MANO PO WINTER 2018
TIME TO ENJOY THE GOLDEN YEARS
…aging is not loneliness and giving up
.it is a continuing life of fun, diversity and spin.
..one must seek it....PCCSA is here for you.
A Heartfelt Profession of a Mission
I have been blessed with an excellent, creative and exciting diplomatic career as Assistant to the Press Minister of the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations for 43 years. Now, the best life path for me is giving back and making a difference in the lives of seniors and elderly persons by "Preparing and Enjoying the Golden Years ". This advocacy has, and still is, giving me deeper meaning in my life, far beyond the personal and professional satisfactions I have already experienced and achieved. Indeed, the best and most satisfying life is serving those who are truly in need.
My ultimate dream, as I lay the foundation of the Philippine Community Center Services for the Aging, is for it to become an "enduring" institution to serve one of the most forgotten sectors of the Filipino American community and the world at large.
Ma. Consuelo Almonte
(A Program of The Nursing Office Services for Aging Immigrants)
Quarterly Journal for Fil-Am Seniors & Families
Theme: Preparing and Enjoying the Golden Years
Health, Financial, Legal & Family Matters
Table of Contents
Greetings by PCCSA Founder (p 2)
The Mission: Saving our Seniors, The Endangered Species (p 3)
Mano Po: A Culture based on Love and Respect for the Elderly
A Tribute to Mark Shafer (p 4)
Once Upon a Time & Ninety Years Later (p 5)
Preparing & Enjoying the Golden Years : Estate Planning (p 6)
Featured Story: General Antonio Taguba (p 7)
Myrna D. Santos
Paper (Hard Copy)
The Nursing Office.Com/PCCSA
Publisher: Four Dragon Global Network, Inc./ PCCSA
The Mission: Saving our Seniors, The Endangered Species
To promote, celebrate and salute the elderly, and provide products and services to influence a change in culture to prepare and enjoy the golden years through a carefully designed program by and for seniors.
Aging should not be a challenge, but a season of harvest.
We envision Aging Seniors or Elderly Immigrants, who are educated and trained advocates, to access culturally sensitive & competent health-care services or therapies; fair housing practices; technological literacy; and financial independence.
We are seeing immensely Creative, Innovative, and Vibrant Seniors and Elderly Persons, utilizing their experience and hard-earned skills to mentor young people and activate intergenerational dialogues which inspire and motivate the next generation to create their own legacies.
We see these engaged Seniors and Elderly persons building strength for themselves, their families and communities, through Art, Dance, Theater, Literature, and many other expressive cultural forms.
We see active Seniors reach out to invisible aging or Elderly Immigrants seriously challenged by chronic illness, loneliness, isolation, or separation from close family, and by lack of information on access to government benefits. and engage them in self-empowering health & wellness practices.
We support Active Seniors who are opening their own private homes (or houses) to provide Living Spaces for fixed income Seniors, or Interactive Spaces for dialogues where Elderly Immigrants and Younger Immigrants interact, recall, and document their family and social histories living in Queens and other boroughs of New York City.
We encourage Seniors to expand their range of choices & strengthen support networks that help them navigate resources to address their health, housing, psycho-social, financial, or legal/immigration needs and issues.
We all look forward to our productive, beautiful and healthy Golden Years!
Program Director/ Editor in Chief
Mano Po: A Culture based on Love and Respect for the Elderly
“Mano Po” comes from Spanish word for hand “mano” combined with the Tagalog honorific term “po.” It literally means, “May I kiss/touch your hand to my head,” in an attitude of deep filial respect and greeting. This gesture is done with the younger person bowing the head and the elderly extending his or her hand to touch the forehead of the younger person. This beautiful traditional Filipino gesture shows profound respect and honor for our elderly. Mano Po symbolizes that we value the ancestors’ wisdom that our elderly carry with them, just the way they are.
A Tribute to Mark Shaffer
“Good Night, Sweet”
You never said you were leaving me; You said you will be always be there for me.
You never said good bye; You were gone before I knew it.
God only knows why.
In life I loved you dearly; In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place,That only you can fill.
It broke my heart to lose you,But you did not go alone;
A part of me went with you,The day God took you home.
Wait for me to go home For soon I will join you, when
God in His Infinite goodness, Will welcome me home.
Thank you darling for the wonderful years you gave me,
The thought of you, the legacy you left behind,
I look forward that remembrance of sweet memories,
That would sustain me as I imagine a life of emptiness, fear and loneliness…
Mark you have been my strength! I love you.
Ma. Consuelo Almonte
The THIRD INSIGHT
We used to have a McDonald's downstairs from my apartment. It was a hangout for our model senior citizens community in Rego Park, Queens, New York. I say "model" because they exemplify what attitude to have when you start to age, whether you are Fil-Am or not. After lunch, they start to gather, about ten of them or more sometimes, and they bring their cookies. The store gives them senior discount for coffee, so that's why the McDonald's appeal. They laugh and gossip, tell stories and make friends. They would say hi to me because they notice I'm there every day as well, reading and writing. I think this is a sign that they want to make friends with younger people.
