Maybelle Carter Blog

Bridging the Gap Between Generations

Friday, 30 September 2016 18:25

Nashville senior living communityNot only does intergenerational activity pass along knowledge and wisdom, it can lead to longer, healthier lives. While finding common ground may be a bit of a challenge, it can be rewarding for all ages. Studies have proven this interaction reduces isolation and poverty among seniors while enabling them to serve as mentors for younger adults.

As Margaret Mead states, “Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”

Here are a few tips for intergenerational activity:

Keep an Open Mind
Seniors and grandchildren alike can learn a lot from each other if both parties keep an open mind and appreciate the unique opportunities and challenges that can accompany the interactions.

Respect Differences
Differences in generations can also bring a collision of values. It is important to respect the variances in lifestyle and belief. When individuals come together, inaccurate and negative stereotypes are broken. As organizational development scholar Dr. Morris Massey said, “We don’t have to agree with the values of different generations, but we can strive to understand the mind-sets of different generations and how each group sees the world based on their experiences.”

Find Common Ground
Both seniors and those from Generation X can relate to the impact a downturned economy played on their lives. Baby Boomers were most likely influenced by parents who grew up during the Great Depression. That provides common ground for younger generations who struggled with a double digit inflation and a challenging job market.

Stay Flexible
Bridging the differences of age and beliefs requires flexibility in actions and thinking. The Charmm’d Foundation offers more tips in staying flexible and communicating with other generations at http://www.charmmdfoundation.org/resource-library/effective-communication/checklist-communicating-different-generations.

Differing generations can become advocates for one another to provide solutions for illiteracy, crime prevention, health and environmental issues. Generations United provides that intergenerational activities allow seniors to remain active and engaged. This interaction results in longer life spans with better mental and physical health while keeping them engaged in their communities.

Research from the organization also stated, “Older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes and perform better on a memory test than their peers. Older adults with dementia experience more positive effect during interactions with children.”

Learn the Key to Living a Longer, Happier Life

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 20:01

Everyone searches for the key to happiness throughout life, and everyone also seems to have differing opinions on what that key is. Is it family? A loving partnership or marriage? Wealth? Actually, it turns out that it is a combination of these – having a wealth of good relationships is the real key to living a long, happy life. Nashville retirement facility

In 1938, Harvard University started a study, and began tracking 724 men. These men came from a variety of backgrounds ranging from college students to men living in some of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. The researchers initially interviewed these men about their lives, medically examined their brains and did blood work, and continued this process every 2 years. The majority of the surviving men from the study are now in their 90s.

After 75 years of research, there are now some solid clues that can help piece the happiness puzzle together. Harvard Professor of Psychology, Robert Waldinger, is now the 4th director of the study and says that those who lead healthier lives also have strong social bonds which protect their mental and physical health over the long-term. In contrast, individuals with health problems have a higher probability of becoming isolated which can lead to unhappiness in old age.

This seems like a fairly simple concept…stay healthy and make friends. However, consider the various phases of life and making friends: when we are in school, there is a built in network of individuals to choose to build relationships with; when we enter the workforce, our careers provide opportunity to form even more relationships. 

What happens when we retire though, and our colleagues/friends move on or become out of touch? Waldinger suggests that happiness is more likely for healthy seniors who make an effort to build new relationships after retirement. A person who is connected with friends, family and their community will tend to live a healthier, happier life than a person who is less connected.

The study also found that there were connections between mental unhappiness in younger years (caused by unhappy relationships) and physical pain in later years. For instance, some people reported that their physical pain at age 80 was magnified due to their emotional pain at age 50. This is why H. Jackson Brown Jr. said that who you marry determines, “90% of your happiness or misery.”

Even though romance may be hard to maintain in a relationship that lasts for generations, the study suggested that individuals who argued with their partner regularly had sharper memories.  This was dependent upon the individual feeling that they could count on their partner in tough times, suggesting that secure relationships help strengthen the brain.

What role does an Assisted Living Community, like Maybelle Carter, play in this?

When a senior moves into this type of community, they are not isolated. The community fosters a healthy balance of freedom and privacy with an environment designed to help create and grow social connections. There are planned outings, games, meals, and a variety of great physical activities that are planned by staff in order to nurture the mental and physical health of residents.

Even though the prospect of moving to an Assisted Living Community can be scary at first, the majority of people feel like they belong with their new “family” within a few weeks of getting settled in. Some even discover that they are not as shy as they thought, and find a new freedom by spreading their social wings! These types of strong social bonds can play a very important role in long-term physical and mental health, according to research.

