March 17, 2020

Effective March 17, 2020, Social Security Offices Will Only Offer Phone Service

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 3:35 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

** Online Services Remain Available **

All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020.  This decision protects the population we serve—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  However, we are still able to provide critical services. social security administration logo

Our secure and convenient online services remain available at www.socialsecurity.gov.  Local offices will also continue to provide critical services over the phone.  We are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local governments, and other experts to monitor COVID-19 and will let you know as soon as we can resume in-person service.

If you need help from Social Security:                                                       

  • First, please use our secure and convenient online services available at socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas), print a benefit verification letter, and much more – from anywhere and from any of your devices. We also have a wealth of information to answer most of your Social Security questions online, without having to speak with a Social Security representative in person or by phone. Please visit our online Frequently Asked Questions at www.socialsecurity.gov/ask.
  • If you cannot conduct your Social Security business online, please check our online field office locator for specific information about how to directly contact your local office. Your local office still will be able to provide critical services to help you apply for benefits, answer your questions, and provide other services over the phone.
  • If you already have an in-office appointment scheduled, we will call you to handle your appointment over the phone instead. If you have a hearing scheduled, we will call you to discuss alternatives for continuing with your hearing, including offering a telephonic hearing.  Our call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone.  Please remember that our employees will not threaten you or ask for any form of payment.

If you cannot complete your Social Security business online, please call our National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).  Our National 800 Number has many automated service options you can use without waiting to speak with a telephone representative.  A list of automated telephone services is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/contact/phone.html.

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March 10, 2020

4 Ways to Make Your Lawn and Yard Safe for the Elderly

Filed under: Mobility,Senior Safety — Tags: — seniorlivingguide @ 1:38 pm

lawn safety tips for seniors

By Brooke Chaplan

If you are a senior or if you have older individuals in your home, then it is important to make the lawns safer. An older person can easily get injured outside a home, leading to fractured bones or other problems. However, this does not mean that the elderly have to be confined to the indoors. There are many ways for the elderly to maintain mobility and freedom of movement as they age. Here are some of the ways to make your lawns safer for elderly individuals.

Removal of Debris and Clutter

Walk outside to determine if there is a lot of clutter and debris on your property so that you can remove the dangerous objects to make it safer. Some of the things that you may find are old garden hoses or tools along with broken toys and tree branches. Pick up the items to determine what you want to keep, but also, plan on throwing any junk away so that an older person will not trip and fall outside your home.

Add Patios and Pathways

You can make it easier for an elderly individual to walk outside by adding pathways or patios to the lawns of your property. Hardscaping can include using cement, stone, or wood materials that will make it simpler to walk outside without slipping on wet grass or mud. Decks and pathways will also make your property more attractive throughout the year.

Make Sure that the Soil Is Safe to Walk On

While walking outside, you may notice that some areas of the soil are unstable, leading to sliding or falling. This type of issue is especially dangerous for older individuals who can become injured easily. Fortunately, you can hire a company that specializes in soil stabilization, who can create a firm surface on your lawns to make it safer to walk on. With a pressure grouting process, you can have a lawn with packed soil and no dangerous air spaces.

Eliminating Dangerous Pests

It is essential to eliminate the dangerous pests on your property so that an elderly individual isn’t bitten by an animal or stung by an insect. You should eliminate the standing water on a property so that there are fewer mosquitoes, and you should also make sure that there aren’t a lot of honeybees or wasps outside your home. An exterminator can inspect a property and apply pest-control treatments on a regular basis to eliminate spiders and insects. You may also need to have wildlife animals removed from your property to avoid problems from bites or scratches.

If you don’t understand how to check your home’s lawns for safety problems, then you can hire a landscaper to inspect your property.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

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February 12, 2020

Independent vs. Assisted Living: What Do I Need To Know?

Independent Living vs Assisted

Sponsored by: Resort Lifestyle Communities

Independent vs. Assisted Living: What Do I Need To Know?

If you’ve been thinking about downsizing or even transitioning to a new living situation, you’re likely doing a lot of research to discover possibilities and help guide your decision.  As someone over the age of 55, those options may include an independent living community or an assisted living arrangement.  To some, these options appear to be one in the same, but while each situation is designed to simplify your life, there are a few varying features. Below, we’ve highlighted the differences that separate these two senior living options.

What is Independent Living?

