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Thursday, July 26, 2012

For the Caregiver - Finding Tax Relief; Coping with Long-Distance Challenges and Fears

The Society of Certified Senior Advisors has released the July issue of Senior Spirit.

Senior Spirit is a monthly newsletter featuring the latest news on important issues facing seniors, their families and the people who work with them. Each issue contains comprehensive articles on medical news, financial topics and lifestyle trends as well as how these issues impact you, your business and your senior clients - all straight from the experts.

The three main articles include:
  •  Noise Pollution - A Health Hazard for Seniors - The effects of noise pollution on the ears of a senior can be a nuisance at best but can also cause long-term health problems. Addressing the problem of too much exposure to noise can help create better health for senior.

  • Caregivers Find Tax Relief - When paying for the medical care of another, a person is permitted to write off certain expenses. Specific guidelines must be followed, but the benefits are there for the taxpayer.

  •  Overcoming Difficult Challenges in Long-Distance Caregiving - Adult children who are long-distance caregivers have similar but more complicated challenges as those who care for nearby parents. Practical tips, good resources and technology help long-distance caregivers cope and get a solid plan in place.
Other topics include 100-Year-Old Dorothy Custer Charms Fans on the Tonight Show!; Making a Difference Through Meals on Wheels; Information for Life - The How Tos; and so much more!

Download July's Senior Spirit!

Are you interested in having Senior Spirit delivered to you inbox every month? We encourage you to subscribe now!


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Information for Life - The How Tos

Have you ever searched all over the house for that one account number that you knew you had saved somewhere? Have you ever lost your wallet and wished you had all of your information saved in one place so that you access it quickly? How could the Information for Life kit help you, your clients and your loved ones?

The Information for Life kit helps provide answers with a free, easily accessible, comprehensive tool that has been specially designed to assist seniors and their caregivers in compiling important information. It provides the guidance needed for caregivers who need to make decisions for seniors and handle their affairs when they are no longer able to do so for themselves. The kit includes Emergency Contacts, Financial, Medical Advance Directives, Legal Documents, Insurance Documents, Health Needs and Medical History, an End of Life section, Caregiving Information, including a Caregiver Bill of Rights and a Daily & Lifestyle Routines form, and Family and Household Information, including a Household Information form and a Pet Information form. The complete Information for Life kit is now available on the CSA website (

Now that the Information for Life kit is available what exactly should you do with it? As you might imagine, completing the Information for Life kit is incredibly empowering and well worth the effort. To make sure that effort isn’t wasted it is important to save the information you have compiled, or urged your clients to compile, in a safe and easily accessible place in the case of an emergency. One suggestion is to download all of the forms and guides and put them into a binder separated with dividers by section. This way the information is easily accessible and does not end up in the bottom of a file cabinet. It’s a good idea to save the information electronically as well. You can scan the forms into your computer so that you have an electronic copy which can be easily shared with loved ones or advocates and is readily available when it is needed.

We would love to hear your stories! Please consider sharing your experiences with us.

Blog posting provided by The Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Monday, July 16, 2012



In June, I was able to do something I had wanted to do for several years…take the course and pass the test to receive the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) designation.

In 2002, I earned my Masters in Business Administration degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC. In 2005, when I started my Home Instead Senior Care business, I felt I had an academic and professional foundation to start and run a business. Though I didn’t have a clinical healthcare background, I had a passion for serving seniors, the leadership skills to build my organization, and the tenacity to grow a senior home care operation from scratch starting with no clients and no CAREGivers.

I have found tremendous advantages in being inside the franchise system that pioneered non-medical in-home care and that today is the largest and most trusted provider in this niche. Besides all the support from Home Instead, Inc., wonderful employees, and my family; I truly feel my Heavenly Father has watched over my endeavors and blessed me at many critical moments along the way.

Five years and 500 clients later (and two children), I have a wonderful small business that gives me the opportunity to add value to society in so many ways. I have seen and learned so much in these five years, and I truly feel that the service my CAREGivers and staff provide has attributes of quality and personalization that set me apart from my competitors. Still, I suppose that some of my more clinical referral providers could question my qualifications to run an organization that makes such a difference for the health and well being of seniors.

