Connecticut Care Planning Council Newsletter


Holiday Caregiver Burnout  January 2014, Volume 6, Issue 1

Whether you're at the end of your tether, that tether has been cut years ago, or you've just started caregiving for a loved one, this time of the year always seems to be the hardest.  The season of joy is upon us, that is what the media, shopping centers, and carolers want you to believe, but for many, the season of joy is really just more WORK!


Medicare Open Enrollment Starts October 15  November 2013, Volume 5, Issue 11

It's that time of year again to consider making changes to your existing Medicare Plans.  Medicare's Open Enrollment period gives all beneficiaries the opportunity to make changes to their plans as their lives and needs change.

Why is the enrollment period so important?  Medicare policies and coverage change periodically. it's important to keep up on what these changes are, what they mean, and how they affect you.  Whether you are happy with your Medicare plan, the changes made to your plan may alter that.


Health Living and Successful Aging  September 2013, Volume 5, Issue 9

The United States is experiencing a remarkable increase in the number of people who live to an old age. Our older population (people 65 years or older) numbered nearly 40 million in 2009 (latest year of available data). These folks represent one in every eight Americans, or 13% of the population. By 2030, it is projected that the U.S will be home to more than 72 million people age 65 and older.

This astonishing increase is largely a result of medical and health care advancements that simply allow people to live longer. Currently, the average life expectancy of an American is about 80 years old (nearly double that of our ancestors).


The Accidental Caregiver  August 2013, Volume 5, Issue 8

You've heard people say it and maybe you have even said it yourself.  "Don’t worry Mom or Dad, I’ll take care of you in your old age."

This always seems to be a simple loving gesture on your part as you see them beginning to age and settle into retirement.  The thought of their actually failing in health or mental capabilities seems absurd or at most, years down the road. Thus it catches most children and spouses unprepared and sometimes surprised when their loved one needs care and help with daily living activities.

Social Security - A Safety Net for Retired Americans, their Survivors, and the Disabled  July 2013, Volume 5, Issue 7

Our council is dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning and to help implement that planning. All elderly people, regardless of current health, should plan for the myriad of financial events and challenges they might face. Social Security retirement benefits alone will not adequately help us meet these challenges; however, the program itself, how it is funded, and how the payouts work must be understood by every retiree.


Connecticut's 1st Choice for Mortgages & Loans  June 2013, Volume 5, Issue 6

BCI Financial Corporation is an independently owned and operated Connecticut business providing a diverse range of financial products including Mortgage Loans, Auto Loans, and Reverse Mortgage Loans. Constitution Mortgage, a local Cheshire company with 20 years expertise, joined the BCI family in September 2010 enhancing our mortgage loan division.


Find a One-Stop Shop Solution for Long-Term Care Problems  May 2013, Volume 5, Issue 5

"Where do I start? Whom do I contact? What is the best solution for Mom's or Dad's problem?" Some of us have been there and asked those questions, or we may find ourselves in that situation in the future.


Family Matters  March 2013, Volume 5, Issue 3

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy states that "more than ever before, families are providing long-term care to older adults with limitations in the ability to perform tasks necessary for independent living. Nearly 25% of American households are providing care to people age 50 years and over. Families are the alternative foundation for a stressed healthcare system. Hospital stays are shorter than ever and family caregivers are often expected to do what healthcare professionals once did."


Life Resource Planning Needs Met Beyond Retirement  February 2013, Volume 5, Issue 2

Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population, not only in the United States, but in the world. Currently, individuals age 65 and over represent 13% of the U. S. population - about 41 million people - but this will grow to 20% -- 88 million -- in just a matter of 38 years. Seniors also control a great deal of the wealth in this country. (USNews)


Dying with Debt  January 2013, Volume 5, Issue 1

At some point in our lives we may ask ourselves: “If I die and have debt, who or what will be responsible for paying back those I owe?”


Invisible Heroes  December 2012, Volume 4, Issue 12

They live in your city, perhaps on your street or even next door. They serve with courage, perseverance, patience and love. Some give 24 hours a day, with days blending into weeks, months and years. They are family caregivers; heroes quietly caring for loved ones at home.


