Four Common Health Concerns and How Seniors Can Avoid Them

Written by Nurse Susan

Aging comes with a number of new health challenges, many of which can be frustrating. However, people are now living longer than ever.

This means that, if you take steps early to prevent common conditions, you can still live a long, productive life and enjoy your golden years.

Listed below are four common health issues for which seniors are at risk. Read on to learn how you can prevent them or stop them from getting worse.

  1. Arthritis

Of all the conditions that seniors face, arthritis is typically considered the most common. It affects almost 50 percent of people over the age of 65, and many find that it significantly diminishes their quality of life.

Arthritis can’t always be prevented, as factors like gender and family history play a part in causing it. However, these tips can still help you minimize your risk of developing arthritis:

  • Eat plenty of fish, specifically salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines. They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles and bones and maintain a good range of motion in your joints
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Use proper technique to protect your joints while exercising

If you already suffer from arthritis but want to minimize its effects, you can still apply these tips.

  1. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to weaken and become more likely to fracture.

Approximately 54 million Americans over the age of fifty suffer from osteoporosis or low bone mass, and that number is expected to increase to 64.4. million by 2020.

Osteoporosis can seriously limit your mobility and increases your risk for injuries that can reduce your quality of life. Luckily, these tips can help you prevent it:

  • Consume a balanced diet rich in Vitamin D and calcium
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen the bones and muscles — a mix of weight-bearing exercise (hiking, walking, dancing) and resistance exercise (weight lifting) is best.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks each day
  • Get regular screenings to catch signs early

Osteoporosis is much easier to prevent than it is to treat. However, these tips will help those already suffering from it slow its progression and prevent injuries and fractures.

  1. Diabetes

Diabetes affects about 25 percent of people over the age of 65, making it a significant health risk for seniors.

Type 1 diabetes is not preventable and typically occurs in younger individuals. However, there are many steps seniors can take to prevent Type 2 diabetes, including the following:

  • Limit your consumption of simple carbohydrates and sugar
  • Increase your fiber intake (fiber can help lower blood sugar and insulin production)
  • Pay attention to portion sizes
  • Exercise regularly to help manage your weight
  • Drink more water and avoid sugary soda and juice
  • Quit smoking (it can increase your risk of developing diabetes by 44 percent!)
  • Get regular checkups so your doctor can spot signs early

A healthy diet, quitting smoking, and exercise regularly can also help you manage your diabetes better if you already have it.

If you suffer from neuropathy, you can also prevent additional damage and improve circulation to your feet by wearing compression socks or pain management socks for plantar fasciitis.

  1. Falls

Millions of seniors are treated each year for falls. Falls are also the leading cause of fatal injury among seniors.

Your likelihood of sustaining a serious injury from a fall increases when you suffer from many of the conditions mentioned above, particularly arthritis and osteoporosis. Taking steps to prevent these conditions can also help minimize your risk of falling.

Some other steps you can take to avoid falls include:

  • Attaching grab bars in the bathroom
  • Removing tripping hazards like area rugs
  • Beware of medications that can cause dizziness
  • Get your eyes checked regularly
  • Exercise regularly to improve your balance and reflexes

You may also want to wear a medical alert bracelet so that, if you do fall, you can call for help immediately after.

Prevention is almost always easier than treatment. To avoid the conditions mentioned above and the complications that can accompany them, be sure to keep these tips in mind.

Nurse Susan has  always been passionate about helping people heal. After she retired from a lifelong career as a nurse, that passion didn’t go away. She loves to use her expertise to write about the best ways to keep you and your family healthy, active, and happy.

Challenges in Getting Loans after Retirement (And How to Fix Them)

Written by Walter Akolo

Many retirees live on a fixed retirement benefits or their personal savings. While the money from these may be enough for basic day to day expenses, it is often inadequate to cater for emergencies or big financial projects.