To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602. 

Written by Kristen Camden

When is the “right” time to move a loved one into an Assisted Living Community, such as Maybelle Carter? That question is not easily answered for many seniors or their loved ones, as the topic can be a great source of conflict. However, once an aging family member or loved one is unable to live alone, the topic becomes unavoidable.

The great news is that even though this life-changing decision can be scary, many Maybelle Carter residents tell us, “I wish I had done this years ago.” Think of the process in terms of the nervousness a high school graduate feels when they are transitioning from living at home to going off to college and living in a dorm room. The feelings of being home sick and anxious about an unfamiliar place and people are normal in both cases. Nashville assisted living

There is a misconception among some that Assisted Living communities are cold and sterile, like a hospital. This notion may be attributed to nursing homes, which focus primarily on providing residents with skilled medical care. In reality, Assisted Living communities offer seniors their own apartment, complete with a staff to help with housekeeping, laundry, and daily reminders that may be needed for medications. They also offer residents the freedom to come and go freely, delicious meals provided in a social dining room, and activities that are planned by the facility.

Even as great as the idea may sound and be presented, a loved one that is aging could adamantly refuse to leave the home that they live in, which may hold sentimental value or attachments. However, the discussion does not necessarily have to be negative if it is approached with open and honest communication.

It is suggested by experts that children and family share their concerns with their aging parent, provide options, and then listen to how their loved one feels. This method is far healthier and more beneficial to all parties involved, as opposed to dictating when and what changes will be made. Another reason why it is important to encourage, and discuss the benefits of, moving to an Assisted Living Community is to avoid the topic being forced by worsening health or an incident.

Once the topic has been discussed, take time to visit and learn about various communities to see which one is the best fit and most liked by the parent. Things to consider are the location, along with what services and activities are offered.

Even though the idea of moving out of their home may be met with negativity, they would much rather be part of the process and have a choice of where they will be living, if the time comes. For many, settling on Maybelle Carter’s Assisted Living Community is due to the family-like atmosphere, as much as the activities and amenities offered.

The peace of mind that comes along with knowing a loved one is cared for, balanced with the senior’s need and want for social interaction and independence, is what is offered at Maybelle Carter.
These are just a few considerations when discussing or moving an aging or disabled loved one into an Assisted Living Community.

To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602. 

Written by Kristen Camden

How to Stretch Retirement Savings

Wednesday, 29 June 2016 14:49

Saving money for retirement is an idea that has been drilled into the majority of Americans’ minds since the landscape of the workforce began to change in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Prior to this, many people worked for the same company for the majority of their career, which could be 30 years or more, and then received a retirement pension.

The “security” that came along with a specified pension began to fade when portable 401(k) plans started being offered by companies. These 401(k) plans do offer more flexibility for workers, as they can take their savings with them if they change jobs. However, not everyone takes advantage of these plans, and even when they do, it can be too late to save enough money in order to retire at the desired age, much less comfortably. 

In the US, women have an average life expectancy of 81.2 years, and men average 76.4 years. As people live longer lives due to advancements in modern medicine, time can become a liability.

So, how are we expected to juggle the financial responsibilities such as home mortgages, bills, children & their education, etc. and save money at the same time? And how can those negatively affected by the housing crisis of 2008 and 2009 offset their losses?Nashville retirement living

Here are some tips from experts on how to stretch savings during retirement years, in order to afford to live in an Assisted Living community like Maybelle Carter, when and if the times comes:

• Cut Back Spending – While this concept seems simple enough, many find it difficult to adhere to when extra money is available. Discipline is required, along with willpower, to save money for retirement as opposed to spending it on unnecessary luxuries. By making small changes (e.g. eating meals at home instead of dining out), the benefit will outweigh the cost later in life.
• Focus on Debt Elimination – It is nearly impossible to focus on saving money when there is debt involved, and older Americans normally owe more in credit card debt than younger Americans. In order to have retirement savings, it is imperative to stay ahead of this type of debt, especially when interest rates add to the original balance. Be sure to focus on paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate first, or consider whether or not debt consolidation is the route to take.
• Live a Healthy & Active Life – Lifestyle choices can be a major factor that directly ties to medical expenses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends exercise, a healthy diet, and regular checkups to have blood pressure and cholesterol checked, in order to reduce these expenses and avoid health issues that may arise from alternate lifestyle choices.
• Obtain Insurance – Unexpected medical costs can be associated with growing debt. Many times, health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid only cover medical expenses for a set period of time, so Long-Term Care Insurance may be needed. This is particularly important to consider, as an average of 70% of people past the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime.
• Work during Retirement – The number of individuals who work after “retirement” has grown, even in a challenging job market for this demographic. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the typical head of a family household, who is fortunate enough to have a savings account, is between the ages of 55 and 64 and has an average of $104,000 saved.

