Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, July 21, 2014

Moving to a New Site






Friends, I've been blogging here for almost eight years, but it's time to move on. I'm not going away, but simply changing my address and refocusing a bit. I've started a new blog at An Ordinary Woman Pursuing Splendor. There I focus on "Practical Biblical Problem-Solving Strategies Amid Life's Disappointments, Challenges, and Crashes." Of course, that includes a lot of GenSandwich issues. I hope you'll visit the new blog and follow for updates. And THANKS for your support over the years.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Are You Aware Of The Two Midnight Medicare Rule?




One of the changes in the 2014Medicare proposed prospective payment regulations is the two-midnight rule. This rule requires that inpatients must remain in the hospital over two midnights in order to qualify for inpatient reimbursement.  Any stay shorter is considered outpatient, which has a much lower reimbursement rate.  Fortunately these rules have been delayed until September 30, 2014, but it’s important that you stay on top of this. It could have severe financial ramifications for you or your aging parent.  

Hospital leaders have vigorously opposed the two-midnight rule during the past year, arguing that the policy is unclear and undermines the medical judgment of physicians. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced the policy to better monitor Medicare payment of short inpatient stays and ensure inpatient admissions are medically necessary. But the fact remains that this is yet another unintended (or intended?) consequence of Obamacare that will affect care for the elderly.

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Beware of Medicare Scams

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Over the years, I've warned readers of Medicare, Social Security, and other scams targeting seniors. It looks like there is one circulating in Missouri and Illinois now. If you are a senior or care for one, be alert for these scams. Warn your loved one (again) to not respond with personal information.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Caring for the Caregiver: This Year I’m Taking Care of Me



2013 was a hard year for me. What about you? In fact, I’m just now coming up for air. Christmas just came down last weekend. I just didn’t have the energy to take it down earlier. So there…

It seems that Mom has become more difficult this year. Not really sicker, but more needy, more clingy, and worst of all, more unkind. Meanwhile, hubby has had a back injury and almost needed surgery. But he didn’t pass the cardiac clearance, so we are re-thinking that. But for the past several months, he’s been in pain. And you know men in pain… So I reached the end of the year pretty much at the end of me.

Then I saw these caregiver resolutions in a post on Caring.com and decided I need to implement them (or something like them) this year. Not all of these apply to all of us, but let them be a jumping off point for your own declarations.

Here’s the sample from Caring.com to start you off.

  • I will organize and dispense all my loved one's meds. . . but not beat myself up for forgetting the occasional dose.
  • I will apologize when I lose my temper, but realize that caregiving is so chock-full of temperature-riling situations that eternal calm is impossible.
  • I will be there for my loved one, but I will continue to run my own life at the same time.
  • I will let myself grieve and cry and feel sad, instead of trying to keep a chipper smile on my face all the time.
  • I will accept or ignore criticism for what it's worth (or not worth) rather than letting it eat at me.
  • I will quit blaming myself when bad things happen. Bad things happen.
  • Finally, I resolve to take care of me this year, not just my loved one. Because eventually I may be the one who needs care, and better it be later than sooner.
  • I resolve. . . not to try to be perfect this year.


How about you? How are you going to take care of YOU this year? Share with us your declarations.

Photo Credit: Peat Bakke

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Related by Chance; Family by Choice: the Critical Mother-in-Law/Daughter-in-Law Relationship



How’s your relationship with your daughter-in-law (DIL)? Or is that too touchy of a subject? I think a lot of moms of sons are surprised by the challenges of adding a new woman to the family, especially if we have a close relationship with our sons.

I was blessed with a friend who was years ahead of me in the mother-in-law (MIL) business. She was so diligent in maintaining a good relationship with her DIL. She pointed out that when a young man marries, the new wife often sees the MIL as competition. At first that didn’t make sense. Don’t we both love the same man? But that’s precisely the point. And to complicate the matter, most families don’t seem to put words or even cognition to that dilemma, so other conflicts arise to express it. Since they aren’t the real issue, they often don’t get resolved. Hurt feelings abound. And the son we love is caught in the middle. Another thing that happens is making the transition from child to adult and developing an adult relationship with your son and his wife rather than a parent/child relationship. If you’ve been close, that’s a hard transition for both parents and son. And here, the new wife gets caught in the middle.