As the name implies, independent living is for seniors who want to continue to live an independent lifestyle. You’ll find residence options like apartments, duplexes, town homes and condos, all in a variety of sizes and floor plans. This type of environment is designed to make life more comfortable and convenient. For example, most offer housekeeping, laundry service, dining plans, and transportation. Imagine the feeling of not having to dust, vacuum, or even mow the yard again!

Independent Living

When it comes to activities, amenities can include fitness centers, multiple on-site dining options, beauty parlors and barber shops, banking, art studios, movie theaters, game rooms, and other entertainment spaces that give you social opportunities to make new friends. Above all, you get the freedom to enjoy the retirement of your dreams.

What is Assisted Living?

Many assisted living facilities have the same features as independent living communities, such as meal preparation, laundry services, housekeeping, and transportation. There can also be planned social activities and opportunities for exercise and special outings. And there’s typically trained staff on site at all times to help with all of the above.

Assisted Living

With regard to your living space, assisted living offers an apartment-style setting with access to assistance, as needed. One of the most significant differences is assisted living is designed for those who have special needs and cannot live alone safely. It offers an environment where seniors can receive support for daily activities such as bathing, dressing, medication administration, and mobility.

Assisted living communities tend to have one or more full-time medical personnel, such as certified nursing assistants, who are trained in meeting the needs of older adults. This staff isn’t typically available around the clock like a traditional nursing home, though.

What About a Resort Lifestyle?

You may be wondering where Resort Lifestyle Communities fits into your decision-making process. RLC’s resort lifestyle is a customized experience that meets your individual needs, goals, and interests. They take the best of everything to provide an independent, simple, all-inclusive lifestyle, all for one monthly price with no buy-in fee or long-term leases. They offer all of the luxuries you’d expect: beautiful accommodations, resort-style dining, around-the-clock concierge services, housekeeping, fitness center, travel program, and much more. RLC communities are also a pet-friendly, which allows your furry family members to move with you with no extra fees!

Senior Resort Living

And should the need arise, RLC communities also offer the option of home health assistance to enable you to stay in your home and near your friends for as long as possible.  At an RLC community, you have the varying levels of support you’ll need for the multiple stages in your adult life.

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February 6, 2020

5 Criteria to Use When Choosing the Right Retirement Community for You

Filed under: Retirement Community,Senior Housing — Tags: — seniorlivingguide @ 4:45 am

choosing a retirement community

By Anita Ginsburg

When it comes time to retire, one of the first things people think about is housing. Some people have saved over the years and eventually go on to buy a place in the location of their dreams. For others, they prefer to stay where they are, however, now want to live in a place where they can kick back and relax.

If you fall in to the latter category, it’s important to know that all retirement communities are not the same. So, before you start packing, here’s what you need to be looking for in a retirement community.

Medical Care

Even if you’re in perfect health, the place you ultimately choose should be equipped with appropriate medical care. If you plan on making this your permanent home, look for retirement communities that offer both emergency and routine care. If you suffer from chronic medical conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, it’s even more important to ensure you have access to medical care.

Socialization

In addition to quality medical services, recreational activities are another important part of choosing your new place. Socialization is important at any age, so look for communities that promote social interaction. Even if you’re more of an introvert, you still need to have access to activities you enjoy doing and be able to mix and mingle at will.

When touring different prospects, take the time to speak to current residents. Ask about the different recreational options there are, whether they enjoy them and if there are any areas that need improvement.

Location

Think about the environment you want to retire in. If you’re somewhere that’s known for brutal winters, you might have set your sights on somewhere warmer. Regardless of location, unless it’s close to home, you should plan on visiting the area prior to making a final decision. Above all else, you need to ensure that you’re happy with the location, either on a part-time basis or all year round.

Consider Your Budget

Affordability is by far the most important factor you need to consider. Just like buying a home, your budget determines whether you can live comfortably. If you’re not financially savvy, enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend who can crunch the numbers.

Determine how much money you’ll need each month to live comfortably. If where you choose mandates additional monthly fees or has a mandatory entrance fee, you need to consider this as well.

Lifestyle Choices

Finally, make sure where you choose to live matches your lifestyle. For instance, if you have pets, inquire if the community is pet friendly prior to visiting the property. There’s no point in touring if the community does match your lifestyle.

Choosing a retirement community that suits both your wants and needs takes time. Make a list of everything you must have and also things you’re flexible with. Doing so will save you time, money and help narrow down your search.

Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

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January 27, 2020

Step Past Your Joint Pain with These 4 Practices

Filed under: Mobility,Seniors Health — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 4:33 pm

By Anita Ginsburg

Joint pain and stiffness from arthritis can be daily challenges. While conventional treatments work to control inflammation and slow disease progression, there are natural therapies that can play an important role in how you feel.