The Great American Tragedy: Homelessness Among Our Veterans  November 2012, Volume 4, Issue 11

An article in USA Today reports that on a given night, more than 75,000 veterans (male and female) are living homeless on the streets of their cities. Nearly half (40%) of all homeless males are veterans. The homeless are often looked down upon in American society. They are often seen as lowly beggars, leeching off of the system. The true tragedy is when we see our brave, courageous, strong soldiers fall to homelessness. What we often don't understand is what would cause our protectors, our soldiers, to give up on ambition and dreams to live an unfulfilled life on the corner of Main Street. We don't understand this because we will never know, as our soldiers did, the trauma of war.


Aging and Attitude of Health Care Providers  October 2012, Volume 4, Issue 10

In many cultures in the world, elderly people are revered and their advice is sought and respected. In our culture, the wisdom, the knowledge and the social skills of the elderly are often overlooked and instead we focus on the mental and physical deficits of our older generation.


Nursing Homes for Veterans  September 2012, Volume 4, Issue 9

Nursing home coverage for veterans is available from two sources within the Department of Veterans Affairs -- the veterans health care system and the state veterans homes system.


Heat Wave Puts Elderly at Risk  August 2012, Volume 4, Issue 8

It was 3:00 PM when Linda noticed her elderly neighbor had not been out to pick up her paper nor opened her windows. A heat wave had kept temperatures near 100 degrees all week long. When Linda knocked on her neighbor’s door, Megan, 88 years old answered immediately. “Is it morning yet?” she asked confused at why Linda was at her door. Linda noticed that Megan’s eyes were sunken, she was disoriented and dizzy. The temperature in her house was well over 100 degrees. A call for an ambulance saved Megan’s life. She was extremely dehydrated and suffering heat exhaustion.


A Cheaper Alternative for Respite (Adult Day Care)  July 2012, Volume 4, Issue 7

Since the downturn of the economy, costs for health care have been on the rise. According to a 2011 market survey of long-term care costs, the national average daily rate for a private room in a nursing home rose 4.4% last year from $229 in 2010 to $239 in 2011. Similarly, the national average monthly base rate in an assisted living community rose 5.6% from $3,293 in 2010 to $3,477 in 2011.


Recognize Symptoms of Dementia  June 2012, Volume 4, Issue 6

The Brown family reunion has always been an event everyone looks forward to. Family visits, games, stories and everyone’s favorite foods are always on the agenda. On the top of the menu is Grandmas Lemon Coconut Cake. Grandma always makes the traditional cake from her old family recipe. This year, however, the cake tasted a little on the salty side, perhaps a half cup full of salty.


Know Your Dementias- A dementia Primer  April 2012, Volume 4, Issue 4
It's estimated that over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, but did you know that Alzheimer's is only one type of dementia?  There are approximately 50-70 types of dementias (depending on the source) with Alzheimer's being the most prevalent, accounting for 60 to 70% of cases. The Alzheimer's Association is a source of help and information for individuals and families struggling with any of these dementias.


Senior Home Owners Find Financial Resource in Reverse Mortgages  March 2012, Volume 4, Issue 3
Contrary to what most people think, reverse mortgages have been around for decades in the United States. According to the state of Maine, Deering Savings & Loan of Maine created the reverse mortgage in 1961. The first reverse mortgage was given to a woman named Nellie Young by in 1961 by Deering Savings & Loan. Nellie was the widow of the loan officer’s high school football coach. I first discussed the concept of reverse mortgages with clients in 1978. The problem was I could not find a commercial lender who would make such a loan at that time. At that time, the only way we could have clients obtain a reverse mortgage was privately.


Is Insurance the Answer to Long Term Care Planning?  February 2012, Volume 4, Issue 2
A recent USA Today article states that there is an increase in older adults living beyond the age of 90. According to author Haya El Nasser, “The number of people living to age 90 and beyond has tripled in the past three decades to almost 2 million and is likely to quadruple by 2050.”


Recognizing the Need for Outside Help in Caregiving  January 2012, Volume 4, Issue 1
Caregivers often don’t recognize when they are in over their heads, and often get to a breaking point. After a prolonged period of time, caregiving can become too difficult to endure any longer. Short-term the caregiver can handle it. Long-term, help is needed. Outside help at this point is needed.


