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LIVING

A Blank Slate Media/Litmor Publications Special Section • August 10, 2018


34 SENIOR LIVING • Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018

Understanding Medicare, next step Federal health insurance program aids people over 65, those disabled for 24 months plus BY J U L I E WA R D -A B D O Medicare is a federal health insurance program available to people 65 and older, or those under 65 who have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for more than 24 months. While this valuable program helps with your health-care costs, Medicare does not cover all medical expenses. It’s important to understand what Medicare covers and the coverage choices available to you. Medicare consists of four parts. Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facilities and hospice care. Part B covers doctors’ visits, outpatient care, diagnostic tests, lab services and preventive services. Medicare Part A and Part B are considered Original Medicare and are provided by the federal government. Part C and Part D are offered through private insurance companies. Part D is prescription drug coverage. Part C is more commonly known as Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans provide the benefits of Part A and Part B and usually includes Part D. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional servic-

es such as vision care, dental benefits and wellness programs. Once you enroll in Original Medicare it is very important to understand your medical costs and coverage choices and to choose carefully. Medicare Part A has a benefit period deductible of $1,340. A benefit period is 60 days. Part B Medicare has an annual deductible of $183. Once the deductible is met you are responsible for 20 percent co-insurance. It is important to know that Medicare does not have a maximum out of pocket so there is no cap on the costs you might incur. To determine the type of coverage that would work for you, you need to analyze the doctors you use, the medications you take, where you live and your financial budget. The minimal coverage that is considered creditable coverage is original Medicare with a prescription drug plan. If you decide not to enroll in Part D when you’re first eligible for Medicare, you’ll likely be subject to a late enrollment penalty. If you decide to enroll in a prescription drug plan you have to choose one. Each prescription drug plan has a for-

mulary, which is a list of covered drugs. The formularies vary by plan. The key is to find a plan that offers coverage for the drugs you take at a price you can afford. Many people look at Supplemental Insurance more commonly known as Medigap Insurance, to help pay for the Medicare deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. By choosing a Medigap plan, Medicare remains your primary insurance enabling you to go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare nationwide. There is a range of choices available. Medigap policies are standardized so that all policies identified by letters (A, B, C, F, G, K, L & N) offer the same benefits no matter which insurance company you purchase it from. For this reason, premiums and customer service are important when looking for a plan. Medigap plans do not include prescription drug coverage. If you purchase a Medigap plan you must also purchase a stand-alone prescription drug plan. Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) are offered by private insurance carriers that contract with Medicare. If you choose to get your coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD) you will use the plan for all of your health-

care needs, rather than Original Medicare. You still have to pay your Part B premium. The premiums for Medicare Advantage plans tend to be low and you pay co-pays and/or co-insurance for medical services. Medicare Advantage Plans must have annual limits on out of pocket costs to protect you from excessive charges. These plans may require you to see health care providers in their network and can insist on referrals from your primary care physician before seeing a specialist. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage. Every year you have the ability to review and change your plan during the annual enrollment period which is between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 and the new plan starts on January 1st. With all of these choices it is important to do your homework before making any decisions regarding the direction you want to take for your healthcare needs. Julie Ward-Abdo, Senior Health Pan Finder www.SeniorHealthPlanFinder.com

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Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018 • SENIOR LIVING

35

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36 SENIOR LIVING • Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018

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One popular view of retirement is relaxing in a favorite chair. To be sure, relaxation is important and more of it is something to look forward to as we age, but today, the importance of regular exercise at every age is well-documented. Physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental wellbeing, especially as you age. It’s never too late to start being more physically active. No matter what your physical condition or age, even moderate exercise can reap the many benefits. While no amount of exercise can completely prevent age-related declines in cognitive and physical function, ample evidence shows that regular physical activity helps to improve physical and mental functions and reverse some effects of chronic disease, thereby keeping older people mobile and independent. The risks of developing major cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, obesity, falls, cognitive impairments, osteoporosis and muscular weakness are decreased by even low intensity walking. At around 40 years of age, we begin to lose muscle. Sedentary people lose about 15 percent of their muscle mass each decade after 50 and 30 percent each decade after 70. Bone density diminishes and metabolism slows down, and we shouldn’t take that lying down! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging is in part due to reduced physical activity. By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in absolutely no physical activity. Physical activity doesn’t need to be strenuous to gain health benefits. While any physical activity helps, a minimum of 30

minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per day is recommended. Tips to Get Started Increases in daily activity can include using the stairs instead of an elevator, walking rather than driving or parking further from your destination. Stand instead of sitting in front of your computer. Improve Your Mood Studies indicate that regular exercise helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improved self-esteem. When exercising, your body releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that interact with the receptors in your brain, triggering a positive feeling. Even more beneficial is exercising with a group, as the increased social contact can also enhance a feeling of well-being and be mentally stimulating. Recreational Opportunities Abound Many communities offer inexpensive, age-appropriate fitness classes for older adults and retirement communities in particular often provide a full schedule of indoor and outdoor activities taught by a certified senior fitness professional and appropriate for all fitness levels such as chair yoga, mat Pilates, dance, stretching and relaxation and walking and swim programs. In the warmer months, residents enjoy outdoor recreation areas for both exercise and social interaction. Whether you’re a resident of a life plan or other retirement community or live in a single-family home, start investing in your more healthy future today to enjoy a greater sense of wellbeing. Joanne Lehmann, LPN is the health and wellness manager at Jefferson’s Ferry Life Plan Community in S. Setauket, www.jeffersonsferry.org.


Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ SENIOR LIVING

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46 SENIOR LIVING • Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018

Some benefits of growing older

What is a silent stroke? Silent stroke may not exhibit any symptoms, making it more difficult to detect.

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he brain is a complex organ responsible for controlling many different bodily functions. When working at optimal capacity, the brain is a wonder to behold. When illness or trauma affects the brain, various parts of the body may not work as they should. One of the more devastating things that can affect the brain is stroke. Stroke describes a sudden stoppage of blood from reaching the brain. Harvard Medical School states that if a large number of brain cells are starved of blood supply, they can die. With their demise, a person’s memory and ability to speak and move can be compromised. While many strokes come on suddenly, certain factors may indicate a person is at risk. Such factors may include prior heart attacks, genetics, high blood pressure, smoking, or a prior stroke. However, in a particular type of stroke — a “silent stroke” — symptoms are far more subtle and difficult to spot. Silent cerebral infarction, often referred to as “SCI” or “silent stroke,” is a brain injury likely caused by a blood clot interrupting blood flow to the brain, offers the American Stroke Association. Silent strokes increase risk for other strokes and can be a sign of progressive brain damage. A silent stroke is typically only noticed as a side component of an MRI of the brain. Many times patients do not recall having a stroke and never felt any symptoms. Silent strokes should not be mistaken for mini-strokes. Mini-stroke is a brief but discrete and memorable event, with symptoms appearing for a few minutes or a few hours.

According to a study on silent stroke titled “Functional and Cognitive Consequences of Silent Stroke Discovered Using Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging in an Elderly Population” and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, silent strokes are quite common and can have serious consequences. Researchers have found that silent

stroke is associated with impairments in tests of cognitive function rather than movement-oriented performance tests like rising from a chair. Almost 50 percent of studied silent strokes affected frontal circuit components of the brain, such as the frontal cortex, basal ganglia and thalamus. Lesions in these brain structures compromised executive functions and were related to vascular dementia. Another study showed associations between silent stroke and visual field deficits, weakness in walking on heels, history of memory loss, migraines, and lower scores in cognitive function tests.

M

any people are quick to think of growing older in a negative light. Although there certainly are some side effects of aging that one may wish to avoid, people may find that the benefits of growing older outweigh the negatives.

The “silent” part of a silent stroke also refers to the areas of the brain that the stroke affects. Experts at Harvard Medical School explain that, during a silent stroke, an interruption in blood flow destroys areas of cells in a part of the brain that is “silent,” meaning that it doesn’t control any vital functions. Researchers say that, over time, the damage from silent strokes can accumulate, leading to more and more problems with memory. Collectively, silent strokes become silent no longer.

Seniors are a rapidly growing segment of the population. In the United States, the Administration on Aging states that the older population — persons 65 years or older — numbered 46.2 million in 2014 (the latest year for which data is available). Statistics Canada reports that, in July 2015, estimates indicated that there were more persons aged 65 years and older in Canada than children aged 0 to 14 years for the first time in the country’s history. Nearly one in six Canadians (16.1%) was at least 65 years old.

There are certain ways to reduce the risk of any type of stroke. These include:

With so many people living longer, it’s time to celebrate the perks of getting older rather than the drawbacks. Here are some great benefits to growing old.

• managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels • quitting smoking • reducing the risk of diabetes and effectively treat the condition if it is present • losing weight to prevent obesity • exercising and avoid a sedentary lifestyle • taking a low-dose aspirin or a drug that prevents blood clots. Silent strokes largely go unrecognized but can lead to significant brain injury. Getting the facts can help men and women reduce their risk for silent stroke.

