The Residence of Chardon Has Adopted the Stronger Seniors Program! October 4, 2019 11:34
Hats off to Carolyn L. at The Residence of Chardon, a senior community in Chardon, Ohio. They adopted the Stronger Seniors program this summer. Chair
Exercise Programs for Seniors
12 Top Things to Know About Social Security September 26, 2019 10:29
1. Social Security is not going bankrupt
At the moment, you could say the opposite; the Social Security trust funds are near an all-time high. “The program really is in good shape right now,” says David Certner, AARP’s legislative policy director. “But we know it has a long-term financial challenge.” Here’s why: For decades, Social Security collected more money than it paid out in benefits. The surplus money collected from payroll taxes each year got invested in Treasury securities; today, the trust fund reserves are worth about $2.89 trillion. But as the birth rate has fallen and more boomers retire, the ratio of workers to Social Security recipients is changing. This year is a tipping point: The program will need to dip into its reserves to pay full benefits from this point forward, absent any change to the program. It’s now forecast that the trust fund reserves could be exhausted in 2034. Even if that happens, Social Security won’t be bankrupt. The program will continue to pay benefits, but at a rate of 79 percent of what recipients expected to receive. But if the goal is to keep benefits at their current levels, the sooner funding issues are addressed, the better. The reason is simple: The earlier you make needed adjustments, the less dramatic they need to be. “The longer we wait to fix Social Security funding, the more the cost will be paid by the younger generations, either on the tax side or the benefits side,” says Kathleen Romig, a Social Security analyst at the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
2. Congress probably will not take up Social Security reform anytime soon
Several members of Congress have proposed legislation to address the program’s long-term funding issues. But given the deep political divides on Capitol Hill, it’s unlikely that Congress will make any effort to reform Social Security until there’s the possibility of bipartisan support. “Because Social Security is so important, we need to be really thoughtful and deliberate about how to make change,” Romig says. “And we want a bipartisan consensus because we want the change to last.” There are concerns that the tax-cut legislation passed in late 2017 could lead some lawmakers to look for places where they might cut spending. “The stage has been set by the tax bill to take another run at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” says Max Richtman, CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Control of Congress after this year’s elections will play a key role in how Social Security’s funding is addressed.
3. Some ideas to reform funding are starting to take shape
One proposal is to either raise or eliminate the wage cap on how much income is subject to the Social Security payroll tax. In 2019, that cap will be $132,900, which means that any amount a worker earns beyond that is not taxed. Remove that cap, and higher-income earners would contribute far more to the system. Other options lawmakers might consider include either raising the percentage rate of the payroll tax or raising the age for full retirement benefits.
4. Lawmakers do not raid the trust fund
Another common myth about Social Security is that Congress and the president use trust fund assets to pay for other federal expenses, such as education, defense or economic programs. That’s not accurate. The money remaining after the Social Security Administration (SSA) has paid benefits and other expenses is invested directly into U.S. Treasury securities. The government can use the money from those securities, but it has to pay the money back with interest. Congress does get to determine each year how much the SSA spends on administrative costs, which includes staffing at field offices and call centers. In the most recent fiscal year, the SSA got an increase of $480 million, which raised the agency’s administrative budget to more than $12 billion.
5. Many believe it can be run better
As you would expect, the SSA is a big operation, with more than 60,000 employees and 1,200 field offices nationwide. With the rapid increase in the number of retirees, the agency has struggled to keep up. “There aren’t enough resources to take care of all the people now, and another 10,000 people turn 65 every day,” Richtman says. A recent audit showed that average wait times at field offices increased 32 percent between fiscal years 2010 and 2017, for example. During that same period, the number of visitors who had to wait over an hour to be seen at a field office nearly doubled.
6. Your Social Security benefits can be taxed
If you have other income in addition to Social Security, you might have to pay federal taxes on your benefits. Single filers whose combined annual income exceeds $34,000 might pay income tax on up to 85 percent of their Social Security benefits; couples filing jointly may pay tax on up to 85 percent if their combined income tops $44,000. And 13 states tax Social Security benefits depending upon differing variables: Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
7. Social Security is not meant to be a retiree's sole source of income
The SSA says if you have average earnings, the program’s retirement benefits will replace only about 40 percent of your preretirement wages. Nevertheless, 26 percent of those 65 and over who receive a monthly Social Security benefit today live with families that depend on it for almost all of their retirement income. And 50 percent of them say their families depend on Social Security for at least half of their income.
8. The purchasing power of social security is diminishing
Every year, the SSA issues a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which is an annual adjustment that beneficiaries receive to help their monthly checks keep up with inflation. However, the formula used to calculate the COLA does not fully account for the medical costs of an average older American. These costs have been increasing faster than other goods and services. An average American 55 and older spends about 27 percent more annually on health care than the overall population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
9. You can work and get Social Security
But beware The agency will withhold some of your benefit if you are younger than full retirement age and your earned wages exceed a certain limit. In 2019, the threshold on your earnings will be $17,640. Make more than that, and the government will temporarily withhold $1 from your benefit for every $2 earned over the cap. You will receive this money eventually, in the form of higher benefits once you hit your full retirement age. If you wait until full retirement age to start drawing Social Security, you can work as much as you like and your benefits won’t be reduced.
