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Bed bugs – Clean your vacuum well!

  

Bed bugs can live up to 18 months.

When you have a pest control company spraying they can hide deep into crevices and under the walls. 

If you have been using a vacuum to clean and then find you have bedbugs, you now have a vacuum cleaner that is contaminated.  You have to give it a thorough cleaning.  You need to get an old toothbrush, pipe clears,  toothpicks, Q-tips, and tear down the vacuum. Clean your wheels, remove the disposable bag and throw it out, clean the beater bars and all tubes of all debris.  

If this is too big of a chore you the next best thing is to remove the bag.  Purchase a commercial pest strip and place it in a large heavy garbage bag then put the vacuum cleaner in the bag with the hoses and leave everything in the bag for as long as you can.  This will kill all of the eggs and adult insects. It takes time for the insecticide to go through the long hoses to complete the job.  

You can put some things in the freezer to kill the eggs and the adults. It is not cold enough outside in Vancouver to kill these insects.  If it is hovering around 0 C to -10 C it may take anywhere from 2 just 3 weeks to kill them.  If your furniture and mattresses are in good shape you do not have to throw them out.  Mattresses and box springs can be covered in a dust mite cover.

Lyle Attfield

250-900-5437

Sooke BC 

Open an RDSP now or wait until a child becomes and adult?

  

Because RDSP beneficiaries will probably have lower income than their families once they become adults, people think that they should wait until the beneficiary is an adult before opening.  The analysis doesn’t necessarily bear this out.  Read the post:

 http://rdspresource.ca/index.php/2012/01/when-should-you-start-an-rdsp-for-your-child/

 

What do medication expiry dates mean?

  

This research was done in the US, but we know that most of Canada’s medical regulations follow the US model.  The article is reprinted at Medscape, a reliable US medical website but the original location of the post (redflagsdaily.com) is no longer available.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/460159

 

By Richard Altschuler

Does the expiration date on a bottle of a medication mean anything? If a bottle of Tylenol, for example, says something like “Do not use after June 1998,” and it is August 2002, should you take the Tylenol? Should you discard it? Can you get hurt if you take it? Will it simply have lost its potency and do you no good?

In other words, are drug manufacturers being honest with us when they put an expiration date on their medications, or is the practice of dating just another drug industry scam, to get us to buy new medications when the old ones that purportedly have “expired” are still perfectly good?

These are the pressing questions I investigated after my mother-in-law recently said to me, “It doesn’t mean anything,” when I pointed out that the Tylenol she was about to take had “expired” 4 years and a few months ago. I was a bit mocking in my pronouncement — feeling superior that I had noticed the chemical corpse in her cabinet — but she was equally adamant in her reply, and is generally very sage about medical issues.

So I gave her a glass of water with the purportedly “dead” drug, of which she took 2 capsules for a pain in the upper back. About a half hour later she reported the pain seemed to have eased up a bit. I said “You could be having a placebo effect,” not wanting to simply concede she was right about the drug, and also not actually knowing what I was talking about. I was just happy to hear that her pain had eased, even before we had our evening cocktails and hot tub dip (we were in “Leisure World,” near  Laguna Beach ,  California , where the hot tub is bigger than most  Manhattan apartments, and “Heaven,” as generally portrayed, would be raucous by comparison).

Upon my return to NYC and high-speed connection, I immediately scoured the medical databases and general literature for the answer to my question about drug expiration labeling. And voila, no sooner than I could say “Screwed again by the pharmaceutical industry,” I had my answer. Here are the simple facts:

First, the expiration date, required by law in the United States, beginning in 1979, specifies only the date the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of the drug — it does not mean how long the drug is actually “good” or safe to use.
Second, medical authorities uniformly say it is safe to take drugs past their expiration date — no matter how “expired” the drugs purportedly are. Except for possibly the rarest of exceptions, you won’t get hurt and you certainly won’t get killed.
Studies show that expired drugs may lose some of their potency over time, from as little as 5% or less to 50% or more (though usually much less than the latter). Even 10 years after the “expiration date,” most drugs have a good deal of their original potency. So wisdom dictates that if your life does depend on an expired drug, and you must have 100% or so of its original strength, you should probably toss it and get a refill.  If your life does not depend on an expired drug — such as that for headache, hay fever, or menstrual cramps — take it and see what happens.

