Now’s the Time to Walk In Their Shoes

Now’s the Time to Walk In Their Shoes

More than six million people in the United States are affected by dementia and this number is growing quickly. With this notable rise, Sagepoint Senior Living Services has been working hard to help spread awareness of the needs and challenges of people with dementia and other cognitive diseases. One of the ways Sagepoint does this is by hosting a “Walk In Their Shoes” event that walked board members and others in the community through a small glimpse of the challenges of dementia.

This was accomplished by our team explaining how our memory care service offers a nurturing, home-like environment that sets a new standard of care for people with memory loss. We went on to further describe how our team listens, watches and learns to tailor individual programs for each resident and deliver our professional care and services with a personal touch.

“Sagepoint has hosted the dementia experience for other community organizations like the Rotary Club of La Plata and Leadership Southern Maryland. “We feel it is important to educate caregivers and family members on dementia and other cognitive issues.” says Denise McCann, Sagepoint’s Chief Nursing Officer. “Empowering them with knowledge and resources gives the extended caregivers tools to navigate care.”

While we work towards accomplishing this mission of spreading dementia awareness, you can help us by donating to our “Remember These Moments” campaign. With your donation, you are helping those affected by dementia, and members of our community have access to resources needed to care for their loved one. We could not provide care and educate the community without your help, so please consider donating today.

Remember These Moments

We all have special moments that live in our hearts. The first time meeting your best friend. Saying I do. Watching your granddaughter receive her diploma. We remember these moments because they bring us so much joy, help us stay forever young and keep us connected to loved ones passed. 

 

These moments are magical, and they’re worth more than gold. But for too many in our community, these moments are slipping away. There are currently 13.5 million people living with dementia in the U.S. In Maryland, the number of people with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase by nearly 20% in the coming years. 

 

As 2022 comes to an end, we are asking you to please donate and support our year-end fundraising campaign, “Remember These Moments.” The focus of this campaign is to raise funds to help grow awareness of dementia and Alzheimer’s and the effects it has on the person, the family and the community as a whole. However, we believe it to also be important to know who you’ll be directly supporting with your donation and how much it means.

 

 Valerie Neal and Annette Miles are sisters who wanted their mother to stay at home as long as she could but knew they needed professional care to help with her dementia. Having a previous connection to Sagepoint due to one of their sisters being a longtime employee, Valerie and Annette trusted Sagepoint to take care of her mother and found the staff treated her with respect and “were very personable with great people skills”. The sisters also noted how much calmer she has been since being a part of our memory care residence and praised our organization as being outstanding. This is just one of many stories that demonstrate Sagepoint’s commitment to helping those who need us in a caring and compassionate way. 

 

By donating to this campaign, you’ll be helping people like Valerie and Annette’s mother receive the care she deserves as well as numerous others in our community. We truly couldn’t do this without you so please consider donating to “Remember These Moments” today.

Tax-Free Charitable Giving From An IRA

Seniors age 70 ½ or older can make tax-free charitable donation from IRAs that count toward satisfying required minimum distribution and reduce taxable income.

What is a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD)?

A QCD is a tax-free charitable distribution of funds directly from the IRA trustee (custodian) of an eligible IRA account payable to a qualified charitable organization that can receive a tax-deductible contribution. A tax-free QCD is defined in IRS Publication 17 – Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals on page 126.

Normal distribution from an IRA of deductible contributions and earning is included in income and taxed as ordinary income. The tax-free QCD removes the distribution from taxable income. QCDs are recorded on Form 1040, U.S. Individual Tax Return 2018 – the sum total QCD distribution is included on line 4 a – IRA distribution, and the abbreviation ‘QCD’ is written on line 4 b – taxable amount.

Who is Eligible to Make a tax-free QCD?

IRA account owners and beneficiaries age 70 ½ or older on the date the tax-free QCD is made to one or more qualified charitable organizations.
Taxpayers who now claim the standard deduction can still make tax-free QCDs.

What type of IRA accounts are eligible for a QCD?

Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA, Inherited IRA accounts and non-active SEP and Simple IRA accounts are eligible for a tax free QCD. Active SEP or Simple IRA account currently receiving employee or employer contributions is not eligible.

Roth IRA accounts are eligible but a tax-free QCD will not lower income tax because distributions from Roth IRAs are already tax-free and not included in income.

What type of retirement savings accounts are ineligible for a QCD?

Employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457(b)s are not eligible for tax-free QCD. A normal or tax-free QCD distribution to satisfy the IRA RMD requirement in a given tax year cannot count toward satisfying the RMD requirement for employer-sponsored requirement plans.

