Spring Village hosting ‘Candles of Care’ event

Spring Village at Floral Vale, a 50-bed Memory Care Community in Yardley will be hosting a “Candles of Care” Candle Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, April 24th beginning at 7:30pm. The event will honor their past and present residents, families and caregivers who have been affected by Alzheimer’s or related illnesses.

The evening will begin in their Town Square with a heartfelt ceremony and proceed outdoors to the front circle of the community to light the candles. A dessert and coffee social will follow. If you know anyone affected by any dementias, feel free to join them in this spirit of support and remembrance. Please call Spring Village to RSVP at 215-497-3003.

As many as five million Americans have been affected with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia. Spring Village at Floral Vale is an innovative memory care community with a mission of providing care with respect, love and understanding.


Seniors complete unique jigsaw puzzle of Morrisville’s Presbyterian Tower


by June Portnoy

Bill Buch, a Morrisville Presbyterian Tower resident, recently presented a unique gift to six of his neighbors at the assisted living apartment building for seniors.

Bill, an avid catalogue shopper, came across a Great Britain company that takes satellite photos of your residence and neighborhood, then converts the photos into 500-piece jigsaw puzzles.

Knowing that residents Ruth Gillmore, Darlene Peterson, Richard Hansel, Linda Swiss, Jean Smith and Bob Foster assemble two to three puzzles a week, Bill thought that this personalized puzzle would be the ideal present for his friends, all between the ages of 65 and 90.

The puzzle arrived in early January, and the gift recipients immediately got to work, assembling it using a high power magnifying glass to help them manipulate the small pieces.

The puzzle piece on which the Presbyterian Towers was photographed was the largest piece and also the starting point, placed in the middle of the puzzle. From that point, the group added the rest of the pieces.

The puzzle includes photos of sites up to a four-mile radius around Presbyterian Tower.  “On the east side, you can actually see as far as Trenton’s Capital Dome,” says Bill. The puzzle also includes such local landmarks as the Delaware Canal, Morrisville High School and the playing fields of Williamson Park.

Bill adds that if you look at the puzzle under a microscope, you’ll see magnolias and blooming trees, indicating the photo was taken sometime during the spring.

Bob Foster, a Morrisville resident all his life, could look at the puzzle and pinpoint specific houses and streets, and as he did so, he gave the other five group members a trip down memory lane.

“My incentive for giving this group the puzzle was to bring like-minded people who all enjoy assembling puzzles together,” says Bill.  “Plus, it’s a great activity to sharpen one’s mind and eyesight.”

It took the group a little over a week of devoting most of their time to complete the puzzle. Bill plans to mount the completed puzzle on a board and then display it in the Presbyterian Tower community room for all to see and admire.

PHOTO CAPS: The Jigsaw Puzzle group, from top left, clockwise, John Grier, Bill Buch, Betty Ennis, Cathy Jablonski, Lorraine Tonan, and Terry Halpin. Photo by George Price.


Twilight Wish welcomes new board member

Twilight Wish Foundation, headquartered in Doylestown, has announced that John Uetz recently joined their board of directors. John is a recent graduate of Villanova University School of Law and is currently an Associate Attorney with the law office of Haviland Hughes in Philadelphia.   

During his time at Villanova, John participated in various pro bono and public interest law programs including the Homeless Advocacy Project, an organization that provides a variety of legal services to Philadelphia’s homeless population free of charge. John also participated in Villanova’s Civil Justice Clinic, which serves indigent members of the community by providing pro bono representation in civil matters, including landlord-tenant disputes and civil forfeiture cases.

“When I first heard about Twilight Wish Foundation, I knew it would be a great fit for me because I had seen firsthand the impact that granting a wish can have on a senior’s life,” said John. “My grandmother is an amazing cook, but she had only ever cooked at home. Her wish was to be a sous chef in a local restaurant for a day. When her retirement home granted her wish, she talked about how much she enjoyed the experience for months. I saw how much joy it gave her to have that experience and I am very excited to have the opportunity to play a part in making a positive impact on my community by being involved with Twilight Wish.” 

PHOTO CAP: John Uetz


Diversity Day at Chandler Hall


On Wednesday, February 26th, Chandler Hall held its annual Diversity Day event on its Newtown campus. Residents, participants, staff members, children from Child Development and guests filled Wright Meeting Hall to share the heritage of their cultures while experiencing a taste of many others.