One of the largest studies ever conducted that supports the above points about “expired drug” labeling was done by the US military 15 years ago, according to a feature story in the Wall Street Journal (March 29, 2000), reported by Laurie P. Cohen. The military was sitting on a $1 billion stockpile of drugs and facing the daunting process of destroying and replacing its supply every 2 to 3 years, so it began a testing program to see if it could extend the life of its inventory. The testing, conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ultimately covered more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter. The results showed that about 90% of them were safe and effective as far as 15 years past their original expiration date.
In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, said he concluded that expiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer. Mr. Flaherty noted that a drug maker is required to prove only that a drug is still good on whatever expiration date the company chooses to set. The expiration date doesn’t mean, or even suggest, that the drug will stop being effective after that, nor that it will become harmful. “Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons,” said Mr. Flaherty, a pharmacist at the FDA until his retirement in 1999. “It’s not profitable for them to have products on a shelf for 10 years. They want turnover.”

The FDA cautioned there isn’t enough evidence from the program, which is weighted toward drugs used during combat, to conclude most drugs in consumers’ medicine cabinets are potent beyond the expiration date. Joel Davis, however, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, said that with a handful of exceptions — notably nitroglycerin, insulin, and some liquid antibiotics — most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military. “Most drugs degrade very slowly,” he said. “In all likelihood, you can take a product you have at home and keep it for many years. ” Consider aspirin. Bayer AG puts 2-year or 3-year dates on aspirin and says that it should be discarded after that. However, Chris Allen, a vice president at the Bayer unit that makes aspirin, said the dating is “pretty conservative” ; when Bayer has tested 4-year-old aspirin, it remained 100% effective, he said. So why doesn’t Bayer set a 4-year expiration date? Because the company often changes packaging, and it undertakes “continuous improvement programs,” Mr. Allen said. Each change triggers a need for more expiration-date testing, and testing each time for a 4-year life would be impractical. Bayer has never tested aspirin beyond 4 years, Mr. Allen said. But Jens Carstensen has. Dr. Carstensen, professor emeritus at the  University of  Wisconsin ‘s pharmacy school, who wrote what is considered the main text on drug stability, said, “I did a study of different aspirins, and after 5 years, Bayer was still excellent. Aspirin, if made correctly, is very stable.

Okay, I concede. My mother-in-law was right, once again. And I was wrong, once again, and with a wiseacre attitude to boot. Sorry mom.

Now I think I’ll take a swig of the 10-year dead package of Alka Seltzer in my medicine chest — to ease the nausea I’m feeling from calculating how many billions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry bilks out of unknowing consumers every year who discard perfectly good drugs and buy new ones because they trust the industry’s “expiration date labeling.”

Need help with shoveling snow? Find a Snow angels program

  

Need help clearing the snow?  Burnaby has a SNOW ANGELS program,  Or would you like to be a snow angel for your neighbors?  You can register at the Burnaby SNOW ANGELS site.


You can also find Snow Angel programs in other municipalities by just Googling Snow Angel and your city name.

Tax Tips for Workers with a Disability

  

Thanks to the Tax Detective, here are some tax tips for the person with a disability who decides to work, even for a low amount of income. There are incentives to work, some new, some old, in the tax system. Some government benefit programs are dependent on the calculation of net income and may be affected by increased net income, but there are several claims for expenses that may reduce the calculation of net income. 

A program for the working poor, Working Income Tax Benefit will actually pre-pay benefits if you can figure out how to claim. More information: Line 453 WIT

Medical Expenses

By claiming medical expenses you may find a supplement you are entitled to, a credit of a bit over $1,000 per year…see Line 452: Refundable Medical Expense Supplement

Child Care
If you work and pay for Child Care, child care is usually only deductible by the lower income spouse, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as a parent in school, infirm, jail or hospital.  The result of claiming child care is to lower net income. If the claimant is a person with a disability, reducing their net income will aid in preserving tax credits for a claim by a supporting spouse or other family members and may also reduce the impact on other government benefit programs that rely on the calculation of net income, such as Persons with Disability Benefits, Pharmacare and MSP premiums.

Disability Supports Expense
If a person with a disability works and has specific medical expenses that qualify, including attendant care and various devices and equipment,  they may be claimed on Line 215 to reduce net income. All qualifying medical expenses are listed HERE.

