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL GERIATRIC CARE MANAGER (GCM), AND HOW CAN THEY HELP YOU? 


    QUESTION: WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL GERIATRIC CARE MANAGER (GCM)? ANSWER: A Professional Geriatric Care Management (GCM) is a person having specialized knowledge and skills regarding many problems facing today’s seniors. This knowledge enables them to assess the Client's particular needs and make recommendations for local services that will enable the client to achieve the greatest “quality of life”.


    QUESTION: WHAT EXACTLY DOES A GCM DO? ANSWER: For families struggling with the needs of aging relatives from across the state, or across the nation, a Professional GCM can be a godsend. The first thing a GCM will do is to conduct an initial assessment. This initial assessment may be tailored to the particular concerns of the family, but usually is for the purpose of determining the areas where the client may be in need of supportive services. The next step of a GCM is to write up a care plan that will address these areas of concern. The next step would be to establish a plan to find caregivers and other supportive services to address these needs. The Professional GCM will then monitor the implementation of these services and establish communications among all parties to assure that all needs are addressed. 


    QUESTION: WHAT IF I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT CONCERNS I SHOULD HAVE REGARDING MY LOVED ONE NEEDING THIS TYPE OF HELP? ANSWER: You might ask yourself a few simple questions; · Is my loved one safe in their home? · Are they able to self-administer their medications? · Are they able to understand their Doctor’s instructions? · Am I able to find appropriate caregivers? · Are bills being paid on time? · Am I able to dedicate the time necessary to address these issues? · Would having someone in the immediate area, able to visit regularly and recognize changes in my loved one’s condition, give me peace of mind?


    QUESTION: CAN THE PROFESSIONAL GCM ASSIST IN FINDING APPROPRIATE CAREGIVERS? ANSWER: Yes, the GCM can represent the client from a position of professional experience. With a broad background in the various types and levels of care available in the local area, the GCM can make recommendations to the family on how to best meet the Client’s needs. Oftentimes, an unbiased professional can act as an intermediary between client and family in addressing critical life issues i.e. Living Arrangements, (managed in-home care, Assisted Living Facility, and Skilled Nursing Center).

    QUESTION: CAN THE GCM ARRANGE FOR IN-HOME CARE? ANSWER: Because the GCM is unable to contract on the client’s behalf, we are unable to “arrange” for caregivers or other in-home services, but based on our familiarity with the professional caregivers and other providers of geriatric services in the immediate area, the GCM is able to make recommendations to the client and family.


    QUESTION: HOW IS THE AMOUNT OF TIME DEDICATED TO A PARTICULAR CLIENT DETERMINED? ANSWER: In an effort to avoid any impression of impropriety, many (but not all) professional GCM’s avoid contracting directly with the Client, but rather contract with a responsible party, such as a son or daughter. This assures that a neutral party determines the number of hours that a GCM dedicates to a particular client.


    QUESTION: WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION REGARDING PROFESSIONAL GERIATRIC CARE MANAGERS (GCM) IN POLK COUNTY FLORIDA? ANSWER: More information can be received by contacting: David F. Dumont and/or Rosalyn Dumont Post Office Box 91806 Lakeland, FL 33804-1806 (863) 859-5517 or visit their website at www.Florida-Eldercare.com

  • 10 Feb 2016 10:08 AM | Anonymous
    QUESTION: WHAT IS ELDER LAW? ANSWER: Elder law is a specialized area of law that provides an overall approach to meet the needs of the elderly and their families. The focus of the practice of Elder Law is the client’s lifetime needs with an emphasis on developing an estate plan to achieve those needs. Once those lifetime needs are met, the Elder Law attorney also creates the traditional estate plan for the disposition of assets upon the death of the client.


