February 2017

Topic of The Month - It's Tax Time

Be sure to take advantage of the available tax benefits. Do not assume that you will not qualify. Check it out. Many of these benefits can be claimed for past years as well so don't despair if you did not put them on this year's claim. Click on the links for detailed information.

On This Page

Primary Caregiver Tax Credit | Manitoba

- $1,400 Refundable
A refundable credit of up to $1,400 a year to people who act as primary caregivers for spouses, relatives, neighbours or friends who live at home in Manitoba. Note: "At home" means any facility not supported by government funding.

Forms and detailed information are available on the 
Manitoba Government website: Primary Caregiver Tax Credit  

Questions? Manitoba Tax Assistance Office
Email questions to: TAO@gov.mb.ca  
Use email so you can save a hard copy of the response.

TIP: Don't be scared off by the Caregiver Log. Just list the tasks you do. Here are some examples:

  • Driving to doctor appointments or other services
  • Arranging or preparing meals
  • Grocery shopping
  • Assisting with home maintenance, repairs or yard work
  • Providing personal care (bathing, dressing, feeding)
  • Completing forms or documents (legal, insurance)
  • Assisting with bill payment
  • Housekeeping tasks (cleaning, laundry)
  • Assisting with medications (setup, dosing)

Disability Tax Credit | Canada

This is a federal government tax credit for people with disabilities. 

CAUTION: Do NOT hire a consultant to help complete the form or claim this tax credit.

You must apply and be approved by a doctor (or other approved health professional). The doctor may charge a tax deductible fee of $100 or less to complete the form. If anyone offers to help you for a much larger fee, say no thanks.

You must apply and be approved Savings - as much as $1,165 a year Allows for important medical expense claims such as attendant care expenses paid to a retirement home. (This can significantly reduce the rent.)

Eligibility - The descriptions are very confusing but in a nutshell.
Eligible applicants have one or more severe and prolonged impairments in physical or mental functions. 
Applicants must be:
Markedly impaired in one or more functions.
                                or 
Significantly impaired in one or more functions with a combination of other less severe impairments. 

1. Physical Functions
  • vision
  • feeding or dressing oneself
  • speaking or hearing impairment
  • eliminating (bowel or bladder functions) 
  • walking
2. Mental Functions
  • memory
  • problem solving, goal-setting and judgement (taken together) 
  • adaptive functioning (includes those abilities related to self-care, health and safety, social skills and common simple transactions) 

Eligible Medical Expenses – save all receipts

Tip: Take 5 minutes to read the complete list on the Canada Revenue site. Did you know that incontinence products (Depends) are an eligible medical expense? 

There are significant exemptions for those who are approved for the disability tax credit. Almost 50% of the monthly fees at a retirement home are attendant care expenses. These are an eligible medical expense.  The cost of moving to a more accessible housing is covered up to $2000.
  • Attendant care expenses paid to a retirement home
  • Hearing aids or personal assistive listening devices including repairs and batteries.
  • Certificates - the amount paid to a medical practitioner for completing and providing  additional information in regard to Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate and other certificates.
  • Diapers or disposable briefs for a person who is incontinent 
  • Foot Care
  • and many more...

      CPP Death Benefit

      The maximum amount of this benefit is $2500. Be aware that it is taxable and keep back $1000 to pay the tax in the following year.

      January 2017

      Balance Magazine

      There are direct links to all the sites for each issue on the 4Teachers page.


      Overcoming Winter

      Winter is a difficult time for seniors and their caregivers. My mom needed blood tests every three weeks which meant taking her out into the freezing cold and maneuvering our way through snow and ice to the lab. By chance I learned that these tests could be done in her home for a small fee that was an eligible medical tax deduction.
      Also as my mom's patient advocate, I could see her doctor on my own for routine prescription renewals.
      There are many mobile services for seniors. To find services go to the Seniors' Resource Network site and call a seniors organization in your area.

      Here are just some examples of services that will come to a senior's home.
      • Physicians  
      • Dental 
      • Optical
      • Massage
      • Physiotherapy
      • Manitoba X-Ray Clinic - Portable Unit 
      • Lawyers
      • Grocery Orders and Deliveries 
      • Shopping 
      • Winnipeg Mobile Library Service for Seniors 311
      • Meal Delivery 
      • Hair Care 
      • Foot Care
      • Manicures
      • Pet grooming
      Another resource for services is The Grey Pages - Winnipeg Edition: An online directory for older adults.

      Winter Outings

      My mom loved outings from the personal care home but as her dementia progressed she was more interested in just going somewhere that she could see families, colours and familiar items. We started just cruising the malls with a customer service wheelchair but eventually that became too busy for her. I found other spots like IKEA where we could look at many things and then have coffee and dessert was a better choice. Shelmardines was another favourite during the months it is open. Does anyone know of other spacious low cost locations?

      Thoughtful Reading for Future Seniors

      Moving Beyond Place:Aging in Community by William H. Thomas and Janice Blanchard


      Excerpts:

      People fear nursing homes. Indeed, when asked what they fear most, older people ranked loss of independence and placement in a nursing home above the fear of death.

      The bitter truth is that an older person can succeed at remaining in her or his own home and still live a life as empty and difficult as that experienced by nursing home residents. Feeling compelled to stay in one’s home, no matter what, can result in dwindling choices and mounting levels of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom.


      Our culture has constructed a continuum that positions institutional long-term care at one end of a spectrum, and an idealized vision of aging in place at the other. The challenge is to escape this false choice. An increasing number of Americans are searching for, and finding, a third way.

      Read the whole article here.

      Christmas 2016

      A Gift of Memories -Reprinted from December 2013


      When I was a child we walked two blocks to my cousins' house for Christmas dinner. There were aunts, uncles and grandparents but no great grandparents. We all lived in the same neighbourhood. Our moms didn't go out to work.

      Today is different. Mom is in a personal care home and only knows who I am some of the time. My brother lives in BC. My son and three grandchildren live on the other side of the city. The last time my mom came to Christmas dinner, I drove across town to pick her up, helped her dress and looked after her at my son's home while helping to cook dinner. When the day was finally over I realized that I had spent almost no time with my own grandchildren.

      
      Duck Pond 1949
      I will see my mom on Christmas day but we will have a small family event at another time. Too many people and too many gifts are confusing and stressful for her. We usually have only one gift for her to open but we honour her by donating to the Assiniboine Park Conservancy in her name as a way of carrying family memories from past generations to future generations of our family.
      I have pictures of myself as a little girl feeding the ducks at the duck pond.
       I have pictures of my son as a little boy at the zoo. There are pictures of my grandchildren in the new children's' Nature Playground. Perhaps there will be pictures of their children with the polar bears.

      My mom no longer has her memories. I carry hers and mine. These memories and new ones that we will build together are gifts I can pass on to my grandchildren. I can honour my mother (my past) by building the family memories of the future.

      I hope all of you have a place that may pass your family's memories from yesterday to tomorrow.