Articles for Members’ Use

The articles below are available for members to use in their facility newsletters and communications to residents, families, staff and consumers.

1. FTC Stops Mass Telemarketing Scam
The Federal Trade Commission has moved to close down a multi-million dollar telemarketing fraud that targeted seniors across the nation, scamming tens of thousands of consumers. The defendants used a telemarketing boiler room in Canada to cold-call seniors claiming to sell fraud protection, legal protection, and pharmaceutical benefit services.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, visit the online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Read More

2. PLANNING TOOLS: ADVANCE DIRECTIVES
Planning and preparing offer you and your loved ones peace of mind that your wishes will be met when a need arises. Advance directives are important planning tools that provide greater control over future care decisions. These documents guide your loved ones and health care providers by specifying what treatments you do or do not want to receive in various scenarios. All adults, not just older adults or those with serious medical conditions, should complete advance directives. State laws vary on advance directives.

Types of Advance Directives include:

Living Will – a legal document that specifies the kind of medical or life-sustaining treatments you do or do not want in the event you are unable to make your own decisions or communicate.

Durable Power of Attorney – a written authorization that names another person such as a loved one or family member as a health care agent or proxy. This document allows the designated person to make medical care decisions for you.

Letter of Instruction – A letter of instruction is not a substitute for a will, but it offers similar points of guidance. In the letter you can name persons to look after children or pets, direct persons to important documents or accounts, and include a list of important contacts such as an employer, attorney or financial advisor. You can also specify memorial or funeral instructions.

Do Not Resuscitate Order – A do not resuscitate order (DNR) is a request that instructs medical professionals not to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Source: CareConversations.org

3. PROUD MEMBER OF NEBRASKA NURSING FACILITY ASSOCIATION
Name of facility is a member of the Nebraska Nursing Facility Association. We are proud of this affiliation with the state’s nursing facility association and our work with them to improve the quality of life for residents of Nebraska’s nursing facilities. For more information, visit nehca.org.

4. PROUD MEMBER OF NEBRASKA ASSISTED LIVING ASSOCIATION
Name of facility is a member of the Nebraska Assisted Living Association. We are proud of this affiliation with the state’s assisted living facility association and our work with them to improve the quality of life for residents of Nebraska’s assisted living facilities. For more information, visit nehca.org.

5. PROUD MEMBER OF STATE’S NURSING AND ASSISTED LIVING ASSOCIATIONS
Name of facility is a member of the Nebraska Nursing Facility Association and the Nebraska Assisted Living Association. We are proud of this affiliation with the state’s nursing facility and assisted living associations and our work with them to improve the quality of life for residents of Nebraska’s long-term care facilities. Visit nehca.org for more information.

6. MEDICARE AND MEDICAID DECODED
Nearly half (44 percent) of adults surveyed recently said they were concerned about paying for the care they might need as they get older. That’s not surprising, since health care costs continue to rise and insurance options are increasingly complicated. Fortunately, there are resources to help, both with your planning and your payments.

For many, Medicare and Medicaid will be an important part of the financial equation. These government-administered health insurance programs help individuals and families with some of the costs of care, but it’s important to know exactly what they do and don’t cover so you aren’t stuck with an unexpected bill.

There’s a lot of helpful information about Medicare and Medicaid on CareConversations.org, including links to other useful online resources. But if you’re just getting started, it’s best to begin with the basics. Here are three of the most frequently asked questions about the programs, and their answers:

Q: What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

A: Anyone over the age of 65 qualifies for Medicare. To quality for Medicaid, you must prove that your income is below a certain amount. It is possible to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Q: Does Medicare pay for long-term care, like assisted living?

A: No, the program does not pay for long-term care options like assisted living. For that reason, many people supplement Medicare with private long-term care insurance.

Q: What about short-term care, like skilled nursing care after a surgery? Does Medicare cover that?

A: Yes, in some cases Medicare will cover skilled nursing care or rehabilitative care. But, to receive those benefits the patient must be admitted to a hospital for at least a three-night stay just before entering a skilled nursing center. A discharge planner is a good person to talk to about the transition from the hospital to a skilled nursing center.

CareConversations.org provides resources and advice to help you and your loved ones make informed and confident decisions about the care they may need now and in the future.