I live with my Mom who is now almost 89 years old. Her main complaint about ageing is that young people don't want to be with old people. They feel rejected. This rejection can sometimes cause depression, although they don't talk about how it really makes them feel. So I smile at them at McDonald's and even have a chat sometimes with the very extroverted ones. I can see the joy in their eyes, and it pleases me.
Rejection of old people is prevalent in western society. For Fil-Ams, you are lucky if you get the attention you deserve from your grandchildren. Though perhaps we are a tad luckier as Fil-Ams, because we are used to the all-inclusive extended family system. Everyone cares for one another beyond the nuclear family kuno, so that parents encourage the young ones to care for the elderly. The children are encouraged to take care of a sick elderly. When my lola Sayong had a fall in my aunt's house in Quezon City, my aunt requested my cousin Nilda (her apo or granddaughter) to take care of her for a week. It was my aunt's intention not to just to get help, but to show her apo that she had an obligation as an apo to take care of a sick lola (grandmother).
Nilda, raised as a bourgeoisie, had a negative response. She felt that she was being unfairly targeted as a young niece. "Why can't she ask one of her daughters?" she confided in me. She had a point. So she told her aunt that her Dad did not allow her because she had a full load at the university. So she did not really see it as an opportunity to be of service to an old person. Perhaps we have to look at the family history and family relationship to understand Nilda's feelings.
So I encourage Fil-Am parents to continue the tradition of young ones taking care of the ageing; to honor what their own parents taught them when they were young. Because it is indeed a very well-kept secret among the ageing population that they don't want to feel rejected by the young people.
Estate Planning 101
by Carol Tanjutco, J.D., C.P.A.
Estate planning is for everyone, not just for the wealthy, not just for the seniors. The word “estate” may conjure images of vast property but it simply refers to your assets like your home, financial accounts, and personal possessions. Everyone has an asset, and has someone or something you care about. It is, therefore, important to create a plan and update that plan when life events happen.
An integral part of estate planning is Advanced Planning. This will ensure that your family, and someone you trust will carry out the plans that you have in the event that you are unable to do so. There are five (5) basic documents that you will need: a will that is customized for you by an attorney and compliant with the laws of your state, a durable and a non-durable power of attorney that will authorize an agent to act on your behalf, a living will, health care proxy and HIPPAA medical authorization.
Depending on your financial situation, you may need a trust. Trusts allow you to stipulate the conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. A trust can also serve to reduce estate and gift taxes and to distribute assets to heirs without forcing them to go to the Surrogate Court for probate of a will. It will also prevent contests encountered in wills.
The final issue you need to consider is the obligations you are leaving to your family. Credit, mortgages, taxes will be taken from your estate, and if there is anything left, gifts and legacy will pass on to the next generation. This is when life insurance provides a tax-free benefit that will automatically go to your named beneficiaries, which can also be used to pay for obligations left behind.
This holiday season, make an inventory of your assets. Think about who are your possible heirs, who do you trust to handle your affairs and who do you trust to pull the plug at the end of life. On the bright side, calculate how much you can afford to spend for your lifestyle for the next 20 years or so, who will provide for your care and don’t forget your beloved pets, too.
Taking control of your life today will give you that peace of mind that everything and everyone you care about has been provided for, and planned ahead.
Carol Tanjutco, JD CPA, is Wealth Adviser if Eagles Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser, and author. Reserve your Free E-book atwww.ABCofInvesting.com
A traditional Filipino view on estate planning (A Case Story)
“Hindi ko akalaing gawin ito sa akin ng aking anak”(I never thought my own child would do this to me…)
These were deeply painful words of 80-year-old Aling Maria when she came back to America after a 5-month stay in her hometown, presumably to retire for good in the Philippines. Aling Maria, a healthy, strong, independent business owner, had spent the last 20+ years of her life working as housekeeper/nanny, scrupulously saving her money and sending it back home to help expand the family business and landholdings there.
Two years before, she had traveled back home and took for granted that the family property in her name would still be hers to use. She did not think of writing a Last Will and Testament, since she trusted that her property will always be there, and that her only son and heir would protect her. For her retirement, she had planned to use proceeds from the family business to set up a grocery store to re-establish contacts with kasama, kapitbahay and kaibigan (tenants, neighbors and friends) and to run her own business like she did before she left for America.
A rude and painful awakening awaited her. With all the excitement of coming home, her son told her she was not the owner of the family property anymore, as her signature was forged to transfer all properties to him, his wife and children. Aling Maria was shocked and angered by this betrayal. Everyone, including her grandsons whose college education she paid for, refused to listen or support her. Later she would be locked up in her room with hardly anything to eat; she decided to come back to America. She persuaded her son to pay for her one-way fare back to America. Finally, she told him that they would never see her again.
The Story of Antonio Taguba and HomeCare Giving
Don’t Wait for a Crisis to Start Planning
I wish my siblings and I were better prepared for my parents’ caregiving needs. I wish we had planned how to support my mother as she suffered from cancer and my dad with dementia in his old age.
Both of my parents needed help at home in Hawaii. My siblings and I were committed to caring for them, but we lived in different states. We traveled home every few weeks, but it caused rifts between us as we juggled finances and started resenting each other. We could have avoided the anguish and arguments had we planned ahead and paid closer attention to our parents’ ailments, medical, and financial needs.
