seniorresource.com
*** October 2008 ***
* E-zine *

This Month's Highlights:
· Heating Expenses Growing
· Having a Healthy Winter
· Using Your Home Equity


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CONTENTS

A1. HEATING EXPENSES GROWING
A2. HAVING A HEALTHY WINTER
B. DID YOU KNOW...?
C. THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
D. SPECIAL OCCASIONS THIS MONTH
E. SPECIAL SURFING SITE
F. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE

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A1. HEATING EXPENSES GROWING

Its getting cooler, and lots of folks are worried about heating their homes versus buying food or paying for healthcare. This is a very real dilemma for many American families fighting day-to-day in our weak economy. Now think about a senior citizen on a fixed income.

It is wise for anyone with a relative living in a cold winter climate to understand this complex situation. As you can see in the chart below, home heating oil prices are growing at a significant rate. They were over 365 cents per gallon in March, and the cost of crude oil has increased since then.

For a primer, we've provided a link for you to check out: http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/heating_brochure/heatbro.htm

There are a number of things happening around the nation that we should consider when approaching this problem:

  • The dollar is weak historically, making foreign oil more expensive. Those expensive imports are where our nation's inflation is coming from.
  • There are fuel alternatives.
  • There are fuel-assistance programs and subsidies available for low-income families.
  • Every year there are seniors who perish in their homes because they thought they could not afford to heat their home...and sometimes they well could have. Communication, regular follow up-with our loved ones and friends, and an eye on those who might be too proud to admit a need are key in this area to keeping our loved ones safe.

What about other options for achieving a heated home? Here are some ideas you might consider:

Home Loans - Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government mortgage rates have dropped quite a bit for those with good credit. It may be possible to get an equity line of credit now, when only a couple of months ago it wasn't affordable to do so. Also, some areas of the country are better off than others in this regard. Is it possible that you can get a loan where perhaps your parents could not? Something to think about if it applies to your family.

Alternative Heating - Wood-heating stoves are flying off of the shelves this year. Some models are even configured to heat water for your shower, thus saving more energy. There are "pellet" models that use electricity and a store of wood pellets - compacted wood and wax, basically. You fill up the hopper and push the ignition button, and there you go! There are many traditional models that use cordwood - and if they are unavailable in stores due to demand you may well find a local welder who is making them professionally in your area. Yes, the demand for these home heaters is that great, and the markets abhor a void. DO NOT TRY TO MAKE YOUR OWN WOODBURNING STOVE! Professional stoves seal against carbon monoxide, smoke, and embers. You don't want the oaken fire you built before bed burning through the bottom of your homemade stove before breakfast, or you won't be waking up!

Government Assistance - There are a number of home heating assistance programs, and some new ones in the legislative process. HR 6784 Home Heating Oil Assistance Act of 2008 was introduced by Christopher Shays, and would provide a refundable credit against income tax to assist individuals with high energy costs. But it isn't out of the Ways and Means committee yet. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-6784
You should also contact your congressperson and officially request constituent services on this matter. Remember, it is their JOB to help you navigate the government's maze of programs.
Find your representative here: http://www.house.gov/

Citgo's Low Cost Heating Oil Program - Yes, you'll be burning Hugo Chavez' oil...but do you really care? This is an emergency and all assistance is welcome. Citgo is the Venezuelan oil firm that offers discounted home heating oil to Americans in need. There are some qualifying requirements - and you can read about them here: http://www.citgo.com/CommunityInvolvement/HeatingOil.jsp
You can also call for more information: 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-877-563-4645)

Find things like a feather/down comforter and books on Home Energy Savings at our Senior Bazaar.
http://www.seniorresource.com/SRBaz.htm


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A2. HAVING A HEALTHY WINTER

Its fall...time to avoid getting sick, time for a flu shot (maybe you'll want a pneumonia shot, as well), time for...so many things for a senior citizen to do! Then there are the rural challenges of time and distance from population centers where senior services are often administered. And it is getting cold outside! And for some it could get cold inside, too!

Here are some ideas from around the nation for keeping your health during this transition of the seasons:

Clothing- Dress warmly in layers. Yes, even for a short trip outside. Some fibers hold more heat than cotton, with silk, wool, and polypropylene topping the list. If you get wet - get indoors! Remove the wet clothing and be sure it is dry before you put it back on.

