VolunteerMatch – Exciting Opportunities


VolunteerMatch is a non-profit organization that brings together volunteers and various non-profit organizations. Its goal is to provide an online community for people who want to enrich their lives and the world around them by volunteering. It purpose is to bring good people and good causes together to form lasting relationships that benefit everyone involved. VolunteerMatch aims to build services that overcome the barriers that keep volunteers and non-profits from finding each other and working together. VolunteerMatch has 89,135 active opportunities listed and 110,231 participating non-profit organizations. Since 1998, VolunteerMatch has made 11,538,072 referrals. It has connected millions of people who want to volunteer with tens of thousands of organizations who need volunteers.

The website is simple to use. If you are a volunteer, you can use VolunteerMatch to connect with a cause that needs you. VolunteerMatch has over 100,000 organizations in need of volunteers around the world. The website lists local listings for the area you choose. If you see a listing that interests you, you can click the listing for more details. If you want to volunteer for the organization, simply create an account. You can also search the website by cause. For example, if you want to help volunteer with animals, you can search the website by volunteer opportunities involving animals. This search will bring up all listings related to animals in your area. The website also has virtual listings, which allow people to volunteer from home anywhere. You can set up your account to receive customized recommendations.

You can also benefit from this website if you are a non-profit organization. Schools, 501(c) non-profits, and other organizations are welcome to join VolunteerMatch. You simply sign up for your organization, post a listing, and get notifications about interested volunteers. Then, you can respond directly to the volunteers. The website offers free webinars to train organizations on how to effectively involve volunteers in the important work of your organization. From recruiting to managing, VolunteerMatch offers help and guidance to non-profits along the way. It offers a variety of tools and services to help organizations recruit new volunteers, manage volunteers and prospects, and become a great place to volunteer. One organization described VolunteerMatch as “a supermarket of volunteer talent.” VolunteerMatch is free to join (with a basic account) and easy to sign up.

Get started with VolunteerMatch today!


How to Dispose of Unwanted Medication


Previously, many people thought that flushing unwanted medication down the toilet was a safe and easy solution. Now, flushing unwanted medication down the toilet is considered the least desirable of all alternatives. Recent U.S. geological studies have found traces of estrogen, painkillers, antidepressants, blood pressure medicine, etc. in water samples from 30 states. Studies have linked the hormone exposure to reproductive defects in fish. Also, they have linked the environmental exposure to antibiotics to the development of drug-resistant germs.

Help to protect our rivers and waterways by disposing of unwanted medication in the proper locations. The Allen County TRIAD sponsors a year-round medication collection program with the support of local police and sheriff’s departments. In Allen County, the collection boxes are available at the following police and sheriff posts:


Huntertown Town Hall
15617 Lima Road

Phone: 260-637-5058
Hours: Mon-Fri; 8:00-5:00


Indiana State Police Post
5811 Ellison Road

Phone: 260-432-8661
Hours: 24/7 in lobby

Source: http://www.acwastewatcher.org/household-hazardous-waste/unwanted-medication-disposal/

Medicare: End-of-Life Discussions


Medicare is now paying for a new service for its consumers beginning this year – end-of-life discussions with a licensed caregiver. Many people avoid thinking or talking about the health care they want to receive at the end of their life, but these discussions can be very important. A large percentage of healthcare spending occurs in the final months of a person’s life and often brings little to no benefit. Besides the financial burden families have, there is also a great emotional toll during the end of a person’s life. Added to these burdens, your grown children and relatives may have differing opinions on what kind of care you would like at the end of your life. Creating advance directives for health care and other binding end-of-life documents can help avoid these potential arguments.

The new advance care planning is a service that includes early conversations between patients and their practitioners both before an illness progresses and during the course of treatment. These conversations will help Medicare beneficiaries decide on the type of care that is right for them and help communicate this to their family members. Medicare will cover the discussion of advance directives with the patient, a family member, or surrogate when the counseling occurs in a physician’s office. Medicare will pay roughly $86 for the first thirty minutes of counseling and $75 for an additional thirty minutes. When provided as a separately payable service, advance care planning is subject to a 20% coinsurance as required by law. Medicare will pay for advance care planning as part of the “Welcome to Medicare” visit. It will also pay for advance care planning as an option for the annual wellness visit. At all other times, Medicare will only pay for advance care planning when it’s medically reasonable and necessary.

The goal of this new service is to get more people talking about end-of-life wishes before it’s too late. Too many people die in a way they wouldn’t choose, and their family and friends are left feeling bereaved and guilty. It may be time to consider taking advantage of these new Medicare benefits.

Social Media Abuse of Elderly


A new type of elder abuse has arisen in the form of social media. A series of ProPublica reports several documented cases of nursing home employees taking demeaning photographs and videos of residents and posting them on social media. These abusive incidents are occurring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities with content being posted on social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. The employees have posted degrading pictures and videos of residents. They also include images of abuse.

