How Do You Know If You Qualify For Medicaid

Medicaid, unlike Medicare, covers long term care services. Medicaid, unlike Medicare, which is funded federally, is covered by the state so guidelines vary from state to state. To meet the guidelines for Medicaid you must be under a certain income and asset cutoff. The problem facing many family caregivers is Medicaid typically covers nursing home and assisted living care costs but does not fund home health care. More often than not, these benefits go directly to the providers and the beneficiaries do not have much control over where the Medicaid funding goes. Legislation is being passed that gives family caregivers more control over where their Medicaid benefit go- oftern referred to as the “Cash and Counseling” method.

Several states including Arkansas, New Jersey, and Florida are implementing Cash and Counseling demonstrations that give beneficiaries direct control over where they choose to spend their Medicaid benefits. Many beneficiaries choose to pay family members and independent home health aides for care. The program has proven to be extremely successful and is expanding into many other states.

The cost for Nursing Home Care can easily run $55,000 per year with the cost more than doubling in major metropolitan and hard to reach cities. Middle income families are caught in a precarious position because Medicaid is designed for low income families that cannot afford health care insurance. They get no help from Medicare because Medicare doesn’t fund long-term care.

To make Medicaid a more equitable alternative, Congress has passed legislation that allows families to spend down. By “spending down”, Congress means the family can deplete their assets to qualify for Medicaid. In the past, for a couple to spend down enough to qualify for Medicaid, one of the spouses (often the wife) had to reach a point where she did not have enough income to spend on what she needed to live.

After the 2007 changes to the Medicaid guidelines, community spouses are allowed $1,650 to $2,541 a month in income and between $20,328 and $191,640 in assets, in addition to their car, house, and other person belongings, to be eligible for nursing home funding.

Five Tips for Teachers Looking at ACTIVE Retirement – ENCORE-ED!

Picture a 22 year-old teacher sitting at her first career desk at the front of an empty middle school classroom in suburban New Jersey. It’s the morning of her first official day of teaching. She’s got her head in her hands. She’s crying. Next, watch her supervisor discover her and mistakenly assume the young girl is overcome with emotion at being a teacher. WRONG. I know it was wrong because that kid was me. And I was at the verge of running from the school. How did I get into this situation was all I could think. I shouldn’t be a teacher!

Well. I survived day one and 25 years later, I walked from my last school assignment as a school administrator, went straight to the airport and left for a Paris! A dramatic beginning and ending to what proved to be a varied, creative and rewarding career in schools. Eight years later, in my new life as a consultant, I’m reaping the benefits of those experiences in education. I’ve made a transition to a new career. I’m living what is now known to many baby boomers as an Encore Act. I took an early retirement and gambled on myself. I thought of that scared kid who felt trapped in that classroom, decided I had boxed myself into a dead-end in my career, and made a leap to a world without walls, offices and constraints. I became my own boss, and I’m charged with being employee of the month every month.

It’s freeing and scary on any given day to be in an Encore Act. But it’s brought me a passion and fulfillment to my mature years that guarantees me the continuous learning that I want– and a brain buzz to sustain me as a vital and relevant women as I age. So if you are an educator thinking of going for the next act, here’s five basic tips to launching your own ENCORE-ED ACT from someone who’s been out on the trail for almost 10 years, and whose next 10 years seem to assure me of another Encore leap.

1… DON’T WAIT!
If you have the pull to a new passion, recognize the siren call! You don’t have to quit your day job. I have clients who are balancing who they are in their school careers with interesting sidelines like writing, art, photography, caregiving… whatever turns them on. I’d always wanted to be a marketer, I wanted to write, to build brands. I was always creating connections and events for people, writing copy for friends. It took me years to see that my training experience, presentational savvy and project management skills would be perfect for consulting.

2… FIND A MENTOR
Apprentice yourself to the work you want to do with someone who can show you the ropes and help you build a network. Join associations in real-time that are for people with your passion, get online and research and network on all the social media platforms, read blogs and follow newsfeeds. If you have to self-mentor, the internet is the place to learn. Take online or realtime courses and webinars and see if this passion is right for you. Just because you like nursing doesn’t mean you will find it a match. Better to know that before you have degreed yourself in a new act!

3… DEVELOP A PLAN

If you are going into business, find someone to help you with a business plan, even a short one sheet can help you vision your goal, what your business will be. Think of what makes it unique and salable if it’s a service. If it’s a product find someone who has manufactured products to help you. Go to the free classes that the Small Business Institute gives. Ask friends and family for advice BUT, don’t be defeated by negative responses to your ENCORE-ED idea from family friends or colleagues. Sometimes people fear risk and want to share their anxiety with you! Steer clear of naysayers.

4… BUILD YOUR NETWORK
List everyone you know and then meet with as many people as you can for the purpose of finding out WHO THEY KNOW who can help you. It builds your network immediately. Whenever you are out at any social event make sure you meet new people and tell them of your plan. Tell your story and again find out who they know who might want to hear about their new business or service.

5… CREATE FOCUS GROUPS

Check out your direction. I have run focus groups and facilitated sessions for people with new ideas and business plans. Gather up people from your new network. NO FRIENDS ALLOWED! You need generous open thinkers who will see you in this new light as an emerging BRAND. Present to them in a casual way at your home or over a dinner chat. Get feedback and see if they want to stay in touch. This may be your Board of Advisors for building your ENCORE-ED Act.

Review: Last Vegas

As we all know, age and time are two things that can come between even the closest of friends. It’s not always personal with these factors being included, but life tends to get in the way with these two guaranteed aspects of our existence that may bring along significant others, kids and a great deal of responsibilities. I guess that’s what separated the four friends in the film Last Vegas, but as they find out, friends can always find a way to get back together for at least one more party.

Back in their days as children growing up together in New York, Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) became a seemingly inseparable set of friends known as the “Flatbush 4,” but life got to them like it gets to many of us. Over time, each guy from the group eventually went their separate ways and in to not so desirable existences in the eyes of most. There’s nothing undesirable as far as legalities are concerned, but their lives could use a little more life.

