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  • 02/22/2024 11:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The decisions you make regarding your estate will no doubt touch on many different aspects of your life, and the estate-planning process could pull in lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and others. But it’s a pretty sure bet that your assets will be at the heart of many of those decisions. That’s why it makes sense to reserve for your financial advisor a key seat at the table when you’re setting up your estate-planning team.


    Assuming you’ve got an established relationship with your financial advisor, they’re going to have a detailed and comprehensive idea of your financial situation. A major part of estate planning is determining the value of your assets, which is often more complex than it would seem. People who try to do this themselves often make errors, since it requires familiarity with such concepts as realistic value, withdrawal taxes, penalties, depreciation and more. Your financial advisor, of course, is well suited to make such valuations. Plus, being familiar with your finances, they’ll know what you own, what debt you’re carrying, what your philanthropic priorities and activities are, what kind of insurance coverage you have, and other such things. You might have forgotten about that small annuity you purchased 15 years ago, and your estate-planning attorney will have no idea it exists, but your advisor will see it as soon as they pull up your file…and will be able to provide a correct estimate of its value. In such ways, financial advisors can provide deep context to the discussion and answer questions about how feasible a proposed course of action might be.  

    Even when it comes to your choices for dividing your assets, the financial advisor might have a better handle on certain aspects of those decisions than either you or an attorney. For example, you might want to leave your granddaughter enough money to pay for half of her education at your alma mater. Your financial advisor might be best equipped to estimate how much money that amounts to, as well as knowing best where to put those funds to ensure that the money is all there when your granddaughter needs it.

    A common mistake people make when planning their estates is looking after everyone but themselves. Central to your financial advisor’s role is always making sure that you have enough money, while you’re alive, to take care of your needs. That perspective can be critical as you’re setting up your estate plan, preventing you from making hasty decisions that might undermine your ability to take care of yourself late in life.


    But providing context is not the only way a financial advisor contributes to estate-planning discussions. Some of the choices you make will involve establishing new accounts, purchasing new financial products, or establishing new financial structures, all of which benefit from the expertise of a financial advisor. For example, an estate planner might encourage you to take out long-term care insurance or to add an accelerated death benefits rider to an existing policy. A financial advisor will be familiar with such plans and able to help you select policies and riders that match your needs and ability to pay. Or you may decide that at the end of your life, you want to go from ad hoc charitable giving to structuring a trust or even a foundation. Again, your financial advisor will help make sure you’re proceeding in the most tax-efficient way and that your charitable contributions will be well-targeted.

    Your financial advisor can also help you think through the tax implications of some of your choices regarding how your assets are to be divided. For example, you might think you’re doing one of your children a favor by leaving them a particular asset when in fact it represents a considerable tax liability for them. A financial advisor is tuned into such considerations and can help you make decisions that are the most equitable for your loved ones. Among the tax-optimization tools at a financial advisor’s disposal are such techniques as irrevocable trusts, lifetime gifts, conditional wealth transfers, private annuities, and estate-freezing.

    A financial advisor concerned about making sure you have enough money to cover your own needs might suggest establishing a living trust so you can retain control of your assets during your lifetime but bequeath them to the people you want to receive them after you die.

    Estate planning is not all about dividing up assets. It often also includes making provisions to care for loved ones after you have gone, such as spouses with significant medical needs, or disabled adult children. This may require the purchase of different forms of insurance or the establishment of trusts. Your financial advisor will be an invaluable aid as you contemplate what levels of support you’re able to provide to your loved ones and what form that support might take.


    Once the key decisions have been made regarding your strategies for dividing your estate and caring for your loved ones, actually setting up the necessary structures should be a team effort between attorney and financial planner. For example, if you decide to establish a family trust, your advisor can give you close guidance on which assets to place into it, build tax-planning strategies around it, and seek the highest investment returns on its contents.

