Author Archives:

Are You Facing One of the Seven Deadly Emotions of Caregiving?

If you’re a caregiver for an ailing loved one, you know how exhausting and draining your responsibilities can be. In fact, sometimes you may feel like you’re the only one who knows. That’s because no one can imagine how hard it is to be a caregiver unless they’ve been there and done that.

We found a very helpful article for caregivers on the website Caring.com. If you’re caring for a loved one who is aging and infirm, dealing with an onslaught of difficult emotions, this article can help you recognize those emotions and deal with them in a constructive way. It’s called “The Seven Deadly Emotions of Caregiving,” and you can click here to read it. Even if you’re not a caregiver, chances are you know someone who is, so we encourage you to share this very timely and insightful piece.

The article calls these emotions “Caregiver Emotional Traps.” They’re triggered by the stress that caring for a loved one brings on. Here’s a brief list. Do some apply to you?

The first deadly emotion is Guilt. The article’s author, Caring.com Contributing Editor Paula Spencer Scott, says “Caregivers often burden themselves with a long list of self-imposed ‘oughts,’ ‘shoulds,’ and ‘musts.’” It’s easy to beat yourself up over imagined faults – losing your temper, or not vising often enough, or not knowing what course of action is best at every turn. Scott’s advice: recognize your limitations and realize that perfection is impossible. This is where having a support group in your corner can help restore your perspective.

The second and third deadly emotions are Resentment and Anger. These can easily be triggered when a caregiver feels ignored or criticized, or when the person you’re caring for has a particularly difficult day or is harsh with you. The article not only shows how these emotions can harm your health – it also suggests several ways to control them, ranging from humor to journaling to deep breathing exercises. For your own sake it’s important to control the corrosive impact of Resentment and Anger.

What about Worry – deadly emotion #4? If the one you’re caring for is especially close to you – a spouse or parent – anxiety over their condition can become almost paralyzing. Paula Spencer Scott says it’s vital to avoid turning Worry into obsession – and to know when to see a counselor if Worry gets out of hand.

The rest of the list:

 

  • Deadly Emotion #5, Loneliness (it’s essential to expand your social circle and join a support group of people who can relate to your situation)
  • Deadly Emotion #6, Grief (anticipatory grief is a completely normal emotion, so don’t live in denial and pretend everything is fine)
  • Deadly Emotion #7, Defensiveness (negative comments or not-so-helpful criticism from friends and family members can cause a knee-jerk reaction – so remain calm and confident)

Here at Aging Options we have counseled thousands of clients on how to lay the groundwork for a solid, sustainable retirement plan. One thing some retirees overlook is that they fail to let their loved ones know their wishes. This failure can aggravate all the negative emotions outlined in this article should you ever find yourself in the position of serving as – or being served by – a caregiver.

So where do you begin making a plan that covers all the essential aspects of retirement? Our advice for a great place to start with your retirement planning is to attend one of our free LifePlanning Seminars, where we’ll provide you with a wide range of vital information about family affairs, finances, legal affairs, housing options and health care planning. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website for dates and times of a LifePlanning Seminar near you.

We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

(Originally reported at www.caring.com)

 

Will Your Social Security Income be Taxable? Odds Are They Will

It’s a question we hear from our clients frequently. As they approach retirement, some seniors have always assumed that their Social Security benefits will be tax-free – but will they be? The answer depends on several factors, but odds are – if you’re approaching the time when you begin drawing benefits – you will end up paying taxes on at least some of that income.

We recently found this report from Kiplinger. It was originally written a few years ago but just updated, and it explains in detail who will pay income tax on Social Security benefits, along with ways to minimize your tax exposure. Kiplinger states that “about 25 million Americans pay income taxes on their Social Security benefits — a surprise for many seniors who were planning on a source of tax-free income.” Depending on your income, the article reports, recipients could pay tax on up to 50% of your benefits, or for some up to 85%.

We won’t go into unnecessary detail here, but if we have the chance to meet with you individually we can help you evaluate your own personal situation. But one basic question retirees frequently ask is what the earning threshold is that makes benefits taxable. Kiplinger says, “The first step is to compute your ‘provisional income,’ which is basically your adjusted gross income (not counting any Social Security benefits) plus any tax-exempt interest and 50% of your benefits.” Once you’ve calculated that figure, according to Kiplinger, “Your benefits are totally tax free if your provisional income is less than $25,000.” That’s for single or head-of-household tax returns. If you file a joint return, that threshold rises to $32,000.

One final point: if you do have to pay taxes, Social Security will withhold payments from your check if you desire. That saves you the need to make quarterly payments.

Protecting your assets in retirement is vitally important, and that requires a realistic assessment of all your sources of income. One of the surest ways to maintain your independence and avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones is to make all your retirement plans carefully.

 

  • Are your financial resources being carefully and realistically allocated?
  • Have you considered all your various housing options to plan where and how you’ll live?
  • Are your legal affairs and all necessary documents up to date and complete?
  • Are you thinking ahead to handle your health care needs as you age?
  • Are your family members fully informed about your wishes in retirement?

