St. George Village Blog
Category Archive: Independent Living Knowledge Center News
Posted on March 1, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Older Americans should know that while financial abuse is believed to cost seniors an estimated $3 billion annually, you can help prevent it and protect yourself.
Signs To Watch For
• You, family, friends or your bank notice financial activity you don’t recall, that is not consistent with your financial history or that is beyond your means.
• Your caregiver or beneficiary refuses to use your funds for necessary care and treatment or is threatening to place you in a long-term care facility unless you give him or her control of your finances.
• It appears that food or medication has been manipulated or withheld so you become weak and compliant.
Steps You Can Take
• If you feel threatened and believe you are in immediate danger, contact law enforcement.
• Talk with family members, friends and trusted professionals to plan your financial future. If managing your daily finances is difficult, consider engaging a money manager.
• Talk with a lawyer about creating a durable power of attorney for asset management, a revocable or living will, trust and health care advance directives.
• Never send anyone personal information to collect a prize or reward.
• Don’t be pressured or intimidated into quick decisions by a salesperson or contractor.
• Don’t sign any documents you don’t completely understand without first talking it over with an attorney or a family member you trust.
• Never provide personal information (Social Security, credit card, ATM PIN number) over the phone unless you placed the call and know with whom you are speaking.
• Tear up or shred credit card receipts, bank statements, solicitations and financial records before disposing of them.
• If you hire someone to help you in your home, be sure that person has been properly screened, with criminal background checks completed.
• If you suspect you or someone you know is being exploited, call (800) 677-1116 to get connected with the state Adult Protective Services or other appropriate aging resource.
For more information on financial exploitation, you can request a free brochure from the Eldercare Locator, “Protect Your Pocketbook: Tips to Avoid Financial Exploitation.” Call (800) 677-1116; the brochure can also be downloaded at www.eldercare.gov. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).
Posted on February 22, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
The next time you have a pain in the neck or back, your arthritis is acting up, you are recovering from surgery or any of the countless other conditions affecting your ability to move freely within your daily life, a physical therapist can probably help. Physical therapists can even help fight complications from diabetes, such as loss of movement.
And, physical therapy is a covered benefit under Medicare and most commercial insurance plans.
Physical therapists are highly trained clinicians and more than 75 percent have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The discipline can trace its roots back to Hippocrates, father of Western medicine, who advocated “hands on” treatment, including massage, manual therapy and hydrotherapy for the ancient Greeks.
“Most people only think about physical therapy for help with orthopedic issues, such as a bad knee or shoulder, or in relation to sports injuries, but physical therapy is much more than that—it is a key component in the treatment of the full range of neuromusculoskeletal diseases and conditions,” said Matthew R. Hyland, PT, Ph.D. and president of the New York Physical Therapy Association. “Physical therapy can help people walk after suffering a stroke, help people with rheumatoid arthritis complete everyday tasks such as cooking or writing, and help people regain their stamina after a heart attack.”
Physical therapy is a cornerstone in the treatment of many musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, from arthritis to vertigo and from sprains, strains and fractures to stroke. It uses a variety of therapeutic techniques including manual therapy, exercise, balance training and patient education to relax, strengthen and heal muscles.
Its primary goal is to help maintain, restore or improve motion and mobility that has been impaired by disability, injury or disease. It can also help eliminate pain in tendinitis, bursitis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, offering an alternative to costly medications and injections. Plus, by eliminating pain and restoring mobility, it can often help avoid the need for surgery.
To find out more about physical therapy and how it can help you, go to www.moveforwardny.com.
Posted on February 15, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
In recognition of February as National Heart Health month, North Fulton Hospital is sponsoring Go Red, North Fulton!, a campaign that encourages women to be proactive about their health by learning more about heart disease risks and making heart-healthy changes in their lives. St. George Village staff and residents recently dressed in red to show their support for the hospital and Go Red, North Fulton!
Go Red, North Fulton! is a community program modeled on the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women® campaign, which was started 10 years ago to call attention to the fact that cardiovascular disease claims the lives of more than half a million women every year.
Posted on February 8, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
St. George Village resident Gene Stelten says his granddaughter, Allie, was the inspiration for A House for Wally and Me, a children’s book that he wrote about the process of building a Habitat for Humanity home. The story is told through the eyes of seven-year-old Allie, who is helping to build a Habitat house in which she and her family will live.
“My granddaughter has always loved helping people in need, so I named the main character in the book after her,” Gene says.
Since the book’s main message is to help children understand the importance of people coming together to work on a common goal of helping others, Gene thought it would be helpful to distribute copies to local school children. He enlisted the help of fellow SGV resident and professional storyteller Mary Apps, and together they read the story to students at local elementary schools.
After reading the book and distributing copies on a recent visit, Gene recalls a little girl who came up to him and asked if she could really take her copy of the book home and keep it. “When I said, ‘Yes, you can,’ she was so excited! I don’t know if she’d ever had a book of her own before,” he says.
