How Older Adults Can Stay Healthy During COVID-19

(reprinted and edited with permission from Redfin)

In the age of COVID-19, more colloquially known as the Coronavirus, and as an older adult, your health and personal safety have never been more important. The world seems very different than it was just weeks ago, but the rise of a pandemic just reaffirms what is most important: friends, family, and your health. Social distancing can be stressful, but it is among the best ways to minimize risk to both you and those around you. If you are stuck at home during these trying times, follow these health and wellness tips for older adults to stay healthy during this coronavirus pandemic.

Get Some Exercise

Exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind while stuck inside, especially while handling the stress of rapidly changing circumstances. However, even a little movement can do wonders for your overall mental, physical, and emotional health.

Depending on your physical abilities, there are many different kinds of things you can do to exercise without leaving the house. From going up and down the stairs a few times to walking laps in your home or even jogging in place, doing jumping jacks (yup, remember doing them as a kid), or just siting down and getting up from a chair numerous times, a little physical movement goes a long way in helping you feel your best. The internet is full of programs, too; fitness apps, streaming sites, and even YouTube offer countless avenues for at-home workouts at all levels of intensity and ability.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Keeping your immune system healthy is vital important and sleep is a key component of good maintenance. Sleeping seems like a simple thing to achieve while spending all day at home, but day after day without the routines of jobs, hobbies, and social outings can make time seem meaningless. It is easy to slip into negative habits, like going to bed too late out of a desire to catch just one more episode of your favorite show.

No matter what your at-home habits look like, try to establish a regular time to go to sleep and to get up in the morning. This can feel a little silly at first, especially if you have nowhere to go, but maintaining a schedule can keep your circadian rhythm in check, helping you to stay both mentally and physically healthy.

Eat Healthy Meals

Being stuck inside all day with nowhere to go can make it easy to justify a little extra junk food, but a healthy and balanced diet is a critical part of your wellness. Overall, your diet plays an important role in sustaining your immune system, so eating a steady diet of potato chips while practicing social distancing can cause you more harm than good.

When planning meals, make sure to include as many leafy greens as possible in addition to servings of fruit and protein. If regular access to fresh produce is limited, frozen alternatives are a fine substitute. Include a daily vitamin as well to hit on all the nutrients you may not be getting through diet alone. Maintaining a healthy diet is a vital part of older adults staying healthy during coronavirus.

Find New Hobbies

Sometimes, daily life feels too busy to find time to learn new skills or experiment with new leisure activities. Now, without a way to fall back on the same old habits and duties that have kept you distracted, there’s plenty of time to try something new.

Even without going outside, there are plenty of ways for older adults to stay busy at home. You could consider joining a virtual book club, taking open online courses on platforms like Coursera or edX to learn new skills or brush up on old ones. Learning to sew, knit, or cross-stitch, taking up puzzles, baking, canning, cooking elaborate dishes, or even playing virtual card games with friends online. With more free time to devote to the little things in life, you can find new ways to enjoy your leisure time.

Keep in Touch

Not being able to see friends, children, grandchildren, and extended family members can make you feel isolated if you live alone. Humans are social animals and extended distancing from necessary social interaction is often uncomfortable or distressing. Luckily, technology makes it possible to stay in touch, whether your family is across the street or around the world.

From Skype to FaceTime, it’s possible to stay connected with your friends and family, without meeting up in person. Even texting can be a great way to check-in. A simple message to a loved one and a kind response can be enough to create the kind of connection you’re missing while staying at home and staying healthy during coronavirus.

Make Plans for the Future

Staying at home and socially distancing yourself may feel like a very uncertain set of circumstances, but there’s good news: it won’t last forever. Sooner or later, the world will right itself, and life will go back to normal. And when it does, what do you want to do?

From trips to Florida with friends to dinners with your family, it’s important to think about the light at the end of the tunnel. The things you miss doing now will be available soon, so don’t let yourself be consumed by stress that can come with this challenging situation. Think up a meal plan for a family dinner, research venues for your next family reunion, or put together an itinerary for your dream vacation. It’s easier to be happier at home when you have something to look forward to.

