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  • Title: AFSCME | Staying Healthy
    Descriptive info: News / Publications.. Print.. Font Size:.. A Guide to Retirement.. Staying Healthy.. Return to Table of Contents.. Staying Healthy.. By.. Stay healthy you'll live longer.. This section is about taking charge of your own health.. It doesn't stress diseases and their cures, but rather prevention what you can do to minimize your risk of getting sick.. Most diseases associated with old age are the result of many years of poor health habits.. Good health habits can help us avoid or reduce the severity of numerous physical and mental diseases, ranging from cancer and heart disease to psychological depression.. And it's never too late to start "being healthy.. ".. Many of us know older people who seem young, and younger people who seem old.. There are many reasons for this, of course, but how you take care of yourself physically and emotionally can substantially increase or decrease your "health age.. If you haven't been taking care of yourself, you can still change some of your ways and get back some of those lost years.. Yes, in a sense, you can "grow younger" not in chronological years, of course, but in your health age.. Aging and health.. Aging is not a disease.. If it were, all old people would be sick and that is certainly not the case.. People age at different rates, though they may be the same chronological age.. Here are some facts:.. The effects of aging and disease are often confused.. People die of disease, not of old age.. Some experts believe that, if it were not for disease, we would probably live to be about 120.. Mental sharpness does not necessarily decline with age.. There is a long-term, ever-so-gradual decline in sex drive.. However, many people can and do continue sexual relations into their eighties and beyond.. Most older persons are satisfied with their lives and have no health-imposed limitations on their physical activity.. About 6 out of 10 who are over age 65 enjoy full physical functioning.. Knowing about the aging process, about normal body changes, and about how to control conditions that might arise can help all of us take the steps necessary to maintain health in retirement.. Normal body changes.. As we age, certain changes usually take place very gradually in our body, and at different rates for different people.. Body weight.. (other than fat) usually decreases by about 10% over the years.. Metabolism.. generally slows, so that we need about 20% fewer calories.. Muscle tone.. will decrease unless we exercise regularly.. Bones.. generally lose calcium content, which can cause brittle bone disease osteoporosis.. This may be offset at least in part by regular exercise, increased calcium intake, and prescription drugs.. Ligaments.. of joints tend to get shorter and harder.. However, this may be retarded or prevented through regular physical activity.. Sensory changes.. Many persons over age 70 begin to notice a gradual decline in sensory perception.. Vision, hearing, taste and smell are all affected to one degree or another.. Many people see these changes as "normal for old age" and do not seek the medical treatment that could greatly improve their lives.. Vision may change in our 40s and 50s, necessitating bifocals.. Regular checkups can detect these changes, as well as signs of cataracts and eye disease as we age.. Hearing may decrease in later years, but this can often be offset with proper hearing aids.. A hearing examination should be a regular part of health checkups.. Taste and smell become less acute in some older people.. When detected, a decline in taste and smell can be partially compensated for through awareness and enhancement of foods with spices, herbs and flavorings.. Touch is the one sensory factor that does not change with age.. Health Tips.. If you have gotten the impression that we can maintain good health as we age, you are correct.. The problems that most of us associate with aging are generally problems of health.. The secret to staying young, then, is to stay healthy.. There is no fountain of youth, but there is a lot you can do to stay young for your age.. Most of us know pretty much what to do to stay healthy, but somehow we don't get around to doing it.. It's the motivation that we lack.. So, consider some tips for improving your health:.. Regular meals and proper nutrition.. Weight in proportion to height and build.. Sufficient physical activity.. 4.. No smoking.. 5.. Moderate or no alcohol usage.. We are what we eat.. Poor eating habits are linked to many diseases, and are a major cause of obesity.. Eating healthy foods on a regular schedule is very important for mature adults.. Several small meals a day rather than three large meals is an eating option that some older adults prefer.. A good diet does not have to be expensive.. Vegetables, fruits, cereals and breads can make up the major part.. You can save money by relying less on meat as a source of protein and more on other protein sources such as poultry, fish, milk proteins (such as cheese), beans, peas and lentils.. Snack foods (potato chips, etc.. ), sweets and desserts are expensive and typically have little or no nutritional value.. A good balanced diet each day consists of:.. 2 to 3 servings of protein such as lean meat or poultry, fish, beans, eggs or nuts.. 2 to 3 servings of dairy products such as (low-fat) milk, cheese or yogurt.. 3 to 5 servings of vegetables.. 2 to 4 servings of fruit.. 6 to 11 servings of bread, cereals, rice or pasta.. Remember, you will be healthier if you eat:.. only sufficient calories to meet body needs and maintain desirable weight.. less saturated fat and cholesterol.. less salt and sugar.. more complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables.. less red meat.. more fiber, as found in bran cereals and the rind of citrus fruits.. Weighty matters.. Maintaining proper weight can improve appearance and add years to your life.. Also, it will improve the quality of your life because you will be less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses that can rob you of energy and mobility.. The typical American is overweight, mostly because of too little exercise and too many calories from fattening meats, excessive starches, alcohol and sweets.. Remember, mature adults need about 20% fewer calories than they did at 35.. If you've been trying to lose weight without much success, keep in mind that slow change is lasting change.. Make it your goal to develop new habits and drop old ones and be patient with yourself.. Fad diets and quick weight loss are hard on the body and don't really change your basic eating patterns.. Resources.. Superintendent of Documents.. U.. S.. Government Printing Office.. Washington, D.. C.. 20402.. (.. http://www.. gpo.. gov/.. ).. Making Healthy Food Choices.. Suggestions for seniors on how to improve diet and health by following official dietary guidelines; includes several health-conscious recipes.. Order # S/N 001-000-04662-4 ($2.. 75).. American Heart Association.. 1-800-AHA-USA-1 (1-800-242-8721).. americanheart.. org/.. Recipes for Low Fat, Low Cholesterol Meals.. Thirty-four pages of recipes based on fat-controlled, low cholesterol meal plans recommended as an aid to reduce an individual's risk of heart attack.. (free).. Scale Down.. Outlines food selection and preparation of food for a fat-controlled diet.. National Institutes of Health (NIH).. NIH offers a wide variety of consumer information on healthy living.. For starters, visit the website for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (.. nhlbi.. nih.. ) especially the article ".. Aim for a Healthy Weight.. Exercise.. Exercise plays an important part in slowing down the aging process and improving health.. Lack of exercise can lead to reduced muscle strength (including the heart muscles) and can contribute to bone loss.. Older adults who exercise regularly (about 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise, 4 to 5 times a week) feel better, have more energy  ...   