What Older Adults Can Do To Protect Their Financial Security

We all know how important it is to plan ahead. As consumers, it’s important to know the risks that are out there, so we can safeguard our loved ones against possible threats. Whether you’re taking care of an aging parent or are an older adult, yourself, we’ve compiled some tips on What Older Adults Can Do To Protect Their Financial Security.

older man looking at his finances on his phone

Protect Yourself Online

Protect yourself and loved ones from financial exploits by knowing the signs of fraud and how to take action against becoming a target. AARP claims that about 80% of telemarketing victims are over the age of 50. Here are a couple ways older adults can protect themselves online:

  • Consult with a trusted family member or caregiver on the legitimacy of an email or other form of communication that is requesting your information. Do not give away sensitive information, unless it’s a trusted source.
  • Consider using an ad-blocker to avoid being the victim of malicious advertising. We recommend using Adblock Plus, which is free and does not sell personal data to third parties.

Know the Common Types of Scams

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) tells us the most popular scams targeting seniors. In general, be on the lookout for:

  • Medicare/health insurance scams
  • Counterfeit prescription drugs
  • Funeral/cemetery scams
  • Fake or harmful anti-aging products
  • Telemarketer scams
  • Internet phishing
  • Pyramid schemes/investment scams
  • Mortgage scams
  • Lottery/contest scams
  • Family member impersonators

If You See It, Report It!

Report potential scams! More than 80% of online scams go unreported. By reporting potential fraudulent activity, you aren’t only protecting yourself but also others from becoming victims. Here is a list of places to report fraud:

The Heart of Caregiving – Survival of the Adaptable

Each member of Sound Generations’ Caregiver Support Program is or has been a caregiver to an older adult or adult child, creating a valuable shared experience among Advocates and those who seek their assistance. In this ongoing series—The Heart of Caregiving—our staff, volunteers and others share their personal caregiving stories and the insights learned along the way.

Survival of the Adaptable by Daria Sawochka

It seems life is always wanting us to grow.  Whether we are ready or not, does not matter.  I’ve observed this with several older relatives of mine as I witnessed their later years unfold.

I used to think, at some point in a good long life, there will be an opportunity to coast, to rest and take it easy.  Like riding a bike, you pedal hard to get up the hill, but then comes the thrill of coasting down in that wonderfully effortless way.  Sure, there are moments of coasting in one’s life, but there is truly far more pedaling than I ever imagined.

And so it is with aging. Take the person who has lived in one place for 40 or 50 years, only to come to the day when they can no longer stay there safely and need to consider other options.  Sometimes people move to be closer to family and friends.  Sometimes they move to a place that offers much needed services for the things that don’t come as easy as they used to. Finances can also dictate a needed move.

And so, at any age, we begin again. We adapt.

I am watching my Mom begin again.  After over 80 years of living with her parents and siblings, then husband and kids, she is now living in an assisted living facility.  The transition has its challenges. Feeling lonesome and lost at times, Mom wasn’t so convinced about her new home. We asked her to try. We needed her to try.

Some three weeks in, I am seeing a settling in.  A new routine is forming. New relationships are developing. 

I needed the help.  I was not thriving near the end of Mom living with me. I couldn’t keep up with her ever growing care needs and had many sleepless nights, feeling like a failure as a daughter.  You know that self-talk, “if I only could or was better.”

I am still her caregiver.  I visit several times each week.  I oversee her care, follow up with medical appointments when needed.  I too, am getting to know new people and the many staff whose eyes sparkle when they say hello. After all, their shift has just started or is just about to end.

Nothing’s perfect.  I’m not even sure if I believe in perfect anymore. I think I am embracing, “just enough.” For now, at least. But I can say that this is working.  Mom has more social time with many different and kind hearted people than she had with me.

And I get to be a daughter again.  I get to visit Mom and just be with her.  Oh sure, I am always scanning her new apartment for garbage that needs emptying, or dishes that need a quick wash and the ever present tidying up.  But it feels so very different to me now.  I have help.  I have a team of people helping to ensure Mom has quality to her life in the form of new faces who haven’t listened to her stories as often as I have or care about their inaccuracies.  Or someone else to offer their curiosity to her history or to how she came to be the woman she now is.

And I wonder, was it me all along who wasn’t ready for this change?  Was it me who resisted adapting because where would that leave me?  Would I still be needed?  Would I still matter? And what would I do with my one wild and precious life that was no longer on the back burner?

I just may be adapting too.

The Heart of Caregiving: Transitions

Each member of Sound Generations’ Caregiver Support Program is or has been a caregiver to an older adult or adult child, creating a valuable shared experience among Advocates and those who seek their assistance. In this ongoing series—The Heart of Caregiving—our staff, volunteers and others share their personal caregiving stories and the insights learned along the way.

The following story comes from staff member Daria Sawochka.

Caregiving seems to have a naturally blurring effect on the one providing the care, eroding the often flimsy boundaries that barely exist between caregiver and their charge. It can be so challenging to know where you end and the other person begins, among the myriad of endeavors that fill the life and heart of a caregiver to overflowing. I have often wondered, is it even possible to have a healthy sense of oneself while caring for another?  Or is it something that must be learned and relearned, again and again? Revealed? Then lost. Uncovered by the journey itself?