You see, Sam is living the retired life at this moment in Florida with his wife Miriam (Joanna Gleason). He spends much of his day surrounded by people of the older generation as he probably continuously attempts to remember the good times of his youth where he used to put his pulse to good use around people who lived lives beyond exercising in a swimming pool. He’s lost contact with himself and the world that he once knew and loved by being stuck here.

Meanwhile, his friend Archie isn’t in a position that anyone would consider to be much better. He’s stuck at his home in New Jersey playing a real-life version of role reversal with his son Ezra (Michael Ealy) being featured in the role of parent/caregiver for him. He can’t do much these days due to his loving and excessively attentive offspring, and he’s on the verge of exploding because of the frustration that his lack of activity is causing.

If there’s anything positive that you can say about the lives of Sam and Archie is that at least they both have people who care about them. Their friend Paddy doesn’t even have that. This native New Yorker who’s spent all of his life there lives an existence of complete loneliness due to the passing of his wife a year earlier. The only partner/friend/associate that he seems to have in his life now is a bathrobe that seems to be a permanent part of his daily wardrobe.

As those three guys are living lives that anyone would dread, Billy on the other hand is living it up as the guy who never chose to have kids or get married. He’s out in Los Angeles having a good time with a woman nearly half his age on his arm. He has no reason to ask for much these days, but he’s starting to feel the need to feel what his longtime friends were able to feel many years ago when he decides that it’s best to finally step up to the altar and jump that proverbial broom that many men try to avoid crossing.

So with that in mind, he calls up his old friends that he’s known for about sixty years so they can get back together for one last party in Sin City. It’s going to be a time to catch on some things, party, meet new people and experience things that they’ve either never felt before or haven’t felt in a very long time. They have two days to do all of this, but that short period of time is going to do more than have them discover entertainment in Vegas. It’s also going to get them to take a look at their friendship and answer plenty of questions.

Before actually seeing Last Vegas, I was thinking that it would either be a big hit or a very big miss. On the surface, it looks as if this movie had the makings of one or the other, and I was honestly interested in finding out which side of the spectrum it fell on. My interest level was simply because I was rooting for this movie to succeed and be extremely entertaining.

My feelings on the film after actually watching it doesn’t fit either of what I expected beforehand. As it turns out, Last Vegas has its high points with a few points that I would describe as being somewhat average and below in many instances. That’s something that makes the movie close to average overall, but I’d say that it’s something that a significant number of viewers will find as entertaining and positive.

The comedy in Last Vegas is of good quality in many cases, but it also fails to deliver on a few occasions from my perspective. This goes without saying, but the comedy is an important feature within the entire film and to have it miss on more than a few occasions does hurt it in my opinion. However, it doesn’t damage it completely and that may be enough for some viewers to fall in love with portions of the story.

Like most of the stories that we see in the world of American film these days, the story in this movie has love as one of its primary elements. I won’t talk about it much, but I find it hard to have a budding romance being that important in a movie that’s supposed to basically last for a couple of days. I guess it’s something that movie makers feel they have to put in, even in circumstances that don’t need them.

From that standpoint, the love story angle in Last Vegas also takes away from what could have been a fantastic experience. Last Vegas could have and should have been solely focused on the four guys running around Las Vegas and finding trouble to get themselves into without the element of love being installed. That would have been more entertaining and sensible than what we actually get to see.

I liked the idea of having four guys like this being together in a film, but I just wish they would have done more than put out a film with a ton of features that we’ve seen many times before. Doing so would have made things a bit fresher, but it would have also been a more entertaining experience for people like myself. It’s not a great movie in my opinion, and I think the lack of originality and the inclusion of an unneeded love story really hampered it.

When I look at Last Vegas for what it is, I can see it as having a movie that develops a fan base that can and will like what they see. It’s not for everyone, but I do believe that its target audience will be able to sit back and have a good laugh before going home and feeling good about what they just watched. Will it be good enough outside of that? No, it won’t, but I don’t think it has to be. It will be fun to watch for anyone who like movies like this.

Police Recommend Cheap Stun Guns for Self-Protection

What’s the right Stun Gun for you

Okay, there you are, ready to buy a self defence product and now that you’re looking at the various makes models and well, you’re stumped on which one to buy.

Heck, perhaps you don’t even really understand what a stun gun or taser gun is or what’s the difference between them. Allow me to explain.

When I say stun gun, I mean a ‘traditional stun gun’ that many of you may have seen on tv or in the movies. This is a handheld device that has outward facing prongs on the end of the device that when triggered emits a high voltage, visible arc of electricity. The voltage of electricity ‘stuns’ the muscles of the body and interrupts the neurological impulses that control muscle movement. In short the body’s neuromuscular system is shut down temporarily.

A Taser gun is a device that while similar to the traditional stun gun by emitting an electrical charge to the body and shutting down the muscle control it divers in that it actually fires two small probes that are attached to insulated conductive wires. The electricity then pulses along the wires and into the body when you pull the trigger. When you activate the trigger with the probes already attached to the body, then the taser sends additional pulses of electricity. When the trigger is deactivated the electrical pulses a baits.

Okay, now that we have a refresher on what the difference- the dilemma still remains — how do you know which one to buy.

There’s not only a lot to choose from in this area, but so many of the items are so similar why is one a better choice than any other.

For instance if you’re looking at a traditional stun gun there are well over 20 to 30 different products and types. The taser gun’s choices are much more limited with the personal protection model called Taser C2 to the Advanced Taser M18 or M18L. This is the civilian answer to the tactical police model Taser M26.

So there’s really something for everybody when it comes to Buy this guns. So what do I say to somebody when they ask me what’s the best self defense weapon for them?

I ask them these questions:

How important is self defense or self protection to you?
What do you need it for?
How much are you willing to spend to achieve that level of protection?
How secure do you want to be?

Now, when I first ask these questions a lot of people think I’m being flippant with them. But the truth is I’m not and if you really answer these questions — because these are the only ones that really bring you to a solution — you will have your answer. Nobody but you can answer it for you. I and others can show you the options or where to buy Cheap but only can decide what is the right product for you.

