Category: Health & Fitness

Mind the Gap: 5 Ways to Save Money on Medigap Coverage

More and more people are enrolling in Medigap programs, supplemental insurance for Medicare. In fact, enrollment has jumped by nearly 3 million enrollees in recent years. 

But finding the best Medigap coverage can be tricky. 

Let’s face it: picking policies and keeping up on insurance lingo isn’t always the easiest. And that can cost you.

Breathe easy. We’ve got you covered when it comes to healthcare finances. Here are five easy tips to save you money on your Medigap plan. 

Why Pick Medigap Coverage?

Medicare doesn’t always cover everything when it comes to medical coverage. And out of pocket costs can rack up fast. 

That’s where Medigap comes in. It’s meant to fill the gap, so you don’t have to. 

It usually covers things like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.

These extra plans are offered by private groups. There are generally 10 Medigap plans, designated by a letter, A through N. But they aren’t all always available everywhere. 

And there are several ways to get the most out of Medigap coverage.

1. Don’t Rush on Picking Your Plan

You can save a good amount of money by considering what each plan offers before jumping into a plan.

The majority of people rush to Plan F. But it isn’t the best plan for everyone.

Plans a step or two down the line from Plan F have a lot of the same benefits. It might be better to grab a solid plan that cuts out added frills you won’t need.

2. Pay Attention to Where Your Plan Lives

Things like underwriting can be a headache. But different states have different rules when it comes to switching plans. 

You might be able to jump to a new plan and skip underwriting at certain times during the year. And if you’re mobile, some states might have lower premiums than other.

Getting in touch with Medigap coverage experts can make a big difference. They can answer questions about specific state rules and shed light on options.

3. Don’t Miss Your Free Medical Consultation

You can get an annual checkup through Medicare. Use it. 

Wellness exams can help you figure out what you need or don’t need to determine your best Medigap plans. They’re also a great chance to identify health problems and minimize future costs.

4. Forget What’s on the Label

It’s easy to be attracted to popular brands or insurance companies. But knowing what’s in the plan rather than what’s on the label can save big money.

Instead, focus on plans, what’s covered, and the cost that fits your specific needs.

5. Connect with an Expert

Picking a solid broker can clear up plans and keep you in the loop if policies change. This can help you avoid upped charges.

They can also help you find ways to lower costs or cut out options you don’t need.

Savings Shouldn’t Stop at Medigap

You can cut Medigap costs through these simple tips. But we’ve pinpointed more ways you can save cash through budgeting, investments, and cost-cutting.

Check out our blog here for ways to get the most out of your personal finances. 

Hire a Helper: Pros and Cons of In-Home Care Options for Aging Parents

Many adult children have a hard time making decisions regarding how to care for their old folks.

As adults age, they tend to become dependent on others for assistance with some daily living routines like getting out of bed, bathing, grooming, meal preparation, shopping for grocery, and many more. In some cases, they just need companionship.

This reliance on others may be due to aging-associated diseases and conditions, living with some form of disability, or recovery from surgery.

In-home care services are designed with the needs of elderly parents and their families in mind. It is a popular choice because it involves providing elderly parents with the care they need from the comfort of their own homes or their families’ home.

If you’d like to hire a helper to care for your aging parent, you may want to learn about the home-based care options available so you can weigh your options.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of the various in-home care options designed for aging parents.

1. Hiring a Part-Time Helper

This in-home care option is ideal for elderly parents that don’t need round-the-clock care, and only require a little assistance with basic house chores.

It involves having an aide come in on certain hours of the day or days of the week to do basic housekeeping duties like cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cooking, shopping for grocery, and so on.

Part-time helpers don’t provide medical care.

Pros of Hiring a Part-Time Helper

  • Aides report to work fresh and may have the energy to cheer up your parent in a way that you might be too tired to do.
  • Helpers maintain a separate residence and only come in on agreed hours or days of the week. This is vital for maintaining your parent’s privacy, especially if they don’t fancy having “strangers” in their homes.
  • Helpers can focus on helping their clients with important household chores.
  • Helpers are paid an hourly rate and can be less expensive than hiring a live-in helper.

