When Is It Safe To Stop Driving?


Don’t find fault, find a remedy. Henry Ford

After retiring from a very successful 24-year career with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Matt Gurwell quickly recognized that he was still filled with a desire for improving highway safety and more specifically, a passion to help keep older drivers, safe drivers.
As a result, Matt Gurwell founded Keeping Us Safe, a national organization with a mission to help keep older drivers safe. Matt has developed programs that provide senior drivers and their families with direction in helping to ensure one’s smooth transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.
Helping older drivers with diminished driving skills make a smooth transition from the drivers seat to the passenger seat can be a challenge.  Matt’s first tip: don’t put off the conversation. Matt’s creative, innovative and common sense approach, combined with his uncanny ability to bring calm and resolve to stressful situations without ever jeopardizing the dignity of others, has contributed greatly to the success of Keeping Us Safe’s programs.
Don’t just take it from me!  Listen in and learn how Matt Gurwell is creating Healing Ties all around us and more importantly,  how you can earn a Mr. Safe Key from mrhappykey_logo_positioner-512Keeping Us Safe!  

Brief Summary of Services:

  1. Enhanced Self-Assessment Program

This individualized program has been designed to serve as a valuable tool in helping older drivers (and their families) make appropriate decisions regarding the future of one’s safe driving career.  If the individual is a safe driver, we provide him or her with strategies on how to remain a safe driver as they progress through the aging process.  If driving retirement is the appropriate decision, then we provide the individual (and their family) with acceptable alternatives, resources and a very specific plan to ensure a smooth and successful transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.

  1. “Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for older drivers and their families”

Working through this instrument will help your family make driving-related decisions that are not only in the best interest of the older driver, but simultaneously find themselves in the best interest of highway safety in general. This workbook was designed to be used by your family in the confidence and comfort of your own home, most likely seated right at your family’s kitchen table.

 

matt
Visit Matt Gurwell at:
Email:  info@keepingusesafe.org
Phone:     877-907-884

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5 Tips for Talking With a Person Who Has Alzheimer’s


“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today we welcome award winning author Marie Marley to The Purple Jacket.

Yesterday afternoon I walked into Mary’s spacious room. Mary is a woman who has few visitors and who I’ve volunteered to spend a little time with every week. I greeted her, complimented her on her beautiful turquoise sweater and shook her hand.

Then I sat down at her little table that was overflowing with books, photographs, the newspaper and other items she wants to keep close at hand. I started off by picking up a small framed photo of Mary with her husband and three children — two sons and a daughter.

“Tell me about your daughter,” I said, using an open-ended question because they have no right or wrong answers. That’s a tip I picked up from The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care by Virginia Bell and David Troxell.

“Oh, her name is Connie,” she told me. “She has four children — two boys and two girls.”

She continued by giving me several details about Connie and her family. I then picked up a photograph of Mary and her twin sister, Bernice, and she told me about how they took piano lessons together when they were children. After a few minutes, I asked her if her daughter ever played a musical instrument.

“I don’t have a daughter,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Oh,” I countered, picking up the family photo again and holding it out for her to see. “You just told me you have a daughter. Here she is.”

Mary’s face fell and she said very quietly, “I guess I do have a daughter.”

I immediately felt sorry for her embarrassment and was disgusted with myself for having pointed out her mistake. I realized I’d just broken one of the cardinal rules for interacting with a person who has dementia. I’d just read it in The Best Friend’s Approach that very morning: “Let the person save face.”

When relating to a person with Alzheimer’s there are many guidelines to follow. I’m going to discuss five basic ones here: 1) Don’t tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don’t argue with them, 3) Don’t ask if they remember something, 4) Don’t remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead and 5) Don’t bring up topics that may upset them.

Don’t Tell Them They’re Wrong About Something: To let the person save face, it’s best not to contradict or correct them if they say something wrong. There’s usually no good reason to do that. If they’re alert enough, they’ll realize they made a mistake and feel bad about it. Even if they don’t understand their error, correcting them may embarrass or otherwise be unpleasant for them.