the total health costs incurred by older adults.. This is partly because of the deductibles and the portion of allowed costs the patient must bear (for example, patients always pay 20% of the allowed cost for doctor visits and there are significant daily co-pays for hospitalization beyond 90 days).. Also, some older adults see health professionals who charge more than the "approved amount" standards set by Medicare.. In these cases, the additional amount must be made up by the patient.. Take into consideration that Medicare does not cover certain services and supplies needed by many older adults.. These include eye exams and eyeglasses; dental care and dentures; foot care; hearing exams and hearing aids; private duty nursing; and in-hospital personal services.. The cost of long-term custodial nursing home care and unskilled home care also are not covered.. Table 1: Medicare Coverage (2006).. Remember:.. "Reasonable charges" approved amounts are the maximum costs Medicare allows for physicians' services.. If your doctor charges more, you pay the extra amount in addition to your standard 20% co-payment.. (The law limits the amount doctors can charge to 15% above Medicare's approved amounts).. Doctors who "take assignment" will charge the approved Medicare amount.. Be sure to check ahead of time.. Local Social Security offices will have the list of area doctors who accept assignment.. Medicare covers home care only when a doctor recommends skilled health care services.. Most nursing home care is not covered by Medicare.. Current copies of the handbook,.. Medicare You,.. are available from local Social Security offices, and can help you keep up-to-date about details about coverage and changes in the system.. Medicare's Prospective Payment System has established standard hospital payments for specific categories of illness (known as "Diagnosis Related Groups" or DRGs).. To prevent unfair treatment under the system (denying admission, discharging patients too early), Peer Review Organizations (PROs) have been set-up to review individual cases.. For information on local PROs, call 1-800-Medicare or visit the Medicare website (.. medicare.. Medicare managed care plans.. Medicare beneficiaries may opt to enroll in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), or similar managed care plan, instead of the traditional "fee-for-service" Medicare plan if one is available in their area.. HMOs are private health plans that cover all services for a fixed, monthly fee.. Patients are limited to the doctors and hospitals in the HMO network and, generally, require approval before seeing a specialist.. Some HMOs offer more benefits than the traditional Medicare plan and at lower costs.. However, some HMOs have been reducing their benefits and others have withdrawn coverage completely in certain geographical areas.. The availability, costs and coverage of Medicare managed care plans (known as Medicare Advantage plans) will vary depending on where you live.. You can get detailed information on the plans available in your area by calling 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227), or by visiting the Medicare website at.. www.. gov.. Medicare-supplement plans.. If you are a member of a group plan at work, check with your personnel office to see if your health plan provides for continued coverage upon retirement.. Many public employers continue coverage for early retirees those retiring before age 65.. Many also cover post-65 retirees, when most of these plans serve as supplements to Medicare.. If your employer offers a health insurance plan, find out if it will cover deductibles, co-payments, and services not covered by Medicare.. Will your employer pay all or part of the cost of the insurance premiums?.. If, at retirement, you cannot continue with your group health plan, you may want to consider purchasing Medigap insurance.. These plans are specifically designed to fill in the "gaps" of traditional Medicare deductibles and co-payments.. These policies sometimes offer services not covered by Medicare as well.. They typically do not cover eye, dental, or foot care, or nursing home custodial care.. In most states, there are 12 standard Medigap plans offering different levels of supplemental coverage.. The premiums for a particular Medigap plan can vary from one company to another and from state to state.. Check carefully and make sure you understand all provisions before you buy any supplemental insurance.. For more information about Medigap policies, call 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227).. In most cases, if you participate in an employer-sponsored group plan, you won't need additional coverage.. Even if you must pay the premium yourself, a group plan will give you more for your money than an individual Medigap policy.. So, stick with your employer if you can.. If Your Spouse Has Coverage.. If your spouse is also covered under an employer's retirement health care plan, and you decide to opt for your spouse's coverage rather than your own, be certain that you will continue to be insured under that group plan if your spouse should die before you.. If such coverage would be terminated or reduced in that event, you may be better off taking single coverage under your own employer's plan when you retire; your spouse can remain under his/her employer's plan, or go under yours if that's an option.. Long-term care (LTC) insurance.. Traditional Medicare, Medicare HMOs and Medigap insurance plans do not cover the cost of non-medical at-home care or the full cost of long-term care in a nursing home.. If you have substantial assets that might have to be liquidated to pay the high cost of nursing home care, you may want to consider a private LTC insurance plan.. Check the details of each plan carefully, make sure benefits increase with inflation, and avoid plans that raise the premiums as you get older.. For more information, contact your state insurance office or your local Area Agency on Aging.. Prescription drug coverage.. Medicare-eligible retirees who do not have drug benefits paid by an employer/union or pension fund health plan can now get limited coverage through Medicare (based on a law enacted in 2003).. Known as Medicare Part D, the coverage is purchased through private insurance companies rather than Medicare itself, with as many as 50 plans competing for business in each part of the country.. Premiums vary widely, but average around $25 a month.. Deductibles and co-pays vary as well.. Nearly all plans have large gaps in coverage, known as the "doughnut hole.. " For annual drug costs between $2,250 and $5,100, the participant pays 100% of drug costs while continuing to pay monthly premiums to the plan.. Once out of the "hole," the plan pays most drug costs for the remainder of the year.. Choosing a plan can be confusing not only because costs must be compared, but also because drug lists differ from plan to plan and some lists are very limited.. If you take multiple medications, you'll need to find a plan that covers them all.. If this is impossible, talk to the doctor about switching some drugs to generics or alternate brands.. To compare plans including both stand-alone Part D plans and Medicare Advantage managed care plans that incorporate Part D benefits go to the web site,.. Medicare.. , and locate the drug-plan finder tool.. For information and counseling, call the Medicare Hotline (1-800-MEDICARE).. CAUTION:.. Retirees who don't sign up for a Part D plan during their initial eligibility period will end up paying a.. premium penalty.. if they join in the future: 1 percent for each month they delay.. The penalty is waived, however, for retirees with drug benefits paid by employer/union or pension fund health plans.. These retirees will get a notice of "creditable coverage" from their plan sponsor that says they're exempt from potential penalties because their benefits are at least as good as Part D.. Call your plan sponsor if you do not get a notice or if you have any questions about your status.. Previous Page.. Next Page.. News /.. Publications.. FEATURED.. AFSCME WORKS, Fall 2013.. Main Street’s New Moment: What Election 2012 Means for America’s Working Families.. “Main Street Moment” by Gerald W.. McEntee and Lee Saunders.. Categories.. Press Room..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Taking Advantage of Time