In addition to helping children see how much fun it is to work together to help others in need as well as discovering the joys of reading, A House for Wally and Me has another important purpose. All proceeds from sales of the book (which costs $13.95), go to Habitat for Humanity.
Gene, a long-time volunteer for Habitat, wrote the book for free and the illustrator donated her services as well. He says that friends often give him monetary donations, which he uses to purchase copies of the book.
“I buy the books and then Mary and I take them to the schools to give to the students,” he explains. “Habitat gets the money from the sale of the books for its building projects, and the children get a free book of their own and learn about the rewards of helping others.”
If you would like more information about A House for Wally and Me and this worthwhile project, contact Gene Stelten by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on February 3, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
St. George Village recently held its first “Cyber Café” on a Sunday afternoon in the Bistro, and what a resounding success it was! More than 25 residents showed up, armed with their tablets, laptops, smartphones and e-readers, to learn more about how to operate these technology devices from a group of 10 volunteers.
The volunteers from BlueHair Technology Group, along with students from Blessed Trinity High School, provided hands-on assistance, answering questions about basic operating functions of the devices and helping residents learn how they can get the most out of their technology, including:
• How to connect to the Internet and find information
• Setting up an email account, sending and receiving messages,
attaching and downloading files
• Playing games such as Words With Friends
• Creating a Facebook page
• Downloading and using applications such as Skype and Pandora
Due to the success of this initial event and the continued interest it generated, the Cyber Café will become a regularly scheduled event.
St. George Village, a senior living life care community, is committed to creating an environment that encourages residents to continue exploring, learning and challenging themselves, regardless of age.
Posted on January 26, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
It’s been making headlines across the country this week: the norovirus, first spotted in Australia, is now sweeping the U.S. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), contaminated food is one of the primary culprits in spreading the virus.
Did you know that 76 million people get sick from food borne illnesses in the United States every year? As we age, our bodies change – including our immune systems — making older people more susceptible to food borne illness and food poisoning.
The good news is there are many things seniors — and people of any age — can do to prevent the spread of illnesses such as norovirus and food poisoning:
• Practice good hygiene, especially before handling food. Washing your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water is one of the best ways to ward off viral germs. Hand sanitizers, while not quite as effective as actual hand-washing, are helpful and can be easily stored in your car or purse.
• Thoroughly rinse and dry fresh produce before consuming.
• If you are ill, don’t prepare food for others.
• Don’t consume any raw or undercooked shellfish.
And here are some food safety tips to keep in mind when dining out in restaurants:
• Ask questions about the way the food is prepared.
• Ask whether or not food contains uncooked ingredients, such as eggs, poultry or fish.
• Ask the server or chef if the food has been cooked to a safe minimum temperature.
• Avoid buffets, which may contain undercooked foods or have foods that have been at room temperature too long.
• Observe your food when it is served; if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t!
• If you get a “doggy bag”, refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours after purchase.
Posted on January 14, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Recent studies show that bone and teeth health, as well as breast, colon and immune system health, can be improved simply by making sure you get enough vitamin D.
Senior citizens, especially, can be affected by low levels of vitamin D. According to a study published in the Archives of International Medicine, an estimated 40-100 percent of older adults in the United States are deficient in vitamin D. As a result, they can experience declines in thinking, learning and memory, and may have an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, this deficiency has been linked to bone fractures and various chronic diseases.
Since it can be very difficult to take in enough vitamin D through diet alone, many health experts recommend an increase to the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin D, suggesting you get a minimum of 2,000 IUs each day.
And while your body will naturally produce vitamin D when exposed to sunshine, doctors recommend you use sunblock when you go out to protect yourself from skin cancer — which prevents absorption of the vitamin. In addition, the lack of sunshine in many locations or a person’s lack of mobility — and therefore inability to go outdoors — means that many people are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get the vitamin D you need:
• Take a nutritional supplement, readily available at your local pharmacy or grocery store .
• Add one tablespoon of white cod liver oil or other fish liver oils to your diet daily.
• Use mushrooms in salads and soups.
• Drink beverages fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice and soy.
• Breakfast or snack on cereal fortified with vitamin D.
• Include several varieties of fish in your diet, especially salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.
Posted on January 7, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
St. George Village resident Breda Kosakowski has been living with macular deneration for the past 12 years. The disease, which causes loss of vision in the center of the visual field and leaves only peripheral vision, is a major cause of visual impairment in older adults.
Undaunted by her diagnosis, Breda still lives independently and has found many aids to help her cope with her vision loss, such as a talking watch, a magnifying screen for reading books and magazines, and a magnifying glass for reading menus in restaurants. But some things were a little trickier to figure out, such as food preparation.
“When I’d make a salad, I used to tease my husband about what he might find in it!” she laughs. “I couldn’t see the food I was chopping on my white cutting board. But using a black cutting board solved the problem.”
