U.S.Justice Department Resources for Combating Elder Abuse

September 8, 2014

U.S. Department of Justice Launches the Elder Justice Website
The site offers resources for victims, family members, prosecutors, researchers, and anyone who works with older adults.

· Victims and family members will find information about how to report elder abuse and financial exploitation in all 50 states and the territories.
· Federal, State, and local prosecutors will find three different databases containing sample pleadings and statutes.
· Researchers in the elder abuse field may access a database containing bibliographic information for thousands of articles and reviews.
· Practitioners -- including professionals of all types who work with elder abuse and its consequences -- will find information about resources available to help them prevent elder abuse and assist those who have already been abused, neglected or exploited.

U.S.Justice Department Resouces for Combating Elder Abuse

September 8, 2014

U.S. Department of Justice Launches the Elder Justice Website
The site offers resources for victims, family members, prosecutors, researchers, and anyone who works with older adults.

· Victims and family members will find information about how to report elder abuse and financial exploitation in all 50 states and the territories.
· Federal, State, and local prosecutors will find three different databases containing sample pleadings and statutes.
· Researchers in the elder abuse field may access a database containing bibliographic information for thousands of articles and reviews.
· Practitioners -- including professionals of all types who work with elder abuse and its consequences -- will find information about resources available to help them prevent elder abuse and assist those who have already been abused, neglected or exploited.

Scam Alert by IRS

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Scam Phone Calls Continue; IRS Identifies Five Easy Ways to Spot Suspicious Calls

IR-2014-84, Aug. 28, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.

These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”

The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

 

1.       Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.

2.       Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

3.       Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

4.       Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

5.       Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

 

·         If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040.  The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

·         If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or atwww.tigta.gov.

·         If you’ve been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add &quotIRS Telephone Scam&quot to the comments of your complaint.

Remember, too, the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.  For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

 

 

The Five Easiest Ways to Give Others and Yourself a Happiness Boost

 This post was passed on to me and I wish to share it. This is a excellent opportunity to introduce you to information on the science of happiness. Happify, the science is valid and the tips are practical.  Enjoy this practice and its benefits.

 Hundreds of studies have found that actively helping people does good things for the psyches of all involved. By going out of your way to bring dinner to an overworked friend, pay for someone else's highway toll, or otherwise lend a hand, you get a positive brain boost and so does the person you helped.

 But Paul Zak, PhD, a neuroeconomist and a professor at Claremont Graduate University, says even less tangible acts of kindness can make the giver-and especially the recipient-feel good. These small deeds require minimal effort on your part but are often experienced just as deeply-or even more so-than many of the run-of-the-mill things people do to be good to one another.

 

Here are five of Dr. Zak's favorite ways to give the people in his life a little happiness boost (while reaping some of those same feel-good benefits for himself!). See which ones work best for you.

 

1. Ask "How can I be of service to you?"

Zak repeats this phrase in just about every meeting he attends. Doing so makes your collaborators feel supported and heard, which is especially important around the workplace. This also gives your colleagues a chance to air concerns and ask for any additional help they might need. Of course, this phrase can be used with anyone at any time. If a friend or family member is going through a transition or a busier than usual period-such as welcoming a new baby-a check-in like this will be much appreciated.

2. Maintain eye contact (and stop checking your phone!)

This one sounds easy, until you try it. Chances are that a few moments into conversation you'll become distracted and check the time, glance at the television, or otherwise look away from the person you're speaking with. This isn't just rude-it's also a subconscious indication that you aren't fully engaged. "When someone gives you all of their attention it's a gift," says Zak. "By showing that you're not chained to your device, it's a real show of interest and respect." This one comes up a lot at home for Zak, but it's easy to practice with anyone, from the person bagging your groceries to the receptionist at your office.

