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Posts tagged ‘money’

Getting Care As You Age

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How to Get the Care You Need in Old Age.
Very useful guest post by Harry Cline.

Most Americans over the age of 65 will need long-term care at some point as they age. That could mean residing at a nursing home or seeking home care, both of which are among the wide variety of solutions available to meet the needs of the elderly. The problem is the costs, which can be frightening.

A private room in that aforementioned nursing home? That runs an average of over $8,000 a month, while a home health aide would set you back over $4,000. In some extreme cases, the total price of such support and services grows into the millions. Wow.

So, what’s a financially-responsible person to do in the face of such financial challenges? Plan. Here’s a breakdown on how to assess your basic needs and pay for care.

Do Your Research

The first step is learning what services are available. The most basic level is visits from friends and family or custodial care at home. There’s also adult day care, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. What you need depends on your level of health along with whether you suffer from a chronic condition and its severity.

Assess Your Health Risks

It’s tantamount to looking into the future. However, the likelihood of certain diseases can be gauged based on your lifestyle, current overall health and family history. If you have a parent, brother or sister with Alzheimer’s, for example, you are more likely to develop this form of dementia, and the same goes for some cardiovascular conditions.

Make Lifestyle Changes

The risk of falling ill can be reduced through exercise and a better diet. There’s no simple recommendation as far as what to eat, though Elders’ Helpers recommends nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans and whole grains. As far as getting your body in motion, choose something you enjoy, whether it’s swimming, cycling or long walks on the beach.

Modify Your Home

This not only prevents injury, but allows you to stay there for longer and save money on costly assisted living and nursing homes. Some adjustments include installing railings on both sides of the stairs as well as automatic lighting to avoid nasty falls when you wake up in the middle of the night. You should also remove loose rugs and carpeting to enhance mobility and safety.

Now, we’ll move on to how to pay for all that. Bear in mind that the earlier you start, the better, and some options aren’t even available after retirement or a diagnosis with a severe medical condition.

Get the Right Insurance

Specifically, long-term care insurance. As implied by the name, it covers the cost of home care, assisted living and nursing homes, though the premiums can be high, averaging $2,700 a year, according to information cited by the AARP. That could be a worthwhile investment, though, if there’s a history of serious health conditions in your family.

Use Your Living Benefit

That means the living benefit rider in your life insurance, if you have one. If not, your insurer may be able to add one to your policy, in which case you would be able to draw from your death benefit to pay for medical expenses. Again, this could be a great option to have if you’re at high risk of chronic illness.

Put Money In Savings

Take this step before retirement with a health savings account. Both you and your employer make contributions, but the money stays with you when you’ve finished working. It’s tax-free when used for medical expenses, making it an attractive option along with high-deductible health plans.

Tap Into Your Property

You can do that via a home equity line of credit. This financial instrument allows you to withdraw money with your property serving as collateral, and offers a simpler alternative to a reverse mortgage, with lower associated costs. Both are common means of securing cash for long-term care, and which one’s right for you depends on your circumstances.

Planning for your care is not always easy, but you’ll breathe a sigh of relief when you’re done knowing that your future medical care is assured. Get started as soon as possible.

Image via Pixabay.

Teen Romance

imagesCindy was a mature woman of sixteen. I was an immature man of eighteen. We met in the afternoon at a teen drop-in center, gazed hopelessly into one another’s eyes, like puppy dogs, and within hours were talking about hooking up. That night we slept together for the first time and I was in heaven. I’d had several previous relationships, but none had ever been this intense or instantaneous.

Within a week Cindy had her mother’s permission to live with me and my grandmother said we could rent her trailer. Everything was set. Life was good. Cindy taught me the joy of sexual freedom and living in the moment and I obediently followed her every wish and whim to “make her happy”. I was so enmeshed in the sensations of the relationship that I failed to recognize my co-dependent and needy behavior. In my mind sex and love were one and the same.

I continued working at a counseling center and Cindy finished up her last year of high school. I studied Eastern religions on the side and she enjoyed drawing and working part-time at a florist shop. The only “minor” issue was that I couldn’t “make her happy” or give her the answers she was seeking. We were two young teenagers growing up together who had no idea what we were doing, what we wanted or where we were going.

After two tumultuous years we figured the answer to our dilemma was to get married. Why not? Wasn’t that what you were supposed to do? And even though it didn’t mean much to us at the time, we figured the worst that could happen is that we’d receive a lot of cool presents! Getting married was “just a piece of paper” we reasoned. Both of our parents had divorced and we knew we’d “always be together” regardless of any societal contract we may sign.