In addition to these tips, experts also suggest: young adults should start 401(k) contributions as soon as possible in order to compound the interest; don’t rely on Social Security/Medicaid because the number of people working to support retirees will decline by 2050, according to US News & World Report; consult a financial advisor when planning retirement; save more than anticipated for retirement needs in case of job loss or unexpected medical issues; stay open minded and flexible when the time comes to address personal care finances – selling homes, obtaining reverse mortgages, and living with a companion are a few options for seniors to consider.

It is easy to pretend that the day will never come when retirement savings will be so important and necessary, but procrastination will not solve the problem. Spending less and saving more is the bottom line.

Nashville is a popular place to retire for many reasons, but particularly for the multitude of entertainment options – many of which are free, low cost, or offer senior discounts. Maybelle Carter complements this already amazing city through its dedication to provide residents with an array of activities, many of which are free as well.

To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602. 

Written by Kristen Camden

Ways Aging Can Impact the Body

Friday, 27 May 2016 18:16

It is difficult to prepare for all of the changes that impact your body as you age. Youth can give a false sense of confidence and lead to living life in a reckless way for some; others may live their entire life cautiously in order to avoid or prepare for the inevitable changes that will happen to the body later in life.

In a society that has seen a vast increase in obesity, more than a third of all adults are considered to be obese. Partially, this is due to an increase in sedentary lifestyles. The British Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in 2011 which found a link in decreased life expectancy in people over 25 years of age who sat and watched TV. For every hour spent in front of the television, there was a 22 minutes deduction in overall life expectancy among these adults.

Being aware of these factors and how they impact future health is a start. However, being and staying physically active, and taking charge of overall health are key to the management of future well-being, according to the National Institute on Aging.Nashville elderly care

Here are a few major age-related changes that a majority of older adults will face, and how to prepare for them:

  1. Brain Function
    Issue: Age-related memory loss is common among seniors, but it is important to distinguish between normal forgetfulness and signs of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.
    Solution: While there is no clear cause of Alzheimer’s that has been determined by scientists, they do believe that there are certain environmental and lifestyle factors, along with genetics and complex brain changes, that can affect people differently. For instance, the misuse of alcohol may increase brain damage risk, as well as negatively impact other parts of the body.
  2. Skin
    Issue: Overexposure to the sun throughout life can lead to many things, including age spots, wrinkles, and skin cancer. Also, people over age 50 who had chickenpox during their life may suffer from shingles. Other factors that impact the skin are toxins, stress, and dehydration.
    Solution: A good rule of thumb is to always protect the skin when it is exposed to sun, and be cognizant of dehydration. There is also a shingles vaccine available now to help boost the immune system against the virus.
  3. Bladder/Prostate
    Issue: Various forms of incontinence, the involuntary release of urine, are common in older people, particularly women. For men, the prostate gets larger with age, making it more difficult to release urine.
    Solution: While you should speak to your doctor about medicines available to help control incontinence, being proactive is also important. Drinking less caffeine and more water can help improve overall bladder health.
  4. Eyes/Ears
    Issue: Vision impairment issues and changes slowly begin to surface around the age of 40. You may notice that it is difficult or impossible to read small print without an aid such as reading glasses. Presbycusis is a hearing condition which causes a decline in ability to hear.
    Solution: While vision loss in seniors is inevitable, having annual eye exams can help detect early signs of eye disorders, such as glaucoma and cataracts. Quality of hearing can be improved with hearing aids, but being mindful of exposure to loud noises in younger years is also important.

Other age-related changes include: Balance issues, loss of teeth, bone and joint weakness, and digestive/metabolic system problems. These are just a few of the keys to help aging adults live a long, healthy life. Check with your doctor before making any changes that can affect your physical or mental health.

Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., the Former Director of the National Library of Medicine believes, “Good information is the best medicine for older adults. NIHSeniorHealth can help seniors find answers to their medical questions from the comfort of their own homes thanks to this new and innovative online resource and the Internet." 

To learn more, visit http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov.

Maybelle Carter has a range of services, from Independent Living to Memory Care, in order to fit the needs of each individual resident. To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602. 

