Preparing To Live To Be 100

The longer you live the more money you will have to spend, or conversely, the more money you should start saving now to prepare for living into your 100s. Modern medicine and the fact that many diseases and illnesses are able to be caught and even corrected early means that many of us are living longer, and in many cases, healthier lives.

If you’re hoping to live to be 100, how will you make certain you can afford it? The time is now to look at your finances and prepare for a secure financial life in your Golden Years. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you don’t outlive your money:

  • Take stock of your spending. Scrutinize your spending for the next 30 days. Track where you’re spending and where you might be able to cut back and put that money into a savings account. It may be easier, and paint a more accurate picture, if you analyze three months’ worth of spending and take an average.
  • Talk with your CPA to get a snapshot of the amount of money you may need into retirement. Many individuals believe they will spend less money once they’re retired because they won’t have the expenses for food or commuting and other out of pocket expenses; what they don’t plan for is the money spent on hobbies or travel or leisure, now that you have leisure time. You may also see an increase in your family food budget because you’ll be eating more meals at home than in the past.
  • Save as much money, as often as you can. Check on your investments and, depending on your age, invest either more robustly or conservatively. Your financial adviser is your best point of contact for your investment planning.
  • Take a look at your lifestyle. Are there items you will want to do once you retire that you don’t now? How much will they cost? Are there activities you do now that you won’t once you retire? How much do they cost? If you plan to travel or take up a new hobby you will want to calculate those costs so you can budget for them. You don’t want to look at retirement as “sitting around the house with nothing to do” time you want to enjoy your Golden Years and pursue hobbies and activities you perhaps didn’t have time for while you were working and raising a family.
  • Will you be able to afford to live in your own home? Will you need to downsize or even make arrangements to live in a retirement community? What will that cost? Will it make sense for you to invest in long-term care insurance? Talk with a trusted advisor before you make any decisions on this purchase.
  • Get your paperwork in order. Don’t wait until you need a power of attorney or a healthcare proxy or a will – by the time you need it, it will be too late. Talk with your attorney and your family and get these papers drawn up early so they are in place in the event of a health emergency when you can’t speak for yourself. While it may be a bit morbid, you may want to put your funeral arrangements in writing and even get them planned so that your family won’t have to wonder at what your wishes would have been.
  • Pay off as much of your debt as possible. It’s best to not have to worry about credit card debt or loans with high interest rates, especially when retirement is drawing near and when your income will likely be lower than it was when you were working.

Taking steps to prepare for living to be 100-years-old is best done when you’re younger and in good health!

Caregiving, Dental Care & The Mentally Disabled

This article by Janice Neumann really brings to light how critical good dental care is yet how difficult this simple task is for caregivers who assist those with mental disabilities. Please enjoy the read.

Caregiver training may help mentally disabled adults with dental care

(Reuters Health) – Helping adults with developmental disabilities brush and floss their teeth is often hard for paid and unpaid caregivers, but family members could be in extra need of training, a new study suggests.

Researchers found poor brushing and flossing habits and high rates of dental disease in a survey of disabled adults, and many caretakers lacked confidence in their ability to help their charges with daily dental care.http://caregiversconnections.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

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The Beatitudes and a Prayer for Caregivers from the Catholic Herald

Beatitudes for Caregivers

Blessed are those who sleep poorly because they’re worried about their loved one or because their loved one wakes in the middle of the night and needs help, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn because their loved one, though still alive, is slipping away because of dementia, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek who force themselves to speak up and speak out to make sure their loved one receives the help he or she needs, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for answers to why this is happening to their loved one and how much longer it will go on, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are those who show mercy, kindness and compassion to their loved one, for they will be shown mercy, kindness and compassion.

Blessed are those who keep clean a loved one who is physically or mentally unable to keep himself or herself clean, for they will see God.

Blessed are those who help their loved one find moments of peace, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are misunderstood, not appreciated and taken for granted in their role as caregiver, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you whose caregiving efforts are unjustly criticized — or who are falsely accused of not caring about others — because of your love for your care-receiver and your love for God, who has asked you to help his beloved son or daughter.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

A Caregiver’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me better understand and believe I can do what you ask me to do.

Forgive me for the times, even now, when I question your judgment.

As I go about the many daily tasks of caregiving, give me energy.

As I watch my loved one oh-so-slowly walk across the room, give me strength.

