6 Tips for Aging More Gracefully

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“Age is just a number.” Depending on how well you take care of yourself, you can be 80 years old and feel like you’re 50, or you may be 50 years old and feel like you are 80.
September is Healthy Aging Month and a wonderful time to reflect on your lifestyle and how you can make improvements for the future.

  1. Exercise your Mind.

Stay active at work and continue striving learning new things. If you are retired, get involved in volunteering, community service, or play bridge-anything to challenge different parts of your brain. The more you read, problem solve, do puzzles, play games, and keep yourself thinking, the healthier your mind will be.

  1. Surround yourself with Positive People.

The company you keep is important. Your physical and mental health will take a toll if you are surrounded by those with  a negative attitude or are depressed. Socialize with people who make you laugh and brighten your day. This way you will stay in better spirits, build lasting connections and avoid isolation as you get older.

  1. Keep Moving.

Exercise is important at every age. By continuing to strengthen your muscles and joints, you can improve your balance and flexibility which reduces your risk of falls or injury. It also helps alleviate pain. Join a fitness class, take up yoga, swim, or go on brisk walks through the neighborhood. Keeping your body in good physical health can help you to look and feel younger.  Go to the local YMCA to find classes especially designed for seniors.

  1. Maintain a healthy diet.

Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean your diet should take a back seat. As you age, your metabolism slows down and your body may have varied nutritional needs. By eating a well-balanced diet,  your doctor can help you ensure you’re eating right for your health.  The Mediterranean diet has recently been studied and was found to help your memory as you age.

  1. Pay attention to body.

Paying attention to various symptoms and what your body is telling you paramount in staying healthy.  Early detection can help resolve or minimize the impact of many health conditions. Managing chronic health conditions will reduce the risk further complications. Call your doctor if you feel as though something is not right.

  1. Keep Saving.

Don’t forget about your financial health as well. Budgeting, investing, and saving can help you feel more secure in your financial future and give you the ability to live more comfortably in retirement. If you are retired, stay within your budget so that you have extra money for an emergency or just-in-case.  Talk to a financial advisor about your options and make sure you’re managing your money wisely.

Healthy aging can have a positive impact on your physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. Taking the time to figure out how you can best improve your lifestyle to support a healthier future is critical to aging more gracefully.

If you need help around your home or are looking for companionship, an in-home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Whether they come a few hours a week or a few hours a day, a caregiver can make a positive difference in your quality of life and promote healthy aging. Contact Always Best Care today at (267) 217-7059, dbaim@abc-seniors.com, to learn more about our wide range of senior services.

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5 Ways to Protect Seniors From Scams

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There are many wonderful things about getting older and retiring, however there are also obstacles  seniors must learn to navigate. One of the most prominent issues with seniors is being the victim of scams. Seniors are often targeted because they are thought to have a lot of savings for retirement, were raised to be polite and trusting, may not have a strong understanding of technology, or may have memory difficulties.
All of these factors can make them more susceptible.

Common Scams Targeting Seniors

Here are a few scams that seniors and their families should be alert for:

  1. IRS Scams

Scammers may harass seniors claiming to be the IRS and make threatening calls trying to collect on unpaid back taxes. They try to obtain personal information and may threaten arrest, lawsuits, or other consequences. There has been recent crackdowns and arrests on these types of scams.  The Senate Committee on Aging estimates that nearly 1 million people have be targeted and 5,000 people lost $26 million last year.

You should know that when the IRS wants to legitimately contact you, they will first correspond via postal mail and never request payment information over the phone or threaten arrest for non-payment.

  1. Phone Scams

Phone scams in general are common. Callers often request sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, bank account information, credit card numbers, account passwords, and more.

Seniors should be reminded to never share personal or financial information over the phone, even if it seems legitimate. Always double-check sources or ask family members to check legitimacy.

  1. Prescription Drug Scams

It is not uncommon for seniors to take one or more prescription drugs. Depending on their insurance coverage and financial situation, they may go online looking for cheaper options. While some of these sources are legitimate, others are scams offering counterfeit drugs or may take payment without ever delivering the prescription.

You should only take prescriptions obtained through reputable sources.

  1. Technology Scams

Seniors are newer to using technology than younger generations and do not always have a strong grasp on the how-to’s. Scammers may call claiming to help with a non-existent virus on their computer or needing access to an account to make adjustments. They may also require high payments to complete these “fixes” and scam seniors out of a lot of money when nothing is actually wrong.

Additionally, these technology scams may look like pop-up browser windows simulating virus-scanning software. These fool their victims into either downloading a fake anti-virus program (at a substantial cost) or an actual virus that will open up whatever information is on the user’s computer to scammers.