Check-In With Yourself

It can be overwhelming to have your whole world change essentially overnight, especially when you don’t know what the immediate future may hold. In these times, it’s important to check in with yourself and make sure you are meeting your basic needs.

Do you feel emotionally healthy? Physically healthy? How is your morale?

By taking time to evaluate your wellbeing as well as your individual needs, it becomes easier to keep your health headed in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, the increase in telehealth services makes it easy to speak to your physician or a licensed counselor without leaving your home.

Staying as healthy as possible is always important, but now more than ever your focus should be on remaining as resilient as possible. With these tips for older adults to stay healthy during coronavirus, you can make the most of your time at home.

About the Author
is part of the content marketing team at Redfin and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home would be a contemporary home with an open floor plan, lots of windows, and a waterfront view.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

COVID-19 Guide for Caregivers

To all future and current caregivers,

You may not know this, but you are so valuable to us and to the folks that you care for, and we want to ensure that you have what you need and that you will continue to stay healthy yourself.

In our opinion, half the battle is understanding what is going on, what can WE do to protect ourselves and our family AND the community that we care for. Here is some guidance regarding the symptoms of COVID-19, how it spreads and how it is treated (click this link to download a PDF: COVID-19 Precautions & Testing}. We have also included some information regarding managing anxiety and fears, the myths and facts as well as a way to screen yourself DAILY.

It is important to us that you know you have our support and that you will not be asked to work if you are experiencing a cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath.

We hope you will read the information, keep it with you if you wish and by all means HEED THE CALL by asking yourself the 3 most important questions:

  • Do I have a cough, sore throat, fever or shortness of breath?
  • Have I just returned from international travel?
  • Have I been close to anyone suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you can say “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be at risk for carrying or developing COVID-19 and you need to report it to your local health department or MD so that the CDC and WHO can take the next steps.

With all of the questions, fears and talk around town and the nation; most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY! If you suspect that you might be sick are have been in contact with someone who is sick (or has symptoms), DON’T KEEP IT A SECRET!! The group of folks we care for are either elderly or possibly dealing with issues that do not allow their bodies to heal themselves and again, YOU ARE SO VALUABLE TO US AND TO THEM.

Thank you in advance for reading this, heeding the call and passing this forward.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

COVID-19 Cleanser: R-Water

Austin Charges Ahead of Coronavirus with R-Water’s State-of-the-Art Technology

(AUSTIN, Texas) Coronavirus is rapidly spreading, and the City of Austin has taken charge to defend its community.

Austin’s Building Services Department has implemented a game changing technology from R-Water, a local, female-owned and led company. This technology enables Building Services to produce a powerful, hypoallergenic healthcare-grade disinfectant and a powerful, hypoallergenic all-purpose cleaner on-site. The disinfectant kills Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other harmful pathogens lightning fast, without posing a threat to the workers using it.

“It’s amazing what a little change, like these solutions, can do for morale,” said Eric Herman, Public Services Manager for The City of Austin.

In addition to providing protection against the Coronavirus, the program is saving taxpayer dollars to boot; a 54% reduction in chemical expenses over three years. The program has already been implemented in several city facilities, including Human Health Services, Austin Animal Center, Austin Police Department, Austin Municipal Court, Downtown Austin Community Court, and One Texas Center. The city is aggressively expanding throughout additional buildings.

While green products are not known for performing well or being financially advantageous, Herman has had a different experience with R-Water. “My boss says I’m a rock star for coming up with innovative ways to get things done. R-Water’s technology works better and faster than anything we’ve ever used before,” states Mr. Herman.

About R-Water
R-Water is a woman-owned and operated business based in San Marcos, Texas. R-Water manufactures and distributes a computerized device that gives hospitals, hotels, cruise ships, office buildings, restaurants, schools, and other facilities the power to produce cutting-edge cleaning and disinfecting solutions on-site. To learn more about how you can protect yourself against the threat of Coronavirus, visit www.r-water.com or contact info@r-water.com.

