Health experts call for shift in COVID strategy, say current track is ‘a fool’s errand’

Article by Cormac Mac Sweeney and Hana Mae Nassar and originally posted here in CityNews 1130 (July 9, 2020)

COVID-19 virus

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/NIAID-RML via AP

OTTAWA – A group of 18 prominent health experts in Canada, including the two previous chief public health officers of Canada, is calling on the federal and provincial governments to change their strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group is calling for an end to attempts to eliminate the coronavirus, instead advocating for an approach where Canadians would learn to live with it.

“It’s a fool’s errand,” Dr. Neil Rau, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Toronto, says. “We’re not going to win with that strategy.”

Rau argues business closures, mandatory masks, and complete border closures are doing more harm than good for employment and the wellbeing of our society, and adds these things disproportionately affect low income and racialized Canadians.

“Poverty has huge health impacts on people. Health is wealth, wealth is health,” Rau says.

He says trying to stamp out COVID-19 will not work and we need to accept that the coronavirus is with us at least until a vaccine is developed.

Rau joins other experts in calling on governments to further relax lockdown measures and not return to the Phase 1-style restrictions we saw in the spring, even if there is a second wave.

“We strongly believe that population health and equity are important considerations that must be applied to future decisions regarding pandemic management,” the open letter, dated July 6, reads.

“Canada must work to minimize the impact of COVID-19 by using measures that are practical, effective and compatible with our values and sense of social justice,” the letter adds. “We need to focus on preventing deaths and serious illness by protecting the vulnerable while enabling society to function and thrive.”

The experts are also concerned about the development of children and are calling on the federal government to create a national strategy to reopen schools in the fall across the country.

They note Canada needs to “improve infection prevention and control in long-term care and congregate living settings,” while also providing support for those who choose to isolate “when the disease is active.”

Support should also be provided to people “who have been adversely affected by COVID-19, or the consequences of the public health measures,” the letter adds.

“Canadians have developed a fear of COVID-19,” the experts write. “Going forward, they have to be supported in understanding their true level of risk, and learning how to deal with this disease, while getting on with their lives – back to work, back to school, and back to healthy lives and vibrant, active communities across this country.”

Jill at Financial Concierge’s comment:  It took more than 200 years and a worldwide vaccination program to smallpox.  Let’s get back to living and working!

Posted by Jill Chambers in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments

3 Minutes with Jill Chambers

Article by Deanne Gage and originally posted here in FORUM Magazine (Feb 2020 Edition)

Jill Chambers Calgary Prime Times Picture

Jill Chambers, president of Financial Concierge

FORUM: What’s a financial concierge?
Jill: We pay bills for people who can’t, don’t, or shouldn’t. An example would be a senior who has developed arthritis and is having great difficulty writing and paying bills, and isn’t tech savvy. So we thought if we can help seniors stay independent financially, then they can also stay in their own homes longer with the supports and services around them.

FORUM: How are you paid?
Jill: We charge $150 an hour.We may spend two or three hours to find out what all the bills are, what we can automate, how to figure out what we need to do, and get it set up. After that, maybe it’s an hour in a month to visit with the individual and review what’s happened during the past month. Sometimes, family members of a senior — particularly if they live far away — quite like the fact that there’s a second set of eyes on everything. A really surprising thing that has come up is that the majority of the individuals we work with have been financially abused in the past.

FORUM: How do people know they can trust you?
Jill: We do complete background checks of our concierges, including a vulnerable sector screening. We look for good-to-excellent credit scores, and they must abide by the American Association of Daily Money Managers code of ethics. The first time we meet with clients, I ask them to have a friend or a family member or someone else there for the interview. If they don’t, I’ll ask them, “Have you talked to your sister or your child? Do they know that we’re working together?” Because I really encourage that and I would like them to be part of the conversation. If I’m doing an actual ongoing bill payment, then I always try to find someone else that I can provide a report to on a monthly basis. We always have a trusted contact person on file. When you’re dealing with older populations, cognitive changes are going to occur. So the way I frame this fact is: “If for some reason I can’t get a hold of you, or I have concerns about your well-being, whom can I talk to?”

