April 19, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The more and more that I work in this industry, I think back to the times that made the older folks that mean so much to me the happiest. They are mostly “a-ha” moments, not anything that I could have bought and shipped through Amazon, texted, or even the quick drop in just to say “hi”. It was the time that was spent visiting with them. It was time sharing a meal, going to CVS to help them pick out a birthday card, sharing the stories of my life, reminiscing about the past, and the times that they themselves were an integral part of my family and daily life. I remember how proud they would be to introduce me and my children to complete strangers. It was like being introduced for a “lifetime achievement” Award at the Golden Globes. That is what we are to our elderly loved ones. We are their lifetime achievements.
When my son was little, his school adopted a Senior retirement community at Christmas time. He was in Kindergarten and they took a field trip to the community, each child “wrote” a book and colored it, we all made Christmas cookies, and the kids sang carols. My son sat in a complete stranger’s lap reading his story with such pride as she intently listened, holding him on her lap so happy with the biggest smile on her face. She was so entrenched in his story and hung on to every word that he said. It meant the world to him because he knew she loved his story, and I know it meant the world to her because you could see the visible joy on her face. I sat there and realized I was holding back tears because it made me happy to see this connection between two strangers vastly different in years. I regret that he never saw her again, I truly believe that it would have been really good for them both.
Buckner Parkway Place, a senior living community in Houston, Texas hosted a group of young people who volunteered at their community through their local high school. “This partnership with Westside High is what Buckner is all about,” said Susan Phelps, executive director of Parkway Place. “Buckner exists to serve both vulnerable children and senior adults, and what better way to do that than by engaging a multi-generation partnership with students who otherwise might not have these opportunities? Plus, seeing the way Parkway Place residents light up around these students is a joy. I feel more confident than ever about the future of senior living because of their eagerness to serve.” http://www.buckner.org/blog/learning-to-serve
Family life is changing. Unlike in the past, when extended families lived close to each other, older folks are living longer and more self-sufficiently, but they are also living alone. With the change in lifestyle and the growing distances from family members, even though their adult children have healthier and more active parents, they are less likely to visit them, and their grandchildren are less likely to know and visit their grandparents as often as in the past.
Developing connections between young and old generations can help both groups. Visit your local Senior Center, Senior Community and ask how you can volunteer by spending time with their residents. You can also visit http://www.servingseniors.org/get-involved/advocacy/ , include children in advocacy, they too are your future. #payitforward
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April 4, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
In honor of the month that can be very tax focused if you are the last minute, down to the wire, can’t find all of your receipts, but are determined to get all the deductibles allowed by law like me. I am going to share one tax deduction that you may not know is available! Its an important one, as you know assisted living costs continue to rise every year. These costs can be very stressful on you or your family members. Did you know that some of these costs may be tax deductible?
The criteria for the tax deduction is that the resident in assisted living must be considered “chronically ill”, meaning a doctor or nurse has certified that the resident either:
- Is unable to perform on their own two daily activities. Ex: eating, bathing, dressing, etc.
- Diagnosed with a cognitive impairment, (Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, etc) and requires supervision
You may ask what do you mean, “certified”? To qualify for the deduction, a doctor, a nurse, or social worker must prescribe a plan of care and certify the plan. Luckily, most assisted living facilities offer and can prepare this for their residents within the guidelines required.
How these costs are determined to be tax deductible are based on medical expenses and long-term care expenses. Typically, only the medical expenses of assisted living are deductible and living costs are not. However, there are exceptions. The exception to this may if the resident is chronically ill and the facility is primarily for their medical care and is part of the residents certified care plan, then it may be tax deductive, much like a hospital vs. a home environment. The tax deduction is calculated based if expenses are more than 7.5 percent of the adjusted gross income.
There is also an opportunity for Adult children to receive a tax deduction if their parents or other family members live at an assisted living facility and qualify as their dependents. The adult child may be eligible for this deduction even if it is less than half of the total support according to a “multiple support agreement.” The adult child is required to pay more than 10 percent of the total support for the year. There are variables to this agreement and I would recommend speaking to professional counsel such as, a Elder Law Attorney/Tax Consultant to make sure that you are meeting all legal obligations before taking the tax deduction as there may be multiple parties on this agreement.
I always recommend if you have complicated tax planning have questions about your taxes, seek professional advice. Asking for a reference from a trusted family member or friend is a great start to a Elder Law Attorney or Tax Advisor, www.superlawyers.com have highly rated lawyers to refer online.
