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Review: Diversity in the Workplace, a Case study on Jill by Tony Astro

u09d2 Intervention Strategies After watching the Diversity in the Workplace video, this is how I would  respond to the client, keeping ...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Get the Right Help on Long Term care (Part 1): 5 Initial Things to Know in Caring & Caregiving to your Aging Parent

Her loving companion volunteer provided by Senior Services.  Bless her heart.

When my mom turned 86 I was there with her in a small Camarillo Assisted Living facility with 20 other tenants who can no longer live on their own.  My mom have dementia for 10 years now and thanks to the loving care of California Human Services, Hickory House, Among Friends day care and other Medicaid/Medi-Cal benefits he enjoyed as she aged. 

Until I moved her to Virginia, all of those benefits were cut down and so I have to take some of the duties while she stays in our “in-law” guest room.  Her transition was slow and got into so many bureaucracy and I hope that this blog will help those in the same situation to avoid some of those hurdles and get them prepared to take advantage some of the benefits for aging adults in the Virginia area.



Tip 1:  Apply for Medicaid.

It takes about 45 days before the aging adult take advantage of Medicaid and other Human Services in Virginia area.  Aging adult can only be eligible for Medicaid if income is not enough to pay for basic necessities including rents, medical, etc.  In our case we went through Cover Virginia specifically for Long Term care needs.

If your parent is moving from one state to another, you can try to do this before they move so that there is no waiting period when your adult patient arrives.  Usually this can be done over the phone calling in behalf of your aging parent.

Tip 2:  Join an Adult Day Care.

While still waiting for Medicaid to be approved, there is a process called UAI assessment to determine how many hours of care are needed for the senior adult that needs to be monitored by nursing aid and other help while the actual care-giver (like myself) is busy working.  These day care in Virginia Beach such as PACE program run by Sentara Medical Hospital cost about $4,000 a month but it is free if the adult is approved on Medicaid.  These day care usually have activities and medical services to keep them safe and healthy.

This Christmas season during my birthday with my beautiful wife and help caregiving to mom

Tip 3:  Take Care of Medicare and Social Security Information and Benefits.

Social security provides income to adult to pay for their prescription including wheelchair, some disabled appliance for the patient.  There is typically an annual screening so the address should be updated.

Tip 4:  Reach out to Senior Citizen agencies.

Besides the government Human Services agency there are non-profit organization such as Senior Services of Virginia Beach offers a total of 12 hours (6 hours nursing aid and 6 hours companion) a week for 3 months while waiting for all the benefits (Medicaid, Medicare, SSI) to kick in.


Tip 5:  Create an accordion of Files.

When settling your adult parent doing all these paper work and phone calls can be very overwhelming.  One of the few things I did was create a power of attorney so I can manage everything in behalf of my aging parent. Here are the ABC files you will need to sort in a folder or accordion envelope – preferably alphabetical so it is easier to locate when you get a follow up call 
(just some of the basic):
Mom with my family, Sam heading to his concert.

  1. Benefits (others)
  2. Caregiving agency
  3. Dental
  4. Emergency Contact
  5. Financial Record
  6. Government agency (others)
  7. Health Record
  8. Human Services and Adult Care Agency
  9. Identification (Passport, Medicare and Social Security Card)
  10. Just in Case
  11. Kitchen (Food, groceries, diet)
  12. Lease agreement (rental)
  13. Long Term Care
  14. Medicaid
  15. Medicare
  16. Nursing Aid
  17. Observation (notes for later medical appointment)
  18. Power of Attorney
  19. Prescription
  20. Questions to Doctors and others
  21. Receipts (for later tax and benefits deduction)
  22. Schedule
  23. Senior Day Care
  24. Senior Services Agency
  25. Travel schedule
  26. UAI - Universal Assessment Instrument (needed to get benefits and how many hours the patient will receive the services)
  27. VWXYZ

As I continue to care for mom I sometimes think that the time with her divided my time with my family:  my wife and our son.  We have cut back a lot of the times we do together like travel, party and road trips.  I know it is a temporary sacrifice but every bit helps and so my hope is that this blog and tips will help any future family who are planning to move their aging parents with them or to another state.  If you have more tips and help that was not mention, please share as I update them and of course also to help me expedite my aging mom’s transition as well.

I intentionally did not attached any links or resources as it varies in every state.  You can contact me at this blog or Facebook page if you want any specific as well as your valuable input for readers to share.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Personal Challenges from the cold winter to fall: Cemetery, College, Church, Cameraman, Changes, California, Caregiving and Cease on Christmas




It seems like a lot of Cs came into our life this year before Christmas.  This Christmas day, we cease work and so many things - around the world where we all stay home - reflecting on what has passed and what's at stake in the future.  This one is very personal.