As a result, applying for a loan may seem as the go-to solution for many retirees. Unfortunately, mainstream lenders consider retired people high-risk customers and therefore decline most of the applications. Having a good credit score doesn’t also give you much advantage in retirement because lenders put more emphasis on your income.

Why do retirees need loans?

In an ideal situation, people in retirement should be enjoying their sunset days with family or doing the hobbies they didn’t have time for when employed. Therefore, from a third person’s point of view, retirees do not need a lot of money and their savings or retirement benefits should be sufficient for their upkeep.

However, this is not usually the case. Many retirees still want to do things that require a lot of money that their savings and benefits cannot cater for.

  1. High cost purchases

Despite being retired, you may still want to purchase a car, a home or even make an investment that needs substantial capital. Unless you had saved a lot of money while employed, you may need a loan in such instances.

    2. Emergency

Other times, retirees need loans to take care of emergencies. It may be a medical emergency, broken appliances, or even house and car repairs. Such emergencies may come when the savings or benefits are not available thus forcing you to seek out a loan.

     3.Credit consolidation

If you have a number of debts, the cumulative rates and charges may overwhelm you. In such a situation you may want to take a big loan to pay off all the debts. This is advisable only if you can access a loan with better terms such as lower rates, flexibility or lower instalments.

Loan rejected despite good credit history

Retired people have difficulty understanding why their loans applications are usually rejected despite their great credit history. The reason for this is that the lender’s primary concern is whether you have the ability to repay the money you borrow. This is why lenders always ask for your income details whenever you apply for a loan.

When employed, your income is stable and much easier to verify. The salary is therefore serves as an indicator of your ability to repay the loan. As a result, lenders consider employed people to have a much lower risk of default compared to unemployed persons.

From the lenders’ point of view, your credit score is only good because you had a stable income and without your previous salary, you are just a high risk customer as someone with a bad credit history.

Calculating your income

Whether you are applying for a personal loan, car loan or mortgage, the lenders will require you to show that you are creditworthy. As a permanent employee, your income and excellent credit history is enough.

Demonstrating your creditworthiness in retirement, however, is a bit harder. The criteria for evaluating income differs from one lender to another. Some, for instance, do not consider income from part time, benefits, superannuation and similar investments admissible in the application process.

The lender that would consider such types of income will still consider you to a relatively high-risk customer thus charge higher rates. In the case of credit cards, the limit is set too low that it may not serve the desired purpose.

How to avoid these challenges

All the challenges that retirees face when applying for loans stem from the perception that they are high risk customers. The solution, therefore, is to package your application such that you present yourself as a creditworthy client.

  • Shop around for lenders

The terms and types of loans differ from one lender to another. Establish the type of loan you need then assess various lenders to determine who is offering the most suitable rates and terms. This will also give you a chance to learn the eligibility requirements for specific lender and know how to package your application.

  • Sources of income

Your income is the single most important item when applying for a loan in retirement. Create a portfolio of all your income include your pension money, assets and salary from any job you may be doing. Include any money you have saved in your Independent Retirement Account as well.

Keep this portfolio up to date and customize it depending on the eligibility requirements of the specific lender you are dealing with.

  • Outstanding debts

Lenders also need to know your commitment to repay loans. Having a list of your current outstanding debts and your progress in repaying them would help a great in deal in this regard. It will also help in negotiating the terms of your loan and repayment schedule.

Also keep a copy of your most recent credit rating from a reputable source.

  • Borrow from same lender

If you have been borrowing from a certain bank while you were employed, they probably have your personal details. They also know your credit history. Applying for a loan from the same bank will therefore accelerate the process and increase your chances of getting the loan approved.

  • Asset depletion

Using your assets, some lenders can help you secure a loan through the asset depletion process. The bank will evaluate the value of your assets and calculate how much they can lend you based on that value. The lender will also establish how much you will need to repay in monthly installments.

Conclusion

There are many banks and lenders that claim to give loans even to retirees. However, many of them have a very long and frustrating application process and in the end they often fail to approve the request.

