Unless a person wins the lottery or inherits a large sum of money, it is safe to assume that most people know that planning for retirement is a very important thing to do. Planning and saving money for the future is a topic that has been drilled into society’s head, especially since the workforce landscape changed in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Prior to the introduction of the portable 401(k) plan, many people would spend their entire career (which could be 30 years or more) with one company and then receive their pension when retired. That provided a certain type of “security” which faded as the portable 401(k) plan started being offered by companies.
These plans are positive for anyone who wants to change jobs and take their savings with them, but unfortunately not everyone takes advantage of them early enough – or at all, in some cases – in order to save enough money to retire comfortably and at the desired age. The US average life expectancy is now 81.2 years for women and 76.4 years for men, which makes time a liability in regard to planning for retirement.
How is anyone expected to juggle financial responsibilities like home mortgages, bills, children and their education, while trying to also save money for the future? And how do those who were affected by the housing crisis in 2008 and 2009 bounce back from their financial losses so they can save for retirement?
There are a few options that experts suggest in order to stretch money during retirement years. These tips will help those who need to live in an Assisted Living community, like MorningSide of College Park, afford it when the time comes.
• Start Saving Early – Saving for retirement can never start too early. When young adults begin working, it is very important that they begin contributing to their 401(k) in order to begin compounding interest.
• Consult Professionals – Financial advisors can be very helpful when planning retirement. A “fiduciary” is legally obligated to offer advice and act in the best interest of their client, and can help plan retirement in a way that may save or defer tax burdens.
• Save Extra – There are people who are confident they are saving enough money to last through retirement, but they may not factor in medical emergencies, job loss, etc., which is why it is important to save even more than necessary.
• Don’t Rely on Social Security/Medicaid – The US News & World Report states that fewer people will be working to support retirees by 2050. One in six aging Americans live below the poverty line, which means the probability is high that the safety net will be strained as well.
• Keep Options Open – There may come a time when seniors must consider ways to finance their care, and flexibility could play an essential role. Some options to consider during this time are selling a home, living with a companion, and getting a reverse mortgage or low interest bridge loan.
Additional advice from experts includes: continuing to work after retirement, staying active and healthy in order to reduce health risks and medical bills, obtaining Long-Term Care Insurance, consolidating debt and paying off credit cards, and cutting back on spending. The last suggestion seems obvious enough, but it does take willpower and discipline.
Procrastination will only delay the inevitable. For seniors who want to travel, remain self-sufficient, and leave no burden on their family, it is imperative to plan ahead in addition to saving continually. Saving today will pay off when the time comes. Literally.
To learn more about MorningSide of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
Written by Kristen Camden
Wouldn’t it be glorious to travel back in time and speak to the younger version of ourselves in order to warn of the dangers to our physical bodies associated with bad habits, and also to reinforce the importance of good habits? Unfortunately, a time machine has not been invented yet, so lessening the impact of our past choices, while making healthy choices now, is the best option available.
The first step to creating healthy habits is to understand how the body is impacted as it ages. It is natural for the following body parts to decline as we age:
There are steps that can be taken in order to minimize the long-term impact on each of these parts of the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, the following steps are suggested:
Staying active and making positive lifestyle changes are the keys to living a long and healthy life, according to the National Institute on Aging. While we can’t travel back in time to make better choices, we can make conscious decisions to maintain our health and not further damage our physical bodies.
One thing that experts agree on is that a healthy diet that includes moderate exercise is imperative in order to live a longer and healthier life. Following these suggested tips reduces risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, and other health issues. At MorningSide of College Park, there are various physical and educational activities each month such as Flower Planting on June 6th, and a Men’s Health Awareness talk on June 13th.
Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise plan or making major changes that can affect health. To learn more, visit http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov.
To learn more about MorningSide of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
Written by Kristen Camden
While Alzheimer’s is not the only form of dementia, it is the most common, accounting for 60 – 80% of all dementia cases. Seniors 65 and older are typically the group of people affected by this type of dementia, but that does not make it a normal part of aging. It only means that increased age is the greatest risk factor known at this time.
Typically, age-related memory loss is normal to a certain extent. While many of these lapses in memory are normal, it is important to be aware of signs and symptoms of early Alzheimer’s, as it may be difficult to otherwise distinguish between the two. Alzheimer’s can cause a loved one to develop memory, thinking, and behavioral problems, which increasingly worsen over time and can eventually affect their ability to function in daily life.
