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 before remodeling your bathroom.


Remodeling a bathroom for someone who is aging in place is very different than one based on aesthetics or home value. If you or a loved one are remodeling with an eye toward future needs, there are some very important issues to consider before you start and as you’re going through the process.

From design, to safety, to ease of use, remodeling a bathroom will take time and effort, and there will be costs involved. But for anyone who wants to age in place it can be very worthwhile to have a bathroom that is comfortable and safe to use easily as needs change.

From something as simple as sensor lights to adding another bathroom, there are options and considerations for anyone who intends to stay in place. But without a clear picture of what you really want to do with your project, you may find that the costs continue to rise and the needed changes either don’t get completed or aren’t what you really expected. Changes have to be effective – and sometimes this means completely revamping an existing space to accommodate what’s needed in the future.

>>Read the full article: What To Do When You Redo Your Bathroom 2022 – AgingInPlace.org

Gardening can offer older adults surprising benefits

It’s not just your imagination. Gardening is good for your health. Science tells us “interacting with plants can increase self-esteem and reduce feelings of anger, sadness and stress.”

This article, published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution March 2022, explains the science behind the good feelings you get while gardening.

As the weather continues to warm up, many of us will find ourselves back outside pruning, planting and playing in green spaces. This is good news for our bodies and minds, as gardening offers some big benefits for both physical and mental health.

Gardening can help combat depression, anxiety and loneliness

We likely know from our own experiences that bright blooms and warm sun can be a powerful antidote to a less-than-stellar mood. Getting outside and playing with the dirt, mindfully tending to a plant and watching it grow from seed, gives us both a sense of peace and accomplishment that can keep anxiety and depression at bay.

But science backs this up too.

A study from Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service found that interacting with plants can increase self-esteem and reduce feelings of anger, sadness and stress. It also helps keep people in touch with their communities and creates socializing opportunities. All of these factors are critical for maintaining positive emotional health.

Working in a garden keeps the brain sharp

One study found that daily gardening may reduce the risk of dementia by up to 36%. A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health also found that planting a vegetable garden can improve brain nerve growth factors related to memory, and can improve functioning in the hippocampus, which is critical for memory, and cortical regions of the brain.

Gardening also helps combat stress and low mood and increases feelings of joy and happiness, all of which contribute to a healthier, happier, more resilient brain.

>>Click here to read the rest of this article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Clutter in the Attic: Why memory falters with age

 (HealthDay News) — Imagine a closet filled with treasures accumulated during a lifetime of rich experiences. Now, imagine going into that closet to find one specific object.

Only maybe you get distracted by another, more enticing item from your past. Or you find the object you’re seeking but it’s intertwined with six similar items, and withdrawing the one will drag out the entire tangle.

That’s how an old person’s memory works, a new theory claims. Seniors struggle with memory not because they have trouble remembering things, but because their minds are too overloaded with a lifetime’s worth of memories.

“There’s this prevalent idea that older adults’ memories are kind of impoverished, or they have weak memories that do not contain a lot of information,” said Tarek Amer, a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia and Harvard universities, and lead author of a new paper in Trends in Cognitive Sciences that explains this new theory.

“But based on a lot of evidence, we’re actually arguing the opposite. Older adults store too much information, so in a sense they have a harder time focusing their attention on one piece of target information and exclude all sorts of other distractions,” he added.

When anyone attempts to access a memory, their brain quickly sifts through everything stored in it to find the relevant information, Amer and his colleagues write.

Young people don’t have as much prior knowledge tucked away in their brains, so it’s easier for them to find the memory they’re seeking without being distracted by irrelevant recollections. But older people have to dig through a huge amount of prior knowledge when looking for a specific memory. It’s more difficult for older folks to suppress irrelevant reminiscences, and they often pull out a gob of other memories that are stuck to the one they sought, according to behavioral and brain imaging studies cited by the researchers.

“If you know five different people with the same first name — five different Johns, for example — and you’re trying to remember the last name for one of the Johns you know, all the different last names will come to mind and essentially interfere with your ability to remember the last name you’re trying to remember,” Amer said, citing an example.