7. NEW TIPS ON PROTECTING YOUR RESIDENTS FROM IRS PHONE SCAMS
The IRS is again warning the public about phone scams that continue to claim victims all across the country. In these scams, thieves make unsolicited phone calls to their intended victims, which could include long-term care facility residents.

Here’s the warning from the IRS:

Callers fraudently claim to be from the IRS and demand immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The callers are often hostile and abusive.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has received 90,000 complaints about these scams. TIGTA estimates that thieves have stolen an estimated $5 million from about 1,100 victims. To avoid becoming a victim of these scams, you should know:

The IRS will first contact you by mail if you owe taxes, not by phone.
The IRS never asks for credit, debit or prepaid card information over the phone.
The IRS never insists that you use a specific payment method to pay your tax.
The IRS never requests immediate payment over the telephone.
The IRS will always treat you professionally and courteously.

Scammers may tell would-be victims that they owe money and that they must pay what they owe immediately. They may also tell them that they are entitled to a larger refund. Other characteristics of these scams include:

Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves.
Scammers may know the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Scammers spoof caller ID to make the phone number appear as if the IRS is calling.
Scammers may send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their bogus calls.
Victims hear background noise of other calls to mimic a call site.
After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up. Others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and caller ID again supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you with a payment issue if you owe taxes.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or don’t think that you owe any taxes, then call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
If scammers have tried this scam on you, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

The IRS encourages you to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. Visit the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov, to learn how to report tax fraud and for more information on what you can do to avoid becoming a victim.
8. IS LAUGHTER THE BEST MEDICINE?
Doctors may not write prescriptions for laughing and dancing, but the results of two unique therapy programs suggest that these activities could be the best medicine for improving nursing facility residents’ mental health.

The first program, known as “humor therapy,” got residents of Australian nursing facilities laughing on a regular basis by incorporating humor into daily care routines and hosting weekly comedic performances. The chuckles paid off; residents who completed the 12-week program were happier and less anxious.

The second program, located in the Czech Republic, engaged depressed seniors living at a skilled nursing facility in “dance therapy.” Participants attended classes on popular dances from their youth such as the waltz, foxtrot, cancan and more. Those who completed the three-month program showed significant improvement in their depressive symptoms, suggesting that dancing is more than just a good physical workout.

This post was originally published by Care Conversations, a program that helps families talk about health, aging and long-term care plans. For more information like this, visit careconversations.org.
9. VACCINES AREN’T JUST FOR KIDS
When was the last time you or a loved one discussed immunizations with your doctor? If you’re like many Americans, chances are you didn’t even realize immunizations are needed beyond childhood. But research has shown that immunity can fade over time and susceptibility to disease increases with age. In fact, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that nearly 50,000 American adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases.

How do you know what vaccines you or a loved one needs? A health care professional will need to make this determination, but it helps to arrive at appointments with some research in hand. To get you started, here are three of the most important vaccine-preventable diseases you may want to guard against:

Influenza (flu) – The flu is a virus that can be fatal, particularly to those who are 65 or older. Vaccines for the flu, typically called a flu shot, are often recommended on an annual basis for older adults and caregivers.
Pneumococcal Disease – This bacterial infection can cause illnesses including pnemonia, meningitis and sepsis. Adults over age 65 and caregivers can benefit from a one-time immunization against this disease, though booster shots are often recommended for high-risk individuals.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – This highly contagious respiratory cough most commonly affects infants and young children, but is passed through adults. Adults aged 65 and older are encouraged to get a one-time Tdap booster, which protects against pertussis, tetanus and diptheria, if they have close contact with infants younger than 12 months.

When considering a vaccination, seek advice from your family doctor or at community health clinics. For a complete list of recommended vaccines for adults, download the CDC’s adult immunization schedule.

CareConversations.org provides resources and advice to help you and your loved ones make informed and confident decisions about the care they may need now and in the future.

10. GUIDE ON PENSION ADVANCES

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a consumer guide and advisory about pension advances. Pension advance companies offer retirees and veterans a loan or cash advance in exchange for all or a part of their pension payments. Paying back the advance or loan, plus the high interest and fees that such loans typically include, could threaten older consumers retirement security. CFPB has outlined three recommendations older consumers should take to protect their retirement pension when considering an advance.

If you have received a pension advance offer, CFPB wants to hear about your experiences, good and bad. Please share your story at: Consumerfinance.gov/your-story/