When Is The Best Time To Collect Social Security?

Lately in the news and personally I have heard the questions, “When is the best time to collect Social Security?”  “How can I maximize the amount I can receive?”  “Will I get penalized if I collect or withdraw on it too early?”  Now, while there may not be an exact answer for everyone, since everyones situation is different, there sure are procedures you can follow that will help guide you to receiving the highest return that will also fit your needs.  Let’s take a look on how Social Security works first.

The basics of social security

Most people are eligible to start collecting at the age of 62.  But if you wait until your Full Retirement Age, which according to the Social Security Administration is 66, you will receive a much larger benefit.  Keep in mind that while 66 is your Full Retirement Age, you are able to wait until age 70 to collect.  I know that may sound confusing but in general your benefits continue to increase until age 70.  Then, the SSA requires you to start collecting.  In other words, collecting early provides a smaller payment over a longer period of time.  Collecting later will provide a larger payment over a shorter period of time.  Understanding the numbers behind collecting at certain ages is where you can really benefit from.

how the numbers work

A study conducted by Stanford University has identified a few conditions that conclude delaying to collect is the best when:

  • Interest Rates Are Low
  • Married Couples v Single Persons
  • Single Women v Single Men
  • Multiple Earning Couples

Currently interest rates are still at all time lows.  The reason why this makes it more beneficial to delay is because you will not be able to gain much, if any, from saving your collection yourself.  If interest rates were high it would be assumed that you could invest your collections and that interest would outnumber the benefits of waiting.  Married couples have the ability to collect ones earnings early to live off of and delay the others.  This helps if income is needed currently to help with living expenses.  Lastly, the benefit of being a single woman and delaying to collect is strictly based of the statistics that women have the tendency to outlive men.

What is your life expectancy?

According to the Social Security Administration, the typical 65-year-old today will live to age 83, one in four will live to age 90, and one in ten will live to 95.  While there are many other factors that influence this statistic to go in either direction, this is a baseline for you to determine where you may stand.  Below is a chart with an analysis that breaks down exactly where you stand with benefits as it relates to your age.  Meaning, if you delay to collect how long it takes for your benefits to start to increase your overall compensation.

social security benefits list

As you can see by the chart, delaying to collect can result in a large benefit increase.  While I am not a financial advisor nor a government official who works for the Social Security Administration, I do suggest that everyone take time to thoroughly discuss and go over your options with a licensed financial advisor.  This article is based off of statistics and research.

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Seniors : How To Fight Allergies This Season

A survival guide to help combat allergies and aging

This spring so far has been definitely different than previous years.  The amount of rain that has fallen nationwide has increased by 37% from 2018.  You may think the rain will help pollen from becoming airborne and affecting us.  However, the plants and trees actually stop releasing pollen during downpours only to ramp up the release once the rain has stopped.  This has caused allergies to be much worse than seasons before.  An unfortunately, we know that allergies will affect babies and seniors much worse than adults.  Her are a few tips to help withstand the effects of allergies.

Last year i did not have allergies

First off, lets talk about the scenario of this being your first year with allergies.  As we age our bodies change.  What affected us previously may not affect us anymore and vice versa.  But, there are a few things that may cause allergies to flair up.

Medications – Certain prescriptions can exacerbate allergy symptoms in the elderly. For example, beta-blockers can worsen nasal stuffiness.

Diet – Some of our loved ones may be on a strict diet to help with cholesterol or high blood pressure.  The foods that we eat may trigger allergies to flair up or worsen.  Here is an article written by Everyday Health on the affects of food and allergies.

How to keep allergies at bay

While we all would love to make our allergies go away, that is not always possible.  But, there are instances that we can help the runny nose and itchy eyes.  First, let’s discuss the use of medication with seniors.  Allergy medications are what is known as anti-histamines.  A number of antihistamines that are often used to minimize the effects of allergies are not recommended for many seniors because they can increase blood pressure. Not only that, antihistamines can interact with other medications that you may be on, causing severe side effects such as dizziness, confusion, or drowsiness.  Please consult with your doctor or physician before use of any medication.  Here are some other ways that will help you with your allergies.