However, an employer-sponsored plan account owner may consider a direct transfer rollover to an IRA Rollover account that would then be eligible for tax-free QCDs. RMD calculations for tax-deferred IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans for the current tax year will be based upon the fair market value of the account at the close of business on December 31 of the prior year, factored by your age and life expectancy. Therefore, before implementing a rollover strategy the time and suitability should be taken into consideration.

What is the tax-free QCD distribution limit?

Seniors age 70 ½ or older may make tax-free charitable donations and exclude up to $100,000 from gross income per tax year by making tax-free QCD’s directly from an IRA. There is no carry-over from year to year. Your spouse may also make a tax-free charitable donation and exclude up to $100,000 from gross income per tax year for a combined total of $200,000.

Does a tax-free QCD distribution count towards Requirement Minimum Distribution (RMD)?

Yes. A tax-free QCD may be an appropriate strategy for individuals who are charitable inclined and do not need RMDs for living expenses. A tax-free QCD can potentially reduce income tax liability on RMDs to zero. A tax-free QCD can be counted toward satisfying your RMD requirements for IRA accounts.

Here is an example of a normal IRA distribution of $5,000 at ordinary income tax rates:
22% 24% 32% 35% 37%

22% 24% 32% 35% 37%
IRA Distribution $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Income tax 1,100 1,200 1,600 1,750 1,850
Net Distribution 3,900 3,800 3,400 3,250 3,150

 

Assume you are in the 24 percent income tax bracket – you make a tax-free QCD of $5,000 to count towards satisfying your RMD requirement, provide an income tax break of $1,200, lower taxable income, and help fulfil your philanthropic goals.

The annual RMD must be calculated by you or your custodian for each IRA account, but the sum RMD may be aggregated and distributed from one or more IRA accounts. Note – RMD for employer sponsored retirement accounts cannot be aggregated and distributed from IRAs.

The first distributions from an IRA are consider to satisfy the annual IRA RMD requirement. If you have already taken a portion of your RMD requirement earlier this year, you may consider a tax-free QCD for the remaining balance of the RMD requirement that needs to be distributed before the year-end deadline. The only exception to the year-end RMD requirement deadline is in the first year an IRA account owner turns age 70 ½.

What charities qualify to receive a tax-free QCD?

As defined by IRS Publication 590-B Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs,) a charity eligible to receive a QCD is a “qualified 501(c)(3) organization (a charitable organization eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.)” Donor advised funds and private foundations are not eligible to receive tax-free QCDs. Upon request a charity can provide you their IRS issued ‘Letter of Determination’ verifying tax-exempt status. Additionally, please find information about a tax-exempt organization’s federal tax filing status on the IRS web site at www.irs.gov.

How to set up direct payment to the charitable organization?

To make a tax-free QCD, there must be direct payment by the IRA trustee (custodian) on behalf of the IRA account owner to the charitable organization. You may call your IRA trustee (custodian) and request a check made payable to a charitable organization and delivered to you so that you may forward to the charity. (IRS Notice 2007-7, Q&A-41). Consider including a ‘Letter of Intent’ with the check to describe your wishes and purpose of the charitable gift. Check with you IRA trustee (custodian) for year-end processing deadlines for issuing checks. As normal, you will need to keep records to include written acknowledge from the charitable organization for your tax-exempt charitable donation.

What are key benefits of lowering taxable income, Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for seniors?

A tax-free QCD can count towards satisfying your RMD requirement but does not add to your taxable income, AGI. You may benefit from lowering your taxable income to lower Medicare Part B premium and prescription drug premium for high income earners, lower taxable percentage of Social Security benefits, and larger deductions for medical expenses; among other benefits.

Medicare Premium for High Income Beneficiaries – Potential lower AGI to qualify for lower income threshold to lower income related monthly adjustment amounts for Medicare Part B and Prescription Drugs premiums. For more information, please view Social Security Administration publication – Medicare Premiums: Rules for Higher-Income Beneficiaries.

Itemized Deduction for Medical Expense – Potential lower AGI to reduce threshold for claiming unreimbursed medical and dental expenses you paid. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) lowered the AGI threshold for medical expenses from 10 percent to 7.5 percent for 2017 and 2018 for all taxpayers and reverts back to 10 percent in 2019.

Percentage of Social Security Benefits to be Taxed – Potential lower ‘combined income’ to qualify for a lesser portion of your Social Security benefits to be taxed. For more information, please visit Social Security Administration web page – Benefits Planner | Income Taxes and Your Social Security Benefits.