    QUESTION: WHAT AREAS OF LAW DOES ELDER LAW ENCOMPASS? ANSWER: While each Elder Law Attorney’s practice varies, some typical practice areas are Estate Planning, Long-Term Care and Medicaid planning, Guardianship, Special Needs Trusts, Real Estate Planning, Financial Planning, and Probate, amongst others.


    QUESTION: WHAT FUNDAMENTAL ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS SHOULD THE ELDERLY HAVE? ANSWER: At the bare minimum, everyone should have a variation of the following four documents: 1) Durable Power of Attorney; 2) Health Care Power of Attorney; 3) Living Will; 4) Last Will and Testament. Equally important is executing quality versions of these documents that contain adequate language to anticipate various situations that could arise.


    QUESTION: WHERE IS LONG-TERM CARE PROVIDED? ANSWER: As stated above, providing for long-term care is a major concern of elder law attorneys. Long-term care services can be provided in a variety of settings: one’s own home, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, an adult day care center, or in a hospice facility, among others.


    QUESTION: HOW DOES ONE PAY FOR LONG-TERM CARE? ANSWER: This is a perplexing issue for many in our elderly population and their loved ones. Unfortunately, few options exist for paying for longterm care. Of course, if funds are available, one can privately pay for the care. Alternatively, if one has a long-term care product or insurance policy, the product or policy may pay for a portion or all of the costs. The other payment option is through Medicare and Medicaid.


    QUESTION: HOW DOES A PERSON QUALIFY FOR ICP MEDICAID (AKA: NURSING HOME MEDICAID)? ANSWER: To qualify for ICP Medicaid, there are complex rules and tests for a single individual or a married couple to be aware of and pass. In particular, the income and assets of the single individual or married couple are evaluated to determine eligibility. Transfers of assets dating back 5 years from the date of application are also evaluated.


    QUESTION: WHAT IS MEDICAID PLANNING? ANSWER: Even if one is not initially eligible for Medicaid, planning usually can be done to enable someone to become eligible. This type of planning is often referred to as Medicaid Planning. Often a focus of Medicaid planning is to take an individual’s or couple’s assets and convert them, in a manner approved by the government’s rules, from assets that are deemed “countable” by the government into assets that are deemed “not countable”.


    QUESTION: WHERE AND HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SERVICES OF AN ELDER LAW ATTORNEY? ANSWER: More information can be received by contacting: Jason A. Penrod, Esq. at Weaver & McClendon, PA, P.O. Box 466, Lake Wales, FL 33859-0466 or by phone at (863) 676-6000, or you may visit their website at www.lakewaleslaw.net


  • 10 Feb 2016 10:00 AM | Anonymous
    Stefanie Thompson and Larry Powell, Program Specialists Alzheimer’s Association- Florida Gulf Coast Chapter Information adapted from Alzheimer’s Association Safety at Home Fact Sheet When caring for a person with a progressive type of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease home safety is an important concern. The abilities of a person with dementia will change; with some creativity, flexibility and problem solving caregivers can adapt their home environment to support these changes. 


    Changes that can affect safety include 

    • Judgment: Forgetting how to use household appliances 
    • Sense of time and place: Getting lost on one’s own street; being unable to recognize or find areas in the home 
    • Behavior: Becoming easily confused, suspicious or fearful
    • Physical ability: Having trouble with balance; depending upon a walker or wheelchair to get around 
    • Senses: Experiencing changes in vision, hearing, sensitivity to temperatures or depth perception 
    Care providers should focus on preventing accidents. First, don’t expect the person to do things safely. You will want to eliminate potential hazards. Also, remember to be patient and slow down as accidents can happen when a person is rushed. Simplify routines and provide step-bystep guidance, especially during complex personal care activities such as bathing, toileting and dressing. Be prepared to balance safety with needs for privacy and independence. Remember to be realistic and that you can not anticipate every risk or prevent every problem. 