    A financial advisor can also review such accounts as life insurance policies and retirement funds to make sure your beneficiaries are properly designated. And your advisor can also make sure that the funds in your bank accounts go the right person when you die, by setting up a payable-on-death (POD) or transferable-on-death (TOD) provision. Involving a financial advisor in estate planning could have yet another benefit. If your family members are struggling financially or you feel that they’ll be overwhelmed by their inheritance, you can even add in a provision to engage the financial advisor after your passing.


  • 02/01/2024 10:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    International Humanitarian Law Class

    Even War Has Rules

    Armed conflicts are ongoing around the world. At times it may seem that there are no rules in war. However, there are rules in war, and they make a difference. Even War Has Rules is a dynamic discussion on international humanitarian law (IHL) and how it governs armed conflict. By the end of the class, participants will achieve a general understanding of IHL and will be better able to evaluate the actions of parties to armed conflicts.

    Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 | 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM (PT) | 8:00 – 9:30 PM (ET)

    Hosted by Red Cross Instructors, Stephanie Willett and Reena Arya

    Click here for general registration: http://tinyurl.com/EWHRFebruary2024

    If you are a Northern California Coastal Region Red Crosser, please click here to register: http://tinyurl.com/EWHRFeb2024NCCR

  • 02/01/2024 10:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Join our February IHL discussion group to learn more about important current events and IFRC and ICRC responses to conflicts, disasters and forced migration through the people directly involved at locations around the world. Hear about such topics as the state of Ebola, the Syrian crisis, Iran and Venezuela, as well as news from right here in the U.S. 

    Contributing to Humanitarian Aid Abroad 

    Thursday, February 15th, 2024 | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM (PT) | 5:00 – 6:30 PM (ET)

    Our special guest speaker is Meredith Hedrick. Meredith Hedrick is a public school educator with 20+ years of experience teaching both in the United States and abroad. Currently, she oversees English as a Second Language Department at Annandale High School with over 600 students in the program. When the conflict started in Ukraine, Meredith went to Poland to volunteer with World Central Kitchen to distribute food to the refugees. Since serving in the Peace Corps after      college, her goal is to ensure that all students have access to    opportunities and initiatives that teach them they can and will make a difference in the world. Meredith has traveled to many countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. She has lived in Turkmenistan and Qatar, as well as short-term contracts/study aboard/volunteer stints in Belgium, Kosovo, France, Costa Rica, South Korea, and Armenia.

    Click here for general registration: http://tinyurl.com/IHLFeb2024

    If you are a Northern California Coastal Region Red Crosser, please click here to register: http://tinyurl.com/IHLFeb2024NCCR

  • 01/30/2024 11:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ICRC has massively scaled up their response in Ukraine to meet the rising needs. More than 800 staff are working in eight locations to deliver relief items to those who are displaced, provide medicines and supplies to health care facilities, restore water supplies, and more.

    Through its emergency appeal, the IFRC continues to support the Ukrainian Red Cross and other national societies in the region. Many of the millions who fled are unable to return home, and those who remain face dire conditions, with limited access to water, heat, health care and other essential services. The impacts on people's mental health, whether they are inside or outside Ukraine, is a growing concern. The devastation continues to affect every aspect of people's lives.

    In the Gaza, more than 167 humanitarian aid workers and 300 healthcare workers have lost their lives while serving those seeking safety and care. Additional aid workers have been injured and ambulances have come under attack. In the Middle East, the ICRC and the IFRC have worked with national societies, particularly the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Magen David Adom (MDA), to deliver aid and carry out essential services. The ICRC has established a dialogue on respect for International Humanitarian Law and the Protection of Civilians and continues to bring families together, thus far facilitating the release, transfer and return of more than 100 hostages from Gaza and more than 150 Palestinian detainees from Israeli places of detention.

