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Age-Related Stressors and How They Affect Your Quality of Life

Our thanks to Kent Elliot for this contribution to our blog. 

Stress can affect us at any age, but seniors are often triggered by different types of stressors than kids, teens, and adults of other ages. For instance, the American Institute of Stress (AIS) explains that some of the most common stressors among seniors include the loss of a loved one, changes in personal relationships, and physical impairments affecting the five senses. For some older adults, the lack of structure in their daily lives can become problematic as well.

While some strategies for senior stress management may include a combination of meditation, yoga, exercise, healthy eating, and controlled breathing, other treatments include antidepressants and/or cognitive behavioral therapy. Since recommended treatments vary widely by situation, it’s important to speak with a doctor about your symptoms and the different types of solutions that may be available to you.

Read on to learn more about the stressors that most seniors face, as well as the steps you can take to get the emotional support you need when managing any ongoing worries and fears.

Common Stressors Affecting Seniors

For many seniors, difficult life situations can result in feeling stressed, fearful, or emotionally unwell—especially if they begin to notice changes in the ability to walk, talk, hear or see. Many seniors also experience stress after the development of an age-related health condition or mobility impairment, as this may lead to the fear of losing the ability to live independently, age in place, or drive a vehicle.

Changes to finances or socioeconomic status—especially after retirement—may also cause seniors to worry about their financial standing more than ever before. Depending on their financial situation and current state of health, seniors may even worry that they cannot afford to support themselves as they age. However, working with a financial advisor and setting a budget may help to ease some of those worries.

Moreover, the loss of loved ones or any change in their personal relationships is another common stressor among seniors. For many older adults, the fear of losing a child, spouse, pet, or another loved one is more worrisome than the thought of their own death. However, speaking with a trained mental health professional can help seniors to control their fears and develop a plan for the future.

How to Get the Emotional Support You Need

Anxiety disorders in seniors may occur as a result of extreme stress, trauma, bereavement, neurodegenerative disorders, or other medical conditions. As such, it’s important to identify your stressors and know when to seek professional help for chronic stress, anxiety and/or depression.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), about 19 percent of adults age 60 and older take an antidepressant medication for relieving symptoms of stress, depression, and/or anxiety. While some seniors may be able to control their stress without the use of antidepressants, it’s important to meet with a doctor to discuss your symptoms as soon as you begin to worry about your emotional health and well-being.

If the cost of seeking professional help for your emotional health is holding you back, however, keep in mind that Medicare Part B includes coverage for counseling with specialists such as psychiatrists and clinical social workers, as well as other mental health services. Plus, Medicare Part B provides you with one free depression screening each year. To schedule your free screening, contact your primary caregiver.

Relief from Age-Related Stress is Possible

Stress affects us at all walks of life, but our ability to cope with stress becomes even more difficult as we age. As such, it’s important to seek immediate treatment for stress to reduce your risk of heart disease and other stress-related medical conditions such as high blood pressure. By seeking treatment for your stress, anxiety, and/or depression, you will improve your quality of life and prepare yourself for any other obstacles that may come your way.

4 Surprising Things That Can Make Life as a Solopreneur Less Stressful

Our thanks to Courtney Rosenfeld for this contribution to our blog. 

Looking to earn some extra spending money with a new side gig? Do you need to supplement your retirement savings? Are you simply ready for a new venture? The truth is, more and more retirees are returning to the working world in the form of solo entrepreneurship. According to Forbes, half of all small business owners are over age 50: “one-third of all small business owners are between 50 and 59 years old; 17% are 60 to 69 years old; and 4% are 70 or older.”

Getting started as a “solopreneur” can be full of challenges and stress. Thankfully, you can reduce some of those headaches by keeping these handy tips and tricks in mind as you get your new business up and running.

Think About Hiring a Freelance Virtual Assistant

It may sound silly to invest in an assistant for a side gig or small business. But when you stop to consider how valuable your time is, you may quickly change your mind. Now, you can get detailed and calculate your time’s value, but it really just helps to know that you could be spending your time on more valuable projects to get your business up and running. So, consider hiring an assistant to help make the most of your time. If you’re not sure where to locate a virtual assistant, you can use an online job board to quickly find talent. You can use job boards to get freelance help with other startup projects, like logo or website design for your business.