Older Americans Act Reauthorization

The House Has Passed the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act

March 11th, after nearly a year of bipartisan negotiations, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334), a bipartisan proposal that increases funding for vital programs that help aging Americans live independently and with dignity.

This passage reauthorizes the federal Older Americans Act (OAA) through FY 2024. The legislation will now move to the President’s desk for signature.

“This reauthorization supports the needs of unpaid and family caregivers who are playing an increasingly large role in supporting the needs of older adults,” said National Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s CEO Sandy Markwood. “It’s especially critical as we grapple with the implications for older adults, family caregivers and the caregiving workforce pertaining to the spread of COVID-19.”

For more information on this passage, please click here.

The Value of a Health Navigator

Some time ago, we wrote a post about the value of having a nurse navigator when trying to decide about in home care here: (The Value of a Healthcare Navigator), and now we are revisiting this issue with a contribution from our friends at RegisteredNursing.org.

Most people’s first thoughts of a new year center around new beginnings and possible resolutions to be made. While these are important considerations to start the year out right, the most important consideration for a new year can revolve around your health and healthcare coverage. If you are like most people, you were barraged with notices about getting health care coverage. Navigating the landscape of “Part This” and “Part That” is confusing and, when added to potential health issues or surgeries, is down-right overwhelming. Enter the Health Navigator (queue the harps and harmonic singing).

The role of the health navigator has progressively expanded over the past decade as programs such as Medicare have become extremely complicated. More than just a person to help assist you with which options to choose for medical coverage, a qualified and skilled health navigator will also assist people with local resources they might qualify for, such as county or state programs. For example, low-income families in Idaho may qualify for additional support and assistance for medical issues through a medically indigent program; a savvy health navigator will know which services are available in certain areas and how to access them for the patient or family.

Health navigators play a different role than the nurse navigators you may have experienced in various healthcare settings. Nurse navigators assist patients or populations through either a healthcare system or a specialized department. One example of this role is when a patient is scheduled for surgery or perhaps is diagnosed with cancer, a nurse navigator is assigned to provide advice and guidance to patients through each step of the journey for these devastating experiences.

Some community health systems, such as Terry Reilly, employ health navigators to reach out to patients in their service area to offer support in enrolling patients and families into the myriad of choices for healthcare. As many programs are time-bound and have enrollment windows, having a process to proactively reach out to help people navigate the programs is very strategic. By offering services directly, not only are patients more likely to choose the health system that assisted them, the organization is more likely to receive better payment rates if patients are correctly enrolled. Either way, offering help to patients and families to traverse the timelines, coverage options, and associated costs with each plan is a valuable service to offer.

Healthcare and medical coverage can be confusing, especially if there are already numerous healthcare members coming into a home to provide services. However, if you find yourself needing additional resources or information related to healthcare coverage choices, ask your doctor to recommend a reliable health navigator for clarification and assistance. You don’t have to face these choices alone.

About the Author
Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN is a board-certified nurse executive and contributing writer for www.registerednursing.org.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Have Compassion For Yourself

How to Build Your Own Resilience & Create More Joy in Your Life
And Be More Present for Your Loved Ones
By Dr. Mara Karpel

“When we care for ourselves deeply and deliberately, we naturally begin to care for others — our families, our friends, and the world — in a healthier and more effective way.”
 ~ Cheryl Richardson, The Art of Extreme Self-Care

Being a caregiver can be extremely stressful and, in fact, caregivers have been found to have a statistically higher rate of chronic illnesses, severe emotional issues (such as depression and anxiety), and even earlier death. Self-compassion can build resilience in our health and our emotional well-being, even when immersed in stressful situations. Having such resilience is important for our ability to continue to do our best as a caregiver, as well as help us to create a life of passion, joy, and vitality…no matter our age.

Here are a few tips will help to get you started showing yourself more compassion:

  1. Treat yourself like you’re worthy right now, even if you don’t believe it.

This includes taking care of your body by eating a healthy diet and exercising. And begin to take action toward achieving your dreams. By following our dreams, we contribute to creating a beautiful world.