Several of my friends’ parents are in the early stages of needing extended care. Most of them don’t have a plan to provide for their parent’s needs. Some think they can handle everything within their immediate family. A few don’t want to think their parents will need additional care because their savings and health insurance will cover it. Caregiving is a critical family matter. Below is my advice on caregiving:
1. Begin the conversation now
Start talking to your parents and other family members about finances, health care insurance, medical coverage, housing, and other personal concerns. Your parents might be reluctant to discuss these sensitive topics because they fear losing their independence or being removed from their home or don’t want to be a burden to you. Reassure them that their long term health care is not only important for them, but for the entire family. Tell your loved ones this conversation is needed because you love them.
2. Research resources
There are many caregiving resources available. If you don’t live close to your parents, research the resources available in their communities like social service agencies, advocacy groups, nursing and assisted living facilities, hospice care, fitness centers, recreation, and churches that your parents can frequent. Online resources can also be helpful in planning. AARP.org/caregiving provides information, tools and tips for caregivers. AARP's Long-term Care Calculator offers state-by-state comparisons of home health, hospice and assisted living costs.
3. Create a caregiving plan
Organize the information you’ve collected, including contact names, phone numbers, and locations, and create a routine for your parent’s caregiving with checklists. Schedule medical appointments, arrange for transportation, and synchronize other activities with caregiver’s calendar. Discuss the plan with your parents, siblings, and trusted caregivers. Adjust the plan as your parent’s physical and medical condition, financial, insurance, or other circumstances changes, and share the revised plan with everyone.
Developing a comprehensive plan is time consuming, but it will be even more difficult and complicated without one if your parents suddenly fall ill. Seriously consider the positive effects of having a family plan.
By (Ret.) Major General Tony Taguba/ AARP Ambassador
SPRING EDITION 2018
Table of Contents
- Front Cover ( The Doctor's Wife, Fathering, A May December Affair)
- Greetings by PCCSA Founder" A Season of Harvest"
- The Mission: Saving our Seniors: The Endangered Species (Advocacies)
- Mano Po: A Culture based on Love and Respect for the Elderly "Raising Pinay"
- Featured Story: General Antonio Taguba/ Prepare to Care (Everlasting Love: The Cementinas)
- Once Upon a Time & Ninety Years Later (Myrna D. Santos)
- Preparing & Enjoying the Golden Years : Estate Planning
- The Third Insight
- How to Celebrate your 100Th Birthday
- The Care Givers: Prepare to Care by AARP
- Medicare & the Fil-Am Seniors
FALL EDITION 2018
Mike and Josie Jampayas:A Million Dollar Baby
“A Million-Dollar Baby”
In the serendipitous flow of life, Mike and Josie found themselves as friends, business partners, lovers, and then married couple, living with faith, love and laughter, constantly streaming through community socials for causes they believe in and support, as they enjoy their golden years.
Mike had been a widower for several years before he met Josie who was divorced at that time when they first met during a party of the Philippine Charities of America. In another occasion, when Mike received the Outstanding Father Award, seeing that all awardees were accompanied by their families on stage and Mike would be all alone, she quickly called all her friends present to come up to the stage to join him. It was a gesture that impressed Mike as Josie being “resourceful” and he felt so gratified with her spontaneous act of thoughtfulness and kindness.
With his personal situation, he had been looking for someone after he lost his wife while Josie had no plans. He was looking for a woman who is “intelligent, pretty, and easy to get along with.” Yes, there are differences between them, such as the 22-year gap in their ages, differences in careers and family, but he had to decide as he was running out of time. Mike has a Master’s degree in Public Health at Columbia University (an Ivy league school) and also a Master of Science degree at Long Island University.From his prestigious years as researcher and professor in Clinical Pathology at both Columbia University and Long Island University, Mike has concluded that, "Most illnesses are out of loneliness."
Their relationship developed seriously enough for Mike to trust her, saying “Without much thinking I gave Josie my life’s savings, which led us to do business.” Eventually Mike and Josie got married. As practical people with past marriages behind them, Mike arranged for a pre-nuptial agreement to cover his son and family, a move that Josie thinks is fair. In the course of their life together, each has come to love, admire, and value certain qualities about the other. Mike found Josie to be very caring, loving, young and energetic, with “strong convincing power.” For Josie, Mike is “good looking, kind-hearted, thoughtful, supportive and successful.”
Like most relationships, there are people around who either approve or oppose it. Mike cites his friend and colleague, Deacon Gary Villanueva, MD, PhD, ScD, as most supportive who helped him to decide on going through with it. Josie’s six grown children were quite “ok” with it,and that support was important to her in making her feel more at ease and happy about pursuing the marriage.While no one among Josie’s family or friends opposed them, Mike observed that some of his family members and friends were silent about it and left all the decision to him.
The rapport and chemistry between Mike and Josie is palpable, real and funny. Mike calls her“Sweetheart” and Josie calls him “Brother Mike.” Mike is the contented spouse as he listens to his favorite praise songs and pours over his endless professional credentials during our visit. Josie is the energetic busy body, assisting her husband while making guests as comfortable and well-fed as possible.