Consider Investing in a Dedicated Mobile Hotspot

No matter what type of side gig you decide to start, having reliable internet access is a must. Staying connected to the internet can help you stay connected to valuable online tools that can make managing your new startup easier. Most of these tools are completely free to use and can make essential business tasks, such as managing email marketing or creating social media content, virtually effortless. So, how can you ensure you have access to fast, reliable internet no matter where your business takes you? You can add a hotspot to your current cell phone plan; look for a device with extended battery life, multiple device connections, and access to phone charging. Using a dedicated hotspot, instead of your phone, will provide a much stronger connection and fewer worries about draining your phone battery.

Think About Downloading Productivity Apps

With reliable internet and more time, you can get more done to make your new startup a success. Even with these helpful tools, keeping yourself productive as an entrepreneur can be a major challenge. That’s especially true if you already have a busy schedule or just want to kick back and enjoy retirement, which is why task management tools can be extremely effective for busy older adults looking to start a new side gig. Apps like Asana and Timely allow you to manage your tasks so that you can get more done throughout the day. Many of these productivity apps offer free tools and services, but you can also add paid features if you have room in your startup budget. You can also use more traditional productivity hacks, such as limiting distractions during work hours or focusing on a single task instead of multi-tasking.

Consider Looking for Low-Risk Business Funding

Funding worries top the list of the most common sources of stress for small business owners but you can easily take steps you reduce your own startup funding worries. If you have enough in savings, bootstrapping is a good option when very little capital is needed, but using your personal finances to start a small business isn’t always doable, especially if you are already living on a retirement income. So make sure you look into all business funding options, which can include loans, grants, and even crowdfunding. If you do opt for a small business loan, be sure to check your credit report first so you can get the best interest rates.

Starting a new gig or business can be a simple way to earn some extra income, both as a side gig or as a way to boost your income during retirement. Although it has its advantages, it can also be a bit stressful. So, if you’re not sure where to start, begin by using some of the tips above and research other ways to make being your own boss feel effortless. Because additional income should never bring additional stress to your life!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Why Are Seniors Turning to CBD?

This blog is contributed by Matt Scillitani of remedyreview.com

CBD, or cannabidiol, has been studied as a substitute for everything from anxiety cures to pet medication, and this natural aid isn’t just for the young. There’s interest in CBD among those aged 54 and older.

We studied over 1,000 seniors, 54 years old or older, and asked them questions about their CBD usage, associated benefits and side effects. Read on to hear what these mature men and women had to say.

Not So Stuck in Their Ways

Nine percent of the seniors surveyed used CBD for health-related purposes. Over 65 percent of the seniors who tried CBD said their quality of life was good, whereas just 31.1 percent said the same before trying CBD.

Skepticism may have kept 91 percent of the interviewed seniors away from CBD, but those who gave it a shot reaped its rewards. Seniors who tried it admitted that CBD prompted a dramatic improvement to their quality of life.

Ingestion Options

Fifty-four percent of seniors applied CBD by directly inserting it into the mouth. For the next most popular administration method, 21.1 percent chose to eat CBD-infused edibles and add oil drops to their beverages. The least popular ingestion method was through smoke or vapor, utilized by only 10 percent of our senior CBD users.

The CBD Hit List

Forty-two percent of seniors used CBD with the goal of reducing inflammation. Relief from chronic pain was the second most-cited incentive. Anxiety and stress were cited as the fifth and sixth most common symptoms, respectively, that seniors attempted to alleviate via CBD.

Senior Symptoms Alleviated

Chronic pain saw a 61 percent reduction rate among seniors using CBD. As added bonuses, 23.3 percent experienced a better mood and 45.6 percent noticed improved sleep quality.