    Descriptive info: Taking Advantage of Time.. Taking Advantage of Time.. From job to retirement: looking forward to free time.. Most of us picture retirement as a period when we will have a lot of "free time" time to do what we choose.. Most retirees enjoy their leisure time, but some find that it takes months or years before they learn how to do so.. Many people both fear and look forward to leisure time in retirement.. One survey of employees age 40 and over in seven large companies found that:.. "Free time" was ranked first among the things they most looked forward to in retirement.. "Boredom, inactivity, loneliness" were ranked first among the things they least looked forward to in retirement.. As the results of the survey suggest, leisure time in retirement offers some exciting possibilities.. Yet, many of us fear that we may not know how to take advantage of those possibilities.. One of the major advantages of leisure planning is gaining confidence that we will enjoy our free time when we decide to retire.. Your job.. It's time-consuming.. Consider how many hours you devote to a job each week.. It's not just the 40 hours on the job, but also the commuting time and the amount of thinking time a job consumes, even in off-hours.. Instead of 40 hours, it's more likely that a job consumes 45, 50 or even 60 hours of your time each week.. In fact, probably no activity in your life uses more time than your job, with the possible exception of sleeping.. Most people recognize that this is true.. As a result, most people are a little concerned about retirement, wondering how to put all those hours to good use.. Retirement can and should be a time to do the things that make us happiest.. By planning ahead, you can throw away fears about boredom and forget about "vegetating.. " You can arrange an exciting life for yourself and have something concrete to look forward to in retirement.. Can you relax and enjoy life?.. Many people are workaholics.. The belief that work is good and not working is bad can be traced to our cultural past.. The early settlers of North America considered work a virtue and not working sinful.. In often subtle ways, this notion has been communicated from generation to generation down through the years.. Although beliefs about the virtue of work may not be as strong today as in the Pilgrims' time, they nevertheless may be obstacles to really enjoying leisure time.. Some people are better than others at overcoming the urge to work too much, whether it's in paid or unpaid employment.. But you shouldn't feel guilty about leisure.. The "all work and no play" approach to life is not healthy physically, mentally or emotionally.. Everybody needs time to "re-create" themselves, to refresh the body, invigorate the mind and stimulate emotions.. Leisure time and enjoyable activities help people function at their best and get the most out of life.. Focus on What You Enjoy Most.. Sometimes, people develop a pattern of activities that keeps them busy but provides relatively little enjoyment.. To help you avoid this syndrome, here's an exercise designed to focus your attention on the activities you enjoy most.. Ideally, it will help you plan the amount of time you'll want to devote to these activities in retirement.. The exercise has three steps.. STEP 1 List the ten activities you enjoy most.. STEP 2 Your spouse (or another person you may be retiring with) should list the ten activities he or she likes most.. Next, number the activities in their order of importance to you.. STEP 3 Consider the amount of time you are now devoting to the activities you value most.. Married couples and others who will retire together should compare lists and priorities.. Evaluate Your Approach to Leisure.. When you are finished with Steps 1, 2, and 3, consider the following:.. What amount of time are you now devoting to the activities you particularly enjoy? Should you be devoting more time to these activities?.. Compare your activities list with that of your spouse.. Are there some activities that both of you have listed? In general, do you enjoy the same type of activities?.. If you were to retire tomorrow, which of these activities would you spend more time on?.. You may see certain similarities among groups of activities that can give you a clue to the kinds of activities you value most, such as visiting with loved ones, spending time in wildlife areas, continuing education, reading, traveling and so on.. Clarifying your likes and dislikes in this way can provide valuable information for leisure planning for the retirement years.. If you are planning to retire with a spouse or another loved one, you'll need to know about each other's likes and dislikes so your joint planning can have the best results.. Worksheet 3: Leisure Activity Evaluation.. The benefits of leisure activites.. As stated earlier, leisure activities can renew and refresh physically, psychologically and emotionally.. But let's get more specific about the potential benefits of well-planned leisure activities in the retirement years.. Leisure activities can meet basic needs that are important to everyone.. These include the need for recreation, for recognition and self-esteem, for being loved and being needed and for expressing creativity.. Self-Esteem.. Everyone has a need for self-esteem.. Self-esteem is how people regard themselves, how important and valuable they think they are as individuals.. Often, self-esteem is tied closely to a job.. Retirement from a job makes some people feel that part of their identity has been left behind.. They lose their sense of achievement, of being appreciated and respected for their accomplishments.. Don't let this happen to you.. Fortunately, there are numerous opportunities for achievement, recognition and respect through leisure pursuits.. These can prevent or cure the "nobody" feeling.. In fact, there are many cases in which major accomplishment and recognition were first achieved after retirement.. The value of knowing yourself what you like and don't like is that it provides the basis for planning leisure pursuits that can maintain your self-esteem.. These pursuits also can be richly enjoyable in other ways.. For example:.. A retired highway employee with tired feet developed an arch supporter that, to his surprise, has evolved into a rapidly growing business.. A retired hospital worker and his wife grow prize-winning roses.. A retired school bus driver is now in charge of transportation for his church's field trips.. As with these retirees, you may need to plan specific retirement pursuits that will likely produce the feeling of achievement and recognition that is so important to every human being.. Fulfilling Social Needs.. Each person has a need for love and affection, too, and a need to belong.. These needs can only be met through others.. In this regard, spouses, children, friends and relatives are vital.. But just as a balanced diet is necessary to meet nutritional needs, a diversity of activities with others is essential to meet social needs.. No one should rely  ...   the International Union.. AFSCME has made a firm commitment to the Retiree Program because the union values the experience and wisdom that AFSCME retirees have acquired over their lifetimes.. Retired members still have a place in the AFSCME family, and can still make important contributions to our union, our communities and our nation.. If you think you might like to join a Retiree Chapter, get in touch with your AFSCME District Council or Local Union to see if there is a group in your area.. If no Chapter or Sub-chapter now exists and you would like to help start one, contact the AFSCME Retiree Program at 1625 L Street, N.. W.. , Washington, D.. 20036, or call (202) 429-1274.. Creating retirement work options.. It's not always possible to get paid for doing the things you enjoy most.. Sometimes, though, if you look hard enough, you find an enjoyable leisure activity that also increases income.. Here's an example of a couple who are a few years away from retirement.. Pete works at a public hospital; Meg has a job as a school secretary.. Pete also works Saturdays at a bicycle shop, where he is learning to repair and maintain 10-speed bikes.. Meg spends Saturdays in class at the nearby community college.. She's learning sign language for the deaf.. In this example, Pete and Meg are exploring retirement work options on an after-hours basis.. If Pete decides he doesn't really want to work on 10-speed bikes when he retires, that's fine.. It's better to find