As I answer his/her repeated question just one more time, give me patience.

As I look for solutions to whatever is the most recent concern, give me wisdom.

As I reminisce with him/her about the “good old days,” give me a moment of laughter.

As I get to know my loved one in a new way, seeing both his or her strength and frailty, give me joy.

As I sit beside my loved one’s bed waiting for his or her pain medication to take effect, give me comfort.

Lighten my burden, answer my prayer, and give me the strength to do what so often seems impossible. Give me a quiet place to rest when I need it and a quieting of my anxieties when I’m there.

Change my attitude from a tired, frustrated and angry caregiver to the loving and compassionate one I want to be.

Remain my constant companion as I face the challenges of caregiving, and when my job is through and it’s time for me to let go, help me remember that he or she is leaving my loving arms to enter your eternal embrace. Amen.

From Catholic Herald.

 

Robot’s As Companions

thEarlier this year, a Collaborative Robots Workshop was held in Boston. At this event, there was a demonstration on how humans could work with robots and discussed ways to help people get more comfortable with robots and robotic technology.

Robotics engineers discussed the subject of “human acceptance” of robots as an integral part of their lives. A robot referred to as a “home assistance robot” was displayed during the workshop as one that could potentially provide both emotional support and assistance with simple household tasks. The robots could also be a companion for an elderly individual who is living alone and lacks the ability to interact with friends or family.

Senior adults who participated at the workshop indicated they’d be hesitant to use the devices and younger individuals considered whether they may find themselves becoming too dependent on it and close themselves off from friends and family. Individuals who design robots need to consider what kind of controls would need to be added into a robot that could help an adult monitor its use by a child to make certain the child doesn’t begin to isolate himself. Just as people can become dependent upon or attached to a computer, video game, social media or smartphones, the concern arose as to whether people could become dependent upon robots.

Companion robots may never be found in homes across the country but researchers are looking for ways to provide individuals with company to prevent them from being isolated as they age.

While they sound pretty cool, if you could provide a robot to one of your loved ones, do you think you would?

Fall Prevention Awareness Day

FallsFree-200wToday is Fall Prevention Awareness Day. It is estimated that in the United States one third of seniors over the age of 65 and one half of seniors over the age of 80 will fall each year, resulting in medical costs exceeding $27 billion annually. Most falls are preventable so it’s important that caregivers and family members work with the elderly in their lives to ensure their home and surroundings are as save as possible. In an article called Seven Ways to Prevent Falls In the Home, we provided steps you can take to reduce the risk of a fall.

With autumn approaching at a fast pace, examine your home and those of the elderly to identify hazards. Consider risk factors such as poor eyesight, prior injuries that may cause walking problems, physical activity levels and other hazards.  As Baby Boomers age, the impact of a fall creates greater financial and emotional burdens. Education, examination and awareness is key to helping reduce the impact of falls and related injuries.

Download this Home Safety Checklist to help you identify fall hazards and accessibility issues.  Take the time today, or this week, to ensure your loved one’s safety!

So you want to be a Centenarian!

Living to be 100-years-old or even more is a possibility in today’s era of medical advances. If you’re hoping to live to be that age, you want to make certain you are healthy and happy enough to enjoy it. Also, if you’re a caregiver, you want to help your parents, or other 100relatives, enjoy their Golden Years in comfort and as good a health as possible.

How can you do that and how can you make aging in place well into your 100s a possibility? Here are some tips for living better as you live longer because it isn’t all in your genes (lifestyle plays a major role):

 

Eat well

  • Stay active and have a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce your stress
  • Be involved in loving relationships (yes, healthy relationships can enhance your life)

There are certainly genetic factors that could lead to health issues but there are many steps anyone can take to live a healthier life. Also, as you’re looking at living to be 100, you want to make certain that your mind is as healthy as your body and toward that end, it’s crucial that you keep it active, alert and always learning. A healthy lifestyle will also lead to a healthy, vital mind.

What happens if you haven’t always been as active as you’ve wanted to be or as you should be? There is no reason you can’t start now, even if you have to take baby steps to get active and start eating more healthful meals. If you’re a caregiver, find ways to keep your aging loved ones active and involved by helping them get out of the house and get involved in activities, taking walks or even tending a small backyard garden.

