Latest Blog Post

Read the latest article written by EPPIA members, published in the Eden Prairie News.

Seven Signals of Senior Scams

Sadly, seniors are often the target of scams and fraud. Why? There are four basic reasons: they have money, they are trusting, they can be technology challenged, and cognitive impairment can be an issue. However, there are ways to protect yourself from being swindled. As a Better Business Bureau handout advises: Be Wise, Be Informed and Be Empowered.

Be wary of stranger danger. Never provide financial or personal information in response to unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages, or when prompted to do so by a website. If someone you don't know knocks on your door and wants to sell you something, don’t let them in the house.

Be alert to home improvement solicitations by someone “working in the neighborhood.” If you're interested in the product or service, take a card or brochure, and tell them you will follow up yourself. Resist high pressure sales tactics and offers that seem too good to be true. Family, friends and the Better Business Bureau can help you determine if their offer fits your needs at a fair price. Read contracts carefully. Ask for start and completion times in writing. Advance payments for remodeling and repairs should raise red flags.

Take care when using your smartphone or computer. Protect your devises with suitable up-to-date antivirus software. Consider using a free malware removal tool like Malwarebytes on a regular basis. If in doubt, don’t open a file or click on a link. Even if an email is from a friend, be cautious about links or attachments. Email accounts can be hijacked by others to send viruses or other malware which can steal contact lists and send emails that looks like it came from a trusted source (spoofing).

Use caution when shopping online. Use a credit card and not a debit card so your responsibility for losses is reduced. When visiting websites, look for the https:// prefix. Data is encrypted on these sites and should be more secure. Fake websites for reputable companies abound so look closely. Be wary of phone calls, emails, or websites that claim your computer has problems and promise to fix them remotely. This is a means to hijack your computer and/or your identity. If a pop-up or web page seems odd or unfamiliar, close the browser and try again.

Be suspicious of calls from people claiming to work for your insurer, the government, or a medical supplies company. Never give them your social security number or financial information. Steer clear of investments promising big returns or requiring money sent in advance. Consult with a trusted professional for investment advice and do homework on the advisor and the investment. Be cautious about buying annuities - you may find you've been sold a product that generated big fees for your advisor but was not suitable for you.

Charitable solicitations are rife with problems. Some legitimate charities (such as the Wounded Warrior Project) spend a large portion of your donation on administrative costs and marketing. Some “fake” charities have names that are similar to real charities, and some professional fundraisers take a large cut from money they raise. The Minnesota Attorney General’s office has helpful information online, and recommends smartgivers.org a non-profit that vets charities.

The saddest scams are those perpetrated by family members or trusted advisors. If a family member is unable to manage their finances, have someone other than the manager reviews the accounts periodically to be sure money is being spent properly. Managing another person's finances is often difficult and can be a lot of work. While we don’t want to deter people from assuming this responsibility by giving them burdensome accounting and reporting challenges, we do want to make sure it is done properly. Be aware that there are laws to protect both physically and financially vulnerable adults.

More information: The Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) and the Minnesota Attorney General (ag.state.mn.us) provide resources to help identify and avoid scams. They can also help you recover losses. They recognize you worked too hard to lose your savings to con artists.

Richard Jensen is an attorney who does estate planning (952) 944-0406, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org

Senior Awareness Month Event

EPPIA is hosting a FREE Resource Fair on Thursday, May 12 from 1:30 to 4:30 at Pax Christi Catholic Community in honor of Senior Awareness Month. Featured speaker will be acclaimed former WCCO-TV anchor and popular storyteller, Don Shelby, bringing humor and insight to the topic of “Living Retirement to its Fullest!” His presentation is also free and runs from 2:30 to 3:30. Come enjoy Don’s views on re-inventing yourself and re-imagining life after retirement.

