If you’re among the many seniors who plan to retire soon, you may want to consider the benefits of delayed retirement. Barring health issues, delaying retirement can entitle one to greater benefits. So, if you plan to retire soon, make an assessment first. See if early retirement benefits outweigh those that you could possibly receive if you work for a few years more. This article lists a few of the many benefits that you can get if only you delay your retirement. 

What are the Benefits of Delayed Retirement?

Your healthcare benefits will continue. 

The benefits you get on top of your salary are important to those who choose to work into their 60s. Think about the benefits you get in addition to your regular salary. Some of these include employer-paid life insurance. Add in your employer’s contributions to 401k. Not to mention your health insurance which is more likely to provide a wider scope of coverage. 

Whether you want your employer to continue paying for your health coverage may depend on the the size of the company that you’re working for. Once you reach the age of 65, you become qualified for Medicare Part A. This entitles you to inpatient hospital services. And, since Part A is free, you may have the option not to enroll. But, you can enroll in Medicare Part B which covers your doctor visits. You may also enroll in Medicare Part D to gain coverage for your prescription drugs. If the company you’re working for has less than 20 number of employees, you have to sign up for Medicare. This will serve as your primary insurance. You must do this even when your employer also has its own coverage. If you refuse to sign up for Medicare, you run the risk of not being covered at all. It is also important that you discuss your health insurance options with your employer. But, if you are working in a company that has 20 or more number of employees, employer-based coverage will serve as your primary insurance. You also have the option to stick to that insurance if you want. And, once you retire you may sign up for Part B and other types of coverage. You can do this without the risk of incurring penalties. 

But, for those who decide on retiring soon, giving up their employer-provided health care benefits can be costly. Not to mention the fact that you might need to look for another doctor. This can pose a real issue especially if you are diagnosed with a chronic condition.

Although you may still be able to keep your COBRA coverage, but this can also be costly without your employer subsidizing the premiums. Add in the risk of losing other employee perks such as disability-insurance coverage. So, before you think about handing in your retirement documents know what benefits you are giving up. Before you retire, do a comparison-shop first to see if you can still have the same benefits without the need to break the bank. 

You will receive bigger pension.

Pensions are not just calculated based on your pay. But, part of it would also include years of service. The amount of pension you receive may depend on the amount of your average earnings for the last five years. Some plans base your pension on the average earnings you had all throughout the years since you signed up for it. But, generally if your income increased then you will most likely expect a bigger pension. 

For seniors who are receiving pension from the Federal Employee Retirement System or FERS, their pension will be based on the number of creditable years of service. If you retire earlier and your years of service do not reach 20 years, your benefit will be less 5 percent. But, if you extend your working years and resign at 62 years old to make your years of service total to 20 years, your pension multiplier will be 1.1 percent, instead of just 1 percent. Your pension income will significantly increase because of the extra number of years rendered in service. Plus, the higher pension multiplier. 

You’ll have more retirement savings.

Retirement planning experts suggest that people must save enough for retirement. The amount they save should be enough to last for at least twenty five years. If you think you haven’t saved enough, then working longer will be your best option. One advantage of it is that you will have fewer years to rely solely on your retirement savings. Besides, it would also mean more money is going to your retirement nest egg. If you will be working for another one year, you will have greater compound interest and more tax-free savings. If you’re 50 years old or older, you will be qualified to invest more in your 401k. You can also invest more in your individual retirement accounts. These catch-up contributions can raise your maximum contributions for up to $6,000.Your IRA contribution can also be increased for as much as $1,000. 

You will have more from your social security benefits.

For every year that you delay claiming your social security benefit, you will be entitled to an 8 percent increase in your benefit. To be able to get more from your social security benefit, wait until your 70. In other words, more years of working would also mean more benefits flowing. If you work a few years more, your social security benefits will become higher. Your full retirement age will be determined based on the year you were born. Seniors born between 1943-1954, will have 66 as their full retirement age. Those who were born past 1960s their full retirement age will be 67 years old. So, if you decide to retire years before your full retirement age, your social security benefits will be less 30 percent. But, if you work for moe years and retire past your full retirement age your benefits will also increase. The increase will be 8 percent more for each full year past your retirement age. So, if you decide to retire at age 70, your benefits will be 132 percent more compared to when you retire at age 62. In other words, delaying your retirement would mean more money that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. 

Working a job keeps your mind stimulated.

Keeping your mind engaged on a regular basis will greatly spare you from the risks of dementia. Work gives seniors more chances of keeping their brains stimulated. Whether it’s about writing reports or processing company products, these things surely benefit a senior’s brain in more ways than one. 

A French study was conducted which had self-employed workers as participants. The results suggest that delaying retirement helped reduce their risk for dementia. 

A separate 2010 study was conducted which looked into the data gathered from England, U.S. and 11 countries in Europe. The researchers concluded that retirement has adverse impacts on the cognitive ability among seniors. The researchers speculate that this could be due to the fact that being retired means less exposure to stimulating environment. 

So, if you think your retirement days won’t be as productive as you are now while you’re working, better postpone it. 

It is easier for you to remain physically active.

Working in your 60s will provide you plenty of opportunities to remain physically active. Performing daily routines will help you stay active. Getting yourself prepared every morning will allow you to become active the moment you wake up. Walking your way to the parking is a chance for you to get a bit of physical exercise.  On the contrary, being retired will deprive you of these daily opportunities to be active.In retirement, you will most likely have more time to just sit on the couch and watch TV. 

You will be able to maintain your social connections.

Keep in mind that once you retire, you will no longer be invited to business meetings. Except in rare cases such as company anniversaries that aim to award their previous best employees. Working will also give you opportunities every day to chat with your colleagues. Just think about those afternoon lunches or snack times spent with colleagues in the company cafeteria. You will no longer have these opportunities for socialization once you retire. 

You will have more challenges to work with.

Retirement years can get too boring especially if you haven’t planned anything before you left your job. Many retirees admit to missing the challenges in the workplace. This is why many retirees also choose to find a new job in retirement. Having a job enables one to have a set of tasks that need to be accomplished. The best thing about it is that in the workplace celebrations are held for every goal accomplished. Besides, setting one’s own goals at work provides a lot of motivation to the senior. This makes life more meaningful for them. 

Things to Keep in Mind When Switching Careers in Your 60s

Be prepared for a pay cut.

Don’t be surprised to find out you will be paid less than what you used to receive in your former workplace. Since it is a completely new job, it would mean you need to start all over again. So, your pay will also start at a rate that new employees normally receive. One way to prepare yourself for this pay cut is to start cutting debts years before your planned career switch. Make sure that before you make that switch, you are already financially fit. Otherwise, you run the risk of suffering from severe financial woes in your retirement. Another thing to keep in idn is to choose a new career that gives more meaning to your life even if it does not give you more money compared to your previous job. 

Update your knowledge and skills.

Before you make that career switch, make sure that you have taken advantage of your current employer’s training and education programs. This will not only help update your knowledge and skills. You may also choose to enroll in distance learning programs online that let you earn a certificate at the end of the course. Some of these online courses are free and you just have to pay once you request for a certificate. It will also make your resumé more attractive to your future employer. 

If you want to enroll in free online courses , check out Class Central for more courses designed for the elderly. 

You can also visit Center for Online Education to see what college courses they have  for senior citizens like you. 

When choosing any course  to take up, make sure it is the one that is aligned with your field of interest. The course you choose must also be something that enhances your stock knowledge  about a particular subject you are most interested about. And, don’t forget to check out the skills and education required by your next potential employer. This is to ensure that the course you take up will be deemed valuable to the company that you plan to work for after retirement. 

Whatever course you choose, always remember that you are never too old to learn something new!

Keep in mind that it’s NOT all about money.

If your prospective employer offers a lower pay, find ways to make things better for you. How about arranging the possibility of telecommuting? Can you ask for more vacation days? Is it okay to bring your dog at work?These may seem trivial to a younger employee. But, to a senior, bringing a dog to work or telecommuting could really mean a lot!

Know what benefits are most important to you.

When applying for a new job, you should determine which benefits are the most important to you. Is it the health care benefits? Or, more paid vacation days? If your spouse has your health care covered, then vacation days would be more important. You can then tell your employer about this and try to bargain. If not, look for other jobs that give you the benefit you badly need. 

Gray divorce

A grey divorce refers to the separation of people aged 50 or older. Because these couples have spent a significantly larger portion of their life together than younger spouses, a grey divorce could come with its specific set of challenges.

Baby boomers today are getting divorced at much higher rates than ever before. In the period from 1991 to 2008, the median divorce age increased for both men and women. While the national divorce rate in the US has been declining steadily, it has gone up for those aged 55 or older. In this age range, the divorce rate increased from five divorces per 1,000 marriages in 1979 to 15 divorces per 1,000 marriages in 2017.

The division of property and assets accumulated over the course of the marriage is one of the biggest challenges grey divorcees face.

If you’re about to separate from your spouse of several decades, you’ll need to keep a number of important property division issues in mind. 

Dealing with the Family House

You’ll need to think about who will get the family house in the aftermath of the divorce proceedings. Consulting an attorney in the state that you live in will give you a better idea about how this type of division is going to take place.

It’s very common for both spouses to want the house, a fact that makes the grey divorce incredibly stressful. In such instances, the house could be sold to ensure an even split.

Alternatively, one of the spouses will get the house while the other will be compensated with an asset of an equal value. Such a property distribution will ensure the fairness of the divorce proceedings.

If possible, talk things through with your spouse before moving on to the court procedure. Reaching a mutually-beneficial agreement out of court is the fastest and most painless way to address the situation and get what you deserve after years of accumulating assets and property together.

A Reduction in Retirement Savings 

The joint property you’ve accumulated over the course of the marriage does not consist solely of real estate. There will be retirement accounts and other assets you will have to consider to ensure your financial stability in the long run.

Pension plans IRAs and 401Ks rank among the most valuable retirement accounts you’ll have to sort through before finalizing the marriage dissolution. 

