Rhonda Hamell, Oregon

“I wanted to give you guys an A+ for your services helping me find my mom a care facility to go to after she was in the hospital for a week. This site was very helpful. Thank you!!! Becky was amazing to working with even being out of state. Greatly Appreciate her.”

The Storm

“We are not all in the same boat. We are in the same storm. Some have yachts, some canoes, and some are drowning.”
– Adapted quote by Damian Barr

As I managed my own stress and anxiety, sometimes I do not show enough grace to others, and I can compare my burden to others.  On my personal Facebook page, I recently posted an update following my husband’s surgery and many commented that it was “inspiring”.  As much as I appreciated that- I am fortunate to have a great support system in place- that helps my boat weather the storm.  You know what is really inspiring-offering help to others and admitting when we need help.

Concise Messages

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Blaise Pascal

Sometimes it is easier to share a lot of words quickly, rather than to say something briefly but to the point with more meaning. Brevity forces us to cut ambiguity and conditional language. A concise message has both value and challenges.

Amy Schmidt
Retirement Connection
503-505-5865
amy@retirementconnection.com

Opportunity

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

When I read this quote, I think about “Mushrooms”. You know where mushrooms grow, right? Sometimes we need to grow through a layer of CRAP before we really get to see the light of day. I am optimistic that everyday can be better if I chose to focus on the sunshine of helpers and the opportunity to grow, not just the crap that surrounds us. I just need to look a little harder sometimes.

How to Qualify for Medicaid Benefits

Black & White Rules?

The first thing a law student learns is there is no such thing as a “black and white”rule. To every rule there is an exception(and probably many!). These exceptions make the rules of our society vastly more colorful than the average person would expect, and Oregon Medicaid is no different. Many people have heard the requirements to qualify for Medicaid are very strict. The rules are as follows: the applicant must 1. Need assistance with activities of daily living; 2. Have income under $2,349 a month; and 3. Have $2,000 or less in assets. On their face, these rules appear to exclude most people from qualifying for Medicaid benefits to pay for long term care. However, the exceptions to these rules make Medicaid far more inclusive than first meets the eye.

Exceptions to the Rules

The first thing a law student learns is there is no such thing as a “black and white” rule. To every rule there is an exception (and probably many!). These exceptions make the rules of our society vastly more colorful than the average person would expect, and Oregon Medicaid is no different. Many people have heard the requirements to qualify for Medicaid are very strict. The rules are as follows: the applicant must
1. Need assistance with activities of daily living;
2. Have income under $2,349 a month; and
3. Have $2,000 or less in assets.

On their face, these rules appear to exclude most people from qualifying for Medicaid benefits to pay for long term care. However, the exceptions to these rules make Medicaid far more inclusive than first meets the eye.

Qualification

The obstacle for most clients in qualifying for Medicaid is being “over resourced,” i.e., having too many countable assets. The question is usually, how can we protect what we have so that my spouse does not go broke? Is it possible to legally protect assets and meet the spenddown requirements to qualify for Medicaid? In many cases, the answer is yes. The only way to know for sure is to meet with an elder law attorney.

In conclusion, many clients are surprised to learn that through the many exceptions they or a loved one can qualify for Medicaid with some simple planning. The old adage holds true, “knowledge is power!” *All rules, exceptions, and numbers in this article are as of December 2020, but will change as they do each year.

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Article Provided by:
Michael J. Rose, Attorney
Rose Elder Law, LLC
971-865-3171
RoseElderLaw.org

Identifying Isolation and Loneliness

In this time of social and physical distancing, staying emotionally  connected with other people is more
important than ever. Senior isolation was a troubling issue long before the pandemic, but now it’s a public health crisis. In fact, some experts are now referring to senior loneliness as a “silent pandemic” affecting millions worldwide.

Isolation happens when a person does not have enough people to interact with. Loneliness manifests as a feeling of distress over not having enough social relationships or contact with others.

The global pandemic has limited people of all ages from engaging socially in the ways they normally would. Being with other people is a human need that brings enjoyment and fulfillment to life. Social and physical distancing measures for limiting the spread of COVID-19 have given the broader population a taste of the isolation and loneliness that many seniors feel on a regular basis. For seniors, the very circumstances of their lives nudge them toward isolation whether it be mobility limitations, sensory deficits, or chronic conditions with their accompanying symptoms.