In addition, EPPIA will offer information and free resources from over 25 of its member organizations who serve seniors and their families in the Eden Prairie community. Virtually every topic or service pertaining to seniors can be found in their network---including housing, transportation, healthcare, legal and financial planning, relocation and move management, travel and leisure activities, education, lifelong learning, volunteer opportunities and family support. This is a great opportunity to meet friendly, knowledgeable people whose coordinated efforts make Eden Prairie such a great community for seniors and their families.

No reservations are necessary and the event is free to the public. Bus transportation is available to Pax Christi (1200 Pioneer Trail) for Eden Prairie residents. Just call 952-279-8050 by May 9 to reserve a seat. Suggested donation for this service is $4.00.

Senior Resource Fair: May 12 from 1:30-4:30

Doors open: 1:30pm
Don Shelby presentation: 2:30-3:30
Social Hour: 3:30-4:30
Resource Fair: 1:30-4:30

About EPPIA (Eden Prairie Professionals in Aging):

According to the 2014 census, over 12,500 residents in Eden Prairie were over the age of 55 and could be considered seniors. That’s a considerable period of time to be considered a “senior” (whatever that means!) and those years represent incredible opportunities and experiences. EPPIA was formed over 20 years ago to help people in this age group locate and access the many resources, leisure activities and services available to them in the Eden Prairie area. The hub of many of those activities is the Eden Prairie Senior Center which serves older adults with a wide variety of interests and abilities. (Did we mention this includes zip lining!) The Senior Center is just one of the member organizations in EPPIA whose purpose is to educate and connect seniors to resources and information that will help them get the most out of “senior living”. Check us out at our website—you’ll learn a lot! www.edenprairieaging.org.

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org

Who Is A Caregiver?

Are you a caregiver? Many people in this role have never identified themselves with the title “caregiver.” You may be an adult child caring for a parent. You may be a neighbor looking out for the elderly couple living next door. You may be a spouse caring for your partner. Broadly defined, caregiver refers to any family member, partner, neighbor or friend who has a significant relationship with and/or provides assistance for an older individual or an adult with health issues.

With longer life expectancy and greater opportunity to age in place, many seniors are remaining in their homes. There are numerous benefits for the senior with an attentive caregiver involved. These benefits include things such as decreased emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, delay of nursing home placement, improved compliance with the medical plan and improved quality of life.

Perhaps you identify caregiving with tasks more “hands on” in nature, including assistance with personal care, such as bathing, dressing and grooming, meal preparation, transportation, paying bills and medication management – and rightfully so. However, assistance with locating and coordinating outside services, advocacy at medical appointments or during a hospital stay, as well as ongoing communication with providers and other family members are also important caregiving tasks that can be time consuming and stressful.

The caregiver role brings a number of challenges. First, caregivers may find themselves providing increasingly complex care, including injections, wound care, special diets and medication management. There may also be significant financial and career implications for the caregiver. With a high percentage of caregivers working full or part-time and in their peak work years, caregiving responsibilities may impact availability to work and in some cases bring retirement earlier than planned, resulting in lost income. Often times, caregivers are caring for aging parents while still raising their own family. In addition, as families find themselves increasingly geographically spread out, long distance caregiving brings extra costs as the caregiver travels back and forth to meet the needs of their loved one.

Finally, caregiving may present physical and emotional health challenges to the caregiver themselves. Many report increased stress, substance abuse, and diminished social life, higher rates of depression, anxiety and sleep problems. Increased rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are also recorded among caregivers.

There is no doubt about it, caregiving is difficult. Early identification as a caregiver is important because it allows for finding and implementing strategies that will support you in remaining healthy and strong. Here are a few items to keep in mind:


1. Identify what is important to you and your family. Set realistic expectations and adapt as needed.

2. Take care of yourself.

  • See your doctor regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Recharge with some alone time or with friends
  • Be attentive to your spiritual needs
  • Find humor

3. Ask for help. A simple and convenient way to let friends and family know how they can help is by setting up a care team at www.carenextion.org. This web based tool enables caregivers to organize tasks, communicate needs and share information with their confidential care team. Care teams can include family members, friends and medical professionals. CareNextion also provides resources for professional services as well as access to an experienced social worker. Supports such as respite care educational presentations, financial help for outside services, support groups and caregiver coaching are available.