Cons Hiring a Part-Time Helper

  • Parents can only get help when the helper is around.
  • There’s limited time for senior parents to get well-acquainted with their helpers. Usually, helpers leave the client’s home immediately after completing their work.

2. Hiring a Full-Time Helper

This type of helper is also known as a live-in helper because they move into the care receiver’s home so they can provide the assistance needed at any time of the day or night.

The helper becomes part of the care receiver’s household, so it’s vital to choose someone who can get along well with your parent.

Pros of Hiring Full-Time Helper

  • They’ll offer dedicated round-the-clock care to your senior parent. The aging parent will get the help they need during all hours of the day or night. This can be a source of peace of mind for you.
  • The client and their family will have ample time to get to know the helper better, as they’ll be living together.
  • If the senior parent’s family members live far away and can’t visit often, a full-time helper can serve as a companion and confidant.

Cons of Hiring Full-Time Helper

  • Finding a helper who is the right fit for the job can be a challenge. If your parent is exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, for example, finding someone with experience in handling patients with Alzheimer’s disease can be a big problem.
  • Having a live-in helper can lead to loss of privacy.
  • The costs of hiring a live-in helper can be quite high, as helpers are paid a daily (not hourly) rate.

3. Hiring a Visiting Nurse

Home care agencies also hire trained and certified nurses to help take care of the needs of families with ailing seniors.

Unlike part-time and live-in caregivers who help with daily household chores, these nurses focus on providing health care services, such as medication management, helping the patient get out of bed, taking the care receiver to see a physician, and so on.

Pros of Hiring a Visiting Nurse

  • They only come in during certain hours of the day, so they don’t need to reside in the client’s home.
  • They provide one-on-one medical care to your parent. This may improve the overall quality of care provided.
  • They provide medical care, which other types of helpers aren’t qualified to provide.
  • They provide the vital oversight needed to keep tabs on the patient’s condition without requiring them to leave the comfort of their homes.
  • Like part-time helpers, visiting nurses are paid an hourly rate, so you only need to pay for the time they’ve spent attending to your parent.

Cons of Hiring a Visiting Nurse

  • They may not be around to help in emergency situations.
  • They may not be able to carry all the equipment available in nursing facilities when visiting your parent’s home.
  • The agency may need to send in a different nurse if the one who normally visits your parent is unable to report to work. Your parent might have a hard time adjusting to the new nurse’s way of doing things.

The biggest challenge for senior parents and their families is finding a helper that matches the needs of the aging parent. Check out the article posted by this center to gain valuable insight into how you can find the right fit for your parent.

Hire a Helper for Your Aging Parent Today

If your senior parent needs regular help with medical care needs, home health care services and skilled nursing homes, rather than in-home care services, may be the best choice for both you and them.

But if they only need assistance with daily living activities within or around the home, then it’s best to hire a helper from an in-home care service provider.

If you’re still unsure about which type of home-based care aide is best for you and your elderly parent, feel free to contact me for more information. I’ll be glad to help point you in the right direction. 

10 Mind-Bending Games for Moms Who Need a Memory Boost

games for momsAs a mother, you’re always on the lookout for a few minutes to relax and decompress. Unfortunately, these moments are hard to come by when facing the countless demands of motherhood.

One of the many side-effects of too much stress is memory loss. That’s right – stress can cause short-term memory loss and even dementia if endured too long.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can give your brain a break and stimulate it at the same time. Doing so will help boost memory function.

If you find yourself forgetting small details more often than usual, keep reading. We’re going over ten brain games for moms who want to stay sharp.

1. Jigsaw Puzzles

Working on a jigsaw puzzle when you have a little time to kill is a great way to boost short-term memory function. This is because your brain must go through many pieces, each with a different shape and color, in order to complete the puzzle.

The more elaborate the puzzle, the more your brain must concentrate. Opt for more challenging puzzles rather than ones you can easily complete.

The great thing about a jigsaw puzzle is you don’t have to finish it in one sitting. Feel free to take your time and work on it when you can.