Deb DeArmond has written a wonderful book about this issue.  Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships (Kregel Publications, 2013) talks to both mothers of sons and wives of those sons, addressing the most common glitches in this vital relationship.  It’s helpful to see both sides of the issue, as well as the side of what she calls “the man in the middle”—your son. The book is easy to read and features questions and personal evaluations at the end of each chapter to help you be more honest with yourself. And who wouldn’t want the goal: a better relationship with the wife of your son and the mother of your grandchildren.

If you’ve felt that your only option in dealing with your adult son and his wife is to “wear beige and keep your mouth shut,” the book is for you. If you’ve had misunderstandings with your DIL, there’s hope for reconciliation. And if you have a good relationship, you’ll learn ways to make it great.

I’m so thankful for the wonderful relationship we have with our DIL. She’s a treasure, and we tell her that regularly. It hasn’t always been easy, and still isn’t. But we’ve both worked hard and continue to find ways to make our family work. I feel like I’ve given and changed a lot, but I’ve also been very aware of the many concessions she has made to include and honor us. And ultimately, that’s what this relationship is about. Each party respecting the other and creating a delightful, God-honoring extended family.
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

National Family Caregiver’s Month





November is National Family Caregiver’s Month, so I want to salute you, my readers, for the care you give. As I talk with caregivers, I see men and women who are laying down their lives for aging parents, disabled spouses, or others they love. In the process, the caregivers’ hopes and dreams are often put on the back burner. Not only do they watch the decline of someone they love, but they also sacrifice their work, their goals, their finances, and sometimes their marriages. It isn’t easy.


Just how valuable are you? According to several AARP studies, 65.7 million caregivers (29% of the U.S. adult population) providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. Caregiver services were valued at $450 billion per year in 2009- up from $375 billion in year 2007. At $450 billion in 2011, the value of informal caregiving exceeded the value of paid home care, more than total Medicaid spending in 2009, as much as Wal-Mart sales ($408 billion), and nearly exceeding total expenditures for the Medicaid program in 2009 ($509 billion). That’s a lot of value, folks! And the value of unpaid family caregivers will likely continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in the U.S. since the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million in 2000.


Over 34 percent of caregivers provide more than 75 hours per week caregiving. That doesn’t leave time for much else. Seventy percent of working caregivers made some job change to accommodate their caregiving role. 12% of caregivers reduced work hours or took a less demanding job while 9%, gave up work entirely, compared to 3% that took an early retirement.


So thank you, you priceless family caregivers. Yes, you’re squished, but you are so very important. So please, try to take some time for yourself. Take care of yourself. And pat yourself on the back. Well done!



Photo Credit: KaCey 97007

Thursday, November 14, 2013

HEADS UP – CREDIT CARD SCAM!

 

    
    

I saw this on Facebook recently, but it has been vetted by snopes I’m posting it here just in case you haven’t seen it.  We’re seeing so many scams with both credit cards and Medicare, but this is one I wouldn’t expect my mom to catch on to. Be sure you alert your families. Thanks to WholeNewMom.com for sharing it.




This is a heads up for everyone regarding the latest in Visa fraud. Royal Bank received this communication about the newest scam. This is happening in the Midwest right now and moving.

This one is pretty slick, since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it.

This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepare to protect yourself. One of our employees was called on Wednesday from 'VISA', and I was called on Thursday from 'MasterCard'.

The scam works like this:

Person calling says - 'This is (name) and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460, your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona ?' When you say 'No', the caller continues with, 'Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching, and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address). Is that correct?' You say 'yes'.

The caller continues - 'I will be starting a Fraud Investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. 'Do you need me to read it again?'

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works - The caller then says, 'I need to verify you are in possession of your card'. He'll ask you to 'turn your card over and look for some numbers'. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the last 3 are the Security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the last 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, 'That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?'

After you say no, the caller then thanks you and states, 'Don't hesitate to call back if you do', and hangs up. You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. We were glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card. We made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the Scammer wants is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master Card directly for verification of their conversation.

The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card, as they already know the information, since they issued the card! If you give the Scammer your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a 'Jason Richardson of MasterCard' with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA Scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening. I dealt with a similar situation this morning, with the caller telling me that $3,097 had been charged to my account for plane tickets to Spain , and so on through the above routine..

It appears that this Is a very active scam, and evidently quite successful..