Is It Legit or Is It a Scam?

November 24, 2015  
Filed under Blogs

email scamBY MARY HUNT

Every day, millions of people get sucked into Internet scams and tricks that end up costing them dearly, something I was reminded of when I got a letter from a reader asking this simple question: How can I know if something on the Internet is legit or some kind of scam?

It is a great question, the answer to which I found in my friend and colleague Doug Alton’s weekly Household Newsletter. Here are Doug’s Top Ten Signs the Site is Not Legit:

— If it plays a video that has the controls removed, it’s a scam — stop watching! You can’t fast forward, pause, or even tell how long the video is. That’s because they are only going to give you a long list of reasons telling you why you should send them money. Stop watching — exit the page. They will never give you the information that you clicked on the link to get — not even if you send them money. It’s a scam, run the other way.

— You want to leave the page, but keep hitting up against something like, “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” Legitimate sites don’t do this, but nearly all of the scam sites do. Run the other way.

— Popups that try to get you to sign up for their propaganda or “free updates” before you even get a chance to read the article. Bad sign. Major red flag!

— The text is actually photographed onto the page. You can’t copy and paste names or numbers because the text is really part of a photo instead of real text. Many scam sites and many scams on craigslist do this. When you notice this, run the other way. The only reason they would do this is to prevent you from copying the text, and to prevent computer robots from reading it. They are hiding something.

—  If you see the words: “weird” or “trick,” and especially if you see “weird trick” it’s a scam, don’t fall for it.

— Anything that promotes free energy is a scam. Solar panels are not free, so the energy still costs you money. But there are many people who wish to believe in some hidden form of free energy. They’re all scams!

— If you try to exit out to close the page, and another page pops up, you may have a virus. Either way, shut down the site and restart your computer. Run an antivirus scan immediately.

—  Most “work at home jobs” are a scam.

— Risk free trials are NOT “risk free” if you have to give a credit card or bank account number. They will automatically bill you if you don’t spend weeks trying to cancel. It happens every day.

— Anything that claims to treat or cure a disease that modern medicine does not already do is a scam.

Cyberspace is a great, big, mostly wonderful place, but it is not immune to crime and hustlers wishing to do us harm. It’s important to be wary of the many dangers lurking within. You can protect yourself if you are diligent to learn these ten signs and put them into practice. Stay safe out there!


New Guide is Timely for the Giving Season

November 23, 2015  
Filed under News

vermont community foundation


Just in time for the giving season, the Vermont Community Foundation has published Opportunity: 11 Critical Paths for Philanthropy in Vermont, a new resource to help guide potential donors as they consider which organizations or programs to support.


Opportunity identifies 11 issue areas that present especially strong opportunities for charitable giving in Vermont right now. These issues are the challenges that Vermonters think about every day and include bringing quality education to all residents, cleaning up our rivers and lakes, expanding affordable housing, and tackling substance abuse, among others. The 40-page publication offers a concise background on each issue and highlights some successful approaches already underway in towns and cities across the state.


“A big part of our job is to encourage giving,” said Stuart Comstock-Gay, President & CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation. “This new tool will help show Vermonters how their gifts can help right now. We think it can be a useful guide for families making donations during the holidays and throughout the year.”


Comstock-Gay acknowledges that no list of this kind could ever hope to be definitive or comprehensive. He says that in coming up with the recommendations, the Community Foundation reviewed studies, articles, and reports that shed light on what’s working and what’s not; talked with people throughout the state who work on a wide variety of issues; evaluated its own grant programs; and looked at which organizations its own fund holders support.


Comstock-Gay said, “Our hope in publishing this report is to spark dialogue about what philanthropy can do, and to stimulate new thinking about the opportunities that exist today to help our communities thrive. Some people will be inspired to give to the programs discussed in the report. Others can use it as a springboard for discussions about the hundreds of other worthy programs in the state.”


Opportunity is available to view or download at no charge through the Vermont Community Foundation website For any questions, or to receive printed copies, please contact Margaret Morris at or 802-388-3355 ext. 285.

