How to Get Paid as a Caregiver

Caring for an older loved one can be one of the most important acts of service we ever undertake—it can also cause lots of financial stress since most family caregivers are not paid.

When we’re engaged in acts of service, our hearts and minds should be with our loved ones, not dwelling on money issues. The financial impacts of becoming a care provider can be considerable.

There is good news: family caregivers are often eligible for financial relief. From getting paid for caregiving or finding resources to improve your car, care providers can find help out there. The tips listed here provide a financial supplement to the caregiver; they will not replace a full-time income.

Tax Exemptions for Dependents

Caregivers can claim some costs as exemptions while caring for dependents, including travel and medical expenses. Be sure to keep excellent records and work with a qualified tax professional to ensure you’re claiming your largest deduction.

Long-Term Care Insurance for Family Members

Many long-term care insurance policies cover expenses related to in-home care. Contact your insurance provider to see if family members can qualify as care providers and receive this insurance benefit. The AARP has a good overview of the benefits and risks of long-term care insurance.

Take Advantage of State Resources

The State of California offers resources for caregivers. You can receive training or find resources to supplement the care you provide. You can also register as a provider of In-Home Supportive Services and get paid by the state. However, restrictions do apply. The state’s Department of Social Services has more information.

Family Contracts

Some families choose to formalize the caregiver relationship and establish a regularly scheduled payment. This option depends on your family’s dynamics, but a smart way to ensure a fair arrangement is made is by working with an elder law attorney. An attorney will confirm the contract is legally sound and is acceptable to all interested parties, including any siblings or close relatives.

How to Stay Safe & Healthy this Summer

EasyCall is your partner in staying safe this summer. With so many fun-filled days, it’s essential to keep on top of our health as the weather heats up.

Get Active with Outdoor Activities

Studies show seniors who remain active lead more enjoyable lives and experience less depression and loneliness.

Look for water activities at local pools and private gyms; community events like fairs and festivals; or volunteer your time with local charities or other organizations.

Avoid Dehydration by Keeping Cool

As we age, our bodies have to work harder to stay cool. Avoid heat-related stress and illness (hyperthermia), which can affect our brains and vital organs.

When it gets hot, turn on the AC. If you’re trying to save on your PG&E bill, visit air-conditioned public places, like the mall or library or public cooling centers. The sun is most extreme between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so schedule your outdoor activities to avoid the hottest part of the days.

Overheating can lead to rapid water loss, leaving us dehydrated. Learn to recognize the symptoms of dehydration so you can feel your best.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids and fill up on fruits and veggies to stay well hydrated. When it’s hot, avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which can rob the body of precious fluids.

Cover Up & Wear Sunscreen

Sunburns can be painful, and prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Cover up with long sleeved but lightweight clothes and broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Whether you’re heading to the pool or relaxing in the garden, EasyCall is your always-on, always-ready assistant. With a durable water-proof enclosure you can wear your EasyCall medical alert system in all conditions. And with a customizable response plan, you can be sure help is never further than the push of a button.

4 Tips for Talking About Money with Your Parents

It can be awkward, but sooner or later, it’s time for children to talk to their aging parents about money. But having an honest conversation about the financial health of your parents is essential, especially considering the high likelihood of expensive medical costs as our parents age. It costs more than $170,000 for the lifetime care of an Alzheimer’s patient, and children who support their parents’ long-term care often do so to the tune of $10,000 per year on average. Not being prepared can have big financial consequences.

Avoiding difficult conversations about money can lead to making a snap decision in the middle of a medical crisis—in fact, 85 percent of long-term care decisions are made during a medical emergency. You can avoid this situation by talking early on with your parents about their financial plans for their final years. To help,

According to a great article by the PBS News Hour, there are 7 key steps to having a conversation with your parents about money.

1) Come to Terms with How You Feel About Money

Money talks are charged with emotion, so it’s vital for you to be able to identify and process your feelings about money. Our parents shape our earliest money memories, and lingering feelings, good or bad, are common.

2) Ask During a Quiet Time

Asking to have a serious conversation about finances during a busy holiday meal only adds to the stress of the event. Finding a quiet time to have a mindful conversation will help you and your parents think clearly about this difficult subject.

3) Be Specific

If there’s something that’s bothering you, focus your conversation on that specific topic. Maybe you noticed some bills weren’t paid on time, or you think your parents are victims of a phone scam. By having a specific concern, you can avoid your parents feeling as though you are condemning their financial habits. Instead, you’re concerned with something specific and are offering to help.

4) Let Your Parents Stay in Control Whenever Possible

As we age and the roles of caregiver and care receiver are reversed, it’s important to let your parents remain in control as long as possible. Instead of wresting control of finances away from your parents, tell them that you’ll be there to support them however possible as they age. Let them guide the conversation and the decision making—odds are they’ve been thinking about their retirement finances much longer than you have.

With these tips, you’ll be equipped to have honest and important conversations about money with your parents. Do it now, before it’s too late.

Help End Elder Abuse On June 15

This Saturday, June 15, 2019, marks the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Sponsored by the United Nations, the purpose of the day is to provide opportunities for communities to learn about the impacts of elder abuse—a widespread and underreported crime.

