EverSafe Newsletter

Providing thought-provoking articles, commentary and general information on issues related to aging and financial health.

Celebrate the Holidays with Seniors in Mind

CONSIDERING OLDER LOVED ONES WILL MAKE THE SEASON MERRIER

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. And while many families across the US will the celebrate together, sharing meals and trimming the tree, it’s important to keep in mind that there may be inherent challenges for seniors during the holidays. Here are a few tips to consider in order to ensure that older loved ones enjoy the season along with you.

  • Travel: Take some time to help older family members plan their travel arrangements ahead of time. There may be challenging weather conditions that arise at the last minute which call for alternate plans—if grandparents are expected at your family gathering. Be ready. Dad and Mom may not be as confident behind the wheel in snow and ice as they were years ago, and planning for their transportation needs ahead of time will cut down on everyone’s stress level.
  • Home: Many older family members are fit and mobile, and have no trouble getting around. Others may have some physical challenges and if your celebration is outside their home environment, it’s important to think about obstacles. Steps, rugs, small pets, and kids’ toys can end up being deadly for a senior who is a bit unsteady, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the environment. And be sure to consider the seating arrangements at the family meal so that seniors who need extra room for a cane or walker are in a spot that will accommodate their needs.
  • Conversation: It’s important to make sure that all family members are included in the conversation at your celebratory meal. If an older loved one has hearing issues, take a few moments to ensure that they are involved in the discussion. Consider asking everyone at the table to share what they’re grateful for (however corny), and what they’d like to accomplish in the coming year. If a family member has recently experienced the loss of a spouse or a partner—understand that the holidays can be an emotional time, with loneliness or depression in play. Family get togethers are a perfect time to share your love and support—in good or in challenging times.
  • Volunteer: There are many seniors who won’t have the opportunity to attend family celebrations over the holidays. Either they don’t have living relatives, or they can’t travel the distance to see loved ones. If you know of a senior who is planning to be alone over the holidays, you might consider asking if they’d like to spend some time with you and your family. This kind of get-together could be the start of a profound and meaningful friendship. Volunteering is also a great way to help folks who find themselves alone during the season. You might consider working a holiday event at a senior residence. Soup kitchens are another option. City Meals on Wheels in New York City offers a great program in which volunteers can write a note to a homebound elderly New Yorker, which is delivered along with a hot meal.

Focusing on older loved ones and involving them in your holiday festivities will bring great rewards to all involved.

California Wildfires Most Destructive on Record

CAMP FIRE, WORST IN HISTORY, TOOK AIM AT SENIORS

The most recent California wildfires, which began in early November and burned on both ends of the state, have caused 87 deaths (as of 11/25/2018) with 500 people still missing, according to ABC News. The Camp Fire, believed to be the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history, “took ruthless aim at older people. Paradise, the Northern California town erased by fire, was largely a retirement community, with a quarter of the population 65 and older,” according to ABC. The list of those still missing includes many in their 70s and 80s. Most of the fires are now contained. As Californians attempt to rebuild, it’s important to remember that scams and identity theft are common after natural disasters. The F.B.I. is already focused on fraudulent activity in the northern part of the state. Although the desire to do something to help the victims is natural, it’s a sad fact that fraudsters take advantage of our charitable instincts. Before donating, it’s prudent to conduct “due diligence” on the charitable relief organization asking for help. Research the group online, contact the Better Business Bureau, and/or check with the FTC. A few additional tips:

  • If a call or email appears to be suspicious, trust your instincts.
  • Fraudulent email communications often contain misspellings or grammar that is ‘off.’ The email address of the sender may appear to be a known organization or legitimate company, so it’s best to double check by checking the official site online or calling the company directly.
  • Scam phone calls can come from a Caller ID that appears to be legitimate. Take the time to look up the official number of the organization and call them back.
  • If you decide to donate, it’s best to use a credit card, as opposed to a debit card or a check. If someone asks for a contribution via gift card or wire transfer, politely decline.

Grandparents as Caregivers

EXPLORING PLUSES & MINUSES OF BABYSITTING THE GRANDKIDS

Grandparenting is the new normal. This population represents a larger percentage of the US than ever before, according to the US Census. And while becoming a grandparent is a joyous occasion, there may be stresses—especially if parents are facing challenges and have asked for help, either financially or in the way of caregiving.

In reality, not all grandparents welcome the idea of babysitting. This cohort may be “a combination of younger baby boomers and older Generation X’ers who are…not yet retired finding themselves caught balancing their own plans and those of adult children—who may need a babysitter” according to a NYT piece on the issue. Others welcome the prospect of helping out in their new role. In a moving piece in Considerable.com, Amy Blacklock chronicles her fulfilling journey in deciding to quit her job to become a caregiver for her grandchild. Her advice includes “discussing logistics up front” and taking time for relaxation. Clearly, becoming a caregiver in later life can bring great rewards, but the importance of pre-planning and discussing the details of the arrangement is essential.

SCAM ALERT

MoneyGram Still Engaged in Fraud Schemes

REGULATORS FINE MONEY GRAM FOR FAILURES TO PROTECT CUSTOMERS

MoneyGram has been cited by federal regulators, including the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, and found to have “significant weaknesses in uncovering and preventing rogue agents from engaging in fraudulent transfers from a range of domestic and foreign scammers, a cabal typically preying on the elderly and vulnerable by making wild claims, like a person won a sweepstakes or lottery, and only needed to pay the taxes or fees.” They will now have to forfeit $125 million, a result of breaching their prior settlement with regulators in which the company promised to improve scam-detection measures across their 350,000 global locations where money transfers are conducted.