  • If you need fresh air, open your windows slightly when it is raining.  I know this may sound odd, but that is when pollen is at it’s lowest count.
  • Avoid going places outdoors when the grass in the area has been cut recently.  Mowing the lawn stirs up pollen that can remain airborne for 24 hours.
  • I know some of us still use the clothes line to dry clothes.  Keep your laundry indoors for the next few weeks, until the pollen subsides.
  • Avoid people who have colds.  This is a big one.  You may not feel sick but your body can be fighting off a cold.  When this happens your immune system is less resistant towards allergies and they will be worse during this time.
  • Change ALL air filters in the house.  Many of us think to change your air conditioning filter.  However, at night time your furnace is probably still running.  It did get down to 48 degrees last night.  Change your furnace air filter as well.

Any questions with senior living or how to help with the changing seasons feel free to reach out at anytime to info@juniperhomecare.com

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The Increasing Cost of Assisted Living

I was reading an article the other day written in a Philadelphia newspaper.  It’s headline was, “Why Middle Age People Cannot Afford Assisted Living.”  The writer was predicting what the future of assisted living will look like in the years to come.  From the amount of people, also known as baby boomers, who will be in need of such care to the increase in cost due to the demand for these services.  She explained how hard it is to be able to predict such expense as a family.  She also went into further details on what is covered under medicare and what needs to happen before medicare will be able to cover the costs.  In this article I will explain further to help guide you through some of the reasons for increasing costs and provide certain alternatives that may be beneficial to your family.

supply v. demand

Unfortunately, just like other industries, running an assisted living facility is a business.  They are designed to be profitable while being able to provide the highest care possible.  With that, when there is an added amount of people who need care, an imbalance forms.  These companies do not have enough employees nor resources to be able to take on the influx of applicants who need care.  This requires managers to fill positions, initiate additional training to current staff, and potentially add-on to the facility to allow for more space.

Your standard cost of living

Many of us have felt the affects of rising prices over the last decade.  Whether it be the taxes you pay on your home and car or the increase of the grocery bill, we have all paid more for these same items than we did ten years ago.  Meanwhile, the average American only saved $1,236 in 2017 according to Marketwatch.  While many of us have to save for retirement, save for our children’s college tuition, and spend more on healthcare this leaves little to no money to spend on assisted living for a love one.  Combine this with 32% of retirees living off of social security alone, and there really is not enough to cover the cost.  However, the United States has provided options to help combat the issues we have seen lately with this.

Caring for a loved one at home

In 2013 the Department of Social Services started a program called the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders.  This program was designed for three main reasons:

  • to give our loved ones the opportunity to age in place and be able to stay in the comfort of their own home
  • to help assisted living facilities with the influx of additional individuals that will be needing care over the next 20 years.  This is based on demographics.  We are reaching a time where the elderly (65+) are outnumbering the “children” (under 21) for the first time ever.
  • to provide a different option to those who may not be able to afford assisted living

Before, if your loved one was in need of assistance, staying at home would be very difficult.  A family member would have to leave their job and support both parties.  This almost made it impossible for families to do.  Additionally, there was no way for caregivers to get any type of training unless they had previously been in the medical field or they paid out of pocket to take courses.  Now, fortunately the state has funded a new program to help.

Juniper Homecare has joined partners with the State of CT to provide these services for caregivers and their loved ones to make staying at home possible.  Here are just a few of the amenities we offer.

• 30+ Registered nurses statewide

• Multilingual Nurses and Office staff offering 15+ languages

•  Proprietary technology enabling access to real-time client status for the care team

• Home Health Technology to assist with fall detection

• Vitals and medication management

• Communication between caregiver, nurse, administrative staff and care-managers

• 24/7 office support

• Caregiver respite, support and access to caregiver workshops/education.

Although the cost of assisted living has risen, please know there are options out there.  Remember, the best caregivers are family!

For more questions please contact afl@juniperhomecare.com or call (860)523-1418

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communication is connection

Caring For A Loved One Who Can No Longer Speak

Communicating without Speaking

You may wonder how difficult it may be to understand an individual whom you cannot speak with.  Most of the time, the one who cannot speak does not know how to relay their wants and needs to you either.  They can become frustrated because communicating was once much easier.  Many of us are caring for aging loved ones who can no longer communicate with us.  Seniors may lose their ability to talk, known as aphasia, which can occur from stroke, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease or a brain injury.  However, even minor difficulties in speech can be a challenge for both the caregiver and caretaker.

