Friday, January 29, 2016

Front Porch CIW Offers Online Safety Tips

The Piers Project, an internet safety awareness campaign of the Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, offers helpful tips on how to stay safe online.


Did you know January 25 - 29 is also known as Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week? https://staysafeonline.org/blog/this-years-tax-identity-theft-awareness-week-is-january-25-28/. If you need assistance, AARP provides a free volunteer-based tax aide service for older adults above 50: http://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/.

To some the Internet may seem to be the ultimate tool to manage finances. You can update accounts through online banking, make credit card purchases, and even manage personal investment funds. Although there are many benefits, it is important to exercise caution to stay safe online. With tax season approaching, we’d like to share a few strategies to successfully complete this yearly process.

-          Be cautious of requests for immediate payments or a specific payment method (i.e. prepaid debit card or cash) for taxes.
-          Legitimate agencies will not ask for your credit or debit card numbers over an email.
-          Download the IRS2Go application onto your smartphone or tablet. You can use this application from IRS to check your refund status, pay taxes, watch tax-related videos and receive tax tips. https://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS2GoApp
-          To check how knowledgeable you are regarding this topic, head to this link to take a short quiz! http://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/info-03-2013/can-the-irs-really-do-that.html#quest1
For more helpful tips during tax season, please visit:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5027.pdf


The Piers Project is funded by a gift from the family estate of Ellie Piers to benefit the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing’s (CIW’s) ongoing mission of using technology to enhance wellbeing among older adults. Piers lived at Carlsbad by the Sea, a Front Porch retirement community in Carlsbad, CA. Her contribution allows the CIW to address Cyber Security through education, training, and the use of technologies that promote Internet safety, especially in the Greater San Diego Area.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What to Do When Being the Caregiver Is Not an Option

Not everyone has the resources and stamina to take on the role, and it's OK

By Phyllis Quinlan for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock
There are 66 million unpaid adult family caregivers in America — 29 percent of the adult U.S. population — providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Female caregivers outnumber their male counterparts two to one. In 2012, female family caregivers, on average, were 48 years old, lived alone,and provided about 25 hours of care per week.

As anyone who has done it knows, caregiving is rarely a sprint. It is most often a marathon of planning, adjusting, attending and doing. Not everyone is capable of staying in the race.


When You Cannot Be the Caregiver

What happens when being a caregiver is not an option? What do you do when your own health, personal and career commitments or relationship with the person in need of care leave little room for you to take on the added responsibility that comes with the role?

Many struggle with this relentless internal conflict and the onslaught of negative emotions that often result in a profound sense of isolation. The comments and judgment from outsiders add to your confusion and perhaps toxic sense of self.

What is called for at this crossroad is self-compassion. Surprised? You thought that I was going to suggest that you listen to your harsh self-criticism and dig down deep to find a way to be available and accommodating. Actually, I want you to honor your sense of personal limits and not make a commitment when committing to just one more thing could invite undue hardship or risk your health and well-being.


Ending Negative Messages

Just what is self-compassion? It is responding to yourself (and your situation) with kindness rather than criticism. It is stopping the loop of derogatory self-talk that often takes on the tone we imagine we would hear from some authority figure in our life. It is the extension of kindness, care, warmth and understanding toward oneself when we are faced with the reality of our human shortcomings, inadequacies, or perceived failures.

Self-compassion is not self-pity and does not mean perpetuating a sense of being a victim. It offers you the sense of objectivity and control earned by being an adult. Self-compassion is giving yourself the time and space to make a choice that honors your needs as well as the needs of others. Individuals who are self-compassionate are more likely to learn and grow from the challenges in their lives.

Self-compassion provides the foundation for developing personal resilience. It helps us to maintain a healthy perspective when we are bombarded by those on the periphery of the decision. They are those who are all too often unwilling to lend a hand but are free with judgments and rhetoric designed to manipulate you into thinking that you’re the best or only person who can do the caring when others cannot.

So my recommendation is to stay strong. Honor your understanding of what is best. Do not make a noble sacrifice by ignoring what you intuitively know is right, wrong, healthy or destructive. Respond to the challenge of caregiving with critical thinking rather than judgment clouded by emotion. Put your own oxygen mask on first.