This data clearly encourages CBD as an alternative healing tool. Seventy-eight percent of seniors said they were satisfied with the product, and 89 percent said they would recommend CBD for health-related purposes to a family member or friend.

Over or Behind the Counter?

Twenty-six percent of the seniors think they personally consume too many prescription drugs. CBD provides a safe alternative and has piqued interest because of it.

The effectiveness of these remedies is what won over our seniors.  Nearly 29 percent rated CBD as extremely effective, while another 38.9 percent claimed it was moderately effective.

The Next Budding Market …

Interest from all varsities of age have led to CBD’s booming market. Symptoms like chronic pain can be remedy motivators for seniors, while stress and anxiety cures attract many modern health gurus.

Methodology and Limitations

We collected responses from 1,047 seniors by administering online surveys through Prolific.ac. For this analysis, we have defined seniors as adults aged 54 and older. Respondents who were younger than the designated age were excluded from our findings. To ensure data accuracy, participants who failed an attention-check question or entered inconsistent data were excluded.

The main limitation of this study is that different sources have varied definitions for the age ranges that qualify as “seniors.” Additionally, the self-reported nature of our data is subject, but not limited, to selective memory, exaggeration, or telescoping. These findings have not been reviewed or approved by medical experts and should not be used as a substitute for seeking out and listening to a primary care physician.

Disclaimer

The findings shown in this study are not medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for seeking out primary care providers. This study is based on anecdotal evidence and relies on self-reported data.

Tips for Taking Care of Yourself as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Our thanks to Lydia Chan for this contribution to our blog.

With National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month upon us, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your life as a caregiver. So much of your time is spent tending to the needs of others that it’s all too easy to forget about your own needs as a result. Many caregivers, particularly those who help people with Alzheimer’s, find it difficult to practice the self-care necessary to maintain their health and well-being, which results in them feeling depleted and discouraged on a daily basis.

Whether you’re a caregiver by profession or are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, taking care of yourself is critical. It will not only help you live a thriving life, but it will also leave you with more to give so that you can be a better caregiver. Here’s the good news: Practicing self-care will not be the most challenging thing you’ve ever done. All it takes is a commitment to make small changes and implement healthy habits.

Here are a few practical tips for how you can begin your self-care journey as a caregiver.

 Consider Assisted Living for Your Loved One

This isn’t a fun topic to think about. But at some point, assisted living may be necessary. Depending on the circumstances, it could be the best thing for the well-being of you and your loved one. Not only could it take some of the burdens off of you (the caregiver), but a memory care home can help your loved one maintain their independence, stay active, and engage in community. Such a facility in San Francisco can cost between $2,500 and $15,200 a month.

Eat Well. Get Sleep. Exercise Often.

This is really three tips, but they are all intertwined. Eating a healthy diet can benefit your sleep and provide you with more energy to exercise. Getting enough sleep can help you eat better, and it allows your body to recover, which boosts your exercise performance. And yes, regular exercise promotes sleep and can motivate you to eat better.

Try to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Create a bedtime routine that helps you get seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy, and try to do it five times a week. If you commit to these changes, it won’t take long for them to become habits, and the benefits will amaze you.

Find a Multivitamin That Helps

As much as eating a healthy diet benefits your overall health, there’s a chance that your body will still be missing nutrients here and there. A bioavailable multivitamin can help provide those nutrients. Along with filling nutrient gaps, taking a multivitamin can result in a healthier gut, skin, hair, and nails. If you take a B vitamin, you will have more energy for a more productive day.

Join a Support Group

Another important way to practice self-care is to find a support group. There are many caregiver support groups around the country — some that are for caregivers in general, and some that are specifically for Alzheimer’s caregivers. By connecting with a group, you will find a listening ear and sound advice from people who have gone and/or are going through the same kind of situation as you are. Support groups can serve as a great reminder that you’re not alone.

In the throes of everyday life as a caregiver, it’s essential that you not neglect your self-care. Consider whether it’s time to move your loved one into a memory care home. Establish healthy eating, sleep, and exercise routines, and take a multivitamin to boost your overall health and well-being. Finally, find a support group that provides you with the companionship you need.

