Monthly Archives

July 2015

Get Cash for Your Used Gadgets

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

Did you recently replace your cell phone, laptop or other electronic device, and you are now wondering what to do with the old one? Rather than add to the 60 million tons of electronic waste disposed of each year, here are a few options. Rather than allow those old electronics to sit on a shelf and collect dust, why not take advantage of one of the following options.

  • Sell it. Many cell phones have a resale value as long as they are in good condition. Rather than chance selling it to an individual via an ad, here are a few of the online companies that offer buyback programs: sellcell.com, www.gazelle.com, www.usell.com. Be sure to read all of the details of the buyback to determine if it is a good option for you.
  • Swap it. Visit amazon trade-in-program at amazon.com. Click on “Help,” then “Ordering” under “Topics,” and you’ll see “Amazon Trade-In Program.” Search the website for your model to see how much it is worth. Amazon will pay for the shipping, and you get the credit.

Visit Best Buy online at bestbuy.com and look under “services” for “Trade-In Center.” Find an estimate of your phone’s value, mail it to their Center, and within seven days, you’ll receive a gift card in the mail, good for anything in the store or online.

  • Recycle it. Manufacturers and retailers try to make it easy to keep used electronics out of landfills. Companies like Sprint, Samsung, Staples, Dell, LG and Best Buy all offer in-store or mail-in recycling options.
  • Donate it. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a non-profit organization that recycles millions of cellphones and uses the proceeds to purchase calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas. Find out more about this program at cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

Before you choose a company, do your research, compare each site based on the item you want to sell, and then make a decision based on your research. All of the sites listed are valid options for getting money for your qualifying used item, whether it’s just some extra cash in your pocket, or to help fund your latest gadget obsession. Don’t let those old unused items sit on a shelf and collect dust.

The Difference Between A Last Will and Testament and a Living Will

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Last week my grandmother’s doctor asked her if she had a living will during her medical appointment. She answered, “Yes, I have a will, but I don’t remember it being called a living will.” Her doctor explained that a living will is a written statement detailing a person’s desires regarding their medical treatment in circumstances in which they are no longer able to express informed consent, especially an advance care directive.

Here is how my grandmother’s last will and testament differs from the living will she discussed with her doctor. The purpose of a last will and testament is to distribute your assets after you pass away. I’ve not been to the reading of a will, but I understand that a will allows you to decide what you would like to go to whom, when, and how. Without a will, state law will determine who inherits your assets and handles your estate. Your will, as well as a living trust, allows you to structure the asset distribution to help avoid estate taxes, protect your heirs from creditors and space out the distribution over time.

The purpose of a living will is to memorialize your health care wishes so that your family, doctors, and/or health care proxy (the person making your health care decisions) know what you want done if you are not able to make decisions for yourself. You are able to specify whether you would like to be kept alive by artificial means if there is no hope of recovery. You are also able to specify the level of care that you want to receive if you are in an accident or a coma.

Both a will and a living will are important pieces of any estate plan. Each should be prepared under the guidance of an attorney, and both need to be witnessed by two disinterested persons. That is where the similarities end. If you don’t already have a will or living will in place, contact an attorney who can explain the difference between the two documents and prepare the proper estate plan for your individual needs.

Surprising Signs of an Unhealthy Heart

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

As a child I remember hearing my uncle discuss his heart attack, stating that it felt like an elephant was sitting on his chest. So for years I thought if there was no mention of an elephant sitting on someone’s chest, they probably had indigestion and were not having a heart attack. Fast forward to the day my friend Leah’s mom had a heart attack. Leah told us that her mom had been having chest discomfort for a couple of weeks and was having numbness in her arm. The next morning I heard sirens and saw an ambulance stopping at Leah’s house. Later that day she called to say her mom did in fact have a heart attack, and that the discomfort in her chest and arm were signs she should have had checked. Her mom spent a week in the hospital and is doing great after making heart healthy changes in not only her life, but in her family’s lives as well.

