How to Make Your Kitchen Safer and Easier to Use

What can you recommend that will make a kitchen safer and easier to use? My wife, who loves to cook, has had several kitchen-related accidents over the past year. We would like to modify the space to make it safer and more practical.

There are a number of simple modifications and inexpensive add-ons that can transform your kitchen into a safer environment. Depending on your wife's needs, here are some suggestions for each aspect of the kitchen.

Floors: Replace kitchen throw rugs with non-skid or gel floor mats to reduce tripping or slipping. Gel mats are comfortable to stand on for long periods of time. GelPro.com and WellnessMats.com offer a nice selection of floor mats.

Lights: Replace dim overhead lighting with bright new ceiling lights. Also consider adding under-cabinet task lighting to brighten up kitchen countertops.

Cabinets and Drawers: Reduce bending or reaching by organizing your kitchen cabinets and drawers so that the items you use most frequently are within comfortable reach. In addition, you can make your cabinets and pantry easier to access by installing pullout shelves or Lazy Susans. Finally, consider installing D-shaped pull-handles on cabinets and drawers. These handles are more comfortable for arthritic hands than traditional knobs.

Faucet: If you have a twist-handle kitchen faucet, replace it with an ADA compliant single handle faucet. They are easier to use, especially for people with arthritis or limited hand strength. There are also kitchen faucets on the market today (like the Delta Touch20 faucet and Moen MotionSense) that will turn themselves on and off by simply touching the base or moving your hand over a motion sensor. For safety purposes, set your hot water tank to 120 degrees to prevent possible water burns.

Microwave and Stove: If your microwave is mounted above the stove, consider moving it to a countertop. This makes it safer and easier to reach. If you are concerned about your wife remembering to turn the stove off, there are automatic stove shut-off devices you can purchase and install to prevent a fire. See cookstop.com, stoveguardintl.com and pioneeringtech.com for some different options.

If you are looking to upgrade some of your appliances, here are some different features you should look for when shopping.

Refrigerator and Freezer: Side-by-side doors are convenient because frequently used items can be placed at mid-shelf range for easy access. Also, look for refrigerators that feature pullout adjustable height shelves and water/ice dispensers on the outside of the refrigerator door for added convenience.

Stove or Cooktop: Look for a stove that features controls in the front of the stove so that you won't have to reach over hot burners to turn it off. Also, ask about automatic shut-off burners. Make sure the controls on the stove are easy to see. Flat surface electric or induction burners are great for sliding heavy pots and pans from one burner to the next. For gas stoves, continuous grates are good for this purpose as well.

Oven: For an oven that is easier to maintain, consider purchasing a self-cleaning oven. Ovens that feature a side-swing door are easier to use because you do not have to lean over a hot swing-down door. Also consider a wall-mounted oven, installed at your wife's preferred height, so that she does not have to bend over.

Dishwasher: Consider a dishwasher drawer that slides in and out and is installed on a 6 to 10-inch raised platform. These require less bending to load and unload.

Washer and Dryer: Front-load washers and dryers with pedestals that raise the height 10 to 15 inches are also back-savers and easy to access.

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 December 29, 2017

How to Divvy Up Your Family Belongings Peacefully and Sensibly

 

What is the best way to distribute my personal possessions to my children after I pass away without causing hard feelings or conflict? I own valuable jewelry, art, family heirlooms and antique furniture and, unfortunately, my three adult children do not always see eye-to-eye.

Divvying up personal possessions among adult children or other loved ones can often be a difficult task. Deciding who should get what without showing favoritism, hurting someone's feelings or causing a feud can be difficult. This is true even for close-knit families who enter the process with the best of intentions. Here are a few tips to consider that may help you decide the best way to divide your possessions with minimal conflict. 

Problem Areas


First, you need to be aware that often it is the small, simple items of little monetary value that may cause the most conflict. This is because the value we attach to small personal possessions is usually sentimental or emotional, and because the simple items are the things that most families fail to talk about.

Family battles can also escalate over whether things are being divided fairly based on the items' monetary value. To assure fair distribution, you may want to consider getting an appraisal for items of higher value like your jewelry, antiques and art. To locate an appraiser, see Appraisers.org or AppraisersAssociation.org.

Ways to Divvy


The best solution for passing along your personal possessions is for you to go through your house with your children either separately or all together. Open up cabinets, drawers, closets and boxes to find out which items they would like to inherit and why. You may be unaware of certain emotional attachments that your children have with items in your home. If more than one child wants the same thing, you will have the ultimate say.

