St. George Village Blog
Tag Archive: Older Americans
Posted on December 8, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Many seniors will be glad to learn that there are steps they can take to protect against vision problems—starting with an eye exam. A regular exam is important because some eye conditions and diseases do not show warning signs.
While it is commonly known that eye troubles increase rapidly with age—particularly after age 65—a lesser-known fact is that vision loss is also associated with a higher incidence of falls, injuries, depression and social isolation.
As part of an overall health-maintenance strategy, the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges seniors to have a comprehensive eye exam, especially if they have not had one in the past two years, whether or not there are symptoms.
The Academy also encourages seniors, their loved ones and caregivers to be aware of signs that indicate vision problems that require an eye exam. These problems can include:
• Bumping into or knocking over objects
• Stepping hesitantly
• Squinting or tilting the head when trying to focus
• Missing objects when reaching
• Discontinuing everyday activities such as reading and writing.
Simple, painless eye exams are crucial in detecting an eye disease or condition in its early stages, to help preserve your sight. During the exam, an ophthalmologist—a medical doctor who specializes in eye care—will provide a diagnosis and treatment of all eye diseases and conditions.
Despite medical evidence that healthy vision plays a critical role in overall health and happiness, many older adults in the United States do not seek regular eye care or face difficulty accessing and paying for health care services.
To ensure that all seniors throughout the country have access to eye care services, nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists are available to provide eye care at no out-of-pocket cost to qualifying seniors 65 and older through EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which matches patients to volunteer ophthalmologists.
“Sight problems should not be ignored at any age, but particularly in seniors, as problems are more common in this group of patients,” said Richard P. Mills, M.D., MPH, chairman for EyeCare America. “The earlier a patient seeks medical diagnosis and treatment, the greater the chances for saving and recovering one’s vision, which contributes to overall health and happiness.”
The program is sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation with additional support from Alcon. To learn more and to see if you qualify, visit EyeCare America.
Posted on October 11, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Fifteen St. George Village care partners and two of the community’s residents attended the 6th Annual Culture Change Summit on Sept. 26. The purpose of the Summit is to bring together interested parties for a discussion of how to effectively change the way people think about seniors and the aging process.
Keynote speaker and a “Regulator turned Educator” Carmen Bowman spoke to conference attendees about her experience as a nursing home surveyor and discussed how to make senior care communities feel less institutional and more like home for residents.
St. George Village was well represented, with care partners from Culinary, Dietary, Skilled Nursing (Treasures of Lakeview), Personal Care (The Springs), and Independent Living attending. SGV Social Worker Meredith Swinford participated in a Speakers Panel, where she shared the progress St. George Village has made on its Person-Centered Care journey.
One of the highlights of the day was celebrating a declaration from Gov. Nathan Deal, designating September 26, 2013 as “Culture Change Day in Georgia.”
Posted on September 20, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
A delightful way to enjoy wholesome eating can start with your packing your plate with produce, including a dynamite little fruit—the Concord grape. Concord grapes are bold in taste and pack quite a nutritious punch. They can be enjoyed as 100% grape juice or in simple, healthy and flavor-packed recipes.
Thanks to the Concord grape, 100% grape juice can help support a healthy heart. According to Alton Brown, spokesperson for Welch’s and Food Network star, food historian and scientist, “Welch’s presses the entire Concord grape, skin, seed, pulp and all, and that releases heart-healthy plant nutrients called polyphenols.”
Many of the polyphenols in Concord grapes are the same as those found in wine. In fact, you can even use 100% grape juice instead of sweet wine in a variety of recipes.
There are many ways to get your share of the goodness of Concord grapes. 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes can be enjoyed in a glass as a nutritious beverage and can easily be incorporated into recipes for desserts, low-fat salad dressings, marinades and more. This tasty ingredient may not only enhance the flavor of your favorite dishes, it can add a boost of heart-healthy purple fruit to your day.
Here’s one easy (and delicious) way to add this one-of-a-kind fruit to your menu:
Poached Pears in Grape Juice
1-½ cups Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes
2 cinnamon sticks
2 strips of orange rind
4 pears, peeled with stems remaining
• In a medium saucepan, bring grape juice, cinnamon and orange rind to a boil.
• Place pears standing in saucepan and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Turn or spoon juice over pears as they simmer. Remove pears and let cool.
• Reduce sauce by boiling down to about 1⁄3 cup.
• Spoon sauce over pears and keep chilled.
• Serve pears by themselves or with light whipped cream.
You can find more facts, tips and recipes to share the goodness of Concord grapes with your family at www.welchs.com.
(Courtesy of Welch’s)
Posted on September 13, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
In addition to significant health insurance changes, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 included tax law changes. Several of those changes will impact 2013 federal tax returns, due April 15, 2014.
“Online tax preparation solutions like TaxACT will cover all the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act plus hundreds of other tax law changes,” said TaxACT spokesperson Jessi Dolmage. “All you have to do is answer simple questions. The program does the math and completes the tax forms for you.”
The tax law changes in the health care act, also known as “Obamacare,” for 2013 returns include:
• Reporting health insurance premiums, flexible spending beyond payroll deductions and other premiums paid by employees and their employers. “Simply enter the amount in Box 12 with Code DD on your Form W-2 when prompted by the tax program,” said Dolmage. “You’re providing information only; it won’t change your taxable income.”
• Higher threshold for deducting medical expenses. The threshold for itemizing medical expenses increases to 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI). The threshold for taxpayers age 65 and older remains at 7.5 percent. Tax software will calculate the deduction based on medical expenses entered.