For example, did you know that:
– Around 1 in 6 older people experience some form of abuse and as few as 1 in 24 cases of abuse are reported?
– The actual number is likely much higher. The U.N. estimates only 1 in 24 elder abuse cases is reported.
– The global population of people 60 years old or older will reach 2 billion by 2050.
– Elder abuse can lead to physical injuries and serious long-term psychological consequences.

According to the U.N., “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of our older generations.”

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors threw its support behind the U.N. by declaring the month of June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. In Eureka, the Humboldt Senior Resource Center hosts the second annual Honoring Our Elders Block Party on Monday, June 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Seniors can enjoy a free picnic, live music, and a variety of information booths.

The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform organization offers guidance for reporting cases of elder abuse. By raising awareness and taking advantage of these resources, we can all help ensure older people live safely without fear or be abused.

Six Reasons Why DIY Security Can Be a Let Down

DIY security systems offer homeowners an affordable way to get into home security, but that affordability comes with a downside: trouble with installation, a lack of confidence when buying a system, and being on the hook for any service or repairs that are needed down the road.


Here are the six biggest reasons to avoid DIY security systems.


You’re On Your Own When You Design Your System: Does this camera see in the dark? Is this the right motion detector? Do I need to secure the cellar windows? These are all common questions when designing your security system. By working with a professional security consultant, you can be confident that the system will work like you wanted to while also meeting your security needs.


Lousy Tech Support: Insurance companies may hold you liable for incidents involving break-ins if you have a self-installed security system and some insurers also don’t offer discounts on DIY systems.


Customizing Your System Gets Expensive: the package deals offered by DIY manufacturers are very basic, typically offering protection for just one door and one window. You’ll watch those low prices disappear as you add to your system. Our security consultants work with you so you get adequate protection for your home without getting too much or too little security.


It Can Be TOO Basic: DIY companies make basic systems so homeowners can do the installation themselves. The downside is that many of the advanced features of professionally installed systems are unavailable. You might miss out on essential features like 24-hour backup batteries, monitoring in case your system goes offline for any reason, low-battery alerts, fire and carbon monoxide monitoring, and more. DIY systems rarely offer more than basic security.


No Police Dispatch: Many DIY security companies won’t dispatch police if they receive a signal from your alarm system. Instead, they will call you or other people on your notification list and leave it up to you to contact the police. Our professional dispatchers are available 24-hours a day to dispatch police, fire, or other emergency services.


No Service Technicians: Sure, you might get a 12-month warranty on your DIY security system, but you won’t have access to a staff of factory-trained and certified technicians. You’ll be relying on over-the-phone tech support and online forums for help. Oh, and when you do figure out the problem, you’re responsible for the repairs. Most folks would rather have a trained technician come over to replace the battery on a hard-to-reach sensor on their 20-foot vaulted ceilings.

Four Tips for Traveling with Seniors

Don’t let this summer’s vacations turn into a major headache. Airlines, hotels, and travel destinations have made great strides to accommodate the needs of older travelers. Don’t let a lack of mobility or medication needs stop you and your loved ones from enjoying your next travel adventure.

Here are four great tips to make traveling with seniors easier than ever.

Visit Your Senior’s Doctor Before Leaving

Getting an “all clear” from your senior’s doctor is a critical first step to a safe summer vacation. It’s also an ideal time to make sure seniors are up-to-date on vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, and seasonal flu. Tetanus is another disease seniors should vaccinate against—more than half of tetanus cases are in people over age 65 according to the Centers for Disease Control.

International travel requires its own set of vaccinations and seniors should check with their doctor and U.S. State Department travel advisories to see if tropical diseases like typhoid, polio, or yellow fever are a threat.

Make a Plan For Traveling With Medication

During your visit, ask your senior’s doctor if they have specific travel medications to prescribe. Also be sure to ask for any refills you might need to ensure your senior has adequate medication for the duration of the trip, plus a few days extra in case of delays or other travel changes.

If you’re traveling by air, always keep medication in a carry-on to make sure it arrives at the destination and carry copies of prescriptions and medical statements in case you need to visit a pharmacy on the road.

Get Help at the Airport

Airports both domestic and international have stepped the level of support available to seniors. In the U.S., the Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to disclose information about the flight in advance to travelers with mental or physical disabilities. You can find out information about bathroom locations, seating arrangements, mobility aids and more. With this information, you can have a safer and more rewarding journey.

Seniors can also request help for all parts of their airport journey, including at the security gate.

  • For example, seniors over age 75 can request to leave their shoes and light jackets on while going through security.
  • Travelers in wheelchairs can receive different security screening processes.
  • Seniors with medical implants like pacemakers can avoid scanners and receive a security pat-down instead.


Share Travel Plans With Friends—Not the Whole World

The internet is full of stories of burglaries that occurred because vacationers posted their photos on Facebook and thieves used the info to break into empty homes. While we don’t recommend broadcasting your vacation plans on social media, we do encourage seniors to tell neighbors and friends they’re leaving town. Friends and family members also appreciate check-ins while seniors are traveling, both to keep track of the fun and to make sure they’re safe.