If your relatives are healthy enough to live alone, but if you worry about them being alone in the home in case a medical emergency arises, you can talk to them about installing a home medical alert system. These devices are ideal for offering peace of mind to both the user and his or her family and assures that if a medical need arises, help is a mere push of a button away.

Selecting the Right Medical Alert System

products-lifefone-medical-alarm-system-bigWhen discussing the safety and security of your loved ones, deciding on the right company to monitor your aging senior is of the utmost importance. Here are the six things you ought to search when looking for a medical alert system.

1. Transparent Pricing – Verify that the home medical alert system company posts its pricing plainly on their website. This is an important factor as many companies only discuss pricing once an inquiry call is initiated. By putting the prices on the web for everyone to see it insures there are no hidden costs and everyone is paying the same thing.

2. No Contracts – The process of deciding on the right medical alert device is daunting enough without having to sign a long-term contract. Verify that the procedure is hassle free, from the first ring to ordering to canceling your alarm.

3. Endless Call and Talk Time – Nothing is more soothing than learning that in any given circumstance, there is somebody paying special attention to you. The ability to push your personal emergency response system at anytime without having to worry about going over your limit is priceless.

4. Positive Track Record – Seniors are frequently the focus of con artists; verify the organization you pick is part of a reputable business and holds a better business bureau rating. It is important to pick a company with a long track record for ease of mind.

5. All American – Be sure the medical alert system company you choose has its call center based in America and that they speak only clear plain English. Never bargain on quality or consistency when choosing this type of product for the ones you love.

6. Brilliant Customer Care – When you’re using your hard earned cash to provide a safety product for your loved ones, verify your medical alert provider treats you like family, like a part of their gang.

The Cycle Of Worry and Anxiety

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we’re worried about something, our mind becomes our enemy. We tend to create a long list of “What if’s? What if we mess up at work? What if my car breaks down? What if I have a fight with my spouse? What if, what if, what if……?

Our tendency is to dwell on the bad things that might happen instead of ridding ourselves of these worries. Many people naturally have a more negative bias in our brains which, when confronting our “what if” scenarios, can spiral into more anxiety and worry.

If you deal with anxiety and anxiety disorders on a daily basis, it can be a challenge to put an end to those thoughts before they turn into chronic stress. However, there are ways to train your brain to stop these thoughts. Peter Norton, a professor of psychology at the University of Houston says, “The more you look for something or expect something to be there, the more likely you are to find evidence of it, so sometimes people can mislead themselves (when they’re having an anxious thought)”.

Here are some tips for getting rid of an anxious thought before it takes complete hold:

1. Check your feelings.  Recognize and validate your feelings, then take a step back, a deep breath and consider your anxious thought. Instead of trusting your pattern of worry, reevaluate the issue based on actual past experiences & current knowledge. You may find your emotions shifting and realize that this isn’t a true concern. If you find that it really is worth the worry, at least you’ve taken the time to evaluate it.

2. Ponder it carefully.  Many people will think they should put their worry out of their mind. But Dr. Mickey Trockel, M.D., a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University says that but avoiding fearful thoughts actually makes anxiety worse. Rather, think it through carefully. “Challenge your own thoughts and diffuse them, rather than hide them underneath the rug,” he says.

3. Develop perspective. Ask yourself questions about the situation such as why you feel the situation is so bad or what you think the worst possible outcome might be. This allows you to step outside of your feelings to approach your thoughts in a logical way. Again, using past experiences and current knowledge will help you develop a more rational view of the situation.”

4. Meditate. When anxiety and worry start to creep into your mind, practice relaxation as a way to calm yourself. Set aside five minutes to push away the thoughts that are weighing you down. Focus on your breathing, something positive, a pretty scene, or a happy moment but don’t allow negative thoughts.

5. Confront your fear in small ways. Don’t expect that your most nagging fear is going to go away if you practice these techniques. Instead, start with the small worries, taking baby steps to overcome the habit of worry and anxiety. As you practice these techniques, you’ll be able to overcome the bigger obstacles of life.

Allowing your mind to control your emotions, creating anxiety and stress, can zap you of precious energy. Actively work on these techniques so you aren’t consumed by worry.

A Labor Day Timeline

Labor Day has been celebrated the first Monday in September for over a century. For many, imagesit marks the end of summer with parades and picnics but it was originally designed as a day to celebrate the hard work and contributions of the American worker.