Joint pain affects people of all ages, but it is most commonly seen in people over 65. While most physicians choose to treat joint pain with over-the-counter medications and alternative therapies, it’s important to find what works best for you. Oral medications can help, but they aren’t the only way to treat joint pain. Below are four ways to minimize your symptoms naturally.

Lose Weight

Weight loss is one of easiest and most effective ways to treat some forms of joint pain. Even an extra ten pounds adds undue stress on already tender joints. People suffering from osteoarthritis or other forms chronic pain may see a reduction in symptoms when they lose weight.

The best place to start is with your diet. Identify foods that contribute to weight gain and cut them out of your diet. Simply avoiding soft drinks and foods high in sugar can result in weight loss.

Topical Treatments

There are a lot of topical preparations to treat joint pain. Ice or heat therapy can help, and some people find that alternating both is helpful. There are also creams that can help. Topical treatments anesthetize the nerve endings in your skin, which can help minimize the ache.

Because CBD fights inflammation, CBD cream for arthritis pain can minimize joint stiffness. With some of CBD’s other benefits, you may also experience an alleviation of feelings of anxiety.

Physical Therapy

Physical and occupational therapy can also help reduce pain due to arthritis. Although painful in the moment, gentle movement can ease joint pain in the short term. Stillness or avoiding using the affected joints only exacerbates the issue. An occupational or physical therapist can teach gentle range of motion exercises and stretching, which you can do at home as well. Gentle massage can also be effective form of treatment.

Stay Active

Regular exercise does more than keep you slim. It also boosts flexibility and mobility. Even tiny calf pumps and arm circles can help keep your joints pliable. Try performing low-impact aerobic exercise, like walking.

You can also try yoga, which is good for both your body and mind. In yoga, you may also learn mindfulness and how to meditate. Both treatments can help reduce anxiety and the pain that goes along with it.

Living with chronic pain can take over your life. And while it’s easy to fall into thinking that you’ll never be pain free, that’s simply not true. There are things that can minimize joint pain and help you get back to living. Positivity thinking can do things modern medicine can’t.

Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

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January 22, 2020

Are You A Veteran, But Aren’t Sure Where to Begin to Get Your Benefits?

Did you know that many Veterans and their families qualify for VA benefits, but do not seek those benefits because they feel overwhelmed by the process? Sometimes they do not realize what or if they qualify. There is so much paperwork and the entire process can seem daunting. However, there is good news! There is help that makes the process seamless and it’s free!

The National Association of Veterans and Families (NAVF) is a designated 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization. NAVF’s mission is to help Veterans and their Families obtain the benefits they have earned and deserve. NAVF helps with specific issues Veterans and their surviving spouses encounter when applying for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our NAVF team strives to eliminate the confusion and burden associated with obtaining the Veteran’s benefits.

NAVF specializes in helping qualified Veterans with a very specific benefit called VA Pension Plus Aid and Attendance, also known as A & A. This A & A benefit helps Veterans and their Families by making home care, assisted living and nursing home care more affordable. NAVF’s experience and understanding of the process have resulted in increased approvals for Veterans obtaining their A & A benefits. Our team of advocates, representing Veterans and their Families, helps with the entire process from document gathering through the application process to the final VA outcome.

Many Veterans and their spouses are unaware of their VA benefits. Too many give up because they are unable to successfully navigate the VA system. Often Veterans and their Family members attempt to apply to the VA on their own, resulting in the Veteran receiving a reduced benefit amount, delay in benefit or being wrongfully denied. NAVF works on behalf of these qualified Veterans doing all we can to get their benefits. NAVF’s experienced team members and simplified process have resulted in a 99% approval of claims submitted.

Working alongside of the Florida Veterans Foundation, a direct support organization to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, NAVF has increased outreach to aging Veterans thereby increasing VA monetary benefits. Currently, our joint efforts are realizing $10 million per month in benefits to aging Veterans in Florida.

NAVF will be scheduling educational workshops across Florida beginning in 2020. Please visit our website at www.NAVF.org  or call (904) 394-3908 for more exciting information including dates, times and locations of events!

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January 14, 2020

How Caregivers Can Protect Seniors from Phone and Internet Scams

Filed under: Finances,Senior Safety — Tags: — seniorlivingguide @ 2:56 pm

As a caregiver, you are committed to keeping the seniors in your life safe from harm. With an increasing number of scams targeting seniors, it is more important than ever to learn how to stay safe.

