Over the years, some parents have asked me when the proper time is to expect their children to help with the chores and other household duties. I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that touched on this issue; it caused me to reflect on my parents' expectations, as well as my wife's and my expectations for our kids. I've included some of those ruminations, as well as others' thoughts below. I recognize each family is different, so your mileage may vary.
Dear Savvy Senior,
What happens to a person's debt after they die? My mother has taken on a lot of medical and credit card over the past few years and I'm worried that my brother and I will be responsible for it when she dies. What can you tell me?
It seems sometimes that the quest for information moves in cycles. We might get several calls in a month about anything from Assisted Living and Adult Family Homes, to Meals on Wheels.
Next there could be run of questions about Home Care agencies, and so on. One of the recent flurries has been about legal advice--where to look, what's involved, etc. Since many of us have limited contact with legal types until we need it ASAP, let's do a little information sharing.
Upcoming Community Events
April 29: Celebrate International Table Games Day at Raymond First Baptist Church, 913 Duryea Street on Saturday, April 29, from 1-4 p.m. Bring your favorite game or use the games there. Refreshments provided.
2nd Wednesdays: Alliance for a Better Community meetings are the second Wednesday of each month, at noon, at Liang's restaurant. Public is always welcome.
VFW Pacific Post 968 is holding regular monthly meetings every second Wednesday. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held at 221 Duryea Street in Raymond.
Dear Savvy Senior,
Are there any new treatments you know of that can help with constant ear ringing syndrome known as tinnitus? I've had it for years but it's gotten worse the older I get.
Ringing Louder at 62
QMB. SLMB. QI. QDWI. All MSP's.
There you go--now you know all about them--whatever they are. Let's start at the end of the list.
Medicare Savings Plans (MSP) are programs designed to help qualified individuals with the costs of their Medicare plans, such as premiums, co-pays and so on.
If you like to collect acronyms and what they mean:
Social media. Facebook, skype, email, texting, tweets, yadda yadda. In some ways, this has been a boon to our older population--and yes, many are very adept in computer-land. With the stroke of a few keys or buttons, you can be in touch with family, friends or organizations with like interests.
It's certainly a tool in reducing isolation to some degree. In some instances, getting out of the house is at the very least difficult, so staying in touch electronically can help. And some still prefer letter writing and the US Mail, thank you.
There are times, however, when face to face conversations in the flesh are more enjoyable--and beneficial. Hence the variously named Senior Centers, Activity Centers, Senior Activity Centers continue to be an active part of the community.
Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you provide any advice on choosing a Medicare supplemental policy to help cover things outside of Medicare? I'll be 65 in a few months and could use some assistance.
Looking for Help
If you plan to enroll in original Medicare, getting a supplemental policy (also known as Medigap insurance) too is a smart idea because it will help pay for things that aren't covered by Medicare like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Here are some tips to help you choose an appropriate plan.
Advanced Care Planning. Some of you may already be aware of a survey sent out by our Advisory Council regarding advanced care. And some of you are thinking:
I have enough on my plate to just think about care planning. Do I need to think about "advanced" care planning?
Advanced Directives. Does that sound a little more familiar? It's all about issues we've visited before in this space. How to communicate what you want to happen (or not happen) with severe health issues when you can no longer make your desires known.
Dear Savvy Senior,
Do you know of any resources that can help me find affordable high-speed home Internet services? I'm retired and live primarily on my Social Security and would like to find something cheaper than the $40 per month that I currently pay.
Feb. 24 - 26: Chocolate Festival on the Beach: Death by Chocolate!!! Chocolate Festival on the Beach 2017 February 24th - 26th. A Decade of Decadence offers chef demos, vendors, chocolatiers, recipe contests, chocolate parties, chocolate throwdowns, kids events, and fun for the whole family. 10 miles of Chocolate from Moclips to Copalis Beach. For festival information navigate to chocolateonthebeachfestival.com. Like us on Facebook.com/ChocolateOnTheBeach
Feb. 24 - 26: FisherPoets Gathering is located in downtown Astoria on Feb. 24 to 26. The FisherPoets Gathering is an authentic, creative celebration of life in the commercial fishing industry. A hundred fisherpoets from coasts near and far share original stories, songs and poetry with each other. Enjoy storytelling, workshops, a self-guided cannery tour film and visual arts. Numberous venues throughout downtown Astoria host FisherPoet Gathering events. For more information go to www.fisherpoets.org.