Summary

Tax-free QCDs may be an effective strategy to fulfill your philanthropic goals and make a lasting charitable impact in your community. Before implementing any strategy, please consult your professional tax accountant, estate planning attorney and/or investment adviser.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. Any investments and strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. While every attempt is made to provide accurate information, we cannot guarantee the accuracy and completeness of this content. Christine does not provide legal or tax advice.

Written by Christine Parker, CPF®, president of Parker Financial, LLC and member of Sagepoint Senior Services Foundation Board of Officers and Directors.

LEADERSHIP SOUTHERN MARYLAND EDUCATES LEADERS: Class of 2022 Experiences Healthcare in Southern Maryland

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – May 27, 2022: On May 19, 2022, the Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) Class of 2022 participated in the last of nine educational sessions for the 2021-22 LSM Executive Program – Healthcare.

Sponsored by the Chesapeake-Potomac Healthcare Alliance, this one-day event began with a presentation by Sagepoint Senior Living Services on the memory care services they offer to seniors. Sagepoint representatives also provided the class with the unique opportunity to participate in a dementia exercise that demonstrated the challenges faced by those coping with memory loss and sensory issues.

Next, the class took part in a mental health first aid exercise followed by an exploration of dental health in Southern Maryland. This portion of the day included tours of the Health Partners dental site in Waldorf and a visit from the CalvertHealth Mobile Health Center. The morning wrapped up with the Southern Maryland Hospitals Panel during which class members had the opportunity to ask questions of leadership from CalvertHealth System, University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.

Following lunch, the class walked through a health fair where they had the opportunity to explore numerous services and wellness-related topics including nutrition, meditation, chronic disease prevention, and many others.

The afternoon portion of the day kicked off with a discussion on public and community health issues where panelists from the three Southern Maryland county health departments fielded questions about their programs along with the challenges they face in the public health sector. The session rounded out with a focus on behavioral health featuring small-group presentations by the St. Mary’s County Health Department Harm Reduction Program Office, Maryland Coalition of Families, the Calvert County Healthy Beginnings Program, and a tour of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office’s HOPE Trailer.

LSM Executive Program Class of 2022 participants explore the CalvertHealth Mobile Health CenterClass members Rob Vest and Pat Hickey participate in a dementia exercise during the Healthcare session on May 19, 2022.
Top: LSM Executive Program Class of 2022 participants explore the CalvertHealth Mobile Health Center. Bottom: Class members Rob Vest and Pat Hickey participate in a dementia exercise during the Healthcare session on May 19, 2022.

Sagepoint Foundation Co-Chairs Evie Hungerford and Sally Jameson

Sagepoint Senior Services Foundation Gears Up for Our 2021 Golf Tournament

Sagepoint Foundation Co-Chairs Evie Hungerford and Sally Jameson

Foundation co-chairs Evie Hungerford and Sally Jameson invite you to join the fun during our 2021 Golf Tournament

Last year’s Inaugural Golf Tournament was a rousing success so we have decided to continue the fun for a second year! This year the golf tournament will take place on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at Swan Point Yacht & Country Club. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with community leaders and make a difference for senior care in Southern Maryland.

Sagepoint is a nonprofit organization caring for seniors and people with disabilities in southern Maryland for nearly 50 years. Your support of the tournament allows us to continue providing vital programs and services for those who need it most. 

Sponsorship opportunities have been selling quickly. With different levels available, sponsors make the tournament possible with their contributions and enjoy benefits such as logos on tournament signage and presence on digital and social media. 

The Golf Tournament will include a full day of golfing with a captain’s choice scramble format, putting contests and an exclusive raffle for an opportunity to golf at Pinehurst No. 2. Registration for the main event has already sold out, with a waitlist on standby for any last-minute openings.

Luckily opportunities are still available for the Sip and Swing event. If you are new to golf or never golfed before, this is for you! From drinking wine to practicing yoga with just a little bit of beginner golf, you’re sure to have a fun and relaxed day on the course.

Register online today — the Sip and Swing package is listed under “Add-Ons/Extras” on our online registration site. Click here to learn more.

Woman being embraced by another woman in an assisted living environment

Sagepoint Assisted Living — A True Community

Woman being embraced by another woman in an assisted living environment

Sagepoint’s philosophy is that assisted living is about more than services or a facility. It’s about a true sense of place, of fulfillment, of community. Sagepoint offers exactly that…a welcoming and friendly community, where real connections are made among our caregiving professionals and residents.