    Guard against choking and poisoning
    • Due to changes in the brain, the person may not understand swallowing foreign substances could cause choking or poisoning.
    • Lock cabinets and work rooms that contain toxic chemicals. 
    • Lock up all medications. Keep track of how many pills are being taken.
    • Hide potentially dangerous toiletry items such as razor blades. 
    • Remove toxic plants such as poinsettias or mistletoe. 
    • Don’t let food spoil in the refrigerator or pantry. 
    • Test the temperature of food before it’s served. The person may not be able to tell when food is too hot to eat. 
    • Be prepared for the unusual. Some people may eat items such as gravel and dirt.

    Be careful about heat, cold and fire

    • Keep in mind that a person with Alzheimer’s may lose sensitivity to temperature extremes and may forget about their dangers. 
    • Be cautious about items such as stoves, space heaters, curling irons, microwave-prepared food, and electric blankets and heating pads. 
    • Take precaution against scalding hot water. Set your hot water heater to 110 degrees F. Install anti-scald devices on faucets. Help the person test water temperatures and mix cold water with hot. 
    Avoid accidents associated with cooking and eating
    • Turn pan handles toward the middle of the stovetop. 
    • Do not let the person wear loose clothes while cooking. 
    • Do not place containers of hot liquid near the edges of tables and countertops. 
    • Pour hot liquids away from the person’s body; keep the pot as far away as possible. 
    • Test the temperature of microwave-prepared foods. 
    • Use place mats instead of tablecloths. 
    • Listen for sizzling and crackling sounds that indicate something is heating up. 
    • Cover all light bulbs with shades or globes.
    • Hide matches and cigarette lighters.
    • Keep the person from smoking, if possible. Or supervise an individual with dementia while he or she smokes. 
    • Install fire extinguishers and smoke alarms; check them monthly. 
    Prevent slips and falls 
    • Make sure the person wears non-skid shoes. 
    • Reduce clutter. 
    • Remove throw rugs, extension cords and other obstacles; don’t let pets sleep in traffic areas. 
    • Provide sturdy items to lean against along frequently traveled paths. 
    • Avoid rearranging furniture. 
    • Make sure carpets are properly tacked down on all sides. 
    • Wipe up spills immediately. 
    • Make stairways safe. Keep them well-lit, provide handrails on both sides, make sure steps are even and uniformly deep, and consider using a contrasting color along the edge of steps.
    • Install child-proof gates at both the head and foot of stairs. 
    • Make sure lighting is evenly distributed to avoid “hot spots” and shadows. 
    • Install night lights on the path to the bathroom. 
    Ensure safety in bathrooms
    • Install devices such as grab bars, bath seats and commode chairs. 
    • Put non-slip mats or appliqués in tubs and showers. 
    • Remove electrical appliances to reduce the chance of electrocution or shock.
    • Install ground-fault outlets near all water sources. 
    Prevent wandering
    • Consider installing safety doorknobs. 
    • Put locks at the top or bottom of doors, out of the person’s line of sight.
    • Camouflage the outside door or place a dark rug in front of it to discourage the person from approaching.
    • Get an intercom system (such as those used in infants’ rooms) or install Dutch doors, so you can stay aware of the person’s activities while in another room. 
    • Hang chimes on doors. 
    • Install electronic alert alarms.  Make sure the person wears an identification bracelet, like the one available through MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return®

    Get rid of guns
    • Remove guns from the house. At minimum, lock guns away in a cabinet or drawer. 
    • Don’t keep guns loaded; store ammunition in a separate place. 
    • Never let a person with Alzheimer’s handle a gun. 
    Create emergency plans
    • Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers, such as the police and fire departments, hospitals and poison control centers. 
    • Develop escape plans in case of fire. 
    • Recruit someone who lives nearby to help in case of emergency.
    Resources
    MedicAlert + Safe Return is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia that wander or who have a medical emergency. To learn more or to enroll, Alzheimer’s Association-FGCC office thompsons@alzflgulf.org or 863-292-9210 or register online at www.alz.org.
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