Safety Checklist for the Aging Senior

Staying home as you age is a wonderful thing. You’re surrounded by familiar objects and memories and overall are very comfortable in your own space. Something to remember, though, is that you are still aging. And with age comes physical changes that you can prepare yourself for, and you can prepare your home for as well. Some of these physical changes include eyesight, balance, and reduced strength in your arms and legs.

 

Falls are one of the top reasons why seniors are hospitalized or placed in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. An alarming statistic is this one:

 

the National Council on Aging says that every 11 seconds an adult over the age of 65 will have a fall that leads to hospitalization.

 

Knowing this, you can prevent a fall and becoming a statistic yourself by checking for hazards in your home, and then asking a friend or caregiver to check for hazards.

 

Here is a safety checklist to help you keep your home, and yourself, safe:

 

Floors

  • Remove electrical cords or reroute them so that they run along the baseboard.
  • Clear walking areas – hallways, doorways, foyers – of objects that can be bumped into or tripped over.
  • Repair loose rugs by tacking them down.
  • Remove loose rugs.
  • Always be conscious of spills and wipe them up as quickly as possible.

 

Kitchen

  • Organize your utensils and small appliances to reduce clutter.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and cabinets often, throwing away expired foods.
  • Store pots and pans at waist level.
  • Store rags, washcloths, dishtowels away from stovetops.

 

Personal

  • If you smoke, don’t smoke in bed or when you are tired.
  • Replace shoes with slippery leather or vinyl soles with those that have a non-slip
  • Use daily pill dispensers to avoid missing pills or overdosing.
  • If daily tasks are getting to be too much, hire a professional home care aide.

 

Regular Home Maintenance

  • Check for loose light bulbs that need to be tightened.
  • Replace burnt out light bulbs.
  • Reduce the temperature of the water heater to 120 F or below.
  • Check for leaky faucets.
  • Label faucets with red tape (hot) and blue tape (cold).
  • Purchase small appliances that have an automatic shut off feature, such as an iron or water kettle.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets.

 

Safety Installations

  • Add grab bars in the shower and beside the toilet.
  • Place a non-slip mat in the shower, on all steps, and at the bottom of a series of steps or stairs.
  • Install chair railing in the hallway.
  • Check indoor and outdoor railings for stability, replace if loose.
  • Consider installing an electric stairlift if walking up the stairs is too difficult.
  • Add lighting to dimly lit areas.
  • Add motion sensor lighting in the bathroom and hallways.

 

In-Home Care vs. Home Health Care

As a Geriatric Care Manager, I have had the privilege of having first-hand conversations with many seniors and their family members. I know the issues that are top of mind for seniors and I know the recurring questions about options available to them as they age and experience health issues. One question in particular that I am asked on a regular basis is “what is the difference between “home care” “in-home care” and “home healthcare”?  It’s important to understand the difference because unless medical care is provided, the service may not be covered in part by Medicare.

 

In-Home Care aka Home Care

In-home care is non-medical companion and ‘help around the house’ care. When an aging adult isn’t able to keep up with cleaning, shopping, cooking, paying bills, or their own transportation, that is the situation that calls for In-home care. Professional caregivers provide a variety of care that ranges from helping with activities of daily life to companionship.

 

For example, Carol is a 76-year-old who just recently came home from the hospital after being treated for an infection. She owns her own home, has her own vehicle, but is sent home with oxygen, multiple medications to be taken throughout the day, and orders to not drive or do anything strenuous for the next 30 days. A home care aide is hired to visit Carol’s home every day for 4 hours between 10 am and 2 pm. During this time the aide takes care of the housekeeping by vacuuming, washing dishes, dusting, and wiping down surfaces in the kitchen and bath. The aide will check Carol’s medication list and daily pill dispenser to make sure she’s taken the medication that day. Also, the aide will drive Carol to her appointments and to the store, helping her with her shopping needs. If needed, the aide will prepare nutritious meals and store them in the refrigerator for Carol to microwave or cook on the stove. These non-medical, non-clinical services ensure that household needs are covered and offer Carol a friendly social connection while she is recuperating at home.

 

These same services are offered to aging seniors who aren’t ready to leave their homes but aren’t able to handle all of the daily living tasks themselves. Another positive aspect is that the aide will often spend a bit of social time with the senior, playing games and watching movies.