Don’t Argue With the Person: It’s never a good idea to argue with a person who has dementia. First of all, you can’t win. And second, it will probably upset them or even make them angry. I learned a long time ago, when caring for my beloved Romanian soul mate, Ed, the best thing to do is simply change the subject — preferably to something pleasant that will immediately catch their attention.

Don’t Ask if They Remember Something: When talking with a person who has Alzheimer’s, it’s so tempting to ask them if they remember some person or event. “What did you have for lunch?” “What did you do this morning?” “Do you remember that we had candy bars when I visited last week?” “This is David. Do you remember him?” Of course they may not remember. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have a diagnosis of dementia. It could embarrass or frustrate them if they don’t remember. It’s better to say, “I remember that we had candy the last time I was here. It was delicious.”

Don’t Remind the Person that a Loved One Is Dead: It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to believe their deceased spouse, parent or other loved one is still alive. They may be confused or feel hurt that the person doesn’t come to visit. If you inform them that the person is dead, they might not believe it and become angry with you. If they do believe you, they’ll probably be very upset by the news. What’s more, they’re likely to soon forget what you said and go back to believing their loved one is still alive. An exception to this guideline is if they ask you if the person is gone. Then it’s wise to give them an honest answer, even if they will soon forget it, and then go on to some other topic.

Don’t Bring up Other Topics That May Upset Them: There’s no reason to bring up topics you know may upset your loved one. If you don’t see eye-to eye on politics, for example, don’t even bring it up. It may just start an argument, which goes against the second guideline above. You won’t prevail and it’s just likely to cause them anger and/or frustration.

So there you go. A few guidelines for visiting. I hope these will be helpful to you in visiting your loved one and enriching the time you have together.

unnamedMarie Marley is the award-winning author of Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy and co-author (with Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN) of Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s: New Hope for Caregivers. Her website (ComeBackEarlyToday.com) contains a wealth of information for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

 

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The Essence of Music Therapy


Where words fail, music speaks. Hans Christian Andersen

I have to be  honest, I’m a frustrated singer.  Oh, I’ve tried to sing in a chorus and of course, just like you, I’ve sung a few tunes in the shower, loudly I might add!  Music is the essential human experience and Marlon Sobol has a passion for music. As a music therapist, Marlon’s passion for music transcends, staff, residents and administrators alike.

As Manager of the Music Therapy Department at Schnurmacher Center for Rehab and Nursing in White Plains, NY, Sobol implements programming that include drumming, improvisation, dancing, bell chiming,song writing, singing, anmarlon-still-6-color-1d listening with verbal processing to meet the clinical and cultural needs of the facility’s in house and local community.

According to Sobol, “residents spend an average of 5 to 8 hours in front of a TV which is not good for anyone.  Music alleviates  agitation and encourages moment. And music is the path in the wilderness of dementia.”

Now Marlon has created a program called “Keep On Moving TV for Seniors” so caregivers and facilities will have an “easy to access resource”, that will greatly enhance the quality of life for all of our later years.  Listen in and learn how Marlon is creating “Healing Ties” and changing lives through his music. The rhythm is going to get you!

To learn more about “Keep On Moving TV for Seniors” and to support Marlon’s work visit:   https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/keep-on-moving-tv-for-seniors–2

Marlon Sobol’s work as both musician and music therapist have been featured in “DRUM!”marlon-still-3-color-1 Magazine; in “Preserving Your Memory” Magazine;  in the Journal News, and on Armand Dimele’s, “The Positive Mind,” and NPR’s “Soundcheck” with John Schaefer. 

 

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Is There A Connection Between Dementia and Dirty Air?


Today we welcome a contribution from freelance writer  Jess Walters to “The Purple Jacket”

Why Caregivers Should Monitor Air Quality

Caring for a loved one is a heavy burden, and you’ll want to do the best you can for them. Some of the duties you will perform as a carer are quite typical, such as feeding, shopping and cleaning. However, there are other less obvious things to consider when looking after someone. A topic that isn’t usually at the forefront of people’s minds is the quality of air.

