Hope for Family Caregivers Who Give So Much

Originally posted by the Silvernest Team on their blog, Apr 9, 2018 1:52:56 PM

The Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act offers some help for family caregivers

By Carol Marak

Back in 1998 through 2007, my sisters and I cared for our parents. Our mother lived with several chronic diseases, and father lived with Alzheimer’s disease. We were among America’s 40 million family caregivers. At the time, I was working full-time but both sisters were retired.

It’s difficult to combine caregiving and working because both are full-time. I’ve often heard the saying, “There’s no leaving the job at 5:00 PM, an employee will always bring the workday home.” I found out as a caregiver, the same goes for elder care, “A family caregiver never leaves the worry and stress about parent care in the home, they’ll bring the concerns and issues with them to work.” That was my story. It was difficult to separate the two.

Each day, I prayed to win the lotto so I could be with my parents, since their care demanded a lot of assistance. I asked HR for Family Medical Leave but was rejected. Back in early 2000, HR didn’t get how elder care was such an issue, however, they could relate to child care much easier.

In June of 2017, I praised Congress for passing the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act.” Hooray for families! And on January 22nd, the US President signed into law the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. It’s the first step in creating a national strategy aimed at the relatives and partners who provide care.

How the Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act can Help

One of the goals of RAISE is to increase financial security for family caregivers — it’s a much needed support for those of us giving care. I know the types of financial supports I’d like to have seen back in my caregiving days, like earned credits in Social Security if I took a leave of absence. Also, work-related strategies like telecommute, or part-time and flexible hours would have been a big relief. But that was early to mid-2000’s. Today, employers and HR departments tilt in favor of elderly caregiving.

Here are other examples that the Seniorcare.com Aging Council hope to see in the near future:

Advice from home care experts

How experts feel the RAISE Act can help

  • “Provide a Social Security earnings credit to family caregivers who take unpaid time away from employment, either by leaving their job or reducing hours. This prevents future Social Security benefits from being penalized due to caregiving. 2) Expand government programs that pay family caregivers. 3) Expand benefits programs and tax credits that help with out-of-pocket caregiving expenses.” Connie Chow, DailyCaring.com
  • Many family caregivers give up jobs to be able to care for an aging or ailing family member. Being able to access Medicare or another medical insurance program would allow them to take care of themselves as well as someone else. Further, if a caregiver, usually a woman, stops working, her retirement is jeopardized. Most programs for the elderly/caregivers are for those who qualify for Medicaid, thus eliminating benefits for those who are over the Medicaid limit and they are the ones who need help the most.” Donna Schempp, LCSW At Home with Growing Older.
  • “One of my clients who works for a large law firm has a HR department that does many of the phone calls and research family caregivers often need to do during work hours.” Margo Rose, BodyAwareGrieving.com
  • “A lump sum policy can be used to pay relatives or partners providing home-based custodial care. Since Medicare does not pay for custodial care, we recommend lump sum first diagnosis (cancer/heart attack/stroke) insurance and/or a whole life policy. A whole life policy that has accumulated cash value can also assure financial security for family caregivers and allow seniors to remain in their home.” Maureen Fitzgerald, Ph.D., BestMedigapRate.com
  • “The problem with the current support services and financial reimbursement for caregivers is that it all runs through the Medicaid system. You have to be already impoverished to get the little bit of help offered. Opening Adult Day Care centers and offering financial help through unemployment insurance or social security to people above the Medicaid limits would go a long way to provide financial security. It doesn’t seem possible though with Social Security already under attack.” Caren Isaacs , GetHealthHelp.com
  • “Financial security will become a major problem in the United States given current demographic predictions. Individuals are outliving their retirement savings and have, in general, not saved enough for the astronomical cost of home care. I believe that advanced planning is advised so that as many contingencies are covered as is possible. Working with a professional financial planner as early in the aging process as is practicable would be wise.” Marci Lobel-Esrig, Silverbills.com
  • “One of the biggest issues that arise when relatives and partners step in as caregivers is that they typically have to give up some earning capacity. They’re investing hours to care for loves ones and sacrificing compensation as they do. There must be formal measures in place to help make up for that lost income, and it would seem that tax incentives and tax credits would be a natural place to start.” Wendi Burkhardt, Silvernest.com
  • “Education! Every family should understand the financial implications associated with caring for an elderly or disabled loved one. Education should at a minimum include estimates of realistic costs associated with care, general information about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid, and the importance of purchasing long-term care insurance well in advance of any potential need.” Eboni Green, CaregiverSupportServices.com

The RAISE Family Caregiving Act is finally here and one that America’s first responders in elderly care are eager to see what’s next.

