Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

In the aftermath of Sandy

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

In the aftermath of Sandy

Many New Jerseyans were affected by Hurricane Sandy, a number of them seniors. In the past two weeks since then we’ve seen many images of destruction and heard many stories of days without power.

If you are still in need of assistance as you recover from the damage Sandy left behind, here are some important numbers and websites to know:

Dial 2-1-1 or visit www.nj211.org to find out about local resources for food, shelter, transportation, etc.

If you need disaster assistance, apply for FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) or visit www.disasterassistance.gov Please know that there are deadlines to requesting help and that you need to reach out to FEMA directly, they will not contact you.

Your local chapter of the Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/find-help) and the Salvation Army (http://www.use.salvationarmy.org) can also be of assistance.

If you or someone you know needs help coping with the trauma from the Hurricane you can contact the NJ Disaster Mental Health Hotline 1-877-294-4357.

There have been many reports about the help being offered to Hurricane Sandy victims. Countless organizations and individuals have provided, shelter, food, heat, clothing and comfort to those affected. Unfortunately, during times of disaster, we see some people who would rather take advantage of the situation rather than help. Please be on the look out for scams.

One, price gouging is illegal, to report it call (862) 209-0130 or (973) 220-3474.

There have been a couple of instances of people posing as utility or inspection personnel and then attempting to rob the home once they gain entry. Anyone approaching your home as a utility worker or inspector should have proper ID and have no problem showing it to you or verifying the reason for their visit. Don’t let anyone into your home that you are not 100% sure is who they say they are. Make sure to call the police and report any false attempts to gain access to your home.

There may also be people posing as false insurance programs or other assistance programs. Please make sure to always ask for proper ID and verify that the program or services they are offering are legitimate. Report any problems to your local police department.

And for those of you looking for ways to help, be aware of that there are also scammers posing as charities . The IRS has issued a statement encouraging people to look out for scam artists impersonating charities to help Hurricane Sandy victims. Donate to recognized charities only. Some will even try to use a name similar to a recognized organization so be sure to look closely. Do not give out personal information. There are various ways that these scammers will try to reach you, they may call on the phone, by email or through the use of a phony website set up to mimic that of a known charity. Legitimate charities may also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site at fema.gov.

Call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number, 1-866-562-5227, if you are a hurricane victim with specific questions about tax relief or disaster related tax issues.

If you would like to volunteer to help those affected by Sandy, you can also contact your local Red Cross or Salvation Army or call the NJ Volunteer Emergency Response Hotline at 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397)

Recovering from Sandy will be a lengthy process. You may have long wait times for responses from disaster assistance programs, but know that help is coming.

Learn more, connect with others and get involved.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Learn more, connect with others and get involved.

 Affordable housing, job availability, livable wages, food security these are all key pieces to living and aging well in NJ. A recent article in the Trenton Times highlights the struggle of the homeless in accessing services at three key organizations that provide shelter, food and many other services. In navigating this “triangle” as they call it (due to distance traveled between each organization) some of the homeless in Mercer County have hope of escaping the street and having a home, a job, food, their health.

 Certainly Mercer County is not alone in this problem, throughout the state there are many homeless who find themselves navigating their way through the services available in each area. In addition to the homeless there are those living on the edge of homelessness, they are unemployed, under-employed and living pay check to pay check wondering if this will be the week they end up on the street.

There are many supports available to the homeless and working families, like SNAP (food stamps), SRAP (State Rental Assistance), Family Care (Medicaid/Health insurance) and of course there are many non-profit, charitable organizations that are doing their part to help those in need through various programs and supports. But is it enough?

 There are ways to get involved, to learn more and to connect with other advocates. The Anti-Poverty Network of NJ, a group of like-minded organizations and individuals that meet to strategize on advocacy efforts is holding a summit, Poverty Summit: A Call to Invest in the People of New Jersey on Monday, May 21, 2012 from 9 am to 12:30 pm at the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ. At this summit you will hear statistics on poverty in NJ, you’ll hear from service providers as well as community members who have experienced poverty, but you’ll also here about advocacy efforts and opportunities for you to join in those efforts.

So, please join us to learn more, connect with advocates and get involved. For more details and to register go to http://apnpovertysummit.eventbrite.com/

 PS- You can follow this up by coming to NJFA’s Annual Conference on June 14, 2012 to discuss affordable housing and many other important topics for aging well in NJ! www.njfoundationforaging.org/events.html

May is Older Americans Month

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The theme for Older Americans Month this year is Never Too Old to Play to learn more about this theme and what it means please visit http://olderamericansmonth.org/

 To find out what events might be taking place in your area, contact your County Office on Aging by visiting http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/services.html to find the websites and phone numbers for your county office or call 1-877-222-3737 to be connected to the office in your county.

