Guest Author: Misti Schroeder, LMFT LMHC
With Healthy Aging Month right around the corner, we are obligated more than ever to look at all aspects of healthy aging, including mental health. We have come to learn that each generation has its own set of rules and standards about how to deal with life’s crises in many different ways. The stigma of mental illness and seeking treatment for it. is one that we see very commonly in the baby boomer generation. Given that the rates of mental illness are rising in this population we could be looking at a dangerous combination. According to recent surveys it is estimated that “20 percent of people age 55 or older experience some type of mental health issue and the number of older adults with depression is expected to double between 2010 and 2030” (Siervo, 2019).
It is now more important than ever that we begin to reduce this stigma and identify these signs and symptoms of mental illness in our loved ones and the ones that we care for. Grief and loss, loneliness, isolation, increasing medical concerns and lack of productivity are just a few of the life stressors we see in our mature adult population. These are also major risk factors for depression and anxiety. It is important to understand that although these are natural parts of the aging process, they do not have to be all encompassing and pathological. Caregivers play a very important role. By being educated and open to discussing these common issues, caregivers can provide support and assistance when things appear to be out of the ordinary.
Below are some signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for:
When these signs are noticed, action can be taken to assist those we care about to facilitate the healthy aging process. Here are a few things that can be tried when the above symptoms are spotted:
About the Author:
Misti Schroeder, LMFT LMHC
Director of Business Development
Suncoast Behavioral Health Center
Rowan, K. (2013, May 30). Baby Boomers' Mental Health Faces Crisis, Report Says. Retrieved July 14, 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/36542-baby-boomers-mental-health-crisis.html
Siervo, M. (2019, February 28). Mental Health and Baby Boomers: Reducing Stigma Key to Healthy Aging. Retrieved July 14, 2020, from https://www.wellmedhealthcare.com/mental-health-and-baby-boomers-reducing-stigma-key-to-healthy-aging/
Comparing and contrasting senior living communities can be an overwhelming process. What questions do you ask? What should you look out for? As a Senior Placement Service, we have a lot of experience walking our clients through these steps. Our job is to help our clients through the process to make sure they are comparing “apples to apples” so to speak, and that all questions are answered. This allows families to make the best decision for their loved one.
Whether we are helping you along in your journey or not, below is a checklist of questions and topics to discuss when exploring a senior living community. Especially in the current COVID era where you can’t physically go into the community, covering all these topics will give you a much better understanding of the care and what to expect.
941)343-7747 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest Writer: Melissa M. Leedom, CPA, Secure Aging
With the economic and emotional fear from COVD-19 still very real, Americans are more vulnerable to scams that may try to steal their money or personal information. In fact, as of early July, Americans have lost a staggering $78.7 million due to fraud this year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Much of that is tied to COVID-19 scams.
Additionally, there are more than 100 million “phishing” emails blocked every day by Google—of which 18 million that are specifically related to the coronavirus. Phishing emails are messages that try to obtain a person’s personal information for fraudulent use.
There are also 40,000 domain names online that contain the word coronavirus, making it harder to determine which sites are legitimate.
Although seniors are often a target for scams of any type, just about everyone is vulnerable right now to potential scams. It’s because more people are bored and spending time with their electronic devices. Additionally, people are afraid, and fear is a big motivator used by scammers.
Here are several examples of the types of scams related to COVID-19 right now—followed by a few ways to help protect yourself and your personal information.
7 COVID-19 Related Scam Examples
1. Get blood and saliva from COVID survivors. In an effort to get immunity against the virus, people search online for ideas. There are online marketplaces that claim to have blood or saliva from coronavirus survivors. They claim that if you buy and use these bodily fluids, you’ll help protect your body against COVID. However, it’s a hoax. The scammers take your payment details and never send a product.
2. Stimulus payment scams. There are several examples of stimulus payment scams. For instance, in your email inbox, you get messages with subject lines such as “Pay Advance: Stimulus Improvement.” The email prompts you to provide personal information via a link. Or, you receive phone calls or regular mail supposedly from the IRS, claiming to need your bank account information. Another stimulus payment scam: You receive an email or letter saying that you will get a stimulus payment, but you need to call someone to verify your personal information.
3. Charitable contribution request. You receive a phone call or email from a charity that claims to be a COVID relief fund and that is asking for money. However, the charity is not real.
4. COVID “cures,” home tests, or other products. There are scams related to COVID-19 vaccines (there are none yet), home tests (also none yet) cures, air filters, and other products. The phone call, emails, or texts you receive tout the benefit of what they are selling, but they are not real.
5. Contact tracer scams. In this type of scam, you are contacted by someone who claims that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. However, the “contact tracer” goes on to ask you for personal information, such as your birthdate, Social Security number, or banking information. A real contact tracer would not ask you for this information.
6. Social Security benefits. A person contacts you to say that you must provide personal information to continue to receive regular Social Security benefit payments. He or she will say they need this information due to COVID-19.
7. Tech support scams. With more people working from home, it’s no surprise that you may be concerned about tech trouble with your devices. With this type of scam, someone contacts you and says they can help fix your computer problem by accessing it remotely or by getting you to provide personal data to fix your tech problems. (One way to help avoid this: Do not google the phone number for a company’s tech support line, as the options you find may lead to scammers. Instead, go to the company’s website to get the number from their “Contact” section.)
How to Prevent and Fight Against COVID-19 Scams:
About the Author:
Melissa Leedom (941)761-9338 www.secureaging.com
Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Financial Management. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors.
Coming off of a weekend celebrating our Independence Day, we felt it was a perfect opportunity to touch on the topic of Veterans Benefits as it relates to offsetting the costs for Assisted Living. VA Aid and Attendance is a tax free benefit that provides monthly payments to qualified Veterans and their spouses.
Currently in 2020, the VA Aid and Attendance monthly rates are:
Single Veteran: $1,911
Married Veteran with Spouse: $2,266
Surviving Spouse: $1,228
There are some basic requirements that will help determine eligibility for these benefits. Note, that these are just an overview and that it’s important to contact your local VA office or VA Accredited Elder Care Lawyer to truly determine if you qualify. (Reach out to us directly so we can recommend one of our vetted resources to get your questions answered.)
Once you apply, it can take time to get approved (up to 12 months currently due to delays because of COVID). It's important to know, all benefits are retroactive to the date you applied. With all that said, this makes future planning even more critical! If you or your loved one plans on accessing Aid and Attendance benefits, contact us TODAY so we can start to discuss community options so you aren’t caught needing the benefits and waiting for them to be approved!
Be sure that anyone who assists you in the preparation of your VA application is ACCREDITED by the Department of Veteran Affairs. You can confirm accreditation by going to www.va.gov/ogc/apps/Accreditation
Thank you to ALL our Veterans, their spouses and loved ones for their selfless service!
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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.