WCCF  awards $2,500 grant to Choices Life Resource Center

Thanks to generous donors who have supported the Washington County Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, Choices Life Resource Center is the grateful recipient of a $2,500.00 Rapid Response Grant.  “The desire of Choices Life Resource Center is to save, support and enrich the lives of those we serve. In very much the same way that Washington County Community Foundation works through Choices Life and other organizations like ours to build a better community for now and future generations,” stated Donna Wesner, Director at the Center.  The grant money will be used to purchase formula and diapers.

The Foundation reactivated the Disaster Relief Fund in March to address emerging community needs cause by the COVID-19 Pandemic.  “We knew that needs would arise and we wanted to be in a position to address those needs quickly,” explained Judy Johnson, Executive Director of the Washington County Community Foundation.  “We reactivated the Disaster Relief Fund and are actively accepting donations to that fund.  Nonprofits directly working with clients impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, or have been impacted by the Pandemic, are encouraged to apply.  Our goal is to respond to the applicant within a few days.”   More information about the Rapid Response Grants can be found on the Foundation’s website. 

Washington County Community Foundation has updated their website with many resources for the COVID-19 crisis. 

If you would like to support Washington County residents struggling during this crisis, please donate to the Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund.  You can donate on line via the Foundation’s website:  www.wccf.biz, or you can mail a check to The Washington County Community Foundation at PO Box 50, Salem, IN, 47167. 

The mission of the Washington County Community Foundation is to engage people, build resources and strengthen our community.  Visit the website at www.wccf.biz and like the Foundation on Facebook. 

How to Protect Your Parents from Coronavirus

I am concerned about my 80-year-old mother who is at high risk for coronavirus. She lives on her own about 100 miles from me, and I have been keeping close tabs on her since this whole pandemic started. What tips can you offer long-distance family members?

Because the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions are the most vulnerable to the new coronavirus, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines of social distancing and staying home is critically important.

Here are some additional tips and recommendations from the CDC and public health specialists that can help keep your elderly mother safe and healthy while she is hunkering down at home until the pandemic passes.

Know and follow CDC recommendations: Make sure you and your mom know and practice the CDC recommendations for older adults and those with compromising health conditions. You are probably already familiar with some of their guidelines, like washing your hands and avoiding touching your face, but there are many other recommendations and they are constantly changing. For the complete list visit Coronavirus.gov, then click on "Older Adults & Medical Conditions."

Have supplies on hand: Start by contacting healthcare providers to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand for a prolonged period of time. If extra medications are not approved, consider using a mail-order service for medications to avoid going into a pharmacy. Also, be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies to treat fever and other symptoms.

She should also have enough groceries and household items to be able to stay at home for an extended period of time. If she needs to restock supplies, there are online grocery delivery options such as Amazon Fresh, Instacart, Peapod, Target and Walmart. A growing number of stores including Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Dollar General and many others are offering early dedicated shopping times to seniors to reduce their risk of being exposed to the virus.

There are also home delivery meal programs that can help the home-bound. See MealsOnWheelsAmerica.org to locate one in your mom's area. You can also check out companies that deliver nutritious pre-cooked meals that can be heated up in the microwave.

Use technology: For many seniors, social distancing can also lead to isolation and loneliness, a common problem among older adults. If your mom has a computer, tablet or smartphone, she can stay connected to friends and relatives via video calls through Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. These are safe alternatives to in-person visits.

If your mom is not familiar or comfortable with mainstream technology, there are other solutions like the GrandPad (GrandPad.net), which is a simplified 4G tablet designed for seniors 75 and older that allows one-touch video calls, email and much more.

For your peace of mind, there are also check-in services like Snug (SnugSafe.com) that send free daily check-ins to your mom's phone to confirm she is OK. These services will let you know if she does not respond.

Skip nonessential doctor's appointments: Most public health experts are also recommending that at-risk individuals cancel nonessential doctor's appointments. If your mom has an appointment that she feels should not be put off, consider a telemedicine session, which is now covered by Medicare, as an option.

Talk to caregivers: If your mom uses a home health or home care service, a number of different aides may be coming through her door.

Be sure you talk to the agency she uses or her aides about hygiene. They should all be reminded to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Any equipment they bring into your mom's home should be wiped down with disinfectant.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published April 3, 2020

How Medicare is Handling Coronavirus

Is Medicare covering testing for the coronavirus? My husband and I are very nervous about this virus and would like to find out if or when we should get tested and how Medicare manages it.

