Article of the Week on ElderCareMatters.com: "I Am Worried About My Parents"

aorourkeAmy Cameron O’Rourke, MPH, CMC
The Cameron Group
Orlando, Florida  32803
1-888-896-2010

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance

Watching a parent grow older, become more frail and maybe more vulnerable can be an enriching experience when there is a framework for understanding the stage they are in. Without understanding some of the common stages, however, it can be a time fraught with frustration and anxiety. This time of life for an elder is called “late life” and one of the books that best describes and supports this time is the pioneering book, “ My Mother, Your Mother”, by Dr. Dennis McCullough. 

The stage that will be the focus of this article is the crisis stage. This stage is characterized by an acute medical episode such as a fall or a stroke. It can be something non-medical but just as devastating such as loss of driving privileges, loss of memory; some life change that has begun significantly altering the elders’ lifestyle. Typically the elder is in denial of the severity of the change and the children are overly anxious as they are projecting the worst case scenario on to the elder. Communications frequently breakdown as anxieties collide. The elder does not want the children telling them what to do and the children want a permanent solution placed on their parent so they don’t have to worry anymore. 

Strategies for the Crisis Stage: Bring in an objective third party to guide these communications, which are usually fraught with emotions. Professional Geriatric Care Managers are elder care experts who understand the complex systems that care for the elder (hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities) and can help the family successfully resolve the immediate problem and coordinate a plan of care for after the crisis is over. They listen carefully to each family member and the elder to help the family come to a consensus. 

Family meetings for are set up on a regular basis for the future with the following recommended components. First, time in the beginning of the call should be allowed for each family member’s concerns to get verbalized. Secondly, prioritize the concerns and list the responsibilities associated with the concerns. Lastly, divide the responsibilities for the care of the elder. For example, long distance siblings may be responsible for communicating to other family members via e mail, phone or Facebook. They may also take on the insurance issues, or financial issues that arise. This leaves the hands on care for the child who lives locally. The Care Manager can be on the calls to help with the decision making and also provide guidance and assistance in implementing some of the solutions the family members decide upon. 

After the crisis, the family meetings should be continued to maintain continuity of communication and to maintain the plan of care for the parent.


Article of the Week on ElderCareMatters.com: "What do most of us want more of?"

pbenedictPhilip C. Benedict, CFP
Benedict Financial Advisors, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia  30328
770-671-8228

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance

What would make most people happier? Better health? More friends? More time with children and grandchildren?

Most people of any age would like more of the above, but one thing that would definitely improve the financial and emotional quality of the lives of many people, especially seniors, is more monthly cash flow. Think about it.

If you have plenty of monthly cash flow you can hire people to do the things you can no longer do. If you have insufficient monthly cash flow you are dependent on family, friends and government programs.

I don’t know about you, but, I want to be able to control my own financial destiny as much as humanly possible.

The time to act to create a higher monthly cash flow isn’t when you are elderly, it is right now. Right now, no matter what your age. It isn’t when interest rates are higher, it isn’t when the stock market is higher, it isn’t when Congress finally does something right, it is RIGHT NOW.

Every person and every family that dreams of a retirement of leisure and a dignified ending needs to start creating their future monthly cash flow today.  

At the core of creating this future monthly cash flow is the strategy of investing in dividend paying common stocks of globally dominant companies. Of course everyone needs some savings in the bank and maybe some interest paying bonds, but it is getting comfortable with investing in dividend paying stocks and doing it that will potentially give you the cash flow you want during your retirement years.

What? You say owning common stocks are too risky to count on during retirement. Maybe that is because you are focused on the daily share price movements of the stocks rather than the cash flow the stocks are expected to generate. You have to learn to differentiate between the stock price and the underlying value of the operating company.

For a simple example, let’s take a look at a giant consumer products company’s actual history and see if we can focus on the company and not the stock.

Let’s look at the COMPANY over the last ten years:

  • Revenues have more than doubled
  • Dividends are almost three times higher
  • “Free Cash Flow” is over eight times higher

Let’s look at the STOCK:

  • It is currently selling for a little over $60 per share.
  • Eleven years ago the stock was selling for almost $60 per share.
  • Twice since January 2000 the share price has declined more than 40% in value.

This company has been very successful. Management has done about everything an owner (shareholder) could expect it to do. It has increased revenues, profits and the amount of benefits to the shareholder (dividends).

What can corporate management NOT control? It cannot control the share price, which is a function of the euphoria-and-panic of the financial marketplace.

If you are retired or planning to retire, your investment accounts are probably an important source of your retirement income. And, what do you really need in retirement? For most people it is the monthly cash-flow.

What has this company done for shareholder cash-flow (dividends) since 2000? It has more than tripled.

There are no guarantees in the world of investing but IF this company can triple it’s dividend over the next ten to twelve years, then the shareholder will be earning about 9% to 10% annually based on today’s investment. That will be a nice retirement cash-flow.

Own the company and not the stock.

I realize we can only own the “stock” of a publicly traded company, so it is more accurate to say FOCUS on the company and not the stock price.

But, you may be saying, “This country is in a giant mess and the mess seems to be getting worse every day.”

The original roots of this company go back to the year 1837. It has survived the war-between-the-states, two world wars, various terrorist attacks, and all sorts of natural disasters and the leadership of a lot of inept politicians over the years. It was able to prosper during the terrible inflation years of the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Today, most of its revenues are earned outside of this country, thus it is not overly dependent on the domestic economy.

However, despite this resilience, the share price of this company has declined in value rather dramatically many times during its history.  And we would expect the same in the future. Own the company and not the stock; it is the key to your financial contentment during your retirement years.

