*Sept - Oct 2012 E-zine*

This Month's Highlights:
· Medical Foster Care
· Life on Social Networking Sites
· New Healthcare Act

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A1. Is Medical Foster Care for You?
by JK Wyndmoor, PA

Say you're a veteran and have a chronic medical condition. If you are ill and can't take care of yourself, is going to a nursing home one of your worst fears? Are you concerned that you will become a burden to family and friends? It doesn't have to be this way. An interesting and potentially attractive alternative has been developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It's called medical foster care, which the VA explains on its website:

By definition, the Medical Foster Home program (MFH) is an Adult Foster Care Home combined with a VA interdisciplinary home care team to provide a safe, home-like environment and an economical long-term care alternative for veterans who are unable to live independently. The MFH program will help match eligible veterans with approved homes and experienced caregivers. VA first piloted the Medical Foster Home Program in 1999 and is now expanding this program to more than 101 sites. MFHs must be located within the service area of each VA MFH program.

"Medical Foster Homes are actually a type of Community Residential Care home," says the VA. "They're just designed to be smaller, family environment[s] where the veteran can receive support and care for chronic medical conditions," said Caitlin Oliveira, MFH Coordinator at the Boston VA Medical Center. "Veterans who would otherwise have to move into a nursing home can choose to stay in the community where they can be a part of a family environment and have privacy."

Who is a candidate for medical foster care? Veterans who may not have family willing or able to take them in when they require 24-hour care can move into the home of a volunteer foster family prepared to assist with activities of daily living and participate in the veteran's care plan for a monthly fee, usually ranging between $1,500 and $4,000, depending on the level of care required, which is about half the cost of nursing home care.

"A small, but significant portion of the MFH population includes younger veterans in need of complex medical care," says the VA. "Most applicants are those veterans ‘aging out' of Community Residential Care homes and VA's Home Based Primary Care program where patients' needs range from behavioral and mental health conditions to complex medical and disabling conditions."

Program Expanding into New Regions.

In an article on, ( Angela Stringfellow writes that the medical foster home program is a unique opportunity for veterans, and is available in select communities across the country. And, it is quickly being adopted in new regions. "Through the program, an Interdisciplinary treatment team will make a monthly visit to evaluate the patient's care needs, provide foster family education, conduct patient care, and ensure that the foster family is appropriately trained to handle the veteran's care as needs may change over time."

If you want to know what the program is like from a patient's point of view, the VA reports experiences like this one on its website:

Dan's Story -- A Second Family

Dan's home for the past nine years has been with Barb Miller.

"I really have a soft spot for veterans; just because of what they give of themselves," said Miller, a medical foster home provider. "I feel like I can give my residents something here that they may not have had before."

In Dan's case, he has found a new family and a drug-free life. The decision to move in was a difficult one, because it meant leaving behind his own house, furniture and neighborhood friends.

"I gave up a lot of stuff, but I'm glad I did it now," he said. "My family's here."

The family home environment is a key attraction of the MFH care option for veterans or for family members selecting a long-term care alternative for their loved ones. It has been a popular choice with veterans, even though they are responsible for paying the MFH caregiver.

A contract is made between the caregiver and the veteran, who pays for their monthly rent, board and assistance with personal care. This cost is frequently offset by the veteran's other VA financial benefits and any other income they may have.

"Twenty-seven percent of our veterans are highly service-connected and ostensibly would be able to have VA pay for their care in a VA long-term care facility," said Dan Goedken, Medical Foster Home National Program Coordinator. "Instead they choose to use their financial resources and pay for their care at a medical foster home. That's a pretty significant percentage, and underscores the veteran's choice for MFH."

Receiving in-home care has also improved the health of those veterans in the MFH program. The number of days they spend in the hospital is cut in half and the number of nursing home days is reduced by 70 to 80 percent. In all, total VA health care costs are reduced by 24 percent.

"Veterans have the choice of not needing to go into a long-term care setting and the VA is still very much involved in the care," said Goedken. "It is a personalized setting, it's a home environment and yet they receive a lot of clinical support from the VA to help maintain the veteran."

