Senior Nation: The Art of the Scam by Memo Diriker

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Imagine this scenario: It is early evening; dinner time. The phone rings and a very kind, soothing voice asks for Mrs. Smith, the 78 year old resident. The caller is from Medicare, informing Mrs. Smith of a reimbursement issue but not to worry, it is an easy fix. The caller gathers some basic information from Mrs. Smith and promises that everything will be fine within 24 hours. A financial fraud has just been committed.

Various scams targeting seniors have become shockingly prevalent because, in the words of a convicted scammer, “They (seniors) have a lot of money and a lot of trust.” Unfortunately, a significant number of these crimes are committed by the victim’s own family members.

Whether the culprits are strangers or relatives, these types of fraud frequently go unreported or can be difficult to prosecute. The victims lose a lot and frequently are unable to recoup their losses or recover from the consequences. The variety of scams and fraudulent schemes is surprisingly wide. Some of the more common ones are:

· Medicare/health insurance scams
· Counterfeit prescription drugs
· Funeral & cemetery scams
· Fraudulent anti-aging products
· A wide range of telemarketing/phone scams
· Fake charity scams
· Fake accident ploys
· Internet and email fraud (including phishing)
· Fake or sub-par investment schemes
· Homeowner/reverse mortgage scams
· Sweepstakes & lottery scams

So, how can seniors protect themselves against such crimes? The National Crime Prevention Council has the following tips:

· It’s shrewd, not rude to hang up on a suspicious telemarketer
· Don’t give personal information to people you don’t know unless you initiated the contact
· Don’t let yourself get pressured into a verbal agreement or signing a contract
· Be skeptical of online charitable solicitations and other online offers
· Always ask to receive information in the mail and check to be sure the company is legitimate
· Never agree to pay for products or services in advance
· Get estimates and ask for references on home repair offers and other products or services
· If you suspect fraud, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately

If you have already been victimized, don’t be ashamed. You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Keep handy the phone numbers of your bank, the local police, the nearest office of Adult Protective Services, etc.

Speak out so this kind of crime can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Dr. Memo Diriker is the Founding Director of the Business, Economic, and Community Outreach Network (BEACON). BEACON is the premier business and economic research and consulting unit of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University. BEACON is home to the award winning Community Visioning, ShoreTRENDS, GraySHORE, ShoreENERGY, GNAppWorks, and Bienvenidos a Delmarva initiatives and a proud partner of the GeoDASH initiative.

Some links to some additional resources:

https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes/seniors
http://www.ncpc.org/topics/crime-against-seniors
http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/income/elderwatch/report-fraud/
http://www.caregiverstress.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/1_Seniors_Fraud_Protection_Kit_US.pdf
http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/senior-fraud-prevention
https://www.agingcare.com/frauds-scams

Senior Nation: Beat the Nighttime Eating Habit

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Beat the Nighttime Eating Habit: Five Washington Post staffers reported, in a recent tabloid section, how they embarked on a 30-day diet by cutting back on their late nighttime eating habits.

They found that timing itself is a major issue. Our bodies metabolize foods differently at different times of the day. Eating more calories at night, as opposed to earlier in the day, is linked t obesity, increased inflammation and great risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The good news is that the Post staffers also found that the late night eating is a habit one has the power to change.

Here are some strategies they used to reset their eating patterns:

Eat Regular Meals: Not eating enough throughout the day sets the stage for nighttime binging. Give yourself a fighting chance for success after sundown by eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Also planning and even preparing them ahead helps so that you are not caught scrambling when you are busy. You don’t have to go with three square meals. It can be two or three meals and a couple of snacks or several small meals. The idea is to find a pattern that works for you and fits into your schedule.

Pick a Cutoff Time: Draw a line in the sand, picking a cutoff time to stop eating in the evening. About 8 or 9 p.m. seems to work for most people, but you can choose what works best for you. Ideally, it should be about three hours before your bedtime, giving enough time to digest your dinner, but not so long that you are likely to get hungry again before going to sleep.

Wait and Reevaluate: If you are craving food at night, instead of impulsively raiding the refrigerator take a 15-minute break. Check in with how you are feeling and ask yourself whether you are really hungry or whether, perhaps there is another way to find satisfaction. Perhaps a relaxing bath, brisk walk or a cup of tea might do the trick if it’s stress that is driving you to eat. In that 5-minute window, the craving might just pass, you might find yourself happily distracted by another activity or you might ultimately decide to eat something after all. Regardless, waiting a bit and reevaluating how you feel will allow for a mindful decision.

