The Samurai Caregiver

Caregivers & Taxes!
March 18, 2013
By CareNovate Team Contritbutor

http://www.carenovatemag.com/learn-save-its-tax-time/

Tax time is almost here, April 15th to be exact. As more adults and boomers take on caregiving responsibilities for their aging relatives, it’s important to plan ahead.
Below, we share some tax tips published recently by IRS, AARP & Bankrate that could help save family caregivers some money, stress and time. As always, always consult a tax adviser, CPA or accountant for information specific to your situation.
Family caregiver might benefit in 3 ways:
You might qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
You might be able to claim your loved one as a dependent, reducing your taxable income by $3,700.
You might qualify for a deduction for money you spent on your loved one’s medical expenses and care.
Other specifics:

Caregiver tax deductions IS NOT limited to just relatives. Non-relatives could also qualify but only if they are part of the caregiver’s household for the entire tax year.
KEEP ALL YOUR RECEIPTS because some dependent expenses that are deductible includes cost of: food, housing, medical care, clothing, transportation and even bathroom modifications all qualify for tax deductions.
The IRS allows caregivers to deduct the costs not covered by a health care plan for a relative’s hospitalization or for out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, dental care, copays, deductibles, ambulances, bandages, eyeglasses and certain long-term care services and more.
If a caregiver works but pays for care for a relative who can’t be left alone, those costs may also be tax-deductible.
Caregiver’s tax-free flex account may be used to cover expenses for both dependent and independent relatives — as long as you’re responsible for at least 50 percent of their support.
As always, always consult a tax adviser, CPA or accountant for information specific to your situation.

For more information & tips for caregivers, visit

IRS – For Caregivers

IRS – Caregivers & Medical Expenses Q&A

The “Dammit” Moment.

This is just a short little post about leaving the hospital…

We (Mom and I) haven’t had to be an inpatient so far this year (knock on wood) but I’ve always wanted to share this little nugget.

When you have a hospital stay, depending on why you or the care receiver is there, you’ll usually wind up getting a lot of supplies in your room. Lots of times, when it comes time to be discharged, you’re anxious, ready to go…and just want to get the heck out of there. Even though the hospital will sometimes provide you with a big plastic bag to put your personal items in, usually it’s not big enough  to get everything in it that you brought in with you or have accumulated during your stay.  Since it’s a trait of most Caregivers to not want to trouble others, we’ll usually not ask for extra bags…and we’ll feel  that the extra supplies that are left in the room could be given to the next patient; someone less fortunate.

Get over it!

Ask, Ask . ASK!  Ask for the bags, as many as you can carry and take al that you can that’s allowed in your room with you!!!!

Why???

One of our biggest hurdles as Caregivers is not asking for what we want, asking for a little help. I think it’s in the soul contract or the DNA of Caregivers or somewhere in a hidden, unwritten but very real code book for Caregivers to not open up their mouths and ask for stuff sometimes. This issue ( the hospital stay and disposable items left behind in the room in particular) has really become a ‘nit’ for me. Ask for them. You or whoever is going to pay the bill have already PAID for them. In most cases, they cannot or won’t be returned to the hospital’s inventory. The employees are generally not allowed to take them home  – hospital policy, blah, blah,  blah – and they’re usually not allowed to take them (on an individual basis) to give the to someone less fortunate.

Such a pity, such a waste….

Plus, every time, everytime, every single  time, later, when we have returned to the sanctity and security of our homes, not once, not twice, but EVERY TIME we, Caregivers , have that “Dammit” moment.

What’s that you say?

It’s when you get home and you haven’t been able to go to the store yet because you came straight home from the hospital, trying to get yourself and/or the care receiver into the house,  the bed, trying to get back on track with the ADL schedule, the med schedule , the sleep schedule …. And then there’s that “ thing” that was back in the hospital room, that the nurses and the aides told you to take with you , but you politely told them ‘no’ – and now – You NEED it.

You need the gauze, the chucks, the pads, the big water cup, the ointment ,the bandages, the steri – strips, the incontinence care products, the wipes, the tubes, the inhalers, the  scissors, the this ,that and the other…you need them now – RIGHT NOW and you had them all , at the ready while you were in the hospital, but, now…

 “Dammit” ….  

…you’re cursing yourself and at yourself, because you can see them, all of these things, very clearly, back in the room you just left!!!

