St. George Village Blog
Category Archive: Knowledge Center News
Posted on June 8, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
While seniors are often targeted by scammers, there are ways you can protect yourself and those you care about.
New fraud schemes emerge constantly and the scammers are relentlessly creative. Seniors may get official-sounding e-mails seeking a fee for a bogus service or collecting an “inheritance.” Homeowners are targeted with phony service calls. In one brazen scam, a criminal posing as a grandchild asks the senior to wire money to get the grandchild out of a jam.
In some cases, caregivers and family members may try to take advantage of a senior’s dependence and ask the senior to sign papers that shift control to the caregiver, or simply forge the senior’s signature.
Fortunately, seniors can understand the risks and protect themselves. Here are a few helpful tips.
• Beware of “robocalls”; that is, a computerized message, instead of a person on the phone.
• If anyone calls or e-mails you offering an opportunity to collect a prize by paying an up-front fee, remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
• Keep your Social Security number, credit card numbers, account PINs and other personal information to yourself. Your bank and other companies you do business with won’t call you to ask you to “confirm” this information.
• Don’t be pressured. If you feel pressured to make a decision or purchase, or if you are unsure to whom you are talking, just say “no” and hang up.
• Open your door only if you recognize the person there.
• Never sign any document you don’t fully understand. If in doubt, ask a trusted friend, family member or adviser. Never sign blank checks or forms.
• Keep a close eye on bank statements, credit card bills and invoices to spot any suspicious activity that could indicate identity theft. Requesting a free copy of your credit report annually (at www.annualcreditreport.com) is a good way to spot potential problems.
• Shred your old bills and paperwork to make sure your personal information can’t be accessed by “dumpster diving” thieves. Make sure your mailbox is secure.
• For home repair projects, always get a second estimate and call the companies’ references. Never pay for the work in advance—unscrupulous contractors may take the money and run.
• Never use an untraceable wire service to transfer money. If you have to wire money, manage the transfer with your bank and make sure it can trace the recipient.
Remain vigilant. If you think you or a loved one has been the target of elder fraud, contact the state’s Department of Consumer Protection to report the abuse. For more information, visit the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
Posted on May 6, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
Making sound investments is always an important goal to strive for, but as we age, it becomes even more important to invest our resources wisely and for the optimal return. Investment advisor Paul Lang say that most of his older clients have one particular question in mind about their investments.
“The main thing they want to know is how they can arrange to have enough money to take care of themselves… when they get to the point they have trouble taking care of themselves,” he says. “The cost of care for seniors is very high. Many people worry that they will not be able to afford it.”
Lang assists his clients by providing information, and helping them decipher actual costs and estimate future costs so that they can make the best decisions for their retirement.
“It’s much easier to plan for the future when you have a good understanding of the bigger picture, so I’ll walk the client through different scenarios, such as what if you have a stroke or memory issues or become physically disabled? Then, we’ll discuss how to prepare for those situations,” he says. “You know that if you have enough money, you can set aside funds for the eventuality that you’ll need care. But the big question is, how much money will you actually have to have?”
The next step is to run financial assessments and determine what kind of impact withdrawals will have on the client’s investment portfolio. An estimate of the future costs of healthcare should also be taken into account.
Lang advises his clients to have some form of long-term care insurance as the best plan for protecting their assets, something that will provide for escalating health needs. And he believes that a life care community is a great long-term care investment for seniors — one that will provide a comfortable lifestyle and the assurance of care regardless of health needs.
“A life care community like St. George Village is a sound investment,” he states. “You can maintain your quality lifestyle and have peace of mind, knowing you’ll be taken care of in the future if your health declines…without the worry of increased costs.”
Posted on April 21, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
Recent headlines have described a series of dramatic movements in the financial markets. While many of those movements impact stock prices, as well as what we pay for groceries, gas or loan rates, not everyone really understands how it all works.
Now there is a new online resource available to help explain what those markets mean to everyday life. With easy-to-understand content that everyone from high school students to financial professors will find useful, Futures Fundamentals (www.futuresfundamentals.com) makes understanding markets simple.
The site takes investing concepts like futures, hedging and speculating and shows how they play an essential role in the world around us.
For example, if you purchased your home with the intent of selling it when the market value exceeded the original price, you likely didn’t think you were speculating. Yet that’s exactly what you were doing. You probably think of having car insurance as common sense, but you’re hedging against risk, just like thousands of companies need to do every day.
Futures Fundamentals provides a unique educational experience by linking topics in the news to simple explanations, a glossary of terms, and quizzes to sharpen your knowledge. CME Group—one of the world’s leading derivatives exchanges—created Futures Fundamentals with the goal of making financial education an engaging experience for anyone, regardless of how well versed they are in the world of finance.