Image via Pexels

Hacking Longevity Market Trends & Consumer Preference

Article Originally Published in Aging Today Newspaper of ASA.org

September-October 2019, Vol xl No. 5

There now is heightened interest in serving the longevity market, as evidenced in The Business of Aging’s 2018 study, Hacking Longevity: A Three Generation Look at Living a 100 Year Life (tinyurl.com/yxdsle49), which painted a landscape of opportunity for companies that can speak authentically to older con­sumers, and help them navigate later life.

 Many companies have built products for different generations of older consumers.

Though the needs of and opportunities to serve this consumer cohort are recog­nized and well-researched, some compa­nies steadfastly chase the youth market, assuming more money and opportunity lie there. Also, new companies and tech­nologies tend to target wealthier older consumers—those who can pay regardless of insurance reimbursement. Companies’ offerings could (and should) have more wide-ranging social impact and greater results with low-income adults, particu­larly those of more diverse backgrounds who may be managing multiple chronic conditions, who are more at risk for social isolation and who may not have technolo­gy to assist in their care. Nonprofit organizations can partici­pate in these marketing opportunities by educating young companies about the re­alities of older adults’ lives, and by work­ing with for-profit companies to provide distribution and pilot programs, bringing new products and services to more vul­nerable older consumers. Many companies claiming to target older adults have built and marketed products to at least two different genera­tions of older consumers and-or caregiv­ers, likely the Greatest and Baby Boom generations. But members of these co­horts differ in how they age—and in how they perceive their aging. Thus, it is criti­cal that companies access key consumer insights, especially because people, as they age, can’t always relate to the brands they once valued, thinking that these brands no longer speak to their needs.

Market Opportunities and Trends Solutions for the Greatest Generation were designed for a “birds of a feather flock to­gether” mindset—think suburban living and resort-style senior living—whereas baby boomers require curation: they value individuality and specialized approaches.

The personal health and fitness con­sumer category is growing. While older generations prefer group programming, the newer generations of older adults pre­fer personal trainers, individualized meal programs and customized vitamin and supplement regimes. With high rates of obesity and diabetes, companies in this space are poised for growth.

Experiences are king. The Baby Boom Generation ushered in the “age of experi­ences,” and technology has enhanced this trend’s growth. Sometimes the language of experience is “memory-making,” espe­cially when it involves a family’s multiple generations. From adventure travel to food and wine to family vacations, older adults prefer to share experiences instead of gifting “things.” They also share these experiences via social platforms or within family circles. This sharing impetus ex­tends to exploring family history and heri­tage, hence the growth of genealogy sites and DNA testing.

A preference for “little luxuries.” The new older adult appreciates not just peak experiences, but also top products— luxuries that span from gourmet ice cream to home wine cellars to designer bifocals to a meal in a celebrity chef’s restaurant. In­herent in all things experiential is sharing the experience on social media.

Home maintenance has created an in­dustry of gig workers who provide services older adults are unwilling to do or can’t do. Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor and TaskRabbit all cater to this market. The segment of this home services economy ripe for innovation is the home organization–de-cluttering business. Organizations do exist, e.g., the National Association of Senior Move Man­agers, but this is a fragmented industry. Young families don’t want their parents’ furniture, collectibles and memorabilia. And, as older adults downsize and want to get rid of possessions, there is enormous (and growing) market opportunity.

Home is the center of care. As the ma­jority of older adults plans to age in their homes, professional homecare providers seek innovative ways to deliver care and services supporting the daily activities of older adults and their family caregivers. Applications for voice-activated devices (e.g., Amazon Echo and Google Home) that enable aging in the home are increas­ingly popular, as are services such as gro­cery delivery, medication reminders, care support and rides.

Products that have been used in the home for years are being re-engineered for aging at home. Consumers and care­givers are thinking about toileting and cleaning, maintaining odor control and keeping the home clean and infection-free. Expect robotics to assist with mun­dane in-home tasks.