The lesson here is do not click on anything without checking it’s certificate or origin.
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  1. Grandparent Scams

Scammers are not above bringing family into the equation either. Seniors may receive calls claiming to be from a grandchild asking for money for rent, bail, tuition, or other needs. They often request that the money is wired. Seniors should check first with other family members to ensure that the request is legitimate before sending any money. Scammers may use personal information they find on social media to make calls sound more genuine.

There are also a variety of other investment, email, charity, and funeral scams that can occur as well. It is important that seniors stay alert and educated about potential risks. For example, friends may recommend a terrific investment advisor, however, they may in fact be part of a pyramid scheme.  You will know this if the return on investment promised is more that what the market is currently doing.

Family members should also check in regularly with older adults to see if they have received suspicious phone calls or emails, and carefully monitor their bank account for suspicious or fraudulent activity.

Always Best Care provides companionship and home helper services that can keep your senior safer. Having someone there to answer the phone or door, or be there with your senior during certain times of the day can help them to make more sound decisions and reduce their risk of being victim to a scam. For more information about Always Best Care and how your senior can benefit from in-home care and senior services, call David Baim (267) 217-7059 Or email dbaim@abc-seniors.com.

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Managing Money as you Age

6355351769_766503f534_bFinances are something we all worry about throughout our lives, but particularly so as we age. Typically, as you get older income decreases but expenses stay constant or sometimes increase. However, with the right strategies and plans in place, you should stretch your budget and still live comfortably in retirement.

Change up your Savings: As you hit your 40s and 50s, start rethinking your savings. How is your retirement savings looking? It can be worthwhile to put more of your income into a savings account or bonds. Don’t forget to take advantage of matching contributions by your employer. Seek out a financial planner so you make informed decisions with your hard-earned money.

Evaluate Monthly Expenses: Track where your money is really going. As much as you want to help others, consider your own needs. Look for unnecessary expenses or areas where to cut back. Can you cut costs by going with another provider, consolidating, or refinancing any loans? Consider downsizing your home if you have unused extra space with high maintenance costs just eating into your budget. You can still live well on less!

What daily or weekly activities are eating away at your savings? You also have to weigh these items with what gives you the most joy in your life.

Look for ways to Save: Take advantage of discount and savings programs on things like prescriptions, travel, and purchases. Look for sales, use coupons, and ask for senior discounts when possible.   Memberships at Costco, AAA and other club-like companies offer many savings incentives.

Hold out on Social Security: If you can wait a few more years to start drawing Social Security, you may receive higher payments. This may help stretch your income as you age and help your savings last a little longer.

Stay Active: Cut back on healthcare expenses by staying active and becoming proactive about your health. Maintain a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity to stay in shape and ward off illness and injury.  Schedule maintenance visits to the doctor and don’t ignore any warning signs of illness or disease.

Think Ahead: Be realistic about the future. If you know you won’t be working for another 10 years, don’t plan your finances around the idea that you will. Weigh the costs and benefits of aging in place, downsizing, or moving to an assisted living community. Look at all of the associated expenses to decide the optimal time to buy and sell or to make other major transitions. Selling furniture and property you no longer need can also be a way to provide some extra income.

Have an Open Discussion:  Invite your children into your financial world and share your fiscal information.  They are probably going to be helping you down the road so why not give them any monetary surprises.  Make sure they are clear on your plans for your home and any other large assets.

Practicing good financial skills can allow you to maximize your savings and get the most out of your retirement. Just because you are on a fixed income doesn’t mean you can’t live comfortably. The earlier you start planning and managing your money wisely, the better off you will be. Saving a little bit at a time can add up over the years.

If you’re weighing your options and looking toward senior services or assisted living, contact Always Best Care today to schedule a free consultation. We can also assist you with referrals as necessary. It’s not too early to start planning for your future and lining up the supports and services you may need as you age. Call  David Baim at Always Best Care (267) 217-7059 Or email dbaim@abc-seniors.com to get started.
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Fruits and Vegetables to Eat this Summer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASummer is a great time to check out your local farmers market or supermarket and stock up on fresh produce. Not only can fruits and vegetables be a healthy snack, they can also add flavor, nutrients, and other benefits as a side dish or main meal. Selecting seasonal produce can also save you money. Increase interest in eating healthy by letting family members pick out their favorite fruits and vegetables to snack on or prepare for meals.

