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HEALTH MINDED NEWS  .  .  .

Elderly Fraud: 5 Types of Senior Scams & How to Prevent Them

Unfortunately, there are individuals in the world taking advantage of others. One of the most common examples of this is senior financial fraud. Senior citizens are often victimized by those who deceive and con others for a living. Have you or maybe a grandparent fallen victim to a scam? Are you familiar with some of the most common senior scams? How do you protect yourself or a senior from falling victim to another’s deceitful ways? Knowledge is power! Give yourself the power by learning what an elderly scam is, what to look for, and how to handle these situations.

What is “Senior Scamming”?

According to www.dictionary.com, a scam is “a deceptive scheme or trick used to cheat someone out of something, especially money.” A “senior” scam is an informal word often used to refer to the kind of fraudulent schemes, targeted at elderly adults, seen in spam emails, but it can also be applied to bigger or more sophisticated swindles, like pyramid schemes, romance, charitable donations, health care, and so much more.

Noteworthy “Senior Scam” Statistics

Although elderly adults aren’t any more likely to be the victims of financial fraud, they are more susceptible to certain types of scams. According to a study performed by the Federal Trade Commission in 2019, seniors lost four-times more money, on average, to phone scams compared to younger adults. Those 80 years of age or older, lost more money to prizes, sweepstakes and lottery scams compared to those between the ages of 60-79. In total, seniors ages 60 and up lost more than $440 million in 2019.

What are the Most Common Types of Senior Scams?

It’s important for seniors and their families to be aware of common types of financial fraud, so they can adequately protect themselves. Here are the five most common senior scams you should look out for.

1. Healthcare Scam

Everyone has health care needs, but sadly seniors may have more needs than others. Healthcare scammers will often contact you, claiming to be a representative of a healthcare company that can help you get better rates. They may even claim they can offer you discounts on medication, medical equipment, vaccinations and more. At this point, the scammer will ask for personal information including your social security number, address, banking information, or date of birth. They can then use this information to steal your identity, leaving you in a state of dismay.

2. Romance Scam

Many elderly people want to make a connection with someone who can make them feel special. It is wonderful when you can meet someone who encourages you and makes you feel loved. However, many seniors find love in the wrong places, with dishonest people they’ve found on the internet. Scammers look for someone who is looking to build a connection, and will often declare their love for the other person early on. After a bond has been formed, they’ll start asking you for money, so proceed with caution. The person on the other end of the phone may be a professional con artist, looking to take advantage of you.

3. Relative/Family Scam

When it comes to family, we will do anything to keep them safe or help if they are in trouble. Con-artists know that seniors value family above most things and will take advantage of this fact for their own personal gain. They will usually contact you posing as a relative in desperate need of help, insisting that they need a large sum of money to resolve their troubles. Be sure to pay attention to the details of the conversation and ask if you can call them back. After you hang up, call the relative they’re claiming to be. This is the quickest way to verify whether the call is actually coming from the relative the scammer claims to be. Save yourself the heartache and disappointment of falling victim to these fraudulent claims.

4. Online/Technical Support Scam

Technology is changing all the time. It’s no wonder it feels so tough to keep up. Many members of the senior community are not tech-savvy and impostors know this. Too often scammers contact seniors posing as a technical support analyst to gain access to their computer, tablet, or laptop. This so-called “online support person” will often claim there is an issue with your computer, and they need access to it to resolve the issue. Once they have access to your devices, and subsequently your personal information, they can steal your identity or even extort you for money.

5. Government Scam

An imposter may pose as a member of a well-known government agency when contacting a Senior. They may identify themselves as a member of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, or a health insurance agency representative from Medicare or Medicaid. Elderly adults may be asked to send large sums of money to avoid drastic penalties, such as jail, deportation, bankruptcy, and/or benefits being cut off. You may be asked to verify personal information that can be used to steal your identity. If you are contacted, ask questions and be sure to verify the information given to you. Reach out to others for advice on how to proceed forward.

How to Protect Yourself from a “Senior Scammer”?