Don’t agree? Let’s look further into these questions shall we?

How important is self defense or self protection to you? This is important, if you are in a fairly safe environment most of the time and it’s always been that way and you don’t see that changing then this is much different from somebody that is perhaps a female working late at night alone that must walk to their place of work to a dimly lit parking garage in a questionable part of town. I’d say then this becomes a very telling question.
What do you need it for? Is it to feel safe while walking to that parking garage to your car in the dead of night. Perhaps you are escorting your child to the inner city daily for school or taking hikes with your loved ones through the park.
How much are you willing to spend? Again, depending on the answer to number one and two this will become self evident. The mother pushing the baby stroller through a very safe park in the middle of day with lots of people around is going to spend differently than the nurse working nights in rough part of town that must walk alone to get to her car or the bus.
How secure to you want to be? All I can usually say about this is if you were going bear hunting would you rather choose to go with a.22 pistol or a the biggest caliber gun that is designed for bringing down the biggest bear on the planet? I’d rather feel very very secure. But again, questions before this will usually bring about the answer here.

Stun guns pump out from 100,000 volts up to almost 1 million. Taser guns at around 50,000 volts. The look and feel of these products all differ. Many might fit your lifestyle, how you want to carry this weapon, your comfort with it, etc. The best thing to do is answer the 4 questions and then take a look at the options and make a decision based upon all these factors.

Why would you choose!

There are lots of reasons why you may want to get it!

These days if an older woman tries to protect herself from a would be rapist who has come into her house and she is forced to shoot him… she can be charged and sent to prison! Even if he goes clear into her bedroom.

Just for trying to protect herself.

Did you know that it is possible that the perpetrator (thief, rapist) can sue if he survives. And… if that the perpetrator dies, his family can legally sue her.

It’s hard to believe – but the way our laws are now about firearms, in either case the wounded VICTIM could lose and be locked up for many years. That’s why a rapidly growing number of private citizens have decided to us non lethal self defence products instead. These are extremely effective interventions — and they can stop a criminal without killing him!

We’re talking about TASERs, stun guns, pepper spray, and mace. In most States, these kinds of products can be used by you as a private citizen and you do not need to obtain a license to carry and/or use them. There are certain restrictions in eight states, several large cities, schools, airports, hospitals, etc. You can find the list on our website of the states that prohibit certain products. The point is… non-lethal self defense products are now permitted in most places of the United States. These guns are predominantly used for their effectiveness. There are other factors that make owning a stun gun a great idea.

1. These guns are available in a large range of models and sizes. Even the smaller ones can be a huge bolt from the blue to a would-be attacker! One smaller model called the RUNT is capable of delivering over one million volts of zapping power — and it is actually smaller than one pack of cigarettes.

2. What’s even more amazing is that some stun guns are now comparatively inexpensive – depending on what model you choose. And that means that available in an incredibly broad price range. This means that nearly everyone can get a stun gun and along with it obtain a peace of mind that money cannot buy!

3. The real astonishment is the serious stopping power of a stun gun. I mean, one second will have them backing away and 5 seconds will have them on the ground crying.

4. These are available in an variety of shapes, colours, and sizes. While most people buy the standard black model, there are also models obtainable in silver, red, camouflage, and animal prints (no less)! These days, your personal safety may also be fashionable! Some are disguised to look like cell phones, flashlights, and lipstick tubes.

5. When you decide to choose one of these non lethal self-defence products, you will find that your fear fear of criminals is alleviated. PLUS, you get rid of any potential of legal reprisals (which has happened ever too often when firearms are used in self defence). Our American legal-system will not accuse you of protecting yourself and your family with non lethal products. You can protect the protect the victims of violent crime.

It’s always good to get hidden cameras also — just to warn you to get ready. So… what do you want to do next? I hope that you have decided to protect yourself and your family while at the same time minimizing the likelihood of legal action against you. Protect yourself, your loved ones, your belongings, and your property. Come see us at Home-defender for all the best help and advice for what to pick for what you need.

How Dangerous is the Average Stun Gun Volt?

Unfortunately the only time we typically hear anything about these guns is when there has been serious injuries or even death that is caused by the stun gun volt. Factually, most stun guns range from 80,000 volts to 300,000 volts with maximum voltage being 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 – even then the amperes associated with these high volt stun guns makes it nearly impossible to step someone’s heart and cause death.

There are of course as with everything – exceptions – since most stun guns run off batteries it’s pretty simple to determine that they’re relatively safe – the problem is that what you’re seldom told about the fatalities or serious injuries that accompany stun guns is that the victim has a physical problem such as an enlarged heart or they have a history of drug/alcohol abuse. It is possible if you’re repeatedly hit with a stun gun volt over a period of five seconds to sixty seconds that serious injury and death can occur.

If a person caring for a child decides to try to discipline the child but using the sun gun volt then chances are high that the child might die – this is flat out child abuse – unfortunately there have also been cases when children in fact play with an adults stun gun and the repeated application of the stun gun volt can also cause death. Accidental discharge, self administration of stun gun volt and other foolish experimentation can also lead to death.

If your states laws allow you to own a stun gun, before you start experimenting with it you should be properly trained or carefully read the manufacturers information that accompanies the stun gun. Stun gun volt levels are not something that should create fear – the stun gun (and TASER) are generally very safe and cause far fewer deaths than the lives that they save.

Type of Stun Guns::

Streetwise Mini Stun Gun

Size counts – maybe. In this case, the petite package of the Streetwise Mini Stun Gun doesn’t look like it matches up with the 1,000,000 volts it can deliver. This baby is the World’s Smallest Stun Gun and is also the World’s Most Powerful Stun Gun – all in a petite 3 ¼” x 2″ x ¾” case. It is so small that it could fit inside a cigarette packet!

Touching an attacker for about three to five seconds is enough to deliver enough voltage to cause him (or her) to lose balance and muscle control. The resulting disorientation and confusion effectively interfere with voluntary motion. The effects last for about five to ten minutes, providing enough time for you to run for safety.

