WCCF offering $40,000.00 in Fall Grant Cycle

Grants for the WCCF Fall Grant Cycle are issued from the Washington County Community Foundation’s Touch Tomorrow funds and are made possible by the generous donors of the Foundation.  The total amount available for this grant cycle is $40,000.00.

Grant applications for the fall grant cycle are available at the WCCF office located on Shelby Street in the Learning Center complex or by emailing program.officer@wccf.biz. The Washington County Community Foundation is currently accepting applications. The application deadline will be 3:30pm, September 13, 2018. For more information, 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

End

WCCF is Offering Scholarships to Non-Traditional Students

The Washington County Community Foundation is now offering scholarships to non-traditional students through its Education Matters initiative.  The deadline for applications is October 4, 2018 by 3:30 PM.

Education Matters is a regional undertaking organized by the community foundations that serve Washington, Scott, Harrison, Clark and Floyd counties to try to increase the number of working adults in our region who started but never completed some form of post-secondary education – education that extends beyond high school.

You might be surprised to learn that in Southeast Indiana, only 25% of our workforce has an associate’s, bachelors or professional degree, compared to 38% nationally. Yet one in four of our community’s adult workers has earned some college credits! That’s over 3,100 people in Washington County!  For whatever reason, they started but never completed their post-secondary education. This represents a tremendous amount of untapped potential in our community.

The following criteria have been established for scholarships:  

  1. Annual awards will not exceed $3,000 the first twelve months and $5,000 per person in any subsequent twelve month period.
  2. Scholarship applicants must be a minimum of 28 years old as of the date of application.
  3. Only individuals who can demonstrate continuing legal residence in Washington County for at least the past five years are eligible. Documentation such as tax forms, housing receipts, or utility bills will be used to verify residency and/or household income.
  4. Scholarship awards may be used for tuition, course-related fees, or books only. Checks will only be written to an educational institution or certified training provider.
  5. The application deadline is October 4, 2018. No exceptions.
  6. Adult scholarship awards may not be used to pay for college debt.
  7. Subsequent awards will only be considered for students maintaining at least a 2.5 GPA.

Call the Washington County Community Foundation office at 883-7334 or email program.officer@wccf.biz to request an application or for more information.

The mission of the Washington County Community Foundation is to engage people, build resources and strengthen our community. 

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor's Visit

I manage a large health clinic that treats thousands of seniors each year. We have found that the patients who come in prepared are much more satisfied with the care they receive. Can you write a column educating patients on how to prepare for doctor's appointments?

Studies have shown that patients who help their doctors by providing important health information and preparing themselves for appointments tend to receive better care than patients who do not. Here are some simple things we can all do to help maximize the benefits of our next visit to the doctor.

Before Appointments

Gathering your health information and getting organized before your appointment are key to ensuring a productive meeting with your doctor. This is especially important if you are seeing multiple doctors or are meeting with a new physician. Here is what you need to do before your next appointment:
  1. Get your test results: If you are seeing a new doctor for the first time, make sure he or she has copies of your latest X-ray, MRI or any other test or recent lab results, including reports from other doctors. In most cases, you will need to do the leg work yourself. This may be as simple as a phone call to your previous doctor or you may need to go pick it up yourself.
  2. List your medications: Make a list of all the medications you are taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements, along with the dosages. Alternatively, put all your pill bottles in a bag and take them with you to your appointment.
  3. Know your health history: Being able to talk to your doctor about any previous medical problems and procedures, even if they are not the reason you are going to the doctor this time, can make an office visit much more efficient. Write it down if it is complicated. Genetics matter too, so knowing your family's health history may also be helpful.
  4. Prepare a list of questions: Make a written list of the top three or four issues you want to discuss with your doctor. Since most appointments last around 15 to 20 minutes, this can help you stay on track and ensure you address your most pressing concerns first. If you are in for a diagnostic visit, you should prepare a detailed description of your symptoms.