out in advance, so he can continue to explore other possibilities.. Right now, he can take his time.. There's no pressure.. He's not in a money bind, since he has a fulltime job.. Similarly, Meg is hoping to work with deaf children when she retires.. She loves children and thinks she will be able to get a part-time job at a local rehabilitation center.. What if she finds out she doesn't enjoy signing after she learns it? It's still been an interesting experience.. She can easily move on, with no regrets, to a new opportunity.. As with Pete, Meg is using the pre-retirement period to find out what she likes and does well.. That's a great way to create retirement work options.. Getting Started.. Are you interested in creating your own job possibilities? If so, there are a number of steps you can take:.. Make a list of the things you like to do.. Start with activities that you like the most that are most important to your enjoyment of life.. Include your most satisfying accomplishments (they do not have to be job-related).. Try listing at least twenty activities.. You might want to list a few of the things you don't like to do to make sure you avoid them in your new job.. List the job titles you have had.. Under each title, list the most important skills you acquired in that job.. You'll assess these skills in terms of future jobs in a later step.. Write the titles of three jobs that you would particularly enjoy having in retirement.. Disregard any thoughts such as "I couldn't do that" or "they wouldn't hire me.. " After you have put down the titles, list the basic skills each job requires.. Then judge whether you already have these skills in some form or could reasonably acquire them before retirement.. Pursuing the Job You Want.. If you have followed the preceding steps, you should have a better idea of the types of jobs you like and perform well.. But how do you get such a job?.. The reality is that good jobs the kind most people want become tougher to get with age.. To get the job you want, with an employer you like, in a location that fits your needs, paying what you desire this requires a few more job-seeking skills than many people have used in the past.. So, let's say you've zeroed in on one of several types of jobs you might want to try.. What do you do next? At a minimum, you will need to:.. Find out which employers in your area or city have the type of job that interests you.. Determine how your background and skills, your interests and motivation, your creativity and ability any asset you can claim can help an employer solve a problem or do a better job.. Prepare either a letter that describes your qualifications or a job resume.. Go to your local library and look through some of the job letter-writing and resume-writing books and manuals.. Find some samples that suit you (for either a letter or a resume), and then model yours after them.. Before an interview, make a list of the questions you are likely to be asked, then go over each question and determine how you would answer it in a positive way.. Make a list of points you want to stress in the interview.. Be personal and persistent.. In any interview or other communication with an employer representative, always keep in mind that you are not talking with a company but with a person.. Remember, too, that persistence pays off.. Checking back with an employer after an interview is how many people get jobs.. Setting short-term goals.. Since it is so easy to put things off when it comes to planning free time, it is usually worthwhile to establish some means of monitoring your actions.. An excellent device for doing this is setting short-term goals.. This can help you stay on target and keep track of your progress.. Experience shows that as you begin to achieve your objectives, your early success will motivate you to set even more challenging goals for yourself.. What is a short-term goal? Here are some examples:.. Call the AFSCME retiree chapter today for information on meetings and activities.. Buy or borrow some books this week on woodworking.. Telephone the pastor tomorrow to get more information about a specific church activity.. Inquire next week about investment clubs in your community designed for small investors.. Check the newspaper's want ads this weekend and call about at least one of the jobs.. As you can see, these are very concrete actions with a definite time for their accomplishment.. Moreover, the actions are "bite-size," that is, you can accomplish them successfully without a superhuman effort.. Success tends to breed success.. The key is to establish a pattern of success now and have it carry over into your retirement.. What Color is Your Parachute? 2000: A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career Changers,.. by Richard N.. Bolles, California: Ten Speed Press, 1999.. A complete guide for use in the job-hunting process.. Elderhostel catalogues.. Elderhostel, Inc.. , 75 Federal Street, Boston, MA 02110-1941.. Call toll free 1-877-426-8056 or visit the website.. elderhostel.. Provides a network of educational opportunities for older adults in the United States, Canada and more than 80 other countries.. The website.. seniors.. has sections on Education and Training and Employment and Volunteering, as well as other useful information for persons nearing retirement..

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  • Title: AFSCME | People and Places
    Descriptive info: People and Places.. People and Places.. Relationships Change, Along With Circumstances.. Where you will live and who you will be spending time with are important factors in planning for your retirement years.. The next few pages will help you focus on the personal relationships in your life, on the options you have for living arrangements in retirement and on places in your community that provide services for older adults.. After you look over this information, you'll have a fuller picture of what may lie ahead.. It will help you make decisions on an informed basis.. When you plan for retirement, remember that people are resources that are as important as financial resources.. Everyone gets enjoyment and satisfaction from relationships with others.. As you face some of the changes that aging brings, you'll need family and friends to help support you through these often-difficult transition times.. Take a look now at the people you turn to for companionship, support and assistance.. How will retirement from your job affect these relationships? How can you keep these relationships going and perhaps build new ones?.. Friendships on the job.. When you stop working, you'll stop the casual on-the-job friendships that provide a great deal of your daily contact with other people.. To keep that contact going in retirement, try to make plans on a regular basis with your friends from work.. Getting together regularly to play cards on Friday nights, or go shopping on Tuesday afternoons, can help.. If you want to do something new, such as joining a senior center or helping at a local children's hospital, ask a friend to do it with you.. You'll have someone to go with and a new interest to share.. Don't wait for others to ask you take the initiative.. A good way to continue old friendships and start new ones is to join the AFSCME retiree chapter in your area.. You will be with people you've worked with, who share similar backgrounds and experiences.. (For more information on AFSCME retiree chapters, see Section IV.. Marriage and retirement.. Retirement affects marriages in different ways.. After 45 years of going separate ways every weekday, suddenly a couple faces 24-hours-a-day togetherness.. While this presents new opportunities, it can also present some difficulties.. Talk to your spouse about what you both expect from your free time.. What activities do you want to do together? Alone? How will you handle household responsibilities? What changes could you make in household routines? You need to talk openly and honestly so you can eventually negotiate schedules and activities that will be satisfying to both of you.. Before retirement, you may want to start developing some new, common interests that you can enjoy together.. For example, you could join an organization, take up a hobby, plan future vacations.. Work on ways to be together during those free