Protecting Seniors Online from Scams, Hacks and Tax Fraud

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The vast majority of seniors today are using the Internet at least once a week to check email, pay bills online and keep in touch via social media. But all that time online puts them at risk for scams and hacks, such as tax fraud.
In fact, a new survey by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, found that 67 percent of surveyed older adults have been the victim of an online scam or hack.
Encouraging seniors to practice cyber security can go a long way toward protecting their identity and sensitive financial information. Home Instead collaborated with the National Cyber Security Alliance to create Protect Seniors Online, available at www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com, a free resource that educates older adults about cybersecurity. Here, seniors can test their cybersecurity skills with the “Can You Spot an Online Scam?” quiz.
Older adults can take the following steps now to protect themselves online:
*Password protect and secure devices, accounts. Lock all devices (including computers, tablets and smartphones) with secure passwords in case devices are lost or stolen.
*Think before clicking. When faced with an urgent request — like emails asking for money — think before clicking or get a second opinion. Clicking on links is often how scammers get personal information. When in doubt, trash an unusual message.
*Share with care. More than half (51 percent) of seniors surveyed by Home Instead use social media to stay connected. Use care when sharing personal information, adjust privacy settings to limit who can see your information, and turn off location sharing.
*Use security software. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and program it to run regularly. And be wary of pop-up ads or emails, many of which contain malware that can infect computers.
*Log out. Log out of apps and websites when you are finished. Leaving apps and websites open on computer screens could make you vulnerable to security and privacy risks.
*Recommend support. Older adults who live alone may need help from a trusted source — such as a family member, tech-savvy friend or professional caregiver –to serve as a second set of eyes.
To explore additional Protect Seniors Online resources, including the interactive quiz, visit www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com
A Home Instead office near you can be found by visiting www.homeinstead.com/state.

The One Super Bowl Fact You Still May Not Know

(NewsUSA) – Yes, there actually is one important fact that didn’t get the attention it deserves during Super Bowl LI.Both the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, it turns out, employed team chiropractors to help get them there. As for why, Dr. Michael Miller, the winning Patriots’ longtime team chiropractor, may have the best explanation."We’re all committed to one goal," he says. "That’s keeping the athletes performing at their maximum potential, and preventing and managing injuries as they occur. Most of the players receive (chiropractic) adjustments one to two times per week."Now, no one’s implying that chiropractic care was the deciding factor in who made it to Houston’s NRG Stadium. In fact, every NFL team now uses chiropractors, and — given the sport’s physical intensity — they’re probably even more drawn than the general public to one of chiropractic’s biggest plusses: It’s seen as a safer and more effective alternative to potentially addictive prescription painkillers, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently urged doctors to avoid prescribing after thousands of deaths linked to their abuse.Doctors of chiropractic are known for their focus on the structure and function of the human body with hands-on techniques that help enhance things like flexibility, muscle strength, and range of motion. With a minimum of seven years of higher education, as the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress’ Dr. Sherry McAllister notes, they’re trained to address a broad range of health issues.Here’s one last bit of Super Bowl trivia: The average pro football team chiropractor provides 30 to 50 consultations and adjustments per week during the season, according to the Professional Football Chiropractic Society.Learn more at F4CP.com

Rehydrating for Optimal Health

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Water is essential for life and health. Everyone knows this. But not all water is made the same. Ionized alkaline water, for example, takes complete advantage of the science of hydration.
Scientists can measure hydration, or dehydration, by the thickness of blood, also known as blood viscosity. The more dehydrated you are, the thicker your blood becomes. Chronic dehydration can have negative effects, which is why water is so important to our bodies.
Water that is produced through an ionization process yields a pure water with a high pH level that has shown to be more effective at reducing blood viscosity and improving rehydration than a leading bottled water brand, according to a recently published clinical study.
The study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN), used a sample of 100 healthy adults (50 men and 50 women) aged 25 to 49 years, who were randomized to drink either standard purified bottled water or Essentia, a high-pH, ionized alkaline water. Those who drank the Essentia water following exercise-induced dehydration showed significantly better rehydration compared to the other leading bottled-water brand.
“These findings underscore Essentia’s superior impact on hydration, important to a variety of lifestyles, and reinforces our commitment to providing a unique, effective, and quality product,” says the company in a statement. In addition, Essentia is the only bottled water featured in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) to alert clinicians to the latest research on optimal hydration.
Essentia’s unique ionization process consists of three specific parts. First, water from any source is passed through micro-filters, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet exposure to achieve a purity of 99.9 percent. Pure alkaline electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium bicarbonate are infused in trace amounts creating a perfect blend for a clean, smooth taste.
From there, bitter-tasting acidic water ions are removed, producing an ionized-9.5-ph-or-higher alkaline water that’s better at rehydrating.
Essentia’s bottles are free of BPA (bisphenol A and phthalates), and are recyclable anywhere in the United States.
Visit www.essentiawater.com for more information about the clinical study.

