Identity Theft Protection For Seniors

At the top of the consumer complaints list to the Federal Trade Commission for the past three years is identity theft. This can be an even bigger issue or just simply a fear, for senior citizens who are not as familiar with the Internet as younger adults or even teenagers.

Where the people in their 20+ use to top the list of these complaints to the FTC-the shift has now turned to 50+ adults. Identity thefts target those they see as the most vulnerable. A main target is the 50+ audience because they tend to be too trusting of strangers.

This vulnerability opens the door for crooks to take advantage of the 50+ peoples’ available assets and income. There has been in fact, a progressive rise in senior identity thefts from 2011-2013. In 2011 senior citizens 30% of all the identity thefts reported to the FTC. This rose up to 37% by 2013.

Identity Theft

Luckily, South Carolina does not rank in the list of “Top Ten Identity Theft States”, but it is still wise to know a few tips on how to protect yourself (or how to advise a senior citizen in your life) from being a victim of identity theft.

Here is a list of 7 tips provided by Next Advisor on how to protect seniors:

1. Shred any documents containing personal information, such as social security number, birth date, your home address, etc.

2. Be wary of any “free” medical or legal services that require personal information.

3. Only disclose medical information to verified physicians.

4. Never provide personal information to anyone who calls you.

5. Never give personal information via email or from a link in an email. Instead, go directly to the website of the trusted company you already have a relationship with.

6. Check all credit reports at least once per week.

7. Talk openly about the dangers of revealing personal information with family members and friends.

Report all identity theft incidents, and keep yourself informed.

**(This article was written with the aid of http://www.nextadvisor.com/blog/2014/05/27/senior-identity-theft-rise)**

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Low-Cost and Free Cell Phones for Seniors

In our previous newsletter, we shared an article about the relationship between seniors and technology. Not all seniors prefer to interact too much with technology. Whether this technology is Facebook, smartphones or simply the internet itself, all seniors most likely need to have access to a cellphone. 

In today’s world, it is almost a necessity for all seniors to have a cellphone. If there is an emergency or a family member needs to be contacted, a cellphone is handy. Most adults have a cellphone and therefore is the most direct way for any senior family member or friend to get in contact with them. 

Now, just because it is now common for everyone to carry a cellphone, this does not mean that a senior has to go out and buy the latest iPhone 5c. There are a multitude of basic cellphone options for seniors to choose from. These cellphones also come with reasonable data plans and can have the most basic function of performing a phone call or sending a text message. 

Photo credit: seniortechdaily.com

Photo credit: seniortechdaily.com

There are No-Contract Phones available. 

This basically means buying a prepaid cellphone (also known as a “pay as you” cellphone). With these prepaid plans, there is no contract. This means that you purchase a certain amount of prepaid minutes with the cellphone, and use it as needed. You can add minutes to this prepaid bill at any time and avoid monthly fixed bills, credit check, or other hidden issues that can be associated with signing a cellphone contract. 

There are a number of major carriers that offer prepaid plans, such as AT&T and Verizon; but, other services such as Net10, Cricket and others offer affordable plans too. One popular service is TracFone. TracFone offers phones that start as low as $10 and call plans that are only $7 a month.

Simple and affordable. 

Free Cell Phones are also an option. 

If your income is low enough, there is a government-sponsored program that subsidizes wireless (and landline) companies who then provide free cellphones and around 250 minutes of free minutes and texts. 

Millions of Americans are currently signed up for this government program. However, millions of others are also eligible for this service. You will need to show that you’re receiving certain types of government benefits (such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI, home energy assistance or public housing assistance) to qualify. However, do not let the fear of not being able to afford a cellphone keep you from researching to see if you have the option of receiving a cellphone free from the government. 

When you have an emergency, it is a comfort for both yourself and your loved ones if you know you have readily available a way to reach out for help. A fear of uncertainty with technology or that you cannot afford a cellphone/cellphone bill should not hold you back. There are lots of options and help out there. 

**This article was written with the assistance of the following article from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-t-miller/low-cost-and-free-cell-ph_b_5575971.html** 

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Warnings Between Sleep Deprivation and Medication

Many Americans struggle with sleep problems. It may range from one night of restless sleep to an impending habit known as insomnia. About 25 percent of the U.S adult population reports suffering from insomnia with issues of either trouble falling asleep or trouble staying asleep. This issue affects senior citizens as well. However, before you go to pick up that medication to aid in adding a few more “zzzz” to your nights…check out this information of the correlation between medication and sleep.

Older Americans who range in age from 65 to older, are about 13 percent of the American population; and a full 44 percent of Americans (ages 55-84) experience disrupted sleep at least three nights of the week. All the problems with poor sleep habits is related to age because it appears to occur due to declining health, stress, age-related changes, and living in a nursing home/health care facility.

Insomnia can be very dangerous for any age, but especially for seniors. It is linked with a range of harmful health issues such as increased blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, stroke; just to name a few. Many are taking over the counter (OTC) medications to help in the sleep department. However, the frequency of taking these medications and the addictive side effects that may come with them, is a dangerous combination. This is especially true for senior adults.

