18 specials pensioners should take advantage of at all times
There is a limit as to how far a pension can stretch and with the rising costs of food, medical care, housing and fuel, most South Africans are struggling to make ends meet, let alone those on a pension. There are many benefits to being that bit older and pensioners should take full advantage of any discount on offer – and there are many, including … Sanparks, concessionary domestic television licence, Pick n Pay, Spar, SterKinekor, Nu Metro, Clicks, Torga Optical, SpecSavers, Hertz, Mango, Game, Dis-Chem, Tsogo Sun Hotels, Johannesburg Zoo, Maropeng, Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden and Intercape.
Be safe ... always!
When you plan to go out, even if it is just for a short walk, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Inviting someone along is always a good idea, as is not walking in quiet, isolated areas. If you are going to the shops, never let your handbag dangle from its straps; keep it tucked tightly under your arm.
If you are only taking along your purse or wallet, either carry it in the front pocket of your trousers or in an inside jacket pocket. While shopping, never leave your handbag or anything of value, like a cellphone, unattended or in the trolley.
Many retirement villages have scheduled shopping days for residents and take them to a centre in a combi. Unfortunately, criminals look out for vulnerable targets and sometimes target older people on these excursions.
Make sure you are prepared
It’s essential to plan how your money should be handled in the event of an illness or death. Good planning will help make sure you or your family are ready to meet any of the costs that might arise.
Consider the following:
Keeping all your financial documents in one place is a simple but effective first step: – Your spending – Sources of income – Debts – Savings, investments and property
This kind of information will make things much easier for anyone you later ask to help manage your affairs. Handing over control of your finances It makes sense to have plans in place in case you become too ill to manage your money. A friend, relative or professional adviser can be a great help. But if you become unable to make decisions about your finances, you can set up a legal arrangement to let them do so on your behalf. This arrangement is a power of attorney (POA).
There are two different kinds of POA, suitable for different circumstances:
The ordinary power of attorney – you use this to give someone a temporary right to handle your financial affairs; for example, if you’re in hospital for a while. You might need an attorney to set this up. Lasting power of attorney – you would use this to give a chosen individual the right to manage your affairs for you on an ongoing, indefinite basis.
Make a will
If you die without making a will – referred to as dying ‘intestate’ – the law specifies how your assets will be divided. It’s possible to write your own will, but even small technical mistakes can make a will invalid, so it’s generally a good idea to get help from an attorney or professional will writer.
Important: if you have married since making a will, your marriage will probably have made the
Funerals can be expensive, but there are ways of preventing these costs burdening your family:
You can save regularly into a savings account earmarked for funeral expenses.
If you have life insurance, check whether there are extra benefits if the proceeds are used to cover funeral costs. Make sure the proceeds are written in trust so they are easily available after your death and don’t form part of your estate.
Get your paperwork together
It’s a big help to your advisers and family if you let them know where you keep important documents such as:
• Divorce papers • Property deeds • Bank statements • Outstanding bills • Insurance policies • Credit card statements • Mortgage information • Birth and marriage certificates • Tax certificates such as your P60 • Details of savings and investments – including share certificates, Premium Bonds and pension plan statements.
If you deal with your bills and bank accounts online, then printing out some copies will help.
It’s also a good idea to make a list of regular payments that will need to be cancelled, such as subscriptions you might have to magazines, societies or clubs, breakdown services, or donations to charities.
Then make sure you let your executor and/ or your family know where they can find this paperwork.
Steps to healthy and happy ageing
Practising healthy habits throughout your life is ideal, but it’s never too late to reap the benefits of taking good care of yourself, even as you get older.
• Stay physically active with regular exercise.
• Stay socially active with friends and family and within your community.
• Follow a healthy, well-balanced diet – dump the junk food in favour of fibre-rich, low-fat, and low-cholesterol eating.
• Don’t neglect yourself: Regular check-ups with your doctor, dentist, and optometrist are even more important now.
• Take all medications as directed by your doctor.
• Limit alcohol consumption and cut out smoking.
• Get the sleep your body needs.
