Usually when we think of teenage years, we typically think about an active lifestyle. Adolescents thrive physically because the human body reaches its peak during this phase. That being said, you would think that this teenage stage should be the most active in an individual’s life, right?
According to a recent study published in the NY Post, it looks like the inactivity of the modern teen has lead to some staggering results. It’s reported that teens today are only as active as senior citizens.
The study was conducted as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Approximately 12,529 participants whose ages ranged between 6 and 85 were involved. Researchers used specialized devices to measure the movement of subjects.
Participants wore the devices for seven consecutive days and the survey was conducted as part of two research cycles: 2003-2004 and 2005-2006.The study took into account all types of physical activity, not just exercise.
The findings, which were first published in the August issue of the Journal of Preventive Medicine show that physical activity is at its highest at the age of six. The lead author of the study, Vijay Varma stated that some of the observations contradict with the notion that physical activity gradually declines with time.
The National Institute of Aging researcher further noted that the new data revealed a sharper-than-expected decline in the period between elementary school right through to middle and high school. By the time teenagers reach the age of 19, they are activity levels become as sedentary as the seniors.
Potential causes of teen physical inactivity
Varma wonders why the decline is happening earlier. Unlike the teens, senior citizens are usually plagued by many health issues that lead to restricted movement. He believes that the trend can be attributed to social structures; they are not supporting physical activity. In addition, the researcher pointed to the modern school days, which are characterized by long classroom time and relatively short recesses.
On the other hand, early school bell times are blamed for causing sleep deprivation. According to Varma, these times are not consistent with children’s physiological requirements.
Digital devices are not helping improve levels of activity either. Several studies have shown that teenagers spend up to nine hours a day watching television or using tablets and laptops for recreation purposes. However, the actual screen times tend to change rapidly due to the introduction of new technology.
Researchers view late teens as a “high-risk time period for physical inactivity.” The majority of kids in this age group are not getting the recommended minimum activity, which is at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous workout. Up to 50 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys in the 6 to 11 years of age range are not meeting this World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation.
Adolescents between 12 and 19 are more sedentary. Data shows that 50 percent of boys and 75 percent of girls are falling short of meeting the target. Surprisingly, twenty-somethings show higher levels of activity before slowing down again in their 30s. Varma refers to this trend as catch up period and attributes the spike in movement due to various social factors.
Levels of activity were noticeably higher early in the morning when compared to teenagers. The research study findings show that emerging adulthood creates many changes. These include increased household responsibilities, starting careers and changes to family structure.
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In our experience as estate planning attorneys, we can tell you that senior citizens often live on a limited income after retirement, which dictates how and where they live. Oftentimes it might be in a senior’s best interest to live in a senior living facility, however, many seniors feel they are unable to afford it. What many seniors and their families may not realize is that the cost of senior living could actually be lower than remaining at home, in some cases.
Add the costs of remaining at home
What many families with senior citizens in their care fail to do prior to writing off senior living due to the high costs is add up the costs of having their loved one remain at home. Once a figure is reached, it can be compared with the cost of senior living to determine which is more costly. Here are some costs to take into consideration:
For families with senior citizens, the amount that caregivers spend in order to ensure their loved one is properly cared for can add up quickly. A survey conducted by AARP revealed that as many as three-quarters of families caring for senior citizens spend approximately $7,000 a year in out-of-pocket expenses. These expenses include things like costs for in-home aide services, medical, dental, vision, and even personal care items and household expenses. By choosing for the senior loved one to move to a senior living facility, caregivers can save substantial amounts of money each year, which could be spent in a more favorable manner.
Other senior expenses
There are various other expenses that many families with senior relatives fail to consider. Transportation is a major expense. If a senior citizen still drives, then there is the cost to maintain the vehicle and possibly even a car payment. Then there is gas, vehicle repair, insurance, and registration, just to name some of the expenses related to transportation.
Not all senior citizens drive, so for the seniors who don’t, transporting them to and from the various destinations that they need to go to can be not only taxing but also time-consuming. Seniors often need to go to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, pharmacies, and possibly to community activities.
Additionally, families with senior family members need to consider the costs of outside care. The cost of having an aide come into the home when the family members aren’t able to provide care can be substantial. Just having caregiver services daily for eight hours, could add up to nearly two hundred dollars a day. For senior citizens in need of around-the-clock care, the costs will just about triple.
If after adding up all the expenses of having a senior remain at home a family member realizes that it is costlier than they originally believed, comparing it to the cost of senior living facilities might be a good idea. Costs of senior living facilities will vary, depending on the facility as well as its location.
When searching for the perfect facility that fits the senior’s budget, family members may need to shop around. It is also important to consider the possibility of a loved one having a roommate, which could cut costs in half. Another way to possibly lower the cost of a senior living facility is to inquire about paying for only the services that their relative might need. For instance, if a senior citizen doesn’t need housekeeping services, then it might be possible to find a facility that will subtract that cost from the monthly charge.
