Department of Public Health Survey on Health Needs for People with Disabilities
May 20, 2013
Prepare for the ASAP Nurse Screening Visit
March 23, 2012
So you finally convinced your parent or spouse to let you call your local ASAP – around here, that’s South Shore Elder Services or Old Colony Elderly Services. You have a date for the nurse to come meet your spouse or parent. What do you do next?
First, make a list of everything you want to discuss with the nurse. That means all your loved one’s medical issues, medications, medical history, along with all the things you think she has trouble with and needs help doing. Ask other people to help you put together this list so that you don’t forget anything.
On the day of the visit, make sure that the primary caregiver is at the home. That may be you, it may be another family member, it may be a home health aide. Whomever can give truthful reporting as to the elder’s abilities and needs should be at this screening. As most of us decline, whether physically or mentally or both, we become very good at downplaying our shortfalls. No one wants to admit that they need help, especially not with the basics of life, like climbing stairs and getting dressed. Elders tend to be embarrassed that they can no longer do these basic things alone and will tell the nurse that they are more able than they in fact are. The caregiver needs to make sure that the screening nurse gets a full picture of the elder’s needs.
Remember that your job is to make sure the nurse has as accurate a picture as you can give her of the elder’s abilities and needs. Only then can she design a plan that will bring in as many services as possible to fit your loved one’s needs.
Circuit Breaker Tax Credit = Free Money!!
March 23, 2011
It’s that time of year again, time to do your taxes. Even if you don’t file taxes, be sure to check the math on this one: The Circuit Breaker Tax Credit helps Massachusetts senior homeowners whose real estate taxes, sewer, and water bills combined consumed more than 10% of their total income. The state helps renters whose water, sewer, and 25% of the rent combined totaled more than 10% of their income.
If you typically file taxes, be sure to remind your preparer to check your eligibility for the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit. And if you weren’t planning to file taxes? The state will actually mail you a check in the amount of the Circuit Breaker – you simply need to file a one-page form with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (that’s the state equivalent of the IRS).
If you need help filing for the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit, here’s more good news – each year, AARP trains volunteers who help seniors with their tax preparation. Call your local senior center to make an appointment with an AARP volunteer. Spots fill up fast – call soon.
More Reasons to Write up a Caregiver Contract
November 13, 2009
Veterans Benefits: Aid & Attendance Benefits
October 26, 2009
Howard Gleckman’s Caring for Our Parents
October 23, 2009
What Goes into a Caregiver Contract?
September 21, 2009
Paying Your Children to Care for You? Put it in Writing.
August 30, 2009
Always Keep Time & Expense Records When Helping Another
August 6, 2009
So many children, nieces and nephews, and good neighbors pitch in to do heavy lifting for an aging or disabled family member or friend. You may be running errands, cleaning out a basement, doing weekly grocery trips. We do these things on a volunteer basis, usually receiving just reimbursement for purchases made. And when the hours pile up – like cleaning out a house or overseeing home remodeling – elders often insist on paying their helpers for their time.
If you are doing this sort of work for an elder or disabled person, it is imperative that the person you are helping (or you yourself, if she can’t), keep good records of expenses and time spent.
While this may feel wrong to you – afterall, you are doing this work out of kindness, it’s not a business arrangement – a lack of records can spell big trouble for the elder or disabled person later. If they will ever be turning to MassHealth (Medicaid) for care, whether at home, assisted living, or in a nursing home, MassHealth will examine the last 5 years of the applicant’s bank records. She will need to explain – and document – why she was paying you.
Without accurate records and receipts, MassHealth will likely reject the elder’s application. At that point, the only way for her to get the care she needs from MassHealth will be for you to return all the funds she paid you.
While it may feel awkward, do yourself and the person you are helping a favor and keep good time records and all receipts. And carry on with your good work.
Home Modification Loans Available at 0% to 3% Interest
May 5, 2009
Many elders and disabled folks are doing well living at home, but their house needs some modification to make life a little easier. Maybe it’s building a wheelchair ramp to the front door, widening doorways, modifying the kitchen and bathroom, or installing a lift. Whatever it might be, the state is providing very low- or no-cost loans to homeowners and to landlords of small buildings (under 10 units).
Loans are for up to $30,000 and are based on very generous income guidelines. For example, a two-person household with an annual income of up to $72,200 qualify for the 0% loans, and couples with incomes up to $144,400 qualify for the 3% loans. The 0% loans are repaid when the house is later sold, and the 3% loans are paid back on a monthly basis within 5 – 10 years of the time the loan is made.
This is a great opportunity to make those one or two modifications to your home that would make it much easier to remain there longer.
For full details, see the Home Loan Modification Program’s website, or for South Shore residents, call Mary Ann Walsh at the South Middlesex Opportunity Council, 508.202.5919.