Can Family Caregivers Reduce Hospital Costs? – Forbes

What are family caregivers worth? As the credit card commercial says, they are priceless. But they also have a financial value. And calculating that value is important as we consider ways to help them. For example, before Congress creates new government supports for family members who help aging parents or other relatives with disabilities, it will want to know if that assistance could reduce other government spending.There are lots of ways to figure what caregiving is worth. For example, you could calculate what it would cost if all those family caregivers were paid market rates for the personal care they provide.  AARP figures the economic value of family care could be as much as $470 billion annually. Or you could try to calculate the lifetime financial sacrifice of a daughter who abandons her career to help a relative. By one estimate, the lifetime cost to a 50-something woman who quits her job to care for an aging parent can be as much $300,000 in lost wages and retirement benefits. Here is another way to measure the value of family caregiving: By providing badly needed support for relatives living at home, can the care provided by family members cut health care costs by, say, reducing emergency room visits and hospitalizations? If they could, they’d not only improve the well-being of those they are helping, but they may also save government a significant amount of health care dollars.

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Family Caregivers Programs and Support For Veterans

Injuries incurred by service members are cover...
Injuries incurred by service members are covered by the Veteran Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FOR CAREGIVERS

VA values your commitment as a partner in our pledge to care for those who have “borne the battle,” and we have several support and service options designed with you in mind. Many programs are available both in and out of your home to help you care for the Veteran you love and for yourself.

How To Get Paid If You’re A Family Caregiver

Janet Morris, Director of Bet Tzedek's Family ...
Janet Morris, Director of Bet Tzedek’s Family Caregiver Program, with clients. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dear Savvy Senior,
I have been taking care of my elderly mother for nearly three years and it’s taking a huge toll on my finances. Are there any resources you know about that can help family caregivers get paid?
—Financially Exhausted
Dear Exhausted,
To get paid as a family caregiver, there are various government programs, tax breaks and family payment options that may be able to help you, depending on your mom’s financial situation. Here’s where to look for help.
State Aid
If your mom is low-income and eligible for Medicaid, you may be able to get paid a small amount by the state. In 15 states, Medicaid offers a Cash & Counseling program (see cashandcounseling.org) that provides an allowance that can be used for various services, including paying family members for care.
Many other states have similar programs for low-income seniors, even if the person receiving care doesn’t quite qualify for Medicaid. To find out about these options contact your local Medicaid office.
Veterans Aid
In some communities across the U.S., veterans who are at risk of nursing home placement can enroll in the Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services program that allows veterans to manage their own care, including hiring and paying their own caregivers.
Also available to wartime veterans and their spouses is a benefit called Aid and Attendance that helps pay for in-home care, as well as assisted living and nursing home care. This benefit can also be used to pay family caregivers.
To be eligible your mom must need assistance with daily living activities like bathing, dressing or going to the bathroom. And, her income must be under $13,362 as a surviving spouse — minus medical and long-term care expenses. If your mom is a single veteran, her income must be below $20,795 to be eligible. Her assets must also be less than $80,000, excluding her home and car.
To learn more see va.gov/geriatrics, or contact your regional VA office, or your local veterans service organization. For contact information, call 800-827-1000.
Tax Breaks
Uncle Sam may also be able to help if you pay at least half of your mom’s yearly expenses, and her annual income was below $3,900 in 2013 (not counting Social Security). If so, you can claim her as a dependent on your taxes, and reduce your taxable income by $3,900. See IRS Publication 501 (www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf) or call the IRS help-line at 800-829-1040 for information.
If you can’t claim your mom as a dependent, you may still be able to get a tax break if you’re paying at least half her living expenses including her medical and long-term care costs, and they exceed 10 percent (or 7.5 percent if you’re 65 or over) of your adjusted gross income. You can include your own medical expenses in calculating the total. See the IRS publication 502 (www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf) for details.
Family Payments
If your mom doesn’t financially qualify for the government aid or the tax breaks, can she afford to pay you herself or do you have any siblings that would be willing to chip in? After all, if your mom had to pay for home care services, the costs would be anywhere between $12 and $25 per hour.
If she agrees to pay you, it’s best that you or an attorney draft a short written contract detailing your work and payment arrangements so every one involved knows what to expect. A contract will also help avoid potential problems should your mom ever need to apply for Medicaid for nursing home care.
Another payment option to consider is for your mom to adjust her will, so you receive a larger portion of her estate for providing her care. But to avoid conflict, be sure all family members are aware and in agreement.
Also, check to see if your mom has any long-term care insurance that covers in-home care. If she does, in some cases those benefits may be used to pay you.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Once Again I Find Myself Doing This With Zero Help

Pop will have been gone five years this April 14th and I find myself once again isolated, alone, drained, sleep deprived, lonley, malnourished, depressed, and boxed into a corner as the sole 24/7 caregiver to my nearly 30 year best friend, boss, roommate, running buddy Kjell who’s as hard case died in the wool, constitutionally incapable, jay walking, bull headed, stinking drunk that ever walked the earth with no redeeming or even barely likeable qualities left. Thats me and him there to the left on the day about 15 years ago after I kicked a US Prosecuter’s ass up and down the block in Federal Court while I went pro per not only under oath but also mirandized and facing a federal prison term myself if that prick of a dumbass rookie schmuck prick of an Assistant US Attorney had his way as he grilled me all day on the stand. The hardest day of my life. My pal here…was there for me…in the gallery behind said prickface Assistant US Attorney giving me a tug of the ear or a brush of his hair or gentle cough now and then that got me through that ordeal and I walked out of that US Federal Courthouse with my head held high a free man. So how can I not care for the rotten old bastard now when his lady of 20 years and his entire family and all of his friends have washed their hands of him and left him for dead?

Mesothelioma Center’s Asbestos.com Website

Asbestos fibres - a single fibre is believed t...
Asbestos fibres – a single fibre is believed to cause mesothelioma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Asbestos.com is a website and advocacy group that helps the victims of asbestos exposure and their loved ones. We connect our visitors with the resources they need to understand and fight asbestos-related disease, all at no cost. We research the latest data about asbestos and asbestos-related diseases to ensure an accurate, up-to-date site, and we maintain relationships with doctors and cancer centers to promote patient access to cutting-edge treatment.
Our free services include: providing literature on asbestos and related diseases; providing access to our on-staff nurse; matching patients up with qualified doctors in their area; managing a support group for asbestos victims and their families; helping veterans receive VA benefits for asbestos diseases; educating the public about Social Security disability and legal options; and much more.
Asbestos.com is part of the mesothelioma community, which has a blend of for-profit and not-for-profit websites and companies occupying it. We are a for-profit company. The site is owned by AMAG, LLC, based in Orlando and sponsored by The Peterson Firm. We think we do good work, much like other for-profit companies: Walt Disney World, Starbucks, UPS and Whole Foods. We like the fact that we’re a business because we feel it gives us more opportunities to help people. Although we do understand the stigma that sometimes comes with a for-profit company, we are proud of the work we do and we trust the feedback of our users.
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US Has the World’s Least Flexible Workplaces