We work with our clients to weave all five of these elements into a comprehensive plan – called a LifePlan. With your LifePlan in place you can face retirement knowing you’ll be able to protect your assets as you age, avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones, and also avoid being forced into institutional care against your wishes.

Where do you begin? We invite you to start by attending a free LifePlanning Seminar where we’ll provide you with helpful information about all these aspects to your retirement plan. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website, and you’ll see all the upcoming dates, times and locations. It will be a pleasure meeting with and working with you.

(Originally reported at www.kiplinger.com)
 

 

 

 

 

Some Seniors Get Too Little Health Care – but Others Get Too Much!

A recent article on the website www.everydayhealth.com caught our eye – and should be required reading for anyone concerned about appropriate levels of health care for the seniors they love. Written by national health expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta, this article asks a very important question: “Are Seniors Getting Enough Medical Care or Too Much?”  Click here to read the entire article.

The premise behind the question, says Dr. Gupta, is straightforward: “Some older patients receive aggressive treatments that may cause more harm than good,” he writes. “Others may be undertreated because treatment risks are perceived to outweigh potential benefits.” The key, medical experts agree, is balance.

According to Veterans Administration physician Dr. Eve Kerr, many seniors actually receive more medical treatment than they should, partly because well-meaning doctors don’t always take the time required to personalize their healthcare. Some drugs can also pose a problem for seniors, because the effects of many prescription drugs can change as patients age. Dr. Kerr suggests older patients regularly review with their doctors whether to continue taking medications at the same doses – and (we would add) take a loved one or trusted friend with you if necessary, to make certain the patient’s needs are clearly communicated and the doctor’s instructions clearly understood.

“Patients get used to a certain set of goals and medications,” she says. “Sometimes it’s okay to change [medications] as our body changes when we age.” The article quotes Dr. Kerr’s assessment that medications for conditions like osteoporosis, depression, and diabetes should be re-evaluated periodically.

No matter whether the aging patient is a loved one, or you, there are several safeguards you should know about to make certain you’re getting the right level of care – not being over-prescribed, and not being neglected. That’s why we encourage you to read Dr. Gupta’s article. It could be a lifesaver for you or someone you love.

Of course, there’s more to retirement than making sure you’re making the right health care choices. Are you prepared to make the appropriate housing choices? Are your legal affairs in order? Do you have a financial plan that will allow you to protect your assets in retirement? Are your loved ones part of your retirement decisions? We cover all these aspects of retirement, and much more, at our free LifePlanning Seminars. Why not plan to join us soon? Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website and you’ll see all the upcoming dates, times and locations. We’ll look forward to having you there!

If you would like to make an appointment for a personal appointment, please contact our office. It will be a pleasure to serve you!

(Originally reported at www.everydayhealth.com)

Life Planning Seminars

Federal Way                                                                           Gig Harbor
Date: February 13th (Saturday)                                               Date: February 24th (Wednesday)
Time: 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm                                                         Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm 
Venue: Aging Options Campus                                                Venue: The Harbor Inn Hotel
Address: 31919 6th Ave S, Federal Way WA 98003              Address: 3211 56th St NW, Gig Harbor WA 98335 
Speakers: Attorney Rajiv Nagaich                                           Speakers: Attorney Rajiv Nagaich

Bellevue                                                                                      Lynnwood                  
Date: February 16th (Tuesday)                                                   Date: February 20th (Saturday)                
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm                                                           Time: 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm                        
Venue: Marriott Residence Inn                                                   Venue: Lynnwood Convention Center                     
Address: 605 114th Ave SE, Bellevue WA 98004                     Address: 3711 196th St SW, Lynnwood WA 98036   
Speakers: Attorney Rajiv Nagaich                                             Speaker: Attorney Rajiv Nagaich

                                

Adult Kids Surprised by the Cost of Helping Aging Parents

It’s a role more and more adults will play at some point: serving as caregivers to their aging parents. According to a study by Northwestern Mutual Insurance, nearly 40% of Americans surveyed say they are, or have been, a caregiver to someone with health concerns or special needs, not including children. And as we live longer, that statistic seems likely to increase.

Many books and articles have analyzed the emotional costs of caring for one’s aging parents. But as a recent article on the U.S. News and World Report website points out, there’s an unexpectedly high financial cost as well. Click here to read the article.

Many adults who do make plans for their own financial futures fail to take into account the hard cost of caring for Mom or Dad as they get older. The article states that about one-third of caregivers say they spend roughly one-fourth of their income taking care of a parent or aging loved one. One of the biggest unanticipated costs: round the clock care. Families may quickly find the needs of their loved one outstrip their availability and their expertise, and that can be when the crisis develops.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The article makes the same argument we’ve been making in our LifePlanning seminars and on the radio for years: “Whatever you do, when it comes to protecting your parents’ assets, you can’t wait until the last minute.” The article recommends talking with an elder law specialist who is well versed in all aspects of the legal, financial and medical aspects of aging. That describes Aging Options to a “t.”

