“The Talk” – Guest blog by Suzanne Piper

If you are interested in this topic, I invite you to attend  a discussion this Saturday, July 18th from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm at:

Elsmere Senior Center
179 Dell Street
Elsmere, Kentucky 41018

Suzanne Piper, a Certified Senior Advisor, Kathy Nafus of ITN, and will be leading a discussion on the topic.

“The Talk”

How do you have a conversation with your loved one about aging issues and important matters? Having “the talk” is often awkward and uncomfortable. How do you respect your parent/loved one while initiating important issues?

  1. Have your discussions before there is a time of crisis.
  2. Have your conversations person centered. Your discussions should be an ongoing dialogue with your loved one while respecting their role as your parent or loved one. Let them know you want to respect their wishes. Ask them how they want to live the rest of their lives. Do they want to live at home or in an older adult community? Do they have the finances to provide for their wishes? Ask them if they are willing to share their financial information with you so you know what to do in case of emergency. Ask them about funeral and burial options. Ask them if they have their lives planned out and/or if that is something you can help them with. Discuss all matters with them of importance.
  3. Talk with them about having all of their documents in one place
  4. Discuss with your loved one the importance of legal documents. Legal documents give them the opportunity to make all of their decisions themselves and have legal documentation of their wishes. These documents then “spring” into action when your loved one is unable to make decisions for themselves.
  5. Talk with your loved one is a respectful manner. Speak calmly, quietly. Remind your loved one that the decisions they make are theirs alone. Yet explain to them the importance of sharing this information with you.
  6. Let them know that you understand that they are able to make their decisions now, but “what-if” something would happen. You or their designated agent must know their wishes, the documents they have, their financial status, and more. If you are going to honor their wishes, you must be privy to their documents and information.
  7. Remember that none of us want to lose our independence. Offer to help them find ways to age in place and with grace. Discuss what kind of support may be available to them and ways to finance their needs. If Assisted Living or Long-term care is needed, help them choose a place they would like to go to. Work with a Senior Advisor that can assist you and them in finding reputable resources and facilities in your community.
  8. Ask your Senior Advisor to help you and your loved ones plan for the transitions in aging. As a Certified Senior Advisor, I can assist Seniors and their families with a Care Coordination Plan that ensures Seniors to Age with Grace. Through a thorough consultation, I help you navigate the resources needed to honor your loved ones wishes.
  9. Share ideas with your loved one. Help them discover ways for them to remain as independent as possible as they Transition through the different phases of Aging.
  10. Learn about illnesses and or chronic conditions your loved one may have. What does this look like for them now and how will their condition progress? Help them to prepare for what might come and any limitations their illness may have. With this you can help them plan for changes and challenges that may occur.

Suzanne can be reached at 859-250-9134

Combat Not Required – The Veteran’s Pension Benefit

Making its rounds on some of the cable channels recently has been the epic war movie, “Saving Private Ryan.” If there are any of you that haven’t seen it, the film tells an account of the Invasion of Normandy in WWII. It’s a film that has been critically noted for its extremely realistic portrayal of WWII combat, particularly, the first 25 minutes or so of the first battle scene, which depict the Omaha Landings on the beaches of Normandy. It is an inspiring scene which makes one wonder how the human body and mind can still function and overcome when surrounded by absolute chaos, terror, and death. The realism is frightening and I do not believe that an American could exist who can watch the scene in its entirety and fail to appreciate the sacrifices, fears, and emotional distress of each and every war veteran that has fought for our Country.

While the film’s accolades were a result of that scene, the plot is focused on the story of a small band of Army Rangers on a mission to ‘rescue’ Private Ryan, a fellow soldier whom they have never met before. Ryan was ordered to be rescued by an army General because all three of his brothers had been killed during the Omaha Beach invasion. As you can imagine, a good bit of complaining results when the rescuing Rangers learn that their future is being placed on the line because a General thinks that Ryan’s life is more important than theirs. In the end, only two of the Rangers survive the rescue mission.
What I hadn’t realized until recently was that there was factual truth to “Saving Private Ryan.” During World War II the United States issued what is called the “Sole Survivor Policy.” The policy describes a set of regulations designed to protect members of a family from the draft or combat duty if they have already lost family members in military service. The need for the rule caught the public eye after the USS Juneau was sunk during World War II and all five of the Sullivan brothers were killed in the event. Since that date, each branch of the Armed Forces has made policies in regards to the separating of immediate family members. A notable instance of the application of the Sole Survivor Policy was the case of Sergeant Frederick “Fritz” Niland. In fact, the story of the Niland Brothers was the writer’s inspiration for the “Saving Private Ryan” film. A not-as-notable instance of the Sole Survivor Policy is the case of Olin Parin, a client and my inspiration for this blog.
I met Olin about a month ago when he came into the office to discuss how he and his wife could stretch the dollars and move into an assisted living facility. Olin was the youngest of the three Parin brothers, all of whom joined the Army. Olin was the last to join in 1943. When his oldest brother died shortly after Olin enlisted, Olin was told that due to what he termed the “Sullivan Rule” he would have to serve out the war in the US in an accounting position with the Army. As a result, he never saw combat during the War.
69 years later, Olin and his wife, Margaret, had decided that now was the time to sell the home and move into an assisted living facility. They were no longer in a position where they could comfortably take care of themselves, but realized that with the money they had, they could only afford the facility’s price tag for 20 months.
At some point in the 67 years since he went inactive with the Army, Olin had been misinformed by a fellow veteran who told him that he was not eligible for any benefits from the Veterans Administration because he was not in combat during his engagement with the Army. Not only did this error in information cause him unnecessary medical expenses throughout his lifetime, but it also kept him from looking towards other great programs that he earned through his service.
The program that Olin & Margaret are in the process of joining now is going to help them stay in the assisted living facility indefinitely. The benefit from the program, an all-too-often-overlooked and unknown Veteran’s Pension is going to assist their current income by adding almost $24,000/year in additional monies to pay the costs associated with the Assisted Living Facility.
The first battle scene of “Saving Private Ryan” is probably the most memorable to the movie’s viewers, but I always found one of the last to be special as well. In that scene, a dying Captain John Miller (portrayed by Tom Hanks) utters the command to Private Ryan, “Earn this. Earn it.”
While the depth of this command can’t be explained without its own essay, one thing is for sure… Veteran’s of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc., have certainly earned the highest respect from this Country’s citizens. In addition, regardless of whether in combat missions like Private Ryan or serving Stateside like Olin Parin, Veterans have also earned a proper education on the many benefits that they are due because of their service.

If you are a veteran, spouse of a veteran, or child of a veteran please seek advice on these available benefits, and, if you are eligible, the Law Office of Parker L. Clifton, LLC., will assist you in putting a plan in place to obtain those benefits… you have more than earned it.

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