Scammers, imposters, scam artists, and swindlers know no boundaries. They will use any lie they can think of to extort money or steal a senior’s identity. So how can you or maybe your grandparent avoid being scammed? Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Do not give out any personal information over the phone. Personal information can be your name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, banking information, address, and social security number.
  • Reach out to someone that you trust to help navigate what is a scam and what is legit.
  • Do not act on an impulse! Take notes about the information that you are receiving from a suspected scammer then verify.

What Should You Do If You or an Elderly Parent is being Scammed?

The most important thing you can do if you or an elderly parent has fallen victim to a senior scam is report it. The next, most obvious question is where can you report a senior scam? Here are the most noteworthy places you can report fraud:

There’s no shame in falling victim to a senior scammer. They’re smart and know just the right ways to take advantage of people. Unfortunately, as we discussed above, this kind of thing isn’t uncommon. It’s essential to report these kinds of crimes so the proper authorities can do their job to bring scammers to justice.

At Culpepper Place of Olive Branch, we believe in protecting the residents of our Community. We provide compassion, companionship through daily activities, privacy, and dignity to our residents. Please contact Culpepper Place of Olive Branch today to find out more!

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

 

At a glance: AMD

  • Early Symptoms:

None

  • Later Symptoms:

Loss of the central vision you need to see details straight ahead, blurry or wavy areas in your central vision

  • Diagnosis:

Dilated eye exam

  • Treatment:

Dietary supplements (vitamins and minerals), injections, photodynamic therapy (injections and laser treatment)

What is AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that can blur your central vision. It happens when aging causes damage to the macula — the part of the eye that controls sharp, straight-ahead vision. The macula is part of the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye).

AMD is a common condition — it’s a leading cause of vision loss for older adults. AMD doesn’t cause complete blindness, but losing your central vision can make it harder to see faces, read, drive, or do close-up work like cooking or fixing things around the house. 

AMD happens very slowly in some people and faster in others. If you have early AMD, you may not notice vision loss for a long time. That’s why it’s important to get regular eye exams to find out if you have AMD.

What are the types and stages of AMD?

There are 2 types of AMD: dry and wet.

Most people with AMD have dry AMD (also called atrophic AMD). This is when the macula gets thinner with age. Dry AMD happens in 3 stages: early, intermediate, and late. It usually progresses slowly over several years. There’s no treatment for late dry AMD, but you can find ways to make the most of your remaining vision. And if you have late dry AMD in only 1 eye, you can take steps to protect your other eye.

Wet AMD (also called advanced neovascular AMD), is a less common type of late AMD that usually causes faster vision loss. Any stage of dry AMD can turn into wet AMD — but wet AMD is always late stage. It happens when abnormal blood vessels grow in the back of the eye and damage the macula. The good news is that treatment options are available for wet AMD.

What are the symptoms of AMD?

The symptoms of AMD depend on the stage. Dry AMD happens in 3 stages: early, intermediate, and late.  AMD is a progressive disease — that means symptoms usually get worse over time.

  • Early dry AMD doesn’t cause any symptoms.
  • In intermediate dry AMD, some people still have no symptoms. Others may notice mild symptoms, like mild blurriness in their central vision or trouble seeing in low lighting.
  • In late AMD (wet or dry type), many people notice that straight lines start to look wavy or crooked. You may also notice a blurry area near the center of your vision. Over time, this blurry area may get bigger or you may see blank spots. Colors may also seem less bright than before, and you may have more trouble seeing in low lighting.

Straight lines looking wavy is a warning sign for late AMD. If you notice this symptom, see your eye doctor right away.

Am I at risk for AMD?

Your risk for AMD increases as you get older. People age 55 and older are more likely to have AMD. The risk for AMD is also higher for people who: 

  • Have a family history of AMD
  • Are Caucasian 
  • Smoke  

If you’re at risk for AMD because of your age, family history, or other factors, it’s important to get regular eye exams. Ask your doctor how often you need to get eye exams. Early AMD doesn’t have any symptoms, so don’t wait for your vision to change! 

How can I lower my risk for AMD?