Our estate planning attorneys in Corona do our best to keep the public informed about issues that relate to the senior citizens in our community. If you have a topic relating to the elderly that you would like us to discuss in our blog, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our work as estate planning attorneys in Corona, we have heard from a number of senior citizens who have had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with fraud or identity theft. A recent rash of hackers accessing private information through both government and commercial websites has sparked a renewed interest in cyber security. SSA.gov, the official website of the Social Security Administration (SSA), has just added a two-step authentication process in an effort to better protect the benefits and sensitive information of social security recipients. This change went in to effect this past weekend, on June 10, 2017.
The process works by sending a code to either a user’s cell phone, or their email whenever an effort is made to access their Social Security online account. This code must then be entered on SSA.gov before any sensitive information is displayed. It is hoped that this extra layer of security will prevent data from becoming compromised even if a password is discovered by an unauthorized third party.
This is a modified version of a cyber security plan that the SSA proposed last summer, in which cell phones were the only mechanism to receive the code required to access the site. Many elderly beneficiaries opposed this system, as they claimed not to own a cell phone and would therefore be effectively locked out of their account if one was required to access it. Some may have had the option of using a relative’s phone, but that person may not have always been available when needed. The agency scrapped the plan approximately two weeks after it was announced due to this opposition.
Adding email as an option ensures seniors and others without a cell phone will be able to access their accounts, but it does have some significant drawbacks. Many individuals use the same passwords across multiple online accounts, enabling a hacker who discovered one to correctly guess the email password and access sensitive information despite the new verification process. The best way to combat this flaw is to use an email account with a password that is not shared with anything else, according to Baker & Hostetler digital media specialist Stephanie Lucas. The new verification process is also better than nothing even if it is not quite as secure as the SSA’s original proposal.
While some individuals do not have a cell phone or a computer, it is unlikely that they signed up for an SSA.gov account in the first place. SSA.gov makes it more convenient for recipients to access their benefit information and manage the bank account(s) it is deposited into, among other things. Registering for an account is not mandatory to receive benefits. This security measure will only impact the roughly 30 million social security recipients who previously registered for an online account, so there will be no change for those who still call the agency to make any changes or requests.
It is encouraging to see the SSA take an active role in protecting the identity of beneficiaries, but individuals should still be careful who they share sensitive information with. Prevention is always much more effective than trying to rectify a problem after the fact in matters of identity theft.
As estate planning attorneys in Corona, it warms our hearts to see that the trend of arranging senior citizen proms is rapidly growing, and it would appear that the trend is here to stay. This senior living trend had been catching on for some time (already by 2013, the city of New Milford in New Jersey had arranged its 6th Annual Senior Citizen Prom while the year also saw the hosting of the 8th Annual Senior Citizen Prom in Beachwood, Ohio.) and has only gained in popularity and acceptance in more recent times.
Apart from the hugely encouraging responses that these events have received throughout America, what is perhaps most wonderful about the whole affair is that the events have also garnered enthusiastic and extraordinary support from members of the younger generations—those who have just already attended or are about to attend their own proms. Apart from community centers and assisted living communities, high schools as well as local youth groups all across America have been the most frequent organizers or supporting organizers of these events.
Take the case of New Dorp High School at Staten Island, for example. In February of last year, the school played the destination for the first-ever senior citizen prom in Staten Island. Even more encouraging is the example of West Orange High School in New Jersey whose students have actively participated in their local senior citizen prom events every year back from 2007. This is an overwhelmingly positive trend since it generates the occasion to bridge intergenerational gaps at the same time as it gives our teenagers a chance to mix with the elder members from the community, serve and understand them better as also to learn from their experience. On the other hand, the elders can make good of these occasions by getting to know the youngsters from up close. So, apart from all the fun involved, these prom parties also act as great platforms to build mutual understanding between different generations and thus facilitate a healthier community life overall .
And thus far these ‘senior’ senior proms have been a raging success. Most parties will follow the decorum and there will be a prom king and a prom queen at the end of the event and host of prizes to be won by the participators. It is an evening to dress up and dance and have fun and socialize, of course. Many senior citizens who are either living alone or are living in assisted communities often battle the issues of depression, loneliness or isolation. Yet, simple and fun occasions like these may often go a long way in helping them overcome the negative emotions.
Which is why perhaps the trend has caught on so fast. Apart from prom parties, many assisted living facilities as well as community centers have also arranged special ‘field trips’ and other similar events for the seniors of the community. These events are also a way to acknowledge the fact that our elders have a lot to contribute towards society and are an integral part of any community life in general. And the younger members of the society can only gain from their vast store of knowledge, experience, and wisdom.
At OC Elder Law, our estate planning lawyers do their best to keep the public informed on news and special interest stories that relate to senior citizens. If you have a story you would like to see featured on our blog, send us an email at info@OcElderLaw.com.