    In Israel, MDA has been supporting affected communities since the beginning, with ambulance and medical services on call 24/7. Staff and volunteers risk their lives to tend to the wounded and deceased. A total of 1,500 ambulances and 10,000 EMTs and paramedics have been mobilized since October 7, and they have treated more than 4,000 patients. MDA is also helping prepare communities for further escalation. It offers free first-aid training focusing on trauma care. It has also gathered, tested and processed more than 50,000 units of blood to supply ambulances, mobile intensive care units, hospitals and clinics.

    As the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip worsens, PRCS teams are working around the clock in extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances, providing emergency medical care to more than 15,000 injured. Ambulance crews have also responded, as more than 5,000 people were killed in the conflict. Relief items for displaced families in temporary shelters and at hospitals include food parcels, milk, blankets, mattresses, water as well as some hygiene kits, kitchen sets, and baby necessities.

    More than 5,200 trucks containing medical supplies, food, water and hygiene products were delivered and distributed by PRCS and UNRWA. More than 300 truckloads of humanitarian aid entered North Gaza during a humanitarian pause, while 81 ambulances were also distributed. The Egyptian Red Crescent (ERCS) is at the forefront of the humanitarian response in Gaza, with support from more than 39 countries and UN agencies.

    In the West Bank, PRCS has provided emergency medical care to more than 3,700 injured people. Ambulance crews have also transported more than 115 people killed in the fighting.

    The IFRC – in close coordination with the ICRC – continues to support the response of its membership, as significant humanitarian actors in their own geographies, and to strengthen their organizational capacities with emergency appeals and coordination of responses.

  • 01/28/2024 6:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From The Washington Post December 8, 2023

    An analysis of the U.S. census data found less than 10 percent of people aged 85 and older live in nursing homes. See what 11 seniors say about where they chose to live as they age.

    By Rachel Lerman, Federica Cocco

    It’s one of the most critical questions facing aging Americans: Where to live as you get older, and may require more care?

    Many might imagine living in a nursing home. But an analysis of census data by The Washington Post found less than 10 percent of 85-year-olds live in such a facility.

    [Calculator: How much does elder care cost where you live?]

    The analysis showed roughly half of the 5.9 million Americans age 85 and older are living with family, including spouses and adult children, while more than 40 percent live alone, including in independent living or assisted-living facilities. A quarter live in multigenerational households, with people of two or more generations under the same roof, and about 8 percent live in nursing homes or memory care facilities.

    The Washington Post spoke with 11 people about where they chose to live as they age. Taken together, their situations mirror the census findings. Here’s what they said.

    Ntividad Soriano Fernandez, Age 89 • San Leandro, Calif.

    Natividad Soriano Fernandez, a former teacher who grew up in the Philippines, has lived with her daughter, Marigrace Fernandez Echalas, for Fernandez Echalas’s whole life.

    “That is our culture,” said Soriano Fernandez, “I wanted to stay with my kids.”

    According to The Post’s analysis of 2021 American Community Survey microdata, Asian Americans are the ethnic group least likely to move to nursing homes.

    Natividad Soriano Fernandez, center, walks with her son Alvie and daughter Grace in front of her church. Natividad's bedroom mirror is covered with family photos. Natividad Fernandez holds her rosary.

    In the Philippines, it’s common for families to build small homes on the same acreage so extended families can stay close, Soriano Fernandez said.

    “For us, it’s just became our trend,” said Echalas. “Our parents can’t go to a nursing home because it’s not what they want.”

    Soriano Fernandez also lives with two grandkids and Echalas’s husband. Their home is next to her oldest son’s house and a church the family attends, which Soriano Fernandez walks to for services every morning by 7.

    Soriano Fernandez sits in the front yard of her daughter's house. “I’m old, she doesn’t want me to work,” she said.

    Soriano Fernandez said her daughter has told her not to do chores at home.

    But, sometimes she still does the dishes. “When she’s gone, I do it without her,” Soriano Fernandez said.

    Lester Vallet Sr., Age 101 • New Orleans

    Lester Vallet bought his New Orleans home in 1972 for $18,500 and he has no intention of leaving it — even now, at age 101. He lives alone there with his dog Pee-wee and he regularly walks to the nearby Triangle Deli for meals.

