For more information about the author, click to view their website: Embracing Aging
Everyone deserves to have opportunities and accessibility to the people, places, and experiences that help them live their best quality of life as they age.
Since fall 2013, York County Community Foundation’s Embracing Aging has been working to improve how people experience aging. That’s why in 2020, York County applied for enrollment in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.
Enrollment in this network means our county is committed to proactively working to improve livability. An easy way to evaluate if something is livable is to ask, “Does this work for people of all ages?” If the answer is yes for someone age 8 and age 80, it will benefit everyone, and make our community a better place to live, work, and play.
To accomplish this, we engage with stakeholders across all sectors to discuss the goals they will commit to over the next 3 years. These are used to create an Action and Evaluation Plan that is submitted to, and reviewed by, the network to ensure it adheres to the requirements they set forth to communities making this commitment.
York County’s plan was submitted and approved in July 2021.
As the plan’s administrator, Embracing Aging is responsible for tracking its progress and reporting updates to the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. We also work to recruit more stakeholders to join the plan.
Embracing Aging is committed to sharing the status of this work. We do this because we want residents to hold us accountable for creating a county that is a great place to age.
York County is 910 square miles and contains 71 boroughs, townships, and its central city, York City, each with its own municipal government and taxing authority. The county is home to approximately 450,000 people, of which nearly 40% are age 50 and older.
Improving livability across a county of this size is a huge undertaking because there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
We are grateful for the 21 businesses and organizations that joined us in the plan, and for the 29 goals they are working on to help residents live more easily in their homes and communities.
Some highlights include:
Although there is progress being made, there are also barriers too. The impact COVID had on organizations’ operations and capacity, the dwindling pool of volunteers to help move forward initiatives, the competing priorities for funding dollars, and the continued stigma around aging have hindered progress.
Still, we stand committed to doing all we can to make York County both a great place to grow up and grow older.
Learn more at www.yccf.org/age-friendly or contact Cathy Bollinger, YCCF’s managing director, Embracing Aging at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717.848.3733.
Medicaid is a government program that provides health coverage to individuals, and it is the leading payor of skilled nursing facility care in the United States due to the high cost of such care. Many people mistakenly believe that Medicaid is only for those with minimal resources, but an asset protection plan can help you protect your assets and still qualify for long-term Medicaid benefits.Asset protection planning uses exemptions that allow you to keep some of your assets. For example, in Pennsylvania, you are allowed to keep $45 of your income per month plus any amount you use to pay for health insurance; the rest of your income must be used to pay for your care. When applying for Medicaid, countable resources include assets such as real estate, cash, investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance with a face value greater than $1,500, vehicles, and any business interests. However, you can exempt the house you live in, one vehicle, and your spouse can retain their retirement accounts and anywhere between $29,724 and $148,620 of the joint assets, depending upon the total amount of your combined assets. Anything over this calculated amount of exemptions could be put into an asset protection trust and protected from skilled nursing facility costs.An asset protection plan will allow you to immediately protect a portion of your assets, in addition to the assets that are exempt from Medicaid, for significant immediate savings that begin the moment your plan is fully funded.An asset protection plan consists of an asset protection trust, in which you can control the assets, but cant have direct access to them. Giving up direct access to the assets in the trust keeps creditors and predators away. If you do need access to an asset in the trust, you always have the ability to make distributions to someone other than yourself.Asset protection plans not only protect your assets during life but also provide tremendous value for your loved ones when youre gone.Laws and statutes in the area of long-term care Medicaid are always changing, so its highly recommended to review your options with a local elder law/estate planning attorney. At Bellomo & Associates, we can help you learn more about asset protection plans and how they can benefit you and your family while protecting your legacy from the rapidly rising cost of long-term care. Dont wait lets get your estate plan in place!Are you ready to start protecting your assets and planning for long-term care? Contact Bellomo & Associates today to register for an educational workshop. We can help you create a customized asset protection plan and provide guidance on long-term care Medicaid eligibility and planning. Dont wait until its too latetake action now and secure your financial future.