Written by Kristen Camden

Memory Lapses or Alzheimer’s?

Monday, 25 April 2016 17:32

memory care nashville tn

There are times when our loved ones have memory lapses, and it can be difficult to determine whether or not it is a display of early dementia.

According to Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.”

How do you differentiate between a typical “senior moment” and a sign of Alzheimer’s?

- While it is normal for most seniors to occasionally forget a name or a scheduled appointment, a person with early signs of Alzheimer’s will forget important dates, newly learned information, and have an increased need to rely on memory aids.

- Seniors may also need assistance operating a microwave or television sometimes, but difficulty in completing normal and familiar activities (balancing budget, playing a favorite game) is another symptom.

- Being at a loss for a word is a very normal occurrence. However, an inability to follow or continue conversations, repetition of thoughts, and struggling with overall vocabulary is yet another warning.

- Losing track of dates, how much time has passed, what season it is, and forgetting where they are.

More Alzheimer’s common signs and symptoms to watch for include:

  • Finding difficulty in working with numbers, developing or following a plan, and ability to concentrate
  • Visual problems that can cause issues determining color, distance, and reading
  • Regularly losing track of where things are placed, and being unable to retrace steps in order to find them
  • Making poor decisions and changes in ability to judge situations clearly, which can also result in poor personal grooming
  • Withdrawing from hobbies, activities, and social interaction, which may be due to symptoms being experienced
  • Changes in the normal personality and temperament, such as increased confusion, anxiety, depression, and fearfulness

It may be difficult to determine if any or all of these signs are normal for a loved one, as opposed to being symptoms of early Alzheimer’s. The important thing is not to ignore these signs, and to make an appointment with your doctor for a thorough examination. This can help rule out other causes of symptoms, as well as determine if the symptoms are being cause by treatable conditions such as depression or drug interactions.

When a decision is made to have a family member checked for Alzheimer’s, it may be difficult to approach your loved one because they could feel judged and persecuted. Emphasizing routine visits for wellness checks at any age can help you approach this more delicately if the time does come.

Complete transparency is very important when you and your loved one do seek professional help regarding the changes being experienced. Symptoms during the early stages of Alzheimer’s can be mild and can leave a senior relatively functional in their daily life, despite their memory loss. However, early diagnosis is important in order to plan ahead and get treatment that could prolong levels of independence.

The caregivers at Remembrance Village at Maybelle Carter Senior Living are specifically trained and receive continuing education to care for memory impaired residents. Secured accommodations create a stress-free, comfortable environment with less confusion.

Alzheimer’s can hit at any age, even though it is most frequently associated with people 65 and older. Alzheimer’s also has many myths and stereotypes associated with it, unfortunately, but the Alzheimer’s Association is a helpful resource for families and loved ones. Their website contains information regarding signs and symptoms, treatment information, and places to turn for support.

You can further educate yourself and others by visiting http://www.alz.org/.

To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602.

Written by Kristen Camden

Spring Activities for Seniors in Nashville

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 16:58

Spring signals a time for growth renewal through warmer weather, trees and flowers blooming, and outdoor activities! Everyone enjoys the change in seasons for these reasons, and especially since spring provides a chance to get out of the winter slump and cold that many experience. 

Executive Director at Maybelle Carter, Jennifer Todd, agrees that, “Spring is here and we know our gardeners are just itching to get out to the garden and start digging in the soil and let the April showers bring the beautiful May flowers!”

While not every senior has the same level of mobility in order to get outside and fully enjoy the great outdoors, simply sitting in the garden and soaking up some Vitamin D can be equally as important. Research has shown that Vitamin D produced from sunlight can improve cognitive function. However, it is also very important to protect yourself from prolonged sun exposure, as it can cause harm to the skin, dehydration, and exhaustion. If you do plan to take advantage of the warmer weather and sunshine, take precautions: wear sunscreen and a hat, drink plenty of water, and take time to rest and cool down.

