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How to Talk to You Employer about Your Caregiver Support Needs

Caring for your dad is becoming more difficult. You’re exhausted and struggling to keep up with your workload. Maybe it’s impacting multiple areas of your life.

Majorities of respondents in a survey of North American working family caregivers, conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, report caregiving has put a strain on multiple aspects of their lives including:

Finances (60 percent)
Physical and mental health (74 percent and 81 percent, respectively)
Career (65 percent)
Ability to manage work/life balance (83 percent)

Not only do you like your job, you need it to pay the bills. So how do you broach the subject of family caregiving without the fear that you could be jeopardizing your job?

“Do you know I am taking care of my dad? I would love to tell you a little about him and what I am doing to care for him. I am looking for ways to ensure I am always doing the best I can at work and at home.”

“I hope you know how much I value my job. That’s why I would like to make sure that my work is covered in the event of a family emergency. I would love to learn about any services our company has that could help me. And then, it would be great to work with you to put together a plan.”

“My dad needs to spend a week in the hospital next month and I would like to be with him since I am his caregiver. I have jotted down some ideas for how I could cover my job and my work while I’m gone. Could I schedule some time to discuss this with you?”

“A flexible start time would help me so much in ensuring that my father’s needs are covered before I leave for work. I believe that would help me be more productive on the job. Can I count on the company’s understanding?”
Think about ways to make the most of the time you have with your boss.

It is important to suggest ideas that work for both your employer and you, and to provide an opportunity to test out your plan to make sure that it does, in fact, work.

 

Learn More at: DaughtersintheWorkplace.com

 

 

American Heart Month

 

 

 

 

What is American Heart Month?

American Heart Month, a federally designated event, is an ideal time to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends and communities involved.

• The first American Heart Month, which took place in February 1964, was proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson via Proclamation 3566 on December 30, 1963.

• The Congress, by joint resolution on that date, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month.

• At that time, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease.

• While American Heart Month is a federally designated month in the United States, it’s important to realize that cardiovascular disease knows no borders. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year.

That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.

Nearly half of all U.S. adults have some type of cardiovascular disease, a percentage that reflects recently updated guidelines for treating high blood pressure, according to a new report. High blood pressure – also known as hypertension – can lead to heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

“We’re becoming more and more aware of the importance of high blood pressure. Levels we used to think were normal we now associate with worse outcomes, and treating them makes a big difference,” said Dr. Emelia J. Benjamin, a professor of cardiology at Boston University and chair of the group that wrote the American Heart Association’s “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2019 Update”.

The report, published Thursday in the AHA journal Circulation, has been released annually since 1958 and is based on data from the National Institutes of Health and other government sources. This year’s report said 121.5 million adults in the U.S. – 48 percent based on 2016 figures – has cardiovascular disease. Heart disease was the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. and stroke was No. 5, the same ranking as in the previous year.

For more information, visit: www.heart.org/en/news/2019/01/31/cardiovascular-diseases-affect-nearly-half-of-american-adults-statistics-show

Healthy Eating Tips During the Holidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Eating Tips During the Holidays

  • Eat breakfast or snacks earlier in the day and avoid the idea of saving carbs for the big feast.  If you skip meals, it will be harder to manage your blood sugar
  • Limit the number of servings of starchy foods on your plate
  • Choose fruits and vegetables served raw, grilled, or steamed.  Avoid veggies served in cream, gravies, and butter
  • Choose smaller portions of your favorite foods, eat slowly, and savor every bite
  • Take a walk after the meal–avoid sitting or lying down
  • Food safety should be part of any celebration involving food.  A good rule of thumb; Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.  Food left at room temperature for over two hours should be discarded
  • Drink plenty of water before and after a meal to help with digestion and overeating
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Medicare Annual Enrollment

From October 15 to December 7th, you can start stop or switch your Medicare Part D enrollment.

SHIP Counselors can provide you with no charge, unbiased  and confidential answers to your questions about Medicare and the coverage you have and want.  SHIP counselors do not work with or for any insurance company and will not not and sell you anything.

It is important for you to evaluate your current coverage and make sure that it will work for you in the upcoming year.

Contact AgeSmart Community Resources to find the SHIP Counselor closest to you in the Illinois Counties of Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph , St. Clair and Washington.

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/

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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June 13 Illinois Aging Network Alert

  Illinois Aging Network Alert

 A weekly report on the impact of the state budget crisis on Illinois seniors and community programs on aging
From I4A – Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Week of June13, 2016
Contact: Joy Paeth 618-222-2561 or Jon Lavin 708-383-0258

 When Will Reason Prevail?

 This morning several Directors of Illinois area agencies on aging informed the Illinois Department on Aging that they have developed plans to close down their region’s community senior services network this summer. This information was provided during a phone call where the Department explained that federal funding would stop after reimbursements covering the month of June.  Unless there is a court order or an enacted state appropriation, no federal funds will be processed  for July, August or September. Not all area agencies on aging are in the same situation this summer (AgeOptions would not have federal funding for community based organizations, but will continue state funds for home delivered meals, about half of the meals, if the Court Order continues into July, August and September).  It is clear that many of Illinois’ 230 community senior service agencies will desist operations without federal support.

