Night Owls Needed to Volunteer at The Wall That Heals

The Wall That Heals is open 24 hours and that means that volunteers are needed day and night. “All shifts require volunteers, but right now we are in need of those willing to cover the late night and early morning shifts,” requested Stephanie Rockey, Volunteer Coordinator. Please email stephanierockeythewall@gmail.com and a link will be sent to you to sign up. We encourage you to sign up for multiple shifts and multiple days. If you have difficulty signing up, please call Stephanie at 502-291-7360. Volunteers are requested to sign-up to volunteer by April 15, 2018.

The Wall That Heals, a scaled replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with a mobile Education Center, is scheduled to visit Washington County May 17-May 20, 2018 at the YMCA/Community Learning Center/Senior Citizen Center complex in Salem.

The exhibit includes The Wall replica and a mobile Education Center that comprises digital displays of photos of service members whose names are on The Wall; letters and memorabilia left at The Wall by visitors; a map of Vietnam; and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War. It tells the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall, and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to place American experiences in Vietnam in an historical and cultural context.

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

How to Receive Cash for Your Life Insurance Policy

I have a life insurance policy that I have been making payments on for years. I really do not need the policy anymore and I have been thinking about letting it lapse, but recently heard that I can sell it for a lump sum. What can you tell me about this?

Selling a life insurance policy- a transaction known as a "life settlement"-has become a popular option in recent years among retirees who no longer want or need the policy or who are looking for some extra cash.

A life settlement is the sale of an existing life insurance policy to a third party company for cash. Life settlements are typically best suited for people over age 65 who own a policy with a face value of $100,000 or more or someone younger who has experienced a significant change in health.

Historically, if an owner of a life insurance policy decided the policy was no longer needed, he or she would either let the policy lapse or turn it in for a meager cash surrender value. But now, with the life settlement option, life insurance owners can actually sell the policy for more than the cash surrender value, but less than its net death benefit. Once the policy is sold, the life settlement company then becomes the new owner of the policy, pays the future premiums and collects the death benefit.

The amount of money you can expect to receive will depend on your age, health, life expectancy, the type of insurance policy, the premium costs and the cash value of your policy. You may be able to receive four to eight times more than the policy cash surrender value.

If you are interested in a life settlement here are some things you should know:

Shop around: To ensure you get the best price for your policy, obtain quotes from several companies. Also, find out how much you will have to pay for broker and transaction fees.

To search for providers or brokers, the Life Insurance Settlement Association provides a directory at LISA.org.

Be prudent: Life settlements are regulated in most states. Check with your state insurance commissioner to see if the life settlement company you are interested in is properly licensed (see NAIC.org for contact information).

Protect your privacy: When you sell your life insurance policy, you will have to sign a waiver authorizing the release of medical and other personal information so that the buyer can determine how much to offer for your policy. Before accepting any offer, make sure that the company has procedures in place to protect the confidentiality of your information.

Understand the tax implications: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recently updated the tax treatment of a life settlement. It is now treated the same as the surrender of a policy back to the insurance company. This can be complicated, so be sure to consult a tax advisor.

Other Options


If you want to keep your life insurance policy but could use some extra cash, you may have some other options. For example, some life settlement companies may allow you to keep part of the policy's death benefit while eliminating your premium obligations. You can also ask your life insurer if you can borrow against your policy. If you are in poor health, see if you are eligible for accelerated death benefits. You should also find out if you are able to convert the cash value of your policy into an immediate annuity (through a 1035 Exchange). This option would provide you with fixed payments for a set number of years or for the rest of your life.

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 9, 2018

Three Ways to Cut Hearing Aid Costs

I have heard that hearing aids may soon be available over-the-counter and may be much cheaper than they currently are. What can you tell me about this? My husband desperately needs hearing aids but we simply can't afford them.

Unfortunately, for many years the high cost of hearing aids has kept millions of Americans with hearing loss from getting hearing aids because they cannot afford them.

Hearing aids are typically sold through audiologists' offices and can be quite expensive. The cost usually ranges between $1,000 and $4,000 per ear and is not typically covered by private insurance or traditional Medicare.

