Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, whether you stay close to home or take a quick trip nearby. Here are some ideas to help you stay active and healthy and spend some time with your family.
1. Visit a national park. There are more than 400 national parks to choose from, and each one has something special to offer. You can enjoy some time with Mother Nature or sign up for organized hikes, go fishing, horseback riding, or rock climbing. End the day camping and resting next to a campfire.
2. Cool off at the beach or community pools. If your family likes to spend time in the water, you can always plan a trip to the beach. Make sure to plan ahead and take what you need to build sand castles or play games on the beach. If you live far from the ocean and prefer to stay close to home, you can go to a public pool. Make sure to visit Poolsafely.gov to learn about how to keep your family safe while enjoying the water.
3. Take a bicycle ride. There are many options when it comes to riding your bicycle. You can go around your neighborhood or explore your local parks or beaches. Make it a family routine and teach your children the importance of exercising and staying active. Don’t forget to put your helmet and follow the basic safety rules of riding a bicycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has many safety tips.
4. Attend local events. Many federal properties host community events where you can enjoy different activities with your family, including farmers markets, art galleries, concerts and other live shows. Check your local community calendar to see what’s coming up and learn more about how to use federal buildings as community spaces.
5. Organize activities in your home. You don’t need to spend money or get out of town to stay active. There are lots of things you can find in your own home to keep your family entertained. You don’t need much space to plant a garden, and you can learn what you can do to help the environment by visiting the citizen action page of the Environmental Protection Agency.
As an annual observance, Mental Health Month brings an increased awareness to mental health issues and mental illness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says, “This year’s theme, Mental Health Matters: In Your Life, reminds Americans that caring for their mental health is as important as taking care of their physical health because mental health impacts all areas of life.”
Mental health issues can include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and many other diseases that can negatively impact every part of someone’s life. During this presidentially proclaimed observance, the goal is to reinvigorate the United States’ determination and effort to addressing mental health problems in America.
You can find treatment services near you for a variety of mental health issues by calling 1-800-662-HELP. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers immediate assistance for all Americans, including service members and veterans, at 1-800-273-TALK.
You are entitled to a FREE credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. You can request all three reports at once, or space them out throughout the year.
Why It’s Important
It’s important to ensure that your personal information and financial accounts are being accurately reported and that no fraudulent accounts have been initiated in your name. Errors on your credit report can negatively affect your credit score.
Nutritious Summer Meals Available to Children in Need
Free meals (breakfast, lunch or snacks) will be served to children in low-income areas at sites such as neighborhood parks, libraries, schools, places of worship, mobile buses and recreation centers this summer.
To find free summer meals near you, call the toll-free National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or visit www.whyhunger.org/findfood.
You’ll find links to Most Wanted sites from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); Interpol, an international police organization that tracks criminals across borders; and many other agencies.
In addition to helping cover lost wages, many disability insurers are also providing a different type of benefit that is making a positive impact in the lives of workers who have suffered a debilitating illness or injury. Through return-to-work programs, insurers are helping people with disabilities get back to work at jobs that sync with their skills, experience, and interests.
By collaborating with employers, insurers help create work environments and schedules that are modified for individuals’ unique circumstances. Return-to-work programs also focus on rehabilitation and equipping people with the skills they need to transition back to work and reach their individualized goals. Additional examples of the creative and innovative programs employed by disability insurers are documented in a report by America’s Health Insurance Plans.
Unfortunately, the risk of suffering a disability is much higher than most people are aware. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a male U.S. worker at age 35 faces a one-in-five chance of a disability taking him off his job for 90 days or longer. Before a 35-year-old woman reaches retirement age, she faces a nearly one-in-three risk of a disability lasting at least 90 days.
Disability insurance provides peace of mind to millions of individuals and their families, offering financial protection if an illness or injury takes them off the job. Employer-sponsored disability coverage provides income protection to more than 50 million employees for short-term disabilities and about 40 million employees for long-term disabilities. In 2010, long-term disability payments from private insurers to individuals with disabilities totaled more than $8.1 billion.
If you plan to travel outside the United States, be sure to check your passport long before your trip. Routine processing times for passport services are 4-6 weeks (expedited services take approximately 2-3 weeks).
Renew Your Passport - Check your passport’s expiration date. If your passport expires before you plan to return to the United States, then you’ll need to get a new passport before you leave the U.S.
Apply for a Passport - If you are eligible for a U.S. passport and plan to travel abroad, get application instructions.
Change or Correct Your Passport - If you need to makes changes or corrections (due to a name change, for example) or add visa pages to your passport, see which forms you need to submit.
Find Ways to Support Military Members in Your Community
May honors all members of the United States Military as part of Military Appreciation Month. The national observance is a special time to thank and honor our troops, veterans and their families for their dedication to protecting our country.
This year’s theme of the month-long observance is “The United States Armed Forces: The Strength of the Red, White and Blue.”
Looking for information you can trust during pregnancy and your baby’s first year?
The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health and text4baby have teamed up to help moms-to-be find reliable health resources for their pregnancy.