As a caregiver, Miller enjoys the supportive home care team, which is available to check the status of prescription orders and conduct check-ups at the house while the veterans enjoy individualized attention. She has found that the right amount of independence and attention can help a veteran to flourish.

"A lot of veterans feel like they've been institutionalized, but here they feel like they're in a home and that's extremely important to them," Miller explained. "I think we're really a total family unit. I tell clients: ‘Even though you have a family, you have a second family here.'"

To become a medical foster home, you must meet a number of requirements, which vary by state. For example, in Pennsylvania, if you wish to become a medical foster home, you must:

- Be 21 years of age or older;
- Own or rent your own home;
- Be fluent in English;
- Pass a criminal background check;
- Be CPR- and first-aid certified;
- Permit monthly Interdisciplinary treatment team visits;
- Accept and participate in the veteran's treatment plan.

Overall, writes Stringfellow, "The Medical Foster Care Program is an excellent way for veterans to maximize their benefit dollars while having an active choice about where they'll receive care. For families who become a medical foster home, it's much more than exchanging room and board for money. Caregivers get the satisfaction of improving the quality of life of a veteran who has served our country, and often benefit from companionship and recounts of times of active service that may otherwise never be shared."

Find more housing information at:

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A2. The Tone of Life on Social Networking Sites

The overall social and emotional climate of social networking sites (SNS) is a very positive one, where adult users get personal rewards and satisfactions at far higher levels than they encounter anti-social people or have ill consequences from their encounters. A nationally representative phone survey of American adults finds that:

- 85% of SNS-using adults say that their experience on the sites is that people are mostly kind, compared with 5% who say people they observe on the sites are mostly unkind and another 5% who say their answer depends on the situation.

- 68% of SNS users said they had an experience that made them feel good about themselves.

- 61% had experiences that made them feel closer to another person. (Many said they had both experiences.)

- 39% of SNS-using adults say they frequently see acts of generosity by other SNS users and another 36% say they sometimes see others behaving generously and helpfully. By comparison, 18% of SNS-using adults say they see helpful behavior "only once in a while" and 5% say they never see generosity exhibited by others on social networking sites.
At the same time, notable proportions of SNS users do witness bad behavior on those sites and nearly a third have experienced some negative outcomes from their experiences on social networking sites. Some 49% of SNS-using adults said they have seen mean or cruel behavior displayed by others at least occasionally. And 26% said they had experienced at least one of the bad outcomes that were queried in the survey.

About the Survey

This report is based on the findings of a survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from July 25 to August 26, 2011, among a sample of 2,260 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,344) and cell phone (916, including 425 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

This survey of adults was conducted in order to compare adult experiences on social networking sites to teenagers' experiences. The Pew Internet Project reported the teen findings in November 2011. For more information, please see the About this study and Methodology sections of this report.

Source: by Lee Rainie, Amanda Lenhart, Aaron Smith, Pew Internet & American Life Project, Feb 9, 2012

See the full report at:

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1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and You
There was a lot of discussion about the size and complexity of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when President Obama signed it in 2010. The act puts in place strong consumer protections, provides new coverage options and gives you the tools you need to make informed choices about your health

The Supreme Court has now upheld much of the act's constitutionality. Hence it is a good time to review the key provisions and their implementation timing.

Below are some of the key elements of the act:

A) Lifetime coverage limits: Insurance companies can no longer impose such limits.

B) Annual insurance cap is sharply limited and eliminated entirely in 2014.

C) Pre-existing conditions exclusion
- eliminated for children
- special temporary program for adults until 2014
- Health insurance exchanges by 2014 so everyone is covered.

D) End of "rescissions:" You cannot be dropped when you get sick.

E) Young Adult Coverage: Can remain on parents' insurance until they are 26.