However, there is good news on the horizon. Last summer, President Trump signed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 into law. This will allow people with mild to moderate hearing loss to buy hearing aids without consulting an audiologist. These over-the-counter (OTC) devices could sell for between $250 and $300 at drugstores and other retailers.

The problem, however, is that it will be a couple more years before these OTC hearing aids are available to consumers. In the meantime, here are some tips that can help you find some affordable options.

Check Your Insurance


While most private health insurance companies do not cover hearing aids, there are some that do. For example, Aetna members can purchase aids at a discount through certain suppliers. United Healthcare offers hearing aids through hi HealthInnovations for $799 to $999 each.

Some federal workers, as well as residents of Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, can get their hearing aids covered by health insurance. Eligible veterans may also be able to obtain hearing aid coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

About half of all Medicare Advantage plans offer at least partial coverage or discounts on hearing exams and devices. If your husband is a Medicare recipient, be sure you check his coverage to see if it offers any type of hearing aid benefit.

Shop Around


Consider shopping at Costco, which offers no-cost screenings at certain locations. The company offers competitive prices on hearing aids, which range between $500 and $1,500 each. You can also shop online at websites like EmbraceHearing.com and Audicus.com, where you may be able to save up to $2,000 per pair. Once you receive your device you may need to visit a local specialist to make any necessary adjustments.

Another option is over-the-counter personal sound amplification products (or PSAPs). Unlike hearing aids, PSAPs are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. PSAP manufacturers are not allowed to call these products hearing aids or claim that they help hearing. Nevertheless, these devices are very effective for people with mild to moderate hearing impairment and typically cost between $350 and $450 each. To find a wide variety of PSAPs, see assistive listening sites like Harris Communications (HarrisComm.com, or call 866-476-9579).

Look For Assistance


If your income is low, there are a number of national, state and independent groups that can help you pay for hearing aids or offer discounts. To find them, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website at ASHA.org/public/coverage/audfundingresources or call the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at 800-241-1044, and ask them to mail you its list of financial resources for hearing aids.

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.

Income Tax Filing Requirements for Retirees

What are the IRS income tax filing requirements for seniors this year? I didn't file a tax return the past two years because my income was below the filing requirements, but I started working part-time late last year, so I am wondering if I am required to file this year.

Whether you are required to file a federal income tax return this year will depend on how much you earned last year (in 2017), the source of that income, your age and filing status.

Here is a rundown of the 2017 IRS tax filing requirement thresholds. For most people, this is pretty straightforward. If your 2017 gross income was below the threshold for your filing status and age, you probably will not have to file. Your gross income includes all taxable income, not counting your Social Security benefits, unless you are married and filing separately. If your income is above the threshold, you will be required to file. The filing thresholds are as follows:
  • Single: $10,400 ($11,950 if you are 65 or older by Jan. 1, 2018).
  • Married filing jointly: $20,800 ($22,050 if one spouse is 65 or older; $23,300 if both spouses are over 65).
  • Married filing separately: $4,050 regardless of age.
  • Head of household: $13,400 ($14,950 if age 65 or older).
  • Qualifying widow or widower with dependent child: $16,750 ($18,000 if age 65 or older).
To get a detailed breakdown of the federal filing requirements, along with information on taxable and nontaxable income, call the IRS at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you a free copy of Publication 554 "Tax Guide for Seniors," or visit IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p554.pdf.

Additional Factors


There are other financial situations that can require you to file a tax return, even if your gross income falls below the IRS filing requirement. For example, you will probably need to file if you had earnings from self-employment in 2017 of $400 or more or if you receive Social Security benefits and half your benefits plus all other income including tax-exempt interest exceeds $25,000 ($32,000 if you are married filing jointly)

To figure out whether you need to file, the IRS offers an interactive tax assistant tool on their website that asks a series of questions that will help you determine if you are required to file, or if you should file because you are due a refund. It can be completed in less than 15 minutes.

You can access this tool by visiting IRS.gov/filing and clicking on the "Do I Need to File?" button. You can also receive assistance over the phone by calling the IRS helpline at 800-829-1040. If you would prefer face-to-face help, visit IRS.gov/localcontacts or call 800-829-1040 to locate a Taxpayer Assistance Center near you.

