Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 7, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 7, 2013 



Dear Savvy Senior:

I have been taking care of my elderly mother for nearly three years and it’s taking a huge toll on my 
finances. Are there any resources you know about that can help family caregivers get paid? 

Financially Exhausted

Dear Exhausted:

To get paid as a family caregiver, there are various government programs, tax breaks and family payment 
options that may be able to help you, depending on your mom’s financial situation. Here’s where 
to look for help.

State Aid

If your mom is low-income and eligible for Medicaid, 
you may be able to get paid a small amount 
by the state. In 15 states, Medicaid offers a Cash & 
Counseling program (see 
that provides an allowance that can be used for 
various services, including paying family members 
for care.

Many other states have similar programs for low-
income seniors, even if the person receiving care doesn’t quite qualify for Medicaid. To find out about 
these options contact your local Medicaid office. 

Veterans Aid

In some communities across the U.S., veterans who are at risk of nursing home placement can enroll 
in the Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services program, that allows veterans to 
manage their own care, including hiring and paying their own caregivers. 

Also available to wartime veterans and their spouses, is a benefit called Aid and Attendance that helps 
pay for in-home care, as well as assisted living and nursing home care. This benefit can also be used 
to pay family caregivers. 

To be eligible your mom must need assistance with daily living activities like bathing, dressing or going 
to the bathroom. And, her income must be under $13,362 as a surviving spouse – minus medical 
and long-term care expenses. If your mom is a single veteran, her income must be below $20,795 to 
be eligible. Her assets must also be less than $80,000 excluding her home and car.

To learn more see, or contact your regional VA office, or your local veterans service 
organization. For contact information, call 800-827-1000.

Tax Breaks

Uncle Sam may also be able to help if you pay at least half of your mom’s yearly expenses, and her 
annual income was below $3,900 in 2013 (not counting Social Security). If so, you can claim her as a 
dependent on your taxes, and reduce your taxable income by $3,900. See IRS Publication 501 (www. or call the IRS help-line at 800-829-1040 for information. 

If you can’t claim your mom as a dependent, you may still be able to get a tax break if you’re paying 
at least half her living expenses including her medical and long-term care costs, and they exceed 10 
percent (or 7.5 percent if you’re 65 or over) of your adjusted gross income. You can include your own 
medical expenses in calculating the total. See the IRS publication 502 (
pdf) for details. 

Family Payments

If your mom doesn’t financially qualify for the government aid or the tax breaks, can she afford to pay 
you herself or do you have any siblings that would be willing to chip in? After all, if your mom had to 
pay for home care services, the costs would be anywhere between $12 and $25 per hour. 

If she agrees to pay you, it’s best that you or an attorney draft a short written contract detailing your 
work and payment arrangements so every one involved knows what to expect. A contract will also 
help avoid potential problems should your mom ever need to apply for Medicaid for nursing home 

Another payment option to consider is for your mom to adjust her will, so you receive a larger portion 
of her estate for providing her care. But to avoid conflict, be sure all family members are aware 
and in agreement. 

Also, check to see if your mom has any long-term care insurance that covers in-home care. If she does, 
in some cases those benefits may be used to pay you.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller 
is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

By Pat Birdsall

FYI - Senior-Restricted Apartments

 Senior age-restricted apartments follow HUD regulations, which make legal allowances for this 
unique kind of “age discrimination.” Minimum age restrictions begin either at 55 or 62 years of age. 
Nearly half of all seniors moving to an apartment complex prefer age-restricted apartment buildings 
over age- integrated ones. The primary reason is that age-restricted living offers more secure living 
among peers who share their interests.

Senior renters include people who may have been forced from owning a home to renting because of 
circumstances such as:

* Exhausting or outliving their financial resources.

*The need for dividing equity; divorce is on the increase for women aged 55 to 80. 

* More women outliving their husbands, resulting in lower retirement income. 

*The inability to continue making house payments and/or keep up the property.

* A desire to be free from yard maintenance.

* The death or relocation of friends and relatives and the desire to move to an area

 where there will again be an emotional or social support-network. 

* Freedom to travel more without having to worry about property concerns at home.