2. Sudoku

This very popular game challenges you to remember numbers while simultaneously trying to envision their place on a grid. The whole point of Sudoku is memorization.

Newspapers offer Sudoku, but you can also play it on your smartphone or tablet. This is perfect if you’re waiting for an appointment or have a little downtime at home.

Not only is Sudoku a great way to stimulate the mind, but it’s also fun. Watch out. You might get addicted.

3. Crossword Puzzles

Working on a crossword puzzle is a classic way to challenge your thinking skills and concentration. People have been doing them for years and they’re still popular.

The only issue with crossword puzzles is you can become too good at them. When this happens, you’re not enhancing your memory function.

Make sure you push yourself to work on harder puzzles that test your vocabulary and overall knowledge.

4. Bingo

It may seem surprising, but bingo can actually work wonders for your memory and concentration skills. This is because you’re forced to remember the numbers called and keep track of your board at the same time.

Bingo also requires a certain amount of hand-eye coordination, especially if you play with more than one card. You’ll need to stay alert at all times.

If you don’t have time to hit the local bingo hall, consider online bingo from the comfort of your home.

5. Chess

There’s a misconception that chess is reserved for those with higher intelligence. However, while chess isn’t a simple game, anyone can learn to play.

In addition to requiring you to memorize rules, chess also forces you to think creatively. Your brain must formulate strategies based on different situations.

The type of thinking required to play chess will help sharpen your memory and improve your decision-making skills. It also requires you to adapt quickly to your opponent’s strategies. Plus, you can find a partner or play online if you want to hone your skills in private.

6. Shopping Games

As a busy mom, grocery shopping is part of your weekly routine. A great way to add a little entertainment to the experience and enhance your memory as well is to play shopping games.

Try setting up an easy word association challenge with your shopping list. Instead of using numbers for each item, apply a different word. Fold your list in half so you can’t see the food items and try to remember them by association.

Try to get through all the items on your list without looking. This will force you to use short-term memory while doing a very routine chore.

7. Gaming Apps

For moms on the go, looking into app games is one of the most convenient ways to sharpen your mind when you only have a few minutes here and there.

Apps like Lumosity, Brain Fitness Pro, and Eidetic offer a number of brain-teasing challenges you can play without a big time investment. The best thing about apps is you can find which game you like the most and challenge yourself to reach advanced levels.

8. Video Games the Test Cognitive Skills

Do your kids play video games? Maybe it’s time for you to start joining in.

Certain video games can actually strengthen your decision-making skills along with short-term memory. Like chess, many video games require the player to form strategies in order to win.

However, it’s important you play the right kind of games. Killing zombies isn’t as beneficial as strategy or role-playing video games.

Ask your kids if you can join in next time they play. You’ll boost cerebral function and also have a great time.

9. Solitaire

Remember playing solitaire when you had nothing to do as a kid? Well, it turns out this simple card game is a great way to improve brain function.

Solitaire forces you to keep track of numbers and use basic problem-solving skills. It also requires a small amount of hand-eye coordination.

You can easily get in a few games while you have ten or fifteen minutes to kill.

10. Yoga for Your Brain

Traditional meditation yoga is a great way to regain focus, concentration, and reduce stress. However, you can also do yoga that works your brain.

All you need to do is hold up both hands and make a fist. Put your left thumb out like you’re hitchhiking. On your right hand, put both your thumb and pinky finger out.

Then, try to switch hands so you have your thumb and pinky out on your left hand and thumb only on your right. It sounds silly, but it’s harder than you think.

Use These Brain Games for Moms to Strengthen Memory

When the stress of everyday life has you feeling a little foggy, you may need some stimulation to sharpen your mind. Do this on a regular basis and you’ll find your short-term memory improving in no time.

Try these mind-bending games for moms and incorporate your favorites into your regular routine.

Check out more articles for tips and tricks on improving your health and fitness.

5 Ways to Look Younger Without Going Under the Knife

ways to look youngerAre you noticing a few more lines and wrinkles than you used to have?

If so, you’re probably researching tons and tons of ways to look younger. The anti-aging industry brings in hundreds of billions of dollars a year and there are thousands of ways to try and take years off of your face.

