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A1. NOT JUST A DOG by JK, Wyndmoor, PA.
When you hear the term "service animal," what comes to mind? Many people probably picture a blind person walking with a "seeing eye" or "guide dog." A service animal, usually a dog, often handles many more tasks than guide dogs, which are also considered to be service animals. What about therapy, companion or social/therapy animals? They typically don't handle tasks, but provide comfort and fulfill emotional needs. Here are the "official" definitions of dogs that serve various functions:
Service animals are legally defined (Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990) and are trained to meet the disability-related needs of their handlers who have disabilities. Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in public places. Service animals are not considered "pets." NOTE: In certain cases monkeys, cats, and even miniature horses may qualify as service animals.
Definition of a service animal: (Guide Dogs, Leader Dogs and Signal Dogs) A service animal is defined as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal, including cats and monkeys, individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for themselves. "Seeing eye dogs" are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:
Animals that alert or respond to a disability-related need or emergency, such as seizure, extreme social anxiety, or panic attack can be qualified as a service animal provided that you have documentation from a medical professional.
Therapy animals are not legally defined by federal law, but some states have laws defining therapy animals. Federal laws have no provisions for people to be accompanied by therapy animals in places of public accommodation that have "no pets" policies. Therapy animals usually are not service animals. Therapy dogs that provide comfort and companionship to patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions DO NOT qualify as Service Animals. One nursing home professional describes the strong impact of therapy dogs: "When we bring in a therapy dog, we notice a big change in the affect of our residents. People come alive." They provide people with contact to animals, but are not limited to working with people who have disabilities. They are usually the personal pets of their handlers, and work with their handlers to provide services to others.
A companion animal is not legally defined, but is accepted as another term for pet.
Comfort and medical support animals: These are pets that provide emotional support for the owner. They normally qualify if you can provide certification from a treating medical professional that the owner is being treated for a mental health disability and that it is necessary that you be accompanied by the animal. Comfort animals receive the same accommodation as do service dogs on flights of U.S.-flagged carriers and on many foreign carriers as well.
Service animals, companion dogs that provide comfort to the sick and elderly DO NOT qualify.
There are many success stories; here are just a few:
Abby Goes to Work
JJ Will Get That!
Hope offers hope to a woman with severe, debilitating arthritis in all her joints "Getting up and down and facing my day is a challenge and sometimes very depressing. At times I feel more than twice my age," says Carol Kaye. About three years ago, she rescued a "beautiful, big Golden Retriever named Hope."
"I knew immediately she was a working girl in the raw, so I set out training her. That was the beginning of Hope's rescue and training. I had trained a few hearing-assist canines in the early seventies and had also been working with a blind woman who had a great service dog, and together we started basic training classes at the YMCA for fun.
"If she could train her own service animal, I thought, then so could I. I went on line and started researching everything that I could find on service dogs: all federal and state requirements, training schools, everything! Meanwhile, my dog Hope filled my days with love and joy; she could make the pain melt into the background with her loving eyes and bounce. With the help I needed getting up and down and walking steps, I thought a service dog would be so much nicer than a walker or a lift chair.
"I am in my early fifties and do not wish to look quite as old as I feel. Hope was the answer! She learned so quickly and was always ready for whatever the day brought. She learned to brace and pull me up as though she knew that her sole reason to be here was just for me. My dog Hope was and is emotionally uplifting. I knew then that the bond between a service dog and their handler could not be beat or duplicated by anything on earth."
Resources and Information
The Delta Society offers the most comprehensive information on this topic:
A2. DISCOUNT HOTEL SITES IN THIS DO-IT-YOURSELF AGE by Barbara Krueger
What is the upside of using a discount packager hotel site? Is there a downside?
The upside is easy. You can search for a hotel room in a city, or part of a city, and compare pricing and amenities across different brands. Does Quality Inn have a better price than the Holiday Inn? Is the Marriott more conveniently located for what I want than the Hilton? (Maps are available for every hotel and you can focus in on the exact street, or zoom out and see the closest freeways and accesses.) In the "description" you can find out if breakfast is included, if there a fee to use the exercise gym or to park a car overnight. You can also find out what entertainment is close by if this is to be a vacation destination stay. Is there a shuttle to the airport?
What may be the biggest issue on the downside is the immediate charge to your credit card upon your booking the room on the packager's website. Another downside is that some otherwise-free amenities may NOT be included without an additional charge (i.e., through Hotels.com, breakfast is usually not included in hotels that normally do include them with a night's stay). An extra charge may apply for use of the exercise gym, airport shuttles, etc.
So, is the basic price the same if you book with the hotel or motel directly? We found that in many cases it was. The difference was that for the same price, the hotel direct operator was able to give an AARP or AAA discount (if they had one, like Best Western does), and informed me that breakfast IS included for that even-more-discounted price. These two perks made the direct booking cheaper than the packager's price.
So, can you take advantage of the plus side of discount packagers' sites? Why not? Find the hotel you want and compare location and amenities on their site. Then call the hotel directly; don't call through the packager. This does NOT mean "call the phone number listed below the hotel address." On the packager's site, the number below the address belongs to THEM. You get an operator who is working for the packager.
Search elsewhere online to find the hotel-direct number. Whitepages.com is one way to do that if it's a domestic hotel. Or search in google.com or yahoo.com for the hotel by name or chain name.
By calling the hotel direct you usually can get the same rate as is listed on the packager's site. If a chain of hotels has domestic locations, but you want an international one, call one of the stateside locations. If they cannot help you with the international reservation, they will give you a domestic number where you can get help.
In this do-it-yourself age of instant-everything, use all the tools at your disposal to take the best care of you and your pocketbook.
For more information on Understanding Aging and ways to stay engaged with the world, see http://www.seniorresource.com/ageproc.htm
B. DID YOU KNOW...?
1. Cutting Through the Fog of Medication Ads
Before reacting to what you have just seen, consider the source of the information (the advertiser) and what it is trying to accomplish with the ad.
The most common types of TV ads:
All these ads provide information that may be helpful for your treatment. However, there is no assurance that the medication is proper for your condition. It is important that you discuss any prescription medications with your doctor before their use.
2. Catch a Silent Killer with CO Detectors
Symptoms of mild acute poisoning include headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects. These symptoms can mimic other illnesses, and include dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, and irregular breathing.
If the CO detector sounds, immediately open windows and doors for ventilation and turn off fuel-burning appliances. If anyone in the home is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning, evacuate and call 911.
To acquire a CO detector, see http://www.seniorresource.com/SRBaz.htm#equip
C. THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.
More "Thoughts" at: http://www.seniorresource.com/thought.htm
D. SPECIAL SURFING SITES
1. Improving Energy Efficiency in the Home
For example, the purchase of energy-efficient appliances is one way to reduce monthly energy consumption. There are various appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, humidifiers and more, that are designed to work with more efficiency than ever before. Older appliances have the tendency to use unnecessarily large amounts of water and electricity to accomplish their basic purpose.
One of the simplest habits you can acquire is to unplug appliances that are not being utilized. Unplugging a computer and printer at night is one way to prevent a needless drain of energy. Televisions and DVD players are other examples of devices that use power even when they are clicked off.
To learn more about how to make your home more energy-efficient and greener, visit:
2. Sounds of Long Ago
E. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE
1. Smart Minds Go Pondering
- No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationery.
2. We Live by Words
- Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at: http://www.seniorresource.com/jokes.htm
This issue has been edited by Betsy Day (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This Copyright E-zine may be forwarded to others only if sent in its entirety. Other uses are subject to written permission of the publisher.
Aging in Place