Healthy Holidays!

November 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

This time of the year, the holidays can be overwhelming.  There are holiday parties, decorating, shopping and meal preparations to be made.  Moreover, there are mom and dad with Alzheimer’s or dementia and you are the primary caregiver.  Your brother and sister cannot believe you want to put mom and dad into a home.  Arguments ensue.  Mom and dad keep following you around the house turning off the decorations you just turned on.  Your spouse is working late and your teenager is having a meltdown over a breakup and you—you are just trying not to have a nervous breakdown. You are human and you cannot take anymore.  Something has to give, right?

Right.  This time of the year, caregivers really forget about their own physical and mental health needs.  Care giving is akin to any other chronic stress experience.  Your body will be affected by physical and psychological strain over long periods and can often be accompanied by unpredictability and uncontrollability.  This stress will have secondary effects on the other relationships in your life such as work, family and it will directly affect the person you care for.

For you, this high level of stress can lead to chronic illness, psychological distress, impaired health habits and possibly death.  For the person receiving care, you can directly affect their behavior problems, their cognitive abilities, their functional abilities and their physical and mental health.  In order for you and your loved one to remain healthy and happy this holiday season, remember, you need to care for yourself.  The following tips may make the holidays a little easier when you are feeling overwhelmed:

  1. Eliminate the battleground.  If holiday meals are a time for squabbles regarding a loved one’s physical or mental health, the care you are giving or the money you are spending, have a phone conference or a meeting with your relatives beforehand.  Make sure relatives have a realistic idea of what to expect.  Never talk about the disabled person’s disability or illness in front of him or her.
  2. Keep your own doctor appointments or make time for a massage.  Do something nice for yourself.
  3. Get plenty of rest and stress reducing exercise.
  4. Eat healthy, including snacks when you need them.
  5. If you just do not have the time to make a large meal, consider a brunch or have the meal catered.
  6. Enlist the help of family or friends.  Never be afraid to ask for help!  It is one of the most generous things you can do for yourself and your loved one.
  7. Enlist the help of a respite care service.  Many of them have adult day programs or someone that can come to your home while you run your errands.  Respite service will give you a chance to prepare a meal, get shopping or housework done.  Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in particular tend to enjoy holiday festivities.  They enjoy decorating cookies, singing carols and even visiting with Santa.  It helps them remember traditions and holidays from the past.
  8. When you are with your loved one, try to include him or her in what you are doing.  They may not be able to make cookies or go shopping, but they may be able to decorate and wrap.
  9. Involve as many people as you can that are important to your loved one, but keep everything as simple as you can.  Because your time and their declining health, some holiday traditions may need to be modified or discontinued.  You can always create a new tradition.
  10. Most importantly, make your loved one feel special.  If they are wrapping a gift or following you around re-arranging your decorations, tell them they are doing a great job.  You will have them beaming from ear to ear.

Please keep in mind this holiday season those you love and those that are less fortunate.  A sincere message of love can be understood by anyone – even if they lack the capacity to reciprocate.

If you have any questions, please contact Legacy Law Firm, LLC.  The firm is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning.  The office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334 or via email at info@legacylawil.com.

ImageLegacy Law Firm LLC:  helping your family build a legacy from one generation to the next.

 

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National Caregivers Month


November 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers” – Rosalyn Carter

As we head into November, it is time to once again celebrate National Family Caregivers Month. The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) began promoting the celebration in 1994 and in 1997 President Clinton signed the first annual proclamation which has since been signed by all succeeding presidents. « Read the rest of this entry »

Ways To Save During Medicare Open Enrollment

October 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Open enrollment has been underway for a week now and seniors have until December 7, 2012 to sign up for next year’s plan. Unfortunately, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health have found that many seniors are overpaying for Medicare because they fail to choose the proper plan. « Read the rest of this entry »

Caregiver Care – Medical Tests You Need


October 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of our most popular themes in this blog is caregivers.  The number of family members that have taken on the role of caregiver is on the rise and due to our aging population, that number will continue to rise.  With so many of us becoming caregivers with little to no previous experience, it’s no wonder caregivers end up over stressed, burned out and even physically ill due to the pressure of their responsibilities.

