Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
April 27, 2015
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photo and program coordinator: Jim Minkler
          Socialize: Lenore Romney reminds there still is time to sign up for a special spring social event, Saturday, May 9 at The Bing.  It’s a concert of the Spokane Jazz Orchestra.  The club will buy the tickets and provide dessert before the concert. Sign up with Lenore or Melinda Keberle.
          Get teed off: Mark Visintainer is trying to fill two or three teams of four players for the Valley Rotary’s golf tourney, Tuesday, May 19, at the Trailhead in Liberty Lake.  Seven club members have signed up so far.  Shotgun start is at 2 p.m.  The goal is to help our club defend its championship performance last year.  We also won several years ago, when Diana Riggins was President.
          Dining update: Steve Boharski reports that seven restaurants have donated discount packages and eight more are needed.  The meals and other items will be packaged for raffles at our June 4 fund raising “Hawaiian Night,” with proceeds to benefit programs at Holmes Elementary School.
Elder care issues are not old news
          Negotiating the legal nuances of elder law and long-term care can be as tricky as treating the assortment of ailments many senior citizens must confront.                                                             
          Attorney Holland McBurns, who specializes in elder law, and her paralegal lead, Casey Holan, listed some of the issues and answers for the club April 27.
          McBurns stressed the importance of seeking legal and financial planning help tailored to seniors’ needs and situations.
          Holan presented a slide show with several fiscally challenging scenarios often faced by aging couples and their families – and some ways to make the money last longer.
          “Social Security (established in the 1930s) was designed when life expectancy after retirement was just two or three years.  Now it’s 20 or 30 years and the Social Security model is not sustainable,” Holan said.
          She outlined special “veteran-compliant” benefit programs for those with military service and “Medicaid-compliant” programs for others.
          Working with financial planning specialists, Holan said, the idea is to distribute and assign assets to meet long-term care needs.
          Current typical care costs, she said, are about $52,000 a year for in-home care; $38,000 for adult family care; $51,000 for assisted living and $100,000 a year for nursing home care.
          “The VA benefits are little known,” Holan said, adding that those programs have a low threshold, just 90 days of active duty service.
          With various service and non-military programs, she said, options may include using a family member (not a spouse) to provide in-home care with daily essentials like meal preparation, dressing and transportation.
          Most programs exempt cost of a home (up to $543,000) or one vehicle (any value) from counting against income or asset source tests.
          Another minefield to negotiate, said Holan and Holland, is Washington State’s Pension Poacher Prevention Act, legislation designed to preserve aging parents’ assets from over-eager family members.