Reaching out to isolated seniors and loved ones during the holidays

Reaching out to isolated seniors and loved ones during the holidays

The COVID-19 pandemic has isolated us from each other more than we ever expected. Many of us have not been able to see our families or friends and we are unsure when we will be able to. During this time, we have become more selfish with our time and energy focusing on our own happiness and trying to get through this time as best as possible. While it’s important for us to stay centered and positive, we can’t forget about our loved ones, whether they live in a nursing home, at home or in a senior living community. You may think they are kept occupied with their own daily lives, but many are struggling with feeling lonely. Unfortunately, they will not be the ones to reach out or tell you what they are feeling. If you want to take the initiative of reaching out to a loved one but don’t want to just say “hi,” there are plenty of ways you...
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Nonprofits are struggling during COVID-19, here are a few you can help now

Nonprofits are struggling during COVID-19, here are a few you can help now

Nonprofit organizations that depend on donations and volunteers have been disrupted due to COVID-19. With an increase in demand for their services and a decrease in donations and means of fundraising, they need our help now more than ever. Many of them have to turn people away due to a lack of volunteers, reduced staff, lack of supplies, and lack of funds. Ahead of the holidays, the demand will only increase which means we need to act fast. Many of these nonprofits may have locations near you and provide essential services like food assistance, emergency shelter, senior care, substance abuse disorder treatments, and much more. Simply Google the organization and see how you can help: Big Brothers Big Sisters – striving to keep kids supported during coronavirus related stress and social distancing Cleveland Clinic Hardship Fund – helps first responders who are on the front lines who need financial assistance Feeding Florida – provides hunger relief throughout all 67 counties with...
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How to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday meal this year

How to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday meal this year

The 2020 holiday season is upon us, but this year there could be an unwelcome guest: COVID-19. It is very likely that you, your families and loved ones are adjusting to this circumstance, while hoping that it will not come again. In the meantime, let’s plan carefully for the safest possible holidays and holiday meals. The unfortunate fact is that seniors are at a much higher-than-average risk if they should become infected with COVID-19. This year, “Healthy Holiday Eating” means paying special attention to the conditions in which meals are served and to the types of gatherings we have. For once, this is more important than calorie counts, nutrition, exercise or rest schedules. This situation poses a real problem for seniors. The thought of missing a holiday meal and the chance to be with family and friends is particularly painful. Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas and New Year’s often provide seniors an opportunity to be with the people who mean the most to them....
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This is what you should know about emergency medical alert devices

This is what you should know about emergency medical alert devices

Recently, OurSeniors.net published an article that reviewed several of the new, high-tech wearable devices that can monitor a senior’s vital signs. These devices can keep track of measurements like heart rate and blood pressure, respiration and even observe exercise and sleep patterns.  Emergency-use “Medical Alert” devices are a related topic, perhaps of greater interest. While a fitness or activity tracker can improve a senior’s health, medical alert devices can literally make the difference between life and death. The Life Alert Program, a service dating back to 1972, states that on average, it intervenes in one life-threatening situation every 10 minutes. Its ad line, “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up,” is one of the best-known commercial dialogues of all time. The original device was a pendant-shaped gadget, worn on a wristband or as a necklace. As you would expect, these devices have come a long way since the 1970’s. Beyond instant emergency assistance, today’s alert technology can offer a variety of...
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An easy Thanksgiving dessert you can make with grandchildren

An easy Thanksgiving dessert you can make with grandchildren

Thanksgiving is around the corner and this year, we want to make the holiday as simple and stressfree as possible after the year we have had. Whether you have been cooking for days, are in charge of just dessert, or want to gift a friend with a cake,  here is a great quick recipe for a light and fluffy Pistachio Cake. Anyone that comes into contact with this dessert will be delighted by the cheery green color that stands out among the Thanksgiving staple items. Cake Ingredients     1-pkg Yellow Cake Mix 1-pkg Pistachio Instant Pudding ½ cup- Cooking Oil (vegetable or canola) 1 cup- Club Soda 4- eggs ½ cup- Chopped Nuts Topping Ingredients: 1-pkg Dream Whip 1-pkg Instant Pistachio Pudding 1 ½ Cup of Milk Directions: Preheat oven to 350F degrees, mix all cake ingredients at once and pour the mixture into a greased and floured tube pan.  Bake for 45-50 minutes.  Beat all topping ingredients until fluffy and ice the cake once it cools down. This recipe was taken from the cookbook of...
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What happens to your assets if you or your spouse need to go into a nursing home?

