Category Archive: Planning for the future

Openings in the SCSEP job training program

The Orlando Office of the Senior Community Service Employment Program has a several slots available for adults age 55+ who are looking to re-enter the job market. 

Adults age 55+ who meet federal program guidelines are then matched with local nonprofits and government agencies so they can increase skills and build self-confidence, while earning a modest salary. This is a “job training” program and is a path toward permanent employment in the community.  Click here to see the AARP website for more details.

Federal guidelines include – but are not limited to:

  • Income 125% of Federal Poverty Level
  • Age 55+

CALL the Orlando Office for more information – 407-852-1608 …. One Senior Place does not have any additional information on this program.

Thank you for sharing in the community and helping adults age 55+ know there are slots available in this program.

Can Medicaid Take My Florida Homestead?

Submitted by: The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, Board Certified Elder Law Attorneys, One Senior Place Resident Business

H&B new picAs elder law attorneys, one of the most common questions we are asked by clients is whether Medicaid can take their Florida homestead property. The simple answer is “No, generally Medicaid cannot take your homestead property during life, or, with proper planning, upon death.” But, as is the case with most legal questions, the answer isn’t always so straight forward. This article is a more complete answer to the question at hand.

One of the reasons there seems to be a lot of confusion and misinformation regarding whether Medicaid can take homestead property is likely due to the fact that Medicaid rules vary from state to state. When applying for Medicaid benefits in Florida, the homestead is considered exempt and protected if: 1) a spouse or dependent/disabled child continues to reside in the home; or 2) the individual (or, on his or her behalf, a designated representative) states an “intent to return” home. The homestead will remain exempt during the lifetime of the applicant if the above criteria is met.

In addition, Florida has constitutional protection for homestead many states do not offer. In many states, creditors, including Medicaid, can force the sale of homestead property. This is not the case in Florida if the home is left to the surviving spouse or other family member. So, if you are discussing this issue with your brother in New Jersey there might be a different answer for New Jersey homestead but here in Florida, an individual can qualify for Medicaid while still owning his or her home.

So, what exactly is homestead? The Florida Constitution defines homestead as real property of no more than 1/2 of an acre of contiguous land in a municipality, or 160 acres outside a municipality, owned by a natural person, and the improvements on it. There is extensive case law about what exactly constitutes homestead, but that is beyond the scope of this article. For purposes of this article, homestead is the dwelling and attached land where you, or your family, reside. Rental properties and vacation homes are not typically considered homestead property. Further, in Florida, an individual can usually only have one homestead property. Homestead property is protected from Medicaid under Florida law, but additional properties are not.

It is important to keep in mind there are scenarios that may cause a Medicaid recipient to lose their homestead during their lifetime. Although the Medicaid rules allow retention of homestead as an asset, the Medicaid income rules can create practical challenges. Once approved for Medicaid, the bulk of the individual’s monthly income must be paid to the nursing home where the person is residing. Consequently, even though the homestead is not considered a countable asset, the real problem occurs if the applicant or applicant’s family can no longer afford to pay the taxes, insurance, and/or mortgage on the homestead property. If expenses on the home cannot be paid, Medicaid will not take the person’s home, but the inability to pay for upkeep and maintenance could force the sale of the home and, upon the sale of the home, the proceeds from the sale are not protected and may cause the loss of Medicaid eligibility if not timely planned for.

As you can see, the question of whether Medicaid can take your Florida homestead is not a simple answer of “Yes” or “No.” There are several factors that determine the correct answer. It is always prudent to consult with an elder law attorney regarding your specific situation in order to receive the most appropriate explanation. If you have questions concerning qualifying for Medicaid or any other elder law issue, please contact the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan at (407) 977-8080.

City of Lake Mary to Host 12th SHRED-A-THON

1-26 Shred a Thon Save The DateThe City of Lake Mary and the Lake Mary Elder Affairs Commission will host the 12th annual Shred-A-Thon on Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 9:00am until 1:00pm. The event will be held at 660 Century Point, in the Digital Risk parking lot. Located a short distance from the Senior Center, exit Rinehart Road on Wallace Court and then turn right on Century Point. In January 2018, the event attracted more than 1,300 citizens and small businesses who shredded more than 49 tons of material.