10. Social Security has gone digital
The U.S. Treasury Department has moved away from sending out paper checks in favor of electronic payments. The SSA also has set up an online portal called My Social Security, where you can track your benefits. People are encouraged to go to the website (ssa.gov/myaccount) and set up an account. It will help prevent scammers from setting up an account in your name and possibly stealing your benefits.
11. Social Security is not just a retirement program
There are four main types of Social Security benefits: retirement, disability, dependent and survivor. Sometimes a person can qualify for more than one of these. However, Social Security generally will only pay one benefit at a time to a person. When filing for benefits, you should make sure to ask about your eligibility for other benefits. And if there is a change in your family status, such as the death of the family breadwinner, you should inform SSA of his or her death and ask if you or other family members are now eligible for additional survivor or dependent benefits.
12. Most people get back more than they put in
Worried that the money taken out of your check to fund Social Security will never come back to you? Over the years, studies have shown that most people receive more in benefits than they paid into the program. The Urban Institute issues reports that estimate how much people are paying into the program and what they are likely to receive in retirement benefits. (The reports can be viewed at urban.org.) As a general matter, married couples are more likely to get back more than they contributed than single people, and both low-income and high-income people may receive more dollars from the program over a lifetime than the amount of money they contributed to it.
More on Social Security
Why does my back hurt? September 24, 2019 12:19
Did you know that not all back pain is the same? There are 2 types of back pain—mechanical and inflammatory. They may cause similar symptoms, but they’re very different.
Good workout for 60+ September 23, 2019 17:17There are 2 DVD's, but we use the one with weights. The balance portion is really good for older people. We are in our late 60's and active, but it still wasn't too easy for us. We have been to resorts that use this for classes. - Valerie T.
Why We Gain Weight as We Get Older...It's Not Diet September 19, 2019 15:03
A major reason for middle aged weight gain is the natural muscle loss we all experience (sarcopenia)," says Dr. Caroline Apovian.
Strength Training for Seniors Video
A Weighty Response to Diabetes September 18, 2019 15:29
Even a 5 to 7 percent weight loss lessens the risk of developing diabetes if you have pre-diabetes. Exercise, though, is critical. If you try to lose weight simply through dieting, then you’re losing not just fat but also muscle, which is unhealthy.
Chair Exercise For Diabetes
Do You Understand Medicare's Home Health Benefit? September 17, 2019 11:52
Medicare rules for coverage of home health care services are complicated and often misunderstood. Recent changes to Medicare criteria for coverage of rehabilitation therapy and skilled nursing care have expanded the availability of home health services.
Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise Program
You Shouldn't Miss These Medicare Enrollment Deadlines You Shouldn't Miss September 17, 2019 10:25
Most people become eligible for Medicare during the months around their 65th birthday. If you don't sign up for Medicare during this initial enrollment period, you could be charged a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare.
Important News for Seniors
Identifying your Sense of Purpose September 16, 2019 11:57
Finding your sense of purpose doesn’t have to be difficult. What do you feel passionate about? Do you have a special talent? Now, how can you share that?
For it is in helping others that we receive great blessings.
Well Being in Older Adults
Many Thanks to the Sisters of St. Dominic September 12, 2019 16:04
The Sisters of St. Dominic in Blauvelt, NY adopted the Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise program for their outreach.
Chair Exercise for Seniors DVD
Best Wishes to Silverado Memory Care of Naperville (Brookdale) September 12, 2019 14:34
Silverado Memory Care of Naperville, part of Brookdale Senior Living, has adopted the Stronger Seniors Exercise Program. We wish them all the best!
Alarming Number Of Seniors Go Entire Week Without Talking To Anyone September 11, 2019 10:03 1 Comment
Loneliness can affect your health, your well-being and the way you see yourself – it can make you feel invisible and forgotten.
Seated Exercise for Older Adults
How to Prevent Falls - the leading cause of injury death in older Americans September 11, 2019 09:32
"Weakness in an older person's lower extremities is associated with increased risk for falls," he said. "Exercise and increased physical activities are important in improving and maintaining your leg strength," says JC Garilao, a physical therapist who works with senior patients.
Senior Pets for Senior Citizens September 10, 2019 12:25
The Palm Valley Animal Center (Edinburgh, TX) aiming to place a cat or dog over the age of seven with a person over the age of 60. It’s called the “Seniors for Seniors” program. Shelter officials say senior pets often have the least chance of being adopted because people typically search for puppies.