Medicare is covering the cost of testing for the coronavirus, known as COVID-19. Be aware that getting a test is not as simple as going to your local pharmacy or doctor’s office and requesting one. Here is a breakdown of what Medicare is covering, along with how to get tested if you think you may have symptoms.

Medicare Coverage

Medicare (Part B) will cover the lab test for COVID-19, but only when your doctor or other health care provider orders it. You will pay no out-of-pocket costs for this tests.

In addition, Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes needing to stay in the hospital under quarantine if you are diagnosed with COVID-19. While there is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, when one becomes available it will be covered by all Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D).

If you receive Medicare benefits through a private Medicare Advantage plan, you will have access to the same benefits. In addition, many Advantage plans are also expanding coverage of tele-medicine, which allows beneficiaries to consult with medical professionals without having to go to a doctor’s office. Check with your plan for coverage details.

When to Call Your Doctor

Adults age 60 and older, especially those in their 70s and above, and people with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart, lung or kidney disease are at a higher risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19. Everyone in these categories should be vigilant.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Severe cases can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.

If you develop any symptoms that are concerning, you should contact your primary care provider by phone for guidance. If your doctor believes you need testing, he or she will provide instructions on what to do next. Unfortunately, there have been reports of test shortages across the country, so depending on where you live you may have to wait a few days.

Prevention Tips

To help you steer clear of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that you avoid close contact with others. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being out in public, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

To the extent possible, try to avoid touching your face, nose and eyes. Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places, like elevator buttons, door handles and handrails. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you touch these surfaces. You should also avoid shaking hands with people.

Also, clean and disinfect your home to remove germs. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces – tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks and cell phones.

You should also avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick. If you are subject to any local orders to shelter in place, please respect those guidelines.

The CDC also recommends that seniors and high-risk individuals obtain certain supplies, such as non-perishable food, groceries and extra necessary medications, so that you are able to remain at home for an extended period of time. If there is an outbreak in your community, remain at home as much as possible. The CDC discourages all non-essential travel.

For more information on the COVID-19, visit Coronavirus.gov.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published March 27, 2020

Rapid Response Grants Available to Local Nonprofits for COVID-19 Assistance

The Washington County Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund has been re-activated and is accepting donations.  Grants from this fund will provide flexible financial support to trusted nonprofit partners across Washington County who are responding to critical needs. The Fund also allows the Community Foundation Board to be nimble in their response to addressing our community’s most pressing and emerging needs, specifically with organizations working with our most vulnerable citizens. We need to recognize that our social service organizations have direct knowledge of these ever-changing critical issues, while also maintaining strong relationships with the citizens they serve. Therefore, with respect to this on-the-ground understanding of the ramifications of COVID-19, we will rely on our trusted nonprofit partners to communicate to us the best way we can be of help. As needs are communicated, it will be of utmost importance for us to provide funding to these organizations rapidly.

To expedite our regular granting procedures in this evolving situation, our Board of Directors has chosen to distribute awards from the Disaster Relief Fund utilizing a method called “Rapid Response Grantmaking”.

Our COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants will sustain and develop vital community services for residents who stand to lose the most from the unfolding emergency. This is why the ability to rapidly provide flexible resources to nonprofit organizations who are working on the frontlines, engaging and supporting individuals impacted by COVID-19 and the broader ramifications of this health crisis, will be paramount.

Priorities: Initial priority will be given to help fund frontline human services organizations that have deep roots in the community and strong experience working with vulnerable populations. Our rapid response grantmaking will address gaps in services and increase capacity of organizations to meet basic needs of individuals and families. These grants will address the needs of Washington County’s most vulnerable individuals who have been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The main purpose in activating our rapid response grantmaking procedures is to support the emerging needs of our nonprofits, which include, but are not limited to, food access, prevention of homelessness, medical services, and emergency childcare. Once the state of emergency has expired, any remaining funds will support nonprofit organizations impacted financially as a result of program disruptions or cancellations resulting in revenue loss.

COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Simple Application: To move resources quickly, we have opened a simple, rolling application process from now through April 22nd. Funds may be requested for up to $2,500.00. Grant amounts will be determined by funding availability. Awards will be assessed based on need and may be used for both service delivery and operations essential to emergency response and viability. To apply for a Rapid Response Grant from the Disaster Relief Fund, 501c3 organizations working within Washington County who are disproportionately impacted socially or economically by the coronavirus outbreak can access the COVID-19 Rapid Response Simple Grant Application by visiting the Washington County Community Foundation website.

COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Timeline: COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Recipients will be announced via email and press release. This grant opportunity will be extended if additional community donations to the fund afford us the opportunity to lengthen the grantmaking period.