If you have uncomplicated quick question about tax deductions, you may want to visit online resources such as Intuit.com https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3612566-how-do-you-determine-what-portion-of-assisted-living-is-deductible-and-what-is-not-is-this-provided-by-the-facility
Getting the most out of your tax deductions doesn’t have to be complicated if you know what you qualify for and you utilize your resources.
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February 12, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
I could review the statistics of heart disease in America and the surprising fact that women are more prone to die from heart disease than men or that it is the leading cause of death over cancer. Yes, that’s right! Cancer!
“In the United States, 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease. In fact, coronary heart disease (CHD)—the most common type of heart disease—is the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States”. (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-disease-women).
At the end of the day, the important facts that we need to know are how to help prevent heart disease in our everyday lives and the signs that we may be in “trouble” and need to seek medical attention.
Preventing heart disease can be challenging for those who are conditioned to living an unhealthy lifestyle based on their choices of food, alcohol, exercise, etc. Getting healthy doesn’t happen overnight and must become a way of living, not a short-term solution to a medical issue.
Healthy living choices to help prevent heart disease include:
● Eat healthy.
● Get active.
● Stay at a healthy weight.
● Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
● Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
● If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
● Manage stress.
Have you ever been surprised to hear that someone who was “perfectly healthy” died of a heart attack? The people close to that person said, “he was never diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, we all thought he was perfectly healthy. Who knew?” Everyone is shocked when this happens. This is because someone might not be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease until he or she has a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or angina. Therefore, watching for heart disease symptoms prior to a heart event is critical.
According to Mayo Clinic, (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118), symptoms in men and women can be different. Men will more likely have chest pain, while women may experience chest pain/discomfort along with shortness of breath, nausea, and extreme fatigue.
Other symptoms may include:
● Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
● Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
There are also various other symptoms for different types of heart disease:
● abnormal heartbeats (heart arrhythmia’s)
● heart muscle (dilated cardiomyopathy)
● valvular heart disease
● heart infections
In a nutshell, all these different types of heart disease have 3 symptoms in common and they are your keys to knowing that you need to seek medical attention right away. They are chest pains, shortness of breath, and fainting.
Heart disease can be treated more proactively when treated early on. Contacting your doctor to discuss your heart health concerns is being proactive in a longer, happier, healthier heart and life.
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February 5, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Once it’s been decided that potentially downsizing for retirement living or moving into a senior living community is on the horizon, the most stressful aspect can be selling the home. There are many things to consider outside of the emotional tolls of leaving a home with years of memories attached. There is also the reality that the house itself is most likely the largest source of income/equity, therefore, its very important to sell the house at the best price that the market will allow.
Staging a home and making it more appealing to a wide range of buyers is a best practice and that may be challenging for some Seniors while they are still living in the home. There are a few options for staging a home. It can range from keeping living spaces very organized and decluttered and quick paint fixes to having a professional “stage” the home for sale. Typically, a service will stage a home to make it look larger, utilize neutral colors and will take any personal items of the current homeowner and put them away. These services may replace existing furniture and other personal items which can be stressful for Seniors but can also raise the value of the home. Buyers should not focus on the current homeowner’s taste, style and personal choices.
If a Senior is moving to an Assisted Living community, they will most likely need to downsize right away. This can be such a taxing process both emotionally and physically. According to AARP https://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/info-08-2011/retirement-downsizing.html , it’s recommended that you plan to, “hit the ‘heart of the home’ rooms first. That’s usually the kitchen, living room, and family room, which tend to be the most cluttered and contain items with the greatest emotional value and everyday use. Make four piles-keep, donate, give to family members and trash.”
Other things to consider while staging is touching up paint, changing out hardware, new blinds, replacing burned out lightbulbs, adding fresh flowers or potted plants, fixing visible issues around the house that a buyer would notice, and rearranging furniture to create the look of a larger space. Best practice is to keep in mind that when a potential buyer walks through your home, they need to be able to picture their own personal items and sense of style as well. If there is a strong color palette in the home, it may be necessary to re-paint a more neutral palette to assure that the potential buyer is seeing the actual house and not just the wall colors.
Also, consider the front of the house. A potential buyer should never drive up and before they even enter the house think, “what a lot of work” before entering the home.
Remember the most important things in staging with Seniors is that there may be more emotional attachments to their personal tastes and their personal items Its important to be cognizant of that and walk through the process at their pace while explaining why “staging” will only benefit them in the long run.
