How to Replace Vital Documents That Are Lost or Stolen

May 25, 2016  
Filed under Savvy Senior

savy-srBy Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

Can you tell me how to go about replacing important lost documents? My wife and I recently downsized to a retirement community and somewhere in the move we lost our Social Security and Medicare cards, birth certificates, marriage license and passports. 

—Worried Ron 

Dear Ron,

Replacing important documents that are lost, stolen or damaged is pretty easy if you know where to turn. Here are the replacement resources for each document you mentioned, along with some tips to protect you from identity theft, which can happen if your documents end up in the wrong hands.

BIRTH CERTIFICATE Read more

Bad News and Some Good Advice: Buckle up, Vermont!

May 24, 2016  
Filed under Health & Wellness

First the bad news. Traffic fatalities in Vermont have increased in 2016 by over 80% compared to last year at this time. That’s over 30% above the previous three-year average. And more than a third of the fatal crash victims were unbelted. Could they have been saved, had they only taken a minute to buckle up? We will never know. But we do know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are the single most effective safety device for preventing death and injury on the road, and can reduce the risk of death or injuries by nearly 50 percent in cars, and more in larger vehicles.

Vermont law requires ALL occupants of a motor vehicle to be restrained with a safety belt or federally approved child restraint system. Yet while 2015 usage was up to 86% in Vermont, compliance was still 2.5% below the national average and even our own state record of 87.3% in 2008. We can do better. And we should!

Safety belts hold us in a safe, comfortable position for better control of the vehicle and optimal airbag protection. They are most effective when the belt fits snugly across the hips, not over the stomach, then across the center of the chest and over the shoulder, away from the neck – NEVER under your arm or behind your back. And many vehicles have adjustments for a more comfortable fit. Wearing your belt is easy and safer, so why not do it?

Sadly, it’s too late for too many of us, but the remaining 14% out there still have a chance. This year’s national Click it or Ticket mobilization is May 16th through 30th but every day, all year, is the right time to buckle up whenever you’re on the road. Because it’s the law and it’s just plain common sense. Come on, do it for your family.

 

Information, tips and reminders from those who work to keep Vermont drivers safe –

VT State Police, VT Department of Motor Vehicles, VT Agency of Transportation, VT Sheriffs Association, and AARP Driver Safety, members of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance.

Technology Goes Camping

May 24, 2016  
Filed under Columnists, Feature Stories

By Gary M. Kaye

Chief Content Officer,
Tech50+ (www.tech50plus.com)

When many of us were growing up, a family camping trip really meant roughing it. Back then our folks would cram us and whatever gear we had into a sedan, or if we were lucky, a station wagon. But with the advent of minivans and SUV’s, you could carry a lot more gear. And as technology has gotten into the mix, a night in the woods with the family has become more like a day at the beach. Here’s our compilation of products that combine the best of new tech and old fashioned camping:

Food  Read more

Stupid at Saving? Try These Apps for Financial Planning

May 24, 2016  
Filed under Money

STUPID AT SAVING PIC _ 01BPBy Kristen Castillo

Hate balancing your budget and your checkbook? Do you struggle to keep up with your savings account or monitor your retirement accounts? Technology is making tracking personal finances easier than ever.

Streamline your finances and your life with the latest apps for your smartphone, tablet and computer. Many apps are free, too, making being money-savvy even more enticing.

Mint Read more

It’s National Moving Month: Avoid a Moving Mishap

May 24, 2016  
Filed under Home & Garden

Mixed race couple in new homeWhen Jaime accepted a job offer across the country, the excitement of moving back to the east coast overshadowed the need to thoroughly research long-distance movers. The new job was starting within the month, which unfortunately made for a hasty move.

Jaime got an estimate over the phone and the moving company promised a ten-day delivery. On the day of the move, Jaime’s personal belongings were packed up and she started her trip back east.

“Everything happened so quickly and they seemed reliable, so I trusted them with my stuff,” Jaime recalled.

Jaime arrived at her new home and waited for the movers. They failed to show up within the promised 10 days and she became worried. Almost a week late, the movers finally arrived. Upon delivery, her furniture was broken and scratched, mice were living in her couch, boxes were smashed and her clothes had a foul odor.

Although Jaime purchased insurance, the moving company barely covered the cost of the ruined furniture and clothing. Troubleshooting this move-gone-wrong included meetings with furniture appraisers as well as the movers in question; bills and paperwork; and countless phone calls, all of which could have been avoided.

To avoid a moving mishap, Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT (BBB) recommends checking out reliable movers online with BBB’s Accredited Business Directory. Here you can read customer reviews and find out more information on over one hundred BBB Accredited movers.

