Social Media Safety

"Privacy settings" on the screen. Woman hands over the keyboard laptop at home interior.If you think social media is just for kids and millenials, think again.  According to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among those age 65 and older has grown 150 percent between 2009 and 2011.  A 2012 study also done by Pew, showed that 34 percent of seniors who are online, use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Generally, seniors who are using social media are viewing posts and photos from friends and family, which can help reduce depression and feelings of isolation.  Still, as great as it is to share photos and videos, you can’t forget about safety. Seniors are a common target for criminals and scammers who studying the social media habits of seniors, as well.  Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of a social media scammer/hacker:

Go easy on the selfies and check-ins:

While it is fun to post selfies and mention places that you regularly visit in order for the grandkids to have a window into your life, it also gives a window for burglars and other criminals into your life. If you post online that you meet friends for lunch every Wednesday at a local restaurant, then burglars will know to break into your home on Wednesday between 12 and 1:30 p.m.  Selfies aren’t safe either. Photos taken with smartphones can have data such as time, date and location, which criminals can use to learn about your whereabouts.  So, either shut off your phone’s Global Positioning System or post selfies and check-ins after the fact. You want to be sure you are posting on social media for friends and family, not for criminals.

Don’t post phone numbers, street address, emails address or photos that would identify anything that a thief would want or need. This should be obvious.  If you don’t want telemarketers or weirdos bothering you, don’t make it easy for them to bother you. There are private messaging options on both Facebook and Twitter.  If someone you know doesn’t have a way to contact you outside of social media, you can provide contact information via the messaging option. If someone you don’t know asks for contact information while you are on social media, ignore that person. In addition, if you own antiques, art work or expensive jewelry, it is a good idea not to exclusively feature them. (i.e. “Look at this Peter Max painting I bought in an estate sale.”) Either crop them out of photos or don’t post photos of them on social media in the first place.

Check privacy settings, yet don’t be so quick to post a comment

You should consider that everything you post on social media can be seen by both friend and foe with very little effort. Think twice about posting a rant about your boss or co-worker or something pro or con about a particular politician. An innocent little post to you, might not seem as innocent to others. Still, you can set your social media preferences so that only those who follow you will see those posts. “I have like-minded friends,” you might be thinking. “Wouldn’t that protect me?” No, it won’t, because your friends could share your posts with others and you don’t know who your friends’ friends are.  So, if your post is something that you wouldn’t want on a billboard along I-95, don’t put it on social media.

Being on social media can be a lot of fun.  Still, you need to be careful. You don’t want your posts to get you into trouble. So, using some common sense should keep your social media experience fun.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anita-kamiel-rn-mps/older-people-social-media_b_9191178.html

https://senior.com/selfies-give-criminals-treasure-map-stuff/

http://seniorcarecorner.com/5-benefits-of-social-media-for-seniors

Mistakes to Avoid When Drafting a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is essential for protecting a loved ones quality of life and access to government benefits.

A special needs trust is essential for protecting a loved ones quality of life and access to government benefits.

When drafting a special needs trust for your disabled child or other special needs family member, you want to make sure that there are no mistakes that could jeopardize their financial future and care.

But too often, mistakes are made and can go undetected until it is too late. When creating special needs trusts in Doylestown, beware of these common mistakes.

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How to Travel Safely When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer’s or Another Form of Dementia

Woman supporting man on wheelchairWhen you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of Dementia, a lot of consideration has to go into your travel plans. Something unfamiliar, or what seems unfamiliar, is a simple trigger that can upset them. As their condition progresses, travel can become overwhelming. Regardless of the stage of the disease, here are some tips to help you plan a safe trip whether it be to visit family or to go out to eat.

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Care for the Caregiver

As a careA woman 80 years old with his adult daughter.giver, you are always concerned for your loved one. Sometimes in the midst of things, it’s easy to let your own health and well-being slip. But it is just as important to care for yourself as it is to care for your loved one.  As simple as it is to submerge yourself in the needs of others, remember you have needs too. Here are some tips on how to care for yourself – in case you forget!

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What is a Special Needs Trust Used For?

special needs adult TrustFor centuries, trusts have allowed parents to set aside money for that their children could access when they got older.

But for some parents, it’s not that simple. If you have a child or other loved one with special needs, you might worry about how they can support themselves after you’ve gone.

That’s where a special needs trust comes into play. This is a trust set up to help a disabled person who receives government benefits such as Medicaid or Social Security. It is administered by a trustee, who can be a relative, friend, or someone you designate to handle the trust.

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Planning for Special Needs Children

Special Needs KidsIt’s no surprise that having a special needs child is both challenging and rewarding.  Not only are there school and medical issues to consider, there are also the financial needs of your child.  Planning for your child’s financial well-being should be an important part of your estate plan especially since improved healthcare has allowed children with conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome, to live longer.

What do you need to do to provide for your special needs child?  These things can help during the special needs child planning process.

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What to do when an elderly loved one refuses help

Care Facility - Elder Care Attorney in Bucks CountyIt’s an oft told tale these days. An 85-year-old father with failing eyesight still drives, despite being involved in some fender benders. A 70-year-old mother-in-law with severe arthritis, refuses to move into a personal care facility even though she can barely navigate the home she and her husband bought over 50 years ago.

What is an adult child to do in a situation like this? You know that a loved one needs help and you want to prevent receiving an emergency call in the middle of the night about your relative. Still, you have a job and a family of your own to take care of, so it isn’t feasible for you to drop everything to be their caregiver 24/7. Add to that, the fact that most elderly parents value their independence to the point of downplaying or denying any problems. So, what can you do to help your parents, in-laws or other relative in this situation? Here are some tips from elder law experts on how to approach your loved ones about accepting help.

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What Happens to Digital Accounts When You Die?

Facebook login screenSocial media is great, since it lets you can connect with faraway friends and family.  MP3s and online television networks like Hulu and Netflix are fun as well, since they give you the opportunity to enjoy music and television programs on any device and on your schedule.  Of course, let’s not forget about how great email is. Write a message, hit send and it’s off.

Have you ever given any thought to what will happen to your digital accounts when you die?  Like most people, you probably haven’t given much thought to your digital accounts, since it isn’t a physical thing or even an asset.  Still, it is something that you need to consider because your online accounts don’t just disappear when you die. According to Intel Security, the average person has 27 different logins.  Yikes! That’s a lot of passwords to manage, so it would make sense to set up a plan for your digital assets after your death.

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When to Seek Professional Help

When it comesWhen to Seek Help from an Elder Law Attorney to our family members, we like to think that we know what is best for them.  For the most part that is true. After all, these are people we grew up with or in the case of family by way of marriage, got to know over the years.

Yet there are times, in particular when loved ones get older and need help, that the question, “Should I seek professional help?” arises with respect to the health and financial affairs of your loved one.

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Checklist for Hiring an in Home Care Provider

Home Care Provider & Elder Care Attorney in Bucks CountyMost people prefer to stay in their own home where they are comfortable, secure, and can be independent, rather than receive care in an assisted living/personal care facility.

However, if your loved one decides to remain in his or her home, support can be provided by a home health care provider. Home health care providers offer a wide range of services to ensure that your loved one is well cared for.. When you begin looking for the right home health care provider for your loved one, consider the following list of tips to help you find the right caregiver.

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