In many states, retirement accounts are considered community property. This means they belong in equal amounts to the two individuals getting divorced. In such instances, retirement accounts are the subject of equitable distribution. 

Whenever the accounts are established over the course of the marriage, the accumulated interests over the years are considered marital property. 

Things aren’t as simple as doing a 50/50 split, however.

Future taxation on the distribution of the retirement savings should be calculated when making the decision about the split. Many retirement accounts consist of funds that have not been subjected to tax yet. Thus, the distribution will result in the payment of fees and charges you may be incapable of handling at the time being.

Consult a lawyer and if the distribution of retirement savings is the right way to go, you will have to follow the legal procedure in your state. A qualified domestic relations order will be needed, to notify the authorities that the distribution is the result of a divorce and not an actual withdrawal.

Will You Get to Keep Your Separate Property?

The term separate property refers to real estate and assets acquired by either spouse before the marriage.

You are entitled to your separate property like an inheritance, a personal gift or an apartment you bought before getting married.

In some instances, however, your former spouse could claim that they’re entitled to a share of your separate property. If such claim is made, a lengthy court battle may ensue. Things will get complicated, especially if the separate nature of the property cannot be established.

This is one of the main reasons why you need to use the services of an experienced attorney during a grey divorce. If your legal representative isn’t familiar with the property division specifics stemming from a grey divorce, you may end up receiving a lot less than what you deserve.

Grey Divorce Could Come with Significant Financial Consequences

Grey divorce property divisions are very complex and often, they lead to significant financial consequences for at least one member of the couple.

According to professionals, people who get divorced in their 50s or even later on in life can expect their wealth to decrease by at least 50 percent. For women, however, it’s also likely for their income to collapse. Many women getting married in their 50s or later eventually find themselves below the poverty line because they’d been relying on a husband to ensure the financial stability of the family.

For older men, a 21 percent reduction in their standard of living could be anticipated.

When you’re older, it becomes much more difficult to bounce back from such financial shocks. Thus, you will need to think through aspects of property and wealth division before getting the marriage dissolution. Divorcing on amicable terms will simplify the process and help both of you get exactly what you deserve.

Even the most successful people will experience a financial shock due to divorce. Speak to an attorney and to a financial expert to understand the impact you’ll have to face. Chances are that right now, you’re underestimating the practical consequences of the separation.

Liz S. Coyle is the Director of Client Services for JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law. She also serves as a paralegal for the Family Law Department. She is responsible for internal and external communications for the firm.

Nutrition for seniors is a bit tricky. There are some nutrients seniors need which people in their younger years can afford to skip. And, not all seniors need to take exactly the same set of supplements each day. There are both active and healthy seniors. There are seniors who have been battling with a chronic disease for years. Each senior has his or her own unique nutritional needs that have to be addressed.  

Seniors suffer from different health problems, from osteoporosis to cardiovascular disease to dwindling levels of CoQ10. The body may slowly lose its ability to process some critical chemicals it needs to get in order to maintain proper health. This is the reason that certain supplements must be taken on a regular basis. 

Check with your doctor for which supplements are the best for your needs. Listed below are some of the common supplements frequently recommended for seniors:

Fish oil

There has been a lot of talk about fish oil. The fish oil market increased since fish oil industry began featuring  Omega 3 fatty acids. This is something that the body needs badly yet cannot produce on its own. Thus it’s necessary to obtain it from supplements. Fish oil has been recommended for almost all chronic diseases common to seniors. It is also being used as a preventive maintenance for every thing that is bound to go wrong when people get older. No wonder, the fish oil industry is taking in $1 billion every year. It is a huge help for people suffering from inflammation due to arthritis. Fish oil can also help in lowering triglycerides that may lead to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Fish oil supplementation can also help lower one’s risk for stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. 

Omega 3s are also known for its critical role in brain health. The human brain needs enough omega 3s in order to achieve optimal cognitive performance. Regular fish oil supplementation has been linked to reduced risk for Alzheimer’s. The American Heart Association says eating fish rich in omega 3s for at least two times a week can reduce risk for heart disease. The omega 3s in fish oils has also been found helpful in increasing calcium levels. This translates to improved bone density and bone strength. One study which had women aged 65 and above with osteoporosis  take fish oil supplements. After three years, results showed that they had reduced levels of bone loss. They were also found to have improved bone density. A British study also showed that regular supplementation of fish oils can lead to increased muscle mass. In this study, fish oil supplement was coupled with regular exercise. In turn, experts found out that fish oils played a crucial role in the prevention of sarcopenia. Sarcopenia refers to natural muscle mass loss that usually occurs in aging. 

Calcium

As one gets older, the kidneys will have reduced efficiency in retaining calcium. This is turn leads to more calcium loss as more of it is excreted through the urine. This is why calcium is a nutrient especially important for seniors. The fact is that 99 percent of all calcium we get is deposited into the bones and teeth. For seniors with high propensity of falling and breaking a hip or a bone, calcium is critical. Seniors suffering from osteoporosis need to get some calcium as soon as possible. Calcium is not just important for bone health. This is because your muscles, heart and nerves also need enough calcium for these to function at its best. 

Adults 51 years old and older need to have 1,200 mg of calcium per day. However, you still need to ask your doctor before taking any calcium supplements. This is because calcium supplements may interact with the medicines you are taking. This is a must especially to  seniors taking meds for blood pressure regulation, thyroid hormones and antibiotics. 

SAM-e

SAM-e is something the body can produce. However, the amount that the body produces may dwindle as we age. This nutrient is the key in preventing depression especially among seniors. This is because SAM-e works to increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. It can also help elderly adults battle problems with osteoarthritis (OA). There are also studies which proved that SAM-e improves mobility among seniors with osteoarthritis. In the last two decades, multiple research has proven the benefits of SAM-e in improving joint health. 

These benefits were attributed to the ability of SAM-e to produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Relief from inflammation may be experienced after a week of taking SAM-e supplements. However, for some people it may take more than one month before the benefits are felt. SAM-e works together with B vitamins. So, it is a must that one takes B vitamins too while taking SAM-e supplements. 

Experts also found out that lower levels of SAM-e is one factor that triggers neurodegeneration. Conversely, having the right levels of SAM-e has also been found to improve cognitive function. Another benefit is reduced feelings of fatigue and improved mood. 

Probiotics

These probiotics a.k.a. healthy bacteria are important not just for gut health. It also plays a crucial role in one’s overall health. Remember that more than 70 percent of the immune system resides in the gut. So, if there aren’t enough probiotics to guard the gut from invading pathogens, we run the risk of having diseases. 

Seniors were found to have lower levels of healthy bacteria in the gut than younger adults. The elderly population were also found to have more harmful bacteria in their gut compared to what younger adults have. Unfortunately, seniors are more prone to having gastrointestinal and bowel problems. Experts say that probiotics help lower a senior’s risk for complications from food poisoning. Eighty human studies have shown positive effects on people with bowel problems, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. For people aged 50 years old and above, their probiotics should have B. infantis strain. These probiotics strain helps protect one against inflammation. If left unabated, inflammation can trigger the onset of the symptoms of cardiovascular disease and cancer.  

Furthermore, the probiotic strain called B. longum BB-536 is also found to power up an older adult’s immune system. This is important especially among aging adults whose immune system was suppressed due to increased use of antibiotics. The best thing about it is that such boost in immune system from probiotic intake was found to last for up to 20 weeks. Others even reported to continue experiencing its benefits even when they’ve stopped taking the supplements. 

Ubiquinol and CoQ10

CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) is one of the most well-researched supplements.CoQ10 has a vital role in energy production in every cell. Regular supplementation of CoQ10 has been linked to increased longevity, improved energy levels and better immune system. CoQ10 also helps ensure that vitamins E and C are better absorbed by the body. It is also essential in fighting against free radical damage. However, experts say that if you take CoQ10, it is best to opt for its better version which is ubiquinol. 

One out of four Americans aged 45 and above are taking statin drugs. These drugs were found to deplete CoQ10 in the body. This is why CoQ10 is very important among seniors who are taking statins. CoQ10 is also beneficial in reducing the side effects of these statin drugs. Seniors who are diagnosed with coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, mitral valve prolapse, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels must take CoQ10 supplements. But, don’t forget to consult your doctor first. 

This natural antioxidant is helpful in slowing down the process of aging. This is because it helps fight against oxidative stress that produces free radicals. With CoQ10, you will have healthier heart as it works to regulate cholesterol levels. In fact, almost all organs of the body will benefit from this supplement. 

Vitamin D

Many older adults are deficient in vitamin D. This is because as people age, the body’s ability to absorb this vitamin also declines. This is why the risk for osteoporosis increases with age. In addition, lowered levels of vitamin D in the body is also a contributing factor to muscle weakness. As a result, seniors become at risk of breaking a bone or falling. 

Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption by enabling the gut to better absorb it. This is why taking vitamin D supplements on a regular basis helps reduce one’s risk of suffering from bone fractures or osteoporosis. Vitamin D is also important for the prevention of heart diseases and certain cancers. Vitamin D comes in two forms. The first one is Vitamin D2, also called as ergocalciferol. The second type is Vitamin D3 which is referred to as cholecalciferol. Vitamin D3 is one that is actively used by the body. It is also the same vitamin that is produced by the body. However, if you are a strict vegan you may opt for Vitamin D2. This is because vitamin D2  is not obtained from any animal sources. Once you take vitamin D2 your body will then convert it into vitamin D3. 

Your body is capable of producing vitamin D when it has sun exposure. However, seniors are less likely to be exposed to the sun most days of the year. Sun exposure is also not possible when it is winter. Thus, the need to obtain it through supplements. 

