Archive for the ‘Mom’ Category

Free Caregiver Resource eBook: 8/26/12 Only!

Very important for those who are caregivers or know they will be one day soon.

 On 8/26/12 from 12 AM to 11:59 PM, my “Taking Care of Mom and Dad” eBook will be free on!

You don’t need a Kindle to get it – a PC, Android, or any number of eReaders will do just fine. Amazon has a free download for you to use. Download the reader and then download the eBook!

This book is regularly $6.99. If you have a need or know any followers that need help with caregiving, please share/tweet/google+ or do whatever you need to. I am happy to give this away for one day.

In order to get the eBook, click on the icon to the right or right here: 


Silver Alert

Today, we had a Silver Alert and it reminded me that not all states have such a wonderful program.

Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their return. -Wikipedia-

As I began researching it, I wondered what the holdup was on a National Silver Alert system. Apparently, one of the reasons is money. A senator said that it would cost $59,000,000 over a period of 5 years. That’s $8.5 million per year or $1.4 million per month. The feds pay out $75,000,000 per month in SNAP benefits to our state each month and our state is a small, rural market. I really don’t get that argument.

The other argument is that a Silver Alert would take away from the child Amber Alerts. Hmmm……so THAT argument would indicate that one human life is worth more than the other merely because of age. I bet those are the same people who preach about media portraying youth and beauty in an unbalanced way. Either way, Silver Alerts are lifesavers for many.

This is how the states stack up and who to call in your loved one’s state about their Silver Alert or alike program:

As of June 2012, 41 states have implemented Silver Alert programs. Several others are pending.
For more information, contact the state agency responsible for the program’s administration or
local law enforcement. ~Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Name: Missing Senior Alert Plan
Eligibility: senior citizen with dementia or other deterioration of intellectual faculties
Administrator: Alabama Department of Public Safety

Name: Endangered Person Alert
Eligibility: adult with significant health problem or medically-diagnosed disability (i.e.,
Administrator: Arizona Department of Public Safety

Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: senior or adult with cognitive disorder
Administrator: Arkansas State Police/Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association/Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police

Name: Missing Senior Citizen and Person with Developmental Disabilities Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older with verified impaired mental condition; person with developmental
Administrator: Colorado Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Investigation

Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: 65 or older; 18 or older with mental impairment
Administrator: Connecticut Department of Public Safety

Name: Gold Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older; person with disability
Administrator: Delaware State Police

Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: cognitively-impaired adults who become lost while driving
Administrator: Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Name: Mattie’s Call
Eligibility: adults who are cognitively-impaired or developmentally-impaired
Administrator: Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Name: Endangered Missing Person Advisory Program
Eligibility: seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia
Administrator: Illinois Department of Aging/Illinois State Police

Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: 18 or older with mental illness, dementia or other physical or mental incapacity
Administrator: Indiana Clearinghouse for Information on Missing Children and Missing Endangered Adults/Indiana State Police

Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: adults with dementia
Administrator: Iowa Department of Public Safety

Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: person with dementia; 65 or older
Administrator: Kansas Bureau of Investigation

Name: Golden Alert
Eligibility: impaired person with developmental disability; person with physical, mental or
cognitive impairment
Administrator: Kentucky Division of Emergency Management

Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: 60 or older with diagnosed mental impairment
Administrator: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections

Name: Silver Alert Program
Eligibility: adults with dementia or developmental disabilities
Administrator: Maine Department of Public Safety

Name: Silver Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older with cognitive impairment
Administrator: Maryland State Police

Name: Silver Alert Community Response System
Eligibility: adult with serious memory impairment
Administrator: Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety

Name: Missing Children and Endangered Persons’ Program aka Brandon’s Law
Eligibility: all ages, including mentally impaired
Administrator: Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Name: Silver Alert System
Eligibility: 18 or older with dementia or other cognitive impairment
Administrator: Mississippi Department of Public Safety

Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: 18 or older
Administrator: Missouri State Highway Patrol

Name: Missing and Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability
Administrator: Montana Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation

Name: Statewide Alert System for Safe Return of Missing Endangered Older Persons
Eligibility: 60 or older
Administrator: Nevada Department of Public Safety

New Hampshire
Name: Missing Persons With a Developmental Disability and Missing Senior Citizen Alert Program
Eligibility: persons with developmental disability; 55 or older with verified impaired mental condition
Administrator: New Hampshire State Police

New Jersey
Name: Silver Alert System
Eligibility: person with cognitive impairment
Administrator: New Jersey State Police

New Mexico
Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: endangered person, including person with degenerative brain disorder
Administrator: New Mexico Department of Public Safety

New York
Name: Missing Vulnerable Adult Alert Program
Eligibility: 18 or older with cognitive disorder, mental disability or brain disorder
Administrator: New York Division of Criminal Justice Services/ Missing Persons Clearinghouse