In addition, Breda, who enjoys participating in fitness classes at SGV, was concerned that her disability would affect her ability to participate in physical activities. “I particuarly love line dancing, but worried that my impaired vision would keep me from being able to follow the steps,” she explains. “But we practice the steps before we try the dance and the instructor counts for us. I found my vision loss didn’t really affect me. I can still dance!”
Breda adds that her fitness activities have contributed to her overall good health. “When I went for my most recent annual physical, I told my doctor about all of the exercise I get here at St. George Village,” she says. “I said that I do line dancing, yoga, tai chi, strength training, cardio and stretching. She was very impressed.”
Breda has also revived her poker playing skills since coming to live at SGV four years ago. “I love poker! Some friends found ‘jumbo’ poker cards for me and the other players call out the cards as they’re dealt,” she explains. “I just have to remember everything they say!”
Although Breda continues to visit her eye doctor on a regular basis, her eyes have been stable for quite a while. She considers herself fortunate. “As long as I’m stable, I’m good,” she says.
Best of all, Breda says she’s never let her visual impairment interfere with her zest for life: “I’m busy every day of the week!”
Posted on December 31, 2012 by Stacy Anthony
With all the talk about going over the “fiscal cliff” and stock market woes in recent weeks, here’s some food for thought about getting the best return on your own money as we head into 2013. Happy New Year to all from St. George Village!
Keeping cash at your local bank is probably costing you more than you think. And in today’s financial climate, finding safety and growth for your savings is more important than ever.
That’s why it’s surprising that many people still keep their checking and savings accounts at the same institution. Chances are, they’re not getting the interest they deserve.
Most banks don’t really focus on your savings. Though they’re more than happy to accept your deposits, the national average interest rate is only 0.45 percent on savings accounts, which doesn’t even keep up with inflation.
Banking on Inertia
Switching your bank accounts can be a headache. Most people don’t realize how many savings options they have, or that their money could earn higher interest elsewhere. But by doing a little homework, consumers can find superior options through Internet banks.
Internet Banks Change the Game
Today, a growing number of consumers are taking advantage of a variety of interest rates offered by Internet banks and the relative ease of moving cash for savings online. Without the need for brick-and-mortar real estate, these institutions have a lower cost structure, and they can pay you a better interest rate. Internet banks are also insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor, and they generally charge no fees. You get more interest without sacrificing safety—and it doesn’t cost you anything.
Time to Upgrade Your Savings
We all know that moving a checking account is a headache, especially when all your other banking services—bill pay, direct deposit, etc.—are linked to it.
“Our suggestion is to keep your day-to-day cash where it is, but take your long-term savings to an Internet savings partner,” explains Raymond J. Quinlan, executive vice president, Banking at CIT Group. “Whether you open a savings account or buy a CD that pays a fixed rate of interest for a set period of time, you’ll find both safety and growth. You’ll earn better interest and enjoy FDIC protection,” he adds.
The choice of a CD or a savings account depends on your situation. If you’re not sure when you’ll need your money, a savings account allows you to make withdrawals without penalty at any time. If you are looking for a longer-term savings vehicle, however, then you’ll want a CD’s greater return.
Evaluate Your Options and Find the Right Savings Partner
Breaking up may be hard to do, but when it comes to checking and savings, breaking up is a smart move. So look around. Evaluate your options. And choose a savings partner, not just a bank, to meet your long-term goals.
Posted on December 10, 2012 by Stacy Anthony
If you’re like most senior Americans, you like to feel connected: to the past, to a place and to others. No matter your age, discovering your family history can be a rewarding way to establish those connections and help uncover who you are and where you came from.
It can start simply by identifying who is in your extended family. You may be able to find the names of your ancestors—grandmothers, uncles, cousins—going back hundreds of years. Next, you can get to know them, learn where they were born, whom they married, how they made a living, where they lived and how they died.
The ability to make such connections is getting an unprecedented boost this year with the release of the 1940 U.S. Census. Research shows that 87 percent of Americans alive today should be able to find a relative in the 1940 Census. That’s almost 275 million people who have a connection to these records.
This is the census of The Greatest Generation. It showed 16 million American men and women safe at home on the brink of joining the deadliest war in human history. For the more than 400,000 who never returned from World War II, it’s the last census to record their names. The census tells the story of a country grappling with the greatest economic hardship it had ever known, something many find particularly relevant today, as the country starts to emerge from its current economic troubles.
Because modern technology lets you access the census at home as never before, Tim Sullivan, the president and CEO of Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, says his company has made the 1940 Census free to search at www.ancestry.com/1940. Millions of people can literally sit down with neighbors, friends or relatives who were actually there in 1940, find the census page with their name on it, and get them talking.
You’ll find an address for their home, names of family and neighbors. You’ll see the highest grade they had completed in school and the family’s yearly income in 1939. While they talk, you may get to know them better and get a better understanding of that place in time. You may even get to know a little more about yourself and how you fit into the larger arc of your family’s history and the world’s.
It could help you understand—and share with your family—the essential human question of who you are and where you came from.