Research shows that you may be able to lower your risk of AMD (or slow vision loss from AMD) by making these healthy choices: 

  • Quit smoking — or don’t start 
  • Get regular physical activity 
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Eat healthy foods, including leafy green vegetables and fish

Did you know?

AMD is very common — 11 million people in the United States have it

Late AMD can happen in 1 or both eyes

Having late AMD in 1 eye puts you at higher risk of developing late AMD in your other eye

How will my eye doctor check for AMD?

Eye doctors can check for AMD as part of a comprehensive dilated eye exam. The exam is simple and painless — your doctor will give you some eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil and then check your eyes for AMD and other eye problems.

Learn what to expect from a dilated eye exam

Your doctor may also recommend doing a test called optical coherence tomography (OCT). In an OCT test, your eye doctor will take pictures of the inside of your eye with a special machine.

What’s the treatment for AMD?

Treatment for AMD depends on the stage and type. There’s currently no treatment for early AMD, so your eye doctor will probably just keep track of how your eyes are doing with regular eye exams. Eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking can also help. 

If you have intermediate AMD in 1 or both eyes, special dietary supplements (vitamins and minerals) may be able to stop it from turning into late AMD. If you have late AMD in only 1 eye, these supplements may slow down AMD in your other eye.

Learn more about supplements for AMD

If you have wet AMD, there are other treatments that may be able to stop further vision loss: 

  • Medicines called anti-VEGF drugs that the doctor injects in your eye  
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a combination of injections and laser treatment

Learn more about treatments for wet AMD

There’s currently no treatment for late dry AMD — but researchers are hard at work looking for treatment options. And you can get support to help you live with vision loss from AMD.

How do I live with vision loss from AMD?

Not everyone with AMD develops late AMD or gets it in both eyes. But if you do, living with vision loss from AMD can be challenging. Having low vision means that even with glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, your vision loss makes it hard to do everyday tasks.  

The good news is, there are things that can help — like low vision devices and vision rehab services. Vision rehab can help you learn the skills you need to stay independent and activities.

NATIONAL EYE INSTITUTE  2022

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COVID-19 and Sex: What Men Need to Know

Studies have found that COVID-19 can cause erectile dysfunction and reduce male fertility in the months after infection.

Medically Reviewed
sperm
A recent study found that 60 percent of men hit by COVID-19 experienced reduced sperm motility in the month after infection.Stocksy

Just over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are still unraveling the mysterious impacts the coronavirus has on almost every part of the body — from the heart, lungs, and brain to the eyes, skin, and reproductive organs.

While most studies on COVID-19’s effect on fertility have focused on women, emerging research on men is starting to show that the infection may lead to a temporary dip in male fertility and sexual function.

A study published in November 2021 in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation found that men who’d had COVID-19 were over 3 times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men who’d not had COVID-19. Still, this accounted for less than 5 percent of people in the study who’d been infected.

According to Kevin Chu, MD, an andrology fellow at the University of Miami, the discovery of the coronavirus in penile and testicular tissue raised questions that required answers.

“Finding virus in this tissue is what first drove researchers to look at certain parts of the body that weren’t initially looked at,” says Dr. Chu. “There is still so much we don’t know.”

Can COVID-19 Lead to Erectile Dysfunction?

For a study published in February 2022 in the journal Sexual Medicine, Chu and his coauthors hypothesized that because COVID-19 can result in the constriction of blood vessels around the heart, it might affect a man’s ability to have an erection.

“You need good blood flow into the penis to get good erections, and if that’s impacted, that could cause erectile dysfunction,” says Chu.

He and his team reviewed electronic medical records of millions of patients in the United States, identifying over 230,000 adult men who had COVID-19 and comparing them with a similar number of men who were not infected. Their conclusion: COVID-19 can be linked to erectile dysfunction.

According to Chu, experts should continue to review new data as it comes out.

“Looking for associations is an important first step, but we need to then identify these cause-and-effect correlations,” he says.

It’s important to note that erections are not purely biological. “They require psychosocial factors and that needs to be looked at, too,” Chu says, explaining that the mental strain from being sick or even the stress of the pandemic might come into play.