Most OTC medication comes at the recommendation or even prescription of a doctor. Yet many senior citizens or adults pay little attention to the side effects of OTC sleep medication. These reactions can include cognitive impairment, poor balance, and daytime sleepiness. Besides the side effects, many senior adults are taking OTC sleep medication alongside other pain medications. This combination increases the amount of active ingredients in their system, which can be hazardous.

This is not to say that sleep medication should never be taken. It is simply to point out the potential risks of senior citizens taking these OTC (such as addictive habits forming, combination with other medications, etc); risks that are usually over looked.

If you or a senior citizen you love suffers from insomnia, talk to your doctor about other types of remedies or practices that could help with your falling asleep and staying asleep habits. If medication is taken, also discuss with your doctor the potential risk of side affects and/or any other medications you are taking that may react with the OTC sleep medication.

There are many options when it comes to improving your sleep habits. Look into all options either yourself or with/for a senior citizen you know suffering from sleep related issues.

**(This post was written with the aid of an article obtained from the Huffington Post Senior Citizens online section. Article link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-keaton/sleep-medication_b_5555821.html)**

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Summer Newsletter!

 Maximize Your Summer with Seniors 

  As you pack or plan for your summer activities, we at RetireEASE have some tips on how to have a fun but safe summer caring for an elderly loved one. Check out our attached Summer Newletter to find out activities that seniors and caregivers can share, information about seniors and technology, spotlight on some of our Caregivers, and more. We are all hoping you and your family have a pleasurable and safe summer!

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FinalNewsletter

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Pinterest Inspired 4th of July Celebration Ideas

When the 4th of July pops into one’s mind, images of fireworks, BBQ’s and lots of red, white, and blue are dancing around. Families revel in traditions or head to the lakes/oceans/or pools to celebrate America’s independence.

However, what happens when you have to plan a last minute party? Did you family members call and tell you they are coming into town? Or did you decide that you would like to do something to celebrate?

No need to panic. Pinterest has you covered. In honor of the upcoming 4th of July weekend, here are a few “simple and last minute” ideas to pull together an awesome weekend.

Children/Adult Fruit Bar:

Fresh fruit is not only a light treat when sitting in the hot July sun, but it is also extremely healthy. Take a handful of blueberries or strawberries or which ever fruit you prefer, and place them in a wrapped up, decorated piece of paper. You can choose a decorative piece of paper (like shown in the photo) or plain white. This will allow kids or any guest to carry their fruit around and it looks festive. This will also be a cheap idea and easy assembly for last minute planning.

 

 

 

image courtesy of Pinterest

image courtesy of Pinterest

“What about decoration ideas?” you ask. Well, if this is last minute, head over to your local Dollar Store. It will be loaded with cheap, decorative accessories. Buy flowers, bowls, flags, etc. and then arrange them on your table or around your backyard/entertaining area, as you prefer.  This will be cost efficient and will look great. Last minute or not, no one will be able to tell.

 

 

 

For more ideas, go to Pinterest and type in “July 4th DIY ideas” or any other key words.

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Happy 4th of July! 

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Summer Travel Discounts for Senior Citizens

With the start of summer, that means beginning to plan your summer trips. Just as there are many discounts for families or when you are staying at your chosen destination, there are also discounts for senior citizens. Since many senior citizens are in retirement, they have more time to travel. However, senior citizens need to be aware that with all discounts available out there, the “senior discount” may not always be the best deal.

These discounts for older travelers begin at a variety of ages-50, 55, 60, 62, or 65, etc. There are many hotels, airlines and cruise lines that will offer advanced bookings, that also come along with special deals and promotions that are actually a lower discount than if you used the senior discount. When booking your deals, ask about or research all the different discounts that are offered, and then decide which will be the most cost effective for your personal needs.

One discount offer is club memberships. For senior citizens that are a member of AARP, there are dozens of travel discounts on hotels, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages for you. You can visit discounts.aarp.org/travel or call 803-675-4318. There are also alternative organizations for senior citizens that are not a member of and/or do not want to be a member of AARP, such as Seniors Coalitions or the American Senior Associations.

There are also different types of discounts depending on the means of transportation you are using. For example, Amtrak provides a 15 percent discount to travelers 62 and older. Most cruises offer special deals to AARP members. Many hotels in the US will offer discounts to senior citizens between 10 to 30 percent off. There are also special deals at restaurants, movie theaters, car rentals, bus travels, etc.

It is important to do research before you do any type of traveling this summer season. You can visit seniordiscounts.com to find other travel discounts that allows you to search by location and by category for free.

**This article was written with the aid of an article in the Post 50 section of huffingtonpost.com.**

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2014 Best of Home Care® Provider AND Employer of Choice Award

RetireEASE is happy to announce that we have achieved the title of 2014 Best of Home Care® Provider AND Employer of Choice Award for the fourth year in a row! This recognition of our home care business is one of being one of the best in the nation. 

Thank you to all our wonderful staff, caregivers and patients who made this award possible for RetireEASE! 

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