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.

Read More:

Scams Affecting The Elderly

 

 

Walking Is Ideal For Physical And Mental Health

Getting up off of the couch and moving is a way to not only combat obesity, but it can help you as you age by keeping your physical and mental being in balance. Chances are, your doctor has stressed the importance of getting up and moving. You have likely heard the reports that people who sit for long periods of time are more likely to die at an earlier age than those who are more physically active.

Walking is an exercise that virtually anyone can undertake as a way to get and/or stay healthy. In addition to helping your cardiovascular system, walking may prevent cancer and diabetes and help strengthen your bones. Because falls are so prevalent in individuals over the age of 65, being active and in shape may help prevent a fall as you age.

Did you know, though, that walking can also help ward off dementia? Physicians believe that consistent cardio exercise – like walking or even swimming – can help prevent your brain from shrinking as you age. A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh showed that individuals who walked six to nine miles a week had more brain volume after nine years in the study than did those who were not as active. Consider that a walk a day can reverse age-related brain shrinkage and you can see the benefit in slipping on your sneakers and getting out there!

If you’ve been sedentary, here are some steps you will want to consider before you start a walking routine:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. They should fit well and have stable soles.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat when you walk to prevent sunburn.
  • Invest in a pedometer so you can track how long you’re walking and challenge yourself to walk a few more steps each day.
  • Don’t start a walking or other exercise routine until you’ve checked with your doctor. He may advise starting out slowly (getting a few thousand steps a day) and working your way up to the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

What’s the best way to start a walking workout?

  1. Plan to walk at the coolest parts of the day – early morning or at dusk.
  2. Walk in well-lit areas and stay on sidewalks and try to avoid uneven terrain
  3. Use walking sticks to not only improve balance but to work your upper body as well
  4. Start out with a five to ten minute walk – this is especially important if you’ve been inactive prior to this. Increase your walk time by five to ten minutes every time you go out
  5. Look for ways to incorporate walking into your every day routine – walk to the mailbox, park further away from the grocery store than usual and use those steps to add to your daily total, get up and move around during television commercials, walk up to get your daily cup of coffee.
  6. Change up your routine so you don’t get bored. Walk in a different direction. Walk indoors one day and outdoors the next. Find a walking buddy.
  7. Once you’ve been walking for a week or two increase the intensity by walking up some hills or even by doing “interval” training – walking at a faster pace for a minute (to the point of being almost breathless) then slow back to your usual pace.

Make today the day that you commit to being more active; it just may help you stave off dementia as well as helping improve your all around health.

Things To Do Before You Turn 60 (or even 50!)

As we move into our Golden Years, whether we are taking care of ourselves or if we have been thrust into the role of caregiver, there are just some things that we should do for ourselves.

 

Film poster for The Bucket List - Copyright 20...

The Bucket List (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve heard of the movie The Bucket List, you’ll remember it’s about all of the things you should accomplish before you die. We believe there are things you can cross off your list that could just make you happier, healthier or wealthier.

 

Here are five things to consider before you turn 50, 60 or 70:

  1. Cultivate friends that are younger than you are. Sure, it’s nice to be with your peers, but if they “act old” you will act old as well. Making friends with individuals younger than yourself may keep you young and will also open you up to new experiences and ideas.
  2. Break a bad health habit. It is never too late to get healthier. If being healthier to you means losing weight, getting more active or stopping smoking, there is no time like the present. Any positive changes you make in your health – whether you’re 50, 60 or 70 – will pay long term benefits.
  3. Start saving money. Yes, a financial planner will tell you that you should have started saving for retirement when you were in your 20s, 30s or 40s, but there is no reason you can’t start today setting aside money to use once you’ve retired. Having a retirement plan will help you enjoy your Golden Years without the worry of how you will pay the bills or keep food on the table. Start now setting aside money in an account specifically ear marked for your Golden Years whether it’s for daily living expenses or to finance that romantic cruise you’ve always dreamed of.
  4. Forgive old hurts. In many families there is likely some long-simmering hurts or resentments; maybe you don’t even see your relatives because of them. Now is the time to forgive and forget. Nursing negative feelings can drain your energy. Reach out, take the first step and see what happens.
  5. Have a team in place to help you with your finances, your health (both physical and spiritual) and potential long-term care plans. For many individuals, finding a trusted physician could be something they’ve had in place for decades, but an attorney or CPA may not have been front of mind; now is the time to begin searching for someone to help with your finances and with getting your legal issues in order (think Power of Attorney or wills). Prior to your needing it, talk with your family about what you hope to have happen when you can no longer age in place. Will you move in with a family member or into an assisted living facility? If you’re going to become the caregiver for aging relatives, how will that look and fit into your current lifestyle? These are all conversations that should be had prior to it becoming an emergency situation.

