Maybelle Carter Blog

Nashville Seniors Guard Against Scams

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 12:26

You don’t have to be particularly gullible to become the victim of a scam artist these days. Indeed, people of all ages in Tennessee suffer financial losses due to identity theft and exploitation – sometimes being abused by their own adult children or other family members.

Nashville retirement livingWith this in mind, we thought it prudent to equip seniors with some knowledge about some of the more common scams perpetrated against them as a group with retirement savings in the bank and/or eligibility for Medicare.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) identified the top 10 scams against seniors:

  • Health Care/Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud
  • Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
  • Funeral & Cemetery Scams
  • Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products
  • Telemarketing
  • Internet Fraud
  • Investment Schemes
  • Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams
  • Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams
  • The Grandparent Scam

These scams exploit a senior’s good heart, redirecting money that is intended for a good cause to a criminal’s own bank account.

For example, after natural disasters, scam artists typically set up fake charities to funnel funds their way. Some are even so low as to impersonate trusted organizations or the senior’s own family members to get access to personal information that is used to verify identity. Once the bad guys have a few bits of info like social security number, date of birth, etc., they can open a line of credit or empty a bank account.

Others will sell fake products like bogus prescription medicines that do not work and may actually endanger the senior’s health.

Seniors need to be skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true or is too complicated to understand when making financial decisions or allowing access to their personal information.

With an awareness of the often sophisticated ploys used to separate Nashville seniors from their money, they can begin to protect their precious information and avoid being duped. 

Health Care Law Having Impact on Seniors

Monday, 03 March 2014 14:28

The Affordable Care Act may be controversial, but it is resulting in savings and better care for Tennessee seniors.

assisted living NashvilleThe law, which some call Obamacare, gives seniors greater control over their own health care while giving doctors and hospitals incentive to promote more efficient and effective health care services that focus on preventive care and controlling chronic disease.

The intent of the law was to fight fraud, abuse and waste in Medicare spending to extend the life of the program by nine years. Subsidies to insurance companies are reduced while seniors face lowered out-of-pocket costs on prescription drug coverage and no deductibles or copayments on annual preventive health screenings.

In the first 11 months of 2013, 72 percent of Original Medicare Part B enrollees in Tennessee received all free services, while 85,302 participated in annual wellness screenings.

By finding and treating disease earlier, doctors can save more lives and Medicare can save money on expensive hospitalizations that can result in acquired infections.

Aside from the health issues seniors face, the law passed new protections for seniors facing abuse and neglect. Obamacare established a nationwide program for national and state background checks for employees that have direct access to patients in long-term care facilities. The law also provides incentives for good people to seek employment there.

Care providers are also given incentives to meet quality goals and show significant progress in improving patient outcomes. Obamacare may not be perfect, but strategies for improving care will no doubt evolve as results are studied while the program continues.

 

These are just a few of the ways Tennessee seniors are reaping rewards from the Affordable Care Act. 

Nashville assisted livingBankrate.com recently rated Tennessee as one of the best states in the country to retire to. “Nashville is shaping up to be the country’s newest boomtown,” Megan Durisin wrote for Business Insider, and she points out that Bankrate “found Tennessee’s cost of living to be the second lowest in the country, just behind Oklahoma.” That makes it easier to stretch your retirement dollars, and avoid outliving your savings.

In addition to a low cost of living and Nashville’s ever-increasing wealth of cultural opportunities, hip eateries, and fun shops, Tennessee also has some serious tax breaks that make it even more affordable. As Durisin explains, “Tennessee carries the third-lowest tax burden out of all 50 states and Washington D.C.”

There is no income tax except a 6% tax on interest & dividends. For many years the state has offered tax-free inheritance transfers to a spouse, however in 2012 Tennessee decided to do even more and determined that the inheritance tax would be phased out by 2016. The admittedly high sales tax burden is eased with an exemption on prescription drugs and a 2% tax decrease on food and food ingredients.

