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Adam G. Gonzales
Senior Housing for Low Income Residents
Assisted Living Today
If you’re a vet struggling to get enough rest, you’re not alone. In fact, some studies indicate there are veterans at a higher risk for issues like sleep apnea. Good quality slumber on a routine basis is a must to maintain your mental and physical health, though. Whatever is keeping you tossing and turning, here are some tips to help you get the rest that you need and deserve:
Shop for a new mattress.
Perhaps one of the most effective ways you can improve your sleep is to invest in a new mattress. If your current mattress is showing signs of wear and tear or you are waking up with aches and pains, this could mean that it’s time to shop for a new one.
Since there are so many options on the market, narrow your choices to a size that you think will work best. If you’re currently sleeping on a twin-size bed and need more space, consider going up to a queen, which MySlumberYard notes is the most popular bed size among American consumers. When choosing between queen-size mattress options, be sure to factor in your sleep style and firmness preference. For instance, Nectar is known for its superior memory foam mattresses while Leesa is renowned for its soft foam mattresses.
Per Johns Hopkins Medicine, lack of physical activity can have a significant impact on sleep. Make sure you maintain an exercise regimen at least five days a week. This will not only promote your physical health and help you burn energy before bedtime, but it can also yield a number of mental and emotional health benefits, such as boosting your mood and self-confidence. Aim to workout early in the day, since exercise close to bedtime might keep you up.
Manage stress throughout the day.
Stress is one of the most common reasons for sleep problems. There are a number of things you can try that might help you manage your stress throughout the day or to quiet your mind and body before bed. Try doing some mindful meditation, light stretching exercises, or breathing exercises.
Another idea is to keep a gratitude journal. Inc. explains that the process of expressing things you’re thankful for appears to help people sleep better at night. Simply take the time to pen those specific things you are grateful for in your life.
Develop a good bedtime routine.
Lastly, try changing up your bedtime routine. Instead of watching TV or scrolling through social media in bed, leave those activities to an earlier time in the evening in a separate room. Dedicate your bedroom to sleep. Make sure it’s dark, cool, and quiet.
Other things to consider include reading a book, taking a warm bath, and listening to calming music. The Los Angeles Times explains restful music can be a particularly good solution to those struggling with insomnia. Add an app to your phone to enjoy soothing sounds before bed.
If you’re unable to stream music from your phone due to data restrictions or just dislike the tinny sound from that tiny speaker, consider adding a mini stereo system to your bedroom. It’s a small investment in your well-being, and a small radio can easily move to other rooms when you’re entertaining, tinkering with your car, or doing housework.
Talk to professionals.
There’s no substitute for expert advice. If you make some simple changes and continue to have trouble getting rest, there are a couple options available to you. There are therapists who specialize in sleep disorders, even ones who specifically help veterans. Also, consider asking your doctor for a referral to a sleep medicine specialist, which can direct you to potential medications and treatments.
As a veteran, know that you’re not alone if you find sleep hard to come by. But don’t ignore the issue, either. Seek advice from professionals, consider getting a new mattress, and get a good exercise routine and diet going. Also, try different activities that can help you to manage stress, and create a bedtime routine that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Making changes like these could be all that stands in the way of you getting great sleep.
Image via Unsplash
Contributed by Brian Boyd
Ryan MacKenzie, firstname.lastname@example.org contributed the following links:
Kevin Heilman Outreach Coordinator contributed in November
Gloria James | email@example.com shares:
Great resources that can help seniors and their families understand all the programs that can help pay for senior care.
What Veterans Should Know About Sleep--contributed by LouAnne Taylor
Vets Need Financial Literacy Support to Answer Retirement Questions
With the 2018 launch of the Blended Retirement System, more U.S. veterans have found themselves with options for retirement savings. From only 19% of servicemembers having some benefits (under the previous system), now 85% of all service members will receive some sort of retirement benefit.
But having options is not enough if choosing from them is a mystery.
A recent government study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that there is a deficiency in financial literacy among service members. This creates a major obstacle for veterans to actually leverage the resources and tools before them.
In a Stars and Stripes post, veterans studies research fellow Rebecca Burgess of the American Enterprise Institute spoke to this issue. She noted how consulting firms surveying military families consistently encounter financial literacy as an issue.