Some exciting FREE activities planned in Nashville for spring are:

  • Edgehill Rocks – April 2nd (10am-6pm):
    This exciting outdoor music, art, and food celebration takes place throughout Edgehill Village on Villa Place.
  • Art Goes Alternative April 3rd (11am-6pm):
    For art lovers, this pop-up art exhibit will take place at The Rosewall. The pet-friendly event will feature live music and artwork from over 30 artists.
  • Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival – April 9th (9am-5pm):
    The 8th annual Cherry Blossom Festival is a Japanese cultural event that should not be missed by nature lovers, and will take place in Public Square Park.
  • Earth Day Festival – April 23rd (11am-6pm):
    The Nashville Earth Day Festival will take place at Centennial Park this year, and will feature educational booths, speakers, and workshops. It will also feature environmentally friendly vendors and live entertainment!
  • Crafty Nashville – May 7th (10am-4pm):
    This arts and crafts fair will be held at Track One and will feature over 70 artisans and crafters, with live music and food trucks!
  • Sevier Park Fest – May 6th & 7th (10am-6pm):
    This is the 4th annual Sevier Park Fest, which will be located in Sevier Park and the 12 South neighborhood. There will be art, food, music, fashion, and more!

Additionally, there are plenty of activities that you can plan and take part in on your own, depending on your hobbies, interests, and mobility. Some of these can be enjoyed outdoors or indoors, in case the heat is too intense to be outside.

Here are just a few examples:Nashville senior housing

  • Work on a garden
  • Go fishing
  • Take walks
  • Visit a local Farmer’s Market
  • Take up bird watching
  • Spring clean, and discard old items
  • Take the grandchildren to a park or baseball game

Don’t forget to take all the precautions necessary to prevent heat stroke and exhaustion, as you make the most of the warmer weather! Wear light clothing, avoid being outside at the peak heat hours, stay hydrated, and listen to your body. If you need to take a break and seek air-conditioning, do so. You can always get back out and enjoy the weather once you feel more energized.

These are just a few tips to enhance your enjoyment of springtime as the weather transitions to the humid summer in the Deep South.

To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602. 

Written by Kristen Camden

There are many reasons that Nashville, TN is a popular city to visit, and also to live in. Labeled as the Music City, Nashville has always been a popular tourist destination, known for its country music and active night life. 

What makes Nashville so appealing to retiring seniors who want to find new and interesting ways to spend their hard-earned time though? A few options to entertain and help fulfill any retiree’s day are:

  • Enjoy the beautiful 55 acre scenery at the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
  • Take a trip to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere and visit with owls, giraffes, kangaroos, and more.  This is a great outing to invite grandchildren along as well!
  • Learn while having fun, at the Adventure Science Center, or the First Center for the Visual Arts
  • Visit the Nashville Public Library to catch up on some reading
  • See the replica of the Athenian Parthenon

Retirement home Nashville TNFor music lovers, there are a multitude of options as well, including:

  • The Grand Ole Opry
  • Ryman Auditorium
  • Opryland
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Every month, there are also many opportunities to stay active and involved, right at Maybelle Carter. This month alone, the Adventure Club plans to “visit” Ireland and The Holy Land; there will be a St. Patrick’s Day Shindig; there will be an evening of music and singing with Kathy Johnson, and also a lunch outing to a local eatery!

According to TopRetirements.com, many seniors are choosing to retire in Nashville for a multitude of reasons. The region has low taxes, a mild climate, and an abundance of health care services, which is paramount for any senior making a decision on where to retire. In addition to the multitude of entertainment options, many are free, low cost, and even offer senior discounts so be sure to ask about them!

Maybelle Carter’s dedication to its residents’ wellbeing and happiness is the perfect complement to an already amazing city’s vast array of activities and fun.  To learn more about what Maybelle Carter Senior Living and Retirement Community, call (844) 602-2602, or visit our community 208 West Due West Avenue, Madison, TN.


Written by Kristen Camden

Making New Friends Easy at Maybelle Carter

Sunday, 31 January 2016 21:59

Senior living Nashville TNMaintaining an active social life is an important consideration when looking at a move to a retirement life community like Maybelle Carter. Indeed, friendships are part of the safety net of independent living.

Our Activity Director is dedicated to orchestrating events designed to bring people together for fun and opportunities for fellowship. These gatherings can range from games to wellness programs to entertainers like the Elvis impersonator who performed in January.

Among the activities planned for this month are our virtual Adventure Travel Tour to Paris, our anniversary luncheon, a Mardi Gras celebration, and Super Bowl kick off. Each month there are birthdays to celebrate and fun get-togethers. In March, the Adventure Travel Club will explore Ireland. These festivities are detailed in our monthly calendars and newsletters.

Even with so many fun things scheduled, moving from the solitude of a home to a community of people you don’t know yet can be intimidating for some, thrilling for others. The mind races with questions about being accepted and the quality of life that lies ahead.