 

All of this adds up to a low cost of living made even lower for anyone over 65 in one of the most happening and exciting cities in the state. Anyone considering a fun and affordable retirement should seriously consider Nashville, Tennessee for its rare combination of growth and financial ease. Especially when you consolidate your expenses and simplify your life by moving to a retirement community, you just might be pleasantly surprised by everything retirement can be. 

One of the most important decisions you can make for yourself is whether or not you are ready for senior care. However, that also makes it one of the most empowering—deciding how you are going to spend your money, plan for your future, and ensure your needs are met, all while enjoying this time in your life. There are many reason to choose the retirement home lifestyle. It’s not always easy to see which might be true for you, but when you recognize that you’re ready, it can be a very exciting change.

One sign you might be ready for senior housing is if you are asking yourself if you’re ready. That suggests you’ve picked up on some signs that you need a little extra assistance day to day. Perhaps you’ve been forgetting to pay the utilities bill or take your pills in the morning. Maybe you’ve had a fall that left you nervous about trying to get around by yourself. Perhaps your spouse has passed away, leaving you feeling lonely and struggling to run things as they were before. You might not notice these things individually at first, but if over time they add up in the back of your mind, you might find yourself questioning whether a retirement home is the solution.

You can also talk to your doctor, who might know from experience how other patients with similar conditions or medical history approached the question of moving to senior housing. He or she might be able to offer some advice about how retirement home living could positively impact life with oxygen, for example. If you were, say, on blood thinners and needed to avoid Vitamin K, your doctor might be able to advise you on how regular prepared meals in a dining hall could help you eat right. If you’re considering moving to assisted living after a prolonged hospital stay, your doctors might also be able to recommend what level of care you’ll need when you are discharged.

Another person you can talk to about whether or not you’re ready is your financial planner or accountant. You may have had conversations with them before retirement to determine when you could comfortable stop working and how to manage your money over time. Now is a great time to check back in, see where you are at financially, and how moving to a senior living facility would change your plan. Especially as the economy recovers, your investments may be doing better than planned or your home may have gone up in value. Moving to a retirement home can simplify some of your expenses, too. Like your doctor, your financial adviser may have some insight into what other clients have done in similar positions to yours, as well as their reasons.

Last but not least, of course, talk to friends and family if possible. Friends your age may be asking themselves the same questions and may be able to provide insight from another perspective. Family may have some ideas about what would be best, whether it means moving closer to them or how a big change would affect their work and daily lives. If they are currently caring for you, there may be significant logistics and emotions to consider. Though this may not be possible or comfortable for everyone, those closest to you may offer some of the best perspective on when it’s time to start a new phase of retirement.

The holidays are a wonderful time to reunite with loved ones and spend time with family. They’re also a great point of comparison to show how much has changed from year to year. While this might often be a nostalgic quality that makes reminiscing over Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner fun, it can also show you when an elderly loved one may need to change his or her lifestyle to make it more manageable.

When you are spending time together this holiday season, note if a loved one seems to be having mobility issues, or struggling with daily tasks like lifting heavy items, getting tired easily, or wrapping gifts with arthritic hands. These could be signs they would benefit from independent assisted care or assisted living programs that would ensure their health, hygiene, and personal services are attended to while they can still enjoy the activities and social life they prefer.

Take this opportunity to check in with an elderly loved one and make sure they are happy and healthy and not struggling with the effects of aging. One of the best holiday gifts you can give someone you care for is the ability to get the most out of life. Especially if you live far away, it can be comforting to know that after your special time together ends and the new year begins they won’t be returning home to a frustrating life that isn’t meeting his or her needs.

Researching retirement communities is a great step to take early in the year based on your observations in November and December. If you’re concerned about a loved one or see them starting to face new difficulties, start communicating now about what they need, and look into senior care facilities than can meet those needs. You’d be surprised what a difference a caring, supportive community can make in a senior’s life, giving them the tools they need to really savor their golden years.

Stay Positive and Stay Young

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 13:50

One of the best ways to age well is to avoid regret, stay positive, and focus on the good things in life. Rather than dwelling on which might have been, focus on what can be and stay active and engaged until you accomplish those goals. It’s far too easy to focus on negative memories instead of building positive ones. Not only will creating new memories help you stay mentally fit, it will also reduce the kind of stress that can make aging harder mentally and emotionally.

