November 15, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Oh, the holidays! The season where everything is jolly, trees are twinkling, children’s eyes are glistening, and tables are surrounded by family’s laughter and love. This is not necessarily the case for everyone, especially for seniors. As seniors age, they may no longer feel like celebrating the holidays anymore. For them the holidays may take on a different meaning and can make them sad, depressed or feel anxious. A few key indicators of (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder, may be unusual fatigue or sadness or little interest in the holiday season in general.
There may be different triggers that may cause these feelings of melancholy over the holidays. Digging deep into the heart of the matter with a frank conversation will help you to make sure that your loved one has a more joyous holiday season.
Seniors may reflect on holidays past, struggling to find the joys in the present. It’s okay to treasure those old memories and keep them in a special place in their heart. Its also okay to enjoy the present holiday and find joy in making new memories.
The death of a loved one during the holidays can also be a trigger. Even if the loss occurred many years ago, it brings up memories of the loss itself bringing on feelings of grief and emptiness. There may be guilt if they are having a good time.
Take the time to talk through how your loved one is feeling and let them know that their feelings are normal. Everyone grieves in their own way. Ask them what their wishes are to help them handle it as you acknowledge their feelings together.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Light a candle in memorial
- Place the person’s picture in a special place
- Family dinner where everyone shares a special memory
Stress is another factor that can cause depression and/or anxiety among seniors. Pressure from family and friends to attend holiday celebrations the same way or differently than in the past. Keeping a senior occupied with the festivities of the season may very well be therapeutic, but nothing can ruin a holiday occasion faster than having so much to do that that you can’t enjoy the holiday. The idea of baking, decorating, shopping and all the traditions that are enjoyable may become overwhelming if overscheduled. Prioritize what is important and be realistic. Focus on what you and your loved ones need rather than what others expect of you.
Financial pressures can also cause depression for seniors on limited budgets. Not only are they purchasing gifts, but additional holidays meals and their heating expenses tend to increase. This season is an overall expensive time of year. Reminding your loved one that it truly is the thought that counts when it comes to gift giving and here are a few suggestions:
- Baked Goods
- Drawing Names
- Handmade Gifts
- Passing Down Family Heirlooms
Keep in mind that there is a difference between the holiday blues and depression. If you feel that your loved one is experiencing something more than the blues, seek the advice of a professional.
Perhaps the most effective cure to the holiday blues is a few simple physical gestures of affection such as a hug or holding a loved one’s hand. These simple acts can reduce stress, anxiety, while bringing joy and love to both of you.
As a caregiver or family member of a senior suffering with the holiday blues, make it your mission to get involved. You can make a significant difference and lessen the holiday blues for your loved ones for a more enjoyable holiday season for all.
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November 7, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
This weekend, our Nation will reflect on the sacrifices that our Veterans and War Heroes have made over the years as it became a national holiday in 1938. As their sacrifices have provided safety, security and the freedom our country continues to enjoy, it’s important to know what benefits our Veterans may be eligible. Its important that they be aware and utilize what is available, especially if they find themselves in unexpected need.
According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, “Elderly Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans.”
What exactly is Aid and Attendance? Its super simple, the veteran must require help with daily living or activities at home, assisted living, nursing home, or skilled nursing. Their need does not have to be related to any military service.
If you are applying for “Aid and Attendance” and would like benefits based on a housebound status, the Veterans Agency will allow some costs and annualized medical expenses if it’s for medical care. Those aging in place and using Home Health services do not have to be licensed. However, if the beneficiary or Veteran has been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s, a physician’s statement must indicate that a protective environment is in place.
If you are seeking Aid and Attendance benefits while living or would like to move to an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility, the facility will be required to sign a statement verifying the type of care being given or what they are expecting that resident to receive. You will also be required to submit a “Care Provider Report”.
How do you know if you may qualify? Here are a few simple indictors:
- Age: you or surviving spouse must be 65 or older or officially disabled if younger.
- Period of Military Service- you must be considered a “wartime veteran”, meaning that you have served a minimum of 90 days with only one of those days during wartime dates. You did not have to serve in combat to qualify.