  1. Do things throughout the day, every day, that cheer you or inspire you.

Here are some examples of works for me: listening to music that I enjoy, reading something inspiring, taking a nap, walking in nature, exercising, breathing slowly, relaxing. Do what makes you feel more vital and alive. It doesn’t have to be something big. When you make this a daily priority, you are giving yourself the message that you deserve to be treated well.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people who love themselves and who treat you with love and respect.

Humans best learn by observation. If we observe people who love themselves and who love and respect the people around them, we learn how to do the same. Reduce or eliminate the amount of toxins you ingest and the amount of time you spend with toxic people. By being around positive loving people, we come to realize that we’re worthy of love and respect.

  1. Turn off the negative, derogatory, self-talk.

The voice in our head might come as the voices of our parents or other important people in our lives, or as our own voice, questioning our worthiness or telling us that we are “victims.” When author of the book, Self-Talk for a Calmer You: Learn How to Use Positive Self-Talk to Control Anxiety and Live a Happier, More Relaxed Life, Beverly Flaxington, was interviewed on my show, she pointed out, “It’s our own minds, so often, that defeat us. We say things to ourselves and tear ourselves down. The self-talk that we use on ourselves absolutely drains us. Lack of confidence and low self-esteem is very typically an outgrowth of too much negative self talk too often.” In order to truly love yourself, it’s important to become aware of this negative chatter and to know that this chatter is not the “truth.” Then, even if we can’t turn it off completely, it will lose its power over us and, perhaps, the volume will soften.

  1. Stop listening to negativity of others.

Remember, a person’s tendency to put another down is caused by his/her own lack of self-love.

  1. Forgive others and forgive yourself.

Use the ho’oponopono prayer to facilitate this practice. Simply imagine the person with whom you have difficulties and say:

I love you.
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank You.

Remember to repeat the process for everyone, including yourself.

  1. Make a list of your positive traits.

You might notice that you’re very good at finding things about yourself that you don’t like. Now, sit down and make a list of those qualities about yourself that you actually like. Spend some time every day expanding this list.

  1. Treat yourself like you would your own best friend.

Would you be so hard on your best friend about the same things that you’re so hard on yourself about? Try this: Sit down across from an empty chair. Visualize yourself sitting in that chair. Envision that the you in that chair is your BFF (Best Friend Forever), who is sharing with you all of his/her perceived weaknesses. How would you respond to your BFF? Make it a regular practice to talk to yourself with the same compassion you show to your BFF whenever you start to put yourself down.

  1. Have a sense of humor, even about your own mistakes.

If we can laugh at ourselves, then we can gain the more realistic perspective that we’re only human and that mistakes are events to learn from, rather than signs that we’re inept or that our character is severely flawed.

Keep this practice up for at least 30-days. Journal about the experience daily and then reflect upon the changes you’ve noticed.

About the Author
Dr. Mara Karpel is the author of the internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age.  A clinical psychologist, she has worked with adults of all ages for over 27 years and specializes in working with older adults and caregivers. For the past several years, Dr. Mara has also been evaluating veterans for service-connected mental health conditions. She is a speaker, the host of the Internet radio show, Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, and a regular contributor to Thrive Global and contributor to Huffington Post. Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Mara currently resides in the “Live Music Capital of the World” Austin, Texas, where she’s been enjoying the music and following her dreams.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Mesothelioma and the Elderly

In almost any explanation of mesothelioma treatment options, there is a clause. The routes available depends on numerous factors, one of which is age. This clause — that age, among other factors, could limit treatment — is usually specific to just one option: surgery.

A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology suggests that age might be the most often-used factor when determining if a patient is eligible for mesothelioma surgery.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer for which there are already limited treatments. Removing the most effective one just because of a person’s age? We at Mesothelioma Guide hope surgeons and doctors consider far more than just that number.

