Seniors First is launched and includes a full range of legal, financial, housing and lifestyle solutions.
Aging may bring wisdom, but it also creates new challenges and unanswered questions.
How can I structure my retirement to avoid outliving my savings? How do I retrofit my home to accommodate aging? How do I evaluate in-home resources to provide the extra help I might need? How do I protect my legacy for the next generation?
Seniors First, a newly formed collaborative based in Eastern Massachusetts, offers a single source and well vetted solution. The collaborative includes a wide range of professionals who serve the senior community. Included are Accountants, Estate and Elder Law Attorneys, Financial Planners, Geriatric Care Managers, Home Modification Contractors, In-Home Care Providers, Insurance Professionals, Mortgage and Real Estate Professionals and Registered Investment Advisors.
Seniors First was created and is championed by Harbor Mortgage Solutions, a family-owned, residential mortgage company serving Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Recognized as a leading housing wealth management authority, Harbor Mortgage is dedicated to serving the unique home financing and often complex needs of senior homeowners, while also promoting those needs among consumers, professional advisors, state legislators and industry regulators.
In addition to professional services, Seniors First offers educational and objective seminars to Councils On Aging, Senior Centers, fraternal organizations, human resources departments and business groups throughout Eastern Massachusetts. The seminars are moderated panel discussions including qualified experts.
Seminar topics would range from –
- Aging in Place – From Home Modification to a Helping Hand
- Glorious Aging – Travel, Making a Difference, Mindfulness
- Hands off – Keeping your savings for your family
- Before you break a hip – Planning Ahead
- Will you outlive your savings – Financial literacy
Current advisors in the Seniors First collaborative include: Doug Beck, Registered Investment Advisor, Tailwind Wealth Management, Hingham, MA; Mark Bossey, CFP®, Boston Premier Wealth; Matthew Cunningham, Financial Advisor, Flagship Harbor Advisors, Cohasset, MA; Elder Law Attorney Bill Coyne, Boston Legacy Planning, Needham, MA; George Downey, Chris Downey and Brett Kirkpatrick, Housing Wealth Advisors, Harbor Mortgage Solutions, Inc., Braintree, MA; Patrick Flaherty, Guided Living Senior Home Care, Plymouth, MA; JD Miller, Home Care Partners, Hingham, MA; Dick Howell, Wealth Management Advisor, Bullfinch Group, Needham, MA; Lori Howell, Howell Medicare Advisors, Franklin, MA; Elder Law Attorney John Laine, Laine & Associates, Hingham, MA; Elder Law Attorney John O’Connor, O’Connor & O’Connor, LLC, Braintree, MA; and Steve Stern, FirstLight HomeCare, Needham, MA. Nominations are being accepted and all nominees are carefully vetted.
For questions about services offered by Seniors First, or for professionals seeking nomination to the group, contact Harbor Mortgage (NMLS #2846, MA-MB2846, and RI 20041821LB) located in Braintree, MA. For more information, contact 781-843-5553 or visit HarborMortgage.com.
Better Sleep to Increase Overall Health and Well-being
By Steve Stern, President & Owner, FirstLight Home Care of West Suburban Boston
We all know how important a good night’s sleep is to our health. Regular sleep deprivation can increase the risk for many health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke and dementia.
Quality sleep for family caregivers is critical as they can especially be at risk for sleep problems, including insomnia (the inability to fall or stay asleep), hypersomnia (problems staying awake), and poor-quality sleep. While taking care of a loved one, caregivers often get up in the middle of the night to help, or they stay up late to get their own chores done. Additionally, many family caregivers fall into the sandwich generation as they attempt to provide care to elderly parents and juggle the demands of young families and full-time careers.
It can be a vicious cycle. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and exhaustion. Depression, anxiety or fatigue from caregiving are common as well. When this happens, it can be extremely difficult to not only keep your own health in check but to properly take care of someone else.
There are several signs of sleep issues to be aware of. Consider seeing a doctor if any of these begin to affect your health:
- Frequent nightmares
- Confusion upon waking
- Regular waking during the night
- Inability to get back to sleep after waking
- Inability to perform daily activities
- Sleep issues that last longer than three weeks
Sleep needs vary across ages and are impacted by lifestyle and health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you must determine how much sleep you need and how you feel on different amounts of sleep by assessing not only where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum,” but also by looking at what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Though research cannot identify the exact amount of sleep needed by people at different ages, the National Sleep Foundation has developed a new chart that includes minimum and maximum ranges for health, as well as recommended windows and amounts experts agree upon.
The National Sleep Foundation panel revised the recommended sleep ranges for the children and teenage groups. A summary of sleep recommendations for adults includes:
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
For a better night’s sleep, remember these healthy tips:
- Keep a regular bedtime routine and try to turn in around the same time each night.