While this has been presented as a weakness of the aging mind, Amer said that’s mainly a function of the recall tests that are commonly used in psychology labs to measure memory.

Looked at in another way, this brain clutter actually gives older people an advantage over younger people when it comes to tasks involving creativity or wisdom, Amer said. Because of the way memory tests are performed, there are plenty of studies supporting the idea that too much clutter in seniors’ minds causes worse memory performance, he said.

“What still needs more work to provide more evidence for this theory is the other end, showing that these types of cluttered or enriched memory representations in older adults might be beneficial in tasks we encounter in daily life,” Amer said.

For example, studies have shown that seniors outperform younger adults when asked to perform an “alternate uses task” — a psychological test in which they’re handed a common object like a hammer and asked to come up with outside-the-box uses for it.

“You can think of older adults as having this extra information that allow them to form these broad associations between diverse bits of information,” Amer said. “Older adults are forming these cluttered memories, but then once it’s actually time to use this extra information they can perform better on these creativity tasks.”

The new theory “makes sense to me,” said Aaron Bonner-Jackson, a neuropsychologist with the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

“Older adult brains are casting a wider net on whatever they’re trying to do, and that can have good and bad consequences,” he said.

This helps explain why storytelling is so much fun for older folks, especially when it tends to ramble a bit, Bonner-Jackson said.

“They may be asked a question and then because they have so many associations, that might trigger an old memory or the name of a person or something they did in the past,” he said. “Reminiscing can be very pleasurable for older people, because they can often make associations with more things.”

It also shows what elderly people can bring to the table, in terms of using their life experience to come up with better solutions to some problems.

“Sometimes they bring in a lot more associations to whatever they’re doing than a younger adult might make, and I think absolutely this could be a source of creativity and wisdom that would give them an advantage,” Bonner-Jackson said.

>>Click here to read more.

Signs It’s Time to Get Organized

(Posted with permission from Mike DeLeon at Caring Transitions of Northeast Atlanta)

Has your “stuff” taken over your space?

The items that fill our homes can be cherished, but when those items start to get in the way, it may be time to clear clutter. If you care for your home and an aging loved one too, this can become even more complex.

We have signs to help you decide if your possessions are holding you or a loved one back from being organized. In both cases, we can easily become blind to the number of items we accumulate over time and grow accustomed to clutter being there. If you’re not sure you need to remove excess “stuff” from your living environment here are signs clutter has taken over and it’s time to get organized.

In Your Home

Streamlining in your home to save space will help you stop clutter from taking over your space. Each room should have designated spaces for everything that belongs in the room.

Signs you may have too much “stuff” in your home:

  • You planned to clear clutter and get organized for a while, but haven’t had time.
  • You have more clothing and shoes in your home than can be worn in a specific season and laundry has become overwhelming.
  • You have trouble finding items like keys or other daily essentials frequently.
  • You have multiple spaces where “stuff” consistently continues to accumulate.
  • You have a large amount of items connected to memories or emotions that have taken up too much space.

3 Tips to Start Getting Organized

  1. Create a plan. Start the process by deciding which items are most meaningful to you and what you need for your family’s daily routine. Then identify heirlooms and keepsakes you are certain you want to keep.
  2. Know your space. Understand the layout, limitations, and organization wishes for your home. Decide what you believe should comfortably be in each room.
  3. Sort your items. Decide which items you want to donate or consider selling. Evaluate the best options to help you with that task.

In Your Loved One’s Home

Here’s a list of significant changes that could indicate your parents may currently or soon need additional support streamlining or professional decluttering help:

  • You observe stacks of unpaid bills or late notices.
  • Your loved one has trouble finding important or daily use items.
  • Changes in housekeeping that indicate parents are having trouble with clutter.
  • Clutter is causing numerous safety concerns in the home, such as covering heat and air conditioning ducts or trip and fall hazards.
  • Clutter is leading to issues with disorganized medications, spoiled food in the fridge, lack of healthy food items, infestations or mold.