• 3.8 percent tax on net investment income. Individuals and heads of household with an AGI of $200,000+, married couples filing separately with an AGI of $125,000+, and couples filing jointly with an AGI of $250,000+ must pay the tax. Answer a few questions about investment income and your tax program will do the rest.
• Additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on wages and compensation in excess of $200,000. Taxpayers in those same AGI ranges are subject to the additional Medicare tax. It’s automatically withheld from employee wages, with the total amount provided in Box 6 of Form W-2. The tax is calculated for business owners or self-employed using figures on Schedule SE.
The health insurance requirement begins to have implications on 2014 income tax returns (due April 2015). If you have health insurance, your online tax solution will guide you through the simple process of reporting it on your tax return. If you don’t have health insurance for a total of three or more months in 2014, you may pay a penalty that’s reported and calculated on your return. Tax programs will calculate the amount based on the number of uninsured individuals in your household and household income.
Uninsured individuals can shop and apply for health insurance through online “marketplaces,” also called “exchanges,” starting October 1, 2013. States will have their own marketplaces, use the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace, or have a hybrid of the two. Enrollment closes March 31, 2014.
If you don’t have access to minimum required employer-provided insurance and purchase insurance through a marketplace, you may qualify for a tax credit. The money can be used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance. Eligibility and amounts are based on the cost of marketplace premiums and your household size and income. The credit will be paid directly to the health insurance company. If you elect to receive a lesser credit or no credit at all, you can claim the refundable credit on your 2014 tax return.
Whether you have a simple or complex situation, TaxACT makes it easy to navigate the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act anytime, anywhere. Prepare, print and e-file your federal taxes free at www.taxact.com/afford able-care-act. Visit the Health Insurance Marketplace for information about insurance options.
Posted on September 9, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Audrey Hall says that her children are to thank for her ability to hear these days.
“The kids were wonderful — they made me do it!” she laughs. But Audrey has no regrets when she talkes about the hearing devices that allow her to once again actively participate in the world around her.
Audrey found herself in a growing number of situations where she could not hear, such as being at a meal in the dining room with friends. And her children finally convinced her that she was missing out on a lot by not being able to hear.
“Being able to communicate is so important,” says Audrey’s daughter, Cindy Grey, who took her mother to be evaluated by an audiologist.
Audrey was fitted with Lyric® extended wear hearing aids. Placed deep in the ear canal where they are virtually invisible to others, the devices are worn 24 hours a day for months at a time, even during activities like showering, exercising and sleeping. This type of device works well for Audrey, who also has macular degeneration, which is responsible for her declining vision.
“The Lyric hearing aids are wonderful for someone who can’t see well and would have trouble replacing batteries in another type of hearing aid,” she explains. “I never take these out of my ears.”
Audrey has enjoyed her Lyric hearing aids for the past two years. She goes in to the audiologist’s office about every three months for replacements, but doesn’t have the daily hassle of remembering to put her hearing aids in, nor does she have to worry about replacing the batteries.
With a family that includes her two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren as well as a host of friends at St. George Village, Audrey is pleased to be able to communicate and enjoy hearing them again.
“I can’t say enough [good things] about my hearing aids,” says Audrey. “You just get to the point where you have to hear.”
If you believe you have hearing loss, consult an audiologist. Audiologists hold graduate or
doctorate degrees from accredited universities, are licensed, and are trained to detect, diagnose, manage and nonmedically treat hearing disorders.
To learn more about Lyric Extended Wear Hearing Aids, call 1.866.964.8450 or visit Lyric.
Posted on May 10, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
As you get older, your risk for health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, increases. You also have a greater chance of getting type 2 diabetes if you have a family history of the disease. But it’s never too late to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Research shows that modest weight loss through healthy eating and being active can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in people over age 60.
If you are overweight, losing 5 to 7 percent of your current body weight can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means a weight loss of about 10 to 14 pounds. Talk to your doctor about setting safe weight loss goals and ways to be more active.
Once you set your goals, decide what small steps you will take to get started. For example, you might say, “I will walk for 10 minutes after lunch to be more active each day” until you reach at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Be active, move more and sit less to help yourself lose weight or stay at a healthy weight and be more flexible and strong. Ask your health care provider how you can safely start to be more active. Before being active, be sure to warm up to get your body ready. Shrug your shoulders, swing your arms, or march in place for three to five minutes before you begin any activity.
There are many ways you can get active at little or no cost, such as walking or doing chair exercises. Find an activity you can enjoy so you can stay at it. This will make it easier to stick to your plan and reach your goals. Try these ideas:
• Around the House. Things that you do every day can help you be more active. Stand up from a chair and sit down again without using your hands. Rise up and down on your toes while standing and holding on to a stable chair or countertop. When you watch TV, stretch and move around during commercial breaks. You can also walk around the house when you talk on the phone. Follow along with a video for older adults that shows you how to get active.
• Around Town. Being more active can also be a great way to meet friends. Join a local walking group. Always walk in safe places such as the mall, museum or a community center. Wear shoes that fit your feet and provide comfort and support.
• While Running Errands. Make getting active a part of your regular day. If it is safe, park the car farther away from stores or restaurants. If you take the bus or train-and the area is safe-get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
• With Your Family. Get your family involved to make being active more fun. Teach the younger people in your life the dances you enjoy. Plan a trip to the local pool and go for a swim together. Moving around in the water is gentle on your joints.
• Get Outside. When you can, get active outside. Take care of a garden or wash your car. Enjoy a brisk walk with friends or family around a park, museum or zoo.
For more tips to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, download or order the “It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes. Take Your First Step Today” tip sheet or “Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients” booklet from the National Diabetes Education Program or call 1-888-693-NDEP (6337).
—From The National Diabetes Education Program
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).