National Family Caregiver’s Month
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!
Thursday, November 14, 2013
HEADS UP – CREDIT CARD SCAM!
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..
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
A Mother’s Heart for Her Disabled Children
I have great admiration for anyone who does caregiving at any level. Whether it’s parenting our kids, caring for our aging parents, caring for a disabled spouse, or caring for the needy in our community, caregiving involves sacrifice, a laying down of our lives for another. You know that. Your life and your desires get consumed by the needs of the other.
I reviewed another of Catherine's books, God Knows Your Name: In a World of Rejection, He Accepts You last year. You might check that out as well.
(This book was provided by Kregel Publications for review).
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate
Are you a fearful person? Wait, before you answer, think about it. Fear comes in so many different forms that it can sometimes be deceptive. Sometimes it looks like worry or anxiety or "concern." Sometimes it looks control or obsessions or codependency. Sometimes it looks like guilt or loneliness. Yep, those are all forms of fear, and both men and women fall victim to this demon. As caregivers, it's easy to let all of these forms of fear as we juggle more balls than humanly possible and always feel we're falling short.
I know you don't want to spend your precious free time reading anything heavy, so here's a suggestion that's light and fun. With her own brand of off-beat wit and wisdom, inspirational humorist Debora Coty addresses heart needs of women worn down by everyday fears - financial, health, relationships, loss, pain, the unknown, and the what ifs in her latest book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate: Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life's Worries.
With fresh spiritual insight, Debora shares hope, true life stories, scriptural lifelines, and a few LOL's along with simple, practical tips for sidestepping fear with faith. And a fistful of chocolate! But don't be deceived. Her playful attitude packs a punch and will cause you to pause. Each chapter includes a page of questions that will help you personalize it and nail down some changed in behavior and attitude.
Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate is a beautiful book. It's printed on high quality pink polka dot paper, making it a great gift book. Actually, I think I'll give a copy to my mom, who has a patent on fear. The book isn't as straightforward as I would like, but I have a feeling its light-hearted approach will be just right for her. It's also a nice size and very light in weight, which will also make it perfect for her.
To sweeten the pot, if you act in the next two days, you can enter to win a Kindle Fire and meet Debra at her Litfuse Facebook party on March 7. Just click on the picture below to enter.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Medicare and Identity Theft
I've spent my entire adult life refusing to use my Social Security number as ID for medical care. In the beginning it was difficult; providers felt they were entitled to use it. In recent years, it seems that providers have grown used to such objections. They simply create a dummy number for me.
Now I turn 65 in November, and guess what? My Medicare number is my Social Security number! I'm not happy about that at all, and especially after reading this article that claims “more than a quarter-million Medicare beneficiaries are potential victims of identity theft and hampered in getting health care benefits because the government won't issue new IDs.” Medicare’s position, it seems, is “Oh well…It’s only 284,000 people.” It’s too expensive and too time-consuming to change the numbers, so the poor beneficiaries face obstacles in obtaining care. What an outrage!
So have any of you or your parents had problems using your Medicare card? Have any of you experienced access problems? What have you done to protect your account or to get care? I'm a little worried!
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers
Are you a caregiver? Or perhaps you know one. If so, Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers is a delightful little book by two caregivers: Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk. Cec has been caring for his wife with chronic illness since their marriage more than 50 years ago. Twila’s husband was diagnosed with a progressive rare muscle disease called “inclusion body myostitis” several years ago. They weave their faith-filled stories through 48 short pages of beautiful prose and photography.
I love the heart of both authors as they share their love for their spouses. As a burned out caregiver, I found hope and courage as I savored their stories. They gave me new ideas and new vocabulary for serving those I care for. Full of gentle wisdom, their personal stories of caregiving will help you face some of the ups and downs of your journey, including:
- Feeling guilty for doing too much, too little, or nothing at all
- Answering other’s well-meaning but insensitive questions
- Watching someone you dearly love suffer or die
This blog tour, sponsored by Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, is offering a prize basket that includes:
- Book—Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers
- Book—Hope and Comfort for Every Season
- Hallmark journal, list pad, and memo pad stack
- Glade “Angel Whispers” candle
- Hershey’s Bliss dark chocolate
To enter the drawing, simply leave a comment here. Good luck!
Thursday, September 13, 2012
ObamaCare Cuts Will Lead to Seniors’ Deaths
We’ve all heard a lot about the pros and cons of ObamaCare. I'm sure we each have our opinions. But increasingly, we’re hearing about hidden or not-so-hidden aspects of the plan that will affect real seniors. Often the ones you and I care for. I recently wrote about the rationing that’s already happening in my five part series on my mom’s care.
Now Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., author of The Obama Health Law: What It Says and How to Overturn It, documents that one way ObamaCare will save money is by paying less to hospitals and doctors. The government claims ObamaCare won’t hurt seniors – just those greedy providers. Hmmm, let’s think about that. If the government pays less to providers, the providers will have no choice but to provide less care. Although they are caring professionals, they, like all of us, can only provide the care they are paid for. They're businesses, not philanthropists. And for a fragile senior or person with a chronic illness, that can be harmful. Even fatal. McCaughey backs up these assertions with facts, figures, and historical data on hospital expenditures. I'm sure many of us can already back it up with real life. If you care for an elderly loved one or are over 65 yourself, consider this report when you vote in November.
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Truthout