reprinted from Maine Senior Guide
- Learn how to prevent unknown apps from accessing your Facebook account
- Don’t allow random companies to have access to your personal information about your friends.
Attend Tim Flight’s talk about security and privacy. Tim will share tips to keep track of passwords, selecting secure PINS for your smartphones, dos and dont’s for WiFi, safely paying for goods online, and keeping malware off your computer.
- Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.
- Carrabassett Valley Public Library
Free tax help for people of all ages with low to moderate income. AARP tax-aides will help prepare federal and state of Maine tax returns from February 5- April 8, 2016 at the Carrabassett Valley Public Library at 3209 Carrabassett Valley Drive on Fridays: 11:30 to 3:30 p.m. Appointments must be scheduled by calling (207) 246-2157.
Taxes are prepared and filed electronically by IRS Certified Volunteer Tax Preparers.
How to Notice There’s A Problem With Your Aging Parents
When faced with a decision about senior living, many seniors and their families find themselves in a whirlwind of information-gathering that is more daunting than at any other time in their lives. We suddenly find ourselves needing to be experts on complex issues in a very short period of time.
Fortunately, there is help. A Place for Mom, North America’s largest senior referral service, pooled its years of expertise to create this e-book called the Senior Living Planning Guide. The guide walks you through the major steps of choosing assisted living based on your specific needs and priorities. Download the Senior Living Planning Guide and keep it with you at every stage of the process – from touring communities, to managing finances, to moving in. Here is what you’ll find in the Senior Living Planning Guide.
Senior Living Types Explained
The first part of the e-book guides you through the different types of senior living. It explains the differences between senior apartments, independent living, assisted living, memory care, and the entire continuum of care one may need. It also includes a glossary of common terms for your reference as you move through the transition into senior living. With this quick reference by your side, you can confidently discuss various living arrangements and take notes about which one suits you best.
- For Active, Healthy Seniors – you’ll know the differences between 55 and over apartments vs independent living facilities.
- For Seniors Who Need Daily Support – we compare assisted living, residential care homes, memory care and nursing homes.
- For Seniors Who Live at Home – there are options for home care, respite care and adult day care
Understanding the fundamental differences between each senior living type will help you focus on more important issues, like location, amenities and services at any given community.
Paying for Senior Living
Paying for senior care is often the primary deterrent in making a decision – and with good reason. There are many things to consider, and often these issues are not discussed with other family members. The Senior Planning Guide helps you have those conversations.
What does senior living actually cost? Many people are surprised at how affordable senior care really is, particularly when comparing the cost of living at home.
How does one pay for senior care? Despite common understanding, there are many ways to pay for senior living. Here are some popular methods:
- Income and savings
- Support from family members
- Long-term care insurance
- Veteran’s benefits
- Reverse mortgage and home equity
- Life insurance policies
Touring Senior Communities Checklist
Once you’ve identified what your needs are and settled into your financial decision, your Senior Living Advisor will suggest several choices in your desired location that meet your requirements. It’s time to start touring. With the helpful Senior Living Planning Guide you’ll know which questions to ask. We provide a working checklist as your tour facilities so you can observe and compare important features. For example:
- Safety features – How do they handle medical emergencies? Is there a visiting physician, or a doctor on staff?
- Legal and financial questions – Will you need renters insurance? Are there move-in incentives?
- General observations – Do staff call residents by name? Do residents appear engaged and happy?
Moving Into Senior Living
Making the decision is now much easier thanks to your Senior Living Advisor’s help, and the notes in yourSenior Living Planning Guide. Still, there is a transition period that your e-book can assist with, such as having a family conversation, supporting your aging loved one emotionally through this new journey, and what important documentation and keepsakes should be taken to your new home.
Don’t allow the emotional and logistical challenges of finding senior living overwhelm you. Use the Senior Living Planning Guide as your ultimate resource as you walk through the process of discovering your next home. The best decision you can make is a confident one once you’ve thoroughly researched all of your options. A Place for Mom is here to help you every step of the way. Download the e-book today and keep it with you as you work with your Senior Living Advisor to fine tune your search and find the perfect home.
Reprinted from A Place for Mom
In the past 2 weeks , the Maine Attorney general and Bureau of Consumer Protection, have issued warnings about these scams.
Callers pretend to represent the IRS. They claim they’re calling because taxes are past due: unless payment is made immediately, the caller threatens to file a lawsuit, seize property, even do them physical harm.
The fake IRS scams usually hit high gear around tax season but this year,however, crooks have been hitting the phone lines pretending to be IRS agents, police officers, court officials and others who might be in the business of collecting delinquent taxes.
