Today’s Read: 3 minutes
Today we look at a couple of ways people are trying to show their appreciation. Even though the 7 p.m. clapping has stopped, people are adopting healthcare professionals and taking your social media posts to heart. Plus, we help you prepare for the end of 2020 with a look at dependent care FSAs.
People are adopting nurses
Make-up artist Christine Danderand wanted to thank nurses like her mom for their tireless work during the pandemic. Last month, the Adopt a Nurse/Health Care Worker Facebook group was born.
Danderand set up the group inviting people to adopt the nurses and health care workers at her mom’s hospital. She only expected her friends to see it, but the group has grown to more than 14,000 members, and hundreds of healthcare workers have been adopted.
To participate, nurses and other healthcare workers can post some information about themselves and a link to their Amazon wish lists.The gifts have come from grateful members of the public, doctors, and even other nurses. “It’s not just a gifting page anymore. It’s something where they’ve got support from their peers,” she told CNN.
What to do with your dependent care FSA
Since the pandemic closed many summer camps and child care centers, you may have a big balance left in your dependent care flexible spending account (FSA). Usually, these use-it-or-lose-it accounts mean your employer gets the money back if you don’t spend the funds; however, because it is 2020, there might be some options, according to The Wall Street Journal.
First, employers could choose to offer a grace period and allow you to claim expenses accrued in early 2021. Employers have until March 15, 2021 to elect to do so. Second, the stalled Covid-19 relief bills in Congress, such as the HEROES Act, make provisions to roll these 2020 balances into 2021.
The third and best option is to find a way to spend it. There are limitations on how you can do so; specifically, the expenses must have been incurred so you (and if you’re married, your spouse) were able to work. With this in mind, here are some expenses you could consider:
- You paid a person or bus service to bring your child from school to their after-school program before school closures.
- You brought an elderly parent home to live with you because of the pandemic and paid an aide to care for them while you work.
- You paid a family member (who was not one of your dependents, such as an older child) to watch your child. This relative should report the payments they received from you as income on their taxes.
Either way, discuss the situation with your tax advisor and benefits manager.
Your social media posts about your Covid-19 experience make a difference
Have you made a passionate plea asking the public to realize how bad the COVID-19 pandemic has gotten and urging them to take steps to slow its spread? If so, know that these posts may have an effect, according to a new study published in Academic Emergency Medicine.
After randomly distributing 2,007 online surveys about pandemic-themed social media posts, the researchers found that a personal appeal from an emergency medicine provider, asking for the public’s help based on something they’ve experienced, carries more weight with a general audience than an appeal from a federal official that says the same thing in an impersonal way. These appeals based on personal experience also outperformed a more straightforward message from the same doctor. They were also more likely to be shared, according to study participants’ answers.
One way to ensure the success of your posts: keep politics out of your plea. “[The politicization of public health] has thwarted our efforts to help people believe that this pandemic is a real threat, so it’s heartening to see that there’s a chance that as emergency providers, we can talk to everyone,” lead author Rachel Solnick, MD, MSc, an emergency physician at Michigan Medicine, said in a statement. “We need to study further how to use this kind of messaging, especially on social media platforms, can change the beliefs of people who are operating under misunderstandings, based on the misinformation that is out there.”
ONE BIG NUMBER
Approximately the number of Swedish nurses who choose to quit each month (this is nearly half a percent of all licensed nurses in Sweden–or, in U.S. this would be equivalent to roughly 16,000 nurses). Many of them are so desperate for time off that they see resignation as their only option, according to Swedish broadcaster TV4.
Madame Vivelda predicted 2020.