North Carolina
Name: Silver Alert Program
Eligibility: person with dementia or cognitive impairment
Administrator: North Carolina Department of Public Safety

Name: Missing Adult Alert
Eligibility: 65 or older; or adult with mental impairment
Administrator: Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation

Name: Silver Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older with dementia or other cognitive impairment
Administrator: Oklahoma Department of Public Safety

Name: Missing and Endangered Person Advisory System (MEPAS)
Eligibility: endangered person due to age, mental or physical disability
Administrator: Pennsylvania State Police

Rhode Island
Name: Missing Senior Citizen Alert Program
Eligibility: 60 or older with impaired mental condition
Administrator: Rhode Island State Police

South Carolina
Name: Endangered Person Notification System
Eligibility: person with dementia or other cognitive impairment
Administrator: South Carolina Law Enforcement Division of Missing Persons/Missing Person Information Center

South Dakota
Name: Endangered Person’s Advisory
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability
Administrator: South Dakota State Police

Name: Senior Alert
Eligibility: 18 or older with dementia or disabled
Administrator: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Name: Silver Alert
Eligibility: 65 or older with diagnosed impaired mental condition
Administrator: Texas Department of Public Safety

Name: Senior Alert System
Eligibility: 60 or older with cognitive impairment
Administrator: Virginia State Police

West Virginia
Name: Silver Alert Plan
Eligibility: person with cognitive impairment
Administrator: West Virginia State Police

Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability
Administrator: Utah Department of Public Safety

Name: Endangered Missing Person Advisory Plan
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability
Administrator: Washington State Patrol, Missing Persons Unit


Name: Endangered Missing Person Alert
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger
Administrator: Wisconsin Crime Alert Network/Wisconsin Department of Justice

Name: Endangered Person Advisory
Eligibility: person believed to be in danger
Administrator: Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations

Pending: California, Hawaii, Michigan

No program: Alaska, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont

Help with Utility Bills in this Summer Heat

***I’m sorry I have been out of pocket for several days. An old back injury has had me under the weather.****

It was announced last week that LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funds were released by the President. This is for any person who meets certain guidelines in order to pay their summer heating bill. The funds are not always released during the summer but this year, they have been. One of the categories is for seniors 60 years old and older or any disabled adult. There are other target markets who are eligible to apply as well. This website:
is incredible! Go there, click on yours or your loved one’s state and information specific to that state will appear including income guidelines, where to apply, how to apply, and what to bring. It may or may not tell you when – but simply call the number listed in that area and ask when the first day to apply will be. They will tell you. Generally, it is between July 9 and August 1.

This year, in Oklahoma, applications will begin on July 9 at the local OKDHS offices. It is on a first come, first served basis so you must go quickly and early on the first day because they only have so much money.

The money – $150 for one person and $200 for a two-person household, is paid directly to the electric company. If there is less bill than allotment, it will carry over to the next month until the funds are spent. This money is meant to encourage seniors and others to use air conditioning in order to stay healthy!

Go check it out now!!

But how am I supposed to do THAT?

Oftentimes, a caregiver is thrust into service when a loved one experiences a health event that is sudden and possibly non-recoverable.  There are often many questions, such as:  How do I communicate now that dad can no longer speak?  With mom bedfast, how in the world am I supposed to bathe and wash her hair?  What is a gait belt and how is it used?

Good news!  I’ve got something that will help you and it is absolutely free as well as accessible 24 hours per day seven days per week!  I will even provide the links for you.  This program, a joint venture between the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Aging Services Division, Redlands Community College, and MetLife set up a website where caregiving information is warehoused and a part of that are some demonstration videos along with power point training on specific questions and concerns of caregivers universally.  For instance,

If you have questions about how to properly wash your hands and keep infection down, click on this link:

If you have questions about how to communicate with your loved one now that they have experienced some verbal, hearing, or memory incident, go here:

If you have concerns about how to turn a bedfast person or give them a proper bed bath, you can find the answers here:

Do you wonder what a gait belt is, when to use it and how to use it correctly go here:

Finally, if your loved one is supposed to have their blood pressure and heart rate taken regularly but you don’t know how to do it you can see a demonstration here:

There is a great deal of information on the website that appears to be exclusive to Oklahoma but is not.  So, if you have questions please go to the home page at  and surf around within the website, I bet you can find what you need!

How Can I get Paid to Take Care of Mom and Dad?

I get this question at least three times per week, sometimes more. A son or daughter will call and say they need to give up their own current position in order to take care of their parent 24 hours per day. The caller goes on to say they heard that their neighbor’s cousin’s friend was doing it and they wanted to as well. While it CAN be done, there are rules. Also, being paid to take care of your loved one is not going to be the financial panacea that you might think it will be. CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) does not like for family members to care for family members exclusively for several reasons. Let’s talk about those first:

Reasons CMS Will Not Reimburse:

1. Chances are greater for caregiver exploitation, abuse, and neglect of Consumer (your loved one)
2. Caregiver Burnout increases exponentially.
3. Chances of CMS reimbursement fraud is higher.