In Review: Mesothelioma Treatment for Elderly Patients

The study involved examining the National Cancer Database for all patients at least 80 years old with recently diagnosed non-metastatic malignant pleural mesothelioma. In other words, the patients’ disease is in its early stages and hasn’t spread to vital organs — but it could, and likely will, if untreated.

The researchers found 4,526 patients who met the criteria and looked into the treatment approach used for each. According to the study’s results, which was published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Just 2% of the patients had surgery (likely pleurectomy with decortication) plus chemotherapy
  • Around 13% had just surgery
  • 22% had only chemotherapy
  • 63% were “observed,” meaning they didn’t receive any curative treatment

The average age of pleural mesothelioma patients is 72 — the disease is more likely to impact the elderly than many other forms of cancer — and restricting these patients to chemotherapy or nothing is usually an early death sentence. The median survival times were:

  • 4.1 months for those observed
  • 9.5 months for those receiving just chemotherapy
  • 12.2 months for those undergoing surgery and chemotherapy

By comparison, the figures for pleural mesothelioma patients under 80 years old were:

  • 17% only underwent surgery or had surgery and chemotherapy (median survival of 17.7 months)
  • 47% had just chemotherapy (median survival of 12.2 months)
  • 36% were just observed (median survival of 6.6 months)

More to the Story for Mesothelioma Treatment
The argument against elderly patients having surgery — or even chemotherapy — is that their bodies may not be strong enough. Other complications may arise due to surgery. However, not every 81- or 82-year-old patient has the same health. One may have poor nutrition or other health concerns. Another could be a former marathon runner who eats healthy and exercises regularly.

While the study says the 90-day mortality rate for those having mesothelioma surgery was 28.5%, this figure does not consider the quality of patient selection. As author Justin Karush says on the Society of Surgical Oncology website, “When selecting patients with mesothelioma for surgery, it is paramount to consider the ability to offer adjuvant treatment.”

Additionally, a survival time enhanced by 200% — the difference, according to the study, between no curative treatment and surgery plus chemotherapy — could be enough reward to take the risk.

Quality of Life Due to Surgery
For people with peritoneal mesothelioma, the benefits of surgery are just as great — if not greater. A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology reviewed the quality of life in 46 patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). The median survival of these patients was 3.4 years, and 36.5% lived for at least five years.

By comparison, only 18% of peritoneal patients in general live for at least five years, and the life expectancy of elderly patients with this disease is at most two years. While there are similar risks associated with elderly patients undergoing cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, the increased survival time is relevant.

So is the increased quality of life. The study suggests that patients who underwent surgery experienced improved emotional well-being and social functioning, fewer emotional issues and less pain. The study concluded, “(Quality of life) returned to baseline or improved from baseline between three months and one year following surgery. Despite the risks associated with this operation, patients may tolerate HIPEC well and have good overall (quality of life) postoperatively.”

Unfortunately, many elderly mesothelioma patients will never get the chance to enjoy that improved quality of life since the general assumption is they should stay away from the operating room. That is a discouraging one in the medical industry, and one we at Mesothelioma Guide hope changes going forward.

Note to Mesothelioma Patients and Their Loved Ones
If you’re a newly diagnosed mesothelioma patient, we are on your side and will do anything possible to help you through this difficult time. Most importantly, we can help you find the best treatment available.

Our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, is the No. 1 resource for learning more about mesothelioma. She also can refer you to a mesothelioma specialist with a track record of success in helping patients live long past the average prognosis. Email her jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com to begin your path to recovery.

About the Author, Devin Golden
Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin’s objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

About Mesothelioma Guide
Mesothelioma Guide provides patients and their loved ones with resources, answers, and information over a wide spectrum of free assistance options.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Bank Fees and How to Avoid Them

Well Beyond Care’s dual mission is to save our clients $10K to $30K with caregiving costs compared to private duty care agencies and at the same time, increase a caregiver’s wages by 25% to 40% over working with those same agencies. With that said, we are always on the lookout for ideas and information that can save costs wherever we can find them. The that said, we have been given permission by Bankrate to reprint their article “9 ways banks may penalize you and how to avoid these pesky fees” authored by Matthew Goldberg. With the elderly on fixed incomes, and caregivers struggling to make ends meet, this advice can be a savvy way to make your dollars go further.

