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Young at Heart Jan 2022

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Hospice...continued from page 1 unsustainable." People believe the myth that get- ting hospice care means giving up. "The truth is getting hospice care is about taking a stand and saying, I want to live my life to the fullest extent possible in the time that is remaining." Hospice of Santa Cruz County has been helping seniors and their family members navigate serious illness for 43 years. Services are focused on patients and helping them live their best lives. "This starts with our Transition- al Care and Palliative Care services, which provide an added layer of support, in the comfort of your own home, to help manage serious illness," says Nancy. These services "… are different from hospice care because they are typ- ically provided earlier in a person's life and are usu- ally done in conjunction with curative treatments," she explains. Your parent is eligible if the doctor believes he or she has two years or less to live if the illness runs its natural course. "Our Transitional Care team meets with families to listen, under- stand their needs, and connect them with com- munity resources. Often people don't know what they should or shouldn't ask from their doctors, so our team helps with the planning and communica- tion that makes their care run smoothly." Studies have shown hospice care is most effective when patients are with their hospice care teams for months, rather than days. "This time allows the team to guide the family as their loved one's needs change," says Cathy. "It also allows pa- tients to fully participate in decisions about their care. Our hospice medical professionals can manage pain and symptoms earlier and help avoid crises and hospital stays." "One of the programs that sets us apart from other providers is our mu- sic therapy," adds Cathy. "We've found that music, as a universal language, is a powerful tool that can bring joy and spiritual contemplation and help people reflect on their memories. Our therapists design a plan of care tai- lored to each patient that includes creating, singing, moving to and/or listening to live music." The agen- cy also offers all commu- nity members–whether they've been a patient or not–comprehensive grief support. Information about a variety of grief support groups as well as individual counseling is available on the website. Daleth Foster RN, CHPN (Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse), who has been with the agency for seven years, loves the work she does as it "… unearths deep human connection close to the core of just being." As a Visit Support Nurse, she travels to patients' homes when they have emergent needs or fills in for Case Manager Nurses when they are not available for regularly scheduled visits. "I am tasked to respond sensitively to highly vari- able medical, caregiving and emotional situations. I find the focus may change during a visit, revealing new opportunities to help meet the patient and family's wishes for com- fort, safety, and self-de- termination. My role is rewarding, allowing me to support my coworkers and bring the best care to our patients and families." She refers to hospice as "an amazing program that supports patients, their families, and caregiv- ers…when they wish to be comfortable and safe at home. Our value is we bring the equipment, supplies, medications, and most of all teaching and experience into the home. The experience of caring for a loved one at the end of life is full of unknowns, and this can be so scary without a guide. What I love the most: our training and care is guided by the patients' and families' self-determined goals. We help families make the choices that are best for them." Because of the pandemic many events are cur- rently virtual, including these open-to-the-public programs: Essentials of Advance Directives pre- sentations, Movie Nights (viewing and discussion about a movie that in- cludes end of life issues; the next is Feb. 9, see hos- picesantacruz.org/event/ movie-feb-22/), and Death Cafes (where people get together to drink tea and talk about death). They also offer virtual Partners in Caring gatherings to support faith leaders in their efforts to help others deal with end-of-life issues. In-person events will be held in the spring depending on COVID-19 safety. Also, HSCC staff are available to host "Hos- pice 101" presentations to local groups, either virtually or in-person. Interested in volunteer- ing? HSCC has many op- portunities including serv- ing as a Volunteer Visitor; see hospicesantacruz.org/ volunteer. Volunteers typi- cally visit a family once or twice a week for an hour or two, offering compan- ionship and respite for the caregiver. Forbes Ellis, Director of Volunteer Services, says, "Volun- teers are the heart and soul of hospice, giving freely of their time and energy to support our patients and families during such a tender time. Volunteers connect with patients and families in ways that help patients feel seen, heard, and respected. There is a mutual affirming of our humanity." 