There are currently, over 50 million Americans age 65 or older. Many are at home during the day and are prime targets for scammers and unscrupulous businesses who use the phone or internet to find their next victim. According to the Senate Committee on Aging, adults over the age 65 lose over 2.9 Billion dollars to scams and fraud annually. Studies suggest that 1 in 10 older adults has been a victim of financial scams or exploitation. However, only 1 in 24 cases of financial exploitation in older adults is ever reported.
Anyone who has spent the day at home has most likely received multiple calls from solicitors and salespeople. At best, these calls are annoying. At worst, the calls come from professional thieves who seek to find ways to get your money or gain access to your personal information. You do not have to have memory problems or compromised health to be a victim. Many intelligent, educated people have been fooled. Despite media attempts to educate the public about these scams, they continue to happen.
Calls or emails promising winnings from contests you never entered, or inheritances from relatives you’ve never heard of should not be believed. Even calls from relatives in urgent need of money to get them “out of jail” or to “keep the utilities on” are often made by impersonators who play on your generous nature. You will never receive a legitimate call from the local Sheriff, the IRS or the court system demanding money or payment, and none of these organizations accept gift cards for payment.
E-mails can be just as deceiving. Scammers are adept at copying letterhead and logos, so don’t automatically assume that an email from your bank or local business is legitimate. If the email looks like it is from a trusted source, send a separate email or call to investigate. Never click on the links embedded in an email you receive. These can lead you to fake websites and collect important information from you like account numbers and passwords.
It is important to be alert and skeptical anytime you receive a call or email. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself.
If you do get scammed, tell someone immediately. If you act quickly, it may be possible to get all or some of your money back. Start with the local police. This is essential if you want to make an insurance claim for stolen property. Next call your bank and/or credit card companies. They will advise you on whether your accounts can be frozen or if the accounts should be closed for your protection. The AARP Fraud Watch Network also has a hotline available (877-908-3360) where volunteers can advise you on the next best steps, including which government agencies might be able to help.
Telling someone can be embarrassing but remember, even smart people are fooled by professional scammers. If these scams did not work, they would not be so common. This can truly happen to anyone and the only way to stop it is by reporting it so that these scammers can be put out of business!
About the Author:
Kathleen Houseweart, MBA is the former Manager of Geriatric Service at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and currently chairs the Sarasota Community Alliance Sub-'Committee on Aging.
So many responsibilities fall onto the shoulders of Caregivers. Usually this includes grocery shopping and making sure there are food options for the week. It can seem to be a never-ending battle to stay ahead of it, and the daily “what do we have to eat” can feel like you’re on a hamster wheel. Add in dietary restrictions, picky eaters or special needs and it can all become overwhelming!
Meal planning is something I am personally VERY passionate about! I have a routine where I do mine every Sunday morning. Often people tell me: “I’m just too busy to meal plan.” And to that I say: “I am too busy NOT to meal plan!”. It helps me avoid stress and time wasted on unnecessary prep, grocery store runs and last minute changes.
Here are some of my meal planning tips to get you started:
1. Look at your calendar. Take a look at the calendar for you and your loved one to see what the next week has in store. Certain days will be busier than others and offer less prep time or maybe you already have a dinner scheduled. This helps you choose the right types of meals and also guarantee that you don’t purchase too little or too much food for your needs.
2. Write it down. Even though it may seem tedious, take a piece of paper and write down each day of the week and the meals you need to plan…just dinners? Or breakfasts and lunches too? Then jot down the meal you plan on having. Not only does this force you to make a decision, but if you’re like me, it gives you a reference point for later in the week when you forget what’s on the menu!
3. Make Your List. While you’re at it, take the menu that you just created and quickly make a list by writing down the ingredients you need for each meal. That way you can be sure you have everything on hand that you need for the week and save you from having to do all those last minute trips to the grocery store!
4. Get your groceries delivered. There are so many grocery delivery services to choose from! Shipt and Instacart are two well known ones, but many grocery stores have in house shoppers and delivery staff on hand that can help do some of the leg work and save you time! Usually they will do free deliveries over $35. Now that you have your list (Tip #3), you can easily go on the app or website and add everything to your cart and have it delivered same day.
5. Make double. Do yourself a favor and prepare double of the meals you make throughout the week. It doesn’t add any prep, cooking time or effort to the work you’re already doing. This way you can get more bang for your buck by eating leftovers for meals later in the week or freeze for a later time when you’re in a time crunch.
10 Steps for Healthy Aging
There are so many factors that go into healthy aging. It’s easy to wish there was an “easy answer”, but really it comes down to an overall lifestyle that prioritizes wellness.