Higher self-esteem: The insecurities of youth give way as one ages, and older people have less negativity and higher self-esteem. A University of Basel study of people ranging in ages from 18 to 89 found that regardless of demographic and social status, the older one gets the higher self-esteem climbs. Qualities like self-control and altruism can contribute to happiness. Financial perks: Seniors are entitled to discounts on meals, museum entry fees, movies, and other entertainment if they’re willing to disclose their ages. Discounts are available through an

array of venues if one speaks up. Seniors also can enjoy travel perks, with slashed prices on resorts, plane tickets and more. The U.S. National Park Service offers citizens age 62 and older lifetime passes to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites for just $10 in person ($20 online or via mail). Reasoning and problem-solving skills: Brain scans reveal that older adults are more likely to use both hemispheres of their brans simultaneously — something called bilateralization. This can sharpen reasoning skills. For example, in a University of Illinois study, older air traffic controllers excelled at their cognitively taxing jobs, despite some losses in short-term memory and visual spatial processing. Older controllers proved to be experts at navigating, juggling multiple aircrafts simultaneously and avoiding collisions. Less stress: As people grow older, they are able to differentiate their needs from wants and focus on more important goals. This can alleviate worry over things that are beyond one’s control. Seniors may realize how little the opinions of others truly mean in the larger picture, thereby feeling less stress about what others think of them. Growing older may involve gray hair or wrinkling skin, but there are many positive things associated with aging.


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Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018 â&#x20AC;˘ SENIOR LIVING

How to avoid growing bored in retirement

F

rom the moment young men and women first walk into the office for their first day as a working professional until the day they officially retire, the notion of planning for retirement is never far from their minds. But when the day to hang up the briefcase and donate all those business suits arrives, some retirees wonder what to do next. Some retirees know exactly how they will spend their days when they no longer have to work, while others who decide to play it by ear may find themselves battling boredom. For those among the latter group, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to understand that many retirees find themselves bored once they no longer have to focus on a career. Jobs keep men and women busy and provide a sense of purpose in their lives, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s understandable that retirees feel bored once those jobs are no longer a part of their lives. But just because you no longer have an office to go to every day does not mean life cannot be as fulfilling or even more fulfilling than it was when you were still working. You just need to find something to avoid succumbing to retirement boredom.

â&#x20AC;˘ Work part-time. Though it might seem odd to start working right after you retire, a part-time job can provide the type of structure you have grown accustomed to without all of the responsibility that comes with a fulltime career. Part-time jobs can range from consultancy work that makes use of your professional experience to something entirely different like landscape maintenance at a nearby golf course that gets you out of the house and enjoying the warmer seasons. Whichever you choose, make sure itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something you find fun and interesting. â&#x20AC;˘ Embrace a new hobby. Working professionals often say they wish they had time to pursue a hobby. Now that you are retired, you have all the time in the world to do just that. Whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perfecting your golf game, writing that novel, learning to cook like a gourmet chef or whatever else you might have always wanted to do, retirement is a great time to do it. â&#x20AC;˘ Get in shape. If retirement boredom has started to negatively affect your mood, one great way to conquer your boredom and improve your mood at the same time is to start exercising.

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Embracing a new hobby is one way for recently retired men and women to avoid growing bored during retirement. Exercise is a natural mood enhancer. When the body exercises, it releases chemicals knowns as endorphins, which trigger positive feelings in the body. In addition, regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. Working out at a gym also is a great way to meet fellow retirees in your community, and the energy you have after exercising may give you the boost you need to pursue other hobbies.

always in demand, and volunteering with a local charity can provide a sense of purpose and provide opportunities to meet like-minded fellow retirees, all while helping to quell your boredom. Retirees who love to travel can combine their passion for volunteering with their love of travel by signing up to work with an international relief organization that travels abroad to help the less fortunate. Upon retiring, many retirees initially find themselves coping with boredom. But there are many ways to avoid the restlessness of retirement.

â&#x20AC;˘ Volunteer. If a part-time job is not up your alley, then consider volunteering in your community. Volunteers are

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48 SENIOR LIVING • Blank Slate Media Newspapers, Friday, August 10, 2018

3 money-saving Make vacations and travel tips travel a key component for retirees of your retirement T hen the time comes to bid farewell to conference calls, meetings and daily commutes, retirees have open schedules to fill with whichever activities they choose. Travel is one exciting way to pass the time.