Planning an Evening Snack: If you tend to eat dinner early or your evening meal is on the light side and you regularly find yourself hungry at night, plan a small, healthy snack to eat between dinner and bedtime – some fruit and yogurt, a cup of soup or avocado toast, for example. The idea is to strategically snack to manage your hungry rather than let your appetite leave you vulnerable to random munching.

Set Some Ground Rules: It’s practically a national pastime – eating out of a bag or carton while sitting on the sofa watching TV — but it’s scene that creates a perfect storm for mindless overeating. To break that unhealthy habit, set some new ground rules. When you choose to eat something, any time of day but especially at night, put a portion into a bowl or onto a plate and put the rest away. Sit at a table away from the television and fully enjoy your food. When you are done, you can return to your regularly scheduled programming, better off than before.

Talbot Hospice Presents Caring for Individuals with Memory Disorders

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Constantine LyketsosOn March 8, 2017, Talbot Hospice will hold its 2nd annual community outreach event Caring for Individuals with Memory Disorders: State of the Art 2017. The featured speaker is Constantine G. Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S., Interim Director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and world renowned expert in Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The event is open to the public at no cost and will be held at the Easton High School auditorium beginning at 6 p.m. Providers will be available in the lobby for the first half hour to distribute materials and answers questions. The main presentation begins at 6:30, and afterwards a panel will field questions from the audience. Registration can be made online at TalbotHospice.org/events or by calling 410-822-6681. Presenting sponsors are Avon Dixon and Shore United Bank.

“A component of our mission at Talbot Hospice is education and outreach, and we are pleased to be able to bring Dr. Lyketsos’ to Talbot County,” said Executive Director Vivian Dodge. “We have chosen this topic because Alzheimer’s and the other dementias affect a vast portion of our aging population, and we believe that the information will be very helpful to both caregivers and providers in our community. Because of the present regulations governing hospice qualification, Talbot Hospice can only assist in the care of these patients when it has been determined that they have a less than six month life expectancy from whatever cause.”

Head 1An active clinician, teacher, and researcher on the Johns Hopkins faculty since 1993, Dr. Lyketsos’ primary areas of interest are neuropsychiatry and memory disorders. Many of his clinical and research interests are integrated in the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Center which he founded as a collaborative partnership between the departments of psychiatry, neurology, and geriatric medicine to offer patients comprehensive evaluation and innovative treatment for a range of conditions that affect cognition and memory, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, traumatic brain injury, and brain vascular disease. Dr. Lyketsos has carried out pioneering work on the epidemiology and treatment of neuropsychiatric features of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. His interest in traumatic brain injury has led him to leadership roles in military and veteran’s health and collaborations with the NFL Players Association.

Dr. Lyketsos has authored or co-authored over 350 scientific articles, chapters, commentaries, as well as five books. He is the recipient of the 2016 Jack Weinberg Award in Geriatric Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association, the 2012 Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the 2006 William S. Proxmire Award for “extraordinary leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s” from the Copper Ridge Institute. Castle-Connolly has named Dr. Lyketsos as one of America’s Top Doctors every year since 2001.

A native of Athens, Greece, Dr. Lyketsos graduated from Northwestern University and Washington University Medical School in St. Louis (1988). He completed residency and chief residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins (1988-92), followed by a fellowship in clinical epidemiology.

Senior Nation: The Art of Falling with Kim Huff

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If one had to summarize Heron Point of Chestertown fitness director Kim Hoff’s philosophy regarding those of a certain age falling, it might very well be “Enjoy the ride.” And given Kim’s training and self-confessed addiction to physical fitness research, that should be taken as sound advice.

In turns out that a good bit of Kim’s work with her clients relates focuses on actually preventing falling, including balancing and strength training, but when it does happen – and it does – she wants people to be prepared since the consequences of not falling the right way be catastrophic for older adults.

The Spy spoke to Kim last week about her approach to physical fitness as one move beyond the age of 60.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Heron Point please go here.

Senior Nation Moments: Broken Bones by Bernie Starken

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Today while having lunch with Peara, we were discussing his fractured foot. He says,“You have had firsthand knowledge with broken bones, you should write an article for the Heron’s Beak.” Here goes.