The Roskamp Neurology Clinic, located in Sarasota Florida, is a world leader in research about brain health and how to make preventive actions to improve healthy aging. Not only are they searching for cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, they are also committed to providing the best care in terms of diagnosis, treatment and support for patients and their Caregivers.
Here are 10 steps they suggest for healthy aging:
1. Eat Well
Adopt a low-fat diet high on fruits and veggies, like strawberries, blueberries and broccoli. Take daily vitamins. Limit intake of red meats, fried and processed foods, salt and sugar.
2. Stay Active
Brisk walking benefits brain health, aerobics can boost your heart rate, and weight training builds strength and flexibility.
3. Learn New Things
Pick up a new hobby like playing tennis, learn to speak a foreign language, try a cooking class, or do something you haven’t done before.
4. Get Enough Sleep
At least 7 to 9 hours is a good night’s rest. Insomnia or sleep apnea can have serious physical effects and negatively affect memory and thinking.
5. Mind Your Meds
Medication can affect everyone differently, especially as you age. A medication that didn’t trigger side effects in the past can suddenly cause an abnormal reaction. Talk to your doctor about all medications, whether over-the-counter or prescriptions.
6. Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol
Smoking can increase the risk of other serious illnesses, while too much alcohol can impair judgment and cause accidents, including falls, broken bones, and car crashes.
7. Stay Connected
Invite friends and family over for a meal, board games, or just to hang out. Maintaining an active social life is important for mental health and keeping a positive attitude.
8. Know Your Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is high, get it under control under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
9. See Your Doctor
Maintain checkups. Health screenings are key to managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Speak with your physician about any concerns or questions you have about your health.
10. Get a Memory Screening
Our brains need regular checkups, just as other parts of our bodies do. A memory screening is a quick, easy, non-invasive exam for our brains. Talk to your doctor about getting a screening as part of your annual wellness exam or call the Roskamp Neurology Clinic today for your free screening (55 and over) 941-256-8018.
To get more information about the Roskamp Neurology Clinic and healthy aging, check out their website at https://www.roskampclinic.org/
The Dementia Care and Cure Initiative (DCCI) was introduced by the Florida
Department of Elder Affairs’ (DOEA) in August 2015. Florida seeks to lead the nation in
response to the increasing incidence of dementia by implementing a statewide effort to
become more Dementia Caring. Florida’s Dementia-Caring Communities support individuals, families, and caregivers affected by dementia. They empower those living with dementia to lead active and purposeful lives, connect families to important resources, and work to resolve
the challenges that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can bring to communities.
Sarasota County is an active participant in the DCCI movement. The task force was created in 2017 and is led by Danielle Valery, Program Manager of Sarasota Memorial’s Memory Disorder Clinic.
Everyone in a community can use easy and simple communication techniques to promote compassionate and respectful interactions. By learning about these topics and being a courteous and engaging community member, you are a part of a global movement to build communities that are inclusive and safe for people of all ages and health statuses.
Consider using these tips when communicating and interacting with patients with memory loss/dementia.
Best ways to communicate:
✓ Approach the person from the front.
✓ Speak clearly and be patient.
✓ Listen closely.
✓ Smile warmly and make eye contact.
✓ Respond to a look of distress.
✓ Avoid arguing correcting individuals or pointing out their errors
Take it slow
Ask simple questions
Limit reality checks
Keep eye contact
Sarasota Memorial Hospital Memory Disorder Clinic: (941) 917-7197
Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 HELPLINE: 1-800-272-3900
Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida: 1-800-96-ELDER (35337)
The Caregiving Place at The Friendship Centers: (941) 556-3268
Jewish Family & Children’s Services: (941) 366-2224
Roskamp Institute Clinic: (941) 256-8018
Adult Protective Services (APS) Abuse Hotline: 1-800-96-ABUSE
The Sarasota County Dementia Care and Cure Initiative (DCCI) Task Force offers free training
to equip businesses, organizations, and other community entities to be Dementia-Caring
and contribute to Sarasota County’s vibrant and inviting community. To schedule a training for your Sarasota County business, organization, or community entity, please contact:
Danielle-Valery@smh.com or DCCI@elderaairs.org
About the Author:
Danielle Valery – Program Manager of Sarasota Memory Disorder Clinic
The Sarasota Memory Clinic provides assessments and evaluations for persons with memory loss. Their team includes neurologists, geriatricians and neuropsychologists that work together to offer the most accurate diagnosis and provide patients and caregivers with the education and resources necessary.
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Elli is the President of Sunways and loves spending time outside with her family, and is passionate about cooking and holistic health.