90 Percent of Adults Age 50+ Use  Personal Technology To Stay Connected

March 6, 2018  
Filed under News, Savvy Senior

Ninety-one percent of tech owners 50 plus say they use personal technology to keep in touch with family and friends, according to a new AARP survey aimed at measuring and identifying technology use and attitudes among adults 50-plus. The research found that mobile and computing devices are the primary technology for Americans 50-plus with subtle differences between age groups. Adults in their 50s and 60s are texting more than emailing on smartphones, while people 70-plus are more likely to use desktop computers and cellphones to keep in touch. Among people who own computers, tablets and smartphones, each device has different uses: computers are used for more practical tasks, tablets for entertainment and smartphones for social and on the go activities. Read more

Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers

July 24, 2017  
Filed under Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

Can you recommend any long-distance caregiving tips that can help me help my elderly father who lives in another state? He has physically declined over the past year, but is determined to stay living in his own house.

–Worried Daughter Read more

Aging Is Inevitable: Might as Well Make It Pay!

May 15, 2017  
Filed under Savvy Senior

Dear Savvy Senior,

What types of discounts are available to baby boomers, at what age do they kick in and what’s the best way to go about finding them?

— Almost 50

Dear Almost, Read more

Two-Thirds of Seniors Have Been Scammed Online

May 15, 2017  
Filed under Aging Parents, Savvy Senior

Burlington Area Senior Care Experts Offer Senior Cybersecurity, Online Fraud Prevention Tips

Financial and online fraud against aging adults are now considered the “crimes of the century” by the National Council on Aging. Scammers often target seniors because of perceived accumulated wealth, and feel that seniors are less likely to report crimes due to fear of embarrassment. Read more

New Diet May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

August 18, 2016  
Filed under Savvy Senior

savy-srBy JimMiller

Dear Savvy Senior,

I’ve heard that there’s a new diet that can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. What can you tell me about this? My 80-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s and I want to do everything I can to protect myself.

—Concerned Daughter

Read more

Simple Steps to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer

June 10, 2016  
Filed under Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

Does skin cancer run in families? My 63-year-old brother died of melanoma last year and I’m wondering about my risks of getting this. What can you tell me?

—Younger Sibling

Dear Sibling,

While long-term sun exposure and sunburns are the biggest risk factors for melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – having a sibling or parent with melanoma does indeed increase your risk of getting it two to three times.  Read more

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.


Avoiding Medicare Mistakes When You’re Still Working

March 17, 2016  
Filed under Savvy Senior

savy-srBy Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

Should I enroll in Medicare at age 65 if I’m still working and have coverage through my employer?

—Almost 65

Dear Almost,

The rules for enrolling in Medicare can be very confusing with all the different choices available today. But when you postpone retirement past age 65, as many people are doing, it becomes even more complicated. Read more

How to Make Your Kitchen Safer and Easier to Use

December 30, 2015  
Filed under Savvy Senior

savy-srBy Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

What tips can you recommend for making a kitchen senior-friendly? My wife, who loves to cook, has had several kitchen-related accidents over the past year, which is why we would like to modify to make it safer and more practical. 

—Hungry Husband

Dear Hungry,

There are a number of simple modifications and inexpensive add-ons that can make a big difference in making your kitchen more age-friendly. Depending on your wife’s needs, here are some tips for each aspect of the kitchen.

Floors: If you have kitchen throw rugs, to reduce tripping or slipping, replace them with non-skid floor mats or consider gel mats, which are cushiony and more comfortable to stand on for long periods. GelPro.com and WellnessMats.com offer a nice selection.

Lights: If the lighting in her kitchen is dim, replace the old overhead fixture with a bright new ceiling light, and add under-cabinet task lighting to brighten up her kitchen countertops.

Cabinets and drawers: To reduce bending or reaching, organize your kitchen cabinets and drawers so that the items you most frequently use are within comfortable reach. You can also make your cabinets and pantry easier to access by installing pullout shelves or lazy susans. And D-shaped pull-handles for the cabinets and drawers are also recommended because they’re more comfortable for arthritic hands to grasp than knobs.

