Archives for posts with tag: non-service connected disabilities

As we grow older, normal aging causes elders to experience decline in cognitive functions. Leading a healthy lifestyle that’s both socially and intellectually stimulating combats normal, age-related mental decline.

Here are some additional tips to help keep the mind sharp and brain nourished:

– Paint, draw or doodle: Use your brain by using your hands. Join a local art class, whether stenciling, water color, or oil. Simply making a picture is an excellent workout for the brain.

– Listen to music: Music has been linked to improved cognition and memory functioning. Plus, it can be a mood enhancer or relaxing agent.

– Old dogs can always learn new tricks: Take in a lecture or historical presentation. Check out adult education classes on something you’ve always been interested in, or just something that sounds fun. Local colleges and senior centers can offer engaging, low-cost lectures and classes for older adults. You can learn a new language, become competent as a piano player, or learn new technology (such as an ipad, new computer or cell phone, etc.).

– Do puzzles: Or play cards. A brain challenge will stimulate your intellect, increase your mental capacity, and exercise your brain. Everything from crossword puzzles to jigsaw may be entertaining and helpful.

– Write: A short story? A letter to a long lost friend? Writing improves working memory and your ability to communicate. It can be an email, or a blog, or a private diary.

Maintaining an active, social, healthy lifestyle may be the best defense against dementia and brain disease.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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In honor of Veterans Day, I am re-posting a memo from the Social Security Administration…

Every Veterans Day, the nation honors the brave men and women who risk their lives to protect our country and the freedoms we cherish. Social Security honors veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the support they deserve. A vital part of that is administering the Social Security disability program.

For those who return home with injuries, Social Security is a resource they can turn to for disability benefits. Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website is at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

The Wounded Warriors website has answers to many commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. Benefits available through Social Security are different from those available from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.

The expedited process is available to military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.

Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they’re unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person can’t receive Social Security disability benefits while engaging in substantial work for pay or profit, receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Timely re-post from the Social Security Administration as we approach Memorial Day…

“Traditionally, on Memorial Day we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

The unexpected loss of a service member is a difficult experience for the family. Social Security helps by providing benefits to protect service members’ dependents. Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.

It’s also important to recognize those service members who are still with us, especially those who have been wounded. Just as they served us, we have the obligation to serve them. Social Security has benefits to protect veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty.

Wounded military service members can also receive expedited processing of their disability claims. For example, Social Security will provide expedited processing of disability claims filed by veterans who have a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T). Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel, including dependent children and, in some cases, spouses, may be eligible to receive benefits.

Service members can also receive Social Security in addition to military retirement benefits. The good news is that your military retirement benefit does not reduce your Social Security retirement benefit.

Service members are also eligible for Medicare at age 65. If you have health insurance from the VA or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA programs, your health benefits may change, or end, when you become eligible for Medicare.”

You can learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/survivors.
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

There are a variety of challenges facing elderly patients when discharged from a medical facility.

— Is your elderly parent really ready for discharge? Is he/she safe to be sent home?
— Medication changes: many times, prescription drugs will be changed or altered upon discharge from the hospital or rehab facility. This may mean disposing of all the meds at home.
— Medication errors: have your primary care physician review any prescription changes. Seniors may now be taking meds that should not be mixed.
— Is home care needed? Family, or a home health agency? Who will take care of this?
— How is this care service paid for? Medicare may cover a small portion for a short period of time. Do elderly parents have long term care insurance?

Ask questions of discharge staff, and/or social services. Speak with your primary care physician. Know the appropriate level of care required for your elderly parents.

Being discharged from a medical facility requires care continuation.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Re-post from the Social Security Administration…

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides Americans with better health security by expanding coverage, lowering healthcare costs, guaranteeing more choice, and enhancing the quality of care for all Americans. Everyone is entitled to affordable healthcare.

Under the law, a new “Patient’s Bill of Rights” gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health. Some of the benefits of this coverage include:

— Ending Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children: Health plans can no longer limit or deny benefits to children under 19 due to a pre-existing condition.

— Keeping Young Adults Covered: If you are under 26, you may be eligible to be covered under your parent’s health plan.

— Ending Arbitrary Withdrawals of Insurance Coverage: Insurers can no longer cancel your coverage just because you made an honest mistake.

— Guaranteeing Your Right to Appeal: You now have the right to ask that your plan reconsider its denial of payment.

Open enrollment began in November and ends January 31. Compare healthcare plans so that you can find the best one for you, and sign up before the enrollment period ends. You can learn more about the insurance marketplace and how to apply for benefits at http://www.healthcare.gov.

If you are 65 or older, you are entitled to Medicare. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, including those who have disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure. The program helps with the cost of healthcare, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care.

Social Security and affordable healthcare go hand-in-hand. The Affordable Care Act and Medicare help ensure that you and your family are covered.
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Location: Hingham Council on Aging, 224 Central St., Hingham, MA 02043

Date: 11am – 2pm, Friday, November 6th, 2015.