3 Tips to Help Loved One’s Streamline

  1. Help your loved one get rid of items that belong to other people. Have they held on to your childhood furniture and keepsakes or stored items for family and friends? If your answer is yes, start clearing those items.
  2. Dispose of broken and outdated items. In most cases, broken items are no longer useful or functional, but a hazard. Be sure to discard these items to clear room as well as for safety.
  3. Be patient and prioritize the well-being of everyone involved. In a world driven by immediacy, we often want instant results. Remember this is a process that works best with a plan and lots of patience. If the task exceeds what you comfortably do, experts like those at Caring Transitions can help.

If these signs describe your home or your loved one’s home, it’s time to reclaim your space and get organized! This can be an overwhelming task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Experts at Caring Transitions can help you clear space. Learn more by contacting Mike DeLeon at Caring Transitions of Northeast Atlanta – mdeleon@caringtransitions.com.

Helping Older Adults Through the Moving Process

(Posted with permission from Mike DeLeon at Caring Transitions)

Here are a few tips from the experts to help you create a plan that can help you manage a move for an older adult.

  1. Don’t make seniors feel guilty. Avoid saying things like “Why did you hold on to this for so many years?” while sorting through belongings. Statements like this can cause stress and make seniors feel like a burden.
  2. Save photo albums for LAST. They can surface too many memories at once, which slows the process and triggers waves of emotions.
  3. Set a timer. Grab a kitchen timer or your phone and set it for one hour. Take a break once that hour is up.
  4. Color-code with Post-It Notes. Seniors have a tough time reading small writing. Color-code with post-it notes so PINK is pack, GREEN is sell, and BLUE is give away.
  5. Bring a door stopper. Doors get in the way, especially for older folks. Bring door stoppers to prop doors open to allow for easy room access for Grandma, and for large boxes and furniture.
  6. Consider online platforms for estate sales. Most seniors are not internet savvy, but their children/grandchildren usually are. There are many online estate platforms like CTBIDS.com, that sell everything online as buyers bid.  No in-person estate sales with strangers walking through the home and haggling over prices. The online estate sale platform handles it all, allowing the family to make money from hidden treasures around the home. 
    Best Sellers:  Electronics, jewelry, collectibles, and durable medical equipment.
    Items That May Not Sell Well: Large off-trend furniture, off-trend or well-worn clothes and kitchen utensils.
  7. Keep a schedule. Many seniors like a routine and stress if it’s altered. If the senior goes to bed at 10pm every night, don’t try to keep packing late at night.

Caring Transitions® takes steps to train and screen every employee and has developed estate sale standards that uphold the values of integrity and honesty for over 10 years. Since many of our clients are older adults, each of our offices are independently certified to support a “senior move” and help mitigate the effects of stress, health and common cognitive issues which are frequently challenges for late life relocations. In Atlanta, contact Caring Transitions’ Mike DeLeon – mdeleon@caringtransitions.com.

The Healthy Aging Conversation

How do you know if it’s time to have the conversation with your loved ones?

(Posted with permission of Caring Transitions of Northeast Atlanta)

As COVID restrictions begin to lift, more families have the chance to travel to see parents or aging loved ones. If you are visiting with family and notice changes in mom or dad’s health after time apart or only virtual visits, it may be time to have conversations about a healthy aging plan.

Often times family members hesitate to talk with their aging parents about common topics of concern such as changes to health, transportation, home care, legal and financial issues as well as retirement housing. These are important topics that can’t be ignored but may be uncomfortable to discuss. Despite any differences in age or understanding, on the most basic level, we all want to feel loved.

What changes may indicate additional support is needed?

  • Difficulty keeping up with finances. Observe stacks of unpaid bills or late notices.
  • Changes in personal hygiene or housekeeping that indicate parents are having trouble with personal grooming or housework.
  • Your parent repeats themselves often in the same conversation, seems confused, highly emotional or exhibits unusual paranoia. This could be caused by medications or other more serious cognitive issues.
  • Excessive shopping through TV or online outlets, or an unusual interest in online sweepstakes that require their personal information, phone numbers, addresses, social security or banking information.
  • Your parent is extremely isolated due to loss of a spouse or loss of personal mobility.
  • Numerous safety concerns in the home, such as heat, air conditioning, leaks, crumbling plaster, trip and fall hazards, steep stairways, loose carpeting and outdated electrical.
  • Health concerns: disorganized medications, spoiled food in the home, lack of healthy food items, infestations or mold.