Scientists believe that there may be a link between polluted air which is high in magnetite, and dementia. People with dementia have elevated levels of magnetite in their brains. Therefore, it is vital that the air is clean for yourself and your loved one. You can do this by using a portable air purifier, and by purchasing high quality filters for your HVAC, which will screen smaller particles in the air.

A silent buildup of tiny magnets in the brain sounds like science fiction, but researchers say it’s reality for adults who live in cities, thanks to air pollution. Now, they’re trying to find out if high levels of magnetite, a particle found in dirty air, can cause Alzheimer’s. They’re concerned because Alzheimer’s patients also have lots of magnetite in their brains. It’s not yet clear if elevated brain magnetite levels are a cause or an effect of dementia, but magnetite is hardly the only air pollutant, and there’s no question that cleaner air is better for your health. Here are some tips for clearing the air for yourself and your parents.

Keep an eye on local air quality

Local industries, pollen, dust storms, and wildfires can create health hazards for seniors, especially those with allergies, asthma, and lung diseases. Most local weather forecasts now include information on daily air quality, including the types and amounts of pollutants such as ozone and dust. You can also visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s real-time national air quality map at AirNow, enter your zip code or and see local air quality and tomorrow’s forecast.

When the pollutants and pollen are high, it may be best to stay indoors or at least avoid exercising outdoors. You may be tempted to put on a mask and get on with outdoor activities despite the dirty air, but health experts warn that thick, tight-fitting masks that can filter out pollution particles may also make it harder to breathe. Read the rest of this guide here.

“Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.” Jess Walter <jesswalterwriter@gmail.com>

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A Birthday Gift: Introducing TLO Travel and Tours.


Wherever you go, go with all your heart. Confucius

Richard would have celebrated  his 86th birthday today, (January 24th) and I think it is fitting to formally announce my new endeavor in his honor, TLO Travel and Tours!  For those who have been reading my blog since Richard was diagnosed with esophageal cancer will know that TLO was the fun-loving acronym I used in my blog posts to describe him when writing about our caregiving journey.  TLO simply means, “The Little One” …remember, Richard stood a foot shorter than me!   Richard loved to be called TLO, and Richard loved to travel.

wp-1454002775318.jpgAs I continue to advocate for family caregivers and for those like myself, whose caregiving journey has ended, I wanted to find an opportunity that celebrates our love, care and commitment in all shapes and forms in a way that is unique.   During our eleven years together, we spent time cruising in Europe and traveling by car and plane throughout our beautiful country.  TLO Travel and Tours is not only dedicated to Richard, but to all current, past and future caregivers and their caree’s. Traveling with your caree may not be as impossible as you might think.

I can imagine that many of my caregiving friends are thinking…”Travel with my caree…how can I do that?”  Well, let me tell you about a wonderful proAccessable travelgram called Special Needs At Sea.  I learned about Special Needs at Sea when Richard and I were booking a cruise in January of 2014. Special Needs At Sea can provide you will just about any durable medical product, from oxygen to a hoyer lift and most importantly, a scooter to help make transportation easy on any cruise ship for your caree.  Special Needs At Sea can deliver the product to your stateroom, your hotel room and even your home.  Special Needs At Sea is located in Fort Lauderdale and available in over 150 ports world-wide.  As a certified Accessible Travel Advocate, I can help arrange all your durable medical equipment needs with our friends at Special Needs At Sea.

What’s ahead for TLO Travel and Tours?  We have group cruises on the horizon, four international train tours planned through 2020 including, The Canadian Rockies, Italy, the United Kingdom, and a very special Passion Play tour in 2020.  Through my association with Travel Planners International, I have access to all the best rates for land, air and sea travel that you would see on any travel website.   As we grow into the travel business, TLO Travel and Tours will focus on group tours for current and former family caregivers, retreats to re-energize, while engaging organizations to bring their conferences and workshops aboard a cruise ship or a retreat center.