Event: “4th Annual…Informed Aging & Your Future” seminar will feature a panel of 8 elder specialists representing industries that cater to and provide professional services for the elderly and their families. Panelists from health care, legal, financial, domestic, and life-care planning arenas will be on hand to present information on the “industry of aging”, and shed light on the myriad of decisions confronted by seniors as they age in place. Topics include: estate planning, financial resources for home assistance, legal, assisted living options, medical care/end of life, and more.

No cost for entry. Event is free and all are welcome, regardless of whether they reside in Hingham or not. Lunch will be provided free of charge.

To register, please call:
Hingham Council on Aging
224 Central St
Hingham, MA 02043-2745
(781) 741-1458

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Personally, I know people who receive benefits through the Social Security disability insurance program, and the financial assistance is a great help in managing month to month. Thought I should re-post this information from the Social Security Administration…

The Social Security disability insurance program, or SSDI, is perhaps the most misunderstood program of Social Security. Some people may think that SSDI recipients have never worked and are taking advantage of the system by receiving money for minor impairments.

Nothing could be further from the truth. First, anyone who qualifies for SSDI must have worked enough to pay into the system and be “insured.” Second, Social Security has some of the strictest requirements in the world for disability benefits. To qualify, a person must not only have an impairment that will last one year or more, or result in death, but they must be unable to perform any substantial work.

Consequently, Social Security disability beneficiaries are some of the most severely impaired people in the country, and they greatly depend on their benefits. Learn more by visiting the website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts.

We also have incentives that give beneficiaries with disabilities — who are able — the opportunity to return to work. These work incentives include continued cash benefits for a period of time while you work, continued Medicare or Medicaid coverage, and help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new line of work. In some cases, we may even be able to deduct certain impairment-related work expenses from your countable income, making it possible to earn more and also remain eligible to receive benefits. Examples of these expenses are wheelchairs, transportation costs, and specialized equipment needed for work.

Social Security also offers the Ticket to Work program, which gives participants a “ticket” to go back to work while keeping their disability benefits. This program is free and voluntary. Ticket to Work gives access to an employment network, which offers assistance with job searches and placement, and vocational rehabilitation and training.

People with disabilities are challenged with both overcoming barriers and with convincing others that those barriers do not define them. Social Security is an earned benefit for millions of disabled individuals, and we can assist them in going back to work.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

I came across this information recently. It represents a summary of macro issues concerning our aging senior population…

“Increased access to private pay options will be critical to funding care for a rapidly growing senior population.

The growing senior population is increasing demand for senior care services. Medicare and Medicaid will only cover certain forms of care for those that can qualify. The Senior Living industry will need to do more to help educate the consumer about available options to “private pay” for senior care services.

Programs such as the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefit, converting life insurance policies into a Long Term Care Benefit Account, Long Term Care Insurance and Annuities, senior loans and accessing equity in homes, as well as creating incentives to do more with savings, income and investments are all critical parts of how seniors today, and in the future, will be able afford the costs of senior care and housing.”

One of the major messages here…seniors have to take the responsibility to plan for their own living and health related expenses as they age. There is no “golden parachute” from the government or any other source. Elders need to financially plan for the living expenses associated with aging.
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Many Veterans returning from war time service suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Consider these facts:

— More than 2 million men and women have served in the military since 2001 during our nation’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
— 37,000 Massachusetts men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, including branches of National Guard and Reservists.
— Approximately half of these enlisted veterans are deployed more than once, and many more than five times.
— There are many, many more current service members with families than in our nation’s past.

Symptoms of combat stress can occur anytime after returning home, and if the symptoms don’t go away, it’s important for individual service men and women to seek help. Do you know a veteran, or family friend, with behavioral symptoms which may include: difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, fatigue, constantly feeling on alert, feeling numb, feeling irritable, avoiding people and places that are stressful? Are they showcasing signs of memory problems, lack of concentration, and general anxiety?

As our veterans return to their communities following service deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, they attempt to adjust to a new and different civilian life. For many veterans and families, there is a medical need for clinical care, counselling, and support services in order to deal with the invisible wounds of war.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Fact: more than one out of five adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the military. So more than 20% of Social Security benefits are received by veterans. Veterans and their families make up 35% of those receiving Social Security.

Earnings for active duty military service or active duty training have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Social Security also has covered inactive duty service in the Armed Forces reserves (such as weekend drills) since 1988. (If someone served in the military before 1957, they did not pay Social Security taxes. But they did receive special credit for some of their service time.)

People are eligible to receive both Social Security benefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of military retirement benefits. Recipient’s receive full Social Security benefits based on earnings.

    Note: Social Security offers veterans expedited processing on their applications for disability benefits.

Make certain you are receiving all those benefits for which you are eligible. If you served in the Armed Forces and are now pondering retirement, you should spend some time researching benefits.

– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com