Seniors lose billions of dollars a year due to these scams and many of these cases are never reported due to embarrassment or shame.

Caregivers can help protect against scams by teaching seniors the warning signs. Every call or email should be scrutinized to make sure that it is legitimate.

Common Scams to Look Out For
There are a ton of phone and internet scams that target seniors. Remember scammers are professionals. They know just what to say and how to say it to convince you into doing something you would not normally do.

Here are some of the common scams to look out for and warn your seniors about.

  • Romance/Sweetheart scams: these scams use online dating sites or social media to trick seniors into a romantic relationship before asking them for money
  • Lottery/Sweepstakes scams: this involves an email or call that claims the person won something (a new car or money) or is the beneficiary of an inheritance, they are manipulated and coerced to believe taxes must be paid ahead of time to receive the funds
  • IRS scams: scammers pretend to be the IRS, Law Enforcement and FBI agents stating there is a warrant out for your arrest and ask for payment by gift cards or money transfers
  • Grandparent scams: this is a call from a scammer that claims your grandchild or family member is in trouble and asks for immediate payment to help them
  • Text Message or Voicemail scams: these scams may ask for personal information or leave threatening messages

Tips to Keep Seniors Safe
A good rule of thumb to live by is that if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. So make sure seniors know a sudden call or email which claims you’ve won money is likely a scam.

Scammers often set up fake social media accounts and take time to earn trust before they ask for money. Make sure seniors know they should never wire money, purchase gift cards, or send other expensive items to someone they don’t actually know, even if they have talked online.

Show seniors examples of phishing emails that mimic the IRS or Social Security Administration. Get them into the habit of checking every link before they click on them or open attachments, as they could be malicious. Also they should have the actual phone numbers of these important agencies so they can reach out directly with questions instead of responding to an unexpected email or call.

Make sure seniors know not to provide information via phone, especially a call which again they did not initiate themselves. It is always better to hang up and call the organization directly.

Being proactive about monitoring phone calls, emails, and text messages is the best way to prevent falling for a scam. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, report any concerns to your local law enforcement agency.

Sponsored by: Suncoast Credit Union

Suncoast Credit Union Logo

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January 8, 2020

Five Reasons All-Inclusive Senior Living Makes Sense

Sponsored by: Resort Lifestyle Communities

All-inclusive resorts have been around since the 1950s when the French-based Club Med introduced the concept to their guests. When people learned about the perks of an all-inclusive stay that would simplify vacation budgeting, the idea really took off. Since that time, countless vacation destinations, cruise ships, and even retirement communities have adopted the all-inclusive model.

For more than two decades, Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC) has offered residents a luxurious, all-inclusive lifestyle that provides a relaxing and worry-free retirement. For many, financial considerations are a priority. Here are five reasons that all-inclusive living with RLC simply makes sense.

  1. Budget Simplicity

When your rent, utilities, meals, and entertainment are all covered with a single monthly cost, it’s much easier to map out your personal finances. You won’t have the fluctuating costs of heating and cooling your home, and you don’t have to pay for big-ticket surprises, like when your water heater fails or your dryer decides it’s had its last spin. Perhaps even more importantly, RLC’s all-inclusive monthly cost is transparent. No hidden fees! Some senior communities require a nonrefundable entrance or community fee, which is sometimes referred to as your “buy-in.” Because RLC values a worry-free lifestyle in every aspect of our business, they don’t charge buy-in fees or require you to sign a long-term lease.

  1. Effortless Healthy Eating

Meal planning, grocery shopping, and preparation can make getting three square meals a day tedious and time-consuming. With an all-inclusive lifestyle, you never have to cook unless you want to! RLC offers a signature Freedom Dining program that includes an all-you-can-eat buffet, or a fine dining experience that mimics that of a luxury resort. Professional chefs provide three wonderful, nutritious meals each day, anytime you like. And if you need a snack in between meals, their 24-7 chef’s pantry is the place to go!

  1. Free Time to Celebrate Life

Time is one of life’s most valuable commodities. When activities or chores like cooking, cleaning, or maintaining a home are done for you, that means you have more time to spend on the things you enjoy most. You can invest in meeting new friends, trying new activities like yoga, taking up new hobbies, and sampling new foods from our executive chefs. The possibilities are endless! Some RLC residents have even joined Wii bowling leagues together.

