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: 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:

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!

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 Living: The Future of Senior Care in the United States

As the U.S. economy has struggled during the “Great Recession” the manner in which seniors receive and seek care is being transformed as well. These changes coexist with changes and advances in geriatric medicine, and the lengthening of life spans here in the United States.

The manner in which an aging population is cared for given this combination of better health and longevity combined with tighter financial conditions should be of great concern to everyone currently living in the United States. What exactly will be the future of senior care in the United States? Will seniors continue to be cared for adequately, or are we on a dangerous slope?

Predictions For The Near Future

Here are some predictions regarding the future of senior care here in the United States:

Nursing homes will continue to decline in popularity, while independent and assisted living facilities will become more popular along with assisted home care options.

Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as well as the increasing costs of nursing care in the United States, have and will continue to continue this shift. Institutes like the Employee Benefits Research Institution have determined that nearly half of those born between the years of 1949 and 1978 will not have enough money in retirement to cover there living expenses upon retiring. Nursing homes are an expensive service for seniors, and also unpopular for some, and seniors will increasingly looking for housing situations providing more limited care and increased independence.

Technological advancements will rise in popularity as our population ages.

This can include everything from technologies like motorized scooters and chair lifts for stairs, to even personal care robots and automated medical screenings. New technological solutions from everything from personal mobility to senior health care will continue to be researched and developed in the coming years.

Multigenerational households will become more and more common.

Some may argue that this is possibly one of the more positive aspects of tightening financial constraints. As some seniors may not want to or be able to afford to move into retirement communities, families are beginning to find other solutions. For some, this may mean renovating an existing home, or adding a guest house to meet the housing needs of senior family members.

The home health care industry will experience an employment boom.

In fact the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a grown of nearly 70 percent in the employment of personal care aids between 2010 and 2020.

We are certain to have a bumpy ride ahead.

Although some of the changes seniors will experience will help create better living opportunities and situations, the road will likely be quite bumpy and difficult as we struggle to find new models of care for an increasing senior population in the years to come!

Senior Living: Finding Affordable Mobility Solutions For Seniors

Individuals with disabilities often are the most frustrated by the loss of freedom they experience, which prevents them from running routine errands and traveling for pleasure. They feel discouraged because they have to rely on family members and friends for transportation and assistance entering and exiting a vehicle. Ordinary vehicles do not have enough room or the right equipment to accommodate a scooter or wheelchair.  Stairs in houses pose dangers, and simply walking to the store can be a challenge.

Some Important Mobility Solutions for Seniors

Among the most popular mobility solutions for seniors are wheelchair van conversions with a lift, stair lifts, home elevators, wheelchair lifts and scooters.  When purchasing mobility products, it is necessary to receive instruction on how to safely operate the equipment, including seat transfers, hand controls and scooter or wheelchair lifts.

Consumers can choose any style and size wheelchair van depending on whether they prefer to drive a minivan, a sport utility vehicle or a full size van. All of these vehicles have special modifications allowing them to accommodate wheelchairs and offer mobility solutions for users.

Companies in most cities in the United States offer these vehicles for rent by the day, week or longer. A stair lift, or chair lift, is a device seniors can use to move from one level of the home to another without risking an injury caused by a fall. Stair lifts are available in a variety of models suitable for use with spiral, curved or straight staircases.

A basic lift for a straight stairway is more affordable than most consumers realize thanks to competition within the industry between the various manufacturers. A home elevator offers a solution for individuals who use wheelchairs and need to move freely around a house with more than one floor. These elevators have multiple safety features, including backup systems, phones, emergency alarms, handrails and emergency lights.

Seniors who find it difficult to walk long distances can move around easier with a mobility scooter. Since so many manufacturers are offering various makes and models, the prices for these products are lower than ever.

Individuals seeking good deals on any of these mobility solutions can search for used equipment at discount prices.

Senior Living: Choosing Senior Monitoring Systems – What You Need To Know

911 emergency phone guardian alert

911 Senior Guardian Alert System

Selecting the right type of senior monitoring systems and the best options that may be available for the elderly can help in ensuring their safety. There are different types of plans and devices that can be used for monitoring senior citizens, it is however very important to choose a plan and device that would specifically meet each individual’s needs.

Here are ten tips to help you determine what kind of senior monitoring system would be best for you or a loved one.

1. Determine The Type Of Device That Is Needed

Some of the devices that can be used as personal emergency response monitors can be attached to a wheelchair or may be worn on a belt, on the wrist or around the neck. For seniors with a risk of falling, you will need a monitoring device that can be activated without the use of phones. Most monitoring systems can be activated without phones and will typically notify a family member and/or some emergency response service on activation. You can also use a monitoring device that will let you know when a senior has the left the house etc, this will help you in determining when there is a deviation from the norm.