Our blog has discussed frequently how important it is for caregivers to take care of themselves and one such way is to maintain regular doctor check ups and screenings.  Testing can help your doctor catch disease early and therefore have a much better chance at successful treatment. « Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Be Their Next Victim


October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Unfortunately we have noticed a couple recent posts on Facebook about our friends’ elderly relatives being swindled.  The most recent post involved an elderly woman who lives in an assisted living facility.  She received a call from a person claiming to be her granddaughter.  The girl said she had been arrested in Mexico because she was caught with marijuana.  The caller begged “Grandma” to help and not tell her parents about the situation.  She said she needed Grandma to wire $3900 right away so she could be released from jail.  The Grandma did as she was asked.  Once the money had been wired, the girl called back within hours and said she needed another $2500.  Luckily before Grandma could send the second installment, her son arrived and stopped her.

Of course this is just one of many scams that thieves use to target the elderly.  A popular con that occurs after a storm or natural disaster is carried out by crooks commonly called “storm chasers” because they sweep into an affected area after a storm to try and bilk unsuspecting homeowners.  Many times these men ask for upfront money, promise a quick repair and then disappear.  Avoid this type of scam by checking the Better Business Bureau, get proof of a contractor’s license and workers compensation insurance and get everything in writing (estimates, materials, prices and completion dates).

Another way to steer clear of many phone scams is to avoid answering calls from area code 876.  This code appears to be in the U.S. but it is actually from Jamaica.  According to the AARP, “Approximately 30,000 calls are made from Jamaica into the United States – each day – attempting to defraud American citizens.”

Many times calls from 876 will tell the person who answers the phone that they have won a lottery prize and all they need to do to claim their prize is to pay the tax on the prize through a wire transfer.  It is important to remind elderly loved ones to not answer calls with an 876 area code, but also remind them that they should never have to pay money for a prize they haven’t received yet.

If you do find yourself or loved one has been duped by a con, your first step should be to contact the police department.  Unfortunately if the money was paid in cash or wired, it is highly unlikely it will be recovered.  If in the process of the scam you released bank or credit card information, you will need to contact the appropriate bank or card provider to have a hold placed on the account.  You may also want to contact a lawyer in case of potential identity theft.

Remember education is the best way to prevent becoming victim of a scam.

The Legacy Law Firm, LLC is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients.  The office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334 or email at info@legacylawil.com.

Weekly Law Office Logo   Legacy Law Firm – helping create a lasting legacy from one generation to the next.

Same People, Same Service, NEW NAME!

September 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Beginning October 1, 2012 The Law Office of Dawn M. Weekly, PC will become LEGACY LAW FIRM, LLC.  There will be no change to the firm, other than the name.  All the same people are here:  Dawn M. Weekly, our principal attorney; Allen Dotson, the Business Manager; Jori Contrino, our Certified Elder Care Coordinator; Amanda Strong, our Benefits Coordinator and Steve Weekly, our Client Services Coordinator.  Our firm focuses on Life Care Planning, a holistic approach to elder law and long-term care planning, that incorporate a care component, provided by a Care Coordinator, to a legal and financial plan for long-term care.

Since the focus of the practice is to help elders leave a Legacy for their family, rather than having their estate systematically depleted to pay for long-term care, we decided to change the name of the firm to Legacy Law Firm, LLC to emphasize the goal of the firm.

LEGACY LAW FIRM, LLC:  helping your family build a legacy to last from one generation to the next.

Medicare Open Enrollment – Don’t Put It Off


September 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Quite possibly the topic people least want to discuss is health insurance, but taxes is probably a close second.  However, it is once again open enrollment season for Medicare and we want to make sure you are prepared.

This year, open enrollment comes a little bit sooner:  from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.  Though Medicare beneficiaries have eight weeks to select their coverage, most wait until the last minute to apply, which can mean costly errors and added stress. « Read the rest of this entry »