Faucet: If you have a twist-handle kitchen faucet, replace it with an ADA compliant single handle faucet. They’re easier to use, especially for seniors with arthritis or limited hand strength. There are also kitchen faucets on the market today (like the Delta Touch20 faucet and Moen MotionSense) that will turn themselves on and off by simply touching the base or moving your hand over a motion sensor. And, for safety purposes, set your hot water tank at 120 degrees to prevent possible water burns.

Microwave and stove: If your microwave is mounted above the stove, consider moving it to a countertop. This makes it safer and easier to reach. And if you’re concerned about your wife remembering to turn the stove off, there are automatic stove shut-off devices you can purchase and install to prevent a fire. See cookstop.com, stoveguardintl.com and pioneeringtech.com for some different options.

If you’re looking to upgrade some of your appliances too, here are some different senior-friendly features you should look for when shopping.

Refrigerator and freezer: Side-by-side doors work well for seniors because the frequently used items can be placed at mid-shelf range for easy access. Pullout adjustable height shelves and a water/ice dispenser on the outside of door are also very convenient.

Stove or cooktop: Look for one with controls in the front so you won’t have to reach over hot burners to turn it off, and make sure the controls are easy to see. Flat surface electric or induction burners, or continuous grates on gas stoves are also great for sliding heavy pots and pans from one burner to the next. And ask about automatic shut off burners.

Oven: Self-cleaning ovens are a plus, and consider a side-swing door model. They’re easier to get into because you don’t have to lean over a hot swing-down door. Also consider a wall-mounted oven to eliminate bending.

Dishwasher: Consider a dishwasher drawer that slides in and out, and is installed on a 6 to 10-inch raised platform. These require less bending to load and unload.

Washer and dryer: Front-load washers and dryers with pedestals that raise the height 10 to 15 inches are also back-savers and easy to access.

Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

How to Stop Robocalls

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,
What can I do to stop the perpetual prerecorded robocalls I keep getting? I’m signed up with the National Do Not Call Registry, but it seems like I still get three or four robo telemarketing calls a day offering lower credit card interest rates, medical alert devices and more.
Fed Up Senior

Dear Fed Up,
Millions of Americans on the National Do Not Call Registry (donotcall.gov) complain they still receive unwanted calls from robocallers. Why? Because most robocalls are scams run by con artists who are only trying to trick you out of your money and they simply ignore the law.
But there’s good news on the horizon. A few months ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a rule giving telecommunication companies more leeway to block robocalls. Before this ruling, the FCC has always required phone companies to complete all calls, much in the same way the postal service is required to deliver all your mail, even the junk. So, look for your phone service provider to start offering call-blocking tools in the future. But in the meantime, here are some things you can do to reduce those unwanted calls.

  • Set up “anonymous call rejection” option: This is a free landline-calling feature available from most telephone companies. It lets you screen out calls from callers who have blocked their caller ID information—a favorite tactic of telemarketers. To set it up, you usually have to dial *77 from your landline, though different phone services may have different procedures to set it up. Call your telephone service provider to find out if they offer this feature and, if so, what you need to do to enable it.
  • Sign up for Nomorobo: This is a free service and works only if you have an Internet-based VoIP phone service. It does not work on traditional analog landlines or wireless phones. Nomorobo uses a “simultaneous ring” service that detects and blocks robocalls on a black list of known offender numbers. It isn’t 100 percent foolproof, but it is an extra layer of protection. To sign up, or see if Nomorobo works with your phone service provider, visit Nomorobo.com.
  • Buy a robocall-blocking device: If you don’t mind spending a little money, purchase a call-blocking device like the Sentry 2 ($59) or Digitone Call Blocker Plus ($100), sold at Amazon.com. These small devices, which plug into your phone line, allow you to blacklist numbers you no longer wish to receive and set up a whitelist, or manually program the phone to recognize and accept a certain number of safe numbers. Both devices are very effective.
  • Don’t pick up: If you have a caller ID, simply do not answer the phone unless you recognize the number. But if you do answer and it’s a robocall, you should just hang up. Don’t press any numbers to complain or get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, you’re signaling that the autodialer has reached a live number and will probably lead to more robocalls.
  • Get a cellphone app: Get a call-screening app like Truecaller (truecaller.com) or PrivacyStar (privacystar.com) that screens and blocks them.

It’s also important that you report illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov or call 888-225-5322 and sign the Consumer Union petition at EndRobocalls.org to pressure phone companies to start offering free call-blocking technology.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Next Page »