Five Reasons You Need Cell Phone Insurance Now

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Not long ago we only used cell phones to make calls or send cryptic, short-hand text messages. Now, we rely on our phones for storing our contacts and calendar appointments, watching videos, checking email, managing our connected devices and, of course, keeping up on social media. In fact, phones have become such a crucial part of our lives that many people sleep with them.
So when your phone becomes lost, stolen, or damaged, it can send the most unflappable of us into a panic. Which is why, most industry experts agree, it is worth considering cell phone insurance.
For those who may still be on the fence about cell phone insurance, consider this:
1. Despite monthly premiums and deductibles, insurance can save owners money. The average retail price of a new smartphone is $590; even higher for a basic iPhone 7 ($649). More than 70 percent of phone claims are filed within the first year. This means that customers with phone insurance who file a claim at month 12 on an iPhone 7 can save $318 – $342 on a replacement phone after premiums and deductibles.
2. Most after-market “protection plans” are extended warranty plans which only cover accidental damage and malfunctions. Only a cell phone insurance and warranty bundle — available through most wireless carriers — covers loss, theft and damage. This is important because one in four phone claims last year were from loss or theft, according to the nation’s leading mobile insurance provider Asurion.
3. Most cell phone insurance programs through wireless carriers include cracked screen repair for smartphones with a lower deductible than what you would pay for a replacement device, and often lower than a consumer would pay to take it to a repair shop.
4. Shoppers now pay the full cost of their phones either up front or in monthly installments. Those who have a loss or theft before they’ve paid off the installments will still have to make the remaining payments. What’s more, without insurance you could be left with both the remaining installments and the payments for a new phone. With a 128 GB iPhone 7 Plus, at 6 months a customer could still owe nearly $700 on their old phone while trying to pay for a new one.
5. For the customer that can’t imagine being without their beloved cell phone, most carrier cell phone insurance programs provide a replacement device the next day. Replacement devices through the major wireless carriers are backed by a 1-year warranty providing shoppers with peace of mind should they have any mechanical or electrical issues.

Companies Are Discovering That Pittsburgh Is Good for Business

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Not long ago we only used cell phones to make calls or send cryptic, short-hand text messages. Now, we rely on our phones for storing our contacts and calendar appointments, watching videos, checking email, managing our connected devices and, of course, keeping up on social media. In fact, phones have become such a crucial part of our lives that many people sleep with them.
So when your phone becomes lost, stolen, or damaged, it can send the most unflappable of us into a panic. Which is why, most industry experts agree, it is worth considering cell phone insurance.
For those who may still be on the fence about cell phone insurance, consider this:
1. Despite monthly premiums and deductibles, insurance can save owners money. The average retail price of a new smartphone is $590; even higher for a basic iPhone 7 ($649). More than 70 percent of phone claims are filed within the first year. This means that customers with phone insurance who file a claim at month 12 on an iPhone 7 can save $318 – $342 on a replacement phone after premiums and deductibles.
2. Most after-market “protection plans” are extended warranty plans which only cover accidental damage and malfunctions. Only a cell phone insurance and warranty bundle — available through most wireless carriers — covers loss, theft and damage. This is important because one in four phone claims last year were from loss or theft, according to the nation’s leading mobile insurance provider Asurion.
3. Most cell phone insurance programs through wireless carriers include cracked screen repair for smartphones with a lower deductible than what you would pay for a replacement device, and often lower than a consumer would pay to take it to a repair shop.
4. Shoppers now pay the full cost of their phones either up front or in monthly installments. Those who have a loss or theft before they’ve paid off the installments will still have to make the remaining payments. What’s more, without insurance you could be left with both the remaining installments and the payments for a new phone. With a 128 GB iPhone 7 Plus, at 6 months a customer could still owe nearly $700 on their old phone while trying to pay for a new one.
5. For the customer that can’t imagine being without their beloved cell phone, most carrier cell phone insurance programs provide a replacement device the next day. Replacement devices through the major wireless carriers are backed by a 1-year warranty providing shoppers with peace of mind should they have any mechanical or electrical issues.