There are other helpful tips and considerations in this article, including several specific costs you may never have considered. The bottom line, however, is that serving as a caregiver is a choice, but one that comes with both an emotional and a financial price tag. This is one reason we strongly recommend you and your family should all be part of the retirement conversation early on. Here at our practice we frequently conduct family consultations that get all the issues and expectations out in the open. It’s hard to describe the difference that can make in a family’s peace of mind and sense of cooperation.

If you’re eager to learn more, why not attend one of our upcoming LifePlanning seminars? There’s no cost, and it’s a terrific way to gain insight into all aspects of retirement planning: family issues, financial concerns, health care options, housing choices and legal obligations. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for dates, times and locations.

(originally reported at www.usnwr.com)

 

If You’re Retired, Stop Feeling Guilty about Your Leisure Time!

Recently we found this article on the website www.seniorslist.com. It spoke to an issue that we suspect many retirees sometimes experience: they feel guilty about having too much leisure time!

The author, a retiree named Burton Widener, describes the tendency many retirees have to make themselves sound busier than they really are. When well-meaning friends ask, “So what are you doing with all that leisure time?” the first response is usually to do what Widener says he does. “I found myself reciting long lists of things I did to fill my spare time,” he writes, “and my most common answer always included an assurance that I was really busy and didn’t have a lot of free time. The truth of it was, I had plenty of free time on my hands, but somehow I was uncomfortable saying so.”

In his perceptive article, Widener asks why retirees are so reluctant to admit that they often have plenty of unstructured leisure time. The reason, he theorizes, is that saying you’re not busy “seems to be in conflict with what was expected of us during our working careers. For most of our adult life we were expected to put in eight to ten hours a day at our jobs, 8 hours of sleep and any free time left after that was expected to be occupied with family time or household chores.” He adds, “Idle time during the working day usually meant unemployment with all the stigma and stress that goes with it. It’s hard to break out of that thinking mode after thirty or forty years.”

As this article concludes, retirees have worked hard for many decades and have earned the privilege of some free time – so Widener’s advice is “to stop worrying about how to occupy your leisure time and just relax. Stop thinking you need to reassure others that you are always busy with something or another.” He emphasizes that, if you can simply admit that there are times you truly get to do whatever you please, “you will find you will enjoy it even more. After all, you earned it, so enjoy it.”

We think this is helpful advice. As you prepare for retirement, taking into account your finances, your health care needs, your housing preferences and other important elements of a good plan, make sure you also do some “soul searching” concerning how being retired might make you feel. If you’ve always been a “doer” in the workplace, suddenly finding yourself with more time on your hands than you’ve ever had before can be jarring! So talk with other retirees, discuss it with your spouse, and think through some of the emotional aspects of being retired. The author and psychologist Wayne Dyer once put it this way: “If you are what you do, then when you don’t, you aren’t.” Don’t let this be your state of mind!

To begin the process of planning for a productive and secure retirement, come to one of our LifePlanning Seminars offered at no cost in locations throughout the area. (Click on the Upcoming Events tab for details.) We’ll walk with you through the elements of a solid retirement plan – your legal plan, your housing options, your financial needs, your health care choices and your family engagement. We’ll help you approach retirement with newfound confidence.

Then someday when a friend asks you how you spend your time in retierement, you can smile and say – without guilt – “Simple! Sometimes I do whatever I please!”

(Originally reported at www.seniorslist.com)

Caregivers: Here Are 5 Quick Ways to Care for Yourself

Let’s face it – being a caregiver is one of the toughest jobs many of us will ever do. Whether it’s in short bursts or full time, if you’re caring for an aging parent or loved one, there are just some days when you feel spent and exhausted. Then sometimes you feel guilty because you’re at the end of your emotional resources.

If this describes you, let us recommend a helpful website, www.caring.com – filled with resources for caregivers of all varieties. Recently we ran across an excellent article on this website that lists five things an exhausted you as a caregiver can do to restore your energy (and perhaps your sanity). It’s called “Five 10-minute Pick-me-ups for Caregiver Stress,” and you can access it by clicking here. We think this is an article you’ll want to print and save, and probably share.

As the article says, sometimes caregivers just have “one of those days” – and when that happens the best antidote is to “treat yourself well, even in small doses.” These tips don’t require much time or any money – just a bit of imagination and forethought.

The first tip the writer suggests is to read something funny – because laughter has been shown to be one of the best ways to lower blood pressure, slow your heart rate and even boost your immune system. (Watching a funny clip or two on YouTube could have the same effect.) Never underestimate the power of a belly laugh! Humor can also distract you from the frustration of your circumstances.

The second idea appeals to us music lovers. If you enjoy music, don’t just listen to it – when you’re feeling stressed, turn it up. Good loud music is a terrific kick-starter to your energy level. It doesn’t matter if it’s rock, country or classical. (If you’re a religious person, praise music can help redirect your thoughts.) Let the music fill the room!