During Appointments

When you meet with your doctor, it is important to speak up and get to the point. Right away, concisely explain why you are there. Do not wait to be asked. Be direct, honest and specific when recounting your symptoms or expressing your concerns. Many patients are reluctant or embarrassed to talk about their symptoms, which makes the doctor's job much more difficult. It is also a good idea to bring along a family member or friend to your appointment. They can help you ask questions, listen to what the doctor is telling you and give you support.

Consider taking notes or asking the doctor if you can record the session for later review. If you do not understand what the doctor is telling you, ask him or her to explain it in simple terms so you can understand. If you run out of time and do not get your questions answered, ask if you can follow up by phone or email, make another appointment or seek help from a nurse.

For more information, the National Institute on Aging offers an excellent booklet called "Talking With Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People" that can help you prepare for an appointment and become a more informed patient. To get a free copy mailed to you, call 800-222-2225 or visit order.nia.nih.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.

Can a Debt Collector Take My Social Security Benefits?

Can my Social Security benefits be garnished if I have outstanding debts? I just turned 62 and would like to start collecting my retirement benefits, but I want to find this out before I apply.

Whether your Social Security benefits are garnishable depends on who you owe. Banks and other financial creditors, for example, cannot touch your Social Security checks. But if Uncle Sam is collecting on a debt, some of your benefits are fair game. Here is what you should know.

Creditor Protections

If you have credit card debts, medical bills, unpaid personal loans or pay day loans, you will be happy to know that your Social Security benefits are safe from your creditors. Section 207 of the Social Security Act prohibits debt collectors or a bankruptcy court from dipping into your bank account to take Social Security money for purposes of paying off what you owe.

In addition, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans benefits, federal employee and civil service retirement benefits and benefits administered by the Railroad Retirement Board Administration cannot be touched either.

Do be aware, however, that creditors can still take legal action against you to recover what you owe. Depending on your state's laws, creditors may be able to garnish your wages and tap into other allowable assets, if you have any.

Government Garnishment

If, however, you owe money to Uncle Sam, it is a very different story. The federal government can garnish a portion of your Social Security benefits to repay several types of debts, including federal income taxes, federal student loans, state-ordered child support and alimony, nontax debt owed to other federal agencies, defaulted federal home loans and certain civil penalties. Note that, if you receive SSI, those benefits cannot be garnished under any circumstance.

The amount that can actually be taken depends on the type of debt. In most situations, the government can claim 15% of your benefits to cover your debt, but under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, it must leave you at least $750 each month, unless the levy is for federal income taxes. In that case, the government is not required to leave $750 behind.

The outcome is different if the debt is for child support or alimony payments. Depending on your state laws, the court may be able to take half of your benefits or more to pay your obligations to your children or ex-spouse.

If you think your Social Security benefits might be claimed to pay overdue government debts, you need to address the problem rather than ignore it. Most government agencies are happy to work with you, so long as you are willing to work with them.

The government typically sends several letters before it takes action to collect a debt. The final letter will inform you of the intent to levy Social Security payments and, after that, you typically will have 30 days to contact the agency and work out a payment plan.

Get Help

To get a handle on your debt problems, consider contacting a financial counseling agency that offers free or low-cost services to help you manage your financial problems. To locate a credible agency in your area, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling by visiting its website or calling 800-388-2227.

You should also make sure you are not missing out on any financial assistance programs. The National Council on Aging's website contains a database of more than 2,500 federal, state and local programs that can help seniors with prescription drug costs, health care, food, utilities and other basic needs. The site will help you locate programs that you may be eligible for and will show you how to apply.

The Differences Between Alzheimer's and Dementia

What are the differences between Alzheimer's disease and dementia? My aunt has dementia, but my family members do not know if she has Alzheimer's disease. This is very confusing to me. Can you help me understand?

Many people use the words "Alzheimer's disease" and "dementia" interchangeably, but they are not the same conditions. In fact, there is a form of dementia that is completely unrelated to Alzheimer's disease. Here is what you should know.

Dementia versus Alzheimer's

Dementia is a general term for a set of symptoms that includes memory loss, impaired communication skills, a decline in reasoning and changes in behavior. It is typically more common in people over the age of 65.