Check State Law


Even if you are not required to file a federal tax return this year, you should not assume that you are also excused from filing state income taxes. The rules for your state might be very different. Check with your state tax agency before concluding you are in the clear. For links to state tax agencies see Taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.

Tax Preparation Help


If you find that you do need to file a tax return this year, you can get help through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (or TCE) program. Sponsored by the IRS, TCE provides free tax preparation and counseling to middle and low-income taxpayers, age 60 and older. Call 800-906-9887 or visit IRS.treasury.gov/freetaxprep to locate a service near you.

Also check with AARP, a participant in the TCE program that provides free tax preparation at approximately 5,000 sites nationwide. To locate an AARP Tax-Aide site, call 888-227-7669 or visit AARP.org/findtaxhelp. You do not have to be an AARP member to use this service.

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 in Spring Grant Cycle

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.

Grant applications for the spring grant cycle are available at the WCCF office located on Shelby Street in the Learning Center complex or online at www.wccf.biz. The application deadline will be 3:30pm, April 15, 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

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

Jinny Scifres Memorial Scholarship Applications Available

The Washington County Community Foundation will be accepting applications for the Jinny Scifres Scholarship. The scholarship is for any individual planning to attend a post-secondary accredited institution in the 2018-2019 school year and plans to pursue studies in the medical field. The scholarship payout this year is $2100.00. The number and dollar amount of scholarships will be determined by the committee. Preference may be given to non-traditional nursing students who may be returning to school after starting a family or career, as did Jinny.

After starting a family, Jinny made the tough decision to return to school and study nursing. After graduation, she began her nursing career at Washington County Memorial Hospital as an Emergency Room Nurse. Jinny’s love of nursing eventually lead her to several promotions and back to school once again. She eventually became the Director of Patient Care Services.

Jinny died in the fall of 2000, after bravely battling bone cancer. Her family and many friends established this scholarship fund in her memory, to assist others who, like Jinny, return to school to study nursing after starting a family or career.  

For questions or an application, please contact Judy or Lindsey at 812-883-7334 or program.officer@wccf.biz. Applications are due by April 15, 2018 at 3:30.

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

The Wall That Heals Needs Volunteers and Names of Vietnam Era Veterans

The Washington County Community Foundation  has been chosen to host The Wall That Heals, a scaled replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with a mobile Education Center, to visit Washington County May 17-May 20, 2018 at the YMCA/Community Learning Center/Senior Citizen Center complex in Salem. 

The exhibit includes The Wall replica and a mobile Education Center that comprises digital displays of photos of service members whose names are on The Wall; letters and memorabilia left at The Wall by visitors; a map of Vietnam; and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War.  It tells the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall, and the era surrounding the conflict, and is designed to place American experiences in Vietnam in an historical and cultural context.

Volunteers are needed for several areas of The Wall That Heals including assisting in the Mobile Education Center, assisting visitors with finding names, and assistance at The Wall.  Please email stephanierockeythewall@gmail.com and a link will be sent to you to sign up. We encourage you to sign up for multiple shifts and multiple days.  If you have difficulty signing up, please call Stephanie at 502-291-7360.  Volunteers are requested to sign-up to volunteer by April 15, 2018. 

We are also looking for Vietnam Era Veterans that currently reside in Washington County.  If you are a Vietnam Era Veteran or know one, please call 812-883-7334 or email tanyatwth2@gmail.com

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

Strength Training Tips

I've fallen several times over the past year and my doctor has recommended that I start a strength training program to help prevent future falls. But at age 72, I've never lifted weights before and could use some help. What can you tell me?

Weak leg muscles and poor balance are two of the biggest factors that cause seniors to fall. Most people begin to lose about 1% of their muscle mass each year beyond the age of 40, which really adds up over time. But study after study has shown that it's never too late to rebuild muscle through strength training.

Resistance exercises and strength training can help you build muscle strength, increase your bone density, improve your balance, coordination and stamina and will help prevent falls. It can also help reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, back pain, depression and obesity. Some studies even show that it helps improve cognitive function too. Here are some simple ways to help you get stronger.