Where to Go for Help
  • Share the Care Organization: sharethecare.org. A not-for-profit organization that trains groups to create care circles for an individual.
  • Veterans Benefits Administration: http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/. Site contains information that can connect the vet to benefits and services.
  • HOMETEAM: http://join.hometeamcare.com. Find highly rated in-home care providers
  • Nursing Home Compare: medicare.gov. Site designed to help you shop for the best long-term services in your area.
  • Care Navigators: https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/navigator/. Helps consumers look for health coverage options through the marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. These individuals and organizations are required to be unbiased. Their services are free to consumers.
  • A Place For Mom: http://www.aplaceformom.com/. Connecting families with senior care options.

© Twin Cities Public Television - 2016. All rights reserved.





Thursday, January 7, 2016

CARING Housing Ministries to Continue Community Benefit Project in Partnership with San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity

CHM raises $30,000 for non-profit during first year of volunteering and fundraising
CARING Housing Ministries President Nancy Spring recently announced that CHM staff will continue its volunteer work for one more year at the San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity Chestnut Street building site as part of CHM’s community benefit project for 2015-16.


Soraya Diaz, CARING Housing Ministries director of operations, far left, presents a check for more than $30,000 to San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Sonja L. Yates, middle left, and Chelsea McHenry, volunteer and youth programs manager. The donation was a result of a fundraising effort and volunteer activities by CARING Housing Ministries staff in support of San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Chestnut Street building project in Glendale. CHM used a $5,000 grant from CLH as seed money for this community benefit project.

“Our volunteer work was such a success in partnership with San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity that we decided to continue so we can participate in the completion of the project,” Nancy said.

San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity is in the process of building three affordable homes at East Chestnut Street in Glendale for low-income, first-time homebuyers. The homes will be three stories and will each be about 1,300 square feet with three bedrooms and two and a half baths.

In March 2014, CARING Housing Ministries staff members plus others from CHM’s parent organization
Front Porch, began volunteering either at the building site or at a Habitat for Humanity not-for-profit home improvement store and donation center, logging in more than 1400 corporate–sponsored and personal volunteer hours. Thanks to a grant from California Lutheran Homes and Community Services, CARING Housing Ministries made an initial cash contribution of $5,000 to the project and participated in fundraising efforts throughout the year on behalf of the project raising $30,000.

As part of the total donation, Front Porch contributed more than $10,800 in matching funds through its Social Accountability in Action program, which funds projects, programs and services designed to meet community needs.

In years past, CARING leaders have organized internal staff development programs with funding provided by philanthropic partner California Lutheran Homes and Community Services. Five years ago, the programs evolved externally into community outreach projects, while maintaining their team-building elements.

 
CALIFORNIALUTHERAN HOMES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

California Lutheran Homes and Community Services (CLH) is a not-for-profit social ministry organization founded in 1947. CLH’s mission is meeting needs through ‘faith in action’ including support for residents of affordable housing communities managed by partner CARING Housing Ministries, and residents of Front Porch retirement communities, care centers and active-adult communities. CLH-sponsored retirement and active-adult living communities include Carlsbad By The Sea in Carlsbad, CA; Walnut Village in Anaheim, CA, England Oaks in Alexandria, VA and Cecil Pines in Jacksonville, FL. Among the programs and services supported by CLH are the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging, whose mission is to meet the needs of older adults based on the understanding that aging is a spiritual journey; the Front Porch Gallery, which creates community by promoting an understanding of aging through art; the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, which enhances wellbeing and quality of life through the adaptive use of technology; the CLH Auxiliary; and the Charitable Care Fund, which supports residents in need who have outlived their finances.

Grace Lutheran of Santa Barbara Leaves Legacy By Gifting Church Property to California Lutheran Homes and City Housing Authority

CLH to work with city to create much needed affordable housing for seniors



The recent closure of Grace Lutheran church in Santa Barbara signifies an ending in one sense, but it is also a sign of a fresh beginning. The gifting of the land to California Lutheran Homes and the city housing authority will allow Grace’s legacy of service to its community to continue by providing much needed housing to low-income seniors.

While the closing of Grace Lutheran Church creates a new legacy of shelter for vulnerable seniors through the development of Grace Village an affordable housing community for low-income seniors, the congregation is assuring vital ongoing support for its new residents through Grace Village Services as well as ongoing support for low-income families and individuals served by local community agencies.

Grace Housing Inc., a nonprofit corporation, has been formed to receive and distribute lease income from Grace Lutheran’s properties now administered by California Lutheran Homes. Income from these leases will fund local services through a Legacy Framework established by the congregation. The congregation will see funding continue for community organizations supporting the mission of establishing permanent housing for families and food security, including Transition House and Habitat for Humanity, as well as Grace Lutheran’s 40-year-old Saturday food program, the Grace Food Pantry.