How to Use Up Every Last Cent on any Prepaid Debit Card

November 23, 2015  
Filed under Blogs

gift cardBY MARY HUNT

Some prepaid debit cards can be problematic to use up to the last cent without going over and having to dip into your pocket to complete the transaction. Some of them have expiration dates, which is difficult to understand, but true nonetheless.     Another problem: Most stores will not allow you to split payments. That means if you buy a new bike and want to use up that last $1.77 on a prepaid debit card, paying the balance with cash or some other form of payment, most stores will not let you do it. The problem is, when they try to process the prepaid card, it returns a rejection because the balance on the card is insufficient to cover the entire transaction.

I want to show you a way that you can use up that $1.77 or any nagging tiny balance — even $.05 — on a prepaid debit card. But before we go on, let’s define terms.

A “prepaid debit card” is a credit card branded gift card. That means it has a MasterCard or Visa logo on it. It’s been “loaded” with a certain amount of money that can be spent in any store that takes MasterCard or Visa transactions.

This article does not apply to a Macy’s or Best Buy gift cards. Those are department store gift cards, not prepaid debit cards.

For anyone worried that I’m about to haul off and suggest you do something so sneaky you could be arrested, relax. This is very ethical and completely legal — openly accepted and actually quite clever.

You will use Amazon to convert any amount on any prepaid debit card (defined above), even if what remains is only a few cents. This means you need an account at Amazon. If you have ever purchased anything there, you have an account. If not, you need to open one. It’s free and easy.

The way to conquer the prepaid debit card problem is with your account at Amazon.

First, you will transfer the value of any prepaid debit card that has not expired to your account at Amazon.

Next, you will use those funds to purchase an Amazon gift card and email it to yourself. The minimum purchase amount is $.50 so you will need to accumulate at least fifty cents in your account to do this.

Once you have an Amazon gift card, you can use it to buy anything at Amazon. And you can split payments. That means if you bought yourself a $.71 Amazon Gift Card, you can use it now to purchase, let’s say, one of my books or a gift for your best friend.

First you apply said Amazon gift card to your purchase, and then pay the balance as you normally would.

The nice thing here is that Amazon gift cards never expire. You can just hold the funds in your Amazon account until you need them or until you want to purchase an Amazon gift card for yourself or someone else.

So, let’s review, shall we?

Amazon has a method by which you can move any amount from a prepaid debit card into your Amazon account. Those funds can now be used to purchase things, including Amazon gift cards.

To learn more, go to and log in using your passcode. Look at the upper right side of the page and click on “Your Account.” Select the first item in the pull down menu, “Your Account” (yes, again). Look under “Payment Methods” and select “Add a Credit or Debit Card.”


Vermont Maturity partners with Socks for Seniors

November 20, 2015  
Filed under News

Vermont Maturity is partnering with the non profit Socks for Seniors to help bring holiday cheer and winter warmth to long-term residents of two nursing homes, Burlington Health and Rehab and Starr Farm Nursing Center, by collecting 175 pairs of donated soft, warm socks.

Vermont Maturity staff report

Vermont Maturity is partnering with Socks for Seniors to help bring holiday cheer and winter warmth to local seniors.

Socks for Seniors is a non-profit community service project that organizes, collects and distributes new socks for seniors in communities all over the country.

Marianne Apfelbaum, Vermont Maturity  co-owner, also publishes the Williston Observer.

“We’ve worked with the senior population for more than 20 years, and we try to support seniors in any way we can,” she said. “We thought this was a fantastic idea and we’re thrilled to help.”

The holidays can be a depressing time of year for lonely and financially challenged seniors who get lost in the shuffle, according to Jamie Coyne, Socks for Seniors founder.

Some seniors are widows or widowers, others are away from family.

Coyne said he started Socks for Seniors 15 years ago in Ohio, after visiting a senior community and talking to a woman who told him and his wife that her feet were freezing.