Scientists have long documented the toll that stress takes on libido and sexual function, but the research on how pandemic-related stress is affecting people’s sex lives has produced mixed results.

A meta-analysis published in January 2022 in the journal BMC Public Health looked at 26 studies involving nearly 2,500 women and 3,800 men. Overall, the researchers found that there was an association between the COVID-19 pandemic and reduced sexual activity, especially in women, and that fear of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 had the greatest impact on the occurrence of sexual dysfunction.

But a small study published in February 2021 in the journal Sexual Medicine, which included 76 male cannabis users, found that the pandemic didn’t appear to influence sexual function and actually increased sexual activity.

Can COVID-19 Affect Male Fertility?

The research on how COVID-19 may impact male fertility is also new, but a growing body of evidence suggests it might have a negative effect, at least in the short term.

A study of 120 men published in February 2022 in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that 60 percent of those who’d had COVID-19 experienced reduced sperm motility (referring to sperm’s ability to move) in the month following infection, even though the virus was not detected in the sperm itself.

Because the research is still new, it’s not clear how long this drop in fertility lasts, though the authors estimated around three months.

A separate study, published in January 2022 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, included more than 2,100 couples. Researchers found that while COVID-19 in women didn’t appear to impair their ability to get pregnant, COVID-19 in men did seem to reduce fertility. Compared with males who did not have COVID-19 within the last 60 days, men who did were almost 20 percent less likely to conceive during that time frame.

“We assume that the effects won’t be permanent but we don’t know that yet,” says Chas Easley, PhD, an associate professor of environmental health science at the University of Georgia School of Public Health in Athens, who was not involved with the research.

According to Dr. Easley, all viruses target different receptors, or proteins, to gain entry into cells. The coronavirus behind COVID-19 targets two proteins: ACE2 and TMPRSS2. Easley and some other experts hypothesize that organs that contain both these proteins are particularly susceptible to infection by the COVID-19 virus. The testes, which are the organs responsible for making sperm, contain both.

Sertoli cells, a type of cell in the testes, also contain these proteins. These cells form a physical barrier that separates blood vessels from the testes, called the blood-testis barrier. When the virus latches onto these proteins, it disrupts the function of Sertoli cells in multiple ways.

“If you screw up the Sertoli cells, you lose the ability to promote the spermiogenesis required to create real sperm,” says Easley.

He advises people who’ve had COVID-19 and are having difficulty conceiving to consider testing to evaluate sperm count and sperm motility.

Do COVID-19 Vaccines Make Men Infertile?

According to Easley, none of the COVID-19 vaccines reduce male fertility. “The vaccine can’t cause infertility — but the virus can,” he says.

The study published in January 2022 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found no difference in male or female fertility among uninfected people who were vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines compared with uninfected people who were not vaccinated.

The new study backs up prior research on mRNA vaccines. An investigation published in June 2021 in JAMA, which included 45 men who received two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, found that the vaccine did not lower sperm counts. In fact, sperm counts increased, from a median count of 26 million per milliliter at baseline to 30 million per milliliter after the second shot.

According to Easley, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an important way for men to protect their fertility.

"Even mild cases of COVID can lead to decreased sperm counts, lower sperm motility, and increased DNA fragmentation in sperm, and we predict that vaccines will prevent this damage," he says.

Source: EverydayHealth.Com

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The Finest in Independent Living

VISTA DEL MONTE

Without the hassles of mundane chores, you’re free to enjoy the things you really want to do. At Vista del Monte, you’ll have time to engage in what’s most meaningful to you: pick up a new skill or hobby, travel, discover an interesting sport, or make more time to socialize. Whatever it is, we can help. With our Independent Living services, we take care of all the practical tasks, including transportation, housekeeping, and maintenance. Our culinary staff prepares delicious meals, handles all the day-to-day chores, and your wellbeing needs are attended to—all in one place. For information visit: www.vistadelmonte.org. Vista Del Monte – Santa Barbara, California – 805-687-0793

 


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