The Perfect Holiday Caregiver: It's all a state of mind  December 2011, Volume 3, Issue 11
The holidays are always a wonderful time of year for family gatherings, reflection on what we have and the spirit of giving. The television is packed with specials showing relationships and families coming together for the holidays.

But the holidays can also be a time of stress and sadness for those who are caring for family members that are struggling with health problems, frailty, dementia and loss.


Can I Get Paid To Care For A Senior Family Member?  November 2011, Volume 3, Issue 10
As the number of family members providing care for aging parents increases, the solutions to find help with loss of income because of time off from employment for caregiving has become a major concern for many.


Social Support Activities Lead to Better Quality of Life As One Ages  October 2011, Volume 3, Issue 9
How important is social support as a person ages? This may seem like an easy question to answer. Most people would not choose isolation and loneliness versus spending time with companions. However, can lack of social support really hinder a person’s overall quality of life?


How To Protect The Family Home From Medicaid Recovery  August 2011, Volume 3, Issue 8
Because the home is the largest asset a couple can keep while still qualifying for Medicaid, it is also usually the main target of estate recovery.You may not know that the home is an exempt asset for the well spouse (community spouse)according to Medicaid. It continues to be exempt as long as the community spouse lives there. However, after both the ill spouse and the healthy spouse pass away, the property may no longer be protected.


Adult Children Losing $3 Trillion in Caring for Aging Parents  July 2011, Volume 3, Issue 7
Americans who take time off work to care for their aging parents are losing an estimated $3 trillion dollars in wages, pension and Social Security benefits, according to a new MetLife study. Meanwhile, the percentage of adult children providing basic care for their parents has skyrocketed in recent years.


Is Downsizing Right for You?  June 2011, Volume 3, Issue 6
It is not an easy decision and one that should be made with great care. Many homeowners would like to stay in their homes forever. For some it may be the right choice, for others, it may not.


Using Your Home Equity for Long Term Care  May 2011, Volume 3, Issue 5
For many seniors the equity in their home is their largest single asset, yet it is unavailable to use unless they use a home equity loan. But a conventional loan really doesn't free up the equity because the money has to be paid back with interest. A reverse mortgage is a risk-free way of tapping into home equity without creating monthly payments and without requiring the money to be paid back during a person's lifetime.


The Most Dangerous Word in the English Language -- "Yet"  April 2011, Volume 3, Issue 4
“My wife knows her way around the neighborhood. She hasn’t gotten lost. Yet.
“We told Dad not to drive. He hasn’t tried to take the keys. Yet.
“My Mom doesn’t like the outdoors. She doesn’t wander. Yet.
Alzheimer’s disease runs its cruel course by causing the afflicted to lose their way in once-familiar places; it eventually robs individuals of their capacity to recognize well-known faces.


Aging Parents and Adult Children with Down Syndrome  March 2011, Volume 3, Issue 3
Increased longevity proves to be an opportunity to wade into uncharted waters for aging parents of Down Syndrome children.

Individuals with Down Syndrome are living longer than ever; some, into their 60s. This poses a dilemma for parents who are now retired and may be facing their own challenges of aging or perhaps caring for an ill spouse.


When Is Hospitalization Too Much?  February 2011, Volume 3, Issue 2
Our natural inclination, when someone needs medical treatment, is to see that it’s received. However, when is it time to say “enough”? A study published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that subjecting those with dementia to chaotic emergency rooms or all types of medical equipment and tests may not be of any benefit at all.


Choices for End-of-Life Caregiving  December 2010, Volume 2, Issue 12
There are many decisions to be made when imminent death is approaching for a loved one. Questions regarding what type of care, medical assistance and even physical location for their last days confront us. If care at home has been given, should loved ones be moved to a facility or remain at home? If in a care facility, should they be moved home for their last days? Will 24-hour care become necessary and more medical assistance be required?


