Posts Tagged ‘senior centers’

The Social Security Administration Encourages You to be on the Look Out for Scams

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The Social Security Administration Encourages You to be on the Look Out for Scams

Disaster scams are still out there. The Social Security Administration (SSA) issued another warning last week. The scammers are making phone calls and sending emails, posing as FEMA or SSA employees. They ask  for your Social Security number  and bank information, stating that they need it to make sure you get your benefits. These are the same type of scammers that call or send emails claiming that you won a prize and asking you to provide information so they may send you the winnings or even asking you to pay a fee upfront.  Once the thieves have your personal information, they can use it to open credit accounts, buy homes, claim tax refunds, and commit other types of fraud. Most recently, some identity thieves have redirected Social Security beneficiaries’ monthly benefit payments, so the money goes to a different bank account, sometimes repeatedly.

To help prevent this type of fraud, the Inspector General recommends that you:

  • never provide your personal information when receiving unsolicited calls or contacts
  • never agree to accept pre-paid debit cards or credit cards in another person‚Äôs name
  • never agree to send or wire money to an unknown person
  • always contact your local SSA office if you receive a call from a person claiming to be from SSA, and that person asks you to provide your Social Security number or other information.

To verify the legitimacy of a caller who claims to be an SSA employee, call your local Social Security office, or Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.

If you find that someone has stolen or is using your personal information, you should report that to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or 1-877-ID-THEFT.  You can report suspicious activity involving Social Security programs and operations to the Social Security Fraud Hotline, or by phone at 1-800-269-0271. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can call OIG’s TTY number at 1-866-501-2101.

Energy Tips

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Energy Tips

The heat is on outside and your air conditioning is probably running overtime inside. This could result in high utility bills.

PSE&G offers the following tips that could help conserve energy and save you money! 

  • Turn off everything you are not using; lights, tvs, computers, etc. Use dimmers, timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
  • Set a programmable thermostat to your daily and weekend schedule. Raising your thermostat from 73 to 78 degrees can save you as much as 15% in cooling costs during the summer.
  • Close blinds, shades and draperies facing the sun to keep the sun‚Äôs heat out and help fans and air conditioners cool more efficiently.
  • Check the weather-stripping and caulking around doors and windows. Eliminate air leaks between window air conditioners and windows with foam insulation or weather-stripping.
  • Close doors leading to un-cooled parts of your home. With central air, close off vents in unused rooms.
  • Use fans to draw cooler air inside during the night and circulate air during the day. Even if you have air conditioning, ceiling and other fans provide additional cooling and better circulation so you can raise the thermostat and contain air conditioning costs.
  • Delay heat-producing tasks such as washing and drying laundry or dishes until later in the day, and wait until loads are full.
  • Refrain from using nonessential appliances. Unplug or use only when necessary an extra refrigerator.
  • Replace your four most used 100 watt incandescent bulbs with four comparable 23 watt compact fluorescent bulbs. Energy Star labeled compact fluorescents work well almost anywhere regular bulbs are in use and can save you a significant amount of money over their lifetime.

For more energy saving information, visit pseg.com/saveenergy

As Senior Population Swells, State Needs to Lift Moratorium on Adult Day Care

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

As Senior Population Swells, State Needs to Lift Moratorium on Adult Day Care

¬†By Roberto Mu?±iz, President and CEO, The Francis E. Parker Memorial Home Inc.

 The NJ Department of Health and Human Services has documented the many financial abuses in the adult day care system, reporting numerous providers who have scammed Medicaid to reap small fortunes off the backs of taxpayers.

Negative stories abound in the media:   Day care providers telling the elderly to lie to state investigators about their needs, people with disabilities placed in wheelchairs when they are able to walk, and even one case where a client with alleged heart failure and severe asthma was spotted cutting the center’s grass.  All these examples illustrate the extent that unscrupulous providers will go to collect Medicaid payments.  

With investigators suspecting that nearly one-third of the state’s adult day care centers committed some form of Medicaid fraud, according to published reports, it was no surprise that the state stopped issuing new licenses for adult day care centers in 2008. And, in an April 16th decision, that moratorium will be in place until at least November 1st of this year.

But while the NJ Department of Health and Human Services remains hesitant to allow any new centers to open, the demand in New Jersey for home and community-based long term care services is growing and adult day care is a cost effective option.