In 1869 Uriah Stephens formed the Knights of Labor, a secret society in Philadelphia with the goal of organizing workers around the country. Their primary demand was for an eight-hour day; they also called for legislation to end child and convict labor, as well as a graduated income tax. Over the coming years many organizations went on strike to demand these and other worker’s rights.

Today, there are some elderly members of our society who experienced this time in history first-hand. We’d like to share a list of events in history that shape our country today and give us cause to celebrate Labor Day for its true meaning.

Jun 12, 1912 – Massachusetts adopted the first minimum wage law.

Sep 3, 1916 – The Adamson Act established an 8-hour workday for employees of interstate railroads, with overtime for working longer hours.

Mar 3, 1931 – The Davis-Bacon Act required that federal contractors pay their workers the wages and benefits prevailing in the local market and kept employers from importing cheaper workers from outside the region.

Mar 5, 1933 – Frances Perkins became the first woman in U.S. History to hold a cabinet post when she became Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor. She was in favor of a comprehensive, pro-labor agenda including minimum wage laws, unemployment insurance, old-age pensions and abolition of child labor.

Jun 25, 1938 – The Fair Labor Standards Act set a 40-hour workweek with time-and-a-half for additional hours. It also established a national minimum wage and put severe restrictions on child labor.40 hour

Jun 10, 1963 – The Equal Pay Act prohibited discrimination in wages on the basis of sex. The result: women’s earnings climbed from 62% of men’s in 1970 to 80% in 2004.

In more recent history, many of us will remember some of these events:

Mar 18, 1970 – More than 200,000 Post Office workers walked off the job in the first national strike of public employees.

Jun 12, 1981 – Major League Baseball players went on strike. The strike wiped out nearly 40% of the season that year but was settled just in time to save the World Series from cancellation.

Aug 3, 1981 – The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) went on strike seeking better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. On August 5, following their refusal to return to work, Reagan fired the 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored the order and banned them from federal service for life.

While you may not agree with the results of all of these historical events, it’s fascinating to consider what our forefathers did to create the working environment we experience in the 20th century.

If you have an aging loved one, spend a few hours reminiscing about their life experiences. You might be surprised at the stories they will tell.

 

Beware Of Elder-Scams

It’s heartbreaking to consider the individuals who prey on the frail and elderly, but it is an unfortunate fact of life. If you’re a caregiver for your aging parents, you need to be aware of the scams that are being perpetrated on the 55+ crowd. Be aware, that age, intelligence or even income are not factors as individuals from almost every age and income bracket can be deceived by these scam artists. In recent years and months, many people have received a call from companies stating that a relative has purchased a medical alert systems and all they need to do is call back to provide some information. This is a scam and seniors and their families should beware!  In addition, here are other “popular” scams:

  • Telemarketing scams. Whether it’s a phone call telling a senior citizen that his or her grandchild has been arrested and needs money for bail to being enticed into purchasing an item or service over the telephone, these appear to be the most pervasive. Advise your loved ones to never give out sensitive personal and financial information over the telephone. If they receive a call that a family member is in need of bail money, hang up and call that family member – no matter what time it is. Being asked to donate money to a charity over the telephone. If your loved one wants to donate to a local charity, they can do so via mail or by stopping in and most charities will not solicit over the telephone.
  • Insurance or health care scams. If your loved one is over the age of 65, that is information that is easy for a scam artists to find and exploit. In an insurance scam, a phone call is made in which the caller asks for personal financial information and this information is then used to steal their identity and open charge cards in their name. This could also include enticing your loved one to invest in a long-term care insurance or a life insurance policy over the phone “with no medical exam required.”
  • Cemetery and funeral scams. These include what appears to be a legitimate funeral home or cemetery operator placing a call and asking them to purchase a burial plot or casket sight unseen. These scams, unfortunately, most often happen to a senior who has just lost a spouse. The unscrupulous caller will prey on the grief and use guilt-inducing tactics to urge your loved one to pay for a cemetery plot and a casket as a way to “relieve the burden” from remaining family members.

Urge your aging loved ones to:

  • Not purchase items over the telephone
  • Not give into high pressure sales from door-to-door sales people
  • To never give any personal or financial information over the phone
  • To not open the door to strangers
  • If they are in doubt about anything, to hang up and call a family member

It is very easy to be taken in by these telephone scammers so it’s best to talk with your loved one and let them know it’s a possibility and to help keep them safe.

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Scams Affecting The Elderly