Legal Issues with Veterans Benefits  November 2010, Volume 2, Issue 11
VA interprets its prohibition on preparing, presenting and prosecuting a claim to mean that talking to a veteran or a veteran's qualifying spouse or dependent after that person has indicated intent to file a specific claim for benefits requires accreditation. Anyone can talk about veteran's benefits in general with any veteran and need not be accredited. The point at which discussion narrows down to specific information about the veteran's service record, medical conditions, financial situation including income and assets and other issues relating to a claim specific to a veteran or dependent triggers accreditation. According to VA, discussing the specifics of the claim means that the veteran has expressed intent to file an application for veteran's benefits, and at this point, the consultant helping the veteran must be accredited.


Driving the Discussion about Driving  October 2010, Volume 2, Issue 10
The issue of safety in the car is of special concern when older individuals experience close calls or become lost. Not all older adults need to give up the keys, but when it's time for others, it represents a very tangible loss of freedom and independence. AARP has published 10 major warning signs that it might be time for an older adult to stop driving.


Helping Your Elderly Parent with COPD Related Depression  September 2010, Volume 2, Issue 9
Experts say that over a million people in the United States have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is a chronic lung condition that includes bronchitis, emphysema or both. COPD affects the airways and air sacs within the lungs, which makes breathing difficult and can result in a person becoming less active over time. An elderly person who has COPD will easily become depressed, when dealing not only with breathing difficulties but other age related problems.

Exhaustion and Desperation Take Their Toll  August 2010, Volume 2, Issue 8
According to the Alzheimer's Association, at least 70% of families provide care at home for loved ones who are suffering from Alzheimer's or a related dementia. Family caregivers frequently also work outside the home as well as care for a loved one. It's as though the caregiver has a two full-time jobs. This can take a physical as well as emotional toll on the most well-meaning and hardy souls. Paid caregiving assistance can be of tremendous help for both the care recipient and the caregiver. According to a clinical coordinator at the Georgetown University Medical Center, there are at least three reasons why families don't seek out help with caregiving.

New Law Helps Veterans with Prescription Drug Benefit  July 2010, Volume 2, Issue 7
The governor signed into law a bill introduced by state Rep. Joseph Aresimowicz, D-Berlin/Southington, that will provide medical benefits for veterans in nursing home facilities. The bill introduced by Aresimowicz prohibits nursing homes from restricting veterans from accessing prescription drug benefits offered through the state Department of Veterans Affairs. It was signed into law by Gov. M. Jodi Rell Thursday. Veterans who are in skilled nursing homes, facilities for a higher level of care, could not receive drug benefits directly from the department due to current regulations regarding the packaging of drugs.

Veterans Benefits: Who Can legally Assist with Claims and Who Can Charge or Be Charged?  June 2010, Volume 2, Issue 6
There has been much talk throughout the country about who can assist a veteran or veteran's family with a VA claim for benefits. There are also many companies and individuals throughout the country who are breaking the law in assisting with claims AND/OR are breaking the law in charging for this assistance.

The Financial Health of Aging Seniors  May 2010, Volume 2, Issue 5
With our current economic challenges, those of us looking forward to retirement need to be well-informed about our financial needs in coming years. And not only pre-retirees, but individuals already in retirement need to be wise to the changing economic environment. The good news is there are trained professionals who keep abreast of changes in the current economy, changes in laws and changes in government programs for the elderly. Professionals in this field are equipped to handle everything from help with retirement savings accounts, investment advice, guidance on government programs, estate planning or even new funding options such as reverse mortgages. A little planning prior to retirement will allow you to maintain your current lifestyle; whereas, a lack of planning may require you to live on an extremely tight budget. For those already retired, taking time right now to deal with financial problems instead of waiting for a crisis to happen is well advised.

Caring for Senior Veterans - VA Long Term Care Benefits  March 2010, Volume 2, Issue 3
The United States has fought many wars throughout the world since that time to keep freedom here at home and continues to do so. From the beginning our country has established a program to care for the men and women of our military who fought in those wars. The veterans assistance program goes back to 1636 when Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony fought with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims enacted a law from English law that reads, "If any man shall be sent forth as a soldier and shall return maimed, he shall be maintained competently by the colony during his life." In 1789 U. S. congress passed as law that pensions were to be provided to disabled veterans and their dependents and in 1811 the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans was completed.