 Adult day care centers, if operated honestly and ethically, are enormously beneficial.  They make life easier for older New Jerseyans, giving them a safe and supportive place to receive quality care throughout the day.  Services vary among centers, but include medical care, stimulating activities and exercise, and nutritious meals and snacks.  They also provide transportation within a designated service area, making care and support accessible, and give caregivers, such as a spouse or child, a break from 24-hour-a-day care.

 Center staff is trained to monitor medical issues and communicate changes in health to caregivers.  For example, a scratchy throat or a fever could ultimately become a costly stay in a hospital if left untreated. Having a hot, fresh, nutritious lunch supports a daily balanced diet minimizing risk of dehydration or malnourishment.  An engaging walk with friends around the grounds can replace another inactive hour in front of a television.

Adult care centers, which receive $78.50 a day from Medicaid for each person served, are saving taxpayers a small fortune. Consider this: if not for these adult day care centers, many more seniors would be placed in skilled nursing homes, where the government would be spending significantly more to care for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Aside from cost, adult day centers honor every senior’s wish to remain home for as long as possible.

  Around New Jersey there are a variety of adult day programs.  At Parker, we offer two types, supporting both the social and medical needs of seniors.   The social program available five hours each weekday is for socially isolated elderly, who need motivation and support to maintain an active lifestyle while managing aging issues. Participants benefit from the wellness center, take in a movie, use the hair salon, attend rehabilitation therapy and engage in a host of other stimulating activities. 

 We also offer a medical program, available eight hours each weekday that provides health services, such as monitoring glucose levels, managing medications and providing clinical support for elderly with functional or cognitive challenges. Additionally, the program provides many activities that support the social and emotional needs of participants. 

 In addition to the much needed respite from the challenges of daily caregiving, Parker offers supportive education to caregiver families and assistance with long-term care options as participant needs grow.   

 The time is now for New Jersey officials to plot a future for adult day care, as statistics show there are now 1.13 million seniors living in the state and the numbers are quickly growing. As the Baby Boomers age and hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans require care, there will be an enormous burden placed on the system.

  We are grateful that the state identified the unethical sources of fraud in adult day health services, and put corrective actions in place.  Now it’s time for state officials to lift the moratorium on new adult day centers, so that more high quality adult day programs can become available. 

 As the state is encouraging long-term care funding to move to home-and-community based services, supporting the growth of adult day programs makes fiscal sense andis the right thing to do for a growing demographic of New Jerseyans who want to remain at home with the support of affordable community resources.  

Roberto Mu?±iz, MPA, LNHA, FACHCA

President and CEO, The Francis E. Parker Memorial Home, Inc.

¬†Roberto Mu?±iz has more than 20 years of senior executive experience with health care and long-term care service providers.¬†¬† In addition to his current role as Present and CEO of Parker, Mr. Mu?±iz is extensively engaged in leadership positions with several New Jersey state and national associations that foster the availability and quality of aging services.¬† Mr. Mu?±iz holds a bachelor‚Äôs degree in public health administration and master‚Äôs degree in public administration from Rutgers University. He is a licensed nursing home administrator (LNHA) in both New Jersey and New York states.

Roberto Mu?±iz is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Foundation for Aging, Inc.¬†

Identity Theft- Next steps

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Identity Theft

 We all know by now that we are supposed to carefully guard our social security number. You may have read some safety tips here on this blog or in Renaissance magazine. So, what do you do if your Social Security number is misused?

 The Social Security Administration protects your Social Security number and keeps your records confidential. They do not give your number to anyone, except when authorized by law. However, in the event that your identity is stolen or your Social Security number misused, they are not able to investigate that matter. Instead, the SSA recommends the following:

To report identity theft, fraud, or misuse of your Social Security number, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, recommends that you take the following steps:

Step 1:  Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the three companies:

The company you contact is required to contact the other two, which will then place an alert on their versions of your report.

Step 2:  Review your credit report for inquiries from companies you have not contacted; accounts you did not open; and debts on your accounts that you cannot explain.

Step 3:  Close any accounts you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Step 4:  File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.

Step 5:  File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling them at 1-877-438-4338 (TTY 1-866-653-4261).

You also should monitor your credit report periodically. Free credit reports are available online at www.annualcreditreport.com.

