Saturday, August 29, 2020

Senior Care Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Fair and Equal Treatment

Most of us avoid moving our family members into assisted living or a skilled nursing facility as long as possible, especially now during the Covid-19 pandemic, because it can be so difficult to visit them. However, sometimes assisted living is inevitable, especially if the family member has a serious illness or advanced dementia.  Choosing the ideal facility can be challenging.  You want to make sure they will have the best possible medical care, physical therapy, necessary treatments, and mentally stimulating activities.  You do not want them to receive poor medical care, or be bored and unhappy.
Sometimes, the most difficult aspect of senior care is assessing whether the community you have chosen is inclusive and diverse enough for them to be comfortable and feel accepted by both the other residents and the staff, especially if they are members of a minority, or if there is anything unique about them or their problem.  Does the assisted living facility you are considering provide fair and equal treatment for everyone?  Do they celebrate a variety of religious, political and social experiences?  Does everyone feel accepted and welcome?
If you are concerned about these issues in choosing a facility for a loved one, it could be helpful to read a book such as "Understanding Diversity: An Introduction to Class, Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation, and Disability." (Ad)  Although it is not designed specifically to deal with senior living situations, it does cover many of the topics you will want to consider in a facility.  If you already have a relative in a facility and you believe that it is doing a poor job of accepting diversity in its residents, you might encourage the administrators and employees of the facility to also read this book.  It could make the facility a much better place for everyone involved, both residents and employees.  

Since these issues can be difficult to assess, I really appreciated it when author Kelsey Simpson offered to write a guest post on these topics  The information in the post she wrote below can help you choose the right facility for your loved one.
The Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Senior Care
by Kelsey Simpson

When most people think about diversity, equity, and inclusion, their minds will likely gravitate towards colleges, offices, and elections ... places in which these terms are used often. However, these terms are important to consider in other situations, as well, since they can play a major part in many people’s lives. These terms seek to ensure fair treatment and equal opportunity for all people, no matter the circumstance.

A place where people often do not think about diversity, equity, and inclusion playing a crucial role is senior care; however, all senior care facilities and in-home care services for seniors should strive to put these values into practice. If you are looking into a senior care service for a loved one, make sure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are emphasized.

What Should I Look for in Senior Care For My Loved One?

In addition to looking for a senior care service which will meet your loved one’s unique medical and care needs, make sure you choose a senior care service which supports their basic human needs, including diversity, equity, and inclusion.  You want to make sure their new home will be a place where they feel welcome, where they will meet interesting people with diverse interests, and where people are accepted regardless of their race, religion, gender, national origin, background, or the constraints of their illness.

How Can a Senior Care Service Practice Diversity?

There are two major ways in which a senior care service can practice diversity: in hiring people of varied identities, and having residents with varied identities (race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, etc.). Diversity is important in all types of senior care services, as it will allow residents to both meet people similar to them, as well as people who are completely different. Spending time with people who are both similar and different will help seniors feel at ease socializing with people who make them feel comfortable, and also give them the opportunity to reach out to those who have different perspectives and life experiences. These opportunities will enrich the lives of aging adults.

Likewise, it is important to make sure that senior services are not discriminating against their residents in any way. You do not want your loved one to be treated poorly because of their background or medical condition.

What Does Equity Within a Senior Care Service Look Like?

Equity, in terms of senior care, simply means that all seniors are treated equally and fairly no matter their socio-economic status, race, religion, gender and capabilities. Seniors utilizing a senior care service should all have an equal opportunity to access needed services, medical care, information, and resources.

If a senior care service does not treat all clients the same, it may be worth your time to either look elsewhere, or to find out the reason for the different services. Is it because of differences in their medical diagnosis, or differences in their Medicare Supplement plan?  If not, you might want to gently educate the staff on how they can treat your loved one more fairly.  Perhaps they are unaware of how to meet the social, religious, emotional and physical needs of all their residents.  Offer them some simple solutions they can easily implement.

How Can a Senior Care Service Practice Inclusion?