The heavy duty leather holster that comes with this small stun gun fits tidily on a belt, keeping it handy in case it’s needed. It can also fit nicely inside a woman’s handbag without displacing other essentials. You don’t need to worry about having the Small Fry zap you when reaching for other items. There is a safety button on the side which must be pressed before pressure on the trigger activates the weapon.

In the past, it took several 9-volt batteries to even begin to approach this kind of stopping power. In the Mini Stun Gun the incredible amount of voltage is provided by three 3-volt Lithium batteries. You can either purchase them with the mini stun gun or get them for about $14 at your local superstore. An even more attractive option, added by request, is to get a rechargeable unit and skip the replacement battery headaches. The advances in today’s rechargeable batteries make them a reliable and economical option.

When considering this model, remember that higher voltage means that immobilization happens more rapidly and that current can pass through more layers of clothing. Since it is the highest voltage stun gun, you are carrying the best available non-lethal stopping power on the world market. The manufacturer believes so much in the quality of this product that it provides a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Once again, the manufacturer listened to suggestions and made modifications to its already popular mini stun gun. Now, an unexpected feature on this Streetwise Mini Stun Gun is the 6 LED lights, making this a super bright illuminator. Flashlights are always a good idea, especially when traveling between any building and your vehicle after dark. The benefit is seriously enhanced by the fact that if you are using the flashlight, the stun gun feature is instantly available, should it be needed.

Reliable, safe and easy to use, the Streetwise Mini Stun Gun provides discreet, superior protection for the most discriminating and economically-minded clients.

Flashlight Taser Stun Gun

All-in-One Protection

Flashlight – light source

Stun Gun – when held against the skin of an attacker from 2-5 seconds disrupts the nervous system and disorients the individual permitting you to get out of the situation and run like the wind. Stun guns come in a variety of styles and strengths. The higher the voltage the less time it has to be applied to the skin for the full effects to be felt by the attacker. The power on most stun guns available ranges from 200,000 volts up to 1 million volts. Stun guns come in all shapes and sizes. Some look like a cell phone, a baton, a flashlight, a small hand held rectangle, and some very intimidating looking heavy-duty items with big prongs sticking out of the end!

Taser – With a Taser you can stop an attacker before he even gets close enough to grab you. The range of a Taser that the public can purchase is about 15′ to 20′. Two small barbs are shot out of a compressed air cartridge and when they make contact with an attacker, even through their clothing, they deliver a jarring bolt of voltage that incapacitates the attacker almost instantly. The recommended way to use the Taser is to fire at the attacker and then run to safety.

With all these functions, you are assured of maximum protection!

Are Tasers Legal In My State?

Some days ago I did a few Google searches to find out my state’s laws on buying and carrying a Taser. After getting a lot of random, unhelpful websites, I found my answer at, where else, Taser.com. A quick rundown of where it is currently ILLEGAL to carry a Taser: District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York (does anyone else find that odd?), Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Also, in the cities of Annapolis, Baltimore, Chicago, and Philadelphia (again, what!?) prohibit the carrying of a Taser, but it is legal elsewhere in the states wherein those cities are located. Connecticut and Illinois don’t prohibit it, but restrictions do exist. If your state is not listed, it is currently legal for persons over the age of 18 to purchase a Taser or stun gun, but again, there are restrictions on who can use it. Interestingly, in some states minors are not prohibited from using a Taser or stun device, if supervised by an adult. I guess that would come in handy if a child was in a dangerous situation and the adult in possession of the Taser was not capable of using it for whatever reason.

Stun Guns Laws

Also, keep in mind that many states have restrictions on where you can carry a Taser (similar to firearms), such as schools, churches, some public places, etc. These are common sense scenarios, but then again it seems to be an increasingly common occurrence that these are also where the violence is happening, so hopefully the laws will keep up with the news.

Taser International’s website did not go into detail on individual state statute, so To find out more details on state laws and penalties associated with misuse, visit

In spite of the fact that stun guns are typically considered to be a safe form of defence and are typically marketed as safe for home and personal protection, there are laws in various states, cities and counties that limit the ability to own or possess a stun gun.

Stun gun laws were created because of the potential abuse of power – causing harm, deliberately inflicting pain and even torturing someone. Because of this it has become necessary (and even practical) to put in place stun gun laws.

The states that currently ban stun guns are:

* Massachusetts
* Michigan
* New Jersey
* New York
* Rhode Island
* Wisconsin
* Hawaii

There are other municipalities that severely restrict not just the use of stun guns by the possession of stun guns – and it’s very important that you understand stun gun laws. Because of the potential for the abuse of a weapon, most stun gun laws are designed to limit ownership and to prevent people from carrying them around in public. Sadly, some of these laws were put into place because of high profile cases involving parents and caregivers abusing children – too often this results in life altering injury or even death.

Since the stun gun laws dictate not only the transfer and use of stun guns but also the purchase and sale of stun guns, if you live in a city or a state where stun gun laws state you cannot own one you won’t be able to purchase one online.

Wholesale Stun Guns

There are many places online to purchase in bulk. I would want to work with a company that gets quality stun guns with great support. I think that the ZAP brand Stun Guns are some of the meanest non lethal gun son the market.

Zap Stun Guns has the Double Trouble Stun gun with 1.2 million volts and the Blast Knuckles with 950,000 volts of dropping power. Can you even imagine 1,200,000 volts of power hitting you. That will knock you senseless!

Some Personal Safety Tips

Stay alert. Keep your mind on your surroundings, as well as who is in front of you and who is behind you.
Walk purposefully, stand tall, and make eye contact with people around you.
Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave.
While driving, keep your car in good repair with the gas tank at least half full.
Park in well-lit areas and always lock your doors.
Put valuables out of sight or in the trunk.
Drive with the doors locked and the windows up.
Check the floorboards and front and rear seats before getting in your car.
In an elevator, stand near the controls. If someone suspicious enters, get off the elevator.
At home, don’t give personal information over the telephone to people you don’t know.
Install a peephole in your front door, and don’t open the door to anyone you don’t know. Verify the identity of service people before allowing them in.