2. Plan For The Future As Well As The Present When Choosing a System

While a senior citizen may be able to use a device now, he/she may however not have such capabilities in a year’s time. You will therefore need a flexible contract that would allow you to modify your plan when you need to make some changes.

3. Determine How Much Coverage You Will Need

If a senior citizen enjoys doing some gardening for instance, you will need to ensure that the system/device that you select will cover the range or area that the senior is most likely to use for one or more activities.

4. Determine How Long You Will Need The Device

This may be a bit difficult to predict, of course, but ideally you should not sign up for a contract that will cover a longer period than you need.

5. Determine If The Monitoring System Is Transferable

You should also verify and confirm that your selected system and plan will continue to work even if the individual changes his/her residence or location.

6. Consider Whether You Will Need A Video Monitoring System

Sometimes a caregiver will need to monitor the individual and you need to evaluate the need for video in any monitoring system you select.

7. Consider Whether You Will Need A GPS Device

You may need a GPS tracking device too, if someone is at risk for getting lost.

8. Review The Cost Of The Contract And Set-Up Fees

You should always review carefully the set-up fee for the monitoring system you may want to use. You should also know what you are likely to be charged in case you need to cancel your contract early. You will need to know if there are any charges for false alarms too.

9. Be Sure To Compare The Prices And Features Of Different Plans In Your Area

The plans for different monitoring systems will generally vary. In the US, the Medicare program may not cover the cost of a senior monitoring system, most private insurance policies may also not cover it too, you will however need to confirm this with your insurance company.

10. Addition Important Questions To Ask

  •  Determine what their response time is.
  • Find out if they would be providing a guarantee on servicing, parts etc and if they would also be providing some technical support too.
  • Determine if the battery for your selected device is rechargeable.
  • Find out if you can get a waterproofed monitoring device.
  • Ask if they will provide you with a 24-hour and 7-days-a-week coverage.

Keep in mind that you will need to do some research on the company you would want to use in order to determine if they are a reputable senior monitoring systems provider or not.  However, given the expenses involved with some of these services, a little time spent up front will well be worth it!

Senior Living: Scooters for Seniors – What You Need To Know Before Buying

There are a lot of things to think about when purchasing any of the many different models of scooters for seniors. Keep in mind that scooters are not for everybody, and they can be dangerous if used improperly.

What You Need To Know Before Buying A Scooter

You will need to know whether the scooter will be used primarily indoors, outdoors or both. The model you consider purchasing depends a great deal on where the senior plans to use it. For example, if it is primarily an indoor scooter, durability is of less concern and a motorize wheelchair may also be considered as an option. An indoor scooter only requires three wheels, one in front and two in back. When a scooter has a single lead wheel, it is easier to steer, and is also less heavy. For outdoors travel, a scooter is likely the best option. You will probably want to invest in a durable, four wheel model, especially if you will be using it on cracked sidewalks and to cross roads.

If you are not paying directly for the scooter and hope Medicare will pick-up the tab, you need to make sure your physician is prepared to back-up your claim of necessity with the proper paperwork. Many manufacturers and marketers claim that Medicare covers mobility scooters. However, without a physician’s recommendation and documentation, you won’t be reimbursed. Also, keep in mind that Medicare will only by 80% of the bill and you will need to pay the rest. Read more here: Medicare’s Wheelchair and Scooter Benefits.

If you are paying for the scooter out of pocket, you may want to think seriously about purchasing one that is used and reconditioned. Used scooters for sale are easily found on Craig’s List. For example, in a two-week period there were twenty scooters listed for sale in the Portland, Oregon area alone. Many senior owners of scooters keep them in mint condition.

For those individuals who plan to use their scooter out-of-doors they will need to think about how they are going to transport it. Larger grocery chains, department stores and other facilities supply mobility scooters for their customers that can’t navigate without this support, but there are some that don’t. Generally, scooters for seniors require transport via a mini-van. Furthermore, a strong body is needed to lift the chair in and out of the vehicle.  Van lifts are available, and can provide the solution to lifting the scooter from the vehicle. In any case, if you’re taking the scooter out and about, how you will transport it needs to be carefully considered. You may also need to have a ramp built to bring the scooter inside your house or storage shed (although some may find it more convenient to park it in a garage).

You will find scooters available in a very wide price range. On the low end you could spend $750, but you could also spend as much as $4,500. Features, durability and quality all impact on how much a senior scooter costs.