The wedding turned out as planned. All of our friends and relatives showed up at the reception, we got plastered and received a lot of money and presents. But after the money was spent and the wedding hangover wore off, the realities of what we had done creeped into our daily lives. We didn’t know what being married meant. I thought it implied getting a “steady job” and having children. So, I obtained a nine to fiver at the local phone company and we talked about having kids and buying a house. Lukily, neither the house nor the kids worked out because a year later it was splits-ville, as in divorce, finale, kaput, the end.

Screaming was the only thing that finally got my attention. Slamming the door shut behind her, Cindy entered the living room late one evening and yelled at the top of her lungs, “I can’t live with you anymore. I want a divorce!”

“Why,” I pleaded. “What do you want me to do?”

“Nothing,” she said. “Why don’t you stand up for yourself? Will you be real with me just once?”

“OK,” I replied, “What do you want me to say?”

“You don’t understand do you?” she replied. I sat silently with my head in my hands. After a deathly silence she quietly said, “I just need some space to be by myself. I moved in with you right from home. I’ve never been on my own.”

“So it’s nothing I’ve done or said?” I asked, my lip quivering.

“No, its not you,” she said.

In fact, it had a lot to do with me. She moved out a few days later and in a month was living with another guy.

Her decision to leave was not entirely out of the blue. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, she had been trying to separate for months. Other than running away, she had given me every clue possible, but I was blind. Her anger and judgments were an attempt to alienate me. She had thrown every name in the book my direction, at one time or another, assuming I’d leave. But like a faithful lap dog I had kept coming back for more.

At one point she insisted I sleep with her friend Lewellen and that we have an “open relationship”. I tried to do as she wished and acted like it was all cool, but it wasn’t. It turns out that the reason she had wanted me to be with other women was because she had already been having affairs with some of my best friends and I assume would have felt less guilty about her own behavior if I’d done the same.

When she left my bubble burst. I thought it was the end of the world. My dependence on her “being happy” as an indicator of my well-being had been total and complete. In the process of making her “OK”, I’d forgotten about myself; my wishes, desires, joys, ambitions and dreams. I had no sense of who “I” was or what made me happy.

Time didn’t heal anything, but it did give me some perspective. Clearly, I had sacrificed what little sense of my self I had ever had for Cindy. As long as I left all decisions to her it would be “her fault” whenever something didn’t work out. I was absolved from all wrong doing. I could blame her for everything. I could wallow in my self-pity and externalize all my troubles. “She did it, not me. She lied to me. She left me. She hurt me.”

I slowly recognized that I had made decisions by not deciding. I had lied to myself. I was equally responsible for our breakup. She tried to force me to be honest and state my needs, but I had cowered from the task. Shock tactics and reasoning never worked. Getting a divorce was what it finally took for me to wake up. It was the brick wall I needed to run into. If Cindy had not had the courage to leave I may have been lingering in a false identity for eons.

Like a snake that sheds it’s skin but still longs for its security, I kept aching for Cindys return. Even though I learned many things about myself since the divorce, images of us getting back together still lingered with sweet agony. Intellectually, I understood such images were fantasy, but my dependence on her for my well-being had been so complete that it took constant reality bites to loosen my grasp and let go of her as my emotional crutch.

Attachment is a strange thing; it can cause bliss and joy or pain and sorrow and you can’t have one without the other. When I grasped for love with Cindy I actually pushed it away with my wanting and neediness. She lost respect for me. The thing I wanted most didn’t want me. There was no substance or core to who I was. I decided to never put all my cookies in one jar. Until I knew who I was and what I wanted, I would not become involved with another woman. I silently swore that I’d never become so dependent on another for my happiness and well-being.

Such self-promises proved to be fruitless. Three more women entered my front door over the next three years and sooner or later left out the back porch. Each time I “knew” it was different than before. But sure enough, as each relationship ended and I had some perspective, it become clear that I couldn’t hide a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No matter how much I wanted to think I had changed, my basic behavior in response to each situation had been the same. They decided when to do what and when the relationship was over; not I. It wasn’t until a conflicted eight-year marriage ended, that I took responsibility and made a painful choice to leave.

After many years I believe I’ve finally figured out how to love and be loved, but I know that isn’t the most original idea that’s ever been planted in my head. I’ve been known to tell myself the most wonderful stories; and they always have happy endings. Every woman I met was the girl of my dreams. It wasn’t until I became more of who it was I was looking for, that I woke up and found the partner I’d been seeking in all my fantasies.

In Your Own Backyard

The Five Stages of Garden-Talk
by Meredith Greene
March 13, 2013

Read this and other stories at GardenGreene.