 

Home healthcare

Home healthcare providers, also known as home health aides, have some level of formal medical training and will have passed competency tests. Many will have credentials like a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Physical Therapist (PT) or Occupational Therapist (OT).

 

Home healthcare includes a wide range of services that can be done in the home, some of which include IVs and injections, monitoring of a health condition, wound care, and patient education. The objective is to treat the illness or injury and helping the patient get better so they can return to independent living and self-sufficiency.

 

For example, Mike is 82 years old and quite active in his community and physically with a running club and a bicycle club. During a running race, he tripped and twisted his knee, aggravating an existing condition and hastening the need for knee replacement surgery. After surgery, he spent a week at the rehab center and was released to be home as long as he hired a home healthcare service to tend to his knee, provide physical therapy, and help wean him off pain medications.

 

In order for Medicare or Medicaid to cover the costs of a home healthcare service provider, a doctor must certify that the service is needed and the home healthcare agency must be Medicare-certified and be the coordinator of care.  This type of care is perfect for the aging senior (or anyone for that matter) who needs intermittent nursing care.

 

Care Costs Add Up

Whether the aging senior needs help with day-to-day tasks or actual nursing care at home, these costs add up. And they add up quickly. It’s important that you understand the differences in care and what services are actually needed so you can do a bit of research and prepare the budget for the costs.

Creative Living Options for Aging Seniors

Growing older doesn’t have to mean living alone. Many aging seniors fear the day when they must consider selling their home and property and moving into a sterile environment. Some express fear that they will be ignored, while others fear they will lose their independence. And some express fear of moving to a “senior community” based on a lifestyle they don’t have such as golf or tennis. If the aging senior is healthy and active, but is finding the care and maintenance of the property to be a bit too much to handle, or is having difficulty with the financial responsibilities of keeping their property, there are options you may not have considered. Here are some creative living options for aging seniors:

 

Co-Housing 1. This is an option many aren’t aware of because it isn’t typical or considered traditional, yet. Co-housing is when each person purchases a residence — be it an apartment, townhouse or a single-family house — that has everything a typical residence would have (i.e., a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom). However, the residences are linked to a shared space, such as a yard and gardens, and a large common room, dining area, and kitchen that can accommodate group meals or gatherings. The point of co-housing is community, while maintaining a level of independence. Current co-housing arrangements are inter-generational and don’t involve staff-provided services, but some can be age-specific. For the aging senior capable of independent living but wanting to be a part of a tight community, this is an excellent option to consider.

 

Co-Housing 2. Another form of Co-housing is the intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house or community center, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.

 

Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically a Homeowners Association type structure. Community activities include regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Co-housing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool. There is a Co-housing Association of the United States that has a website. For more information about this type of housing for aging seniors, learn more here – Cohousing Association

 

Share Housing. Just as when young people share living spaces to save money, the same is being done with aging seniors. Often, there is a widow or widower who is fully capable of living independently, has a large home and doesn’t want to leave it. So, they offer the extra bedrooms to those in the same age range with the arrangement being rent plus agreed upon chore responsibilities. In other cases, it’s a matter of two senior aged friends deciding to sell their respective properties and purchase a single property as co-owners, sharing all expenses related the maintenance and upkeep of the property.

 

As you can see, for aging seniors who don’t need medical monitoring or personal care assistance, but do need to be with others who will watch out for them, these options are available and worth taking a closer look.

Tips for Staying Healthy as You Age

The longer we can have good health, the better! This includes our mental and emotional health as well as our physical health.

 

Our physical health is our responsibility and as we age it becomes more important for us to understand that we can and do have some control over our health. This isn’t to say that we can erase years worth of bad habits, but it does mean we can do something now about how our bodies age from this point forward.

 

To begin, it’s important that we understand our mental and emotional well-being as we cope with the changes that aging brings. Coping with change is difficult, no matter how old we are. And coping skills are important as we experience major life changes. The challenge for aging adults is that we experience a large number of changes and transitions that include the loss of our parents, the loss of friends and loved ones, declining health, loss of independence, children that have moved away. These emotionally charged experiences can have a negative effect on our physical health. There are ways we can maintain our physical and emotional health so that we can live our lives to the fullest, no matter what age we are.

 

As we pass through milestone ages such as 70, 80, and 90, we can do so with grace and ease if we view each milestone as a phase for growth and learning new things. Much like chapters in a book, these milestones are where we connect with new people, become active in our community on a different level, and begin seeing how our life experiences can be helpful to young people and loved ones.