My father passed away in February, a big event as I travelled over 16,000 just to pull the plug of my dad who was in his death bed in pain for over 3 years.  Now his pain is gone, while they open the casket at the cemetery I saw peace in him.  Just like anything else, everything has an end and a new beginning.  Some pain can only last for so long but my dad and people around him who gave care have finally found peace.


While in the Philippines during my dad’s burial was also my last chance to submit my research towards my college with Capella.  It was a long ordeal as I balance everything in the middle of our move to our new home in Virginia Beach two weeks later.  My wife did our final house move on her own as well when we move mom to an assisted living a decade ago while I was deployed.  I’m still pending towards my college courses to publish my research, a continuing challenge.  All credit goes to God and my wife Myla who was always there for me.


As I struggle and get more confuse with our future and seeking answers in life, this was also the time in Spring that we decided to move to another church as we found solace in a nearby church versus our old church where I serve as cameraman in a popular non-denominational Christian church.  This fall, after 7 months we decided to return to our old church as we become more humble and mature in our community service and faith in spite of all our challenges - and hope to do again what I love to do (camera & video).

Summer, we decided to move mom out of her Camarillo California assisted living who gives 24 hour care for mom to live with us in Virginia Beach.  My family gave up those comforts by taking care of mom while she awaits another Assisted Living.   This brought smile to her as she is back to her only living family in the US.  It was not easy as we continue to work on finding her the best caregiving, at least like those she gets while she is in California.


And then it is Christmas, a celebrated season around the world - where and when we pause & cease and reflect the joy and blessings after every challenges.  We seem happy because we are but we have those challenges and pain too and we continue to pray about it.  Many of our friends from Virginia supported my mom’s move with us and provided wisdom and seeing joy in my mom’s eye that she is closer to her family now.

As Christmas season started a few weeks ago and coming to almost an end, we continue to pray that we take this changes, challenges and move on to the next with joy and strength.   These are my wishes to us and to you.  

To all our followers, friends and readers - as we cease the usual things we do to reflect the joy of the season -we wish you Merry Christmas and more festive spirits in the year 2017.




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

25 Practical Things I Appreciated in America as an Asian Immigrant this Year

In about two months, it will be my silver jubilee in America.

After 25 years as American (my adult life, 4 years of those are divided living in another country with Americans like Japan, Middle East, Europe and some years at sea) and 25 years as Filipino (my innocent and; younger years) I came to really appreciate both culture and both lifestyle.  There are things that I don’t (maybe on another negative blog when I feel like not inspiring anyone) appreciate in both culture but there are so many, in spite of the negative cultural clash happening in both the Philippines (or Asia) and this great country that I love, America –  that is meant to always be great, again and again. A lot of these are very personal and definitely some will cringe and disagree but many have applicable tips that I hope you can use.  Only in America:

1. Comfort and utilities – where else can a get to drink water straight from my tap faucet, take a warm shower, use an automatic garage.   Thanks to Virginia water system.

2. Wi-Fi and Unlimited Data from T-Mobile – I just switched from ATT this year after almost 8 years (before that we were in Verizon) and couldn’t be happier.  Thanks to 8 months of great free streaming that no other services provide.

3. Costco, Apps and memberships – we decided to get back to Costco membership and getting our new S7 (10 months ago) for free paid off our 6 years of annual membership (pretty much) through T-Mobile Costco special deals.  (Tip:  go to Costco for your phone services instead of going directly to stores).  And we got our favorite Yakisoba and other Costco only brands.  I also scored some great deals of office equipment, AudioBooks using Apps like OfferUp, Hoopla, OverDrive, Linda, Amazon Kodi FireTV, etc.

4. Living the beach life – we moved 8 months ago in our new home after 2 years of searching for that perfect home / getaway.  We are here for the long haul.  We know it is senior friendly because my 86 year old mom just “rented” our room downstairs.


5. Almost 28,000 followers combined – It matters because I know I am connected to a wide range of people who are free to agree and disagree with my post but continues to be open with a listening ear, eyes and swipe from their smartphones.  Thank you for listening and responding to our total active combined:

6. Facebook Professional – 2,099 friends.  Thank you for listening and liking.

7. LinkedIn - 4,512 followers / connection.  Thank you for the connecting, comments and congratulations.


8. Facebook Lifewise  - 16, 278 subscribers.  Thank you for liking, sharing and reacting.

9. Facebook Chiefpreneur – with our 635 group members.  Thank you for participating and posting.

10. Facebook Mvoss Creation Page - 1,334 subscribers.  Thank you for sharing the videos and networking.

11. Facebook Tony Astro Pages (Pinoy Puro, Photodea, Daisyland, 💜 FB Page, Photodea) <3 and="" daisyland="" faith="" p="" prayer="">


12. Facebook Mvoss Creation and Tony Astro Family (not counted and personal) – thank you for understanding my creed and criticisms, shallow wisdom and deep thoughts, conceited selfies and self-righteous sermons. 