- World War II: December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946
- Korean War: June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: August 5, 1964-May 7, 1975
- Gulf War: August 2, 1990-Undetermined
- Discharge Status: you cannot be dishonorably Discharged
Applying and understanding these benefits can get very complicated, seeking the professional guidance and advice of a licensed, professional Elder Law Attorney is encouraged to help guide you through this process. If you can receive a referral from a family friend or your Trust and Estate Planning Attorney, this may help guide you in the right direction.
If you are needing additional funds to cover the cost of Home Health services, Assisted Living, or Skilled Nursing for you and your spouse, you may qualify for:
Living Veteran Monthly Rate
Housebound Without Dependents: $1,340
Housebound Without Dependents: $1,680
Aid and Attendance W/O Dependents: $1,830
Aid and Attendance W/ Dependent: $2,169
In October 2018, the VA made new rules to fiscally qualify for benefits. The new net worth limits of $123,600 became effective. They will look at the Veteran’s overall net worth in addition to income. There are also other rules that could affect a Veteran from qualifying, seeking professional guidance may be helpful.
If you believe that you or a Veteran loved qualifies for Aid and Attendance, it can always be helpful to speak to the Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing facility that you are considering, and they may have folks who are trained to assist you through this process as well.
If you find that you or your Veteran qualify, and you begin your process to apply, you are encouraged to get organized, make sure that all your paperwork and forms are completed. Above all, do not get discouraged.
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November 2, 2018
October 25, 2018
Courtesy of Hazel Bridges
Most of us know we could be making healthier choices, and we have some understanding of how these could help us in old age. Now that you are a senior, you may start feeling like you missed your chance. This is not the case, however, and you are never too old to take control of your health habits and start working toward a better quality of life. Here are a few simple ways to do that.
According to the CDC, the benefits of exercise as a senior include improved stamina, bone health, muscle mass, and reduced risk of injury. There is some evidence that it also improves cognitive skills such as remembering words. By regularly working out, you increase your ability to live independently, keep up with grandchildren, and generally make the most of your golden years.
You don’t have to take up a whole new sport or get into anything particularly intense. You can adjust your activity to your level of fitness and to any injuries you have. Some seniors choose to join a class where they can meet new people and have an excuse to get out the house. Learn something new, like tai chi or water aerobics, or join a walking group to socialize with other seniors from the neighborhood.
If that doesn’t sound like your thing, there are also plenty of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. If you need equipment, a basic set of dumbbells and resistance bands can allow you to do a variety of strength workouts, which are incredibly beneficial in terms of muscle and bone strength. A yoga mat helps you stretch safely and comfortably, which can keep you flexible and improve circulation. Whatever you choose, consider investing in a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, which can help you monitor your progress. Check out iMore’s guide to Fitbits for seniors to choose the best one for you.
Eat Well — and Switch Things Up
It’s incredibly important to eat a healthy diet later in life. You may have heard that your metabolism slowing will have impacted your body’s ability to burn calories, but the truth is that this doesn’t make that big a difference. You should still focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats while avoiding sugar and processed foods. Any other specific requirements will depend on your body. Talk to your doctor to see if you could use more of a specific nutrient in your diet, such as calcium or iron.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from some kind of mental health disorder. Many of the conversations around old age and mental health revolve around dementia because it tends to occur in older adults. This awareness is important; however, it is also worth remembering that other, more common forms of mental illness also affect seniors.
This includes depression and anxiety, which could be caused by a variety of factors associated with old age. Staying active, eating well, and socializing regularly are key to promoting good mental health, with the latter in particular being essential. Seniors who report feeling lonely and isolated have an increased risk of physical and mental decline and dying earlier. If you feel your social circle is not satisfying you, join a class or group that can help you meet people. It is never too late to make new friends.
As you get older, it can be easy to feel like your quality of life is set to inevitably decline. However, it is important to remember that many of the health issues associated with old age are preventable through a few key lifestyle changes. You can enjoy a fulfilling and exciting life in your golden years as long as you commit to taking control of your physical and mental well-being.
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October 18, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
As the hot days of summer fade away and the leaves begin to change and the weather gets crisp, the season of fall is most welcome. Fall is not the only season that arrives in October, but a most unwelcoming season arrives as well…. flu season. Flu season is most active between October thru May. As this season is upon us, its important to be proactive in flu prevention, symptoms and treatment. The flu season is not the only season you want to experience, but the one you want to avoid.