 3. Stop pretending you're the only person in the box

Always one to test out new ideas on happiness and connection, Zak recently became an elevator talker. (You know-one of those people who engages with strangers while riding in elevators.) He thinks you should follow suit. "We're in a little box and pretend to be in it alone," says Zak. "So I recently gave myself a rule that every time I get into an elevator I have to say 'Hello, how are you?'" The idea is to make this friendly, not bothersome. Per Zak, some people just smile and nod back, but other people really answer, expressing themselves in a way that makes it clear they've been waiting for someone to ask.

 4. Comment on their emotions

Even if you're not always able to read other people's moods and feelings, chances are you have noticed occasions when your coworkers, friends, and family members have seemed more happy, sad, relaxed, or frustrated than usual. By commenting on these observations you can make a person feel seen; by asking them why they're feeling that way you give them a chance to feel heard, too. "I recently did this with a coworker," says Zak. "She had this glow to her. And she told me that she had recently lost 15 pounds and was feeling great all-around." After a short exchange like this, everyone involved will feel better.

 5. Expand your use of the "L" word

Saying "I love you" is usually second nature around family. You may feel vulnerable saying it to romantic partners at the beginning of a relationship, although after a while that might become automatic too. But what about the other people in your life? The close friends and maybe even longtime colleagues that you really, really like, or, you know, love? Let them know how you feel, suggests Zak. If you have dear friends or colleagues, express it to them using "love" if you're comfortable with it, or other words if you aren't. "Expressing that sentiment produces that level of connection that is powerful for all," says Zak.

 

Jessica Cassity writes about health, fitness, and happiness for publications including Self, Shape, Health, Women's Health, and Family Circle magazines. Her first book, Better Each Day: 365 Expert Tips for a Healthier, Happier You was published in 2011.

Paul J. Zak, PhD is a scientist, prolific author, and public speaker, and he serves on the faculty at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California

Using Expressions of Gratitude

 The family caregiver journey is very challenging and must have many moments of having mental clarity mixed with mindfulness - living in the moment. Instead of developing these habits, we sometimes reflect on the more challenging things that didn’t happen. Like taking a loved one to a doctor’s appointment and think about the worse outcome before the doctor sees the loved one. 

According to Linda Graham in Bouncing Back, the following exercise will aid you in getting through the almost tough times with gratitude, and eventually getting to the tough times with resilience.

Exercise: Practicing Gratitude for the Bad Things That Don’t Happen

1.        Pay attention, as you go throughout your day, to bad things that might have happened, but they didn’t. You tripped on the sidewalk but you didn’t fall. You felt like you were coming down with a cold, but you didn’t. You almost said something sarcastic to your colleague when they flubbed something, but you didn’t. 

2.        Notice the goodness that something bad didn’t happen. Notice a sense of relief, of ease. Let a feeling of gratitude arise for that moment of relief.

3.        Savor the gratitude for 10-20-30 seconds. Let the moment become a resource for you as you go through the rest of the day. Yes, resilience is coping well with the difficult, sometimes the truly awful. We can recover resources for resilience by noticing how often things go right, for those we care about and ourselves.

4.        Pass this idea along to a friend; ask them later how the coping in their day shifted as they practiced gratitude for the bad things that didn’t happen.

 Share with us what happened and maybe it will cause others to try this exercise. It’s all about us helping each other!!

 

Caregiver Interview

 

USE THE FOLLOWING questions for each candidate, carefully record their answers so you can make a meaningful and informed decision about whom to hire:

• “Tell me about yourself.” This open-ended question, simple as it is, can reveal a great deal about a person’s character, motivation, and priorities. Look in particular for a focus on others’ welfare.

• Ask applicants to describe their formal training for providing care. This will help you determine the candidate’s qualifications and skills.

• Ask whether they are bonded to insure security for your home and valuable possessions. If they are not bonded, ask whether they know of any factor that might bar their bonding.

• Ask about previous care giving work experience. Ask about each applicant’s length of time on the job, and the reason for leaving a job, to determine any personality conflicts and longevity on previous jobs.

