Long-Term Care Insurance: Eldercare Solution

When I suddenly had to become a fulltime caregiver to my elderly parents, both with health problems and starting to develop dementia (namely Alzheimer’s), I had never even heard of Long-Term Care Insurance. After we burned through their life savings, and then started chipping away at mine, I was advised to apply for financial assistance for them through the government’s Medicaid system–a program for those at the poverty level. It was quite a long process with mounds of paperwork and numerous investigations, but finally my parents were approved.

I was so happy that monetary help would finally be on the way, until I discovered that the financial assistance would only pay to put my parents in a nursing home, not even in Assisted Living, and with very little help to keep them in their own home.

Since their levels of care were so different (my mother needed most things done for her), there weren’t any facilities that would allow them to be together. They’d be across the street from each other in different wings of the home. After fifty-five years of marriage, my parents were adamant about wanting to be together in their own home, in their own bed, where they could continue to cuddle and kiss–as they so frequently did. And, since my father was so “difficult” with a terrible temper and quite a long record of manipulative disruptive behaviors, the homes didn’t want to deal with him anyway.

It was challenging, but I committed to keeping my parents in their own home and attending Adult Day Health Care five days a week. Then, with the help of two marvelous caregivers, after four more years of loving each other–they passed, just a few months apart. Even though caring for every aspect of my parents’ last years was the hardest thing I have ever done–I am proud to say I gave them the best end-of-life I possibly could.

Had I only known to insist that we buy Long-Term Care Insurance for them prior to their illnesses–their years of in-home care could have been paid for, and I could have saved myself so much heartache, not to mention a small fortune. I encourage you to learn from my mistake and look into LTC insurance long before you need it–for your loved ones as well as yourself. Like fire insurance, hopefully, you’ll never have to use it.

Also, call your local Area Agency on Aging, or Department of Aging, and ask if there are any financial programs, waivers or grants available in your area that you can apply for.

STARTLING STATISTICS

· An estimated 4.5 to 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. In a Gallup poll, 1 in 10 Americans said that they had a family member with Alzheimer’s, and 1 in 3 knew someone with the disease.

· Increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. One in 10 individuals over 65 and nearly half over 85 are affected. Rare, inherited forms of Alzheimer’s can even strike individuals in their 30’s and 40’s.

· A person with Alzheimer’s disease will live an average of eight years and as many as 20 years or more from the first onset of symptoms.

· More than 7 out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease live at home, where family and friends provide 80 percent of their care. The estimated value of this informal care is $257 billion annually.

· One half of the U.S. population has a chronic condition. More than one quarter (26.6%) of the adult population provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend, which translates to more than 50 million people.

· 37% of caregivers are living in the same household as the person they care for. 54% are between 35 and 64 years of age. 59% of the adult population either is or expects to be a family caregiver, and 2 million more caregivers will be needed in the next twenty years.

· An estimated 43% of Americans age 65 or older will spend time in a nursing home. By 2012, 75% of Americans over age 65 will require long-term care. Long-term care costs are rising at 6% annually.

· The annual cost of Alzheimer’s care in the U.S. is at least $100 billion, and will soar to at least $375 billion by mid-century, overwhelming our health care system and bankrupting Medicare and Medicaid.

· Alzheimer’s disease costs American business $61 billion a year, which is equivalent to the net profits of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies. $24.6 billion covers Alzheimer health care, and $36.5 billion covers costs related to caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, including lost productivity, absenteeism and worker replacement.

THREE WAYS TO PAY FOR LONG-TERM CARE

1. Pay for in-home caregivers and assisted living/nursing homes out of pocket. This is expensive and can often deplete a family’s life savings.

2. Meet a very specific poverty level and qualify for government assistance through the Medicaid program. Unfortunately, options are limited, only paying for nursing homes that accept Medicaid.

3. Buy a Comprehensive Long-Term Care Insurance policy. This protects your family’s assets from the rising costs of caring for someone who needs full time care. An employer might pay the tax-deductible premiums. Consider buying it at a younger age, when more affordable and accessible. It must be bought before a major illness strikes. Medicare and regular health insurance does not pay for long-term care. The average cost for a person who needs long-term care is $40-$70,000 annually, depending on where you live, plus the cost to the family caregiver who may have to leave their job.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR INSURANCE AGENT

–Is the coverage comprehensive, meaning it includes all levels of care: in the home, assisted living, board & care, and nursing/dementia facilities?

