Category Archives: Senior Living

How To Avoid Identity Theft in 2018

identity-thief-graphic

4 Tips to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft in 2018

In 2017, 1 in 15 people had their identity stolen, equalling 16.7 million victims. Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can access your bank account, make unauthorized charges to your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can even file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. Identity theft can happen to anyone but seniors are especially likely to be victims. There are a couple reasons why seniors are often targeted:

  • Seniors usually have more money in their savings than the younger generations.
  • Depending on their living situations, seniors personal information travels through many different people and groups on a regular basis.
  • Identity thieves take advantage of seniors’ trusting attitudes. Seniors are less likely to be suspicious of unusual emails, calls, or requests and therefore are often not expecting to be taken advantage of.
  • Lastly, when identity theft has happened, seniors are less likely to report it and discuss it with their family. Often, many fear that reporting identity theft to their family will indicate they are unable to handle their finances on their own.

Here are four simple steps seniors can take to minimize the risk of identity theft and make yourself more aware of potential threats:

hacking-lock-icon1. Understand the Threats

Identity theft is much more than spam emails. It can take the form of tax fraud to medical billing to phone scams. In all cases, they seek to obtain your personal information—which many include your SSN, your credit card numbers, or your billing information. Here is a great resource to learn more more about your top identity theft threats.

 

Social-security-card-example2. Guard your personal numbers

Studies show 88% of older Americans are more likely to share personal information online than their children or grandchildren. It is important that you never provide personal information, such as your Social Security number, credit card number, date of birth, checking or savings account numbers over unsecured outlets, including email, social media and phone calls you did not initiate.

 

paperwork3. Secure your paperwork

Many times, easily accessible mail and confidential documents landing in the wrong hands is a large issue for seniors. Having a locked mailbox is a first step to eliminating this issue. Once you have received and finished with the documents, you do not want to just throw them into the trash. Purchasing a small paper shredder to destroy the paperwork is a quick and easy way to reduce the risk of it getting into the wrong hands.

 

credit-card-statement-review4. Review your statements.

Regularly checking your bank, credit card, and other statements helps to identify suspicious transactions or differences. If something looks unfamiliar, take action immediately with your bank or organization.

 

Takeaways:

All in all, identity theft is a serious crime and can be very damaging for all affected by it, especially seniors. Following these simple steps stated above will help reduce your risk at becoming a victim. If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, this page from the AARP website will help you navigate who to call and what to report. This page from the online guide to the US government also lists instructions on actions to take should you need to report identity theft.

 

Who We Are

Griffin Insurance Solutions is an independent agency that offers plans from 15 different insurers. We understand that each client is a unique individual, and we want to help you find the best plan and the right insurer. We ensure that your options remain flexible so you can use the providers and doctors of your choice. We’ll happily address your questions and concerns and help you find the best plan for you. Contact us today for in-person appointment by email or phone at 919-704-6147 or 800-774-1434.


Sources:

  • https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/public_comments/ftc-seeks-public-input-how-identity-theft-impacts-senior-citizens-project-no.p065411-00009%C2%A0/00009-83187.pdf
  • https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-t-miller/10-ways-seniors-can-avoid_b_11180036.html
  • https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/protecting-seniors-from-identity-theft/
  • https://www.identityforce.com/blog/identity-theft-odds-identity-theft-statistics
  • https://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/income/elderwatch/report-fraud/https://www.usa.gov/identity-theft#item-208988

Why and How Seniors Can get more Sleep

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Top 7 Ways Seniors can Get More Sleep and Why they Should (#5 will surprise you!)

Have you ever heard the myth that seniors need less sleep than other age groups? That now that you’re older, having shorter, restless sleeps is to be expected and normal? Both the Center for Disease Control and the National Sleep Institute stand to debunk that rumor.

The CDC defines seven hours as the minimum for all adults. Getting daily sufficient sleep is key for a healthy lifestyle and is identified as one of the top five health behaviors to prevent chronic disease for people of all ages. But as we age, our sleep cycles change and the body respond differently to sleep and seniors do often find themselves having a harder time either falling asleep or staying in a deep, continuous sleep—from a variety of sleep disorders (click here to learn more about those). But a few life habits can help you capture more Zzzs.

SleepDuration-Recommendations1. Find your sleep number

It is defined as medical equipment prescribed by your doctor for use in the home that can withstand repeated use, is used for a medical reason, and has an expected lifetime of at least three years. DME can only be prescribed to you by your doctor, and—depending on the type of equipment—you may be required to either rent it or buy it through Medicare.

routine-clock-icon2. Create a Routine:

Once you’ve identified the right amount of sleep for you, create a routine that will allow your body to fall into a rhythm to increase your chances of a better night’s sleep. Once you’ve made it, stick to it.