“Veterans consistently say that they think they have enough mental health resources and know where and how to access those, but I’ve yet to see a survey Q&A that asked that same question about veterans and their awareness of available to them financial planning resources.”
While the military works on incorporating financial literacy programming into its training and support services, veterans need resources now. Fortunately, various public agencies and private companies have put together helpful materials to provide some clarity, not just on retirement but also on debt and taxes (important considerations along the way to retirement). We’ve listed some below in order to serve military veterans and their families.
It’s worth noting that a consultation with a professional financial advisor is always a good idea. But whether someone cannot afford it, or even if someone just wants to enter their appointment from an informed perspective, gaining as much knowledge as possible about financial options will help make the selection process more productive.
By Brian Boyd
Between increased healthcare costs, help around the house, and long-term care, there’s a lot to pay for as a senior that you didn’t have to worry about when you were younger. Unfortunately, these new expenses come at the same time as you’re switching to a fixed income in retirement.
Financial planning is important for everyone approaching their senior years, but especially for veterans. There are a lot of valuable benefits available to U.S. veterans, but not every veteran qualifies for every benefit. If you don’t take advantage of the benefits available to you, or plan to receive a benefit only to discover you’re ineligible, you could face undue financial stress during the retirement years.
These are five veteran’s benefits you might not know about along with information on eligibility so you understand the resources at your disposal as a senior veteran.
VA Healthcare and TRICAREThe Veterans Health Administration provides low-cost healthcare at VA medical centers and clinics. Most veterans are eligible for VA health benefits, however, due to limited resources, veterans are subject to a priority groupsystem that affects their access to benefits. Veterans in the highest priority group receive priority for care and the lowest cost-sharing requirements, while low priority groups may face longer waits and higher costs for care. Veterans in the lowest priority groups may not be enrolled in the VA healthcare.
Veterans should know their priority group and what it means for their access to VA care. If you’re in a low priority group, most of your healthcare is likely to come from the private sector, not the VA. TRICARE offers some coverage for community-based care through its premium-free TRICARE for Life program, but only as a secondary insurer to Medicare. That means veterans receiving non-VA care need adequate Medicare coverage to reduce out-of-pocket costs. TRICARE for Life also lacks coverage for vision and dental. Veterans who want insurance coverage for these services should opt for a Medicare Advantage plan through a company such as Humana, which provides many additional benefits.
Aid and Attendance Pension Aid and Attendance is a monthly supplement to a veteran’s pension to help pay for long-term care services. Only veterans who receive a pension and require assistance with the activities of daily living or are visually impaired can receive Aid and Attendance.
Housebound PensionLike Aid and Attendance, housebound pension is a supplemental monthly pension provided to veterans with disabilities. Veterans who are confined to their residence due to disability may receive Housebound benefits. A veteran can’t receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound payments.
Home Accessibility GrantsVeterans with disabilities have another great resource to help them live safely: housing grants. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers three grant programs to help veterans adapt an existing home or buy or build an accessible home.
Specially Adapted Housing grants and Special Housing Adaptation grants are available to veterans with service-connected disabilities, while the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant is open to veterans with service-connected and non-service-connected disabilities. Eligible veterans may receive both a HISA grant and an SHA or SAH grant.
Burial Benefits and AllowancesThese benefits help seniors cope with financial challenges during retirement, but what about end-of-life? Veterans benefits offer assistance here too, with burial allowances that defray the cost of funeral arrangements. Eligible veterans who choose a burial in a state or national veterans cemetery also receive a gravesite, headstone, grave opening and closing, and burial flag at no cost. Veterans buried in a private cemetery may also receive a free headstone and burial flag.
Veterans burial benefits don’t cover the cost of a funeralor memorial service, a casket, cremation, or other end-of-life services, so veterans should plan for these arrangements separately. Final expense insurance is a low-cost way to make up the difference and, depending on the size of the policy, can also be used to cover other outstanding debts. Veterans should plan what type of final arrangement they prefer in order to budget accordingly and purchase the right size insurance policy.
These benefits don’t cover every expense a veteran will face during the senior years. However, they do help aging veterans overcome the greatest financial challenges during retirement: affordable healthcare, accessible housing, long-term care, and an honorable exit from the world.
Image via Pixabay
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