Pet ownership is on the rise. The Baby Boom Generation has the highest divorce rates and the most aging singles. Pet owner­ship, as a means to avoid social isolation and loneliness, is more prevalent in this cohort. This indicates soaring sales of high-end pet food, pet insurance and accessories. This market also has created a service economy around in-home grooming, dog walking and sitting, veterinary services and more.

Financial services. The 2018 Hacking Longevity study revealed elders’ lack of understanding of financial products for retirement saving and, like other studies, showed that the Baby Boom Generation is understandably stressed about having enough money as they age. There is inno­vation around annuities and reverse mortgages, but these products have re­ceived mixed reviews, so selling any new versions is difficult. Consumers need more education to understand these prod­ucts’ uses and value.

The cannabis market has a Wild West feel to it.

Cannabis and CBD for pain manage­ment. The biggest category of consumer interest over the past two years is canna­bis and CBD. As states legalize medical and recreational cannabis, older adults are embracing it for pain management, help with sleeping and more. CBD prod­ucts have flooded the market with little evidence of efficacy for all of the claims made. This category has a Wild West feel to it, as start-ups appear daily; there is no clear market leader, but revenue projected by 2022 stands at $32 billion.

Companies in these trending catego­ries seek partners, just as they do inves­tors. While it can take for-profit and non­profit businesses time, imagination and key consumer research to create valuable partnerships, consumers benefit most from a careful development process. n

Lori Bitter is a marketing, research and development consultant, speaker and au­thor in the Bay Area, and author of The Grandparent Economy: How Baby Boom­ers Are Bridging the Generation Gap (Ithaca, NY: Paramount; 2015).

Assisted Living or Aging in Place? How to Choose

Our thanks to Caroline James of elderaction.org, for this contribution to our blog.

 

Where to live when you’re elderly is the type of decision you want to make before life forces you to do so. If you don’t, you may discover you have fewer options than you’d hoped. Seniors who have a disability are sometimes unable to return home, and without time to spare, they have no choice but to move into whichever care facility has space.

Unfortunately, it’s also exactly the type of decision you want to avoid. No one likes thinking about losing their independence or developing an age-related disability. However, you can’t ignore the fact that two in three seniors will need long-term care as they age.

So, how do you choose where to live and receive care when you’re older? These are the three most important factors to consider.

Location

Some communities are more suited to aging in place than others. For instance, seniors who live near medical facilities, caregiving agencies, public transit, and other important amenities have an easier time aging at home than rural seniors.

Care Needs

Seniors who need a lot of daily support benefits from assisted living, where they don’t have to worry about coordinating and budgeting for in-home care. On the other hand, seniors in good health can retain full independence by aging in place. So, consider your health today and how it may change in the future; if you have chronic health conditions or mobility problems now, you’re more likely to need full-time care later on.

Cost

Assisted living averages $48,000 a year — and that cost is steadily rising. While expensive, assisted living may cost less than you’d spend aging at home. At $22 an hour, the average cost of part-time care is lower than assisted living, but seniors who need round-the-clock care can save money by moving to assisted living.

How to Choose an Assisted Living Facility

Assisted living communities offer a supportive living environment where seniors can get help with day-to-day activities, such as taking medications, preparing meals, and managing personal care. Many assisted living facilities offer perks like fitness centers, gardens, and spas.

Since every assisted living community has its own personality, you’ll want to tour several in the San Francisco area before making a decision. Keep in mind that different communities offer different levels of independence. While some have communal facilities and cater specifically to seniors needing in-home care, others offer apartments and studios for seniors who are still self-sufficient but want some basic assistance with housekeeping and healthcare. Prices also range widely in San Francisco, with assisted living costs ranging from $1,695 to $11,270 a month. Factor your budget and your needs to narrow your search for the right assisted living facility.

How to Age in Place

If you’re in good health, you may be thinking of aging in place. However, are you sure your home is the right one to age in? While most seniors prefer to age in place, many don’t live in a home suited to senior living. They might not pose an obstacle now, but staircases, narrow doorways, and dimly lit spaces become a safety hazard in your 80s.