The Shred-A-Thon is being repeated to maintain awareness of identity theft and to provide citizens and small businesses of Lake Mary and surrounding areas an opportunity to safely dispose of sensitive personal and business documents. The theft of sensitive personal information is a significant contributor to identity theft. Computer hard drives will also be destroyed on site.

Business and individual sponsors are critical to the success of the event. Committed as Gold Sponsors of this year’s event are Shred-it Orlando, the Rotary Club of Lake Mary, Park Jewelers and Waste Pro. (Click here for Sponsorship Form)

Supporting Sponsors contribute $50 or more and may place advertising, promotional material and coupons in special bags that will be given to the first 1,000 participants. All materials to be placed in the bags must be delivered to the Senior Center by the close of business on January 21.

All contributions, regardless of amount, are welcome and appreciated. The City of Lake Mary is recognized by the IRS as a 170 (c) organization permitted to accept donations, which may be tax deductible.

Funds raised since the inaugural event in 2007 have been used to expand Senior programs and activities as well as an expansion in 2017. Citizen participation at the Senior Center during the same period has increased by more than 55%. Attendance is expected to again top 27,000 this year.

For more information about supporting the Shred-A-Thon and senior programs, please contact Deb Barr, Lake Mary Senior Programs Manager at 407-585-1466 or Mike Bley, Chairman, Elder Affairs Commission at 407-221-6699.

CLICK HERE FOR SPONSORSHIP FORM

IRCC Named To Top 20 Golf Communities List

IRCC aerial cropped

IRCC Named to Top 20 Golf Communities List

Indian River Colony Club in Viera has culture, amenities that set it apart

 

(VIERA, FL) June 1, 2018 – Ever wondered what’s behind the walls at Indian River Colony Club in Viera?  Just one of the Top 20 Golf Communities in North America, according to the editors of GolfCourseHome.com, a leading online real estate website for U.S. golf properties.  Editors acknowledge that golf is no longer an all-encompassing pastime, noting that, “progressive country club communities have pushed beyond golf to augment their community experience to enrich residents with a wide variety of soul-satisfying activities that match their passions and interests.”  Eight amenity categories differentiated the Top 20 Golf Communities winners.  The 55+ neighborhood of predominantly military retirees was recognized for their Indian River Colony Club Foundation, a not-for-profit entity designed to accommodate the community’s commitment to charitable giving.  Also known as “The Place Patriots Call Home,” 453-acre Indian River Colony Club features a one-of-a-kind private par 72 golf course with 18 challenging holes nestled among natural preserves, lakefront and golf course homes. Each hole is shaped around a scenic lake or pond and impeccably maintained by a professional, full-time staff.  Features include a Pro Shop, aqua driving range, two putting greens and practice bunkers. For more information, call 321-255-6000 or visit www.IndianRiverColonyclub.com/golf.

 

President of the 120-member Men’s Golf Association at Indian River Colony Club, Ed Baker points out the value of camaraderie at the golf community.

 

“The purpose of the Association is to promote sportsmanship, fellowship and competition in amateur golf,” said Baker. We participate in organized play at least twice weekly, usually with foursomes in friendly competition with other foursomes. In addition to golf, we enjoy the 19th Hole following play and meet as a group for lunch monthly. Our golfers have varying skill levels and the camaraderie experienced by the membership is unsurpassed anywhere.”

 

A Women’s Golf Association at Indian River Colony also enjoys an enthusiastic membership.

 

For non-golfers, IRCC boasts a wide array of debt-free amenities, including three Har-Tru tennis courts, a heated 3000 sq. ft. swimming pool with lap lanes, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a country club serving casual to gourmet cuisine and on-site Colony Hall for parties, theater, dancing and more.  The community has over 40 activity groups and clubs, catering to the individual interests of its members.

 

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):  An aerial view of Indian River Colony Club in Viera, recognized as one of the Top 20 Golf Communities in North America.  For more information, call 321-255-6000.

 

Additional aerial images of golf course and amenities: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mj1y6t24hd7ma5g/AADIAiIg9D23vJJI0ZBLvjXQa?dl=0

 

 

COMMUNITY BROCHURE FOR DOWNLOAD: http://colonyclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Community-Brochure-2-2017_min.pdf

 

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.

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/.

 

Press Release Image

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.

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