New Years Resolution - Plan for Long Term Care  February 2010, Volume 2, Issue 2
"According to some sources, 60% of us will need long term care sometime during our lives. It is important for all of us to prepare for that day when we will need to help loved ones with elder care or we will need elder care for ourselves." "It is simply a fact of life to prepare financially for unexpected disasters by covering our homes, automobiles and health with insurance policies and to provide funding for our retirement. But no other life event can be as devastating to our lifestyle, finances and security as needing long term care. It drastically alters or completely eliminates the three principal retirement dreams of elderly Americans, which are:

  1. Remaining independent in the home without intervention from others
  2. Maintaining good health and receiving adequate health care
  3. Having enough money for everyday needs and not outliving assets and income

Elder Law Attorneys Specialize in Helping the Elderly  January 2010, Volume 2, Issue 1
Many elderly persons rely entirely on their children, family members or other trusted individuals to help them. This dependence upon caregivers or family members makes an older person more vulnerable to abuse and financial exploitation. Legal arrangements and protective actions by family may be necessary to shield loved ones from making bad decisions or from being taken advantage of.

Who Was Supposed To Be Watching Grandma?  December 2009, Volume 1, Issue 6
There is a popular tune played this time of year called "Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer" which relates that Grandma -- after drinking too much eggnog -- went out into the winter cold to get her education and was run over by a reindeer. The question is, "Who was supposed to be watching Grandma?" Though this little tune is just for fun, it may very well raise alarms to many caregivers of the elderly. Caregivers know that even at a holiday party they cannot let down their diligent watch over their elderly loved one. As far-fetched as it may sound, with all the people and noise, an elderly family member with dementia or Alzheimer's may be enjoying the family gathering and then suddenly become confused and walk to the door and leave.

Is Downsizing Right For You?  November 2009, Volume 1, Issue 5
As Senior Real Estate Specialist, I have guided and counseled many seniors through the process of downsizing. It is not an easy decision and one that should be made with great care. Many homeowners would like to stay in their homes forever. For some it may be the right choice, for others, it may not. The following are some tips to consider.


Is It Time for Home Care?  October 2009, Volume 1, Issue 4
What do you do when caring for your spouse or a loved one at home becomes too difficult to manage by yourself? If you're in such a situation, you're probably feeling confused, stressed...maybe even worried that your loved one may no longer be able to remain at home. Perhaps home health care is the solution.


Community Aging Services and Senior Centers  September 2009, Volume 1, Issue 3
There are many private, religious and government organizations in Connecticut that provide supportive services for older people. Many of these services center around helping people stay in their homes and avoid having to go to live in an institution or perhaps move in with family. Because of the emphasis on helping people remain independent, many community aging programs could be viewed as long-term care programs. In fact, it's probably just a matter of semantics; long-term care and community aging services are just two sides of the same coin. Other community services may provide socialization or training opportunities.


Family Reunion - A Good Time for Planning with Your Family  August 2009, Volume 1, Issue 2
Summertime brings a lot of family time. With family reunions, picnics, weddings and other events, long distant family members travel to gather together. It is also the perfect time to do some planning for the future. With parents aging and their health and lifestyles changing, children need to discuss some changes and decisions that will be needed in the near future. Parents should take the time to tell their children where important documents are kept and what their wishes are in the event of needing health care directives or experiencing long term care needs. For those children who live away, the change they see in their parent's health and mental capacity may be alarming -- whereas siblings that have daily contact are working with these issues constantly. Here is the chance to compare notes and work together as a complete family in the long term care planning process.


Why Do Long-Term Care Planning?  July 2009, Volume 1, Issue 1
For the elderly the need for long-term care is probably the most catastrophic unexpected event that could happen. This is because the need for long-term care typically removes any level of security an elderly person may have. Most elderly have failed to plan for long-term care. No other late-life event can be as devastating to the lifestyle the elderly are so concerned about maintaining. No wonder many elderly care recipients withdraw, become angry and suffer from severe depression ... 


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    I was “lost” and now I am “found”. I didn’t know where to turn when my spouse was in assisted living and time (3) year long-term care policy was getting depleted. Read More
    – J.C.

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