Except they are criminals trying to get you to wire them money you can never get back.
As with most scams, the crooks demand that money be sent by wire transfer or prepaid cash cards. Both methods are untraceable and crooks count on that fact in addition to their scare tactics to make their scams work.
Aiding their schemes are electronic tactics, such as spoofing, which makes a phony number appear on caller ID devices. The criminals can make it appear they are calling from an IRS office, when they may be halfway around the world.
The callers can make their threats sound real, but they are as phony as the call itself. The real IRS never cold calls : they always send a letter first on real IRS stationary. They NEVER ask for credit or debit card information or that money be sent by wire transfer.
If you are in doubt, locate the phone number of the real tax office and call to find out if you have taxes that are overdue. Don’t disclose personal information–date of birth, Social Security numbers, credit or bank account numbers to unknown callers: you could become a victim of identity theft.
Report suspicious activity to the BCCP ( 800-332-8529), to an IRS office or to a federal law enforcement officer in Maine or Boston. The anti-scam guide Gone Phishing is available free to Maine residents who call the BCCP at the above phone number or online at CreditMaine.gov
|Physical fitness is one of the pillars of a healthy life, but that doesn’t mean you have to tie yourself to a regimented routine. Most experts recommend a half hour of walking as a good standard for daily exercise, plus other strengthening.
If you’re walking outside, make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing and footwear, and you’re dressing in layers for the weather. Even more fun: walking with friends on a circuit inside the mall or even the local gym or school.
Don’t forget the many fitness programs available on TV, or from the library via tape. Many senior centers now have Wii consols and Wii fit, which is a fun way to track your progress.
There’s nothing that says you can’t put on a little bit of Chubby Checker and twist the night away, too! Dancing is a great form of exercise, and every bit of movement counts, from bowling to raking the lawn.
And don’t forget the usual advice: Check with your doctor before you begin a fitness program.
Reprinted from Maine Senior Guide.
Sound the Alarm: Fraud Hotline Shines Light on Scams Targeting Seniors
Our parents and grandparents worked hard their entire lives and saved for retirement. Unfortunately, there are criminals who are targeting them and who want to rob them of their hard-earned savings. Far too many older Americans are being financially exploited by strangers over the telephone and in the mail. Worse yet, they also may be targeted by family members or by people they trust. Many of these crimes, however, go unreported because the victim is too afraid or embarrassed to do so.
In early 2013, as Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, I, along with then-Chairman Bill Nelson of Florida, made consumer protection and fraud prevention a primary focus of our Committees work. From the beginning, we held hearings examining telephone scams, tax-related identity theft, Social Security fraud, and the impact of payday loans on seniors, among other issues. In November of 2013, recognizing the epidemic of fraud perpetrated against seniors and the extent to which victims are often unsure of where they should turn for help, our Committee launched a toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.
Today, as Committee Chairman, I oversee the Fraud Hotline and remain committed to protecting older Americans against fraud and to bringing greater awareness to this growing problem. The Hotline has been successful in meeting both of those goals, responding to thousands of individuals over the telephone or through the online form on the Committee Website.
The Hotline allows the Committee to keep a detailed and current record of common fraud schemes impacting seniors. This record informs the efforts of the Committee, and ultimately the work of the U.S. Congress.
Just as important, the Hotline offers real help to victims and potential victims. The Hotline is consistently staffed during business hours with investigators who have experience with investment scams, identity theft, bogus sweepstakes and lottery schemes, Medicare and Social Security fraud and a variety of other scams of which seniors are often the victims. The Hotline seeks to assist individuals by providing callers with important information regarding steps that can be taken when a senior is the target of a scam, including where to report the fraud and ways to reduce the likelihood that the senior becomes a victim or repeat victim.
Seniors are typically referred by investigators to the local, state and/or federal law enforcement entities with jurisdiction over the particular scam. In addition to law enforcement, Committee staff may also direct seniors to other resources, such as consumer protection groups, legal aid clinics, Congressional caseworkers or local nonprofits that provide aid to seniors.
The range and frequency of scams reported to the Hotline demonstrate the extent of this epidemic. The highest number of complaints this year are about criminals posing as IRS agents who falsely accuse seniors of owing back taxes and penalties. Due to this extremely high call volume, I called for an Aging Committee Hearing in April to investigate and raise awareness about these scams. Last Congress, the Committee held a hearing to investigate a Jamaican Lottery Scam as a result of increased calls to the Fraud Hotline.