When queried about what advice they would offer to people who find themselves in a similar situation as theirs, Mike quickly replies, “Ask God for guidance.” To which Josie says, “Age doesn’t matter so long as you get along and love each other.”
In retrospect, Mike and Josie’s “million-dollar baby” turns out to be the priceless peace and contentment they have found in each other’s love. No better person to quote than Mike himself, upon his appointment as Ambassador for Peace by the global organization, Universal Peace Foundation – Office of Asian Affairs, in March 2015: “To me, being an ambassador for peace means being able to achieve my own personal peace and harmony. I live a life of kindness and understanding within myself, my wife, family, neighbors, and work environment. Being an ambassador for peace means also being facilitative in open dialogue in community of organizations in order to create a more supportive environment for our youth and older citizens.”
To such profound wisdom we say, “MANO PO, Brother Mike!”
Ludy Resurreccion, 09/23/2018
Myrna D. Santos
Paper (Hard Copy)
The Nursing Office.Com/PCCSA
Publisher: Four Dragon Global Network, Inc./ PCCSA
Greetings/Founder's from Founder's Desk
“The Juniors and Seniors Prom 2018”
PAMANANG HANDOG KAY LOLO AT LOLA
The Philippine Community Center Services for Aging (PCCSA) is proud to present the Junior Seniors Prom 2018 to celebrate The Graying “FIL-AM” New Yorkers. As the FIL-AM "grays up" along with the world's elderly, this Juniors Seniors Prom focuses a "spotlight" on this transition process and tinges it with wise, balmy laughter and soothing hilarity of the whole Fil-Am community, one of the happiest peoples on earth. This is a bold and timely initiative to challenge all Filipino-American community organizations in the Tri-State area, to create strategies and follow-up action plans on numerous issues of aging Fil-Ams in their own family or friends’ networks. This community approach emphasizes a shared mission with younger peoples’ groups and/or organizations and encourages intergenerational participation to instill and establish a culture change on Aging as a continuation of “life, fun and diversity,” thereby changing how Seniors and Elderly persons are viewed, treated, and eventually taken care of. In addition, we to seek innovative ways on how to advocate for the well-being of all Fil-Am senior citizens.
Our Vision is an Inter-generational Approach to Aging through Community Approach to encourage Fil-Am organizations to share Spaces & Time where Senior and Younger persons interact, recall, and document their family and social histories, through song, dance, the arts, poetry, and drama as a literature for unique “Intergenerational Dialogues”.
Our Mission is to celebrate the aging Fil-Ams, by creating family-like (“kapamilya”) connections & relations between Fil-Am young adults and Fil-Am seniors/elderly in a non-traditional, informal environment while engaging in friendly, comfortable, “no-holds barred” conversations as a tool to “Preparing and Enjoying the Golden Years”. This is a Special Tribute “Pagbabalik Parangal”
to the Fil-Am seniors who have become unsung heroes, we honor them for their silent contribution to the development of our most valuable treasure, the Filipino-American families and communities.
DATE: October 13, 2018/Saturday
VENUE: St., Patrick’s Church, 39-38 29th St. Long Island City, New York 11101
Time: 1-4:30 pm
Donations: 25.00 (Refreshments to be served)
Returns will be used for our advocacy program on MEDICARE and the FIL-AM Seniors.
LOVE IS SPACE
Philippine Community Center Services for Aging
(This article is based on a previous original concept paper written by Lutgarda M. Resurreccion and presented by Myrna D. Santos, RN, MSN, of The Nursing Office at the NAFFAA Conference, New York City, January 31, 2015.)
It is ironic that we, Filipino Americans, with the largest number of health professionals and healthcare givers in America, have a considerable number of Senior citizens and members, whose life issues are largely unseen and/or unheard of. While other senior ethnic groups have already established their own groups and spaces supported by the government at City, State, or Federal levels, Filipino-American Seniors have yet to establish constant visibility, in order to break the life-denying barriers of isolation,
fear and loneliness, unattended health problems, and a reduced sense of purpose or meaning. Moreover, the silent epidemic of depression and mental illness, fueled by denial and neglect, bias and aging stereotypes, has been creeping into the fiber of communities everywhere, including Filipino-Americans.
With the vision-mission of extending health care delivery to needy groups regardless of race, gender, or color, The Nursing Office (TNO) seeks to address and stress this unheard and unseen crisis of INVISIBLE SENIORS in our midst. By collaborating, cooperating, and sharing resources with PCCSA, the Philippine Community Center Services for Aging, TNO has defined, formed, and physically established a Community Center designed to deliver, among other service programs, such critical health care support to our needy Seniors.
This is in addition to and apart from the informal groupings in churches around socio-civic activities, which have been more impromptu and ad hoc in nature than stable and consistent. Like the adage, “There’s no place like home,” PHYSICAL SPACE is essential and critical to creating a “home” community of wellness support groups, therapy, exercise, song and dance, arts, crafts and theater, healthy eating and nutrition, bereavement support and addressing fears of death and dying, financial planning and education to allay anxieties on financial problems, health-care for self-care, social media and intellectual skills upgrades, and many more. In other words, we are all called to plan, create, and run SENIOR-FRIENDLY environments that foster and enhance our own and our community’s well-being.
