Blog on Eye Health

Easy on the Eyes

As people age it is not uncommon to experience vision changes. Even if you enjoy good vision now or did when you were younger, taking care of your eyes is vital to your overall health and wellbeing. While it is normal to encounter some visual changes, such as difficulty adjusting to glare or trouble distinguishing shades of color, vision loss is not a normal part of aging.

 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some of the more common changes in vision you may notice with age include:

  • Your eyes take longer to adjust and focus, especially between light and dark.
  • Driving may be more difficult, especially at night or in the rain.
  • Distinguishing an image from its background, especially when subtle gradations of tone are involved, may become more difficult.

 

Taking Control of Eye Health
You may be surprised to learn that the health of your eyes is related to many different factors, some of which are in our control. Check out this list and see where you might be able to make some lifestyle changes:

 

Nutrition – As part of an eye-healthy diet, choose foods rich in antioxidants, like vitamins A and C, such as leafy green vegetables and fish.

Smoking – Avoid smoking which exposes the eyes to an increased risk of a variety of conditions that affect eye health.

Sunlight – When outdoors on a sunny day, wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Systemic Health Problems – Keep your eye doctor informed about any health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, that can affect eye health.

Exercise – Regular exercise, including walking, yoga, tai chi and stretching, stimulate good blood circulation and oxygen intake which our eyes need.

Sleep – Getting enough sleep is important because it is then that our eyes enjoy continuous lubrication and clear out irritants such as dust, allergens or smoke that may have accumulated during the day.

At the Computer – Try to reduce the impact of computer eyestrain by keeping your computer screen at a healthy distance from your eyes (20-24 inches), adjusting light to minimize glare and taking a break every 15 minutes to focus on a distant object.

 

Set Your Sights on Eye Health and Safety

Having regular check-ups with an eye care professional can help you continue to maintain an active lifestyle well into the golden years without ever experiencing vision loss. It’s important to have a complete eye exam every year or two after age 65 to check for age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions such as low vision.

 

Eye injuries are also a risk in older adults, with about half of all eye injuries occurring in or around the home. If you should experience an eye injury, get immediate medical attention. But to prevent an injury, take some simple steps to reduce the risk of falls, which become more likely as we age due to changes in vision and balance:

  • Make sure that rugs and shower/bath/tub mats are slip-proof.
  • Secure railings so that they are not loose.
  • Cushion sharp corners and edges of furnishings and home fixtures.

 

Eyesight is a precious treasure throughout life. Safeguard your vision so that you will be seeing into the future for years to come.

 

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, info@wilfcampus.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.

 

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Social Security: Careful Calculations

Social Security – To Claim or Not to Claim… That is the Question

Social security

Social Security provides a financial safety net to individuals as they reach retirement but the pros and cons of when to actually tap into the benefits are complicated. Choosing the age at which you draw benefits is a decision you should make with care.

Some people start collecting Social Security as soon as they are eligible at age 62, while others may wait until as late as age 70, preferring to see their benefits grow. Then there are those who are in between, drawing on Social Security when they reach full retirement age, which is 66 or 67 for people born after 1942. How do you make a smart decision?

No One-Size-Fits-All

According to the Social Security Administration, you’ll get the same amount of total benefits whether you collect early, at full retirement age or at age 70 – assuming you live to the average life expectancy for your age. The longer you live past that age, the more you’ll benefit from delaying your payments. Conversely, if you’re in poor health, you might be better off taking benefits early.

The earlier you claim Social Security benefits, the smaller your monthly payment will be. So, while you can claim at the age of 62, the amount you’ll receive will be less by a percentage than if you wait until your full retirement age (determined by the year you were born), at which point the Social Security Administration will pay out 100% of your benefits. If you wait to claim Social Security until after you reach full retirement age and up until the age of 70, the Social Security Administration will reward you with retirement credits which translate into an increased monthly payment.

“At first blush, the extra amount that can be received by waiting to claim until 70 appears to make waiting the smartest decision,” explains The Motley Fool website, www.fool.com, a website dedicated to helping to empower individual investors. “However, it’s important to remember that the amount that is paid out in benefits over a lifetime is calculated to be the same, regardless of what age you claim.” So while you might get bigger checks by waiting, you also will collect fewer checks in your lifetime.