Some women opt to go under the knife. Thanks to new technology, there are tons of ways to look younger without major surgery. But what methods actually work and which ones are just a scam? Keep reading to find out.

Five Ways to Look Younger Without Surgery

Plastic surgery is expensive and it often comes with weeks of downtime afterwards. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time or budget to go under the knife. There are still plenty of great anti-aging methods you can try.

Here are five ways to look younger without plastic surgery:

1. Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels

Microdermabrasion and chemical peels work in a similar way. They exfoliate your skin and remove the top layer, exposing clear, beautiful and young-looking skin underneath.

There are different chemical peels and microdermabrasion scrubs that are available at drugstores, so you can still get the same effect without spending hundreds of dollars at an exclusive spa.

2. Retinol Cream

Retinol is a powerful anti-aging ingredient. It encourages your skin to regenerate and expose younger-looking skin underneath. If you have access to a dermatologist, they can prescribe an higher-strength retinol cream.

For a cheaper option, drugstore favorite brands have a few different creams that contain retinol.

3. Wear SPF

The secret to looking younger is probably already sitting in your bathroom. SPF is probably the best way to look younger and keep yourself looking younger for years to come.

The sun is extremely damaging to your skin, even if you don’t lay out in the sun or live in a cloudy climate. Make sure you daytime face moisturizer has SPF in it and put a good layer all over your body as well. You will thank yourself in ten years.

4. Frequent Exercise

Anti-aging shouldn’t just be about controlling the wrinkles on your face. As your body starts to age, different body parts might not be as perky as they used to be.

Regular exercise will help tone your body and keep it looking young. Liposuction, tummy tucks and butt lifts are all popular plastic surgery procedures, but you can get the same effect with some hard work in the gym.

5. PRP Therapy

Wrinkles aren’t the only sign of aging you might experience. Hair loss, joint pain and other injuries can all cause problems as we get older.

PRP therapy is a great solution to this. This treatment uses platelet-rich plasma injections to help repair the skin and reduce inflammation from a cellular level. Reducing inflammation will help your body feel much better overall, especially if you suffer from chronic pain.

Learn More Beauty Secrets

Looking younger doesn’t have to involve plastic surgery and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Now that you know a few ways to look younger, check out the rest of our site for more money-saving beauty, fashion and shopping tips.

Are You Perimenopausal? Here Are 9 Symptoms You Need to Know!

perimenopause

Perimenopause also known as menopause transition, begins a few years before menopause and ends a year after your last menstrual period.

Women can experience perimenopause in her 40s or even earlier. It all depends on an individual woman’s estrogen levels. This process could last several years with the last 1-2 years being the most common time when women experience symptoms.

Read on to learn what to expect during perimenopause including the 9 most common symptoms.

Signs of Perimenopause

There are various signs and symptoms of perimenopause that are both physical and emotional. Here are the 9 most common perimenopausal symptoms.

1. Changes to Your Period

One of the first signs of perimenopause is changes to your usual menstruation cycle. Your periods may get shorter or longer, become irregular or change in the flow level.

You will likely miss a period or two but you might also begin to have a much heavier flow than you’ve had in the past. If your period was regular before (say every 28 days) during perimenopause, it can become unpredictable.

Some women experience spotting before and after their period.

2. Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Sudden waves of intense body heat that can last 5-10 minutes is one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause. Estimates say that up to 80% of women experience hot flashes.

These hot flashes can happen anytime during the day but are most often at night. The degree of them varies from woman to woman. Some women feel their cheeks flush warm while others end up drenched in sweat.

Hot flashes may last up a year or more after menopause. Your doctor might recommend estrogen hormone-therapy or other medication if your symptoms are severe.

Deep breathing, dressing in layers you can take off and put on as needed and avoiding caffeine and alcohol can all help ease hot flashes.

3. Vaginal Dryness

Because your body is producing less estrogen, a common side effect of perimenopause is vaginal dryness. Lower estrogen levels can cause the vaginal tissues to become dry and thin.