Iron

Iron is a crucial mineral for the proper functioning of red blood cells. These red blood cells are tasked to transport oxygen to every cell in the body. A deficiency of iron leads to anemia which can bring about several nasty symptoms including fatigue. Anemia is also very common in the elderly population. In fact, almost ten percent of seniors aged 65 and above who are living independently have anemia. However, as people age there is an increased likelihood of not being able to obtain enough iron from dietary sources. Additionally, seniors diagnosed with stomach or colon cancer are at risk of losing too much iron. The same is true to seniors who are regularly taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory, and non-steroidal drugs. This is why iron supplementation is very important. This is also critical to seniors who have been through a surgery which resulted in too much blood loss which also means too much iron loss. 

Iron supplements may come in different forms. These include carbonyl  iron, heme-based iron and ferrous sulfate. These different forms may also have different gastrointestinal side effects. Some known side effects of iron supplementation are diarrhea, nausea and constipation. This is why it is a must to ask your doctor first regarding iron supplementation. This way, you’ll be given advice which type of iron supplement is best for you.

Vitamin B12

Seniors who have low levels of vitamin B12 face a higher risk of brain shrinkage. In turn, they are more likely to lose their cognitive skills. Supplement vitamin B12 is also called as cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin Some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are hallucinations, confusion and agitation. Unfortunately, with aging comes a decreased ability of the body to absorb vitamin B12 efficiently. This nutrient is abundant in the protein content of animal meat. But, seniors who are vegetarians and vegans are more likely to become deficient of this vitamin. Thus, the need to take them as supplements. Just like iron deficiency, not having enough of this vitamin also results in anemia. 

Vitamin B12 is not just good for brain health. It also benefits one’s skin, heart, digestive system, hair, etc. This vitamin also works best in addressing several metabolic functions such as hormonal balance, enzyme production and DNA synthesis. It also helps alleviate the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. B-12 can be taken orally or by  injections.

There you have it. These are just eight of the most important nutrients seniors need to get. The key in staying healthy as we age is not just the nutrients. Seniors should think much about how to live happier and livelier. Most of these supplements can be taken orally. But, be sure to check with your doctor before taking any of these supplements.

Inflation is something that impacts not just those who are currently working, but also retired seniors. Inflation rears its ugly head regardless of the economic situation and time. This can have a huge impact to those who are living off their retirement money or savings. The key here is to know how to mitigate the impact of inflation and to counter the inevitable rise of prices. It is best to make sure purchasing power will not be eroded over time.

Seniors need to plan for inflation

A survey by a league of senior citizens said the purchasing power of seniors has been eroded by 31 percent since 2000. Seniors, in this case, lost almost a third of their purchasing power. There is no impending improvement of the spending power of the Social Security benefits. This is despite the streak of lower than usual inflation. To put things in perspective, seniors can only afford $69 today, what used to be $100 back in 2000.


Investing Upon Retirement

In an ideal world, one can ride inflation even as a retiree. The problem is that the market has been slow in producing financial products to help shield against inflation problems. The alternative is to hedge headline inflation, instead of golden-years retiree inflation.

The key here is to save more. The alternative is to keep working beyond retirement. The latter is a strategy that is very unlikely to happen, or the worse that could happen. Taking more risks on your portfolio may reap dividends. But, at the same time it is tantamount to getting exposed to dangers. When bonds or stocks do poorly in inflation environments, there could be trouble brewing. Some financial experts say to take great care when taking a huge risk since it is the future that is at stake here.


Bonds

It might be tempting to invest retirement money on low-risk bonds. This may happen when a person nears retirement age. Yet, too many people focus on bonds. Since bonds are often less risky, they offer fewer returns. 

A bond may have a return rate of six percent, but if inflation is at three percent—what a person can effectively be getting is just three percent, which is a pretty low return on investment.


Stocks

By the time the senior retires, he is most likely to think about investing right away. This is because he wants to earn returns that are high enough to be able to fund his daily spending needs. But while investing, a senior must make sure that he has protection against inflation. This is crucial to ensure that his portfolio and his overall lifestyle during retirement won’t have to suffer from too much blow from inflation. 

This is the reason why some seniors are considering the thought of investing on stocks. Although there isn’t any recommended specific amount how much should they invest on stocks.But, a lot of financial advisers suggest that it shouldn’t be more than 60 percent.

Annuity

In an annuity, seniors are guaranteed of lifetime income that also raises its payments along with inflation. However even if an annuity provides sure income as it keeps pace with the inflation rate, not many seniors choose this route. One reason for this is that the initial payment provided by inflation-adjusted annuity is so much lower compared to what seniors may get from a traditional immediate annuity. 

With traditional immediate annuity, a senior could possibly get $540 each month for the rest of his retirement years. On the other hand, an inflation-adjusted annuity would only be providing as much as $375 per month, for life. However, this amount of $375 may also increase along with the inflation rate. With these differences in the amount of monthly income that they get, seniors still prefer the bigger monthly fixed payment. 

TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities)

To make sure that your monthly income is enough to cope with inflation in your retirement years, you may also choose to invest a part of your bond holdings on TIPS. In TIPS, seniors will have payouts that can track inflation. 

TIPS are designed in a way that investors such as retirees are protected against inflation. This is made possible due to the fact that the returns are tied to what we call as Consumer Price Index. This is so beneficial especially to seniors who are living on fixed income in their retirement years. 

For example, if you choose to invest your $100,000 and the rate of inflation is 4 percent, then your principal balance will become $104,000 the following year. Once your investment reaches its maturity date, seniors can now get back either the original principal amount or the amount that’s already adjusted according to the inflation rate, whichever is the higher amount. 

TIPS also offers interest income which is being paid out every six months. Investors of TIPS won’t have to pay for local and state taxes. However, they are still required by law to pay federal taxes on what they earned from TIPS. 

Note that if you are not financially prepared for the inflation rate, you are setting yourself up for great disappointment in your retirement years. History has it that inflation rate rises at an average of 3 percent or more. So, whatever it is that you save or invest on, always keep in mind the inflation rate. 

The key here is to bunch some riskier investment with the portfolio. Invest in stocks, retirement plans, and other ways to raise money for retirement. It is important to create more money that can overcome the inevitable rising cost of living in the future.

Seniors have plenty in their plates. They are supposed to invest not just in the future, but enough. Another thing, a senior’s lifestyle will also be impacted by inflation. The more extravagant a senior’s lifestyle, the more that it will have an impact on the cost of living. It is best to keep one’s lifestyle as simple as possible.

Other Tips to Help Reduce the Impact of Inflation on Your Retirement Money

Don’t be too conservative.

Being too conservative would make you shy away from any investment opportunities. But, with the help of a financial adviser, seniors’s investments must be diversified. They must take into consideration the senior’s risk tolerance and income needs. Of course, the senior’s age also needs to be considered. Know that the greatest risk that seniors may face is the risk of outliving their retirement savings. 

Be wise when making pension decisions.

Seniors covered by pension plans are often asked about whether they want to receive their benefits in a form of monthly payment or as a lump sum amount. Whatever you choose, make sure that it perfectly suits your situation. Most corporate pension plans do not offer an increase in cost of living. In other words, they do not take into consideration the inflation rate. This is why the real value of their monthly pension will be lost due to inflation rate. However, some public and municipal pension plans do offer adjustments regarding cost of living. But, still there is no guarantee that such increase will continue to keep pace with the rising inflation rate. 

On the other hand, seniors may choose to have their pension in a lump sum amount  and then roll this into an IRA. They may ask help from a professional financial advisor to ensure they’re doing everything right. 

Keep in mind that a properly invested retirement portfolio will not just help spare you from the adverse impacts of inflation arte. It will also help guarantee that you will be earning enough to be able to achieve financial stability in you retirement. 

Always factor in healthcare costs in your retirement money. 

Unfortunately, health care costs have been proven to increase faster than the overall increase rate of inflation. This is why it is very important that seniors must include in their retirement savings the budget for healthcare costs. Although Medicare does help seniors age 65 and above, it isn’t enough to cover all costs. 

If your health insurance offers a high deductible plan plus an added access to HSA, grab this chance. HSA is a special type of financial account that helps you pay your medical expenses. You can use it to cover prescription drugs, copays and deductibles. All these without tax obligations. 

Find a way to reduce your fixed expenses.

Most of the time, the seniors’ mortgage would usually account for most of their fixed expenses in retirement. But, this may not be a problem for as long as you have more than enough nest egg. Paying hefty monthly mortgage will not also be an issue if you are receiving monthly pension. But, if you think your mortgage is somehow difficult to maintain once you retire, think about downsizing. 

This way, you can ensure that your monthly fixed expenses in retirement are so affordable. Other fixed expenses that deserve a much more careful look are your cable channels, cell phone plans or your second car. Always keep in mind that once you retire, unplanned and unexpected expenses may arise. These things could significantly impact your monthly cost of living.

 

Think about your long-term care needs.

If you don’t plan for your long-term care needs, chances are most of your retirement savings will be spent for it. The best way to offset some of the costs of long-term care is to enroll in long-term care insurance. Long term care insurance is expensive but it will become even more expensive as you age. Long-term care insurance is most appropriate for seniors who fall in the middle in terms of net worth. This is because the rich finds it easier to pay for their long-term care. And, those who have very low net worth will just rely on what Medicaid provides them. 


Go easy on your withdrawals.

This is a must especially when you’re still in the early years of your retirement. Minimize your withdrawals as much as you can. As much as possible, keep your withdrawals within the minimum amount. This is to ensure you do not run out of funds later in life. Depending on your health status, the costs of medical and health care will increase during the later part of your retirement years. When you minimize your withdrawals you can be assured that you still have enough when you need it the most in the later years. 


Work in retirement.

This is if you are healthy enough to do so. You may choose to work part time or full time even after you’ve retired. This helps you become better protected against inflation. The money you earn will surely add up to your spendable cash flow. So, you do not have to rely solely on withdrawals from your savings. 

Be prepared for the unexpected.

Retirement years may bring a lot of surprises. Some of these are good while some are not-so-good. Make sure you can cope well with these unexpected events. Being prepared will greatly spare you from shock and anxiety. It will also help make your retirement years more enjoyable than stressful. So, watch out on your withdrawals. Learn how to manage well all your investments. Always monitor your spending. Most of all, do everything to keep yourself healthy. A hefty retirement savings account cannot be enjoyed if you’re too sick to even just spend it. 