days ahead.. But remember, keep up or develop some of your own interests and don't expect your spouse to share all your time, activities and friends.. If you and your spouse will be retiring at different times, you need to talk about what pressures this could put on each of you.. One will be continuing a familiar lifestyle, and one of you will be starting a whole new way of life.. Remember, you'll both have to make adjustments.. Again, frank and open communication can help you see both sides of this situation and help you work out ways to make this transition time satisfying for both of you.. Living Single.. Nearly 10 million Americans over the age of 65 live alone.. Some are widowed, some are divorced, some have never married.. Single people who have developed interests and friendships already have the basis for establishing a support network for their retirement years, a network that will give them companionship as well as assistance, if the need arises.. So, it's wise to cultivate a network of friends over the years.. This is particularly important for women, as the majority of older women live alone, due to divorce or death of a spouse.. For both women and men, the loss of a spouse is one of the most stressful events in life.. That loss, no matter how much anticipated, brings grief.. But preparation does help.. On a practical level, a husband and wife should counsel each other on how to cope, discussing where financial documents are located, how appliances are operated and all the other details, large and small, that one partner takes care of and the other knows little or nothing about.. On an emotional level, it helps enormously to have close friends, to have a social network that can rally around and lend support at the time of loss and, later, help the widowed partner to resume living a full life.. Loss of a spouse may also result from divorce.. The trend for many years has been a growing divorce rate in marriages of 20 years or more.. A person's reaction to divorce often follows a similar pattern a sense of loss, a period of emotional adjustment, and finally, recovery.. Groups of widowed adults and older divorced people can be very helpful to others who are dealing with loss, showing them how to look ahead toward a new identity and way of life.. These kinds of support groups are run by churches, organizations for older adults and community groups.. Family ties.. Relatives can also be friends, and an important part of your support network.. As you look ahead to retirement, think about strengthening family ties.. Consider actually getting together with the cousins who say, every time you meet at a wedding or graduation, "why don't we get together?" Think about spending more time with your children and with your grandchildren.. Take grandchildren fishing or camping; teach them how to cook, sew, work with tools; introduce them to whatever you like to do.. Try to spend time with your grandchildren, one at a time.. Listen, as well as talk, and you will discover special companions.. At the same time, recognize that you have your own life and you should not be taken for granted.. A grandparent does not have to be: (a) a constant babysitter or (b) a continuing source of extra financial support.. Be clear about what you are willing to do and what you consider inappropriate demands.. If you have elderly parents, as many people of retirement age do, it can be very rewarding to spend time with them.. It can also be difficult.. Do the best that you can for an aging parent who  ...   you enjoy?.. have an affordable cost-of-living?.. provide for adequate safety?.. have good health care facilities?.. offer employment opportunities for older adults?.. provide entertainment, recreation, and/or educational opportunities?.. have easy-to-use transportation?.. have an AFSCME retiree chapter, a church group or senior center to foster social activities?.. provide opportunities to see family and friends?.. The variety of living options available to older persons has increased dramatically in recent years.. You'll have to decide what factors are most important to you when making a decision about living arrangements.. But remember, take a look at the whole picture finances, safety, friendships, health needs, etc.. and get all the facts before making final decisions.. You may need community services.. Communities have developed public and private services to meet many of the demands of older residents.. Communities differ widely in the services they offer.. In general, the larger the community, the more services it is likely to provide both public and private.. Nevertheless, there is often a surprising diversity of services available in even relatively small communities.. Health, shelter, nutrition, safety and basic finances can become serious problems for older adults.. This is why it is useful to know, before a crisis, what services are available in your own community or nearby.. Here are some suggestions on how to proceed, once you've identified the problem that you are trying to resolve.. Check the Yellow Pages First.. Sometimes a needed community service can be located quickly by looking in the Yellow Pages of the phone book.. Social services are usually listed under "Associations" or "Social service organizations.. " Programs operated by a government agency will be listed under the name of the city, county, state, or Federal agency that operates them.. Churches, clubs, fraternal organizations, and educational institutions are also under separate headings.. While these are organizations, not services, the names of some organizations often suggest the types of services they provide.. A few phone calls could bring you more specific information.. Look For Special Directories.. Many communities have printed directories of community services and programs for older adults.. These directories will vary from a one-page listing to a printed booklet.. A directory will most likely include the name and address of each organization, a brief description of the services it offers, hours of operation, and any eligibility requirements, such as age or place of residence.. The Eldercare Locator.. The Eldercare Locator is a free public service offered by the U.. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging.. It is a nationwide directory of local support resources for older persons.. For more information, call.. 1-800-677-1116.. and ask how to contact the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) that serves your zip code.. Your AAA can provide you with Information and Referral on senior services available in your community.. You can also find the national list of AAA's on the Administration on Aging's website:.. aoa.. The internet.. The Internet can be a valuable research tool as you begin your retirement planning.. If you don't have a computer, you may be able to use one at a local library, educational institution or senior center.. A non-profit group called SeniorNet (.. seniornet.. org.. ) offers computer training for older persons at more than 170 centers around the country.. Resources in the community.. Following is a list of some of the resources available in communities across the country.. These agencies and organizations either provide services directly, or can help you locate them.. Employment Service Resources:.. "Forty-Plus" Employment Agencies, "Over 60" Employment Agencies, Area Agencies on Aging, State Employment Offices, Senior Centers, Senior Community Service Employment Programs, Private Employment Agencies.. Health Service Resources:.. State and local government Health Departments, United Way, Area Agencies on Aging, Visiting Nurses Associations, Social Security Offices for Medicare forms, State Offices of Human Resources (Welfare Office) for Medicaid, Community Clinics, Lions Clubs, Medical and Dental Schools, Local Medical and Dental Associations, Public Health Offices, Doctors, Dentists, Ophthalmologists and Optometrists, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, HMOs, Adult Daycare Services, Respite Services that offer assistance to caregivers of elderly parents or spouses, hospices for the terminally ill.. Income Service Resources:.. State or local Human Resources Offices, United Way, Area Agencies on Aging, Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs.. Legal Service