–What is the daily benefit?

–Is there 5% annually compounded inflation protection?

–What is the elimination period?

–Is it a lifetime benefit period or a limited time benefit policy?

–Is there a spousal discount?

–Can you hire caregivers privately as well as from an agency?

–Is the home care benefit based on a daily, weekly or monthly maximum, and if the benefit is not used, can it be used in the future?

–Does it cover home care coordination of services?

–How many ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) does it take to trigger a claim?

–Is there a time limit for filing a claim?

–Does it cover the cost of Adult Day Care & Adult Day Health Care, hospice and respite programs?

–Is it a tax-qualified plan?

–Is the company highly rated and have they ever raised premiums?

–Can you see the company’s published annual audit to check their track record for paying claims?

###

Jacqueline Marcell is a national speaker on eldercare and the author of, “Elder Rage”, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection being considered for a feature film. Over fifty endorsements include: Hugh Downs, Regis Philbin and Dr. Dean Edell. Jacqueline also hosts a radio program heard worldwide on: http://www.wsradio.com/copingwithcaregiving . For more information: http://www.ElderRage.com

Permission is granted to publish all/part of this article free of charge as long as: the author’s byline is included, the links are live, and the author is notified: J.Marcell@cox.net or 949-975-1012.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jacqueline_Marcell/1330

 

Choosing a Communications Designer: A Practical Guide

“I don’t know the first thing about professional design!”

You say your MBA program didn’t include training to work
with creative professionals? Perhaps your degree is from
the Seat-of-the-Pants School, and didn’t include experience
in outsourcing creative work. Don’t know what a designer
actually does? Don’t even know where to find one?

Relax. You’re not alone. Few executives are trained to make
these kinds of decisions or to work effectively with creative
professionals. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage
when hiring creative consultants.

We’ve run into this situation with many of our clients. That’s
why we’re offering this white paper to fill in this critical
information gap. What you learn from this paper will give you
the power to approach marketing projects with confidence. It
will help you understand:

o The benefits of hiring a professional designer

o Where to look for the pro you need

o How to choose the right one for each particular project

o How to work effectively by taking a sensible approach to
project management:

— Establishing clear project parameters and expectations

— Maximizing the talents of your chosen designer

— Setting an optimal amount of your own involvement in the
project

— Designating appropriate liaisons to your designer and
other creative talent

When do I need a designer?

Unfortunately, many business owners know little to nothing
about what a designer actually does. This results in them
making the mistake of not knowing when they need one.
Design professionals are still sometimes referred to as
“graphic designers,” based on the old definition of their duty:
to attract attention to the message. However, with the advent
of digital technology, they have become so much more than
creators of a pretty layout.

Today’s successful graphic designers are actually
information managers, using visual techniques to corral
similar ideas together, then lead the reader’s eye through
the material in the most efficient and effective way. After all,
they not only need to make sometimes dry information
interesting enough to read, but also fight the time deficit that
every busy, modern person deals with. If your designer
doesn’t know how to hold the interest of the reader and
move the eye along at a reasonable pace, the reader may
just give up and your entire investment becomes just
another expense…and a wasted one, at that.

Those professionals able to not just attract a reader’s eye,
but also to hold it until the end of the message, are true
communications designers. Their skills make sure the
communication — that elusive connection between words
and visuals and the reader’s mind — actually happens.

So, the answer is: You need to hire a professional
communications designer when you want to produce some
kind of material, whether traditional print or new media, that
must communicate to today’s preoccupied, harried
audiences.

What should I look for?

Communications designers bring all the talents, knowledge
and understanding of the graphic designer to the table:

o effective information layout

o readability through sound typography

o color theory and psychology

o effective use of illustration and photography

But then they add the expertise of someone who
understands the purpose, potential and the limitations of
digital media:

o the Internet, intranets and extranets

o email

o CD-ROMs & DVDs

o Touchscreen technology & kiosk displays

Communications designers are familiar with the many
different programming languages and “applets” that allow
such media to work. You may be familiar with some of their
names:

o Java

o CGI/Perl

o Shockwave

o Flash

o Cold Fusion

This knowledge doesn’t necessarily equate to the ability to
perform such coding themselves, but some really advanced
communications designers are also proficient
programmers in these languages. When you hire these
well-rounded individuals, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

But do I really NEED to hire a professional?

