WCCF Celebrating County Firefighters and Law Enforcement

On April 24, 2018, WCCF will be celebrating our local firefighters and law enforcement personnel that keep us safe.   Words are inadequate, so how about a reception? Please join us at the Senior Citizen Center at 6:00 to honor these brave men and women. We will be awarding $1,000.00 grants to each department and small gifts for the first 75 people to arrive. So, come out and support your favorite department or law enforcement department. The top three departments in attendance will win an additional $1,000.00 grant. We hope to see you there.

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

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.

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 community foundations that created Education Matters have elected to concentrate on a small sliver of the overall issue, those one in four of our adult workers who have some post-secondary credits but did not complete their degrees or certifications. This population of people who started but didn’t finish their education is where the Washington County Community Foundation sees opportunity to implement immediate changes that can drive our educational attainment numbers up, ultimately having real impact on our community.

The following criteria have been established for the 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 3:30 on April 20, 2018. No exceptions. Applications can be found on the Foundation website at www.wccf.biz or by requesting an application from our office.
  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 Choose a Memory Care Unit

My mom has Alzheimer's disease and has gotten to the point that she cannot live at home any longer. I need to find a good memory care residential unit for her but could use some help. Any suggestions?

Choosing a good memory care residential unit for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease is a very important decision that requires careful evaluation and some homework. 

Most memory care units, sometimes called special care units, are housed within assisted living or nursing home facilities. At their best, they offer staff who are extensively trained in caring for people with dementia, individualized care that minimizes the use of dangerous psychotropic drugs, a home-like environment and activities that improve residents quality of life. At their worst, they can offer little more than a locked door. Here are some steps that can help you find a good facility. 

Make a list: To identify some quality memory care residential units in your area, ask your mother's doctor for a referral. In addition, use the Alzheimer's Association online tool at CommunityResourceFinder.org. Make sure the facilities on your list are close to family members and friends who can visit often, because residents with frequent visitors usually receive better care.

Research your options: Once you have made a list, contact your local long-term care ombudsman (see LTCombudsman.org). This is a government official who investigates assisted living and nursing home complaints and can tell you which facilities have had problems in the past. 

If you are looking at a memory care unit within a nursing home facility, use Medicare's nursing home compare tool (Medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare). This tool provides a five-star rating system. 

Call the facilities: Once you have identified a few facilities, call them to find out if they have any vacancies, if they provide the types of services your mother needs, what they charge and if they accept Medicaid. 

Tour your top choices: During your tour, notice the cleanness and smell of the facility. Is it homey and inviting? Does the staff seem responsive and kind to its residents? Also be sure to taste the food and talk to the current residents' family members, if available. 

Find out about staff screening and training procedures, their turnover rate and the staff-to-resident ratio. The facility should have at least one staff member for every five residents. 

Make sure the facility offers quality activities that can keep your mom engaged, even at night when she may be awake. Ask how they respond to residents who may wander or become aggressive. If the answer is locked doors and antipsychotic drugs, that might be a red flag.

Because transitions can be unsettling for dementia suffers, make sure that your mother will be able to remain at the facility for the foreseeable future. Find out what, if any, health conditions might require your mother to leave the facility or move to a higher and more expansive level of care. 

It is also a good idea to make multiple visits to the facility, including an unscheduled visit at night or on weekends when the staff is more likely to be stretched thin. 

To help you evaluate your visit, the Alzheimer's Association offers a checklist that you can access at ALZ.org/residentialfacilities

Paying for care: The national average costs for memory care within an assisted living facility is over $5,000 per month or over $7,500/month with nursing home care, but costs can vary widely depending on your location. Since Medicare does not cover long-term care, most residents pay for care from either personal savings, a long-term care insurance policy or through Medicaid (if available) once their savings are depleted. 

To help you research your financial options, visit the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information website at LongTermCare.gov.

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


Published March 16, 2018

All Are Welcome To Volunteer at the Wall

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.

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

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Youth Foundation Now Recruiting

The Washington County Youth Foundation is now recruiting new members for the 2018-2019 school year. The Youth Foundation is a group of students from Washington County committed to making our community a better place to live. The board has members who are sophomores, juniors and seniors in any area high school or are home schooled.

The Youth Foundation averages one meeting a month. Times and location will vary; however, most meetings occur on Sunday afternoons. During the school year the Washington County Youth Foundation will offer one grant cycle, several community service activities and one peer community awareness/asset development event. Also, Washington County Youth Foundation members will be expected to be volunteers in the Happily Ever After Project. All members make financial contributions to support the service activities of the Youth Foundation.  

Application, permission slip and more information can be downloaded from the Washington County Community Foundation’s website at www.wccf.biz. Additionally, informational flyers can be obtained from current Washington County Youth Foundation members or by calling the Foundation office at 883-7334.   Applications are due by 4:00 pm on April 15, 2018.

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

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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

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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

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

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