 

Yes, this attitude is possible. First, though, we must address the anxiety and fear that often fills us when we have unanswered questions. Questions such as:

  • How will I take care of myself late in life?
  • What if I lose my spouse?
  • What is going to happen to mind?

 

Many of these fears come from myths about aging, are exaggerated by the media, or a misunderstanding of someone else’s experience. The truth is that we are always much stronger and more resilient than we think we are.

 

Tips for Coping

 

Gratitude. While you are experiencing loss it can be difficult to see that there are things to be grateful for. Those things include what you have in your life today. Look at the things you are taking for granted and then imagine life without them. Imagine someone who doesn’t have these things and that they believe you’re fortunate. Now, look at the things you are taking for granted and view them as something to be grateful for. Be glad that you have these things in your life.

 

Express your feelings. As we get older, many believe that expressing feelings, showing emotions, is inappropriate or weak. But the reality is that it is part of communicating with others and how we connect with others. By not expressing how you feel about something you are risking having to deal with stronger emotions like anger, resentment, and depression. And these stronger emotions have a negative effect on our physical health. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to express how you feel about something. There are healthy ways to do this and some include talking to a close friend, writing in a journal, having a conversation with a small group of friends.

 

Accept the things you cannot change. So much of what occurs in life is beyond our control. Recognizing this and focusing on what we can control and how we respond to problems and challenges is an excellent way to face our limitations with dignity and proceed with our daily life with a positive attitude.

 

Be quick to respond and take action. Sometimes a challenge or problem seems too big to handle and so we try to ignore it or put off addressing it until another day. But that doesn’t help at all. It actually makes the problem worse by adding our anxiety to the issue when we finally address it. Instead, look at the problem and then look at what needs to be done to solve it. Then break down the solution into small steps, something to be done each day. This reduces the anxiety and puts us on the path of living in the solution versus being overwhelmed by a problem.

 

Staying healthy as we age is easier than we think. It’s a matter of recognizing that we can do something and then doing it. The tips shared are just the beginning and coming up with our own tips for staying healthy is a great way to take responsibility for ourselves.

Dealing With Reduced Spending Power As A Senior

Economic recessions and recoveries affect retirement and savings accounts.

 

Inflation increases daily living expenses.

 

Whether or not frugal habits are in place, those who are aging and entering the elderly population experience reduced spending power – they have less to spend and must focus on needs first over wants.

 

This can be stressful for not only the elderly but also for their family and friends who want to enjoy the time they spend with each other.

 

Frugal habits honed during the last 50 years will make for an easier transition into the senior phase of life. But, for those who didn’t form those habits, who didn’t heed the words of money and financial experts over the years, there are things that can be done now to make the best use of the spending power they have. The following list is also a good reference for those who want to make suggestions to the senior member of their family:

 

1. Shop for new Medicare coverage. Whether the senior person does it or a family member, it is a mistake to assume that current Medicare coverage is actually a good deal. Changes to the Medicare program and offerings are made annually and it is a good idea to review the coverage in place, and then compare it to the new coverage available.

 

2. Shop for groceries and hard goods once a week, or even once a month if possible. Shop with a list and save any impulse purchases as an item on the list for the next shopping trip. This way, you recognize that you want to purchase something and rather than saying “no”, you simply put it on the list for the next trip. Then, when creating the list for the next shopping trip you can decide whether or not that purchase is really something you want or need.

 

3. Bargain or ask for lower interest rates. If you currently have debt, there is no harm in asking the lender for better interest rates. The worst that can happen is they say “no”. The best that can happen is that they say they can reduce your interest rate.

 

4. Look at an annual payment, if possible. Many purchases set on a monthly payment plan can be paid on an annual basis and with significant savings – often stated as “Pay annually and get 1 month free” or “Pay annually and save 15%”. Look over the services and products you are currently paying for on a monthly basis and ask if the annual payment will save you money.

 

5. Share on the grocery shopping. When you’re creating your grocery list, ask a neighbor or friend to share theirs with you and compare. If you have many similar items on the list, consider shopping together and purchasing in bulk or larger sizes then splitting the purchase when you get home. Bulk pricing, volume pricing, larger size pricing is always less expensive than single serve size.

