AARP Will Battle Proposals to Gut Medicare: by John Hishta Originally Posted by AARP Advocacy January 2017

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http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/advocacy/info-2017/aarp-battles-proposals-to-gut-medicare-jh.html?intcmp=AE-POL-ADVO-HMC-SL2-JHM17&cmp=SNO-ADV-FB-AO-MAV&socialid=794778664

If you’ve been following the news lately, you know that President Trump has had a busy first week in the White House. As he signed executive orders, appointed high-level staff and hosted meetings in the Oval Office, our 45th president has made it abundantly clear that he’s eager to deliver on the promises he laid out during his campaign.

At AARP, the promise we’re focused on: his pledge to protect Medicare. 

As you probably know, President Trump repeatedly said during his historic campaign that he would not allow changes to this popular program. “I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare,” he told voters. “You made a deal a long time ago.”

Since his election, his team has reiterated that vow. This month, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told CBS News that President Trump has no plans to “meddle” with Medicare. “He made a promise during the campaign that that was something he didn’t want to do,” Priebus said.

Still, up on Capitol Hill, House leaders are scrambling to push ahead with their long-simmering proposal to turn Medicare into a so-called “premium support program.” What that means is they want to implement a voucher system — a fixed-dollar subsidy that beneficiaries would use to buy private insurance. Supporters of this scheme can make it all sound perfectly reasonable, but make no mistake about it: This would end the guarantee of health insurance coverage to American seniors and dramatically increase costs for current and future retirees.

AARP agrees with President Trump that Medicare is a deal made with the American people that cannot be broken. That’s why we’re launching an aggressive campaign to tell Congress that we’ve earned our Medicare benefits with every paycheck and that we’re going to fight against any proposal that would increase costs and risk for seniors and today’s workers.

Here’s what we’ll be up to in the weeks and months ahead.

Meeting with government officials. AARP leaders and lobbyists will be visiting high-level people in the White House and in both houses of Congress, letting them know about our overwhelming opposition to any plan that would privatize Medicare. We’ll be reminding them that the same older Americans who were key in voting President Trump into office are now counting on him to protect them.

Launching an ad campaign. Starting next week, AARP will be running a nationwide television advertising campaign affirming our belief that Americans have earned their benefits and that we’re counting on Congress to protect them.

• Mobilizing the troops. Through our state offices, we’ll be recruiting and supporting volunteers who want to fight with us to protect our hard-earned benefits.  These volunteers will be meeting with their elected officials, collecting signatures for petitions and launching letter-writing campaigns to communicate—in no uncertain terms—our support for keeping Medicare safe and strong.  We’ll be collecting stories from AARP members in every state to share with congress to show them how important this program is to them and their families.  Already, we’ve collected more than 300,000 petitions and stories from members in every state.

To join the fight, sign our petition to tell congress to protect Medicare.

• Educating the public. To people outside of the Beltway bubble, a lot of this policy stuff gets confusing and complicated.  Through our publications, our website and our social media channels, we’ll be working to help you better understand what is happening here in Washington and to see exactly how changes to the program will have a direct impact on you and your family. We’re counting on you to join us in this critical fight.

If you want to be part of that grassroots movement, sign up at aarp.org/getinvolved, Like the AARPAdvocates Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter at @AARPAdvocates.

Keeping Social Security Strong: Originally Posted by AARP December 14, 2016

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Social Security is a contract with American workers that must not be broken. AARP will continue its fight to ensure that current and future generations get the benefits they’ve earned. We have always opposed — and always will oppose — turning Social Security into risky private accounts.

These are the principles that will guide us once there is a legislative debate about the future of this vital program.