As you’re perusing the aisles or stands, here are a few fruits and vegetables to consider which have valuable health benefits and delicious tastes:

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a wonderful source of lycopene, an antioxidant, as well as vitamin C. As an added bonus, lycopene can also help to protect your skin from sun damage.  Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper.
  • Watermelon: Hydration is especially important during hot summer days, and watermelon is a great source since it is around 92 percent water. It is also low calorie, contains lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids.
  • Radishes: Often overlooked, this vegetable can be a great addition to salads and meals. Radishes are high in water content and a good source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, and fiber.
  • Berries: Stock up on strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, which are high in fiber and vitamin C. They also contain flavonoids that may support cognitive health and skin health.
  • Avocados: Avocados are considered a superfood and a healthy source of monounsaturated fat which can boost heart health. However, eat them in moderation as they are high in calories.  They are loaded with potassium and fiber.
  • Corn: You may not consider this starchy vegetable to be healthy, but it does have its benefits. Corn contains antioxidants that can help protect eye health and reduce risk of age-related macular degeneration. Whether its white, yellow, blue, purple or red corn, each color signifies various levels of antioxidants and nutrients.
  • Peaches: Peaches pack a punch with 10 different vitamins and plenty of fiber. They’re low in calories and also contain other essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Zucchini: This versatile vegetable can be eaten raw, baked, grilled, or boiled. Many people replace traditional pasta with zucchini instead. (By either slicing it thin or by using a spiralizer.) Zucchini is low in calories, contain no fat or cholesterol, and is packed with vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.

You and your family can eat these foods plain, just as they are, or you can spice things up by adding a variety of seasonings or combining them with other foods. The possibilities are endless. A quick recipe search can yield many ways to prepare these fruits and vegetables in dishes your family will love. Having plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand make for a quick and simple choice when it comes to grabbing a healthy snack.

Make sure your senior is eating right all year long by getting them the support they need. An in-home caregiver can assist with meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, checking food expirations, and providing companionship during meal times. Help your loved one live a safer, healthier lifestyle by contacting Always Best Care today to schedule a free consultation! Call (267) 217-7059 to speak with David Baim.

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4 Tips For Seniors On Vacation

Travel with SeniorsPlanning a summer vacation can be great way to see new sights, get away, spend time with family, and relax. While many adults can be ready to go on a whim, when traveling with seniors, extra planning is a big help. You will want to ensure that everyone is included and has an enjoyable time.

1. Plan Ahead

This seems like common sense, but there are many items that are easy to overlook or take for granted. For example, if your loved one has issues with incontinence, you’ll want to plan for extra restroom breaks.   Search your itinerary and locate close bathrooms.  If a historic site is in the schedule, the bathrooms may not be easily accessible.  Make sure there is a stop before you get to your destination.
When going to the airport, call ahead about senior assistance. You may be able to get a wheelchair to board the plane early, helping your senior get settled in before other passengers board. Your loved one may also be able to go through a special security screening.

Consider any mobility issues your senior may have when making reservations and booking activities. Are there stairs involved? Will a ramp or elevator be available? Also consider their vision and hearing. Large crowds, too much noise, a lot of stimulation, excessive heat and humidity can be tough to handle and make activities less enjoyable. Try to plan activities that everyone can enjoy and access.

2. Pack Extra Medications

Have enough medication for the trip, plus a few days more. You never know when you’ll get delayed. Bring proper documentation (typically a doctor’s note or prescription) for medication and any health conditions your loved one may have. Make advanced arrangements for refrigerated medications.  If there is a need to go to an urgent care or hospital, you will want to have the necessary insurance information and a list of current medications readily available. If you’re flying, don’t pack medications in checked luggage – always keep it in your carry on in case of delay or lost luggage.

3. Create a Schedule with Down Time

You may want to pack in as many sights and activities as you can, but realistically you may not be able to do so. When traveling with seniors, you will have to slow down your pace and build in more time for breaks and rest. While your loved one enjoys being included,  don’t overwhelm them with too much walking or activities they cannot keep up with.  Include your senior in vacation planning and ask about what they think they can reasonably handle.

4. Consider Your Options

Look into trips which appeal to people of all ages and offer accommodations for seniors. Cruises and tours are ideal because they are pre-planned and offer many options. You can work out any accessibility needs or special considerations ahead of time and find out if the trip is right for your senior. Ask for testimonials from tour companies so you can request  recommendations in an online format via TripAdvisor.com or another trip/travel related website.  You may also be able to pick and choose from different activities creating a schedule that works for everyone.

Vacationing with your senior can be a lot of fun and create many memorable moments. Take the time to plan ahead to reduce stress, enhance safety, and make the most of your family trip. Even if you are planning to staying close to home or taking day trips, being prepared is key. Make sure your loved one has the support they need to stay active and engaged on your trip. Ensure that they have the level of support and care they need at home as well by contacting Always Best Care at (267) 217-7059 for a free in-home care consultation.