Price Categories for Senior Apartments are divided into three categories: (a) Market rate apartments 
(b) Above market rate, luxury rentals (c) Affordable apartments. Affordable apartments are in 
high demand and in short supply. Programs that provide opportunities for affordable housing are 
structured or defined by regulations from federal, county or city government legislation. They may 
not be available in all areas or they may be full and have a long waiting list. You don’t know until you 


HELPFUL HINT: Borax- This mineral is one of the best-kept secrets of the Mojave Desert…
Uses: Remove stubborn pot marks in the sink- Use 1 cup Borax and ¼ cup lemon juice on the marks. 
Glass cleaner- Dissolve 2 Tbs. Borax in 3 cups warm water. Use as you would any liquid glass cleaner. 
Clogged Drains- Pour ½ cup Borax into drain, slowly pour 2 cups boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, 
flush with hot water.


FOR YOUR FUNNY BONE - During my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
I went to the desk to ask for a headset for the audio guide. The Met supplies these for free to patrons 
with hearing aids. I said to the attendant, “One pair of earphones; I’m hard of hearing.” She gave me 
the earphones. “That will be six dollars, please,” she said. “But, I’m hard of hearing.” “I’m so sorry,” she 
said, and shouted, “SIX DOLLARS, PLEASE!” 

 ~ ~ ~

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … SeptemberBirthdays

Clem Bartolai, Ed Clare, Donna Anderson, Teresa Chaure, Cathy Gunther, Esther Macias, 
Sheila Pierce, Nancy Sue Shollenberger, Yvonne Osti, Patti O’Meara, Judie Cimino, Mary 
Steinberg, Geri Wright, Parvin Dabiri, Denise Reistetter and Nehama Warner.

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not 


Quote of the Week: “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating for growing old.”

 ~ Mary H. Waldrip


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park House 
(Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre


 YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon 

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.) 

All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 for 
those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily

 reservations are necessary as space is limited. 

 Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256

Free Balance Class: Every 3rd Monday for 11:00 am to 11:45 am with Shannon Vandevelde. A 
variety of balance exercises are practiced; all ability levels are encouraged and welcomed. 


Get fit, Have Fun with Zumba Gold

Zumba Gold is a low impact fitness class based on Latin and World Music. The upbeat music creates 
a fun atmosphere with easy to follow dance moves that will have you toning your body and improving 
your stamina and balance from your very first class. No dance experience is necessary and all fitness 
levels are welcome. Class is held Mondays from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm.Next session begins in September. 
$30.00 class fee. For more information or to sign up call the Community Services Department at 
(626) 355-5278.

Free Blood Pressure Testing: Held Second Tuesday of the month from 11:00 am-12:00 pm: No 
appointment necessary.


Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: New Hours: 11:00 to 11:45 Every Wednesday morning. Join Paul Hagen for this 
free class that focuses on senior yoga techniques. No reservation is necessary!

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of 
the month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must! Please call: 626.355.7394 to make yours* Conflicting court schedules 
can occasionally cause cancellations.

Lunch and Learn: Emergency Preparedness

Wednesday, September 28- 12:00 to 1:00 pm Hart Park House Senior Center

Prepare yourself for fires, earthquakes and winter storms with this informative presentation. Learn how 
to make a family emergency plan and take home an emergency kit from our friends at the American 
Red Cross. Preparing for disasters before they strike enables people to respond more effectively when 
they do occur. If you would like to have lunch during the talk, please make a lunch reservation with 
the Senior Lunch Café at 626.355.0256 or bring your own.

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays of 
our patrons at 12:30 pm. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are 
provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. Outside, on the patio, a beautiful, one-of-a-kind 
chess table is anxious for players.

Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm Conducted by long-time 
volunteer, Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. Weights 
are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to

 socialize with your peers. 

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday at the Hart Park House (Senior Center). Brown bag lunch at 
11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo 12:30- 3:30 pm. Only .25c per card… For more information 
call Pat Birdsall at 626.355.7290.


Riley’s Farm (Oak Glen, Ca.)

 Date: Friday, September 13, 2013 Time: 9:00 am-3:00 pm 

Meeting Location: Hart Park House Senior Center Cost: $38.00 (Lunch included)

Appreciate the scenic beauty and breathe in the crisp air while visiting Oak Glen, Ca. The trip will 
include a visit to Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho, the oldest and largest ranch in Oak Glen and a working 
apple farm. While at Riley’s browse through the unique gift shop, take a walk through the beautiful 
apple orchards, or see a vintage 19323 cider press that produces 100 gallons of cider per hour. Following 
Riley’s is a visit to Law’s Complex which includes Law’s Oak Glen Coffee Shop, where lunch will be 
enjoyed, Law’s Cider Mill and Ranch, and Five Seasons Gifts.