Even a great company can stumble, so you need to consider owning a group of stocks similar to the one above and enjoy the quarterly dividends. We believe no other asset class is likely to adapt to the rapidly changing and challenging world economic environment as well as these globally dominate international companies. They need to be a core part of almost every investor’s retirement income.


Article of the week: "Beware: Higher Yielding Investments Can Have Higher Risks"

mbishopJ. Michael Bishop, JD
Smiley Bishop & Porter, LLP
1050 Crowne Pointe Parkway
Suite 1250
Atlanta, GA  30338
770-829-3850

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance

Interest rates on bank CDs and money market funds have been at historic lows over the last several years. Sure, everyone wants to make more income from their assets. But always remember there is no free lunch. No matter what a salesman might tell you, with bigger returns come bigger risks.

In an effort to attract seniors’ retirement funds, Wall Street has introduced an array of increasingly complex products that promise investors higher yields than are available from CDs or government bonds. Unfortunately, most of these products carry the danger that an investor can lose most or all of his or her principal investment. In many instances, higher yielding investments are simply inappropriate for seniors seeking to preserve their assets and should not be recommended by stockbrokers, financial advisors or investment advisors.  (more…)


Why Isn’t the VA Paying My Client?

vcollierVictoria L. Collier, Esq.
Collier & St. Clair, LLP
Decatur, GA  30030
404-370-0696
  

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Georgia chapter

The Situation

You helped your veteran client obtain eligibility for veterans pension with aid and attendance.  The application was filed, all verification materials were submitted, and you wait for an answer.  The good news is, your client was awarded with benefits.  You feel really good about helping veteran clients.  You feel even better when the Veterans Administration approves a claim for one of your clients. 

But then the call comes in.  The client is calling to ask you why they haven’t received any money. (more…)


Easy Come . . . Easy Go. There are Ways to Protect Your Legacy

smakuakaneScott A. Makuakane, Esq., CFP
Est8Planning Counsel LLLC
Honolulu, Hawaii
808-587-8227

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Hawaii chapter

Callie Rogers, age 16, won $3.1 million in a British lottery.  By the age of 22, the unwed mother of two, having attempted suicide twice, and having spent over $400,000 on cocaine alone (in addition to more conventional luxuries), was broke, living with her mother, and working three cleaning jobs.  She described her sudden windfall as having ruined her life, and she was looking forward to finding happiness once her winnings were gone. (more…)


How to Finance for Longevity and Aging in Place

EasyLiving, Inc.

Alex Chamberlain
EasyLiving, Inc.
Clearwater, Florida
727-448-0900

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance,
Florida chapter

Aging in place has grown increasingly popular throughout the country. According to an AARP survey, 70-80% of respondents say they would prefer to live out their days in their own homes.  It is understandable that so many people choose to age comfortably in their own home rather than re-locating to a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, many matters must be considered when financing longevity. Below are some points to take into consideration in order to adequately plan for one’s future:  (more…)


How to Access Your Long Term Care Insurance Benefits

Personal Care Inc.Wayne Abraham
Personal Care, Inc.
Greensboro, North Carolina
336-274-9200

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance,
North Carolina chapter

If you or a family member reach a point when you believe it is time to use that long term care insurance policy that was purchased, what do you do? All too often people don’t read the fine print on their policies and aren’t sure how to go about accessing them when they need them.

There are some basic things to keep in mind when you have reached this point. First of all, do you qualify? Different policies have different requirements for what constitutes eligibility. The industry standard is that you must need help with at least two activities of daily living or ADLs. These include tasks such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and others.

When you contact your long term care insurance company about activating your policy and receiving benefits they will send an RN out to do an assessment as well as contacting your doctor. Below is a list of items that insurance companies use in order to determine whether or not you are eligible to receive those benefits. (more…)


Answers to your Social Security Disability Questions

Sheri Abrams, Attorney at LawSheri Abrams, Attorney at Law
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Falls Church, Virginia  22046
703-536-7778

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Virginia chapter

 

 

 

WHAT ARE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?

Social Security Disability is a benefit received from the Social Security Administration by disabled workers and in some cases their dependents, similar to those received by retired workers.

WHO QUALIFIES?

To receive benefits under the Social Security Disability program, you must have a physical or mental health problem (or a combination of problems) severe enough to keep you from working in any regular paying job for at least one year. The test isn’t whether or not you are able to go back to your old job, and the test isn’t whether or not you have been able to find a job lately. Rather, the test is whether you are capable of doing any job available in the national economy. By using an extensive set of regulations, the Social Security Administration takes into account your medical condition, your age, your abilities, your training and your work experience in deciding your case. (more…)


Long Term Care Partnership Programs

Allen Kampf, RFC, CLTCAllen Kampf, RFC, CLTC
Wealth Advocacy Partners
Sparks, Maryland  21152
410-527-1171

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Maryland chapter

As the number of elderly Americans increases, long-term care (LTC) needs and costs are likely to grow.  Many believe that private long-term care insurance can and should play a more significant role in the financing of home care and nursing home services.  Wider use of such insurance could shift the burden from individuals, who are often ill-prepared to pay for such care out-of-pocket, as well as from state Medicaid programs, which often serve as a default financier of long-term-care services. (more…)


The Hoarding Dilemma: When and How to Help

Martha M. KernMartha M. Kern
Director, Lifecare Home Solutions
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois  60181
630-932-4032

Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Illinois chapter

The problem of hoarding has recently garnered a great deal of attention, particularly since becoming the subject of an A&E television show.  It is not, however, a new problem.  It pre-dates the Depression (and is not caused by Depression-Era upbringings), has been documented all over the world, and is believed to afflict 15 million Americans to a clinically-significant degree.  Hoarding causes trouble not just for the hoarder, but for everyone in their lives.  Paradoxically, allowing a hoarder to get into trouble rather than working to get them out of trouble may just be the key to lasting change. (more…)


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