So, to me, earning the Certified Senior Advisor designation was an important step in my professional development. Also, I think it will help me demonstrate to my constituents that I have gone the extra mile to obtain knowledge and understanding about seniors, their needs, and their special circumstances.

What did I learn in the process of becoming a CSA? The curriculum for the course is designed to support professionals of all kinds who work with seniors by providing broad-based knowledge of the health, social, and financial issues that are important to seniors. The course involved three full days of classes and on the fourth day was a 3-hour exam. Because we were covering such a massive amount of information across a broad range of topics, I did feel like I was drinking from a fire hose. However, the thick textbook that is the basis for the course is a great resource that I will be able to refer to regularly in my work with seniors.

This list includes some of the things I learned:

  • Seniors’ three top fears – and how I can help seniors address them
  • Special physiological and nutritional needs of seniors
  • Signs of normal cognitive aging versus dementia
  • Where most seniors prefer to live – and the newest choices in senior housing
  • What seniors should know about Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
  • Key questions seniors should ask before they buy long-term care insurance
  • What advance directives do and don’t do
  • The stages and tasks of grief – and how to respond to someone who’s grieving
  • How to market ethically to seniors
  • Best ways to communicate with seniors – and what not to do
In summary, I would definitely recommend the CSA designation to professionals who work with seniors in any capacity. As an owner and operator of an in-home care agency, the course gave me new knowledge, particularly about how Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid work. Also, the material served as an excellent overview of my existing knowledge base in regards to building relationships with seniors and their loved ones. It’s nice to have it all in one book.

To learn more about becoming a Certified Senor Advisor, please visit the web site of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors at

Blog posting provided by Mike Brunt, CSA

Download June's issue of Senior Spirit, featuring Mike's CSA Spotlight article.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


It’s a word; an attitude. And it should get easier to say as we age.

Yes encompasses the American dream, representing everything we want for ourselves and the people we care about because the word suggests collaboration. It connects people, forming a bond between us; sometimes it bridges nations. Yes offers us a generosity of spirit, along with commitment, and it can change any conversation in a meaningful way.

By this time in life, we have all made hundreds of thousands of decisions, and these choices can be exhausting—both individually and collectively over time. When choosing our alternatives, it feels especially good when we can be positive. It makes us happier people when we utter this life-affirming response. When there’s a yes involved, a situation can be turned around in an instant, enabling us to feel invigorated and empowered. It can, in fact, lessen the toll that decision-making takes on us over the years.

A statement of mature values, yes strongly suggests movement toward justice, kindness, growth, and prosperity. It is an expression of enthusiasm, passion, hope, promise--and love; it can signify the beginning of a very special relationship. It is the mantra of the half-glass-full people among us who look for reasons to say yes.

But don’t sell no short. No can be the beginning of a dialogue that can eventually lead to yes.

~ Laraine Jablon

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a writer specializing in social, health, and spiritual concerns of seniors. She lives in Nesconset, New York, and welcomes your thoughts.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Obamacare and Elder Abuse

With the Affordable Care Act being upheld by the Supreme Court, there will be many breathing a sigh of relief. Among those who may be able to exhale are individuals who are confronted with Elder Abuse.

Elder Abuse is underreported, under-recognized, and under-prosecuted. But luckily there is a growing awareness of the problem and help will soon be at hand in the form of a coordinated federal effort that was announced on Elder Abuse Awareness Day at a White House forum on elder abuse and financial exploitation.

The federal government is putting its money where its mouth is with a $5.5 million grant to address the devastating and increasing problem of elder financial abuse under the Affordable Care Act.

According to a study by the Investor Protection Trust, Elder Abuse is getting worse. The vast majority experts dealing with investment fraud/financial exploitation of American senior citizens agree that the problem of scams targeting the elderly is on the rise.

Hazel Heckers is one of those taking the lead in bringing issues of elder abuse to the forefront of crime prevention. She is the Victim Advocate for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and she has advised on the state’s law enforcement protocols for responding to cases of caregiver abuse.

Hazel was the host of last week’s very popular CSA webinar “The Story You Won’t See on Law & Order: Why Elders Are Targets for Scams and Financial Abuse”. CSAs can view the webinar in the Member Resources section of the CSA website. Hazel also provided information sheets which she will customize for CSAs.

But we want to hear from you. Have you had experiences of working with victims of abuse? Tell us what has made a difference in your work.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors