Senior Living: Outsourcing House Work

For many seniors, one of the hardest aspects of getting older is realizing that tasks we used to take for granted start to become more challenging and time consuming. Often mundane tasks, like house cleaning, start to occupy more and more of our time. At a certain point, we need to ask ourselves if it isn’t time to consider “outsourcing” our house cleaning and other household chores.

This can especially challenging for those of us who have long taken pride in our cleaning ability or who value self-sufficiency. Hiring help for tasks we feel we should be doing ourselves – and often paying a pretty penny to do it – can be a hard pill to swallow, so to speak. I speak from personal experience. When my husband died, I decided to give myself a present by having an expensive and beautiful tiled shower installed in our home. It was one of those luxuries that I know my husband would have wanted me to enjoy after he left, and I loved it. But keeping the shower clean took quite a bit of effort, and when I became ill last year, my beloved shower became an embarrassment as I couldn’t keep up with the cleaning anymore. Instead of enjoying my morning showers, I started dreading them. I was in no shape to clean it (something I knew would take hours, as the condition of the shower got worse and worse). It was only after the encouragement of some family members that I finally decided to seek help by hiring a house cleaning company on Bainbridge Island to come and do a “Deep Cleaning” of my entire home.

I didn’t know how well they would clean the shower, given that the entire home needed quite a bit of cleaning by the time they arrived. A lovely crew of three women arrived with vacuums, green cleaning sprays and a lot of rags. In a matter of a few hours they literally transformed my house. But it was what they did with my shower that literally brought tears to my eyes. Once again it was restored to how I remember it when it was first finished. Beautiful tile, and a spot free glass shower door. It was easily the best $250 I have every spent in my life!

I’ve now hired them to come once a month to clean my home, and I’ve also realized that outsourcing housework if not a sign of weakness. It allows me to truly enjoy my “golden years”!

Senior Finance: No Cost of Living Increase for 2016

usa-dollar-billsSeniors on limited income are likely to feel a huge pinch for 2016, as there will be no cost of living increase (COLA) for 2016 according to the Social Security Administration.

The reason for this decision is continued low inflation in the United States. However, much of this is due to a drop in gas prices in 2015. Expenses that have a much more major impact in many senior’s lives, such as food and medicine did actually increase for 2015. Medical costs in 2015 rose by 3.7% while food costs were up 1.6% and prescription drug costs went up a huge amount – 11%.

These means that while seniors will not be receiving any more funds in their monthly checks, their daily expenses have likely gone up a considerable amount for 2015. This unbalanced situation needs to be addressed by the government, so that the seniors who rely on Social Security checks (over half of all seniors, according to the AARP) will not be harmed more in coming years!

Senior Finance: Important Changes in Social Security for 2015

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that they will be adjusting payments upwards (COLA) 1.7% for seniors in 2015.  While that only amounts to about $22 more a month for most recipients, over a year it adds up!

Here are some additional important changes to expect for 2015:

The maximum social security benefits payment is also edging up to $2,663. In addition, the wage amount that is subject to SS tax is increasing by $1500 (to $118,500 annually). But workers taking SS benefits early can also earn more without having their monthly payment reduced. In 2015, you’ll be able to earn $15,720, which is $240 more than what you could last year.

Finally, the SSA is returning to sending out paper benefit statements. You’ll get one every five years between the ages of 25 and 60. Expect the benefits statement to arrive approximately three months before your birthday.

Looking for ways to save money? Check out our post on Seven Important Ways for Seniors to Save Money!

AARP Sweepstakes For Seniors

Could you use $50,000? If so, you might want to check out the “Rock Your Finances” sweepstakes by AARP. You can ONLY enter it if you are 45 years of age or older – and there are tons of cool prizes. You can win anything from a $20 Visa gift card up to $50,000 dollars of cold, hard cash. Learn more about this fun sweepstakes here:

http://sweeps.aarp.org/retirement2014/

And good luck!

Senior Finance: Five Important Tips for Finding a Job After 60

seniorbusinessmanIf you are over sixty and looking for a new job or career, you may feel as if time is definitely against your side. Many seniors suspect employers may be discriminating against them because of their age when they are on the job market, although this is often very difficult to prove. Apparently many employers haven’t gotten the message that seniors are often more reliable and better to hire than younger workers.

Five Tips for Finding A Job After 60

Although you may feel like the odds are against you when on a job search, here are some tips to help improve your odds of getting a job.

1) Network. Seniors often have the most success finding jobs through their church or other local organizations. Let people know at your gym or library that you are looking for work, and connect with old friends and coworkers to see if they know of any employment opportunities. You can also sign up for workshops or classes in the field you are looking for work in.

2) Stay Active. Keep in shape, and let people know that you are healthy and fit to work!

3) Emphasize Your Strengths. During interviews, emphasize that with your age comes maturity and many important life skills. Play up your life experiences and other factors that younger workers will not be able to match you in during the interview process.

4) Make a Great First Impression. Keep in mind that first impressions do count for a lot during the job selection process, and make sure that your hair and dress are kept in tip top shape. Also, meet your interviewers with a firm handshake and always look them in the eyes!

5) Apply for the Right Jobs. There are many jobs and careers where maturity is a valuable asset. This includes jobs in libraries, where knowledge and information is key, and jobs in training – where your previous job experiences (and life experiences as well) will likely make you a much more desirable candidate compared to a younger competitor. Keep this in mind when thinking about what kind of job you would like to obtain.

To learn more about some of the advantages and disadvantages of working as a senior, you may also want to read this article: http://modern-seniors.com/senior-living/senior-living-pros-and-cons-of-working-into-your-later-years/

2014: The Last Boom of the Baby Boomers

Seniors In LoveThe year 2014 is a significant one for the “baby boomer” generation. In 2014, the last of the baby boomers finally turn fifty!

The baby boomers are truly a generation that has changed the world.  Author P.J. O’Rourke has argued that the world is a better place today because of this generation. You can read the full article (published on the AARP website) here:

How the Boomers Saved Everything

Do you agree? Who do you think was the most significant baby boomer of this generation? Please leave your comments below!

Senior Health: Emerging New Health Technologies for Seniors


Seniors in the very near future will have many new ways of tracking and reporting their health to doctors and other medical personnel. One of the most important advancements in health care during the recent decade are ‘personal data trackers’ that can help doctors monitor their patients while they are at home. These devices include portable electrocardiograms that are built into a smartphone case, as well as mobile apps and activity trackers that help keep tabs on patients and even GPS devices.

New Companies Are Often Targeting Seniors Specifically

New companies are starting up all around the company that include smart technologies like pill trackers that let caretakers and doctors know if pills have been missed, senior monitoring systems, and even mattress sensors that can measure heart and breathing, and send an alert if any problems arise.

For example, recently the medical record company Practice Fusion partnered with the manufacturers of a smartphone heart monitor (AliveCor) and an online diabetes management system (Diasend), to facilitate the integration and reporting of important medical information.

Many of these new technologies will need to get FDA clearance – a process which can sometimes take years – before they enter the market. However, others like the Nike+ FuelBand and Fitbit (which work essentially like pedometers) and the Wellframe app that guides patients through a cardiac rehabilitation program — are primarily meant to foster healthful habits and are either currently available or will be soon on the market.

Some Remain Cautious About the Impact of these Technologies on Privacy Rights

However, although these technologies are impressive and very likely to become an important part of the medical landscape soon, there are some that are skeptical or caution of these new technologies. For example, many mobile apps rely on patient-generated data, which some doctors are reluctant to rely on. Some consumers are worried about privacy interests in relation to these new forms of medical reporting.  Some privacy advocates are concerned that the existing federal privacy law won’t be applicable to the growing volume of data that is now being produced by the various health devices and mobile applications. These advocates point to a need to change the existing privacy law so that it is able to incorporate these new technologies into its privacy framework.

Five Great Gifts for Seniors

The holidays are upon us, but these gifts are a great idea for seniors at any time of the year. Be it for a family member, friend, or a special gift for yourself, check out our top gifts for seniors below.

1) Large Print Reading Materials. As we age, it becomes harder to read the small print found in many books and magazines, and this can be especially hard for the book lovers among us. So consider giving a large print edition of a favorite book. Amazon has nearly 250,000 Large Print Books in stock, so you are likely to find one there online, but you also might want to check out the selections at your local books store. Another good option is also considering purchasing an audio version of a favorite book, so they can listen to it instead of reading it.

2) The Gift of Warmth. Seniors are also particularly susceptible to the cold, and gifts that warm the body such as electric blankets, slipper socks and snuggies will help them keep warm and will be much appreciated.