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January 29, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Recently our website, SeniorLivingGuide.com, added a chat box. We decided to have a very hands on approach to this as we wanted to have our own team answering and interacting with our online visitors and we also wanted to have additional insight to what our visitors were looking for when visiting our website. Our online chats have been very eye opening in the inquiries that our online visitors need help with even beyond the scope of housing needs.
Meal delivery for Seniors has been a topic that our team has recently assisted in.
Why is this important to Seniors?
Why are more seniors or their caregivers choosing delivery services for health reasons?
Some of the reasons would be out of necessity. They do not have the ability to prepare healthy meals due to their own health reasons or they are overwhelmed with caring for their spouse. Some choose to do so because they would like to take a more relaxing approach to the kitchen in their retirement years and do not want to sacrifice nutritional benefits.
What should be considered?
- Diets– multiple health reasons can limit one’s diet options, choosing a delivery service that takes these seriously in their food prep, but still can provide tasty food would be ideal.
- Affordability-Meal delivery may be a more affordable option than eating out. For some Seniors, there are also services such as Meals On Wheels mealsonwheelsamerica.org.
- Taste– This is very important in choosing a delivery service, does it taste good? If not, continue looking at different options. There are many websites such as, momsmeals.com and www.diana-food.com , that may offer healthy solutions to meal delivery.
If meal delivery is not ideal, there may be other options for Seniors in receiving meals:
- Senior Centers/Church-sometimes your local Senior Center or Church will offer meals, but they typically do not deliver. Transportation would be necessary, and the menu is not specialized to taste and dietary needs.
- Mailed Food Services– There are so many of these being advertised that is can be overwhelming! Many of them still require plenty of time spent on food prep and may negate the whole purpose of food delivery and they can be expensive in the long run.
According to www.ncoa.org/economic-security/beneifts/food-and-nutrition/senior-nutrition/, “Giving your body the right nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight can help Seniors stay active and independent. Seniors will also spend less time and money at the doctor.”
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January 15, 2015
Sally Dimond from Matrix Medical
Let’s make 2015 the year where our resolutions finally stick. Here are some valuable tips from Matrix Medical Network, unhealthy providing free health assessments by Nurse Practitioners for eligible seniors, physician on how to have a healthy and happy 2015.
EXERCISE IS KEY
• Visit Your Doctor: Before starting an exercise program, it is important to get the “okay” from your physician.
• Set Goals: Start off slow to build up to 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week.
• Pay Attention to Your Body: It’s important that you listen to your body and not overdo it.
• Adjust Your Work Out: If you notice shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, or even tender joints, you may want to touch base with your doctor.
• Plate Size: Try using a smaller plate for your food.
• Don’t Rush: Sit down and eat your food slowly.
• Keep Your Mind Active: Maintain intellectual and social stimulation such as discussion groups and card games.
• Talk to a Trained Professional: Depression among older adults is very common. Talking to a counselor or psychologist is a good resource to find ways to deal with daily stress.
Matrix Medical Network provides in-home care using board-certified, local nurse practitioners to visit eligible health plan members nationwide at no cost to them. Providing in-home care helps to address health needs from medication adherence to environmental factors that impact overall wellbeing. Matrix strives to make healthcare more affordable and convenient, while also maintaining the highest quality of care.
To learn more about Matrix Medical Network, get additional health tips, or to schedule an in-home health assessment you can visit https://bit.ly/MatrixMemberExperience Or can call 888-912-8423
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January 14, 2015
By Michael W. Grochowski
Social Security Regional Commissioner in Atlanta
In 1963, rx Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about his dream of an America where equality was more than a concept—where it was an everyday reality.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
His dream struck a chord with many people and inspired a nation. It shined a light on the ideal that every citizen should have equal opportunity to prosper and succeed.
As we remember Dr. King and his dream for America, take a moment to reflect on your dreams for yourself and your family. What are the things that you want for your future? Do you see yourself enjoying retirement someday?
With some planning, that dream can come true. The best way to keep your retirement dreams on track is by opening a my Social Security account. A my Social Security account is an excellent tool that helps you plan for the future. It lets you verify your earnings on your personal Social Security Statement—because your future retirement benefit depends on your earnings throughout your career. You can view your Statement at any time, giving you a good picture of what your future benefits will be. When you are ready to retire, you can even go online to apply for benefits from your home or office.