What happens to your assets if you or your spouse need to go into a nursing home?

| Written by Wendy A. Mara, J.D., M.B.A | Long-term care planning is key to protecting your assets should you or your spouse need to go into a nursing home.  In Florida, the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) determines your eligibility for Medicaid Long Term Care (“Medicaid LTC”).  DCF looks at two separate things: your income and your assets.  The applicant would need to qualify both under the income limit requirements and under the asset limit requirements in order to qualify for Medicaid LTC.  If the applicant does not qualify, the applicant would need to engage in Medicaid LTC Planning in order to qualify for Medicaid LTC. With respect to income, the applicant’s income must be under $2,349.00 per month (for 2020).  Income for a spouse (called Community Spouse) can be unlimited.  If the Community Spouse has no income or little income and is in need of support from the applicant, the Community Spouse may qualify for a Spousal Diversion whereby...
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These are the 5-Star Medicare Advantage Plans for 2021 in Florida

These are the 5-Star Medicare Advantage Plans for 2021 in Florida

If you are a Medicare patient, you have undoubtedly noticed a recent torrent of ads from Medicare insurance providers. This is an annual event, coinciding with Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 of each year. During this period, seniors can easily sign up for a new plan, switch plans or leave a plan. When the enrollment period ends, all of these options become more difficult, if they are available at all. During this time, seniors may enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan if they have been enrolled in original Medicare (Parts A and B) or move from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another. These Medicare Advantage or “MA” plans are rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, enrollment in MA plans has doubled in the past decade, and the Congressional Budget Office predicts that nearly half of all Medicare beneficiaries will be in MA plans by 2029. There are good reasons for this trend. It has always...
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This is the ideal retirement lifestyle investment for travel lovers

This is the ideal retirement lifestyle investment for travel lovers

Retirement is the perfect time to make dreams of extended travel come true, but it is not always easy on the wallet. Flights, hotels and rental cars can be a headache. More and more retired Americans are looking to owning an RV because of its hassle-free nature but have no idea where to begin with their search. The size and unit type (motor home or travel trailer) can be hard to determine. Plus, there are many considerations for potential RV owners. Who will be doing the driving? What lifestyle features are essential (i.e. multiple beds, bathrooms, washer/dryer, dishwasher, or large screen TV)? How often will it be used—only on weekends, a month or two out of the year or for long periods of driving and touring? Where will the RV be stored when it’s not in use? Thankfully, there is someplace local that can help with all those questions and more—Giant Recreation World. They are a trusted and recommended RV dealer...
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Are your Social Security benefits taxable?

Are your Social Security benefits taxable?

Will you have to pay income tax on the Social Security benefits you receive? It depends on many variables. The IRS uses a measurement called “combined income” to determine if you need to pay taxes on any part of your Social Security benefits. Combined income is made up of two parts: 50% of your Social Security benefits and; ALL of your other income. Your “combined income” equals ½ of your Social Security benefits + your adjusted gross income + nontaxable interest or other nontaxable income (if any). For many taxpayers, there is no difference because they do not have income that need to be excluded from their “Adjusted Gross Income” (AGI) total. If you are married, filing jointly and your total combined income is between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay an income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits. If your combined income is more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable. If...
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What is a revocable living trust and do I need one?

What is a revocable living trust and do I need one?

| Written by Andrew C. Grant | One of the most frequent questions I get when meeting with new clients to plan for their estates is whether they need a trust or not.  This question is usually prompted by a lack of information, or misinformation, as to what a trust does as part of a person’s estate plan.  This article will attempt to provide a little clarity on the subject. A trust is most commonly used as a means of avoiding probate at the grantor’s death.  These trusts are referred to as revocable, or living, trusts.  As the name implies, they are created during a person’s lifetime and are fully revocable or amendable during that lifetime.  All assets transferred to the trust are treated as if the grantor (who is usually also the trustee) still owns them directly with no loss of control.  Upon the grantor’s death, assets that are already in the trust pass to the grantor’s beneficiaries without having to...
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