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It Starts with HELLO

Getting together for a chat is now as simple as clicking a link and hopping in on “It Starts with HELLO,” a virtual gathering held every Tuesday and Thursday via Zoom. This meet-up will feature local experts who can offer input on all things affecting seniors, including health and wellness, available local resources, ways to stay connected to others and other topics such as local news, financial advice, and policies and politics. But mostly it’s your chance to engage with others in our community. We look forward to having you join the conversation.
 
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Blogs

8 Tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud

We all need to make sure we protect ourselves the best we can from scams and fraud. Check out these 8 tips to protect yourself from the National Council on Aging.

  1. Be aware that you are at risk from strangers—and from those closest to you

Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by the older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others. Common tactics include depleting a joint checking account, promising but not delivering care in exchange for money or property, outright theft, and other forms of abuse, including physical abuse, threats, intimidation, and neglect of basic care needs.

Everyone is at risk of financial abuse, even people without high incomes or assets. Understand the top 10 most common scams targeting seniors, so you can spot one before it’s too late.

  1. Don’t isolate yourself—stay involved!

Isolation is a huge risk factor for elder abuse. Most family violence only occurs behind closed doors, and elder abuse is no exception. Some older people self-isolate by withdrawing from the larger community. Others are isolated because they lose the ability to drive, see, or walk about on their own. Some seniors fear being victimized by purse snatchings and muggings if they venture out. Visit the Eldercare Locator to find services nearby that can help you stay active. Or contact your local senior center to get involved.

  1. Always tell solicitors: “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.”

Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company and always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. Neighborhood children you know who are selling Girl Scout cookies or school fundraising items may be an exception, but a good rule of thumb is to never donate if it requires you to write your credit card information on any forms.

It’s also good practice to obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. And always take your time in making a decision.

  1. Shred all receipts with your credit card number

Identity theft is a huge business. To protect yourself, invest in—and use—a paper shredder. Monitor your bank and credit card statements and never give out personal information over the phone to someone who initiates the contact with you.

  1. Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list and take yourself off multiple mailing lists

Visit Do Not Call to stop telemarketers from contacting you.

Be careful with your mail. Do not let incoming mail sit in your mailbox for a long time. When sending out sensitive mail, consider dropping it off at a secure collection box or directly at the post office. You also can regularly monitor your credit ratings and check on any unusual or incorrect information at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

To get more tips on protecting yourself from fraud, visit On Guard Online, which has interactive games to help you be a smarter consumer on issues related to spyware, lottery scams, and other swindles.

  1. Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen from the mailbox

Using direct deposit ensures that checks go right into your accounts and are protected. Clever scammers or even scrupulous loved ones have been known to steal benefits checks right out of mailboxes or from seniors’ homes if they are laying around.

  1. Never give your credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call

Misuse of Medicare dollars is one of the largest scams involving seniors. Common schemes include billing for services never delivered and selling unneeded devices or services to beneficiaries. Protect your Medicare number as you do your credit card, banking, and Social Security numbers and do not allow anyone else to use it. Be wary of salespeople trying to sell you something they claim will be paid for by Medicare.

Review your Medicare statements to be sure you have in fact received the services billed, and report suspicious activities to 1-800-MEDICARE.

  1. Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers and thoroughly do your research

Be an informed consumer. Take the time to call and shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend with you who may offer some perspective to help you make difficult decisions.

Also, carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing and make certain that all of your requirements have been put in writing. Understand all contract cancellation and refund terms. As a general rule governing all of your interactions as a consumer, do not allow yourself to be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds. These decisions are yours and yours alone.

 

Chicken and roasted vegetables over rice recipe

Chicken with roasted vegetables over rice

2 cups of rice cooked
2 chicken breasts
Olive oil
Butter
Butternut squash
Green apple
Dried cranberries (Craisins)
Fresh herbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the rice according to the package directions.

While the rice is cooking prepare your vegetables.

Butternut squash: Cut off the bottom carefully to create a flat surface, use a “Y” peeler to remove the skin then slice it in half. Scoop out the seeds on the inside then dice them into about ½ inch pieces.

Green apple: Slice the apple off the core and dice it into ½ inch pieces.

Add your vegetables to a bowl and toss with olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place them on a lined baking sheet for easy cleanup and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until they are browned and softened.

Place the chicken on a flat surface and using a sharp knife, cut it horizontally to create two same sized fillets. Repeat with the second chicken breast. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

In an oven safe pan, add a tab of butter along with some olive oil to heat. Once the mixture is heated, add the chicken breasts slowly. Let the chicken cook until it moves around the pan freely and doesn’t stick (about 3-4 minutes). Flip the chicken over and place the pan in the oven with the roasting veggies to finish cooking the chicken (about 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.)

Plating

Fluff the rice and place about ½ cup in the center of the dish. Place one of the chicken breast fillets on top along with some of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle dried cranberries and some fresh herbs on top and enjoy!

 

Roasted Cauliflower & Tomato Mexican Chili Soup Recipe

1 large head of cauliflower
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
3-6 dried chilies of your choice – I use pasilla and mulato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Turn on the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking tray with foil, parchment, silpad, etc.
  2. Clean and chop up the cauliflower into florets.
  3. In a large bowl combine the olive oil, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, ground oregano and cumin. Toss the cauliflower florets in the mixture and place on the baking tray along with the garlic cloves.
  4. Roast the cauliflower for about 25 minutes until it is fork tender.
  5. While the cauliflower is roasting, put 3 cups of water into a stock pot on medium heat and add the dried chilies (stems removed) to start reconstituting.
  6. Once the cauliflower is roasted, add it to the pot with the chilies along with the whole tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. After the soup has simmered and the flavors have melded, blend the soup either by putting it into a blender in batches or using an immersion blender. Taste and add salt and pepper according to your liking.
  8. Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, diced avocado, fresh tomato, cilantro or onion.