And if you have any questions please feel free to email me and I’d love to answer them for you. Or visit me at for

Laughter – A Cure For Eldercare Blues

Something every caregiver needs to remember is laughter. We forget about it. There’s so much to do. It’s shopping day, or laundry day; it’s always cooking day. There’s time to plan and worry.There’s time to be courageous and determined and resourceful. Who has time to laugh!

Yet among all the strengths we aim for laughter is one of the easiest to cultivate. It bubbles up effortlessly from within and makes us feel good. We speak of a “good laugh”. And the word is well chosen, for laughter indeed is good. It is known to be physically beneficial, and to have therapeutic value.

Do you recall favorite good laughs? I remember one in the warm compartment of a train going through Germany one summer day.. My cousin and I had spent part of the morning enjoying a cool, secluded mountain stream. We had washed ourselves and also our underwear, donning it quickly to make the train on time. Now we were both experiencing some discomfort as it became evident that all the clothes we wore were less than dry. As our gaze met we began to laugh.

The stout German lady who shared our compartment had to know what in the world was so very funny. We told her and she joined in the revelry. When the conductor came to check our tickets he found the entire compartment convulsed in hysterical laughter.

Given a motive, all of us soon respond to something that is irresistibly funny. We all have a “funny bone.”

It was Norman Cousins who experienced the benefits of laughter in coping with a life-threatening disease. When he read that the ancients had declared laughter to be good medicine he tried it for himself. He found that genuine belly laughter for ten minutes could give him a couple of hours of pain free sleep.

Along with the other alternative remedies he explored and used, amusing movies became an important segment of his regime They brought him the benefits of laughter. Norman Cousins tells his story in the pages of his book, Anatomy of an Illness.

Laughter is important both for caregivers and the elderly persons they care for. Simple, basic equipment permits us to enjoy readily-available films. Find time to see a film together, nibble some simple refreshments, have a good laugh and enjoy the show. It will benefit both of you!

Here are some DVDs recommended to provide lots of chuckles:

The Bucket List
Two cancer ward roommates, a billionaire and a scholarly mechanic make a list of things to do before they kick the bucket, and off they go for the great adventure. Described as “hysterically funny and deeply heartwarming”

Maid in Manhattan
Struggling single mom meets up with a guest in the hotel where she works. They fall in love. Can two people from very different worlds manage to live happily ever after? This romantic comedy is given “two thumbs up.” by the reviewers.

The Family Man
A high-powered Wall Street bachelor goes from single life in the fast lane to suburban New Jersey life as the father
of two kids. Described as “hilarious” this comedy has also been called “one of the best films of the year.”

Rat Race
Who will win when a casino tycoon gives six money-crazed contestants the chance to win $2million in a race from Las Vegas to New Mexico? This all-star comedy cast is called “non-stop funny”. The film Is called “quite possibly the funniest movie ever.”

Cheaper by the Dozen
Comedy superstar Steve Martin stars with a great cast in this heartwarming old comedy about parents with twelve rambunctious kids. Lots of fun and laughs by the dozen!

Superior Alzheimer’s Care – Streamlining the Search Process

Unfortunately, sub-par Alzheimer’s care and assisted living facilities with less-than-attentive staff do exist, and unless you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to choose one that will ultimately fail to meet your requirements for quality care and supervision.

If you understand enough of the process to know what you’re looking for, however, choosing an Alzheimer’s care facility can be much easier. My job is to make your selection process simple – we’ll take a look at the many highlights and features of superior care facilities around the country and get into the nitty-gritty of things in order to help you find Alzheimer’s care and assisted living facilities that will provide the kind of attention your loved one needs.

Aside from the major qualifications you should look for – a meal plan, housekeeping, transportation, staff training, and extensive safety and security measures – you also need to be prepared to evaluate Alzheimer’s care and assisted living facilities based on hygiene, diet, décor, and activity time, four hallmarks that, if met adequately, often reflect the level of care that is provided at the facility. Even though I fully understand the challenges you face in trying to find a quality facility, don’t feel overwhelmed – you’ll be better prepared to ask questions about the care provided and find the perfect place for your aging parent or loved one with time. Let the following highlights of unique Alzheimer’s care and assisted living facilities around the country be your guide to finding superior treatment and care for your loved one.

Hygiene: Because bathing is carried out by the facility’s staff, cleanliness is both monitored and controlled on a daily basis. A good facility should work with a resident’s existing bathing schedule to make him or her feel more comfortable. If, on your walk-through of the facility, residents are poorly groomed, it should be a pretty good indication of the level of care that residents are receiving.

Slips and falls can be common with bathrooms located in a resident’s personal room; the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, for instance, created a separate bathing area from the residents’ rooms to prevent these types of accidents. Alzheimer’s care and/or assisted living facilities in Connecticut, for example, must provide a separate apartment with a bath as well as assistance with bathing (1). While a plan of care will be created by the staff upon your loved one’s arrival, you should discuss with the facility’s director how issues of hygiene are handled, the existence of grab bars and other safety equipment in bathing areas, as well as how often residents are monitored throughout the day.

Diet: Getting residents to eat properly is an often cited problem in Alzheimer’s care and assisted living facilities. Even though a facility may serve three square meals per day, if the food is not of a high enough quality (or quantity), residents will lose weight.

To encourage residents to eat, the Woodlands Assisted Living of Hallowell offers a residential kitchen with supervised cooking activities for Alzheimer’s patients (2). Similarly, Potomac Homes in Ramsey, New Jersey has created a NutriCare food program allowing for the changes that Alzheimer’s disease causes in senior diets, including the frequently overlooked decrease in both taste and smell. The current make-up of a diet for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease should be about 55 – 60% carbohydrates, 12 – 15% protein, and 25 – 30% fat (3). Substantial snacks, ‘comfort’ foods, and a variety of beverages should always be available to residents on an ongoing basis.

The thing to note here, however, is that Alzheimer’s care patients have difficulty distinguishing food from a plate, and either the food or the plate needs to be colorful enough to prevent things from blending together. When touring the facility, make sure to visit the dining room to get a feel for how residents are accommodated at meal times as well as ensuring that the plates are colorful and the food is easily distinguishable.