Is anyone else like me, you see a craft and you just have to try it? No? Hmm, well I guess Im in the minority. Over the years I have explored many types of crafts from the traditionally counted cross stitch and knitting to the slightly more unusual like basket weaving, stained glass, and hot glass to the downright out of the mainstream like chain mail (I made jewelry not armor but the same process just on a smaller scale). My latest endeavor is soap making. And me being me I didnt start with the traditional melt-and-pour soap that you can get in kits at the craft store. Oh no, I jumped directly into making cold-process soap! For those that may not know, I didnt until I started this adventure, that much of what we use today is not, in fact, soap. I know, it blew my mind too when I came across that fact. True soap is a mixture of fat or oil an alkali (usually sodium hydroxide commonly called lye) and water. The chemical reaction between these items is called saponification which results in soap. Soap made in this manner must sit, or cure, for a few weeks to allow excess water to evaporate and make a harder bar. Only soap made in this way can be labeled as soap. Check your labels, if it doesnt specifically say soap but instead is called a cleansing bar, a body bar, a beauty bar, a body wash, or something else it isnt soap but a synthetic detergent product. Laundry detergent or dish soap also falls into the synthetic detergent designation. According to the FDA, there are very few true soaps on the market today. So how does true soap work if it doesnt have all the chemicals and additives of detergent products? Simply put soap has the ability to mix with the oil and dirt on your skin, trapping it and making it possible to remove the dirt layer. As a person lathers with soap, the soap latches onto the dirt and germs and rinses them away. True soap doesnt kill microbes but rinses them off the skin and down the drain. In a recent study sponsored by ABC News, numerous products were tested as to efficiency, and true soap ranked right up there with hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial soap. In fact, true soap ranked better than alcohol-based sanitizer. Plus the FDA has advised consumers not to use anti-bacterial soap because it assists in creating microbes that are increasingly immune to agents used to kill them.So now that you know what soap is, and is not, let the adventure begin! Stay tuned for Part II .
It is very easy with everything that is going on in our country and our world right now, to be concerned about the pandemic and start to think about your own mortality and planning. While we recommend planning at all times to always be prepared ahead of time, this certainly provides a reminder for us to stop and take a look at our current situation to make sure that we have at least our basics in place. Powers of AttorneyEach person should have a financial power of attorney that authorizes another individual to make financial decisions on their behalf in case they cannot. They could be unable to because of an illness or an incapacitation or simply just not in town, or maybe they are traveling out of the country. We cannot stress the importance of having a financial power of attorney in place to avoid the necessity for guardianship. We have discussed in detail in other blogs and articles about powers of attorney and guardianships, and we would encourage you to please take a further look at those, and why it would become important to have a financial power of attorney in place.A medical power of attorney is an essential document that authorizes another individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are not capable or able to make those medical decisions for yourself. Although there is a healthcare statute in the state of Pennsylvania that will name the next of kin to be able to make those healthcare decisions in case you cannot, we stress the importance enough of having this document in place to ensure that the people that you want making those decisions can make them without unintended people being named as well. When you reach the end-of-life stage it's also important that you have in place a living will. If the living will is coupled in one single document with a medical power of attorney, that is also considered an advanced healthcare directive. We recommend having these documents in place to ease the burden on your family. This will save them from having to make those end-of-life decisions if two qualified physicians put in writing that there is no realistic hope of recovery that you will always remain end-stage medical or vegetative, comatose, permanently unconscious, or terminally ill. There is certainly a lot that goes into the medical definition, but plainly stated, it is imperative to decide for yourself how you would like those decisions to be made rather than to put the burden on a loved one to feel like they have to play God or pull the plug on their family member. Review Your Current Documents, Including Beneficiaries, to Ensure They Meet Your Needs and Desires We encourage anyone who has planning in place to not assume that it is up to date or that it is what their current wishes are, things change over time. It is also important to review all of your beneficiary designations on accounts, such as life insurance policies, annuities, retirement accounts, etc. Often, the most overlooked item is reviewing the beneficiary designations of an account, and it is probably the most critical thing that can screw up an estate plan. Please make it a priority to review your documents to make sure they accurately reflect your wishes. If you have questions or need to make some changes we would be more than happy to see you at one of our workshops to discuss the different documents and how they can assist you and your family. We certainly understand if there is any anxiety or stress that you are experiencing but encourage you to be prepared no matter what, which will give you a sense of comfort and security. If you would like further information about this topic or to learn more about our firm, please visit us at www.bellomoassociates.com or call the office at 717-845-5390.