Chances are there are more items that you can add to your list of what needs to be done before you’re 50, 60 or 70 and that could include how, or whether you will be, able to age in place as you age. There are myriad ways in which to make this happen and having medical alert device installed in your home is just one of the things you will want to consider.

 

 

 

Making Sure Your Money Doesn’t Run Out In Retirement

Going into retirement and having enough money to not only live comfortably but to be able to do the things you’d always dreamed of while you were working is a delicate balancing act. While you’re still employed, you want to be able to enjoy activities and make the purchases you want, but you still need to set enough aside to prepare for your Golden Years.

There is a way to attain a balance so that you can enjoy your working years while still saving enough for your retirement. Here are some of our tips:

  • You need to have a plan. You wouldn’t
    retirement

    Retirement Planning (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

    take a road trip without a map, right? If you have to stop and ask for directions at every turn, you won’t know if you’re being steered in the wrong direction until it’s too late. Just as you need a roadmap for a trip, you need a plan for saving and investing (while still being able to spend now) before you take the leap into retirement. Talk to you accountant or financial advisor about your plans for retirement and ask what you can do now to realize those plans.

  • When you are investing in retirement you should be planning to preserve your principal. Many retirees want an income that will sustain them for their lifetime and your investments should take that into account. Being conservative in your investments is likely the best way to go as you near retirement age. The time to take risks is when you’re just starting out.
  • Whether you’ve operated with a budget prior to retirement, you should certainly have a budget or some sort of spending plan in place when you do retire. Seeing the amount of money you have in savings or in investments may lead you to frivolous spending now. Work out a budget that calculates any taxes you may have to pay, monthly fixed expenses, medical expenses and/or insurance payments. Once you’ve determined those numbers you can begin planning your budget for “fun” and relaxation in retirement.
  • Have a backup plan. Regardless of how well you plan, there may still be items that blindside you and force you to rethink your original plans. Health issues, not receiving as much from investments or having higher than planned for expenses can all throw a curveball into your retirement savings. Having a reserve or an emergency fund may help with this – the reserve is something you hope you won’t have to access, but it provides peace of mind in case you do. A reserve fund could be a piece of property, a home that is paid for or even a collectible that could be sold if necessary, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a cash reserve.
  • Have a talk with family members about your plans and even your financial situation so they are aware of your hopes and dreams. Protect yourself from falling for some of the get rich quick schemes that are perpetrated on the elderly. You need to have someone on your side that you can trust to help you with your money and investments if the need arises.

Planning for retirement involves not only your cash and finances, but where you will live out your Golden Years as well. Will you age in place or will you be moving into a retirement community? These are all plans that should be discussed with an accountant and your family prior to your retiring.

 

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Essential Elements of a Medical Alert System

Author: John Clinton

John ClintonWhat are the components of a quality medical alert device?

Do you know what to look for?

Choosing the best medical alert system is a necessity. At some point, every senior who wants to continue living in their own home well into their golden years without having to worry about the risk of a medical emergency needs to have one.

The problem is finding the best system for you.

I want to share with you my experience in the world of medical alert systems and help you determine what to look for. Here are some essential elements that you should look for.

Company Background and Customer Service

The first thing you want to consider is company history. Alert systems aren’t always about the equipment or the technology involved.

Beyond the alert device you receive, an alert company provides a vital service. They are the people who guarantee that your equipment will function properly and the people that will pick up when you press the “help” button on your alert base station or monitoring device.

You want a company with 24/7 operations, well trained operators that you know you will be able to understand — don’t consider a company that outsources its operations to another country.

Personally, I recommend companies that own their own call centers. That way, you know right up front that they do their own training and that the company you are doing business with is responsible for the center that will answer your call. Many companies outsource their operations to other US-based call centers.

Do your research. Choose a reliable company with a history in the industry that owns their own call centers.

Technology

Technology is the part of the puzzle that most people focus on. Beyond determining if the company is credible and the call centers are company-owned, you’ll want to make sure that you are receiving the latest, most reliable, and trusted medical alert device.

Devices come in a variety of styles. Base station models with included pendants or wristbands that allow for remote operation are the most popular.

One of the most important decisions on base station and pendant technology is range. You’ll want a device that will accommodate for the size of your home and maybe your yard. Most systems are effective in the 400-500 foot range — meaning that the remote pendant will work 500 feet from the base station unit.

The best devices offer a range of over 1000 feet. The best I’ve seen on the market is 1500 feet.

Do You Need a Cellular Base Station?

Many people are doing away with landline telephones.

Some emergency alert providers can’t provide service without a landline.

If you want to install an emergency alert base station in a room or home without a landline telephone, you need to check to see if the company you choose offers cellular technology.

