Category Archive: Business Community

$2000 Donation To Thrift Store Helps Homeless Veterans

IRCC Foundation Donation May 2018 left to right Julie Roberts, IRCC CFO, Jerry Vaughan, General Manager, Skip Taylor, IRCC Foundation Chairman, Larry Logan

$2,000 Donation to Thrift Store Helps Homeless Veterans

Indian River Colony Club patriotic culture centered on service to others

 

(VIERA, FL) May 14, 2018 –  The bonds forged by brothers and sisters in arms remain strong long after discharge from military service.  So it should come as no surprise that the debt of service is uppermost in the minds of the retired residents of Indian River Colony Club in Viera. On May 1, the charitable foundation for the patriotic neighborhood of military veterans presented a check for $2,000 to Down the Road Thrift, to assist the store with its signature mission: supporting veterans in need.  Down the Road Thrift is a 501c3 organization, benefiting veterans in need and their families by providing clothing and basic necessities at no charge. The monies donated by the IRCC Foundation will aid in the purchase of household items needed by down and out veterans, as well as for assisting homeless vets with the transition to housing.  Down the Road Thrift, Inc. is located at 4657 S. US Hwy 1 in Rockledge.

 

IRCC Foundation Chairman, Skip Taylor commented on Indian River Colony Club’s history of charitable giving.

 

“IRCC has maintained a patriotic culture centered on service to others from our very beginning in 1986,” said Taylor.  “Through the generosity of the IRCC community, our Foundation will continue to support veterans causes, to help our brothers and sisters in need.”

 

Viera’s very first neighborhood, Indian River Colony Club is known as “The Place Patriots Call Home.”  A haven for military retirees, the par-72 private golf course community has a patriotic culture and country club amenities for active adults aged 55 and over. For more information about Indian River Colony Club, call 321-255-6000 or visit their website at www.IndianRiverColonyClub.com.

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PHOTO attached (photo courtesy of ircc):  The Indian River Colony Club Foundation assisted homeless veterans through a $2,000 donation to Down the Road Thrift Store. The store helps the veterans with basic home furnishings at no charge. Pictured left to right:  Julie Roberts, IRCC CFO; Jerry Vaughan, General Manager; Skip Taylor, IRCC Foundation Chairman; Larry Logan, IRCC Foundation Vice-Chairman; Bobbie Warner, Director of Down the Road Thrift.  For more information, call 321-255-6000.

 

About Indian River Colony Club –  Viera’s very first neighborhood, Indian River Colony Club was originally conceived as a retirement destination for military retirees. IRCC began to take shape in 1986, its vision to create a private country club-like environment for members.  Membership has now expanded to include non-military personnel who want the energetic, patriotic lifestyle cultivated by three decades of members. Still predominantly a haven for military veterans, IRCC maintains a culture centered on service to others. IRCC is a gated golf course community of nearly 800 homes on 453 acres in Viera, owned entirely by its membership. “The Place Patriots Call Home” enjoys 24-hour gated security, a generous maintenance package and a full complement of newly renovated and 100% debt-free country club amenities for active adults aged 55 and over, including an 18-hole, par-72 private golf course.  The patriotic neighborhood was named one of the 2018 Top 20 Golf Communities in North America by Golf Course Home Network. For more information about Indian River Colony Club, call 321-255-6000 or visit their website at www.IndianRiverColonyClub.com.

 

ABOUT DOWN THE ROAD THRIFT — Owners of Down the Road Thrift, Inc., Jerry Vaughan and Bobbie Warner always enjoyed shopping at thrift stores. Jerry is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and Bobbie is the daughter of a Navy veteran, so when they decided to open their own thrift store, they knew it would be geared toward helping veterans and those living outdoors in homeless veterans’ camps.  Down the Road Thrift, Inc. is a 501c3 organization, benefiting veterans in need and their families by providing clothing and basic necessities at no charge.  It is located at 4657 S. US Hwy 1 in Rockledge, Florida, 32955. The motto for the unique non-profit endeavor is, A Veteran Helping Veterans.  To make a monetary donation, request a pickup of household goods or for more information, visit www.DowntheRoadThrift.org or call (321) 349-0134.

SPECIAL May Elder Law Month Workshop

Kathleen FlammiaIn honor of May National Elder Law Month, we are offering a *FREE* and *SPECIAL* Workshop. This event will take place on Tuesday, May 22nd from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at One Senior Place located at 715 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714.

