April 2012

Volume 5 Issue: #4


Like us on Facebook     View our profile on LinkedIn    Follow us on Twitter 

In This Issue 

Tax Breaks for Helping Relatives
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Alcohol Abuse and the Elderly
Provider Profile
Book of the Month

This Month 

April 1 - 30
National Minority Health Month

April 1 - 30
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month

April 2 - 8
National Public Health Week

April 16
Income Tax Day

April 19
National Garlic Day

April 22
National Jelly Bean Day

Connect With Us 

Join Our
Mailing List

Receive our free monthly email newsletter, other pertinent information and announcements.


AWG Care Connection Blog

Are you a caregiver? Join the conversation and connect with others who are facing similar challenges. This popular blog won the 2011 "Top 100 Senior & Boomer Blogs & Websites" award.


AWG Online
Talk Show

Join host Patricia Grace Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. EST.


National Senior Care Examiner 

AWG Founder Patricia Grace writes a column on aging topics. This month's topic:"March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month"


VA Aid & Attendance Self-Help Guide

The "Cliffs Notes" for the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit Process


Aging in Place Support Systems

Learn about programs to keep your loved one safe at home. Special AWG member pricing.


American Seniors Association  

Learn how it provides seniors with the choices, information and services they need to live healthier, wealthier lives.


SGIA Retiree Support Center

The Medicare pages on this insurance company website provide a clear summary of Medicare Parts A, B, C and D.

 VITAS Innovative Hospice Care

Learn how it provides end-of-life care for adult and pediatric patients with life-limiting illnesses.

Books & Videos 

Beyond Driving with Dignity

A workbook by Matt Gurwell for the families of older drivers. Special AWG member pricing.


Hospice Myths

A free video from VITAS Innovative Hospice Care that you can view online.


Thinking Well: Drawing on Thoughts that Change Behaviors

A book by aging and wellness expert Dr. Wayne T. Phillips. You can read a sample and buy it online.

Message from Patricia ...  


Patricia Grace, Founder

I am pleased to share with you that our CareConnection Blog won the 2012 ALTY Best Blog Award. Thank you to all who voted for Aging with Grace!


March Madness is over ... congratulations to the Kentucky Wildcats. I had Kansas in the pool - oh well, there's always next year. Now, we're getting ready for the opening day of baseball.


Aging with Grace welcomes our newest corporate partner, Senior Fidelity Trust. We also look forward to assisting the members of the Philadelphia Bar Association.


Remember, Income Tax Day is Monday, April 16.




P.S. Remember to like us on Facebook!

April 16 - National Tax Day

Tax Breaks for
Helping Relatives

Many taxpayers are supporting financially strapped family members. Here's how to claim deductions.   


This is the first installment of our two-part series. If you're helping out a financially stressed relative in this still-lousy economy, you may be entitled to some tax breaks.  


Claim Personal Exemption Deduction

The most obvious break is being able to claim the supported relative as your tax-return dependent, which allows you to bag a personal exemption deduction. For 2011, the deduction is $3,700. For 2012, it jumps to $3,800. You must meet the following requirement to collect the write-off.  


Support Requirement

You must provide over half the relative's support for the year. If the person lives in your household for free, count his or her share of the rental value of your home as support, as well as his or her share of total household expenses for food, utilities and so forth. Figure the relative's share of these indirect costs by dividing them by the number of people in your household. Then add any amounts you spend on direct support - such as covering the relative's health insurance premiums or car payments. Calculating support can be tricky. For full details, see IRS Publication 501 (Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information) at www.irs.gov. 