Decor: The design of a room plays a big part in selecting Alzheimer’s care and assisted living facilities. The wrong carpet pattern has led to some Alzheimer’s patients believing that hundreds of bugs were crawling along the floor. The Wilsonville in Wilsonville, Oregon emphasizes the feeling of home with unique architecture and interiors that are designed to evoke the atmosphere of a home or hotel that residents may have visited at one point in their lives; the facility even boasts a lovely craftsman style and antique décor (4). Bright, warm lighting is recommended, and dramatic or busy carpeting, drapes, and other upholstery should be avoided.

The residents’ rooms should be able to be easily identified, whether by a name plate or artwork. The Barton House in Texas, for instance, installs a small curio cabinet outside every resident’s door that can be filled with personal items to help quickly identify his or her room. The colors of the room and bathroom doors also match so that residents know it’s their own personal space (5).

Activities: Scent and music therapy have been shown to elicit positive responses from Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Asking residents to identify certain smells or sing along with old songs are great ways to get residents’ cognitive juices flowing. Puzzles, games, gardening, reading, sorting, and organizing are also the kinds of activities you should look for when visiting Alzheimer’s care facilities.

Small group activities are highly important as large groups just don’t work the way they should. It’s vital that you watch an activity session to get an idea of how caregivers interact with the residents during these group and one-on-one activity times. And of course, the more caregivers the better – make sure you consider the ratio of caregivers to residents as this allows more time for interaction with your loved one.

Many Alzheimer’s care facilities now have what I’ll call a ‘Memory Lane.’ Antique objects, furniture, clothing, and dolls are placed around a room along with other reminders from a past time to help residents continue their memory-jogging exercises. The only problem is that most of these communities do not fully utilize these highly effective retrospective areas. It’s important that caregivers engage residents in these small memory corners in order to be practical, so take note if it is being properly used.

Final Thoughts: Residents of Alzheimer’s care facilities need a schedule that’s extremely consistent as activities done on a whim or changes in eating or bathing times can trigger attacks of anxiety or confusion. Alzheimer’s care residents in superior assisted living facilities have well-scheduled, structured lives with round-the-clock customized care. If the facility does not stress these prime requirements for Alzheimer’s care, my suggestion is to thank the director for his or her time and begin hitting the pavement once again. Attentive, thorough research of the facility’s features and your loved one’s needs guarantee that you find an Alzheimer’s care facility that will be as committed as you are to the level of care that’s administered. Remember – if it’s a concern to you, speak up! You’ll learn much more that way.

Sources

1. cga.ct.gov/2004/rpt/2004-R-0664.htm

2. woodlandsofhallowell.com/alzheimerscare.html#features

3. potomacgrouphomes.com/program_nutricare.html

4. thewilsonville.com/

5. uncommoncare.com/facilities/facilities.html

Are Nursing Homes Like Jail?

You’ve probably never heard of Charles Todd “Bud” Lee, although he was an award-winning photojournalist whose work has been published in “Life” magazine, “Esquire,” “The New York Times Magazine” and even “Rolling Stone.” His photo of a bleeding 12-year old boy in Newark, New Jersey, who’d been caught in the crossfire of a police shooting, graced the cover of “Life” magazine in July, 1967. Almost exactly 16 years later, however, Bud suffered a stroke that left him semi-paralyzed and landed him in a Florida nursing home.

It turns out that Florida law requires nursing home care for Medicaid recipients, rather than allowing them to live wherever they choose. Bud is still there, in the Community Care Center in Plant City, Florida, an involuntary resident, more than five years later–and he’s really angry.

Last September, Bud’s plight caught the attention of Matt Sedentsky, a writer for the Associated Press. Sedentsky’s subsequent September 21st article, arguing that Florida nursing homes, fearful of losing money, have successfully pressured politicians to make such alternatives as in-home health care difficult for Medicaid recipients to obtain.

He reported that Bud Lee has filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the approximately 8,500 Floridians who are similarly institutionalized. As Bud succinctly described his situation, “Most of the people come here to die, so you want to die. It is a prison. I can’t escape it.”

A recent study found that seniors fear moving into a nursing home and the loss of their independence far more than death. Indeed, according to the study commissioned by Clarity and the EAR Foundation, fully 89 percent of America’s elderly want to age in place, and will use adaptive technology to stay independent. Their Baby Boomer children, the study noted, are equally concerned about nursing home care for their parents, and they’re eager to support their parents in this quest.

More than one-quarter of the study’s respondents cited as a fear a loss of independence, which is closely aligned with the fear of nursing homes. Moving from their home into a nursing facility is a fear of 13 percent of seniors, while a mere three percent of research study participants identified the fear of death.

These fears appear to be justified. A recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services found that about 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients, including infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and patient abuse and neglect. In fact, approximately 20 percent of the complaints verified by federal and state inspectors involved abuse or neglect of nursing home patients.

Last May, the 18,000 residents of Albert Lea, Minnesota were shocked to learn that 15 residents of the Good Samaritan nursing home, all suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia, had been verbally, emotionally and sexually abused by local high school girls who were working at the facility. The subsequent report by the Minnesota Department of Health quoted one employee as saying that “When (the students) would do these things, they would pull the curtain enough, so when they heard a door open, they could stop. They were quite sneaky about what they were doing. The ones they were targeting were those that have Alzheimer’s so bad, that they wouldn’t be able to say it or remember.”

The report found that the abuse involved spitting and putting fingers in mouths, poking breasts and nipples, touching and tapping genitals, sticking buttocks in faces, rubbing buttocks and penises, anal insertion, and restraining residents and teasing them.

Following investigation by state and local authorities, a 19-year old and an 18-year old were charged with gross misdemeanors, carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine for each count. One of the teens faces 11 charges; the other, 10, including abuse of a vulnerable adult by a caregiver, abuse of a vulnerable adult with sexual contact, disorderly conduct, and failing to report suspected maltreatment. Four of the others, all 17 at the time of the alleged abuse, were charged in juvenile court with failure to report maltreatment.

