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What We're Following Today August 9, 2019

Caregiver Stipends Cut for Some Caregiver’s of Veterans with Catastrophic Wounds

I know there is no black and white when dealing with veteran matters. I’ll refrain from being quick to judgment based not the Kaiser Health News post’s headline. Digging deeper into the other articles mentioned in this post helps frame some context to understand how administrators are making decisions. But one would assume that a diagnosis of a wound that requires caregiving would be fairly straightforward and that funds for those caregiving needs should be somewhat sacred given the sacrifice made by someone in our military AND the subsequent care that person will need for life. There is a valid argument on the VA side for making sure people comply with guidelines in order to maintain their stipends, but there are some things that don’t fit. The NPR piece on the page does talk through some of the challenges of recovery and life changes while calling out the VA’s needs for accountability

Bureaucracy serves a purpose but can often get in the way of common sense. There needs to be an accountability on a system that is providing money to those impacted. I can understand that argument from the administration of the VA, BUT If the caregiver doesn’t provide the care (personally or by hiring someone), then someone else will have to within our “great” healthcare system (Medicaid, etc.). I know decisions in companies and governments are not made in a vacuum (usually) and lots of thought and analysis goes into a decision like this, but this doesn’t seem to fit with an image that a volunteer military might want to communicate…

2 Steps to Make Your Retirement Last

This article on Yahoo Finance looks at ways to help make your retirement funding last longer in retirement in 2 simple steps. What’s nice about this is that they take a realistic view of many people’s sub $1 Million retirement accounts. They also talk about tiering your current retirement plan to still allow for some risk as you age while withdrawing from another portfolio that is meant to simply keep pace with inflation. The two steps:

Take Social Security Later (at 70 for example) - if you need supplemental income that means you may need to work longer into retirement, but if you can risk taking social security later, some estimate that as much as 60-80% of all “necessary” expenses could be covered with the higher payout. When thinking you may live to 90, that can make a big difference.Tier your retirement savings to still allow for some risk as you age.

This is not saying this situation is right for “you.” You should speak to a qualified advisor before you make any plans, but being informed of options is always good as a way to prepare you for your conversation.

Read more below

Blue Zones - Studies on Longevity

Gregg Roberts of SimpleWisdom informed me about the Blue Zones study. He’ll be on our panel for Leading a Healthy and Balanced Life As We Age at our Generation Bridge Caregiver & Aging Conference this September.

What is the Blue Zone?

It started as a study to identify and “diagnose” the communities that benefited from the largest number of healthy elders. “It grew out of the demographic work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain outlined in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology.”

Today they [demographers and researchers] have been looking into various pockets of communities with greater longevity to understand what common bond potentially unites them all. The conclusions became the basis for their Power 9® traits that includes things like:

  • Moving naturally

  • Purpose

  • Managing stress

  • Belonging to a faith based community

  • And 6 more

The idea of community, belonging AND having common ground with others is something we should all be considering as we age. Here in the US the nuclear family largely disperses and as we age, many experience isolationism (even in large urban areas). Regardless of your faith, how can you help our elders feel part of something “bigger”?

New Father IQ

This is a fun little survey for those fathers who might be expecting a newborn in their family. While it’s meant for new fathers, it’s kind of fun to run through it and refresh one’s memory too. If you have a few minutes, run through it and see how you do.

Good for grandparents too as a refresher :)

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