Getting Started


After you get your doctor's approval, consider working with a professional trainer or physical therapist for a few sessions to help you develop a safe and effective routine you can continue on your own. You might also go to GrowingStronger.Nutrition.Tufts.edu for a free program from Tufts University in Boston and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also see Go4Life.NIA.NIH.gov, a resource created by the National Institute on Aging that offers a free exercise guide, which includes illustrated examples of exercises you can do at home to strengthen your body. You can order free copies online or by calling 800-222-2225.

To improve your strength, you should try to exercise at least two or three days a week for 30 to 45 minutes, increasing resistance and the number of repetitions over time. Be sure you give your muscles a day off between workouts. It makes the muscle stronger and better equipped to resist future injury.

Equipment


If you work out at home, you will probably need to invest in some equipment. While some strength training can be done using your own body weight (like push-ups, sit-ups and squats), hand weights, ankle weights, medicine balls, resistance bands and rubber tubing are all great tools for strength training. You can find all these products at sporting goods stores or online for around $10 or less. Cans of soup, water bottles or plastic milk containers filled with water or sand may also be used (in place of small hand weights) for resistance.

Senior Classes


If you don't like exercising alone, consider joining a gym or call your local senior center to see if they offer any strength training exercise classes.

You should also check out SilverSneakers (SilverSneakers.com, 888-423-4632) or Silver&Fit (SilverandFit.com, 877-427-4788), two fitness programs offered in thousands of fitness centers, gyms and YMCAs throughout the U.S. that offer special classes designed for older adults. These programs are available for free to seniors who have certain Medicare supplemental policies or Medicare Advantage plans.

Aerobic and Balance Exercises


Some other good fall-prevention exercises that can help you get stronger include aerobic activities, such as walking, cycling and water aerobics. If you would like to improve your balance you might consider tai chi or a number of simple balance exercises that you can do anytime. These include standing on one foot for 30 seconds then switching to the other foot and walking heel-to-toe across the room.

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 February 9, 2018

How to Find Volunteer Opportunities

What resources can you recommend for locating interesting volunteer opportunities? Since I retired, I've been doing some volunteer work but most of the opportunities I've tried have not been very fulfilling.

For many individuals, finding a volunteer opportunity that satisfies your interests, utilizes your talents and matches your availability can be challenging. Here are some tips and online tools that can help you find an interesting and satisfying volunteer opportunity.

Getting Started


Volunteering is a great way to make a positive contribution to your community and stay actively engaged. Not to mention, it is good for your health too. But how can you find the right opportunity for you? Start by asking yourself some basic questions like: What types of organizations or activities am I interested in? What kind of skills can I offer a volunteer organization? How much time am I willing to give? What do I want to gain from my experience (e.g., meet new people, learn new skills, help those in need, etc.)?

Once you have a general idea of what you would like to do, there are dozens of volunteer websites that can help you search for different opportunities in your area. Many of the sites have search engines that allow you to search by location and area of interest. The sites will then give you a list of opportunities that you can browse through. Depending on your interest and expertise, here are some options to help you get started.

General volunteer matching sites: To find a wide variety of volunteer opportunities in your community, check out VolunteerMatch.org, IdeaList.org and AllForGood.org. These websites allow you to search for local volunteer opportunities or start your own project and invite others to help you. Another website worth mentioning is HandsOnNetwork.org, which connects volunteers to opportunities through more than 250 volunteer centers throughout the U.S.

Retiree volunteer sites: If you are retired and interested in opportunities targeting older adults and retirees, some good options include AARP's CreateTheGood.org, along with SeniorCorps.gov, which matches retirees with community projects and organizations that need experienced volunteer help.

Senior Corps offers three different programs: RSVP, which has a variety of volunteer activities with flexible time commitments; the Senior Companion Program that brings together volunteers with homebound seniors who have difficulty with day-to-day living tasks; and the Foster Grandparent Program that matches volunteers with children in the community who have exceptional needs.