'Back to School' Advice from Iowa Senior Citizens September 10, 2019 12:12
Which Type of Exercise is Best for Parkinson's Disease? September 9, 2019 12:23
Different exercise programs pursue different fitness goals: balance and coordination, flexibility, endurance, and strength.
Examples of Parkinson’s-related exercise programs include:
Alternative exercises, such as yoga.
Practicing movement strategies.
Exercise May Protect Brain Regions that are Sensitive to Neurodegeneration September 9, 2019 11:17
Physical activity and fitness reflect on brain structure in cognitive decline. Especially brain regions which are affected by neurodegeneration seem to be responsive to exercise and fitness.
Exercise to Prevent Disease
The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit Shouldn’t Be a Waste of Time September 6, 2019 11:42
The most common complaint from those age 65 and older is, “It’s a waste of my time and is just an excuse to bill Medicare.” In other words, the Medicare patient doesn’t understand the purpose of the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit nor do they know what one should expect.
Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise DVD Videos
Thank You Presbyterian Homes in Wichita Falls, TX September 4, 2019 12:44
Thanks to Presbyterian Homes and Teresa R. in Wichita Falls, TX for adopting the Stronger Seniors Balance & Posture program!
Balance Exercise DVD Video
Building a Better Life - Focus on the Process, Not Results September 4, 2019 11:43
The most content people aren’t focused on being the best; they’re focused on constant self-improvement.
When you stop stressing about external outcomes — like whether you win or lose, attain a certain promotion, or achieve some other form of validation — a huge burden is lifted off your shoulders and you can focus your energy on the things you can control.
As a result, you almost always end up felling better. Research shows that concentrating on the process is best for both performance and mental health.
Living a Better Life - Build Your Tribe September 3, 2019 14:42
There’s an old saying that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Turns out that’s true.
A large and growing body of behavioral science research shows that motivation (or lack thereof) is contagious. One study, “Is Poor Fitness Contagious?
Evidence from Randomly Assigned Friends,” found that up to 70 percent of your fitness level may be explained by the people you train with. Other research shows that if you work on mental tasks with people who are internally driven and love what they do, you’re more likely to end up the same way.
If, on the other hand, you surround yourself with people who have a negative attitude and are focused solely on winning the rat race, you set yourself up for a less fulfilling experience.
Bringing Down the Cost of Prescription Drugs August 30, 2019 11:03
It was Tuesday when U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi received petitions with more than 3,500 signatures from people throughout New York’s 22nd Congressional District.
Each petitioner is seeking the same thing: Action from Congress to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
Message received, Brindisi said Wednesday at a forum to discuss and address concerns on drug costs.
Brindisi said he thinks there is no bigger issue in his district than the cost of prescription drugs. Though, when it comes to Congress lowering those costs, he believes the ball now is in the Senate’s court.
“There’s a lot of talk about bipartisanship down in Washington,” he said. “The one area that I see a silver lining, in terms of bringing Democrats and Republicans together, is to do something about the high cost of prescription drugs.”
Roughly 20 people attended the forum on the library’s second floor where Brindisi spoke.
Brindisi said there is bipartisan support for legislation that already has passed the House of Representatives.
“I know if you turn on the TV sometimes and the national news, you think nothing’s happening,” Brindisi said. “Well, guess what? Things are happening in the House, and they’re happening especially when it comes to protecting our health care and trying to lower our drug costs.”
Such solutions include allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription prices, instituting a cap on out-of-pocket costs and improving access to lower-cost generic drugs.
“If you compare us to other nations, we pay the highest costs in the world,” Stelling said. “It’s a pain point. We know for our members and many other Americans, they’re making tough choices, which means either putting food on the table or getting the medicine they need. Either one is a sacrifice to your health.”
After remarks from Stelling and Brindisi, the two fielded questions from the audience mostly related to the prescription drug issue. Here are a few of them with Brindisi’s responses:
Can Congress institute a cap on prescription drug costs?
“This is something that many countries do have: A cap on prescription drugs, and I think it’s something we should look at in this country, as well, because when you’re talking about ... having to take $30,000 every few months for cancer medication, if you’re uninsured, I don’t know how you do that. We should look at how we implement caps. Not stifling research; obviously, a lot of pharmaceutical companies are doing life-saving research and development ... but we should be looking at what’s reasonable and what we can do to put some caps in place to try and prevent exorbitant costs that we’re seeing.”
How likely is the Senate to pass the bills?
“I think there is a very strong chance of getting some of these bills through the Senate.”
Brindisi cited the ability for other countries to negotiate drug prices, cost caps on certain medications in other countries, and one he called “the elephant in the room.”
“Money. The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil,” he said. “That is the same down in Washington.”
Gratitude for Trinity Village Retirement Community August 27, 2019 09:33
Many thanks to Jasmine Marks and Trinity Village Retirement Community in Pine Bluff, AR for adopting the Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise program.
Activities for Seniors