When losing the ability to speak, our loved ones begin to feel isolated and misunderstood, which many times can lead to anger, depression and mood swings.  It is critical for caregivers and family members to be able to communicate with seniors in any way possible.  Not just for the collective understanding, but mainly for the feeling of comfort.  This process is incredibly scary for seniors.  Always keep that in mind!

Using the sense of touch

It has been far known that the sense of touch is one of the last to be impaired by aging.  The feeling of comfort and safety is very consoling to the ones who can no longer speak like they used to.  Beginning to rely on touch to communicate will require extra attention to their non-verbal cues.  Pay attention to their facial expressions and their hand gestures.  These two actions will express a lot on how your loved one is feeling and if anything may be bothering them.

One common problem to avoid is expressing any negative emotions or gestures towards your loved one.  We completely understand that caregiving is a very difficult and demanding task for anyone to take on.  If you have children, this may take you back to when they were being a toddler.  Even though getting upset is a natural reaction to the situation, it only makes things worse.  Try to remain calm.  The more time the both of you spend together, the more you will be able to understand one another.

hearing without speaking

Even though a one-sided conversation may seem like you are talking at the person instead of with the person, this is still beneficial for your loved ones.  Continue to fill them in on what is going on in their life and the families.  Go over what your day is going to look like and any appointments that are scheduled.  Continue to ask them questions.  Look for cues or indications into what they may be feeling inside.  According to a study done by the National Alzheimers Resource Center, many seniors can continue to hear and comprehend their native language far after they become unable to speak.  You may be amazed on just how much they can still understand.

Remember, always be patient.

For more on caregiving…

7 healthy habits and tips for caregivers

You can get paid being a caregiver to your family!

How to stay positive while caregiving

Helping Our Loved Ones Cope With Loneliness

It is completely understandable as to why you may feel lonely as you get older.  Family and friends may have moved to a different city or state.  Coworkers no longer keep in touch due to the same circumstances.  And, as we unfortunately have to deal with, some of the individuals close to us may have passed away.

However, that does not mean you have to be lonely in your golden years.  There are many things you can do in your area to remain social and avoid being isolated.  Life as a senior should be vibrant, fun and entertaining almost as if you were a child again.  After all, you did work really long and hard to get to this point.  Here are a few ideas to help that our closest group of seniors have shared with us.

go on an adventure to new places

With the warm weather approaching, businesses and city parks are preparing their locations for first time visitors.  Museums are extending their hours to accommodate more people.  Shopping centers and downtown areas are thriving with new construction every day.  You might want to visit your favorite store to see the new items on the shelves.

Whatever the case is, you should look around in your area for new town events.  As a caregiver, check the local newspapers for what is happening on the town greens.  Or you may want to visit the cities website to mark your calendar with future plans.  Just getting out and being around others, even if it is the smallest social experience, it can help to avoid loneliness.

Pets help combat loneliness

Do you have a dog or a cat?  Or maybe the neighbor has a dog running around the fenced in yard.  If not, the local shelter is always looking for volunteers to help with walking and caring for their animals.  Pets are a great way to feel a sense of relief, reward and satisfaction.  Remember, our loved ones once cared for young children.  The feeling of caring for an animal helps lower anxiety and contribute to an overall boost in well being.  If the idea seems reasonable and feasible, consider adopting a pet.  this may not be the best option for everyone, but animals can provide the best form of companionship to help with the feeling of loneliness.

listen and let them teach you

As a caregiver, one of the best ways to help our loved ones to open up is to ask them questions.  You see, they have spent many years learning from others and making mistakes, they love to pass on their wisdom to the next generation.  This is a great way to connect with each other on a much deeper level.

As generations have changed and technology has advanced, some of the traditional ways people did things are no longer taught today.  But many of them had to learn efficient and effective ways of completing daily tasks.  Ask them about how they used to do things at your age.  You would be surprised on how much you learn!

Always watch for depression, especially in the long winter months.  This can be common among seniors.  If you see circumstances getting worse please consult with your local physician.



Seniors at the farmers market

Spring Is Here! 6 Activites For Seniors

It’s Time to get outside!


After what seemed like forever but was only 5 months, the cold is on it’s way out.  The warm air and bright sun over the weekend will slowly push the trees and plant life out of hibernation.  This is the time of year where we can all spend more time outside with family and loved ones.  Here are a few local activities to enjoy this spring, as well as a few health tips.

 1.  First and Foremost, Get Outdoors!

The number one goal is to be outside.  Wether you are able to be active or are able to sit on a park bench, studies from Harvard Medical have shown being outdoors has a direct correlation with your overall mood.  The sunlight tends to elevate peoples mood levels and helps relive stress.  Also, an increase amount of Vitamin D will help your body fight certain conditions from osteoporosis and cancer, to depression and heart attacks.  As long as we don’t overdo the amount of sun we take in, it is very beneficial to your overall health.

 2.  visit your local farmers market

Visiting a local farmer’s market should be high on your list this spring.  Not only will this help you get outdoors but also give you the opportunity to eat better.  You will find new and healthy fruits and vegetables to try.  Many markets also offer new recipe lists as well as classes ranging from healthy cooking to making your own soaps.  Click here for a list of farmers markets in Connecticut.

 3.  Take swimming classes at the local ymca

Now, while this may not be an outdoor activity, most people find it more enjoyable to swim when it is warm outside.  Naturally our bodies try to refrain from getting wet when the temperature is low.  Local YMCA’s have a list of classes for individuals of all mobility ranges.  Swimming is great for your heart health as well as getting those muscles pumping!

 4.  eat outside on the patio

Many of us New Englanders cannot wait to fire up the grill for the first time.  The smell of the charcoal burning has summertime written all over it.  Many restaurants are excited to open up their patio as soon as the weather starts to become enjoyable.  Ask around for new and exciting places to enjoy a meal outdoors.  For a list of the top 25 restaurants with outdoor dining click here.

 5.  take a stroll in the park

Connecticut state employees are busy this time of year doing spring cleanup in all of the city and state parks.  Many have statues explaining the history behind the land and how the park was created.  Some will host food trucks, arts and craft shows, and live music in the evenings.

While we are all excited for the warm weather to fully blossom, let’s not forget to protect ourselves from the sun.

  • Make sure to put on a high SPF sunscreen at all times, even when it is cloudy.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Watch out for allergies.  The pollen is strong this time of year.
  • Wear sunglasses!

And as always.. Have fun!




Benefits of Adult Day Centers

seniors love adult day centers

Adult Day Centers are a great resource for caregivers and seniors, but many are unaware of the benefits these centers can provide.  For caregivers, trying to balance your personal responsibilities and caring for a loved one can become stressful at times.  However, what is even more important are the benefits to seniors.

Staying inside during the winter months can take a toll on anyone.  Trying to find fun and healthy activities to do yourself is not always easy.  That is where Adult Day Centers come in.  We provide a place for seniors to engage in exciting activities, socialize with others, and enjoy life outside of their home.

How adult day services can help

Adult Day Services are planned programs that last all of part of the day. These services help older adults and those who have medical or physical disabilities continue to have an active lifestyle and involvement in the community.  Our services begin at 8am and end at 4pm.  We provide breakfast and a gourmet three-course lunch.  We also offer:

  • Door to Door Transportation
  • Nursing and Medical Supervision
  • Health Screenings
  • Shopping Trips
  • Computer Classes
  • Social Activities
  • Exersize Programs

Our daily services are all enjoyed by our members in a safe and supervised environment.

Who benefits from adult day services?

Adult Day Centers are a right choice for you if:

  • You are a caregiver in need of a short break
  • You work full time and would like supervision for your loved one
  • Seniors looking for a fun and exciting place to socialize with others

Improving the quality of life for both caregivers and loved ones is the number one priority of most individuals.  I know you may be thinking right now, should I feel guilty if I am not home with my loved one?

The answer is no.  Adult Day Centers are an amazing resource for both parties involved.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Too much of anything is not good?”