Final Grant Report: Final grant use and expenditure reports will mirror those of our regular grantmaking cycles and will be required at a later date to allow our nonprofit partners to dedicate their time to their frontline clients during this time of hardship.




The health and well-being of the residents of Washington County is of utmost importance to us here at the Washington County Community Foundation. As the world navigates the global pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to let you know about the steps Washington County Community Foundation is taking to protect the safety of our staff, volunteers, donors and the public.

Effective on Monday, March 23, 2020, our office will be CLOSED to the public until further notice. This is being done to follow safe social distancing practices as recommended on the local, state, and national level.    If you would like to make a donation, you can visit our website at www.wccf.biz and click on the Donate Now button on the top left corner.  Or, you can mail a check to our office at PO Box 50, Salem, IN  47167. 

For now, we will still be in the office working as the layout of our office and building has ample space for social distancing.  We can be reached by phone (812) 883-7334 or email. Our email information is as follows:

Judy Johnson- director@wccf.biz  
Lindsey Wade-Swift – program.officer@wccf.biz
Eli Voyles (intern)- elivoyles@gmail.com

We will continue to monitor local, state, and national health recommendations in our effort to help do our part to keep Washington County healthy and prospering. You can also continue to follow us and any updates we may have via email and our Facebook page.

We know that in times like these people like you are looking for ways to help our neighbors.  We also know that our community resources are going to be severely tested.  If you would like to help, please consider donating to the following organizations.

Ways to help

Washington County Community Foundation Disaster Fund- In 2012 we created a Disaster Fund in response to the March 2nd tornado.  We are reactivating that fund.  Just like in 2012, 100% of the donations to this fund will be used in our community to help our friends and neighbors recover from the COVID 19 Pandemic. 

Washington County Food Bank- You can mail your donation to PO Box 128, Salem IN, 47167

Hoosier Uplands- 521 West Main Street, Mitchell, IN 47446
You can specify how you want your donation to be used and designate it for a Washington County resident:

·         Rent and Utilities Assistance (or mortgage payments)

·         Help with Prescription Medication costs for low-income or out of work families

Ways to get help

Washington County Food Bank-  201 North Water Street, Salem
If you know of someone in need of assistance, the Food Bank’s hours of operation are:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-3.  They have changed their procedure: Only one person per family may enter the building.  For more information you can call 883-2655. 

Hoosier Uplands
If you know of someone who is in need of assistance with rent, utilities, mortgage payments or purchasing prescription medications, they can contact Hoosier Uplands  at  812-849-4447 or  800-827-2219

SBDA Disaster Loan assistance-  For more information about small business assistance please visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/EIDLLoans

Township Trustees- Individuals may seek direct assistance from their Township trustee.  To locate your Township Trustee please visit: https://indianatownshipassoc.org/indiana-townships/

If there is one thing for certain, the people of Washington County have demonstrated time and again that they will step up and care for each other in times of great need. Whether we are dealing with a disastrous tornado, a flood, or other calamities, history shows that in the darkest hour, compassion defines who we are as a community.
As we face this current unprecedented challenge, the spirit of generosity that has always defined us is what gives me strength and hope to face future uncertainty.

As always, we’re grateful for the trust you’ve placed in us. We look forward to continuing to work alongside you to enhance the lives of people we love so dearly.

Stay healthy,


How to Address Kidney Disease

Do kidney problems run in families? My mother died from kidney failure 10 years ago at age 74 but did not know she had a kidney problem until it was too late.

Anyone who has a family history of kidney disease, has high blood pressure or diabetes is at increased risk of kidney disease and needs to have their kidneys tested.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 37 million U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease (when the kidneys do not properly clean toxins and wastes from the blood). Millions more are at risk of developing it, yet most people do not realize their risk. This is because kidney disease develops very slowly over many years before any symptoms arise. Left untreated, the disease can eventually require people to spend hours hooked up to a dialysis machine or require a kidney transplant. Even mild kidney problems can double a person's risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as cause anemia and bone disease.

Kidney disease has become widespread today because of the rise of obesity, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure. All of these can strain the kidneys.

Another factor is the increasing number of people who take multiple medications, which can overtax the organs. People over age 60 are especially vulnerable both because they tend to take more medications and because kidney function normally declines somewhat with age.

Get Tested

Because kidney disease has no early symptoms, the only way to catch it before it advances is to have a simple blood and urine test done by your doctor. Anyone who has diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, a family history of kidney disease or is age 60 or older needs to get tested. African, Hispanic, Asian and Indian Americans along with Pacific Islanders are also at increased risk.

