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July 24, 2014

In This Week's Issue

  • 2014 Annual Meeting Coverage: Local Lobbying Workshop Report
  • Welcome, Western & Central Virginia Chapter!
  • Boston College: Average Worker Needs to Save 15% to Fund Retirement
  • Making the Tough Decisions: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
  • Upcoming Events

2014 Annual Meeting Coverage: Local Lobbying Workshop Report

How to Lobby City and State Governments.

That was the challenge Doug Lueder and Scott Norman took on at the 2014 NAIPC Annual Meeting on Monday, June 9 in Washington, DC. The overall theme of the two-day conference was “How to Make a Difference in Your Community.”

Doug Lueder, a member of the NAICP Greater Atlanta Chapter, received his legislative education as the result of a distressing development in his own business, Prosper Home Care of Norcross, Georgia. Mr. Lueder is a sensitive and industrious man who initially was motivated to enter the home care business because of his late brother, a quadriplegic. Witnessing the problems and challenges of home care facing his brother and family over more than a decade, Lueder pledged to do better. So it is easy to understand his distress when the adult children of elderly clients reported that a home care provider in his employ was stealing.

Lueder transferred the man to another client, but a similar theft was reported. With this pattern established, Lueder set up a camera and cooperated with the families and local law enforcement authorities to secure solid evidence. Before long, the man confessed.

But then Lueder faced another problem: Georgia’s First Offender Act. It was designed to deal with prison overcrowding and give first offenders a second chance. But what most frustrated Lueder was the provision that sealed the records to most potential employers. He was plagued by the thought that he could be exposing his clients to convicted felons without knowing.

With the help of State Senator John Albers and his staff, Lueder mounted a lobbying campaign to have the First Offender Act amended to allow home care providers access to the suppressed criminal records. It took several legislative sessions, but the amendment finally made it through both houses and became law this past April 22.

The lesson: “Don’t give up. Don’t think you, as an individual, can’t make a difference. Find a champion. Find a representative, whether it’s in the senate or the house, hopefully one that you can look at their voting record on similar causes and get someone to sponsor that bill, that change you want to make, and go for it! And as we collectively grow this organization, we’re going to have more power and, hopefully, influence some of those votes to make the changes that will ultimately help people age in place a little more safely.”

Scott Norman, with Urban Financial of America in Austin, was “single-handedly responsible for Texas having reverse mortgages,” according to NAIPC President Peter Bell. “He conducted a one-man barnstorming tour to amend the state constitution.”

Mr. Norman’s message is direct: Find out who are the influencers, and who influences the influencers? “If you’re not in a position where you can get in front of one or the other, you’re going to be in a bind.” He concedes, “There are so many moving pieces that it can be frustrating, but you have to go through the process.

The lessons:

It is a lot easier to kill a bill than to pass one. If you are advocating a change, you’d better find out if any groups are opposing it and have a strategy to neutralize them.

Follow the money. Legislators want to be reelected and are going to spend their time with supporters. You don’t have to be a major donor, but legislators do check contributor lists.

Start early and make friends. It is particularly important to cultivate staffers. They can be a great source of information and strategic advice. Be honest with them and don’t overpromise. And as Peter Bell states, “I've never met a staffer who was not a would-be elected official him or herself.” Bell recommends starting “earlier than early,” so that you are valuable to legislators and staffers before you have an issue.

Be strategic. You can’t be everywhere or do everything, so focus on the important districts or lawmakers. Most legislators don’t have a strong interest in most issues, so they will look to their friends and colleagues to see how they are voting.

Align with a reporter. Favorable media coverage can be critical, and you can make yourself valuable to a reporter through information and perspective.

Find a mentor. There is probably a lobbyist who works for a related industry who can teach and guide you. Doug Lueder stresses the value of bringing enough allies together to hire a lobbyist, noting that like him, most people are involved in a full-time business and have neither the time, the contacts, nor the expertise to lobby legislators on their own.