You will need to make a signed and dated list describing who will receive which items. Then you will want to reference this list in your will. You can revise this list at any time. You may want to consider writing a letter or creating an audio or video recording that further explains your intentions.

You can also specify a strategy for divvying up the rest of your property. Here are some methods that are fair and reasonable:

  • Take turns choosing: Use a round-robin process where your children take turns choosing the items they would like to have. If who goes first becomes an issue, they can always flip a coin, draw straws or roll dice. Also, to help simplify things, break down the dividing process room-by-room, versus tackling the entire house. To keep track of who gets what, either make a list or use adhesive dots with a color assigned to each person to tag the item.
  • Have a family auction: Give each person involved the same amount of play money, or they can use virtual points or poker chips to bid on the items they want.
For more ideas, see "Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?" at YellowPiePlate.umn.edu. This is a resource created by the University of Minnesota Extension Service that gives pointers to help families discuss property distribution and lists important factors to keep in mind that can help avoid conflict. You can also purchase a detailed workbook, interactive CD or DVD on the University of Minnesota Extension Service's website.

It is very important that you discuss your plans in advance with your children so they know what to expect. You may even want to start giving them some of these items now, instead of distributing everything through your will or trust.

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 December 22, 2017
 

Recognizing and Treating Depression in Retirement

 

Since retiring a few years ago, my husband has become increasingly irritable and apathetic. I'm concerned that he may be depressed, even though he may not realize it. Where can we turn to get help with this and what, if anything, does Medicare pay for?

Unfortunately, depression is a widespread problem that affects approximately 15% of the 65-and-older population. Here is what you need to know about identifying depression, treating depression and Medicare coverage.

Identifying Depression


Everyone feels sad or gets the blues now and then, but when these feelings linger more than a few weeks it may be depression. Depression is a real illness that affects moods, feelings, behavior and physical health. Contrary to what many people believe, it is not a normal part of aging or a personal weakness and is very treatable.

It is also important to know that depression is not just sadness. For many individuals, it can manifest as apathy or irritability. Individuals may also experience problems with memory or concentration.

To help assess the seriousness of your husband's problem, he may want to start by taking an online depression screening test. Mental Health America, a national nonprofit organization, offers a variety of free online mental health screening tools at MentalHealthAmerica.net. He can also visit HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org, which is offered by Screening for Mental Health, Inc.

Both of these websites' tests are anonymous and confidential. The tests take less than 10 minutes to complete and can help you determine the severity of your husband's problem.

Get Help


If you find that he is suffering from symptoms of depression, he should visit his doctor for a medical evaluation to rule out possible medical causes. Some medications, for example, can produce side effects that mimic symptoms of depression. It is also important to distinguish between depression and dementia, which can share some of the same symptoms.

If he is diagnosed with depression, there are a variety of treatment options, including talk therapy, antidepressant medications or a combination of both.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a particularly effective type of talk therapy. CBT helps patients recognize and change destructive thinking patterns that can lead to negative feelings.

For help finding a therapist who is trained in CBT, ask your doctor for a referral, check your local yellow pages under "counseling" or "psychologist" or use an online search engine to locate a CBT therapist in your area. You can also check with the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (FindCBT.org) or the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (AcademyofCT.org).

To search for therapists that accept Medicare, use Medicare's Physician Compare tool. Go to Medicare.gov/physiciancompare and type in your zip code or city and state, then type in the type of profession you want locate, like "psychiatry" or "clinical psychologist" in the "What are you searching for?" box.

Medicare Coverage


You will be happy to know that Medicare currently covers 100% of the costs for annual depression screenings that are done in a doctor's office or other primary care clinic. It also pays for 80% of its approved amount for outpatient mental health services like counseling and therapy services, and will cover almost all medications used to treat depression under the Part D prescription drug benefit.

If you and your husband get your Medicare benefits through a private Medicare Advantage plan, then the same services must be covered as original Medicare, but your husband will likely be required to see an in-network provider. You will need to contact your plan administrator directly for the details.

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 December 15, 2017

Financial Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Are there any financial assistance programs that can help grandparents who are raising their grandkids? I'm raising two grandchildren and could use some help.

Money is often an issue for the millions of U.S. grandparents who are raising their grandchildren today. To help with day-to-day expenses, there are a variety of government programs and tax benefits that can make a big difference in stretching your budget. Here's where to look for help.

Financial Assistance Programs


For starters, find out whether your family qualifies for your state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which may include cash assistance, food stamps and free or low-cost daycare. If your household income is too high to qualify as a family, ask about the "child-only grant" for just the grandchild's support alone. You should also find out if your state offers any additional programs like guardianship subsidies, non-parent grants or kinship care.

