Whatever your age, it's time to put things in perspective. For Christians, this beautiful rendition of a favorite hymn may be the perfect remedy!
Feeling weary? Discouraged? Hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, as the apostle Paul described in 2 Corinthians 4?
Whatever your age, it's time to put things in perspective. For Christians, this beautiful rendition of a favorite hymn may be the perfect remedy!
How’s this for some terrific advice?
These were among the key themes of “A Failure To Communicate,” Chris Carrillo’s latest address to the folks at Care-age of Brookfield’s January Christian Music Hour.
Opening up the book of Jonah, Chris delivered a doozy of a message in under 20 minutes – a message with critical advice for God-fearing people of all ages. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and prepare to be edified, enlightened and even entertained by the preacher that the Lord has blessed us with:
(If you’re reading this via email, please click on the title above to be taken to the audio.)
Want to hear more from Chris? Visit our Messages from Chris Carrillo page soon.
From just about any angle, long-term care (LTC) is an incredibly complex subject. When you start digging into it, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the options that greet you at every turn.
Fortunately, the wonderful website Fiscal Tiger has put together a terrific starter resource in its Long Term Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities: A Comprehensive Guide. It’s free, and it will give you a solid grounding in the basics—as well as links to many resources for further information.
This is the last in our series on finances for the elderly, particularly after a diagnosis of dementia. You’ll find the others here:
I hope you find this material helpful; it was provided for us by Heidi Paris, Fiscal Tiger’s Outreach Coordinator. While this site offers financial advice for virtually anyone, we found its coverage of issues of importance to dementia patients and their families particularly useful. Have questions? Heidi suggests contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the third in our series on finances for the elderly, particularly after a diagnosis of dementia. This material has been provided for us by Heidi Paris, Outreach Coordinator for an extraordinary website called Fiscal Tiger. While this site offers financial advice for virtually anyone, we found its coverage of issues of importance to dementia patients and their families particularly useful. Heidi has graciously given us permission to repost this information, so that’s just what we're in the process of doing. Have questions? Heidi suggests you contact email@example.com.
Possibly one of the most costly aspects of care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is the long term care required for a patient living with any dementia related condition. Making long term care plans involves understanding the stage that the patient is in, as well as acknowledging that dementia is progressive and needs will change over time.
Medicare/Disability Insurance: Having access to Medicare and disability insurance like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is extremely valuable in terms of short term and long term care costs. Both benefits have attributes that help those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s and their long-term care needs. When considering long term care planning and the costs associated with it, having Medicare or disability insurance will help make those care decisions easier.
Long Term Care Insurance: Having long term care insurance is a great way to cover the costs associated with a patient’s care throughout the many stages of disease progression. Unfortunately, once an individual is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they aren’t able to apply for long term care coverage. However, if the patient had it before diagnosis, it can be a great asset.
Financial Planners/Advisors: Financial planning and long term care are not the easiest processes. It’s time consuming, and learning nuances can be confusing. Not knowing certain aspects of financial planning can leave a patient without the best care possible. In times like this, it can be helpful to have an outside planner or financial advisor help with the process to avoid any question of dishonesty or self-gain when making decisions for a patient’s finances.
Here are some resources:
Next up: Long Term Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities: A Comprehensive Guide
Here's the second in our series on finances for the elderly, particularly after a diagnosis of dementia. This material has been provided for us by Heidi Paris, Outreach Coordinator for an extraordinary website called Fiscal Tiger. While this site offers financial advice for virtually anyone, we found its coverage of issues of importance to dementia patients and their families particularly useful. Heidi has graciously given us permission to repost this information, so that’s just what we're in the process of doing. Have questions? Heidi suggests you contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Care costs are inevitable when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Though some care situations will vary, certain needs are universal. Through the use of the patient’s assets and financials, or financial assistance, family members or those advocating for them should have an idea of what can be afforded in terms of budgeting.
Assistance for Covering Costs of Care
Care costs aren’t cheap, so assistance in covering some of these costs is valuable. For patients with some financial backing (as discovered by going through the complete list of financial documents to be organized), paying for care on their own and with the assistance of medicare or other benefits can leave the patient and their family at ease. However, not all Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will have a strong financial backing to help.
Medical debt can be a burden in many ways, so it’s helpful to understand your assistance options, know your medical debt rights, and the resources available when finances are strained as a result of medical need. Through the the use of health care, medicare, life insurance, medicaid, veterans benefits, and state funded programs, patients can have financial assistance in getting the care they need.