Here are some signs that might surprise you of an unhealthy heart. If you are experiencing any of them, be sure to mention it to your doctor to be on the safe side.

  • Snoring, sleep apnea and other breathing problems during sleep. If you snore loudly enough to keep your sleeping partner awake or to force him or her to resort to earplugs, your heart may be at risk. Restricted breathing during sleep can be the underlying cause as snoring is linked to cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea, where breathing briefly stops during sleep, is linked with a higher risk of both cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
  • Sore, swollen or bleeding gums are symptoms of periodontal disease in which exposure to bacteria causes the gums to become inflamed and pull away from the teeth, and is a possible early sign of underlying cardiovascular disease.
  • Puffy or swollen legs or feet. If you notice that your feet swell enough to make your shoes tight; your ankles, wrist, or fingers are noticeably puffy; or there are deep pressure marks or indents when you take off socks or hose, you may have a problem with fluid retention. Also called edema, fluid retention can be a sign of coronary artery disease (CAD), heart failure and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing can be a symptom of heart failure. A result of fluid accumulation in the lungs may be common in people with heart failure who cough up bloody phlegm.
  • Pain in other parts of the body: In many heart attacks, pain begins in the chest and spreads to the shoulders, arms, elbows, back, neck, jaw or abdomen. But sometimes there is no chest pain, just pain in these other areas, like one or both arms, or between the shoulders. The pain might come and go.

We know our bodies best. If you don’t feel well or have any of the symptoms listed above or any that you haven’t had in the past, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Don’t try to diagnose your symptoms via the Internet or by reading a medical book. Time is important, and wasting time can be dangerous.

The Differences Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By | Alzheimer's and Dementia | No Comments

Recent life changes have forced me to learn the fundamental differences between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A month ago, my father fell and broke his hip. While he was in the hospital, we noticed that his memory seemed worse than normal. I asked if there was testing that could be done to determine the level of care that might be needed for him post surgery based on these noticeable symptoms. There had been many instances over the past three years that warranted some concern, but there seemed to be a drastic change in his confusion. I thought we should have him evaluated before his release from the hospital. One of the things we noticed during the process was his getting lost while driving to the dialysis center he had gone to every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the last three years. I would receive phone calls in the middle of the night from police officers asking in I come pick him up because he had lost his way. The first time it was the Hilliard police; the next time, the Dublin police; and the last time he ended up in Millersport, Ohio, at 12 midnight, forty miles one way from my home. Each officer said immediately that he seemed very confused and that I would need to pick him up. I tried countless times to have him see a doctor to be tested, to no avail. I was always told growing up that things happen for a reason, so I believe the broken hip was a way to let me know that he does have dementia.

I found out he might have dementia when I mentioned to a nurse that I thought he had Alzheimer’s disease. She said that she was not a doctor, but believed he has a form of dementia and should be tested to properly diagnose his symptoms. Late last week he was accessed by two different people, a doctor and a registered nurse, both concluding he does indeed have a form of dementia. I learned from my dad’s nurse that many people use the words “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s disease” interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. You can be diagnosed with a form of dementia that is completely unrelated to Alzheimer’s disease. And though young people can develop dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease, the risk increases as you age.

After conversations with my dad’s doctor and nurse, I learned how the two conditions differ. Dementia is a group of symptoms and is not a disease, where the symptoms affect mental tasks like memory and reasoning. Dementia can be caused by a variety of conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease. As one’s dementia progresses, it can have a devastating impact on how they function independently. It is a major cause for older people and can cause an emotional and financial burden on families and caregivers. Early signs of dementia are often mild and easily overlooked. People with dementia have trouble keeping track of time and tend to lose their way in familiar settings. As dementia progresses, forgetfulness and confusion grow. It becomes harder to recall names and faces. Obvious signs of dementia include: repetitious questioning, poor decision-making, and concern for personal hygiene is no longer a priority.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease of the brain that slowly impairs memory and cognitive function. The exact cause has yet to be determined. Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Connections between cells are lost and they begin to die, and in advanced cases, the brain shows significant shrinkage. Research shows it is impossible to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease 100 percent while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed during an autopsy when the brain can be examined under a microscope. However, specialists are able to make the correct diagnosis up to 90 percent of the time.