Senior issues of ill-health, disease, medical conditions and treatments have been well documented and need not be the focus of this concept paper. However, it is worth noting that in 1992, the American Medical Association expounded on the NIH (National Institute of Health) Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression in Later Life, by demonstrating that depression symptoms occur in at least 15% of community residents over 65 years old, with 15-25% in nursing homes and rates of 13-18% of new cases developing within a 1-year period.
According to current information (www.Helpguide.org), clinical depression in elderlies affect 6 million Americans 65 years & older. It is also a known fact that this number does not include the larger number of UNDERCOUNTED, UNNAMED, INVISIBLE minorities, such as Filipino Americans, whose ageing issues are only beginning to surface in community gatherings such as this one.
It must be noted that while most families are capable of taking care of their Senior members, not all have the time, resources or even space in their homes to do so. Hence, the need for a viable COMMUNITY SPACE available to support their Senior care giving efforts. The foundation of the Philippine Community Center Services for the Aging is for it to become an "enduring" institution to serve one of the most forgotten sectors of the Filipino American community and the world at large.
At the Philippine Community Center Services for Aging (PCCSA), we have established the auspicious beginnings of a COMMUNITY SPACE run with, by, and for Senior citizens.
GOLDEN RULES FOR AGING GRACEFULLY
- Live in your own place to enjoy independence and privacy.
- Hold on to your bank deposits and assets with yourself or your spouse.
- Don’t depend only on your children’s promise to care for you when you grow old as their priorities change with time.
- Expand your circle of friends to include those who will outlive you.
- Do not compare; expect nothing from others.
- Do not meddle in the life of your children. Let them live THEIR life, not yours.
- Do not use old age as your shield and justification to demand care, respect and attention.
- Listen to what others say, but think and act independently.
- Pray but do not beg even from God. Seek His Grace.
- And finally, DO NOT RETIRE FROM LIFE.
Nieva Quezon Burdick: Building a Legacy of Her Own
Carrying an illustrious surname of the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth, Manuel L. Quezon, may be an honor or a burden to descendants. But for Nieva who took on formidable challenges in both her personal and professional lives, it is an honor to carry on the legacy.
Nieva is the youngest daughter, with three older brothers, Arthur, Victor and Augusto, in the family of Eleuterio Quezon of Orion, Bataan, and Urcelina Viloria of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Her activist brother Augusto was among the fatalities of the resistance movement against martial law in the Philippines, proving that the Quezon family’s deep patriotic values run deep in their descendants.Currently Nieva’s family life is richly blessed as the mother of five grown-up children with nine grandchildren, and this life includes a 30-year marriage with husband, Roy Burdick, who was a New York State senior parole officer.
While her early education started at St. Paul College of Manila, Nieva completed her Bachelor of Arts degree, Math major and English minor, from Columban College, Philippines, and later pursued a 2-year Certificate in Computer Programming from Baruch College of CUNY. Nieva further honed her skills in her professional experience as a successful Foreign Exchange Specialist & Consultant at Morgan Stanley and Manager of Investigation and Claims, Baltimore, MD (May 2008 – Nov 2011). Prior to this, she was at Citibank, NY as Foreign Exchange Specialist, Corporate Accounts (Feb 2005 – 2008) where she was in charge of outgoing claims for liaison accounts of FX and there developed a well-organized compensation collection method, back valuation or use of funds, which required excellent oral and writing skills in English and computer languages.
With an illustrious name and lineage, and growing up as nina bonita of the family, Nieva has used this personal advantage, her professional organizational experience and strong initiative and resourcefulness to give back to her community. She privately donates and supports Balay ni Charie Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Roxas City. Being an alumna of St. Paul College of Manila, she has helped organize St. Paul Alumnae USA and, while Treasurer, created it as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. This act was instrumental in robustly strengthening the alumnae organization's financial stability. In addition, she was also employed with the nonprofit Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Corporate Office, NY.
This invaluable experience with nonprofits is well applied in her strategic planning role as the Chairman of the Board and Training and future Executive Director of the Philippine Community Center Services for Aging (PCCSA) and in her role as current Chief Financial Officer of Four Dragon Global Network, Inc./The Nursing Office.com.
The THIRD INSIGHT
In May 30, 2017, my then 88 year old Mom had a major stroke. She was taken to nearby hospital and underwent all the necessary tests and interventions to mitigate the stroke. She could barely utter her name Emma. Her body from neck to toes was paralyzed. After a week, she started saying one or two words, like "water." I was relieved. I went to her everyday so I can feed her and make sure her diapers were changed. I would hold her hand and tell her I loved her. And I told her I was nothing if not for her. I also read to her, about chess, because she loved chess; and about love and relationships.
Fairview Senior Care Center was a 5-storey building in Queens. To my amazement, it was the best living set-up I've ever seen. At the beginning, I would subo(feed) Mom because her hands were limited. A speech therapist came everyday to test her swallowing. She was prescribed puree food and gradually solid but soft. The food was not so great there though, so I brought her lunch and snacks every day, something more enticing to the palate.