A benefit of disability supports expense claims is other credits such as the disability tax credit may still transferrable to supportive family because net income is lower than the total of other credits.
The family may also claim other credits such as the caregiver or infirm over 18 tax credits. These credits are all dependent on the calculation of net income, so it makes sense that if the disability supports reduce net income, this is a good thing.
Normally medical expenses don’t reduce net income. They are reported on Line 330 as a medical expense credit and the taxpayer must deduct 3% of their net income or on Line 331 if paid by the supportive relative net of 3% of the net income of the person with the disability who is supported.
Only the person with the disability can claim Disability Supports on Line 215 and only for the calendar year. There is no carry over for 24 months in year of death or flexibility of claiming any 12 months that end in the year, or having their spouse claim instead if it’s more advantageous, all of which are possible with medical expenses, both on Line 330 for self, or if paid by someone else on Line 331 net of 3% of the supported persons’ net income.
Eileen Reppenhagen, CGA, ACG, CL
www.taxdetective.ca

Who will be the holder of your son/daughter’s RDSP in the future?

  

None of us know what the future holds.  The wisdom of families who have gone before is the mantra that "good planning sews the seeds of peace of mind".

If you live in BC, you can easily plan ahead for future holders of RDSPs with a Representation Agreement.

Click here for the full post:  http://rdspresource.ca/index.php/2011/11/account-holders-and-representation-agreements/

 

Trouble navigating the disability system?

  

Our Disability Benefits Navigator allows you to quickly find what you might be missing: http://www.abilitytax.ca/navigator/home.html

 

 

 

 

Interviewing a Financial Planner? 10 Questions to ask

  

You may be seeking help from a financial planner for a number of reasons: planning for retirement, finding the best way to finance a new home, saving for children’s education or simply to get help putting finances in order. Whatever your needs, working with a financial planner can be a helpful step in securing your financial future.

More…https://www.fpsc.ca/node/311 

Top Ten Tips for a New School Year

  

*upated 2012*

1. Be patient, the start of a new school year is always a challenge until things settle down and order gets established.

2. If you have a child with challenges, try to meet with the teacher as soon as possible.

3. Inquire early in the school year about your child’s IEP – try and have it done before the end of October. Advocate that it been done asap. This is important because it sets the stage for the whole year.

4. Read the BCACL’s booklet on Inclusive Education it is well-written and informative. The E Book has great live links.

5.  Introduce yourself to the principal. In my experience, the principal sets the tone for the school. Do your best to get their support.

6. In advance of the school year, plan what you think your child needs and ensure that it is encapsulated within the IEP

7. Remember your child has a right to be in school. It is the law.

8. Get to know the organizational structure in your school system so you know who to go to if issues arise. Who does the principal report to? And who in turn do that person report to? and so on…

9. Share information with the teacher and EA that they will need to support your child. If you require a formal meeting ask for one.

10. Work on building relationships with people at the school, talk to other parents, and get support from an advocate if you need it.

IEPs… What do I need to know?

  

*updated 2012*

The IEP (Individual Education Plan)is an important way to get input into your child’s education. The important thing to know is that as a parent have a right to participate in the IEP process.

An IEP has three stages:

  1. developing and writing the plan
  2. implementing and evaluating the plan
  3. reporting on student progress toward the goals in the plan

This is an evolving process: as the student’s needs change, the IEP should change.  

Your school district will most likely have a "template" for the IEP that they would prefer to use.  Remember, these are just guides to make the process easier.  Ask for a change if you do not like the template that is offerred.

 

Learn about Student Support Services in your district:
Student support services could include: learning assistance, counseling, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language services. However, these may or may not be applicable to your child.

Different school districts may name or deliver their support services in slightly different ways. For information on school district services start by looking at your district website:

http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/schools/bcmap.htm

 

The Basics of the IEP:

The British Columbia Ministry of Education provides some basic information about IEPs that you can reference to get started.  There is also a Ministy resource page that has some disability specific suggestions and guidelines. Make sure you understand the difference between adaptations and modifications.

Some good basic guides:

BC Association for Community Living Parent’s Handbook on Inclusive Education.

BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils: Individual
Education Plans A Guide for Parents

BC Ministry of Education: A Resource Guide for Teachers

Making the IEP work:

The core of the IEP is the goals. Once there is an IEP in place, you also need to think about what your child needs to support the outcomes in the IEP in terms of support: Education Assistant (EA), speech therapy, augmentative communication resources or behaviour and communication support.

Go to the IEP meeting prepared by knowing what you want and be prepared to ask for it. You may have to request a formal meeting to resolve differences.