So, how do you differentiate between them? Here are a few examples:
Symptoms of early Alzheimer's Typical age-related memory loss
Changes in decision-making abilities/ Poor judgment Occasionally making a poor decision
Difficulty managing a monthly budget Forgetting to pay a bill once
Difficulty keeping track of what season it is Forgetting what day it is then remembering
Difficulty following or maintaining a conversation Difficulty with trying to find the right word
Placing things in unusual places and then not Misplacing things occasionally
being able to retrace steps to locate them
More warning signs include: difficulty completing familiar daily tasks, spending more time than usual to do familiar things, forgetting how to play a favorite game, not knowing where they are or how they got there, difficulty retaining newly learned information, problems with vision and judging distance, personality and mood changes, and withdrawing from social activities and hobbies.
You may be thinking to yourself that your loved one has exhibited one or more of those signs. Before assuming the worst, it is also important to note that there are many reasons that a senior could be experiencing abnormal memory loss. For example, some seniors may be experiencing symptoms that are caused by a treatable condition like thyroid problems, drug interactions, substance or alcohol abuse, depression, and even a vitamin deficiency.
Individuals can experience one or more of these signs to varying degrees, and they develop slowly over time, making early detection very important. That is why it is essential to call your doctor if you notice a loved one exhibiting any of these symptoms, as well as be completely open with the doctor during the examination.
Although there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, there is continued research and treatment that is available to slow the progression and worsening of symptoms. If diagnosed early enough, this will help improve the quality of life for your loved one and caregiver, as well as prolong levels of independence.
Broaching the topic takes delicacy, and may be uncomfortable for your loved one. But early diagnosis is key in order to plan ahead and allow the senior to make their wishes known regarding their future medical care and living arrangements.
Morningside of College Park Retirement Community offers our experience and resources to care for those with Alzheimer's and other memory-related challenges. The Reflections Centre offers the finest care for your loved one, and our staff is trained by our local Alzheimer's Association.
Alzheimer’s is only one form of dementia, and it has many myths and stereotypes associated with it, so it is always best to seek a professional opinion in order to determine the cause of the memory loss. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers helpful information regarding symptoms, research, treatment, and support.
Visit their website for more information: http://www.alz.org/
To learn more about Morningside of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
Written by Kristen Camden
“The air was full of sun and birds,
The fresh air sparkled clearly.
Remembrance wakened in my heart
And I knew I loved her dearly.
The fallows and the leafless trees
And all my spirit tingled.
My earliest thought of love, and Spring's
First puff of perfume mingled.
In my still heart the thoughts awoke,
Came lone by lone together -
Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love
A mere affair of weather?”
-Robert Louis Stevenson
Spring is a wonderful time at Morningside of College Park…the trees become green again, flowers start to bloom, and the warmer weather is a welcome change after a chilly winter. With the changing seasons also comes opportunity to explore nature and take advantage of outdoor activities.
There are many benefits to Seniors who spend some time soaking up the sun’s rays, as long as you are mindful of physical limitations and the risks associated with overexposure to the sun. Here are a few benefits:
The body needs sunlight in order to produce Vitamin D, which is particularly beneficial to seniors. This is because it is a building block for healthy and strong bones. Not only that, but studies are now showing a direct correlation to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and osteoporosis among those who don’t get enough Vitamin D.
A lot of people are familiar with Winter Depression, and the anxiety that can come along with it. While scientists haven’t firmly concluded what causes this seasonal mood change, they have confirmed that most people who suffer from it feel better after exposure to bright light. Spending time in the sun each day can help lower anxiety and increase happiness. According to Alfred Lewy, MD, a seasonal affective disorder researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University, the best time to take advantage of the sun is first thing in the morning because it helps to reset your circadian clock.
The best way to take advantage of the spring weather and sunshine is by getting out in it! There are so many things to do outside, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
However you plan on spending your time in the sun, be cautious and aware of how the sun affects you. To avoid skin damage, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, prepare in advance: wear light clothing and a hat, always apply sunscreen, stay hydrated, and avoid being in direct sunlight during peak hours (10 am-4 pm).
