New Jersey - Essex, Hudson, Union Counties

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The Seniors Blue Book is Here to Help:

Welcome to the Seniors Blue Book local home page for New Jersey. The first issue of a New Jersey Blue Book came out 16 years ago and we are now in 4 markets covering 9 counties in central and northern New Jersey. We have been helping seniors, their family members and caretakers find the resources and services they need to age well. We are here to help! Search the website, call the seniors resource line at 973-560-0064, e-mail me at beeckert@optonline.net or use the live chat feature to get answers to your questions.

New Jersey - Essex, Hudson, Union Counties

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Articles Written By Local Businesses

How to Tell When a Senior Needs Care and Assistance

Sometimes its easy to know when a family member needs care and assistance. For instance, maybe he or she has a major disability or requires additional help following a hospital stay. In other cases, however, it isnt immediately obvious that your senior is in need of help with the activities of daily life.As people who have had to wrestle with our own family decisions, we thought it useful to provide early guidance, so other families might know when a more careful assessment of their seniors needs is required.Below is a list of questions to consider when determining if a loved one is in need of additional care: Pay Attention to How They Look Appearance can be a sign that they are being limited either physically or mentally from completing normal daily tasks. Are they wearing dirty or stained clothing? Have they brushed their teeth? Listen to the Senior Listening to how seniors speak can tell you a lot about their current mental status. Dont assume that old age is causing these problems. Have they forgotten to refill prescriptions or take their medicine? Have they missed doctors appointments? View the Seniors Surroundings Looking at their food and medications can help you determine if they are eating healthy or even worse, taking expired medicine. Do they have fresh and stocked pantry items? Are there piles of unopened bills? Use Your Nose Using your nose as an indicator can help you determine if your family member is bathing properly or participating in otherwise normal activities. Does their living environment possess any unpleasant odors? Are they bathing regularly? If you sense a problem based on the above indictors, you and other family members should waste no time in taking the appropriate next steps. As difficult as the process might be, keep reminding yourself that by being proactive you will not only provide safety for your family member, but will also keep them happy and healthy for years to come. Editors note: This article was submitted by Charles Fairweather (908-322-8200) and Herb Ronde (973-452-0575), local owners of BrightStar, a full-service in-home medical and non-medical agency offering caregiving to seniors and disabled adults. They would gladly provide assistance in these matters.

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The Holidays and Family Traditions

As the year begins to draw to a close we are surrounded by Holidays. The stores are filled with Halloween candy in August, Thanksgiving decorations in September and October is already filled with Christmas.Whatever your familys religious beliefs are everyone has traditions such as gatherings and events which are unique and special. You may find yourself wondering how you will get through this time with one less sitting at the table. Here are strategies you can use to help you cope:1) Stay connected to your feelings - Give yourself time and permission to feel and express your emotions in the manner that works best for YOU (e.g., writing, sharing with someone close, meditating). Everyone has their own style.2) Focus on what is helpful for you and your family in the present - Old traditions may be too painful, especially in this first year. It may be easier to break with tradition and celebrate the holidays differently (e.g., if you always spend the holidays at your home, spend them at someone elses home).3) Create new traditions - By incorporating memories of your loved one into your holiday celebrations, you develop ways to honor their memory (e.g., have a poem or prayer read in your loved ones honor, create a memory quilt or light a candle).4) Do not feel guilty about how you feel - It is OKAY if you find some joy this holiday season. If you find no joy, this is also OK. Dont try to live up to others expectations of how you should feel. Grief is very individualized and can even vary with different losses. Instead of carrying expectations of how you SHOULD FEEL, accept the reality of how you DO FEEL. It is normal to have mixed emotions during the bereavement process and this is especially so during the holidays.5) Find ways of giving to others - When you are feeling sad and empty inside, it can be helpful to reach out to others. Some families volunteer in soup kitchens, create a memorial fund in memory of their loved one, or raise money that helps others etc.6) Avoid overindulgence with alcohol and food - There is an increased risk for eating and drinking too much during periods of bereavement and this is especially so during the holiday season. Eating and drinking too much are often ways of avoiding or masking underlying emotions so that they do not have to be felt. This is not a solution and only serves to prolong the intense feelings associated with your loss. 7) Explore the traditions of your faith concerning mourning and remembering - Even if you have not been involved in your faith, you may find comfort and support in these traditions.8) Be honest with yourself, don't be afraid to seek professional help - If you find yourself immobilized by your grief, feeling overwhelmed by emotions, or have other adverse experiences or behaviors, PLEASE seek professional help or call 1-866-821-1212 and ask to speak with a member of the Care Alternatives Bereavement Team.Editors Note: This article was submitted by Care Alternatives. They can be reached at 866-821-1212 or you can visit their website at www.carealt.com