 

6. Stop purchasing movies and books. Your local library is an excellent source for entertainment, lending movies in various formats as well as books via eBooks (Kindle format). Call or visit your local library and ask if they offer digital lending and DVD lending.

 

7. Unplug devices you aren’t using. Your electric bill will show a measurable decrease by simply unplugging appliances and devices you aren’t using. Every appliance and digital device that is plugged in uses electricity. Albeit a small amount, but when you unplug for a month you will see that the small amount from each adds up.

 

8. Generic is good. Generic labels on food and soft good items are often equal in quality to brand name items.

 

9. Drink water. Replace your store-bought juice and soda with water from your tap and you will see significant savings.

 

10. Barter. The internet is an excellent place to find someone willing to trade an appliance or tool or even labor for something you are willing to exchange. Try Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and Yahoo Freecycle. But also consider your network of friends and neighbors and store owners. Often it’s a matter of asking if the person is willing to exchange a product or service for something you have to trade.

Create a Care Plan Before You Need It

So many people, middle-aged and senior, don’t understand that having a care plan in place before you need it can save a lot of time, money, and heartache. If you don’t have the conversation with your aging parents or members of your care team now, you will ca

use yourself and your aging parents undue stress and financial hardship when the need for a care plan arises.

 

A care plan is a documented set of instructions of how you want to be taken care of as you age and as you transition from independent home life to possibly an assisted living facility, through to the handling of your funeral arrangements. Of course, this applies to anyone in your family as well. If you are the adult child that is or will be responsible for the care of your aging parents, the care plan will make the needs and wants of your parents clear and easy to follow.

 

Where do you begin?

 

Here are some initial questions to help you get focused so you can create your own care plan or your aging parents’ care plan:

 

Are there any activities or hobbies you would like to pursue or continue?

 

Is socializing with friends and family important to you?

 

Would you like to travel?

 

Do you want to remain at home as long as possible? If so, would you hire in-home care at some point?

 

Would you want someone in the family to be your full-time caregiver?

 

How do you feel about moving to Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

 

What are your values and beliefs regarding your quality of life and longevity?

 

Do you have a living will, advance directive or Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

 

In case someone needs to make medical decisions on your behalf, who would you feel most comfortable appointing? What about financial decisions?

 

Have you designated someone as a medical and/or financial Power of Attorney?

 

What are your wishes for final arrangements once you are gone?

 

Having answered those questions, it’s now time to look at who will be on the care team. If you are forming a care team for your aging parent it is vital that you have their input and support for each member selected. These are the people they will be interacting with, and more importantly, who they will be trusting to take care of their homes, their belongings, their medical care, their financial accounts, and more.

 

Members of the care team may include:

• Family

• Friends and neighbors

• Home care and home health care professionals

• Adult day care facility

• Geriatric care manager

• Elder law attorney

• Social worker

• Physicians (primary care physician and specialists)

• Financial planners

 

Taking the time now to get the people and paperwork in place ensures that you, and your aging parents, are prepared for the day when the care team is called into action.

Happy Heart Month

Happy Heart Health Month!

February is here and Valentines is around the corner. In celebration of the heart theme, let’s all take a moment and do something to help out our own heart’s health. Take care of you’re heart and it will take care of you!

Reposted from www.goredforwomen.org/
 

1. Get active

Daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (like brisk walking), five times per week, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
 
What To Do

Start by learning the basics about fitness. Also, children need 60 minutes a day–every day–of physical activity, so find ways to workout with your kids to help ensure their heart health in addition to your own.
 

2. Control cholesterol

When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. Cholesterol is a waxy substance and our bodies use it to make cell membranes and some hormones, but when you have too much bad cholesterol (LDL), it combines with white blood cells and forms plaque in your veins and arteries. These blockages lead to heart disease and stroke.
 
What To Do

Try these tips to lower cholesterol with diet and foods.
 

3. Eat better

Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to make new cells and create the energy we need to thrive and fight diseases. If you are frequently skipping out on veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains, and lean meats including fish, your body is missing the basic building blocks for a healthy life.
 
What To Do

Want more ways to eat better? Try these tips:

  • Track what you eat with a food diary
  • Eat vegetables and fruits
  • Eat unrefined fiber-rich whole-grain foods
  • Eat fish twice a week
  • Cut back on added sugars and saturated fats

4. Manage blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means the blood running through your arteries flows with too much force and puts pressure on your arteries, stretching them past their healthy limit and causing microscopic tears. Our body then kicks into injury-healing mode to repair these tears with scar tissue. But unfortunately, the scar tissue traps plaque and white blood cells which can form into blockages, blood clots, and hardened, weakened arteries.
 
