8 Money Tips for Seniors Suffering from Inflation

Kiplinger is out with what they call eight financial survival tips. It’s a great read with some terrific suggestions of things to keep in mind as we deal with inflation and a recession.

(From Kiplinger) Why is this year different from all other years for seniors? Inflation. The latest numbers show a whopping inflation rate that’s the highest since 1982.  This means that everything you buy will be more expensive.  You see this impact at the gas pump, the grocery store, the doctor and, frankly, all over. The issue is that you don’t have a choice not to buy certain things.

It’s interesting, because, we sort of have a love-hate relationship with our financial world.  We love that the economy is back roaring at a full-employment rate and that almost anyone can get a job if they want one.  We also love that wages are going up and that we are back in the car and eating out and traveling. But at the same time, we hate that this growth breeds inflation, resulting in costs for everything rising.  We also may support the Ukrainians in their war with Russia, but we hate the costs to us.

>>Read the full article from Kiplinger

Do you know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?

You’ve probably had it happen with a loved one – they’ve forgotten something that is obvious, or their forgetfulness is completely uncharacteristic. You immediately think, “is it the beginning of Alzheimer’s?”

More often than not, it’s simply a natural part of aging. It’s important to know and understand the difference — and be able to recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s as early as possible to ensure safety and hopefully slow the progression.

Recently, Atria Senior Living published a great article explaining the differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as the signs to look for.

(Published by Atria) Dementia is not a disease, but a broad term that refers to various conditions of more serious cognitive impairment. It is caused by damage to brain cells which can affect thinking, behavior and feelings. There are many types of dementia including Lewy body dementia, mixed dementia, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and more.  Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia – accounting for 60–80% of dementia cases.

What we know about Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most prevalent health concerns among adults ages 65 and older and is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. It is a degenerative disease resulting from brain cell damage where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over time.

Scientists are working hard to identify what causes this damage. They do know that, as this damage spreads, the brain cells lose their ability to function and then die. This causes irreversible changes in the brain that leads to memory failure, personality changes and problems carrying out daily activities. A person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years on average after diagnosis, but depending on other factors, can live as long as 20 years.

>>Click here to read more including the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s.

What you need to know about long term care.

It’s not something we like to think about, but most Americans will face a time when they need assistance to care for themselves.  Whether you’re thinking of yourself or a loved one, we all must be well versed in long term care and other elder care programs in order to be prepared. 

AARP’s CEO Jo Ann Jenkins has written an article calling attention to what she refers to as a deeply flawed long term care system.  She explains what long term care is and what is at risk today. Take a few minutes and learn more about the system you may one day depend on.

>>Long Term Care: The Crisis Everyone Must Face

Older Americans are Primary Targets of Cybercrime

(Originally published at AARP.com)

Cybercrime reported to the FBI cost Americans 50 and older nearly $3 billion last year, a 62 percent increase from 2020, according to data from the bureau. The steep rise in dollar losses came despite a drop in incidents reported by older adults to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Americans ages 50 and over filed 166,831 complaints with the cybercrime unit in 2021, down from 191,768 the year before. ​

Overall, nearly a quarter of last year’s total cybercrime losses were borne by people 60 and older, the population that is the focus of the new report. Tech support scamsinvestment fraud and what the bureau terms “confidence fraud” — cons that play on victims’ emotions and affections, primarily via romance scams — were major drivers of rising fraud costs, collectively accounting for more than half of that age group’s losses.

Confidence frauds, which also include grandparent scams, were the costliest cons for older adults, with 2021 losses topping $432 million for victims age 60 and up, a 54 percent increase from the prior year. 

But it’s tech support scams — in which crooks posing as IT pros from well-known tech companies charge hefty fees to fix fabricated computer problems — that have seen the most explosive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic

>>Click here to read more at AARP.

>>Read about common scams targeting veterans and military families.

How to help your parents downsize.

Helping your parents downsize is an emotional process for you and for them. With some compassion, tact, preparation, and possibly some outside help, it can be a smooth experience for everyone involved.

Caring Transitions of Northeast Atlanta offers some wonderful tips to help you begin and go through the downsizing process with older loved ones.

Before helping your parents, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Sometimes the emotional aspect of downsizing goes overlooked as you focus on the more practical aspects. Checking in with yourself and setting your perspective goes a long way in creating a more positive experience.

Recognize that this won’t be easy. Even with a plan, downsizing can bring up some tough emotions. Expect the process to be a little messy and stressful and be compassionate towards your parents and yourself.

Be patient. Downsizing can be especially difficult if your parents are leaving the family home, or if an upsetting circumstance triggered the downsize. On top of that, it often takes longer than expected, depending on how many possessions must be decluttered. Put yourself in your parents’ shoes as best you can. A little patience goes a long way.

Don’t try to take over. Unless there is an issue of impaired cognitive function, know that your parents are ultimately the decision makers. Trying to force them into anything will only be counterproductive. If your parents are losing cognitive functioning, still be respectful and involve them as much as you reasonably can, so they feel they still have some control.

