Welcome ...

All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Eldercare isn't all about stress

Many of us have great stories to share about the humorous side of care giving.

For example: Molly P. was helping her 94 yr old aunt (aka Auntie) move from a 4 bedroom house where she lived for 63 years, into a 1 bedroom apartment in an assisted living community. As they were weeding through the accumulation of stuff & things from two husbands, her mom and aunt, it became increasingly apparent that getting Auntie to part with anything was going to take skill, patience and a great deal of convincing!

After a few hours of sorting through her books, I forgot to mention that Auntie’s sister owned a bookstore, we moved on to her bedroom. I assigned her the task of sorting out the shoes in her closet as I started working on the chest of drawers. As I started to place her strapless bras in a bag tagged for charity, Auntie protested, and adamantly proclaimed “their coming with me.” Before thinking I blurted out, “what do you need them for, to hold your knees together”? We both started to roar with laughter and it was at that point she came to the realization that she was closing a page on a long chapter of her life and opening another.

If you have a funny or heart warming story to share we would love to hear it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eldercare Issues: Beware of FREE referral, placement, and directory services: They are not really free

During these tough economic times, more and more stressed caregivers are gravitating to the web for help and guidance. With the plethora of "free" internet referral, placement, and on-line directory services for families in search of eldercare products and services such as homecare and assisted living, it is important to know exactly how these services make their money and how it might affect you and your loved one in the end.

Yes, they do provide their service to you at no charge; however the service providers that they refer you to pay them for their services. Since most employees of these "free" services work on a commission basis, it stands to reason that most will refer to providers who have agreed to pay the "free" agency a fee for your information rather than the provider that offers the services that best suit your loved one's needs.

Typically, these "free" service providers are only interested in assisting families that can afford to pay privately for eldercare and at best send a cursory response referring people to their local Area Office on Aging office if they are not "financially" qualified. The "free" services that assist families regardless of their ability to pay, sadly, are the exception, not the norm.

There are also a host of listing or directory services which are actually lead generation services for senior care providers. They ask questions directly related to your care needs, finances and geographical requirements and then in turn "broker" your information to providers that pay them for your contact details. One overwhelmed caregiver that completed one of the online questionnaires on the web site of a leading provider of qualified lead generation/listing services, received 16 telephone calls in a 30-minute time frame from a variety of eldercare service providers who had paid this listing "broker" for her information. Not only was she barraged by the calls, but also it happened at work since she included her work phone.

So, "buyers beware" ……. be sure to read the fine print on these web sites so you are prepared to deal with the "cost" of utilizing these so called "free" services. 


Is Assisted Living Tax Deductible?

With so many seniors living in Assisted Living communities across the United States and many of them paying their monthly fees with their own financial resources, it is important to know that some or all of their costs may be tax deductible.

These are the basic rules concerning the tax deductibility of assisted living expenses:

  • According to the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), “long-term care services” may be tax deductible as an unreimbursed medical expense on Schedule A.
  • Qualified long-term care services have been defined as including the type of daily “personal care services” provided to Assisted Living residents, such as help with bathing, dressing, continence care, eating and transferring, as well as “maintenance services”, such as meal preparation and household cleaning.
  • Assisted Living residents seeking tax deductions for their services must qualify as “chronically ill”. This definition refers to seniors who are unable to perform two or more “Activities of Daily Living” (eating, transferring, bathing, dressing and continence) without assistance, or who need constant supervision because of a “severe cognitive impairment” such as Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. The Assisted Living resident must have been certified within the previous 12 months as “chronically ill” by a licensed health care practitioner.
  • In order to qualify for a deduction, personal care services must be provided pursuant to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health care practitioner. Many Assisted Living communities have on staff a licensed nurse or social worker who prepares a plan of care, sometimes called a “Wellness Care Plan,” in conjunction with the resident’s physician which outlines the specific daily services the resident will receive in the community.
  • In order to take advantage of deductions, a taxpayer must be entitled to itemize his or her deductions. Additionally, long-term care services and other unreimbursed medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. (Generally, a taxpayer can deduct the medical care expenses of his or her parent if the taxpayer provides more than 50% of the parent’s support costs.)
  • For some Assisted Living residents, the entire monthly rental fee might be deductible, while for others, just the specific personal care services would qualify for a deduction.

Assisted living residents and their adult children should speak with their own income tax advisors to get clarification about their personal situation. For more information See IRS Publication 502 or visit www.irs.gov

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Relatives Can Be Paid To Look After Elderly

Caring for a family member is a responsibility many people bear. It can also be a source of income. So-called "caregiver agreements" -- formal contracts under which relatives are hired to care for elderly family members -- have been around for a while. But with the economic downturn, more families may be open to entering into such arrangements, some attorneys and caregiver advocates say.  Read full article

Family caregivers seek relief from stimulus package

Family members who care for their sick or disabled relatives make up a sizable unpaid workforce, but they’re far from an organized political voice. That may be about to change. The National Alliance for Caregiving and Caring.com are seeking up to 1% of the economic stimulus package to support the 50 million family caregivers who often dig into their own pockets to care for a loved one in need.

Many hope incoming President Barack Obama will be the nation’s first caregiver-in-chief, a leader who pushes for new support because he knows firsthand the struggles of worrying about a loved one’s care while raising a family and holding down a demanding job. Read full article


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Balancing caregiving responsibilities and the workplace

Research has shown that family members provide most of the care for their frail or chronically ill aging loved one rather than long-term care institutions or formal service providers such as home care agencies. It is estimated that family caregivers provide 80 percent of the long-term care in this country. This type of care is often referred to as “informal” services. Typically, informal family caregivers are women between the ages of 45 & 65, with 79% over the age of 50; 40% of caregivers are men; approximately 15% provide care to someone who lives more than 1 hour away; care provided is usually to a parent or grandparent and unpaid; an estimated 21% of all US households provide care for an adult family member; they take care of other adults, most often parents or spouses who are ill or disabled; they assist with basic Activities of Daily Living; they provide emotional, physical, and/or financial support

With eldercare becoming a growing issue for more working caregivers, having useful information about the resources available to help them meet the needs for their individual situations and knowing where to find it is imperative for maintaining the right balance.

Search This Blog

Helpful Resources

Low Vision Therapy Services

Children of Aging Parents (CAPS)

Well Spouse Association

U.S. Administration on Aging


Nursing Home Compare

Senior Safety Online

Mature Market Institute

Connections for Women

50Plus Realtor

Alzheimer's Speaks

Official VA Website