And the advantages of having a my Social Security account don’t stop after you retire. Once you start receiving benefits, you can manage them with a my Social Security account. You can get an instant benefit verification letter, check your benefit and payment information, change your address and phone number, and start or change your direct deposit information—all online.
Setting up a my Social Security account is quick, secure, and easy. Millions of Americans already have accounts. In fact, someone opens one about every 6 seconds. Join the crowd and sign up today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
It’s the stuff dreams are made of.
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March 5, 2014
Meet Terry Shipman, a 65 year old Twitter user who humorously sent his 18 year old son a selfie of himself and his two dogs via Twitter. Since then it’s been retweeted over 60,000 times and now finds himself in a mission to get more retweets than Ellen on Oscar night.
Read more about Terry’s story here – https://www.facebook.com/seniorlivingguide
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September 11, 2013
Courtesy of Hannah Whittenly [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The risk of getting osteoporosis related conditions after the age of 60 are more than 50% for women and more than 25% for men. There is no cure for osteoporosis, order but there are some treatments available. However, hospital it is better to work at preventing this condition. Following are 5 steps that will help you maintain healthy bones after 60 –
Calcium is necessary for blood to clot properly and efficient functioning of nerves, muscles and the heart. However, Calcium’s most important function is maintaining healthy bones in the body. The daily calcium intake as per NOF (National Osteoporosis Foundation) is 1000 to 1300 mg per day. Also, you have to take Vitamin D in supplement form or naturally because it is needed for the body to absorb Calcium.
Smoking is a major risk factor that promotes osteoporosis in the body. This is because your bone density gets affected by smoking. Also, there are multiple other bad effects of smoking on the body like promoting lung cancer, bad dental health, etc. Hence, it is recommended that you stop smoking.
Avoid Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is another risk factor that is often associated with bad bone health. Anything in excess is always harmful and consuming more than 50 units of alcohol per week for men and 35 units for women are considered to be high level. Its use should be limited.
Get a Bone Density Exam
If smoking and alcohol has been used the best way to determine your status would be the bone density test. This test would reveal if you have osteoporosis and what the risks are of you get it in the future. Basically, it is a barometer of bone health and you can get it to measure mineral levels.
Consult the Doctor
Your doctor would have information about how to prevent osteoporosis and maintain bone and dental health. Indianapolis dentures and dental services could give you tips, while discussing diagnosis and treatment options that gives you the best options for your situation.
Exercise Program Consisting of Weight Bearing Exercises
The best prevention against Osteoporosis is to have strong bones and that can be achieved by performing weight bearing exercises on a regular basis. These exercises include dancing, walking, racquetball, hiking, tennis and jogging. If you have not exercised before this, consult your doctor before you perform any of the above exercises since your body is not used to the exertion.
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September 9, 2013
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Courtesy of Rianne Hunter [email@example.com]
Pain is a fact of life that can become a problem for any person at any time. Headaches, medicine joint pain, back pain and simple sprains are just a few of the common pain problems you may encounter. Though a wide range of prescription pain relievers is now available, many people prefer to use simple ways to manage pain without the unpleasant side effects.
Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDs, include over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprophen, naproxyn and acetaminophen. These medications help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Your physician may suggest taking these medications on a set schedule to manage pain from a variety of medical conditions.
Hot or Cold Packs
Hot or cold packs are an effective way to manage pain without drugs. Whether you use cold or hot packs depends on the type of problem. Heat helps to increase circulation in the area and to relieve stiffness, such as that caused by osteoarthitis. It can be used to relieve muscle spasms or muscle tightness. Cold packs help to numb the area and also reduce swelling. It can also help to reduce bleeding.
Massage can be helpful in managing painful conditions by increasing relaxation and improving circulation in affected areas of the body. Massage has been used for hundreds of years as a way to reduce stress and improve health. Today, massage is used for both pain and rehabilitation, helping to increase circulation in injured areas and improve muscle tone to restore full function.
Meditation, biofeedback and other relaxation techniques have been found to be helpful in relieving pain and improving health in a number of studies. These techniques help the body to heal by relieving stress and creating a more restful mental state. This technique can help patients to alter their attitude about the experience of pain.
Acupuncture is a system of using extremely thin needles to block the pain pathways in the body. The placement of the needles is determined by a precise knowledge of the nerve centers along the body. The method has been used for hundreds of years in Ancient China to manage pain and has seen renewed interest as an adjunct to other forms of pain management for joint pain, cancer and other medical problems.
People respond to pain in different ways. You can find the right pain management method for you by experimenting with these simple techniques.
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