It is true that most of the retirees don’t have to worry about sending their kids to school. And, they don’t have to feed a whole family. But, they still need to set aside enough budget for food. They also need to have enough money for medical bills and housing costs. Add in the fact that the cost of living is projected to increase by 16 percent in the next five years. And, over the next ten years, this rate may go up as high as 34.5 percent. This is why seniors must pay attention to their retirement savings and do all means to improve their financial future. 

The rate of divorce in the general population is lower today than it ever was before. But, the generation called the baby boomers is divorcing like crazy. The divorce rate among folks 50 years old or older has doubled over the last couple of decades. This has led to the phenomenon called “gray divorce.”

Gray divorce

Things have changed. Today, the so-called “gray divorce” is no longer a big deal. They say senior citizens who file for divorce late in life is something that no longer surprises people. In fact, divorce rates for people who are aged 50 years old or older went double between 1990 and 2010, said a research made by sociologists at Bowling Green State University.

People who engage in remarriages tend to have higher rates of divorce. However, the divorce situation is not exclusive to those who were married before. It has been revealed by the study about 48 percent of seniors who got divorced were on their first marriage.

Hopefully, this article will help seniors take a peek at what divorce has in store for them. This will help give them an idea on how to arrive at a well-informed decision when planning for gray divorce in the future.

Alimony is a sure thing in long-term marriages gone awry

Alimony is a sure-fire thing for older couples getting divorced compared to younger couples who file for divorce. Younger couples often have temporary set-up in terms of finances. For younger couples, alimony only lasts long enough until the other lower earning partner becomes more capable of being financially independent. Divorce attorneys surveyed said, in New York, older couples who file for divorce almost always get alimony for life. Legal experts say if both people are working they are more likely to shoulder shared financial responsibility. In some cases, the spouse that has a higher earning will be the one who may need to pay alimony to the other spouse.

Expect the retirement money to get cut in half

Some legal experts say more often the retirement funds can get slashed and may likely be divided evenly. This occurs even if one is not considered “at-fault” for the divorce. So, what seniors think of as huge money for their retirement years may be slashed in half after divorce. There is a tendency for some people to offer half of the retirement fund in exchange for not being required to pay alimony. This would result in a kind of lifestyle that’s less affluent than what one anticipated earlier in life.

Keeping the house means you need to lose something else

Women most often will stand ground and will not give up the marital home. It may be by emotional design or financial consideration. Of course, a lot of consideration should come before deciding to keep the home, especially if the court decides to split the property evenly between the two parties. Remember that if you choose to keep the home, then prepare yourself to give up something else. You will be asked about this during the asset division process.

The home has a definite value. But the other party in the situation will have to look for other assets to balance out things. There is a possibility that the other party will have to get a larger cut on the pension earnings or to get some cash considerations. However, owning a property also comes with property taxes and maintenance costs. Add in other costs associated with owning a home. The added cost can put some dent into the already unstable financial situation of a senior going through a divorce.

If you have been hiding something from your spouse, now is the best time to reveal it. Do this before the start of asset division process. If you have been hiding a bank account all these years from your spouse, then make sure to declare it now. You should know that it is illegal to hide assets. So, make sure your report of assets is comprehensive. Otherwise, you could be sued for fraud.

Gray Divorce -Can you even afford It?

Gray divorce can be a difficult time for seniors. Divorce is easier if you are younger, but not with seniors. There are extra considerations when people file for divorce during the twilight of their life. There are things seniors need to know including whether gray divorce is something they can afford.

Splitting the income may be harder for seniors

It is a difficult challenge for seniors to split the income. The financial impact of gray divorce can be staggering especially for those who are economically struggling. A senior may not earn as much as before. This is true especially if one is relying too much on retirement pension or savings. A significant cut in the earnings may no longer be enough to support a previous lifestyle. It is harder for seniors accustomed to a certain lifestyle to look at things when the finances take a hard hit. It is best for seniors to come into a realization that prior lifestyle may no longer be feasible if one files for divorce. A realistic approach to expenses may be needed in order to make gray divorce more affordable.

Realistic approach on divorce

You have to determine your exact post-divorce financial position. Make sure you have a vivid understanding of your spending habits. Also, don’t forget to take into account your possible sources of income. Put all these into your updated personal balance sheet. Then, work with your legal and financial advisor. This way, you can easily chart your most appropriate course all throughout the divorce proceedings.

Many seniors have been considering the thought of divorce. But, it’s only after a few years that they were able to finally to talk it out with their spouse. And, without having a clear picture of what each of them actually owns and owes, their divorce proceedings were filled with a lot of surprises they never expected.

Most often people who may file for divorce may not have a realistic understanding about the property owned jointly by the couple and the liabilities. Some of the folks may be in for a surprise when the assets are due to be split for the parties involved. There are people who get into gray divorce without having a realistic look of the financial situation. While divorce is primarily driven by emotions, it is important to be aware of the financial situation. Once the divorce bomb has been dropped, it is difficult to  turn back. Before making the decision to file for a divorce, make sure to have a long hard look at all your assets and the liabilities. Do this before making an effort to communicate the idea of divorce to the other party.

Taking taxes into the equation

There are some who may have an attachment to a certain property, but are discounting the idea of taxes. Make sure the finances will not be greatly impacted once distributed on the account of taxes.

Some high-earning divorcees find themselves working longer than they originally planned. This means postponing their retirement to ensure that they are capable of paying alimony to a much younger spouse.

When in the process of asset settlements, don’t forget to always factor in taxes. Note that a $500,000 in retirement plan is much different from $500,000 as home value. Always take into consideration the after-tax value of whatever asset that’s discussed during the settlement process. This is to make sure you do not end up paying more taxes than you are required. Talk about how these taxes impact your cash flow after divorce. It is also important to know that alimony is a taxable income to the person receiving it.

Most of the time seniors trying to file for divorce are discouraged to do so. Older couples should make a conscious effort to really mend the problems or work with  a counselor before considering having a divorce.

Reasons Seniors File for Divorce

There is this narrative forcing previous generations trying to stay together, but giving way to the desire to be happy—even outside of marriage. There is always a chance, seniors after several years of being together, the finances and marriage are no longer as aligned as before. It is important to keep an eye about the rigors of gray divorce to find out the reasons since more baby boomers are getting old and perhaps thinking about filing for divorce.

Seniors changing attitude towards divorce

Marriages are known to be vulnerable between year seven to year ten. It is now a head scratcher why there has been an increase in the number of filed divorce among seniors. In some cases, the seniors of today are unlike their parents who are seeing marriage in a different light. For the current batch of seniors, they have different inclinations about the hopes and aspirations about marriage. Since most seniors have adult children, it is easier to get divorced due to lowered responsibilities. This is contrary to when couples are younger and have to face heavier responsibilities. There are some seniors who may file for divorce not necessarily looking for a new love. But, to pursue other desires in which marriage can be a huge barrier. Some people, with the help of modern medicine, may find a new lease in their sex life. The people in their 50s or 60s are now seeking the love and sexual presence which they may have lost since they were in their 30s or 40s.

Seniors’ issues with finances and health care

When most people focus on their future retirement they plan for their finances but don’t plan on making provisions for a healthy marriage. Then when divorce becomes an issue, the finances they originally allocated for health and long-term care are divided and don’t cover the individual as well as it would have if they remained married. Additionally, the medical insurance they were depending upon from their spouse’s pension may no longer be available once they are divorced.

Seniors divorce because of differences

This is a no-brainer. Some seniors today are no longer tolerant of each other’s differences. So, they choose to end the marriage. As always, seniors need to really think things through and do what they feel is right. Divorce is a huge thing and can cause impactful changes in one’s life. It is only right to provide the right support to the people in the twilight of their lives going through a rough patch.

Questioning a Senior’s Capacity to Decide

Talks about gray divorce are never without asking if the senior is hundred percent capable of making the right decisions.  This is because with advanced age might come some issues with mental health. Add in the fact that the elderly are prone to having the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or Dementia which are conditions that adversely impact cognitive skills. It is important that one makes sure that the senior can completely grasp all the myriad issues surrounding the process of divorce. Divorce is more complicated than what many people think. And, if you’re the one involved in it, it becomes even more complicated. The senior involved in the divorce process needs to be mentally capable of approving or refusing a settlement issue. If the senior is found to be mentally incapacitated to make decisions, then he also lacks the capacity to arrive at the right decision when making settlements. If a senior is found to have capacity issues, then he or she must undergo the proper evaluation to be able to determine such.

If you are among those seniors who plan to get a divorce, talk to your attorney  to see if there are benefits of getting evaluated for capacity issues now. This is to ensure that any necessary action will be taken right away. So that capacity issues will not become a complication in your divorce proceedings.

Remember that your relationship with your spouse is the biggest determiner of how healthy you would be as you age. Studies reveal that marriage has a protective effect on one’s physical and psychological health. So, if you think your marriage is only hurting your chances of living a happy and healthy life as you age, start consulting a counselor now.

When it comes to choosing a dementia aged care provider, there are many factors to consider to ensure the best quality of life possible for your loved ones. There are plenty of dementia aged care providers out there that do a great job of taking care of their patient’s needs. But how do you which one’s the right one?

It’s important to take a close look at all the options available and see which dementia aged care services provide you with the most confidence in terms of the safety and overall well-being of your loved ones. This way, you’ll be at ease knowing that your close friends and family are in good hands.assisted living care

It helps to interview dementia aged care providers and ask them important questions to figure out if they best suit the needs of your loved ones. Here are 10 questions you need to ask before choosing a dementia aged care provider.

1. How long have they been providing dementia aged care

First off, it’s important to have a thorough background check on a specific dementia aged care provider by asking them how long they’ve been in the industry. While the quality of a company’s services isn’t directly linked to the length of time they’ve providing it, it helps if the company has a proven track record of success. This will help narrow down your options when choosing a dementia aged care provider for your loved ones.