Each resident receives personalized help with activities of daily living, encouraging independence and interaction. Our staff gets to know each person’s special interests and preferences, and ongoing assessments support aging in place. Private rooms with bathrooms are complemented by nutritious, delectable, full-service dining in our dining room. “Comfort food” and alternative menu choices are also available. Recreational and therapeutic activities fill the calendar. And of course, Sagepoint provides carefully designed and monitored individual plans of care, including medication management, regular visits by physicians and nurses, and many other specialized care details. 

We pride ourselves on creating a true home environment. Housekeeping, laundry services and even a full-service hair salon are all included. 

Sagepoint also understands the importance of a vibrant social atmosphere. Our residents are provided regular opportunities to interact with neighbors in an engaging environment. Activities like gardening, games, art and music add daily fun in addition to regular interactions out and about each day. We’ve structured our program to center around fostering connection and giving a foundation for friendships to blossom. 

To learn more about Sagepoint’s residential assisted living services, please call 301-934-0222 to arrange a personal consultation.

Photos of doctors and assisted living professionals caring for people

Called to Care: How One Caregiver Followed His Passion at Sagepoint

Photos of doctors and assisted living professionals caring for people

There’s nothing quite like helping others. And for our Caregivers at Sagepoint, helping is only the start of what they do. Each GNA, or geriatric nursing assistant, comes to work ready to engage and support our seniors in new ways each day. No two Caregivers have the same story, but they all share a passion for what they do. This is how Duane Izlar found the field of Caregiving — and why Sagepoint has been the perfect fit for him. 

From Construction Work to Caregiving 

For Izlar, being a Caregiver wasn’t always in his plans. He actually switched career paths following experience in the construction industry. While this may seem like a big transition, it actually was more natural than you might expect. 

Izlar’s brother had already been working as a Caregiver and had mentioned on many occasions that Izlar himself would be great at the job. Later on, when Izlar’s grandmother needed assistance, he began caring for her before looking to become a professional Caregiver.

“I’ve always liked helping people,” reflects Izlar. “It was meant to be.” 

Starting a New Career at Sagepoint 

After a decade in the Caregiving industry, Izlar knew of Sagepoint’s stellar reputation. In preparation to start a career here, Izlar took part in a free course that Sagepoint offers to interested Caregivers. Over the span of several weeks, these lessons offered intensive training in all areas needed to become a successful Caregiver. This includes review of relevant health care practices as well as Sagepoint-specific protocols. At the end of the training course, each individual takes a test through the Maryland Board of Nursing to earn their certification.

What Everyday Life is Like for a Caregiver 

In his four years at Sagepoint, Izlar has come to appreciate that no two days will ever be the same. He often starts his days checking in on his patients, making sure they feel good and are taking all of their prescribed medications.

 “We’re first in line when they have questions or need care,” says Izlar, who notes that he works closely with the full team of nurses to meet the needs of each person. Izlar works specifically with the Rehabilitation team, which can serve both long- and shorter-term patients. He says he values the conversations shared with them throughout the day. 

Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

In March 2020, the world turned upside down as everyone began scrambling to combat the COVID-19 virus. Izlar remembers this time vividly, noting, “it was scary for everybody.” 

Despite the initial confusion and panic faced in medical facilities across the globe, the team at Sagepoint “came together” through it all. Even when medical equipment seemed scarce, there was always some available for Caregivers — and every person on staff was careful to follow updated CDC recommended protocol as new measures were announced. 

While the experiences of the past year were sobering for everyone in our community, Izlar and his fellow Caregivers are the biggest reason we were able to come out on the other side. And Izlar himself can see the difference he makes in the lives of his patients, saying “At the end of the day you’re actually helping people — and that’s something I’m proud of.”

Every Stage of Senior Care

For Every Stage of Senior Care, There’s Sagepoint

Care for an aging loved one can take many stages. For family members and primary caregivers, the decisions about what type of care is right at what point in time can feel overwhelming. But the professionals of Sagepoint Senior Living Services have more than 40 years of experience serving families in Southern Maryland through all stages of aging. When the time is right to seek the best care — and successive levels of care — Sagepoint is the trusted source.

Adult Day Services

Sagepoint’s specially-trained day service providers provide help with daily activities from simple assistance to total care. Services range from administering medications and monitoring of physical conditions to nutrition consulting, weight management and other daily health oversights. Even accompaniment to social outings when family members cannot attend can be provided. We can alleviate many of the everyday worries that families and friends face for aging loved ones.

