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Office Hour Change

Effective January 16, 2015, our hours will be as follows:

Monday – Thursday 9 am to 5 pm
Friday – 9 am to noon

We will be unavailable for appointments or phone calls on Friday afternoons, so that we may finalize our work for the week. This also ensures that we have some uninterrupted time to devote to the needs of our clients.

How to Talk To Your Children About Their Advance Directives


This spring, our oldest son, who is 23, returned to the United States after multiple trips abroad to places like China and Vietnam. He was about to leave again, to travel to Germany and other parts of the unknown.


At the same time, our youngest son had just turned 18, and was in his senior year of high school, deep in the college application process with the added stress of SAT & ACT tests, and a very crazy athletic season of rowing.


Both of our sons grew up around elder care, with both parents being in the business of guardianship and advocacy. They had heard end-of-life conversations dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times. They saw firsthand how bad things could get when there were no advance directives in place. They probably understand words and abbreviations like DNR, Living Will, Health Care Surrogate, and Health Care Decision Maker better than most adults, so they should understand the need to execute these types of documents for themselves now that they are becoming adults.


And yet, I was worried that they would be lazy about getting these important documents created for themselves.


What is a mother to do? There is always the nagging option, but that never works. Blackmail might work. So might showing them pictures of brain dead young people in ICU. Bribery? Oh yes, bribery might just work.


I went with the option of bribery. I explained to my oldest about how mom and dad pay for things, assist with difficulties in his life, and provide support in general. And as such, WE needed something out of this deal too.


He begrudgingly sat down and talked with us about his beliefs. Then, he completed the 5 Wishes form from Vitas, which includes a Living Will and a Health Care Surrogate.


One child down, one more to go.


Our youngest son, a strapping 6’8” rower, will be leaving for college in August. He is still a work in progress. I think the checkbook, gas card, and meal plan will be the best bribe for this one.


Wish me luck.



Theresa Barton is a Professional Care Manager, Life Assessor, Guardian, and owner of Guardian Care Management & Benefits Services, Inc. helping the elderly and disabled, and their families since 1993. For more information visit


Don’t Count on Your Pension, Why It’s Important to Have a Retirement Plan Pension Recertifications

Image Credit: Simon Cunningham

You work hard all your life being a dedicated employee, giving your time and resources to your employer. Surely you can count on them to take care of you when you retire, just like you took care of them when you worked, right? After all, they did promise you an attractive pension plan.


Unfortunately for many retirees, they are learning that this isn’t exactly the case, and that what they were promised doesn’t look anything like what they have ended up with.


Lately, it seems that not even the big corporations are immune to pension cuts. Companies like UPS, Lockheed Martin, the Boston Red Sox, and more are making changes to their pension plans. Whether these companies were simply ill-prepared for the volume of baby boomers set to retire, or whether Congress approving pension cuts had anything to do with it, the end result is the same – retirees everywhere are facing reduced pension benefits, and new employees are no longer given the promise of pension.


So what can you do to ensure you have enough when you retire?


While there is no guarantee that you’ll have what you need, unless you’re a billionaire, there are a few things you can do now to help insure a comfortable retirement.




Aside from your pension, what other investments do you have? Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities available to you, such as the 401k plan where the company matches? What other investments would be appropriate for you?


If you’re unsure of where to start, contact a certified financial planner. They can help you understand your options and come up with an investment plan that makes sense for the kind of future you envision for your retirement.


Long Term Care Insurance


Aside from growing your money, long term care insurance is another way you can “save” for retirement. This type of insurance pays for care services, facility costs, and other items not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.  Long term care is costly and expensive, and having insurance to help reimburse costs can help you to preserve your money so that your funds can last a lot longer.


See a Professional


There are many different professionals who can help ensure you enough during your golden years. While a certified financial planner can ensure you have your finances and investments in order, you may wish to see an insurance specialist about long term care and other insurances available that can help preserve funds. Similarly, you may wish to visit an elder law attorney to get your end of life documents in order, such as a living will and health care surrogate, and to make sure your will and estate is in order when you pass away.


While there is no guarantee that you will have enough when you retire, having investments, long term care insurance, and a team of professionals helping you along the way will giving you a fighting chance at having the type of comfortable retirement that you desire.


Allowing Alcohol in a Facility Setting Allowing Alcohol in a Facility Setting

Image Credit: Davide Restivo

Often times, aging brings about big changes. What was once a healthy, capable body becomes worn and frail, and suddenly the things we used to do pose risks, including living alone.


When your aging loved one has moved to an Assisted Living setting, it can be a difficult transition. Aside from a physical location change, there is now a whole new cast of people demanding their attention from the residents at the facility, to the facility staff members.


Changes like this can cause your loved one to feel out of place and out of sync. Sometimes, they become stubborn and refuse to do the things they should do, because saying “no” is the only way they have any control of the situation.


When a big change happens, like a facility move, how can you help your loved one feel a sense of normalcy? As weird as it sounds, sometimes it’s as simple as letting your loved one have some alcohol every now and again.


Don’t get us wrong, we are not advocating drinking particularly when there is a history of alcohol abuse, or when it poses a danger to the individual, such as the potential for medication interaction.  However, in some cases, allowing someone to have a drink every now and again could be exactly what they need to feel normal and in control of their choices.


Here is a story about one of our clients, and how drinking helped her adjust to life at an Assisted Living Faculty. It is our hope that it gives you some ideas about how to help your loved one if you are faced with a similar situation.


Vickie is a client who loves to have things her way. She has always enjoyed outings with friends, including the occasional glass of wine to relax at the end of the day.


After a fall, Vickie was moved to an ALF for health and safety reasons. She wanted to return home, and was having a hard time understanding that her home was no longer a safe environment. As a reaction to the change in her situation, she started refusing to follow through with some important things, like bathing.


Knowing Vickie’s history of socializing and having an occasional drink, we decided to see if providing her with the occasional glass of wine would help her have a sense of normalcy again.


We went about checking with the facility and her physician to see if this plan could be worked out. And, once everyone was in agreement, we had the doctor write an order for allowing the client to drink since she was under guardianship.  Then, we provided single serve bottles to the facility staff, instructing them to give them to Vickie at their discretion.


We have found that this allows Vickie the occasional treat, just like she would have treated herself if she was still at home and following her normal routine. But, even better, we have found that we can use the drinks as a reward, particularly when she accomplishes something that she’s been refusing to do, such as bathing.


Vickie seems happier now that she can participate in some of the things she used to enjoy, such as having the occasional glass of wine. We continue to monitor her to make sure that the drinking is not issue and that it doesn’t become an everyday habit. Should it ever become an issue, we are ready to obtain an order from the doctor to discontinue drinking, and will remove the alcohol from the facility.


But for now, we’re happy with how allowing Vickie the pleasure of enjoying an occasional glass of wine has helped her transition to her new life at the assisted living facility.