• Ask the simple question, “Why do you want this job?” so you can determine a sense of commitment and dedication.

• As you discuss your needs, be aware of the would-be caregivers interjecting their view of how to do what you want and need.

• Ask about their availability and flexibility.

• Ask about their transportation to determine reliability.

• Ask about their health status to be aware of health limitations in performing your needed tasks.

• Ask for at least three employment and personal references; these should be from care-giving positions, if possible. It won’t help you if they were terrific cutting hair or something not related to caregiving but were not able to provide positive references from their caregiving positions.

Ease Pain by Changing Your Thoughts and Feelings

 

There are millions who suffer from chronic illness. Many of these are family caregivers and non-caregivers. For those looking for an answer or new perspective on coping with or helping others cope with chronic illness, included is a list of successful thoughts to assist you.

 

Create Familiar Parallels

  Just as the blowing of the wind is unpredictable, life blows in periods of illness and wellness not on our timetable. Understanding the impermanence of everything helps us accept rather than resist what is happening. Good health and bad health come and go like storms, winds and sun. Relax into accepting ‘what is’ allows us to cope with ‘what is’. 

 

Develop Mental Calmness

Remembering with gratitude the good that was when facing current irreversible loss.  When no longer able to work, “This was a productive and satisfying career that last 20 years”. When friendships fall away, “This was a loving friendship that nourished me for 25 years”. When no longer able to travel or visit others, “This was a body that was illness-free long enough to raise my children attend their weddings, teach and encourage others, and keep my husband company. Embrace ‘what is’ without losing ‘what was’.

 

Redefine Perspective

Losing steady companionship of friends and family can be on of the greatest losses of chronic illness. Recognizing and taking pleasure in a new-found, if un-chosen, time to read, listen to music, develop new hobbies and pastime you slighted or ignored.

 

Develop Wise Inaction

The chronically ill need permission to stop doing things that make symptoms of the illness worse: do daily activities as energy and discomfort allows you, know when to stop activities and involvement with others, listen to and respect your body, and always know when to stop any activity. Let go of multi-tasking and relishing doing one task at a time, one moment at a time, brings ease rather than guilt and pain.

 

May these thoughts be useful to you and yours, in times of good health as well as poor health.

 

Structuring Activities for Love Ones with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

 

A person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia doesn’t have to give up the activities that they love. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, many activities can be modified to the person’s ability. This will not only enhance their quality of life but will reduce their behaviors like wandering and agitation.

In the early stages of dementia, the person may withdraw from activities they previously enjoyed. It is important to help them remain engaged. Having an open discussion around any concerns and making slight adjustments can make a difference.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, you may need to make other adjustments to the activity. These are a few tips you may use:

When choosing activities consider these ideas.

  • Keep the person’s skill and abilities in mind.
  • Pay special attention to what the person enjoys.
  • Consider if the person begins activities without direction.
  • Be aware of physical problems.
  • Focus on enjoyment – not achievement.
  • Encourage involvement in daily life.
  • Relate to past work life.
  • Look for favorites.
  • Consider time of day.
  • Adjust activities to disease stages.

 

 When choosing an approach consider these ideas.

  • Is help needed in getting the activity started?
  • Offer support and supervision.
  • Concentrate on the process, not the result.
  • Be flexible.
  • Assist with difficult parts of the tasks.
  • Let the individual know they are needed.
  • Stress a sense of purpose.
  • Avoid criticism or correcting the person.
  • Encourage self-expression.
  • Involve the person through conversation.
  • Substitute an activity for a behavior.
  • Try again later.

 

 

 

Try Laughter!!!

Laughter is the new source for overcoming and dealing with some of the difficult life situations. Try this exercise provided by this successful international group. 

The Clowns Without Borders website shares many stories from their many projects around the world.

 

EXERCISE:

Here is help using the physicality of laughter to promote your own emotional, mental and relational well being. 
 

