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Grandparents Day is September 9th

Grandparents 2018

The proportion of children living with grandparents has doubled in the U.S. since 1970. Nearly 100,000 grandparents in Illinois are living with and responsible for their own grandchildren under the age of 18.  Many grandparents become caregivers during or because of a major life crisis.  As the children’s parents struggle with substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration, economic hardship, and other challenges, these caregivers provide a vital safety net to children.  In addition to the emotional impact, these grandparents often need assistance to help navigate their way through a variety of family issues, including legal and custody, financial, and parenting skills.

The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program funded by AgeSmart provides education, respite, and emergency financial assistance as well as legal resources to the grandparents living in Southwestern Illinois.  Grandparents or relatives who are 55 years of age or older and caring for a child under 18 years of age are eligible for the services, regardless of income.  The services are available in Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington Counties and provided by local community organizations.  Contact the organizations below for more information.

Children’s Home and Aid  618-235-2335
Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation  618-398-0958
AgeSmart Community Resources  618-222-2561

5 Facts About Social Security from ssa.gov

5 Facts You Might Not Know About Social Security

Most people know at least something about Social Security. For decades, Social Security has been providing valuable information and tools to help you build financial security. Here’s your opportunity to find out a little more, with some lesser-known facts about Social Security.

1. Social Security pays benefits to children.

Social Security pays benefits to unmarried children whose parents are deceased, disabled, or retired. See Benefits for Children for the specific requirements.

2. Social Security can pay benefits to parents.

Most people know that when a worker dies, we can pay benefits to surviving spouses and children. What you may not know is that under certain circumstances, we can pay benefits to a surviving parent. Read our Fact Sheet Parent’s Benefits, for the details.

3. Widows’ and widowers’ payments can continue if remarriage occurs after age 60.

Remarriage ends survivor’s benefits when it occurs before age 60, but benefits can continue for marriages after age 60.

4. If a spouse draws reduced retirement benefits before starting spouse’s benefits (his or her spouse is younger), the spouse will not receive 50 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.

Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it. If you qualify for your own retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, we always pay your own benefit first. (For example, you are eligible for $400 from your own retirement and $150 as a spouse for a total of $550.) The reduction rates for retirement and spouses benefits are different. If your spouse is younger, you cannot receive benefits unless he or she is receiving benefits (except for divorced spouses). If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, when you add spouse’s benefits later, your own retirement portion remains reduced which causes the total retirement and spouses benefit together to total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more on our website.

5. If your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, your survivor benefit will be reduced, but may be higher than what your spouse received.

If the deceased worker started receiving reduced retirement benefits before their full retirement age, a special rule called the retirement insurance benefit limit may apply to the surviving spouse. The retirement insurance benefit limit is the maximum survivor benefit you may receive. Generally, the limit is the higher of:

  • The reduced monthly retirement benefit to which the deceased spouse would have been entitled if they had lived, or
  • 82.5 percent of the unreduced deceased spouse’s monthly benefit if they had started receiving benefits at their full retirement age (rather than choosing to receive a reduced retirement benefit early).

Social Security helps secure your financial future by providing the facts you need to make life’s important decisions.

This information is from the Social Security website at https://blog.ssa.gov/5-facts-you-might-not-know-about-social-security/

Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Association Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

 

Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Association Celebrates its

100th Anniversary

A walk through the last 100 years.

Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Association (SIVNA) officially began on January 1, 1918 with a staff of five nurses and sixty-three patients transferred from the St. Louis Visiting Nurse Association.  Cash on hand was $600 in borrowed funds and a contract with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company to provide nursing care to eligible policy-holders. Currently SIVNA has a staff of 92 and serve just over 10,000 people in 2017.

Providing nursing care to the sick and injured in their home regardless of race, creed or their ability to pay and working with community organizations to improve the health of its residents was what drove their work in 1918 and still does today.  The great influenza pandemic of 1918 enabled the agency to provide a valuable service to the community.   During that epidemic between 50 and 100 million people are thought to have died, representing as much as 5 percent of the world’s population.  That was the beginning of a long tradition of caring for the SIVNA.

Many of the projects SIVNA pioneered have become the function of state and local agencies such as the Child Welfare Program.  In their first year 3,188 infants and children to age 6 were weighed, measured and given nutritional counseling.  This was a joint program of SIVNA, Red Cross and a child specialist.  These later became the infant welfare conferences and were continued by the East Side Health District when it was organized in 1937.

SIVNA worked closely with the Tuberculosis Society in providing nursing care to the tuberculosis patients.  During 1921, these two organizations working with a physician began school health examinations.  Also in 1921, assisted by the State Board of Health, four clinics for crippled children were conducted.  A special fund was established by the Board to pay for braces, casts and other corrective appliances.

The East St. Louis Journal assisted the agency in establishing a milk and ice fund for indigent infants and children.  This fund was established in 1921 and continued through 1945. Dental health was another concern in the early years.  Queen’s Daughters assisted in the purchase and distribution of toothbrushes for every school child in East St. Louis.