Some business owners and managers, even when they
need top-flight communications materials, opt not to hire a
professional designer. They mistakenly believe they are
“saving money” by using a staffer who may have some
creative ability, or by trying to do the work themselves.
Usually, the results make them regret such a decision.

The fact is, really good communications design is an
alchemy of art, science, training, experience and creativity.
Simply having access to the tools of the designer’s trade–a
computer and some page layout software–doesn’t make
someone a designer, any more than owning a toolbox
makes one a mechanic, or having a piano makes one the
next Beethoven. We’ve all seen the sorry results of “garage
design,” and the proliferation of low-end desktop publishing
software has only exacerbated the problem.

The argument that professionals cost too much money is
one that doesn’t hold much water. The fact is, you get what
you pay for. So if you’re tempted to go “on the cheap,” ask
yourself if it’s worth saving a few bucks to negate the impact
of the rest of the budget. Remember: No matter how much
time, effort and money is spent crafting the message, if no
one reads it everything is wasted.

When a real designer is brought in at this point, much time
has frequently been lost, tempers are frayed, and everyone
is beginning to feel under the gun. Now-looming deadlines
frequently require lots of budget-busting overtime on
everyone’s part. The designer must be brought up to speed,
and then come up with the creative concepts that should
have happened at the beginning. And face it: no one
produces their best work under unrealistic pressure.

Okay, we want a pro. But how do we find one?

There are many places you could start your search. There
are trade associations whose members include
professional designers, and membership in such
organizations usually signals a certain seriousness about
the members’ careers. Many of these associations have
websites, several of which even feature search criteria for
member specializations.

One such organization is the American Institute of Graphic
Arts (AIGA). You’ll find an interesting treatise on information
design, and other useful topics on their Clients page at
http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm?alias=clientsview.

Other organizations that will help you locate professional
designers include:

o International Association of Business Communicators
(IABC) at http://www.iabc.com

o Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) at http://www.gag.org

o Creative Business at http://www.creativebusiness.com.

There are many websites that help you locate freelance
designers that allow you to key in your project specifications
and let the designers contact you. Two of the most reputable
of these are

o VendorSeek at http://www.vendorseek.com

o Elance at http://www.elance.com

The very best way to find professional design talent,
however, is the same way you find other critical service
providers: leverage your professional network. In other
words, ask your colleagues whom they recommend.

But you mentioned all the different things designers might
know. How do we find the RIGHT one for our project?

Hiring the designer that fits any given project is equally as
important as making sure the candidates are professionals.
Just as there are different kinds of designers for certain
kinds of clothing (fashion designers), automobiles and
other products (industrial designers), and buildings
(architects), there are different types of designers for certain
kinds of communications materials.

Step #1: Project Parameters

Project Planning & Management Structure

The first step in hiring the right designer is to determine your
project’s parameters. Once you decide on the end result you
want, it’s fairly easy to use logical processes of elimination
to decide who is most likely to help you reach it. The most
logical way to establish parameters is by using the “five
W’s” system: Who, What, Why, Where, When (and How).

Who

o Ask who comprises your target audience. Establish a
primary and secondary focus; all other audiences are
extraneous to this project. The rule for your most effective
piece is “one piece, one audience,” whether you’re talking
about a brochure, an ad, or a website.

o Ask who in your organization will be responsible for
gathering all the data, information and images that will be
used in the piece. This is your content point person, and is
critical to getting things moving.

o Determine who in your organization will be responsible for
final approval of the piece. Try to assign this responsibility to
no more than three people: “Design by committee” is the
kiss of death to fresh, creative ideas.

o Who in your organization will be responsible for acting as
liaison between the person providing data, the designer,
and the approval panel? This project manager or
coordinator should be highly organized, a good listener,
personable, and capable of impartiality.

What

o Decide what is the most important overall message your
piece must communicate. All other messages should be
subordinate to this message, and should be few, if any.

o What is the end result you hope to achieve with the
production and distribution of this piece? State your goal in
a measurable way, so you’ll be clear about whether or not
the piece was successful.

o What is your budget and timeline for producing the piece?
Include everything from preparatory staff meetings through
delivery of the finished piece to the end user.

o What is the critical buying path (CBP) of your primary target
audience? Knowing where to find your targets when they are
in an information-gathering (shopping) or decision-making
(buying) frame of mind, and intercepting them with your
piece at those points, will give your campaign a much
greater chance of success.

o What is the format for this piece? Print advertising, direct
mail, brochure, catalog, website, opt-in email blast,
CD-ROM, stationary on-site kiosk? This determines much of
the form the content will take.