Wesley Glen and Wesley Ridge offer Alzheimer’s disease/dementia care-specific programs. For information and additional information on the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia contact Wesley Glen by calling 614-888-7492 and Wesley Ridge at 614-759-0023. Specialists are available to assist with questions about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

How to Safely Dispose of Unused Prescription Medication

By | Caregiving, Lifestyle | No Comments

What do you do with unused medication at your house? If you’re throwing it out with your garbage, you might want to safely dispose of these unused and expired prescriptions.   I always thought throwing them in the trash, flushing them down the toilet, or dumping them in the garbage disposal was perfectly fine. However, after years of doing that I found out that disposing of them in the garbage could result in the medications ending up in the wrong hands, making someone ill or even worse causing life-threating complications. Disposing of medications in the garbage or flushing them down the toilet could cause environmental concerns, such as trace levels of drug residues found in surface water, like rivers and lakes, and in some community drinking water supplies.

Medicine take-back programs are an excellent way to properly and safely dispose of most types of unneeded medicines. Consumers and caregivers should remove expired, unwanted or unused medications from their home as quickly as possible to help reduce the chance that others may accidentally take or intentionally misuse the unneeded medications. Though medications can play an important role in our day-to-day life, it’s very important to safely dispose of them when they’re no longer needed or have expired. Check your labels or patient information that accompanies the medications for specific disposal instructions. Do not flush medications down the sink or toilet unless the disposal instructions specifically instruct you to do so.

If at any point you have questions regarding proper disposal of unused, expired or medications that are no longer needed, check the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov for your copy of a printable fact sheet, or call 1-800-882-9539. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also offers a list of medications recommended for disposal by flushing on their website at www.fda/gov. Both also provide information on DEA-authorized collectors who safely and securely collect and dispose of pharmaceutical-controlled substances and other medications. In your community, authorized collection sites may be retail pharmacies, hospital or clinic pharmacies and local law enforcement agencies. In closing, before you dispose of medications you no longer need, take the time to find the proper way to do so.

Budgeting For The Unexpected

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Three weeks ago while I was on a quick trip to the store to buy bags of my father’s favorite candy, he fell and broke his hip. From that day on, both of our lives have been turned upside down from the moment we arrived at the hospital to the move to a rehabilitation center after his surgery. We are now forced to make a decision as to whether he can return home or will require 24-hour care.

As days turn into weeks, the need to make choices about long-term care has come knocking with force at my front door. I thought the challenge would be finding the perfect location for my father to receive the care he now needs full-time. However, I’m finding that there’s much more to it. Though my journey is just beginning, I’m learning very quickly that we all need to have a budget plan in place, as well as an idea of how we want to live out our lives, if the time comes that we need long-term care.

Paying for long-term senior care can be a challenge for all families, no matter what your circumstances may be. There are so many unknowns. We don’t know how long we will live or if those years will be spent in good health. We all hope to get lucky and stay healthy until our end, but in reality most people will face health challenges that will increase the need for assistance. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans significantly underestimate the amount of care they’ll need and how long they’ll need it. People are outliving their resources AND they are living much longer than years gone by.

When you plan for your golden years, here are some things to consider.

  • Anticipate escalating health needs
  • Ask about Medicare policies
  • Consider inflation increases
  • Give advance notice of limited funds
  • Be conservative in your choices
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Luckily for me, I have friends who have dealt with or are currently dealing with making choices about long-term care for their loved ones, whether it be independent or assisted living. All of them have graciously offered their help in guiding me to the correct avenues to enable me to make the best choices for my father’s future in long-term care.

For more information on budgeting and long-term care options, go to www.aarp.org or www.longtermcare.gov