Diversity Day gives employees a unique chance to share an important part of themselves with the Chandler Hall community. Dressing in attire from their homelands, staff prepared a mouthwatering assortment of delicacies from their native countries, ranging from Israel and India to Ireland and Italy, while Wright Meeting Hall was decorated with handicrafts from all across the globe.

This year Chandler Hall’s own Bluebird Chorus kicked off the entertainment with a concert of globally-themed songs. Next, the visiting George School Chorale performed their own diverse assortment of world music, and Mary Grace O’Malley delighted the crowd with her expert Irish dancing. The event was a big success, and everyone left with full stomachs and a heightened appreciation for diversity.

PHOTO CAP: Friends Services for the Aging, Leadership Director, Marsha Coleman, flanked by the HR Director of the Kendal Corporation, Wanda Whitted-Smith and Chandler Hall’s CEO, Lynette Killen share a moment at Chandler Hall’s Annual Diversity Day.


Life insurance policies can reduce Medicaid eligibility

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

To qualify for Medicaid in Pennsylvania, usually you can’t have more than $2,400 in “countable” assets. When calculating your total assets, many people overlook life insurance, which can count as an asset depending on the type of insurance and the value of the policy.

Life insurance policies are usually either “term” or “whole life.” Term policies won’t affect Medicaid eligibility because they don’t have an accumulated cash value. On the other hand, whole-life policies usually have a cash value that the owner can access, so they may be counted as an asset.

Medicaid generally exempts whole-life policies with a death benefit of $1,500 or less. But if a policy’s face value is more than $1,500, then the policy’s cash surrender value, less $1,000, becomes a countable asset.

Example: A whole-life policy has a death benefit of $3,500 and a cash surrender value of $1,500. Because the death benefit is more than $1,500, the $1,500 cash surrender value, less $1,000, counts toward the $2,400 asset limit.

If you have a life insurance policy that may disqualify you from Medicaid, you have several options, including:

  • Surrender the policy and spend the cash value.
  • Transfer ownership of the policy to your spouse or to a special needs trust.  If you transfer the policy to your spouse, the cash value will be counted among the assets that the spouse is permitted to keep.
  • Transfer the policy to a funeral home. The policy can then be treated as a prepayment of funeral expenses, which doesn’t count as an asset.
  • Take out a loan on the cash value. This reduces the cash value and the death benefit, but keeps the policy in place.

Spring Village offering free caregiver advice

Spring Village’s “Serving Hearts” is now offering free help and information for caregivers of memory loss family members or friends.

Whether your loved one has mild or severe memory loss, one of the dedicated team members of “Serving Hearts” at Spring Village of Floral Vale can help you. Spring Village is a quaint, secured memory care community in Yardley committed to providing care with respect, love and understanding.  

Once you visit Spring Village’s community, you’ll experience a warm and welcoming atmosphere where staff understand your caregiving journey, so they can offer you the advice you need.

To schedule your free appointment with “Serving Hearts” at Spring Village of Floral Vale, located at 600 Township Line Road, call 215-497-3003.


How you can better cope when assisting a loved one or dear friend

by Gregg Rackin, CEO, Care Plus More Homecare

What most people who care for others don’t pay enough attention to is the tremendous and constant stress they are under. Many choose to ignore it. But inside, the stress doesn’t go away, and it can cause a lot of tension, even resentment. That’s why respite (relief) care is so very important when caring for a loved one or friend. It’s easy and it’s more affordable than most think. Talk to a homecare professional who can explain all your options.

Things to think about:

  • Recognize that caregiver stress is REAL. Without some time to yourself, how can you be at your best when caring for others?
  • Have you developed a care plan to best fit everyone’s needs?
  • Have you thought about how to improve your relationship with those you care for? If so, how do you do that?
  • Can stress as a caregiver affect your health?
  • How can respite care (relief) reduce your stress levels?
  • Will help for you and those you care for make things more manageable for everyone?
  • Are you concerned that you may not know the qualifications of the homecare professional coming into your home? Is the homecare professional Pennsylvania licensed, bonded and insured? Does the homecare professional agency screen and train its employees?
  • How long will it take for you to become comfortable with getting the help you need?
  • How much will it cost?

All of these are important questions that knowledgeable homecare professionals can help you answer. Caregiving is one of the most fulfilling jobs anyone can do. It’s also one of the most difficult.