Why

o Why have you chosen the proposed format for the piece?
Does it really make sense, or would it perhaps be more
effective in another form? Weigh all characteristics against
the result you are trying to achieve.

o Ask yourself why you have chosen the people designated
for the approval board and liaison positions. Make sure it’s
because their skill sets and availability match the needs of
the project, and not just because someone’s ego needs
servicing.

Where

o Where will the different facets of the project’s development
take place? Consider where you’ll hold meetings for
in-house project prep, designer interviews, concept
brainstorming, incremental project review, and final
approvals. Logistics are important to efficient administration
of a project, especially one that may run over an extended
period of time.

o Where will you want the actual creative work to take place?
If you feel you need a great deal of control and so require
on-site work, be aware that you are setting up a
work-for-hire situation according to federal government
definitions. This will likely limit the range of professionals
who will be willing to work with you.

o Where will your piece be distributed? This, along with
target audience and format, determines much of the form
the content will take. For instance, catalogs that mail to
a list of upscale office buyers will be designed very
differently than those mailed to a list of hair salon
managers.

When

o Determine when your project will need to start and end.
Establishing and adhering to a schedule will make
everyone’s job easier along the way, by establishing
measurable production performance expectations.

o When will you need to meet with the designer to interview
and issue a work order, then for status reviews as the
project progresses? Use common sense to establish these
benchmarks: Make initial meetings coincide with in-house
prep meetings, and progressives coincide with such things
as receiving final copy from your copywriter; delivery of first,
second and possibly third-round proofs; and perhaps a
press check, if your designer is to be involved in that phase.

o When will the finished product be needed at its final
destination? This date will most likely act as the control for
the final project schedule, as you back all other activities off
from it.

How

o How will your project team, including your designer and
any other creative professionals you hire, work together?
Avoid having meetings be the only time your project team
communicates. Such a scenario will rapidly deteriorate into
one of missed deadlines and finger-pointing. Keep the lines
of communication open and active by encouraging regular
updates via phone, fax or email.

o How will you decide whether unscheduled extra meetings
are necessary in the process? Most obviously, the liaison or
project manager should be empowered to make this call,
but you may find that other project team members also need
this ability.

Now that you’ve established your project parameters, it’s
time to consider hiring your designer.

Step #2: Hire a Designer

Choosing Your Communications Designer

Much of what you’ve established about your project
parameters will have shaped the decision about the kind of
designer you need. This section will discuss details of other
considerations you’ll need to make regarding which
designer to choose.

Once again, the Five W’s really help you ask the right
questions about design candidates for your project. A
traditional mainstay of journalists everywhere, the Five W’s
method is actually a great approach to defining any task. If
you don’t want to follow it all the way through, it’s at least a
great starting prompt for discussion of another strategy.

Who

o Ask yourself: Who is this person? What are her/his
professional credentials and experience? What kind of
personality traits does s/he exhibit that will work for or
against the success of your project? You need someone
who is comfortable with a lot of give-and-take.

What

o What kind of designer is s/he? Does s/he specialize, and if
so, in what area: graphic; logo/corporate identity; illustration;
information-intensive (catalog or interactive database);
website; intranet? Each of these areas requires a different
(though often overlapping) skill set, personality and way of
thinking. Whatever the specialty, look for a person who
enjoys a challenge, and sees the work as more than just

functioning as a pair of hand, but as a problem solver.
o What kind of samples does the candidate offer? Give
his/her portfolio a thoughtful review, and look for work
similar to that which you need for your project. Be aware
that many professionals now keep their portfolio in digital
format. They may hand you a CD-ROM or ask you to view
their portfolio on their website.

o What specific services will you be buying from this
designer? Print only? Print that carries over to an online
presence? Interactive forms backed by a database? Will the
designer also be acting as a pre-press production person
for print and/or coding a website? Does s/he know HTML
and related applet programming? Does s/he understand
the limitations of the medium you need her/him to work
within? Does s/he have the ability to work with other creative
content professionals if needed, such as copywriters,
printers and web programmers?

Why

o Why will you hire this particular designer? Keep your
decision-making based in logic and good business
practices. Will s/he be working solely on this project, or do
you want to establish a long-term relationship for an
ongoing campaign? The latter is attractive because a single
designer working on many marketing pieces can most
easily establish and reinforce a consistent visual corporate
image for your company.