>>Click here to read the remainder of this important article on how to help your parents and loved ones downsize with many more tips to help you.

5 Tips to Avoid Being Scammed

More than 2 million people in the United States file fraud complaints each year, many of them in the senior population. Here are some tips that can help you identify a scam before falling victim.

If someone contacts you from an organization you trust, verify that they are who they claim to be. You can hang up or stop replying, then contact them using information on the organization’s website.

Verify the organization. Call them back: Scammers want to build trust fast— preferably in a matter of seconds. They often pretend to be from a government agency or another well-known organization such as Apple, Medicare, Amazon, or local utilities companies. These imposter scammers will have specific, personal details that make them seem legitimate. Never give out your credit card or social security details over the phone unless you are the one who initiated the call. 

Be aware of people who present you with a problem or a prize. Never give out personal details or credit card info over email or over the phone during an unexpected, incoming call.

Be skeptical of urgent problems or sudden prizes: If you get a call about a sudden problem (a missed bill, back tax, family health emergency) that until now, you hadn’t known about, be alert. Be skeptical of any unexpected prizes like a sweepstakes or all-inclusive vacation. Oftentimes, scammers will use these scenarios and ask for a “small fee” to claim winnings.

Keep social media accounts private. Never give someone who contacts you remote access to your computer or device.

Avoid oversharing personal details online: Scammers are experts at extracting info. Sometimes they will research their targets beforehand. They might call and know names, hometowns, family members or home purchase prices. This kind of information is available online, and is easy for them to access. Having this information also makes it easy for them to win your trust and get more details from you. After purchasing a home, your personal details may be more readily available online. Be alert.

Even if something is urgent, there is always time for you to verify details online.

Remember, there’s always time to double check: If you or someone you know is being pressured to make an immediate payment, be suspicious. Scammers expect victims to act fast, before anyone can realize they are illegitimate, so they threaten with losses. If you feel nervous, time-pressured, or afraid of losing benefits during a phone call, it may be a scam.

Only use protected, traceable methods of payment. Using a credit card means seniors can dispute payments “after the fact” if a product is not delivered as advertised.

Pay with credit card: Scammers often request specific forms of payment. Anytime someone asks to be paid quickly via wire transfer, gift card or mailed cash, be wary. Most legitimate organizations offer a variety of safe, traceable payment options and let you decide the best form of payment.

To opt-out of marketing calls and easily recognize scams, consider registering your number with the National Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov. Within a month of submission, all legitimate businesses should stop calling you. Scammers will still use your number, but you will know that the calls you receive are no legitimate.

>>Click here for more information on senior scams & safety from the FBI.

Getting ready to list your home?

The article below comes from the National Association of Realtors/SRES. Hilary Walker has earned the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation and is committed to helping Atlanta-area seniors manage their unique real estate needs.

Preparing a home for sale is always a significant undertaking. For seniors, in particular, the pre-listing process can feel overwhelming. An agent who has earned their Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation can guide your efforts and help make the transition go as smoothly as possible.

You can trust your SRES® designee to help you:

Map out a plan.

An SRES® understands that each client faces different circumstances and challenges. They can advise you on a sequence of steps tailored to your situation. And they’ll guide you through the process at whatever pace suits your needs. Your SRES® will take a no-pressure approach and look for ways to make your move more manageable and less stressful.

Set priorities.

Please don’t assume that every aspect of your home has to appear picture-perfect before listing it for sale. Your SRES® understands what matters most to buyers in your market and can help you focus on the most critical projects. The top priorities are often decluttering living spaces and cleaning your home thoroughly, immediately before it is listed.

Evaluate renovations.

Is it essential to update your flooring, paint your walls, or replace your appliances? Your SRES® knows local buyers’ top priorities and understands which renovations offer the biggest bang for the buck. They’ll explain your options, but it’s up to you to decide if you want to add these projects to your list.

Suggest trusted resources.

If you need help with any aspect of your move, your SRES® can provide suggestions. They’ve already vetted related service professionals that understand seniors’ concerns and can assist in decluttering, packing, renovating, and more. The choice is always yours, but it’s nice knowing you can turn to these trusted resources.

Discuss staging options.

Many sellers assume they need to stage their home before listing it. Again, this depends on your local real estate market and your personal situation. Often, staging isn’t mandatory. Today’s property marketing options include virtual staging techniques, which might be a good alternative. Your SRES® can discuss your options and offer recommendations tailored to your concerns.

Regardless of when and where you are moving, you’ll have a better experience if you work with an agent who has earned the SRES® designation- someone who is committed to helping seniors navigate their housing transitions successfully

Voting in Georgia’s 2022 Primaries

Georgia’s primary elections are coming up, but you can go ahead and vote.  Georgia’s May 24th primaries will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, State Senate and House, governor, lieutenant governor and other state executive offices, as well as several state high courts.

AARP has all of the information you need to prepare for voting. Click below for their Voting Guide including links to getting your absentee ballot or what you need to know about early voting.

>>Read more in their 2022 Voting Guide.