3) Gift Certificates. As many seniors live on a budget, a gift certificate to a favorite store or restaurant is often a great idea. Although gift certificates may seem impersonal to some, they are often really appreciated and useful as well.


4) Independent Living Aids. Help make your senior’s life easier with one of the many independent living products designed for today’s modern seniors. These can be anything from magnifiers or talking calculators to senior friendly mobile phones, scooters and much more.

5) A Hobby Gift Basket. Does your loved one have a special hobby they enjoy to do? If so, consider creating a gift basked full of small gifts related to that interest. For example, do they love to knit or crochet? If so, fill a basket with yarn, knitting needles and patterns. Are they a gardener? How about a basket full of seeds, gardening tools and small clay pots.

With a little thought and a lot of love, you can easily come up with a great gift for the favorite senior in your life!

Senior Travel: How To Be A Savvy and Smart Senior Traveler

Senior TravelThese days, more and more seniors are putting their rockers in storage and purchasing plane tickets to visit places they have wanted to see since their youth. Although seniors may often face specific challenges due to their age and mobility concerns, they also have many advantages over the younger jet set crowd. To start, if they are retired, they have a lot more opportunities and flexibility in terms of their travel dates, and can often take advantage of significantly discounted fares and rates during the off season. As seniors, they also can get senior rates for many travel packages. And finally, many seniors may be financially better able to afford travel, especially if they have planned for this in their retirement.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind as you plan for your next trip.

  1. Travel in the off or “shoulder season” if you can, especially if you are planning a trip to Europe. This will allow you to both beat the crowds and also avoid the extreme heat found during the summer months.
  2. Pack as light as you can. Packing light is actually more important for seniors than for younger travelers, as your strength to carry your luggage is likely going to be less than when you were in your 20’s. Invest in a quality rolling suitcase (or perhaps even a backpack!). Keep in mind that you don’t need a lot of clothes. You can do laundry on the way, and purchase more clothes as needed.
  3. Pack safely. Invest in a quality money belt or pouch and keep it well secured and hidden while traveling. Some seniors also carry a second small money bag with small amounts of cash as a detractor to thieves.
  4. Check your travel insurance coverage. You definitely should have travel insurance coverage, and medicare does not cover out of the country medical expenses. In particular, make sure you are covered for emergency transportation back to the U.S.
  5. Carry enough of your medications and also copies of your prescriptions. Never check your medication when flying, as you will not want these to be in your bags if they get lost.
  6. Take care of yourself first! Keep in mind that traveling can put a substantial drain on your body, and make an extra effort to stay hydrates and not push yourself too much while traveling. Make things easy for yourself whenever possible! If you find climbing stairs to be tiring, get a room on the ground floor instead. If you find long distance walking is exhausting you, hail a cab. The healthy you are and the better you take care of yourself while traveling, the better your experience will be!

Senior Health: Alzheimer’s Disease – Is It On The Rise?

In the United States alone, over five million people currently suffer from Alzheimer’s. Most of these Americanspensiveseniorlive at home, with their family members providing care. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association Alz.org, around 15.4 million family caregivers performed over 17.5 billion hours of care that was unpaid in 2012.

Those caring for a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s or suspected Alzheimer’s, the time and energy required will increase as their loved one’s illnesses worsens as Alzheimer’s is a challenging progressive brain disease.

Although the numbers of those with Alzheimer’s is already quite substantial, the numbers are predicted to rise. In fact, by the year 2025, that number is expected to reach a staggering 13.8 million for the United States alone. And this number does not include the increase in numbers of those suffering from early dementia that is expected during the next decade as well.

Why this huge rise? And how will it impact care giving resources and patient care in the United States?

There are various reason there will be a huge surge in the number of people experiencing Alzheimer’s disease over the next decade. One of the biggest will be an aging demographic. More and more “baby boomers” will be entering their sixties, seventies and beyond. Also, although the disease cannot be officially confirmed until after a person dies, the signs of symptoms of Alzheimer’s is better recognized now than in previous decades, and more and more individuals are being diagnosed with “Alzheimer’s like symptoms.”

Given the anticipated rise in the number of Alzheimer’s cases in the next decade, learning more about the disease and working to help find a cure to this debilitating condition is all the more pressing. The increased need for caregivers over the next decade is likely to but an increased strain on governmental health care programs as well as families and other caregivers. All Americans should take the time to educated and prepare themselves for this future.