at risk for alzheimersFew things are more terrifying than the idea of your own mind betraying you, but that’s essentially what happens to those who develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It would be less terrifying if we had an effective treatment to cure (or even prevent) Alzheimer’s disease, but at the moment, no such treatment exists.

Even so, many people still want to know if they might be at risk for developing Alzheimer’s. As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and if you know what to expect, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself, even if it’s just getting your affairs in order and making sure you have a good power of attorney you know will represent your interests if the worst were to happen. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease:

Age

Although early onset Alzheimer’s provides some exceptions to the rule, Alzheimer’s and dementia primarily affect people over the age of 65, and their risk of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after they turn 65. By the time people reach their 80s, they have a one in six chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

Gender

Although no one knows why as of yet, we do know that women over the age of 65 are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as men. Part of it might have to do with the loss of estrogen women experience after going through menopause.

Family History/Genetics

Although we know that someone is more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease if someone in their family has or had Alzheimer’s, only early onset Alzheimer’s has been definitively identified as something that gets passed down from one generation to the next.

There are more than 20 genes that have been identified as playing a role in increasing or decreasing someone’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life and researchers are still working out which genes play what role in the development or prevention of Alzheimer’s. Nothing is inevitable – not even Alzheimer’s disease – so if you know you have some of the genes that put you at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s, you’ll want to take extra care to maintain as healthy a lifestyle as possible to try to reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s later in life.

Lifestyle

People who maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially in their middle ages and older, are somewhat less likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to those who don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, and moderating their alcohol consumption. It also means staying mentally and socially active.

Health Conditions

If you have certain medical conditions, you might be at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s. The riskiest conditions include diabetes, stroke and heart disease, high blood pressure, as well as high cholesterol and obesity, especially later in life.

If you have any other questions about dementia and/or Alzheimer’s, whether it’s regarding your own risk factors, or a loved one who is already exhibiting symptoms of mental decay, we’re here to help.

celebrate summerSummer is officially here, but as our older loved ones age, they lose the ability to do a lot of the things that mark a traditional summer vacation, such as camping, hiking, swimming at the beach, and volleyball tournaments. Now this pandemic has even taken away our barbeque parties and large family gatherings. What’s a senior to do?

Just because we’re stuck inside and a few of our loved ones may have started to lose some of their physical and/or mental capabilities doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun this summer. We have a few ideas you can use to celebrate summer with your loved ones in assisted living.

  • Geography Competition

Can you name all 50 states without looking them up? Can you accurately locate all 50 states on a blank map? Do you know where Mount Rushmore is located? Compare your knowledge to that of your friends and family and you might be surprised to find out how much you don’t know about your own country.

  • Got Kids? Send Pix!

Few things engage seniors like pictures of the grandkids, so send them pictures early and often, especially if your kids are at an age where they’re growing quickly. Keep the grandparents up to date with recent photos, as well as letters detailing the kids’ development and what they’ve been up to these days.

  • Send Hand-Written Letters

Phone calls are great, but there’s something about a hand-written letter that just makes someone feel extra special. You can write about whatever you would normally tell them over the phone: give them updates on what you’ve been doing; tell them funny stories; reminisce over old times, etc. The fact that they can keep a letter and read it over and over whenever they feel bored or lonely makes it priceless.

  • Crafts

Even while social distancing, we can still bond over the age-old custom of crafting. You can buy a paint-by-numbers kit (or freestyle a painting, if your talents lie that way) and send it to your loved one to hang in their apartment. You can make them jewelry that they can wear to feel special and remember you, even when you can’t be in the room with them.

They can also make their own crafts and send them to you. Swapping crafts might not be the same as making crafts together, but it’s still a great way for each of us to remind the other that we’re thinking of them.

  • Decorate!

Depending on what stage of reopening your state is in, you may or may not be able to go in and physically visit your loved one in assisted living, but you can always make decorations they can hang in their apartment or outside their window. You can make your handmade decorations around a theme, such as your loved one’s favorite movies, songs, or summer activities to make it extra fun!

If you’re looking for more ideas on how you can celebrate summer with your loved ones in assisted living, we have plenty of ideas. Reach out now to start a conversation.


senior scamsIt’s an unfortunate fact that seniors are prime targets for scammers. They are perceived as being more trusting and many of them have acquired savings and valuable assets to help get them through retirement. The combination is too tempting for many scammers to resist. Below are the five most common scams targeting seniors and how you can avoid them.

Congratulations! You’re a Winner!

Everyone likes to win. With all the stories of big lottery winners taking home millions of dollars, it’s exciting to think about what we would do if we won a lottery or giveaway of some type. Scammers take advantage of this by contacting unsuspecting targets and telling them they’ve won some sort of sweepstakes, but with a catch: the target has to pay to cover the taxes and fees before they can get their prize.

Winners never pay in order to receive their prize. That would defeat the purpose. Legitimate sweepstakes and lotteries have other forms of income to pay their bills, such as the tickets purchased by everyone who enters the lottery. Any time someone tells you that you have to pay to get a prize, hang up and report the incident to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) right away.

An Exciting Investment Opportunity

Because many seniors are more concerned than ever about saving/investing for retirement, they are prime targets for investment fraud. Scammers will often call the target claiming they have a great investment opportunity for them with little-to-no risk and big returns.

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always consult a reliable, trustworthy financial analyst before making any big investments.

You Haven’t Paid Your Taxes

This scam has been targeting all age groups – not just seniors. Someone calls pretending to be from the IRS, saying the target has not paid their taxes, and if they don’t pay immediately, they’ll face serious consequences, such as a revoked drivers’ license or arrest.

The IRS does not call or email citizens. They use the postal service, and they should never be pushy or aggressive, which scam callers usually are to intimidate their targets into paying up. If you get a call or email claiming to be from the IRS and threatening you for not paying your taxes, feel free to hang up or delete the email, because it’s not legitimate.

I Need You to Bail Me Out

Another common scam is when the conperson calls pretending to be a relative who has been arrested abroad and needs to have money wired to them to bail them out.

In reality, that relative may never have been to that country at all. Be sure to contact other family members to confirm that person is really there and that the situation is legitimate. No one wants to leave a family member hanging in their hour of need, but you should never wire money anywhere without first confirming the person is who they say they are.

We Can Fix Those Windows For You

Some scammers show up on your doorstep offering home repair services you don’t need … or didn’t think you needed. These scammers get their targets to pay upfront for work that will be done at a later date. In reality, the work is poorly done or never done at all.

Never pay for services before you’ve received them. Most licensed contractors don’t go door-to-door soliciting work, but if you’re not sure, you can always ask for their business card and do your own research later.