While a flu diagnosis is serious regardless of age, a flu diagnosis in Seniors carries greater risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adults 65 and older are at greater risk of complications from the flu because they may have weakened immune systems. The CDC estimates that between 70%-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths and 54%-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in those over the age of 65.
A flu vaccine is the best option in flu prevention. It is recommended that Seniors and their caregivers receive the flu shot every year. The best time to get a flu shot is October thru November, so mark your calendars! The CDC reports that the flu vaccination may reduce the risk of getting the flu by 40-60%. The CDC recommends that even Seniors with weakened immune systems receive the vaccines, the vaccine can still protect against the illness and can weaken the flu strain if the immune suppressed Senior comes in contact with the flu virus.
Other ways to avoid getting the flu:
- Washing hands and wrists/ Hand sanitizer when more convenient
- Avoiding people who are sick
- Get plenty of rest
- Eat healthy, boost immunity
- Getting exercise-this could reduce your risk by a third
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth-this is how the germs enter the body
- Sanitize your Mobile devices
- Adding Vitamin C-Boost your immune system
The onset of flu symptoms can happen very quickly, some people developing symptoms one to four days after exposure to the virus. Seniors may develop the flu and their symptoms look very different than typical flu patients. Therefore, Seniors who have the flu are misdiagnosed or delayed in their diagnosis and therefore can progress into a more serious health problem. Most flu symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees, many Seniors with the flu do not have a fever, cough, or a sore throat.
Symptoms in a Senior may include:
- General discomfort, knowing something is clearly wrong
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Flu-like symptoms that get better and then worse
- Swollen mouth/throat
If you’re over the age of 65 and experience any of these symptoms, visit your physician right away to reduce the potential risk of a flu diagnosis. If you see your doctor within the first 48 hours, your doctor may prescribe you an antiviral medication. When taken at the onset of the flu, this medication can reduce the symptoms and the severity of your illness.
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October 11, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
You’ve heard the term Sundowners syndrome. Are you a caregiver or know someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s that has sundowning? It is a neurological phenomenon that exists with those suffering from a form of dementia or delirium. Sundowning seems to be more frequent in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease and mixed dementia.
What causes this syndrome is believed to be caused from the inner “body clock” of the brain that signals when you’re awake and when your asleep, this breaks down in people with Alzheimer’s. There may be specific triggers in your loved one, taking notes to understand these triggers is a good idea.
Factors that may aggravate Sundowners Syndrome:
- Shadows and low light, causing fear
- Separating dreams from reality
- Infection, more commonly a UTI
- Low Lighting
- Unfamiliar environment
Sundowning isn’t a disease on its own, but it is a variety of behaviors that typically occur at a later time of day and may go into the night that affect people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those with sundowners are confused, experience anxiety, ignore directions, and potentially show aggression. They may begin to pace or wander.
There are steps that you can take to help manage this challenging time of day as it seems the fading light is the trigger, but the symptoms can get worse throughout the night. As a caregiver, this can be frustrating and exhausting for you. The steps you take will help keep your loved one safe, but also help them reduce their Sundowners symptoms.
- Have a regular daily routine
- No smoking or alcohol use
- Limit sweets and caffeine to the morning
- Smaller meals at night, larger meals at lunchtime
- Avoid late day naps
When it is time to go to sleep, take extra steps to provide a quiet relaxing environment:
- Close curtains and blinds, shadows are a huge problem
- Fix the room temperature to their liking
- Keep the house quiet, noise can make them paranoid
- Especially a visible television with the flashing lights and noise
- Put on relaxing music
You may also consult with your loved one’s physician about Melatonin at night time and any other recommendations that they may have.
You have tried to keep your loved one that is experiencing Sundowners quiet and relaxed, but they are still getting up and they are confused, and you are unsure how to respond.
- Do not argue with them
- Tell them everything is OK, be reassuring
- Let them get up and move around, just stay close to them making sure they are staying away from stairs and anything used to harm themselves
- Remind them what time it is and that its nighttime or bedtime
- DO NOT physically try to restrain from walking around
- Above all….STAY CALM
You may want to consider purchasing a baby monitor to be aware when they are getting up in the middle of the night.