Contact your state's TANF program (see ACF.HHS.gov/ofa for contact information) or call your county's social services office for more information about these programs.

You should also determine if your grandkids are eligible for Social Security benefits, including benefits for children, survivor benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can find this out by visiting your local Social Security office or by calling 800-772-1213 or visit SSA.gov.

Also, check out BenefitsCheckUp.org, a comprehensive website that allows you to search for additional financial assistance programs or discounts that you may be eligible for, such as discounts on energy bills and prescription medications.

Tax Benefits


In addition to the financial assistance programs, there are also a number of tax benefits that may help. For example, the Dependency Exemption allows you to deduct $4,050 for each qualifying grandchild in 2017.

There is also the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is available in 2017 to those with moderate to low incomes. The Child Tax Credit is also available in 2017 for those who earn too much money to qualify for the EITC.

If you are employed and are incurring childcare expenses, the Child and Dependent Care Credit may save you money on your 2017 return. Also, if you choose to legally adopt your grandkids, there is an Adoption Credit that provides a federal tax credit of up to $13,570 in 2017.

There are also education-related tax credits available if your grandchildren attended college in 2017. These credits include the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit.

To learn more about these tax benefits, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or visit IRS.gov. You can also call the IRS publication line at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you the publications that further explain the aforementioned benefits for your 2017 tax return. Ask for publications 501, 503, 596, 970, 972. Also be aware that these credits and benefits could change in 2018 pending any tax law changes.

Health Insurance


If your grandchildren need health insurance, depending on your income level, you may be eligible for free or low-cost health insurance through your state's Medicaid Program and the Children's Health Insurance Program. See InsureKidsNow.gov or call 877-543-7669 for more information.

Legal Aid


You also should consider speaking to a family law attorney to discuss the pros and cons of obtaining legal guardianship, custody or adoption. Without some sort of legal custody, you may not be eligible for many of the previously listed financial assistance programs. You may also face problems with basic things like enrolling your grandchildren in school or giving a doctor permission to provide medical assistance. For help locating affordable or free legal assistance, visit www.FindLegalHelp.org or call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for referrals.

For more information and resources, see the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center at GrandFamilies.org.

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 December 8, 2017

Simple Home Modifications for Seniors Living at Home

What tips or recommendations do you have to help make a home safer for seniors who want to remain living at home? My 76-year-old mother wants to stay living in her own home for as long as possible but she doesn't have the money for big renovations.

There are dozens of small adjustments and simple modifications to help make your mom's home safer for little to no cost. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Eliminate Trip and Slip Hazards


Since falls are the leading cause of home injury among seniors, a good place to start is by arranging or moving your mom's furniture to create clear walking pathways throughout her home. Position any electrical and phone cords along the wall so they will not be tripping hazards. If she has throw rugs, remove them or use carpet tacks or double-sided tape to secure them. Don't forget to pick up items on the floor that could cause her to trip, like papers, shoes or clothes.

In the bathroom, buy some non-skid rugs for the floors and a rubber mat or adhesive nonslip strips for the floor of the tub or shower. Also consider hiring a carpenter to install grab bars in and around the tub/shower and near the toilet for support.

Improve Lighting


Good lighting is a very important safety consideration. As such, make sure to check the wattage ratings on your mom's lamps and light fixtures and install the brightest bulbs allowed. Purchase some nightlights for bathrooms and hallways that are used after dark. Also consider adding under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen and motion sensor lights outside near her driveway and by the home's front and back doors.

Hand Helpers


If your mom has hand arthritis or problems gripping, install lever-style door handles or doorknob lever adapters, which are easier to use than traditional doorknobs. If her kitchen and bathroom faucets have twist knobs, consider replacing them with single lever, touch or sensor-style faucets. Also consider replacing knobs on cabinets and drawers with easier to grip D-shaped handles.

Easier Living


To help make your mom's kitchen easier to use, organize her cabinets so the things she uses most often are within reach and at eye-level so that she does not need to crouch down or use a step-stool. Also, consider installing pull-out shelves beneath the counter and Lazy Susans in corner cabinets for easier access.

For easier and safer bathing, consider purchasing a shower chair and install a hand-held shower so your mom can bathe from a seated position, if necessary.

Accessibility Solutions


If your mom uses a walker or wheelchair, you can modify her house by installing ramps on entrance steps and mini-ramps to go over high thresholds. You can also install "swing-away" or "swing-clear" hinges on her doors to add two inches of width for easier access. 