Reconnect with old friends via letters or email, and make new ones around town or at your retirement community. Learn the skills you always wanted to accomplish when you were younger but were perhaps too impatient, such as crocheting or model-building. Take the trip you’ve always wanted to Paris. In whatever you do, remember the sense of excitement and enthusiasm you had as a child and adolescent when everything was new.

Go to theater performances or one of Nashville’s many fine concerts. Enjoy a delicious dinner and explore the galleries in East Nashville. Go on outings with your senior community and embrace the benefits of retirement living. It’s always easy to find something fun to do when you live in senior housing, from gardening to devotionals to trips to nearby malls and restaurants. After years of stressful work and childrearing, isn’t it refreshing to return to a more carefree way of life?

Celebrate this opportunity to do all the things you’ve always wanted to, and to reinvent life based on your years of experience, wisdom, and hopes for the future. The more fun you let yourself have, the younger you’ll feel! There’s nothing better for aging gracefully than putting age and its supposed limits out of your mind and focusing on being the best version of yourself you can be.

Think of all the business trips you took, rushing through the great cities of the United Sates through conference center after conference center. Or all the trips you took to family friendly locations and theme parks for the kids. Now that you’re retired and enjoying a simplified life at a senior community, aren’t you ready for a vacation that is all about you? We have some ideas for how you can indulge in the ultimate retirement vacation:

· You might be more active and on-the-go than usual, which can lead to sore muscles and joint flare ups. You don’t want that to affect the rest of your trip, so treat yourself to a massage or spa treatment midway through so that you can keep giving each day your all

· Bring extras of anything crucial—glasses, lancets, medication, clothes, shoes, etc. If your trip is delayed or you spill your bag or something unexpected happens, you don’t want to be without the essentials.

· Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to take your medication each day. It’s easier to forget when you are outside your usual routine.

· If you’re trying to save money, avoid the temptations of the hotel restaurant or bar and go further afield. You’ll get to explore your destination more. You can also save your big meals for lunchtime, when prices are cheaper.

· Plan out your priorities before you go. You’ll know what you most want to fit in when time gets unexpectedly tight, what restaurants to scope out, and a sense of what days’ itineraries might be the most grueling.

By preplanning ahead so you can take it easy during your vacation, you can maximize your fun. It’s a lot like choosing a retirement home if you think about it—planning ahead to simplify the future and make it more enjoyable. By approaching your trip the way you approach everyday life at a senior living facility, you’ll create more time and energy for fun!

Downsizing For Seniors Simplified

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 13:56

There are many great reasons to downsize when you retire. For one, you can save big bucks when you go small, by reducing your utilities, and maintenance costs. Many retirees find that joining a retirement home can put them ahead financially, when you factor in the total cost of living in your own home versus the all-inclusive package at retirement communities that include entertainment, housekeeping,  some meals, and other perks.

There’s also the opportunity to be free of all the upkeep and chores that come with a larger home, which means more time to spend practicing your golf swing, going to a fun concert, or taking a trip for a week-long getaway. Boyd Lemon, author of “Retirement: A Memoir and Guide” told CNBC that “it's not just a matter of saving money, it's a matter of what you do with your time. If you don't have a lot of stuff, you save a lot of time not having to maintain it or repair it or go shopping for more stuff."

Indeed, downsizing can be a great way to simplify your life. It’s so easy to accumulate a slew of possessions that clutter up your life but don’t actually contribute to its quality. By reducing your footprint to just the things you find beautiful, useful, and sentimental, you can only spend your time and energy on the things that are dearest and most worthwhile. The process of sorting through your things and deciding what to keep, give away, or sell can be incredibly liberating, and be a walk down memory lane.

Many people get great pleasure from passing their belongings on to friends and relatives who will appreciate them, or from knowing their donations to the Salvation Army will help families in need. It’s also wonderful to revisit the treasures you’ve accumulated over time, and remember how, when, and with whom they came into your life. Downsizing can make it easier to appreciate the sentiment behind the things you surround yourself with, when the majority of the items you’ve kept are special and meaningful.