Alright, soooooo next time, don’t be shy, don’t be proud – scoop up and take the items you want. Count your blessings or gifts and walk / roll ‘proudly’ out of the hospital. Be happy that you’re getting out of there but don’t be stupid about it, ok?  If you need some way to justify all of this to yourself so that you won’t feel bad when you cross the threshold of the hospital exit, back out to the outside world, keep the little scenario I just described above in mind as well as this little saying:

“Better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it!”

I’m speaking at the Georgia Gerontology Society Annual Conference this August. Yeah! If you’re in the vicinity August 13 and 14th, drop by!

“””July 2, 2012

Dynamic Speakers Announced for Conference

 Happy 4th of July!

Two additional speakers will be joining us at our 57th annual conference “Enjoying the High Tides of Life: Sailing the Waves to Dynamic Aging” on August 13-15, 2012 at the Sea Palms Resort in St. Simon’s.

 Dr. Sybil Ingram, a respected and experienced professional in the areas of health care information systems and regulatory compliance issues, will be our opening speaker on Monday, August 13 with her topic:  “Providing Empowerment with Integrity!”  Dr. Sybil will also be presenting 2 other breakout sessions at the conference.

Sonny Dixon, anchor of WTOC’s new and innovative broadcast, THE News NOW at 4 PM in addition to newscasts he has anchored for many years, THE News at Five and THE News at Six, will be our luncheon speaker on Tuesday, August 14.

The Conference Tracks and Sessions are now available for viewing on the GGS annual conference page of our website:  www.georgiagerontologysociety.org/conference  Click on the spreadsheet to view the sessions and speakers.  Thirty five breakout sessions are being offered at this year’s conference under the following tracks (tides):  Business and Economics Tide; Aging and Disability Resources Tide; Healthy Lifestyles and Active Engagement Tide; Families, Grandparents and Caregiving Tide; and Safe Communities Tide. 

Please note that this is a preliminary schedule subject to change, but it will give you an idea of the fantastic sessions that are in store for you when you attend our upcoming GGS annual conference.

 Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan will be our Keynote Speaker at the opening session. The GBI was featured recently in an article in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution about the maltreatment of at-risk adults by personal care home operators. Here’s the link to the article: http://www.ajc.com/news/perils-in-personal-care-1434087.html

 Diana Scully, Senior Director of State Services with the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD), Sandy Markwood, CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) and Kevin Monroe, Managing Partner with X Factor Consulting will be the panelists for an opening day general session on Sustainability of the Aging Network:  Challenges and Opportunities.

For information on attendee registration, exhibiting, sponsoring or advertising visit www.georgiagerontologysociety.org/conference  You will also find information on making your reservation at Sea Palms on this page.   Please note that the Early Bird rate for the conference is available until July 14 for ALL GGS members–individual members as well as staff of organizational members. 
 
Please feel free to forward this update to your friends and colleagues

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

 Matthew Malok, CMP

Georgia Gerontology Society

Administrative Director
 
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One of my very dear friends sent this to me today. It expresses so very well an experience of someone who has just been there for another in their time of need…caregiver or not, relative, friend or not. It expresses our humaness and a level of humanity that we need to get back to, sooner rather than later. A level of respect for another human being in their hour of need out of nothing other than genuine and sincere concern for just somebody else other than yourself.

I could not be by my father’s bedside when he passed last June. It grieves me much, which is part of the reason for my absence in posting here. Read this knowing that if you are that person at the bedside for someone else, it makes such a huge difference to them and their families/loved ones…
*****************************************************************************************
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.

“Your son is here,” she said to the old man.

She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.

He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died.. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

“Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his
Son just wasn’t here.

When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.”

I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His Son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this gentleman’s name?

The Nurse with tears in her eyes answered,

Mr. William Grey………….

The next time someone needs you … Just be there. Stay.

One of my friends ( Dr. Daphne) sent this to me today and I felt it would be an appropriate share for The Samurai Caregiver site. Being happy usually is not synonymous with being a caregiver. Its so very important for us to remember that it is a choice; choosing to be happy.

If you’ve read “The Traveler’s Gift” y Andy Andrews, you’ll immediately recognize this as being one of “The Seven Decisions” he so eloquently discusses in this wonderfully told and expressed story.

Enjoy!

**************************************************************************************************************************

92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiledsweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

I love it,’ he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.’

‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ he replied.

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.

Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged .. it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.

‘It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice;

I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with theparts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do..

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away.. Just for this time in my life..

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bankaccount of memories!

Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank.

I am still depositing.

‘Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1.. Free your heart from hatred.

2. Free your mind from worries.

3. Live simply.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less.

Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.

One of my friends sent this to me today and I wanted to pass it on. I don’t know the original author  but feel the same way as described towards the end about friends – and caregivers worldwide.