Safety Improvements


To keep your mom safe, set her hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent scalding water. If she has stairs, put handrails on both sides. Also, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of her house and place a lightweight, easy-to-use ABC-rated fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location in the kitchen.

For more tips, obtain a copy of AARP's "HomeFit Guide," which is filled with great recommendations. You can access it at AARP.org/homefit or call 888-687-2277 and request a free copy by mail.

Also note that all the previously mentioned products can be purchased either in local retail stores, home improvement stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores or online.

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 December 1, 2017

WCCF to sponsor FAFSA day January 9th

Washington County Community Foundation is sponsoring the National Center for College Costs FAFSA Day on January 9th from 1-7 pm at the Community Learning Center.  The National Center for College Costs will be available to assist Washington County students and families file a Free Application for Student Aid  (FAFSA) for the 2018-2019 college academic year, then interpret the results.  This service is free to all Washington County students and families thanks to funding from the Washington County Community Foundation.

The FAFSA Day may be helpful to families who are intimidated by the process and others who had questions.  Families will know instantly which colleges are apt to work best financially and which ones may not work out so well.

For more information about the January 9th FAFSA day, please contact Judy or Lindsey at (812) 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

 

Free Basketball Tickets for Students of Salem Community Schools

Due to the generosity of Stanley Colglazier and Sara Colglazier to the Washington County Community Foundation, students of Salem Community Schools will receive free tickets to the January 26, 2018 JV and Varsity basketball games versus Austin High School.  Students may enter through any door accessible to the gymnasium and will need to sign-in for entrance to the game.   Salem students are strongly encouraged to wear Salem or black and gold attire.  The tickets are available for students attending Salem Community Schools in grades K-12; however, students in elementary school are required to be accompanied by an adult.  This is a great way to spend quality time together as a family while showing school spirit. This is also a great idea for a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, 4-H club, church youth group, or other group field trip.   Be sure to take advantage of these free tickets as the Lions face off against the Eagles of Austin.  For questions regarding tickets, please call the Washington County Community Foundation at 883-7334 or SHS athletic director, Hank Weedin at 883-3904. 

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

 

When Will Medicaid Pay for Nursing Home Care?

 What are the eligibility requirements to get Medicaid coverage for my mother's nursing home care?

The rules and requirements regarding Medicaid eligibility for nursing home care are complicated and will vary according to the state where your mother resides. With that said, here is a general, simplified rundown of the eligibility requirements.

Medicaid Eligibility


Medicaid, the joint federal and state program that covers health care for the poor, is the largest single payer of America's nursing home bills for seniors who do not have the resources to pay for their own care. Most people who enter nursing homes do not qualify for Medicaid right away. Instead, they pay out-of-pocket or through long-term care insurance until they deplete their savings and become eligible for Medicaid.

To qualify for Medicaid, your mother's income and assets will need to be under a certain level. This amount is determined by the state where she resides. In most states, individuals cannot have more than approximately $2,000 in countable assets, which includes cash, savings, investments and other financial resources that can be converted into cash.

Assets that are not taken into account when determining an applicant's Medicaid eligibility include personal possessions, household goods, one vehicle, prepaid funeral plans and a small amount of life insurance. Also, the applicant's principal residence is non-countable to the extent that the home's equity is less than $560,000, or in some states $840,000.

Be aware that your mother's home is not considered a countable asset to determine her eligibility so long as she intends to return home. If she cannot return home, Medicaid may be able to go after the homes sales proceeds to help reimburse her nursing home costs, unless a spouse or other dependent relative lives there or a different exception applies.

If your mother does qualify, all of her income sources, including Social Security and pension checks, must be turned over to Medicaid to pay for her care, except for a small personal needs allowance. This allowance is usually between $30 and $90 a month.

You also need to be aware that your mother cannot simply give away her assets to qualify for Medicaid faster. Medicaid officials will look at her financial records going back five years to root out suspicious asset transfers. If they find one, her Medicaid coverage will be delayed a certain length of time, according to a formula that divides the transfer amount by the average monthly cost of nursing home care in her state.

For example, if your mother lives in a state where the average monthly nursing home care cost is $5,000 and she gave away cash or other assets worth $50,000, she would be ineligible for benefits for 10 months ($50,000 divided by $5,000 = 10).

Spousal Protection


Medicaid also has special rules for married couples when one spouse enters a nursing home and the other spouse remains at home. In these cases, the spouse who is still residing at home may keep one half of the couple's assets up to $120,900 (this amount varies by state), the family home, furniture, household goods and one automobile. This spouse is also entitled to keep a portion of the couple's monthly income, which may be between $2,030 and $3,022 depending on the state. Any income above that amount goes toward the cost of the nursing home recipient's care.