Resources:.. United Way, Area Agencies on Aging, Neighborhood Legal Services, Legal Aid Offices, Public Defenders, Police, District Attorneys, local Bar Associations.. Nutrition Service Resources:.. United Way, Area Agencies on Aging, Senior Centers, Cooperative Extension Services, Churches, Meals-on-Wheels.. Recreation Service Resources:.. Area Agencies on Aging, City or County Recreation Departments, Church Clubs, Libraries, YWCAs and YMCAs, Senior Centers.. Transportation Service Resources:.. United Way, Senior Centers, Community Action Agencies, Churches, Public Transportation Agencies.. Emergency Service Resources:.. Ambulance Services (Police, Private, Hospital, Fire Department, etc.. ), Doctors or Hospitals, Utility Companies (gas leaks, broken power lines, etc.. ), Poison Centers, Police Departments, Fire Departments, Red Cross.. Financial Resources for Housing:.. Department of Housing and Urban Development (subsidized housing, free legal and financial counseling), Farmers' Home Administration, U.. Department of Veterans Affairs.. Tips for seeking services.. Always telephone before visiting a service organization, so you can be certain that the organization actually provides the service you need.. If they do, you'll want them to explain the most efficient way of using their service.. Then, make an appointment to meet with the person who administers the service, if that is recommended.. Keep pen and paper handy during the phone call.. Be sure to record the name of the staff member with whom you speak.. You may want to call back for clarification.. Also, referrals are common.. One organization may suggest contacting individuals in other organizations and you'll want to be able to jot down this information.. Prepare a brief, precise statement describing your need.. The clearer you are about the help you are seeking, the more likely you will be to get the proper information and assistance.. Be ready to share important information.. If you are contacting agencies such as Social Security and Veterans' Affairs, you may save time if you have your Social Security number or military service number handy.. Start planning now.. You can start to make plans for new relationships and living arrangements several years before you retire.. Begin making new contacts by participating in groups in which the members share your interests.. Start exploring housing options and make a list of the most important facts you discover.. And become acquainted with the community services offered in your area, or wherever you plan to live in retirement.. Remember, retirement can be the best time of your life.. if you plan it that way..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Q & A: Social Security's Government Pension Offset (for members in jobs not covered by Social Security)
    Descriptive info: Retiree Tools and Information.. Q & A: Social Security's Government Pension Offset (for members in jobs not covered by Social Security).. Q & A: Social Security's Government Pension Offset (for members in jobs not covered by Social Security).. Q.. What is the Government Pension Offset (GPO)?.. A.. The GPO is a federal law that applies to nearly everyone receiving a public pension from work not covered by Social Security.. * If the public pensioner is also eligible for a Social Security spouse or widow's benefit, the law requires that the benefit be offset by an amount equal to 2/3 of the public pension.. How many people are affected by the GPO?.. Nearly half a million retired federal, state and local government employees have already been affected by the GPO.. For the great majority, the GPO totally eliminates the Social Security spouse/widow benefit.. The rest experience a dramatic benefit reduction.. Thousands more will be affected in the future.. How does the GPO work?.. Here's an example.. Let's say Ann Jones was employed by the city parks department for 20 years.. She retires with an average-size pension of $900 a month.. Her husband Ben, a trucker, retires with a Social Security benefit of $1,200 a month.. Normally, Ann would be entitled to a Social Security spouse benefit of her own, equivalent to an extra 50% of Ben's: $600.. But due to the GPO, Ann is forced to subtract $600 (2/3 of her $900 public pension check), completely eliminating her Social Security benefit.. If Ann becomes widowed in the future, the same offset will apply to her Social Security widow's benefit.. Why did Congress enact the two-thirds offset?.. According to law, retirees cannot receive  ...   Security, the average worker pays over 8% of pay into the pension plan and the public employer pays over 13%.. This is a combined contribution of 21% -- much higher than the combined employee/employer contribution under Social Security: 12.. 4%.. Also, in the private sector, most pension plans require no employee contribution.. The employer underwrites the entire plan.. As a result, workers covered by Social Security and a private pension can claim both benefits, with no offset, at a lower contribution rate than public employees, who must also endure the GPO.. In addition, the entire public pension benefit is subject to federal taxation (both the part deemed to be Social Security-equivalent and the part equated with a private pension), while most Social Security benefits are tax free.. Can't the GPO be repealed?.. Yes -- Sen.. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep.. Howard Berman (D-CA) are sponsoring legislation in the 111th Congress that would totally repeal the GPO (along with the WEP - the Windfall Elimination Provision).. AFSCME supports the repeal bills (.. S.. 484/H.. R.. 235.. ) and is lobbying hard to bring relief to members who are affected by the GPO.. *Important Note:.. The GPO affects only those public pensioners who were not covered by Social Security as public employees.. In the federal sector, this includes current retirees and most employees hired before 1983, when all new hires were required to join Social Security.. In state and local government, approximately 25% of employees and retirees (including teachers, police and fire employees, and general employees) are in non-Social Security jurisdictions, while 75% fully participate in the Social Security system and, therefore, are not affected by the GPO.. More about.. Jobs We Do..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Q & A: Social Security's Windfall Elimination Provision (for members in jobs not covered by Social Security)
    Descriptive info: Email.. Q & A: Social Security's Windfall Elimination Provision (for members in jobs not covered by Social Security).. Q & A: Social Security's Windfall Elimination Provision (for members in jobs not covered by Social Security).. What's the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)?.. The WEP is a federal law that applies to individuals who receive a pension from a public-service job that is.. not.. covered by Social Security.. If the public pensioner.. also.. worked in a Social Security-covered job for at least 10 years, the WEP creates a public pension offset that can greatly reduce that person's.. earned.. Social Security benefit.. The maximum reduction is $380.. 50 a month (2010).. How many people are affected by the WEP?.. Nearly 900,000 retired federal, state and local government employees are currently affected by the WEP.. That number grows by about 60,000 retirees each year.. How does the WEP work?.. For those public retirees who come under the WEP, there's a.. modified formula.. for determining the Social Security benefit.. In the.. normal.. benefit formula, average monthly earnings are separated into three segments, each multiplied by a different percentage.. For a worker turning 62 in 2010, the first $761 in covered monthly earnings is multiplied by 90%; the next segment of earnings, up to $4,586, is multiplied by 32%; and any additional monthly earnings are multiplied by 15%.. In the modified formula under the WEP, the 90% multiplier on the first $761 of covered earnings is reduced to 40% for retirees who worked in Social Security-covered employment for.. less than 20 years.. There's a sliding scale for those who worked longer in covered employment: the multiplier goes up from 40% at 20 years to the full 90% at 30 years or more.. Why did Congress enact the WEP in the first place?.. The WEP was created by Congress in 1983 so that Social Security could distinguish between two types of workers: 1) those who draw good pensions from.. primary jobs.. in non-covered employment, but whose low-wages or short work records in.. secondary jobs.. make them appear to be low-wage careerists to Social Security; and 2) workers who actually  ...   