    “Everybody around here brings me food,” he said of his close-knit neighborhood. “Everybody is just treating me like I’m their son.”

    Vallet kept his balloons from his 101st birthday on his deck for weeks. A photo of Vallet and his late wife is displayed in the living room. Vallet regularly walks to the gas station near his house for lunch. Vallet lives with his beloved dog Pee-wee.

    In Louisiana, 24 percent of men 85 and older live alone, a little less than the national average. Living alone is more common for women, who have longer life expectancies. About 44 percent of women in Louisiana who are 85 and older live alone, according to the Census.

    Vallet, a former grounds supervisor for the New Orleans Saints, has lived alone since his wife of 50 years died about six years ago. After her death, his son wanted Vallet to move in with him.

    Lester Vallet worked for the New Orleans Saints for more than a decade and is still a fan of the team.

    “I told him, ‘I don’t want to be a burden to nobody,’” Vallet said. “I’ll live in my house until I die.”

    Mabel Graves, Age 90 • Sioux Falls, S.D.

    Mabel Graves worked for 17 years as a certified nursing assistant at a South Dakota nursing home. So she was entering a familiar environment when, about four years ago, she moved to Good Samaritan Society Sioux Falls Center, a nursing home.

    Graves is one of about 16 percent of people 85 and older who live in a long-term care facility in South Dakota — one of the largest populations to do so in the country.

    Graves works on puzzles with hundreds of pieces nearly every day at her home at the Sioux Falls Center where the staff also help her cope with muscle weakness caused by an autoimmune disorder.

    Graves’ nursing home is operated by the Good Samaritan Society, which serves clients mostly in rural areas. The nonprofit said about half of its more than 5,500 residents across all its properties are on Medicaid, which is the primary payer for nursing homes across the United States.

    Graves, who preferred not to share her own personal financial details, decided to move into the center when she needed help standing due to muscle weakness caused by an autoimmune disorder.

    She spends her days putting together 500-piece puzzles, playing Bingo and going to church.

    Graves moved into Sioux Falls Center about four years ago and regularly takes part in the community's activities. “I’m busy all day every day,” she said.

    Her kids live close by and visit her regularly.

    “The best thing is to have a positive attitude about what you’re going to do,” she said.

    Larry Quinn, Age 89 • South Ogden, Utah

    Larry Quinn does not like to sit still. He aims to walk 5,000 steps a day and is a regular hiker. In the last few years, he founded a walking group, a movie group and a therapy group in Ogden, Utah, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City.

    Quinn came out as gay in December 2018. And in 2019, he and his wife divorced, leaving Quinn to live alone for the first time in decades.

    “The first year was very lonely,” he said.

    Quinn is an avid hiker, and stays busy with his partner Carl Blake by taking part in many activities with the queer community in Ogden. Quinn, seen as a younger man on the left, loves that he is never far from a trailhead in Utah.

    That changed when Quinn got involved with the queer community in Ogden, and met Carl Blake in November 2021. The couple moved in together last year.

    “We were spending so much time together, I finally said to him, ‘why don’t you just move in?'” Quinn said.

    Quinn and his partner regularly see friends for dinner and card games. (Kim Raff for The Washington Post)

    Quinn’s children and neighbors are supportive of his relationship with Blake and the couple are social butterflies with neighbors and friends.

    “I can’t really put in good words how wonderful it is to be in a community where I’m totally accepted, I don’t have to worry,” he said. “I’m very, very lucky to have found that.”

    Carol Kanna, Age 93 • Kauai, Hawaii

    Carol Kanna’s life revolves around her family. Her daughter and son-in-law live with her in her home on Kauai. Her son lives next door. And another daughter lives two houses down.

    “They’re always in my face!” she jokes of her close-knit family. “In a good way.”