Save the Date! Oktoberfest (Big Bear, Ca.) Saturday, October 12, 2013

Time: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Meeting Location: Hart Park House Senior Center

Cost: $89.00 (Lunch included)

Join us for the biennial trip to Big Bear for Oktoberfest. Upon arrival the group will enjoy a narrated 
bus tour of Big Bear Lake, current issues facing their eco-environment and various stories and antics 
occurring at the Lake. A German style lunch including a variety of wursts, potato salad, sauerkraut, 
pretzesl and apple strudel will be served. During and after lunch enjoy German entertainment, learn 
traditional dances and peruse vendor booths. 

*Registering for Excursions can be done in person at the Hart Park House Senior Center and the 
Community Recreation Center or online at Cash, checks, and credit 
cards are accepted. Make checks payable “City of Sierra Madre”. Payment must be made at the time of 
reservation. CALL (626) 355-7394


Senior Movie Program: 

FREE movies are chosen by the seniors themselves and shown on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the 
month in Sierra Madre’s City Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. ~ Start 
time is 1:00pm ~

 September 18th: The Magic of Belle Isle (2012)

Monty Wildhorn, an alcoholic of westerns, has lost his drive. His nephew pushes him to summer in 
quiet Belle Isle. He begrudgingly befriends a single mother and her three daughters who help him 
find the inspiration to write again. Rated PG, Start time 1:00 pm (run time is 109 minutes) Starring: 
Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen. Directed by Rob Reiner.

KATIE Tse.....................This and That


 It’s seems so hard to eat healthy these days. One minute we’re told coffee, 
wine, and fish are good for us. The next minute, other studies claim that they’re 
detrimental. What’s a health-conscious consumer to do? At least we can rely on 
the safety of organic products, right? 

 Last week at my parents’, my dad was fixing a salad, when he suddenly stopped, 
called to my mom and I, and held out a fat, brown caterpillar nestled among the 
stalks of celery he was about to chop up. It looked like one of the ominous “cutworms” that destroy 

 “Eww! Gross!” we shrieked. My 
dad agreed it wasn’t appetizing. But he 
pointed out that, since it was “organic” 
produce, there were no pesticides to 
prevent this creature from inhabiting 
our food. I suppose risking the 
occasional bug outweighs the health 
impact of ingesting foreign chemicals 
and pesticides.

 Although the celery stowaway was 
unwelcome, he still had a few impressive 
qualities. My parents’ recently remodeled 
kitchen includes a new refrigerator. This 
fridge is perhaps the coolest (no pun 
intended) appliance they’ve acquired. 
The doors send off an alarm after several minutes if you don’t close them properly. All its shelves 
and drawers are adjustable, and a screen on the inside of the door tells you the temperature inside 
the fridge; a constant 37 degrees in the fridge and zero degrees in the freezer. So, it was somewhat 
amazing that our little organic friend survived two weeks in near freezing temperatures. 

 After admiring the worm’s survival skills, my dad rinsed him off the celery into their new garbage 
disposal (which he didn’t turn on right away). I know that sounds cruel, but they weren’t going to 
release a plant-killing worm into their yard. So either way, he was going to meet his end. 

 We chatted a bit before I left for home, and I didn’t give the little visitor another thought --until the 
next day, when my dad told me about its second death-defying feat. Just as my parents were about to 
start washing the dishes, they noticed our organic survivor squirming around among the carrot tops, 
apple cores, and various dishware in the sink. Apparently this little guy not only stuck it out for two 
weeks in frigid temperatures, but also pulled himself up from the pit of the garbage disposal!

 It seemed sad to do away with a creature that had escaped the jaws of death twice, but my parents 
did it anyway. Drowning appealed to them more than pulverization, so they flushed him down the 
toilet (along with some expired juice and soup --they conserve water!). So far they haven’t noticed a 
worm around the bathroom, but if he could cheat death twice, I wouldn’t put it past him!

 So, enjoy your organic produce, but check for stowaways. Unless you don’t mind a bit of extra