Alzheimer's disease is a specific illness that is the most common cause of dementia. Though many diseases can cause dementia, Alzheimer's - which affects 5.7 million Americans today - accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases, which is why you often hear the terms used interchangeably.

There are, however, many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia. Vascular dementia, which is the second most common cause, accounting for about 10% of dementia cases. Vascular dementia is caused by a stroke or poor blood flow to the brain.

Other degenerative disorders that can cause dementia include Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), Huntington's disease and Korsakoff Syndrome. Some patients may also have more than one form of dementia, which is known as mixed dementia.

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells, but the symptoms can vary depending on the cause. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, damage is caused by protein fragments or plaque that accumulates in the space between nerve cells and twisted tangles of another protein that build up inside cells.

In Alzheimer's disease, dementia gets progressively worse. It can progress to the point where patients cannot carry out daily activities, speak, respond to their environment, swallow or walk. Although some treatments may temporarily ease symptoms, the downward progression of the disease continues and there is no known cure.

Some forms of dementia, however, are reversible, which is why it's important to be evaluated by a physician early on. Vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, brain tumors, depression, excessive alcohol use, medication side effects and certain infectious diseases can cause reversible forms of dementia.

Another treatable form of dementia is a condition known as normal pressure hydrocephalus, which is caused by a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This may be relieved by surgically implanting a shunt to drain off excess fluid. This type of dementia is often preceded or accompanied by difficulty walking and incontinence.

To learn more about different types of dementia, including the symptoms, risks, causes and treatments visit the Alzheimer's Association's website.

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 July 6, 2018
Print
Subsribe to RSS Feed

Choosing an Executor for Your Will

Do you have any recommendations or tips for selecting an executor of a will? I am putting together my will and I want to make sure I know my options and choose someone who is capable of taking on this responsibility.

An executor is the person or institution that will be in charge of administering your estate and carrying out your final wishes. Choosing an executor is one of the most important decisions when preparing a will.

A good executor can help ensure the prompt and accurate distribution of your possessions with minimal problems. Some of the required duties include: filing court papers to start the probate process; managing your estate's assets; using your estate's funds to pay debts, taxes and bills; handling details like terminating credit cards and providing notice of death to banks and government agencies, like the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Post Office; preparing and filing final income tax returns; and distributing assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Given all the responsibility, the ideal candidate should be someone who is honest, dependable, well-organized, good with paperwork and vigilant about meeting deadlines.

Whom to Choose

Most people's first inclination is to name a family member, especially a spouse or child, as executor. If, however, you do not have an obvious family member to choose, you may want to ask a trusted friend. Be sure to choose someone in good health and younger than you who will be able to carry out your plans.

If your executor of choice lives in a different state, you may want to talk to an attorney to see if your state's laws impose any special requirements. Some states require an out-of-state executor to be a family member or a beneficiary while others may require a bond to protect your heirs in case of mismanagement or the appointment of an in-state agent.

Also, keep in mind that if the person you choose needs help settling your estate, they can always call on an expert, like an attorney or tax accountant, to guide them through the process. If your executor chooses to do so, your estate will cover any costs involved.

If you don't have a friend or relative you feel comfortable selecting, you could name a third party executor like a bank, trust company or a professional who has experience administering estates. If you need help locating a professional, the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys have great resources and provide directories on their websites to help you select an executor.

Executor Fees

Often times, family members and close friends who are also beneficiaries will agree to serve as executor for free. But, if you opt for a third-party executor, your estate will have to pay the third-party's fee. Each state has laws that govern how an executor is paid - either based on a percentage of the estate, a flat fee or an hourly rate.

Get Approval

Make sure to ask the executor you have chosen if he or she is okay with serving as your executor before naming that individual in your will. Once you have made your choice, go over the financial details in your will with that person and let him or her know where you keep all your important documents and financial information.

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.

How Medicare Handles Second Medical Opinions

Does Medicare cover second medical opinions? The doctor I currently see thinks I need back surgery, but I would like to find out more about other treatment options before I proceed. What can you tell me?