Here are a few thoughts that might offer reassurance to those feeling anxiety:

Your introduction to Maybelle Carter includes a Tour

Our Community Consultants are here to listen to any concerns and answer questions. When visiting our building, a senior can have an opportunity to interact with other residents, our staff and the management team, getting a sense of how warm and inviting our community is toward them. That first encounter may be all it takes to meet a new friend who will make living here more special.

Making New Friends, Adopting New Hobbies

At Maybelle Carter, a senior has many opportunities as a springboard for meeting new people. It can be scary to step outside of our comfort zone, but there are so many perks to having a social life, including a higher quality of life, as well as health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, reduced risk of dementia and remaining mentally and physically active. Our staff and other residents want our community to be a place where seniors can enjoy life, feel safe and secure, remain active, and make new friends.

Convince a friend to follow you to Maybelle Carter

Not only will you enjoy spending more time with them, but you can also receive a $1,000 referral fee if they move into our community based on your recommendation. Lucy in our office can further explain this program and is glad to talk with you.

Change isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it is bad. Our goal is to make a senior’s transition to retirement living go smoothly so adding new people becomes a big part of life’s exciting next stage.

To learn more about joining our community at Maybelle Carter, visit (844) 602-2602.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Copyright: diego_cervo / 123RF Stock Photo

Offering a wealth of knowledge – but also potential new hazards – it can be hard to determine whether the Internet is a treasure or a Pandora’s box. There’s no going back to the world before the web, but Nashville seniors can use some savvy to utilize the best of cyberspace while insulating themselves from many of the risks.


At Maybelle Carter, we take residents on a virtual trip to faraway lands like our China voyage on January 8th. Even though the Internet is becoming something we take for granted, it’s still pretty extraordinary to think that having a real-time conversation with someone in China is just a few clicks away. Opening up a larger world poses opportunities and dangers in equal measure.


Today seniors are increasingly comfortable on the web, using it to:

  • Communicate with family and friends via Email, video chat (Skype or Face-Time) or social networking sites
  • Shop for products or services, comparing features and looking for bargains
  • Get information about health care or medical issues
  • Visit a local, state, or federal website rather than visiting an office
  • Keep up with news in the community
  • Watch TV shows, movies and other entertainment
  • Write about their lives and experiences
  • Express their opinion on message boards or emails sent to lawmakers or editors of their local newspapers

Unfortunately, others may use the Internet to target older Americans via emails and websites. Below are some common sense rules from the real world that also apply in the online world…


If Something Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is!

Scammers try to lure seniors into surrendering their personal information by claiming they’ve won a prize or gift, but not all that glitters is gold. Retirement savings make a tempting target for criminals who want to deceive us. If something feels suspicious, trust your gut and tread carefully, cybersecurity experts advise.


Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover


The Internet affords people the luxury of anonymity. Behind it, they may behave in ways they never would in the “real world” – pretending to be organizations we trust so they can try to trick us into telling them information they can use to steal our identities, money or credit. Be aware that most banks or companies will not ask for you to update your personal information from an email.


Look Before You Leap

Don’t open files attached to emails if they come from someone you don’t know. If you get an email from your bank or another seemingly reputable company, don’t click the direct link because it is easy to create a website that looks legit. Instead, go to your browser and type in the web address there. Don’t share personal information with a stranger such as a social security number or insurance policy numbers because anyone can pose as someone they’re not, possibly someone you’d normally trust. Once information goes online, it’s not always erasable, so be careful about what you share.


A Chain is As Strong as Its Weakest Link

Common sense precautions include using software protection against viruses, spyware, and malware. Avoid creating usernames or passwords that someone might be able to guess (or using the same username and password on multiple websites). Seniors who are comfortable online need to provide help to those who may be more easily tricked. Be sure someone isn’t looking over your shoulder in public when entering a password, and avoid connecting to public wireless, or WiFi, that does not require a password to connect to the signal. Update software whenever new security patches are released. If you aren’t sure about something, ask a trusted family member or a reputable computer retailer.


In the same way you keep your wallet or purse shielded from bad people in everyday life, you need to protect your information online. It is prudent to watch your bank or credit card statements for unusual transactions. If you sell or discard computers or mobile devices, be sure you wipe the hard drive to remove files and information stored on it.


There are many ways criminals can harm ordinary people, young and old, but with these common sense precautions and questioning things that appear suspicious, seniors can feel more comfortable enjoying the positive aspects of the Internet – seeing a new grandchild’s face on Skype or taking care of some business with a few clicks instead of getting out in the cold and risking a potential fall.

Written by Steven Stiefel

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