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.    

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.   

 After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way  back to your house.’

The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?  That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.  Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my cracked pot friends and Caregivers worldwide, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the  path!

Today is the fourth in a series of events where I’ve delivered a presentation to caregivers about the care giver and the care recipient being a team. In the middle of todays presentation, as has occurred to me all month, it dawned upon me that I’, not ready yet.

Though I’ve become somewhat adept at talking about various aspects of caregiving and weaving my own story in regarding that which I do for my Mom, I am apparently not ready yet to talk about what I did for my dad.

He passed June 2, 2011.

I haven’t really been talking about that yet, not publicly anyway. And yet I would feel remiss in these forums if I didn’t at least try to broach the subject of the care I undertook on my fathers behalf, for his behalf until he passed.

Apparently, I’m not ready yet.

Its still kinda new and very raw for me I guess. His passing wasn’t a surprise…but I wasn’t ready for the finality of it all.

Who ever is…really … I mean, coming to terms withe the finality of it all.

I wonder how long it’s gong to take the ‘yet’ time to pass. I know the answer is “it will take as long as it takes and then some”, but I still can’t help wondering…

You know I’m a planner; the consummate project manager. We’re used to having a definite time line for start and stop dates, durations, etc. This type of feeling, this ‘yet’ certainly doesn’t fit very neatly into our little project management boxes.

I was more of a care director than a care giver with him. He rejected much of what I said to him beginning last August all the way through to his transition in June. His rejection of offerings of assistance we’re sometimes painful, but I knew my father, and wouldn’t have expected anything less out of him. The balancing act between doing what he wanted and doing what was needed was very frustrating and tiresome; kinda like dealing with a very competent terrible two’s type of tyke who just happened to be 88/89 years old and still wanted to kick it one more time, stay in control until the very end.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “The mind is willing but the body isn’t able”. That pretty much sums up the situation with him. Watching that nimble mind deteriorate rapidly over the course of the last ten months of his life with a body that exponentially continued to refuse to cooperate… with me constantly getting caught in the middle of his wrath of cross hairs wasn’t fun at all; but it was where I needed to be…and so I was.

So… to that end, what I’m trying to communicate here is  that I’m not ready yet and really don’t know when I’ll be able to add Daddy to my stories and experiences of caregiving. As with him, I must continue to remind myself that guess patience is a virtue and that I need to extend and accept a little of the patience I’m able to exercise with others with me as well for the time being.

I miss you Dad; more than I realized or thought I would. I love you so very much! I hope you’re acting out true to form in heaven, being as cantankerous as always (like Fred Sanford) and giving them hell up there too, enjoying every minute of it!

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The Samurai Caregiver

The Samurai Caregiver

  • Wednesday, I was a guest contributor on family caregiving to the Institute of Gerontology at the university of GA. They get it!!! 2 years ago
  • 1470wxag.com I am the guest today @ 330p discussing caregiving issues -from a Samurai perspective - so tune in if you can! 3 years ago
  • I have been graciously invited 2 be a guest on "The Light" (1470 am WXAG)radio talk show, 3/20/13. Stay tuned 4 more information! 3 years ago
  • Gave keynote @ the Georgia Gerontology Society's annual conference at. St. Simons Sea Palms resort earlier this month. Great audience!!! 4 years ago

Sybil L. Ingram, MBA, Ph.D.

Dr. Sybil Ingram is a respected and experienced professional in the areas of healthcare information systems and regulatory compliance issues with significant knowledge on INFOSEC, NIST, FISA, FISMA, CFR 210,211 & 820 as well as Lifespan Respite Care Act regulations. With over twenty years of healthcare experience, she has been one of the nation's foremost speakers and active consultants for the HIPAA implementation challenges, addressing all major aspects of the Administrative Simplification Subtitle and affected entities/stakeholders. Dr. Ingram has served as a clinician, clinical researcher and instructor, emergency preparedness and readiness specialist as well as serving as an independent validation and verification compliance manager for multiple national providers of healthcare services. She has held key positions for healthcare industry leaders such as HBOC/McKesson, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Labs, the Georgia Technology Authority and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). In addition, Dr. Ingram is nationally board certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, a former associate with the American College of Healthcare Executives, founder of Ingram And Associates, a certified INFOSEC professional by the Information Security And Audit Control Association and the US National Security Agency. As a volunteer, she is an active senior Georgia state representative for the National Family Caregivers Association and has an inventor's patent (pending) registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Organization. Dr. Ingram speaks nationally and internationally on topics that address information privacy and security as well as family care giving issues.

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