If they’re new to the industry, ask a couple of their clients for feedback and see if their services meet your expectations.

2. Their philosophy on dementia care

Dementia aged care providers have different core values and beliefs when it comes to attending the needs of those with declining mental abilities. It’s important that these values are in line with your expectations in regards to caring for your loved ones. Ask them what are their key values in caring for people with dementia. You have to feel confident enough that the provider you choose will have your loved one’s best interest at all times.

3. Ask if they create a specific plan for their patients

Each patient has their own unique characteristics based on their personalities and the stage of their dementia. A well-trained dementia care provider knows this. This requires a more tailored approach to the specific needs of their patients to ensure their needs are being met accordingly. Ask your provider if they create specific plans for their patients and if they’re willing to collaborate with you to secure the well-being of your loved ones.

4. Do they have a backup plan in case of an emergency situation

Dementia care providers should have a concise back-up plan in case an emergency situation arises. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it’s also a sign that your chosen provider is always prepared to ensure the safety and security of your loved ones.

Ask your provider if they have a detailed emergency plan and what steps will they be taking when a certain situation comes up. Discuss things in detail with your provider and make sure that they’re ready to take action whenever an emergency situation happens.

5. Can they provide a reference with a similar case like your loved ones

One of the best ways to find out if a dementia care provider fits in with your expectations is by asking them if they have similar cases to your loved ones. Did they manage to improve the patient’s quality of life? Were they able to attend to the patient’s needs properly and consistently?

This will help you make a firm decision on choosing the correct provider that not only fits in with your expectations, but the needs of your loved ones as well.

6. The background and experience of their caregivers

Attending the needs of people diagnosed with dementia requires proper training and knowledge about the condition. Your provider should have professionals that have valid credentials and are well-informed in the field of dementia.

They should be able to provide the basic needs of the elderly as well as being able to adapt to your loved one’s personal traits and characteristics. Don’t be hesitant to ask your provider about the background and credentials of their caregivers so you can feel confident about the quality of service they can deliver.

Mediterranean DietThe Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world. It has been proven to lower risks for many chronic diseases. This is because it allows a person to eat more whole foods. The Mediterranean diet encourages the consumption of unprocessed foods. Lean protein, healthy fats and plant-based foods are central to the diet.

Choosing this diet does require a lot of discipline and dedication. But, no worries! It will be worth the effort because the Mediterranean diet provides seniors with numerous health benefits.

Check out this list of Mediterranean Diet benefits:

Healthy weight loss

Adherence to the Mediterranean diet helps seniors maintain healthy weight. Losing weight in a healthy way is also possible with the Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet provides seniors with lots of fiber and protein that keeps them fuller longer. This is just one of the many reasons why MD helps healthy weight loss. Studies also show that older adults who lost as much as 22 pounds were able to keep it off even after one year. These study findings were published in the American Journal of Medicine. In a separate study, older adults aged 55 – 80 years old not only lost weight by adhering to this diet. They were also found to have gained less fat in their midsection. The results from this study were published in the Lancet.

Helps with cancer prevention

The Mediterranean diet requires people to load up more on fresh produce. And, numerous studies have already proven that a plant-based diet helps lower cancer risk. Fruits and vegetables contain a plethora of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients help seniors have better fighting stance against cancer.Results from studies suggest that a Mediterranean diet provides significant protection from cancer. It also reduces risk for cancer and overall mortality. Nutrition obtained from this type of diet was found to help suppress the growth of cancer cells. The active compounds from foods that make up this diet also helps induce cancer cell death. Besides, the regular use of extra virgin oil provides phenolic compounds that show strong chemo-preventive effects. Loading up on fruits and vegetables can have strong protective effects against cancer. This is due to the abundance of flavonoids that inhibits inflammation. These flavonoids were also found to have strong antioxidant effects.

Leads to better heart health

Regular consumption of plant-based foods help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels among seniors. A Lyon Heart Study examined more than 600 patients who had a history of myocardial infarction. These patients who served as study respondents were aged 55-80 years old. The study showed that Mediterranean diet lowers risk for recurrent heart disease for as much as 70 percent. Another study was conducted by CARDIO2000 investigators which had 848 participants. These participants were middle aged and older adults who had unstable angina and myocardial infarction. The results showed that following a Mediterranean diet lowers their risk for acute coronary syndrome.

Lowers risk for diabetes

Seniors are more at risk of being diagnosed with diabetes than the younger population. Higher consumption of plant based foods can help a senior better manage his blood sugar level.

A study which had more than three thousand participants showed that Mediterranean diet lowers risk for diabetes. This study had participants aged 55-80 years old. After more than four years, the participants showed lowered risk for diabetes for as much as 40 percent. In this study the control group were asked to limit all types of fat. But, none of them were asked to improve their physical activity. No group was also asked to restrict their calorie intake. In other words, the lowered risk manifested was solely due to healthy dietary eating patterns.

Since the Mediterranean diet recommends consumption of healthy fats, seniors are more likely to experience satiety. This keeps them feeling fuller for a longer period of time. In turn, they are less likely to crave for more calories. Plus, this diet also limits your intake of added sugars. All these things make a senior less prone to developing the symptoms of insulin resistance.

Helps prevent Alzheimer’s

In one study, 447 healthy participants aged 55-80 years old found that those who adhered to Mediterranean diet had stronger memory function. In this study, participants were divided into three groups. The first group had the Mediterranean diet with added mixed nuts. The second group had Mediterranean diet with added olive oil every day. The third group had low-fat diet. These study participants were followed by the researchers for more than four years.

​The stronger cognitive function among Mediterranean dieters are attributed to the fact that such diet is loaded with antioxidants. The MD is also rich in anti-inflammatory agents from foods such as nuts and olive oil. These phenolic compounds work best in combating the oxidative process that take place in the brain. Thus, neurodegeneration is staved off.
A study showed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet lowered their risk for Alzheimer’s for as much as 40 percent. This study lasted for four years and had more than two thousand participants. Those who had partial adherence to Mediterranean diet only lowered their risk for 15 percent.The results of this study was published in the Annals of Neurology.
In a separate study, experts found out that a Mediterranean diet also helps prevent the progression of mild cognitive impairment. The more that a senior adheres to this type of diet, the less likely he will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. For seniors already having MCI, they lowered their risk for Alzheimer’s for 48 percent of strict adherence to the diet. Those who only had moderate adherence were only able to lower their risk of Alzheimer’s for 45 percent. This study lasted for four years.
Boosts liver health

One study revealed that a Mediterranean diet can help lower one’s risk for fatty liver disease. The said study had older and middle-aged adults as participants. Adhering to a healthy diet such as Mediterranean is very important especially to people who are genetically predisposed to having Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. For six years, the results from this study showed that hepatic fat accumulation reduced significantly. It also prevents the onset of NAFLD for as much as 26 percent.

Losing weight through healthy diet is highly recommended for people with NAFLD. Adherence to healthy eating habits such as the Mediterranean diet can have positive impacts on NAFLD. It not only reduces fat accumulation. It also lowers the severity of NAFLD among middle aged and older adults.

Making that Switch to Mediterranean Diet: Helpful Tips for Seniors

If you are worried about drastically changing your dietary pattern don’t be. There are ways to slowly ease yourself into this kind of diet. Check out the following tips.

Load up on vegetables.

Imagine holding a plate filled with brightly colored vegetables. They not only look great. But, they also taste so delicious! Not to mention the plethora of nutrients that you can get from these vegetables. These colorful veggies pack a heavy punch of anthocyanins. These anthocyanins are flavonoids that help improve cognitive function and memory in older adults. These flavonoids also work wonders in preventing bone loss and brain degeneration.

Vegetables are also powerhouses of fiber. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies suggests that men aged 50 and older must consume at least 30 grams of fiber each day. Women of the same age are advised to consume at least 21 grams of fiber per day. This amount is not difficult to obtain if you load up on veggies everyday. Fiber is beneficial for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. High intake of fiber helps ward off colorectal cancer, constipation and hemorrhoids.

Never skip breakfast.

Remember that Mediterranean is more of a lifestyle than a diet and breakfast is an important part of it. Make sure to prepare your whole grain and fiber-filled breakfast every day. Don’t worry, with Mediterranean diet you will never run out of breakfast options. One small tortilla or a slice of whole wheat bread would mean an ounce of grains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that a 70-year old woman would need to consume 5 ounces of grains every day. Men with the same age should consume 6 ounces of grains. And, whole grains are better because they contain lots of fiber. Seniors must steer clear from refined grains especially if they’re diabetic as these can only cause spikes in blood sugar.

Start loving seafood.

The Mediterranean diet recommends that people eat seafood at least two times a week. This is one good way for you to obtain your much needed omega 3 fatty acids. These omega 3s help older adults prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, these omega 3s also protect seniors against the risks of macular degeneration. Besides, it also reduces the inflammatory reaction in the body and reduced inflammatory reaction would mean great relief for seniors with rheumatoid arthritis. So, how about a salmon fillet, with salt and pepper and pan seared with a few capers? Don’t forget to garnish them with a few slices of lemon, please!

Set a meatless day once a week.

This is the day when you will forego eating meat. Your meatless day will be a day of whole grains, vegetables and beans. Try spiced lentil tacos or peppered cauliflower rice with stir-fried vegetables. You can even have oatmeal pancakes or an avocado radish salad. These are just few of the many ways to enjoy the healthy goodness of Mediterranean diet. Note that vegetarian refried beans can serve as delicious substitutes for meat. These are perfect for your tacos and burritos. Add excitement to your meatless days with recipes such as Mediterranean Millet or Greek Rice Stuffed Peppers.

Limit your intake of dairy products.