A surprising number of folks in my nearer social circles do not know much about gardening. Certainly, they can browse the colorful annuals on display at the large home store and likewise can stick them in the sunny spots twice a year whilst waving at passing neighbors. Most can even pull a weed or two as well as set a mean schedule on the automated sprinklers but, somehow, the simplest aspects of organic vegetable and herb gardening elude them.

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In calling on neighbors, and speaking with extended family members over the years, I’ve come to predict the various expressions that ensue when the conversation invariably shifts to growing food. These facial indications rather line up like the five stages of grief, but instead of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance I see Surprised, Confused, Mildly Interested, Incredulous and Overwhelmed. Getting food out of your own backyard is considered by many to be just too darn complicated.

One of my children usually let the ‘cat’ out of the bag in playing with the smaller versions of the other adults in the room. Some time during the course of the visit a child runs over, their faces alight and eyes shining, tugging at the arm/dress/leg of their owner and say something akin to:

“They grow strawberries in their backyard! And tomatoes! They get to pick them and eat them! Can we grow those, too?”

“From the mouths of babes,” I murmur, watching as the parent’s face slides into the first stage.

“How can you possibly find the time to garden?” Surprised then asks of me.

Now, when I was younger–upon being asked this question–I used to launch into a succinct and factual spiel outlining the amount of time that the average American spends in front of television set every day. I would then point out that it was a better use of time to turn over compost and chase after hordes of insidious snails with pale clouds of ditomacheous earth. Oddly, this set of facts seemed to inspire little but denial, anger and depression. Now, I simply focus my argument on Money.

“Do you go to the gym?” I ask. Confused nods in the affirmative, an answer more often than not a complete fabrication. “Did you know,” I continue, “that a couple of hours of vigorous gardening is comparable to spending the same amount of time at the gym?” No, they didn’t know that, but it sounds pretty good. Confused is quickly replaced with Mildly Interested as I go on to list just how much money my family saves over a given winter season by not having to buy my fresh herbs at the store. ($300-$400)

“That is a big savings,” Incredulous returns. “But it ‘s such a lot of work. How do I even get started?”

Here it gets a little tricky. Too much pushing and the average consumer will balk and return to safer subjects, such as waxing poetic on how their favorite washed-up celebrity weathered Trump’s Board room the previous night. Too much information up front and they’ll leap to the Overwhelmed stage too quickly. Too many dire predictions about rising food costs and the Environment and they’ll tune you out AND lump you in with some odd group they heard about on the news that anoint themselves with carrots and say they can raise goats that defecate copper bullion.

Nostalgia has proven to be the most powerful argument of all. Most folks harbor—way back in the warm recesses of their memory—lingering scents, sights and tastes of fresh produce partaken of as a child. It might be the ripe, red raspberries they picked in a grandmother’s arbor. It may be that luscious purple plum that they bit into one hot summer day. It may be a cool clump of sweet, green grapes that can be recalled, even now, with frank fondness. That same wide-eyed wonder, that propelled their offspring to run over and inquire of our garden, still lives on in them even if they are currently unaware of it. It is a useful tool to help lever the conversation away from the precarious Edge of Unconcern and back into the Realm of Feasibility, and is relatively easy to make contact with.

I show them pictures. (see blog header)

“These are some of the tomatoes we harvested last year,” I say, sliding one full-color image after another over the screen.

“Omigawd! Those look delicious!”

“We get about two-hundred pounds every season, all without pesticides.”

“Are those artichokes?!”

“Yep. They were especially good picked young, pared and sauteed with garlic and olive oil.”

“And you still have time to write books?” This question is best answered with a small shrug and a half-smile.

“My kids help me out a lot, but I like the exercise. These are the strawberries…”

“Wow… look at those! I bet that’s nice to have just out your back door.”

“Not as nice as this basil,” I tell them, going to the next picture.

From there the questions tend to get more sincere. Once folks realize that you can actually raise food on a city lot without having to spent a fortune–or work on it 24/7–they find that other hobbies don’t really cut it. Most parents already wonder how they can encourage their kids to get outside a bit more and move around, and when my oldest daughter walks over and launches into a short monolog on the how one can induce thriving vermiculture with an old plastic tub and leftover coffee grounds, they’re sold.

“Families have been growing food together for millenniums,” I conclude. “It’s a proven method of keeping active, and–as my grandfather used to tell us–’if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’” My grandfather had a rock garden in the high desert–and a cement patio for a back yard–but some information can be safely omitted.

Read entire story and more at GardenGreene.

Meredith Greene is an author, book reviewer and freelance writer.

On the Front Lines

She was a 23-year-old physical therapy student who boarded a bus in Delhi last month. Six men locked the door, and savagely raped her. They dumped her naked in the street, and after bravely fighting for her life, she died last weekend.

