Your Mind = Power

Your mind is portable and you can take it anywhere, says a CEO of a large utility..

With this in mind, some of his  TIPS are ideal words of wisdom for Sandwich Generationers:

Do not react; be pro-active.
Don’t accept what others say or tell you to do.  Make your own choices.
In making a choice, look at the situation from the other person’s point of view.
When you have to make a choice, choose wisely.

Being creative helps make “it” better.


Always Change

Aside from death, the only other certainty today is change.  Sandwich Generationers see this every day in their parent’s capabilities.  So, Sandwich Generationers must also change the way they think and how things get done.  Maintaining the status quo, putting one’s head in the sand (so to speak) does not solve problems.  Change is needed to solve problems.


Life’s Roles

There are at least 31 different roles a person can play during a lifetime  --  from being a son/daughter, brother/sister, grandchild, niece/nephew, cousin, spouse, grandparent, aunt/uncle and so many more.

As one becomes elderly, the number of roles available to participate in decreases substantially.  No one is really prepared for this decrease  --  hence elder self-esteem problems and depression occur.

There are no clear guidelines to behavior when one gets old  --  or when one becomes a Sandwich Generationer.  There has been no preparation for who and what we are at these stages of life.  So, it is difficult for everyone involved.

Being able to understand these changes can help Sandwich Generationers and parents maintain a better relationship.


Parent Can Be Dependent for IRS Purposes

A parent or other relative may be claimed as a dependent for IRS purposes if you provide more than half of that person’s support.

If you and siblings pay the bills, but no one pays more than half, you can file IRS Form 2120 to obtain a dependency exemption that can be assigned to one of you.

You can also deduct medical expenses you pay on behalf of any person who is a dependent.

Start keeping track of your expenses now so that you can substantiate dependency claims when you file 2001 taxes.


House May Be Claimed

In the past the family home was an exempt asset when considering Medicaid (term is different in various states) eligibility and could be Willed by the community  spouse to children.

With the change in federal law, elder care attorneys are now warning families that the state may place a lien on the family home of those in nursing homes with the bills being paid by Medicaid (the state).  Then whenever the house is sold, the state will want to be reimbursed for the costs of the nursing home patient. 

However, Medicaid staff may not tell you about the possibility of a future lien.  So a spouse or other family member must ask what the state practice is in regard to recovery of benefits.

If a lien is probable, then the family can look at a this issue before an application is made to Medicaid.


Don’t Transfer Parent’s House

Do not transfer a parent’s house into a Sandwich Generationer’s name.  Aside from making that house vulnerable to the child’s creditors or divorce situation, financial assistance to college age children can be refused because the Sandwich Generationer’s assets will be too high.


Friends = Better Health

Researchers at the University of Texas report that positive relationships have a positive impact on health.  The social factor in good health is often overlooked as a person ages.

UT’s Lifetime Health Letter says, “Having satisfying personal relationships can influence longevity, susceptibility to illness and ability to cope with health problems.

“Social support can

positively affect the immune system,
improve the quality of life and possibly the length of life for cancer patients,
help reduce the risk of heart attacks and complications associated with coronary artery disease.”

Other study results have linked social support to better outcomes in a variety of physical and mental health conditions.

Senior centers and adult day care centers provide marvelous positive relationships for the elderly.


Weightlifting Helps Elderly

Research from Pennsylvania State University  indicates that weight-lifting can be beneficial in preventing age-related physical deterioration and can improve muscle tone and blood circulation even in nursing home patients or those with limited physical capabilities.

Particularly weight-lifting with legs helps build muscle mass and strength and can help improve balance, which can help prevent falls and broken bones.

Arm exercises using weights are also beneficial.  You don’t need real weight, just items that have weight  --  such as soup cans, to start out with, or jugs or juice containers filled with water.


Artificial Sweeteners  =  Diarrhea

Artificial sweeteners such as Sorbitol or Nutra-sweet can cause diarrhea.  These sweeteners are used not only in sodas and sugar-free candy, but also many over-the-counter medicines.

If stomach cramps and diarrhea become an on-going problem, take a look at foods eaten and identify those with artificial sweeteners.  Delete them from your diet.  Within a few days symptoms should disappear if this is the cause.


Medicare & HMOs

If a person belonged to an HMO while working, retires and is eligible for Medicare, the person does not have to stay with the HMO.  By opting out of the HMO, a Medicare recipient has free access to physicians and other health care professionals regardless of where the doctor is located.  However, some HMOs cover drugs, which Medicare does not.


Teeth & Weight Loss

If a person is experiencing unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite, a dental exam may identify the problem.  Ill-fitting dentures are a major hazard to good health.  Also decaying and over-sensitive teeth hinder enjoyable eating.



Dangerous drug interactions and adverse psychiatric effects are reported from the drug Halcion, also known as Triazolam.  Britain banned the drug  years ago; but it is still available in the USA .  Paranoia, depression and memory loss have been attributed to the drug.  Avoid it!


End Smoking = Heal Faster

Smoker who quit smoking  --  even temporarily  --  heal faster from wounds and surgery according to a study at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Each time nicotine enters the nervous system, blood flow is restricted at the site of the surgery.  The decrease in the amount of blood that flows to the incision area is significant and can result in improper healing, he says.

A smoker who ceases smoking when a wound occurs or before surgery  will see the risks for complications drop significantly.


Incontinency:  A Woman’s Issue

A new study says that 10 million Americans are affected by incontinence and 85% are women.  According to the Bladder Health Council, most people wait more than a year before telling anyone about their problem, including their doctor.  Women, particularly, are urged to contact their physician as often help is available.

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