Dryness in the vagina will feel itchy or irritated and can cause sex to be painful. Vaginal dryness is often a contributing factor for decreased sex drive in perimenopausal women.

Over-the-counter vaginal lubricants can help. These can be safely used daily for dryness relief and can also be used prior to intercourse as an internal lubricant.

Your doctor may also prescribe a low-dose contraceptive or vaginal estrogen to relieve vaginal dryness.

4. Decreased Sex Drive

During perimenopause, a woman’s hormones fluctuate. Before perimenopause, a woman will experience a peak in libido right before and after ovulation. But with the changes in periods, those days of desire can disappear.

Less estrogen also means there is less blood flow to the vagina. This also reduces desire.

Yet, during perimenopause, receptive desire (in other words, being turned on by your partner) remains possible.

For this and other perimenopausal symptoms, Yunique Medical provides hormone replacement therapies, peptides, nutrient injections, and functional medicine.

5. Trouble Sleeping

Many women have trouble falling or staying asleep. This can be caused in part by hot flashes and night sweats.

It is important to note that sleep problems affect both men and women as they age. So it’s not possible to pin trouble sleeping on just perimenopause. There could be various factors involved.

Lack of sleep can lead to changes in mood, difficulty with memory, and weight gain. If you are not sleeping as well as you used to during perimenopause, speak to your doctor about insomnia medication.

6. Weight Gain and Increased Waist Circumference

Perimenopausal women often begin to note added fat around the waist as well as putting on weight. This extra fat and weight can be difficult to lose so it’s best to limit it before it becomes a problem.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes hemp protein, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep will all help keep your weight in check. If you are physically active and still putting on weight, you may need to up your activity level to combat the decreased hormone levels.

Remember, weight gain happens as people age, not only in women but also in men. But excess pounds aren’t unavoidable. You can stop the middle age spread by improving your lifestyle.

7. Urinary Problems

Perimenopausal women are more prone to urinary tract infections. Urinary incontinence and being unable to control one’s bladder are also signs of perimenopause.

8. Mood Changes

As perimenopause is a time of hormone fluctuation and change, it’s no surprise that many women report changes in their mood as well as irritability, anxiety, a constant feeling of sadness and so on.

Some perimenopausal women report that they feel like they are in PMS all the time.

You can help reduce these symptoms by making the needed lifestyle changes. Include regular exercise as part of your weekly routine and learn how to manage your stress and tension.

Now is a good time to nurture friendships, find creative outlets and take up self-calming practices such as yoga and mindfulness.

9. Hair Loss

You may begin to experience thinning hair on your scalp. Be kind to your hair and avoid roughly brushing your hair.

Give your hair a rest from elastics and tight hairstyles. Avoid heat such as curling wands and hair dryers as much as possible.

Final Thoughts

Heading into menopause can be a challenging, unpredictable phase of a woman’s life.

Being aware of the possible changes and mentally preparing for perimenopause can go a long way in helping women cope with this period of time.

Read about these 10 essential oils for women that have incredible health and emotional benefits.

Plastic Surgery Diet: Foods to Eat Before and After Your Procedure

surgery dietAmericans spent a huge $16 billion on various cosmetic surgery procedures in 2016 alone. Not only this, the number is increasing at a steady pace.

The majority of patients who went through with a cosmetic procedure were happy. But, others weren’t. This is due to the fact that many patients don’t follow the pre and post operation guidelines that their surgeons give them.

And, one of the most important aspects of your lifestyle to pay attention to if you are going under the knife is your diet. Read on to find out more about the best plastic surgery diet available.

Foods to Eat Before Your Procedure

Here are three types of food to eat before your procedure:

Fresh and Natural Products

The key to fighting inflammation and staying healthy before a procedure is to eat fresh and natural foods. This means cutting out all processed foods. Some of these may include:

  • Bread
  • Biscuits
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Cereal

For example, Dr. Aaron Kosins gives all his patients a list of foods to avoid before and after surgery.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Before your procedure, you should get a boost of antioxidants. You can achieve that by eating a handful of organic berries every morning. Raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are great examples.