74-year-old Valerie Hayes started volunteering with HSCC in 2017. "I sometimes sit quietly with my patients…I sing softly when it is appropriate. We take walks, we watch television." She has been with several patients when they died. "I was with a patient and his wife. She was by his side, and I was softly singing. He took his last breath and she turned to me and said, 'You sang him to heaven, thank you.' To have the opportunity to provide comfort and support for the patients and their families and caregivers is an honor and a privilege." Helen Mitchell, 69, first volunteered with HSCC in 2019. "I wanted to contin- ue to serve after 40 years of being an RN," she says. "I love my community and find by volunteering that I am served in return in a meaningful way. The volunteers are welcomed and receive training that I found excellent and sup- portive." She volunteers twice a week. "I visit at the bedside. I bring my patient flowers, baked goods from Companion Bakeshop, and sometimes homemade soup. I bring Past patient, Betty Morgan with volunteer Naomi Florin-Gosciminski, and her dog Bella Luna. Photo contributed by Hospice of Santa Cruz County. the Sentinel newspaper for her. I also started bringing my laptop to play Big Band music, which she enjoys. We do life reviews, and she shares memories when prompted. We watch hummingbirds feed outside her window and two new wild kittens in the home. I hope to be providing some joy and caring at the end of a person's life." In the past year, Hospice of Santa Cruz County: • cared for 1,049 Hospice Care patients, 207 Palliative Care patients, and eight Concurrent Care for Children patients • provided grief support sessions for 2,100 adult clients and 402 youth clients • hosted 25 grieving youth at Camp Erin • served 758 individuals through educational programs, in person and on Zoom • provided 1,161 music therapy sessions, 1,996 telehealth visits, and three socially distanced Veterans Day parades honoring veterans in our community Most retired seniors can relate to the words "Fixed Income" because it is the financial guide to all their decisions and holds the answer to the question, "Can I afford this?" The biggest threat to their life- style is the word "Infla- tion" and the rising prices of most everything is a double-edged sword for those on a fixed income because rising prices most often causes the stock market to decline and that may lower their monthly income from a retirement account. As with both forward and reverse mortgages, when interest rates are low like they have been for many years, the adjustable-rate programs benefit by going lower automatically as the rates drop. The opposite is true when rates go up. The rates go up along with the indices they are tied to and the loan pro- grams are then governed by the rate caps of the program, usually 2% per year and a 5% "life Cap". An example would be if you currently have an adjustable interest rate of say 3.5%, it may go up to 5.5% in the next year and ultimately to 8.5% if the financial stress continues for three years. The last of the low rates are still with us but not for long! There is one defense against ris- ing rates and that is to refinance into a fixed rate while the rates are still at historical lows but with a Reverse Mortgage there are other considerations. Many homeowners take a reverse mortgage simply for the great benefits of the uniquely safe credit line. No interest is paid on the unused portion of a credit line so no financial stress comes with higher rates if the line is not used or if the amount used is very low. No need to take action. If the Reverse Mortgage paid off a sizable existing mortgage and a credit line is just the safety net re- mainder, then there may be By Donald Dimitruk RFC ® RMA a reason to evaluate the op- tion to refinance to a fixed rate now which will protect your remaining equity that higher rates could erode in the future. One feature of the fixed rate program on all Reverse Mortgages, both govern- ment HECM and Jumbo HomeSafe programs, is that all remaining funds qualified for must be taken at the close of escrow or left behind. This may be a large amount of cash and careful planning for a safe home for this cash is a very important part of the decision. There is opportunity to create your own safety net and with the current low interest rates it may be possible to have those funds work- ing for you to offset the interest it will cost. Again, caution and the advice of your financial planner and CPA are essential to insure a safe harbor for your nest egg of home equity. Donald Dimitruk is a Registered Financial Consultant ® and a Registered Mortgage Advisor and is available for a FREE consultation about how a Reverse Mortgage may benefit you at 831.464.6464 Resident music therapist, Anya Ismail, MA, MT-BC with patient Jackie Kercheval. Photo contributed by Hospice of Santa Cruz County. How will an interest rate hike affect a reverse m o r t g a g e ?

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