Medicare does pay for second opinions if your current doctor has recommended surgery or some other major diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. Getting a second medical opinion from another doctor is a smart idea. A second opinion may offer you a fresh perspective and additional options for treating your back condition so you can make a more informed decision. Or, if the second doctor agrees with your current doctor's opinion, it can give you some reassurance moving forward.

If you are enrolled in original Medicare, 80% of the costs for second medical opinions are covered under Part B (you or your Medicare supplemental policy are responsible for the other 20%), and you do not need to obtain an order or referral from your doctor to see another doctor for a second opinion. Medicare will even pay 80% of the costs for a third medical opinion, if the first two differ.

Most Medicare Advantage plans cover second opinions too, but you may need to follow certain steps to obtain coverage. For example, some plans will only help pay for a second opinion if you receive a referral from your primary care doctor. Plans also may require you to see doctors in their networks only. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you'll need to call to find your plan's rules.

Finding Another Doctor


To find a doctor for a second opinion you can ask your current doctor a recommendation, ask another doctor you trust for a referral or you can find one on your own. Whatever route you choose, it is best to go with a doctor that is affiliated with a different practice or hospital than your original doctor. Hospitals and practices may have set procedures and practices when it comes to treatments and are likely to offer similar advice.

If you choose to search for a doctor on your own, check out the Physician Compare tool at Medicare.gov/physiciancompare. This will let you find doctors by name, medical specialty or by geographic location that accept original Medicare. You can also get this information by calling Medicare at 800-633-4227. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, call or visit your plan's website for a list of candidates.

Once you have selected a second doctor, you will need to ask your current doctor's office to send your medical records to the second doctor. Alternatively, you may be able to pick them up and deliver them yourself. By providing the second doctor your medical records, you can avoid repeating the tests you have already had. Note that, if the second doctor wants additional tests performed, Medicare will help pay for these tests too.

For more information, see the Medicare publication "Getting a Second Opinion Before Surgery" at medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/02173-Getting-a-Second-Opinion-Before-Surgery.pdf.

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 June 22, 2018
Subsribe to RSS Feed

Tips for Living with Low Vision

What resources can you recommend to help individuals living with vision loss? My husband has macular degeneration that has progressed to the point that he is unable to perform many of his routine activities anymore, and has become very discouraged.

Unfortunately, there are around 15 million Americans, like your husband, living with macular degeneration. Over time, this progressive disease can rob people of their central vision, making everyday tasks, like driving a car, reading the newspaper or watching television, extremely challenging. Here are some resources that may help.

Low Vision Help


The best place to get resources for living and coping with macular degeneration is at a vision rehabilitation agency or clinic. Typically run by state agencies, nonprofit organizations or private eye care clinics, there are more than 1,500 of these services scattered across the country helping people who are living with all types of uncorrectable vision impairments. Most state and nonprofit vision rehabilitation services are free or low-cost, while private clinics typically charge a fee or may accept Medicare.

While vision rehabilitation does not restore lost eyesight, it may help people maximize their existing eyesight. If an individual has completely lost his or her vision, these services can provide techniques and tools to help maintain an independent lifestyle.

Vision rehabilitations services often provide counseling, support groups and various training programs. The training programs may include instruction on how to perform daily living tasks with low vision and how to use visual and adaptive devices and assistive technologies to help improve quality of life.

These services also offer guidance on how to make a home safer and easier to maneuver for those with vision impairments. Some agencies will send a specialist out to work with people in the comfort of their own homes.

To find a vision rehabilitation service in your area, call the American Foundation for the Blind referral line at 800-232-5463 or visit the VisionAware website. You can also download the VisionAware app to connect to various types of low-vision resources in your area.

If, however, you do not live near a vision rehabilitation service, you can also get help from an occupational therapist (OT), who can provide low vision training in your home. Medicare, if prescribed by your eye doctor or healthcare provider, may provide coverage.