“Her socks were in bad shape. They were worn out and had holes in them. The solution seemed simple and my wife then left only to return a few minutes later with a brand new pair of socks,” Coyne wrote in a press release. “Not only did it serve its purpose but it made the lady’s day.”

The program grew over the years, spreading across the country. This is the first Socks for Seniors initiative in Vermont.

New socks can be brought to the Vermont Maturity offices, located at 330 Cornerstone Drive, Suite 330. Socks will also be collected at Williston Federated Church.

Vermont Maturity’s goal is to collect 175 pairs of soft, warm socks, which will be donated to long-term residents of two nursing homes, Burlington Health and Rehab and Starr Farm Nursing Center. If more socks are donated, Vermont Maturity will add Green Mountain Nursing Home to the list of recipients.

Reader Discovers Straight Cut at Barber Shop Plus More Great Tips

November 20, 2015  
Filed under Blogs


From barber shops to fine print — and a lot between — my EC readers are really smart. I love it when they share their time and money-saving tips with us. I think you’re going to love today’s great reader tips, too!

STRAIGHT CUT. Every couple of months, when I need only the bottom of my long hair trimmed, I’ve discovered that a barber can cut just as straight as a beautician. And the cost? Less than half the salon price. — Molly

READ THE FINE PRINT. It sounded good, and I was tempted to take the store up on its offer of tremendous sale prices, plus nothing down and no payments until next year. But after a closer look at the fine print in the store’s ad I read: “Buyers using the No Money Down; No Payments for xxx months do not qualify for Sale Prices on furniture.” When you walk in the door, it’s best to have saved enough to pay cash, even at the high-end furniture stores. Money talks, and it is a great tool to bargain the price down. — Judy

SNACKS TO GO. For those who like to take snacks with them, (nuts, seeds, trail mix, etc.), first wash out an empty Parmesan cheese container (the type with the twin serving top for shaking or spooning) with soap and water and let dry. Remove the label so you can see what’s inside and fill with your desired snack. Depending on the size of the snack, you can use either side to dispense your snack, plus a number of persons can share this dispenser by pouring or shaking the snack without everyone placing their hand inside a bowl. Once the snack has been finished, refill and use again. The 8-ounce container is perfect for travel and general use. — Helen

PERFECT PRINTS. I love your column and look forward to reading it every day (I have for years!) I find recipes and hints that I love and want to keep, but don’t always have the time or materials handy to write or copy them. I have started taking pictures of them with my mobile phone. Then when my local drug store runs a special on printing 4×6 pictures for ten cents each, I print them all. Because the prints are 4×6, they fit perfectly in my recipe box — and many of them have beautiful color pictures of the dish included. While I am waiting for the ten cent special, I can always go to my phone to get the recipe, which I delete once printed. — Patti

PINECONE FIRE STARTERS. To make pinecone fire starters, melt paraffin (available in supermarkets with the home canning supplies) in a large coffee can placed in a pan of water set over medium heat on the stove. Add cinnamon, nutmeg or other scents to the paraffin (you can purchase scented paraffin if you prefer, but it’s more expensive). You can also add colored wax or drops of oil to the melted paraffin. Tie a piece of candlewick or string to the top of the pinecone. Dip dried pinecones into the paraffin. Allow paraffin to harden, then dip again, allowing paraffin to harden after each dip. Package for gifts as desired and add a tag reading “Place pinecones under logs before lighting.” They’re as pretty as they are useful. — Perry


Red Cross Blood Drives Announced

November 20, 2015  
Filed under News




The American Red Cross encourages individuals and organizations to give something that means something this winter by making a lifesaving blood donation or hosting a blood drive.

Blood donations often decline from now to New Year’s Day when holiday festivities pull people away from their donation appointments. Seasonal illnesses, such as colds and the flu, can also have a serious impact on blood donations


In addition, there are fewer blood drives during the winter months when many hosting organizations postpone drives while people are traveling for the holidays. Severe winter weather may also cause scheduled blood drives to be canceled.


Despite the busy holiday season and threat of extreme freezing weather, the need for blood remains steady. Organizations can help by hosting a blood drive during the winter months, and eligible donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood. Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types O negative, B negative, A negative and AB blood.