Federal health regulators have announced plans to crack down on the social media nursing home abuse. State health departments help enforce nursing home rules for the federal government. Therefore, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) called on state health departments to check that all nursing homes have policies prohibiting staff from taking demeaning photographs of residents. The Centers also asked that state officials quickly investigate such complaints and report offending workers to state licensing agencies for investigation and possible discipline.

Director of the CMS survey and certification group, David Wright, stated in a memo to the state health departments: “Nursing homes must establish an environment that is as homelike as possible and includes a culture and environment that treat each resident with respect and dignity. Treating a nursing home resident in any manner that does not uphold a resident’s sense of self-worth and individuality dehumanizes the resident and creates an environment that perpetuates a disrespectful and/or potentially abusive attitude toward the resident(s).” CMS said that nursing homes have a responsibility to protect the residents’ privacy, to prohibit abuse, to provide training on how to prevent abuse, and to investigate all allegations of abuse. If nursing homes fail to do so, they can face citations, fines, and possibly termination from the Medicare program.

Also, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa called on other federal agencies to take action addressing this problem. He sent letters to the Department of Justice and to the Office for Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Services asking that rules and protections be put in place to prevent and punish these types of abuses. He also called on social media companies to pay more attention to these posts. Nursing homes are legally obligated to keep their residents free and safe from abuse.

ProPublica has identified 47 instances of social media nursing home abuse since 2012. Some states have taken harsh steps to prevent social media nursing home abuse while others have not. In Iowa, it was discovered that no state law existed to prevent certain demeaning photos from being posted. Officials are trying to change this. In Indiana, social media nursing home abuse has not been a problem. Indiana’s nursing homes strive to provide the best care to their residents, while protecting them from possible cases of abuse.

When cases of social media nursing home abuse do happen, the federal government has set uniform standards for how such cases should be written up by investigators and the severity of discipline that should be meted out. Facilities around the nation are receiving training to respond swiftly when allegations are brought to light. Many facilities have decided to ban the use or possession of cell phones by employees when in resident areas. Raising awareness about this type of abuse will help to prevent it from happening as often in the future.


Free Screening of “Being Mortal”


Fort Wayne’s Visiting Nurse is hosting a free screening of the PBS program “Being Mortal” on November 1 at 6:00 p.m. The screening will be held at the Visiting Nurse’s Peggy F. Murphy Community Grief Center at 5920 Homestead Road. After the screening, audience members can participate in a guided conversation on how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences.

“Being Mortal” delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness. The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors. It follows a surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande, as he shares stories from the people and families he encounters. When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest. The film sheds light on how a medical system focused on a cure often leaves out the sensitive conversations that need to happen so a patient’s true wishes can be known and honored at the end. “Being Mortal” emphasizes the importance of planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of-life decisions.

Seventy percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but in reality, most Americans die in hospitals or institutions. Ninety percent of Americans know that they should discuss end-of-life decisions, yet only twenty-seven percent actually do so. These end-of-life conversations are necessary to make sure your loved ones are well-aware of your wishes and that these wishes are honored at your death.

In February 2015, “Being Mortal” aired nationally on PBS. This free screening is made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America. Visiting Nurse is joined by Aging and In-Home Services to present this screening. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Director of Communications Bonnie Blackburn-Penhollow at (260) 435-3212 or visit their website.

Memorandum of Personal Property


One of the main items a Last Will and Testament can help you accomplish is naming who will inherit your property and assets. Often times, couples will leave everything to each other with their children as alternate beneficiaries. Other times, families will divide everything among their adult children. However, what if you have an item that you want to go to a specific person? For example, maybe you want to give a painting to your niece that she has always admired. Or perhaps you want your friend to receive your good set of china. You can put these specific gifts in your Will, but this is not the best solution. If you have many gifts to make, your Will will be very long. Also, if you want to add or change who receives what item, you will have to update your Will every time. If you decide to leave all your possessions to your children in equal shares, they will have to divide your personal items among themselves. This can be difficult if your children have different memories or opinions of who should inherit each item.

The best solution to these problems may be the Memorandum of Personal Property. This is a separate document that you keep with your Will. You simply list the items and the person you want to inherit each item. You sign and date the document on your own, without any need for witnesses. The memorandum is legally binding as long as you refer to it in your Will. Because the memorandum clearly states who will receive each item, it can eliminate arguments and differing opinions in the division process.