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

In football, getting called for a penalty can result in lost yardage. But when it comes to banking, being charged a penalty can be costly for your hard-earned money. That’s why it pays to steer clear of triggering them.

Common penalties such as overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees are pricey. Consumers pay as much as $17 billion annually in these fees, according to 2017 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimates.

“They’re all avoidable as far as I’m concerned,” says Ashley Coake, certified financial planner, at Cultivate Financial Planning in Radford, Virginia.

Knowing the most common penalties and fees on banking products, and how you can avoid them, can help you save cash. Here are nine things to game plan against to help keep the money scoreboard showing in your favor.

1. Early withdrawal penalties on CDs

CDs typically charge an early withdrawal penalty if you close them, or take money out, before the term ends. Early withdrawal penalties are costly and can reduce your gains and can even cut into your principal. Some banks don’t allow partial withdrawals, so that all-or-nothing mentality needs to be a part of your planning process.

An early withdrawal penalty on a five-year CD may range from 150 days to 540 days. But these penalties may vary.

How to avoid this fee: Determining when you’ll need your money is the best way to avoid early withdrawal penalties. Also, knowing the purpose of the funds is critical to avoid this penalty. Put a portion of the money into a savings account or money market account if you think you might need some of it during the CD’s term. Also, you may want to consider a no-penalty CD.

“Just really think ahead,” says Pam Horack, certified financial planner, at Pathfinder Planning in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.

A one-year CD is probably not the best option if you’re currently looking to buy a house, Horack says.

“If you’re concerned that you might spend that money and that’s why you want to put it in a CD, put it in a savings account at a different institution than your regular checking — just to make it a little bit harder for you to get to,” says Horack, who previously worked as a branch manager, teller and customer service representative.

2. Early closeout fees on accounts

CDs aren’t the only banking products that charge a fee if you close them too soon. At some banks, closing an account too soon will cost you. Banks with this fee usually assess it if you close the account in the first 90-180 days.

How to avoid this fee: Research whether your account has one of these fees. Know that you’ll need to keep one of these accounts open for the required time to avoid the fee. Keep this, and the minimum balance, in mind before opening the account.

In reality, if you plan to close an account this quickly it might not be the right time to apply or the right fit for you.

3. Maintenance fees

Some banks charge a maintenance (or monthly) fee if you go below a certain balance in your account. Banks may charge these fees to encourage deposits or certain balances. This helps banks guarantee you’ll either have a certain amount in your account or you’ll be paying a fee.

Maintenance fees usually range from a few dollars to $25. Banks that have these fees usually waive them if you maintain your balance above a specified amount or have a direct deposit set up. Making a certain number of transactions or being a student may also waive the fee at some banks.

How to avoid this fee: Check the fine print and choose a bank that either doesn’t charge these fees or one with requirements you’ll be able to meet. Be strategic about your banking choices. Use your direct deposit to help waive fees in one account. For other accounts, look for banks with either no minimum balance requirement or a low one.

Online banks — banks that don’t have physical locations — usually don’t charge these fees. So these types of banks should be included in your search.

4. Overdraft fees

Overdrafting is spending more than you have, resulting in a negative bank account balance. This could be caused by mismanaging money or accounts. For instance, you may have plenty of money in savings. But you write a check out tied to a checking account and forget to transfer the money needed to cover it fully from your savings. Or it could be a cash flow issue, with income coming in the near future.

Keep an eye on your account and know the minimum balance needed, says Coake.

“Or [know] ‘I’m about to write a big check, and I don’t have enough to cover it,’” says Coake, a former assistant branch manager.

Making purchases with a credit card, instead of a debit card, can be a way to avoid overdraft fees. But you’ll need to pay off your balance every month in order to avoid interest, Coake says.