Some seniors opt to remodel their current home while others choose to buy a new house better suited to aging in place. When making your decision, consider not only the cost but also convenience. The cost savings offered by downsizing may be modest, but moving to a newer home means fewer repairs to worry about during retirement. You’ll also be able to settle in within weeks instead of waiting months for a remodel to finish.

Whatever you choose, don’t wait to think about where you’ll live when you’re older. If you decide to move to assisted living, you’ll need time to prepare your budget and find the perfect facility for your golden years. And if you decide that you want to age in place, starting now means you have many years to enjoy your ideal home.

 

How to Find the Best Shoes for Older Adults

Our thanks to Clarissa Rivera of Taos Footwear, for this contribution to our blog.

Finding the right shoes for older adults can be tricky, but doing so can help older adults maintain an active lifestyle which will contribute to better health and a better quality of life.

Whether you decide on a pair of supportive sneakers or comfortable sandals, your best bet is to find a pair that matches your needs and helps you stay active. The wrong shoes, on the other hand, can be uncomfortable, not to mention dangerous, so it’s crucial to find the right pair for the right activity.

Below are a few essential things to remember and look out for when shoe shopping.

 

Feet change

Feet change in shape and size as we get older, which means we can’t wear the same shoes that we wore in our twenties – no matter how much we spent on them, or how much wear they appear to have left in them.

It’s quite normal for your feet to get wider or more swollen as you age. However, we recommend talking to your doctor about any changes you notice, to make sure they are not related to an undiagnosed medical condition.

Get rid of your old shoes

Shoes lose their support and cushioning over time, so replace them when you see wear on the sole, upper, or inside. If your shoes are pinching your toes, then that is a sign of a poor fit, so you should get rid of them to avoid further problems.

Older adults who have less feeling in their feet are in a much more vulnerable position, as they might not feel the pain associated with a poor fit. So, we would suggest changing your shoes every year or 18 months – depending on how much wear they get – just to be on the safe side.

What to wear indoors…

Yes, staying in counts as an activity, so it’s important to prepare your feet for staying indoors too. Walking around barefoot or in just a pair of socks isn’t ideal. Shoes or sturdy slippers should always be worn around the house, as they will not only protect your feet, but they will also help with mobility.

However, slip-on slipper styles and flip flops should be avoided in older age, as it’s extremely easy to step out of them and trip. Flip flops can also cause damage to the toes and toenails, so they should be left to the younger generation.

Choosing the right shoes for the right activity  

The first step to choosing new shoes as an older adult is to be clear about what you want them for. Walking shoes are very different to running shoes, and running shoes are very different to dress shoes, so make sure you tell the salesperson and whoever is helping you what they will be used for.

The second step is to ensure that they are comfortable before you leave the store. If you are looking for walking shoes, go for a walk around the store. The same goes for running shoes. They can be worn in gradually once you get home, but they should fit somewhat comfortably when you first try them on. Here are just a few more things to look out for when shopping…

 

Make sure you are happy with the length, width, and capacity of the shoe, as well as its shape. The salesperson should be able to trace the outline of both of your feet while you are standing; the outline can then be used against the shoes in the store to find the right pair.

 

One foot could be bigger than the other, so always choose a size that fits the larger foot. The smaller foot can then have an insole placed inside the shoe for the perfect fit.

 

The fabric of the shoe is extremely important, too. We recommend choosing a shoe with an upper section made of either soft leather or heavy fabric.

 

The back of the shoe shouldn’t be neglected in your search either, as it should stabilize the ankle and the heel. If possible, the heel should be compressible, low, and broad.

 

The sole is also one of the most important things to consider, as a thick, solid sole is crucial to mobility. Those with Parkinson’s often find that smooth soles help them move more easily. Non-skid soles, found in most sneakers and sports shoes, provide good traction. Silvert’s sells a range of adaptive footwear that could greatly benefit older adults. Shoes with extra depth to help with orthotics, shoes that are adjustable for older adults who suffer with foot swelling, and shoes with anti-slip soles are just a few examples.