their work life.. Was Congress right about the WEP?.. No.. The WEP's modified benefit formula is applied in an arbitrary fashion.. Social Security has no idea how much a public employee has earned in.. wages when he/she comes under the WEP.. But the modified formula assumes all these public employees are higher-wage earners.. In fact, public employees and retirees who take second jobs are most likely to do so because they've always been low-wage earners and receive low public pensions.. Many of them are exactly like the people that the.. benefit formula is designed to help.. The WEP compounds their misery.. It's especially unfair when you consider that these workers pay the same percentage in payroll contributions (6.. 2%, which is matched by their employers) on their Social Security-covered earnings as all other workers, yet they're penalized.. The WEP is truly an unfair pension offset.. Can the WEP be reformed?.. Yes.. In the 111th Congress, Rep.. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced a bill that would reform the WEP and make it less onerous for public retirees.. The legislation would exempt retirees whose combined Social Security earned benefits.. and.. public pension are less than $2,500 a month.. The WEP would gradually phase in for those receiving combined benefits above that amount.. Can the WEP be repealed?.. In the 111th Congress, Sen.. Howard Berman (D-CA) have re-introduced bills calling for total repeal of the WEP (along with repeal of the GPO - Government Pension Offset).. AFSCME supports the repeal bills.. (S.. 235).. ,.. as well as the Frank-style reform.. bill, and is lobbying hard to help members who are affected by the WEP.. *Important Note:.. The WEP affects.. only.. those public pensioners who were not covered by Social Security as public employees.. In state and local government, approximately 25% of employees and retirees (including teachers, police and fire employees, and general employees) are in non-Social Security jurisdictions, while 75%.. fully participate in the Social Security.. (they contribute to the system and their public employer matches their contributions).. and, therefore, are not affected by the WEP.. 2013 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL–CIO..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Retiree Chapters
    Descriptive info: Retiree Chapters.. Retiree Chapters.. Following is a list of AFSCME Retiree Chapters nationwide (as well as subchapters that are not affiliated with chapters).. Don't hesitate to contact the appropriate chapter if you'd like to join or if you need more information about chapter activities.. If, as yet, no chapter has been organized in your area, you can join the AFSCME Retirees as an at-large member by writing for an application: AFSCME Retirees, 1625 L Street, N.. 20036-5687, e-mailing:.. retirees@afscme.. or.. clicking here.. Alaska AFSCME Retiree Chapter 52.. (907) 277-5200.. Arizona Retiree Chapter 97.. (602) 252-6501.. N.. California Retiree Chapter 57.. 800-244-8122 or 510-533-3791.. California Retiree Chapter 36.. (213) 252-1318.. Colorado Retiree Chapter 76.. (719) 564-5316.. phylliszam@msn.. com.. Connecticut Retiree Chapter 4.. (860) 225-7656.. Delaware Retiree Chapter 81.. (302) 323-2121.. City of Miami Retiree Chapter 11.. (305) 863-8623.. Hawaii/HGEA Retiree Chapter 152.. (808) 536-2351.. Hawaii UPW Retiree Chapter 646.. (808) 847-2631.. Illinois Retiree Chapter 31.. (217) 788-2800.. Iowa Retiree Chapter 61.. (515) 246-1517.. Maine Retiree Sub-Chapter 136.. (207) 622-6191.. Maryland Retiree Chapter 1.. (410) 547-1515.. New England Retiree Chapter 93.. Maine, New  ...   Retiree Chapter 4041.. (702) 882-5487.. Nevada Sub-Chapter 153.. (702) 736-3877.. denisekelley@cox.. For retirees from chapters across the USA.. who've retired to Nevada.. New Jersey Retiree Chapter 1199J.. (973) 242-4453.. New Jersey Sub-Chapter 1.. (856) 310-9031.. State and Local Government Retirees.. New Mexico Retiree Chapter 18.. (505) 830-6015.. New York City Retiree Chapter 37.. (212) 815-1782.. New York Retiree Chapter 82.. 1-800-434-8201.. New York Retiree Chapter 1707.. (212) 219-0022.. NY/CSEA Retiree Chapter 1000.. 1-800-342-4146.. Buffalo Retiree Chapter 35.. (716) 847-0456.. North Carolina Sub-Chapter 165.. (315) 794-3964.. who've retired to North Carolina.. Ohio Retiree Chapter 1184.. (614) 433-0303.. Oregon Retiree Chapter 75.. (503) 239-9858.. oregonafscme.. Oregon Retiree Sub-Chapter 155.. (503) 256-4456.. michaelarken@comcast.. Pennsylvania Retiree Chapter 13.. (717) 564-9797.. Philadelphia Retiree Chapter 2.. City, Blue Collar.. (215) 895-3386.. Philadelphia Retiree Chapter 47.. City, White Collar.. (215) 893-3765.. Philadelphia Retiree Chapter 1199C.. (215) 735-1300.. Rhode Island Retiree Chapter 94.. (401) 724-5900.. Houston Retiree Chapter 1550.. (713) 928-3738.. Washington Retiree Chapter 10.. (360) 352-8262.. West Virginia Retiree Chapter 77.. (304) 342-2114.. (304) 342-2441 (FAX).. AfscmeRetireesWV@aol.. Wisconsin Retiree Chapter 7.. (608) 836-6666.. Milwaukee Retiree Chapter 48.. (414) 282-1844..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Public Employee Retirement Systems
    Descriptive info: Public Employee Retirement Systems.. Public Employee Retirement Systems.. Retirement Systems of Alabama.. Alaska Public Employees Retirement System.. Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.. Arizona Corrections Officers Retirement Plan.. Arizona State Retirement System.. Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System.. California Public Employees' Retirement System.. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado.. Connecticut Office of the State Comptroller.. Retirement Division.. State of Delaware Pension Office.. Florida Division of Retirement.. Georgia Employee Retirement System.. Hawaii Employees' Retirement System.. Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho.. State Employees' Retirement System of Illinois.. State Universities Retirement System of Illinois.. Indiana Public Employees' Retirement Fund.. Iowa Public Employees' Retirement Systems.. Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.. Kentucky Retirement Systems.. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System.. Maine State Retirement System.. Maryland State Retirement and Pension System.. Massachusetts Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission.. Michigan Office of Retirement Services.. links to all state retirement  ...   Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits.. Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico.. New York State and Local Retirement Systems.. North Carolina Retirement Systems Division.. North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System.. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio.. School Employees Retirement System of Ohio.. Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System.. Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.. Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System.. Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System.. Administración de los Sistemas de Retiro de los Empleados del Gobierno y la Judicatura de Puerto Rico.. Employees Retirement System of Rhode Island.. South Carolina Retirement Systems.. South Dakota Retirement System.. Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.. Employees Retirement System of Texas.. Utah Retirement Systems.. Vermont State Employees Retirement System.. Vermont Municipal Employees' Retirement System.. Virginia Retirement System.. Washington State Department of Retirement Systems.. West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board.. Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds.. Wyoming Retirement System..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Care at Home
