Archive for the ‘Parents’ Category

Senior Day at the Capitol

Each year, when our state legislature is in session (February to May) we have a day specifically dedicated to our senior population conducted at the State Capitol. We call this day Senior Day at the Capitol. A quick perusal of the Internet shows several others states conducting them as well. The best way to find out if your state has one is to call 2-1-1 (if you have that service) or call the state Area Agency on Aging.
February 25, 2013 is Senior Day in Oklahoma. It is a free event where you can learn about legislation and issues affecting seniors, share ideas and concerns with your own legislator, visit with many nonprofit agencies and inquire about services available.
Registration begins about 8:30 AM. At 10:00 AM there will be a program in the house chambers where several legislators, including the Speaker of the House, will welcome the seniors and their caregivers to the capitol. From 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM is reserved for seniors and their caregivers to visit with their personal representative or senator about personal concerns. Of course, there are times when a particular person is not in the office and it is always disappointing when someone has driven 300 miles only to be told no one will speak to them that day.
The bad news is that nothing ever gets changed or solidified on that day. The good news is that participating in a rally day at the capitol will ensure that you or your loved one will receive vital information for use in your personal situation whether it is from one of the many social agencies, private agencies, or from a legislator looking into a situation for you.
I work with legislators all the time and call a few my personal friends and they tell me that a face-to-face meeting from a constituent is more meaningful than a letter, a letter is more meaningful than a phone call and a phone call is more meaningful than an email. My advice is, as a constituent, communicate with your legislator in the most meaningful way you can because it will make a difference in your life and in the lives of others.
I also want to recommend the website for those of you who are caregivers. You may already be aware of it but for those who are not, you can find out a great deal of information through them. Recently, journalist Julia Szcesuil, from Care sent me a media request and interviewed me about certain programs, talked about within my book, Taking Care of Mom and Dad: A Baby Boomer’s Resource Guide found here: Taking Care of Mom and Dad
I researched before agreeing to the interview and found it to be a very informative site. Please visit if you can! Until next time KD


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!!

Excellent Article from Denver Post

This link leads to a newspaper article by Kevin Simpson of the Denver Post.  He writes about Jose and Phil Gallegos as well as Phil’s wife Claudia.  Phil and Claudia are Baby Boomers who took in Jose, Phil’s dad, after his mother’s death last year.  This is a poignant story about coming to terms with role reversal and new family adjustments.  Read it, you will enjoy it!

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.

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