    Carol Kanna, center, regularly works on maintaining her orchid garden with family members. They often have meals together on Sundays. She keeps an altar in her home for her late husband.

    Kanna is in good company in Hawaii, where more than 61 percent of people 85 and older live with their families according to The Post’s analysis. It’s the highest percentage in the country.

    Kanna’s daughter moved in when Kanna’s husband got sick in 2001. He died that year, and her daughter offered to find her own place nearby. But Kanna said, “Well, what am I going to do? Stare at the wall by myself?” Mother and daughter have lived together since.

    Kanna spends most Sundays outside with her family. (Akasha Rabut for The Washington Post)

    Kanna said she’s comfortable in her family’s home, but admits she can’t do it all anymore. Her kids help her when she goes outside or does other activities. “I have my limits, they gave me my limits,” she said.

    Robert S. Gregg, Age 100 • Fredericktown, Ohio

    Every two weeks or so, Robert S. Gregg bakes up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and drives them to his son working at a farm near Fredericktown, Ohio.

    He has no plans to stop the tradition any time soon. He celebrated his 100th birthday in March, and had his driver’s license renewed shortly after.

    Gregg lives alone in the Fredericktown, Ohio farmhouse he shared with his wife for decades. “I think too many people spend their last few years wishing they could retire, and I think the longer you can work, why, the faster time goes,” he said.

    Since his wife died about six years ago, Gregg has lived alone in the farmhouse they shared for more than 40 years.

    His son stops by every day to make sure he is up, and his daughter regularly takes him to medical appointments.

    Every morning Gregg makes breakfast and greets his son, Bruce. Sometimes he visits Bruce when he's working on farms. “I want to be sure that Bruce is doing his job right,” Gregg said jokingly. (Maddie McGarvey for The Washington Post)

    Gregg’s daughter Susan Cunningham said her father has always been good at knowing his own limits, so she is not concerned about him living alone.

    “In some ways it helps him live longer because he has to cook for himself and do things for himself,” she said.

    Bernard V. King, Sr. and Yvonne P. King, Ages 87 • St. Petersburg, Fla.

    Bernard V. King, Sr. and Yvonne P. King have never seriously considered living anywhere other than the St. Petersburg home they built in 1965.

    “No, no, no,” Yvonne said.

    “We want to stay home,” Bernard chimed in.

    Bernard V. King, Sr. and Yvonne P. King live together in the St. Petersburg home they built in 1965. The couple raised three children, and Bernard now cares for his 1969 Volkswagen Beetle while Yvonne collects fine clothes.

    The retired public school teachers have been together since college. They raised three children, paid off their house and retired in the early 1990s. As they aged, Bernard made the house safer by adding safety bars to their bathroom.

    The Kings are among a large population of people 85 and older in Florida who live with family, including spouses — nearly 57 percent, one of the highest shares in the nation.

    The Kings' daughter lives nearby and visits often to help her parents out around the house.

    But they are not entirely solo. One of the Kings’ daughters lives nearby, and visits regularly to help with laundry and cleaning. And the Kings receive regular visits from their pastor and other church parishioners.

    The couple enjoys the company, and are happy living on their own. “You’re at nobody’s else’s mercy,” Bernard said.

    Gail Raab, Age 89 • Bloomfield, Conn.

    Gail Raab has held two art shows at her Independent Living facility in the five years since she moved there.

    Raab, a painter and collage artist, lived in an apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side for decades before she suffered a fall and realized living alone wasn’t working for her anymore.

    “My kids didn’t feel I was safe anymore,” she said. “I’m better off here.”

    Raab's apartment at Duncaster is filled with her artwork and jewelry. She keeps a photo of her late husband on a bookshelf in her bedroom.

    Raab moved to Duncaster in Bloomfield, Conn. The independent living facility supports her with household tasks multiple times a week. Staff help her take baths, unload the dishwasher and do laundry. If she eventually needs more help, she has the option of moving to an assisted living floor.