  • Achieve long-term solvency and adequacy. Social Security should be sufficiently financed to ensure solvency for the long term. Solvency proposals must ensure meaningful benefits for future generations.
  • Reaffirm Social Security’s fundamental character. Social Security should continue to provide a stable foundation for retirement income. It should remain a partnership among individuals, employers and the federal government. It should also maintain its role in providing protection for workers and families affected by death or disability. All covered workers should contribute equitably to the program and receive benefits.
  • Ensure protections for those most in need. Reforms should take into account the needs of those most reliant on Social Security and those who have difficulty postponing retirement.
  • Recognize the value of Social Security’s core elements. Social Security should continue to reward work. The key elements of Social Security’s successful program structure should be preserved: progressive, defined benefits that cannot be outlived; inflation protection; and benefits related to earnings.
  • Make improvements to reflect today’s workforce. An updated Social Security program must address the economic and demographic changes over the last 80 years to be able to respond to the needs of future beneficiaries and their families.
  • Ensure fairness. Changes to the program should be implemented gradually and should protect current beneficiaries and near retirees.

http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/advocacy/info-2016/where-aarp-stands-on-social-security.html?intcmp=AE-RET-SOSC-YSS-SPOT2

Also of Interest

5 Tips from Experts on Caring On Caring for Elderly Parents at Home A Guest Post by Jessica Hegg

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Each year, millions of Americans find themselves caring for their elderly parents or aging family members at home for the first time.  

**Currently, there are more than 34 million family caregivers in the U.S.

 

If you are one of them, clearly, you are not alone.

While the initial prospect of caring for a parent or other aging relative (or friend) can be daunting, you can take some steps to make the caregiving easier, both for you and your care receiver.

We know that this can be a rocky adjustment period so we gathered our geriatric experts and asked…

What is your best tip for caring for elderly parents at home?

here’s what they had to say…

Tip #1

“Use the resources”

Tiffany mentions using the resources in your area. Senior centers, support groups, associations and churches all have a lot of free resources that aren’t always utilized. Understand who can help, what they can do, and what costs money versus what does not.

Tiffany Rubin, R.N.

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With over 12 years in the medical field, pursuing her passion of caring for people in four different states and six different areas of care. She currently is the Director of Happiness and CEO at Nurse Next Door Delaware, which specializes in keeping people happy at home and giving them the option to age in place.

Tip #2

“Make sure the house is safe to prevent falls”

Bunni mentions making sure the house is safe to prevent falls. This means to move throw rugs out of the way, in case they trip on them. Install safety rails in the shower, and rubber mats in the tub. Make sure object are off the floor, and lights are bright enough, especially at night.

Bunni Dybnis, MA, MFT, CMC

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Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist Certified Care Manager and trained mediator with over twenty-five years’ experience in providing services for older and dependent adults. As Director of Professional Services at LivHOME, Bunni combines her leadership, program development, and professional skills to staff, families and the professionals on complex issues involving aging, caregiving, disability and long-term care.

Tip #3

“Be patient”

Candy mentions being patient is a key to caring for elderly parents at home. Being patient with the elderly can be difficult, especially in a rushed society. Remember your elderly loved one has limited physical and mental capabilities. Take the time to listen to them, their stories, and especially their wishes.

Candy Cohn

candy-cohn

Senior Placement and Home Health Advisor
Owner of Yaffa Senior Services


Candy guides seniors and their families through the maze of senior living and home care options and provides free services for her clients (accepting commission from the facilities or home health companies pay her a commission when she places a client). She assists with attention to detail and budgets for in-home caregivers that accept Long Term Care Insurance, Long Term Care Medicaid, Medicare, Workman’s Comp, LOP for PI cases, Private Pay and stays with her clients throughout.

Tip #4

“Make sure your loved one has a Durable Power of Attorney for finances and health care.”

Sharon mentions that the wishes of the elderly parent need to be addressed and dealt with. They should also have clearly stated Advance Healthcare Directives, which express their wishes in the event they cannot speak for themselves.  These documents are generally prepared by an attorney or the legal aid society in your community.  If these are not prepared while your loved one is mentally competent, there could be serious ramifications. Check with your local Aging and Disability Resource Center to find the legal resources nearest you.