 

Pay attention to how the shoe fastens.

Someone who cannot tie their laces may be more comfortable using VELCRO, or a buckle that can be adjusted by hand, foot, or cane. New Balance makes shoes with hook-and-loop closure, as a helpful alternative to laces. Some models are Medicare-approved as diabetic shoes too.

 

Socks are just as important.

Be sure to team your new shoes with a good pair of socks. Choose sweat-wicking socks that are anatomically-shaped, as they can reduce your risk of developing blisters. Your local sports or running store should have a good selection of appropriate socks.

 

As you can see, choosing shoes for older adults might require a little bit of extra thought, but the results of finding the best shoe are more than worth it.

 

The 2019 Guide to Medicare

Our thanks to Danielle Kunkle, for this contribution to our blog.

Though Medicare has been around since 1965, there are changes each year that affect your premiums, copays and deductibles for the next year. Sometimes there are also legislative changes that can impact your benefits. Let’s look at an overview of Medicare for 2019.

Medicare Has 4 Parts

Original Medicare includes Part A hospital benefits and Part B outpatient benefits. You enroll in these two parts via the Social Security office during your Initial Enrollment Period which begins 3 months before your 65th birthday month. Part A covers inpatient hospital, hospice and skilled nursing. Part B covers most other medically necessary services on the outpatient sides, such as doctor visits, lab testing, emergency care, physical therapy, chemotherapy and much more.

In1997, the Balanced Budget Act also created Part C, which is the Medicare Advantage program, which we’ll discuss more below

The most recent part of Medicare is the voluntary prescription drug program that we call Part D. This will help to reduce the cost of your retail prescriptions.

Medicare Doesn’t Cover 100% of your Costs

Although Medicare covers the majority of your healthcare expenses, you are responsible for some cost-sharing. This includes deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. On the outpatient side, Medicare only covers about 80% of your covered procedures, and you are responsible to pay the other 20%. For this reason, most people enroll in additional coverage to help them with their cost-sharing. There are two primary types of supplemental coverage: Medigap Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans.

Medigap plans are also known as Medicare supplements and these plans pay after Medicare. In most states, you can choose from one of 10 standardized Medigap plans. These plans allow you to treat with any Medicare provider nationwide and you don’t have to choose a primary care doctor.

Since Medigap plans don’t include outpatient drug coverage, you would enroll in a standalone Part D drug plan as well.

Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) is optional coverage in which you can get your Medicare Part A and B benefits through a private insurance company that offers a network of providers. These plans often have lower premiums than Medigap plans but you’ll pay copays at the time of service for various medical services.

Between Medicare and the right supplemental coverage, you can rest assured your benefits will cover you well without breaking the bank.

Finding Success as an Older Entrepreneur

Our thanks to Rae Steinbach, from fueledcollective.com, for this contribution to our blog.

Whether it’s Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, much of the 2000s has been dominated by younger entrepreneurs who have changed our personal and business lives in a number of ways. From the rise of social media to the increasing popularity of remote work and coworking spaces, entrepreneurs have had a marked impact on society.  But contrary to how our current youth-oriented culture may seem, one can begin to build a great company at any age.

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common causes of new business failure is a lack of relevant skills and experience. Older entrepreneurs, as you’ll see, are often in a better position than ever to take a chance on the idea they’ve been dreaming about and watch it grow into a successful business.

 

Why Older People Make Successful Entrepreneurs

Seemingly everyone has a million-dollar idea that could change the world, but very few of us are able to navigate the business world and make it a reality. People who have spent more time working and gaining experience are generally able to hold a more realistic view of their goals, expectations, and needs.

Younger entrepreneurs also face difficulties in attempting to build a business while dealing with the financial and personal responsibilities that come with being in your 20s or 30s. Starting later in life means having more time, money, and resources to devote to your business.

 

Creating a Business

No matter how old you are, leaving an existing job for the unknown is a major risk that requires serious consideration. Half of all businesses fail within five years, so it’s crucial to be realistic and impartial when thinking about the costs and benefits of starting your own company.