A 15 Minute Laughing Meditation created by Dhyan Sutorious
 
Do this with at least one other person, if you can.  Find a quiet, secluded place where you can sit together comfortably.  "If you feel a little shy, laugh with your shyness.  Respect your limits: you do not have to achieve anything at all."
 


 

PREPARATION: 
Stand to stretch, legs solidly planted. Stretch your muscles as you exhale, relax briefly as you inhale. Repeat this a few times as you reach over your head. You may also use your right hand to pull your left arm over your ear; and vice versa. Loosen your fingers by pulling them gently back with the other hand (repeat with each hand.)  Stretch your facial muscles by making funny faces and grimaces... without laughing. 
 


 

LAUGH: 
Smile; then slowly, without forcing yourself, laugh with a relaxed throat. Laugh softly at first, then louder until you're bellowing heartily from your belly. Don't force anything. Allow it to happen.    

 "Every second of your attention should be directed at what presents itself to you at that moment: laugh or cry with it or be silent.  The essence is being aware, accepting, and letting go.  The moment you totally accept the situation, the other person or yourself, you can laugh with it." (In the final minute of the meditation, close your eyes and continue to laugh.)
 


RELEASE: 
With your eyes closed, slowly stop laughing and breathe quietly without sound.  Each time you notice you're thinking of something, let the thought go and focus your attention on your body breathing.  Whatever you are feeling, notice it, allow it, and accept it.  Rest in ease. 


Let me know if this works for you or not.

Take care, enjoy and laugh!!!

Caregiver Tips and Pitfalls

Recently, a friend shared his family caregiver experiences with me. He described occasions that represented true chaos for him as he dealt with doctors, attorneys, financial institutions and others. There was a combination of misinformation, poor communication, and a lack of concern for the loved one and their assets. As he shared his dilemma, I thought of many others who probably are having similar experiences. These situations may be avoided with knowledge and early preparation for the tasks that lie ahead, along with open communication with the loved one, family members and professional advisors. Before you have similar chaotic experiences, review the following tips and pitfalls for direction in your caregiving encounter. I hope these tactics will ensure that you have a compassionate and successful caregiver experience.

 

Tip: Spend upfront time with a reputable attorney and/or financial planner to ensure that your loved ones’ estate plan is in order understood by all relevant individuals.

Pitfall: The lack of a well-thought-out plan can contribute to confusion, an inability to fulfill the loved ones’ wishes and, depending on the size of the estate, risk significant financial loss.

Tip: Ensure that the appropriate legal documents - Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directives and Living Will are executed early during your tenure as a caregiver.

Pitfall: Without these documents you will not be able to communicate with medical and legal professionals on behalf of your loved one.

Tip: Carefully analyze all housing options (e.g., In-home, Assisted Living, Nursing Home, etc.) for your loved one before the need arises.

Pitfall: Being out of sync with the level of assistance required by your loved one can lead to injury of the loved one, a resistance by the loved one to progress to the appropriate facility, and the inability to determine level and cost of outside help.

Tip: Plan your own respite needs.

Pitfall: Many caregivers become ill themselves because they are stressed out, do not eat and exercise properly, and do not request help from family, friends and local agencies to assist with their caregiving tasks.

Tip: Utilize existing caregiving resources such as Stepping: A Companion and Guide for Family Caregivers by Cenetta J. Lee and Gloria F. Carr to assist in your caregiving journey.

Pitfall: Relying on your limited knowledge and anecdotal information from friends can lead to serious caregiver missteps including, misunderstanding medical professionals, being unable to recognize declining health in a loved one, and making the wrong decision about housing options.

Tip: If possible, try to know your loved one’s desire relative to final arrangements. That is, type of service, program content, funeral director, costs, etc.

Pitfall: Emotions are fragile during this time and decision-making can be conflicted as family members try to decide what is best for the loved one.