When Mom’s a Republican and Pop’s a Democrat

My mom was born in the same year that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution — giving women the right to vote — was ratified. She was a daughter of immigrant parents, who came to America in pursuit of freedom and opportunity. And my mom relished her right to vote. I have very early memories of walking with my mom, pop, brother and sister blocks to our polling place located at Outwater Park. It was a family tradition. I remember …

2015 Social Security COLA: Modest but Crucial

The modest 1.7 percent Social Security COLA for 2015 remains crucial to the financial security of the nearly 59 million Americans receiving benefits. The COLA helps beneficiaries of all ages maintain their standard of living, keeping many from falling into poverty by providing partial protection against inflation. Millions of families, including 41 million retired workers and their dependents, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, and 11 million workers with disabilities and their dependents, will depend on next year’s modest COLA …

Caregiving Takes a Team

Ah — autumn! The crisp cool weather, the colorful leaves … and the smell of football is in the air. This time of year I’m reminded of the days of my youth when I spent countless hours watching my pop and brother practicing football in the backyard, watching high school games my brother starred in, and watching our beloved Buffalo Bills on TV. At a very young age, I was raised to be a football fan. In the years between …

How One Community Supports Its Hidden Heroes, Family Caregivers

As I drove from Billings, Mont., to Sheridan, Wyo., I saw a sign for “Buffalo 36 miles.” Then it occurred to me that something felt strangely familiar. I grew up in a town called Lockport, about 29 miles from Buffalo, N.Y. So I researched a bit more. Sheridan has a population of 17,800; 20,000 live in Lockport. Sheridan gets about 72 inches of snow a year; Lockport posts a competitive 69 inches. And though my hometown doesn’t have mountain ranges, …

No Change in Medicare Part B Costs Means More Change in Your Pocket

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that the Medicare Part B monthly premium and deductible will not increase in 2015. This is great news for the 49 million Americans who rely on Medicare Part B to cover their doctor and outpatient hospital visits. Medicare Part B monthly premiums and deductibles will remain at $104.90 and $147, respectively. Those who pay higher Medicare income-related premiums will also find that their premiums are unchanged. …

Nurses Are Lifesavers

My pop, like many family caregivers, used his ingenuity to solve problems. This time, Pop was trying to figure out an easier way to help my mom out of her wheelchair and into bed. Pop was in his 90s, and anything would make it easier on him. So he rigged up a ramp from cinder blocks and particle board. If he could get her chair going at the right speed and right angle, he could run up the ramp and …