I attributed her very successful rehab to the way the nursing center was set up, plus the expert Filipino therapists. They had a dining room where people had their meals and socialized with one another. Sometimes there would be live music to entertain. Then there was a patio where they would barbecue with live music, or to catch a nice breeze and some sun.
They also had recreation, like bingo, book club, and dancing. But her favorite was the gym which was complete with bicycles, weights and balls. The lobby also had comfortable couches where we would sit after gym to watch the fish in the aquarium, and the little birds behind the glass. Sometime they would have vendors selling jewelry, bags and dresses there.
They received the newspaper every day, so Mom was able to do her puzzle and word games, and her handwriting became normal. We got to know some of the patients, like the old Filipino lady who was feisty and Natalie the lady from Jamaica who loved to read.
I plead to all institutions to follow this kind of set-up because it is so effective and complete. Even if you are just taking care of an old family member at home, you can follow this set-up. This will provide old people with a very satisfying life that is so complete. Remember, social, gym, recreation, sun, shopping, expert therapists, health aides and visitors.
Being old doesn't mean your life is over, even if you've had a stroke, couldn't talk, couldn't move.
In May 30 of 2016, my then 88 year old Mom had a stroke. She was taken to nearby hospital and underwent all the necessary tests and interventions to mitigate the stroke. She could barely utter her name Emma, even though she tried to force the letters out of her mouth, shaping her lips so as to form the vowel E. But she could only say the letter "e" and then nothing. Her entire body, from head, neck, shoulders, torso and legs couldn't move,
She stayed in the emergency room for a few days waiting for a room. They gave her pureed food which she was able to swallow, thank God. Something was still working. Her eyes were alert despite everything.
They finally moved her to a private room and soon she started saying one or two words, like "water." I was relieved. It means she's improving, even ever so slightly. I went to the hospital everyday so I can feed her and making sure her diapers were changed. I would hold her hand and tell her I loved her, everyday. And I told her I was nothing without her. I would read to hear, about chess, because she loved chess. I also had a book about love and relationships. After a few days she uttered more words, but she was confused and couldn't answer the doctor's questions clearly. Eventually she could get up and walk three steps to the chair and was able to sit up. The puree food was delicious, like gourmet food, so she ate but not a lot. As she grew stronger, they finally discharged her to a rehabilitation facility in Queens.
Fairview Nursing Care Center was a 5-storey building. She shared the room on the fifth floor with someone and had her own closet and bathroom. It was the best living set up I've ever seen for a senior citizen, sick or not. Almost all the patients were on wheelchairs and some had to be fed because they couldn't move their hands. At the beginning, I would "subo" (feed) Mom because her movement was limited. A speech therapist came everyday to test her swallowing. She was prescribed puree food, and gradually graduated to semi-puree and then to solid but soft. The food was not so great there so I would bring her lunch every day, something more enticing.
Eventually she was able to just stand and walk a little bit. Thanks to the expert Filipino therapists at the gym downstairs. She was then finally able to walk with a walker, and her speech became normal.
She stayed there for a month. I attributed her successful rehabilitation to the way the nursing care center was set up. They had a dining room where everyone met each other and were able to socialize, a very important aspect of rehab. Sometimes there would be live music to entertain them. Then there was a patio where they would have barbecues and live music, or sometimes you just want a nice breeze and some sun. So I would wheel her there.
The place made sure they had recreation activities, like bingo, book club, and music. But the best rehab was the gym. It was complete with bicycle, weights and balls. Mom loved exercising, so it was a treat for her. I would sit in the comfortable lobby where I would sit with her after her exercise to watch the big beautiful aquarium, and the colorful little birds in the glass encasement.
They also gave them newspaper to read everyday, so Mom was able to do her puzzle and word games, so eventually her handwriting became normal. We got to know a few of the patients and made good friends with them. There was a Filipino old lady who sat at our table, and Natalie who was originally from Jamaica. She also would talk to her roommates and make friends with them. Dorothy was always complementing her with her intelligence because they would watch the game show Jeopardy at 7 pm every evening. It also helped that friends and family would visit them often and bring them goodies.
I attribute her great recovery from this nursing care set up, complete with socialization, recreation, gym, aides and therapists, and some sun.
I greatly urge all institutions to follow this set-up because it is really effective and complete. And even if you are just a family caregiver at home with your ageing family member, you can give her this set-up even if she's not sick and not in an institution. This will provide the seniors with an enjoyable time and a healthy long life, guaranteed.
The Doctors Wife
The title is interesting, because why? Is it because a doctor is like a god?
So I was surprised at my Mom's response when I interviewed her.
Me: Are you proud you are a doctor's wife?
Me: Are you proud your husband saved lives?
did not depend on him, it did not affect me, I had my own profession...
I guess she meant she was not conceited or bloated about her husband being a doctor -- because she was always interested in being a teacher, an educator. Since a young bachelorette in Negros Occidental, Philippines, she had always been a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher when my father met her there. He was assigned in Negros to eradicate Malaria in the remote areas. According to her, he was the most powerful man in those parts of the island and many officials were jealous of him.