- Use your bed for sleeping only.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, comfortable and at a consistent temperature.
- Turn off electronics – phones, laptops, tablets – before bed.
- Stay active and get regular exercise during the day.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol and try to avoid caffeine late in the day.
- Try relaxation exercises, meditation or a warm bath before bed.
- Get help with caregiving. Share your caregiving responsibilities with other family members or consider hiring respite care to provide regular breaks.
Proper sleep for family caregivers should be a priority. It’s not only necessary in order for you to take care of yourself, it is also necessary for providing quality care for your loved one.
THE LEGACY PERSPECTIVE: END-OF-LIFE PLANNING AS LIFE PLANNING
© 2018 William F. Coyne, Jr., Boston Legacy Planning LLC
It was recently reported that Boston surgeon Atul Gawande will be the CEO of a new company whose mission is to fix the way health care services are delivered in our country. He would appear to be the right man for the job. In his book “Being Mortal”, Dr. Gawande exposes the needless cruelty in how people are treated as their health fails. The book is full of surprising insights, but I would like to focus on one – the dehumanizing and dangerous results of putting people into a nursing home for safety sake.
The book begins with Dr. Gawande contrasting how elders have, for centuries, been allowed to die at home, surrounded by their families, and how modern science has led to people dying in an institution, connected to the world with tubes. There is a societal cost – 25% of all Medicare spending is on the 5% of patients in the last year of their lives, and the vast majority of that money is spent in the last few months, often for dramatic medical interventions that accomplish nothing. But there is also a personal cost. As human beings, we want to maintain autonomy – we want to be the author of the story of our lives. As Dr. Gawande says “The battle of being mortal is the battle to maintain the integrity of one’s life – to avoid being so diminished or dissipated or subjugated that who you are becomes disconnected from who you were or who you want to be.”
The fate of many people is to lose that battle, to be admitted to a nursing home where they are confined to a wheelchair or to a bed, out of concern that they are a “fall risk.” No doubt, falls are dangerous and account for a significant number of hospital admissions. But there are alternatives. Homes can be modified. And there are forms of assisted living and nursing home care that pay attention to our human side.
Dr. Gawande gives numerous examples in his book. One key was to ask the patient – “What makes life worth living to you?” and then to provide those things to the extent possible. These humanized living arrangements produced remarkable results. In situations where people felt they had a reason to live, they lived longer. In one study, deaths fell by 15%. And people were healthier. The number of prescriptions required, including for psychotropic drugs like Haldol to control agitation, fell by fifty percent. Taxpayers benefitted too – overall cost of drugs fell by 38%. Finally, by being clear on what made life worth living, it was easier for people to decide that it was time to go when those things were no longer achievable.
Too often we think of end-of-life planning as death planning. But that is a distorted and ultimately destructive view. End-of-life planning done properly is a form of legacy planning. It is a way of telling the story of my life so that it has a satisfactory ending. A story in which I continue to be myself despite the challenges of aging. A story of which I continue to be the author until the end. It may not be easy for everyone to assemble a medical, financial, and legal team that can make the story real. But in light of the benefits to society and to the people we love, it is an effort we all should be making.
Tailwind Update: MARKET OUTLOOK
By Doug Beck, Registered Investment Advisor, Tailwind Wealth Management
The US economy appears capable of supporting further gains for investors in stocks. Bonds remain an important diversifier, and we don’t expect too much in terms of rising rates, other than what is already priced into the market with a seemingly vigilant Federal Reserve.
Our main concern over the near-term is within emerging markets, where weakening currencies appear to be picking up steam down what can be a very slippery slope.Tailwind purged its position in emerging market stocks earlier in May, avoiding the continued slide that has caught others off guard. Our focus now is on determining what related risks might arise should the turmoil expand – otherwise known as contagion, or “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” While such panic is not necessarily a foregone conclusion, history suggests it is highly likely. We will maintain our defensive posture, and be ready to capitalize on any bargains that might present themselves as the scenario continues to unfold.
Life’s Lessons: Teaching Them Early
As the global superpower and world’s largest economy, it’s incomprehensible how unprepared the majority of our youth is when it comes to basic personal finance skills. “Being prepared” is currently defined by one’s ability to swipe or insert a chip into a credit card reader.
Fortunately, an easy remedy in the form of a simple conversation is at every parents’ (or grandparents’) fingertips. We call it the “money game.” Give a child a pretend budget of $3,500/month and tell them to imagine they’ve just graduated from college – this is roughly what the average undergraduate take-home pay is, after taxes. Now back out rent, food, utilities (cell plan included!), transportation, and health insurance. Stop there… how much remains? Adjust and continue the discussion.
Tailwind Wealth Management LLC is a registered investment advisor.