Diversity and equity, combined with inclusion, means that all people are invited to participate and feel welcome and comfortable when utilizing senior care services. Senior care facilities should value all residents' opinions and well-being. Similarly, assisted living communities should strive to go above and beyond to offer services which celebrate their client’s differences; whether those are racial differences, physical capability differences, or any other differences common in the senior community.  The facility should also encourage current residents to be welcoming and accepting of new residents.

A care community which is inclusive will nearly always be an outstanding choice for your loved one.

Find Quality Senior Care for Your Loved One

As you look for senior care for your loved one, be sure to find one which has their best interests in mind. Choose a facility which will take care of their medical, emotional, and physical needs, as well as consider their basic need for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Use this post as a guide as you make your decision.

About the Author

Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about topics intended to improve the lives of other people. She lives in South Jersey, is the proud companion to two German Shepherds, and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.

As mentioned above, if the issue of acceptance, diversity and equal treatment is important to you, you may also want to read the book "Understanding Diversity: An Introduction to Class, Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation, and Disability."   (Ad) While it is not focused specifically on life in skilled nursing facilities or assisted living, it will help you understand the issues better.  After you read it, it could also be the perfect gift for the administrators of the care facility where your family member lives.

If you are interested in learning more about common medical issues as you age, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, financial planning, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credits:  Pixabay

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Free Online Exercise Classes and Games - Fun Activities to Do at Home

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to keep people at home, many Americans are looking for fun, new ways to stay physically and mentally active without leaving home.  Of course, we can all read a book or take a walk around our neighborhood, but after a while you may be desperate for new ways to keep in shape and be mentally stimulated.  As a result, below is a list of free online activities to keep you going!

I have included the shortened link for each site.  You just need to copy and paste it into your browser search bar, hit Return or Enter, and you should be taken directly to the correct website.  

Stay Fit and Healthy!

Has your current home exercise routine gotten boring?  Now is the time to refresh it.  You can start by recording exercise programs on TV.  You may also contact a local community college to see if they have free online exercise classes designed specifically for senior citizens.  Your healthcare provider may also recommend YouTube videos or fitness classes you can do online. 

You may also want to try these three free programs:

YMCA Free Online Fitness Classes at - The classes range from tai chi to yoga.

Gold's Gym at - They are now offering free virtual workouts for people of all ages and fitness levels, including high-intensity interval training for people looking for a real challenge.  

The National Institute on Aging Go4Life exercise series on YouTube at - These videos focus on stretching, building strength and balance.  They are perfect for senior citizens who want to get out of their chair and stay active, while following an exercise program designed just for them.

You should not need any special equipment to participate in these classes, although it might enhance your workouts if you get some simple hand weights or exercise bands. (Ad)

Free Online Games and Apps

Are you looking for fun ways to keep your brain sharp?  Whether you want to play by yourself or compete against other people, there are plenty of games to choose from.  Here are a just a few available resources:

Mahjong at - You can play either against computers or your friends, using your computer, an iPad or a tablet.  The game is free for two weeks.  Afterwards, they will charge you $5 a month.  As a result, you may want to check out one of the other websites listed below.

Bridge at - This is the link to the largest online bridge site in the world.  You can compete in tournaments, play games for money, and more.

Poker at - Learn to play poker from the experts!

AARP free online games at - They offer 68 popular games including crossword and jigsaw puzzles, chess, mahjong, Solitaire, and Word.  Have free fun to your heart's content.

A wide selection of free apps you can find in your App Store or on Google Play include 8 Ball Pool, Scrabble GO, Yahtzee with Buddies, Uno and Houseparty.  You can also find a large number of other fun apps, so you should never be bored!

Don't want to limit yourself to only having games you play online?  There are always plenty of inexpensive card games and board games you and your family can enjoy. Everything you need can be ordered online. (Ad)  Our grandchildren love to bring along their favorite card games when they come to visit, and it is great fun to play games in person with friends or family, rather than just online.

Travel the World Online

Another way to stimulate your mind in a relaxing way is to travel the world online!  There are many ways to do this.  I read an article about artists who use the Street View option on Google Maps to find interesting scenes, which they then paint.  It is an easy way to paint everything from a street scene in Paris to Lake Cuomo in Italy, without ever leaving your home.