Contributed Post.

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Want Immortality? Cloning Yourself is Not the Answer!

The issue of cloning has largely fallen off the radar, but for a while in the 1990’s, with the news of Dolly the cloned sheep, it was.

Then, there were stories which either had cloning as an issue or where something akin to it was being employed, either physically or mentally, such as the book and movie, “The Boys From Brazil”, and of course, the “Jurassic Park” series. And, there is the idea of cloning oneself to gain immortality or to make someone who thinks and acts the same.

But can this really be done? The making of a viable clone? Yes, it’s possible though the science today is still in its infancy. And no, you can’t make yourself immortal, nor can you produce a “personality twin” of yourself, either, through cloning.

All cloning does, if successful, is produce a biological twin of the person or animal, or organ or body part, being cloned, that is much younger than the original.

So, if you cloned yourself, you would not gain immortality, as the clone would not be you. It would only be a genetic copy of you and younger by as many years as you are old. You would not be seeing or feeling through the clone any more than you do through any other person. The clone is a separate being.

So, would a clone think and act as you? Again, no. Mentally, the clone could be anyone. And it would not likely matter even if the clone were raised in a duplicate way and environment as you. This is why the story, “The Boys From Brazil” could not possibly be made true. There are just too many variables within the human mind itself so that even a duplicated environment and parenting style, and even putting the same kind of people in the right places and times, if that could even be done, would not guarantee a clone being the same kind of person as the original!

So, to those who want to ban cloning because of fears of someone creating another Hitler, or of wealthy people using their money to buy immortality and having yet another advantage over the poor and middle class, your fears are completely unjustified.

What cloning can do, is bring about the possibility of making duplicate organs and body parts for people whose organs are failing. This would mean no more need for transplants, no waiting for new organs, and no fear of new organs and body parts being rejected! In addition, the stem cell controversy could also be ended, as stem cells could simply be cloned to fill the need.

This is why the banning of all forms of cloning is a bad idea!

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Independence is Fine for The Right Reasons

I am politically independent for several reasons, but to be independent just to be independent is not one of them. I don’t believe in being a rebel without a cause.

Whenever a politician who is, or at least comes across, as an independent thinker, enters the race, it grabs my attention. But, does it mean I’m hooked? No, it means only that I take notice.

They still have to make their case!

Why am I drawn to independent candidates? It’s because most candidates from either camp try to adhere to all the planks of their camp.

I, on the other hand, don’t believe in all the planks of either camp, in fact, I believe in some of the planks of both camps.

So, neither camp completely fills the bill for me, as I feel that each demands that its followers adhere to all of the planks in the camp, some of which I don’t agree with.

So, what do I look for in an independent candidate? First, it doesn’t matter to me what party they belong to or if they are affiliated with any party or not, so long as they are willing to think on their own and, if they do belong to a party, that they’re willing to challenge the party on some issues.

But, it’s more than just a willingness to call out the status quo. They also have to have ideas of their own. Too often, including this time around, I’ve seen candidates who tout themselves as independent thinkers, come out with no solutions or ideas of their own, and in some cases, only attacking the other candidates and the media for simply questioning them.

I remember an election year in the past where a new party was, …attempted?, to be formed, called the “Reform Party”. Well, it was touted as the answer to the other two parties, but all it was, was chaos. They never really brought any new ideas, except to say they were an alternative to the other two parties. It went nowhere.

Yes, like many of you, I do want to see a challenge to the two parties, but it needs to be a credible challenge. Such as a candidate who not only points out where the other two parties go wrong, but also offers up solutions, and communicates to the people of both sides that they don’t have to fear an independent candidate who demonstrates that he or she can still lead despite the lack of party affiliation, and can communicate the message of “The people first, party second.”

So, what does an independent candidate need to do to have a chance of real success, both for him or herself as well as for the people?