The average overdraft fee was $33.26, according to Bankrate’s 2019 checking account and ATM fee study.

How to avoid this fee: Know your checking account balance before using your debit card or writing a check. That’s the best way to avoid this fee. But that can be easier said than done.

Using a credit card for purchases will also avoid overdrafts. It buys you some extra time, since you don’t have to pay for these purchases until your statement payment is due. But make sure you pay it then, otherwise high annual percentage rates (APRs) could be more expensive than overdrafts over time.

Savings overdraft protection may have no transfer fee in some cases. Or it could have a lower fee than standard overdraft fees. Savings overdraft protection is when your savings backs up your checking account.

5. Sustained overdraft fees

Some banks may charge you this fee if you have a negative balance for too long. In some cases, you might not have the money so it’s just adding to the problem. However, if you have the money in another account, make sure you transfer it over quickly to avoid this fee. This may also be called an extended overdraft fee.

How to avoid this fee: Monitor your accounts and set up alerts. Being aware of your balances and budgeting can help make sure you have cash on hand for these circumstances.

Using a credit card for purchases during this time, and using cash to make your account positive quickly, can buy you some time until the statement balance is due. Just make sure you pay your credit card to avoid paying interest.

6. Excessive withdrawal fees

Savings accounts and money market account are subject to Regulation D. This means you can’t exceed six withdrawals in a month in these types of accounts.

Many banks will penalize you by charging you an excessive withdrawal fee if you exceed that limit. Some may close the account or move it to a non-interest-bearing account.

How to avoid this fee: Keep track of the number of times that you withdraw from your savings account in a month. Try to use your savings and money market accounts as infrequently as possible so that the funds are truly there for emergencies.

Since the limit doesn’t apply to ATM withdrawals or trips to the teller, stick to these methods for withdrawing money, if you’re getting close to the monthly limit. Put more of a buffer in your checking account, and less in your savings, if you’re needing to transfer money often from savings to checking.

7. Paper statements

Receiving statements in the mail can cost you, as many banks now charge paper statement fees. Some banks may waive the fee on their top-tier accounts. Typically, there isn’t a fee for electronic statements.

How to avoid this fee: Sign up for paperless statements when you open your account or when you first login to your new account. Check online or with your bank to make sure paper statements do not incur a monthly charge

8. Fees for transferring your money

Banks typically charge you for official bank checks and wire transfers. Sometimes a bank will even penalize you for receiving funds via wire transfer. So it’s important to know if your account charges this fee.

How to avoid this fee: Wire transfers are often used when you need to get money somewhere fast. Planning ahead could make these unnecessary. Also, see if a bank has free wire transfers or other payment options, such as Zelle, that will allow you to move money to others quickly. A service like Venmo may also help you reimburse others for smaller purchases.

Your bank may offer an Automated Clearing House Network (ACH) transfer option. Make sure it doesn’t have a fee and or limit the amount you can transfer.

9. ATM withdrawal fees

ATM fees can quickly add up. The total cost of withdrawing money from an out-of-network ATM was $4.72, on average, according to Bankrate’s 2019 checking account and ATM fee study. The ATM surcharge is $3.09 and the fee to use the other bank’s ATM is $1.63, on average.

How to avoid this fee: Many banks either have a large ATM network or waive ATM fees if you use another bank’s machine. Look for a bank that won’t charge you an ATM fee for machines convenient to you.

Planning can make a big difference

You’ll be able to avoid nearly all of the above penalties and fees by keeping track of your transactions and saving.

“A little bit of pre-thought into what you’re doing and making sure you understand the rules around your account will help save you a lot of money and frustration,” Horack says.

About Bankrate
Bankrate has over four decades of experience in financial publishing. Bankrate was born in 1976 as “Bank Rate Monitor,” a print publisher for the banking industry. In 1996, Bankrate made its online debut as Bankrate.com. Since then, Bankrate has grown to over 15 million monthly unique visitors, expanded its distribution outlets and added new content channels. Bankrate.com also publishes original and objective content to help individuals make smarter financial decisions. Their award-winning reporters and editors provide expert advice on nearly every major financial decision an individual or family may encounter — from purchasing a first home, to selecting a new car, to saving for retirement.