13. Daily Daisyland – God created so many playground and we happen to live nearby that we get to witness grand and spectacular creations like sunrise at late 732 am, sunsets at almost 9pm.  We are thankful for letting us find this great wonderful location for sunbathing, suncrabbing, sunfishing and SunDaisy (it's an inside term for those who follow me on Instagram and Facebook on Mvoss Dogrunner)
14. Free healthy food – all summer long, there was no week we had no crabs or fish for meal fresh from the best of both world – The Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay.  Living in between this fertile bay and ocean was a true blessing.

15. Free access walk to Cape Henry / Fort Story State Park – a mile run gets us through inside the beautiful park by the ocean.  Thank you for your creation Lord.

16. Sam’s Piano Recital and being selected as Pianist of the Year 2016.

17. Sam’s new piano teacher.

18. Sam being selected on Principal’s List for All Straight “A”.

19. Sam competing for National Cubing competition in Los Angeles in June.

20. Our free round trip flight to California via Patriot Flight in June.

21. My free flight to California to pick up mom via Patriot Space A flight in November.

22. New clients for Mvoss Creation via Business Network International.

23. Back orders from overseas (Naples and Sigonella Italy), Federal and State clients.

24. 10 new Rave reviews on Mvoss Creation Video services and promotional products.

25. Network of new friends and public speaking engagement via Fusion Meet, Trusted Compass, Dale Carnegie, Chiefpreneur, BizConnect.

Well, there is actually more than 25 but because being halfway golden in the US and in my birth country I chose that number.  My family and I still have so many other more personal, simple events and wonderful people I would like to thank like those who helped my transition my mom from California to Virginia, those who helped Myla transition our move to our new home while my father passed away.  Also many other simple changes:  New office address at the heart of Virginia Beach, scoring deals on new purchases and avoiding losses in selling our equipment and tools.

Forgive me for not focusing on thanking people this year but I wanted to reflect and tell my other fellow Americans, fellow immigrant and fellow Filipinos that THERE ARE SO MANY TO BE THANKFUL FOR.  I was really surprise that I can go on and on.  America is great in spite of whom you voted for in this last election and I am very positive that our division will be healed soon.  Our good Lord is great and has chosen so many flawed leaders in the bible that HE alone (yes our God alone) can make him or her great like Abraham (old), Elijah (suicidal), Joseph (abused), Job (bankrupt), Noah (drunkard), Jacob (cheater), David (murderer), Peter (denied Christ), Samson (womanizer).

I hope that I did not sound to be bragging and pompous and don't mean to pontificate but I have SO MANY MORE that I am still STRUGGLING and needs attention for hard prayers.  I just don't need to share the negative in a public way.  But I feel positive in the next 25 days, 25 months of being an American (no dash or a different kind or color of American)

So if you think our new American leader is flawed, Romans 8:28 said:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”   So give him a chance to make our World and America even greater again and again.
I hope this inspire you coming from a poor Filipino immigrant who had a history of epilepsy, a failed pastor / chaplain, who lost his two homes and; filed for bankruptcy was able to rise up again and again and come out with more than 25 things to be thankful for.  But again, please don’t feel bad because just like anyone - I have 25 more flaws and problems that I am struggling for and still praying for in the next 25 days.

Thank You Lord and happy thanks.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Books that Influence me this Year as Business Owner and Counselor


As an entrepreneur and independent career counselor and consultant, I deal with a lot of changes and challenges not just with myself but with others. Giving advice takes a lot of courage and it is not at all effective giving it - if myself is not able to take a good advice and I get all of these great advice from a good collection of books. 
I also happen to be a voracious self-improvement book reader (and now listener). But reading too much could also be a bad thing as I don't encourage consumerism or hoarding too much clutter of books and accomplishing nothing. Reading one book and faithfully using it is better than reading dozens of book and not practicing one single book we read is definitely not good and I am very guilty about that. I tend to bring home or download 15 good new books and only read or finish one - all the time, sometimes I don't finish anything at all.
Otherwise, here are my favorites or books that I actually completed and highly recommend if you are a business owner, manager, counselor or simply want to improve yourself, because these books are captivating as well as possibly useful.
I also preferred to listen rather than actually read specially when the actual author’s voice is reading his manuscript, it is more powerful listening to the writer. 
I attempted to review back on my history (Kindle, Overdrive, Hoopla are the apps I use to download my audio and books linked through Public Library, yes it's free and don't need an audible subscription) but I can only give a full review of the last six as I may not remember or have not taken notes in all of my books (as most were listened too while I am doing my morning workout or driving in my car).
Here are the first 6 of the 11 books I have read and listen to in the last 12 months that I think can help us in how we run a business, provide advice and live a healthier life:
1.       The Tools by Phil Stutz. (On Managing People, Counseling and Self Improvement)