Seniors’ health risks from loneliness are significant and are now becoming more commonly known. The growing awareness about senior isolation may be one of the silver linings in the dark cloud of the global pandemic.

Some studies have shown that senior isolation and loneliness are more harmful than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Alcoholism and diabetes are even smaller risks to seniors’ overall health than isolation and loneliness. With so much at stake for seniors, awareness, education, and advocacy are keys to improving health outcomes.

Though 43% of seniors report feeling lonely on a regular basis, those with the highest health risks live alone, have few friends, have strained relationships, and live in unsafe or inaccessible places. Other risk factors include: Mobility issues, Cognitive impairments, Poor mental health, Untreated hearing loss, Language barriers, Technology challenges, Major life changes (becoming a caregiver, loss of a spouse, moving, etc.) Being in a marginalized group Poverty.

If you are wondering if an aging loved one is suffering from social isolation or loneliness, consider the following list of symptoms: aches and pains, headaches, worsening medical conditions, drastic mood changes, anxiety, paranoia, lethargy, sleep issues, loss of appetite or sudden weight gain, substance abuse, poor personal hygiene, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide. Online assessment is available at www.connect2affect.org. On a hopeful note, research shows that human connection can reduce the risk of early mortality by 50%.

Senior Loneliness Line- 800-282-7035 or 503-200-1633

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Article Provided by:
Home Instead
503-747-4663

The Right Direction

“The right direction in life is determined by choice, not chance. If you are going to pedal like crazy, make sure you are going in the right direction! ”- Tom Ziglar

We can’t always anticipate what’s around every corner, but there are often signs telling us of things that will get in the way of our success.
Pay attention to the signs and reroute, even if on a road less traveled.
-Jill Bilka

Grace

 

“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”- Paul Coelho

I had hoped to swim out of the 2020 funk like an Olympic swimmer when the calendar flipped to a new year, but I may need to just “tread water”. This is still better than drowning! We need to give ourselves and others a bit of grace, and take pride in the times we just tread water- it is better than the alternative. As Dory in Finding Nemo tells us… Just keep swimming!

Positive Self Talk

“What would you attempt to do, if you knew you could not fail?” – Robert Schuller

Have you noticed the little dare devils children can be, seemingly “fearless”? The possibilities are so much more attractive than considering the fall. Watching my son on his skateboard is both terrifying, as well as inspiring as he repeatedly dusts himself off. Why can’t we all recapture that feeling of possibility, what really is the worst that will happen? Take a new chance in 2021 and try something new. Feel the fear, but do it anyway. But only listen to the positive self talk this time!

It starts with one. You can make a difference in preventing prescription opioid misuse

Prescription drug misuse is among the fastest growing drug problem in the United States and the vast majority of this misuse is due to prescription opioids. Opioids can negatively affect the reward center in the brain, leading users to need more and more over time and as a result these drugs can be highly addictive. Beneficial when used according to a doctor’s instructions, opioid pain medications should be taken only by the person for whom a doctor has prescribed them. People should never share or take a prescription prescribed for someone else. It’s dangerous and illegal.

Wondering what you can do to prevent medication misuse, abuse and accidental poisonings in your community? By having honest conversations with family and friends and taking simple, yet vital steps to safeguard your medications and protect your loved ones. Take the next step. Implement a plan for safe storage and disposal of the medication in your home. Being aware of the location of medications in your home makes a difference. These strategies make your home safer for children, pets and the environment. Take a look around. What are you doing to safeguard your medications?

Your Checklist: Simple, yet vital steps to safeguard your medications and loved ones

Store medications safely by keeping them out of reach – lock them in a drawer or cabinet or a medicine lock box.

Properly dispose of unused and expired medications at a free take-back site near you. Find a take-back site anywhere in Washington State at TakeBackYourMeds.org.

Talk to your doctor about other ways to manage pain.

Ask your pharmacist to fill prescriptions partially.

Never share or take a prescription that wasn’t prescribed for you. It’s dangerous and illegal.

Have conversations with friends and family about the dangers of opioids and the risks of misusing prescription drugs.

Talking to your friends and family about the risks and dangers associated with opioids and prescription drug misuse can be tough, but it may be the most important thing you do. Learn more at GetTheFactsRx.com.

* It Starts with One campaign is funded by Washington State Health Care Authority.

Article Provided by:
Community Prevention Project Specialist
360-952-3461
https://www.preventcoalition.org/