It applies in this case as well.  Being the caregiver and never getting a break will lead to stress and caregiver burnout.  This is only inevitable.  As a caregiver, you need time to be able to take care of your own personal needs as well as enjoy your life out side of caregiving.  Whether you are raising your own children, working part-time, or involved in other activities, you do not want these responsibilities to suffer due to care taking.  Living a balanced life is very important.  Remember, you must take care of yourself first before you can take care of another.

Other times it may be difficult to think if your care recipient will enjoy the day centers.  You may be hesitant to leave supervision of your loved.  That is normal.  We understand.  The staff at Juniper is very accommodating to the needs of our members.  Many seniors come with their caregiver for the day to help them feel comfortable.  And after that first day, most want to come back!

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us!  860-523-1418

To see the exciting fun happening at our Adult Day Centers, visit our Facebook page Juniper at Regency.




Caregiver trying to stay positive while at work

How to Stay Positive While Caregiving!

Do you live each day having a positive outlook?  Or at least try to stay positive throughout the day?  If you do, there is good news.  A study involving 106 participants and conducted by Mayo Clinic, showed that individuals who are able to self-talk themselves out of being stressed will live a longer and healthier life.  Other benefits include lower blood-pressure, improved sleep patterns, and lower rates of depression.  Here are a few tips to help you stay positive while caring for your loved one.

8 ways to stay positive as a caregiver

 1.  Don’t hold your emotions inside of you

This may seem like the best option at the time.  Trust me, it isn’t.  Keeping your feelings to yourself will only end up hurting you in the future.  Don’t be afraid to talk about these frustrations or concerns with others.  While everyone may not completely understand what you are going through, they will be able to see how much it affects you and be a compassionate listener.  Be sure to try your best to not show these emotions in front of the person being cared for.  They can already feel like a burden at times.

2.  Take time to be grateful

Even when you may become overwhelmed, you need to take time to remember the things in life you are grateful for.  Talk about the positive conversations you two share and the bonding that has created such a strong relationship.  Recognizing the things you are grateful for, especially pertaining to caregiving, will help provide you with a positive mindset, even during the hard times.

3.  Learn how to manage stress

Managing your stress level is crucial when it comes to maintaining positivity.  Stress occurs when you believe the demands placed on you exceed your ability to cope.  However, this does happen to everyone.  So don’t feel like you are alone or singled out.  For ways to manage stress click here.

 4.  Find time to relax and unwind

Caregiving for a family member can be a 24/7 job.  So, finding time may not be the easiest thing to do.  By the end of the day your are tired and ready for bed yourself.  Try to schedule time once a week to do something for yourself.  Wether that is going to get your nails done, taking a walk in the park, or visiting your friends.  See if a family member is willing to help out, even if it is just for a few hours.  I’m sure they would love to assist you.  If you cannot find help, we can provide our services such as companion care or personal care.

 5.  find joy in exercising

Exercising releases endorphins in the brain and has been proven to help reduce stress and increase energy.  Exercising will also encourage good eating habits.  Many of our caregivers feel maintaining a healthy diet is a key factor to keeping their mind sharp.  If you feel like you cannot find 30 minutes each day, break your exercises up into 10 minute blocks.

6.  Keep things simple

Sometimes doing only what needs to be done is okay.  That means as long as the dishes are done, laundry is clean, and meals are made then you have accomplished the day.  Try not to set too many daily goals.  This may make you feel rushed and frustrated if everything on your list isn’t completed.

7.  Start writing in a journal

Keeping track of your thoughts and feelings will help relieve some of the pressure and stress you may be feeling.  Journaling has also been proven to help the brain process issues that are currently active.  Meaning, if something is bothering you, writing it down can help you resolve the issue.

8.  Remember, you’re doing great!

Always remind yourself that you are doing a great job.  If something doesn’t work out as planned it is okay.  You did the best you could at that particular moment.

For more tips on caregiving please visit our learning center here.

Any questions or concerns please contact us at

You Can Get Paid Being a Caregiver to Your Family!

Becoming a paid family caregiver in CT

Did you know you can be compensated for being the primary caregiver to a family member?  Are you, or someone you know, already taking care of a loved one who is over the age of 65?  Or, are you and your family seeking options for a parent who is currently aging?  Do you currently live in the Hartford, New Haven or Bridgeport area?  Well, Connecticut offers a program that will pay YOU to take care of an aging loved one.

That’s right.  You!