Visit to learn more about hosting a blood drive. To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App from app stores, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can now use the Blood Donor App to access their donor card and view vital signs from previous donations.


Upcoming blood donation opportunities:





12/8/2015: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Seventh Generation, 60 Lake Street



12/3/2015: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Charlotte Senior Center, 212 Ferry Road



12/9/2015: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Covenant Community Church, 1 Whitcomb Lane




Enosburg Falls

12/10/2015: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Enosburg American Legion, 108 Depot Street


Montgomery Center

12/6/2015: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., St Isidores Parish Hall, Route 242


Saint Albans

12/10/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., 14th Star Brewing Company, 133 North Main Street





12/3/2015: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Church of the Nazarene, Route 15




Randolph Center

12/3/2015: 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Vermont Technical College, 124 Admin Dr





12/1/2015: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Lowell Graded School, 52 Gelo Park Rd



12/2/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., United Church of Newport, 63 Third Street



12/8/2015: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Westfield Community Center, Westfield Community Center, Corner or North Hill Road and School Street PO Box 175





12/1/2015: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Castleton  University, President’s House, 119  Alumni Drive


Fair Haven

12/14/2015: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Fair Haven H.S., 33 Mechanic Street Ext.



12/10/2015: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Diamond Run Mall, 46 Diamond Run Mall Place

12/11/2015: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Elks Lodge #345, 44-46 Pleasant St.

12/12/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., GOLM Alliance Community Fellowship Church, 1 Scale Ave., suite 101 building 3a

12/15/2015: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., GOLM College of St. Joseph A, 71 Clement Road

12/2/2015: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., US Army Reserve Building, 2143 Post Road

12/4/2015: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Rutland High School, 22 Stratton Rd

12/5/2015: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., GOLM American Legion A, 33 Washington Street

12/7/2015: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Holiday Inn, 476 Holiday Dr


West Rutland

12/9/2015: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., GOLM West Rutland, 35 Marble Street





12/7/2015: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Formula Nissan, 1504 US Rte 302


How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.


Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started, visit and follow the instructions on the site.


Avoid ripple effect of airport stress by planning ahead this holiday season

November 19, 2015  
Filed under Travel

Passengers going through airport security check

Big crowds, long lines and delayed flights – while they don’t put you in the mood for holiday cheer, they are often unavoidable during this time of year. An expert at Baylor College of Medicine gives tips on avoiding airport stress and says that planning ahead is key in avoiding the ripple effect of stress.
“The holidays can be a stressful time to travel, but if you anticipate some of the traffic, parking issues and long lines and allow extra time, you can avoid some of the stress,” said Dr. Asim Shah, associate professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor.
Before even leaving for the airport, prepare by making sure you have all of the appropriate travel documents, including tickets and proper identification. Weigh your luggage to be sure there will be no delays or extra fees once you check a bag and be sure all of your liquids for your carry-on luggage are the appropriate size.  “Try not to pack things that can be removed, such as extra liquids or other items that are not allowed in carry-ons, to avoid wasting time once you get to the airport,” said Shah.

In anticipation of long lines and delays, be sure to pack activities for young kids, such as games and music. If traveling with older adults, be sure to pack all appropriate medications in your carry-on luggage.

Don’t forget that travel time to the airport might be longer due to traffic, and parking lots at the airport might require extra time. If you usually arrive one hour before a flight, consider arriving two or more hours ahead to avoid any added stress.

Shah says to always be aware of when the next flight is after your original flight, and always have a backup plan in case you are delayed.
He also recommends not being upset if you find yourself selected for a random security check at the airport.  “Remember that they are doing their jobs – for your safety and for the safety of others,” he said.