The 50’s and 60’s brought new organizations and additional community services.  In 1951, SIVNA began to work with the Cancer Society which furnished funds for nursing care of cancer patients, dressings and supplies.  In 1959, the George Washington Hi-12 Club began their hospital bed project with 35 beds.  This project was carried on by a special committee of the club.

January 1959, the SIVNA Board gave their approval to serve as the parent organization for the proposed home care program.  January 1960, rehabilitative restorative nursing was initiated.  One nurse attended a special course at the Rusk Institute in New York an on July 1, 1961, a homemaker program began on a three-year pilot basis with private funding administered by a Board of Directors.  The coordination of health services, home-helper, or home health aide services has been an invaluable supplement to the nursing program. On July 1, 1966, SIVNA became a provider under Medicare.  SIVNA was instrumental in working with the Medicare program in the early years as problems were identified and worked through.

A grant under the Older Americans Act of 1965 made it possible to extend services to cover all of St. Clair County.  The Illinois Department of Public Aid, St. Clair County Board of Supervisors, together with agency personnel and equipment, enabled SIVNA to qualify for these funds.  The grant was for a three-year period and provided nursing care to patients age 60 and over.  This program officially began January 1, 1967.

Changes in funding and Medicare services indicated the need for a merger of the Home Care Association and SIVNA.  The Home Health Aide Service became certified July 1, 1967 and final details of the merger were completed January 1, 1968.

During the 70’s and 80’s, the agency continued its growth and expansion of programs.  The hospital coordinating role was initiated to establish a closer working relationship with hospitals, physicians, and patients.  Under Title III, Home Health Service was expanded to Monroe County and a homemaker program was initiated.

In 1983, through a contract with the Illinois Department on Aging, and the Area Agency on Aging of Southwestern Illinois (now AgeSmart Community Resources), the agency became responsible for the Care Coordination Unit (CCU) and Title III programs.  Assessments for homemaker, housekeeping, chore, daycare, and pre-screenings for nursing home placement are performed by SIVNA care coordinators in our service area.

December 1990, a contract was signed with the Illinois Department on Aging to follow up on victims of adult abuse.  SIVNA’s team of Senior Protective Services was one of the first in the state established to participate in the program.

In 1996, the Choices for Care Program was initiated by the Illinois Department on Aging to provide early counseling to individuals seeking long term care services before being discharged from the hospital.  SIVNA’s CCU has experienced care coordinators who explain all available alternatives to those in need of long term care, including services that can be provided at home. In 2000 SIVNA’s Care Coordination Unit was awarded additional territory by the Illinois Department on Aging. The CCU now serves the Illinois counties of St. Clair, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, Washington, Bond and Clinton.

In 2013, SIVNA’s Senior Protective Services was expanded to serve disabled adults as well.  The program’s name was changed to Adult Protective Services.

Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Association continues now as in years past to provide superior individualized care to residents in our service area.  SIVNA is uniquely able to meet all the needs of area residents who seek to maintain their independence and dignity. Congratulations on 100 years!

 

For more information about SIVNA visit their website at sivna.com or give them a call 618-236-5863

ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS OVER 50 ARE AFFECTED BY ISOLATION

As we age circumstances in our lives often change.  We retire from a job, friends move away or health issues convince us to eliminate or restrict driving.  When changes like these occur, we may not fully realize how they will affect our ability to stay connected and engaged and how much they can still impact our overall health and well-being.

We need social connections to thrive, no matter our age, but recent research shows the negative health consequences of chronic isolation and loneliness may be especially harmful for older adults.  The good news is that with greater awareness, we can take steps to maintain and strengthen our ties to family and friends, expand our social circles and become more involved in the community around us.

Having a social network that meets our needs means different things to everyone.  There are some actions to consider to help stay connected.

  • Nurture and strengthen existing relationships: invite people over for coffee or call them to suggest a trip to a museum or to see a movie.
  • Schedule a time each day to call a friend or visit someone.
  • Meet your neighbors young and old.
  • Don’t let being a non-driver stop you from staying active. Find out about your transportation options.
  • Use social media like Facebook to stay in touch with long-distance friends or write an old-fashioned letter.
  • Stay physically active and include group exercise in the mix, like joining a walking club.
  • Take a class to learn something new, at the same time, expand your circle of friends.
  • Revisit an old hobby you’ve set aside and connect with others who share our interests.
  • Volunteer to deepen your sense of purpose and help others.
  • Visit your local community wellness or senior center and become involved in a wide range of interesting programs.
  • Check out faith-based organizations for spiritual engagement, as well as to participate in activities and events.
  • Get involved in your community by taking on a cause, such as making your community more age-friendly.

Prolonged isolation can be as bad for your health as 15 cigarettes a day.  Stay engaged and remember the older adults in your lives and reach out to them this holiday season and throughout the year.