TLO Travel and Tours is pleased to announce our association with Hope Love Company. Hope Loves Company (HLC) is the only non-profit in the U.S. with the mission of providing educational and emotional support to children and young adults who had or have a loved one battl2017-01-23ing Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s. TLO Travel and Tours is the preferred Travel Company of Hope Loves Company as this wonderful organization travels to Iceland in the summer of 2017 for a terrific international camp for kids who care for their parents with ALS.  To learn more about Hope Loves Company, be sure to visit their website Hope Loves Company (HLC)  and listen to my podcast with Jodi O’Donnell-Ames, Executive Director of Hope Loves Company.  [/audio

Richard and I were fortunate to not only spend 11  wonderful years together., but to spend quite a bit of time traveling as well.  Whether it was sporting our Bow Ties on a formal night on our cruise, dining in the French Alps, or just hanging out together, we always found something to do together.  Making travel easy for those we love and care for is possible.

 This is an exciting time for me as I continue to grow my Whole Care Network brand with new radio shows, individual and corporate training events and now travel and tours.  Our new TLO Travel and Tours website is now live, but still in the development stages.  You can visit the travel website by simply clicking here!

When caregiving ends, its not surprising that we find our self lost and picking up the pieces of a life that was left behind.   That has been me for quite some.  I started to turn the corner with my grief about six months ago which means, I don’t miss him any less, I can now be present to myself and move on with my head held high.  Now, my next challenge is to step outside my comfort zone and get back to things that I am passionate about…travel and advocacy equals passion for me!

Welcome to TLO Travel and Tours, part of the Whole Care Network!  Feel free to contact me direct at chris@tlotravelandtours.com

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Love In The Land Of Dementia


Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

I will be the first one to admit that my caregiving journey did not include the special trails and tribulations when caring for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s.   For many families, a diagnosis of dementia is an ending. For Deborah Shouse, it was a beginning, “My mother taught me how to celebrate and appreciate what we have right now.” Through her mother’s dementia, Deborah discovered compassion, deepening love, and increased connection with her mother and her family.

Deborah Shouse is an author and dementia advocate. Deborah knows first hand that finding the connection with a love one afflicted with dementia is a challenge millions of people face. Too often, people living with dementia are entertained instead of engaged.  In this episode of “Healing Ties” Deborah talks about the differences between Dementia and Alzheimer’s while sharing her love and passion for those who care for someone with this insidious diagnosis.

Listen in and learn how Deborah is creating “Healing Ties” all around us by finding love in the land of dementia.

2016-12-22-3Love in the Land of Dementia offers hope to family members, friends, and care partners of people who are living with memory loss. Strong, fluid organization and tender writing distinguish this purposeful and compelling read, which is filled with practical suggestions, compassionate support, and unexpected insights.   Visit Deborah on line at Dementia Journeys 

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Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving


Today we welcome guest blogger Samantha Stein to The Purple Jacket.

Stop Saying I Should Get Over It: Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving

Inevitably, our bodies will fail us. It may happen naturally through aging, or it may be because of an illness that overtook our bodies. However before the time comes, have you stopped to consider who is going to provide the caregiving that you need? And what are we going to put them through when they become our caregivers?

Who Are Today’s Caregivers?

For so long, the image of a family caregiver in the United States, and perhaps across the globe, is a 49-year old woman, juggling employment and her family’s needs. She is often perceived as caring for her 60-year old mother who does not live with her. For the older generations, this remains true as the demographic average of a family caregiver.

For the younger generations, however, the average caregiver is shifting to something different. In a joint study done by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, they discovered that the millennials (age 18 to 34) have a unique take on caregiving.

Unlike their predecessors, millennial caregivers are typically 27 years old and equally likely to be male or female. The study further shares how these individuals are most often caring for their mother or grandmother. They also noted how millennials are more likely to report emotional or mental health conditions that their loved ones may be experiencing.