Exerting yourself too much in the sun can lead to cramped muscles, heat rash, swelling of extremities, exhaustion, and heat stroke. While you can protect yourself from the sun’s rays, it is more difficult to stay protected from the heat itself. Morningside of College Park offers a cool respite from the heat. “The lobby is now a great place to mingle with friends and neighbors and get acquainted,” says Jo Cowan, Executive Director.
So whether you are outside soaking up the sun, or inside cooling off for a bit, enjoy the new growth that spring brings to Morningside!
To learn more about Morningside of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
After decades of being in the workforce and having the majority of your time dedicated to your profession, you finally get to control what you do with your time and your energy.
In the beginning, that may be exciting and even a dream come true. What happens when you run out exciting ideas, or start wondering what comes next?
It can be an unsettling realization, especially for the majority of seniors who do not have the luxury of owning a money tree.
Thankfully, money isn’t required for every activity that can enrich your retirement years. Here are a few ideas that can fill your time and fulfill your happiness:
1. Learn a New Hobby
How many times in your life have you wished that you could learn to play the piano, or cook, or learn to craft, but you didn’t have the time? Well, now is the perfect time to revisit those dreams and make them a reality.
2. Get a Part Time Job
If you are physically able to do so, getting a part-time job has multiple advantages. It can give you something to do during the day, ways to interact with and meet new people, and also allow you to have some extra spending money.
Another thing that you may not have had time for prior to retirement, is volunteer work. Revisit the organizations that you are passionate about and find out how to become involved as a volunteer. You could even ask family and friends if they need an extra set of hands with daily tasks!
If you have the means, traveling to other countries is an exciting prospect! You don’t have to have money in order to travel though. Take a day to visit nearby towns, museums, attractions, and family.
5. Read & Write
Make a list of every book that you want to read, and even books that you already read and loved. Start with the first and make your way through your list. Writing is also a great way to spend time and energy. Your life is full of memories and exciting adventures…why not get them all on paper?
If you plan to downsize or finance some of the cost of your home to in order to move into a senior living facility, making improvements to a home can increase the value. It can also be a creative outlet.
7. Serve Your Community
It is a great responsibility to be the voice of others, and running for an elected office or joining a civic club is a wonderful way to serve your community. Or it could be as simple as writing letters to city council members in order to advocate for causes that are important to you.
You have a wealth of knowledge and information that you gathered through the years. Why not share your insight with youth, who could benefit from it? This could be in the form of mentoring a youth in need of a role model or writing a blog, which can be as easy as going to Wordpress.com and starting to type.
9. Be Active
Depending on your level of physical ability, there are many ways to enjoy recreational activities. This can be joining a gym, going for a daily walk, or even just playing cards with friends.
Becoming a singer, dancer, painter, or writer may have been a pie-in-the-sky dream when you were a child, because it is difficult to create a career out of these artistic jobs. Why not practice that skill that you dreamed about now, for enjoyment?
10. Get Creative
One thing to remember is to create a budget and stick to it, regardless of if you are spending from your nest egg or earning extra money with a part-time job. Either way, all seniors should enjoy all of the things that life has to offer, now that there is time for it. You earned it!
We all remember that nervousness we felt on the first day of school or the first day on a new job, introducing ourselves to people who would become pals. Even with long lives of experience repeating this process over and over, it still involves the butterflies in the stomach of adjusting to change. When a senior begins the process of transitioning from a private home to a shared retirement community, it involves new faces and places to adopt as a new normal.
Maintaining an active, enjoyable social life is key to settling in to this exciting new chapter in a senior’s life. The good news is that MorningSide offers many opportunities to interact with new people. Activities include such things as Painting with Elizabeth on Tuesdays, knitting class on Thursdays, weekly social hour, fabulous meals, and outings to fascinating places like Indiana’s Underground Railroad.
Just because a senior moves to MorningSide, they doesn’t mean they have to lose touch with old friends. In fact, if a friend visits a resident and they decide to move in as well, the resident receives a $1,000 referral fee! Getting to live alongside an existing friend and getting rewarded for it is having your cake and eating it too! “Don’t miss this opportunity to choose your neighbors,” said Executive Director Jo Cowan.
It’s great whenever our friendships endure change, but growth comes from embracing new aspects of life. Experts say the key to overcoming loneliness and making new friendships is to put yourself out there and open your heart to possibilities.