Construction of Grace Village is expected to break ground in 2016, followed by an estimated 18-month construction schedule.

The Grace Lutheran facility will also continue to serve the community until construction begins, as the church building will continue to host the many community groups that have been meeting there over the years, including several 12-Step groups, Alzheimer's support groups, Grace Quilters and others.

“Although with a measure of pain and a sense of loss, the closing of the Grace congregation does not mean the end of a ministry,” said Pat Wheatley, president of Grace Lutheran Church. “In fact, closing has provided the congregation an opportunity of expanding that ministry throughout the years as we try to listen to what God is calling us to do.”

As a long established Lutheran church on State Street with strong ties to the community for more than a century, Grace Lutheran knows the importance of leaving a legacy.

“The need in Santa Barbara for affordable, truly affordable, housing for the aging population was a ministry we could see belonged at this site,” said Rev. Lynn Bruer, former pastor of Grace Lutheran. “For more than a decade, as the congregation saw that it was increasing in age and not growing in numbers, they have had intentional conversations about the future and the mission.”

Along the way, Grace board members came up with several good ideas and affordable senior housing was one of them.

“This is a strong partnership,” said CLH president and CEO Rev. Gary Wheeler. “Both Grace Lutheran and California Lutheran Homes have a strong commitment to social ministry and the creation of affordable housing is a way of making a real difference in the lives of those we serve.”

The City of Santa Barbara recently updated its general plan to add additional affordable housing to meet increased need, according to Bill Jennings, CLH CFO.

“CLH has a long history of turning donors’ gifts into lasting legacies,” Rev. Wheeler said. “Our work with CARING Housing Ministries in the area of affordable housing is just one way we and our partners can make a difference in people’s lives. Working with churches who want to use their resources to leave a lasting legacy of social ministry is an important outgrowth of our collaborative work through the church.”

 For more information on how you can leave a legacy through CLH, contact CLH Executive Jill Hammer at 800-233-3709 or visit californialutheranhomes.org.



CALIFORNIA LUTHERAN HOMES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

California Lutheran Homes and Community Services (CLH) is a not-for-profit social ministry organization founded in 1947. CLH’s mission is meeting needs through ‘faith in action’ including support for residents of affordable housing communities managed by partner CARING Housing Ministries, and residents of Front Porch retirement communities, care centers and active-adult communities.  CLH-sponsored retirement and active-adult living communities include Carlsbad By The Sea in Carlsbad, CA; Walnut Village in Anaheim, CA, England Oaks in Alexandria, VA and Cecil Pines in Jacksonville, FL. Among the programs and services supported by CLH are the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging, whose mission is to meet the needs of older adults based on the understanding that aging is a spiritual journey; the Front Porch Gallery, which creates community by promoting an understanding of aging through art; the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, which enhances wellbeing and quality of life through the adaptive use of technology; the CLH Auxiliary; and the Charitable Care Fund, which supports residents in need who have outlived their finances.  

Leave a Legacy and Change the Future

A message from Ross Merritt, CLH Foundation Executive

In our last issue of CLH Today we told you about some of the amazing ways your gifts have been used to benefit our residents and are meeting the needs of the community at-large. One of those stories explained how a gift from the estate of Carlsbad By The Sea resident Ellie Piers is being used to support cyber security for seniors. Ellie wanted part of her legacy to go toward protecting others from cyber criminals who often target older adults with financial scams. Thanks to a generous gift from her estate, the CLH-supported Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing has partnered with cyber security experts, law enforcement leaders and financial and technology firms to address this important problem. The ‘Piers Project’ is now moving forward with a collaborative effort in this much needed area.

Creating a Legacy to change the future does not need to be a difficult thing to do and often it is simply a matter of signing your name to a document (a Will or Revocable Living Trust) that leaves a charitable bequest to California Lutheran Homes and Community Services (CLH), or a Charitable Gift Annuity that pays you a fixed income for life, with mostly tax-free payments and a nice tax deduction. The remainder can be designated for an innovative idea like the ‘Piers Project.’ These are simple ways to help fund significant projects that can make a difference in the lives of those that come after us. We would love to discuss the possibilities with you!

If you would like to receive additional information about how you can leave a legacy, our programs and funding opportunities or hear more stories of how CLH is touching lives through social ministry, please contact me at 800-233-3709 or rmerritt@frontporch.net.