  1. Quality Conveniences

Another benefit that’s somewhat unique to RLC is the quality of services you get for your money. Residents’ comfort, safety, and enjoyment are their top priority. In order to support residents in these ways, their all-inclusive pricing includes convenience amenities, like access to live-in managers, a 24/7 emergency alert system, concierge service, gourmet chefs, housekeepers, maintenance staff, a full-time lifestyle director, and so much more. The cost of acquiring these services outside of a senior community would far outweigh the cost of your all-inclusive monthly payment at an RLC community.

  1. Things Money Can’t Buy

All-inclusive living also offers things money can’t buy. The ability to keep your beloved pet, the many friendships you can create, the feeling of freedom from chores, and daily access to delicious food (that you don’t have to cook), are just a few. When you add it up, all of these benefits equal a life of ease with the freedom to do as much or as little as you want. So, go to that happy hour, try a new fitness class, take a trip to the mall with friends, or relax and take a nap. You can live your life to the fullest – and it’s all included!

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December 11, 2019

A New Way to Age in Place

Filed under: Aging in Place,Retirement — seniorlivingguide @ 4:10 pm

New Way to Age in Place

Sponsored by: Resort Lifestyle Communities

Dorothy and her sweet terrier, Toto, aren’t the only ones who believe “there’s no place like home.” According to a report from the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures, roughly 90% of American seniors want to live in their home or community for as long as possible. They love being where things are familiar and comfortable. As a result, more people are choosing to “age in place” rather than move into a nursing home or assisted living facility.

How Do You Age in Place?

Seniors that prefer to maintain freedom and independence in their residence of choice are said to be aging in place. They wish to surround themselves with familiarity and comfort, and be connected to the things most important to, for as long as possible.  Fortunately, it’s becoming easier for seniors to live at home for longer periods thank to services like home health care, and advanced technology, such as medical alert systems.

Another trend that’s helping seniors age in place is the expanded definition of “place.” Until recent years, seniors had the choice of either staying in their existing residence or moving to a nursing facility as they age. Today, there’s another option available that appeals to many: a resort-style retirement community that offers the best of both worlds.

The Benefits of Aging in Place

Retirement communities offer an exciting new choice for seniors, and provide range of services to accommodate more people with a variety of needs. Living spaces are thoughtfully designed for seniors, and the amenities and supportive services offered allow people to live independently and safely for a long period of time.

In fact, many seniors who insist on staying in their home suddenly feel like they have an option to live on their own in a private apartment surrounded by their own things, while also enjoying activities and services they would never have at home. The concept of aging in a community, where there are plenty of things to do and new friends to meet, can make life more fulfilling!

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December 5, 2019

4 Ways Seniors Can Have a Safe and Fun Holiday Event

Filed under: Aging,Senior Safety,Seniors — seniorlivingguide @ 5:27 pm

Seniors Can Have a Safe and Fun Holiday Event

By Brooke Chaplan

The holidays are often filled with countless parties and dinner plans that fill us with happiness and cheer. However, many seniors can feel left out at this time of year due to mobility issues or the fact that they live alone. Keep these four ideas in mind to make sure your loved ones enjoy the holidays to the fullest:

Arrange Transportation Ahead of Time

If your elderly loved ones are planning to attend a holiday event this year, it’s important to keep their safety in mind. Start planning for this upcoming event by arranging transportation to and from the event ahead of time. If you aren’t able to provide transportation, consider sending them in a cab, Uber, or Lyft. Similarly, if you have any friends or family members that are attending, ask them to carpool.

Plan for Caregivers to Attend

Seniors that need to have their caregivers with them throughout the day should be accompanied by them to any holiday celebrations. Make sure that any holiday plans fit into the caregiver’s schedule so that your elderly loved ones will be taken care of regardless of whether you are there or not. With the holidays around the corner, it’s best to ask the caretaker well in advance so they can fit it into their schedule.

Throw a Holiday Party Yourself

For many family members, the best and safest holiday event is the one they throw themselves. With the right party plan, you can give your loved ones a holiday experience they won’t forget while making sure the environment is as safe as possible. With all your loved ones close by, your elderly family members will feel the true spirit of this holiday season.

Invite Other Family and Friends

If your senior loved ones want to go to a particular holiday event, consider inviting the entire family. Depending on the location of your holiday event, it may be a good idea to invite other family and friends to the event. For example, if your community is hosting a holiday light show, bringing all your friends and family members to the event is a great way to make sure your elderly loved ones are surrounded with as much love as possible at this time of year.

Make sure the seniors in your life are able to enjoy the holiday season this year. Keep these four ideas in mind to find new ways to engage them this season.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

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