Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Myths about the Flu

Hello everyone! Since it's still chilly out, make sure you're healthy and hopefully these Senior's Choice facts will help put you at ease about the Flu Vaccine!

Senior Health & Lifestyles

15 Myths About the Flu Vaccine

Flu season is here. And along with the coughing, fevers and aches, you can expect a lot of unreliable or downright wrong information about the flu vaccine. Many people underestimate the health risks from flu. Flu and pneumonia combined consistently rank among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thousands of Americans die from flu-related complications in a typical year. The flu season typically lasts from October to April.
Getting a shot isn't a perfect defense against flu. Some years the strains used to make vaccines aren't a good match for the type of flu that eventually strikes. But vaccination remains the most reliable way to reduce the risk for illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older gets vaccinated against flu every year, with rare exceptions, such as those with life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine ingredients or potentially those with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Following is a list of common misconceptions about the flu vaccine and the corresponding facts. If you have specific questions about vaccination, consult your doctor or other health professional.
Myth #1: You don't need the flu vaccine this year if you got it last year. Fact: You need a new flu shot each year because the circulating strains change and immunity from the vaccine fades.
Myth #2: The flu shot is the only option available. Fact: You have several flu vaccine options, such as the shot, including egg-free versions, and a nasal spray.
Myth #3: The flu vaccine can give you the flu. Fact: The flu shot can't give you the flu because the virus it contains has been inactivated or severely weakened.
Myth #4: The flu shot doesn't work for me because last time I got it, I got the flu anyway. Fact: The flu shot cannot offer 100 percent protection against the flu, but it reduces your risk of getting it. Many people mistake symptoms from colds and other illnesses for the flu.
Myth #5: Pharmaceutical companies make a massive profit off flu vaccines. Fact: They're a tiny source of profit and are made by only a handful of companies.
Myth #6: Flu vaccines don't work for children. Fact: Flu vaccines effectively reduce the risk of flu for children ages 6 months and up.
Myth #7: Flu vaccines cause heart problems and strokes. Fact: Flu shots reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events.
Myth #8: The flu vaccine weakens your body's immune response. Fact: The flu vaccine prepares your immune system to fight influenza by stimulating antibody production.
Myth #9: The flu vaccine causes nerve disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. Fact: Only the 1976 swine flu vaccine was linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, and influenza is more likely to cause the nerve disorder than the flu vaccine; the CDC says those with the Guillain-Barré should consult a doctor before getting the flu shot.
Myth #10: People don't die from the flu unless they have another underlying condition already. Fact: Otherwise healthy people do die from the flu. The elderly and young children are most vulnerable.
Myth #11: People with egg allergies can't get vaccinated against flu. Fact: People with egg allergies can get a flu shot but should consult their doctor or allergist on options if their allergy is severe.
Myth #12: I can protect myself from the flu by eating right and washing my hands regularly. Fact: A good diet and good hygiene are healthful habits that reduce the risk of illness but cannot prevent the flu on their own.
Myth #13: If I do get the flu, I'll just stay home so I'm not infecting others. Fact: You can transmit the flu without showing symptoms.
Myth #14: The "stomach flu" is the flu. Fact: The stomach flu refers to a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses unrelated to influenza.
Myth #15: If you haven't gotten a flu shot by November, there's no point in getting one. Fact: Getting the flu shot any time during flu season will reduce your risk of getting the flu.

We have nearly selected our winner for the I SPY contest, so stay tuned to discover the winner!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Senior's Choice Finance Resources and Elf on the Shelf!

This week's blog post comes to us right from The Senior's Choice!

Finance & Consumer Resources

Reevaluating Your Investments in an Uncertain Market

While most economic experts agree that the fundamentals of the economy are sound, many market watchers are beginning to ask the question: Is this Bull coming to an end? 2018 has been a year of uncertainty, and most financial advisors are recommending investors revisit their portfolios with at least an eye to rebalancing. Here are some suggestions for weathering a potential downturn in the market.
Know that you have the resources to weather a crisis. If you’re retired, knowing that you have the next couple years’ worth of living expenses in a bank account—and several more years in bonds that mature when you need the money—can help keep you calm and clear-headed. You might think you are risk tolerant, but if you haven’t structured your investments to handle a sharp drop, your financial capacity to handle risk may change your attitude when the market does drop.
Match your money to your goals. Map out a plan that takes into account what you’re saving for, whether near-term expenses or future financial goals like retirement. Structure your portfolio to match those goals. Money that you’ll need in the short term or that you can’t afford to lose—the down payment on a home, for example—is best invested in relatively stable assets, such as money market funds, certificates of deposit (CDs) or Treasury bills. Goals that need funding in three to five years should be addressed with a mixture of investment-grade bonds and CDs. For money you won’t need for five or more years, consider assets with the potential to grow, such as stocks, which are more volatile. Your allocation should also account for your time horizon and risk tolerance.
Remember: Downturns don’t last. The Schwab Center for Financial Research looked at both bull and bear markets in the S&P 500 going back to the late ’60s and found that the average bull ran for more than four years, delivering an average return of nearly 140%. The average bear market lasted a little longer than a year, delivering an average loss of 34.7%. The longest of the bears was a little more than two years—and was followed by a nearly five-year bull run. No bull market endures forever, but neither does a bear. And historically the market’s upward movement has prevailed over the declines.
Keep your portfolio diversified. Let’s say there is a slump—what is the best way to insulate against losses? Being well diversified is a preventive measure you can take now. Being diversified means you have a wide variety of investment grade bonds—corporate, municipals, Treasuries and possibly foreign issues. And they should have varying maturity dates, from short-term to mid-term, so you always have some bonds maturing and providing you with either income or money to reinvest. Your long-term assets should be divvied up among a wide array of domestic stocks—big and small, fast-growing and dividend-paying—as well as international stocks, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and commodities. This mix of assets gives you enough diversity that it provides a cushion in your portfolio if specific parts of the market are taking a hit so your exposure in a downturn is lessened.
Include cash in your portfolio. Cash in your portfolio offers protection against volatility, and cash reserves can come in handy in down markets. With cash you can buy in when prices are attractively low—without having to sell securities at a loss, if they are also at a low point.
Find an expert you can count on. If you’re not sure how to structure your portfolio correctly, or you think you’d be tempted to do something rash in a market slide, you should find a financial professional you trust to collaborate with you. That person can walk you through a complete portfolio review and help prepare you and your portfolio for times when the market gets tough.
By Caren Parnes
For The Senior’s Choice

Have you been following our social media? Since it's December, we are posting daily Elf on the Shelf shenanigans again this year to get into the holiday spirit!  Meet Valerie, the Touching Hearts Elf on the Shelf!  She just came back from the North Pole the other day and is going to keep an eye on the office for Santa.  What kind of adventures will she have this year?

Follow us on your preferred social media to find out!

Facebook: facebook.com/touchingheartsseniorcare/
Twitter: twitter.com/TouchingHearts8
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/senioranddementiacare/
Google+: plus.google.com/u/0/100055681154400505170
And for christmas, there will be a very special video on our YouTube page!