 You also may want to contact the Internal Revenue Service. An identity thief might also use your Social Security number to file a tax return in order to receive a refund. If the thief files the tax return before you do, the IRS will believe you already filed and received your refund if eligible. If your Social Security number is stolen, another individual may use it to get a job. That person’s employer would report income earned to the IRS using your Social Security number, making it appear that you did not report all of your income on your tax return. If you think you may have tax issues because someone has stolen your identity, contact the IRS Identity Protection Unit at http://www.irs.gov/privacy/article/0,,id=186436,00.html or call 1-800-908-4490.

Tips for Caregivers

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Tips for Caregivers

A critical part an older adult remaining in the community is support from family and friends. Some of that support comes in the form of a family caregiver. We know that many sons, daughter, grandchildren, nieces/nephews or siblings are taking on the role of a caregiver to a loved one.

A recent report from AARP about the value of caregivers states that in 2009 42 million Americans provided care to an older adult family member with limited daily abilities. Furthermore, they found that 65% of those caregivers were female and many worked a job in addition to providing care. The report also states that the typical caregivers provides approximately 20 hours a week of unpaid care.

While, caregiving is a job and does require the caregiver to make sacrifices, many report that they appreciate the relationship between themselves and the care recipient. Providing care for a loved one can be a rewarding activity, even if it is challenging at times. Some say the bond they make with the care recipient enhances their life, such as a daughter caring for her mother may bring them closer and allow them to share thoughts and feelings that they did not before.

The relationship between the caregiver and the care recipient can become stressful, in most cases the family member is providing care that may be uncomfortable for one or both parties. Not to mention, the older adult care recipient may also be having difficulty with the change in their abilities and routine. Parents may be reluctant to share financial or personal information with children, which could make assisting with bill paying difficult.

Not only are there aspects of caregiving that stressful, but also time consuming. Tasks such as shopping, food preparation, laundry, transportation and physical care for another individual leaves little time to care for oneself.

There are of course many resources available, below are some tips we’ve found that may be helpful, as well as a list of resources.

Tips:

  1. Ask questions. To avoid an argument with the care recipient, make sure you ask specific questions about situations or decisions that need to be made. Ask their advice before making a decision for them, perhaps it is something they’ve already thought about or made arrangements for.
  2. Organize documents. Keeping important documents all in one place is a practical strategy. Create categories like personal, medical, financial, and keep them all in a binder or file. Also, keeping a list of medications and doctors can be helpful too.
  3. Take time for yourself. Utilize other family members, neighbors or local community services to provide care so you can take a break. Caregivers should not feel guilty about needing a break, taking an exercise class, reading a book or just taking care of you is necessary to assure you are taking good care of your loved one.
  4. Take advantage of local services. Contact the Eldercare Locator, a service offered by the US Administration on Aging, which helps people find services for older adults. There you can find adult day centers, rehab and nursing services in your own town, as well as, your county and municipal aging programs.

A list of County Office on Aging can be found at http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/services.html

To find a Senior Center in your area visit:

http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/seniorcenter/scSearch.aspx

To get more information from NJ Division of Aging and Community Services visit http://www.nj.gov/health/senior/index.shtml or call 1-800-792-8820.

Eldercare Locator:             http://www.eldercare.gov/eldercare.NET/Public/index.aspx

Affordable Care Act: Fact 4

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Facts: Follow this Series

This is part 4 of our ongoing series, so please see Fact # 1 in a post dated, Feb 8, 2011, Fact # 2 in the post dated 2/24/11 and Fact # 3 in a post dated 3/8/11.

There is a lot of speculation and discussion about what affect health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will have on seniors and their families.

Fact # 4: The law will improve care for older adults in other ways besides changes to Medicare.

There are improvements beyond Medicare that will help you and your family.  In a previous blog post we discussed the long term care changes that will improve for older adults such as changes to Medicaid that will allow people the choice of home and community based care and regulations that will prevent a spouse from becoming impoverished if their spouse is receiving home and community based care through the Medicaid Program.

There are also measures written in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will help early retirees. To help offset the cost of employer-based retiree health plans, the new law creates a program to preserve those plans and help people who retire before age 65 get the affordable care they need. By providing financial relief to businesses that provide health coverage to early retirees, health reform will make it easier for early retirees to obtain health care coverage. Health insurance reform will guarantee that you will always have choices of quality, affordable health insurance even if you retire early and lose access to employer-sponsored insurance. It will create a health insurance exchange so you can compare prices and health plans and decide which quality affordable option is right for you.