Existing friends and trusted institutions like church are just some of the sources available to make new acquaintances in fresh locations. Sometimes it is a simple matter of striking up a conversation about sports, the old days, old neighborhoods, what it was like growing up, current events, cars, recipes, etc.
Signing up for a class, perhaps trying something we’ve never done before, can give even shy people the nudge needed to interact with others in meaningful ways.
Everyone enjoys some solitude, but having a social life pays off in many ways, both emotional and physical. Experts say socializing lowers blood pressure while remaining active keeps the mind and body healthy. Plus, we can get joy from helping others through tough times and take comfort when they reciprocate – it is important to treat others the way we want to be treated, remaining loyal and listening when others share.
Beyond the interactions inside our building, a senior can also use technology to make new friendships, communicating with old friends and family while making new connections on social networks like Facebook. There is a certain satisfaction in having others wish us a happy birthday or send holiday greetings.
MorningSide is just one of the ways seniors can make new friends in senior living.
Copyright: diego_cervo / 123RF Stock Photo
Many seniors feel apprehensive about getting online, worrying that they won’t have the tech skills to successfully take advantage of computer resources. According to FastCompany, a neuroscientist at UCLA found that when he observed “12 tech-savvy and 12 tech-ignorant people use search engines while inside an MRI machine”the result was“more neural activity in the noggins of tech-savvy users.”Not only does the Internet open you up to a host of new possibilities, the process of learning something new can have a positive effect on your brain—great news for those who are interested in staying in tip top mental shape.
There are host of other benefits to making use of the Internet. It’s easier than ever to connect with others around the world in just a few clicks or a few keystrokes, from family a few states away to new pen pals as far away as Japan or Norway. Even ten or fifteen years ago, the majority of adults weren’t online. Now 87% of American adults regularly use the Internet, logging on to converse over email and social networking sites, look up information using search engines like Google and Yahoo, keep up with the news and their favorite TV programs, or connect with other people who have common interests, like NASCAR, baseball, sewing, chess, and more.
Of course, the flip side to how much the internet brings us together is that it can also connect you to bad people who might want to take advantage of you. While it’s easier than ever to reach out to friends and family, it’s just as easy for criminals to reach out to you in hopes of getting money, your personal information, or even steal your identity. However, there are some simple steps you can take to keep cyber criminals at bay.
Email With Care
First and foremost, you should treat your email with the same care you would your mail or postoffice box. Just as you get unwanted junk letters in real life, you may get spam messages in your email box from strangers. Some scams that online criminals run online are similar to those run through the mail or on the phone—telling you that you’ve won a lottery prize, for example, or posing as a fake charity. Just as you’d be cautious under other circumstances about sending money to strangers or unverified causes or potentially illegitimate businesses, you should be even more so online.
Pick an email program with a strong spam filter like Microsoft Outlook or Google Mail—this will protect you from many inappropriate messages and reduce the number you need to deal with yourself. When you set up your email account, create a strong password that will be hard for anyone else to guess or crack. For example, “123456”is a common password that would be easy for a hacker to figure out because so many people use it. The same for things like your children or grandchildren’s names, “password”or “PW”or even “letmein.”You should use a mixture of symbols, numbers, and both upper and lower case numbers to ensure you have a strong password.
Trust Your Inner Skeptic
Criminals often create stories that seem so wild you couldn’t possibly make them up. People have fallen for all sorts of tall tales, from Nigerian princes trying to find their way home to messages from the supposed Sheriff’s office telling them a missing person’s report has been filed on the recipient’s behalf. Other common tricks include seemingly innocent, minor requests, like trying to find a good time to call you, or simply asking if you’re ok. If you don’t know who sent the email, simply give them a call or check in personally to find out if they originated the conversation. It takes some of the convenience out of staying in touch, but it’s totally worth it to avoid giving scam artists even the slightest details to go on. Never download a file attached to an email if you don’t know who it’s from. The file could be a computer virus that will make your device run slower or will find personal information like credit card or insurance account numbers and send it to the scammer.
A Little Common Sense Goes a Long Way
You never know who’s looking when you post online, and what you say can stick around a lot longer than you think. Friends of friends might see what you post on social media, private details linger on message boards, and you can’t take back what you write. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. So be especially guarded about sharing anything you wouldn’t write down and hand to stranger, or the kind of information you run through a shredder at the end of the month.
