A Freezing Nation: Tips to Prepare Seniors
"Oh baby, it's cold outside," suitable phrase for the season and fitting for the extreme freezes we're experiencing across the nation.
Younger people see snow and ice as an amusement and a way to have fun, but for older adults, the cold brings hazards and risks of falls and hypothermia. There are no advantages in that.
That's why it's important for seniors to prepare properly and make sure your home and car are ready for winter's deceptive killers. Here are the predominant ones:
- Wind - winter brings high winds that can create blizzard conditions with blinding, wind-driven snow, drifting and dangerous wind chills. These winds bring down trees and utility poles.
- Snow - accumulations can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, strand motorists, and interrupt emergency services.
- Ice - massive build-up brings down trees, utility poles and lines, and communication towers. Power is disrupted for days while companies repair the damage.
- Cold - drastic drops in temperatures frequently accompany winter storms. Infants and the elderly are most susceptible to prolonged exposure, which causes life-threatening conditions like hypothermia. Below freezing temperatures damages vegetation and cause pipes to freeze.
Ways to take care of yourself
- Healthy foods - produce is out of season and costly. Check out the food market's frozen veggies department. Be sure opt for the brands with less sodium, and select fruits and vegetables such as pomegranates, cranberries, citrus fruits, grapes, and root vegetables. Support the immune system with Vitamin C and eat foods rich in zinc, such as fish, poultry, and eggs.
- Stay fit - if your doctor permits and you are able, get outside and enjoy your favorite activities. But dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves. Make sure you remember to apply sunscreen to your exposed skin and to wear insulated socks and proper shoes.
- Soak up the sun - the benefits of Vitamin D plays a big part in battling the blues. Fresh air and natural light are key to fighting depression. If it's freezing, open the blinds and sit by the window. Sunshine increases the body's energy level and outlook.
- Car safety - maintain your vehicle by testing the battery voltage, the lights, and checking the coolant levels. Check the tire pressure, and fill up the gas and windshield fluid tanks. And if you're on the road a lot, purchase a survival kit that includes a blanket, a first-aid kit, a knife, a flashlight, jumper cables and a cell phone charger that plugs in the cigarette lighter.
- Keep the house warm - an older body has a harder time maintaining it's temperature, and since most seniors have a limited income, they usually turn down the heat setting. However, know that hypothermia is a significant risk, and over 13,000 hypothermia deaths occurred between 2003 and 2013 in the United States. So, set your thermostats to at least 68 degrees and wear warm clothing. Check with the utility company to see if you qualify for assistance.
Top Picks in Asset Allocation
Written b: John Bilton, Head of Global Multi-Asset Strategy, Multi-Asset Solutions
As global growth broadens out and the reflation theme gains traction, the outlook brightens for risky assets
Four times a year, our Multi-Asset Solutions team holds a two-day-long Strategy Summit where senior portfolio managers and strategists discuss the economic and market outlook. After a rigorous examination of a wide range of quantitative and qualitative measures and some spirited debate, the team establishes key themes and determines its current views on asset allocation. Those views will be reflected across multi-asset portfolios managed by the team.
From our most recent summit, held in early March, here are key themes and their macro and asset class implications:
Key themes and their implications
Asset allocation views
For the first time in seven years, we see growing evidence that we may get a more familiar end to this business cycle. After feeling our way through a brave new world of negative rates and “lower for longer,” we’re dusting off the late-cycle playbook and familiarizing ourselves once again with the old normal. That is not to say that we see an imminent lurch toward the tail end of the cycle and the inevitable events that follow. Crucially, with growth broadening out and policy tightening only glacially, we see a gradual transition to late cycle and a steady rise in yields that, recent price action suggests, should not scare the horses in the equity markets.
If it all sounds a bit too Goldilocks, it’s worth reflecting that, in the end, this is what policymakers are paid to deliver. While there are persistent event risks in Europe and the policies of the Trump administration remain rather fluid, the underlying pace of economic growth is reassuring and the trajectory of U.S. rate hikes is relatively accommodative by any reasonable measure. So even if stock markets, which have performed robustly so far this year, are perhaps due a pause, our conviction is firming that risk asset markets can continue to deliver throughout 2017.
Economic data so far this year have surprised to the upside in both their level and their breadth. Forward-looking indicators suggest that this period of trend-like global growth can persist through 2017, and risks are more skewed to the upside. The U.S. economy’s mid-cycle phase will likely morph toward late cycle during the year, but there are few signs yet of the late-cycle exuberance that tends to precede a recession. This is keeping the Federal Reserve (Fed) rather restrained, and with three rate hikes on the cards for this year and three more in 2018, it remains plausible that this cycle could set records for its length.
Our asset allocation reflects a growing confidence that economic momentum will broaden out further over the year. We increase conviction in our equity overweight (OW), and while equities may be due a period of consolidation, we see stock markets performing well over 2017. We remain OW U.S. and emerging market equity, and increase our OW to Japanese stocks, which have attractive earnings momentum; we also upgrade Asia Pacific ex-Japan equity to OW given the better data from China. European equity, while cheap, is exposed to risks around the French election, so for now we keep our neutral stance. UK stocks are our sole underweight (UW), as we expect support from the weak pound to be increasingly dominated by the economic challenges of Brexit. On balance, diversification broadly across regions is our favored way to reflect an equity OW in today’s more upbeat global environment.
With Fed hikes on the horizon, we are hardening our UW stance on duration, but, to be clear, we think that fears of a sharp rise in yields are wide of the mark. Instead, a grind higher in global yields, roughly in line with forwards, reasonably reflects the gradually shifting policy environment. In these circumstances, we expect credit to outperform duration, and although high valuations across credit markets are prompting a greater tone of caution, we maintain our OW to credit.
For the U.S. dollar, the offsetting forces of rising U.S. rates and better global growth probably leave the greenback range-bound. Event risks in Europe could see the dollar rise modestly in the short term, but repeating the sharp and broad-based rally of 2014-15 looks unlikely. A more stable dollar and trend-like global growth create a benign backdrop for emerging markets and commodities alike, leading us to close our EM debt UW and maintain a neutral on the commodity complex.
Our portfolio reflects a world of better growth that is progressing toward later cycle. The biggest threats to this would be a sharp rise in the dollar or a political crisis in Europe, while a further increase in corporate confidence or bigger-than-expected fiscal stimulus are upside risks. As we move toward a more “normal” late-cycle phase than we dared hope for a year back, fears over excessive policy tightening snuffing out the cycle will grow. But after several years of coaxing the economy back to health, the Fed, in its current form, will be nothing if not measured..
Learn how to effectively allocate your client’s portfolio here.
This document is a general communication being provided for informational purposes only. It is educational in nature and not designed to be a recommendation for any specific investment product, strategy, plan feature or other purpose. Any examples used are generic, hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. Prior to making any investment or financial decisions, an investor should seek individualized advice from a personal financial, legal, tax and other professional advisors that take into account all of the particular facts and circumstances of an investor’s own situation.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management is the marketing name for the asset management business of JPMorgan Chase & Co and its affiliates worldwide. Copyright 2017 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All rights reserved.
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