    Descriptive info: Tender Loving Care: A Guide to Hiring an In-Home Caregiver.. Care at Home.. Care at Home.. "Home care" is the common term for paid services provided to older people who, though frail or disabled, don t want to leave their own homes and enter care-giving facilities.. They prefer to remain independent, if possible.. The same services can be provided for disabled children or younger adults.. The person seeking home care services may be suffering from the after-effects of an acute illness such as pneumonia; experiencing a chronic illness such as diabetes; in the later  ...   accident or fall.. Sometimes the services are designed to augment care provided by a family member.. In other cases, home care services are required because family members aren t available.. The type of care needed depends on the particular circumstance.. Home care services generally can be divided into three categories:.. Personal Care.. Help with basic daily activities such as bathing, dressing, walking, toileting, and getting in and out of bed.. Homemaking.. Help with shopping, cooking, cleaning and other housekeeping chores.. Skilled Care.. Help with medical needs such as injections, physical therapy, and wound dressing..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Home Care Workers
    Descriptive info: Home Care Workers.. Home Care Workers.. As the population ages, the demand for workers who perform in-home care-giving services is growing.. AFSCME represents thousands of home care workers and our union is continuing to organize these workers every day.. "Skilled" care is provided by health care professionals.. These include physicians; registered or licensed practical nurses; physical or occupational therapists; and social workers.. Non- professional home care workers provide the other types of care.. The chart (below) shows various terms for these caregivers and describes the tasks they perform.. These occupation titles  ...   A general term for workers in this field, at various levels of skill and training.. Chore Worker.. Heavy cleaning.. Repairs.. Household maintenance.. Housekeeper.. House cleaning.. Personal Care Worker.. Help with bathing, dressing and other basic activities.. Homemaker.. Help with personal care, as well as household duties such as shopping, cooking, light house cleaning.. Reminds client to take medication, but not assist.. Home Health Aide,.. Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA).. or Nurse's Aide.. Personal care.. Assistance with taking medications.. Help with physical rehab and exercise.. Certain household tasks.. Usually works under nurse supervision..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Service Providers
    Descriptive info: Service Providers.. Service Providers.. There are several types of agencies that provide home care services.. They come in the non-profit and for-profit varieties and a newer public-sector model.. Home health agencies.. A "home health agency" generally refers to an agency that is Medicare certified.. This means it has met minimum federal requirements for client care in order for services to be reimbursable by Medicare (as well as by Medicaid).. These agencies focus on medical services and employ professional trained caregivers, such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and physical therapists.. Individuals who require "skilled" care usually receive that care from a home health agency.. If the client needs more than one service, the agency can put together a team that might include several health professionals, along with a certified nurse assistant.. Homemaker and home care agencies.. These agencies provide non-medical services employing homemakers, chore workers, home care aides and similar types of caregivers.. Generally, these caregivers do not work under the supervision of a medical professional and their services are not reimbursable by Medicare.. Some states require these agencies to be licensed and meet minimum standards.. Staffing and private duty agencies.. These are nursing agencies that provide and coordinate the services of professional nurses, homemakers and  ...   have the status of public employees.. Acting as "employers of record," the Public Authorities are responsible for issuing paychecks, complying with state and federal health and safety laws, and for witholding and forwarding taxes from the worker s pay (including Social Security payroll taxes).. They also perform background checks and take on all liability for the worker.. Responsibilities such as these might be very difficult for frail elderly clients to assume on their own.. Public Authorities are a relatively new concept in home care and operate primarily in western states, such as California and Oregon.. But the concept is moving eastward and may be coming to your area one day soon.. Independent home care workers.. Individuals seeking home care can arrange for their own caregiver by advertising in the newspaper or hiring someone they ve heard about or already know.. In these cases, the client is the employer and must comply with all the legal requirements of an official employer.. In addition to paying the worker and witholding taxes, the client is responsible for training and supervising the worker.. The client is also responsible for meeting all official health and safety regulations and assumes all liability for whatever might occur in the home during working hours..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Hiring from an Agency or PA
    Descriptive info: Hiring from an Agency or PA.. Hiring from an Agency or PA.. There are some distinct advantages in dealing with an agency or Public Authority, rather than employing an independent home care worker.. Agencies and PAs recruit and/or supervise their personnel, for example, and assume all liability if something goes wrong in a client s home.. Most do background checks of the workers they hire.. When a worker is employed by an agency or PA, the worker is either certified to do a specific job or has received some basic training.. Because the agency or PA assumes the role of official employer, it takes full responsibility for issuing paychecks, witholding taxes and complying with all health and safety regulations.. Also, if the home care worker is sick or, for some other reason, is unable to come to the client s home, the agency or PA is responsible for supplying a replacement.. With an independent worker, a frail client could be in a desperate situation if there s an unscheduled absence.. Imagine not being able to get out of bed in the morning without assistance.. Questions to ask.. When calling an agency in search of a home care worker, it's a good idea to ask the agency the questions listed below and feel comfortable with the answers:.. Is your agency licensed or accredited and, if so, by whom?.. Does the agency have Medicare certification?.. Are you a for-profit enterprise, or non-profit?.. How long have you  ...   Another important question.. Home care workers especially those in the non-professional categories tend to be low paid and have few employee benefits.. AFSCME is trying to change that through the union s organizing program.. In locations where AFSCME has organized home care workers, we've been able to raise pay and add some benefits too, through collective bargaining.. Benefits range from paid sick leave and vacations to health care and pension plans, grievance procedures, and opportunities for peomotion.. It s virtually impossible to make these advances for large numbers of independent home care workers.. AFSCME believes that collective bargaining with home care agencies as well as Public Authorities can bring more dignity and security to home care workers.. While most of these employers have yet to sit down at the bargaining table, you may want to inquire if their operation is a union shop.. By asking, you ll show them you care about the wellbeing of home care workers and would support a unionized workplace.. Also, if you should hear about a campaign to establish a Public Authority for home care services in your state or community, AFSCME hopes you ll get involved.. The same is true if you should hear about AFSCME efforts to organizehome care workers at a Public Authority or agency.. The voices of home care clients and their families, as well as other concerned seniors and persons with disabilities, are particularly valuable in these organizing drives.. The workers will thank you..

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