When you do decide to branch out, you’ll also have to judge how much of your personal money to spend on the project. Unlike those in their 20s and 30s, older entrepreneurs generally don’t have as much time to replenish savings and retirement funds if the venture doesn’t turn out the way they hoped.

If your startup targets millennials or younger demographics, you may benefit from hiring some employees who can provide valuable insight into that market. Understanding how to capitalize on your strengths and find people to support your weakness is crucial to managing any business.

Starting a company is a massive undertaking for anyone, and that’s especially true for older entrepreneurs. That said, the experience and knowledge that come from decades in a business environment often prove even more valuable in a startup context. These strategies will help you build your company from the ground up and put you in a position to reach your goals.

 

 

Giving Gifts That Make a Difference

I get to take a look at products designed for older adults every day. This year I brought technology from two companies I have known since their start-up days into the homes of my parents.

Technology

After the passing of my step-dad, my Mom decided she wanted a medical alert device. We turned to Greatcall and Lively.  As I knew it would be, the service she has received has been exceptional. My Dad, who lives in a rural area, expressed an interest in some sort of device to stay in closer touch with us. He was especially missing all of the photos of his newest great grandson. Knowing that he is not tech savvy, we were reluctant to put an ordinary tablet in his hands. Instead we turned to GrandPad. Because of his location, the set-up proved difficult, but the service was excellent, we were communicated with about solutions, and understood the issues. I am happy to be the influencer on these purchases, and to experience the service models these companies have created.

Comfort & Joy

While I live and work in the world of technology, I’ve been working very hard this year to uncover things being created for older adults that bring joy, comfort and fun. There is plenty of investment in technology that solves for the dissonances of aging. There is not nearly enough focus (or funding) on joy. My short list of gift ideas is focused on this theme!

Give Loved1

Loved1 is subscription gift box for older adults that contains items focused on wellness and happiness. The difference is that the items are carefully curated to encourage engagement between the sender and receiver. Subscribers, usually the adult children, receive an email about the items in the box and an Engagement Guide filled with ideas to promote rich conversations and fun interactions. Subscriptions come in 12, 6 and 3 box options. This is the perfect gift for your family member living in a community to encourage family members of all ages to visit and engage around fun activities; and if you are long distance caregiver, the items in the box create conversations beyond the basic check-in calls. You can listen to my friend Paul Vogelzang’s Podcast with Loved1’s Joe Adams to learn more.

Bridges Together

Bridges Together is the go-to organization for intergenerational engagement. They offer training and tools to help individuals and communities embrace and create a truly age-integrated world. Schools, communities, and companies use the Bridges curriculum to create all types of intergenerational activities. Founder Andrea Weaver calls intergenerational engagement “an inoculation against ageism.” Become part of the age integrated movement and subscribe here. You can see the outstanding “How To Guides” that are part of your subscription. If you are looking for a fun stocking stuffer, or a way to stimulate non-political discourse over the holidays, check out the Grand Conversation Cards. This deck of cards has thought-provoking questions for people of all ages to encourage deeper conversations among multiple generations of family. These are great for the dinner table (sans devices), for workplace training, or you can play one of the games that come in the How To Guide.

 

Clothing That Comforts

Jan Erickson created Janska from a dream about a jacket. She had an older friend who had become disabled from a series of strokes. The hospital gown became her wardrobe and Jan wanted to create something to keep her warm and also restore her “personhood” during this difficult time. That jacket that Jan sketched from her dream launched a made-in-America clothing company with five collections and accessories sold nationwide. The Clothing That Comforts line is the embodiment of Jan’s philosophy that clothing does matter, and that soft, warm pieces provide dignity that can be lost when you are facing a health or mobility challenge.

I gifted my Grandmother with the Lap Wrap Shawl and the MocSocks. (I love the MocSocks too!) Imagine the joy that the cozy fabrics and beautiful colors will bring to your loved one!

 

However you celebrate the season, I hope you and your family have love, joy and fun!