During the first half of the workshop I will be discussing the in’s and out’s of Elder Law, what documents you need and what you need to do to save your assets from the always growing Nursing Home costs!

The last portion of the workshop will be dedicated to a FREE Estate Planning document review by an Attorney. If you would like your current Estate Planning documents reviewed for FREE by an ATTORNEY, call 407-478-8700 today! We are only accepting the first 20 pre-registerered guests, so call now before it’s too late!

 

When Stroke Strikes Home

By Vel Johnson, Vasaj Communications

The call came at 4:00 in the afternoon, Sunday, May 7, 2017. My mother was on the other end. “Hi Baby.” “Hi Mom. How are you?” It was the usual way we’d begin most phone calls. But this time there was a momentary, almost menacing silence, as she replied, “I don’t know. … I’m not feeling quite right.”

Mom then asked if I’d come over and “bring my clothes” to spend the night. I knew SOMETHING had to be wrong at this point. “Mom, do you want me to call 911?” “No Baby … not yet,” she said.”

It was a full hour’s drive to Mom’s door. I told her I was going to call my brother, who lived just minutes away from her. She said, “Okay.” My brother didn’t answer, as he was at work. I sent a quick text message, “Eric, call me ASAP” and then threw a couple of things in a garment bag to go “spend the night” with Mom.

While heading out the door, I called Mom back. Sounding a bit more distressed this time, “The paramedics are on their way!” she said. My heart plummeted. “Okay, Mom! I’ll stay with you on the phone until they get there.”

Flying down the expressway like a bat out of Hell, thoughts racing, and tears streaming down my face … “Everything’s going to be okay, Mom! Everything’s going to be okay!” She was alone, afraid, and experiencing a tingling sensation that made her immobile. I couldn’t get there fast enough.

Stroke does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, at any time, and at any age.

When the paramedics arrived, paralysis had already begun to grip the left side of Mom’s body like a tight glove. She was unable to get to the door. “I’m in here,” I could hear her yell softly through the phone, “I’m in here.” Then there were the voices of her rescue team … “Thank God they were able to get to her in time!”

The subsequent days were scary ones for my brother and me. Seeing our once vibrant and independent mother now require assistance with everything from bathing and dressing to many of the things we often take for granted, was not easy.

According to the National Stroke Association, there are nearly 7 million stroke survivors in the U.S.

It’s said that the greatest battle with stroke survival is the will to fight. During the following weeks, Mom’s stay at a rehabilitation facility included a regime of strong faith and prayer, coupled with comprehensive occupational, physical, and speech therapy.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a brain attack. There are two main types of stroke: Ischemic, due to lack of blood flow or a blocked artery; and hemorrhagic, due to leaking or bursting of a blood vessel. About 85% of strokes are ischemic.

Mom’s stroke was ischemic.

Hope After Stroke

When Mom was released for home, Eric and I had to quickly learn the role of caregiver, readjusting our lives to make sure she had everything she needed to properly mend.

“My mother’s stroke was a wake-up call for me to be more aware of my health and life in general. To watch her go through it and bounce back with the help of therapy and motivation, with my sister and me by her side, impacted me greatly. It reminded me that with any pitfalls in life we must have a positive mindset and attitude. With a strong will, drive, and determination, mixed with prayer and faith, and we can overcome anything. My mom’s situation serves as a perfect reminder for me to believe strongly in that!” – Eric Johnson (proud son of a stroke survivor)

Through continued homecare and outpatient therapy, and tons of love and affection, Mom has been recovering well.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability. Sadly, not enough people know how to recognize when stroke is happening. Education is key.

If I could help prevent another person from experiencing the attack my mother endured one year ago, I would. I recently learned that 80% of strokes can be prevented. I may not be able to bring about change. But I am committed to a renewed sentiment and lifestyle of healthy living and arming myself and others with information about stroke prevention and saving the lives of our loved ones.

National Stroke Awareness Month

As May is National Stroke Awareness Month, organizations across the country are galvanizing to fight against this terrible disease. My goal is to help raise awareness about stroke warning signs and symptoms, risk factors, preventative measures, and what we all can do when someone is having a stroke.

BEYOND WELLNESS

At Vasaj Communications, I’ve created BEYOND WELLNESS, a free event and platform to honor and celebrate stroke survivors, their families, and caretakers in a fun, relaxed, interactive atmosphere. Lunch will be provided for all who register, and presenters will provide resources and practical step-by-step tools to empower stroke survivors and their circle of care with support needed to thrive again. Experts will be available to answer questions about rehabilitation, technology, and improving your quality of life as a stroke survivor. Warning signs and risk factors of caregiving stress will be identified, with tips and resources provided for staying emotionally and physically well.