Many of those that do approve charge you high rates or give you credit cards with low limits. The solution, therefore, is to document your sources of income. Also understand the eligibility criteria for your preferred lender and determine whether you qualify beforehand. This will save resources for you and the bank.

How to Protect Your Assets in Retirement

Written by Sally Perkins

Retirement should be a time of comfort and low stress. It is an opportunity to reward yourself with the savings and investments you have made over a lifetime. However, regardless of how careful you are, your assets could be at risk. It is therefore paramount that you put some time into securing and protecting your assets, so that you can remain comfortable, or even become more wealthy, in your final years and have a decent inheritance to pass onto your loved ones.

What Are Your Main Assets?

An asset is anything with a cash value, which can be converted into money when needed. This can be owned by both individuals and companies and includes property, savings and investments. The biggest asset for most people is any real estate or land that they own.

All personal property such as jewelry may also be a substantial asset. Beyond physical items that you own, your savings and investments which can be withdrawn as cash are also assets, which need protecting.

Why Are Your Assets at Risk?

Despite how careful you are, anyone can go into debt or be sued. If you declare bankruptcy, a creditor may be able to take money from your savings or seize your personal property.

You may also face a lawsuit which ends with the courts forcing you to pay a substantial fine. If you cannot afford to do this, they may have the legal right to take any assets which aren’t protected. This will be used to cover both the financial penalty and any court costs accrued. This can happen to anyone at any time and retirees are most at risk because they usually own substantial assets.

Where to Invest

As you reach retirement, you may be tempted to take all your money and invest it somewhere safe. For example, you may view gold as a safe investment because over the long term it is incredibly stable. Alternatively, you may choose a fixed rate savings account or bonds. These are intelligent solutions.

However, the mistake many make is to concentrate investments in a few areas. Maybe you have a savings account, a home and a few gold bullions. This could be a risky decision. In order to protect your assets, you should diversify your investments. Move your pension into several tax free savings accounts. If one becomes taxed in future, the rest is protected. Then live frugally within a low tax bracket.

Get Insured

Don’t wait to get your assets insured. This way, if a lawsuit arises, it is your insurance company and not you that will pay the costs. Your home, car and care costs are the most at risk so insure them first. Home insurance varies state by state. For instance, New Jersey homeowners insurance tends to be cheaper, while hurricane-prone Florida has much higher premiums. You should consider the cost of both the property and how much it is to ensure when moving house.

For auto insurance, don’t settle for the legal minimum. It is usually not much more expensive to get more comprehensive coverage. Long-term care costs can be reduced by buying them early, when premiums are lower. To be extra safe, umbrella coverage can be used to cover costs if your homeowner, auto or other insurance is not enough.

Retirement Accounts

Rather than using a traditional savings account, switch to a dedicated retirement account. Company sponsored 401(k) plans have federal protection from lawsuits. This means that anything in a dedicated retirement account cannot be used to pay if you are sued.

However, this is not true for all retirement accounts. You can get protection for your IRA of up to $1 million, but it varies state by state. Before opening a retirement account, make sure you check the terms. If your money is not protected from bankruptcy, then look somewhere else.

Give Assets Away

There’s no need to wait until death to pass assets on to loved ones. The law says that creditors and courts can only take the assets that are in your name. Therefore, even if you are still living in a property, it is a good idea to legally transfer it to the name of a relative. If you move into a care home, then make sure your property is no longer listed as yours. You can pass this onto a relative, who can get the proper protection, so that you don’t have to worry about lawsuits as you settle into a retirement home.

Protecting assets should be done as soon as possible. Retirement is a time to enjoy the wealth you have saved over a lifetime of hard work. Diversify your savings, get comprehensive insurance and select retirement accounts which have federal and state protection. If possible, pass on assets early, so that it is protected if you are sued or become bankrupt. This way, you can settle into a comfortable and happy retirement.