The biggest problem is that the federal dollars are in jeopardy that come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Community Living under the U.S. Older Americans Act. The federal appropriation is on a fiscal year that begins October 1, 2015, and concludes September 30, 2016. Under Illinois law, that funding will end on June 30. The Department stated that June reimbursement will come through in early July and then no additional funding is anticipated following that date unless there is a Court order or a state appropriation.

Federal Older Americans Act resources require state match. That match is combined with federal funds to process payments under the Beeks Consent Decree for meals.  Home Delivered Meal funding alone is problematic since it may not be used for administrative purposes.  Area agencies administer the court ordered dollars with their federal dollars and state match under Planning and Service Area Grants to Area Agencies on Aging. Not a penny of Planning and Service Area Grants has been provided this year.

Without the federal and state funding, there will not be a viable Aging Network. Federal law requires that the Illinois Department on Aging send the federal and state matching resources to the 13 designated area agencies on aging for distribution to community service provider agencies. It may not be proper under federal guidelines for the Department on Aging to send the court-ordered Home Delivered Meal funding directly to community agencies. Those agencies have contracts with area agencies on aging, and no contract with the Department. This is a legal, moral, practical, administrative and human mess! When will reason prevail and Illinois act responsibly to pass an agreed budget with adequate resources to meet its legal obligations under the Illinois Constitution?

If no federal dollars are released and no state administrative support to area agencies on aging is provided, the high stakes game of chicken being played out by elected leaders will result in the loss of independence, health and lives of older persons. It is time for politics to be put aside and for leadership and governance to prevail.

 

Distributed for I4A by:

Jonathan Lavin

Let’s Add Chicken Soup Back to Medicine

“Traditional” and “non-traditional” medicines are often at odds with one another, and have been ever since the scientific method took hold in the Renaissance. In general, that has served humanity well. Science has slowly and steadily teased out the true causes of disease and their treatments, and pushed aside the myths and fabrications of pre-evidence-based health care.

But now, I believe, it is time for reconciliation. Rather than butting heads, “establishment” practitioners and technologies need to collaborate with so-called alternative or allied health providers. Doing so will deepen the care narrative and improve patient experiences.

Traditional medicine is based on scientific discovery. Where once, the ill and infirm would pay good money for Dr. Smith’s Magic Elixir only because Dr. Smith said it work, science helped determine if Dr. Smith’s cure-all really did cure all – or if the alcohol in the magic elixir just made you not care.

However, it is dangerous to think that science itself is a magic elixir. Scientific discovery is still fraught with bias and poor study design. And alternative medicine may not be alternative at all, just based on older teachings that, though not scientifically proven (usually because there is no money to be made by studying them), may be just as valid.
As we all know, patients have been returning to some of those teachings in droves over the past few decades. Take chicken soup. Grandmothers have been touting the healing properties of chicken soup for generations, and a recent study proved your grandmother was right. It really is a time for both the old and the new.

We also need to look at how we got to modern medicine. What was left behind may have been due to political or religious pressure rather than science. The use of silver in medicine is a good example. Once a common remedy in the physician’s black bag, it became too expensive with the advent of photography. Maybe we might come back to it?

In all things there needs to be a balance. Healing cannot occur without a compassionate understanding of the power of the mind. We cannot underestimate that power. I am disappointed that traditional medicine has called this “the placebo effect.” That demeans and diminishes this important healing power rather than really using the mind’s ability and desire to cure the body to its fullest advantage. After all, “science” has proved that 30% of people will have a beneficial effect from a treatment if they believe that it will help. Having healthcare that is in alignment with our belief system is important for that reason.

That’s why I believe we need to add allied health to our practices. We also need to do it right. I am not advocating moneymaking “medi-spas.” I am advocating for the use of real healing massage, real counseling about optimizing diet and exercise, real skin and body care that checks for moles along with providing facials. We need healing foods, healing music, healing movement.

I also believe that we need healing therapies that are specific to our individual heritages. Before humanity was so mobile, it was fine for local and traditional medicine to address those local or regional illnesses. But today, our culture is no longer local. It is multiethnic, multicultural and global. We should have – in fact, we need – care that reflects that diversity of needs and beliefs. We need care that is specific, not one-size-fits-all.

This is not to say that we should embrace all allied health practitioners out of hand. I think we should work with those who have proven their worth over time, culture and, yes, scientific inquiry. There is still a lot of bad, incorrect and downright dangerous information out there, and patients have access to it in unprecedented ways. Doctor Google has been wonderful because it allows patients to feel they have more control, to get a variety of opinions and multiple sources of data. It allows them to ask smart questions, to learn the language, to be involved and to process. However, in the Internet age of the three minute YouTube video or 140-character Tweet, they don’t get the whole story. There is no filter, no expert to confirm to them if that bump on their nose really is –according to whatever source they stumble upon – a spider bite, a pimple or cancer. That is why we must work with allied, alternative practitioners, not against them.

I also advocate for educating these allied health professionals in how to look for diagnostic clues, so that they can then alert the patient/client’s physician. Think about this: A massage therapist likely sees more of the patient than the primary care physician, and is thus more likely to notice darkening of the skin, loss of eyebrows, skin tags, varicosities, joint pain or other signs of disease.

So let’s make use of it. Let’s add chicken soup back to medicine.

AgeSmart Community Resources would like to thank Dr. Teresa L. Knight for this month’s article.  Dr. Knight is the CEO at Women’s Health Specialists of Saint Louis.

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