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It’s Tax Time — Where Are My Documents?

Tax papersWhether you are still living at home, moving into a retirement community, have moved into a retirement community, or know someone who qualifies as any of the above, there is one thing you must face: tax time! This warning is for those of us who like to save every piece of string, yellowed newspaper, and straws from restaurants, as well as those who throw everything away because we don’t like clutter. When filing taxes, preparers need documentation for everything you claim. Now, where are those receipts and income statements? Did I throw them away or stuff them into boxes along with the recipes and clippings about the grandchildren’s sports achievements?

 

What to keep, and for how long, can be confusing, but it is important to know when (and how) to dispose of important papers. Many records are essential — not just at tax time, but for other reasons. Here are some general guidelines to help. As always, check with a tax or accounting professional if you have questions.

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Interact with Your Meds Before They Interact with You!

medicines-As you get older, you may be faced with more health conditions that you need to treat on a regular basis. It is important to be aware that more use of medicines and normal body changes caused by aging can increase the chance of unwanted or harmful drug interactions. The more you know about your medicines, and the more you talk with your health care professionals, the easier it is to avoid problems with medicines.

As you age, body changes can affect the way medicines are absorbed and used. For example, changes in the digestive system can affect how fast medicines enter the bloodstream. Changes in body weight can influence the amount of medicine you need to take and how long it stays in your body. The circulatory system may slow down, which can affect how fast drugs get to the liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys also may work more slowly, affecting the way a drug breaks down and is removed from the body.

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It’s Virus Season — for You and Your Computer!

Winter is considered the peak season for viruses; you've heard the warnings about the flu and getting flu shots and the like. For some populations, the flu can be deadly. However, this warning is not about the viruses that get into your body — it's about the cyber viruses that get into your computer. They, too, can be deadly — to your computer! And sadly, seniors are particularly prone to both varieties! 

If you are reading this, we can assume you are using a computer. Therefore, you are at risk for a virus, commonly called "malware." Computer attacks are on the rise. Hundreds and thousands of computers in 150 countries can be and have been "hacked," causing problems from slowdowns to nasty popups to theft of personal information to destruction of the computer itself. Computers can be taken "hostage," meaning the perpetrator can take control of your machine until you pay a fine (which usually doesn't work anyway). If this frightens you, it should scare you into taking steps to protect your computer from viruses and other malware. Just like a flu shot, the solution is easy (but painless!).

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What Did You Say About Hearing Loss?

hearing test

"I called a piano tuner and he worked on my piano for six hours. I was getting anxious about how much it was going to cost but when he finished and asked for only four dollars I said, 'How come you can spend that much time on the piano and only charge me four dollars?' He said, 'What?'" (Steve Allen)

Hearing loss can be funny on stage, but it is generally considered a normal part of the aging process and is not funny when it happens. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults, and should not be ignored.

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Getting Better at Growing Older in 2020

If you are reading this, you are probably either living in a retirement home, considering moving to a retirement home, or know someone in a retirement home. Retirement is usually the dream of the worker — quitting work and transitioning to a life of leisure and freedom from the tyranny of the alarm clock and the freeway. But retirement needn't mean inactivity or disengagement from the world; in fact, such a philosophy or lifestyle can be a detriment to healthy aging. A total lack of activity, goals, and purpose can drain life of its meaning and drain meaning of its life.

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Are You Saying Dad Has a Gambling Problem? Bingo!

Bingo can be an innocent, fun recreational activity for seniors, with low stakes and little danger. Few participants will get in a fierce competition over a box of candy, a pack of tissues, a pencil, a plastic figure of Santa Claus, or any other dollar store trinkets. Games like bingo are crucial to a senior’s daily life because they encourage socialization, exercise mental abilities, and are great relationship builders. The games are usually held in senior environments and are meant for fun. However, in other situations, gambling problems can be a real worry.

Because of the rise of internet gambling, the multiplication of brick-and-mortar casinos, lotteries, and the reduced stigma of gambling, more and more seniors are exposed to — and being bitten by — the gambling bug. It no longer has to be tracked down outside the house; it is as close as a computer or smartphone.

 

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Seniors Can Still Serve!

Senior CorpsRetirement doesn't necessarily mean retreating from service! Of course, many seniors have retired from military, government, and other services as careers, and can now take it a bit easy. However, the world still has need for the talents and wisdom of senior adults, and you could be the answer.

There are opportunities to make a positive difference around the world, in your neighborhood, and even in your retirement community. Keeping active and engaged with others has many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, for both you and those you encounter.

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