Articles Posted in Uncategorized

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Whether to move a loved one into an assisted living home or hire an in-home caregiver is a difficult decision. Families can feel pressure to continue providing care for an aging adult despite signs that it might be time to explore other options. Other times families may find themselves unsure as to whether a loved one may need around the clock care.

While there is rarely a clear sign that it is time to move an aging family member to an assisted living home or hire an in-home caregiver, Caring.com recently published a list of eleven signs that family members and caregivers can look for to help in making that decision. Here are some highlights from that article: Continue reading →

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Proposed wage cuts at the Phoebe Ministries Nursing Home in Allentown have caused 400 healthcare workers to fight back. The company wants to cut wages as up to $5 an hour, a decision that will send many of the workers into poverty. In turn, such a cut would also lower the care of the residents in the home.

“This proposal means a pay cut of about $10,000 for me. I don’t know how I will raise my family,” said Phoebe housekeeper Deb Edelman to bctv.org.

The proposed cuts are not only harmful to the employees of the facility, but the entire community as well. Lowered wages mean lower ability to keep the hard working employees on staff. When there are fewer employees, the problems continue to mound with extreme overtime hours, short staffing and high turnover.

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Did you know that May is Older Americans Month? Each year the Department of Aging has a theme to celebrate Older Americans Month and raise awareness on key issues regarding older Americans. The theme this year is “Unleash The Power Of Aging.”

The idea behind “Unleash The Power Of Aging” is to recognize the older members of our communities who are active in the community. Much of the focus has been put on those older Pennsylvanians who are volunteers for many different organizations in our state.

Some of these programs include: Foster Grandparents, who help and mentor children with special needs and Senior Companions, who help the elderly who have lost their mobility so that they can stay in their homes. More information on these and other programs can be found on the department of Aging website at www.aging.state.pa.us.

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Did you know that many workers at skilled nursing facilities, over 80,000 in Pennsylvania alone, rely on government assistance in one form or another? The median wage for these workers in PA is $13.01 per hour as of 2014. Most of these workers, especially those with families to support, rely on public assistance programs to make ends meet.

Yesterday a minimum wage strike took place on Tax Day, in which tens of thousands of workers, many of them fast food workers, took to the streets to protest the low minimum wage in the country. This has been a highly debated issue recently that we will probably see as an issue to be debated in the upcoming election.

The debate is mostly focused on the effects this wage increase would have on our country. Workers are asking for a $15 minimum wage nationwide. This would majorly decrease the amount of workers who rely on public assistance. What would the effects of this be for the rest of the country? That’s not entirely certain. Many opponents of the wage increase are claiming that it will lead to increased prices for consumers, including an increase in the cost of skilled nursing facilities, as well as an overall loss of jobs.

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Pennsylvania seniors who are 65 or older take note: the state’s Department of Revenue is now accepting applications for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. The program provides a maximum standard rebate of $650 to those who qualify and rebates can go as high as $975.

According to an article on the RepublicanHerald.com, the rebates are on property taxes or rent for the last year. In addition to those 65 and older, qualifying residents also include people 18 or older with disabilities and widows and widowers 50 and older. For homeowners, the income limit is $35,000; for renters, $15,000. Funding for the program comes from lottery proceeds and slot gaming money. Those who are approved for a rebate will begin receiving them July 1.

Forms can be found at the state Department of Revenue offices, as well as local areas on aging and senior centers.

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Thanksgiving is a time when we reflect and give thanks for the things we have. It often prompts us to think of others less fortunate. So our staff was proud to hear of the efforts of our marketing coordinator, Samantha Cody, and her aunt who are gathering donated items this holiday season to help families affected by domestic violence. But their efforts aren’t just helping those in need; it’s a way for their family to remember Sammi’s cousin, Dave Guzick, who died in March as a result of an accident involving a distracted driver.

Sammi and her aunt are collecting everyday necessities such as bathroom tissue, soap, and detergent and placing them into laundry baskets that will be donated to Schuylkill Women in Crisis (SWIC). SWIC is a non-profit organization that provides services to victims of domestic violence, here in Schuylkill County.

In an article on the RepublicanHerald.com, Sammi’s aunt said that since Christmas is a time for families to get together, they thought this would be a positive way to remember their nephew and cousin, who was only 24 when he died.

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As anyone who has worked for the law offices of Michael J. O’Connor & Associates will tell you, Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. Staff and attorneys go all out, to come up with creative and eye-catching costumes. And this year was no exception.

MJOC_Halloween_2013_1.jpgKim.jpgOffice festivities included prizes for best costume. There were flappers and pirate girls, a bus and bus driver, and the devil with the blue dress on…complete with accompanying song. Winners included:

First place: a tie between Mario Brothers (including Princess Peach, Mario, and Wario) and Katy Perry

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Those who have had to place a loved one in a skilled nursing facility know just how difficult and emotional that decision can be. But in doing so, families must not overlook the importance of understanding the contract they sign with the facility.

One of Michael J. O’Connor & Associates attorneys, David A. Miller, was recently interviewed for an article that appears on Lawyers.com. In this article, Attorney Miller covers the importance of understanding nursing home contracts. You can read the entire article in the link below:

http://blogs.lawyers.com/2013/08/consider-carefully-before-signing-a-nursing-home-contract/

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