I have broken sixteen bones in my 82 years of living. The first seven breaks happened when I was a senior in high school in 1951. While my boyfriend and I were dating, he would pick me up in his red convertible. On this bright November Sunday afternoon, we were going to go road hunting for pheasants. As we were driving on the country roads, the noise of the car and the gravel would startle the pheasants hiding in the tall grasses. The convertible was traveling about 10 miles an hour as we watched the ditches. Just as we crossed into an intersection, a car came over the rise traveling very fast. As I spoke to tell my friend “to speed up, there is a car coming on our right,” he looked to the left and the incoming car T-boned the convertible, leaving an impression of his headlight on our front fender and the second head-light on the passenger door where I was sitting.

The convertible flew in the air and landed upside down in the ditch across the road. As the car turned over in the air, my friend fell out the driver’s door, landed in the field, and had a minor cut on his head. I was trapped under the dash-board in an upside-down convertible which was dripping battery acid.

In 1951, there were no emergency services or cell phones. A farm house sat on the corner of the intersection, and they alerted the hospital. Help came in the form of a hearse as that was the only type of automobile that could carry a person in a lying position. I was placed on the platform where the caskets were transported. I recall as we traveled to the hospital, the swaying tassels that hung over the windows.

I spent seven weeks in the hospital healing the fractured skull, the imbedded glass in my face, floating bone chips in my neck, broken clavicle and the four fractures in my pelvis. Due to my youth and a good physician, I healed rapidly. In January 1952, I rejoined my senior class and in 1953 married the boyfriend.

Bernie Starken is a resident of Heron Point in Chestertown

HomePorts Reviews Annual Accomplishments

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HomePorts, Inc. held its annual meeting on February 7, with a presentation by Jane E. Hukill, President, summarizing the work during 2016. HomePorts is a membership organization helping older adults to continue living safely and comfortably in their own homes.

According to Hukill, there are now a total of 100 members, nine of whose membership fees are covered by a financial assistance program. Local transportation is the most requested service, with members offered five rides per months from volunteers. Over the past two years there has been a huge increase in requests and in the number of volunteer time donated. In 2016 members made 785 requests, with volunteers providing over 1200 hours of service.

Board 2017

HomePorts 2017 Board members are front row: Courtney Sjostrom, vice-president; Katie Davis, RN; Nancy Cowdrey; Back row: Joe Harding; Bill Cameron, Treasurer; Wayne Benjamin, MD; and Jane E. Hukill, President. Not shown: Jane Heckles, Secretary; Jean Austin; Kristie Hartman; Trish Focht, RN; Jon Hanley; and John Leek.

HomePorts maintains a list of 66 approved providers of paid services (i.e., vendors) in 34 categories of service, including interior and exterior home maintenance, computer trouble-shooting, out-of-town transportation, and pet care. The most common needs are non-medical home care, house cleaning, paid transportation, and handy persons.

Additionally, HomePorts encourages participation in social, educational, and cultural activities and expects to expand education programs that are open and free to the public. It also plans to hold a Health Fair again at the Kent County High School, on October 19, 2017, with extensive exhibits, health screenings, and expert talks.

Other plans for 2017 include working more with local agencies and organizations, increasing the membership, and recruiting more volunteers.

Those eligible for membership include anyone over 55 living in the greater Kent County area. HomePorts is modeled after similar organizations operating successfully in other regions of the country.  Founding members spent two years studying other such “villages”, which are springing up rapidly in many communities and are cited by experts as the wave of the future.  The first one in Boston, known as Beacon Hill Village, has been in operation for over ten years. There are now over twenty in Maryland, with HomePorts being the first on the Eastern Shore.

“If you have a friend or neighbor who could benefit from our services, I encourage you to call me,” says Executive Director Karen Wright. “Or if you don’t need any help now but want to get involved, we have opportunities for one-time projects and a real need for drivers to take members to local medical appointments.”

Information about membership or volunteering is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling 443-480-0940 or go to www.homeports.org. The e-mail address is karen@homeports.org.