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Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts (also known as supplemental needs trusts) allow a disabled beneficiary to receive gifts, lawsuit settlements, or other funds without jeopardizing the disabled beneficiarys eligibility for certain government programs. These trusts are drafted so that the funds will not be considered to belong to the beneficiary in determining the beneficiarys eligibility for public benefits.Special needs trusts are designed not to provide basic support, but instead to pay for comforts and luxuries that could not be paid for by public assistance funds. These trusts typically pay for things like education, recreation, counseling, and medical attention beyond the simple necessities of life. Special needs can include medical and dental expenses, annual independent check-ups, necessary or desirable equipment (such as specially equipped vans), training and education, insurance, transportation, and essential dietary needs. If the trust is sufficiently funded, the disabled person can also receive electronic equipment and appliances, computers, vacations, movies, payments for a companion, and other self-esteem and quality-of-life enhancing expenses.Special needs trusts may be stand-alone documents or may be incorporated into a Last Will and Testament. Either way, these trusts may be a valuable vehicle for making transfers for the benefit of a disabled person.Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., with offices in Westfield NJ, is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (by NAELA, accredited by the ABA), an Accredited Professional Mediator and an Accredited VA Attorney. Mr. Vanarelli, was selected as a Superlawyer in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and is a founding member of the New Jersey Elder Mediation Center. For more information, contact the Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, 908-232-7400 or visit his web site at www.dvanarelli.com.

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Hospice Can Help:Evaluating End-of-Life Care Options

If you or a loved one were facing a terminal illness, would you know where to turn for information about end-of-life care?Every year, half of the American population will be touched by the death of a friend, family member or colleague. Hospice providers across the country are united in urging all adults, regardless of age or circumstance, to learn more about end-of-life care options that can transform dying into the final act of living well.There are four general questions that should be explored before one is touched by the unsettling reality of a terminal prognosis, explains Ann Klein, RN, VITAS patient care administrator in New Jersey North. They are: 1. How will pain be managed? 2. If the patient prefers to remain at home, what kind of assistance and in-home care will be available? 3. What role can family members have in patient care? 4. How will the spiritual and emotional support necessary for quality end-of-life care be administered?Hospice is an end-of-life care option that answers all four questions, Klein says. Tailored to the needs of each patient and family, hospice provides care to patients diagnosed with a terminal illness. It includes expert pain management, but also goes beyond medical care, providing emotional and spiritual support that most Americans believe is an important aspect of end-of-life care.Hospice care is provided by a multi-disciplinary care team comprised of doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, clergy, and trained volunteers. Hospice care typically is provided in the home, allowing the patient to stay in a familiar setting surrounded by family and friends. Home is loosely defined, so terminally ill residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities can receive hospice care without having to consider moving.Medicare, Medicaid and most private health insurance plans provide coverage for hospice services. The Medicare Hospice Benefit is an all-inclusive benefit and includes coverage for physician services, nursing care, home medical equipment and medical supplies, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications related to the patients terminal illness, counseling, spiritual support and bereavement support for the patients loved ones. Patients and their families receive all benefits without any additional co-pays or ancillary payments.Editors Note: This article was submitted by Robin Marshall, General Manager of VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of New Jersey North. For more information about hospice, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, www.nhpco.org, or call VITAS at 973-994-4738.

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