Seniors and Depression: How Medicare Can Help

Depression can be caused by genetic vulnerability, traumatic life events, serious medical conditions, faulty mood regulation in the brain, drug and alcohol use, and a number of other factors. It affects people of all ages, including more than 35 million Americans age 65 and older, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And unfortunately, depression in seniors is often more severe and has lower remission rates than in younger adults. However, Medicare can cover some types of depression therapy and treatment.

Signs of Depression in Older Adults

Signs and symptoms of depression in older adults often include ongoing feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness, as well as lack of motivation, loss of interest in hobbies, neglect of personal care, decrease in appetite, increase in sleep disturbances, alcohol or drug abuse, fixation on death, and thoughts of suicide. Also, some seniors don’t feel sad at all. In many cases, the predominant symptom of depression in older people is often physical complaints, such as headaches, arthritis pain, and other ailments.

If you or someone in your life is experiencing the signs of depression, professional help is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Medicare Coverage for Mental Health

When choosing Medicare coverage, it’s important to consider current mental health needs, as well as issues that may arise in the future. Begin by finding a mental health provider that accepts Medicare by using the search function on the Medicare website. Inpatient and outpatient mental health services can be covered, depending on your policies.

Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health treatment and services in a psychiatric hospital or a general hospital. However, for psychiatric hospital stays, there is a 190-day lifetime limit. In either instance, you will need to pay your deductible, and then your Medicare coverage would kick in. Examine your policy for details about possible daily hospital coinsurance amounts.

Original Medicare Part B provides coverage for outpatient care, including an annual depression screening, diagnostic testing, and medication management. Evaluations, counseling, and therapy by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and certain other providers are also covered. As long as a participating Medicare provider that accepts assignment is utilized, Part B pays 80 percent of the cost of these services. Providers who take assignment have agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amounts for covered services. Some patients may find it difficult to pay their share, but Medigap insurance can cover those costs.

Medicare Advantage plans provide the same services as Original Medicare; plus, they can provide additional treatment options. For example, some plans have management programs for patients suffering from depression. This program offers counseling, coaching, and support by care management staff to help patients adhere to treatment for depression.

During the Open Enrollment Period each year (October 15 to December 7), you should evaluate your health care needs and figure out if you need to make any changes. During Open Enrollment, seniors can switch over from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Switching to a different Medicare Advantage plan is also possible, and you can also sign up for prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) during this time.

Age-related diseases can worsen depression symptoms, and conversely be worsened by depression. If you or someone close to you is dealing with depression or other mental health issues, it’s important to get help in the form of professional counseling, medication, and/or other treatments. If the person in question is a senior, there is proof that they need to get help is even greater. Talk to your family and your healthcare provider to find assistance. It’s possible to secure successful treatment and get back to living a fulfilling life.

About the Author
Teresa Greenhilll is the co-creator of MentalHealthForSeniors.com, which is dedicated to providing seniors with information on physical and mental fitness so that they can be active and happy in their golden years.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Fighting Aging with Success

Time does not wait for you, but, every once in a while, you can convince it to give you a break. Even though we are not able to stop the process of aging, there are plenty of ways we can slow it down. Being good to your mind and body will assist you in looking and feeling younger, which allow you to better spend your time.

In a lot of cases, fighting the pains of growing older involves abiding by conventional common sense. Eating responsibly, exercising, and getting enough rest each night can do wonders to improving your health and well-being. But what you do not do is just as important as what you do. The choices we make are responsible for making us look and feel older, such as choosing not to wear sunscreen on a sunny day.

Although we do not intend to spend all day soaking up the Sun, UV rays can damage our skin. Stress also has long-lasting impacts on your body, so it is vital to utilize relaxation techniques so your own worst enemy isn’t you.

For other critical do’s and don’ts when it comes to looking and feeling better, see the following checklist below.