Home Care

A helping hand, a companion, a confidante. The Home Care professionals at Sagepoint can fulfill all of these roles in the comfort and security of your loved one’s own home. The challenges of daily housekeeping, laundry, cooking, errands, shopping and other everyday activities that most people take for granted can be attended to by our visiting in-home service providers. We get started with a comprehensive needs assessment by our Registered Nurse Case Manager. Depending on case by case needs, our home care professionals can provide bathing and grooming assistance, toileting and ambulation help and feeding assistance. Of course, the simple comfort of daily companionship that people of all ages need is equally important. All of these heartfelt services and more are available from Sagepoint.

Assisted Living and Memory Care

Life is to be enjoyed, at every stage. Everyone at Sagepoint holds that ideal in high esteem, and it guides our care services for your aging loved ones who need a residential setting that truly meets their changing needs and focuses on their safety, security and happiness. Sagepoint’s progressive in-residence care services — including assisted living and memory care — address every family’s concerns and needs on a personal level. 

To gain more knowledge about Sagepoint Senior Living Services, please phone 301-934-0222 to arrange a personal tour. 

 

Meet the People Whose Lives Are Made Better By Your Generosity

 

We know that there are many worthy causes out there.

 

We also know that you can’t give to support them all.

 

But we would be honored and grateful if you would consider a tax-deductible, year-end gift to support Sagepoint.

 

Watch the videos below to hear from our patients and their families. And to get a glimpse of the difference your donation can make right here in Charles County.

 

 

These are the people you’re supporting. These are the lives you’re changing.

It feels so good to give, and it only takes a few moments and a few clicks.

 

Thank you from the bottom of our grateful hearts.

A Brief Guide to Medicare and Understanding Your Options

By Sharon Wagner, SeniorFriendly.info




Medicare is a blessing to many seniors, but navigating all of your options and deciding on a plan can be extremely overwhelming. How are you supposed to know which plan you need, which insurance companies to trust, and how to enroll? There are many things to consider when choosing your plan and nearly endless options when you look beyond the basic federal program. Hopefully, this guide can clear up a few things and point you in the right direction.

Finding Plans in Your Area

To start, it’s important to know what kinds of Medicare plans are available in your area. The government website Medicare.gov provides a handy search tool for finding Medicare Part C and Part D plans. This can help you narrow down your choices based on certain criteria, such as whether you need drug coverage and which pharmacies you would like included in your plan. Take a look at this useful step-by-step guide for help using the search tool.

Learning About Basic Medicare

Original Medicare, also called Medicare Part A and B, is the most basic coverage provided by the government for seniors 65 and older. Original Medicare covers things like hospital stays and outpatient doctor’s services. Most people will not have to pay anything for Part A, but everyone must pay a monthly premium for Part B. It’s also important to understand that Original Medicare will not pay for 100 percent of the services it covers; you will still have out-of-pocket costs from deductibles and copayments. This is why many people supplement their Medicare plans.

Understanding Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and are similar to health insurance plans you may have signed up for in the past. In addition to everything covered by Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage plans offer additional coverage for things like hearing, vision, and dental. These plans may also include daily living assistance and lifestyle support, such as transportation or meal delivery services. US News explains the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage based on different criteria you may have.

You’ll notice that many Medicare Advantage plans have no premiums. These can be a good option for people who are healthy and looking to save money while still being protected from large medical expenses. These zero-premium plans typically have high deductibles, meaning you’ll have to pay more for your services before your plan will cover the rest. Choosing a plan with a higher premium may be a better option if you have a chronic condition or some other reason to require regular medical care.

Medicare Part D for Drug Coverage

Medicare Part D, which is also offered by private insurance companies, covers prescription drugs. You can add Part D to your Original Medicare plan. However, the majority of Medicare Advantage plans include Part D. According to Investopedia, the costs associated with Medicare Part D are fairly similar to the premiums, deductibles, and copayments of any standard medical insurance plan. Before picking a plan, it’s important to consider the particular drugs you need to be covered since certain plans cover different drugs. Using the Medicare.gov search tool mentioned above can help you find Part D plans that will cover your prescriptions.

Considering Medigap

Finally, Medigap is yet another option for supplementary coverage offered by private insurance companies. Medigap specifically covers the gaps in Original Medicare. This can be beneficial for people who anticipate future chronic conditions and are worried about expensive healthcare needs. There are several Medigap plans to choose from, so think carefully about the kind of coverage you need most. Some plans have coverage for travel emergencies, whereas others are better for covering the deductibles and copayments from your Original Medicare plan.

Getting the most out of Medicare means taking the time to learn about your plans and coverage options. Continue to do your research and check out some of the resources mentioned here. Although it will take some serious planning to evaluate your choices, consider your criteria, and anticipate your future care needs, this will help you secure your health for the future.

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