Here are some of the truths caregiving has revealed to me:

Caregivers tend to be “other” focused, tuned into the care receiver, ever anticipating the needs of others as early as we can, in our attempts to avert a crisis, or relieve suffering, pain or the loneliness of loss. We try to keep things from becoming even more out of control than they already are. In this process, I have realized one can completely lose oneself, like a glacier that slowly begins melting, then tumbles into the sea, becoming the sea itself. For me, this happened quietly and without fanfare, barely noticeable to the naked eye.

Until a certain day came when I looked around and realized, I was gone.  I was nowhere to be found, lost.  Nothing around me looked familiar anymore. When I lose something, the first thing I do is backtrack, retrace my steps in hopes of finding what was lost. I began to ask myself:  When did this happen?  When did I first notice the absence of me? I began to wonder:  Had this happened so slowly as to go unnoticed?  Or, was it something else?

Was it in the name of duty, of devotion, of love, that I willfully let go of me?  And if so, was this a price I was willing to pay? Perhaps.

Then an overwhelming emptiness came over me, much like waking up in a vacant warehouse, filled only with cobwebs and echoes of what once was. As a caregiver, I began to feel the price I had been paying.

I began to admit to myself, for the first time, this was unsustainable, unacceptable, and could not continue.  I began to ask myself:  When did I stop thriving and began to believe surviving was enough?

Very slowly and tearfully I began to realize:  The devotion is still there. The great love and caring is still there, now transformed into a new shape, a new form.  A great longing to be a daughter rose again.  I no longer wanted to solely live as a caregiver.

There was a time when I didn’t even know this was a choice, when I gladly took on Mom’s life and I folded up my own, placed it in a box and stuffed it on the top shelf in the back of my closet “for later use,” I told myself. Now it feels different to me.  I am learning to sit with two things at the same time – I love my Mom so much AND I need help with meeting her everyday needs.  One does not cancel out the other.  Both reside in my heart.

I am grateful for the help and support I receive in my life.  I certainly could not be on this journey alone.  Whether support comes from friends, family or coworkers –  or from the fabulous supportive services available in my community; I welcome them all and have come to realize they are as vital as clean air.  And my hope is that all caregivers reach out and find the priceless resources offered in their neighborhoods.

Federal Way, Give Rides to Change Lives! Help a Senior Near You!

Program: Volunteer Transportation
Location: Federal Way
Duration: Ongoing
Group or Individual: Individual
Kid Friendly: Yes
Summary:  Change lives by giving rides! Drive seniors to and from their important medical appointments.

Contact: 206-748-7588 or dianas@soundgenerations.org. Apply Now

Description: Help older adults get to their important and life-sustaining medical appointments. Using your own vehicle, you would drive seniors to their appointments, wait for them, and return them home, providing friendly companionship for the round trip. This flexible opportunity allows you to choose which days, times, frequency, and areas you wish to serve. You may also change your availability weekly. Our program staff will happily work to accommodate your schedule. Take a turn in the right direction, become a volunteer driver today!

Requirements: Volunteers must have a valid Washington State driver’s license and auto insurance, a reliable vehicle, no moving violations in the past two years, ability to pass a criminal background check, and some weekday availability.

Are you registered? Don’t Miss our Inspire Positive Aging Awards (IPAA) Luncheon on June 26th!

Only 9 Days Left Until Our Luncheon celebration! Online registration is now closed, however you can still purchase tickets until noon on Wednesday, June 19 by calling 206.727.6267. There will be an opportunity to win a raffle prize of two domestic, round-trip airline tickets on Alaska Airlines!

We hope to see you there!

Visit inspire-award.org for the latest information, FAQs, and more.
Can’t attend? Please consider making a gift in lieu donation
This event is sponsored by Microsoft, Premera, Azose Commercial Properties, Swedish, Aegis, Biella Foundation, and Alaska Airlines.

GiveBIG Thanks & Celebrating Older American’s Month

Help Us Set Pace for the Best Year Yet!

THANK YOU!  We sincerely appreciate the generosity of our GiveBIG donors who gave from their hearts last Wednesday and raised $27,829 for aging adults and adults with disabilities in King County!

DONATE NOW FOR OLDER AMERICAN’S MONTH!

These donors allow our organization to ensure older adults have access to essential basic services so that they can lead their best lives. They say it takes a village and we are deeply honored to those who were motivated to GiveBIG.

There’s still time to donate if you did not have an opportunity to give on May 8th. We are excited to announce an expanded giving drive in honor of Older Americans’ Month for the ENTIRE MONTH of May! Nearly 60,000 aging adults and their caregivers that we support are counting on us and we cannot do this alone.

DONATE NOW FOR OLDER AMERICAN’S MONTH!

It’s GiveBIG day!

NOW is your chance to change a life. Every dollar counts, no matter how big or small. THEY ARE MATURE, RESILIENT, AND WISE BEYOND THEIR YEARS. Yet many are isolated, outliving their friends, and without family. Don’t let this continue to be the reality for aging adults in King County.

Join your peers today and make a donation to help older adults have access to the food security, transportation, health and wellness, and assistance services they need to feel safe, healthy, respected and included in a caring community that affirms aging. Make a gift now at givebig2019.org/soundgen.

If you or someone you know would like more information about our other programs, please visit www.soundgenerations.org or check out the pages below:

Community Dining
Caregiver Support
Health & Wellness
Hyde Shuttle
Meals on Wheels + Mobile Market
Minor Home Repair
Pathways Information & Assistance
Senior Rights Assistance
Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisors (SHIBA)Volunteer Transportation