What To Do

To manage blood pressure, you should:

5. Lose weight

If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. If you’re overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. Even losing as few as five or ten pounds can produce a dramatic blood pressure reduction.
 
What To Do

Calculate your body mass index (BMI) to help you determine if you need to lose weight.

6. Reduce blood sugar

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Your body makes a hormone called insulin that acts like a carrier to take your food energy into your cells. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Although diabetes is treatable and you can live a healthy life with this condition, even when glucose levels are under control it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, most people with diabetes die

from some form of heart or blood vessel disease.
 
What To Do

The following tips can all help reduce your blood sugar:

  • Reduce consumption of simple sugars that are found in soda, candy and sugary desserts
  • Get regular physical activity! Moderate intensity aerobic physical activity directly helps your body respond to insulin
  • Take medications or insulin if it is prescribed for you

7. Stop smoking

Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots. Like a line of tumbling dominoes, one risk creates another. Blood clots and hardened arteries increase your risks for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease. Smoking can also reduce your good cholesterol (HDL) and your lung capacity, making it harder to get the physical activity you need for better health.
 
What To Do

Whatever it takes for you to stop smoking, it is worth it! Visit the American Heart Association’s Quit Smoking website for tools and resources.

—->Click Here to Read More<—-

VA Disbursements have increased!​​​​​​​

Are you a War-Time Veteran or Widow of War Time Veteran?

There are Financial Benefits available for War Time Veteran and Widow of War Time Veteran to help defray the cost for senior placement Assisted Living Facilities, Board and Care Homes, and In-Home Care. There is a non-service connection pension cal Aid and Attendance Pension Plan. This was established in 1954 under Section 38 USC to assist qualified veterans and their surviving spouses.
 

And the amounts have just increased:
Current Maximum VA Monthly Benefit Amounts

Two Veterans/ Spouses: $2,903 per month / $34,837 annually

Married Veteran: $2,169 per month / $26,036 annually

Single Veterans: $1,830 per month / $21,962 annually

Widow: $1,176 per month / $14,113 annually
 

What are the qualification?

  • The Veteran Must:
    Be aged 65+ or Unemployable
  • Be Honorably Discharged having 90 days or more of active duty service with at least one of those days during a period of War. This does not mean they needed to be in War Country.
    Have Cost of Care that is 5% greater than their fixed income.
  • Eligible Veterans must show active duty service for a minimal 90 days during a time in which the US was involved during a declared conflict (from 1980 forward the veteran needs to serve 2 years active duty).
  • You must need assistance with activity of daily living (ADLs) (bathing, eating, dressing, hygiene, transferring, and medication management). Your doctor will provide a report that you need assistance with at least of two ADLs.

Advanced Wellness Geriatric Care Management and a VA Accredited Claim Agent is providing a service to the community for assistance to veterans and surviving widows of War Veterans. We provide a comprehensive seminar to educate families on this benefit. It’s a FREE Seminar. Click Here and register for the next one. This seminar will provide information on all public benefits. We will help with all the paperwork and current claim forms available from the Veterans (VA) Benefit Pension Program. We are available to assist you in filing a claim with the VA after you attend Family Training. THIS SERVICE IS FREE.

Find out more here:

Seminar: Family Training Workshop

Medical Tax Deductions

The deduction for qualified medical expenses has survived yet another round of tax reform.  The IRS will allow a tax payer to deduct expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income for 2017 and 2018.  Beginning in 2019, all taxpayers may deduct only the amount of the total unreimbursed allowable medical care expenses for the year that exceeds 10% of their adjusted gross income.

 

For example, if you have a modified adjusted gross income of $50,000 and $5,470 of medical expenses, you would multiply $50,000 by 0.075 (7.5 percent) to find that only the expenses exceeding $3,750 can be deducted. This leaves you with a medical expense deduction of $1,720 (5,470 – 3,750).