Another common scam is identity theft, in which thieves access personal information through numerous means, including stealing a wallet, purse, or mail; posing as a legitimate company and requesting information in a phone or email scam; sifting through the trash; gaining information provided to an unsecured Internet site; and obtaining credit reports by posing as a landlord or employer. The Federal Trade Commission reports that identity theft is the number one consumer complaint, with 20 percent of the complaints coming from victims age 60 and older.
Among the other top complaint generators are computer scams, in which fraudsters posing as tech support from a well-known technology company, gain control of the victims computer and the sensitive personal information it contains. Lottery and sweepstake scams, in which the victim is told he or she must make substantial advance payments of taxes or fees in order to claim winnings that do not exist, are also common.
A particularly alarming type of fraud is the grandparent scam. In these cases, scammers call a senior pretending to be a family member, often a grandchild, claiming to be in urgent need of money to cover medical care or a legal problem, such as for bail or legal services following a supposed arrest. This is a particularly cruel scam, as it combines financial loss with unwarranted worry over a loved one.
Two issues that have arisen repeatedly during the Committees investigations are the frequency with which victims do not report fraud and the difficulty they encounter in determining where they should turn for help. Fortunately, the Committees focus on increasing awareness of senior fraud is paying dividends.
Thanks to the cooperation of police departments and senior-oriented agencies in Maine in getting the word out, our state is leading the nation this year in Hotline usage. Our small state, with the nations oldest median age, is at the forefront in bringing attention to the serious problem of fraud against our seniors.
My monthly SeniorSource newsletter, which provides regular updates on a range of aging issues, includes an insert with anti-fraud tips and the Hotlines toll-free number (1-855-303-9470) than can be clipped out and placed near the telephone or on the refrigerator. To sign up for this informative newsletter, please email Senior_Source@collins.senate.
Infections in the Elderly
1. Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly
2. Elderly Skin Infections
3. Bacterial Pneumonia in the Elderly
4. Elderly Influenza
5. Gastrointestinal Infections in the Elderly
Taking a tumble may do more than break a senior’s bones—it could also increase their risk of death.
For people 65 years old and older falls are the number one cause of death from an injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2013 alone, more than 25,500 seniors died from injuries sustained in a fall.
And, while the death rates of ailments such as cancer and heart disease have declined over time, death rates from falls have increased, particularly among the elderly—with 55% of fall deaths in 2013 happening to people who were at least 65 years old.
The real cause of death
The most common form of fall among the elderly population is a ground-level fall (where a person is standing on the ground before the fall). While this may not seem very dangerous when compared to a fall from a second-story window, consider this: a study conducted by researchers from the University of Mississippi, found that seniors older than 70 years experienced a three-fold increase in their risk of death after a ground-level fall when compared with those 69 years and younger.
What’s behind this increased risk of death?
Depending on how a senior lands when they fall, they could experience everything from a broken hip to a traumatic brain injury.
According to the CDC, trauma to the brain was the cause of death in 41% of fall fatalities among seniors in the year 2010.
Even a less serious injury, like a broken bone, could require risky a surgical procedure involving sedation and further trauma—two things that can also put an older person’s life in jeopardy. Preexisting conditions as well the overall physical frailty that plagues many aging adults can also impede their recovery from an injury-causing fall.
Even if a senior survives the fall and subsequent medical care, a longer recovery time translates to a longer hospital stay that can make a senior more vulnerable to disease and may ultimately render them incapable of caring for themselves. Only 22% of seniors in the University of Mississippi study could handle living on their own after being released from the hospital after a fall.
Preventing a treacherous tumble
A variety of factors can increase a senior’s risk of falling. Age alone contributes to this risk by interfering with a person’s eyesight, balance, and coordination. Add in elements like slippery floors, patches of ice and snow, and medications that can disorient a senior, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an accident.
Even the just the fear of falling may increase a loved one’s risk, according to a study done on older Australians.
Not every fall can be prevented, but taking certain steps can reduce a senior’s risk:
- Construct a fall-proof environment: Whether your elderly loved one lives in their own home or with you, there are several things you can do to reduce their risk of falling. Removing clutter, throw rugs, and low-lying furniture can prevent tripping and installing grab bars in the bathroom and other slippery areas can provide additional stability for a senior.
- Double-check medications: Certain prescription meds can make a senior dizzy and thus increase the chance that they might fall. Have a pharmacist double-check your elderly loved one’s medications to make sure that they are not increasing their risk of falling.
- Encourage exercise: Exercise, particularly weight-bearing exercise can increase a senior’s coordination and strengthen their bones, which can help prevent and/or minimize the negative effects of fall.
- Get their eyes and bones tested: Remedying vision problems and treating osteoporosis can go a long way to protecting your senior from deadly falls.
Reprinted from Aging Care.