The second Monday in November marks two occasions that celebrate veterans and the sacrifices they have made for ensuring the safety of their country. Nov. 11 is Veterans Day in the U.S., and Remembrance Day in Canada, and local leaders as well as government officials are reaching out to service members to show their appreciation.
Origins of veteran celebrations
According to the History Channel, the U.S. has honored veterans annually since 1919, when the day was originally called "Armistice Day" and commemorated the conclusion of World War I. Since 1938, the holiday has been celebrated on Nov. 11 and celebrates all service members who served the country. In Canada, Remembrance Day also began as "Armistice Day," and is symbolized throughout the nation with red poppies. Members of the Royal Canadian Legion often sell the flowers on Remembrance Day to raise money for veteran affairs.
Veterans enjoy free treats and amenities
Across both countries, a large number of veterans are currently residing in senior living communities, and can take advantage of the celebrations as well as special discounts offered on the day. In Colorado, for instance, ABC Denver highlighted local restaurants that will be offering free meals or treats for anyone who served in the armed forces, as well as complimentary admittance to any of the state parks.
According to The Washington Post, the Social Security Administration's website will offer cost-free expert information on Nov. 11 for veterans. The retirement planning tool is part of an joint initiative from Kiplinger Washington Editors, Social Security Solutions and Wells Fargo, and may help retired service members gain a greater understanding of their financial assets, as well as retirement and investing options. Chief executive of Investor Protection Trust Don Blandin voiced gratitude for veterans and their family members in clarifying the initiative's goals:
"Military families have sacrificed much for our freedoms," Blandin said. "Most of them are not eligible for military retirement pay. Many of them have not been able to save as much as they had hoped for retirement. Maximizing Social Security retirement benefits means that veterans can have higher benefits later in life when their other resources may be running short, and it can mean the maximum in survivor benefits after the first spouse dies."
No matter how many safeguards are put in place, there will always be people looking to skirt the system and take advantage of people for quick money, and seniors are often popular targets for scam artists. Older adults tend to have money saved, and they may also be more trusting than younger generations or have cognitive issues that impair judgment. There are a number of scams particularly targeted toward the elderly population, according to the National Council on Aging, and being on the lookout can help seniors guard against falling victim to them.
Many older adults consider a move when they reach retirement. Once the kids have grown up and moved on, it can be difficult for seniors to maintain a large home, which is why retirement communities are such a common choice for senior living.
Whether due to injury, illness or disability, many older adults will require some form of long-term care during retirement. In fact, according to recent Medicare statistics, an estimated 12 million Americans will need long-term care by 2020, up from about 9 million in 2012. Despite the prevalence of such services, many adults approaching retirement may not be entirely sure of how much they cost. A new study from Nationwide Financial Services found baby boomers underestimate such expenses.
The first week of August has been deemed "Simplify Your Life Week." As the summer winds down, take a few actions to help reduce the amount of stress in your life by organizing your belongings, cleaning your home and finding other ways to make things simpler.