Sincerely,


Ross Merritt

CLH Foundation Executive



California Lutheran Homes and Community Services (CLH) is a not-for-profit social ministry organization founded in 1947. CLH’s mission is meeting needs through ‘faith in action’ including support for residents of affordable housing communities managed by partner CARING Housing Ministries, and residents of Front Porch retirement communities, care centers and active-adult communities.  CLH-sponsored retirement and active-adult living communities include Carlsbad By The Sea in Carlsbad, CA; Walnut Village in Anaheim, CA, England Oaks in Alexandria, VA and Cecil Pines in Jacksonville, FL. Among the programs and services supported by CLH are the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging, whose mission is to meet the needs of older adults based on the understanding that aging is a spiritual journey; the Front Porch Gallery, which creates community by promoting an understanding of aging through art; the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, which enhances wellbeing and quality of life through the adaptive use of technology; the CLH Auxiliary; and the Charitable Care Fund, which supports residents in need who have outlived their finances.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Why Having Cancer Made Me Stop Rushing

By Mark Nepo for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

The following is adapted from Inside the Miracle: Enduring Suffering, Approaching Wholeness by Mark Nepo. Published in November 2015 by Sounds True.

One of the great transforming passages in my life was having cancer in my mid-30s. This experience unraveled the way I see the world. It scoured my lens of perception, landing me in a deeper sense of living. There are certain experiences that reform us, as if God’s a tireless blacksmith who, against our pleading, forges the metal in us, though it takes years for our heart and mind to cool from the pounding. My journey with cancer was how I was forged.

If I learned anything from having cancer, it’s that unless there’s a physical need — such as needing air to breathe or needing to stop a wound from bleeding — there’s no reason to rush, no matter the level of urgency being showered on us by others.
It Is Up to Us

Each of us is driving our own train, and the trick is not to go so fast that everything blurs and yet to go steadily enough that we get somewhere; though there are times when not going at all is tantamount to arriving.

The violent speed of our age doesn’t help. In a world so mobile and transient we can wake up married in Atlanta and go to sleep divorced in Fort Worth; the game has become who can snatch a mouthful of seed and be on their way first. In a world where sophistication means we show nothing, the mind becomes as cold as a camera shutter, opening and closing rapidly so as not to let too much in. In a world that makes a fortress of objectivity, we avoid the one frontier that returns us to first-hand experience: our ability to care. In a world that deems simplicity as dull, patience as slothful, and compassion as entangling, we give up inroads to our very core if we can no longer empathize.
Stopping Is Not Enough

Succumbing to speed is a form of isolation that makes us feel inadequate, because we’re always falling short, always catching up. But stopping alone is not entering stillness, because stopping alone does not let who we are merge with where we are. Still, to stop and slow down is a beginning, because we start to find what matters when we stop rushing.

Rushing can be defined as any instance in which we move faster than we need to. As soon as we begin to rush, whether hurried by an overbearing parent to the dinner table or harried into a career choice by an artificial deadline of our own making, we become estranged from ourselves; that is, a hollow forms between our inner self and the self that’s rushing through the world. Once divided from our sense of aliveness, we lose contact with that kinetic border called wonder. This estrangement from our aliveness is the beginning of alienation. And though there are many ways to feed our estrangement, rushing out of congruence – out of being where we are – is as sure a path as any to the netherworld of half-living.
‘The Temporary Ease of Hiding’

Throughout our lives, we struggle with the temporary ease of hiding and the pain of never surfacing: hiding our feelings of insignificance in our ambitions for a life of fame, hiding our confusions at the complexities of life in principles we hope will swallow them, hiding our pain of honest suffering in a resignation that stills the heart. And all the while our experience of what is real gets away from us.

But if we were to hide who we are in who we are, like hiding a body in its skin, if we were to let things be and not make over their impact on us, all hiding would evaporate and the constancy of our self would be final, real and unequivocal in its majesty of flaws.
A Different Way to Live

When we can manage to live our own life, letting nothing real slip away, the larger ocean of life draws us with a magnetism all its own, the way a fish is drawn by light to a surface it can’t imagine.

If we dare not to rush, not to live any faster than we are ignited from within, if we dare to slow into true presence the many times we do rush, if we dare to hear each other’s needs, if we dare to accept the discomfort of not knowing what to do until it becomes the comfort of a perennial question – we might find that one life in its unmitigated fullness may be more than enough.

Copyright © 2015 by Mark Nepo.





© Twin Cities Public Television - 2016. All rights reserved.



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