The ACA also sets up protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The new law provides affordable health insurance through a transitional high-risk pool program for people without insurance due to a pre-existing condition. The Dept. of Banking and Insurance in NJ as already begun working on the high-risk pool program. Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition for children starting in September, and for adults in 2014. Insurance companies will be banned from establishing lifetime limits on your coverage, and use of annual limits will be limited starting in September.

And if you are concerned for the young people in your life who may be struggling to find a job in this economy, the ACA didn’t forget them either. According to the Law, young people up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance policy starting in September of 2011.

Information in this blog was gathered from the Affordable Care Act, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare and the National Council on Aging.

Healthcare Reform information from

The White House:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Pages_from_Health_Insurance_Reform_PDF-4.pdf

Medicare

http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11467.pdf

National Council on Aging

http://www.ncoa.org/public-policy/health-care-reform/straight-talk-for-seniors-on.html

NJFA 1st Annual Online Auction!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

In 2010 NJFA has taken some big steps in the world of social media. It started with this blog, then a Facebook page, then a twitter account and now an online auction.

The popularity of using the internet to reach people is huge.  We were hearing about it and seeing it everywhere.  Other organizations that we collaborate with were using sites like Facebook and Twitter so we took the plunge.

The NJFA blog is a place where we can spread the word about new information for seniors or post items we think seniors will find interesting. Keeping people informed about our events and publications is so easy with Facebook and Twitter. It is interesting to be connected to other advocacy groups online.

When the time came to plan our Annual Fall Fundraising event, we came up with the idea of an auction and thought the best way to do that would be online. So, to coincide with this year’s November 14th event in New Brunswick, we’ve launched an online silent auction. The auction is hosted by http://www.32auctions.com/ and can be accessed by anyone by entering the Auction ID: NJFAauction and Auction password: agewell. You must create a free account with 32auctions in order to place a bid. The items up for bid for NJFA’s 1st Annual Online Auction include 4 tickets to The Addams Family on Broadway and dinner at Sardi’s Restaurant in NYC, 6 Riedel Crystal Wine Glasses, a Cuban painting, 4 Norman Rockwell collector plates, and several autographed baseball memorabilia from players like Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson and Tommy John. The auction will be open until noon on November 12th, so don’t miss out on your chance to bid!

NJFA’s 3rd Annual Fall Celebration will take place on Sunday, November 14th and starts with a 3 pm performance at The State Theater in New Brunswick, of the big band musical, “In the Mood” and is followed by dinner and wine pairing at Daryl Wine Bar and Restaurant on George St. in New Brunswick. The event will be time for us to reflect on the work of NFJA throughout the year and to show appreciation to this year’s honoree’s, NFJA’s Founding Trustees, Rosemarie Doremus, Margaret Chester, Carl West and Susan Chasnoff. Information on sponsorships and tickets is available at http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/events.html or by calling our office at 609-421-0206.

Weatherization Programs

Friday, August 6th, 2010

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) through the NJ Department of Community Affairs, helps low income families, seniors and disabled residents permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient and comfortable year-round. Making changes to your home that make it more energy efficient you could save as much as 20 to 30 percent on your energy bill. In addition to these savings, energy efficient homes also help the environment and improve your quality of life.

What is weatherization? Weatherization makes sure that your home holds heat or air conditioning in, while keeping cold or hot air out. Weatherizing your home will improve heating efficiency, conserve energy and decrease utility bills. Some examples of assistance with weatherization are insulation, caulking, weather stripping, carbon monoxide detectors and assistance to repair or replace windows, furnace/boiler, appliances, etc.