Sharon Dickol

sharon-dickol

Owner of AgeWise Solutions

Has more than 20 years of experience in older adult services, program and policy development, and aging services administration at the local and regional level. She holds a Master’s Certification in Geriatric Care Management from the University of Florida in Gainesville and completed her undergraduate work at the College of New Jersey. Devoted member of the American Society on Aging and the Aging Life Care Association, an organization that is nationally recognized for professional standards and ethics in care management for older adults. 

Tip #5

“Check to make sure there is adequate and proper food in the home. Provide fresh water in a spill proof cup and keep it close by the patient to prevent dehydration.”

Lynne wants to make sure the elder parents nutrition need are cared for. The elderly sometimes do not eat, unless food is accessible and prepped for them. Dehydration can lead to many medical problems, therefore hydration is also important.

Lynne Nikolsky

Has over 30 years of nursing experience, Associates Degree in business, an Associates degree in Nursing and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration. The majority of her experience is in critical care, ICU and CCU. Later in her career she worked as an RN Case Manager and for the last five years of her career was a Director of Nursing Services at a Long Term Care, Rehabilitation facility. She gained experience with the geriatric population since most of her residents were in their 80’s and 90’s.  She retired to the beach in Delaware in 2014 and joined Nurse Next Door in 2015.

What’s Next?

Caring for elderly parents at home is a challenge that many of us are facing, or will face down the road, so know that you’re not alone.

There may come a time when your loved one can no longer reside at home.  Plan ahead. Know the facilities in the local region and learn about their services, amenities, and costs. Planning in advance can make a future transition much easier on you and your loved one.

https://www.vivehealth.com/blogs/vive-blog/caring-for-elderly-parents

The Cost of Family Caregiving: Out-of-Pocket Spending Surprisingly High A Guest Post by Christina Ianzito

Originally published by AARP: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2016/caregiving-out-of-pocket-cost-report.html?intcmp=AE-HF-CRC-FFY-SPOT1

Out of Pocket Caregiving Report

Our country’s 40 million unpaid family caregivers devote a large portion of their own money toward the care of their loved ones.

They’re spending an average of $6,954 a year — nearly 20 percent of their income — on out-of-pocket (OOP) costs related to caregiving, according to a new AARP study, “Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report.”

Hispanic/Latino and low-income family caregivers spend even more: an average of 44 percent of their total annual income.

And that’s on top of other financial strains many caregivers face, such as needing to cut back on work hours or take unpaid leave, says Nancy LeaMond, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer at AARP. “The strain can be enormous and may put their own financial and retirement security at risk.” She adds that passing the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, which provides a federal tax credit of up to $3,000, “would give some sorely needed financial relief to eligible family caregivers.”

 

Cost Infographic

AARP also supports the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, which would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers.

Here are some striking findings from the new AARP report, which determined the amount of money that family caregivers spent over the last year:

  • Family caregivers of all ages spend $6,954 in OOP costs related to caregiving on average.
  • Family caregivers earning less than $32,500 are under significant financial strain, spending an average of 44 percent of their annual income on caregiving.
  • Family caregivers for adults with dementia reported nearly twice the OOP costs ($10,697) than those caring for adults without dementia ($5,758).
  • Hispanic/Latino family caregivers spend an average of $9,022, which represents 44 percent of their total income per year. By comparison, African American family caregivers spend $6,616, or 34 percent; white family caregivers spend $6,964, or 14 percent; and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders spend $2,935, or 9 percent.
  • Long-distance family caregivers had the highest OOP costs at $11,923 compared with family caregivers living with or nearby their care recipients.

Family caregivers report dipping into savings, cutting back on personal spending, saving less for retirement or taking out loans to make ends meet. More than half of family caregivers reported a work-related strain, such as having to take unpaid time off.

Read the full report at www.aarp.org/caregivercosts.