Be Careful with Exercise - Cold temperatures are the times when 15 minutes outdoors can kill a person who is doing rigorous exertion. The human heart can be stressed in cold weather - and that means shoveling the driveway because you think you're superman can be your last task. Don't do it. Get help. Do not be ashamed to be heart-healthy because it is a life-threatening matter for some who are not. Avoid perspiring or overdoing it. You shouldn't be panting outdoors in cold weather.

Cover up! - Exposed skin can become frostbitten in an alarmingly short period of time, especially seniors, who naturally have thinner skin. Cover all areas - throat, ears, face, wrists, and your lower legs.

Flu shot - Yes the good old flu shot is still a great idea for most senior citizens at this time of year. There are exceptions though, so assume nothing. On the 16th of September, 2008 the American Lung Association is launching a flu clinic locator at this web address: http://www.flucliniclocator.org/ Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site on flu shots, eligibility, who should not get a shot, and other important factors here: http://www.cdc.gov/FLU/protect/keyfacts.htm

Eating Well - Now is not the time to be shy if you, a friend, or a loved one needs food assistance from time to time. Meals on Wheels and similar organizations stand ready to provide a hot meal to a shut-in senior citizen. There are also food banks around the nation where staples can be had. Unfortunately, in our nation there are often lines at these facilities, so call ahead and learn what you need to do for your elderly neighbor, friend, loved one, or yourself. In these economic times we need to remember that others who won't show or tell you may be in need that will not show it outwardly. Let's face it - which of us wants to admit he needs food help? Take the initiative. http://www.mowaa.org/index.asp

Don't Fall This Fall -Yes falling for a senior citizen can be tragic - if not deadly. Going out to retrieve the morning paper can land you in the hospital if you aren't wearing proper footwear and there is ice or frost on the ground to make you slip. What are some activities that you normally do which could lead to a fall in bad weather? Can you get help with those from a neighbor? Can you call the newspaper distributor and ask them to "porch" your paper? Do you have slick tiled steps in or around your home that can be carpeted or grip-taped? Think about it, make a list of the fall-risk activities, and get assistance to eliminate the opportunity for disaster.

Here are some links to sites with helpful information on staying healthy in fall and winter:

http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-8347-108474--,00.html

http://mvna.org/flu_room.htm

http://www.nyp.org/news/hospital/2005-fall-winter-safety.html

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/2004/04010.htm

http://www.weather.com/outlook/homeandgarden/pets/articles/c59

http://www.buckscounty.org/news/2007/2007-02-05-ColdAdvisory.aspx

Additional health information for seniors can also be found at:
http://www.seniorresource.com/health.htm


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B. DID YOU KNOW...?

1. Vets Honored with Laser Engraved Memorial.
The Southwest Montana Veterans Memorial in Dillon, Mont. is a unique tribute to those who have served in the United States military, living or deceased, and is the only such memorial for miles around. The essence of the memorial is laser-engraved bricks bearing the names of veterans from all over the country. A total of 1000 bricks will fit into the current design. There is a stone waterfall and stone benches, so visitors will have a place to sit and think of their loved ones.

Learn more by writing:
Southwest Montana Veterans Memorial
P.O. Box 22 Dillon, MT 59725

2. Red Cross "Ready When the Time Comes" Volunteer Program
From 9-to-5 during the week, they are customer service representatives, marketing executives, data entry clerks, managers, executive assistants, and sales representatives at industrial-supply giant Grainger. But when disasters strike the Chicago area, they become Red Cross disaster responders - Ready When the Time Comes to lend a hand when it is most critically needed.

These professionals are part of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago's Ready When the Time Comes (RWTC) corporate volunteer program, designed to increase the local Red Cross's capacity to respond instantaneously to disasters while giving area corporations a way to allow their employees to get actively involved in providing disaster relief services to the community.

Through Ready When the Time Comes, corporations such as Grainger partner with the Red Cross, allowing their employees to receive free training in disaster relief functions. In return, corporate partners commit to making their trained employees available for disaster service at least one day each year. When a large-scale disaster occurs, the Red Cross calls upon the RWTC partner and, with a single phone call, can deploy as many volunteers as needed. Throughout Chicago, RWTC volunteers have put their training to work responding to flooding, massive fires, heat emergencies, and even the attacks of September 11. http://www.redcross.org/news/ch/other/021119ready.html

3. DNA Samples Needed.
More than 6,300 families need to be located to collect DNA samples for the purpose of identifying missing soldiers from World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam. The DNA samples are collected through an oral swab kit that is mailed to the donor.