Where

o Where did this person receive her/his education and
experience? If the person has little or no real-world
experience, s/he is going to be learning on your dime. That
means extra headaches and hand-holding for you, and
perhaps a longer project timeline because efficiency is
nearly always tied directly to experience.

o Where is this person located? If you require someone who
can make it to a lot of meetings, you need someone nearby.
However, if you really think it through, your best value in
hiring a designer is NOT to tie that person up in meetings.
Make as many decisions as you can (without pre-empting
necessary creative input) before pulling the designer into
the process, and then keep the meetings to a minimum.

Generally, today’s communication technologies allow
someone far away to do just as thorough and effective a job
without being located in the immediate vicinity. However, for
some projects, location is an important consideration. If you
do choose someone with whom you will work from a
distance, make sure that person not only has access to the
kinds of technology you’ll need — conference calling, email,
FTP sites, Acrobat/PDF software for proofing, overnight
delivery — but also knows how to use it.

When

o When will you need this person to be available? What are
your project meeting schedules and delivery deadlines?
What kind of turnaround times do you expect, and can this
person meet them? Consider that a successful design pro
will have other clients besides yourself, and will need to
juggle your project among others.

How

o How will you work with this person? Will you be working
directly or through a liaison? Whatever the logistics, be clear
about your expectations.

o How will delivery of the finished design be made? Do you
expect the designer to act as project coordinator with the
printer? For web-based projects, will the designer also code
the pages, or simply turn over templates to a programmer
for posting? Again, establishing a very clear workflow and
structure for responsibility is your best insurance against
misunderstandings and unpleasant situations down the
line.

Step #3: Fee Structures

Discuss Fee Structures and Terms

Though most people rarely enjoy negotiating terms of
business compensation, it’s necessary to make sure that
everyone’s on the same page from the beginning. Clearly
delineating how and when your designer will be paid for his
or her services, what rights are being transferred, and what
constitutes a satisfactory finished product will help eliminate
misunderstandings, unhappy participants and potential
legal liability further along in the process.

Of course, there is always the fee structure to consider. Most
freelance designers bill for their time on an hourly basis,
which can vary widely. However, for some projects that have
a significant duration, retainer structures or flat project fee
arrangements are not out of the ordinary. Spell out clearly
the duties and responsibilities expected of the designer,
and establish a structure for reporting on the work’s
progress that everyone understands and embraces.

Legal Considerations

Congressional legislation regarding copyright to intellectual
property was significantly updated in 1992 and again in
1996 to reflect the changing nature of technology. The issue
continues to be in a state of flux, but right now it remains
fairly stable. In essence, the law states that intellectual
property such as writing, illustration and design belongs
inherently to its creator from the instant of creation. It states
clearly that such rights are only legally transferred with an
explicit written notice, such as a contract, usually in
exchange for some kind of material consideration.

If the designer will be working for you as a freelancer or
consultant, you need to specify who will own distinctive
rights to the materials being created at the end of the
project. Most designers realize the client’s desire to own all
rights, especially to proprietary material, and are willing to
transfer such rights upon payment in full of their invoices.
However, many designers will wish to retain the right of self
promotion for their creations, meaning they are allowed to
reproduce such works in their printed and digital
promotional materials. As long as such activities don’t
infringe on or reveal trade secrets, this is common practice
and should not be considered dangerous or over-reaching.

You need to protect yourself and the designer from potential
trouble with the IRS by determining at the project’s
beginning whether s/he will be working with you as a
consultant (freelancer) or as a temporary employee
(work-for-hire). The IRS has fairly clear-cut standards that
determine the nature of the relationship.

Essentially, if the person works on your premises, using
your equipment and is under direct and close supervision,
that person is considered an employee by the IRS. This
means that person is entitled to the same benefits as your
permanent, full-time employees. If the person works
primarily off-site at their own place of business, using their
own equipment and more or less unsupervised, they may
be considered a freelancer.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to play it both ways: If you
get audited by the IRS, you will lose this game and be liable
for fines and penalties which can be significant. It’s not
worth the hassle, and most design professionals won’t
willingly participate in such an arrangement anyway.

Time to Get to Work

Having moved this far through the process, you should feel
confident in the needs of your project, and about the
communications design professional you’ve chosen to help
make it a success. It’s time to get started on the project you
hope will generate lots of new business!