Text4baby is the first free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health through text messaging. Women who text “BABY” (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411 receive three free text messages a week, timed to their due date or their baby’s birth date, through pregnancy and up until the baby’s first birthday.
Get Ready For the New Health Insurance Marketplaces
Health Insurance Marketplaces are a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that can help you get health insurance regardless of income or health history. You can start exploring your options now, enroll in October, and start taking advantage of the benefits of your state Health Insurance Marketplace beginning in January 2014.
People looking for health insurance can shop and compare plans through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as healthcare exchanges. The Health Insurance Marketplace will help you find insurance plans that cover medical services including preventive care, medicines, doctor and hospital visits.
Now is the time to learn about how they work, how to prepare for open enrollment, and what kind of insurance options are available to you right now.
The New Health Insurance Marketplace
Each state will have its own Health Insurance Marketplace, which you can access online (some are already available). The exchanges are designed to help you:
Figure out how to compare and get healthcare insurance even if you have a pre-existing condition or chronic health problem
Find the insurance plan that fits your budget. Some people might qualify for free or low-cost health insurance
Understand the enrollment process in a way that’s easy to read
Enrollment Begins October of 2013
The enrollment process begins October 1. But you can prepare by doing the following:
Individuals and families:
Get to know the different healthcare plans available in your state if the exchange has already been set up. Specifically, make sure you understand how the deductibles and co-pays work
Ask your employer if she plans to offer health insurance
Prepare a list of questions about your health coverage
Small business owners:
Get to know the different healthcare plans available so that you understand the differences in costs and services
Set a budget based on how much both you and your employees will spend on health insurance
Set a date to begin offering coverage that works best for your business and your employees
Your Insurance Options Now
You don’t have to wait until 2014 to get health coverage. There are several public programs available for families, including Medicare, Medicaid and low-cost insurance programs for children and adults.
HealthCare.gov has a tool to help you find insurance. You just need to answer a few questions about where you live and your current job situation.
By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager
The numbers are shocking.
In 2012, the average credit card debt among adults aged 65+ was $9,283 (Demos).
One-third of senior households has no money left over each month or is in debt after meeting essential expenses (Institute on Assets and Social Policy).
The share of Americans 65 and older in the labor force went from 12.1 percent in 1990 to 16.1 percent in 2010 (Census).
60 percent of women over 65 across the country lack the incomes to meet basic expenses (Wider Opportunities for Women).
As part of Older Americans Month, America Saves is stressing the need for all Americans to save for their future. With Americans, especially women, living longer – the reality is that Americas need to save more money for retirement or to work longer.
Tips to Prepare to Live Debt Free in Retirement
Start saving, keep saving, and stick to your goals
Millions of low-income seniors continue to miss out on nearly $1.2 billion in benefits (PDF) that can help them pay for their health care, prescriptions, food, utilities, and more. These aren’t handouts—by working hard their whole lives, older adults have paid into the programs that can now provide them support needed to remain healthy and independent.
BenefitsCheckUp —a service of the National Council on Aging (NCOA)—is the nation’s most comprehensive web-based service offering information on benefits programs, specifically programs for people with Medicare and limited income and resources.
The Eldercare Locator, a public service of AoA and administered by n4a, is a nationwide service that connects older adults and their caregivers with information on senior services. The Locator is available both online Eldercare.gov and as a toll-free hotline at 1-800-677-1116.
About Older Americans Month
Older Americans Month is a proud tradition that shows our commitment to honoring the value that elders contribute to our communities. This year’s Older Americans Month theme—“Unleash the Power of Age!”— highlights the significant contributions made by thousands of older Americans across our nation. The event is organized by the Administration for Community Living and the Administration on Aging.
Approximately three million Americans are living with hepatitis C and up to 75 percent don’t know they are infected. This puts them at great risk for liver disease, cancer, and death.
A basic blood test can be used to determine if you’ve ever been infected with hepatitis C, and a follow-up test can determine if you’re currently infected.
If you are, there are treatment options available to help prevent the health damages the disease can cause.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone in the United States born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for hepatitis C. CDC also recommends that other populations at increased risk for hepatitis C get tested.
Older Americans Month 2013 – Unleash the Power of Age!
By Carol M. Crecy, Director of External Affairs, U.S. Administration for Community Living
For 50 years, May has been the month we celebrate older adults across the nation. You could say that Older Americans Month is coming of age. This year’s theme—“Unleash the Power of Age!”—emphasizes older Americans’ potential for energy and activism and urges them to embrace it.
There is no age limit on achievement—and older Americans are doing incredible things. They make a difference in their communities by continuing their careers, pursuing new business ventures, and volunteering in their retirement years. To find ways to get involved in your community, visit www.Serve.gov.
Staying active, engaged, and healthy is good advice for everyone, but it is especially important for older people. The U.S Administration on Aging (AoA), supports older adults through programs and resources to encourage healthy living. In addition, the Affordable Care Act is making certain vital preventive services, such as mammograms, diabetes screening, and an annual wellness visit, available for seniors with Medicare. Also, check out Go4Life, an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH.
Throughout the year, and especially during Older Americans Month in May, we urge all Americans to appreciate and celebrate the vitality, aspirations, and achievements of elders and their contributions to society.