  • Going to bed and waking up each morning at the same time—including the weekends—will help to your sleep-wake cycles become consistent, allowing for your body to understand when to be active and when to prepare for sleep.
  • Regular and consistent exercise, especially aerobic activities, can promote good sleep, as long as it is not within three hours of your bedtime. Northwestern University studied how aerobic exercise affected middle-aged and older adults diagnosed with insomnia. The study showed that participants who regularly exercised saw dramatic improvement in quality of sleep, reporting fewer depressive symptoms, more energy, and less daytime sleepiness.
  • Avoid daytime napping. Studies have shown that naps can increase symptoms linked to insomnia and disrupt your sleep-wake cycles into the night.

peaceful -bedroom3. Create a Sleep Zone

Your bedroom should be the place where you go to relax and sleep. By eliminating other activities that take place in your bedroom, you allow your mind to understand that when you’re there, you should be sleeping. The room should be quiet, dark and cool. Also, find the right mattress and pillow for your preferred sleeping position. Having the right pillow and mattress is key in creating a comfortable sleep zone. Here’s a link that can help you when you are mattress shopping.

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4. Limit Liquids Before Bed

Even small amounts can make it harder to stay asleep. Add that to the common bladder problems that face seniors and you get a disturbed sleep. Getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom not only initially disrupts your sleep, but if insomnia troubles you, you may have a trouble getting back to sleep. Make sure to limit liquids in general close to bedtime.

sunny-grass5. Enjoy the Sunshine

Sunlight helps regulate melatonin and your sleeping cycles. Being outside during daylight hours triggers our mind and body into understanding this is when we should be awake. With that in mind, try to get at least two hours of sunlight a day. As always, it is important to use sun protection including sunscreen and proper eyewear when outside.

6. Unwind Before Bed

1. Those same “sunshine triggers” in our brain may get triggered at night by our favorite electronic screens. Turn off your TV and other electronics at an hour before bed—or at the minimum, 30 minutes. Using them before bed can adversely affect your sleep. To learn more, click here.

2. Studies show taking a warm bath before bed allows your body to relax and slow down as you prepare for sleep. The change in temperature from the warm bath to room temperature can also aid in helping you feel tired.

3. Relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing before bed may allow your brain to let go and feel tired.

7. Plan your Dinner

Our diet diet directly affects our sleep.

  • Finish your dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime to reduce indigestion.
  • Consider your meal: Having large or spicy meals before bedtime can cause issues such as indigestion. High-sugar foods and refined carbs can stimulate your system when you’re trying to reach your full REM cycle.
  • Avoid night caps. The alcohol may initially make you feel sleepy, but will metabolize into stimulating sugars as your body digests it.

How your doctor can help:

As always, you will want to consult your physician to see if there an underlying medical reason causing sleep disruption or issues. These may be from a sleep disorder or any prescription or over-the-counter drugs that contribute to sleep disorders. When effects are serious and left untreated, they can take a toll on a person’s health and even put you at risk for cardiovascular disease, headaches, memory loss and depression. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend behavioral therapies, prescription medications or both, as part of your treatment plan.

How Medicare Plays in

It’s also important to note that Medicare Part B may cover Type I, II, III, and IV sleep tests and devices. To learn more about what is covered, who is eligible, and costs, click here. It’s important to talk to your physician prior to ordering a sleep test. You’ll want to confirm if the sleep study lab accepts Medicare assignment to determine costs for any sleep studies he or she recommends.

Your doctor or insurance provider can help you determine what is covered, but if you think you might be eligible for a sleep study and would like some professional guidance, we’re to help. Customizing a plan to your situation will help you both today and in the future.

How we can help:

Griffin Insurance Solutions is an independent agency that offers plans from 15 different insurers. We understand that each client is a unique individual, and we want to help you find the best plan and the right insurer. We ensure that your options remain flexible so you can use the providers and doctors of your choice. We’ll happily address your questions and concerns and help you find the best plan for you. Contact us today for in-person appointment by email or phone at 919-704-6147 or 800-774-1434

 


Sources:
https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bedhttps://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/aging-affects-sleep#1https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-well-as-you-age.htmhttps://www.nia.nih.gov/health/good-nights-sleephttps://mattresshelp.org/senior-sleep-guide/https://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2010/09/aerobic-exercise-relieves-insomnia.htmlhttps://mattresshelp.org/mattress-reviews/https://www.blackburngroup.com/riskpro-news/the-five-key-health-behaviors-that-reduce-chronic-disease