• Finally, taking care of your physical self is vital, but it’s important that you tend to your emotional health as well. Reap the rewards of your long life, and enjoy each and every day.
Fun and fitness for seniors go together
Here are some fun, low-impact, and non-traditional ways that South African over-60s can get in shape. Just don’t forget to get your doctor’s approval before you embark on a new physical activity or exercise regime.
Romp with the grandchildren – There is nothing more rewarding than spending time with your grandchildren and simultaneously reaping the benefits of physical activity.
Dancing classes – Dancing is a great way to improve your balance and to prevent falls.
Grab those golf clubs – A great way to build endurance, golf is the perfect game for competitive seniors who enjoy the outdoors.
Take up yoga – Low-impact exercise classes, such as yoga, reduce stress, lower depression, improve quality of life and help to improve strength, balance and coordination.
Mall walking – Walking in the fresh air is the best, but mall walking allows you to walk in all weathers and provides a safe environment in which to walk.
Bowling – Apart from doing wonders for your social calendar, bowling, a ‘whole body’ exercise, is an excellent endurance activity. It speeds up your metabolism and maintains bone density.
There are pros and cons to online dating, and we strongly recommend that you refer to the Online Dating Protector when it comes to using an online dating site. The Online Dating Protector was created with you in mind. It is dedicated to making you aware of and protecting you from the dangers of online dating scams, and includes the following topics:
• What is a scammer?
• Who are the Moderation Team and what do they do?
• How do you report a suspicious profile?
• How to spot a scammer
However, the internet can be a great place to meet new friends and companions. Just follow the basic safety rules and be aware of the risks that can happen.
Survival tips for mature daters
• Do your research – investigate several sites before you decide on one or more.
• Be prepared to be disappointed – words and an image on a screen do not necessarily reveal the personality of the person.
• Be authentic on that first meeting – be the real you.
• Don’t behave like a lovestruck teenager!
• Protect yourself – don’t share personal information (email, phone numbers) until you really know and are comfortable with the person.
• When you meet for the first time, do so in a public place. Tell a friend where you are going and arrange that you will call him/ her when the meeting is finished.
• Be wary of online imposters and don’t respond to calls or emails for money or financial details.
• If the relationship progresses to the point of intimacy, insist on using a condom.
Be suspicious of anyone who tries to rush you into signing any kind of contractual agreement.
Tell them that you want some time to read through the paperwork. Go through it very carefully or ask the assistance of a trusted family member, friend or adviser. Never give your personal details – including your credit card, identity or banking information – to anyone who randomly calls and asks for them. If you want reassurance, ask them for their details and verify those for yourself. Call them only once you are happy that the initial request was legitimate.
6 things to consider when choosing an old age home
Choosing an old age home for your parents is one of the most important steps you will ever have to take.
1. Find out about the old age home as a business – The first thing to establish is how long the business has been running. Ask the manager about the owners of the business, the qualifications of the matron etc. Find out if the owners have ever run a home before or whether they have other homes. Does the business own the premises or are they tenants (here today, gone tomorrow)?
2. Enquire about the staff – Good nursing has everything to do with the staff. If they are happy and well-trained, the residents experience good nursing care. Spend some time with the matron and sisters and see how they interact with the staff. How do they monitor the performance and progress of each staff member? How long have the staff members been with the old age home? Are the staff full-time or temporary/ volunteers?
3. Nursing care – Ask the matron to show you how they go about their day-
to-day care. Ask her how medicines are administered and recorded. Check whether the home belongs to an association that upholds high standards in the industry. This is always a good indication of how seriously they consider their work.
4. Staff to resident ratio – Check how many staff members are on duty during each shift. Then divide the number of residents by the number of nursing staff per shift to get a ratio.
5. Meals and general hygiene – Meals are extremely important in the lives of residents and play a big part in their well-being. Ask to take a look at the kitchen. Look for cleanliness and order as well as food freshness. Check the menus and make sure they offer healthy meals.
6. Entertainment – It’s been proved that patients suffering from senile dementia benefit from an environment in which they are made to feel welcome and kept busy. Also, check whether the old age home offers occupational therapy programmes.