 To kick off Older American’s Month, May’s episode of Aging Insights is all about the County Office on Aging and their services. NJFA’s Program Manager, Melissa Chalker hosts this episode which features three executive directors of NJ’s County Offices on Aging. Our guests are, Joanne Fetzko of Somerset County, Lorraine Joewono of Bergen County and Jane Maloney of Ocean County. In this episode our three guests tell us about the history of the County Offices on Aging and the services they provide to the community. In addition to addressing the community needs through the core services and what Lorraine labeled, “wrap around” services, many offices have expanded to a new model called ADRC, or Aging and Disabled Resource Connection which makes many of the services available to disabled individuals.

Aging Insights is available to public access stations. The show can also be seen on NJFA’s YouTube channel, http://ping.fm/UJr1r

NJFA 14th Annual Conference- Hot Topics- June 14, 2012

Monday, April 16th, 2012

NJFA is proud to be hosting our annual conference for the 14th year. We work hard every year to bring new and pertinent topics to the professionals who attend. And this year is no different.

We will feature a session about hoarding that is going to look at the ethical and clinical aspects of the condition. Our panel includes Steven Majewski and Mary Anne Ross of COPSA, Barbara Goodman a moving specialist and Kelli Dixon at the Ocean County Board of Social Services. Together they’ll inform the audience as to what hoarding is, what is looks like, how it affects different aspects of a client’s life and they’ll also share real life stories and possible solutions.

We’ll also be exploring some legal issues that are currently affecting seniors. Gwen Orlowski of Legal Services of NJ, Elizabeth Speidel of the Office of the Institutionalized Elderly and Judy Millner of Jewish Family and Children Services will take the audience through some examples of legal issues that seniors are facing in the area of health care. We know Medicare can be a complex web to untangle, these presenters will give the attendees new information to help guide their clients through the system.

These are just two sessions that will be offered at our day-long conference on Thursday June 14, 2012. The day will also feature two keynote speakers, one discussing affordable housing over breakfast and they second discussing “second adulthood” over lunch. Stay tuned to this blog for more details.

Visit our website at www.njfoundationforaging.org/events.html to view the online brochure and register. Questions? Call us at 609-421-0206 or email questions to [email protected]

To Smart Phone or not to Smart Phone?

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Some of you may have even struggled with the idea of a cell phone at all. You may have laughed at how many young people relied on them. You probably hated it when you finally caved and got a cell phone. Now, you see all your kids, grandkids and maybe even some friends with an i phone, droid or other smart phone.

What can a smart phone really do for you? What’s the purpose? Isn’t a phone just for making phone calls? First it was texting, then email and now apps?? What the heck is an app?

An app, short for application, is a program you order through your smart phone, they can be games, sports or news information and even recipes.

Being the first one to have something new, or being “in the know” can be a badge of honor. So don’t be surprised if friends and relatives want to show you what great apps they’ve downloaded.

 Here are some stats from AgeWave about Boomers and products

• On average, most baby boomers are asked for product or service recommendations about 90 times per year.

• Nearly 90 percent of boomers who were asked to give advice gave it to their fellow boomers.

• Practically all boomers consider their family and friends to be their most trusted sources of information

So, you can see that once a few boomers get their hands on a smart phone and start accessing apps, you’ll be hearing about it and may soon find yourself with one too. Apps are sometimes free or sometimes come with a one-time small fee of anywhere from $1.99 to $5.99 and up. Apps can also be used on i pads or other tablet devices.

Here are 8 free apps that we heard just had to be downloaded unless you want to be considered uncool:

• Dropbox—Dropbox lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. You load it on your computer and your smartphone then you never email yourself a file again. It’s easy to use and easy to set up.

• Flixster– Read reviews, get customer ratings, see screenshots, and learn more about movies. You can find the theaters, get show times, and watch trailers. It’s fast, visual and easy to use.

• Words with Friends—this app is a takeoff of Scrabble. Play with friends or strangers via your smart phone or tablet. Build words for points, see who scores the highest. Very good to keep your mind engaged.

• Whitepages— Use this free, easy to use app from your smartphone. Find, people, businesses and reverse phone lookups from those unknown numbers that show up on your phone.