Search for providers that have 3G cellular base stations. These devices will provide connectivity as long as you can get cell phone reception at your home. Most cellular stations rely on the AT&T mobile network.

Additional Emergency Features

Some medical alert systems can provide more than emergency medical coverage.

Look for systems that allow easy integration with fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detection systems. A few companies provide add-on features that combine these alert systems with a medical alert base station.lf-complete-package-web

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and a constant threat that many people forget about. Having a medical alert system that doubles as fire or carbon monoxide detection can increase response time in the event of an emergency situation. I would bet that your current fire alarm does not automatically call the fire department for you!

Do Your Research

The most important thing to remember is to research your options completely.

Think about the company you want to do business with. These are the people you will rely on in an emergency.

Here are some questions to ask while researching:

Does the company you’re considering have a long history in the emergency alert business? Do they provide the technology you need? Are they accredited by the Better Business Bureau?

It’s worth the time to investigate your options completely. This could be a life-saving decision.

About John

John Clinton is the co-founder of medicalalertsystemsratings.com, a review and resources site specializing in medical alert systems.

 

 

 

The Buddy System: Still a good idea

Friendship

Friendship (Photo credit: Nono Fara)

You remember your mom and dad giving you quick snippets of advice:  drink your milk, eat your vegetables, don’t smoke, go to bed early.  Odds are they also reminded you to keep a buddy with you if you were leaving the movies or a party or you may remember saying “I’m going to hang out with my buddies”.  It’s a word that reminds you of some good memories.  A buddy; your friend, your confident, someone you trust. 

A recent study conducted in Australia found that people with a large network of friends were 22% less likely to die prematurely. And more studies show that buddies, friends, pals have a positive impact on stress levels and brain health.  It’s even been shown that people with more friends have fewer colds!

When we’re young, we have the playground, the classroom, birthday parties and church events where the opportunity to make friends surrounds us. But as we age, making friends isn’t as easy as it once was but it’s every bit as important.  It isn’t that we’re socially inept but rather, we have fewer social opportunities to meet and befriend others.  If you or a loved one are homebound, the opportunity diminishes even more.

So how do you make friends once you get a bit older?  The key is to find what you like to do and then go out and do it. If you’re a photographer, join a photography group. Are you a reader?  How about joining a book club?  A gardener?  Well you know what to do…join a gardening or seed sharing group.  Finding like-minded people in groups that interest you is a sure way to grow your friendship web.

Meanwhile, as you’re developing new friendships and cultivating your interests, be sure to remember those around you that are always there, day in and day out.  Sometimes your existing relationships fall prey to loss of attention so nurture what you have while investigating new buddy systems!

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Technology That Makes Pet Ownership Easier

Pet ownership comes with a lot of responsibility but also with health benefits decreasing loneliness and lowering blood pressure.

Oftentimes, well-meaning family members consider getting a pet for their aging loved one but many seniors worry about the commitment involved. Vet appointments, constant feeding, grooming and exercise add up to a lot of activity that some may feel they aren’t equipped to handle.

Technology helps in so many walks of life and yes, it can help take care of our pet, too! Here are a few amazing pieces of technology that make caring for a pet much easier:

 
Automatic Feeder

pet feeder

Automatic feeders make it easy to set it and forget it (for a while at least). Each feeder comes with its own features but the one shown here by Lentek allows you to fill your dish for up to six days. You can feed every 6, 12 or 24 hours with dry or wet food. The nice thing is there is an accurate timer that delivers and rotates food based on your settings. This is perfect for seniors who are busy and on the go but home alone in the evenings! You can even purchase a automatic water feeder so your pet never goes hungry or thirsty! Be sure to watch that they don’t overeat!

Automatic Ball Thrower

Seniors don’t always have the same strength they had when they were younger or they might tire easily. Dogs, however, need exercise and playtime.  An automatic ball thrower is ideal!

IneVedeldInfo

GoDogGo makes an automatic ball thrower has a remote control and launches a ball every 7-15 seconds when the bucket is fully loaded!  This is sure to keep your pet busy and happy!

Monitor & Protect

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The Passport Pet Access Smart System Door from petsafe.com is a pet door that can be programmed to allow entry or exit for specific pets, via a Passport Key that attaches to their collars. You can even change settings remotely.  For seniors with mobility issues, this might be a solution.

In short, there are a lot of great technologies that make it easier for us to care for our pets and some have particular advantages for the elderly.  If you, or your aging loved one, are thinking about getting a pet, consider some of these options.

 

 

 

Embracing Change As Your Parents Age

It can be difficult to watch your parents age, especially if you are the caregiver accountable for their aging lifestyle. You may feel dejected or dismal about the aging changes happening in your parents’ lives including the change in the personal relationship you have with each of them. However, there are some empowering tips you can take away from the aging process and the circumstances that come with it.