Mar. 2: Pacific Co Republican Meeting - Pacific County Republicans will meet on Thursday, March 2. Items on the agenda include upcoming events, updates on the Legislative activities, Initiatives, reports from the Roanoke Conference, State Republican meeting and also the Pacific County Republican endorsement process. Local Republicans are welcome. Come and support Republican activities in Pacific County. There is a shared potluck at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting begins at 6 p.m. Location is the meeting hall of First Baptist Church, 310 Broadway Avenue in South Bend. For more information contact Chairman Aaragon Markwell - 360-942-7847, email@example.com or Facebook.com/pacificgop.
Mar. 4 - 5: Beachcombers Fun Fair. 29th annual event features exhibits, seminars, information booths and vendors at the Ocean Shores Convention Center. A kid's science fair is scheduled on Saturday morning plus beach walks on Sunday morning.
Dear Savvy Senior,
What tips can you offer for choosing a quality assisted living facility for my mom? Her health and mental abilities have declined to the point that she can't live alone anymore but isn't ready for a nursing home either.
If your mom needs some assistance with daily living activities like bathing or getting dressed, managing her medications, preparing meals, housekeeping, laundry or just getting around, an assisted living facility is definitely a good option to consider.
Assisted living facilities are residential communities that offer different levels of health or personal care services for seniors who want or need help with daily living.
There are around 40,000 assisted living facilities (also called board and care, supportive-care or residential-care facilities) in the U.S. today, some of which are part of a retirement community or nursing home. Most facilities have between 25 and 125 suites, varying in size from a single room to a full apartment. And some even offer special memory care units for residents with dementia. Here are some steps you can take to help you choose a good facility.
Periodically, someone will call or email me, or come-up to me at one gathering or another, and comment on this column. It usually generates other questions and before you know it we're having a conversation.
It's sometimes referred to as communication. Most of us participate in this activity on a daily basis--though it's good to remember that actual communication requires both speaking and listening.
And most of the time, it's pretty much automatic--until it isn't. Life events can sometimes impact the dynamic and new ways to make it happen need to be found.
Dear Savvy Senior,
Does Medicare cover 100 percent of all preventive health care screenings? I'm due to get a colonoscopy and a few other tests, but I want to find out if I'll have to pay anything before I proceed.
New to Medicare
Medicare currently covers a wide array of free preventive and screening services to help you stay healthy, but not all services are completely covered.
You also need to be aware that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) - which helps financially support Medicare - may very well cause these free preventive services to be eliminated in the future. But in the meantime, here's how it works.
World War I was the first time aircraft were used in our military. When the planes were built, the cockpits were designed to fit the "average" pilot. This same procedure was used throughout World War II. The planes also became stronger, faster and more reliable. However, in the late 1940s, planes began crashing with increasing frequency. In fact, on one particularly bad day, the Air Force had 17 crashes. The brass tried to figure out what was wrong, and since they knew the planes were built better than ever, they decided it had to be a pilot problem! They theorized that perhaps pilots were bigger in in the late 1940s than they had been in the early 1900s, and that therefore the cockpits were the wrong size. They then commissioned a program to measure over 4,000 pilots on 140 dimensions of size (distance between eye and ear, thumb length, leg length, etc.). They calculated the average of each of these dimensions so that they could build the cockpit to accommodate the average pilot.
Dear Savvy Senior,
What are the IRS income tax filing requirements for retirees this tax season? My income dropped way down when I retired last year in 2016, so I'm wondering if I need to even file a tax return this year.
There are several factors that affect whether or not you need to file a federal income tax return this year including how much you earned last year (in 2016), and the source of that income, as well as your age and filing status.
Two phrases that rarely go together:
It's tax time!
Yay! It's about time!
I get it. We look at getting our taxes ready as a necessity, but not necessarily a joy. And depending on how complex our taxes are, it can be daunting and/or expensive.
Of course, one option might be to take your best guess and send your tax forms into the IRS with a smiley face sticker, but the IRS isn't generally known for a sense of humor when it comes to what you owe, so...probably not a good idea.
So what do you do if you need help, but don't have your taxman on retainer? Or if you can't really afford to pay for a tax agency to complete your stuff?
Glad you asked!
Allow me to introduce to you, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program. The free program is aimed at folks 50 or older, or as noted, folks who can't afford paid tax preparation.
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