Government-sponsored sites: There are a number of government-sponsored websites that can help you look for different volunteer opportunities. To locate dozens of general options in your area, visit Serve.gov. To find natural and cultural volunteer opportunities in places like national and state parks, see Volunteer.gov. If you are interested in emergency preparedness and disaster response volunteer services, go to Ready.gov. Lastly, if you are interested in longer-term volunteer opportunities, check out AmeriCorps.gov and PeaceCorps.gov/50plus, which offers a variety of three-month to two-year programs in the U.S. and abroad.

Professional and executive sites: If you have expertise in areas like business planning and development, marketing, communications, finance, fundraising, web design, graphic design, writing or editing, check out Catchafire.org, TaprootPlus.org and ESCUS.org. These websites can link you to volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations in need that are looking for certain skill sets. Another option, if you are looking to help entrepreneurs and small business owners, is to check out a volunteer mentoring program like SCORE at SCORE.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 February 2, 2018

What to Do When a Loved One Dies

Can you tell me what steps need to be taken after a loved one dies? My 80-year-old father has a terminal illness and I would like to find out what I will need to do when he passes so that I am prepared.

I'm sorry about your father's situation. This is an important question and is something that many families inquire about when a loved one's death becomes imminent. Here is a run-down of some things you can do that can help keep a sad event from becoming even more painful.

Before Death Occurs


There are several tasks you can do now while your father is still living that will make things a lot easier and less hectic after he passes away.

First, find out where your father keeps his important papers, including his birth certificate, marriage and divorce certificates, Social Security information, life insurance documents, military discharge papers, financial documents as well as keys to safe deposit boxes or home safes. You also need to make sure you have an up to date copy of your father's will or trust.

You will also want to ensure that your father has an advance health care directive. An advance health care directive specifies end-of-life medical treatments and appoints a health care proxy to make medical decisions in the event of incapacitation. If your father has not filled out an advance health care directive, see CaringInfo.org for free state-specific forms and instructions.

In addition, discuss with your father whether he wants a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order, which will tell health care professionals not to perform CPR if your father's heart or breathing stops. Your father's doctor can help you with this.

It is also a good idea to pre-arrange funeral and burial or cremation arrangements.

Immediately After Death


When an individual passes away, a legal pronouncement of death must be obtained. If a doctor is not present, you will need to contact someone to make this pronouncement. For example, if someone under hospice care passes away at home, a hospice nurse can be called. The nurse can declare the death of the individual and help facilitate proper transportation.

If an individual passes away at home without hospice care, call 911 and locate the individual's DNR document, if he or she has one. Without a DNR order, paramedics will generally start emergency procedures and, except where permitted to pronounce death, take the person to an emergency room for a doctor to make the declaration.

If an autopsy is not required, the next step is to call a funeral home, mortuary or crematorium to arrange proper transportation. If your father is an organ or tissue donor, the funeral home or county coroner should be contacted immediately.

Within a Few Days


If funeral plans were not pre-arranged, then arrangements will need to be made and an obituary should be prepared. If you father was in the military or belonged to a fraternal or religious group, you should contact those organizations because they may have burial benefits or conduct funeral services.

Up to 10 Days After Death


To wind down your father's financial affairs, you will need to obtain multiple copies of his death certificate. These are typically provided by the funeral home.

If you are the executor of your father's estate, you will need to take his will to the appropriate county or city office to have it accepted for probate. The executor should also open a bank account for the estate to pay bills, taxes, funeral costs and other estate-related expenses.

You will need to contact your father's advisors including his estate planning attorney, if he had one. You should also contact his tax preparer to see if estate or final income tax returns should be filed. His financial advisor can provide information regarding his financial holdings. His life insurance agent should be contacted in order to obtain claim forms. Speak to a representative at his bank to locate and close accounts. You should call the Social Security Office (800-772-1213) along with other agencies that provided benefits in order to stop payments and, if applicable, ask about survivor benefits. You should also cancel his credit cards and, if relevant, stop household services like utilities, mail, etc.

For more information regarding the duties of an executor, a great resource is "The Executor's Guide: Settling a Loved One's Estate or Trust" available at Nolo.com.

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 January 26, 2018

Make a Difference
Imagination Library
Youh Foundation
HEAP
Donate Now
education Matters
CF standards
Video Page
Mailing List
25th Anniversary

Washington County
Community Foundation

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

vimeo logo