  1. Yes, point out how the status quo is not working and attack the issues and failed solutions, not silly things as to whether a moderator or interviewer asked a supposed “gotcha” or unfair question, or whether an opponent hugged someone from the opposing party. It’s important for candidates to remember that, in order to work towards a solution, people from opposing sides often have to work together and it’s easier to be friendly while doing so, especially in times of crisis. And, as for supposed unfair media questions, candidates must remember that the real world will throw these kinds of questions at them all the time!
  2. If the candidate is a member of a major party, they must be willing to go against their party if their position on an issue is at odds with the party line.
  3. The independent candidate must be willing to talk to media and the people on both sides of the political spectrum.
  4. They need to convey the message that they can work with both sides to a viable solution but not be fence-sitters or flip floppers. That does not mean they cannot change their position if it’s for the right reasons, however!
  5. They have to convince the people to not follow their parties blindly, but to really think things through. This can be really tough, but if a candidate has the charisma, I believe it can be done.
  6. Probably not last, but very important is, they must have viable solutions to problems, especially to those they point out! Too often, independent candidates end up being viewed as not having any substance. Sure, in the beginning, they often draw a significant following, especially from those who are really fed up with the status quo and the major parties. But they often only go so far, and support stops growing, or even wanes, as people see that the candidate is offering no solutions but instead only keeps pointing out the same problems over and over.

So, this is just my opinion, but, I do ask that, during campaign season, you really, really, evaluate the candidates for everything, not just a few sound bites.

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A Historic Day Today

It was July 20th, 1969 and I was eager to arrive home. I was just a kid and me, my parents, and a visiting cousin, were on our way home from my grandparents’ house. I always had a great time at my grandparents’ house, about 400 miles away and always hated leaving and would often arrive home feeling the letdown, but this time, the letdown was pushed well back due to my anticipation.

You see, I’d always, even as a kid, been interested in astronomy and space exploration. And that day, July 20th, 1969, human beings were landing on the Moon!

We got home in time to watch the landing on live TV and I can still feel the emotions I felt that afternoon, 45 years later.

Since then, while there’s been some activity, it seems to have come in spurts, with long hiatus’ in between. And not just us, either. We’ve done, collectively among the few, but recently growing, space-faring nations of the world, manned activity in low and middle Earth orbit, but little else in terms of space exploration, with the exception of interplanetary probes.

I believe we could have done more by this time, especially in regards to returning to the moon. It’s not that we didn’t, or don’t have, the technology, but that we’ve let red tape and politics trip us up. Politics, in the form of governments, until recently, not allowing private companies to venture out into space, often cutting space exploration budgets in favor of other “true” pork-barrel projects, and a “not invented here” policy regarding listening to those who would know better how to keep us in space at a lower cost and who have the vision to see that, in the long, long-term, space exploration can benefit in more ways than we think. And of course, the red tape, where everything has to be filled out 10 times over, even though we live in the computer age where everything can just be copied and transferred, and mindless regulations, as well as good regulations that are enforced in a mindless manner.

So what are the benefits of exploring that great “empty” vacuum? Well, there are planets and asteroids, and gasses and other things out there that can do much for us.

In terms of science, the universe is a living chemists lab. Astronomers and other scientists are seeing things with ever advanced instruments that give us new answers as to how various elements work and also provide proof, or discredit, of the theories we have today. Being there in person, we could learn much more much faster. I read an article recently where a scientist said that a team of astronauts could do in a week on Mars, what all of the robots we’ve sent, such as Soujourner, Opportunity, and Pathfinder, have done in all the years they’ve been there!

In terms of resources, the solar system alone may be a vast storehouse of all kinds of mineral resources, just waiting for us to go out and get them. Instead of getting coal and iron, and rare metals from here on Earth, with all of the environmental and cultural issues involved, imagine if we could get it from some lifeless asteroid or moon instead!

And of course, there’s the question of life outside of Earth. It may be life as we don’t know it, but I think we would recognize it if we discovered it. And while it wouldn’t initially affect the individual on Earth, it would answer some big questions about how rare or common life is and would let us all know that Earth is not as unique in being a life-bearing planet as we at first thought.

But at least one question has been answered. We can reach other worlds.

Recently, private companies, such as SpaceX, have been coming into play, with a good measure of success. Also, more nations have sent people into space on their own and are talking about going to the moon in some cases. I wish them well and hope that the advent of private space-faring companies and more space-faring nations, along with the discovery of a growing number of planets outside our solar system, will renew greatly the interest in space exploration.

