A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that air pollution kills thousands of Americans every year. The study used data from millions of Americans on Medicare to determine the consequences of air pollution on older Americans.
The study was among the most comprehensive to date on the effects of air pollution. Led by Francesca Dominici, a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health biostatistics professor, the study required researchers to synthesize data from federal air monitoring stations and satellites to create a map of air pollution. The map was so detailed that it could determine pollution for individual zip codes.
The pollution map was then cross referenced with data from 60 million Americans on Medicare from 2000-2013. The conclusion drawn was that even low levels of air pollution are lethal, killing around 12,000 Americans per year.
"We are now providing bullet-proof evidence that we are breathing harmful air," Dominici said in an interview with NPR. "Our air is contaminated."
But what can Americans do with this information? There are several concrete steps you can take to protect yourself.
1. Check Your Daily Pollution Forecast
The American Lung Association has an app that you can download that will let you know how much pollution to expect in your area on any given day. If the forecast is high, limit the amount of time you spend outdoors.
2. Avoid Exercising in Areas of Heavy Traffic
Cars create pollution. Even if you are going for a short walk down the road, the pollution has the ability to build up over time. State parks and gyms are a great alternative for a safer place to exercise.
3. Get Regular Check Ups
Air pollution can cause a number of diseases, including lung cancer. That is why it is important that you take full advantage of the preventative care options that your insurance offers. That way, you can catch any diseases early.
4. Stop Smoking
This one should be self-explanatory, but if you are worried about air pollution then you need to make a concerted effort to cut down on the amount of cigarette smoke you are exposed to. While smoking habits have decreased, 8.4% of the population still smoked in 2014, according to the State of Aging and Health in America.
5. Consider Medicare Supplement Insurance Options (Medigap)
If you live in an area of high pollution, you may decide to invest in a Medigap plan that can offer you more protection should the worst happen.
Air pollution is a serious problem for all Americans, but for seniors, it can have a more pronounced effect. Taking precautions can prevent you from experiencing the worst of the consequences.
Disclaimer: Neither Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company® nor its Medicare Supplement policies are affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. Government, the federal Medicare program, or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is a solicitation of Medicare Supplement insurance and an independent agent may call on you.
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Although many people consider a life insurance policy to be necessary only when they have a family for whom to provide, having one can actually be vital in a number of different situations. Even if your children are all grown up and your mortgage is all paid off, you may find that having life insurance coverage can be of great benefit. If you have finances tied up in the stock market and the market crashes before you have a chance to replace your assets, your life insurance policy can help you. And if, like the 7 million grandparents who lived with a grandchild in 2013, you're chiefly responsible for the well-being of your grandchild, your policy can help to provide for them in the event of your passing.
But if you are fortunate enough to have minimal debts and few financial responsibilities or worries, you may not think that the life insurance cost is worth it. That's why many seniors opt for short term insurance, as it often provides the coverage they need without a significant cost. Whether you decide on a term or permanent policy, working with a life insurance company can reduce the burden you put on your loved ones and can give you peace of mind. Here are just three reasons seniors over the age of 60 should still invest in a life insurance policy:
Your policy can pay for final and outstanding expenses
For many people, the cost of a funeral and burial can be a shock. On average, these can cost more than $15,000! Your insurance policy will allow your family to pay tribute to the impact you've had on their lives without shouldering a huge financial burden. And even if you don't have outstanding mortgage payments or credit card balances, the pay-out from your policy can also help to cover medical bills. Since we can't always plan for needing additional medical care, this can be a big help.
You can leave a legacy
Your policy can also be used to provide for your children, grandchildren, or even a charitable organization. While not every person is in a financial position to provide gifts set aside in their wills, this can be a great way to keep your memory alive and support those you care about.
You can provide for your spouse
Even if you and your partner are both retired, your death may leave your spouse in a financial lurch if you don't have an insurance policy. If you rely on pension or Social Security checks, your passing could be a huge financial burden. This is especially true if your spouse is not currently in the workforce. Even if you're both managing your expenses right now, that may not continue to be the case after you're gone. Having a life insurance policy will ensure that your spouse can continue to life comfortably and without financial worry.