I’m honored to be able to present a celebrity presenter as my keynote speaker, known as America’s Stroke Coach,” Valerie Greene. A captivating speaker with a great sense of humor, Valerie’s message uplifts, inspires and motivates. With passion and insight, she touches hearts and encourages people in all walks of life to keep moving forward. I encourage you to bring a friend and a loved one with you to BEYOND WELLNESS and come hear Valerie’s message: Stronger Than Stroke. She will leave you on the edge of your seat as she describes how she was able to rebound from a massive stroke at age 31 and turn it into a gift for changing the world.

The Event is FREE

The event is free. However, we are looking for partners to help offset programming costs. If you own or work with a health or rehabilitative care organization, or serve the senior community in a special way, consider becoming an event sponsor or vendor and email through the website, or directly to me at vel@vasajcommunications.com, for additional information. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 9:30 a.m. and programming will commence at 10:00 a.m.

Registration is required to attend the event. To learn more, please click below: https://vasajcommunications.lpages.co/beyondwellness/

If you’re in another city or unable to join us, but would like to help assure our event’s success, please consider the donation experience by clicking below: https://vasajcommunications.lpages.co/beyond-wellness-donation/

I will never take stroke for granted. – Vel Johnson

This is a photo of my mother, brother, and me. We hope you can celebrate life with us Friday, May 25, 2018, at BEYOND WELLNESS.

Please share this with someone you know and love.

 

Stay well,

Vel Johnson

Vasaj Communications Gives Back to Community Hosting Free Stroke Awareness Event

Orlando, FL – May 10, 2018 – Vasaj Communications, a premier public relations firm based in Central Florida, has unveiled BEYOND WELLNESS, a community platform designed to honor and celebrate stroke survivors, their families, and caretakers during May, National Stroke Awareness Month. The event will include a complimentary meal and be held Friday, May 25, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at 715 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714.

“My mother had a stroke one year ago while no one around her realized she was having a medical crisis,” states Vasaj Communications Founder and CEO Vel Johnson. “When I realized there was a dire need for better education about stroke awareness, I created BEYOND WELLNESS. We’re planning to provide experts and resources for learning the warning signs and risk factors associated with stroke. The event will offer a combination of messages of inspiration and hope, lifestyle empowerment tools, and business networking, through our expo.” BEYOND WELLNESS will elevate the discussion of overcoming caregiving stress, with tips for staying emotionally and physically well. It will also heighten the awareness of methods of empowerment for stroke survivors and their circle of care, with support needed to thrive again.

Highlighting the program will be celebrity presenter Valerie Greene, known as “America’s Stroke Coach.” The renowned speaker survived a massive stroke at age 31 and has turned it into a gift for changing the world. Her message, “Stronger than Stroke” is expected to uplift, inspire and motivate all who attend.

The public is invited to attend this event. Admittance is free; however, pre-registration is required One Senior Place is serving as Host Partner for BEYOND WELLNESS. Sponsor and vendor partnerships include Advanced Life Management, Guarded Wellness, Heart Health Management, and other health and rehabilitative care organizations, along with groups who serve communities for age 50 and above. Vendor and sponsor opportunities are still available. Registration may be made by visiting the event’s website at https://vasajcommunications.lpages.co/beyondwellness/.

 

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ABOUT VASAJ COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

Vasaj Communications, Inc. is a Central Florida-based nationally recognized, award winning, public relations firm, specializing in media relations and publicity for non-profits, corporate groups, and political platforms. Vasaj Communications embraces a dedicated approach to smart and consistent messaging and design with uncompromising high quality to execute successful PR campaigns. Please visit www.vasajcommunications.com for more information or email info@vasajcommunications.com.

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Understanding Florida ABLE Accounts

H&B new picThe Achieving Better Life Experience Act, or ABLE Act, was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014.  ABLE updates the Internal Revenue Code to allow eligible individuals and their families to establish a tax-exempt savings account that allows for disbursements of income tax-free funds for “qualified disability expenses,” including education, transportation, housing, obtaining and maintaining employment, personal support services, assistive technology and health and wellness.  Money contributed to an ABLE account is generally disregarded, or not countable, when determining eligibility for federal benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

The Florida legislature passed the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, which was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on May 21, 2015. This state law establishes ABLE United, to oversee the state of Florida’s qualified ABLE program. As of this month, July 2016, eligible Florida residents may establish ABLE accounts.