“One of the things we’ve seen over the past few years is a real hunger for information about how people and businesses manage risk, and how that risk impacts people’s everyday lives,” said Anita Liskey, CME Group Managing Director, Corporate Marketing & Communications. “Our goal for this site is to be a go-to resource on futures and derivatives, whether you’re a novice on Main Street or an expert on Wall Street.”
Posted on March 28, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
If you or someone you care about feels there’s a slim chance of keeping fit, it may be because of certain common but false ideas. Here’s a look at a few, as well as some facts about weight loss and nutrition.
1. Myth: Healthy eating costs too much.
Fact: Eating better doesn’t have to cost a lot. Try these ideas for healthful eating on a budget:
• Use canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, which may provide as many nutrients as fresh ones at lower cost. Rinse canned veggies before you cook them to remove extra salt. Choose fruit canned in its own juice or packed in water.
• Canned, dried or frozen beans, lentils and peas are healthful sources of protein that last a long time and may not cost much.
2. Myth: If I skip meals, I can lose weight.
Fact: Skipping meals may make you feel hungrier and lead you to eat more than you normally would at your next meal. Consider these ideas:
• For a quick breakfast, make oatmeal with low-fat milk, topped with your favorite fruit.
• For healthful snacks on the go, pack a small low-fat yogurt, whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter, or veggies with hummus.
3. Myth: Physical activity only counts if I can do it for a long time.
Fact: The U.S. government recommends 150 to 300 minutes of activity each week, but you don’t need to do it all at once. To benefit, you can exercise for as few as 10 minutes at a time. Here are some ways to fit activity in:
• If you’re in a safe, well-lit area, get off the bus or train one stop early and walk the rest of the way to where you’re going.
• Plan a game of basketball or soccer or go dancing with friends.
You can get more information from the “Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths” fact sheet created by the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), a national information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The fact sheet covers more myths, presents facts and offers ways to make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily life. It also explains the Nutrition Facts label, suggests ways to “eat the rainbow” of healthful fruits and veggies, and lists smart choices for vegetarians and people with lactose intolerance.
For a free copy or more information, call (877) 946-4627 or visit Weight Control Information Network.
Posted on March 14, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
According to renowned aquatics expert, U.S. Masters Swimming and Synchro Champion Dr. Jane Katz, water exercise is for everyone. “The magic of water works for everyone. All ages. All ability levels,” she states. “Whether in shape or overweight, workouts can be adapted to fit one’s needs.”
Because it is simultaneously buoyant and resistant, water gives people the ability to relax at the same time they stretch and strengthen their muscles. Pat Bollinger, an instructor of water aerobics at St. George Village, says this benefit is especially helpful for anyone who wants to get aerobic exercise and strength training, but also needs to relieve pressure from their joints.
“You’re in the water, you’re buoyant and you’re not pounding your joints,” she explains. “So, there isn’t any movement that you can’t do in the water.”
Bollinger says that buoyancy isn’t the only benefit water aerobics offers.
“You get your heart rate up and you increase your oxygen level. This helps your brain stay more active,” she states. “And besides that, it’s a lot of fun.”
For a holistic workout that enhances the body, mind and spirit, take to the water!
Posted on February 17, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
As a senior, you’ve probably come to expect that your hair will turn gray and that you may lose a step or two in your tango. But did you know that feeling extremely tired or short of breath may signal a deeper, underlying problem? Aortic stenosis may be the culprit.
Up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from this progressive disease in which the aortic valve in the heart narrows. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, including the buildup of calcium in the heart valve, a birth defect, rheumatic fever, or radiation therapy. Approximately 250,000 people suffer from the most severe form of aortic stenosis.
Aortic stenosis symptoms are often mistaken for signs of “normal” aging and may cause you to experience the following:
• Chest pain or tightness
• Shortness of breath
• Lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or fainting
• Heart palpitations
• Swollen ankles and feet
• Difficulty walking short distances or exercising
• Sensations of a rapid fluttering heartbeat
• The need to sleep sitting upright instead of lying flat in bed
• Unable or unfit to engage in physical activities that you used to enjoy
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away as they may be signs of a serious health issue.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association guidelines recommend treatment quickly once a person is diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. Once people begin experiencing symptoms, studies indicate that up to 50 percent of those with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis will not survive more than an average of two years. These are indeed sobering statistics.
Fortunately there are treatment options available for aortic stenosis, which may help to extend and improve your quality of life. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms.
Visit NewHeartValve.com to learn more about severe aortic stenosis and to locate a specialized Heart Team near you.