Some other sites which will open your world to places you may never see in real life include:

Beautiful Destinations at

Times Square at

London at

Jerusalem at

Great Wall of China at

Expand Your Mind with YouTube

Do not limit yourself just to the above sites, however.  YouTube can teach you to almost anything you want to know.  Wondering how to do something new on the computer, bake bread from scratch, crochet, or learn about investments?  YouTube has videos to teach you almost anything which interests you. Want to see a town before you visit, or learn about the city where your children recently moved?  YouTube probably has a video tour of those locations.

I have listened to YouTube lectures by college researchers who are studying Alzheimer's Disease, as well as viewed YouTube videos of our church services on our television.  If you have a fairly recent television set, you may even be able to access YouTube on your big screen TV, using the same system you would to watch Netflix or Hulu. (Ad)

Don't just sit home bored, watching repeats of old shows over and over again.  Open your mind to fun new adventures and explore the possibilities!

If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credits:  Pixabay - Sarajobling

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Your Money and Adult Children: What Should You Tell Them and When?

Do your adult children treat you like a piggy bank?
Over the next two to three decades, trillions of dollars of wealth will be transferred from Baby Boomers to their adult children.  At the same time, most Baby Boomers will need that money to live on until they pass away.  This creates a dilemma.  On one hand, you want your adult children to have some information about your finances, so they can easily take things over if you become seriously ill, develop dementia, or pass away.  On the other hand, you do do not want your children looking at you and your nest egg as a piggy bank they would like to tap while you are still alive and need the money for your own expenses.  How can you strike the right balance between giving them enough information at the right time, without divulging too much information? 

To make this issue even more difficult, the Covid-19 pandemic has created more stress for many senior citizens.  Thousands of them are falling sick.  Approximately 1000 people a day are currently dying of Covid-19, in addition to other illnesses, and roughly 85% of those Covid-19 deaths are in older Americans.  This presents the very real possibility that you could die much sooner than expected. Before you decide when and what to tell your children, you need to consider all the different issues carefully.

Are Your Children Mature Enough to Handle the Information?

The first question you want to ask yourself is how your children will handle the information you want to reveal to them.  Are they financially and emotionally stable enough on their own, that they will not begin turning to you every time they get behind on their credit cards or other debts?  Are they already building their own retirement accounts and understand the value of saving for the future, or are they living month-to-month, always short of money?  If the situation is the latter, you may want to wait to let them know the full value of your assets, so they do not begin to constantly beg you for help, putting your own retirement at risk.  This is especially true if you have gotten into the habit of rescuing them every time they fall behind.  If they find out you have a large nest egg, they may begin to push even harder for financial aid, making life more stressful for you.  Consider these issues carefully before you let your children know you have accumulated an amount that may seem to them like a great deal of wealth.

Let Them Know If You are Barely Getting By

On the other hand, if you have suffered serious financial setbacks and barely have enough money to make it through the next few years, you should let your children know your situation. First, it will lower their expectations that you can help them financially and give them lavish gifts for holidays and birthdays. Second, they may be able to help you out if your situation becomes dire.  Many seniors who are living only on Social Security have moved into the homes of their adult children, or their children have helped cover a portion of the cost of an assisted living facility.  You and a single adult child may even decide to live together and share the expenses.  Multi-generational families are becoming more common in the United States, again.
Even if your children cannot help you out financially or provide you with a place to live, they may be able to assist you in completing the complicated forms to get additional financial assistance from the state and federal government.  Programs such as SSI (Supplemental Security Income), SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid coverage for a skilled nursing facility, or rent vouchers can stretch your dollars, but the applications can be difficult and you may need assistance to avail yourself of the programs.  These programs can be life-changing, however, so do not hesitate to apply if you need the help.

Make a List of Your Assets and Put it in an Accessible Place

While you may not want to reveal specific numbers to your children, if you have a wide variety of assets, it is wise to make a list of those assets, including bank account and brokerage firm account numbers. If they need passwords to access the accounts, make sure that information is included in the list, too.  Let your children or other heirs know where they can find this information if something happens to you. 

