Are you basking in the glow of the holidays, and thinking about what comes next? Are you making plans for New Year’s Eve, and how to say goodbye to 2018? And you’re probably thinking about how you’re going to tackle the day after – and the rest of new year. Human nature loves milestones and Big Goals, so we love resolutions! Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to stick to, especially the ones about diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Lucky for you, we’ve made a short list of ‘shoulds’ that don’t involve the gym at all! Caregivers, home care aides and loved ones can resolve to care for their health and protect their wealth in 2019 by tackling these four to-do’s:

  • Are you turning 50 this year? If so, your doctor may tell you that it’s time to get a colonoscopy. If you have friends who’ve recently passed this milestone, then you may be familiar with the process. If not, then the Mayo Clinic will tell you all the details. They’ll even show you a video, if you’re brave enough! Colon cancer is not something to take lightly, so avoiding the test isn’t an option. The great news is that the FDA approved a DIY ‘test yourself at home’ kit in 2014. It’s called Cologuard, and now you have no reason at all not to get screened this year.
    • PS – if you have a higher risk of colon cancer because a parent or sibling developed colon cancer before age 60, you should get tested earlier.
  • Are you turning 55 this year? According to Cancer.org, mammogram guidelines now indicate that women age 55 and older can move to a ‘every other year’ testing schedule. Yearly screening should begin at age 45 for ‘average risk’ women and continue for 10 years.
    • PS – women with a higher risk of breast cancer, because of family history, genetic issues or other factors, should consult with a doctor about when to begin screening and when to include an MRI. Remember, early detection is the best prevention.
  • Are you turning 65 this year? You should enroll in Medicare three months before your 65th Remember, you don’t have to start taking your Social Security benefits at the same time. They are separate benefits. But you do have to enroll in Medicare or be clear that you can delay it before you turn 65.
    • Medicare Part A, aka hospital insurance, is free. It helps to pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care, and hospice care.
    • Medicare Part B helps pay for doctors’ visits and other medical services. It’s not free, and you’ll have to pay a monthly premium. This is the tricky part: if you don’t sign up for Part B at the same time as Part A – age 64 and nine months – then you risk paying a higher monthly premium for Part B once you do enroll. Forever! If you are working and have group medical coverage, then you may be exempt. Be sure to check your options out thoroughly!
  • Are you turning 70 ½ this year? If you have one or more IRA (Individual Retirement Account) accounts, then you must plan to take your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from each account during calendar year 2019. We explain all about RMD’s in our posts from May 2015, Required Minimum Distributions and You, Part I and June 2015, Required Minimum Distributions and You, Part II. As always, we urge you to consult a tax professional to make decisions about taxable income.

If you are setting big goals for yourself for 2019, then we wish you all the success in the world! Clean that garage, learn that new language, lose that weight! Whatever you set your sights on, just know that taking care of your health and wealth is the best way to enjoy the results of all your hard work! Happy New Year!

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