You don’t need to have any medical background or experience in this industry.  You aren’t required to get licensed or go to school before becoming a paid family caregiver.  So long as the individual you are caring for qualifies under title 19, you are all set.  For those qualifications click here.

This program began with the main intent to help seniors age in place.  A study done by AARP in 2017 shows that 87% of seniors above the age of 65 want to stay in their own home.  This was never possible before.  As nursing homes have began to fill since 2013 this idea of aging in place has become a reality.

Over the last two months our company has been sharing information about this program.  The reason I am writing this post today is due to the amount of people who are unaware there is financial help available.  With that being said, here are some valuable tips on how to get started.

The adult family living program

What does it take to become a caregiver in Connecticut?

  1. Caregiver must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Caregiver may not be a spouse or legal guardian of the person receiving care

Who qualifies under the Adult Family Living Program in Connecticut?

  1. Care receiver must be at least 65 years of age
  2. Must be a resident of Connecticut
  3. Meet the programs financial eligibility criteria
  4. Needing assistance with everyday routines such as eating, bathing, toileting or dressing.

The Connecticut Department of Social Services will then determine if the recipients are eligible for the program.  There are four different levels to assist with those needing any amount of care.  In return, care providers receive compensation for their caregiving efforts. In the case of family members, caregivers are paid for work that they would have likely provided for free.

How Juniper can help you

Juniper Homecare is an industry leading provider of all your home health needs.  We hold an initial orientation to help both the caretaker and care recipient.  We assist with training, 24/7 support, and scheduled nursing visits.  Give us a call today.  We will help you with any questions you may have.

Helping seniors age at home is an amazing gift that is now possible.  You may already be helping with everyday tasks that you are not being compensated for.  Don’t wonder if you qualify.  Call us at 860-523-1418 to find out!

For more information click here!







What is the Family Caregiver Program?

Family caregiver program in ct

Do you currently live with someone who may have issues with mobility, transportation, bathing, eating and more? Are you their primary caretaker? If so, you may qualify for compensation as a result of the tireless, committed care you already provide.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) was established in 2000 with an initiative to help support family and informal caregivers care for aging adults to keep them in their home as long as possible.  Connecticut has offered a new service under the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) which includes a family caregiver program (AFL) that began in 2013 that allows seniors to be cared for in the comfort of their own home.  In addition to, caregivers may be eligible to receive a tax free stipend up to $500 per week or $26,288 per year.

Thats’ incredible!

This is a great alternative to aging in a nursing home or having to hire an outside caregiver.  Outside caregivers are very expensive and do not know the senior loved one nearly as well as family.  The type of services provided in this program include:

  • providing information to caregivers
  • assistance in gaining access to these services
  • counseling, support groups, and caregiver training
  • personalized care plan
  • 24/7 support to the caregiver and client

Family caregiver qualifications

The Department of Social Services mandates the applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible to participate in this program:

  • the client must be 65 years or older and caregiver must be at least 18 years of age
  • Connecticut state resident
  • needing assistance with personal care.  This includes bathing, eating, transportation, dressing and taking medication.
  • must meet the programs financial eligibility

Each applicant is then reviewed to determine if the client is able to stay at home with the assistance of home care services.

How Juniper homecare can help

Serving as a caregiver for a family member is one of the most rewarding jobs anyone can do. Not only do you get to spend time with your loved one, but you also have the opportunity to ensure he/she receives the best quality care possible.

Juniper is an industry leading home healthcare agency focused on providing support and resources to the elderly community in Connecticut.  Juniper staffs the highest level nurses to assist family caregivers in providing the best care to their loved one.  We understand the importance in training and guidance when it comes to taking care of another person.  Our team helps you every step of the way.

Additional services that Juniper also provides:

  • Adult Day Center – located in New Britain and Hartford – Check out how much fun and excitement our groups have each day here!
  • Meals on Wheels – serving the Greater Hartford area – Get a hot and delicious home cooked meal delivered to your door from Elmwood Kitchen
  • Around the Home – Looking for some help with tasks around the house such as homemaking, personal care, or heavy housekeeping?

For more information about Juniper and the Family Caregiver Program click here or contact us today at 860-523-1418 for any questions with home care.  We look forward to hearing from you!