A Careful Calculation
Social Security benefits are determined by a complex formula. Knowing when to claim Social Security benefits is an integral part of retirement planning. If you want to explore the different scenarios of when to take Social Security, you can estimate your projected payment by using the online Social Security calculator, https://www.ssa.gov/retire/estimator.html. You can also view your projected payment by creating an account on the Social Security Administration’s website, https://www.ssa.gov.

If you don’t feel comfortable with calculators or have more complex issues, consider finding a financial planner or financial advisor you can trust to help you weigh your options and make decisions. It’s important to evaluate which strategy is right for you and will provide the most financial security in your golden years. The right strategy depends upon many factors including health status, how long you intend to work, retirement goals, family longevity and other personal matters.

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, info@wilfcampus.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.

Dating Is Anybody’s Game – Love After 60

Dating After 60Dating After 60

If you think dating isn’t for the senior set, think again! Relationships and intimacy are an important part of life at any age and often contribute to happiness, health and well-being. As we enter our senior years we may find ourselves unattached and lonely due to the loss of a loved one. But our population is living longer, staying fitter and healthier into the golden years, and that means there are more seniors looking for companionship.

With so many people unattached later in life, it’s only natural to think about dipping your toes into the dating pool. Keep in mind that your ideas about an ideal partner may have changed over time and you may now have different needs, desires and expectations. Start by defining the kind of relationship you want – such as friendship, intimacy, love, companionship, a committed relationship or marriage –  and then rediscover the art of meeting new people!

Looking for Love in All the Right Places
It’s nice when family and friends introduce you to people, but for those who don’t want to go that route or don’t have that option, here are some other ways to meet senior singles:

  • Local Neighborhood Activities – Just like in the old days, neighborhoods are still prime spots to meet not only potential partners but also friends. Libraries, local groups or neighborhood gathering places provide a casual place to share hobbies and interests.
  • Senior Centers/Community Centers Pick up a calendar from your local community center and check out any events or outings. This is a great way to meet others with similar interests right in your neighborhood.
  • Senior Living Communities – Many people find companionship in senior living communities. Whether it’s a 55 and older community, independent living or assisted living, being in close proximity to others and sharing meals and activities together may result in companionship, friendship or even love.
  • The Internet and Online Dating – There’s one notable way in which the dating scene has changed since most seniors were last dating — the Internet. Online dating is not for everyone but if you like using a computer or a mobile phone it’s one more tool in the toolbox. There are several sites that are built specifically for older adults, among them ourtime.com or www.seniorfriendfinder.com and www.seniorpeoplemeet.com.

Be Realistic
While some things in the dating world have changed, some have stayed the same. Common sense still counts and it’s important to be yourself. There is no hurry, so take your time before entering the dating world again. Here are a few tips:

  • Stay flexible – know what appeals to you in a partner or friend, but try not to be too rigid. Sometimes the person you think won’t be a match will surprise you!
  • Age is secondary — once you get into your senior years, the actual number of your age becomes less and less significant. Your health and what you do at your age are far more important.
  • See beyond the surface — older adults are wise enough to know that looks have little to do with whether someone is going to be a kind, loving and caring companion. Being attractive is more a function of your personality.
  • Try a dinner date – more than any other activity, dinner is where older adults feel the isolation of being alone most strongly. Sharing a meal can be an important first step in gauging compatability.
  • Think companionship – Whether it’s a dinner date, traveling, playing bridge, engaging in a favorite activity or just relaxing together, many seniors are really look for a companion and nothing more.

Adults over 60 have experienced a lot and already have some ideas about what works in their lives. Let the maturity of your years guide you to be clearer about what you want in a relationship.

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, info@wilfcampus.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.

Planning for Our Senior Years—It’s Never Too Soon!

planning senior years - the futureMaybe you’re looking to retire in the next few years. Or maybe you’re not sure you want to retire, but you want to be prepared for the unexpected, including age-related challenges. Studies show that today’s adults have done very little planning for their senior years—but giving it some thought now makes it more likely you’ll have the quality of life you want later.