Reasons Some States will Allow in Certain Situations:

1. Consumer lives in an extremely rural area. Mileage is not reimbursable under CMS rules so if your family member lives several miles out of town, that’s a really high mileage roundtrip that the Home Health Aid must eat every day. No one will want to do that so family placement as caregiver may be approved.
2. Consumer requires very specialized care that only family member can perform.
3. Occasionally, if the consumer is blind and fearful of strangers, it is possible.
4. Consumer lives in region of the state that is impossible to staff. For instance: In Western Oklahoma there is now an oil boom. Oil pays very well when things are going well. Wal-Mart is having to bus in employees from 60 miles away just to have staff. Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) suffers greatly during this time. This is an instance where a family member MAY be allowed to be a paid caregiver.

Reasons Consumer will not be Considered for Family as Paid Caregiver:

1. Because they are uncomfortable with strangers.
2. Family member has been convicted of felony, but “that’s okay with them”.
3. Because that’s who they would prefer take care of them.
4. Because they paid their taxes and want it this way.
5. Because they are afraid the family member will leave the home and nursing home placement might occur.
6. Because the family member feels it is too hard to hold down an outside job and care for the family member as well.
7. Because the doctor said the family member was best.

Misunderstood Concepts of the Program:

1. Family members often think they will be paid for a full day’s work.
2. Family members often have no idea how low the pay is.
3. Family members think the $$ will be enough to sustain the family financially.
4. Family members think they will only have to take care of their loved one and that’s it.
5. Family members think they can work through the local Social Service Agency instead of their local Provider Agency.

So, you see it is NOT the easiest thing in the world to become a paid caregiver if you are the family member and if you are financially responsible for the consumer, you will not be considered at all. An instance of this would be a wife wishing to be paid in order to care for a husband. Also, even if you are eligible to care for the loved one, you will only be paid for the time the case manager or nurse says is required to keep the loved one out of a nursing home. That may be less than an hour per day.
I hope this has cleared up any questions you may have about a family member as a paid caregiver. If you have any questions, please post them here and I will answer!

Don’t forget to check out my new Kindle eBook on Taking Care of Mom and Dad: A Baby Boomer’s Resource Guide.

New eBook for Caregivers

I am very excited to announce that my newest eBook has been released on Amazon in the Kindle Bookstore. The title is: Taking Care of Mom and Dad: A Baby Boomer’s Resource Guide. I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally have this completed. I worked for a very long time to put together all the information. I used all 20 years working with Seniors in putting together a comprehensive handbook for caregivers thrust into service, not knowing the first thing to do or first place to look for help. This is particularly helpful if you are caregiving from afar.

This is not a book that tells you how to deal with emotional issues, it is a book that is practical and comprehensive explaining different federal programs and how they work with a state. I show you the correct agency to contact through phone, address, or email who can give you state-specific information. While most of this CAN be found, you must be well-versed in Aging Service vernacular and acronyms which often change from state to state and program to program. It also clearly explains requirements in most elder-driven social programs as well as components that each state is required to offer.

If you have the correct reader, all sites (including the table of contents ) are clickable – they have been checked and re-checked to assure no dead links. You do not have to have a Kindle in order to read the eBook – I do not have one – you can download the Amazon reader for personal computers, blackberry, android, iPads, iPhone, MAC, and Windows phone 7.

Maybe you do not need this information, but if you know someone who does, please pass it along to them. The information presented in the eBook may be used by anyone in any of the states or territories within the U.S.

My Story – Part 5

Fast forward to February of 1999 when I had moved to Norman because of a promotion within the agency. My daughter would begin attending the University in the fall so by me living there; she was able to live at home. But currently, she was living with my mom to finish out high school. I received a frantic call from her one night saying that mom was lying in bed, barely breathing and her lips were blue! She was refusing to go to the hospital so I called a friend who lived nearby and told her to go over there and carry mom out if she had to, but to get her to the hospital. That is exactly what she had to do. The ER doctor called me hours later and said that when she arrived mom was near death and that her lungs had been permanently scarred from some yet-unknown interloper.

