Q: I am caregiving for a family member and feel our communication could be improved. Are there any sources that can help me? A: The next seminar offered by Senior Concerns in the series Caregiving ‘U’ will address that exact subject. On Tuesday, Senior Concerns is offering “Compassionate Communication.” Shoshana Wheeler, a teacher and counselor, and Kelila Heller, an advocate for seniors, will present a communication process that will very likely increase connections and understandings in many relationships, especially with seniors in your life. The process will help develop more empathy for the caregiver. Guests will learn how to speak honestly without triggering strong feelings and how to listen so the patient feels heard and understood and connected with their losses rather than talked to. The seminar will be from 4:30-6 p.m. at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. The series has been very well-attended so reservations are suggested. Call 497-0189. Q: I know MediCal eligibility is based on an applicant’s assets. If I’m not mistaken, the amount changes each year. Do you have the figures for 2013? A: There are a number of eligibility requirements for qualifying for MediCal. One is an applicant’s nonexempt assets. If the applicant applying for MediCal has insufficient or no medical insurance, needs coverage for hospital and doctor’s expenses and is single, widowed or divorced, the applicant may have only $2,000 in nonexempt assets. A couple applying may have only $3,000. These amounts are not subject to change annually. If the reason for application is to cover nursing home care, the same rules apply to single, widowed and divorced people. In addition, they must use all but $35 of their monthly income as a share-of-cost toward their care. The figures to which you refer deal with income and nonexempt asset eligibility for nursing home care for married couples. These figures change each year. Laws have been enacted to prevent impoverishment of the spouse remaining at home. For 2013, the spouse at home may keep up to $115,920 in nonexempt assets, and the spouse entering the nursing home may keep an additional $2,000. The spouse at home may keep all the couple’s income up to $2,898 per month before having to pay toward a share-of-cost for the spouse who has been placed in a long-term care facility. There are many MediCal programs, each with its own eligibility rules. For information about other MediCal programs and their eligibility requirements, contact the Human Services Agency’s intake and eligibility office. Q: I’ve noticed at the end of your column that you provide information on how to contact you. After your email address, you ask for the sender’s telephone number. Why? A: Most questions are complex and can’t be answered with a general response. With the telephone number I can call to ask more questions to help the reader with an individual situation. This eliminates the need to email back and forth and allows for a more timely and personal response. Happenings March 13: “Elder Abuse — Could It Happen To You?” seminar. 1:30-3 p.m.; Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive, Westlake Village. For information, call 495-6250. More …
Thousand Oaks seminar will address communication for caregivers
About the Author: Betty Berry
Betty Berry brings a deep understanding of senior issues to her position as Senior Advocate for Senior Concerns. She has advocated for seniors since 1993. Through the Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program, known as HICAP, she is registered with the State of California as an Insurance Counselor, a Long-Term Care Insurance Counselor and a Community Educator. She has served on the Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council as a member and Chair, has been a member of the Financial Abuse Strategic Team (FAST) and currently serves on the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program (CSVP) Advisory Board and authors the Senior Advocate column that appears in the Ventura County Star. Betty completed her undergraduate degree at California Lutheran University and earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Ventura College of Law.