The memorandum of personal property can only include your tangible personal property. This includes things like your furniture, household items, art, jewelry, and collections. It does not include intangible property like stock, bonds, or copyrights. You also cannot use a memorandum of personal property for real estate. Make sure you clearly describe the item so that it is not confused with a similar item. Also, it may be a good idea to include contact information with the beneficiary’s name if you think your executor may have a hard time finding him/her. Don’t include items that you have already specifically referenced in your Will because you don’t want the documents to contradict.

The memorandum will have no effect unless you leave a valid Will that refers to it. The Wills we prepare for you at our office contain a section referring the memorandum of personal property. This way you can create a memorandum whenever you choose to, or you don’t have to. When you fill it out, make sure to sign and date it. If you create multiple memoranda, the most recently dated one will be used. Keep the memorandum with your Will so your Personal Representative can find it easily. If you change your mind about what’s in your memorandum, you can easily change it. Simply create a new memorandum and throw the old one away. Do not make changes on the memorandum; create a new one instead. Changing your memorandum will not affect your Will and does not require an attorney consultation. We have a free memorandum form available on our website if you would like to add one to your estate planning. If you need a new Will that refers to the memorandum, contact our office.

Medicaid Waivers


Medicaid pays for nursing home care for individuals with limited financial resources. Some people want to live at home or in assisted living but still need financial aid. Medicaid will pay for care at home or in assisted living facilities if it costs less than a nursing home. It does this through “Medicaid waivers,” or Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers. The Indiana Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver is intended to help elderly and disabled persons who require the level and type of care offered in a nursing home. The waiver offers its support and services so that these individuals can live at home. By offering waivers, the state can improve the quality of life of the individual and save money by decreasing nursing home costs.

There are four main eligibility requirements:

  1. The applicant must be a resident of the state of Indiana.
  2. Waivers are for applicants who are willing to live in an approved location besides a nursing home. The applicant can live at home or in an assisted living facility. There are certain Medicaid-approved assisted living residences or adult family care homes that will qualify for waiver services. The waiver can also assist individuals currently residing in a nursing home to transition back to the community.
  3. The individual must be assessed and found to require the level of care offered at a nursing home.
  4. The applicant must meet financial guidelines. For an individual applicant, the income level cannot exceed 300% of the Social Security Income (SSI) rate. For 2016, this means an individual cannot have an income that exceeds $2,199/month. Also, for 2016, an individual applicant cannot have more than $2,000 in countable resources. A married couple may be able to keep up to $119,220 in countable resources, as long as it is allocated to the non-applicant spouse. Countable resources do not include the home if it is lived in by the applicant, spouse, or a minor or adult disabled child and if the value of the owner’s equity does not exceed $551,000.

Medicaid waivers pays for services that are specifically aimed at helping the individual remain living outside a nursing home. Applicants are assessed individually and have their own customized plan of services. Associated with the waiver is a self-directed care option called Consumer-Directed Attendant Care (CDAC) program. Applicants who choose this option are able to select their own personal care providers, monitor them, and fire them. Family members and friends can be hired to provide these services. Some Medicaid waiver services offered include:

  • Adult day care
  • Adult family care (caregivers cannot be related)
  • Structured family caregiving (caregivers must be related)
  • Assisted living
  • Attendant care
  • Case management
  • Community transition
  • Environmental modifications and assessment
  • Home delivered meals
  • Homemaker services
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Respite care
  • Transportation assistance
  • Vehicle modifications
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Pest control

Families who do not currently qualify for Medicaid services (perhaps due to income or assets) can seek legal assistance to help them qualify. The professional Medicaid planners at our office can help potential applicants arrange their financial situation so that they qualify for Medicaid services. Excess income and assets can be allocated into a Trust or converted into non-countable assets. Contact our office before filing the application so that we can best help you and your loved ones.

Source: https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/medicaid-waivers/in-aged-and-disabled-waiver.html and http://www.in.gov/fssa/da/3476.htm


Caring for Elderly Parents – Juggling Work and Caregiving


You wake up Mom and Dad and help them out of bed. You help them brush their teeth and get dressed. You give them their medication. You bring Mom her morning coffee and clean her glasses. You get Dad settled and give him his newspaper. You fix breakfast, clean up the kitchen, and check the appointment calendar. You have to reschedule Mom’s doctor appointment because it conflicts with your paying job. You reassure Dad that everything is okay and he doesn’t need to be doing anything. You get a meal ready in the crockpot for dinner. Interspersed with all this, you are checking emails, posting on Facebook, preparing for the conference call you have later, and planning out what you need to do for the day. Just a typical day in the life of a caregiver – juggling work and caregiving.