In order to establish an ABLE account, the individual with a disability must be a Florida resident. Further, the ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals who have developed significant disabilities before turning 26 years old.  You do not have to be under the age of 26 to qualify as long as you have documentation and/or medical records which prove the onset of the disability before age 26.  If you meet the age of onset criteria and are receiving benefits under SSI and/or SSDI you are automatically eligible.  Otherwise, you must have a condition listed in the “List of Compassionate Allowances Conditions” maintained by the Social Security Administration, certify blindness or have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment.

An individual may only have one ABLE account and the total annual contributions, by all contributing individuals, including family and friends, is $14,000. This amount will be adjusted annually for inflation. Under current tax law, $14,000 is the maximum amount individuals can gift to someone else and not pay taxes. For individuals with disabilities, who also receive SSI and/or Medicaid, there are further limitations. The first $100,000 in an ABLE account will be exempt from the SSI $2,000 individual resource limit. When an ABLE account exceeds $100,000, the beneficiary will be suspended from eligibility for SSI benefits and no longer receive that monthly income. However, the beneficiary will continue to be eligible for Medicaid, as there are no Medicaid limits for ABLE accounts.

If you would like more information about ABLE accounts please contact the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan at (407) 977-8080 or visit HoytBryan.com, for more information.

Long-Term Care Insurer Cannot Be Sued for Elder Financial Abuse

Submitted by: Kathleen Flammia, P.A., Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, One Senior Place Resident Business

Kathleen FlammiaLong-term care insurance policyholders suing Bankers Life and Casualty Company were dealt a blow by the Oregon Supreme Court when it ruled that the state’s elder financial abuse statute does not apply to their case.

Residents of Oregon who bought long-term care insurance policies from Bankers Life and Casualty Company sued the insurer five years ago in federal court. The policyholders claimed that the company violated Oregon’s elder financial abuse law by purposely delaying and denying insurance claims. The policyholders alleged that, among other things, the company didn’t answer phone calls, lost documents, wrongly denied claims, and paid less than policyholders were entitled to.

The lead plaintiff, 87-year-old Lorraine Bates, moved into an adult foster home in 2009 but Bankers refused to pay her claim, saying the facility didn’t meet its policy requirements. Another plaintiff, Eileen Burk, purchased a long-term health-care policy from Bankers.  After she moved into an assisted living facility, her son had trouble filing a claim with the insurance company because the company refused to assist him.

After the federal district court dismissed the lawsuit, the policyholders appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Because the legal question centered on the state’s elder financial abuse law, the appeals court asked the Oregon Supreme Court to determine whether the policyholders could sue the insurer under state law for wrongful withholding of money. The financial abuse law prohibits an entity or person that is holding or controlling an elderly person’s money from withholding that money if the money was acquired from the elderly person. The policyholders argued that the insurance company acquired money in the form of premiums from the insurance company and then refused to return it in the form of benefits.

The Oregon Supreme Court determined that the elder financial abuse statute does not apply to an insurance company that delayed the processing of claims and refused to pay benefits. The court rules that the law applies only when one person or entity holds the money that still “belongs to” the elderly person. According to the court, the money the policyholders paid to Bankers became Bankers’ money and no longer belonged to the policyholders.

To read the Oregon court’s decision, go here: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S064742.pdf.

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The Law Office of Kathleen Flammia has been serving Orange County and surrounding areas for the past fourteen years. Kathleen Flammia began her Elder Law practice in the heart of Winter Park, Florida after being in the criminal defense arena for 15 years.

“Veterans Benefits: Best Kept Secrets”

One Senior Place & VITAS Healthcare’s Veteran’s Benefits Resource Fair A Success!

The Best Kept Secrets About Veterans Benefits Were Revealed!

B-20882 BVD Once Senior Place Veterans Resource Flyer-5

Last Friday, March 16th from 2-4pm One Senior Place and VITAS Healthcare held their first free Veterans resource fair to share the Best Kept Secrets when it comes to Veterans Benefits.  Four presenters came out to speak on their respective specialties in order to give the Veterans the best assistance they could receive.  They included:

 

Doug Walton from FDVA: Disability Benefits

Dennis Vannorsdall From the Brevard Veterans Service Office: Aid and Attendance

Don Murphy From Cape Canaveral National Cemetery: Burial Benefits

JC Burchette From Eastern Florida State College: GI Bill

 

The event brought at least 40 individuals out to the Veterans Memorial Center, with an overall estimated 70 people in attendance including various vendors and organizations.  Attendees asked great questions not only to the presenters, but also to the vendors. There was a local high school JROTC that came and presented the Flag for the Pledge of Allegiance. Afterwards, the Museum donated a check to support their program. Everyone was thrilled to see them come out and show off their skills.  Rob Medina from Congressman Bill Posey’s office gave the invocation and spoke briefly.  Mr. Medina commended both One Senior Place and VITAS Healthcare for holding such a great event for our Veterans.