If you are diagnosed with kidney disease you need to know that there is no cure. However, there are steps you can take to help contain the damage.

Control your blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure, get it under 130/80. If you need medication to do it, ACE inhibitors and ARBs are good choices because of their proven ability to protect the kidneys.

Control your diabetes: If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible.

Change your diet: This usually means reducing the amount of protein and phosphorus you eat and cutting back on sodium and possibly potassium. Your doctor can help you determine an appropriate eating plan. You may also want to talk to a dietitian.

Watch your meds: Dozens of commonly used drugs can damage the kidneys, especially when taken in high doses over long periods – most notably NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and naproxen. Herbal supplements can also be very dangerous. Talk to your doctor about all the prescription, over the counter and herbal products you take to identify potential problems and find alternatives.

Exercise and lose weight: If you are overweight and inactive, start an aerobic fitness routine (walk, swim, cycle, etc.) that gets your heart pumping. This will help lower blood pressure, control diabetes and help you lose excess weight, all of which will help your kidneys.

Quit smoking: If you smoke, quit. Heart disease becomes a much greater risk to the kidneys if you smoke. Smoking also doubles the rate of progression to end-stage renal failure.

Limit alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can worsen kidney disease. Talk to your doctor to see if it is safe for you to drink. If so, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

WCCF offering $40,000.00 in Spring Grant Cycle – NEW DEADLINE

WCCF has opened their Spring Grant Cycle.  Funds for the $40,000 grant cycle are made possible through our generous donors and the Foundation’s Touch Tomorrow Funds.

 Applications can be downloaded from the Foundation’s website at www.wccf.biz. Click on the Grantseekers icon and then click to download the application.  The application deadline will be 3:30pm, April 22, 2020.   Applications can be submitted via email:  program.officer@wccf.biz or by regular mail.  The Foundation’s mailing address is PO Box 50 in Salem. 

Grant preference may be given to organizations submitting grant applications for projects or programs to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

 For more information or to request an application, you may call Judy Johnson or Lindsey Wade-Swift at the Foundation office.  The number is 883-7334.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever


Important Legal Documents

What legal documents do I need to prepare to help my family after I am gone? I would like to get my affairs in order but could use some help.

There are four essential legal documents to consider including in your estate plan. These documents will make sure your wishes regarding your estate are legally enforceable and clear. It may also help minimize any conflicts and confusion with your family. Proper documentation can assist your health care providers if you become seriously ill or pass away. Here are the key documents you need, along with some tips to help you create them.

Will: This document lets you spell out your wishes of how you would like your property and assets to be distributed after you pass away, whether it is to family, friends or a charity. It also allows you to designate an executor to ensure your wishes are carried out and allows you to name guardians if you have dependent children.

In addition to a will, if you own real estate or have considerable assets, another option you may want to consider is a revocable living trust. This functions like a will but allows your estate to avoid the time and expense of probate (the public legal process that examines your estate after you pass away) and helps ensure your estate’s privacy.

Durable Power of Attorney: This allows you to designate someone you trust to handle your financial matters if you become incapacitated.

Advanced Health Care Directive: This includes two documents that spell out your wishes regarding your end-of-life medical treatment. The two documents are a “living will,” which tells your doctor what kind of care you want to receive if you become incapacitated, and a “health care power of attorney” (or health care proxy), which names a person you authorize to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable.

You may also consider including a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR) as part of your advance directive, since advanced directives do little to protect you from unwanted emergency care like CPR. To create a DNR, ask your doctor to fill out a state appropriate form and sign it.

Get Help

Hiring an attorney to draft an estate plan to ensure it is enforceable and executed properly according to state law is advisable. It is highly recommended to hire an attorney, if you want or need assistance or if you have considerable assets, a complicated financial situation or a blended family. An experienced lawyer can make sure you cover all your bases – especially when writing a will or living trust – which can help avoid family confusion and squabbles after you are gone.

Costs will vary depending on where you reside, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $500 to $2,000 for a basic estate plan that includes a will, power of attorney and advance health care directive. If you want your estate plan to include a living trust, that can run anywhere between $1,500 to $5,000.

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA.org) and the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC.org) are two good resources that have directories on their websites to help you find someone in your area.

If costs are a concern, check with your state’s bar association (see www.FindLegalHelp.org) to find low-cost legal help in your area. You may also call the Eldercare Locater at 800-677-1116 for a referral.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published March 13, 2020

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