Health Care Coverage: There are many different options under the umbrella of health care coverage. No matter what type of health insurance you have, chances are there is some sort of coverage for the medical costs associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, knowing that for sure involves looking into the private insurance policies in place. If the patient doesn’t have insurance, it’s important to look into other assistance available as well as how to pay hospital bills without insurance and how to negotiate a repayment plan.
Medicare: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Medicare should cover inpatient hospital care, doctor’s fees, some prescription drugs, some home care options, hospice, and wellness visits. If the patient qualifies for Medicare, it’s important to apply for this assistance in order to get the most financial help for the care that will be needed.
Life Insurance: Understanding the different types of life insurance policies can be confusing, but some life insurance policies can be used for patients who are still alive. For some, life insurance can be borrowed against to help pay for care. Some policies offer accelerated death benefits in which benefits can be paid if the insured person is not expected to live beyond the next six to 12 months due to a terminal diagnosis.
Medicaid: If a patient does not qualify for Medicare, or qualifies for both Medicare and Medicaid, many aspects of care needed by patients with dementia may be covered. Medicaid does cover all or a portion of nursing home costs, which is a giant expenditure in terms of care costs for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Veterans Benefits: If the patient is a veteran, or the spouse of a veteran, there are benefits available that may be able to aid in cost for dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Benefits you receive as a veteran can be supplemental to private insurance. Discussing additional benefits as a veteran with the VA may provide even more support for care costs as some may qualify for help with in-home or assisted living care as well.
State Funded Programs: Each state has a different set of programs that are funded to help people in need. Looking into your own state and the help that might be available could be supplemental to any private insurance, veteran benefits, etc. that the patient already has.
Next up: Long-term-care planning
We recently received an invitation to share with you some excellent material on finances for the elderly – an invitation from Heidi Paris, Outreach Coordinator for an extraordinary website called Fiscal Tiger. While this site offers financial advice for virtually anyone, we found its coverage of issues of importance to dementia patients and their families particularly useful. Heidi has graciously given us permission to repost this information, so that’s just what we’ll do over the next few weeks.
After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia, it can be difficult to go through the steps needed to keep finances in order for the patient. It can be too difficult for some, and both patients and their loved ones may be in denial about the severity of the circumstances. However, it’s vital for someone to take control of the financial planning involved to keep the patient’s care a priority. Most of the time, initiating care for an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient involves organizing financial documents, taking a look into care costs, and evaluating their long-term care needs.
Organizing Financial Documents
Having issues managing finances is generally seen around the moderate decline stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, every person is different. Some may see that aspect of cognitive function dip before or after this stage. For this reason, it’s important to start gathering financial documents as soon as possible. Ideally, it’s important to have these conversations while a patient is of sound mind, before dementia has progressed too far, so that all financial decisions are made with their preferences in mind, and all documents are collected with their help.
The first step in financial planning for someone with dementia is to get an idea of that person’s entire financial situation. This not only includes monthly income and bills, but also things like insurance, pensions, and bank information. Getting this information will vary depending on the cognitive standing of the patient experiencing dementia as well as your relationship with them and their understanding of the process. To begin, follow this checklist for financial documents to get organized in order to have a big picture of their finances.
For more information, please visit Fiscal Tiger’s page on financial and legal planning for patients and their families.
Next up: Care Costs: What To Plan and Budget For
I am pleased once again to present the inspiring writing of my dear sister in Christ Edna Walls, in the form of the lovely new poem reproduced here with her gracious permission. To read her excellent article "The Value of Being a Widow," please click here.
Who Is This Jesus Whose Birth We Celebrate?
He is the unique Person of the universe.
One of a kind,
Conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of a virgin, His throne left behind.
His birthplace a stall, animals near,
Located by the eastern star.
The magi found Him in Bethlehem,
bearing gifts from afar.
King Herod was troubled by Jesus’ birth.
He sought to kill this Babe in the manger.
But an angel warned Joseph to depart.
To Egypt they went, out of danger.
Herod died after several years.
Again the angel appeard in a dream.
“It is safe, take the Child to Israel”
For He shall be called a Nazarene.
The Boy grew strong. His Wisdom increased.
In the carpenter shop He worked.
At the age of 12 to the temple He went.
“My Father’s business I cannot shirk.”
At age of 30 He was baptized by John.
God proclaimed Him “His beloved Son.”
The wilderness temptation lasted 40 days.
He passed the test – His ministry begun.
For three years He walked the land,
Teaching, healing, doing miracles and more.
No one had witnessed these wondrous deeds,
No one had ever done them before.