Holiday stress can lead to arguments, and Shah offers tips on how to deal with these, whether they are with loved ones or strangers.  “If you find yourself in a tense situation or you are upset with someone, try to keep your cool,” he said. “Remember that an argument will cause even more delays.”
Shah recommends taking deep breaths and even closing your eyes to disassociate yourself from the situation for a few moments. He even recommends listening to soft music or playing a game of Sudoku to try to calm yourself. “Know what your stress reliever is, whether it’s listening to music or playing a game, and do that,” he said.
Shah also reminds us that there is a bigger gain at the end of all of this stress – spending time with loved ones during the holidays. Keeping this goal in mind is important when in a stressful situation. For those who are concerned about being united with their loved ones during the holiday season and have added stress because of this, Shah says to remind yourself it’s only a short period of time that you will be spending together.

Make Christmas Festive Without Breaking the Bank

November 19, 2015  
Filed under Blogs

Christmas savingsBY MARY HUNT


As much as I love Christmas, I must confess that there are some things about the holiday season I dread. I always get that heart-pounding feeling that my feet are in the starting blocks and any second I’ll hear the signal to start running as fast as I can to make it to the finish line before midnight on December 24.

It’s easy to let the busy chaos of Christmas get the best of us. We feel obligated to meet the expectations of everyone — kids, friends, relatives, communities and even our employers.

This year, try these five ideas to keep spending under control and to make your dollars go further.

GIVE RETAIL VALUE. Determine the amount you want to spend on each person on your list. Let’s say you designate $50 for your sister. To your utter amazement, you find a gorgeous sweater at a high-end sample sale. It’s her size and favorite color, marked down to $30. It’s perfect. Don’t spend another $20 on your sister to satisfy a notion that you must meet the $50 allotted. Your mission is complete. You purchased a lovely gift and cut the cost by at least 75 percent (you know what cashmere goes for these days!) The actual cost is your secret — and a reasonable way to cut the expense of Christmas.

CREATE LIMITS. There’s something to be said for setting limits on how many gifts to give the kids and other family members. Fewer gifts mean less shopping, less wrapping and of course less spending. You may discover that less is more than enough.

CREATE FAMILY GIFTS. Rather than buying individual gifts for all the kids in one family, consider a single gift that will be enjoyed by everyone like a board game or DVD. Start thinking and soon your creative juices will kick in.

GET CREATIVE. Not a talented artist or crafter? Don’t worry. You can still create your own gifts If you have the basics like a computer, printer, paper supplies, writable CDs and DVDs, you can create unique gifts, and then duplicate as needed, giving the same gift to many on your list.

Ideas include a Family Calendar that is customized for your family and includes the names, dates and all pertinent information of every person’s birthday, anniversaries and other significant dates. You can even search “printable calendar” online to find templates.

A Family Cookbook is another great idea, and could be a compilation of your own recipes and family favorites that have, perhaps, been passed down from previous generations.

Share your Family Memories in stories, pictures or movies. Select and transfer family photos and videos that capture the essence of your family’s life over the past year. Add captions and short stories and you will have created the equivalent of an electronic scrapbook that can be easily duplicated.

As we head into the holiday season, don’t concentrate so much on the money you have to spend, but rather on all that you have to give — your time and talents, too. It’s the gifts that celebrate love and hope that bring us together as friends, families and communities. No matter how much you have to spend, we all have something to give.     Would you like more information? Log on to, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



Of Pet Accidents and Malfunctioning Keurig Machines

November 18, 2015  
Filed under Blogs

Woman vacuuming rug.BY MARY HUNT

Dear Mary: I saw in your column a long while back an article about the carpet scrubber (was it Bissell?) and poo-pooed it at the time. Now I am ready to cry UNCLE since I discovered to my horror that one of my cats was shut in a bedroom and peed on the carpet. The smell is so bad my eyes are watering. I have Nok-Out (I’m huge fan of that stuff — even though it is a bit pricey it is worth every penny) but I feel a deep cleaning is needed as well. I want to get the carpet-cleaning machine you recommend so I don’t waste money on an inferior one. Help! — Laurie

Dear Laurie: My eyes are starting to water just thinking about what you’re dealing with. But not to worry! You are certainly on the right track starting with Nok-Out. It really is the only product I know of that will neutralize and eliminate that pungent odor — provided you follow specific instructions for how to use it. And I agree, you need to power clean the carpet.