    Many senior living facilities offer a similar “continuum of care model,” offering different levels of caregiving as seniors require more help. But these facilities can be expensive. According to AARP and the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care the average monthly charge in the third quarter of 2021 for residents was $3,555, and facilities often charge an entrance fee in addition to monthly charges.

    Duncaster offers different levels of caregiving as seniors require more help. But for now, Raab makes breakfast and lunch in her own apartment. (Bea Oyster/The Washington Post)

    Raab said Duncaster is expensive, but she has money from selling her apartment and from her late husband, who died about 15 years ago. And she relies on her kids to handle her finances and assist her at medical appointments.

    “Since I took care of them, they have their turn with me now,” she said.

    George Smith, Age 96 • Pittsburgh

    When George Smith’s wife died nearly seven years ago, he didn’t much care for living by himself. But over time, he has adjusted to his living situation, and takes comfort in keeping her urn in his apartment.

    “I still miss her at night,” he said before taking out a note in his pocket with a date he doesn’t want to forget — Jan. 31, 2017, the day she died.

    George Smith is a regular at the Vintage Center for Active Adults in Pittsburgh, where he watches dancing. At home, he watches church services on TV. He has adjusted to living alone since his wife, seen on their wedding day, died.

    Smith’s children live nearby. His daughter manages his medications and his son, who lives in the same building, checks in with him daily.

    Smith rides the county’s Access bus to the nearby Vintage Center for Active Adults, a senior center, multiple times a week. He volunteered for years there as a receptionist and served on the council, helping to shape programs and benefits for the organization.

    Smith’s children live nearby and come around to help him. His daughter manages his medications and his son, who lives in the same building, checks in with him daily.

    “As you get older, you can’t just sit around,” Smith said. “You have to get up and go out and be around people that you know and do things.”

    Erlene Sumner, Age 90 • Houston

    Erlene Sumner’s days of dancing at honky-tonks and going to church regularly are done. Instead, she fills her days with puzzle books, reading, visiting with family and watching “The Young and the Restless.”

    Texas is one of the states with the highest share of people living in multigenerational households. Nearly 31 percent of people 85 and older in Texas live in households with at least two generations.

    That works well for Sumner, who relies on the family she lives with for help. She can’t drive herself around anymore, but her family takes her to regular hair and nail appointments.

    Sumner lives with her family in Houston, who help her get around. “I’d throw a fit if they didn’t,” she joked from her home she shares with her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend. “And sometimes I throw a fit just because I can!” Her daughter moved in when Sumner's late husband, seen in the left photo, got sick.

    Sumner spent her life in Texas, growing up on a ranch near San Antonio then raising her seven kids in Austin and Houston.

    Sumner’s daughter moved in to take care of her parents when Sumner’s husband got sick. He died in 2014. Sumner now lives with her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend.

    “I love the fact that she’s here,” Sumner said of her daughter. “She keeps me company, if I need something she’s right there, Johnny-on-the-spot ready to help out, anything she can.”

    Sumner enjoys watching TV at home, especially “The Young and the Restless.” “There’s nothing about my life that I don’t like,” she said. (Danielle Villasana for The Washington Post)

    Her daughter does most of the cooking now, but said her mom is not picky.

    “I love bacon,” Sumner adds.

    About this story

    To examine the lives of people over 85 across the United States, The Post used a mixture of data from American Community Survey tables and the Public Use Microdata Sample from the ACS 2021 survey. The IPUMS online analysis system allowed reporters to limit survey respondents to those age 85 and older and retrieve estimates about group quarters, family size, multigenerational households and which states had particularly high shares of specific family profiles.

  • 01/17/2024 2:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The number of people volunteering to donate blood is at the lowest level in 20 years, and over the past two decades, the number who donate through the Red Cross has fallen about 40%, the nonprofit announced.