Many people did repent.
But enemies were also made.
They did not believe the Son of God.
Thirty pieces of silver to Judas was paid.
A trial was held in Pilate’s court,
A mockery of justice took place.
“Crucify Him” was the cry.
The truth of Messiah could not be faced.
To the cross He went for you and me,
This sinless man, so pure,
So sinners could be redeemed.
Shame, suffering, death He did endure.
The grave could not hold Him.
Chains of death He snapped.
He now sits in Heaven
Interceding on our behalf.
But that isn’t the end.
Some day He will return.
As the King He was meant to be.
What a Redeemer, what a Friend,
This man of Galilee.
Now you’ve heard the story of Jesus.
A choice you need to make.
You can believe and live with Him
Or separation from all will be your fate.
He did all that was required of Him.
Now you must do your part.
Repent, confess, believe, rejoice,
Thank Him with all your heart.
Make this your merriest Christmas.
Jesus wants you in His flock.
This gift of salvation is free.
Plus, King Jesus will be your rock!
To those who have trusted Christ
And are living a life with Him,
Share this story of redemption
With the many who are lost in sin.
-- Edna Walls, Christmas 2018
When I first started doing visits at “my” nursing home in the wake of my mother’s death, one of the first people Activities gave me to visit was a Christian Scientist. I’ll call her Christine; she often told me that was the name she’d wished her parents had given her, so I’ll give it to her now.
I had just launched my search for the truth of our existence when I met Christine, and was excited to think that she could help me along the way. At that time, I had no idea that there was nothing Christian about Mary Baker Eddy’s “Christian Science.” Our early conversations only served to further my confusion as I studied the world’s theologies in my newfound drive to figure out what was true, and what was not.
But a couple years into our relationship, when I finally had a solid understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I’d also begun to understand how nonsensical is Christian Science’s view of God and the world we live in – including its insistence that we do not exist physically and that perceived pain is the result of erroneous thinking. This was especially ironic for Christine, who was crippled with arthritis and perhaps some unknown neurological disorder. But she denied her diseases, even as they swallowed up her ability to speak and left her in screaming pain; she was convinced that her symptoms were all the result of errors in her thought process.
As I came to the knowledge of the truth, I became very concerned not only about Christine’s peace in this life but about her eternal destiny. And I began sharing the Gospel with her. She resisted mightily, having been raised in CS from early childhood by a grandmother who must have been one of the original followers of Mary Baker Eddy. (If you’d like to know more about this cult, visit www.christianway.org, an excellent website created by some of its former members.)
I spent more than four years with Christine, becoming more and more assertive about unmasking her bizarre ideas as I realized, with growing horror, the enormity of the false teachings she was trusting in. I would wring my hands and worry aloud that she was undoubtedly headed for hell if she didn’t repent and trust in the Jesus who revealed Himself in the Bible, rather than the one presented by “Mrs. Eddy” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The women at ChristianWay.org even sent me a collection of excellent audio tapes exposing this cult’s false teachings, and I played them for her until she commanded me to stop -- for that session, anyway.
I was, in short, relentless. It wasn’t long before her CS practitioner--an equally deceived woman who practiced highly profitable telepathic healing--complained about me to the facility’s administrator. Which meant that then-Activities Director, who was a genuine believer herself, was forced to have a stern talk with me about bashing a resident’s beliefs. In fact, I’d put her in the very awkward position of having to ask me to change or to leave; she would have had no choice.
And that would have done no one any good. One way or the other, offending a resident would have compromised any further work I might accomplish on behalf of the gospel.
In retrospect, I could have been gentler, and more patient, and perhaps more loving with Christine. If this woman were alive today, I hope I would have approached her with more patience and compassion.
Would you like to know how this story ended? So would I.
The real question, of course, is whether Christine ultimately received Jesus Christ.
One Saturday in the late summer of 2004, I felt a relentless compulsion to visit her apart from my regularly scheduled weekly visit. When I entered her room and announced myself, she screamed “There is a God!” – the first intelligible words to come out of her mouth in a year. She was in a great deal of pain and distress, but calmed down as we read from John’s gospel. By the time I left, she seemed to be resting peacefully.
I returned on Monday morning – my regular visiting day back then – to learn that Christine had died just an hour before my arrival. Would I like to see her? I would, and I did, and seeing her face relaxed at last, I wondered: Is she now in heaven?