In this way, if you are hospitalized or become seriously ill, your children will have the information they need to access your money to pay your bills, cover your medical costs, and handle any other necessary expenses.

Have a Will, Trust and Executor

Make sure you have a will and trust, (ad) even if it is a do-it-yourself one, and appoint an executor to handle your estate. Give this person your power-of-attorney, so they can act if you are unable to. If you are not confident your children are capable of handling your finances in a responsible way, talk to your lawyer about appointing a paid trustee to handle your finances, should the need arise. 

Even if you do not give your children specific information about your net worth, you still want to let them know that you have a will and trust, as well as the person who will be your executor.  If your executor is one of your children, let the others know that you love them all, but that you chose this person because they have a business background, or live the closest to you, or whatever other reason was behind your choice.

Provide the Contact Information for Your Advisors

If something happens to you, your children may not know where to start in order to move forward.  As a result, along with your will, trust and list of account numbers, you should also have a list of the people who have been helping you set up your finances and estate plan.  This would include the lawyer who drew up your will, your financial advisor or stockbroker, and your banker, if there is one you have worked with closely. 

Make End-of-Life Plans

Finally, while you are still in good health and they are not worried that they are about to lose you, you should discuss your end-of-life plans with all of your children.  Do you have an Advanced Directive or Living Will? (Ad)  Have you made funeral plans?  Do you have any special requests about how you would like things handled when you are near the end of your life or after you die?  You should give this information to your children as soon as you make the plans.

Keep Things Organized

My husband and I have a large notebook we titled "In the Event of our Deaths" and we keep it in plain view on a shelf in our home office.  In the notebook is a copy of our wills, trust, life insurance policies, health insurance information, funeral plans, a list of who to contact, helpful information for an obituary, and everything else we think would be useful to our children if something happens to us.  Even if you are still a young adult, this is good information to put in one place and make accessible to your heirs.  What if you are seriously injured or die in an automobile accident?  You would want your family to easily have the information they need, without spending hours digging through files.

If you take these steps, you can rest easy knowing that your children have the basic financial information they need to help you in an emergency, without divulging so much information that they become dependent on you for financial support.

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You are reading from the blog:

Photo credits:  Pixabay

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Restful Sleep: How to Get the Rest You Need

Sometimes it is hard to sleep, even if we're tired.
We all know we should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, as we age it becomes more difficult for many people to fall asleep and stay asleep.  One of our neighbors, a recent widow, told us she often does not fall asleep until 3:00 in the morning.  Another friend of mine goes to bed by 11:00, but wakes up again around 4:00 a.m.  I often rise in the morning to find Facebook posts she made in the middle of the night.  She has frequently mentioned that she just cannot sleep through the night. I know other people with sleep problems, too.  Sometimes, national events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic or a major disaster, can cause people to have a difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep.

Sleep is such a big issue, that WebMD recently sent out several posts about how to get the rest you need.  Below are some of the suggestions I gleaned from their articles.

How Aging Can Affect Your Sleep

Sleep problems are common as we get older.  In fact, according to WebMD, more than half of people over the age of 65 have problems with sleep.  Here are some typical reasons:

1.  Pain - This includes a broad spectrum of issues including arthritis, back pain, GERD and other physical issues. You might find relief with over-the-counter pain relievers.  Physical therapy, massage, chiropractic treatments, and acupuncture are all non-invasive ways to manage your pain.  In some cases, surgery may help with specific issues.  Discuss your options with your doctor.

2. Neurological problems - These can cause restless sleep, erratic movements and agitation.  Sometimes they are a result of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's Disease.  Your doctor can treat some of these symptoms so you can get better rest during the night.

3.  Medication - If you are unsure why you are having trouble sleeping, discuss your medications, including over-the-counter ones, with your doctor or pharmacist.  Even medications you have taken for a long time may affect you more as you age.  Some medications you take, like certain cough medicines, can often make it harder for you to sleep.  Other culprits may be drugs for heart disease, high blood pressure, and thyroid problems.  Your doctor may suggest a different drug or change the dosage of your current medication.