Online Help


Another convenient place to find help for your husband is the VisionAware website. This is a free website designed to help adults who are losing their vision. It provides information on eye conditions, along with dozens of practical tips and instructional videos on living with vision loss. The topics include ideas on adapting your home to make it easier to navigate, techniques for traveling safely outside the home and various tips on how to manage things like finances, medications and other tasks like cooking, cleaning, grooming, reading and writing. It also offers a comprehensive list of low vision products and technologies that can help those who suffer from vision loss stay active and independent. It also includes product reviews that are published in their online magazine, "AccessWorld."

Other Resources


Some other good resources that can help include: the Hadley Institute (800-323-4238), which offers dozens of free online instructional videos to help the blind or visually impaired live independently; Ears for Eyes (800-843-6816) that provides free audio lessons that teach low-vision adaptive daily living skills; and Living Well with Low Vision (800-331-2020), which offers up-to-date information and free materials for people living with severe vision impairment.

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 June 15, 2018

How to Make a Living Will

What is the best way to go about drafting a living will? I recently retired and would like to start getting my affairs in order.

Preparing a living will is a smart decision that enables you to direct what type of care and treatment you want to receive at the end of your life. Here is what you should know, along with some helpful resources.

Advance Directive


To adequately spell out your wishes regarding your end-of-life medical treatment, you need two legal documents: 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 authorizes a designated person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

These two documents are known as an "advance directive," and will only be utilized if you are too ill to make medical decisions yourself. You can also change or update it whenever you please.

Do-It-Yourself


It isn't necessary to hire a lawyer to complete an advance directive. There are free or low-cost resources available to help you write your advance directive, and it takes only a few minutes from start to finish.

One option that is completely free to use is Caring Connections, a resource created by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. They offer free downloads of state-specific advance directive forms with instructions on their website. You can also call 800-658-8898 and request copies of these forms. They will mail them to you and answer any questions you may have.

Want Legal Help


If you would rather work with a lawyer, look for one who specializes in estate planning and health care related matters. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils websites have directories to help you find an attorney. Costs will vary depending your state of residence, but you can expect to pay between $200 and $500 to get one made.

Do Not Resuscitate


You should also consider whether you want to include a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR) as part of your advance directive. Doctors and hospitals in every state accept them. To create a DNR, ask your doctor to help you fill out a state appropriate form.

Another tool you should know about is the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). Currently endorsed in 22 states with 24 more in some phase of development, a POLST form is for those who are approaching the end of life or suffering from a serious illness. The form compliments an advanced directive and lays out instructions for end-of-life medical wishes and orders. To learn more or set one up, visit the National POLST Paradigm website.

Tell Your Family


To insure your final wishes are followed, be sure to tell your family members, health care proxy and doctor so they all know what you want. You should also provide copies of your advance directive to everyone involved.

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 June 8, 2018

Highly Acclaimed Ron Clark Academy Coming to Washington County; Parent Night June 12th

Washington County Community Foundation, through its generous donors, is bringing the Ron Clark Academy to Washington County. The Ron Clark Academy (RCA) is a highly-acclaimed, nonprofit middle school located in Southeast Atlanta. The Academy has received both national and international recognition for its success in educating students with academic rigor, passion, and creativity balanced by a strict code of discipline. The Academy seeks to extend its reach beyond its student body by having an impact upon students everywhere to learn better ways to engage students, promote academic rigor, and create a climate and culture that promotes success.

There is a Ron Clark Academy Parent Training at 6:00 on June 12th at the SHS Presentation Room at 500 N. Harrison Street in Salem. The session will conclude at 7:30 with the opportunity to ask questions of Kim Bearden, presenter from the Ron Clark Academy. Door prizes of several $50.00 gift cards will be given at the end of the session, but participants must be present to win.

All Washington County parents are invited to attend this special and informative evening.

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

Make a Difference
Imagination Library
Youh Foundation
HEAP
Donate Now
education Matters
CF standards
Video Page
Mailing List
FAQ

Washington County
Community Foundation

1707 North Shelby Street
Salem, Indiana 47167
Phone: 812-883-7334
E-Mail: info@wccf.biz

vimeo logo