“In hindsight, I regret not doing more research on my end. Although it would have required me investing more time during a hectic point in my life, it would have saved me time, money and heartache in the end.”

May is National Moving Month and BBB urges consumers to check out these tips for hiring a trustworthy moving company:

Do your research. Look up moving companies on bbb.org. Many movers that are BBB Accredited Businesses are also AMSA ProMovers; these companies have pledged to uphold high standards of trust and to resolve complaints quickly. Note the length of time a mover has been in business and read reviews from previous customers.

Get at least three estimates. Written, in-home estimates help you make an informed decision. Show the mover everything that needs to be moved. Be wary of unusually high or low estimates. If someone says they can give you an estimate over the phone or by email, it’s possible they’re trying to scam you.

Get all agreements in writing. Read everything carefully and make sure you have it all in writing. Get copies of everything you sign, especially the most important document, the bill of lading, which is the receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. Never sign any blank forms. Be on the lookout for fine print or any exclusions to your agreement.

Know your rights. Interstate movers are required by law to provide you with certain information that explains the moving process, as well as your rights and responsibilities during and after the move. Ask for proof of licenses, insurance, etc.

Protect your possessions. Make sure that your mover provides full-value protection insurance for any lost or damaged possessions. Note that insurance is by the pound, so expensive items such as a flat-panel television may need additional replacement cost coverage in case they are damaged in transit.

Be wary of unusual requests. If a mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that may be a warning sign. And if a company says it won’t return your items to you without more money than you agreed to pay, contact BBB or local law enforcement for help.

Take your valuables with you. Cash, coins, jewelry, photographs and important papers should be taken with you or shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance.

Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If the moving company can’t or won’t answer your questions, you might want to look for another mover.

For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org or like us on Facebook.

Great Books to Help You Gain Financial Independence

May 23, 2016  
Filed under Money

RETIRE INSPIRED PIC-05APBy Kristen Castillo

Need inspiration on how to be money-wise? Reading a book can help you make sense of your finances and figure out your next money moves.

From getting out of debt to learning to save and how to invest, money books can be great guides to financial independence. Most are motivational and practical, too, helping you make the necessary dollars-and-cents decisions to get your finances in order.

Holly Wolf, a marketing officer for a bank, recommends “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy,” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. Noting the book is a compilation of research, she says it showcases what it really takes to become a millionaire. Read more

What Is Elder and Special Needs Law? 

May 22, 2016  
Filed under Aging Parents, Health & Wellness, Money

Questions and Answers When Looking for An Elder Law Attorney 

Legal issues that affect people as they age and people with special needs are growing in number. Our laws and regulations are becoming more complex and each state has different laws. Actions taken with regard to a single matter may have unintended legal effects.

It is important for attorneys working with seniors, people with special needs and their families, to have a broad understanding of the laws that may have an impact on a given situation to avoid future problems.

Specialties Read more

Health and Happiness Benefits of the Great Outdoors 

May 21, 2016  
Filed under Health & Wellness, Things to do

yellow bootsBy Marilynn Preston

Raise your hand if you’re planning to do some hiking this spring. Then reach around and pat yourself on the back. Bravo! You’re tuned in to something mysterious and true, joining millions of hikers all over the world.

Stepping into the Great Outdoors 

Outdoors is why healthy lifestyles were invented. It’s a sublime way to focus on your fitness, both mental and physical. And the impact it has on your spirit knows no bounds.

Read more

Music Fills the Air at Vermont History Expo in June

May 21, 2016  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

The Sky Blue Boys will play lively traditional and original acoustic music at Vermont History Expo June 18 and 19. (Contributed photo)

The Sky Blue Boys will play lively traditional and original acoustic music at Vermont History Expo June 18 and 19. (Contributed photo)

The Vermont History Expo will feature music on two stages at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds — the Gazebo in the main area of the fairgrounds and on the hill near the log cabin and crafters. The Expo takes place at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds June 18 and 19.

Read more

SASH Model Successful

May 21, 2016  
Filed under Health & Wellness

Vt. Housing and Health Care Model Improves Senior Health and Cuts Growth in Medicare Spending 

RTI International and LeadingAge Center for Applied Research recently released the results of their Second Annual SASH (Support And Services at Home) Evaluation. The SASH model, created in South Burlington by Cathedral Square, residents of Heineberg Senior Housing and partner community agencies, connects low-income Vermont seniors and adults with disabilities with community-based services and promotes coordination of health care. The evaluations of SASH gauge the model’s efficacy in facilitating healthy and economically viable “aging in place.” The federally commissioned study lays the groundwork for national expansion of the model.  Read more

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