The third and fourth ideas may seem like opposites, but both can help restore your energy and spirits. Idea #3 is to take a short “power nap” – even for just ten minutes. Some quick shut-eye has great power to refresh you, and by keeping it brief you don’t allow your body to fall into the kind of deep sleep that takes longer to recover from. The 4th (and opposite) idea is exercise – just about any form that involves moving, stretching, deep breathing and lifting. (One tip: buy an inexpensive set of lightweight dumbbells and get those arms moving.) You’ll be amazed at how quickly your energy returns with a little exertion.

The final suggestion may seem surprising: if you’re feeling angry or resentful, write a letter to yourself, or even to your loved one. Go ahead and put down on paper (or in an email) everything you’re feeling, things that make you angry or disappointed, or whatever else is on your heart. As the article says, “The act of putting your true emotions down on paper (or in an e-mail you don’t send) helps your body release them, just the way you feel better after confiding in a friend.” Then make certain you tear up your letter or delete your email when you’re done. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief.

Here at Aging Options we remind our clients repeatedly that aging is a family affair. One of the best ways to avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones is to let them in on your retirement plans from the very beginning, and keep them informed along the way. This helps minimize unfortunate surprises. If you would like to learn more about how to make sure your family is fully informed about your retirement plans, we invite you to attend one of our free LifePlanning seminars where we discuss all aspects of retirement: your family, your finances, your health, your legal concerns and your housing choices. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for more details.

(Originally reported at www.caring.com)

 

 

Seniors: When It’s Time to Move, Should You Rent or Buy?

As we age, the question of housing looms large in our planning. So much depends on our answer to the question, “Where will we live in our retirement years?”

 If you, like almost all seniors, want to avoid being forced into institutional care against your wishes, you’ll need to make prudent decisions about this vital issue. Finding the right housing also allows you to avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones when you find the living situation that’s ideal for you. As seniors, our housing choices will affect our entire family!

One of the best ways to explore your housing options is to attend one of our upcoming LifePlanning seminars, listed on this website. We look forward to seeing you there, where we will share important information about the housing choices set before you in your retirement years.

Here’s an article that sheds light on a common question many seniors ask: when it’s time to sell your home and move, either to downsize or to relocate closer to family, is it better to rent a house or apartment or to buy another house? This article by nationally known financial planner Jane Bryant Quinn, published on the AARP website, provides some perspective on that question. This link (Rent or Buy) will take you to the article.

Whatever your choice, all of us at Aging Options are eager to be a resource for you as you make all your retirement decisions. One way to start: click on our Blog link and read some of the valuable articles archived under Aging Options LifePlan: Housing.

(Originally published at www.aarp.org)

 

 

Avoiding ID Theft: Common Sense Tips for Seniors

The headlines have become all too common: identity theft targeting seniors is on the rise. It seems that every week we read of some new scam victimizing retirees or those approaching retirement. The good news is, there are plenty of things you can do to avoid becoming a target. If you’re caring for an aging parent or loved one, some of these tips are especially important.

First, though, a question: what makes seniors so susceptible to fraud? Lawyer Ken LaMance, writing on the website LegalMatch.com, gives some answer. “First,” he writes, “many of them have built up considerable amounts of funds and assets over the span of their lives. Also, many elderly persons have conditions such as dementia which render them unable to make sound financial decisions.” LaMance also notes that financial ignorance can be a factor: some seniors simply “are unfamiliar with the intricacies of modern credit arrangements” so they don’t ask enough tough questions.

And, sadly, there’s also a culture of trust among seniors that plays a part. LaMance concludes, “Many [seniors] grew up in a different cultural environment that honored word-of-mouth transactions.” This makes seniors more willing, even eager to trust people they may not know.

There are a host of articles and resources to help seniors and those who care for them avoid the pain and loss of identity theft. Here’s a good article from the website www.bankrate.com. The article explains that seniors make an attractive target because many thieves are looking to establish credit for themselves – opening new credit card accounts, for example, or qualifying for car loans. Many retirees have excellent credit history which makes their identities especially tempting targets.

So what do you do to protect yourself?

The article suggests you start by determining whom you will trust. Never hire a caregiver outside your own family that you have not vetted through a comprehensive background check. And if any caregiver starts showing inappropriate interest in your finances, be very cautious.

Common sense tips include never disclosing confidential information like Social Security numbers or account numbers without a very good reason. The article also reminds seniors to monitor their credit reports for any suspicious or unauthorized activity.

There’s more, so we encourage you to read and heed these suggestions and admonitions. After all, if you desire to maintain independence in retirement and avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones, protecting your financial health is essential. To get more answers to questions about financial health in retirement – and much, much more – why not start your retirement planning by attending one of our highly popular LifePlanning Seminars? You’ll come away with a wealth of practical ideas to help you chart a course for a better retirement.

We offer LifePlanning Seminars free of charge at locations around the region. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for details.

(Originally reported at www.bankrate.com)

Radio Show Aging Options 10-31-2015

1st Hour-KTTH & KIRO

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2nd Hour-KTTH & KIRO

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Author Archives:

Are You Facing One of the Seven Deadly Emotions of Caregiving?