Non-Starchy Vegetables

To feel as healthy as possible and reduce the chances of inflammation and infection, you should rely on non-starchy vegetables. This also means you should cut back on processed carbohydrates. Some great vegetables you can stock up on include:

  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers

Aside from eating lots of greens, make sure you stock up on omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help curb inflammation.

Foods to Eat After Your Procedure

Once the surgery is over, it’s important you maintain a healthy diet to make a full recovery. Here are some foods you should eat post surgery:

Amino Acids

While you should maintain more or less the same diet, you also want to increase your protein intake. This is because protein has a lot of amino acids. These will help you build new cells and help your body heal.

Also, foods high in amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants will help with collagen production. This will reduce inflammation in the skin.

Fatty Foods

To make a full recovery, your body will need more energy. With this in mind, start introducing small amounts of organic animal fats back into your diet. This will bump up your calorie count. Alternatively, you can go for other healthy fat sources such as:

  • Avocadoes
  • Fatty fishes
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Coconut oil

While you should increase the number of healthy fats you eat, you also need to focus on vitamin intake. Make sure your diet is high in vitamin A and C.

Get More Surgery Diet Tips From Thrifty Momma Ramblings

Eating ready meals and fast food will increase inflammation and weaken your immune system. This could lead to infections. The key to creating the ultimate pre and post-surgery diet is to eat clean foods.

If you’re considering plastic surgery but don’t know if you can afford it, visit Thrifty Momma Ramblings today. We share a mound of tips on how to cut costs and save money.

Top 5 Thrifty Tips to Save Money on Workout Clothes

workout clothesWorkout clothes have become a trendy (and profitable) lifestyle statement. Women everywhere are forgoing their usual clothes in favor of snazzy gym styles. From bootcamp to the boardroom, workout clothes are the style revolution.

But what do you do if you don’t have the budget for the variety of luxury styles that could make you stand out in a sea of yoga pants?

Keep reading for five thrifty tips on how to save money on workout clothes, so you look fierce and fit every day.

Workout Clothes: The Secrets to Get What You Want

You’re a thrift diva. Cool.

But first, there are some things you should not try to save $$ on…because when it comes to your actual workouts, being stingy could hurt your health. One of those things is appropriate footwear.

While it’s much easier to justify a quick spend on sneakers that fit your size at a discount store, you could pay the price later. Especially if your usual training schedule includes high impact moves, or long sessions. That doesn’t just include cardio workouts, either.

Strength training workouts need to be properly supported, too. Now, with that word of advice, on to your saving tips.

Think Outside the Box

Amazing clothes aren’t always where you think they’ll be. Sure, you can go into a high end store and find all the newest styles. But you’ll also find steep price tags. You might not have thought about stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for your next pair of form-fitting tights.

And, if you work with a personal trainer, ask them if they get clothing discounts. They often do!

Go Online

You’re in a store and find your next workout clothes ensemble, but wait. You can probably search online and comparison shop for something similar. In fact, just a few of the right keywords can pull up a whole panel of alternate choices.

Its the generic brands that try hard to match the high end stuff. So even though the clothes aren’t luxe, they’ll still look awesome.

Mix N Match

Don’t throw away, donate, or re-purpose your old workout clothes just yet! It’s possible you can mix and match them with your newer pieces. You could always splurge on a few new, top quality items. Then, rotate in your older stuff.

And if you’re handy with needles, thread, or scissors, you could always make some adjustments to older items.

Rethink Clothing Care

Workout clothes tend to hold up better and longer with less frequent washings. Also, stick to cold water and hanging your clothes on a line to dry. You’ll not only extend their lifespan, but you’ll also be helping the environment.

Subscribe to Email Lists and Apps

You know those annoying email blitzes that offer coupon discounts? Yeah, you’ll want to actually use those. Find stores you like, and sign up for their promotional offers.

You can also download a few apps that are focused on thrift shopping, and opt to receive alerts from them as well.

Thrifty Shopping for Gym Rats

It just takes a few, common sense ideas to cut back on your workout clothes budget. Follow these tips and see the savings! If you’re looking to become a real budget babe, check out our other resources, like our health and fitness blog!