Working caregivers are everywhere. You must keep or find work that meets the constantly changing needs of those you are caring for. You never know when a crisis is around the corner. Here are some tips to help juggle work and caregiving:

  1. Tell your boss. Letting your employer know about your caregiver role can be a good idea because it helps him/her understand the challenges you’re facing and that you want to be a valued employee. Be honest and realistic about your options.
  2. Change your work hours. Sometimes those you’re caring for need more help in the mornings so you may be able to work in the afternoons and evenings. Or, your loved ones may have appointments all afternoon, then you can work in the mornings. You may also ask for flexible hours. Some employers may not care if you have a fixed schedule as long as you work a specified number of hours per day or week. If you can’t work full-time but want to keep your job, you may consider working part-time. With some of these options, though, you may need to adjust your budget if your income will be reduced.
  3. Consider telecommuting. Telecommuting is an option that allows you to work from home. Some employers offer full-time telecommuting while others offer part-time or short-term telecommuting. It can allow you to care for your loved one or take him/her to the doctor and then get right to work, rather than wasting time traveling.
  4. Consider taking leave. Find out what your employer’s policies are on taking leave. Some jobs offer time off specifically for caregiving. Many caregivers use their vacation time for caregiving. Some employers allow caregivers to use sick time to care for family members.
  5. Medicaid waiver. Your loved one may qualify for the Medicaid waiver. Medicaid waivers can offer support and services to elderly ones who want to live at home instead of a nursing home.

Juggling your paid job and caregiving will probably always have its moments of anxiety and stress. It can be overwhelming doing both jobs. If you have made the choice to care for your loved ones, then you may have to adapt your work and career goals to provide the best care for your loved ones.

Source: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-11-2013/caregiving-duties-parents-work-goyer.html

11 Important Criteria in Choosing a Home Care Agency

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  1. Care Management. You may need a professional care manager to coordinate needs such as doctor appointments and medication. Some care managers can also help with long-term decisions.
  2. Daily Living Needs. Determine what your elderly relative needs in terms of day-to-day living, such as meal preparation, bathing, mobility, etc. Create a daily summary that shows the elder’s medication, sleep schedule, eating schedule, bathing, and more.
  3. Language. If a language other than English is necessary, choose an agency that can cater to that language.
  4. Medications. List all the medications your elderly relative takes along with the pertinent information – dosages, times taken, special requirements (such as take with food), and side effects. Decide who will organize the pills and be responsible for refills.
  5. Memory Care. If memory loss is involved, let the agency know as they may want to recommend someone with expertise in Alzheimer’s.
  6. Nutrition Needs. Let the agency know if there are any special dietary needs, like food allergies, swallowing issues, or menu requests. Choose how groceries will be purchased or if meals will be delivered to the home.
  7. Schedule. Figure out how many hours of care your elderly relative will need – how many hours per day and how many times throughout the week. Sometimes care is only needed on a short-term basis while other times care is needed long-term.
  8. Skilled Care Requirements. Does your elder require skilled care such as diagnostic procedures (like taking blood pressure or blood sugar) or caring for wounds? Choose an agency who can take care of these needs.
  9. Transportation. Will you need the caregiver to take your loved one to the store, doctor appointment, or some other activity? Find out how the agency will bill you for transportation needs.
  10. Level of Care. What is the level of care needed for your elder? Will he/she require hands-on care or companion care? If companion care is needed, make a list of possible activities.
  11. Quality Check. You may want to consider one of the leading national or regional chains to ensure quality care. You may want to ask these questions of the agency: Have you conducted a criminal background check on all your employees? Are the caregivers supervised by the agency? How do you prepare a care plan? How are the caregivers trained? and How likely would current and previous customers recommend you?
Source: http://blog.caregiverpartnership.com/2011/03/how-to-choose-senior-home-care-agency.html

Tips for Choosing an Elder Caregiver


Choosing a caregiver for your elderly relative is a very important but often difficult decision. Here are some tips to help you choose the right caregiver:

  1. Review your options. You must decide whether to interview independent caregivers or look to a caregiving agency. If you choose an agency, it may be best to choose a leading national or regional chain that is well known for professionalism and training. Run through a caregiving checklist that covers the specific needs for your relative, such as language requirements, memory care, nutritional needs, and transportation.
  2. Set clear expectations. Before hiring a caregiver, ask the caregiver tailored questions to assess his/her experience in carrying out tasks that will be required. It may be good to create a timeline of daily activities so that the potential caregiver is fully aware and prepared for any and all daily tasks.
  3. Include your elderly relative in your choice. During the interview and searching process, include your elderly relative. Let him/her meet the potential caregiver. Having shared interests can make a big difference.
  4. Assess the elder’s needs. Make sure your elderly relative receives the appropriate amount of care by first assessing his/her special needs. If your relative requires special treatment or has a particular ailment, then you want to make sure the potential caregiver is properly trained and knowledgeable in that area.
  5. Ask for references. Always check a caregiver’s background. Ask for references so you can see the caregiver’s past experience and training. You may also want to conduct a background check to make sure the caregiver is properly vetted.