More than 1.5 million people live in the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes, which are typically inspected annually. They are required to meet federal standards as a condition of participating in Medicaid and Medicare, which cover more than two-thirds of their residents, at a cost of more than $75 billion a year.

Although there are obvious acts of nursing home abuse-long-term over-medication, for example–others are more subtle, or as in the Albert Lea situation described above, difficult to detect because of the dementia of the patient. Consequently, these cases can easily be overlooked by family members. Following are some indicators of abuse:

Bedsores or open wounds are common instances of neglect or abuse. Nursing home personnel often claim that bedsores are normal among frail or immobile seniors. Unfortunately, concerned family members are duped by these explanations, and their parents and loved ones suffer pain and sometimes die from these sores. Experts say that almost all bedsore cases are caused by abuse or neglect. Guidelines require nursing homes to move patients regularly and ensure that sheets and clothing are kept dry. Should a family member find a bedsore, insist that the victim is moved to a medical facility for treatment.

Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns or fractures are often evidence that residents are being dropped or abused by staff personnel. This often occurs when the senior is in a medicated condition. Family members are urged to ask questions to get clarification about these situations, and vague or questionable responses often indicate abuse.

Torn, bloody or stained garments are the best evidence of sexual abuse, which, as described above in the Albert Lea story, frequently occurs in nursing homes, where victims are often medicated or suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Refusal to allow contact with a resident, or unexplained delays in making the resident available for a visit, indicate underlying abuse, that is, the nursing home staff is attempting to intimidate or prevent the victim’s reporting of the abuse or neglect.

Modifications to the resident’s financial documents, including wills and trusts, are cause for suspicion, particularly if these changes occur abruptly or if the resident cannot adequately explain why they occurred. Such changes suggest that the resident may have been coerced or threatened.

Each of these warning signs should spur action among family and friends, including reports to police. Suspicions of sexual or physical abuse require changing nursing facilities, as well as police involvement. Nursing home residents, who are frequent targets of abuse, nonetheless have civil rights that need to be protected, most often, unfortunately, by concerned family members and friends.

How To Survive The Storms Of Your Life

Note: This is what Pat Flora told me about what she has gone through and what she has learned. I promised Pat I would help her tell her story to others, so,please read on:

“I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand,I will not be shaken.”(Psalm 16:8)

When God breaks into our lives with “storms of trouble” he points us toward his greatness, glory and power. In this way God gave my life a firm foundation of hope.
I now step confidently toward whatever he has for me in the future. My life is quite normal; in fact, I had many good things come my way. But I’ve also had a share of trials and troubles – storms I call them.

After 20 years of marriage, 4 children a divorce, a bankruptcy, two broken vertebrae in my back, 2 car wrecks, family problems with the children, not enough money – just your normal everyday events. Hard as it was I prayerfully coped with all of it and moved on.

Storm #1: After re-marriage, and a move from Illinois to New Jersey the storm clouds appeared. My son Mike wrecked his pick-up truck. Before I left New Jersey I called every prayer warrior I knew. Mike was flown to a St. Louis hospital in critical condition and in a coma. I flew to Illinois. Days dragged by for 28 days. Mike, still in a coma, developed: pneumonia, a blood clot, broken bones and severed basil nerves. Doctors said there was no hope. Family agreed to disconnect all life support. I called every prayer warrior I knew (nationwide) asked them to pray for a miracle for Mike. A nurse checked Mike a few days later and he opened his eyes, turned his head said: “Hi, I’mMike.” God had performed a miracle and brought Mile back to life with no medical assistance. Today, Mike is walking, talking and thinking and otherwise recovering.

Storm #2: While tending to Mike, my 79 year old husband, Tony, fell off a roof and was told he might never walk again. I called my prayers warriors again for their support. The doctors did surgery, installed metal rods. Tony is walking again. He is also slowly going blind. Then one day, while clearing snow off our driveway Tony was hit by a passing car, broke his shoulder, was hospitalized again. I called the prayers warriors yet again.

Storm # 3: Less than two years after Mike’s miraculous revival, My 49 year old son Todd, while chopping down a tree for his sick father’s fireplace, (Bill had cancer) Todd was knocked down by part of the falling tree. I called my prayerwarriors again. Todd was taken to a Springfield (IL) hospital; he was paralyzed with two broken vertebrae in his neck. Then, after going home from the hospital in a wheelchair, his closest caregiver developed a problem with alcohol and so was often unable to help him with his daily needs. Later, Todd developed blood clots and has since been moved to Veterans Hospital in St. Louis (IL) for treatment and rehabilitation. Today Todd is still in a wheel chair and paralyzed from chest to toes but is beginning to get some feeling in some parts of his lower body. Praise God.

Storm #3: While Todd was in the hospital, his father (my ex-husband) died of cancer, causing even more grief and stress in our family.

Lessons learned during the storms:

(1) Pray! Call up the reserves. Ask your prayer warriors to get on their knees and report for duty! The storms were spiritually and physically difficult for all of us. We could never relax. We have learned much about trusting in and having faith in God. Without these tragic storms, we could have breezed along: self-centered, dependent on our intellect and money and never thinking about God and his love for us.

(2) With God all things are possible.

(3) You have not because you ask not.

(4) It is not easy to pray and see no immediate results.

(5) God is not like a fast food restaurant. His timing is different and better than ours.

(6) In his time, God will answer our prayers.

(7) The storms were so bad that at times, I was not able to pray. That is when I learned the Holy Spirit interceded for me with his own prayers to the Father for my family and me.

(8)The emotional stress and grief of all of these storms gave me an overwhelming desire to do nothing but sit and feel depressed. A friend called. She heard me sobbing and was at my house within an hour. She put me to work dusting the upstairs of the house while she did the downstairs. In short, she knew she had to get me out of my semi-robotic state of mind and what she did demonstrated to me that – after all – life goes on.

(9) The Bible tells us: “it came to pass.” When in the midst of these storms I felt they would never end. They have passed, but the scars remain: Mike’s way of walking may never be perfect. Tony’s body has many scars, aches and pains. Todd’s paralysis may never go away. Even so, we don’t know what God will do or how long he will take to do it.