Senior Nation Fitness: Time to Take Care of Your Heart

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February isScreen Shot 2017-02-14 at 8.12.13 AMand a great time to take care of your heart. The heart beats approximately 100,000 times a day to pump blood through the 60,000 miles of blood vessels. Just like other parts of the body the cardiovascular system is made stronger and more efficient with healthy behaviors like exercise and healthy eating and is negatively affected by unhealthy lifestyle choices like a sedentary lifestyle, smoking and poor eating habits. Just like the rest of the body the cardiovascular system experiences age related changes resulting in less efficient blood flow and greater risk of cardiovascular disease. The National Institute on Aging reported that 40% of all deaths in people between 65 and 74 are related to heart disease and 60% of deaths in people over 85 are related to heart disease

Although age related changes account for some of the risk of heart disease, lifestyle also plays an important role. The World Health Organization says that modifiable risk factors such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and smoking account for 80% of diagnosed cardiovascular disease. Other risk factors that can be modified by lifestyle choices include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and obesity.

The good news is that cardiovascular disease can be prevented and existing cardiovascular disease can be managed by participating in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and healthy diet, avoiding smoking, and lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Exercise has been proven to play a vital role in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend that all people participate in 150 min of moderate intensity physical activity a week, to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. This would include activities that increase heart rate and blood flow such as walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike. ACSM also recommends that anyone not accustomed to regular exercise or experiencing symptoms that might be related to cardiovascular disease (dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain) consult a medical professional prior to beginning an exercise program.

Kimberly Huff, MS, CSCS
Fitness Director
Heron Point of Chestertown

Inside the Sandwich: A Glimpse Inside Aging by Amelia Blades Steward

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A few weeks ago, I underwent cataract surgery – not something common for 57-year olds. The success of the surgery, however, far outweighed the injury to my pride in having a surgery more common in 80-year olds. I can now see and that’s amazing!

This experience really gave me insight into the aging process and some of the assumptions we all make about people based on their age, their disabilities, their experiences, and even the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Finding myself in the operating room among the 11 other patients having cataract surgery that day, I found some people approached me, as they do most elderly people, with a raised voice. I didn’t realize that cataracts affected my hearing too! Although my vision was less than 20/20, my hearing hadn’t deteriorated. My husband chuckled as people spoke to me with raised voices as they did to most of the other patients in the surgical bay.

As I reflected after the surgery on my experience, I began to think that when we meet people in life, maybe we need to make fewer assumptions about each another overall. We could actually ask questions like “Can you hear me well enough?” “Can you see what I am giving you?” “Do you need help getting up or down?” “Do you understand what I am telling you?” Simple questions such as these could help us all better navigate the unexpected places in which we find ourselves interacting with people who we do not know.

My mother always says to me that mentally she feels 18, even though her body is changing every day. I got a glimpse into this as I faced some of my own limitations this week. I look in the mirror and don’t see the 18-year old any more.

There are more wrinkles, more aging spots, and darker circles than were there when I was 18 years old. I am bewildered – how did I get here? Where did the years go?

I still have the surgery in the other eye to look forward to. The humor of all this was when my twenty-somethings got wind of the cataract surgery, they couldn’t wait for the picture of me with the large dark sunglasses they give cataract patients, so they could get a chuckle. The glasses reminded me of the Atom Ant cartoon I watched in the 1960s. Honestly, couldn’t we get more fashionable glasses so our kids don’t put our photos on Facebook for the whole world to see? I certainly hope by my next surgery they will have figured that one out!

Compass Regional Hospice Hosts Free Screening of “Being Mortal”

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Compass Regional Hospice will host a free, community screening of the documentary “Being Mortal” on Thursday, February 23, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College, 1000 College Circle in Wye Mills. After the screening, audience members can participate in a guided conversation led by Sharon Loving, Supervisor of Support Services, Compass Regional Hospice, on how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences. Following the guided conversation there will be light refreshments and a time of fellowship.

“Being Mortal” delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness. The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors. It follows a surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande, as he shares stories from the people and families he encounters. When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest. The film sheds light on how a medical system focused on a cure often leaves out the sensitive conversations that need to happen so a patient’s true wishes can be known and honored at the end.

“Being Mortal” underscores the importance of people planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of-life decisions.

Seventy percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but nearly 70 percent die in hospitals and institutions. Ninety percent of Americans know they should have conversations about end-of-life care, yet only 30 percent have done so.

In February 2015, “Being Mortal” aired nationally on the PBS program “Frontline.” For more information about the film, visit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/being-mortal/. The film is adapted from Dr. Gawande’s 2014 nationally best-selling book of the same name. More information about the book is at http://atulgawande.com/book/being-mortal/.

The free screening is made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.

For more information and to RSVP to the free screening of “Being Mortal,” contact Allison Wood, awood@compassregionalhospice. org, 443-262-4117.