• Zite—Users select categories of magazines that interest them. Then as you read articles on certain subjects. Zite sends you more articles on those subjects. You have options to email the articles to others or save them later to read on your iPad.

• The Weather Channel—More than 200 meteorologists provide interactive and hour by hour weather imagery. Great for planning outdoor activities, car washes or snow shoveling.

• WebMD—first aid information, symptom checkers, drugs and treatments, information on various conditions and local health listings. There are also many videos on treatments and common conditions like bad backs, fevers, diabetes signs. An excellent app for Boomers and Seniors.

 • Flashlight—So easy and so helpful. With a single touch your phone turns into a valuable flashlight that can be used to find your keys or read a menu.

New Episode- Aging Insights!

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

                                               Aging Insights РTransportation

 Trenton- The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) is pleased to announce the production and release of the fourth episode of Aging Insights, the Foundation’s new cable program. This episode, Maximizing Local Transportation Options, will be broadcast in January. Aging Insights focuses on information about aging issues and services. The program is available to public access stations.

 NJFA’s Executive Director, Grace Egan hosts the January show which looks at transportation options and innovations.  The guests include, Steve Fittante Director of the Middlesex County Office of Transportation, Karen Alexander, Director of Eldercare Services at United Jewish Communities (UJC) of Metro West and Jacque Rubel, founder of Aging in Place Partnership of South Brunswick. Mr. Fittante shared some of the innovative transportation options that have been developed during his 7 years in Middlesex County. Some of those services are a special community shuttle and travel training. Ms. Rubel in her work in South Brunswick has also incorporated travel training and worked with Mr. Fittante on adding routes to their community. Ms. Alexander relays the experience in senior housing communities supported by UJC Metro West, including the development of peer leaders who assist others in learning about transportation options.

All three of our guests are well informed on the topic of transportation and have worked with NJFA on several transportation studies and advocacy efforts.

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

Utility Assistance

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Utility Assistance        

Between these difficult economic times and extreme weather (how’d you like that heat wave?) it is easy to understand why some households may be having trouble paying their energy bills. PSE&G has recognized that many of their customers have fallen on hard times and so they’ve come up with a new program to offer assistance.

The program is called TRUE, Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses and it is designed to help moderate income households who are having difficulty paying their PSE&G bill. The TRUE program provides a one-time grant of up to $1,500 ($750 for gas and $750 for electric) for households that are not eligible for other low income programs.

To be eligible for TRUE customers must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Must have an annual income for a one person household of at least $21,672 and not more than $57,120. A two person household income between $29,000 and $69,853. A household of four must have an annual income between $44,112 and $103,034. To see income requirements for other household sizes visit, www.pseg.com/true_guidelines
  • Be 45 or more days past due on their energy bill and/or have received a service discontinuation notice (shutoff notice)
  • Demonstrate that four payments of at least $25 each have been made with the past six months
  • Not have received LIHEAP or USF benefits in the last year.

In addition to the TRUE program, there are other programs available to help customers pay their energy bills:

  • The Universal Service Fund (USF) (1-866-240-1347) helps make energy bills more affordable for low income customers with a $5 to $150 monthly credit.
  • NJ SHARES (1-866-657-3273) helps moderate income customers not eligible for low income programs to the TRUE program, with up to $300 toward electric bills and $700 toward natural gas bills.
  • NJ Lifeline (1-800-792-9745) helps seniors and disabled adults with a $225 yearly credit towards their PSE&G bills.

 For more information on energy assistance programs or to download applications, please visit www.pseg.com/help or www.pseg.com/ayuda. Applications are also available at all PSE&G walk in Customer Service Centers listed on your PSE&G bill. For access to billing information and payment history, customers can sign up for My Account at www.pseg.com.

New Program from NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to help those facing foreclosure

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

New Jersey HomeKeeper Program

Many people have felt the impact of the recession due to unemployment or underemployment. You may be asking, what is being done to help? New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency has announced a new program to help those at risk of losing their home. The program is called New Jersey HomeKeeper and it will be available starting May 9, 2011.
New Jersey HomeKeeper is a program funded through a federal grant from the United States Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund awarded to States most impacted by unemployment and underemployment. The HomeKeeper offers help to New Jersey homeowners who may be facing foreclosure as a direct result of unemployment or underemployment.