If you’re a caregiver for an ailing loved one, you know how exhausting and draining your responsibilities can be. In fact, sometimes you may feel like you’re the only one who knows. That’s because no one can imagine how hard it is to be a caregiver unless they’ve been there and done that.

We found a very helpful article for caregivers on the website Caring.com. If you’re caring for a loved one who is aging and infirm, dealing with an onslaught of difficult emotions, this article can help you recognize those emotions and deal with them in a constructive way. It’s called “The Seven Deadly Emotions of Caregiving,” and you can click here to read it. Even if you’re not a caregiver, chances are you know someone who is, so we encourage you to share this very timely and insightful piece.

The article calls these emotions “Caregiver Emotional Traps.” They’re triggered by the stress that caring for a loved one brings on. Here’s a brief list. Do some apply to you?

The first deadly emotion is Guilt. The article’s author, Caring.com Contributing Editor Paula Spencer Scott, says “Caregivers often burden themselves with a long list of self-imposed ‘oughts,’ ‘shoulds,’ and ‘musts.’” It’s easy to beat yourself up over imagined faults – losing your temper, or not vising often enough, or not knowing what course of action is best at every turn. Scott’s advice: recognize your limitations and realize that perfection is impossible. This is where having a support group in your corner can help restore your perspective.

The second and third deadly emotions are Resentment and Anger. These can easily be triggered when a caregiver feels ignored or criticized, or when the person you’re caring for has a particularly difficult day or is harsh with you. The article not only shows how these emotions can harm your health – it also suggests several ways to control them, ranging from humor to journaling to deep breathing exercises. For your own sake it’s important to control the corrosive impact of Resentment and Anger.

What about Worry – deadly emotion #4? If the one you’re caring for is especially close to you – a spouse or parent – anxiety over their condition can become almost paralyzing. Paula Spencer Scott says it’s vital to avoid turning Worry into obsession – and to know when to see a counselor if Worry gets out of hand.

The rest of the list:

 

  • Deadly Emotion #5, Loneliness (it’s essential to expand your social circle and join a support group of people who can relate to your situation)
  • Deadly Emotion #6, Grief (anticipatory grief is a completely normal emotion, so don’t live in denial and pretend everything is fine)
  • Deadly Emotion #7, Defensiveness (negative comments or not-so-helpful criticism from friends and family members can cause a knee-jerk reaction – so remain calm and confident)

Here at Aging Options we have counseled thousands of clients on how to lay the groundwork for a solid, sustainable retirement plan. One thing some retirees overlook is that they fail to let their loved ones know their wishes. This failure can aggravate all the negative emotions outlined in this article should you ever find yourself in the position of serving as – or being served by – a caregiver.

So where do you begin making a plan that covers all the essential aspects of retirement? Our advice for a great place to start with your retirement planning is to attend one of our free LifePlanning Seminars, where we’ll provide you with a wide range of vital information about family affairs, finances, legal affairs, housing options and health care planning. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website for dates and times of a LifePlanning Seminar near you.

We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

(Originally reported at www.caring.com)

 

Will Your Social Security Income be Taxable? Odds Are They Will

It’s a question we hear from our clients frequently. As they approach retirement, some seniors have always assumed that their Social Security benefits will be tax-free – but will they be? The answer depends on several factors, but odds are – if you’re approaching the time when you begin drawing benefits – you will end up paying taxes on at least some of that income.

We recently found this report from Kiplinger. It was originally written a few years ago but just updated, and it explains in detail who will pay income tax on Social Security benefits, along with ways to minimize your tax exposure. Kiplinger states that “about 25 million Americans pay income taxes on their Social Security benefits — a surprise for many seniors who were planning on a source of tax-free income.” Depending on your income, the article reports, recipients could pay tax on up to 50% of your benefits, or for some up to 85%.

We won’t go into unnecessary detail here, but if we have the chance to meet with you individually we can help you evaluate your own personal situation. But one basic question retirees frequently ask is what the earning threshold is that makes benefits taxable. Kiplinger says, “The first step is to compute your ‘provisional income,’ which is basically your adjusted gross income (not counting any Social Security benefits) plus any tax-exempt interest and 50% of your benefits.” Once you’ve calculated that figure, according to Kiplinger, “Your benefits are totally tax free if your provisional income is less than $25,000.” That’s for single or head-of-household tax returns. If you file a joint return, that threshold rises to $32,000.

One final point: if you do have to pay taxes, Social Security will withhold payments from your check if you desire. That saves you the need to make quarterly payments.

Protecting your assets in retirement is vitally important, and that requires a realistic assessment of all your sources of income. One of the surest ways to maintain your independence and avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones is to make all your retirement plans carefully.

 

  • Are your financial resources being carefully and realistically allocated?
  • Have you considered all your various housing options to plan where and how you’ll live?
  • Are your legal affairs and all necessary documents up to date and complete?
  • Are you thinking ahead to handle your health care needs as you age?
  • Are your family members fully informed about your wishes in retirement?