Positive Changes Down the Road

There will probably be inspiring encounters you may have as the caregiver of your parents. The issue is, you may not feel or become mindful of them until years after the fact.  The fact is that as a caregiver the daily routine becomes tiring and somewhat emotionally exhausting which may cause the positive things to slide right by.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s commented on aging and caregiving “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of  life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”  Basically, by becoming the caregiver of your parents, in turn it will help you evolve! Remember that providing for your parents is doing what eventually may need to be done for you if the circumstances ever arise.

Grasping the  Sweetness of Old Age

There are many times when being up close and personal with somebody maturing, can regularly turn into naptime.  The time in between the naps of discussion and story telling can create lifelong memories that can be told from generation to generation.  Specifically, when you’re tired and baffled from a long day of your caregiver role, remember that your loved one may say something extremely touching, and it can remind you how important it is that the person is there with you and you with them. It is these sweet moments that will surprise you as you handle the day-by-day obligations included with caregiving.

You Figure Out How You Want to Age

When you see your parents aging, you begin to reflect and think about the way you want to age. You don’t just figure out how to recognize health issues and where you want to live as you age, you also begin to look to your parents for advice and their aging process as a standard to follow!

You’re Reminded of the Specialness and Fragility of Life

There is boldness we feel when we’re younger. Our bodies feel solid and it draws us into feeling as though we are invincible which we’re definitely not.

 

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Turning 50 and Loving It

Remember when you were 10 years old and 50 year old’s seemed ancient?  Well, take a look at who’s turning 50 this year and you’ll see that 50 is quite young!

CNN recently shared an article entitled “10 reasons it’s great to turn 50“. They shared these reasons:

1) You can forget about contraception. Probably. Although it is biologically possible for many women to get pregnant after 50, it’s generally much, much harder and less likely:Women older than 47 account for just .01% of births.

Of course, the children you already have might be teenagers. Many women, like Michelle Obama, who chose to have children in their 30s will reach 50 with teens living in the house, and might be facing all the stress, angst and struggle that comes with seeing a child through adolescence.

2) You’re perfectly content to stay home on a Saturday night. In your 20s, you might have felt a certain self-consciousness — guilt, perhaps, or anxiety — if your Saturday night was spent in your sweatpants on the couch rather than out being social. These days, whether you’re married or single, you might have less energy, but you also know that a weekend night in doesn’t spell doom for your social life.

3) Yes, it’s hot in here—those are, after all, hot flashes you’re having. But that’s OK. While menopause can be a slog lasting as long as 12 years, the upside is not having to deal with periods. Ever again. Not to mention PMS, cysts, fibroids, or the aforementioned late-in-life pregnancy. Depression is less common post-menopause. Besides, there’s nothing like a hot flash on a cold day.

4) Fifty years in, you know who you are. As Michelle Obama told Parade magazine last summer about reaching 50, “I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman.” Many people cite their 50s as the best decade, when you know what you want personally and professionally and know — at least better than you did in your 20s or even 30s, at least — how to go about getting it if you haven’t already.

5) That said, it’s not too late to change direction. More and more people over 50 are taking on “encore” careers, reinventing themselves in professions that might more closely align with their passions. Nonprofit group Encore.org, dedicated to helping professionals find their “second act,” notes that as many as 9 million people age 44 to 70 are getting paid for work that combines their personal passion with a social purpose.

6) Mentorship isn’t over. Though the traditional mentor-mentee relationship puts the older, more experienced worker in the teaching role, just because all your mentors have retired doesn’t mean you have no one left to learn from. A recent trend has seen millennials mentoring boomers, teaching them about technology and keeping them current and vital. Some companies have introduced “reverse mentoring” programs designed to pair younger employees with older ones.

7) You sleep less — and can therefore do more. Studies have found that people need less sleep as they age, leaving them plenty of time to go for a run, work on a project, or do anything else your 20-something cohorts aren’t doing while they’re dozing an average extra seven hours a week.

8) You can age however gracefully you’d like. If you’re going gray, you can flaunt it, and you can be proud of your laugh lines. But if your crow’s feet or other signs of 50 years well-lived bother you, there are more options than ever before to do something about it, with fewer stigmas attached. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that minimally invasive facial rejuvenation procedures such as Botox, Juvederm, chemical peels and the like have reached an all-time high. Also growing: eyelid surgery and facelifts.

9) You’re your own meteorologist. Medicine has long disputed that achy joints can predict coming rain, but the old joke may have some truth to it. Doctors are coming around to the idea, admitting that those with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibroid myalgia, or nerve damage in the knees, elbows, and other joints — more likely, of course, as you grow older — can indeed feel ambient changes.

10) You’re not 60! Enough said, right?