4.  Waking Up to Pee During the Night - This is a very common problem and can disrupt your rest if you have difficulty falling back to sleep after using the bathroom.  You may want to limit the amount of liquids you consume after dinner, including anything containing alcohol or caffeine. Even something you are drinking to help you sleep, such as camomile tea, may cause you to wake up in the middle of night to pee.  Reducing or eliminating those substances may alleviate the problem. If not, your doctor may give you water pills or diuretics you can take early in the day so you eliminate excess urine.  There are other prescriptions drugs which can help, too.  Your first line of action, however, should be to simply eliminate the liquids you drink in the evening, and then see if more action needs to be taken.

5.  Menopause - Some women have trouble sleeping when they go through menopause and experience hot flashes during the night due to sudden surges of adrenaline.  Hormone therapy may help resolve this problem.

6.  Changes in your body rhythm - Your body may start to get tired earlier in the evening, causing you to also wake up earlier, or the opposite could be true.  You may have trouble falling asleep in the evening, causing you to stay up too late at night. Choose a consistent bedtime and ease into it with a relaxing evening routine such as reading, gentle yoga, or calming music.  (We love being able to ask our Echo Dot to play spa music.  It is a very easy way to relax.) (Ad)

7.  Sleep apnea or snoring - If you snore, seem to stop breathing during the night, or wake up tired even after a full night's sleep, you might ask your doctor to do a sleep study and determine if you have sleep apnea.  There are treatments.

8.  Restless Legs Syndrome - Sometimes your legs and/or arms may jerk or have strange sensations.  It is also called periodic limb movement or PLM.  About 20% of people over the age of 80 have it.  There are medications which can help you manage the symptoms.  (In my own experience, I used to get restless legs syndrome until I began to take magnesium and calcium supplements before bed.  However, the dosage can vary from person to person, there are side effects, and you should discuss any over-the-counter treatments with your physician.)(Ad)

9.  Mental and emotional problems - Some people have trouble sleeping because of depression. bipolar disorder, anxiety, and similar problems.  As I mentioned before, a neighbor of mine began to have trouble sleeping because of her grief.  Whether these problems affect your sleep or not, you may want to discuss these issues with your doctor and get the therapy or medication they recommend. 

10.  Long daytime naps - Although a short nap in the afternoon may make you feel rested and restore your energy, naps which are too long could make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.  You may need to experiment with skipping the nap in order to sleep better at night, or set an alarm before your nap so you limit it to about 30 minutes.

11.  Heart problems - Atrial fibrillation (AFib), angina, shortness of breath and other symptoms of heart disease can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.  Discuss your symptoms with your doctor, because heart problems can be dangerous if left untreated.

More Ways to Get to Sleep and Stay Asleep

Regardless of why you are having trouble sleeping, there are a few actions you can take on your own which may help.

1.  Make a to-do list - Some people find themselves thinking of everything they need to do, the minute their head hits the pillow.  Make a to-do list, either on paper or your phone.  List everything you need to do the next day, and then set it aside.  You will no longer have to worry over these things, which could make it easier to relax and rest.

2.  Put aside your electronic devices, including your smart phone, as early in the evening as possible.  If you do use them, use the "nightshift" or "blue light" filter on your devices so they will be less disruptive in the evening. 

3.  Drink less alcohol, or none at all, especially in the evening - Alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but as it wears off it can cause you to wake up after just a few hours of sleep.  If you have trouble sleeping at night, or you wake up in the middle of the night, it might help if you stop drinking alcoholic beverages in the evening.

4.  Drink less caffeine during the day - There is caffeine in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some over-the-counter pain medications.  Caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep, and cause your sleep to be more restless.  You should not drink anything with caffeine in it after lunch, because it can stay in your system for as long as eight hours.

5.  Have a relaxing bedtime ritual and try to stick to the same bedtime every night.  Your evening ritual could include a warm shower (but don't go to bed with damp hair), a few minutes of yoga, meditation, listening to spa music, or deep breathing.  If you live in a noisy neighborhood, you might try sleeping with earplugs, turning on a fan, or getting a white noise machine.  (Ad)  You may also try setting your bedroom temperature low.  WebMD suggests setting the thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees at night.  