Millennials Go House Hunting, and Here’s What They Crave

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored by GAF-Guess who’s been driving home sales for the past few years?
Millennials — the older ones at least. That’s right, contrary to popular perception, not all of the 18- to 35-year-old generation is so wracked with college debt that they’re living in their parents’ basements while working for peanuts as baristas. In fact, the National Association of Realtors just officially crowned them the largest segment of the homebuyer market at 35 percent — up from 32 percent in 2014 — in its most recent 2016 “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Study.”
And that trend only looks to accelerate.
“The coming years of housing demand will be Millennial-driven and will support the single-family sector,” Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, has said.
Given that new reality, here are four things experts say Millennials crave most in a house, which Boomers and even Gen-Xers need to know before trying to sell to them. (Warning: Be prepared to have some of your most cherished beliefs upended.)
* Open floor plans. Okay, so you’re probably not going to tear down your interior walls to create more of a loft feeling — or are you? — but at least know that Millennials entertain differently than their elders and that something like a formal dining room just doesn’t impress them.
“In essence, the kitchen is the new living room,” one realtor told Bankrate.com. “They want people to flow through the home during gatherings, rather than be sectioned off in rooms.”
What does impress them? A home office, given that 9-to-5 jobs are so passé. Immediately point out that your FDR can easily be converted into one.
* Technological efficiency and healthy living. Those built-in bookcases you’re so proud of?
Hah!
Don’t you know Millennials read everything off a screen? And that they’re just as likely to go around counting outlets to plug all their tech toys into as they are to ask if you’ve installed programmable LED lighting and motion sensors?
“Low-VOC paints and appliances like steam ovens also rank high,” Realtor magazine declared.
* The right “look.” They’ve seen all these great houses on Pinterest and HGTV, which means Millennials might not even stick around long enough to gush over your steam oven if the first thing they spot from the street is a shabby roof.
Yes, this is one of the few things they definitely have in common with older generations.
“Unsightly roofs are huge turn-offs and make buyers predisposed to find even more things they don’t like,” warned Patsy O’Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby’s in Montclair, New Jersey.
Since Millennials love what the Washington Post calls “modern, sleek lines” — as well as “rustic looks” — if your roof does need replacing you might want to consider the very affordable Sienna line of diamond-shaped shingles from GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, whose products are often showcased on HGTV.
“They pick up on key Millennial style trends of natural, clean materials, clean lines, and the integration of artistic elements,” says Leslie Franklin, executive director of residential marketing at GAF.
* Low maintenance. Your definition of what qualifies as “high” and “low” may differ from theirs. Your shag carpeting, for instance? High. Hardwood floors, which they favor? Low.
Hmmm, maybe that also explains why they often like smaller houses, although that could also have to do with Millennial buyers’ medium income of $77,400.

What Would You Have to Give Up to Pay for An Unexpected Hospital Visit?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – We may all be one stomach bug away from an unexpected hospital visit. Accidents and illnesses can occur without warning, wreaking havoc on finances and negatively impacting everyday life, even with health insurance.
While many people have major medical insurance, rarely do they prepare for the additional financial impact of out-of-pocket costs even a short stay in the hospital can incur. The average length of a hospital stay is 4.6 days and costs $11,000, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
What would the average family have to give up to pay that type of medical bill — eating out at restaurants for a year or more, weekly lawn service, maid service, pet grooming or family movie nights?
No one should have to stress about the impact hospital visits and related expenses could have on everyday life. That’s why companies like Aflac have designed supplemental hospital indemnity insurance policies to help cover what major medical insurance may not. Hospital insurance provides additional coverage that can help protect individuals and families from potentially devastating medical expenses, allowing them to keep their lives on track.
When specific events associated with a hospital visit occur, policyholders receive cash benefits that can be used to help cover everything from treatment costs to expenses that health insurance doesn’t typically cover, such as, rent, gas, groceries, utilities, child care and other necessities.

Estate Plans: You’re Not Doing Anyone a Favor by Avoiding the Subject

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Do your kids realize just how much money you’re really worth once all your assets are added up?
If they’re anything like the adult offspring surveyed for Fidelity Investments’ “Family & Finance Study,” the answer is a resounding — and rather scary — “no.” In fact, seven out of 10 of them underestimated their parents’ estate by an average of $278,000.
That’s right, by more than a quarter of a million dollars.
The reason that’s scary — and why it should be a wake-up call for even those with modest estates they hope to pass on to heirs — is simple: It illustrates a breakdown in communications that Kevin Ruth, head of Fidelity’s wealth planning and personal trust, says badly needs addressing through ‘frank conversations” between parents and their adult children.
“Even in the simplest of family situations, conversations that don’t occur frequently and in detail can result in fairly substantial family disagreements and disconnects,” says Ruth. “Establishing an estate plan is your best bet to ensure your loved ones are taken care of in your absence and that your wishes are carried out the way you want.”
In fact, according to the study, the two generations apparently can’t even agree on whether they’ve already had such detailed talks.
Seventy percent of parents surveyed believe they have; more than 50 percent of their children claim they haven’t.
So what are the benefits of an estate plan? Well, among other things, it allows you to:
* Preserve and maintain control over the transfer of your assets.
* Protect your family’s privacy and possibly avoid probate.
* Provide immediate access to liquidity.
* Choose how your beneficiaries will receive assets.
* Designate who’ll execute your wishes even if you’re just incapacitated.
Plus, for those who despise the thought of the government getting any more money than legally required, having a sound estate plan in place could help your heirs avoid needlessly paying certain Federal estate taxes (not to mention state estate and inheritance taxes, depending on local laws).
Ah, but you’re stuck on that $278,000 figure, right?
Actually, given how complicated today’s lives often are — what with stepchildren’s interests to protect, say, and family businesses to pass on — most people, and not just the very wealthy, could do with some solid estate planning. Heck, even distributions from IRAs and Roth IRAs can be tricky if the aim is to “stretch” payments out to beneficiaries, tax-deferred or tax-free, for as long as decades.
Attorneys and tax advisors can help you set up an estate plan, and online resources like Fidelity’s Estate Planning Overview provide a good idea of what’s involved. Fidelity customers also have access to its new Estate Planner to more thoroughly prepare and educate themselves for a meeting, right down to details like organizing documents and choosing lawyers.
As for why parents and their children may be reluctant to discuss the subject, Ruth has an explanation: “It’s human nature to avoid thinking about one’s own mortality.”