Good luck, and remember: Cavanaugh Interactive is your
one-stop shop for results-driven,
professional communications design. Visit our Website at
www.cavanaughinteractive.biz or call toll-free at 877-771-8906 to put our
quarter century of experience to work for you.

Nancy Cavanaugh has been designing communicatons material since 1982. One of the first freelancers to adopt desktop publishing technology in the Milwaukee area in 1986, she became known for newsletter pubications and marketing-oriented pieces. In 1995, she tackled the Web and by early 1996 was designing Websites — long before applications such as Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flashwere even available. Like print materials, she used marketing principles to measure the success of each project. In addition, all Web interfaces are designed and tested with user friendliness and results-oriented content in mind. Her company, Cavanaugh Interactive, has endured for almost a quarter century because of her uncanny ability to navigate the sometimes uncertain course of emerging digital technologies.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Nancy_Cavanaugh/6171

 

Pretty Woman

She takes good care of herself. Her make-up is always beautifully matched to her
skin; her outfit showcases her elegance; her walk is discreet and her speech
affectionate. A “pretty woman” on the outside, but only God knows what goes on
inside her soul.

She wishes she could at least express her feelings to someone, but how? How can
she express her intimate sorrows? They have been with her for so long – how would
they make any sense to someone else?

It is hard to believe that a woman who seemingly has it all cannot succeed in those
parts of her life in which she most needs to feel complete. But this is a harsh reality
for many pretty women nowadays – not what colour suits them the best or what
hairstyle is the most becoming, but what are they to do with all the interior baggage
that is weighing down their life.

The baggage seems to get heavier over the years. It might begin with just a word
from someone close that makes her rethink everything about herself. As time
passes, more and more words and comments gather to form the baggage within.
How can you break free from a load so enormous that it feels like a part of you?

First of all not every idea in that baggage is necessarily true – in fact, most is
probably 100 percent untrue. Ideas are uttered in a simple opening of the mouth –
they are seldom thought through before becoming words. Many of them are born
from a spur-of-the-moment feeling, and these are usually the most hurtful. Words
that distressed you from the moment you heard them are not worth taking very far
– are not worth bagging and carrying around inside you forever.

Maybe what you carry within is not even a word someone has said, but a belief
you’ve always had – a belief that emerged from a simple and wrong conclusion.
Many women feel that they will never amount to anything in life. Why do they
believe that? Because of some idea they have about themselves that began very early
in life.

Maybe they achieved very little in school, and that was enough for them to believe
they would never achieve anything. Or perhaps they looked in the mirror and
thought they were not as beautiful as the next girl, so that became a belief that they
were not beautiful at all!

No matter how you have filled up your bags, or when you started to fill them, or why
they came to exist – they’re still bags, heavy things to be carried around. Much of
what they contain is surely unnecessary and, worst of all, you’ll never go far if
you’re weighed down with carrying them all the time!

You must let go, and the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll become a Free Woman –
the woman you were meant to be – full of potential and capable of doing
extraordinary things through faith.

Life is too complicated for extra baggage! Travel light; then you can sing, “Pretty
woman, walking down the street…”

Cristiane Cardoso is a columnist at http://www.uckg.org/womenand on the ‘Folha Universal’ national newspaper in Brazil, and also ‘Free Woman’ presenter on http://www.libertyradio.co.uk every Thursday 10pm Uk time.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Cristiane_Cardoso/3818

 