If you want to eat a dairy product, always opt for the healthier option. Older adults also need to eat enough of dairy to help them avoid bone thinning. Dairy food products are rich in calcium, zinc, iodine, vitamins A and D. These nutrients help seniors lower their blood pressure. It also reduces their risk for stroke, cancer and heart disease. But, always opt for those that are labeled with reduced-fat. Keep in mind that you need to limit your intake of saturated fats. Go for reduced-fat yogurt, milk and cheese. Unsweetened calcium fortified almond milk and soy yogurt are also wonderful additions to your daily diet.

Snack on fruits.

Eating strawberries, blueberries, apples and grapes is such a healthy way to snack. Forget about ice cream, sodas and donuts. You need to be healthy as you age! Besides, a study revealed that increased intake of fruits and vegetables help seniors lower their risk for Osteoporosis. If Greek salads no longer look so appealing to you, do not hesitate to try other fruit recipes. Honey Lime Fruit Salad is one good example that’s easy to prepare. Just mixed strawberries, blueberries and bananas with lime juice and honey. Then, sprinkle some pine nuts and your snack time will cease to be boring!

Always opt for the good fats.

Avocados, olive oil, sunflower seeds and olives are excellent sources of healthy fats. Make sure to have these rather than consuming unhealthy fats. Experts recommend that older adults must obtain up to 35 percent of their caloric intake from good fats. A 70-year-old man must limit his daily fat intake for up to 6 teaspoons of oil and fats. Women of the same age must consume not more than 5 teaspoons of these oils and fats everyday.

The best thing about a Mediterranean diet is that you don’t have to be an expert in reading nutritional labels. This is because you will be eating more of whole foods. For seniors who are just starting to adopt a Mediterranean diet, here are some helpful resources:

AgeRight.org – This site gives you all the information you need about Mediterranean diet. If you are not sure what’s best for dinner or snacks, visit this site.In this website you can also find information such as what spices to use to boost brain power.

Oldways – Here you can find information about the common foods and flavors that you can include in Mediterranean diet. Menus and tips on how to get started can also be read on this site.

The Mediterranean Dish – Check this website for more great menus and dishes that are purely Mediterranean.

Mayoclinic – Get access to different recipes for your main dishes, desserts, salads, etc that are all Mediterranean.

Hoarding DisorderDiscovering that a parent has a hoarding disorder can be very troubling. An adult child may be shocked when they see how much “stuff” an elderly parent has accumulated over the years.

Newspapers and magazines are everywhere. Each nook and cranny of the seniors home is filled with stuff from the past. Old clothes are tossed about and no longer being worn.

Elderly adults have the propensity to cling to things. These things may end up as a mass of clutter. They have a hard time letting go of things for various reasons. The reasons may range from fear of loss, anxiety, depression, to simply not knowing how to dispose the old stuff. They may also have some attached memories to items which to other people may no longer have any value, like old medicine bottles.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University report that a study shows that the presence of hoarding behavior is greater among older adults than the younger study participants. It was estimated that 4 percent of the general population has hoarding behavior. But, for people aged 55 and older, the percentage is 6.2.

What is a Hoarding Disorder?

Hoarding disorder (HD) has been classified by experts to be a chronic psychiatric condition. It is characterized by persistent difficulty getting rid or letting go of possessions. People afflicted with this condition find themselves feeling too much distress about the idea of discarding items. They have this extreme urge to save everything, even trash. People with hoarding disorder find it hard to decide which items are worth keeping and what needs to be thrown away.  These difficulties lead a person to accumulate too many different kinds of items. Most of these things are supposed to be thrown away. There is such distress that comes with throwing away any item that some seniors keep everything filling not just the cellar or den, but the entire house as well. If left unabated for years, hoarders make their own homes literally uninhabitable.

Factors that Increase a Senior’s Risk for Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding is a common issue among the older population. This condition has serious impacts among the senior, family members and the community. Seniors who are living alone can be at risk of hoarding behavior. The same is true to the elderly who is living in isolation. Seniors who are diagnosed with dementia, depression and other personality disorders are also at risk of developing hoarding disorder.

Warning Signs of Hoarding in the Elderly

Clutter is all over the place.

A senior who has HD is reluctant to throw away items that do not have value. Things that don’t seem to have any financial or practical value are still worth keeping for seniors with HD. You will find it too difficult to reach the bathroom or toilet. This is because the pathway leading there is already cluttered. You have to walk really slowly to avoid tripping on any object.

Difficulty organizing things.

If your senior has trouble organizing things, help him do it. But, if he refuses to have them organized and insists it must be left that way, then it should serve as a warning. Closets, kitchen cupboards, basements and attics have disorganized things.

Spaces are wall-to-ceiling filled.

Homes of people with hoarding disorder will mostly have rooms filled with junk. But, some seniors are really good at hiding their hoarding behavior. The den and cellars have become unusable. Opening the door to each room can be difficult because there’s too much stuff inside. They excessively save anything to the point of drowning in their own clutter.

Unusable furniture.

One sign of an elderly having a hoarding disorder is that his furniture in the house cannot be used anymore. This is because it is already filled with so much stuff. If you find it impossible to sit on your elderly parent’s chair or sofa, be alarmed. Kitchen counters and tables can also be filled with items. This is a sign that hoarding has reached a different level now.

Dirt and stench are everywhere.

A little dirt and stench can be normal especially if the senior has become too sick to clean his own place. But, if dirt and stench are caused by years of accumulated trash, then it’s a different story. The kitchen, toilet and almost every area of the house does not smell good. The refrigerator is also filled with expired and spoiled foods. These are signs that the senior is not acknowledging the presence of a problem.

Living with too many animals.

Some seniors might tend to adopt more pets than what they are truly capable of taking care. Animal feces and food wastes are adding to the foul smelling and dirt inside the house.

Unpaid bills and lost documents.

Another sign of hoarding behavior is unpaid bills. The clutter and lack of organization at home makes it hard for seniors to see bills or any documents that warrant their attention. They have amassed too many letters over the years. This is why finding the most recent one is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Excessive collecting of items that have no value.

Hoarding is much like a person who loves collecting items – but is taken to the extreme. Thus, collections may range from restaurant napkins, empty water bottles, flower vases, etc. Others love to collect coupons but never had the chance to use them all.

No Visitors are Allowed Inside.

Some seniors who are good at hiding their skeletons in the closet would firmly say no to visitors. If their children wanted to see them, they prefer to meet up somewhere else. They don’t want others to know that they are hoarding tons of items and filling their house with it.

A Hoarding Disorder is A Huge Elephant in the Room

In most cases, a hoarding behavior can be a huge elephant in the room. We know the stuff is there, but no one is paying attention to it. The key here is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Failure to acknowledge the existence of a problem may end up with negative impacts to the senior’s mental health.

There are seniors who are slow in recognizing the hoarding problem. The disorganization tends to push seniors to lose the important items, while they keep the unimportant ones. In turn, serious problems tend to creep up.

The Dangers of Hoarding

Living with old stuff may attract mold and mildew which may cause several health problems. Clutter can also impact family relationships. Adult children may become anxious about the thought of having such a big mess as an inheritance.

A home extremely crammed with different items increase a senior’s risk for falls. In most cases, a hoarder’s home is always found to be fire and health hazard. If nothing is done to address the issue, hoarding can make healthy functioning impossible on a daily basis.

Factors That Trigger Hoarding Behavior in Seniors

Hoarding disorder is linked with alcohol dependence, schizotypal personality disorder and paranoia. Those who have pre-existing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder also face higher risk for hoarding.

Those who suffer from excessive physical discipline before the age of 16 are also more likely to develop hoarding behavior in adulthood.

Helping An Elderly with Hoarding Disorder

Help the senior acknowledge the issue.

The biggest obstacle in addressing the hoarding issue is admitting that there is a problem in the first place. When a person denies the hoarding problem, it will not make things disappear. The problem may only get worse. The key here is to be open, frank, and honest. As a caregiver or adult child, tell the senior person about the problem and solve the issue together. The senior may not be aware or he may deny the existence of a hoarding problem. Some seniors are also not aware about the potential dangers of hoarding old stuff.   The awareness can get the senior realize and help solve the problem in the process. It is best to plan out how to tell the senior about the problem.

Seek proper intervention.

The hoarding behavior may be a sign of mental illness. It is best to consult a therapist to see whether there is a problem. As an adult child of the senior, there should be a concern regarding the attitude and approach of the senior towards the hoarding issue. Hoarding stuff is not normal at any age. The senior may be having stress and anxiety issues that remain undetected. With proper intervention, one can put a lid on the senior’s hoarding habits.

You can also contact a hoarding intervention specialist.  These are people who have gained expertise in helping people with hoarding behaviors. They can help an elderly change his perception to his accumulated stuff. They do this so that seniors find joy and fulfillment not in the acquisition of material things. With the help of a hoarding specialist, seniors are able to overcome the underlying cause of their hoarding behavior. If the underlying cause or reason is not properly dealt with, the hoarding behavior will only be repeated. The result would be frustration and hopelessness, instead of regaining a normal life.

Use the right approach.

Hoarding is a sensitive matter. Approach is everything. It is not just a physical issue, but it may be a mental or behavioral issue as well. This is the reason why professional help must be sought. They can help address underlying problems and find a permanent solution to the problem.

Address the clutter.

The clutter should be addressed quickly. Otherwise, it may lead to several health hazards. There are communities that can help with the hoarding issues among seniors. A special hoarding cleaning company can help get rid of the stuff that accumulated over the years. There is a need to address the mess and to eliminate the stuff properly in the most sanitary way. Not all cleaning companies are able to clean out such kind of clutter. This is the reason one needs to talk to a special cleaning company about the situation. There could be cleaning companies that can also get rid not just of the clutter. They also have specialised equipment and chemicals that can remove pathogens accumulated over the years. It is best to hire a company that can provide total cleaning through effective and discreet service.

Hoarding situations can be cleaned out. It is something that can be addressed properly, with the proper guidance. Make sure the disposal is safe and sanitary. This way the problem will not become worse than it is.

Do some research.

Research is an essential piece of action for caregivers and adult children. As an adult child or caregiver, it helps to do some research on how to approach the problem. There are tons of studies online about senior hoarding. If a person develops a better understanding on the hoarding behavior, it will help him how to approach the problem.