Eligible applicants must meet the following gross annual income limits:

Family size                         Annual Household Income

1 person                              $21,660

2 person                              $29,140

3 person                              $36,620

4 person                              $44,100

5 person                              $51,580

6 person                              $59,060

If you are eligible based on the guidelines above, you must fill out an application to receive services. To find out more information about the Weatherization Assistance Program in your county or to apply you can contact 1-800-510-3102 or visit, http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/wap.html

2010 Conference Session: Ethical & Legal Response: Identifying and Reporting Elder Abuse

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

At NJFA’s 12th Annual Conference on June 10th we were pleased to offer a workshop titled, “The Ethical and Legal Response: Identifying and Reporting Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation”. This session featured, David Ricci, State Coordinator of Adult Protective Services; Pat Bohse, Manager, NJ4A; Linda Murtagh- Social Work Supervisor, Ocean County Board of Social Services; and Vincent Olawale- Human Services Division Manager FOCUS, Hispanic Center of Community Development, Inc. The presenters advised the group on how to identify elder abuse and the different forms it takes. Elders can experience abuse in many ways, physical, mental/emotional, financial and also through neglect. 

Also in the discussion was NJ Laws regarding elder abuse and reporting, as well as, the states rules and regulations regarding referrals made to Adult Protective Services. The law regarding Adult Protective Services applies to any “vulnerable adult”, meaning anyone over 18 years of age or older who resides in a community setting and who, because of a physical or mental illness or disability, lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or carry out decisions concerning his or her well-being. When reporting elder abuse, you should provide the name and address of the adult and as much information as possible about the concern and the person responsible for any abuse. The report should be investigated within 72 hours according to NJ State Law. Depending on what is found, the adult protective services worker may refer the older adult to services and may contact other Departments, such as the Office on Aging or Division of Developmental Disabilities.

The new NJ State Law regarding the reporting of abuse that was discussed in this session. The law makes it mandatory for certain professionals to report elder abuse, such as optometrists, psychologists, podiatrists, and physical therapists. The new law establishes mandatory reporting for these healthcare professionals and first responders because they are likely to come in contact with vulnerable adults.

Another part of the presentation included Pat Bohse of NJ4A and Bohse & Associates, showing a video about elder abuse. The video shows professionals, elders and family members talking about specific examples of elder abuse as well as numerous facts and figures about the problem. The point of the video is to raise awareness about the problem of elder abuse and encourage people to report it so that more elders can get help if they are in an abusive situation.

 Evaluations from the session indicate that attendees found the presentation informative and that the speakers were engaging. We’d also like to take this opportunity to again thank our wonderful presenters for taking the time to put together this session on a very important subject.

It’s getting hot out there!

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

It’s getting hot out there!

We are experiencing extreme temperatures all over New Jersey and surrounding areas this week. Here are some tips for staying cool and safe.

  • Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Make sure children and the elderly are drinking water, and ensure that persons with mobility problems have adequate fluids in easy reach.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, spend time in air-conditioned places such as libraries, malls¬†or other public buildings during the hottest hours of the day. Check with your municipality to see if cooling centers are available.
  • Wear loose and light-colored clothing.¬† Wear a hat when outdoors.
  • Avoid any outdoor activity during the hottest hours of the day. Reduce physical activity or reschedule it for cooler times of the day.
  • Don’t leave children, a frail elderly or disabled person, or pets in an enclosed car as temperatures can quickly climb to dangerous levels.
  • Talk to your health care provider about any medicine or drugs you are taking. Certain medications, such as tranquilizers and drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, can increase the risk of heat-related illness.

Heat and humidity can become a serious health hazard, especially for children, elderly or those with chronic conditions, such as respiratory issues. Please remember to not only follow the above steps to keep yourself safe, but also check on family, friends and neighbors, again paying close attention to older adults, children and those who are ill.

Conditions caused by excessive heat include dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is a mild condition that may take days of heat exposure to develop. Someone suffering from heat exhaustion may have pale, clammy skin and sweat profusely. They may also feel tired, weak or dizzy and can suffer from headaches. Heatstroke can take just a few minutes to make someone very ill. A person with heatstroke will have dry, hot skin and a body temperature of 106 degrees or more, they will also have an absence of sweat and a rapid pulse. Someone suffering from heatstroke can become delirious or unconscious and needs immediate medical attention.

With temperature reaching over 100 this week, it is important to look for signs of heat related problems for yourself and your loved ones. It is also important to take action to prevent them, such as following the tips above.

 If you need more information or would like to find a cooling center in your area, please contact your municipality or your County Office on Aging.

Contact information for your County Office on Aging can be found at http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/services.html

To find a Senior Center in your area visit:

http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/seniorcenter/scSearch.aspx

To get more information from NJ Division of Aging and Community Services visit http://www.nj.gov/health/senior/index.shtml or call 1-800-792-8820.