Choosing An Accurate And Reliable Personality Assessment

Ever wondered why you always end up in the wrong job or the worst relationships, even when they seemed so promising going in? It can be especially confusing when there doesn’t really seem to be anything wrong with the work or the other person, just that things never did seem to take off or click. Well, maybe it’s not the work or your prospective partners – maybe you just don’t have a clear understanding of who you really are in the first place – your personality type, your risk aversion levels, your tendencies and the underlying assets, preferences and issues in your make-up that you may not be taking into consideration. But how do you go about “finding yourself” without embarking on a navel-gazing and soul-searching journey of epic proportions (which, face it, few of us have the time for)? One of the best places to start is personality assessment. There are literally thousands of different assessments available, often on the Internet where they are either free (although often in an abbreviated form from their full fee access) or at a reasonable charge. A quality test can help you map your personality makeup as a whole and perhaps tease out previously hidden factors in your mindset or behavior that may affect your decision making, your overall job and life satisfaction in given situations and your choices. There are many website and hard-published assessments which can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and where your personal gifts lay. However, you have to pay attention and steer clear of “recreational” assessments and quizzes if you are looking for an accurate and predictive overview, especially on the Internet. To be truly useful, a personality assessment must meet three criteria: It must be empirical and accurate
This means that the test is based on scientifically designed questions that are proven to be predictive (by having known personality types take the test, and checking for correlation in the results). It must be normed
This means that when the assessment results are tabulated as a group, the number and pattern of personality types it presents must be representative of the general population who are likely to be taking the test. This is done by testing a representative sample, graphing the test results and then matching the results against a scientifically predicted bell curve for that particular population. Note that if an assessment is designed for a specific, narrow population (such as law enforcement cadets, engineers or abused women), it will produce results that are skewed from the general population norm, but which can be internally predictable and normed within that narrowly defined group. It must be reliable and consistent
This means that the test must return the overall same pattern of results for the same person taking it repeatedly, even if their answers differ slightly from day to day due to normal moods and perceptions. This also means that the greater the number of questions, the more likely it is to be accurate (assuming it was created by trained individuals). A large pool of questions (from which the actual test is randomly generated) allows a little “wriggle room” for slightly different answers, plus allows for plenty of “cross-check” questions which ask essentially the same things, but from different perspectives and with different wording. Often an assessment will be tested for internal consistency by giving the same individuals half of the test questions (say, all the odd numbered questions). The test result is tabulate, and then the other half of the questions is given and the results compared. If both halves produce essentially identical results, the test can be considered internally consistent. There are innumerable “fun” tests out there, from “Are you a good kisser?” to assessments designed to look scientific but which, in effect, tell you what you want to hear (along the lines of fake horoscopes and palm readings at the fair) and only after you sign into their “members-only results” area, as a means to procuring your email address. Or they give you a free low-content, vague and essentially useless answer, and then offer to send you the full results if you sign up for their product or course. Of course, there are several respected and reliable assessment companies that also offer a two-tiered membership approach (free scaled back test, and membership-fee full service and content version), so you need to be able to differentiate between the two. Many well-respected assessments, especially the popular ones such as the MAPP (Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential), the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator or the DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness) Profile, charge quite a bit for the full service. But this is only fair, as they are the result of literally years of research, proprietary information gathering, intellectual property creation and relentless testing, not to mention countless man-hours of work. Also, many of these high-quality and scientifically validated tests are so complicated, and the results so open to misinterpretation by the layperson, that in order to get the full benefit and usefulness of the test it needs to be administered by, and the results personally reviewed and discussed with, a trained administrator. The results you get from these fee-paid assessments are generally worth the money, if you have it. If you don’t, you can still find several small or scaled back assessments that give reasonably detailed and accurate results for free, or for a nominal registration fee. Another way to get a proper assessment on the cheap is to take one offered in a book, either purchased or loaned out from your local public library. Many assessments can be found in hardcopy form and even if they lack the depth of a professionally administered version, they can be taken and the results studied and interpreted at your leisure. Of course, as with the Internet versions, you have to critically judge the content and accuracy of any book-bound personality assessment you take. What you find out about yourself once you’ve competed a few assessments may shock you. Or it may simply confirm suspicions you’ve had all along. Either way, by actively and consciously using the information you have gained, you will stand a far better chance of creating and maintaining a quality and style of living that works for you rather than against you – and that’s an assessment we can all live with.

(c) Soni Pitts

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Soni Pitts is the Chief Visionary Butt-Kicker of SoniPitts.Com. She specializes in helping others reclaim “soul proprietorship” in their lives and to begin living the life their Creator always intended for them.

She is the author of the free e-book “50 Ways To Reach Your Goals” and over 100 self-help and inspirational articles, as well as other products and resources designed to facilitate this process of personal growth and spiritual development.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Soni_Pitts/901

 

Global Indian Community & NRIs in USA & Canada

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Diwali or Deepavali: The Festival of Lights, is one of the most colorful occasions in India. Celebrated in October-November, this festival spans three days. Diwali is celebrated with merriment and lights of various kinds. It marks the advent of winter. Prayers are said to invoke the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.
The origin of this festival can be traced to the Hindu mythologies.

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. More about Indian festivals http://www.indianmantra.com Know more about Indian astrology by Jagjit Uppal. Jagjit Uppal has now been practicing astrology for over 25 years and has wide clientele around the world. He is the “Resident Astrologer” at the Taj Intercontinental Hotel in Bombay, since 1982.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ravz_Dubz/4040