Family caregivers are unsung heroes
November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize and celebrate all who sacrifice to take care of those they love. According to AARP, family caregiving is on the rise in Michigan, particularly as members of the baby boomer generation become older. AARP estimates there are more than a million caregivers in our state each year, and they provide 1.4 billion hours of free care to loved ones. Collectively, this work is valued at more than $15.5 billion yet, remarkably, is done for free out of love. Family caregivers dedicate their own time to helping take care of their parents, spouses and other loved ones to ensure their well-being in time of need. Often, however, while needs may be many and the willingness to help is great, caregivers find themselves unprepared in knowing how best to provide care. In 2016, Michigan enacted new legislation that ensures caregivers receive improved training and support when it comes to caring for loved ones. Referred to as the CARE Act, the Caregiver Advise, Record, and Enable Act, provides in-home caregivers who are designated by soon-to-be discharged patients with hospital-provided consultation and instruction for any after-care assistance tasks that do not require a licensed professional once a patient is released. The training comes as part of a patient’s discharge plan and covers tasks like assisting with bathing and dressing, transportation, finances and more complex medical tasks, like administering wound care and medication injections. One study showed that this type of program in New Jersey reduced hospital readmission rates by 13%, saving $52 million. Only time will tell how beneficial the CARE Act will be in Michigan. If you would like more information about the CARE Act or about caregiving, check out aarp.org/mi or aarp.org/caregiving. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing email@example.com.
Veterans Day, be sure to thank our veterans
Monday is Veterans Day, an opportunity for the American people to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and their families. Their courage and devotion to our freedoms inspire all of us. In Congress, the easiest votes I take are ones to support our veterans. Recently, I helped pass two bills that President Trump signed into law aimed at providing better support for our veterans. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act extended coverage to those who served off the coast of Vietnam and were potentially exposed to Agent Orange, a deadly chemical used against our troops. I also cosponsored the VA Mission Act which expanded high quality healthcare to our veterans through the Veterans Community Care Program. This new program provides veterans access to community care and urgent care if the VA does not offer the care veterans need based on eligibility criteria. I will always be a strong advocate for our veterans and their families and will fight for the issues that matter most to them here in Washington, D.C. My dad is a veteran. These issues are personal for me. This Veterans Day when you see one of our nation’s heroes, be sure to thank them. Their bravery is why we are still the home of the free. To learn more about other important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or visit my website: upton.house.gov. You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/ Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).
Carbon monoxide awareness
When power outages occur after severe weather, using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home and poison the people and animals inside. Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from CO poisoning. Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon. CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms. Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home. Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage. Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. And never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper. CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by acting wisely in case of a power outage and learning the symptoms of CO poisoning.
Honoring our veterans
November 11, 1919, the United States celebrated Armistice Day for the first time, which marked the end of the first “Great War.” Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance of the day, but it wasn’t until 1938 that November 11th became a national holiday. In 1954 President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to our currently observed Veterans Day. Unlike Memorial Day that reflects upon our fallen soldiers, Veterans Day especially gives thanks to our living veterans who served our country during times of war or peace. Earlier this year, I wrote about the importance of taking time to reflect and remember the individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the hope of our nation and the promise of freedom for all. Today, I’m writing to encourage people to look around and see the good that is happening in our communities because of leaders like our veterans. These soldiers have become our teachers. Their presence in our communities and the words and deeds of their lives remind us of the values that our nation stands for and the courage that is necessary to uphold these values and principles daily. These men and women didn’t volunteer to serve only to fight for Republican values or Democratic values; they volunteered to risk their lives to protect a nation that is blessed by the richness of our diversity. I encourage everyone to look to our veterans as examples of how we should live as citizens of this great nation and for how we should treat our fellow Americans. Thank you to all who served and those still serving. Let us walk towards tomorrow, living in the freedom provided by our veterans. If I can ever be of assistance to you, you can reach me via email at PaulineWendzel@house.mi.gov or by phone at 517-373-1403. You can also visit my website at www.RepWendzel.com.
What can investors learn from veterans? Each year, Veterans Day allows us to show our respect for the sacrifices that military veterans have made for our country. But have you ever stopped to think about what lessons our veterans can teach us about how we conduct various aspects of our lives? For example, consider the following traits and how they might apply to your actions as an investor: Perseverance – Even veterans who have not served in armed combat have had to persevere in challenging situations. The military life is not an easy one, as it often involves frequent moves, living in foreign countries, time away from loved ones, and so on. As an investor, in what ways do you need to show perseverance? For one thing, you’ll need to stick it out even in the face of volatile markets and short-term losses. And you’ll need the discipline to make investing a top priority throughout your life, even with all the other financial demands you face. Willingness to learn and adapt – During the course of their service, military veterans frequently need to learn new skills for their deployments. Furthermore, living as they often do in foreign countries, they must adapt to new cultures and customs. When you invest, you’re learning new things, not only about changes in the economic environment and new investment opportunities, but also about yourself – your risk tolerance, your investment preferences, and your views about your ideal retirement lifestyle. Your ability to learn new investment behaviors and to adapt to changing circumstances can help determine your long-term success. Awareness of the “big picture” – All members of the military know that their individual duties, while perhaps highly specific, are nonetheless part of a much bigger picture – the security of their country. When you make an investment decision, it might seem relatively minor, but each move you make should contribute to your larger goals – college for your children (or grandchildren), a comfortable retirement, a legacy for your family or any other objective. And if you can keep in mind that your actions are all designed to help you meet these types of goals, you will find it easier to stay focused on your long-term investment strategy and not overreact to negative events, such as market downturns. Sense of duty – It goes without saying that veterans and military personnel have felt, and still feel, a sense of duty. As an investor, you are trying to meet some personal goals, such as an enjoyable retirement lifestyle, but you, too, are acting with a sense of duty in some ways, because you’re also investing to help your family. There are the obvious goals, like sending children to college or helping them start a business, but you’re also making their lives easier by maintaining your financial independence throughout your life, freeing them of potential financial burdens. This can be seen quite clearly when you take steps, such as purchasing long-term care insurance, to protect yourself from the potentially catastrophic costs of an extended nursing home stay. Military veterans have a lot to teach us in many activities of life – and investing is one of them. So, on Veterans Day, do what you can to honor our veterans and follow their behaviors as you chart your own financial future. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.