It is no secret that family caregivers often sacrifice their own emotional and physical needs for the well-being of their care recipients. As explained Family Caregivers: The Everyday Superheroes, caregivers go through so many life changes and expose themselves to so many different types of stress to provide the care that their loved ones need. But no matter how strong a person is perceived to be, constant feelings of stress, anxiety, exhaustion, isolation, loneliness, and all other negative emotions associated with caregiving will eventually take its toll.

 Because of a plethora of factors, family caregivers are very much susceptible to depression, loneliness, and isolation. And no should take any of these lightly.

Loneliness and Isolation

Depending on the extent of care required by their recipients, some caregivers provide care on a 24-hour basis. With this in mind, many caregivers undergo drastic changes in their lives. Their lives are dominated by the responsibility of providing care for their ill loved ones. This leaves little to no room for the much-needed me time. They are often boxed into the situation.

Often, loneliness and isolation are brought about by the withdrawal of past habits and lifestyle. Imagine watching your friends go about their lives, enjoying activities you used to do together, while you are left alone to fulfill your caregiving duties. It creates a wall between caregivers and their social circles. It may put them in a situation that lacks social interaction and stimulation from other people other than their care recipients.

Depression in Caregiving

Depression may also come into the picture. A conservative estimate states that 20% of family caregivers — twice the rate of the general population — suffer from depression. 60% of California’s Caregiver Resources Centers’ clients showed signs and symptoms. However, not many people recognize these signs or are too ashamed to admit it.

Despite all the awareness campaigns involving depression, many caregivers still see it as a sign of weakness and are too embarrassed to voice it out. Somehow, they feel guilty for being ill and taking the care and attention away from their loved ones. To make matters worse, a handful of individuals say “get over it” or “it’s all in your head” as if it is not a condition that needs to be addressed.

Depression is a complex condition, and you cannot simply “snap out of it.”

Signs to Watch Out For and What to Do about Them

Family, friends, and even the caregivers themselves must be able to pinpoint the signs and symptoms and then address them quickly.

Depression is different for each person who experiences it. The signs vary, and what many might perceive as nothing may be symptoms in actuality. To help matters, however, here are a few symptoms that might be able to pinpoint cases of depression:

  • Changes in eating habits (overeating or loss of appetite)
  • Changes in sleeping behavior
  • Feeling numb
  • Trouble focusing
  • Lack of motivation to do anything
  • Frequent mood swings

So what can we do it to address the issue or ease the risk?

  • Respite Care – These services help caregivers have time to themselves while still ensuring that their loved ones receive the necessary care that they need. It provides the relief that many caregivers do not get often.
  • Let Your Friends and Family Help You – If respite care is too costly, then share the responsibility among family members.
  • Find Support – Online communities are great venues to find people going through the same challenges and issues. Individuals in these groups help each other in facing their problems because they know exactly what it is like to go through these situations. It provides a sense of comradeship that is beneficial to the caregiver’s health.
  • Get Treatment – Depression is an illness, and it needs to be seen as such. Similar to diabetes or high blood pressure, depression needs to be brought to the attention of a professional. Bear in mind that this should not be something to be ashamed of.

Thank You Samantha for a very informative blog post on a difficult topic! chris@thepurplejacket.com

Samantha Stein is an online content manager for ALTCP.org. Her works focus on key information on long term care insurance, finance, elder care, and retirement. In line with the organization’s goal, Samantha creates content that helps raise awareness on the importance of having a comprehensive long term care plan not just for the good of the individual but for the safety of the entire family.

 

 

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An Overlooked Issue: Alcohol and Drug Addiction Among the Elderly


Today we welcome guest blogger Trevor to The Purple Jacket. 

When you think of substance abuse, you may think it’s a problem for the young. But the stats show that teens aren’t the ones at greatest risk for addiction. In fact, it could be their grandparents.

