Archive for the ‘Services’ 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 Amazon.com!

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: http://amzn.to/KxtD7B 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indiana
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Montana
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

Nevada
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

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

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

Pennsylvania
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

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

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

Virginia
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

Utah
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

Washington
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

Wisconsin

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

Wyoming
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

Great Article in NY Times…and, a little more info.

The Affordable Health Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court yesterday with each state having the option of whether to expand Medicaid or not. Many states’ Governors, including the gov. in my state, has denounced the decision and said they are each considering NOT accepting Medicaid expansion – the expansion is a requirement for the 100% financial pick up of Affordable Care Act (ACA) costs the first few years and then 90% after that. They say they cannot afford the expansion of Medicaid and it’s expansion……….nice try. This is a lot of smoke and mirrors as they pander to the most financially conservative of their state residents.

I’m not making a political statement at all so please do not mistake this for one. This is purely financial and state government knowledge. Medicaid is paid through matching funds between the state and the federal government. The state portion is determined based on the economy of the state – how well the state is doing financially. My state is one of the more financially solvent states and has not suffered as much during the recession like many other states, mostly because of our oil production. Our state’s match is about 68/32 which means that for every Medicaid dollar spent in our state – the feds pay $.68 cents and our state pays $.32 cents. So, as an economically stable state we pay 1/3 of medicaid costs – the states who are worse off economically pay even less. Another thing to consider is that those who are not currently covered, remain ill longer and then one day the MUST go to the ER or clinic or some other medical facility and then the state will have to pick up 100% of the costs.

The ACA will expand mostly waivers and those waivers target mostly the elderly and disabled of the United States. Paid at 100%. These are the most costly eligibles there are…….Hmmm…. Really? The other thing about costs that are paid 100% by the feds (Child Day Care and SNAP – formerly Food Stamps are both 100% reimbursement) is that if our state decides not to take it then other states get even more, because that money is going to go somewhere. I remember when former California Governor Schwartzenegger went into office. He fussed and fumed about how the state was broke and how he was going to cut off the “free lunch” of Food Stamps. I remember thinking that he was either the stupidiest governor ever or he had the most stupid advisers ever. And then someone explained to him how Food Stamps really work and who they REALLY benefit (grocery store owners, farmers, and trucking companies) the most. Soon he was touting the program and seeking out any and everyone in California who would qualify in order to apply for the Food Stamp Benefit.

Since ACA will work much like Food Stamps and those who will benefit the MOST will be hospitals, clinics, private physician’s offices, and health therapy facilities – I would say all this strutting and posturing of governors is just that. Either they already know this is financially sound to help their states out of the mess they are already in, or one of their advisers will get to them and educated them PDQ. Then they will release a statement saying their hands are tied, and they are forced to take the money. And then they will.

In the end, it will help the elderly and disabled the most and they ARE the most costly folks in the Medicaid system. So whatever your feelings are about the Affordable Care Act, it is coming and we should prepare for the inevitable.

You can find the NY Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/us/politics/some-states-reluctant-over-medicaid-expansion.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120630

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: http://www.liheap.org/
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!!

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 Amazon.com 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.

Will my Medicaid Transfer When I Move?

I often get calls from a family member inquiring about how to transfer their loved one’s Medicaid (or MediCal) from one state to another.  The federal government, in their infinite wisdom, decided to name the federal and the state health care programs nearly identical; Medicare and Medicaid respectively.  So the first order of business is to determine exactly which program the family member is talking about.

Medicare cards are all red, white, and blue.  They are connected to Social Security and a premium must be paid each month in order to maintain the benefit.  Medicare is a nationwide program funded solely through federal taxes.  Medicaid is a state and federal partnership that often, in the case of seniors, is used in conjunction with Medicare.  Medicaid cards are as many different color combos as there are states and territories.  Each state, in order to receive federal matching funds, must agree to offer certain specific core services but then there is a menu of other items the state may offer. There is no rhyme or reason as to what each state my offer.

Another difference in Medicaid state-to-state is that the income level may be different as well as resource requirements.  They also may differ in where you may apply with some being only at the local social services office while others have kiosks set up in various public areas for your convenience.  Yet another difference is that some states offer something called a Spend Down while others do not.  A Spend Down is the amount between the client’s income and the maximum amount allowable to receive the benefit.

When you or your senior loved one may be moving here are some points to remember:

  1. You may not transfer Medicaid from one state to another.
  2. You must actually have made the move and declare the new state your home prior to applying for Medicaid in your new state.
  3. Don’t forget to close your Medicaid case in the state you moved from AFTER you have made the move.
  4. Income and Resource limits may be higher or lower in the state you move to.
  5. Some states offer a Spend Down while others do not.
  6. Do not expect the same program in your new state and if it is or if it is better, you will have a pleasant surprise.
  7. Look for my new eBook soon to be available exclusively through Amazon.  It goes into detail about adult Medicaid issues.  The title is “Taking Care of Mom and Dad”, the same as the site here is called.
  8. If you have any questions, please comment on this post and ask away!
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