Four Tips to Keep Your Kids’ Teeth Healthy And Clean

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – We all want our kids to have movie-star smiles as adults. As parents, this means knowing how to protect their teeth when they’re young, while ensuring that they practice good dental health care for a lifetime.
Because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s the perfect time to “brush up” on instilling good oral-hygiene habits.
Consider this: according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), nearly one in three children ages two to five years old in the U.S. are affected by tooth decay, which is one of the top chronic infectious diseases among children and can compromise their health, development, and quality of life in both the short and long term.
“Parents are bombarded with unsolicited advice and health findings that are constantly changing,” says Dr. Jade Miller, AAPD President. “We don’t want to add to that stress, but there are a few common misconceptions, that could help make a huge difference in your child’s oral health — which is linked to their overall health and wellness.”
The good news is that tooth decay is nearly 100 percent preventable. The following do’s and don’ts from the AAPD can keep tooth decay at bay and keep kids smiling for years to come:
*Do cut down on sugar. Children shouldn’t graze on candy and sugary drinks (including sports drinks and juice). That prolonged exposure to sugar and acid can wreak havoc on teeth. Instead, stick to designated meal and snack times and have them drink plenty of water throughout the day.
*Don’t put babies to bed with a bottle. Milk and juice contain sugar. When babies are put to bed with a bottle, the sugar coats their teeth while they are sleeping, causing tooth decay. If you use a bottle before sleep, opt for water.
*Do wean children off of pacifiers by age three. Pacifiers are a natural way for children to self-soothe. However, prolonged use can increase the risk of cavities, and affect the way a child’s teeth bite together often causing an overbite.
*Do avoid topical teething gels and rings. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against using teething gels that contain benzocaine or lidocaine because they can harm your child. Parents and caregivers should stay away from teething rings too which contain chemicals, and low levels of BPA– despite labels citing otherwise — that can be harmful to your child.
For more information about children’s oral health and to find a pediatric dentist in your area, visit www.mychildrensteeth.org.

Are You Rehydrating for Optimal Health?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Everyone knows that water is essential for life and health, but not all water is the same. Ionized alkaline water, for instance, takes full advantage of the science of hydration.
Scientists can measure hydration, or dehydration, by the thickness of blood, also known as blood viscosity. The more dehydrated you are, the thicker your blood becomes. Chronic dehydration can have negative effects, which is why water is so important to our bodies.
Water that is produced through an ionization process yields a pure water with a high pH level that has shown to be more effective at reducing blood viscosity and improving rehydration than a leading bottled water brand, according to a recently published clinical study.
The study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN), used a sample of 100 healthy adults (50 men and 50 women) aged 25 to 49 years, who were randomized to drink either standard purified bottled water or Essentia, a high-pH, ionized alkaline water. Those who drank the Essentia water following exercis-induced dehydration showed significantly better rehydration compared to the other leading bottled-water brand.
“These findings underscore Essentia’s superior impact on hydration, important to a variety of lifestyles, and reinforces our commitment to providing a unique, effective, and quality product,” says the company in a statement. In addition, Essentia is the only bottled water featured in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) to alert clinicians to the latest research on optimal hydration.
Essentia’s unique ionization process consists of three specific parts. First, water from any source is passed through micro-filters, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet exposure to achieve a purity of 99.9 percent. Pure alkaline electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium bicarbonate are infused in trace amounts creating a perfect blend for a clean, smooth taste.
From there, bitter-tasting acidic water ions are removed, producing an ionized-9.5-ph-or-higher alkaline water that’s better at rehydrating.
Essentia’s bottles are free of BPA (bisphenol A and phthalates), and are recyclable anywhere in the United States.
Visit www.essentiawater.com for more information about the clinical study.