6.  If you wake up during the night, try deep breathing.  One system is called 5-7-8.  Inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale slowly for 8 seconds.  Pause, and repeat until you simply doze off.  Another technique is to count backwards from 100.  Anesthesiologists have used this technique for decades when they ask people to count backwards while they administered anesthesia. You can also try progressive relaxation. Tighten and relax different groups of muscles while taking slow deep breaths.  Start at your toes and work your way up through your legs, stomach, back, arms, etc.  You will feel more relaxed.

7.  If you decide to get up because you are having trouble sleeping, try doing something quiet and boring ... read something dull or listen to soothing music. Don't pick up a book that is a real page-turner. Don't do anything productive or that will keep you busy.  Do not cook, clean, answer emails, or post on Facebook or Twitter.

If you try all of the above suggestions and still have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor and be honest about all your habits, over-the-counter medications, and anything else which could be affecting your sleep.

If you are interested in learning more about common medical issues as you age, where to retire, Medicare, Social Security, financial planning, and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission to support this blog, at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credit: Pixabay - Jordan_Singh

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Covid-19: Older Workers and Retirees can Lower their Financial, Emotional and Physical Risk

Across the United States in the spring of 2020, activities began shutting down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Within months, schools, restaurants, bars, stores, offices and other businesses closed. Most people thought the closures would only last a few months.  By mid-summer, however, it became obvious that high unemployment and sporadic closures could continue until early 2021, or longer.

A great deal of attention has been paid to the effect Covid-19 has had on children, students, workers, and families.  However, very little attention has been paid to the significant effect it has had on people over the age of 60 ... both those who are already retired and those who were planning to retire in the next few years.

What are some of the ways this coronavirus pandemic has affected older Americans, and what can they do to minimize or repair the damage?

Financial Consequences of Covid-19

For many Americans who were planning to wait a few more years before they retired, the sudden loss of their job or business has forced them to stop working sooner than they planned.  Even if they were not forced out of their job, many are making the difficult decision to prematurely end a career such as teaching or sales, if it involves working long hours with the public.  This is especially true if they have underlying health conditions which could make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.  Unfortunately, just being over the age of 60 puts them at higher risk.  If they also are overweight, have diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, asthma or other health problems, they are at extremely high risk.

Being forced to stop working sooner than planned can result in both immediate loss of income as well as lower Social Security or pension benefits in the future.  In addition, the sudden forced retirement is happening at a time when interest rates and dividends are so low that it is hard to generate much extra retirement income from savings.

The best solution for those faced with an inconvenient early retirement is to find safe ways to earn extra money from home to supplement your retirement income.  For example, you could research how to become a contact tracer in your state, making phone calls from home to people who may have been exposed to Covid-19.  Or, you may be able to tutor children or teach lessons online.  If you are comfortable working with small groups of children, you may even tutor two or three children in their home, even if that means spending most of the time in their backyard.  Many parents are desperate for childcare and would welcome a former teacher or compassionate adult who is also able to help their children with distance learning a few hours a day.  Supplementing your income safely will help stretch your Social Security or pension benefits until you have the time to make necessary adjustments to your lifestyle.  Finding a way to work a little longer might also make it possible for you to postpone collecting your Social Security or pension benefits, which would increase your payments in the future.

If you are suddenly forced into full retirement or semi-retirement, you should not delay arranging a less expensive lifestyle for yourself, whether that means moving somewhere less expensive, getting rid of a car with high payments, or drastically cutting down on your discretionary spending. 

Health Consequences of Covid-19

Many people are talking about the "Covid 15."  By that they are referring to the 15 pounds they may have gained because they are eating too much and not getting enough exercise.  However, simply because you are not socializing or going to the gym, you do not have to give up your former health regimen.  If anything, you need it more now than ever before.

Make sure you keep your immune system strong by eating well-balanced meals at home, including both a healthy source of protein and an assortment of whole grains, fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  If job loss has substantially reduced your income, food pantries all over the country have stepped up to provide boxes of staples for anyone who needs it.  You may also qualify for food stamps (SNAP) or other programs which provide meals to senior citizens.  Contact your local Senior Center, Social Services Department, or Social Security Office for more information about available programs.  You may be able to apply online.