The military maintains a database of mitochondrial DNA samples from family members of missing-in-action soldiers. The DNA samples help the army identify missing soldiers' remains when they are uncovered. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command continually sends anthropologists and forensic analysts to search past-conflict locations identified as potential recovery sites, provided the country where the conflict took place allows U.S. access.

Though contracted professional and amateur volunteer genealogists, as well as volunteers from veterans groups, have helped the army track down thousands of missing soldiers families, public input is needed to identify families with missing soldiers and to keep family records updated. Families with unaccounted-for soldiers, or anyone who knows of a family with an unaccounted-for soldier, should contact the Past Conflict Repatriation Branch by calling 1-800-892-2490 or sending an e-mail to tapscper@conus.army.mil


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C. THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH

We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.

Charlton Heston - "Political correctness is tyranny with a happy face."

Chubby Checker - "I'm just grateful to be on this planet. I'm just the guy who makes happy."

Gwen Stefani - "Sometimes you have to sacrifice your performance for high heels."

Ray Kroc - "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves."

Susan Sarandon - "Children reinvent your world for you."

More "Thoughts" at: http://www.seniorresource.com/thought.htm


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D. SPECIAL OCCASIONS THIS MONTH

1. National Book Month.

This annual event encourages readers of all ages to enjoy books. Want a good "brain exercise"? Then reading will fill the bill. During this month many organization will help you make a deliberate effort to get away from the TV and curl up with a good book, instead. Now is a good time to see the latest offers at your local library. Many libraries have an abundance of resources for seniors, including many of us with low-vision difficulties. To learn more about low vision and some tools available to help the situation visit http://www.seniorresource.com/lowvisiontopics.htm

2. National Aging In Place Week
The National Aging In Place week highlights innovative solutions and progressive alternatives to meet the needs of this increasingly important social issue. To help older adults prepare for their later years, leaders from the aging in place field-home modification experts, geriatric care managers, financial planners, home care workers, to name a few-have banded together to host educational events in communities around the nation. Their goal is to help make aging in place a safe and comfortable experience for older persons. The culmination of their efforts is National Aging in Place Week, hosted from October 13-19. Events hosted during this week in communities around the nation will give residents the information they need to find products and services they might need to continue to live in the home of their choice throughout retirement.

Learn about aging in place at http://www.seniorresource.com/ageinpl.htm


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E. SPECIAL SURFING SITES

1. Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)
This website describes the he Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program (HECM) which can enable an older home-owning family to stay in their home while using some of its built-up equity. The program allows such a household to get an insured reverse mortgage that converts equity into income. It describes the choices consumers have for the type of payout they can choose and provides information on "how to apply."
See: http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hecm/hecm--df.cfm
Also learn more at http://www.seniorresource.com/finance.htm

2. Learn About Home Health Care
Home health care helps seniors live independently for as long as possible, given the limits of their medical condition. It covers a wide range of services and can often delay the need for long-term nursing home care. More specifically, home health care may include occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, and even skilled nursing. It may involve helping the elderly with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Or it may include assistance with cooking, cleaning, other housekeeping jobs, and monitoring one's daily regimen of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Visit the site at
http://www.eldercare.gov/eldercare/Public/resources/fact_sheets/home_care.asp

The "American Medical Association Guide to Home Caregiving" provides the information you need to take the best possible care of an elderly, ill, or disabled person in a home setting. It addresses home preparation, basic and special caregiving skills, choosing and paying a provider, long-term care, nursing home care, care for the caregiver, and caring for someone who lives alone, someone with Alzheimer's disease and the terminally ill.
To get your copy of this fine guide visit: http://www.seniorresource.com/SRBaz.htm


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F. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE

1. Why, Why, Why

  1. Do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are dying?
  2. Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough money to pay them?
  3. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
  4. Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?
  5. Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?
  6. If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

2. Five Minute Management Course

This Month's Lesson:

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a genie comes out. The genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish."

"Me first! Me first!," says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world!" Puff! She's gone.

"Me next! Me next!," says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life!" Puff! He's gone.

"OK, you're up," the genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:
http://www.seniorresource.com/jokes.htm


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SPONSOR AN ISSUE



This issue has been edited by Betsy Day (betsyjday@aol.com).

Copyright 2008 seniorresource.com, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products, service and companies named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders and are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Articles are included for informational purposes and are not an endorsement.



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