I tried to ask her if people treated her differently because her husband was a doctor. But she didn't really think so. But one time, when my Dad left his post in Borneo due to a conflict, he stayed away for a year, the year I was born. And people kept telling her "Ihanap mo naman ng trabaho si Gani," (Try to find your husband a job). So there was hardly any money for milk when I was born.
My Dad's medical career was always stop-and-go, and then in 1966 he totally stopped because he couldn't deal with the corrupt system. He was an idealist, a humanitarian foremost, an activist. But you can't really fight City Hall, you agree? My Mom took over the role as breadwinner. "My family did not starve," she exclaimed. She did say that a doctor was a noble profession. He went to the jungles of Borneo! I guess she meant he was a brave man. And that I think made her proud.
What I took away from this interview was that it is important for women to be independent, even if they are married to a doctor especially, because you never know when duty will call. And you are your own person, with your own dreams and abilities that need to be realized. I think that is what God intended.
For Spring-Summer 2018, Mano Po is featuring this Q & A section on a very critical decision that many Fil-Am seniors are facing. This is the question that every Fil-Am senior who wants to go home must answer. Their numbers are increasing. According to the latest AARP survey, 72% of Fil-Ams in the US would like to retire in the homeland. In real numbers, this is around 500,000 Fil-Ams.
“Can I access or use my Medicare benefits when I visit the Philippines or when I retire there?”
Eric Lachica (www.usmedicareph.org) has provided Mano Po with the following HEALTHCARE CHECKLIST for Fil-Am Seniors visiting the Philippines and/or planning on retiring in the Philippines.
1. PREPARE your retirement plan and discuss with spouse, children, and key advisers.
2. REVIEW your financial plan for retirement: INCOME (Savings, Social Security +pension +401k +_____ = $ __________ /mo. and EXPENSES (rent, food, med ins. premiums, prescriptions, entertainment… = $___________ /mo.) Will you outlive your savings and pension?
4. PREPARE your Advanced Directive (Do Not Resuscitate), “Five Final Wishes” request forms from doctor, hospital or online. Consult your personal physician or trusted nurse relative.
5. DRAFT your WILL: Fill-out forms with legal assistance, if needed. State forms are available online. If there are complicated estate or property situation, consult a lawyer.
6. EXPLORE Reasons: why visit or should you retire in ________ in the Philippines? Home sick? Lonely? Disabled? Widow? No family members? Affordable caregivers and family there?
7. COMPARE the emotional and financial costs and benefits of retirement in the US or in PH.“Will I be HAPPIER there?”
9. INTERVIEW friends and relatives in PH about quality of retirement, like costs of living, closest modern quality hospitals, good E.R. (WITHIN 20 minutes!). Ask balikbayan retirees there.
10. FIND a caring, competent and experienced Filipino Physician there, preferably a trusted relative who could refer specialists. Bring copies of your medical records.
11. ASK about Ambulance service? What is their phone number? In Metro Manila: 16-911 (Lifeline.com.PH). Or in your retirement destination? Does ambulance have basic life support equipment like AED (defibrillator), trained EMT (emergency med technicians) AND BLS drugs.
12. JOIN effective Senior Advocacy organizations like USMedicarePH.org and AARP – and a PH neighborhood Seniors Mutual Help group. Be sure to get a PH senior’s 20%+ discount card if you are a dual citizen (60 years+).
“If I am a Green Card holder, how will this affect my Medicare benefits?”
82-year-old parent petitioned by daughter as Green card or LPR (legal permanent resident) worked for 24 quarters (about 5 years) until her company closed. She applied for unemployment insurance benefits, then went back to Philippines and overstayed there for the next 8 years. She could not re-enter the U.S. so she was petitioned by another daughter and got back her LPR status. However, she got sick and couldn’t access her benefits because her Social Security number had changed along with her new LPR status.
Lesson #1: If you have been on LPR status for 5 years and plan to go home, first apply for U.S. citizenship before leaving the U.S. As US citizen, you may come back and avail of your health benefits (Medicare) when you get sick.
Lesson #2: Go to Social Security Administration office and show both old and new SS# cards. Request that your SS contributions on “old” former Social Security account be credited/transferred to your “new” Social Security account.
Con Edison’s CONCERN Program Newsletter, Winter 2016
New York Foundation for Senior Citizens
Here are some programs from the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, which helps seniors enjoy healthier, safer, more productive and dignified lives in their own homes and communities.
INTERGENERATIONAL HOME SHARING
Home sharing helps ease financial burdens and provides companionship. Guests may choose to contribute toward monthly household expenses or provide household services in exchange for lower or even zero payments. One of the participants must be age 60 or older. The program also serves hosts age 55 or older who wish to share their dwelling and high-functioning, developmentally disables guests age 18 and older who are capable of living independently.
Professional social workers provide confidential screening and matching services as well as assistance with negotiating the shared living arrangements. Since 1981, the program has matched more than 2,000 participants.
This program offers affordable ($9 per hour on weekdays, and $9.25 per hour on weekends) short-term home care by certified attendants for the elderly when regular caregivers need time off or when an elderly person needs temporary help following hospitalization. Services include personal care and hygiene, meal preparation, shopping, escorting, light housekeeping and laundry. Applicants must be at least 60 years old, New York City residents, and require daily living assistance. Visit www.nyfsc.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-212-962-7559.