Across India, people are responding in massive protests to say enough is enough. In India a woman is raped every 22 minutes, and few see justice. Globally, a staggering 7 in 10 women will be physically or sexually abused in their lifetime. This horror in Delhi is the last straw — it’s 2013, and the brutal, venal, global war on women must stop. We can start by drawing the line in India.

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The government is currently accepting public comments. We urgently need both stronger law enforcement and a massive public education program to change the grotesque but common male attitudes that permit violence against women. If 1 million of us join the call for action, we can help make this young woman’s horror the last straw, and the beginning of a new hope:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/end_indias_war_on_women/?bMPbqab&v=20731

The ringleader of the woman’s rapists coldly says she deserved it because she dared to stand up to him. Blaming the victim and other outrageous attitudes are found across society, including in the police who continually fail to investigate rape. Such views repress women and corrupt men everywhere. Massively funded public education campaigns have radically shifted social behaviour on drunk driving and smoking, and can impact the treatment of women. Tackling the root causes of India’s rape epidemic is vital, alongside better laws and faster legal processes.

Advertising in India is relatively cheap, so a significant funding commitment could blanket airwaves in multiple media markets for a sustained period of time. The ads should target male subcultures where conservative misogyny thrives, directly challenging and shaming those attitudes, ideally using messengers like popular sports figures that carry authority with the audience.

We only have days to influence the official Commission set up to find ways to crack down on India’s wave of sexual violence. If we can show real success in shifting attitudes in India, the model can be applied to other countries. The money spent will more than pay for itself by reducing poverty and promoting development, since treatment and empowerment of women has been identified as one of the greatest single drivers of social and economic progress. Click to send a message directly to the Indian government:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/end_indias_war_on_women/?bMPbqab&v=20731

>From opposing the stoning of women in Iran, to supporting the reproductive rights of women in Morocco, Uzbekistan and Honduras, to lobbying for real action to counter the growing ‘rape trade’ in trafficked women and girls, our community has been on the front lines of the fight to end the war on women. This new year begins with new resolve in India.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Ricken, Luis, Meredith, Iain, Ian, Marie, Michelle, Alaphia, Allison and the rest of the Avaaz team

Whatever It Takes

Dear Gabriel,

EOY-2012-COBIn the midst of violent conflict in Syria, food shortages in West Africa and terrible floods in Pakistan… there are children.

Thousands of innocent, helpless children who are in very real danger.

UNICEF is determined to save these children, so we’re announcing an ambitious goal of raising $1 million by December 31. Because without an immediate influx of additional relief, many of these children will not make it.

Please donate now – and help rush critical treatments, clean water and vaccinations to the world’s most vulnerable children. 100% of your gift is tax-deductible.

I believe every one of these children is a reason to support UNICEF’s far-reaching, lifesaving work – and I know you do, too. But in case you need a few more, here are my top six:

1. You can trust UNICEF. Founded in 1946, UNICEF has helped save more children than any other organization. UNICEF takes the best ideas from around the world and puts them to work for the world’s most vulnerable children.

2. Your money will be used wisely. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF spends 90.5 cents of every dollar we receive on programs for children. Only 6.6 cents goes to fundraising, and 2.9 cents to administration.

3. Your money will make a difference. Since 1990, UNICEF’s work has helped cut the number of preventable child deaths by one-third. How?

Immunizations – When you support UNICEF, you help provide immunizations for more than half of the world’s children. In 2011 alone, UNICEF procured 2.5 billion doses of vaccine for children in 103 countries.

Clean water – Since 1990, 1.8 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water thanks to UNICEF and its deliveries of water purification supplies.

Nutrition – When famine strikes, UNICEF is the No. 1 provider of ready-to-eat therapeutic food for children.

4. UNICEF goes to the ends of the earth to help children – literally. On the ground in 190 countries and territories, in the world’s most challenging situations, UNICEF is there helping children. Over the past 30 years, UNICEF has helped create the world’s farthest-reaching supply network, capable of delivering even temperature-sensitive vaccines to the most remote locations. UNICEF goes places that no other relief organization can reach.

5. UNICEF will do whatever it takes to save a child. The organization’s unparalleled access and expertise mean that THIS is the group that can get things done where no one else can. UNICEF has actually stopped wars so children could be vaccinated. UNICEF works with government leaders, civic figures, celebrities, corporations, campus groups, churches, teachers and people just like you – anyone willing to help advocate for the survival and well-being of every child.