You may not be able to plan ahead for certain health issues or for any accident, but you can take precautions now to help your loved ones in the even if your death. To find out more about how our insurance policies can help you and your family, please contact us today.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes affects about 1 in every 11 Americans, and more than 29 million are currently living with the disease.
There are three types of diabetes – Type 1, Type 2, and gestational. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and it accounts for only 5% of people with diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs during some women’s pregnancies but usually resolves itself once the baby is born.
Type 2 is by far the most common and preventable form of diabetes. Risk factors include being overweight, having high blood pressure or unhealthy cholesterol, and lifestyle factors like physical inactivity, smoking, and unhealthy eating. Age, race, gender, family history, and a history of previous gestational diabetes also may play a part.
With Type 2 diabetes, the body over time develops insulin resistance, which affects blood glucose levels. This imbalance can in turn affect organ function, the skin, eyesight, and nerves.
There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes, but it can be managed. If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you’ll need to pay close attention to diet and exercise, and you may need medication.
Your doctor may need to prescribe oral medications (pills) and/or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels.
The good news is that many people living with Type 2 diabetes have long and healthful lives!
American Diabetes Association:
Medical care for people with diabetes:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
1A Snapshot of Diabetes in America, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/diabetes.org
It’s Not the Age, It’s the Mileage
Your risk of falling may seem minor, after all we’ve all fallen at some point in our lives. As an eight-year-old, you might have scraped your knee, brushed off a few tears, and kept on moving. As you age, the outcome of a fall has long-term consequences such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries.
Each year, one in every three adults ages 65 or older falls and 2 million are treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• One out of five falls causes serious injury
• More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling
• Each year at least 2500,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures
• Direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion annually
• Falling once doubles your chance of falling again
Prevention Is the Best Medicine
However, falls are not an inevitable part of aging and many can be prevented. Some of the underlying causes of older-adult falls include muscle weakness, improper footwear, impaired vision, slick floors, poor lighting, loose rugs, clutter, and uneven surfaces. All of which can be improved. And if you are an active senior, kudos, you are already ahead of the game.
Exercise: The role exercise plays in preventing falls makes it an important part of living an active lifestyle in your senior years. Lack of exercise can lead to weakness in the lower body and thus increase your chances of falling. Exercises like Tai Chi improve balance and strength. In fact, a trial conducted by PubMed.gov showed that inactive older adults who did Tai Chi three times a week decreased the risk of falls by 55 percent. In addition, weight-bearing exercises that strengthen your bones can also prevent fractures if you do fall.
Medications: Review your medicines, some have side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness, affect your coordination, or cause you to become confused and disoriented either taken by themselves or in combination with others medicines. This includes over the counter medications as well. These factors could make falling more likely.
Home Safety: While falls can happen anywhere, they most often occur at home. Keep your home safe by removing items you can trip over such as books, clothes, and shoes from stairs, hallways, and other passageways. Repair broken or uneven steps and install proper lighting. Put grab bars inside and next to the tub and use non-slip mats in the bathroom and on shower floors. These are just a few of the safety measures you can take to avoid a trip or fall at home. In addition, unless you think the house is on fire, don’t rush or run and don’t dash to open the front door. If it’s important, it will wait.
Most falls are caused by a combination of risk factors, many mentioned above. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of falling. Protect yourself by keeping your space clear of obstacles, your mind aware of your surroundings, and your body strong and balanced.
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Understanding Medicare Supplement
Neither Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company® nor its Medicare Supplement policies are affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. Government, the federal Medicare program, or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is a solicitation of Medicare Supplement insurance and an independent agent may call on you. The Medicare Supplement products issued by the Company are insurance policies. Policy form series B 21092 is issued by Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company®, Atlanta, GA; policy form series B 21492 is issued by Bankers Fidelity Assurance CompanyTM, Atlanta, GA. Limitations and exclusions apply; actual policy provisions control. Rates subject to change on a class basis. Individually underwritten; application to determine eligibility required.
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