Posted on January 20, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
Squirrels. They’re tenacious, ingenious creatures, especially when it comes to figuring out how to rob your birdfeeder of its seeds. At St. George Village, we have our share of these fluffy-tailed gymnasts, but we love feeding our feathered friends and want them to have their share of seeds, especially in the wintertime.
If your heart takes wing at the sight of birds in your yard, consider these seven suggestions for saving the seeds you leave them from squirrels:
1. Location: Mount birdfeeders on a smooth metal pole at least six feet high. Prune any branches within a 12-foot radius.
2. Baffles: Install baffles, at least 15 inches wide and sloped, between the top of the feeder and its hanger or between the ground and the feeder.
3. Spinners: String spinners on a horizontal line.
4. Seed: Squirrels are less attracted to nyger, millet, safflower, canary and canola seeds.
5. Clean: Remove any debris and spilled seed from around the feeder.
6. Traps: Live traps can harmlessly catch and relocate squirrels.
7. Squirrel-Proof Feeders: There are several kinds. Squirrel-resistant feeders have doors that close when triggered by the squirrel’s weight. Metal feeders help minimize the damage from hungry squirrels. Wire cages around a birdfeeder can keep squirrels out but may prevent large birds from accessing the feeder as well.
You can also get a humane and effective interactive birdfeeder, such as the Squirrel Boss Bird Feeder. This type of feeder has a remote control operated by you from inside your house. When you press it, the offending squirrel gets a harmless static shock that tingles but doesn’t hurt.
Or visit Walter Reeves, the Georgia Gardener, online. You’ll find his tips and a lot of helpful gardening, lawn and landscaping advice on his site, The Georgia Gardener.
Posted on January 13, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
For optimal health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week. In addition, muscle-strengthening activities should be conducted two or more days a week.
Exercise can help prevent many physical problems and chronic conditions that come with aging, including weight gain, back pain and heart disease. Plus, it keeps the mind sharp and can help you feel happier, improving symptoms of depression and even dementia. To gain these benefits, however, you need to find a fitness program that provides the physical results desired and is enjoyable, too, so you’ll stick to it.
Before you begin any exercise program, McMahon has the following tips:
1. See your doctor, especially if you have a chronic condition.
2. Start slowly. Begin by walking, say, for 10 minutes or so a day. As you gain energy and your body builds stamina, increase your activity levels and make it more challenging.
3. Stay motivated. Have realistic short-term goals you can easily meet.
4. Don’t be intimidated. Remember that everyone had to walk in the door for the first time. Don’t let the thought of starting hold you back. You can do it.
Posted on December 30, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
In technology seminars offered regularly at St. George Village, participants learn how to make the most of their iPads and smartphones by using applications for emailing, making photos and videos, listening to music, using social media sites such as Facebook, and more. These classes take away the fear and put the fun into using current technology devices!
Recent iPad workshop graduates, pictured here with Jane Ratliff and a volunteer from BlueHair Technology Group (back row), proudly display their Certificates of Completion.
Posted on December 23, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Many older adults have found benefit from the centuries-old Chinese martial arts tai chi and qigong. “Chi” or “qi” (chee) means “life energy.” “Qigong” (chee-goong) literally means “life energy cultivation.” Tai chi consists of a series of flowing movements while qigong focuses on the repetition of isolated movements and breathing.
For example, Robert Johnson, M.D., Kaiser Permanente Chief of Palliative Care in Walnut Creek, Calif., has practiced tai chi and qigong since the 1970s. He believes these mind-body exercises promote good health, flexibility, strength and balance, which help reduce the risk of falling among seniors.
Each year, one out of three adults, age 65 and older, falls due to lack of balance or other reasons. Consider that a record 11,000 baby boomers turn 65 and become Medicare eligible every day, and that can add up to a lot of falls and serious injuries.
“We spend most of our day in sedentary jobs. Many of us sit in front of a computer or television for hours at a time,” Dr. Johnson said. “To age well, we need to move, stretch and keep our joints lubricated and flexible. Otherwise, our muscles, joints and tendons become stiff and brittle, and that can lead to falls and disabilities.”
Dr. Johnson recommends moving the joints in a circular motion. For example, place the hands on the knees and rotate the knees together in a clockwise and then counterclockwise motion. Also, try sitting in a squat position and stand up slowly to strengthen the quadriceps.
By clicking here, you can view a short video in which Dr. Johnson demonstrates a few basic exercises and explains why they’re helpful.
Along with doing exercises that promote flexibility, seniors can also help prevent falls and serious injuries by taking a few simple precautions at home:
• Reduce tripping hazards such as throw rugs, raised doorway thresholds, or loose carpet.
• Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter.
• Add grab bars where necessary—in hallways, stairways and bathtubs.
• Add a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub.
• Improve lighting throughout the house and use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms.
• Keep a phone and flashlight by the bed.