There’s much to be learned and had from that great “empty” vacuum we call space.

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FAIR TAX! IT’S WAY PAST TIME!

What is the Fair Tax and Why We Should Support It.

You work and work to make a living, support your family, etc. Either as an employee, independent contractor, or business owner. You work quite hard, 100% for what you earn. You do 100% of the work, right?

But, you have a portion of your pay withheld, or you make quarterly tax payments, or both, and you have to file every year, and probably have to pay to have it done as well! You have to pay to pay your taxes!

On top of this, when a person dies, their heirs are responsible for death, inheritance, and estate taxes, despite the fact that the money in the bank and the money used to buy the estate and it’s effects has already been taxed!

This is wrong, especially in a country where the virtue of hard work is supposedly celebrated. There is a way to correct this. It’s called the Fair Tax.

The Fair Tax was originally proposed by former Congressman John Linder of Georgia, and has been publicized greatly by Atlanta radio commentator Neal Boortz.

They’ve also co-authored two books about the Fair Tax, “The Fair Tax Book”, and “Fair Tax: The Truth”. These two books are ones that every American should read.

First, here’s what the Fair Tax would do and how it would work:

  • It repeals the 16th amendment and eliminates the current income tax and death taxes.
  • it replaces the embedded taxes in everything we buy. Currently these make up 22% of the total price that we pay for all goods we buy. The Fair Tax would make up roughly this same percentage. NOTE!: Contrary to what critics say, the Fair Tax is NOT a tax on top of the price of the item as a sales tax would be! This means that the prices we pay would not change much if at all with the implementation of the Fair Tax!
  • You would not need to file taxes anymore and April 15th would be just another spring day! This includes those who are self-employed. And those who use paid help such as a CPA or Attorney to file taxes, would save at least $100-$500 a year, and for many people, more than that! Currently the cost of compliance alone is staggering, approximately $400 billion yearly! And remember, for businesses, this cost is huge, and is passed on to you, the consumer.
  • No More Audits! Yea!
  • Everyone who works, regardless of income, will get a ‘prebate’,   This will protect the poor as they can use this for necessities. To those of you who believe this to be another handout, this can actually replace, yes, replace, the current welfare state. And it will actually cost less, as there is less room for fraud and the poverty line is the limit as to how much a person would get! Also, since everyone is getting a prebate check, they’ll be no need to determine what it can be spent on and no one can get upset if someone uses it to buy some toy. No one will even know that the money is coming out of a person’s prebate check.
  • Businesses will flock to the USA to do business and even to relocate their headquarters here since there would no longer be an income tax or the massive cost of compliance that goes with it! And domestic businesses will want to stay here instead of relocating overseas! And, outsourcing jobs overseas will be reduced, perhaps greatly, and with foreign companies wanting to relocate here, jobs may be coming, too!
  • Related to above, our economy may boom like it never has before! With the money saved from not having to pay income tax or compliance costs, businesses will have more money to spend on hiring, expansion, and development of new products. This means cheaper goods, more jobs, more goods being available, and people with more money to spend and feeling economically secure enough to spend it and boost the economy further!
  • Bigger savings than from deductions and credits under the current system! No one would need deductions and credits under the Fair Tax, and they will save more money! Everyone will save by not having to pay their CPA or attorney at tax time, everyone will get an automatic raise since nothing would have to be withheld from their paychecks, at the same time their employers, for the same reason, would be making more money, too! The self-employed and independent contractors would not have to file quarterly taxes, everyone would get the prebate check up to the poverty level to cover basic necessities! And no one would be hit with audits, which almost always results in more taxes, fees, and penalties on top of penalties, and the joy of dealing with the IRS, whose employees and agents often can’t even give you a correct answer to your tax questions! This would all end under the Fair Tax!

I have known people who have worked two jobs to supplement their income and one person I know for sure wouldn’t need to do that if the Fair Tax were implemented!

One last thing. While more republicans than Democrats support the Fair Tax currently, this is neither a Democratic nor a Republican cause, it is an American cause for freedom! And it is a plan that will help Americans at all economic levels!

Now, what I’ve written is just a very concise description. There is more information out there and the best place to look on the internet is http://www.fairtax.org. There is much better information here that is better explained than what I’ve written here. It is very informative and I urge everyone to visit this site.

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Thank you for reading! 🙂