(10) Now, my whole family is counting blessing, blessing we know came from God.

(11) With each passing storm, we learn and mature.

(12) After the storms, life is different, we walk different paths. Different friends take the place of old friends. Because of God’s love he gives us new beginnings, new challenges to help us as we pass through this life toward our eternal life with him in Heaven.

(13) I’ve stopped being the kind of person who worries about: replacing things in my house; wondering about how much taxes will go up; how I’m going to lose my excess weight; how to fix other people; my house; my car and myself.

(14) I count my blessings and thank God for all that he has given me.

(15) In short, I have stopped being the kind of person who says: ” I want it right now!” I have a kind of clarity of thinking and appreciation for just being alive that I did not have before I went through all of those life shaking, life-changing storms.

(16) Finally, I have a story to tell. I need to tell others what I have learned while becoming a survivor of life’s storms. I know I have a testimony for others to hear. I can stand and speak with the confidence and assurance of an eyewitness to all who will listen.

It is important to bury your roots of faith and trust deep in Christ. We know injuries, pain and even death can occur during life’s storms. When big storms come, you may bend and sway like a tree and perhaps even touch the ground. But, after the storm passes, you will have survived and then you will slowly straighten and once again stand tall.

I know God is the giver of hope. Without hope we are all lost. Always keep God at your right hand, remember to call for the help of your prayer warriors, and you will never be permanently shaken by any storm.

SUMMARY:

I sometimes feel like Job. God has, because of his trust in my faith in him, allowed storm after storm to happen in my life. Through it all, God has answered my prayers and the prayers of my family and our faithful prayer warriors. As survivors of these storms, all in my family are stronger, wiser and more trusting in God and his ability to do modern miracles than ever before. In addition, we all pray God will accept our unanimous nomination of our steadfast, ever-faithful prayer warriors to his: Prayer Warriors Hall Of Fame.

LPN Schools in NJ – Making You the Very Best Nurse

If your mind is sharp and your heart to help others is huge, the chances are that you are potentially considering a career as a registered nurse. Many future nurses want to at least get licensed so they can find that position to get their career underway. However, finding employment in nursing can only be achieved by the best of the best and only by those who have taken the time to get themselves properly educated and trained. As such, whether you live in San Diego or elsewhere, you should look into the fine educational opportunities offered through the LPN schools in NJ.

LPN schools in NJ can take your enthusiasm to heal the world, help other people, and turn you into the nurse that you have always wanted to be. Most importantly, they can turn you into a nurse that every patient wishes was caring for them. These schools will help tailor your education and practical experience prior to getting a job that will enable to you to be an assistant to a registered nurse and find varied positions with a job description that suits you.

LPN schools in NJ teach you to care for the very basic needs of bed-ridden patients. You will be able to administer drugs, take vital signs, do sample collections and give varied injections. You attitude towards caring will be developed prior to your entrance into the work field. The more help that is needed within the health industry, the more your education will serve you to help others. Whether you are working for medical offices, hospitals, health centers or nursing facilities, you training in varied principles of nursing will make you a worldwide asset. Your practicum through the top schools will give you a career where you provide critical and needed services to many people and families. Not only will your future be rewarding because of the satisfaction of knowing that you cared enough, but you helped those who could not help themselves. As such, your vocation will demand a lot of your time during the training period and through these schools, you will start with your certification and work towards your national level of licensing.

You can move towards your goals as a nurse by checking out one of these highly recommended LPN schools in NJ. They include:

1. Lincoln Technical Institute – locations in Edison, Paramus and Moorestown, New Jersey, with varied LPN nursing programs
2. Dover Business College – locations in Dover and Clifton, New Jersey, including LPN courses for practical type nursing
3. Prism Career Institute – located in Cherry Hill, NJ, has one program for practical nursing

LPN nursing is not at the registered nurse level, just one step below, but if you desire to have a hands on approach to nursing whereby you are the caregiver for patients right on the front lines, this may be the career for you. It takes a few years to fully get into the right position and to find the best location for your nursing skills. However, as you advance with your experience, the value that you get from your education in LPN nursing will prove its worth, making these schools amongst your most valuable early choices.

Health Care Fraud Program Expansion and Senior Medical Patrol Capacity Building Grants

The Administration on Aging, also known as AoA, is a federal government agency operating within the United States Department of Health and Human Services that’s generally responsible for ensuring the well-being of older Americans in their independent communities through the provision of grants and support programs sanctioned by the Congress in the Older Americans Act.

The grants and programs of the AoA are all designed to make a contribution to the realization of its main agency mission which is to”develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of home and community-based services that helps elderly people maintain their health and self-reliance in their homes and communities.”

In line with this mission, the Administration on Aging has recently established the Health Care Fraud Program Expansion and Senior Medical Patrol Capacity Building Grants in an effort to augment the capacity of the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program to reach more Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, their families and caregivers, while concentrating on fraud prevention and identification.

The Senior Medicare Patrol Program has been running for a minimum of 10 years and has consistently received funding from the AoA. Each SMP grantee operates a state-wide programme with maximum funding of $180,000 each year provided by Older Americans Act funds.

The funds received by the grantees will be utilized to support the training and mobilization of senior volunteers who provide client education to beneficiaries. One of the primary objectives of the client education initiatives that are covered under the program is the significance of medicare fraud prevention.

With this, The SMP Program attempts to empower the aged through raised awareness and understanding of medicare programs that would protect them from the economic and health-related implications associated with Medicare and Medicaid fraud, error, and abuse.

Basically, the programme announcement not only intends to increase awareness of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries of medicare fraud prevention, identification and reporting through expansion of SMP program capacity; it also attempts to develop and implement new innovations in fraud education by expanding collaborative efforts with law enforcement partners, CMS and other associations with an indisputable record of health care fraud prevention.

To support these initiatives, the AoA is ready to administer funds in the amount of $7.3 million.

The institutions and associations who will be assumed eligible to submit an application under this programme are the following:

a) Existing SMP grantees from California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Ohio, New Mexico, and Georgia.