My Hoover SteamVac really is the best thing I ever bought. My machine is quite a few years old now, but it works as well as ever. The current model, which is even better, has a “clean surge” feature. I suggest that you make full use of that feature as you undue your poor kitty’s unfortunate accident.

Start by saturating the exact area with Nok-Out. Spray it on and be liberal with it. Nok-Out needs to come in direct contact with the offending urine, even if it has dried. Use your hand or a cloth to rub the Nok-Out in. Don’t be gentle. You want to make sure that Nok-Out penetrates all of the fibers of the carpet, going through to penetrate the fibers of the padding and then also reaches all the way down to the floor. Err on the side of over-saturating and even treating an area much larger than necessary.

You want the Nok-Out to soak into all of the layers, in the same way the urine has. Nok-Out will not damage the carpet, pad or flooring, so don’t worry about that. If you’re going to worry, worry that you will miss the source of the odor.

Step away from the scene of the crime and let Nok-Out do its job. The folks at Nok-Out suggest a minimum 10-minute waiting period once you are confident Nok-Out has reached the source.

You can also use Nok-Out in your Hoover SteamVac: Place 8 to 10 ounces of Nok-Out in the container of the cleaner and fill with hot water. Saturate, allowing Nok-Out to be absorbed into the carpet before suctioning back into the tank. It is always prudent to check for color-fastness before applying Nok-Out. Although Nok-Out is non-staining, different dye may cause a color change.

If you are unsure of the exact location of the pet problem, I suggest you give Hoover a good workout and clean the entire carpet with Nok-Out. It can’t hurt, and you’ll know that you’ve killed all the bacteria and eliminated any other odors, too.

Dear Mary: I really enjoy the useful ideas in your tip column. I lost the recent column explaining how to clean a Keurig coffee maker. Could you please forward or give me instructions on how to get this past column? Thanks. — Frank

Dear Frank: You can always find anything from past columns at When you get there, look at the upper right and you’ll see a search box that says: Search my blog. You can type a keyword or phrase into that box; in your case I would type Keurig then hit “enter” or “return” on your keyboard. Give it a second or two to search and you’ll get every column in which I have mentioned that word.

Try it! I’m confident you’ll find what you are looking for and maybe a whole lot more! Thanks for being such loyal reader.

Would you like more information? Log on to, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



Many Seniors Ill-Prepared to Live Alone

November 17, 2015  
Filed under Aging Parents

Senior Man Writing Memoirs In Book Sitting At DeskNearly 8 in 10 Americans (77 percent) are worried about the safety of their parent and/or grandparent living alone or with a spouse/partner, according to a new report. Yet despite these concerns, the majority of children and grandchildren have not equipped their older loved one’s home with safety features such as grab bars in the shower, raised toilet seats, an emergency response system and/or an entrance ramp.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2.5 million adults 65 years and older are treated for unintentional fall injuries each year. While many of these injuries can be prevented by equipping senior citizens’ homes with relatively inexpensive safety equipment, most are living without these features. In fact, in a recent survey of adult children and grandchildren age 18 and older, these family members reported that among seniors living alone:

·       46 percent do not have grab bars in the shower

·       63 percent do not have a raised toilet seat

·       64 percent do not have an emergency response system

·       76 percent do not have an entrance ramp

“People tend to wait until a concerning incident or tragedy happens to actually prepare themselves and their loved ones for old age,” said Andy Cohen, CEO and founder of “That’s a huge mistake because you’re actually putting them at a bigger risk for injury.”

Living without these items not only endangers a senior’s personal well-being, but it could lead to high health-related costs down the line. The average hospital cost for a fall injury is about $35,000 and Medicare typically only covers about 78 percent of that, according to the CDC.

“Many of the basic safety features can be purchased for less than $1,000,” said Cohen. “That’s much more reasonable than being hit with a $10,000 hospital bill, and worse, having a parent or grandparent with a broken hip.”

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in more detail here:



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