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rustic as travelers prefer. Many seniors spend months traveling in their campers, which offer many of the same amenities of home. Campsites and special RV hook-up sites offer the other necessities of traveling the open road.

Traveling can be a rewarding prospect for active seniors, particularly those who successfully preplanned for retirement and have the income to fund various excursions. Many seniors, both in the United States and Canada, find that travel tops their to-do lists once they retire. According to Senior Travel magazine, new travel options are emerging for newly minted retirees looking for something a little different from the status quo.

Genealogical tourism is popular. People hoping to trace their ancestry and visit their ancestral homelands are one of the fastest-growing travel segments. Visiting an old church in Europe where ancestors were married or buying food from a market in which a great aunt or uncle once worked leads retirees on many international adventures. Such trips provide travelers with a unique opportunity to understand their roots up close and personal while enjoying some international travel along the way.

The list of destinations retirees have at their disposal is limitless. The following ideas are some of the more popular ways retirees choose to travel. Road trips rule. Taking to the highways and byways is an excellent way to see the country. Seniors can customize their routes depending on which places they want to visit. RV travel can be as comfortable or as

Exotic tours can be exciting destinations. History buffs or adventure-seeking couples may be particularly attracted to exotic travel destinations that are slightly off of the beaten path. Travel tours may take vacationers to destinations such as excavation sites or backpacking through the rainforest. With passport in

hand, seniors can go just about anywhere their desires take them. Enjoy a relaxing seaside trip. A seaside vacation can be the perfect trip for seniors who want to put their feet up and sip some cocktails while watching the waves lap the shores. Many beach resorts offer all-inclusive packages for different age groups. Meals, excursions and hotel rooms can be bundled into one affordable, confusion-free price. Go cruising. Speaking of allinclusive vacationing, cruising seems tailor-made for those ages 50 and older because it offers the convenience of accommodations, food, entertainment, and transportation all in one. The various activities offered on the ship mean travelers can find ways to spend their time how they see fit. Cruising couples can opt to spend all of their time on the ship enjoying carefully prepared meals and entertainment or disembark and explore the various ports of call along the way. Now that they have more free time, retirees can gear up for travel adventures to remember.

hough a transient lifestyle is something few people aspire to during much of their lives, come retirement, the idea of staying in a place for only a short time has more appeal.

According to a 2014 study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 36 percent of baby boomers want to spend their retirements traveling. Many are succeeding in doing just that, as a study from the luxury travel network Virtuoso found that today’s seniors spent an average of just over $11,000 per year on travel. That was more than any other generation, highlighting just how much older adults like to get out and explore the world. Retirees who fear they cannot afford to travel can explore the various ways for seniors to cut costs and still satisfy their wanderlust during retirement.

1. Take advantage of age-related discounts. Some adults prefer to hide their ages, but when it comes time to travel during retirement, honesty is the best policy. Many businesses that cater to travelers offer discounts to seniors. Car rental agencies, hotels, travel agencies, and cruise lines may offer direct discounts to customers 65 and older, while membership in organizations such as AAA and AARP may make seniors eligible for additional discounts. Discounts on lodging and airfare might net the biggest savings, but even discounts on various smaller expenses can add up to big savings.

2. Don’t overlook travel agencies. While many prospective travelers’ first instincts are now to visit various travel websites in an effort to find the most affordable trips, it’s important that travelers not overlook travel agencies when planning trips. Travel websites, though a valuable resource, only list the hotels and airlines that agree to be included on their sites. While many participate, some do not, and those that do not may instead work independent of travel websites or partner with travel agencies. Travel agencies have access to the latest information, and many specialize in certain countries, knowing all the attractions visitors to their countries want to see. Travel agencies may offer packages that include admissions to popular attractions, which can be more affordable than planning a trip a la carte.

3. Travel as part of a group. Group travel may not appeal to everyone, but it should appeal to older, budget-conscious travelers. Retirees who are uncomfortable driving at home will likely be even less comfortable driving in foreign countries where the rules of the road are not the same. Traveling in groups, whether it’s with a retirement community, religious organization or another program, can save travelers substantial amounts of money. Many hotels and tourist attractions offer steep discounts for group tours, which can even be arranged through travel agencies. A hidden benefit of signing up for a group tour is the chance to meet new people and develop new relationships with fellow globetrotters. Many working professionals hope to spend the bulk of their retirement traveling the globe. While such a goal is potentially costly, there are various ways to save and still see the world.

Senior Living 2018_08_10  

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Senior Living 2018_08_10  

https://theislandnow.com/

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