Each caregiver journey is unique. As you navigate the challenges along the way, be sure to reflect on the simple gifts and rewards that come with the journey. Take time to note the great personal satisfaction that comes from caring for another and knowing their needs are being met. As your understanding of selflessness and love grows, relationships will deepen and you will have the opportunity to establish lasting memories. You will be surprised by your strength and resiliency.

Lisa Engdahl, Licensed Social Worker
Senior Community Services
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.seniorcommunity.org

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org

FINDING THE RIGHT CARE

The New Year is here and for many people that means time for change. However, having just visited older loved ones during the holidays, you may have concerns about changes you noticed in their lives such as:

Their Health

  • How did they look? Are they noticeably heavier or thinner? Do they stoop or stand upright? Have their looks changed in any significant way?
  • How is their balance? A balance problem could indicate a medication problem, an incorrect eyeglass prescription, or worse and warrants a visit to the doctor.
  • Were their clothes rumpled or soiled when they used to be immaculate?
  • Did they appear to have issues with memory? Were they struggling to perform what use to be routine tasks? Have they become quiet and withdrawn?

Their Home

  • Was the house clean and well-kept, or does it need more maintenance than usual?
  • Does the stairway have handrails; is it well lit? Are carpet coverings tight or wood non-slippery?

Their Driving

  • How’s their driving? How was their reaction time? Do they miss signs and make risky maneuvers? Have they been in any fender benders since your last visit?

Their Finances

  • Were there late notices in their mail? Had the mail even been opened? Were bills stacking up?
  • Are there bills they can’t pay?

Many in the “sandwich generation” are experiencing the daunting tasks of a new life stage that includes helping parents or older family members stay as independent, healthy and as safe as possible while they navigate the complex myriad of living and care options. It can be overwhelming.

Throughout other major life transitions, experts often provide guidance and support, such as:

  • Guidance Counselors offer advice to high school seniors.
  • Wedding Planners help couples bring their special day to life.
  • Financial Planners assist parents in setting up college funds.
  • Realtors educate people on what to look for and how to purchase their first home.
  • Personal Trainers support people as they go after their New Year’s goals.

Fortunately, experts in senior care, with titles like: Eldercare Consultant, Senior Placement Advisor, or Care Manager, offer expertise, support and guidance to families and seniors as they go through these transitions. Many have been through this same process with their loved ones. Some services are provided on a fee basis and others (like assistance in finding senior living) are often provided at no charge to the client because the agency is paid a commission by the communities, much like a Realtor.

Examples of how or when these care experts can be helpful:

  • A family feels like a loved one is no longer safe living at home alone. Experts like these can help evaluate options for in-home care, adult day care programs or moving to a senior community with services. The agencies can research to compare options, summarize expenses and provide names of resources to contact.
  • Often these agencies are especially helpful to adult children who live out of the area or have extremely busy work lives and can’t be there for appointments, etc. In those cases, the agencies can provide support on a scheduled basis, and provide updates to the family on their loved one.
  • Financing senior living can be confusing. Senior care experts can explain the types of financing each community will accept and if there’s a required period of private pay. They can recommend financial planning experts, help families apply for Medical Assistance and explore other sources of funding such as: VA benefits for qualified vets and spouses when appropriate.

Change can be hard, but it is easier when an expert provides guidance during the process. As you help your parents or older loved ones navigate the wide range of care options available, consider engaging an expert in senior care to make the process more productive, efficient, and less stressful. We’re here to help!

Kathy Quinby-Johnson, Owner and Senior Advisor Senior Care Authority 952-903-5060 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org

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