What about Medicare?


Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors 65 and older and individuals with disabilities, does not pay for long-term care. It only helps pay for up to 100 days of rehabilitative nursing home care, which must occur immediately after a hospital stay.

Find Help


For more detailed information, contact your state Medicaid office (see Medicaid.gov for contact information). You can also receive help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see ShiptaCenter.org), which provides free counseling on all Medicare and Medicaid issues.

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 November 24, 2017
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Wash. Co. Youth Foundation Awards Grants

 

Over $1,600.00 was awarded by the Washington County Youth Foundation for local nonprofits and youth directed community service this year.

$600.00 was awarded for the Happily Ever After Project which was initiated by the Youth Foundation several years ago to encourage our second and third grade students throughout the county to develop a love of reading.  The grant money will be used to purchase books for participating 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms at all three school systems.

Amanda Dixon and Violet Lumley’s shared classroom at East Washington Elementary School will receive up to $345.00 for student service projects.  Students will learn about different types of service and needs in Washington County and assist with meeting those needs.

The Youth Foundation also awarded the Washington County Food Bank and Domestic Violence Shelter $350.00 each for their ongoing needs to help the residents of our community.

The Washington County Youth Foundation is a group of students from our county committed to making Washington County a better place to live.  They have members from Eastern, Salem and West Washington and others who can be sophomores, juniors or seniors at any school or are home schooled, but live in Washington County.  They are involved in the community and wish to continue that involvement through their efforts in the Youth Foundation.

They learn about philanthropy by awarding grants to youth groups for community service projects.  They also raise money for their fund with the Foundation so this idea can go on forever, and they perform community service.  They are heavily involved in their early literacy project, the Happily Ever After Project and in between, they have a little fun!

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

End

Assistance Dogs Provide Help and Love

 

What can you tell me about assistance dogs for people with disabilities? My sister, who is 58 years old, has multiple sclerosis and I'm wondering if an assistance dog could help make her life a little easier.

For individuals with disabilities and medical conditions, assistance dogs can be a fantastic help. Assistance dogs also provide companionship and an invaluable sense of security. Here is what you and your sister should know.

While most people are familiar with guide dogs that help people who are blind or visually impaired, there are also other types of assistance dogs that are trained to help in a variety of ways. Assistance dogs—often Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds—can assist those who have physical disabilities, hearing loss and various medical conditions.

Unlike most pets, assistance dogs are highly trained canine specialists that know approximately 40 to 50 commands, are amazingly well-behaved and are permitted to accompany their owner anywhere the public is allowed. Here is a breakdown of the different types of assistance dogs and what they can help with.

Service dogs: These dogs are specially trained to help people with physical disabilities due to multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, chronic arthritis and many other disabling conditions. They help by performing tasks their owners cannot complete or have trouble doing, such as carrying or retrieving items, picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, assisting with dressing and undressing, helping with balance and assisting with household chores.

Guide dogs: For the blind and visually impaired, guide dogs help their owners get around safely by navigating around obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps and avoiding traffic.

Hearing dogs: For those who are deaf or hearing impaired, hearing dogs can alert their owners to specific sounds such as ringing telephones, doorbells, alarm clocks, microwave or oven timers, smoke alarms, approaching sirens, crying babies or when someone calls out the owner's name.

Seizure alert/response dogs: For people with epilepsy or other seizure disorders, these dogs can recognize when their owners are about to have a seizure and provide them with advance warning so the owner can get to a safe place or take medication to prevent or lessen the severity of the seizure. These dogs are also trained to retrieve medications and use a pre-programmed phone to call for help. They can also be trained to help people with diabetes, panic attacks and various other conditions.

Finding a Dog


If your sister is interested in getting a service dog, contact some assistance dog training programs. To find them, Assistance Dogs International provides a listing of programs on their website that you can access at AssistanceDogsInternational.org.

After you locate a few programs, you'll need to either visit their website or call to find out the types of assistance dogs offered, the areas they serve, if they have a waiting list and what upfront costs will be involved. Some groups offer dogs for free, some ask for donations and others charge thousands of dollars.

To get an assistance dog, your sister will need to show proof of her disability, which her physician can provide. She will be asked to submit an application and complete an interview process. She will also need to stay at the training facility for a week or two so she can get to know her assistance dog and receive training on how to interact and communicate with her dog.

It is also important to understand that assistance dogs are not for everybody. They require time, money and care that your sister or other family members must be able and willing to provide.

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 November 17, 2017

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