FORUM: Why is this work important?
Jill: We did focus groups with caregivers who work with seniors and one need that came up was assistance with bill payments and someone to help them to get their important documents organized. This was particularly important when somebody had been widowed suddenly or lost a partner to one of the three Ds: death, dementia, or divorce. Most couples — it doesn’t matter what generation — are quite role specific in that one person manages the finances; everything from the investing to the insurance to the bill payments. And the other person is responsible for other areas of their lives. When the person who has been doing the financial management is gone, the surviving spouse doesn’t know where to start. And there often isn’t a family member or someone else around to do it.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management, 0 comments

Helping Aging Parents with Finances

5 Ways to Reduce Resistance

Managing financial matters is an important part of caring for an older adult.

But it can be tough to convince someone that they need help, even if all the signs are there.

For example, if they’re forgetting to pay bills, making unwise purchases, or getting confused about their accounts, it’s probably time to step in.

But even if they’re having problems, many people are still resistant to having someone get involved in their finances.

To reduce defensiveness, we share 5 essential tips for helping aging parents with finances.

We also suggest specific tasks to focus on to make the new responsibility a little less overwhelming.

  1. Work with them and respect their decisions

If your older adult is still able to manage their finances fairly well, be respectful of their decisions and work with them instead of taking over.

They’ll (hopefully) appreciate your help in executing details like paying the bills every month. And typically, they’ll be more likely to accept additional help when they realize you’re not trying to take away their control.

If your older adult has dementia or a cognitive impairment, you may need to take over and make decisions on their behalf.

But it’s still kinder to make them feel included and in control, even if they can’t manage things on their own anymore.

Work with other family members to make sure everyone is on the same page and they understand that you’re looking out for your older adult’s best interests.

  1. Locate important documents

It’s critical to know where the important financial documents are so you can locate them in an emergency or if your older adult becomes incapacitated.

This allows you to protect your older adult’s assets when they’re not able to take care of things themselves.

Your older adult may be concerned that you’ll use these documents before you have to, so be sure to reassure them that you’ll only use the information in an emergency or when they’re not able to.

Important documents typically include: 

  • Bank and investment statements
  • Wills
  • Insurance policies
  • Pension records
  • Home mortgage or reverse mortgage
  • Car title
  • CPP and OAS payments
  • Safe deposit boxes
  1. Get access to financial accounts

Getting access to your older adult’s bank accounts requires advance planning and likely, some specific paperwork.

Banks and other financial institutions have strict rules about who can access accounts. And sometimes, they require their own documents to be completed even if you already have a Power of Attorney.

To write cheques or withdraw money from your older adult’s accounts, you could become authorized to conduct transactions.

To get access to a safe deposit box, your older adult can authorize a “deputy” or “agent.”

Important: Before signing paperwork or getting joint access to any accounts, consulting with a fiduciary, elder law attorney, financial planner, or other qualified professional is always recommended to avoid unintended consequences.

  1. Keep family informed

Your older adult should stay involved in their financial decisions as long as they can.

But if that’s not possible and you need to take full responsibility, it’s wise to share information with other family members or involve them in the process.

This helps avoid conflicts later, like one person accusing another of inappropriately spending the older adult’s money behind the family’s back.

Holding family meetings to discuss finances is also a good way to keep everyone up to date on spending and income.

It’s also smart to keep a record of significant discussions, decisions, and actions in case there are disputes in the future.

  1. Prepare for the future

If your older adult doesn’t already have a will or estate plan, now is the time to convince them to meet with a lawyer and start the process.

These key legal documents are important because they affect how their assets are distributed when they pass away.

It’s also important to complete other essential legal documents like a Power of Attorney and living will. This allows you to make decisions and take action quickly during a health crisis.  The “living will” has different names depending on the province – Power of Attorney for Health Decisions, personal directive, or healthcare directive.

Need help with your own or your elderly family members financial matters? 

Get in touch with Financial Concierge Inc today to book your complimentary initial consultation.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management

Spot the Scam

Check out this article that Jill Chambers with Finiancail Concierge Inc was interviewed in for Dementia Connection, The Nature of the Scam

Spot the Scam with Jill Chambers

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management

The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders

People with dementia are still capable with guidance, supervision and acceptance.


Posted by Admin-FCI in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments
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