Doing research will help caregivers and family members better understand the problem. Hoarding is a serious problem. The caregiver or the adult child should be aware about this. Researching about the problem may help in solving it without causing further stress to the senior. Addressing the problem with the right approach can go a long way towards resolving the issue sooner than expected.

Treatment for Seniors with Hoarding Behavior

Medications

More and more experts are now looking at Hoarding Disorder as a unique mental health disorder. To date, more research is being conducted to be able to find the best treatment for this condition. The use of medications have been proven effective in about two-thirds of people who have this condition. These are the same medications used for treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Two CBT techniques that were found to show promising results among seniors are Cognitive Rehabilitation and Exposure Therapy. These techniques help seniors power up their decision-making skills. Their ability to plan and solve problems are also improved using these techniques.  It is also through CBT that their unrealistic fears of tossing things out are being challenged.

Retirement is not just about traveling. It is also not just about watching TV at home while waiting for grandkids to visit. Instead, retirement can be a time to explore new things and that can include going back to school.

Retirement gives seniors the opportunity to pursue goals that were not feasible during their working years. After all, they don’t have to worry about task deadlines in the office. This is the best time to learn something new and experience opportunities that they may have been too busy to pursue in their younger years.

Benefits of Going Back to School for Seniors

This is why a lot of seniors are now considering the thought of going back to school once again. The stimulation of  intensive intellectual immersion is invigorating. Going back to school allows seniors to obtain benefits that their pre-retirement life did not provide. Others simply choose to study for the love of learning.

back to school seniors

To provide more opportunities for socialization.

Seniors will have the opportunity to enjoy events hosted by their chosen college and university. They can take part in sporting events or watch concerts for free. They can also have the chance to sit down in many conferences and conventions afforded to students. They can also have access to athletic facilities, libraries, etc. Things like being able to go to the campus coffee shop with a classmate can already be a wonderful experience for seniors.

To share their wisdom.

Some seniors enjoy the thought of being in a classroom with many younger students. Some professors also like their classrooms to have retirees as students. This is because seniors have knowledge that they can share with their younger students. The best thing about it is that much of the information that seniors can share is usually proven by time and experience. Besides, the presence of seniors inside the classroom adds vitality to it. They are never afraid to ask questions or share their funny experiences.

To enjoy a second career.

For many seniors, retirement is not just about saying goodbye to work days. It can also be about welcoming a new career. A Merrill Lynch study showed that an astonishing  72 percent of older adults aged 50 and older want to work after retirement. The study also showed that years before retirement, these older adults are already taking steps for post-retirement careers. Most of them also prefer to take a break from work for an average of two and a half years before starting a new career once again. And, to make them more capable of launching a new career, they decide to further their studies.

To continue earning.

Finishing a course will help increase a senior’s chances of getting hired. Their decades of experience already makes them a walking reservoir of wisdom. However, a second degree will prove to help become a more valuable candidate for the new career they’re hoping to get.

To gain more confidence.

Sometimes, along with aging aging comes a dwindling self-confidence. Some seniors have low confidence even if they are rich in experience. The presence of younger applicants trying to win the same job they want can be intimidating.  But, with a newly earned degree, their confidence and self-worth are improved. This makes them more prepared to venture into a new career despite their age. Success tends to bring more success.

To update one’s skills.

Since the economy is moving towards a forward direction, a senior’s skills must also follow suit. Many workers struggle to get promoted because their skills are already outdated. Once skills are updated, a senior is less likely to feel anxious that their dream second job will be lost to a younger applicant. Besides, there is no doubt that updating one’s skills is crucial to this ever fast changing world we live in. Learning advanced skills affords seniors more options and opportunities to keep pace with workplace changes.

To stave off signs of cognitive decline.

Education and occupation are two factors that greatly prevent cognitive decline among seniors. When the brain is constantly stimulated it is less likely to decline. In other words, you have to constantly use it so you don’t lose it. Keep in mind that new brain growth is still possible even when you are already in your senior years. A study showed that performing activities that keep the brain mentally engaged helped ward off cognitive impairment in people aged 70 and older. Working on a computer and joining activities that provide socializing opportunities are great examples.

Ways for Seniors to Save on School Costs

Luckily, there are many colleges and universities offering free education to seniors. This way, seniors don’t have to just sit on the sidelines. If earning your Masters or Ph.D. seemed to be too elusive during your working years, being retired will give you more chances to make it a reality. But, for seniors who do not want to strain their budget while they pursue their studies, check out the following tips:

Audit classes for free or minimum fee.

Audit classes are those that you can attend for no credit at all. It does not fulfill any degree requirements. In other words, you will just attend the class without the benefit of getting a grade. What you will gain from these classes would be self enrichment. Others do so for the purpose of academic exploration. In many colleges or universities, audit classes are offered on a space-available basis only. If you choose to enroll in it you have to seek approval from the instructor and from the dean. Some schools offer audit classes for free. Others will ask you to pay credit fees as if you are a regular student. So, if you are on a tight budget, it is best to look for a school that offers it for free. The best thing about taking audit classes  that you will have the chance to learn more without the pressure of submitting requirements and exams.

In Florida, free audit classes are offered to senior residents. One requirement would be they are residents of Florida for at least a year. Seniors may inquire about this at the University of Central Florida. Although full-time regular students are a priority, seniors can still be in these classes whenever there are extra seats.

Obtain senior citizen tuition-waiver.

There are colleges which offer retirees free courses. For example, in Massachusetts residents aged 60 and above may enroll in any undergraduate and graduate courses. In the University of Massachusetts, tuition fees are free but seniors may need to pay for other fees. In Kentucky, senior residents can enroll in any state-supported school without the need to pay for tuition fee. They can also have 50 percent discount on books and other school materials at the campus bookstores.

Be a member of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Members of the OLLI aged 50 years old and above can have access to different kinds of benefits. These benefits vary depending on the school where the senior choose to enroll. Some of these would include access to different OLLI courses and free access to libraries in all UC campuses. It also gives seniors the chance to join OLLI national and international trips.

Take online courses.

Seniors who prefer to be home-bodies once they’ve retired, may take courses online. This way, they won’t have to leave the house in order to take on more learning. EdX and Coursera are examples of online schools that offer specializations and other courses to all regardless of age. The lessons and learning materials are usually provided by professors from reputable universities.

Obstacles to Overcome in Pursuing Further Studies

Of course being in school as a senior is not all a bed of roses. You may also meet some obstacles and challenges. But, rest assured that none of these are insurmountable.

Fear of discrimination.

Some seniors find it intimidating to be in school and be surrounded with younger people. Many seniors have this first impression that their younger classmates don’t want to befriend them. If others make you feel like you don’t belong in that school or class, ignore them.

Problems meeting requirements

Some seniors are required to take up certain subjects or courses before they can qualify for the school’s basic entry requirements. Prerequisites are a part of the education process for all students. Often times prerequisites can be fulfilled at Community Colleges at a reduced cost.

Declining study skills

Some seniors who want to earn a diploma after retirement may struggle to overcome their study skills. They like their chosen course but it’s just that their study skills are no longer as efficient as it were in their younger years.

Lack of funds

Even if you are only auditing a class, it can still cost you some money. This is true especially of schools who still require seniors to pay tuition even if the senior will just be auditing the class. Besides, even if the tuition is free you still need to spend something for transportation. Not to mention the fact that a cup of joe in campus coffee shops are not for free.

As mentioned earlier, no obstacles are insurmountable. Below are some tips to help you overcome some obstacles when going back to school.

Tips for Seniors to Overcome the Challenges of Studying

Go for it no matter what.

If you are really determined about continuing your education in retirement then go for it. Never let anything get in the way of your dream of earning such degree. Remember that the rewards of studying go beyond what that diploma affords. It can make your life so colorful. It makes your retirement years so rewarding and fulfilling. When they ask you to take prerequisite classes, go for it. Remember that its benefits far outweigh all the difficulties that you may encounter. Talk to guidance staff and course professors to gain first-hand information about the course that you plan to take. This way, you will have a heads-up of what your chosen course entails.

Learn to cope.

Don’t get affected by 20 year olds looking at you as if you don’t have the right to be in the same school as them. Remember that you are there because the school is allows you to be there and likely your tax dollars have contributed to the success of that school.  You are there because you are qualified. So, ignore those stereotypes and never let it get in the way of your dream of earning that degree.

Work on your study skills again.

Remember that studying is a skill. This means that there are many ways to improve should you find yourself falling short of such skill. Explore the internet and discover ways to improve your study skills. Figure out the way you learn best. Record and re- listen to lectures, organize study groups, make flash cards and see your instructor during office hours. Almost all programs offer study labs where advanced students are available for free to help other students. Often students will do their homework in a lab where there is someone readily available to help if needed. Lastly, working with a hired tutor can give your study skills a boost.

Start saving for your school days.

While you are still waiting for scholarship or loan grant, start saving. Think about where you can cut corners in terms of your personal budget. Remember that coffee and sandwich time in the campus cafeteria could also mean added expenses. Do you have a stash of spare coins? Now may be the time to put them to use.

Make sure you’re heart is in it.

Choosing a course that is not within your field of interest may only make studying more difficult for you. Note that changes and adjustments may be a bit harder for you to do now that you are in your senior years. But, if you’re in it because it’s what your passion dictates, everything becomes so much easier. Remember that this time you are not just in it for monetary reasons. You are also there because you want your retirement years to be more meaningful.

Opt for online education instead.

Online education or distance education is a great option for seniors who do not have easy access to colleges and universities. This option is also suitable for seniors who have mobility issues.  Plus, seniors can work at their own pace and usually they can choose to take up their classes anytime they want. This is because many lessons are accessible 24/7 as long as there is access to internet. The best thing about online or distance education is that seniors have almost endless choices as courses are available from most universities.