We work with our clients to weave all five of these elements into a comprehensive plan – called a LifePlan. With your LifePlan in place you can face retirement knowing you’ll be able to protect your assets as you age, avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones, and also avoid being forced into institutional care against your wishes.

Where do you begin? We invite you to start by attending a free LifePlanning Seminar where we’ll provide you with helpful information about all these aspects to your retirement plan. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website, and you’ll see all the upcoming dates, times and locations. It will be a pleasure meeting with and working with you.

(Originally reported at www.kiplinger.com)
 

 

 

 

 

Some Seniors Get Too Little Health Care – but Others Get Too Much!

A recent article on the website www.everydayhealth.com caught our eye – and should be required reading for anyone concerned about appropriate levels of health care for the seniors they love. Written by national health expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta, this article asks a very important question: “Are Seniors Getting Enough Medical Care or Too Much?”  Click here to read the entire article.

The premise behind the question, says Dr. Gupta, is straightforward: “Some older patients receive aggressive treatments that may cause more harm than good,” he writes. “Others may be undertreated because treatment risks are perceived to outweigh potential benefits.” The key, medical experts agree, is balance.

According to Veterans Administration physician Dr. Eve Kerr, many seniors actually receive more medical treatment than they should, partly because well-meaning doctors don’t always take the time required to personalize their healthcare. Some drugs can also pose a problem for seniors, because the effects of many prescription drugs can change as patients age. Dr. Kerr suggests older patients regularly review with their doctors whether to continue taking medications at the same doses – and (we would add) take a loved one or trusted friend with you if necessary, to make certain the patient’s needs are clearly communicated and the doctor’s instructions clearly understood.

“Patients get used to a certain set of goals and medications,” she says. “Sometimes it’s okay to change [medications] as our body changes when we age.” The article quotes Dr. Kerr’s assessment that medications for conditions like osteoporosis, depression, and diabetes should be re-evaluated periodically.

No matter whether the aging patient is a loved one, or you, there are several safeguards you should know about to make certain you’re getting the right level of care – not being over-prescribed, and not being neglected. That’s why we encourage you to read Dr. Gupta’s article. It could be a lifesaver for you or someone you love.

Of course, there’s more to retirement than making sure you’re making the right health care choices. Are you prepared to make the appropriate housing choices? Are your legal affairs in order? Do you have a financial plan that will allow you to protect your assets in retirement? Are your loved ones part of your retirement decisions? We cover all these aspects of retirement, and much more, at our free LifePlanning Seminars. Why not plan to join us soon? Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website and you’ll see all the upcoming dates, times and locations. We’ll look forward to having you there!

If you would like to make an appointment for a personal appointment, please contact our office. It will be a pleasure to serve you!

(Originally reported at www.everydayhealth.com)

Life Planning Seminars

Federal Way                                                                           Gig Harbor
Date: February 13th (Saturday)                                               Date: February 24th (Wednesday)
Time: 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm                                                         Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm 
Venue: Aging Options Campus                                                Venue: The Harbor Inn Hotel
Address: 31919 6th Ave S, Federal Way WA 98003              Address: 3211 56th St NW, Gig Harbor WA 98335 
Speakers: Attorney Rajiv Nagaich                                           Speakers: Attorney Rajiv Nagaich

Bellevue                                                                                      Lynnwood                  
Date: February 16th (Tuesday)                                                   Date: February 20th (Saturday)                
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm                                                           Time: 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm                        
Venue: Marriott Residence Inn                                                   Venue: Lynnwood Convention Center                     
Address: 605 114th Ave SE, Bellevue WA 98004                     Address: 3711 196th St SW, Lynnwood WA 98036   
Speakers: Attorney Rajiv Nagaich                                             Speaker: Attorney Rajiv Nagaich

                                

Adult Kids Surprised by the Cost of Helping Aging Parents

It’s a role more and more adults will play at some point: serving as caregivers to their aging parents. According to a study by Northwestern Mutual Insurance, nearly 40% of Americans surveyed say they are, or have been, a caregiver to someone with health concerns or special needs, not including children. And as we live longer, that statistic seems likely to increase.

Many books and articles have analyzed the emotional costs of caring for one’s aging parents. But as a recent article on the U.S. News and World Report website points out, there’s an unexpectedly high financial cost as well. Click here to read the article.

Many adults who do make plans for their own financial futures fail to take into account the hard cost of caring for Mom or Dad as they get older. The article states that about one-third of caregivers say they spend roughly one-fourth of their income taking care of a parent or aging loved one. One of the biggest unanticipated costs: round the clock care. Families may quickly find the needs of their loved one outstrip their availability and their expertise, and that can be when the crisis develops.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The article makes the same argument we’ve been making in our LifePlanning seminars and on the radio for years: “Whatever you do, when it comes to protecting your parents’ assets, you can’t wait until the last minute.” The article recommends talking with an elder law specialist who is well versed in all aspects of the legal, financial and medical aspects of aging. That describes Aging Options to a “t.”