As a caregiver with a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s it’s such an emotional, physical, and time-consuming journey that Sundowner’s is just another piece of a puzzle to this disease that will never truly fit together and make any sense to most caregivers. Taking take to take care of yourself will only make you a better caregiver for your loved one, there is help in the form of support groups in your local areas and The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center offers support as well. Its also important to get away and have time for yourself, its important to have a well trusted Home Health provider that allows you time away to decompress and refocus so that you can be a better caregiver.
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September 28, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
You have a lot of stuff that you have collected over the years! You have a lifetime of beautiful memories and well, just stuff! You have artwork that you saved from your children and grandchildren, collectibles when collectibles were a fad, clothes that are out of style, paperwork that is no longer relevant. You may even have furniture and old holiday decorations in the basement or attic that just need to find new homes.
Decluttering your home of all these things as an active Senior is a labor of love for your family. It will also make it much easier for you to sell your home and make your next move.
Leaving the cleaning out and decluttering of your home to your loved ones can be an overwhelming task for them. It is an emotional journey and physical labor of love that adult children and family members endure on their own. They may not know the family history of what is important in your home and can cause family friction. If you declutter your home now, you can share in the memories and find common ground in your cherished family keepsakes.
Whether you hope to live out your days in your current home, retire to a smaller home, retirement community, or the possibility of a continuing care retirement community. The reality is eventually your home will likely need to be sold. Decluttering of the past to move toward the future is a gift that you not only give your loved ones, but yourself.
Studies have shown that clutter causes anxiety, depression, stress, and general feeling of being overwhelmed. Cleaning and decluttering can be a stress-reliever.
There are also tax benefits to decluttering. If you donate your unwanted items to a charitable organization, you may be eligible for a tax write-off. You can also get very creative in donating or re-selling vintage items to re-sell shops or donating to schools looking for theatre production costumes.
Does all of this sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be! Get organized and make a plan!
- Set aside a weekend or specific timeframe
- Make sure you have supplies: garbage bags, boxes, cleaning products
- Start with one room, then have a plan to go room by room
- Go through everything in that room: Label: Keep, Donate, Trash
- Old Documents, you may want to shred
- Ask your family members to join you
- Keep what is important- not to suggest you throw out priceless mementos, most people find out they do not miss “things” that they get rid of after a clean out. Items that do not serve a purpose or cannot be shared with other family members should find new homes.
While the process of decluttering is giving away, throwing away, and passing along to your loved ones is a process that has an element of an emotional journey with things that tie you of your past. Your memories and family legacies are your true history.
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September 27, 2018
Dynamic new community brings a fun, “no worries” vibe to Lowcountry Living – Plan your visit now by visiting our listing on SeniorLivingGuide.com!
This summer’s grand opening of LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE Hilton Head’s nine Margaritaville-inspired model homes drew more than 2,500 aspiring homeowners for a first look at the vibrant new community’s colorful single-family and villa homes. Visitors also toured the Lake Latitude Club that features resort-style pool, beach area, fitness center and party room.
Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head is located in Hardeeville, South Carolina — the scenic gateway to Hilton Head Island. This dynamic new community for those 55-and-better who are “growing older…but not up” combines South Carolina’s charm and hospitality with Latitude Margaritaville’s “no worries” tropical vibe to deliver a whole new element to Lowcountry living. Sales have begun in the community’s Phase 1 that includes 203 home sites. Plans call for a total of 3,000 homes.
Latitude Margaritaville is a totally new lifestyle concept by master developer Minto Communities and global lifestyle brand Margaritaville Holdings that is redefining active adult living. Latitude Margaritaville presents the lifestyle of fun, food and music portrayed in the songs of legendary singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett.
LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE Hilton Head is the second of the communities to be introduced. The first location in Daytona Beach, Florida was ranked the nation’s most popular active adult community of 2018 by 55Places.com. Additional LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE locations are planned for some of the nation’s most popular destinations, including Watersound, Florida in the Florida Panhandle.
LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE Hilton Head includes walkable neighborhoods, golf-cart friendly streets and a lively Town Center, currently under construction and slated to open in 2019. Music will play an important part in the community with residents enjoying live entertainment under the bandshell and dancing in the Latitude Town Square.
