For those seeking to gain financial literacy – especially those trying to manage a low income household – free, accessible resources are key. Accessible might mean the library computer terminal and their wi-fi hook up, but the results are worth it. Budgeting when debt looms, when funds for medical/dental expenses are needed but not available, and when savings seems out of the question are all parts of gaining financial literacy. Financial literacy is not intuitive – it’s not something we should just “know” without guidance. It is an area of study now being taught in most middle and high schools around the world. However, this is a new phenomenon which means that many older adults have not had the benefit of this type of education and may be struggling harder than they need to just to get by week to week and day to day.
According to the Center for Retirement Research in Boston, over half of Americans do not have adequate savings to maintain their lifestyle after age 65. More worrying, 39% of Americans currently report that they cannot cover a $1,000 emergency cost with existing cash reserves. For all of us, no matter where we sit on the socio-economic spectrum, we can gain from seeking out financial management resources so we can better understand our position in this changing world. Here are a few free resources from three leading non-profits for both individuals and financial literacy educators:
Note: Explore our website for other resources on aging, active engagement, provider education, caregiver resources, and information about ASI programs in Archuleta County, as well as contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and for Meals on Wheels.
The Very Real Value of Listening
Asking whether a friend, family member, or patient has someone they can count on to listen when they need to talk can be a telling proposition. Social supports come in all sizes and flavors – including the friendly neighbor who waves hello and the one willing to walk your dog so that you can have a furry companion in your home as you age. It turns out that having someone who genuinely listens to us measurably improves our cognitive resilience.
With an estimated 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and many more living with slow progressive loss of intellectual abilities for other reasons, it is important that we understand the value that simply listening brings and the positive impacts this exerts on each individual’s ability to maintain their intellectual stamina over time. The impacts start earlier in life than you may expect. For example, those in their 40’s and 50’s who have little access to someone who they can count on to listen when they need to talk have a cognitive age four years older than their peers who do have someone who listens.
Being a listener is a social support unto itself. The listener hears what concerns, interests, or confuses the speaker and this interaction protects brain health in ways that we may not properly value. Providing a sounding board for a loved one or an acquaintance is a simple action that increases their odds of long-term brain health and improved quality of life. Whether cultivating a new social relationship or taking the time to sustain an old one, it is worth the investment required to sustain those bonds.
Explore our website for more caregiver resources and information about ASI programs in Archuleta County, as well as contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and for Meals on Wheels.
Covid Can Look Different In Older Adults
A range of symptoms that is often quite subtle in older adults can indicate a covid infection. Just being aware of that can help you decide what’s best for your family and loved ones.
Since the pandemic started, there’s a trend towards not being able to be “just” sick with upper respiratory symptoms like we could have before this event catapulted onto the scene. Having a sore throat or allergies can suddenly send us to the moon with worry. Conversely, subtle things like sleeping a lot, lack of energy, or having a bout of stomach ailments may be seen as not being potentially serious since we associate covid more with upper respiratory symptoms.
A new large-scale study in the respected Journals of Gerontology provides unfamiliar advice: “Covid can look different in older patients.” A third of the older adults hospitalized exhibited symptoms that did not mirror the more familiar “fever, cough, and shortness of breath” picture. Out of the ordinary symptoms those sick individuals experienced included things we might simply associate with reduced function in later years – easy to overlook, but potentially deadly if not heeded. About half of those with atypical symptoms also had at least one of the more familiar fever, trouble breathing, or coughing.
Allison Marziliano, lead author of the study, noted that the rate of atypical symptoms rose significantly with age. Some of the atypical symptoms seen among those hospitalized for covid were:
Dr. Marziliano reports that among these individuals “Their mortality rate was as high. So this shouldn’t be dismissed… Clinicians should know, older adults should know, their caregivers should know: If you see certain atypical symptoms, it could be Covid.”
Explore our website for caregiver resources and information about ASI programs in Archuleta County, as well as contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and for Meals on Wheels.
There is a beautiful story related through an elder in the Mi’kmaq Indigenous community, Danny Paul, who said “We’re kind of like trees. On the surface, every tree looks like it stands alone. Beneath the surface all the trees in a forest are connected.”
Loneliness and social isolation are now considered diseases, and rightfully so. They are key factors in aging and related illness. Kaiser states individuals who report social isolation and loneliness are more than 9 times more likely to experience poor health; nearly 20 times more likely to have a poor quality of life; 22 times more likely to have mental health issues (expressly depression and anxiety); and 5.7 times more likely to have insufficient funds to buy food.
Yet, during this pandemic, research reveals that adults 60 and better are experiencing less pandemic-related depression and lower levels of loneliness than younger adults. According to a recent study, some seniors have been able to broaden their social support networks.
If you or someone you love is not finding the connections that boost their resilience, remember that seemingly small things make a big difference. Identify a trusted neighbor or friend who can visit regularly and can serve as an emergency contact. Try reviving an old hobby or learn something new – there are easy options for participating in learning opportunities on our website. Just getting into the out of doors can make a big difference for those with mobility issues – scheduling time to get a friend out on their porch or volunteering to help someone who cannot get out are both useful solutions. And homebound consumers who have home-delivered Meals on Wheels report significantly less loneliness.
You can find more tips on staying connected at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/loneliness-and-social-isolation-tips-staying-connected. And our website provides caregiver resources and information about ASI programs in Archuleta County, as well as contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and for Meals on Wheels.
For August, we’ve selected some programs that might pique your interest. There are dozens more to choose from. You can find the topics list for August and link to Mather.
No need to register in advance. You join by calling a toll-free phone number, or by logging into a Zoom meeting at the program start time. All offerings are FREE! You can see on their site when you go to get link-in information whether the program is live Zoom or a live call.
In addition to linking to the Mather sessions, our website provides caregiver resources and information about ASI programs in Archuleta County, as well as contact information for making reservations at The Community Café for take-out and for Meals on Wheels.