    Now, there does not appear to be enough donated blood to meet demand among hospitals and patients in need. Data from the national organization America’s Blood Centers indicates that, as of Monday, at least 17 community blood centers have a one-day supply or less, “critically” low supply that suggests they need donations as soon as possible.

    “One of the most distressing situations for a doctor is to have a hospital full of patients and an empty refrigerator without any blood products,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, the nation’s largest blood supplier, said in the announcement. “A person needs lifesaving blood every two seconds in our country – and its availability can be the difference between life and death, however, blood is only available thanks to the generosity of those who roll up a sleeve to donate.”

    In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, there was a donation shortfall of nearly 7,000 units, according to the Red Cross.

    “Now, getting out of the holidays and looking at what hospital demand is starting to look like, we can see that we need about 8,000 additional donations every week in January in order to shore up supply,” Dr. Eric Gehrie, executive physician director for the Red Cross, said Monday.

    One unit of blood, equivalent to about a pint, is typically collected during a donation, and experts estimate that a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.

    “We hear all the time about really dramatic things that happen in hospitals – of women after childbirth who have substantial unexpected bleeding and who might require dozens or even hundreds of units of blood to survive, and then they do survive because the blood is available. Same thing for people who are in accidents or who require really complicated surgery that’s associated with a lot of blood loss,” Gehrie said. “When that blood isn’t available, it really diminishes the ability to offer that to somebody who’s in need.”

    The American Red Cross announced a national shortageof blood and called for more donations in September, and blood inventory rebounded afterward.

    However, the supply has fallen yet again “to critically low levels across the country,” according to the Red Cross, and in recent weeks, the organization has had to limit distributions of type O blood products – among the most transfused blood types – to hospitals.

    “When the Red Cross is trying to determine how much blood is needed to supply hospitals, it takes into account seasonal changes – and there certainly are a lot of seasonal changes that occur around the holidays,” Gehrie said.

    “One thing that is very different this time around is that hospital demand, even in the lower-utilization holiday period, has been greater than it has been in previous years. And the lower donations, as a result of the seasonal figure, combined with the unexpectedly higher demand from hospitals, is what’s really contributing to the emergency that we have presently.”

    The Red Cross is now calling on health care professionals and members of the public to donate blood to help the nation’s supply bounce back.

    The two types of blood products that are most frequently in need are platelets and red blood cells, according to Gehrie.

    “The need for platelets is constant because they only last for five days after donation. As a result of that, it’s not really possible to build up a big inventory to draw from in the future because that inventory would just expire in a few days, and so the only thing that sustains the platelet supply are dedicated donors,” he said. “With red blood cells, the situation is a little bit different. Red blood cells can last for up to 42 days after being collected.”

    In August, the Red Cross announced that more gay men were eligible to give blood with the use of a more inclusive risk-based individual assessment to determine whether someone is eligible to give blood, regardless of sexual orientation, sex or gender. Historically, gay and bisexual men were banned from donating.

    Volunteers can make appointments to give blood or platelets at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. This month, the Red Cross and the National Football League are partnering to offer volunteers a chance to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LVII in Las Vegas. Donors will be automatically entered for the chance to win.

    Volunteers can also find blood donation centers in their area using the Blood Donation Site Locator on the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies’ website.

  • 12/18/2023 4:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    American humanitarian and businesswoman, Kate Forbes, was elected the new President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) December 11. 

    Kate Forbes's election as President of the IFRC is a historic moment, marking her as only the second woman to hold this position. This milestone underscores the IFRC's continued commitment to diversity and gender equality in its leadership.

    Upon her election, Forbes said, “Communities around the world are witnessing the impacts of climate change, geopolitical tensions and health emergencies. We know the challenges of our modern world demand addressing multiple issues at once. Now is the time to lean into our fundamental principles to deliver on our mission and make communities stronger.”

    Forbes's presidency marks a pivotal shift towards addressing the complexities of the modern world. A key area of focus under her leadership will be tackling the urgent issues of climate change and migration. Local solutions and community empowerment are at the forefront of her agenda. She understands the critical role local actors play in humanitarian aid and is dedicated to working closely with local leaders to address their most pressing needs.