Enjoy a Wider World
Despite digital dangers, the Internet has a wealth of opportunities to stay connected and involved in your community and interests no matter your age. Don’t feel intimidated by the possibility of living an online life, instead embrace a new skill, and take proper precautions so you can surf the web with confidence. As with any new skill, it may take time to feel as comfortable and confident as you do in real life, but soon you’ll have street smarts for the World Wide Web!
When a senior’s confusion and memory loss advances from mild to more serious, it’s important to see a doctor and get a diagnosis so that planning for the challenges of the future lessens the stress of uncertainty for those concerned.
Planning after the diagnosis allows the person with Alzheimer’s to participate in making decisions that help family and friends to know his or her wishes. Research helps the person know what to expect. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. It goes beyond simply having a few “senior moments” of forgetfulness.
The Alzheimer’s Association recommends consulting a medical doctor as soon as possible after recognizing symptoms for a thorough examination to rule out other possible causes for symptoms, then, once a diagnosis is confirmed, an attorney to assist with getting affairs in order.
It’s possible for someone with Alzheimer’s to live for several years after the first symptoms appear, but as the disease progresses, a person may lose his or her capacity to understand the appreciate the consequences of any executed legal document. Legal documents help ensure wishes are followed and make it possible for others to make decisions on a senior’s behalf when he or she no longer can. “Power of Attorney for health care” is a status that allows a designated person to make decisions regarding doctors, treatments, care facilities, end-of-life care decisions, and do not resuscitate orders.
It’s also important, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, to choose a trusted person to give durable power of attorney for finances and property. Failing to do this until a crisis hits can complicate matters in managing assets. AA also recommends drafting a living will and a standard will.
Gather all important documents that family may need to refer to. Having handy access to critical information can help family who may feel overwhelmed with the changes. It is completely normal, according to AA, for the adjustment to produce a variety of emotions, but there’s no reason to feel alone with resources and solutions available to help.
One such solution is Reflections Centre, our secure community for memory care with staff specially trained by the local Alzheimer's Association. Reflections Centre offers a safe, secure environment, complete with an enclosed outdoor courtyard. In a structured setting, the affected senior can maintain their dignity and comfort.
“Getting people to help you with certain tasks works better with a well-thought-out plan rather than trying to find help in an emergency situation. This plan will provide you — and the people assisting you — with confidence that the assistance you need will be there when you need it,” states advice on the Alzheimer’s Association website, www.alz.org
To learn more about Reflections Centre at MorningSide, call (844) 511-3456. To learn more about your local Alzheimer’s Association, the Greater Indiana Chapter, visit http://www.alz.org/indiana/
Note: The advice offered here is not a replacement for medical care or legal counsel. Always seek an expert opinion from your physician and attorney in such matters.
With an annual average of close to 25-inches of snowfall in Indianapolis, winter is a serious concern for senior citizens, who are at greater risk of exposure in extreme cold, not to mention the ever-present snow and ice that can lead to dangerous slips and falls on slick surfaces. Some simple precautions can prevent a winter wonderland from becoming a frozen minefield.
Seniors rely on caregivers to clear slippery walkways as a storm hits. They may also face the challenge of dealing with frozen pipes or running out of food because they can’t get out to get food from a local grocery store. Even with family checking on an elderly relative, the kindness of neighbors and relatives can be the difference between safety and danger.
Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are at particular risk during the winter. It falls upon caregivers to make sure they stay indoors as much as possible and wear adequate clothing to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. If a senior has had heart disease or high blood pressure, they may need a caregiver or family member to help with shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold.
At MorningSide of College Park, we offer Indianapolis seniors a safe place to live where can not only survive but thrive during the wintertime. Scheduled activities and visiting entertainers prevent boredom and stimulate the mind. As part of a community, seniors find many opportunities to create something new, whether it is a crafting project or a new friendship. Safety and quality of life are key to our mission serving Indianapolis area families.
Whether living alone or in Assisted Living, it’s important to prepare for winter now while conditions are still relatively mild.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:
These are just a few of the tips the CDC recommends for people, including senior caregivers. Take these precautions BEFORE winter weather threatens for best results.
To learn more about moving to MorningSide of College Park Senior Living Community this winter, call (317) 872-4567.