Scott Norman ends on a positive note. With Aging in Place, nearly everyone has a personal family connection to the issue and will someday be facing it him or herself. So there is a natural instinct to be sympathetic.

Welcome, Western & Central Virginia Chapter!

NAIPC welcomes our newest chapter, the Western and Central Virginia Chapter!

A message from Chapter Chair, Joy Whitt:

"The idea for the Western & Central Virginia Council for Aging in Place started from a personal loss, after caring for my father for a few years before losing him in 2013. I reflected on my involvement and how could I have helped him more. I realized I was not alone...people needed help. I started looking around and found networking groups for the aging, but didn't find much beyond that, until I came across the National Aging in Place. NAIPC advocates and educates. All members have to pay dues and have a background check, an important vetting process to maintain quality members.

We pulled our group together and formed the Western & Central Virginia Council for Aging in Place. Our goal is to educate. We meet every other week to plan how to communicate to the public. Once a month, we will do Lunch and Learns, and quarterly we will conduct education seminars for the medical field. We also want to represent NAIPC at  Home Shows and Expos. So please join our council and help us educate people as they get older to live a happy, healthy life at home."

Boston College: Average Worker Needs to Save 15% to Fund Retirement

Research published this week by the Center for Retirement Research (CCR) at Boston College concluded that the average American household must save roughly 15 percent of its annual income to sustain the same lifestyle in retirement.

The brief – entitled “
How Much Should People Save?” – said that middle-income workers need the equivalent of 71 percent of their pre-retirement income to maintain their standard of living. Roughly 41 percent of a retiree’s income will come from social security, while the next largest source – 21 percent – will be derived from retirement savings plans. 

According to the brief, delaying retirement to age 70 greatly reduces the annual savings expectations workers need to meet in order to fund retirement.

A worker who starts saving at age 35 will need a 15 percent annual savings rate in order to retire at age 65. But if the same worker delays retirement until age 70, only a six percent annual savings rate is necessary.

A worker who starts saving at age 45 would need to save 27 percent annually to retire at 65. But by delaying retirement to age 70, the same worker only has to save 10 percent to maintain their standard of living after retirement.


Making the Tough Decisions: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Aging in Place is about having options and knowing what those options are. But with options comes decisions. The decision-making process, especially whether or not to leave your current home, is a difficult one and one that often happens in stages.

In a recent article, blogger Marian Leah Knapp describes her journey of whether to stay or go...her initial indecision, her decision to stay in her current home, and then her decision to leave. Even though staying didn't quite pan out, she describes these milestones in her journey as "stages," not mistakes or bad decisions. Various factors and circumstances affect any senior's housing choice, and as her circumstances changed, Marian revisited and reassessed her situation. Ultimately, it made a whole lot more sense for her to move.

Regardless of the number of stages you or your clients may go through in determining the best options for housing, the important thing is being proactive and realistic. Research your options.
Universal Design home modifications work well for many. They worked for Marian for a time, until other home maintenance issues got to be too costly and aggravating. Get creative. More and more seniors are opting for co-housing or home-sharing.

Know your options, consider your options, and figure out what's best for you at each stage in the process.

Upcoming Events

7/27/2014 Long Island Chapter Aging In Place Seminar
7/29/2014 Western & Central Virginia Member Meeting
8/12/2014 Western & Central Virginia Member Meeting
8/13/2014 Long Island Chapter Monthly Meeting
8/13/2014 Central Coast of California Monthly
9/10/2014 Long Island Chapter Monthly Meeting
9/10/2014 Central Coast of California Monthly Chapter Meeting
9/17/2014 Greater Charleston Chapter Member Meeting
9/24/2014 Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter Monthly Meeting
9/25/2014 Orange County Chapter Monthly Member Meeting
October 13-19, 2014 National Aging in Place Week

To view the full list of events,
click here.