    Additional priorities include youth engagement and financial sustainability. She aims to leverage the potential of young volunteers, acknowledging their crucial role in the organization. Strengthening relationships with governments and donors is a cornerstone of her vision for the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

    The role of IFRC President is a volunteer position, one that Forbes is well-prepared for, given her extensive background. She comes with over four decades of experience with the IFRC network, beginning her journey as a local volunteer at the Phoenix chapter of the American Red Cross. These roles include Vice-Chairman of the American Red Cross Board of Directors and National Chairperson of Volunteers, where she managed over one million volunteers.

    An auditor by training, Forbes has been a member of the IFRC Board for the past 17 years. She most recently served as Chairperson of the IFRC Audit and Risk Commission. In this role, she increased transparency, implemented stronger financial controls and established safeguarding policies across the organization. Kate Forbes's election as President is a significant step forward for the IFRC, signaling a new leadership ready to focus on integrity and accountability.

    Photo Credit: IFRC

  • 12/01/2023 11:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Armed conflicts are ongoing around the world. At times it may seem that there are no rules in war. However, there are rules in war, and they make a difference. Even War Has Rules is a dynamic discussion on international humanitarian law (IHL) and how it governs armed conflict. By the end of the class, participants will achieve a general understanding of IHL and will be better able to evaluate the actions of parties to armed conflicts.

    Thursday, December 14, 2023 | 11:00 – 12:30 PM (PT) | 2:00 – 3:30 PM (ET)

    Hosted by Red Cross instructor, Liz Dietz

    Click here for general registration: https://tinyurl.com/EWHRDecember2023

    If you are a Northern California Coastal Region Red Crosser, please click here to register: https://tinyurl.com/EWHRDecember2023NCCR

  • 12/01/2023 11:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Join our December IHL discussion group to learn more about important current events and IFRC and ICRC responses to conflicts, disasters and forced migration through the people directly involved at locations around the world. Hear about such topics as the state of Ebola, the Syrian crisis, Iran and Venezuela, as well as news from right here in the U.S. 

    Thursday, December 14, 2023 | 2 – 3:30 p.m. PT | 5 – 6:30 p.m. ET

    Our special guest speaker is Dr. Janet Shriberg. Janet's Red Cross work includes support in both international and domestic responses. Janet's international assignments included her Red Cross work as an International Delegate to Venezuela following devastating mudslides in 1999, being an active member of the Family Links On Call Team (FLOC) & volunteering for a year with the family case management team at the Family Assistance Center in response to the events of 9-11.

    Click here for general registration: https://tinyurl.com/IHLDec2023

    If you are a Northern California Coastal Region Red Crosser, please click here to register: https://tinyurl.com/IHLDec2023NCCR

     [This event will not be recorded]

  • 10/30/2023 7:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Join our November IHL discussion group to learn more about important current events and IFRC and ICRC responses to conflicts, disasters and forced migration through the people directly involved at locations around the world. Hear about such topics as the state of Ebola, the Syrian crisis, Iran and Venezuela, as well as news from right here in the U.S. 

    Thursday, November 16, 2023 | 11 AM - 12:30 PM (PT) | 2 – 3:30 PM (ET)

    Our special guest speaker is Susanna SoderstromSusanna spent over 25 years in the humanitarian and environmental sector, of which 15 within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC and IFRC). She has worked as a freelancer and entrepreneur since 2015. During Covid she collaborated virtually with several National Societies in developing women leaders in GLOW Red. In October, she worked with ICRC Facilitators on their skills using Foresight. She has been based in various countries, such as Lebanon, Croatia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

    Click here for general registration: https://tinyurl.com/IHLNov2023 

    If you are a NCCR Red Crosser, please click here to register: https://tinyurl.com/IHLNov2023NCCR 

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