Resort level amenities will include a state-of-the-art Fins Up! Fitness Center with aerobics studio, indoor lap pool, spa, group fitness classes, wellness and community programs and more. Additional amenities include a Paradise Pool with beach entry, cabanas and tiki huts; tennis, pickleball and bocce ball courts; Workin’ N’ Playin’ Center for arts, crafts and other programs, and a Coconut Telegraph Business Center. Residents can relax at a Latitude Bar & Chill Restaurant, Changes in Attitude poolside bar and Last Mango Theater for dances and banquets.
For golf cart tune-ups there will be The Hanger workshop, and pets will be pampered at the Barkaritaville Pet Spa and Dog Park. In addition to the many in-community amenities, an adjoining 290,000-square-foot golf cart-accessible neighborhood retail center is being developed in partnership with Sutton Properties, Inc.
A wide range of home designs and floor plans are offered. LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE Hilton Head model homes are from three distinct villa and single-family home collections – the Caribbean, Beach and Island. Four villa home models include the Antigua, Barbuda, Jamaica and Nevis, ranging from 1,503 to 1,862 square feet under air. Additional villa floor plans include the Caicos and Lucia. All have two bedrooms, den or hobby room, two baths, covered lanai with option to add a pool, and two-car garage. Villa pricing starts at $243,990.
Five single-family home models include the Coconut, Parrot, Breeze, Aruba and Trinidad. Additional single-family home floor plans are available, and include the Hammock, Cabana, Bimini and St. Bart. Single-family homes range from 1,684 to 2,564 square feet under air and feature two to three bedrooms plus den, two to three-car garages, two to three-and-a-half baths and a covered lanai with option to add a pool. Pricing for single-family homes starts at $293,990.
The LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE sales center is located at 356 Latitude Boulevard, Hardeeville, South Carolina. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For information, call 844-388-6777 or visit www.LatitudeMargaritaville.com.
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September 20, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Its almost that time of year again…Snowbird season! It begins in October and runs through April. I live in Florida and you could almost change the name from the Sunshine State to the Snowbird State! They flock down in the winter from New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Canada, and really any state where the temperature is frigid, and the snow plows are a plenty. According to Florida Realtor Magazine, by 2025 one in every five people living in Florida will be elderly.
Two million baby boomers head south every year. Most snowbirds are between the ages of 50 and 69. They are active, well-educated and adapt to the warmer lifestyle quite well.
Have you ever considered a snowbird style retirement? Many purchase Independent Living or Retirement living homes in communities and spend their winters enjoying fun in the sun with their seasonal friends while avoiding the harshness of the winters back in their hometowns.
So, let’s talk turkey, I mean “snowbird”. It’s a nickname for the Junco bird, but it’s used to describe a group of seasonal travelers who go to warmer climates. The term has been affectionately known to describe retirees specifically.
Where are the snowbirds coming from? About four out of five international snowbirds traveling into the United States yearly are coming from Canada. Many of these snowbirds will eventually sell their winter homes and move permanently and make their Retirement Community home and become a “sunbird”.
While Florida is well known for being a desired Snowbird destination; Arizona, Las Vegas, Hawaii, California, and Texas are attracting more seasonal retirees. In Texas, they have a different term of endearment. They are known as “winter Texans”.
If you think becoming a Snowbird is right up your ally, consider the packing, the winterizing of your home, the address changing, tax preparation, and ordering prescriptions. The checklist goes on and on and should be considered and well planned out.
On a very positive note: “Snowbirds: Seasonal Migration of the Elderly in Florida” study shoes that more than 63 percent of snowbirds rate their health as “very good” or “excellent”. In the same report, those that live in the same area year around, reported to have more complicated health issues.
At the end of the day, what any Snowbird needs the most is a retirement community with the amenities and location that meets all their needs. If you think the Snowbird lifestyle is a good choice for you and you need to start your search for a southern retirement living community, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com where many options are located in one place.
The Snowbird lifestyle allows Seniors to enjoy the best of both worlds, they are able to spend their summers in their hometowns with their family and friends, maintaining a aging in place lifestyle. In the winter when the weather is less than desirable, they are able to leave and spend time in a more resort style senior living community in a fashion that may be more of a vacation, lending to a more healthy and happier retirement.
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September 13, 2018
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