Don’t feel discouraged if you notice any of these changes. It is much better to have these important conversations sooner rather than later. It is often too late to make informed decisions or be sensitive to everyone’s point of view once a personal or medical crisis occurs. Decisions that could have been made in advance end up being made in a rush; resulting in regret, remorse and unnecessary expense.

How can I communicate openly in a caring and loving way?

  • Be Attentive – Take the time to create a calm and quiet environment for conversation, especially important conversations. Making sure there is a reduction in distractions will help keep the conversation focused. Remember to pay close attention to what’s being said to ease tension, give comfort, and maintain trust.
  • Be Understanding – There are often feelings of confusion and loss that come along with discussing changes in care or moving to a new place. Being empathetic is the first step to truly being open to what is being communicated.
  • Be Aware of Body Language – Body Language communicates beyond words and surpasses the barrier of understanding. It is important to maintain eye contact, a relaxed posture, as well as smile genuinely and often. Emotions can often be “felt” through body language and nonverbal cues.
  • Be Patient – Remember to take the conversation one moment at a time. This can be done by keeping the discussion simple and willingly repeating information. Allow for time to process the conversation without rushing the moment. This can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty.
  • Be Calm – Your conversation may be difficult or unwelcome and this could be a source of frustration for both you and your loved ones. Maintain a calming tone and body language to keep the conversation healthy. Be sure to listen and acknowledge emotions, like fear, anger, and anguish in a loving way.

Focus on the benefits of a creating a healthy aging plan.

Difficult or complex conversations are not always easy. Oftentimes people feel it’s easy to avoid difficult communications regarding health concerns because they may not want to face the fact their parents or loved ones are getting older. They may also feel that asking too many “prying” questions could jeopardize good relationships. On the other hand, they may also wish to avoid the additional responsibilities that are sure to surface as care issues are discovered.

Prioritize taking this time to enjoy each other’s company and have caring conversations. Taking the time to visit more often isn’t always possible during these difficult and uncertain times, so make the most of the moments you have in person. Your family will benefit from increased clarity and decreased conflict as they gain a sense of comfort knowing they are respecting their parents’ decisions and values. Frequent communication promotes honest conversation and can help you adjust to the many changes that take place as parents grow older.

Explaining medical and non-medical in-home care for seniors

When it comes to aging in place, there are a variety of resources available to provide support for seniors. However, many people are unsure about differences between services, especially when it comes to medical and non-medical in-home care. Both provide support in the home, but they serve different purposes.

Medical Home Care

This type of care is often recommended for seniors who need medical assistance following an illness or injury, when coming home from the hospital, or when managing chronic conditions. Care is provided by a nurse or other licensed medical professional.

Home health care may include services such as:

  • Medication administration including IV infusions or injections
  • Pain management
  • Care for tracheotomies, catheters, feeding tubes, or ventilators
  • Wound care
  • Post-operative rehabilitation

It is prescribed by a doctor and allows seniors to recover in the comfort of their own homes more safely and effectively. The home health provider ensures they are following the established treatment plan and can identify potential problems or complications.

Non-Medical Home Care

This type of care focuses on supporting seniors with activities of daily living and maintaining their independence. It does not require a doctor’s order and can be scheduled for a few hours a week or several hours per day depending on the individual’s needs.

Non-medical in-home care may include services such as:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Meal preparation
  • Bathing, dressing, or toileting
  • Assistance with errands
  • Escorting on outings
  • Medication reminders
  • Nighttime and wake-up routines
  • Companionship
  • Respite care

Caregivers tailor care to each senior’s unique needs, allowing them to function independently as much as possible while offering the appropriate level of support. They can also spend time with aging adults reminiscing, playing games, or discussing current events to provide socialization and companionship to reduce loneliness and isolation. However, they do not offer direct medical care.

>>Read the full post here.

Posted with permission of Always Best Care Senior Services
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