The truth is, I don’t know. She had certainly heard the gospel many times. And she really didn’t have anyone but me in the end – no husband, no children, no visits from other Christian Scientists to shore up her increasingly confused understanding of Mrs. Eddy's teachings. Perhaps the Lord had put her in this position of almost complete social isolation in order to hedge her in, to force her to consider His gospel. And perhaps she did before she took her last breath.
I sure am looking forward to finding out.
Time for an annual reminder:
If you're searching for a present for a friend or loved one who lives in a nursing home, it wouldn't be surprising to learn that the perfect gift is not leaping instantly to mind. It can in fact be a real challenge. But as a veteran of nursing-home buying, I have a few suggestions for you.
Let's start with a few don'ts:
There are far better choices available to those who know their residents fairly well. For instance:
But the best gift at all for someone living in a nursing home is the gift of time. Lavish it on him or her not only during the Christmas season, but every month of the year!
Back in December of 2005, I was sitting in on a sing-along of some sort at Care-age of Brookfield when I suddenly heard a beautiful tenor voice rising above the others. I traced the voice to an 80-something man seated in a wheelchair, sporting a neatly pressed light blue shirt and navy slacks, a fringe of white hair, wire-rimmed glasses, and a big smile. He was a perfect candidate for our next Christian Music Hour, so I checked the name tag on his wheelchair, already planning how I would persuade him to join us on Sunday morning.
I nearly fell over when I saw his name. HIPAA privacy laws prevent me from sharing that name with you, dear reader, so let’s just call him John. But I will tell you this: When I launched my writing career at a little Milwaukee PR agency in the mid-1970s, this very John had been a senior VP for our largest client – an exceptionally kind man who was greatly respected, admired and even loved by the low-level staffers I worked with.
After the sing-along was over, I introduced myself, outlining my connection with his long-ago employer. It was no surprise that he didn’t remember me. But he was mighty pleased to make my acquaintance that day, and to make plans for attending the Christmas edition of the Christian Music Hour the following Sunday.
John and I chatted quite a while that day. I discovered that he was a life-long church-goer who had never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said he was pinning his heavenly hopes on the fact that he’d been baptized as an infant, and that he was a deacon in his church. He was quite surprised to learn that, according to the Bible, we are saved for all eternity not because of what we’ve done, but because of what Jesus did on the cross. Surprised, and the more he thought about it, delighted, because it simply made sense to him.
That Sunday, our Christian Music Hour repertoire consisted of traditional Christmas carols, with one notable exception: I’d included a beautiful '90s song called "A Strange Way To Save the World." The residents of that era usually didn’t like contemporary songs, but this one was pretty enough to earn smiles from a number of the participants, including my new friend John. He said that enjoyed the entire hour immensely, in fact, and kept his song book so he could sing his favorites again in the privacy of his room.
John quickly became my favorite resident. Having been introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ, he was hungry to learn more about the Bible. I brought him a copy of the first version I’d read cover to cover – the Life Application Study Bible in the easy-to-read New Living Translation – and found him immersed in it every time I visited, and eager to talk about what he’d been discovering.
In early February, his family moved John into an assisted-living facility a half-hour from my home. I decided to steal a few more hours each week from my freelance writing business in order to visit him there, and our fellowship continued for several more weeks.
But then one Wednesday afternoon, I received a call from his daughter. John had died unexpectedly of a massive stroke that morning, she said, so I needn’t make the trip to visit him that week.
I was sad to lose my friend, of course, but rejoiced that John had repented and trusted in Jesus Christ; I would be seeing him again one happy day. In the meantime, I attended his funeral, held in the church where he’d been a deacon for so many years, but had never heard the gospel preached.
Apparently nothing had changed. Sandwiched between by-the-book opening and closing prayers, the service was dedicated to what a fine, upstanding man John had been, how well he’d taken care of his family, what a great success he’d been as a businessman and friend to all. Not a word about the Jesus he’d come to know and love in recent weeks. Not a word about the everlasting life he was already enjoying.
But in spite of the thoroughly secular service, John had managed to leave a clear message behind. There, on the back of the funeral bulletin, were some unexpected words:
"This is a song that John heard recently and loved. He asked us to share it with you at his funeral."
What followed were the lyrics to "A Strange Way To Save the World." You'll find them in this video, if you'd care to find out why John was so moved by them. (If you’re reading this via email, please click on the headline above to be taken to the page with the audio link.)
Somehow, I misplaced the CD containing this song some years ago. But I found it again recently, and have happily added it to this month’s Christian Music Hour.
It’s my prayer that this lovely song, which so moved John 13 years ago this month, will have a similarly soul-stirring impact on a 2018 attendee, with similarly soul-saving results.