Although you can find product reviews for many models online, the reviews you read may not be bias free. Look for legitimate product reviews, ones that are written by consumers. Before finalizing the sale, keep in mind what consumers report for that make and model.

When purchasing a scooter it might be self-evident that comfort is essential. It may seem apparent, but an online purchase does complicate things. Scooters being sold online need local availability as well so that it can be tried out before being purchased. People come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When evaluating a scooter, take into consideration legroom and how the person using the scooter sits. Test drive because scooters are not a one size fits all. Keep in mind that you may test drive scooters locally, but still purchase one online if there is a significant savings by doing so.

All scooters manufactured for seniors have a maximum load weight. All the weight bearing stress that is placed on the scooter at any one time is known as the load weight. Overweight individuals, or scooter users carrying heavy objects, need to take load weight into consideration when evaluating their mobility options,

Sometimes senior scooters don’t have safety features and/or accessories that are needed by certain users and consumer and it’s possible to spend a great deal of money on a scooter and end up spending more on add-ons. You may think your purchase was a very good deal, only to discover the accessories bring the price over the more expensive model.  Make sure you know exactly what safety features and accessories are required.

Carefully read the warranty as well. Study it from top to bottom, and know what is included in the warranty and what is not before you make your purchase. Know what you are getting into!

Senior Living: Mobile Phones for Seniors – Tips and Advice

jitterbugplusThese days, many cell phone companies are creating more senior friendly mobile phones. Mobile phones for seniors are often quite different than those manufactured for a younger audience, as many seniors are more concerned with having a phone that’s easy to use and easy to hear, rather than downloading the latest ringtone.

Some Features Specific To Mobile Phones For Seniors

A clear display screen and a larger keypad are some of the things that seniors look for when shopping for a mobile phone. Some seniors also want a phone that is larger in size, making it easier to handle.

Some safety features which can help seniors who need medical assistance or other help are now built into cell phones, and these should be considered when choosing mobile phones for seniors. Samsung manufacture the Jitterbug J and the Jitterbug Plus, both of which feature a one touch panic button connected to a hospital or neighbor. Many users have benefited from the 24/7 call in feature to a doctor or nurse, which has literally been a lifesaver. If a senior becomes lost or is not reachable by phone, a built in GPS system can be invaluable, and the Samsung phones both features this device. many seniors lose or damage their phones, and seniors who purchase one of the Samsung phones can also subscribe to the Complete care package, which offers a replacement phone or roadside assistance.

Your local school and various public agencies may also be useful for anyone looking at mobile phones for seniors, as many offer classes aimed at seniors. These classes can basically teach an older person how to use a phone, and use the other useful extras such as the calendar, texting and voicemail.

There are various accessories that you may want to consider buying, which can help to make it even easier for a senior to use their new mobile phone. The phone can be attached to a wallet or a purse with a strong key clip, which means that it is easy to locate the phone and answer it when it rings. It’s harder to lose the phone if it has a brightly colored and easy to see phone cover too.

With some initial planning and research, even seniors can enjoy mobile phone technology and feel comfortable with it.

Senior Living: Senior Car Insurance

piggybankSeniors often worry about whether their car insurance rates will remaining affordable and in their budget as they get older. This is a valid concern given that many insurances premiums rise as you age. Life insurance, for example, is largely dependent on your age and as you get older rates can increase substantially.

Older vs. Younger Drivers

For auto insurance, however, rates often go down as you age – to a point. When compared to the rates for younger drivers in their teens and early twenties, senior rates are generally much lower and more affordable. Of course, car insurance rates are always dependent on your personal driving history, but if you have a good record you should not expect any huge increase in rates as you age, at least into your fifties and your sixties. In fact, your age and solid driving record should result in your car insurance rates going down. However, as you get older, rates may start to increase – especially for drivers over seventy-five.

Finding Cheap Senior Car Insurance

Once you hit your seventies and eighties, however, you may see age related increases in your auto insurance rates. These drivers may be considered “high risk” even if they have a perfect driving record. Compared to teenage drivers, your rates will be much lower, but they will also likely be higher than when you were in your fifties. For seniors on fixed budgets, these increases can be a cause of great concern and also frustrating, especially for those with stellar driving records.

If you are in this group of drivers and are facing a rate increase, there may be some actions you can take to lower your premiums. This includes installing certain safety equipment in your car or taking a defensive driving class. If you only drive infrequently, this can lower your rate as well (as about “low-mileage discounts”). You may also want to research rates on a yearly basis, especially if you notice a substantial increase due to your age.

Regardless of your age, you should do your research and compare rates. Modern seniors who are computer savvy may be able to find the best rates through researching different insurance companies online.