One big highlight of the event was when a 94 year old World War II Veteran got up and asked a question. He briefly went into his service to our country and mention that he and his 92 year old wife are doing well. He told a few jokes and everyone truly enjoyed his contribution to the event.  He was given a huge round of applause which was very touching.  The entire event was a wonderful success!

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The team involved would like to give a special thanks to those who came out to support the event including One Senior Place CEO and Founder, Don Kramer; OSP Referral Specialist, Barbara Fradkin, BSW; along with VITAS Healthcare representatives Sara Goldberg, Brianna Sequeira, and Kathi Ridner.  We would also like to thank the 15 various vendors that were in attendance who aided in the explanation of various Veterans benefits and services as follows:

 

VA Clinic Viera

Vet Center Melbourne

UCF Restore

Space Coast Honor Flight

Volunteers of America

211 Brevard

Aging Matters Brevard

Helping Seniors Brevard

Sonata Viera

Housing for Homeless Titusville

Jewish War Veterans

 

One Senior Place and VITAS Healthcare look forward to bringing this event to the community again and again to give the Veterans of our community the important information and recognition that they need and deserve!

A Guidebook to Planning for Old Age

Submitted by: Kathleen Flammia, P.A., Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, One Senior Place Resident Business

16548-Loverde 2Joy Loverde. Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age. New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 2017. 313 pages. Click here to order book via IndieBound.org

Millions of Americans are facing old age essentially alone.  One in three baby boomers is single or no longer part of a couple due to divorce or death.  Others may be in a relationship where chronic illness has struck both partners simultaneously. Children may live too far away or lack the resources to offer a parent meaningful help.

But there is no reason why circumstances like these should bar anyone from a quality old age.  It just takes planning, which is where this empowering book comes in. Full of helpful checklists and worksheetsWho Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? is an essential guide to preparing for and navigating the inevitable losses that aging entails – the loss of functioning, the loss of loved ones and friends, and the loss of income.

Joy Loverde, a consultant and speaker on aging issues and the author of The Complete Eldercare Planner, has written a self-help book that offers both emotional and practical advice.  The first chapters address overcoming the psychological barriers to planning.  After all, the prospect of growing old and needing care is something most people would prefer not to think about, much less plan for.  One early section suggests ways to avoid self-sabotaging thoughts.  Other section headings include “Lessen the Grip of Guilt” and “Motivate Yourself.”

The book then turns to the planning work at hand.  An early chapter deals with how to stay afloat financially.  Near the top of the list are getting one’s legal affairs in order, including consulting with an elder law attorney.  Loverde suggests ways to create an income stream in retirement and lists scores of job possibilities.  She even has recommendations for lowering grocery bills.

Kathleen FlammiaSucceeding chapters present ideas and resources for successfully aging in place alone, exploring housing options both in the U.S. and abroad, coping with widowhood, “foraging for a family,” staying connected with those you know and making new friends, and evaluating medical providers.  One chapter is devoted to considerations in adopting a pet.

The final chapters deal with strategies for coping when old age becomes seriously challenging.  Loverde covers “the game changer” of chronic illness, including how to effectively advocate for yourself or find a professional to advocate for you.   A chapter titled “‘Just Shoot Me’ Is Not a Plan” maps strategies for ensuring quality care at the end of life.  There is even a list of resources for those considering “suicide tourism.”

Throughout the book, Loverde provides names of helpful organizations, and one fun feature is that each chapter ends with one recommended book, YouTube video, movie, song and TED Talk on that chapter’s topic.  Near the end Loverde includes a multi-page goldmine of useful websites (ElderLawAnswers among them).

This is not the kind of book anyone looks forward to reading, but it is a book that is essential reading for anyone who wants to start laying the groundwork now for the best possible old age.

To read more about Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?click here.

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The Law Office of Kathleen Flammia has been serving Orange County and surrounding areas for the past fourteen years. Kathleen Flammia began her Elder Law practice in the heart of Winter Park, Florida after being in the criminal defense arena for 15 years.

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