Sarcopenia or loss of muscle mass not only affects the elderly, it can also deliver a major blow to public health costs. In the U.S. alone, the public health costs of sarcopenia reached $18.5 billion in the year 2000. This cost is also increasing since the elderly population also continues to grow.

Why Seniors Are Prone to Lose Muscle Mass

Many believe that muscle loss is a normal part of aging, but, some health experts argue that it should not be. There’s a saying, “Men do not stop playing because they grow old, but they’ve grown old because they stopped playing.” Put more simply, if you stop living an active life chances are your muscles will also stop growing. So, part of the reason why people lose muscle mass is that physical activity also tends to decrease as age increases. But, many experts argue that muscle loss in aging can be prevented through exercise.

Sarcopenia Muscle Loss

When Muscle Loss Accompanies Aging

Muscle loss is also medically referred to as sarcopenia. This refers to the process of losing muscle mass in the elderly and in people diagnosed with certain chronic diseases. After the age of 30, people start to lose as much as 3-5 percent of muscle mass. And, it will continue to decrease from then on. This means as people age, their bodies also continue to lose muscle mass every decade. Research reveals that sarcopenia speeds up when a person reaches the age of 75. Although in some people sarcopenia accelerates beginning at the age of 65. Others experience it in their 80s.

Muscle Loss NOT Only Occurs to Seniors

Muscle loss not only affects the elderly. It can also occur to people who have medical conditions that lead to any of the following:

  • A decrease in the number of nerve cells that play a role in brain signaling that triggers the muscles to function
  • Lowered levels of testosterone, insulin and growth hormones
  • Reduced ability of the body to convert protein into energy
  • Reduced caloric or protein intake

Muscle Loss Follows Nervous System Changes

Results from new research conducted revealed that muscle loss starts after changes occur in the person’s nervous system. When a person reaches the age of 75, the number of nerves responsible for leg control will reduce. The reduction of leg controlling nerves could be 30-50 percent. As a result, the muscle fibers will also start to disconnect from the nervous system. This will make the muscle fibers to become functionless resulting in wasting away.

For seniors with healthy muscles, the surviving nerves involved in leg control will start producing new branches. These newly developed nerve branches will be tasked to retrieve the detached muscle fibers. This protective mechanism is more likely to occur among seniors who have healthy, large muscles. If this protective system does not work effectively as it should be, those detached muscle fibers will not be retrieved. Thus, a condition called sarcopenia will start to take place. The sad thing about it is that sarcopenia is known to shorten life expectancy.

Factors that Speed up Muscle Loss

Immobility

Being sedentary or immobile for some reason increases risk for muscle loss. Not being able to move as much will cause the muscles to weaken. This will also speed up muscle loss. Having an injury and being diagnosed with an illness that make one immobile can also trigger faster muscle loss. Just two to three weeks of immobility can already reduce muscle strength and mass. But, reduced physical activity can trigger a vicious cycle of muscle mass loss and decreased strength. This results in feelings of fatigue which will also make it more difficult for one to become more active again. Add in other physical decline brought about by aging and the senior will surely suffer from muscle loss.

Poor diet choices

Diet that is lacking in protein and calories can lead to reduced muscle mass. Since elderly people often have reduced appetites they tend to lose muscle mass. This reduced caloric intake in an older person leads to pronounced protein and other nutrient deficiencies. Reasons for this loss of appetite may include dental and oral health problems. Difficulty swallowing and reduced ability to prepare one’s own food can also affect a senior’s appetite for food.

Illness

An illness causes inflammation which sends a message to the body to allow the breaking down and rebuilding of damaged cells to take place. However, if the illness becomes chronic the signals triggered by inflammation will be disrupted. This causes an imbalance of the breaking down and rebuilding process of damaged cells. The result would be muscle loss.

Research shows that those who are suffering from COPD also had decreased muscle mass. Other diseases that increase muscle loss are ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis. Severe burns, vasculitis and lupus can also result in muscle loss.

Severe Stress

Muscle loss is also prevalent in people who are suffering from diseases that increase stress. For example, seniors with chronic heart failure and chronic liver disease suffer from sarcopenia. The same is true with people who have chronic kidney disease. Cancer also places severe stress on a senior’s body which leads to sarcopenia.

How Sarcopenia Affects the Elderly

Reduced Walking Speed

Sarcopenia in the elderly may start to manifest as a decline in walking speed. This occurs as a result of the degeneration of muscles in the legs and buttocks. Difficulty in walking will also become apparent.

Frequent Muscle Fatigue

When the amount of muscle mass decreases, the remaining muscles will have to be the only ones which will bear the workload. Thus, the person becomes more likely to experience fatigue.

Reduced Muscle Strength

Grip strength can also be affected making it hard for seniors to do things like opening jar lids. This reduced muscle strength will also lead to decreased mobility. This  functional limitation becomes a vicious cycle…less strength leads to less use and less use results in less strength. In turn, the senior becomes less capable of performing some daily tasks. If left unabated, loss of muscle mass will increase a senior’s risk for falls and loss of mobility. It is also one of the major causes of frailty among older adults. As a consequence, the elderly becomes bedridden. Untreated sarcopenia can also increase the risk of death.

How to Prevent and Treat Muscle Loss

Although muscle mass really declines with age there are ways to prevent, lessen or even reverse it. Some of the best ways to make this possible are through the following:

Stick to your exercise regimen.

Exercise is the most powerful way to prevent muscle loss among seniors. This is also true even if muscle loss is not due to aging but a chronic illness. Exercise allows the muscles to improve its strength and aerobic capacity. It is also beneficial in improving protein synthesis and enzyme activity in the muscles. Besides, exercise is also known to decrease a senior’s frailty. Exercise must be done at least three times a week. Experts recommend an exercise regimen that combines endurance and resistance types. This can greatly help reduce the loss of skeletal muscle mass. Add in the improvement of muscle function.

Increase protein intake.

Protein plays a crucial role in muscle building and repair. Increased protein intake improves protein anabolism. An improvement in protein anabolism would mean that more amino acids will be converted into proteins. These proteins will then be used by the body for replacement and repair of damaged tissues. The recommended daily protein intake for older adults remains a subject of debate among experts. However, many agree that seniors need more than just 0.8 grams of protein per 2 pounds of body weight each day. This amount may not be enough for seniors who are suffering from a clinical condition. Therefore, the need to increase this amount is a must especially for sickly seniors. However, you should not increase protein intake without first consulting your dietitian or nutritionist. It is also important to choose high quality proteins.  

Study author Stuart Phillips from  McMaster University in Canada suggests that seniors focus more on foods that contain leucine. Leucine serves as an indispensable amino acid for developing proteins.  The role of leucine in stimulating muscle growth is so crucial. Without it, muscle growth will not occur and muscle loss will not be prevented. Some great sources of leucine include parmesan cheese, soybeans, beef, chicken and pork.

Up your intake of omega 3s.

Increasing consumption of omega 3s is one of the low-cost and safest ways to counter sarcopenia. This is because omega 3 fatty acids also play a role in muscle growth and repair. In a recent study, omega 3 supplementation helped slow down muscle mass decline in older adults. This is one of the findings by the experts from Washington University School of Medicine. Experts recommend that omega 3s must be part of the treatment plan for sarcopenia in older adults. Some of the best sources of omega 3s are Atlantic mackerel, salmon, walnuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds.

Avoid inflammation-inducing foods.

Make sure to get rid first of inflammation-causing foods before you decide to load up on anti-inflammatory foods. Examples of inflammatory foods are fried foods, meat from grain-fed animals and sugar. Foods with trans fat, corn syrup and additives can also induce inflammation in the body. Steer clear from processed and packaged foods because they usually contain high amount of inflammation causing substances.

Instead, eat more of green leafy veggies, fatty fish, fruits and nuts. Blueberries and apples are also excellent anti-inflammatory foods. These foods contain lots of polyphenols and antioxidants. These nutrients help reduce inflammation in the body.

Keep closer tabs on your alcohol intake.

Alcohol is a known risk factor for muscle loss. If you are in your senior years and still drinking frequently, now is the time to wean yourself off from it. Start eliminating your alcohol intake in a gradual manner. This is if you find it hard to stop it cold turkey. If you have been diagnosed with sarcopenia, be serious in ditching your alcohol habit. This is because alcohol inhibits the process of muscle repair. So, if you have sarcopenia, your muscles will have difficulty recovering from it if you continue to drink alcohol. Alcohol not only contributes to inflammation. It can also drain away the critical nutrients from your body thus making muscle recovery more difficult.

Ditch those cigarettes.

If you have the habit of smoking, start saying goodbye to it. Smoking has been linked to skeletal muscle dysfunction. Muscle growth is adversely affected by smoking. This is because smoking leads to poor blood flow to your muscles. And, poor blood flow translates to poor oxygen supply. Thus, your muscles will be deprived of oxygen making it less capable of growing and repairing.

Be checked for vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is important for muscle synthesis. It also helps fight inflammation so that muscle balance and strength are more achievable. However, as a person ages it may  become more difficult to get enough Vitamin D from sun exposure. Although you may also get it from dietary sources, there’s no guarantee you’ll get enough of it each day. This is why it is important to turn to vitamin D supplements. Always ask your doctor first before taking any supplements. This is a must especially if you are also taking other medications for your illness. Great food sources of vitamin D include: fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel. Other vitamin D-rich foods are egg yolks, cheese and beef liver.

Have your hormonal levels checked.

Getting your blood checked every year is important. This way, doctors will be able to determine your levels of growth hormones. Try to find out whether you have enough testosterone and DHEA levels in your blood. And, if found having low levels your doctor can then recommend ways to treat it. Making sure that your hormones are balanced is critical in preventing and treating muscle loss. Both men and women can benefit from added bioidentical testosterone.

Menopause can make women more likely to experience muscle loss. Hormone productions are affected during post-menopausal period. This is because menopause leads to lowered levels of estradiol and testosterone hormones. One reason for this is that hormone production in the ovaries is  reduced. Talk to your doctor to see if your body would benefit from adding bioidentical hormones.