There are other helpful tips and considerations in this article, including several specific costs you may never have considered. The bottom line, however, is that serving as a caregiver is a choice, but one that comes with both an emotional and a financial price tag. This is one reason we strongly recommend you and your family should all be part of the retirement conversation early on. Here at our practice we frequently conduct family consultations that get all the issues and expectations out in the open. It’s hard to describe the difference that can make in a family’s peace of mind and sense of cooperation.

If you’re eager to learn more, why not attend one of our upcoming LifePlanning seminars? There’s no cost, and it’s a terrific way to gain insight into all aspects of retirement planning: family issues, financial concerns, health care options, housing choices and legal obligations. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for dates, times and locations.

(originally reported at www.usnwr.com)

 

If You’re Retired, Stop Feeling Guilty about Your Leisure Time!

Recently we found this article on the website www.seniorslist.com. It spoke to an issue that we suspect many retirees sometimes experience: they feel guilty about having too much leisure time!

The author, a retiree named Burton Widener, describes the tendency many retirees have to make themselves sound busier than they really are. When well-meaning friends ask, “So what are you doing with all that leisure time?” the first response is usually to do what Widener says he does. “I found myself reciting long lists of things I did to fill my spare time,” he writes, “and my most common answer always included an assurance that I was really busy and didn’t have a lot of free time. The truth of it was, I had plenty of free time on my hands, but somehow I was uncomfortable saying so.”

In his perceptive article, Widener asks why retirees are so reluctant to admit that they often have plenty of unstructured leisure time. The reason, he theorizes, is that saying you’re not busy “seems to be in conflict with what was expected of us during our working careers. For most of our adult life we were expected to put in eight to ten hours a day at our jobs, 8 hours of sleep and any free time left after that was expected to be occupied with family time or household chores.” He adds, “Idle time during the working day usually meant unemployment with all the stigma and stress that goes with it. It’s hard to break out of that thinking mode after thirty or forty years.”

As this article concludes, retirees have worked hard for many decades and have earned the privilege of some free time – so Widener’s advice is “to stop worrying about how to occupy your leisure time and just relax. Stop thinking you need to reassure others that you are always busy with something or another.” He emphasizes that, if you can simply admit that there are times you truly get to do whatever you please, “you will find you will enjoy it even more. After all, you earned it, so enjoy it.”

We think this is helpful advice. As you prepare for retirement, taking into account your finances, your health care needs, your housing preferences and other important elements of a good plan, make sure you also do some “soul searching” concerning how being retired might make you feel. If you’ve always been a “doer” in the workplace, suddenly finding yourself with more time on your hands than you’ve ever had before can be jarring! So talk with other retirees, discuss it with your spouse, and think through some of the emotional aspects of being retired. The author and psychologist Wayne Dyer once put it this way: “If you are what you do, then when you don’t, you aren’t.” Don’t let this be your state of mind!

To begin the process of planning for a productive and secure retirement, come to one of our LifePlanning Seminars offered at no cost in locations throughout the area. (Click on the Upcoming Events tab for details.) We’ll walk with you through the elements of a solid retirement plan – your legal plan, your housing options, your financial needs, your health care choices and your family engagement. We’ll help you approach retirement with newfound confidence.

Then someday when a friend asks you how you spend your time in retierement, you can smile and say – without guilt – “Simple! Sometimes I do whatever I please!”

(Originally reported at www.seniorslist.com)

Caregivers: Here Are 5 Quick Ways to Care for Yourself

Let’s face it – being a caregiver is one of the toughest jobs many of us will ever do. Whether it’s in short bursts or full time, if you’re caring for an aging parent or loved one, there are just some days when you feel spent and exhausted. Then sometimes you feel guilty because you’re at the end of your emotional resources.

If this describes you, let us recommend a helpful website, www.caring.com – filled with resources for caregivers of all varieties. Recently we ran across an excellent article on this website that lists five things an exhausted you as a caregiver can do to restore your energy (and perhaps your sanity). It’s called “Five 10-minute Pick-me-ups for Caregiver Stress,” and you can access it by clicking here. We think this is an article you’ll want to print and save, and probably share.

As the article says, sometimes caregivers just have “one of those days” – and when that happens the best antidote is to “treat yourself well, even in small doses.” These tips don’t require much time or any money – just a bit of imagination and forethought.

The first tip the writer suggests is to read something funny – because laughter has been shown to be one of the best ways to lower blood pressure, slow your heart rate and even boost your immune system. (Watching a funny clip or two on YouTube could have the same effect.) Never underestimate the power of a belly laugh! Humor can also distract you from the frustration of your circumstances.

The second idea appeals to us music lovers. If you enjoy music, don’t just listen to it – when you’re feeling stressed, turn it up. Good loud music is a terrific kick-starter to your energy level. It doesn’t matter if it’s rock, country or classical. (If you’re a religious person, praise music can help redirect your thoughts.) Let the music fill the room!