 

Many elders who have been ordered into a professional care environment such as assisted living, may have qualified care expenses of $30,000, $40,000 or more annually.  Often times, the elder relies on other parties such as their children to supplement their care expenses.  Regardless of the amount, “anyone” who is contributing to the direct care expenses of themselves or a loved one, should seek qualified tax services from an Enrolled Agent or CPA to determine if those expenses are deductible.  Considering the a mount of money and complexity of claiming these expenses, I do not recommend using on-line Internet Tax or Shopping Mall type tax preparation services.  Many of these face to face data collection persons are customer service agents with minimal, if any, actual tax training or credentials.  You have the right to claim these deductions – if it is done properly!

 

Also, for those who used an Irrevocable Trust to reposition assets, you should meet with an Enrolled Agent or CPA to discuss if you will be required to file a 1041 tax return.

 

One big tip for those receiving VA Aid and Attendance.  I would strongly recommend you file a 1040 and claim your care expenses – even if you are exempt from filing!  Remember, the VA is tasked with verifying your care expenses exceed your income annually.  By filing the 1040, it makes their job easy.  By not filing a 1040, make certain you keep a close eye for any correspondence from the VA.  If you fail to respond timely, they may terminate your monthly benefit!

 

-By Edward Cotney

Mistakes when Applying for Public Benefits

7 Biggest Mistakes when Applying for Public Benefits

When you are applying for public benefits you may be eager to get started, downtrodden with the process or fearful of the results. As you move through the process of the application it is so important that you understand the 7 Biggest Mistakes most people make when applying for public assistance or Government issues benefits. By making these big mistakes, the application results can be delayed, require more information or be denied all together.

 

Obviously, your goal is to get approved and start your benefits as soon as possible. However, don’t let your emotions, doubts or fear of a negative outcome, create a situation where you have a negative outcome. Here are the 7 Biggest Mistakes people make when applying to receive public benefits, including Medicaid, Medicare, Veteran or VA benefits or other government assigned assistance.

 

#1 Simple errors when trying to go to quickly through the application process is the first mistake made by a majority of applicants. Today, there are many ways to apply for benefits and the transition has been toward electronic filing. The entire action of filing for the age group of 50 and above has proven to be a hardship. When you begin your online application take time to read every question very carefully and if you do not know the answer, find someone to help you understand the question so you don’t go too fast and mess up on things such as income or health related questions.

 

#2 Fear of being denied the benefits you are requesting is the 2nd mistake many applicants make when applying for public benefits. It is an emotional issue when you are applying for help, and often the need for help is one that creates embarrassment and fear. The mere fear of being denied, is responsible for mistakes and errors in the application process. Before applying, check in with yourself to ensure that you are confident that you will be approved based on your true and authentic need.

 

#3 Misunderstanding income reporting requirements when you have received payments for miscellaneous reasons such as babysitting or caring for someone’s home. When you are applying for public benefits one of the questions you are asked is how much money you made. Be very honest when you claim the amount of money you earned even if it was a small amount from simple things. The more clear you are, the easier it will be for your claim to be reviewed.

 

#4 Do your homework when applying for SSI or Social Security benefits. If you are disabled, you have something preventing you from working. Before you apply, be sure to do your homework and learn about the options for you, your state’s requirements and the disability you believe is keeping you from working.

 

#5 Understanding VA benefits and SSI. Veterans often will believe if they are injured in war or in duty and become disabled, that they are only qualified for one benefit. However, the applications are separate and so are the benefits. So, if you are applying for benefits as a disabled Veteran then you may be also qualified to receive SSI for your disability.

 

#6 Not completing the application. While this sounds a bit enormous, many people who are applying for benefits for the first time, will start the process and not finish it. Whether you are filing paper forms or electronically, make sure that you have confirmation that the application process was complete.

 

#7 Finally, giving up after the first denial is a critical mistake most applicants for public benefits will fall into. Remember, there are appeal opportunities for you, if you believe you have been wrongly denied a public benefit so get with a professional consultant for legal guidance on the appeal process.

 

Copyright 2017 –  Helen Justice GCM – Elder Care Navigator and Advocate – Advanced Wellness GCM, Inc

 

Known by many as “The Elder Care Navigator”, Helen Justice is a Certified Geriatric Care Manager trained to assist elders and their families with the process of aging with dignity and grace.  Her knowledge and experience insures elders obtain quality care and transitional preparation for their future.  More important than the financial aspect of aging is the social and emotional component that elder care places on the family.  Go to www.advancedwellnessgcm.com for information on no fee seminar. 

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