The Homekeeper Program is designed to assist the homeowner with mortgage assistance payment and/or arrearages to prevent an occurrence of foreclosure on the home. The program provides financial assistance to qualified homeowners in the form of a 0% interest rate, deferred-payment second mortgage loan. The loan proceeds may be used to cover arrearages and/or a portion of the homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment, including property taxes, property insurance, and mortgage insurance. Homeowners may be eligible for up to $48,000 in assistance for a period of up to 24 months.

If a homeowner sells or refinances their home within the first five years of the closing date of the HomeKeeper mortgage loan, the full amount of the loan will be due and payable upon the sale, transfer or refinance of the property (except for a lower rate/term refinance) or, if the homeowner ceases to occupy the property as his/her primary residence. However, after the fifth year, the HomeKeeper mortgage loan amount would be forgiven 20% per year, to be forgiven in full at the end of the tenth year.

You may be eligible for the Homekeeper program, if within the past 12 months, through no fault, decision or personal circumstance of your own, you or your spouse or civil union partner fall into one of the following category:

  • Became unemployed which caused you to fall behind on your mortgage. You are receiving or are eligible to receive unemployment compensation
    benefits and may have at least 12 more weeks of benefits remaining.
  • Became underemployed (a drop in income of at least 25% from prior or existing employment income) which caused you to fall behind on your mortgage. ¬†¬†
  • Became unemployed or underemployed. While you have stayed current with your mortgage payments thus far, you have not yet regained enough income/resources to continue paying on time for much longer.
  • Became unemployed or underemployed.¬† You have since regained enough income to pay the mortgage but you need help covering the arrearages that accumulated during the unemployment/underemployment period

To apply for Homekeeper assistance you will need to apply online using a computer with internet access.  The online application(available May 9th) contains all of the information that you will need to begin your application for assistance, with step by step instructions and prompts to help you.

If you do not have access to the internet from your residence, public computers can be found throughout many communities at public libraries, educational centers and One Stop Career Centers.

For more information or to apply visit: www.njhomekeeper.gov

Resources for assistance with foreclosures, credit and debt problems

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

1-800-654-6873

www.nj-hmfa.com

Novadebt – A Garden State Consumer Credit Counseling Agency

1-800-992-4557

www.novadebt.org

Consumer Credit and Budget Counseling, Inc.

1-800-792-0270

www.cc-bc.com

To find a One Stop Career Center in your County, contact your County Office on Aging, see list on our website at www.njfoundationforaging.org/services.html

Acupuncuture

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Acupuncture is a practice originating in China in which needles are inserted into various metaphysically determined points of the body also known as, acupuncture points, and then manipulated. Practitioners claim that it relieves pain, treats infertility, treats disease, prevents disease, promotes general health, or can be used for therapeutic purposes. ¬†The practice dates back to at least the 2nd century B.C. in China. Acupuncture typically incorporates traditional Chinese medicine as an integral part of its practice and theory. Different variations of acupuncture are practiced and taught throughout the world. Acupuncture is based on a belief that flowing through the body is a kind of energy called ‚Äúqi‚Äù (pronounced “chi”). The acupuncture points are located on what are claimed to be paths or meridians where the qi is believed to flow.

Some barriers for those thinking about acupuncture include cost and being uncomfortable having it done in a room alone with just a practitioner. Community acupuncture clinics have begun to pop up and some patients have found them to be a great opportunity to receive acupuncture in a relaxed group setting and at a lower cost. Those who have used a community acupuncture clinic state that having other people present while they receive the treatment makes it a less tense. The group clinics are described as quiet despite there being multiple patients, Acupuncture for All in Baltimore, MD features a water fountain, relaxing music, calming blue walls, dimmed lights and reclining seats. A patient at Acupuncture for All say it is like being in your own living room. Treatments last approximately 45 minutes and some patients even fall asleep during that time.

Costs at community acupuncture clinics can range from $15 to $40 per treatment, this is a much lower cost than the up to $90 per visit you could pay at a traditional acupuncture office. Some clinics even offer sliding scale fees so that those who cannot afford a $20 per visit fee can still benefit from acupuncture. Fred Wolfson, who operates Acupuncture for All said the concept of community acupuncture is based on models of clinics in Asia, which are typically low cost. Patients are drawn to these clinics for the low cost and accessibility. These clinics are helpful for patients who might not otherwise be able to afford acupuncture or afford frequent visits.

With all that good news, you may be wondering, how can I benefit from group acupuncture? There is an online community to answer all your questions and help you find a clinic. At this time they only list one clinic in New Jersey. http://www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org/