Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 2/26/2009 | 0 Comments

Following is an example of the kind and quality of help that the program provides, in this instance providing guidance to a prospective caregiver who needs to make some decisions about meeting the immediate long-term care needs of a family member or other loved one: 

"Planning for Immediate Needs...
"If you or your loved one has an “immediate” need for long term care, it might seem that the opportunity to “plan” has been lost. Some typical situations where immediate decisions need to be made include:
  • The consumer is awaiting discharge from the hospital after an illness or injury;
  • The consumer’s physical or mental condition has suddenly deteriorated;
  • The consumer is living in an abusive or otherwise dangerous situation;
  • The in-home caregiver of a consumer has fallen ill, died or been called away and the consumer cannot continue at the current residence without new support arrangements; or
  • The consumer has lost their home through fire, closure of a care facility, eviction or other unforeseen event.
"While there may no longer be an opportunity to engage in detailed planning, the immediate decision-making process can be managed more easily and rationally by using the resources of the local Michigan Long Term Care Connection by calling 1-866-642-4582. This number is available to any consumer, caregiver, family member, friend or health care professional who wants to get information about what options are available to meet the consumer’s immediate needs.
 "The Information and Assistance Specialist will discuss the situation with the caller and provide as many appropriate referrals as possible. If the consumer and/or caregiver would like an Options Counselor to meet with them to discuss options, receive assistance in applying for services, etc., the Information and Assistance Specialist will notify Options Counseling staff who will assign an Options Counselor who lives and works in the consumer’s geographic area to set up an appointment.
"When a consumer requires immediate long term care services, i.e., when about to be discharged from a hospital and in need of rehabilitation, the consumer may be placed in a nursing facility. Long Term Care Connection staff can work with the consumer, his/her caregivers and facility staff while the consumer is residing in a nursing facility to plan for the time when intensive rehabilitation and recovery in a nursing facility is no longer required.
The essential point is that, while there is little planning time available to assist a consumer with immediate long term care needs, there is an opportunity for the consumer to work with Long Term Care Connection staff to sort through available options and make some sense of an often overwhelming situation."
Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 2/25/2009 | 1 Comment


"Product Details:

  • Specially designed lens clearly magnifies labels to more than two times actual size.
  • Each magnifier is designed to fit the prescription bottle sizes most commonly dispensed. That means your magnifiers will likely fit 90 percent or more of your prescription bottles.
  • The best prescription label viewer available. No other (product) makes reading (prescription) labels so easy."

Advertised as a set of four for $19.95

Note:  This product is not endorsed by Great Places Inc.  It is depicted and described as an assistive device that may be of interest to seniors and others who could benefit from the product.








From, here's an advertisement for the Dignity™ Prescription Label Magnifiers, which the company says "makes it easy to read and recognize your medications (and) protect against mix-ups with magnification for greater peace of mind!

Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 2/24/2009 | 1 Comment

FHA’s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has requirements and regulations already in place to address the issues of the proposed bill S.F. 489/ H.F. No. 528. State legislators should not be changing parameters or implementing laws of a Federal program without consulting HUD, Fannie Mae, lenders, investors, and servicers of reverse mortgages. With the restrictions in this proposed bill HUD, Fannie Mae, lenders, investors, and servicers of reverse mortgages will walk away from Minnesota, leaving seniors without the option to access the one program that can provide cash during their retirement. 

“The proposed bill is irresponsible and poorly researched!” says Beth Paterson, Executive Vice President of Prestige Mortgage, LLC, Reverse Mortgages SIDAC. “Lenders will not lend based on the restrictions in this bill! In their goal to protect seniors and keep the scam artists out of the reverse mortgage industry they will destroy the industry so even those of us who are honest and ethical and senior advocates will no longer be able to offer reverse mortgages and help our seniors,” adds Paterson, who has specialized in reverse mortgages for 10 years.
A reverse mortgage is a mortgage with special terms to help seniors. There are no income or credit qualifications and the loan doesn’t have to be paid back until the home is no longer their primary residence. Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) regulations are applied to all reverse mortgages and the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), backed and insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has additional regulations. Even the proprietary reverse mortgages, when available, followed many of HUD’s guidelines and regulations.
The reverse mortgage helps seniors stay in their homes, therefore saving government dollars. Just talk to other state officials who are trying to utilize reverse mortgages to save state dollars or help seniors purchase long term care insurance.
Paterson states, “A reverse mortgages is often the only option seniors have to stay in their home; retire or don’t feel like they have to work; avoid foreclosure; pay for medical expenses and home care; or even have money for themselves after their social security runs out at the end of the month. If they’ve had a forward or conventional mortgage but are scrimping on their needs, paying off a traditional loan with a reverse mortgage will improve their cash flow.” She adds, “Options that may have once been available for seniors, such as qualifying for a forward loan or relying on investment income, are no longer possible. Reverse mortgages are usually a lifeline for seniors and gives them security, independence, dignity and control as well as choices for their retirement.”
Federal law already protects borrowers for all refinances including reverse mortgages offering a 3-day rescission period. The 30 day rescission included in the proposed bill is impractical as well as impossible.
At the time of application or within 3 days of the application, reverse mortgage lenders are required to provide borrowers with calculations including a comparison of at least 2 options, Amortization Schedule, Total Annual Loan Cost, Good Faith Estimate, Important Terms as well as sample closing documents. Additionally, Fannie Mae’s “Considering a Reverse Mortgage?” is required to be left with borrowers. 
Since it typically takes 20 to 30 days or more to process and complete a reverse mortgage, borrowers have time to review the terms of the loan as well as the costs and payoff provisions.
Educating borrowers about the details of a reverse mortgage is a concern. However, independent counseling is absolutely mandated with no exceptions for anyone doing a reverse mortgage. HUD’s counseling guidelines and regulations have evolved over time and the counselors are required to follow a protocol approved by HUD during the counseling sessions.
Another concern is cross-selling insurance and other financial products with a reverse mortgage. While a valid concern, last year federal regulations regarding cross-selling were implemented and outlined in HUD’s Mortgage Letter 2008-24. This too already protects seniors.
A reverse mortgage isn’t the problem! Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If a senior is selling they have costs associated with sale and receive funds in a lump sum. No one is controlling how they use the remaining equity from the sale of the home. If the senior (or anyone) does a forward/conventional loan the funds are received in a lump sum. They can do whatever they want with this equity. And they have to make payments which can become difficult for them if “life happens.” If a senior wins the lottery they have money in a lump sum which can be spent however they wish. With credit cards seniors (or anyone) are not restricted on how they are used. They can charge for whatever they want. And they then have created debt that has to be paid back. Counseling is not required with any of these options. So why destroy the one program that already has protections in place?
Overzealous legislation can be just as destructive as overzealous mortgage lenders.
Paterson suggests considering other solutions. For example: Have a separate testing and license requirement for all reverse mortgage originators which includes employees of banks as well as mortgage brokers. Make it easy for people to access the list of the originators and confirm who holds this license. Educate borrowers on how to make better decisions. And instead of going after the industry as a whole, go after those who violate the laws and regulations already in place. Fine those who violate the laws and regulations. Forbid those who violate the laws/regulations from practicing in reverse mortgages.


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