Start your day with a brisk walk around your neighborhood.  Set a goal of walking 30 minutes or more every day.  Wear a facemask and maintain a safe distance between you and other walkers. Most of them will be trying to keep their distance from you, too! Make it interesting by driving to new parks or trails where you can walk.  Once you return home, use stretch exercise bands or free weights to work other parts of your body, too. Scan through the guide on your TV to see if there are any exercise classes you can follow.  If not, there are some great exercise videos for seniors you may want to try.(Ad)

Make sure you keep up with visits to your doctor and dentist. Your doctor may offer video conference or telephone appointments, after sending you to a lab for any necessary blood tests.  Get any vaccines or other treatments recommended by your doctor.  Continue to see your dentist, but make sure they are following all the recommended guidance for protecting you from exposure to bacteria and viruses.  If goggles are not provided, you may want to bring your own goggles or safety glasses to help protect your eyes from being exposed to viruses in the air. Dr. Fauci recommends that everyone wear goggles or face shields whenever possible, in addition to your facemask. (Ad)

Any time you leave your home, wear a facemask, unless you have to remove it in order to have your teeth cleaned or for other essential reasons.  Keep a variety of cloth and surgical facemasks on hand, so you are always prepared.  Facemasks are an essential part of your plan to stay healthy during this pandemic. (Ad)

Emotional and Social Consequences of Covid-19

Another impact of Covid-19 on older Americans is how it has disrupted their social connections, often leading to loneliness and depression.  Churches, book clubs, Alcoholics Anonymous, and other groups which provide emotional, spiritual and social support are no longer able to meet in person. While religious services may be available online, for many people it is not the same when they are no longer able to see their friends in person.  In addition, because many younger adults fear they could expose their elderly parents or grandparents to Covid-19, they may have cut back sharply on their family visits.  As a result, retirees are often losing the support of both their friends and family.

Over the past few months, countless Americans have found themselves spending long periods of time alone, with little social interaction. In addition, millions of people have had a close friend or family member die during this period of time, either from Covid-19 or other illnesses.  They are grieving at a time when their friends cannot show up to comfort them.

In order to reduce your loneliness and depression, it is important that you reach out and connect with other people any way you can.  Take advantage of technology such as Zoom, Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp to video conference with friends, family, and club members.  Make it fun, by setting up your own refreshments, sharing funny stories, and asking for video tours of their homes.  My husband and I have been enjoying weekly Zoom meetings with our four daughters and their families.  Listening to their banter with each other, and seeing the projects they have been working on during quarantine, has brought our family closer.

When possible, carefully arrange in-person visits with a few people at a time.  Set up a few chairs outside your home or at a park, at least six or more feet apart.  Everyone should wear facemasks, unless eating or drinking.  If there is food, everyone should bring their own meal with them or do something simple, such as ordering separate pizzas and eating on paper plates which can be thrown out as they leave.  There is no reason not to enjoy in-person time with others, as long as both you and your guests are willing to be cautious, maintain a healthy distance, and wear facemasks.  Have a party and enjoy yourselves!

Clubs, churches, and other organizations can also benefit by holding carefully arranged outdoor meetings in parks or parking lots, where there is enough room for appropriate spacing.  It can be very comforting to see people in person.

Finally, find activities to keep your mind active.  There are many volunteer jobs you can do for political campaigns or charities which can be done from home. Crochet an afghan or make a quilt and donate it to an online raffle so your favorite charity can raise money.  Call people you think may be lonely and chat with them awhile. They will really appreciate the attention. Send notecards to old friends. Send birthday and anniversary cards. Make calls or send postcards to support your favorite politician. Keeping busy will make you feel relevant and necessary in the lives of other people.

Keep Balance In Your Life

Despite Covid-19 and the chaos you may feel going on outside your door, you can continue to be content and lead a balanced life, as long as you pay attention to your financial, emotional, social, spiritual and physical needs. It may take a little time to find the right balance, but with practice you can overcome most of the difficulties created by this pandemic.

If you are interested in learning more about where to retire, common medical issues as you age, Medicare, Social Security, financial planning, and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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