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Medicaid Cuts Could Hurt Seniors Most

Much of the country is focused on the debate around repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. However, what hasn’t received nearly as much attention is that the House also passed deep cuts to the federal-state Medicaid program as part of the ACA repeal bill, despite that having nothing to do with repealing or replacing the ACA.

Most people think Medicaid, our nation’s safety net health care program, only serves very low-income children and mothers, and increasingly low-income working adults. In reality, the majority of Medicaid spending provides services and supports to help people with disabilities and older adults simply live their lives.

For older adults and caregivers, Medicaid is the country’s only guaranteed provider of the critical long-term care services that most of us will need as we age. Nearly two-thirds of long-term care provided in nursing homes is paid for by Medicaid. With nursing homes averaging nearly $90,000 per year, without Medicaid, millions of older adults and families would be financially overwhelmed if these services were limited or no longer available.

Medicaid is also important to helping our country address the challenges of a rapidly aging nation. The population of older adults is growing at an historic pace, and over 90 percent of seniors say they would rather age at home and in their communities, where care is often less expensive and often more effective. While less expensive than nursing home care, in-home services are often cost prohibitive for families as well. In our community services such as home care, adult day services, emergency home response service and medical transportation are examples of services Medicaid helps to provide.  It is unfortunate the timing of this change in Medicaid is happening when Illinois has a budget that cannot sustain the current program. It is likely that the only choice for care in Illinois will be nursing homes.  Home and community based services are often a fraction of the cost of nursing home care.

It makes no sense to undermine the only long-term care option available to most Americans just as our country undergoes a transformational demographic shift to an aging nation. If we really want to save federal health care dollars, we should expand the most cost-effective care options instead of eliminating them. Not only do these Medicaid-funded programs preserve the dignity and independence of older adults in the Metro East and across the country, they also save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year in avoided nursing home costs.

Our seniors deserve better!

Joy Paeth

Chief Executive Officer

AgeSmart Community Resources

 

New Medicare cards are on the way

Have you ever notices that your Medicare card number is a social security number, usually your own? It is important to safeguard this number against identity theft and never give it to strangers over the phone. So why doesn’t Medicare just change the number. Well, Medicare is changing the number. Beginning in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will start mailing out new cards to beneficiaries with an 11-digit combination of letters and numbers that has nothing to do with your social security number. CMS will stagger these mailings, and by April 2019, all Medicare beneficiaries will have their new cards. You will not need to do anything to receive your new card. It will be sent via mail.

Having your Social Security number removed from your Medicare card helps fight medical identity theft and protect your medical and financial information. But even with these changes, scammers will still look for ways to take what doesn’t belong to them. Here are some ways to avoid Medicare scams:

  • Is someone calling, claiming to be from Medicare, and asking for your Social Security number or bank information? Hang up. That’s a scam. First, Medicare won’t call you. Second, Medicare will never ask for your Social Security number or bank information.
  • Is someone asking you to pay for your new card? That’s a scam. Your new Medicare card is free.
  • Is someone threatening to cancel your benefits if you don’t give up information or money? Also a scam. New Medicare cards will be mailed out to you automatically. There won’t be any changes to your benefits.

For more information and to report suspected scams contact AgeSmart Community Resources at

1-800-326-3221.  AgeSmart Community Resources is your local Area Agency on Aging.

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Thank You to our Sponsors

 

 

AgeSmart Community Resources wishes to thank the following Organizations for supporting the 2017 Healthy Living Expo.

Thanks to your sponsorship, support and participation this year’s Healthy Living Expo will be exceptional.

 

          

                                               

 

                                                                                  

 

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

                                                                                                                                                                      

 

                                                                                                                                                 

 

                                                                                                                                         

 

 

                                                                                  

                                                                                

                                                                                                      State Representative Jay Hoffman

 

                     

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What does repealing the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare mean for you?

If you are receiving Medicare benefits you can expect to see changes if the Affordable Care Act(ACA)/Obamacare is repealed.  When the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare was first enacted it added enhancements to existing Medicare benefits.

  • The ACA significantly decreased the number of uninsured. A repeal of the ACA would once again increase the number of uninsured passing that cost on to hospitals, doctors, other providers and patients including people on Medicare.  Expect an increase in Medicare Part A and B deductibles and copayments.
  • The ACA added Preventive Services at no cost to you. If the ACA is repealed, expect to pay for your annual Well Visit, PSA Test, Mammogram and flu and pneumonia vaccines, among many others.
  • The ACA has been lowering the cost of the doughnut hole. If the ACA is repealed it means the return of the doughnut hole. For those in the doughnut hole they may have to again pay 100% of the cost of their prescriptions, as they did prior to the ACA.

For more information:

National Associations of Area Agencies on Aging:

http://www.n4a.org/files/ACA_PolicyBrief_Jan2017_final.pdf

Kaiser Family Foundation:

http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/what-are-the-implications-of-repealing-the-affordable-care-act-for-medicare-spending-and-beneficiaries/

 

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