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February 20, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 You’re invited to join AARP Kentucky volunteers for the 2016 Family Caregivers Day at the Capitol. This is your opportunity to support Kentucky’s 650,000 unpaid family caregivers caring for loved ones. It’s also your opportunity to meet your state legislators and talk one-on one about the needs of family caregiving and retirement security in the 2016 General Assembly. Your presence in the State Capitol will help family caregivers and help to make their voice heard in Frankfort.                http://states.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Kentucky_Family_Caregivers_Day_Capitol.pdf

I know AARP has political ramifications which may put people off, but please do not let this get in the way of showing support for caregivers in Kentucky.

This week I have been reminded over and over about how our society has a Peter Pan mass delusion. We are not prepared for old age! But it is coming. Some people are extremely offended if one implies they are old, or of the age to be considered a senior. I am on a mission to change that attitude. Senior Power! I am going to be 60 in two weeks and proud of it! I have never met a person over the age of 80 that I didn’t like. The older one becomes, the more depth of character one has, the more experiences one has had, the more one is WISE. Unless dementia has set in, but even then, I can learn from them and serve them. I value all people, and how much more those who have lived the longest.

I advise people to begin learning about how to age with grace when they are 50. There is so much to learn, and the learning will be good for their aging brains. The more we can learn as we age the better. Aging is complicated. There are legal and financial matters, health and health system management tactics to learn. There are housing and transportation issues to conquer. And of course there is much to learn about health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. Aging is not for sissies. Sissies ‘check out’. How sad for their families and friends.

Another reason to learn about aging early…maybe even earlier than fifty for some people…is so they can better help their loved ones. In other words, how they can be a better caregiver. I have regrets about how I managed my in-laws care and I would like to help others avoid living with regrets. Happy memories are priceless. Temporary inconvenience and sacrifice are worth the resulting happy memories.

I have a friend from El Salvador. He said it is part of the culture there for the youngest child to assume the caregiving duties for the aging parents, and then they inherit the house. Of course, our culture has no such clear guideline. But did you know that if a child lives in their parent(s) house with their parent(s) and cares for the parent or parents who require care for a two year minimum, and then that parent or parents have to access Medicaid to pay for their care (could be home and community based services like us or could be a nursing home), then that child can inherit the house. If the child doesn’t live with the parent in their home for a two year minimum and the parent or parents need long term care Medicaid dollars, then the house is sold to pay back Medicaid when they pass.

See what I mean?

May you and yours be blessed beyond measure this coming week!

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