Protecting your parents

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

As we live through the latest winter storms to strike our area, we often think about how this is affecting our aging parents. Most of us call to ask if they are okay, check on them, bring them groceries and shovel their snow. As caring children and family members, we worry about their safety and well-being. After all, they raised us and gave us a significant part of their lives. In the same way, we should make certain that our parents’ social and financial matters are in order. Sometimes we begin to notice that they may need more help. Seniors may often begin to neglect proper management of their finances or tend to ignore any warning signs regarding their health or well-being. This often becomes a good time to start a conversation with your parents to discuss how they might benefit from assistance from family members. This is also the situation where an effective elder law attorney can be a valuable partner.

Conversations regarding estate planning may include discussing the importance of preparing a new Will, Power of Attorney, and Living Will. Further discussions may include planning for senior living facilities, assisted living placement or nursing home care. This presents the opportunity to review how Medicaid planning and asset protection can preserve a legacy for the family. Meeting with an elder law attorney who is knowledgeable with the ever-changing laws and requirements, and who focuses their practice on these matters, can provide the peace of mind that you get when your mother tells you on a snowy night that she is just fine. 


2013 Neshaminy School District Property Tax Assistance Program begins this month

The 2013 Neshaminy School District Property Tax Assistance Program begins this month. The purpose of the program is to provide property tax relief to senior citizens. The program is available to homeowners who will reach the age of 65 by December 31st, 2013. The program will provide tax rebates of up to $650 for senior citizens whose household income is less than $20,000. This includes reporting half of Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits, and 100% of any other income.

If you have received a rebate in the past, the district makes every effort to send a rebate application for you to complete each year. If you have not received a rebate in the past, rebate application forms will be available beginning this month. They will be available on the Neshaminy School District website, www.neshaminy.org, at your local tax collector’s office or by U.S. mail by calling 215-809-6522.

This program is entering its 36th year. Since 1977, rebates totaling over $2.3 million have been paid by the school district, with over 250 senior citizens participating last year.

NOTE REGARDING PENNSYLVANIA REBATE PROGRAM: If you qualify for Neshaminy’s rebate program, then you would also qualify for the Pennsylvania Property Tax program. The state program provides funds in addition to the Neshaminy rebate program and funds can be received from both. If you have not filed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania previously, you should call 1-888-222-9190 to order a form. This information is intended only to inform you; Neshaminy School District does not process the Pennsylvania rebates.


Senior Adults for Greater Education (S.A.G.E.)

Senior Adults for Greater Education (S.A.G.E.) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization “devoted to uniting youth and seniors in their quest to enrich education and leave a legacy for future generations.” S.A.G.E. recognizes the wisdom of older adults and integrates their contributions into the school community in a variety of intergenerational activities for the mutual benefit of youth, seniors and the community. 

S.A.G.E. was born in 1998, and since then has been working to bring generations together so that all generations realize, appreciate and embrace the differences while discovering the similarities. Individuals 55 and up are an untapped resource for teachers and students and their communities.  

Today, S.A.G.E. recruits and places over 200 weekly trained volunteers in schools partnering with administrations, teachers’ unions, and school boards to implement the program. During the 2012-2013 academic year, 150 senior volunteers contributed a total of 6,436 hours amounting to their partnering districts. This year Lower Elementary School in New Hope, and Hallowell Elementary in Hatboro-Horsham joined Council Rock School District, Bensalem School District, and St. Andrew Elementary School in Newtown. In the 2014 year, S.A.G.E. will add schools in the Philadelphia School District, as well as training volunteers in the Pallisades district. 

The program offers a variety of commitment levels in the form of weekly and episodic volunteering opportunities. For weekly volunteers, opportunities range from reviewing math facts to helping a child learn to read. 

Over the years, literally thousands of students have had the very powerful experience of having an older adult volunteer in their classroom. The students have felt the warmth and caring that a senior volunteer brings to their day-to-day experience in school. Research on resiliency has consistently shown that a caring adult can make all the positive difference in a young person’s life. But, the students who are lucky enough to have a senior volunteer in their classroom also experience the academic impact an older, caring and committed volunteer can make. In an environment of large classrooms and over-worked staff, the one-to-one time with an academic tutor can make the difference between academic success or failure, for many students in need.

Please consider joining S.A.G.E. as generations educate generations. To learn more, call 215-357-2332 or visit www.beasage.org.