BE A COMPANION TO A SENIOR
Senior companions are healthy older adults who help homebound or isolated fellow seniors live independently. Services include friendly visits, shopping assistance, or escorting a senior to a doctor’s appointment or other community activity. Companions also help seniors obtain access-a-ride and meals on wheels. Most importantly, volunteers provide friendship and companionship.
Senior companions visit their clients on a scheduled basis. Sponsored by Henry Street Settlement and funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Senior Companion Program is available in all of New York City’s five boroughs.
Con Edison also offers Senior Direct at 1-800-404-9097, so that older customers can conveniently speak with a Con Edison representative.
A Chiropractor for Fil-Am Seniors June 8, 2018
Mano Popresents a young, dynamic, award-winning chiropractor who has helped thousands to live better lives by igniting their purpose and passion in life. He earned his doctorate degree in chiropractic from the New York Chiropractic Collegein 1994, along with special certifications. With over 20 years of practice andwellness outcomes, Dr. ArnilM. Neri speaks of the profound difference that chiropractic can make in creating and sustaining a pain-free life through self-healing.(Facebook: NERI Chiropractic; Email: DrArnilNeri@gmail.com, 77-08 Broadway Street, Elmhurst, NY 11373, 718- 864-8607).
Q: Would you explain to our readers what the difference between Sickness care and Wellness care is?
Neri: A doctor’s goal is to save and change lives. There are two ways of saving people: crisis intervention or care and prevention intervention or care. Medicine is excellent in crisis care or sickness care while Chiropractic is excellent in wellness care. Sickness care entails symptom relief--- waiting until there’s a problem before taking action. Wellness care is about keeping people healthy by teaching them how to have a healthy lifestyle. It is my belief healthy people rarely get sick and unhealthy people will be prone to sickness throughout life. People hope to avoid strokes, heart attacks, and cancer but their lifestyle choices could have them heading straight in the direction of those life-threatening conditions. The truth is, most hard-working, honest people today use “hope management” instead of creating wellness in their lives. Your family deserves better answers and your future depends on it.
Q: So what are the four basic principles of Chiropractic?
Neri:The first principle is based on the premise that the body is self-healing and self-regulating. “Self-regulating” means that even when asleep, the heart continues to pump, the lungs continue to take in oxygen. There are mechanisms within the body that work without conscious effort. “Self-healing” means our body also heals without conscious effort. When the body receives a cut, it will heal on its own. It’s not the bandage or the Neosporin that makes it better. Even if nothing is done to the injury, it will heal on its own. Whether the cut is on the outside (e.g., a scratch in the arm) or the inside of the body (e.g., a stomach ulcer, a cut in the stomach lining), it’s the body that does the healing.
The second principle is that the nervous system is the master system of the body. The brain is where power is generated and the cord is the main information superhighway that connects the brain to the rest of the body. The brain and the spinal cord are the only 2 parts of the body enclosed in bones, because they are the most important. The brain is inside the skull and the cord is inside the spinal column.
The spinal column is moveable and since it’s moveable, is can move of place. When the bones move out of place, it can cause nerve interference. Anything that causes interference between the communication of the brain and the body is bad. This is called Vertebral Subluxation Complex, or more simply Subluxation, which is the third principle of chiropractic.
The fourth principle is anything that removes interference is good. This is what I do as chiropractor --- I remove interference in the spine by delivering a specific correction called an “adjustment.”
Q: What causes Subluxations?
Neri: Physical stress, chemical stress, and mental and emotional stress are the primary causes of subluxations.
- Physical stress – is basically wrong body mechanics, such as, improper lifting techniques, bad posture, carrying objects in the wrong way, sleeping in bad positions, being involved in motor vehicle accidents, and injuries as a result of falling.
- Chemicalstress – consists of poor nutrition, ingesting all kinds of drugs including alcohol and nicotine, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, pollution, and consuming processed and refined foods.
- Mental and Emotional stress–includes daily worries, tension, anger, fear, deadlines, finances, and grief.
All of the stressors above can cause subluxation because life is experienced through the nervous system. Any environmental changes, both external and internal, are perceived and analyzed in the brain through this spinal network --- therefore stress affects it.
I strongly advise patients to keep their bodies clean by reducing intake of unnecessary drugs. Sometimes when I see patients, they are already taking maintenance drugs for their thyroid, heart, or pancreas. I don’t stop them from taking those because they are necessary to keep them alive. They are already in crisis and require those drugs to balance their system chemically to live. What I do recommend against is dependence on NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs), like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to get rid of the pain.
It is important for people to eliminate the taking of drugs because drugs are not the best way to facilitate healing. All drugs have side effects. The focus of drugs is to treat symptoms (not the cause) of the disease. Drugs can help one part of the body, but they cause some damage in another part. Our body then will have to repair the new damaged part or organ. No wonder the sick get sicker. The body is always playing catch-up. In my practice, I teach people that healing is from inside out, not outside in.
FIL-AM Whos Who
New York Life