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Do People in Reading Need Reading Glasses?

book and glasses

There is a bumper sticker that says, "If you can read this, you are too close!" That is a welcome sign of caution, but NOT being able to read is also a sign of caution.

As we age, our eyes may not function as well as they used to. Now that you are retired and have more time to read (or look at a computer or smartphone screen), reading may become more difficult. "Hyperopia" is a fancy medical term for a common condition known as "farsightedness." This means you can see distant objects clearly, but closer objects (such as screens and pages) appear blurry. Not only that, but you may find yourself squinting to see up-close, may have itchy or achy eyes, and even develop headaches after doing close work, like reading and sewing.

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Department of Aging Warns Seniors of Genetic Testing Scam

Medical culture

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Aging is warning Pennsylvania seniors, their families, and caregivers, about a new scam targeting older adults. DNA testing has become extremely popular in the past few years for people looking to learn more about their family history and health, and scammers are now targeting Medicare beneficiaries with a fraudulent DNA testing service. These scammers offer “free” genetic testing, claiming it is covered through Medicare, as a means for the senior to avoid disease or to find the right medications. This is simply an effort to gain access to a senior’s personal Medicare information, which can lead to access to financial information, and more.

“Unfortunately, scammers continue to develop ways to target seniors,” said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “It’s a major priority to circulate new scam tactics to the public as we discover them to help older adults and their loved ones be one step ahead of potentially being a victim of these criminals.”

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It’s Time for Medicare Annual Open Enrollment

The Annual Open Enrollment Period (AOEP) runs from October 15th through December 7th. You have the opportunity to change or enroll for a Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan. The changes take effect on January 1st.

You can make the following changes during the Medicare AOEP:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.

APPRISE counselors are available to answer your Medicare-related questions at certain scheduled events and locations. Contact them through Berks Encore for free help and counseling center locations.

Planning for End-of-Life Issues

 

Preparing to Cross the Finish Line

 

Since the beginning of time, humans have pondered end-of-life issues. Over 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." And where is he now? Woody Allen famously said, “I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”

Mr. Franklin was right; however, we know when taxes are due, but we don’t necessarily know when the Grim Reaper will show up. And Mr. Allen aside, we will be there when it happens, and so will those we leave behind. It behooves us, as a kindness to our loved ones, to plan for that final appointment.

Death is an unpleasant subject but it stalks everyone, from infants to centenarians. It can come without warning, so the time to prepare is now, especially if you or your loved one has heartfelt wishes for how the final years are spent.

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Financial Planning for Future Care

Fixed Incomes and Family Finances

Financial planning seems to be an endless process. Your parents planned for your future; as you grew up, you planned for your spouse and children; as the nest emptied out, you planned for your retirement. And now, the cycle takes a turn: you may be planning for your parents’ future, especially if dementia or other senior-care needs are thrown into the mix. If that is the case, the time to start planning is now.

The costs for senior care can take you by surprise, and may change as the senior's needs change. You can explore your options with insurance and other benefits, but don’t expect outside assistance to cover all the costs. The following are some common costs to keep in mind, as well as the fact that costs may vary according to your location and providers.

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Legal Planning for Dementia Caregivers

The Patient’s Will for a Last Will

The stereotypical opening line of a last will and testament begins with, “I, (name), being of sound mind, do hereby bequeath . . . " Then, the testator lists the beneficiaries of his or her estate and other last wishes. The “sound mind” part is key to establishing the validity of the will and making sure the testator’s last wishes are carried out. When a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it is important for the patient and caregivers to initiate legal procedures, like wills and power of attorney, while the patient can actively and coherently participate (*legal capacity).

Putting legal matters in order in advance can prevent confusion and even conflict over caregiving responsibilities and inheritance matters. It allows time to navigate complex legal and financial issues that can arise with long-term and end-of-life care situations. (NOTE: This article is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be taken as such.) 

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Safety Tips for Senior Traveler Trips

One of the joys of retirement is the ability to travel without worrying about missing work. Now you can visit some of those places you worried about missing when you were tied down to a job, and not worry about safety.

 

Besides the toothbrush and travel alarm clock, there are many things a senior must consider before locking up the house and leaving your worries behind. For example, you don’t want to leave your medications and important papers behind. Here are some tips to help your vacation go as smoothly as possible.

 

Help Tips Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Ask a seasoned traveler to help you plan your packing. Check your passport, license, and other ID papers (including the new REAL ID), to make sure they are in order and won’t expire while you are away. Leave your itinerary, accommodations, schedule, and contact information with a trusted friend or relative who can contact you — and whom you can contact — in case of emergency.

 

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