The third and fourth ideas may seem like opposites, but both can help restore your energy and spirits. Idea #3 is to take a short “power nap” – even for just ten minutes. Some quick shut-eye has great power to refresh you, and by keeping it brief you don’t allow your body to fall into the kind of deep sleep that takes longer to recover from. The 4th (and opposite) idea is exercise – just about any form that involves moving, stretching, deep breathing and lifting. (One tip: buy an inexpensive set of lightweight dumbbells and get those arms moving.) You’ll be amazed at how quickly your energy returns with a little exertion.

The final suggestion may seem surprising: if you’re feeling angry or resentful, write a letter to yourself, or even to your loved one. Go ahead and put down on paper (or in an email) everything you’re feeling, things that make you angry or disappointed, or whatever else is on your heart. As the article says, “The act of putting your true emotions down on paper (or in an e-mail you don’t send) helps your body release them, just the way you feel better after confiding in a friend.” Then make certain you tear up your letter or delete your email when you’re done. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief.

Here at Aging Options we remind our clients repeatedly that aging is a family affair. One of the best ways to avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones is to let them in on your retirement plans from the very beginning, and keep them informed along the way. This helps minimize unfortunate surprises. If you would like to learn more about how to make sure your family is fully informed about your retirement plans, we invite you to attend one of our free LifePlanning seminars where we discuss all aspects of retirement: your family, your finances, your health, your legal concerns and your housing choices. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for more details.

(Originally reported at www.caring.com)

 

 

Seniors: When It’s Time to Move, Should You Rent or Buy?

As we age, the question of housing looms large in our planning. So much depends on our answer to the question, “Where will we live in our retirement years?”

 If you, like almost all seniors, want to avoid being forced into institutional care against your wishes, you’ll need to make prudent decisions about this vital issue. Finding the right housing also allows you to avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones when you find the living situation that’s ideal for you. As seniors, our housing choices will affect our entire family!

One of the best ways to explore your housing options is to attend one of our upcoming LifePlanning seminars, listed on this website. We look forward to seeing you there, where we will share important information about the housing choices set before you in your retirement years.

Here’s an article that sheds light on a common question many seniors ask: when it’s time to sell your home and move, either to downsize or to relocate closer to family, is it better to rent a house or apartment or to buy another house? This article by nationally known financial planner Jane Bryant Quinn, published on the AARP website, provides some perspective on that question. This link (Rent or Buy) will take you to the article.

Whatever your choice, all of us at Aging Options are eager to be a resource for you as you make all your retirement decisions. One way to start: click on our Blog link and read some of the valuable articles archived under Aging Options LifePlan: Housing.

(Originally published at www.aarp.org)

 

 

Avoiding ID Theft: Common Sense Tips for Seniors

The headlines have become all too common: identity theft targeting seniors is on the rise. It seems that every week we read of some new scam victimizing retirees or those approaching retirement. The good news is, there are plenty of things you can do to avoid becoming a target. If you’re caring for an aging parent or loved one, some of these tips are especially important.

First, though, a question: what makes seniors so susceptible to fraud? Lawyer Ken LaMance, writing on the website LegalMatch.com, gives some answer. “First,” he writes, “many of them have built up considerable amounts of funds and assets over the span of their lives. Also, many elderly persons have conditions such as dementia which render them unable to make sound financial decisions.” LaMance also notes that financial ignorance can be a factor: some seniors simply “are unfamiliar with the intricacies of modern credit arrangements” so they don’t ask enough tough questions.

And, sadly, there’s also a culture of trust among seniors that plays a part. LaMance concludes, “Many [seniors] grew up in a different cultural environment that honored word-of-mouth transactions.” This makes seniors more willing, even eager to trust people they may not know.

There are a host of articles and resources to help seniors and those who care for them avoid the pain and loss of identity theft. Here’s a good article from the website www.bankrate.com. The article explains that seniors make an attractive target because many thieves are looking to establish credit for themselves – opening new credit card accounts, for example, or qualifying for car loans. Many retirees have excellent credit history which makes their identities especially tempting targets.

So what do you do to protect yourself?

The article suggests you start by determining whom you will trust. Never hire a caregiver outside your own family that you have not vetted through a comprehensive background check. And if any caregiver starts showing inappropriate interest in your finances, be very cautious.

Common sense tips include never disclosing confidential information like Social Security numbers or account numbers without a very good reason. The article also reminds seniors to monitor their credit reports for any suspicious or unauthorized activity.

There’s more, so we encourage you to read and heed these suggestions and admonitions. After all, if you desire to maintain independence in retirement and avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones, protecting your financial health is essential. To get more answers to questions about financial health in retirement – and much, much more – why not start your retirement planning by attending one of our highly popular LifePlanning Seminars? You’ll come away with a wealth of practical ideas to help you chart a course for a better retirement.

We offer LifePlanning Seminars free of charge at locations around the region. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for details.

(Originally reported at www.bankrate.com)

Radio Show Aging Options 10-31-2015

1st Hour-KTTH & KIRO

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2nd Hour-KTTH & KIRO

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1st Hour-KTTH & KIRO

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2nd Hour-KTTH & KIRO

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