F) Seniors' Coverage:
- Continuation of all of Medicare's guaranteed benefits
- Closes the Medicare Part D coverage gap or "doughnut hole" over a10-year period. Started in 2010. 50% coverage in 2011.
- No fee/co-pay for preventive care (such as screenings for cancer and diabetes). Plus your doctor will work with you to develop your own plan to keep you as healthy as possible.
- Enhanced access to primary care doctors. Doctors receive bonuses for better quality and improved coordinated care.

G) Rebates from Insurers. If their administrative cost ratio is too high.

Learn more at

Find additional health information at:

2. Veterans and Government Experiments
Veterans won another court order requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hand over more documents about its Cold War-era drug experiments on thousands of Vietnam veterans.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in Oakland, Calif., found that the documents requested were "squarely relevant" to the claim that the government failed to adequately notify veterans of the chemicals they were exposed to and what that exposure might do to their health.

Veterans said the government was trying to develop and test substances that could trigger mind control, confusion, euphoria, altered personality, unconsciousness, physical paralysis, illogical thinking and mania, among other effects.

The experiments were conducted in army compounds at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick, MD. They left many veterans with debilitating health problems for decades. Veterans said the government has since refused to provide proper medical care.

The judge ordered the VA to disclose more than 40 documents, which were deemed "both relevant and unavailable from other sources given that the documents reflect processes which have evolved over time."

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

Jesse Jackson -"Your children need your presence more than your presents."

Matt Damon - "Success is not something I've wrapped my brain around."

Rachel McAdams - "You know when you find a great dress, you've gotta hold on to it."

Sharon Osbourne - "When somebody comes who hasn't worked and wants to take what is yours, it pisses me off big time."

Simon Cowell - "If you've got a big mouth and you're controversial, you're going to get attention."

More "Thoughts" at:

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1. Actions That Help Others
If like many of our readers, you would like to follow new paths in later life but aren't sure where or how to start, Coming of Age is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that helps people 50+ explore their future; connect and contribute through opportunities, both paid and unpaid, in their communities; and provides training to nonprofits about how to build their capacity to capture the energy and expertise of this population.

The group's Web site contains a wealth of resources that focus on "civic engagement, learning opportunities and meaningful ways to give back." Meanwhile, the organization itself is expanding its programs and workshops across the country. In short, a good starting point.

Coming of Age has other communities in a number of sites throughout the country; they include Delaware State, Kansas City Metro Area, Austin Metro, Central Pennsylvania, San Francisco Bay Area, Cincinnati, and New York City...with more to come. To learn more, visit

Learn about the Aging Process here:

2. Communication With Grandchildren is Important
Do you write your grandchildren letters (or emails)? Sir Henry Thornhill did, and they are on the internet for all to appreciate.

In 1914, he was a soldier and administrator in India. Although doing an important job for the British Raj, he was sad because his grandchildren were back in England. Communications were very slow in those days; it took two months for a letter to get to England by boat. Nevertheless, he did not want them to grow up without knowing him, so he decided to send picture postcards to Teddy, his grandson. Sir Henry had always enjoyed drawing (only as an amateur) but this was his way of showing Teddy some of the many beautiful and interesting things he had experienced in his lifetime. As time passed, Sir Henry also wrote to Teddy's siblings.

The letters were kept by the four grandchildren and lay in the family attics for 60 years before being rediscovered. They amount to nearly 1200 items and may be the largest collection of illustrated correspondence in the world, and a unique record of a grandfather's love for his grandchildren. To enjoy these fabulous letters visit:

Learn about the Aging Process here:

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1. Wanted Poster
Stan's kindergarten class was on a field trip to their local police station where they saw pictures tacked to a bulletin board of the 10 most-wanted criminals.

One of the youngsters pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photo of a wanted person. "Yes," said the policeman. "The detectives want very badly to capture him."

Stan asked, "Why didn't you keep him when you took his picture?"

2. Quips in Time
"With every passing hour our solar system comes forty-three thousand miles closer to globular cluster M13 in the constellation Hercules, and still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress." -- Ransom K. Ferm, a fictional character in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s novel, The Sirens of Titan.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" --David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." -- A Yale University professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

This issue has been edited by Betsy Day ([email protected]).

Copyright 2012, 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.

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.

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