6. It doesn’t take much to save a child. Some of the most important treatments for curing children of disease, suffering and death cost pennies. Millions of children die of diarrhea every year, and the oral rehydration salts that can save them cost just 8 cents a packet. Malnutrition contributes to half of ALL child deaths, and the fortified nut paste and micronutrients needed to save them cost less than a dollar a day.

Please don’t wait; the clock is ticking for the world’s most vulnerable children. Donate today to rush real, lifesaving relief. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible.

On behalf of the world’s children, thank you.

Caryl M. Stern
President & CEO
U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Shop Where It Matters

They have donated an amazing amount of money to many many great organizations. Give them a look for holiday shopping.

Hi Gabriel,

Supporters can contribute directly to charity by purchasing Gifts that Give More™, where one hundred percent (100%) of their donation is given to charity or by purchasing one of the 6000+ products we carry, including jewelry, apparel, and gifts. Between 3%-100% of the retail price from items purchased from The Greater Good Network’s online stores is paid to GreaterGood.org, a 501(c)(3) charity that has pledged to grant all proceeds to charity partners. With the Gifts That Give More the product details page describes who we are partnered with and exactly how the funds are helping.

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I’ve included a link below which provides details on how much money was donated last year to each and every charity we support, information about each charity we have partnered with, and also provides you access from the “results” tab to our previous IRS 990 forms.

http://www.greatergood.org/results.html

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Thank you for your support and have a great day.

Sincerely,

Lacy L. Durnil
Customer Relations Specialist
GreaterGood Network Stores
“Shop Where It Matters”®
http://greatergood.com
Phone: 888-355-4321 (USA & Canada)

The Real Mad Men

From Nation of Change
Op-Ed by Amy Goodman
3 May 2012

The Real Mad Men: Following The Money Behind TV Political Ads

Murdoch and the murder of Milly Dowler. What do they have to do with the 2012 U.S. general election? This year’s election will undoubtedly be the most expensive in U.S. history, with some projections topping $5 billion. Not only has the amount of spending increased, but its nature has as well, following the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allows unlimited spending by corporations, unions and so-called super PACs, all under the banner of “free speech.” This campaign season will unfold amidst a resurgent Occupy Wall Street movement launched globally on May 1, the same day the British Parliament released a report on Rupert Murdoch’s media empire charging that he is “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” Now more than ever, people should heed the advice of the famous Watergate source, Deep Throat: “Follow the money.”

Most money in our elections goes to TV stations to run political advertisements. According to writers Robert McChesney and John Nichols in the Monthly Review, the amount of political ad spending is skyrocketing, such that “factoring for inflation, the 1972 election spent less than 3 percent of what will be spent on TV political ads in the 2012 election cycle.”

For just one relatively small race, a recent Pennsylvania congressional primary between Democrats, journalist Ken Knelly provided a comprehensive analysis of the local TV news coverage compared with the amount of political ads that ran on the same TV stations. Knelly’s headline says it all: “28 hours of political ads (and a few minutes of news).” More than 3,300 ad spots were run on the stations serving the predominantly Democratic district. Lost in the hours of ads, Knelly writes, was the “very occasional news report on the race,” and he said the reports contained very little substance.

How Knelly was able to probe these details is crucial. The Federal Communications Commission requires that TV stations maintain a public inspection file, and any member of the public can view it. Within the disclosures are the details of the political advertising purchases made, the amounts paid and what entity bought the airtime. Recent efforts have been made to compel these hugely profitable broadcast entities to publish these files online. The broadcasters have vigorously fought such efforts and, although they usually prevail in the industry-friendly halls of the FCC, have lost this battle. On Friday, April 27, the FCC voted 2-1 to require stations to transition from paper to online filing over a two-year period. ProPublica reporter Justin Elliot notes the files will not be provided in a standard format, and will likely not be searchable.

Most of the major U.S. broadcast networks lobbied against the new disclosure rules, including Fox Television, one of the crown jewels of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. media empire. Murdoch received a stinging rebuke this week with the release of a British Parliament report on the phone-hacking scandal that has racked his newspapers in Britain. The scandal exploded in 2011, when The Guardian reported that News of the World reporters had hacked into the voice mail of 13-year-old murder victim Milly Dowler in 2002. While Dowler was still missing, reporters deleted some of her voice mails, which gave false hope to her family that she still might be alive.

Journalists, along with both a judicial inquiry and parliamentary hearings, have uncovered a culture of criminality behind much of the newsgathering facade at Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World newspaper in London. The parliamentary committee released its report this week, saying the Murdoch-controlled company “stonewalled, obfuscated and misled and [would] only come clean, reluctantly, when no other course of action was sensible.”

Read complete Op-Ed and other stories at Nation of Change.

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