With the promise of greater financial freedom and reduced stress, downsizing is definitely worth considering as you contemplate your retirement. The sooner you downsize the sooner you can start focusing on your fun new lifestyle!

Nashville is as Southern as it gets, and few regions know the importance of respecting your elders better than the South. This makes it great for retirees who are looking for a city that not only suites them, but welcomes them. Nashville is rich in opportunities for retirees to have fun and stay active,   and it honors its elders with great senior discounts!

For a fun outing with the grandkids, head to the Nashville Zoo which offers both child and senior discounts. So does the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Cheekwood Botanical Garden. Or you can take in a flick at the Belcourt Movie theater– there are special senior memberships for both singles and couples.

Lipscomb University sometimes offers special daytime concerts especially for older folks called the FiftyForward Music Series featuring the Nashville Opera, the Nashville Symphony, Blackbird Theater, and Lipscomb’s own music department. The Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater also offers senior matinees for a discount, making it one of the best ways to enjoy theater and musicals without spending much money.

When you eat out, always ask if there is a senior discount. Many chain restaurants offer these, including popular places like ClaimJumper, TCBY,  Rainforest Cafe, and more. Usually the discount is about 10% off, or the offer of a free drink with purchase. You can by your favorite foods for less and enjoy a lovely meal with your friends. Shopping for groceries is easy, too, with 5% off Thursdays at Harris Teeter

Nashville even makes it easy to get around town, offering a steep discount on its senior bus fares. You can ride the MTA for a fraction of a regular adult fare. If you are headed further afield, you’ll also enjoy Greyhound’s senior fares, as well as those offered by Amtrack and Southwest Airlines. It’s never been easier to go on vacation, visit family and friends, and simply get around town.

With so many ways to save on seeing and doing, there’s all the more reason to consider retiring to Nashville. It matters a lot to live somewhere that truly values citizens of all ages, and shows their appreciation with honorable deals.

Many seniors are choosing to turn back the clock by returning to college towns in retirement for a taste of the fun downtown lifestyle they enjoyed in their twenties.

Rather than staying in the cities they built their careers on, Baby Boomers are choosing to go back to their roots in low-cost, walkable towns where they can go back to school, catch an art lecture, enjoy a film festival, or meet new people of all ages at local restaurants and watering holes.

Nashville is a wonderful city to enjoy all these qualities. While Nashville isn’t a traditional college town like Ann Arbor whose entire lifeblood and culture is centered around the university, the Chamber of Commerce makes an excellent point that the “21 accredited four-year and postgraduate institutions are an integral part of the economic and cultural identity of the area.”

Nashville is a very education and culture oriented city, and this makes it a wonderful choice for retirees who want all the benefits of a college town without being in too mono-generational a place.

There are so many opportunities to take a class, whether for credit or as an audit or part of continuing ed, in such an educationally rich city. Nashville State Community College offers several fee waivers and discounts for seniors 65 or older. At Belmont Senior citizens 60 years or older may audit a course, pending space available, for $25 per course, which is a great way to try new things or revisit beloved subjects.

Vanderbilt has the impressive Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and “organization that provides older adults with educational programs, stimulating tours and trips, and a variety of social events. The program reflects the high academic standards espoused by the University on all levels.” Membership to Osher is open to anyone over the age of 50.

In addition, these institutions offer a variety of amazing arts, culture, and athletic opportunities. Vanderbilt’s football and other teams have exciting seasons packed with great head-to-head action against SEC rivals like Wakeforest and Ole Miss.

There is also the Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Lecture Series which brings intellectual speakers to the community. Past speakers have included Edward Albee, Nicholas Kristof, Dorothy Roberts, and others. The Blair School of music has numerous concert series, recitals, and symphonies. Belmont’s department of Visual and Performing Arts has regular dance and theater performances, concerts, and art exhibitions.

The wonderful thing about living in Nashville is that there’s so much to do you just can’t help having fun. Retiring to Nashville lets you pack as much learning, culture, and excitement into your life as you want!

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