Importantly, the supported person need not live in your household if he or she is your child; a descendant of your child (such as a grandkid); a brother, stepbrother, half-brother, sister, stepsister, half-sister or a descendent of one of these individuals (such as a niece or nephew); or your son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father, stepfather, father-in-law, mother, stepmother, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt or uncle.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is
a common condition in the elderly

Staying hydrated and exercising regularly helps relieve symptoms of IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder characterized by intermittent abdominal pain or discomfort, and is associated with a change in bowel habit. Older people share the same symptoms of IBS as younger people. However, when the elderly have abdominal complaints and changes in bowel habit, their physicians might be suspicious of other more serious disorders, such as colorectal cancer. Other disorders that need to be ruled out through laboratory tests or imaging studies are diverticulitis, Crohn's disease and medication side effects.

The symptoms of IBS in seniors are episodic and appear to be stress related. Therefore, stress management, or dealing with the underlying causes of stress, can be helpful in the prevention of ongoing attacks. Certain foods may increase sensitivity. Once these foods are discovered, they can be avoided. A diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates and fiber can also help with the symptoms. Fiber supplements may be recommended. Antispasmodics, tranquilizers or antidepressants are sometimes helpful.


IBS is more a condition of inconvenience than of serious medical consequences. You can actively participate in alleviating some episodes through practicing prevention. The following are some steps you can take:

  • Decrease intake of constipating foods, such as cheese
  • Drink adequate water daily (at least 2 quarts)
  • Eat several smaller meals rather than one large meal
  • Eliminate caffeine or other dietary stimulants
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce chocolate intake
  • Reduce your intake of irritants, such as spices and fried and fatty foods
  • Supplement your diet with bulk-forming or fiber products

Your body may respond differently than someone else's body. Keep a journal of habits and related outcomes in order to establish and break patterns that contribute to symptoms. Actively participate in your own care!

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol and prescription drug problems among adults 60 and older are among the fastest growing health problems facing the country. Yet, the situation remains underestimated, under-identified, underdiagnosed and undertreated.


For example, older men and women often experience loneliness after the death of a spouse. Grieving is normal, but often it is accompanied by increased alcohol use. Many seniors rely on alcohol to reduce feelings of loneliness, fear and anxiety associated with loss and other life stressors. Feeling isolated leads to increased drinking. Friends who see a fellow senior using more alcohol tend to stay away. This only causes more isolation and heavy drinking.


According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the American Geriatrics Society, people 65 or older are engaged in risky drinking if they consume more than seven alcoholic drinks per week or more than three drinks on a single day. It is highly recommended that the single-occasion drink limit should be no more than two drinks for men and one drink for women.


Drinking at an older age can have additional negative effects, such as:

  • Complicating treatment for medical conditions
  • Causing a range of medical problems associated with alcoholism
  • Reducing the ability to function
  • Increasing the risk of accidents or falling down
  • Interacting with prescription medications

People 65 and older consume more prescribed and over-the-counter medications than any other age group in the United States. Prescription drug misuse and abuse is prevalent among older adults not only because more drugs are prescribed to them but also because, as with alcohol, aging makes the body more vulnerable to drugs' effects. And, the use of alcohol with prescription medications brings added health risks.


Seniors may be alone or may feel lonely even around others, but they don't have to go it alone. For additional information please visit www.aa.org.  

Provider Profile -
Robert M. Slutsky, Elder Law Attorney

With over 18 years of experience practicing Elder Law in the Philadelphia area, Elder Law Attorney Robert M. Slutsky knows how to find the best arrangement for you and your loved ones and he knows how to do so efficiently and cost-effectively. The elder law firm Robert M. Slutsky Associates, located in Montgomery County, Pa., is trusted by public organizations and Aging with Grace for his dedication, quality service and in-depth knowledge of Medicaid planning in Pennsylvania, as well as his expertise in all matters of estate administration and planning.


Learn more about Robert M. Slutsky Associates.


Click here to locate an elder law attorney in your area.   

Book of the Month

Everyday Law for Seniors  


Authors: Lawrence Frolik of the University of Pittsburgh and Linda Whitton of Valparaiso University


"The most helpful study, report or book cannot take the place an experienced elder law attorney. However this book provides a good start for older people and their families."     

- Patricia Grace