Take Control
By the time you face the challenges of later life, chances are you’ve learned some essential planning skills that you might not even realize. You may have raised children, held several jobs or organized a community gathering or family reunion. In addition, you may have navigated medical and financial crises, times of emotional upheaval and family stress. Harness what you have learned from these life events to take control in planning for your future.

Be Flexible
It’s impossible to predict when challenges to health and well-being will arise, so planning for your senior years should be flexible. If you begin early, you have a good chance to put in place the outline of a life that has meaning for you, that allows you to pursue your interests and reflects your priorities.

Ask Yourself…
Where do I want to live? This could include geographic location, proximity to family, private home vs. condominium, accessibility of recreational activities such as gardening or exercise, and how adaptable the home environment would be to new life circumstances.

What do I want to do? Consider whether you want to work full-time or part-time or use these later years to pursue interests you’ve never had time to explore before. Maybe there are volunteer opportunities that would suit your schedule or ways in which you can help out with your family or in your community.

How do I envision the rest of my life? This is a tough question with no easy answer, but it’s important to look within and start thinking about it in your younger years. Maybe you want to live in one place forever or maybe you want to travel the world. Think about activities that are important to you now and those that could continue to be important as you get older. Consider family members and the care they may need and how that impacts your life.  You will also have to consider financial circumstances.

Bring Others Into the Planning Process
Answering these questions involves thought and it’s helpful to bring in the help of others involved. A spouse or significant other obviously needs to be part of the conversation, but it’s also good to let your adult children know what you’re thinking. Together you can make a plan. Be honest and realistic. Consider talking to a financial advisor or eldercare attorney for perspective on your financial resources and how they impact your choices.

There are many resources available to help including your local library, community workshops and the internet. By getting a jump start and doing some soul searching, you can get to the heart of what is most important to you and the quality of your life … for now and into the future.

The Wilf Campus for Senior Living can also help. Whether planning for yourself or a relative, the staff can help you learn about services for seniors, right in your own backyard. Call 732-568-1155 for more information.

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, info@wilfcampus.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.

Occupational Therapy at Stein Assisted Living Helps Residents Maintain Independence

Julia and resident

Somerset, NJ, May 23, 2017 – With her warm demeanor and bright smile, Julia Jaman, MSOT, OTR/L, arrives each weekday at Stein Assisted Living to provide occupational therapy services to help residents live their lives to the fullest.

Occupational therapy derives its name from the idea of helping people with daily tasks that “occupy” their time and their lives. Whether working on upper body strengthening, balance exercises, fine motor skills such as managing buttons or opening bottles, or sharpening memory and cognitive skills, Ms. Jaman’s goal is to keep residents safe and maintain their independence in self-care.

Ms. Jaman especially loves working with seniors and has developed a rapport with many of the residents at Stein. “Sometimes a resident comes back to assisted living after a hospitalization and he or she is a little weaker,” she explains. “But I don’t give up on them – we work together to try and get them back to where they were, gaining a little more independence each day.”

Ms. Jaman comes to Stein Assisted Living through Fox Rehabilitation. Working in tandem with her colleagues from physical therapy, she makes the rounds at Stein to provide client-centered care to five or six residents each day who she visits two to three times a week. With repeat visits over time she has earned the trust of her clients. “What I especially love about working here are the bonds I have established,” she comments. “Those relationships give me purpose.”

For Stein residents, occupational therapy can be the key to helping them engage in activities safely. From the regular activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, to the more extracurricular activities offered in the community, Ms. Jaman aims to help individuals do more on their own so they can be active participants in their valued occupations. She fondly recalls a 100-year-old resident who was not that open to occupational therapy at first. “We worked at it and, with time he was able to get a little stronger. We took small steps and made progress. Age is not going to stop us.”

For more information about occupational therapy services at Stein Assisted Living, email Michael D. Yannotta, Director of Nursing, at Stein Assisted Living, at myannotta@wilfcampus.org.

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, info@wilfcampus.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.