I figured I will start with the last book I listened to beginning fall and has a big impact in how we can shift our thoughts (or others) using 5 tools in various occasion using your imagination (thoughts during your quiet time). 
·        One tool is Reversal of Desire – picture your worst case scenario and always expect pain. This will avoid fear or hurt when you are rejected.
·        Active Love – always care for others (you can fake it at first) and exude love when you feel angry or resentful. Always give unconditional love.
·        Inner Authority – Create a “shadow” who has all the negative or characteristics of yourself that you are afraid of and use then when you are in that situation.
·        Grateful Flow – list things that you are thankful for.
·        Jeopardy – create a picture of your death bed and imagine yourself everyday as if you are running out of time to live. So in that short period of time, what would you do? This will help you develop a strong will power.
For more about The Tools visit the Tool website
2.      The Healthiest You by Kelly Traver, MD. (On Self Improvement and Counseling)

This book caught me as I wanted to improve my memory and develop focus. Mental health is critical as it affects our overall health. Using various cutting edge research on brain, it was discovered that brain can work for us and not against us by having a lifestyle change by:
·        Eating healthy (lose weight)
·        Avoid bad habits (smoking, sleeping 8 hours minimum)
·        Always empower or motivate yourself
·        Exercise to create better metabolism
3.      When to Rob a Bank by Steven Levitt and Steven Dubner (On Marketing and Managing People)

It’s a witty collection from the author of Freakonomics about proving that the obvious is not always right or proving that robbing a bank has a poor ROI (Return of Investment). It also includes how to attack if you are a terrorist. Many unconventional and almost outlandish proofs on everyday life. This was also great listening to as the author have ways of acting his topics.

Here is a video clip of one of the author discussing about the book. 
4.      The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (On Counseling and Self Improvement)

This book was almost revolutionary as it explores how people succeed through various case studies of famous people, millionaires and other winners. He believes that people have certain gift or some succeed because of the month they were born. People succeed because of a combination of critical factors like the age they join disciplined sports. For example, he proved a hockey player in Canada succeed more than the others because he was older and bigger when he joins the team versus those who are smaller or younger who join because of the “cut off” or age requirement in the sports team.
A more convincing part was that it takes an enormous amount of practice and failures (like Mozart for music or Michael Jordan for basketball) in their field before they actually succeed. He also claimed that cultural traditions have an impact in our success as well.
5.      The Big Moo by Seth Godin (On Marketing, Self-Improvement and Management)

Here is another big favorite not just for marketing yourself or your business but how you can succeed in your field. One of the key points is knowing that security comes when we grow and we must “want” to grow in order to stand out. 
We should not try to “fit in” but instead we should be unique or stand out and avoid being ordinary. Always make room for change and always take a risk if you want to grow. When we create a product always think, how can it solve a bigger problem, don’t just create something that is “cool” create something useful – it last longer and finally nobody can predict the future (page 55).
For more on Seth Godin's blog.
6.      One Big Thing by Phil Cooke (On Career Counseling, Self-Improvement and Management)

Phil Cooke gives advice like most typical career counselors will do: make a goal, set a plan and stay focus. But he goes beyond by making it direct and simple in easy steps.
·        Hit your purpose. Whatever your age is, you must identify your purpose in life, whatever your passion is, go for it.
·        Take feedback. People around you can say a lot so listen to them, they may have a better perspective that can direct your life to better path. That is why getting a coach or mentor is important, even the experts have coach (Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, etc).
·        Know when to move on. You always hear to try and try until you succeed, what if you don’t? One example is when a long time violinist George Lang after so many concerts think that it was not for him, he quit and move into a different direction, instead, George Lang became a successful food critic and TV Newscaster.
 Other books I enjoyed and finish reading (listening) that I highly recommend: 
7.      Unique by Phil Cooke (on Branding)
8.      Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer (on Self Improvement and Career)
9.      Staying Sharp by Henry Emmons (on Mental Health)
10.  Good or God (on Faith)
11. What Color is Parachute 2017 Edition (on Career) - What Color is Your Parachute is a classic and the 2017 version has the most updated version that talks about the importance of Social Media in job search. I will do a more indepth review on this book in the future.
Because of a recent talk conducted at a leadership summit, I just downloaded a Kindle book, Cultural Map by Erin Meyer, a book about a research on how culture makes a big impact in understanding better communication that proves that culture or other country have different ways to communicate (talk and listen) and it affects how we lead those who have those culture. So if you think of going globally and expand your business map, this will be a great book to read. I featured some of her ideas in my past LinkedIn blog also at www.tonyastro.com
If you have any books you think impacted how you live and manage people and market yourself and your business, please feel free to share and let me know what you think about those 10 books discussed.

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