I made the two hour drive early the next morning and as I walked to her assigned room, a man in a trench coat stood outside her room. He identified himself and said he was a field marshal from the FBI. He then asked if we could speak for a moment since mom seemed to be out of it. Well, of course we could! **I don’t mind telling you I was scared to death** He asked me several questions about mom and said they had been watching the Pick-n-Pack for some time as it was a front for drug making business that seemed to set up every night and then be a regular store each day. They had done a background check on mother and found her to be an upstanding citizen somehow mixed up with these really bad people. He asked for some kind of information I knew mom would have in her purse so I went to get it and opened it up. There, in her purse, was a handgun. A handgun! Dad was the only shooter in our house – what the hell was she doing with a handgun?!?! He didn’t let me touch it and he took it away. He promised to meet me back at the hospital at 9:00 AM the next day with some news but to not let on to Shirley or anyone connected to them that anything was wrong. I cannot tell you how ridiculous I felt with all this high drama going on and I was helpless to stop it.

During my morning shower, the electricity went off. I looked out the back window and saw an electric person shutting it off. I thought it was for non-payment. When I offered to pay the bill, she said they had been notified by the owner that squatters had been living in the home and wanted to get them out by shutting off power. I told her that my father, who was dead, had built the home himself in 1958 and that was a helluva long distance phone call if he called them because mom was unconscious in the hospital. As we were talking the water guy drove up with the same story. Quickly, I figured out something was wrong and called the FBI man who told me this was most likely some kind of warning for mom and to leave the house right then.

I never learned what was up with the handgun, but whatever it was got them all three arrested with the sons going down for good in a 3 times your out count, but Shirley was let go because it was her first offense – the drug charges, not anything having to do with mom for she gave her money willingly. Although, they apparently WERE making crack or crank or something in the back that compromised mom’s health and so they considered her a victim. Another plus is that mom was a silent partner so her name wasn’t on anything………nothing she owned was seized and since she was the only one who owned anything of value, I am sure it would have all been taken and sold at FBI auction.

A certified letter came from the finance company saying they were going to take possession of the property if mom didn’t make some balloon payment in 60 days. I made a few calls to contacts I have in Norman, packed up what I could and when mom left the hospital, she came to subsidized senior apartments near my home. My daughter and I sold everything that wasn’t nailed down in the house and I made the two hour drive one more time several months later just in time to see my childhood home be auctioned off to the highest bidder. That was in 2000 and although she moved up here, she didn’t speak to me for months “because I couldn’t fix it”.

In 2004 the IRS man came calling. Seems mom didn’t pay any taxes on that $150,000 she gave to Shirley and they wanted their money with penalties and interest. While I was visiting her, she dropped the letter in my lap and said, if you can’t do anything, I guess I’ll just go to jail…… we know where I got that martyr thing from, huh? I could have gotten an attorney, but I read all the material and they have advocates within the IRS who will assist you for free. Mom was still pretending like Shirley had done this to her and she was some nit-wit who didn’t understand what was happening. So, I made her sit down and write out exactly what had happened and when she got selective memory, I made her rewrite that portion. They agreed to a settlement of $800 which was much less than 10% of what was owed. I paid it. In the end, mom had no tax bill and a black and white version of her own participation in financially ruining her own life and although it WAS wrong of them to do it, mother is a college graduate and at some point should have listened to someone besides Shirley.

By 2010, mom was settled with a new life, daughter had a Master’s degree, a good job and a fiancé’ and I, after 21 years of being divorced, remarried and had my own new life. And then the STATE tax man came calling. 10 years after the fact. I’m sure you can imagine what the interest and penalties would have been on that bill. When I saw the letter, I just started crying. After all these years, I just wanted it to be over. My husband, who knew the fantastical story from beginning to end, said I had 2 weeks to work on it and then he was giving it back to mom and she could deal with it alone. I got an attorney, paid him $1,000 and applied for abatement for her, which she received. As far as I know, it is finally and mercifully over.

For those of you who have paid caregivers – this story and many others like it – are the exact reason in-home caregivers should not be treated as family. They are an employee and should be treated very well, but still treated as an employee. Once you begin depending on them, it gives them the power in the relationship. Sometimes that works great, but sometimes – as in our case – it does not.
So, my knowledge has come through education but also through practical experience. When a family member calls our office and complains that a paid caregiver from one of our contracted companies has violated the ethical standards set out for them when they were hired, I do a small investigation and if there is any truth at all to the accusation, I turn it over to the Inspector General’s office for thorough investigation. On the other hand, you will find no bigger champion in our state of the in-home caregiver. I have done everything within my power to ensure a livable wage for them even conducting a conference each year so they can learn new skills. There is even a Personal Care Assistant of the Year award with cash prizes. We made a professional video a year ago and put it on the internet so people could see and hear what they do and for how little they do it, but they should never cross the line…….

That’s the end and we will now return to our regularly scheduled programming — Just thought you would want to know where I learned what I learned. But, as an added bonus, please take a look at my new eBook that will be published within the next 24 hours at Amazon! I am very excited about it. This book is chock full of the nearly 20 years of experience I have and will help any person who doesn’t know the first thing to do when it comes time to begin Taking Care of Mom and Dad.

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