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Alzheimer’s… When Do You Need Assisted Living?

abcstock4Making the decision to move a loved one from living on their own with in-home care to an assisted living facility can be a difficult choice. However, sometimes it’s a necessary one, especially if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. It can help to keep things consistent and allow them to remain in a familiar setting, but that is not always the safest option.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, your aging parent may become disoriented, agitated and forgetful more frequently. This can put them and others at risk. It can be burden for you as a caregiver to try to manage your own family on top of caring for an aging parent with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Here are some signs your loved one may benefit from assisted living:

  • They get lost. If they have the tendency to wander and lose their way, this can be very dangerous, especially if they are outside or still driving. An assisted living facility is more secure and has round-the-clock monitoring to keep your loved one safe and prevent roaming.
  • They are unsafe by themselves. Has your senior been falling more often? Do they forget to turn the oven off or answer the door to strangers? You can’t be there all of the time. When they are alert, they may be very safe and independent, but you never know when confusion will set in.
  • Their self-care has decreased. Has your loved one been forgetting to drink, eat or take medication? Do they have dirty clothes, unwashed hair or a messier house than usual? If your parent has started to falter on basic activities of daily living and having trouble caring for themselves, assisted living can offer the support they need.
  • They are aggressive or agitated. Changes in mood and behavior can become more common as Alzheimer’s progresses. This can be stressful on you and other family members. Your aging parent may have outbursts and become difficult to deal with. They may need more support and attention than you are able to provide.
  • You’re becoming stressed out. When your aging parent’s needs become more demanding due to their Alzheimer’s, this can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. While you are trying to keep up with your own needs and responsibilities while simultaneously tending to theirs. This can put a strain on your relationship and not allow you to really enjoy the time spent together.

Assisted living can give you peace of mind. You are confident your loved one is safe and  well cared for. Their needs are being met and you don’t have to handle everything on your own. This can allow you to appreciate the time you do spend together and make the most of these opportunities. Your loved one will also have access to more resources and activities that can support a higher quality of living. It can be tough to admit your loved one needs more help, however, it’s usually best for everyone.

Always Best Care can work with you to choose the right assisted living community for your loved one. We have built strong connections within the community and will help you find a placement that best suits your senior’s needs. We offer assisted living services for free to all of our clients as yet another way we can support you and your family. Contact David Baim, at Always Best Care , (267) 217-7059 or email dbaim@abc-seniors.com for more information.

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5 Signs It’s Time For Assisted Living

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Many seniors view living on their own as a sign of independence, and it’s one they’re often not ready to give up. Driving to the supermarket, meeting with friends or paying the bills on their own are activities which give seniors a sense of pride and content.

With support from an in-home care provider, your loved one may be able to age in place for a longer period of time, however, there comes a point when assisted living becomes more beneficial. Much of their independence can be maintained, but having a safer, monitored environment seems to ease family member worry.

It can be a difficult decision to transition your aging parent to an assisted living facility, but it can give you peace of mind to know they are living a higher quality life with all of the necessary supports  . There is never a perfect time to make the switch, but here are a few warning signs that may indicate assisted living could be beneficial:

1. Cognitive decline.

Is your elderly parent developing dementia or Alzheimer’s? Are they becoming more forgetful and putting their own health and safety at risk? Occasional forgetfulness may not be a big deal, but as it progresses and you notice the state of their home and hygiene declining, it may be time to step in.  Take a look at their banking practices or bill payments from time-to-time and ask their neighbors or friends what they think if there is cause for concern.

2. Mobility issues.

Slips and falls can come with a variety of consequences. If your loved one is having more trouble getting around and you notice they have bumps and bruises, they may be better suited for assisted living. In an assisted living environment,  if they fall, someone can respond more quickly. Their room can also be set up with less clutter, more space, and more safety features.

3. Trouble keeping up with daily tasks.

Have they forgotten to take the trash out again or do laundry? Is there hardly any food in the refrigerator and the plants haven’t been watered in several days? Do they have trouble getting their shoes on or getting dressed? Are they eating, drinking enough and sleeping when they should? Most people are expected to easily accomplish these activities when living on their own. If they’re having trouble keeping up, more support may be necessary.

4. Isolation.

Has your loved one stopped meeting up with friends or going to their favorite diner? Are they staying at home more than they’re interacting with others? Assisted living can help them to remain more social, meet friends, and stay involved in activities they enjoy. Isolation can lead to depression and other concerns.

5. Trouble driving.

Driving requires good vision, hearing, reaction time, decision making, problem solving, mobility, and more. If your loved one is getting into fender benders, forgetting where they’re going, or is hesitant to get behind the wheel at all, this can impact their quality of life. They’re not able to run errands and grocery shop, they become more isolated, and it can be restricting. In an assisted living facility, they don’t have to worry about these things. Transportation can be provided for them, and the facility may offer a number of services.

No one wants to take their loved one from home and move them to assisted living, but it can be the best decision for everyone involved. Your loved one should thrive in their new environment and you can know they are safe and happy.

Always Best Care offers free assisted living placement services to help you find the right facility and level of care for your aging parent. We work with facilities throughout the area and can help you find one that meets your loved one’s needs. Let us help you by contacting Always Best Care at (267) 217-7059.

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