As Baby Boomers approach their senior years, they may be bringing some demons of their past. One study published by the Society for the Study of Addiction showed that marijuana use of adults over 65 grew a startling 250 percent from 2006 to 2013.

Another study found that older women and Hispanics are having more issues with alcoholism than ever before.

Why is this so alarming? Well, we know that substance abuse is harmful at any age, but it can cause more serious problems in the elderly. The risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse are much greater in your senior years.

Diagnosing the problem

Symptoms of substance abuse often mimic other symptoms that are related to the natural aging process, so alcoholism or drug abuse can easily go undetected. Many health practitioners are also unaware of the depth of this problem, and so they are unlikely to ask the right questions or run the appropriate tests.

The hidden dangers of senior addiction

As we age, our bodily functions begin slowing. This includes liver and waste removal functions that help rid the body of toxins like alcohol. When a senior consumes alcohol, it is likely to affect them faster and stay in their system longer than someone younger.

Seniors are also more likely than any other demographic group to take multiple prescription medications daily. And many common prescription drugs are dangerous when combined with alcohol or other drugs. Even over-the-counter medicines can pose a danger when combined with alcohol, so it’s important pay careful attention.

How to spot substance abuse in seniors

Although it’s more difficult to spot the signs of elderly drug and alcohol addiction in seniors, there are some red flags that can help identify a problem. If the senior in your life is exhibiting the following behaviors, it may be cause for concern.

Substance abuse warning signs

  • Desire to spend time alone – This could be a sign of secretive drinking or substance abuse.
  • Drinking rituals – Although having a little wine with dinner isn’t a crime, if it is consistent, you may want to look for other warning signs.
  • Slurred speech – If slurred speech is out of character and not related to a medical problem, there’s a possibility of substance abuse
  • Depression – A person who is depressed is more prone to substance abuse, and substance abuse may also cause depression. So if you notice that your loved one is frequently depressed, this could signal a larger problem.
  • Increased falling/balance loss – This one can be tricky because it’s not uncommon for seniors to have balance issues, but if it seems to come out of nowhere and/or is combined with other warning signs, there may be a substance abuse problem.
  • Doctor “shopping” – If the senior in your life changes doctors frequently, this is a red flag. It may be a sign that they are shopping around for multiple prescriptions.

Treatment options for senior substance abuse

Identifying the problem is the first step, but how you handle it is just as important. Communication is of the utmost importance. When you broach the subject, do so with empathy and respect. You’ll want to send the message that you’re coming from a place of love and understanding.

In many cases, older adults aren’t aware of the increased risk of senior substance abuse. Sharing this knowledge can be helpful.

There are many support groups available for helping older people remove substance abuse from their lives. These are also places where they can find the kind of fellowship that they may be missing. It’s always beneficial to have the support of people who are in a similar situation to your own.

Therapy is always a good option too. It can help him or her get to the root of the problem and begin to find solutions.

Elderly substance abuse is a growing problem that can affect any of the seniors in our lives. Look out for the warning signs to help keep your loved ones safe.

Bio:

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.  

You can contact Trevor via LinkedIn or his website Website

 

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Helping a Loved One Apply for Social Security Disability


Today we welcome guest blogger Bryan MacMurry from the  Disability Benefits Help. Disability Benefits Help provides information about disability benefits and the application process.

Helping a Loved One Apply for Social Security Disability

As a caregiver, you’ve probably helped your loved one with various types of paperwork related to their medical condition. If they have become so debilitated due to a mental or physical ailment that they are no longer able to work, they will probably require your assistance in applying for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits.

Here are some things you should know about SSA benefits. These insights will help you determine which program your loved one is eligible for as well as the steps that need to be taken to complete the application process.

What Disability Benefits Are Available?

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, a person must be completely disabled, which means that they must be unable to perform any kind of substantial gainful activity and their disability is expected to last for at least a year or to end in their death.

The SSA has two support programs intended to help people with diagnosed disability support themselves financially and have access to the medical treatment they need. Each program is meant for a different type of applicant but both of them will pay monthly cash benefits to those reswho meet the medical criteria required for eligibility.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): This program pays benefits to disabled workers based on their past earnings. To be eligible for SSDI, your loved one must have worked a certain number of years prior to becoming disabled and paid into Social Security. Once approved, he or she will be eligible for Medicare coverage after two years.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This program is “means-tested,” meaning that it is intended for those in financial need. Applicants must have less than $2,000 in assets and a highly limited income, which makes SSI a program geared more toward children and the elderly. SSI recipients can also receive Medicaid in their state.

Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits

When your loved one applies for disability, the SSA will evaluate his or her eligibility by consulting the Blue Book, which is its official publication of disabling conditions. The Blue Book, which has one section for children and another for adults, requires an applicant to meet the listed criteria of a disabling condition in order to qualify for benefits.

When you help your loved one apply, you will also have to collect and submit medical documentation that confirms his or her diagnosis and outlines their treatment history. Their treating physician will fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) form, which the SSA will use to evaluate how the applicant’s illness has affected their ability to maintain gainful employment. SSI applicants will have to be interviewed by a SSA representative, so prepare to be present to provide any necessary support.

The Compassionate Allowances Program

Applicants with certain disabilities can be automatically qualified as disabled and have their applications fast-tracked via the Compassionate Allowances program. These conditions include breast cancer, acute leukemia, heart transplant graft failure, and mixed dementias.

Qualifying for Benefits With a Medical-Vocational Allowance

If your loved one does not meet any Blue Book listing but his or her RFC analysis indicates that they are unable to maintain gainful employment, they may still qualify for SSD benefits under a medical vocational allowance system. The SSA will review all medical documentation to evaluate how the illness has hindered their ability to perform daily activities as well as functions related to jobs they are trained and qualified for. If the SSA concludes that their symptoms leave them significantly impaired, they may be granted disability benefits under a medical-vocational allowance. This program is intended for those who are genuinely unable to work but could not meet a Blue Book listing.

For more information about applying for SSA disability benefits on behalf of a disabled loved one, please visit the SSA website at https://www.ssa.gov/, schedule an appointment at your closest SSA office, or call 1-800-772-1213. Monthly disability payments will make it easier for your loved one to meet his or her medical and financial needs, which will give both of you peace of mind.

Disability Benefit Help is responsible for the content written in this article.

“This article was written by the Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help. They provide information about disability benefits and the application process. To learn more, please visit their website at http://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org or by contacting them at help@ssd-help.org.”

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December 23, 2016 · 12:20 pm

Having a Dementia Friendly Holiday


Christmas is the day that holds all time together. Alexander Smith

The Holiday Season and can be both fun and stressful.  But how does a family approach the Holiday Season when caring for someone who has Dementia or Alzheimer?

2016-12-22-2Deborah Shouse is a dementia advocate and the author of Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together .  Through her own personal experience of caring for her Mother, Deborah has a keen understanding of the importance of preparing for a dementia-friendly holiday  so that everyone can be safe and secure while enjoying the holidays.

Deborah offers some sage advice on how to choose holiday activities; explaining the needs of the person living with dementia to family and guest, creating a quite space available for down time while in the midst of the festivities.  My personal favorite is Deborah’s suggestion that a family member or friend take turns being around the family member with dementia in order to answer a quick question or to just make them feel comfortable a large gathering of people.

When memory loss is first detected in a loved one or friend, it can be troubling for the person affected, but also for the entire family and friends.   Too often, people living with dementia are entertained instead of engaged.  Connecting in the Land of Dementia shows us how to engage and connect with people who are living with memory loss and dementia.

On this version of  Healing Ties,  Deborah provides us with some timely tips to help caregivers and their caree’s have a dementia friendly holiday season.

Listen in and learn how Deborah Shouse is creating Healing Ties all around us!

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December 22, 2016 · 1:31 pm