How to Manage Restless Leg Syndrome

October 15, 2018  
Filed under Savvy Senior

Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

What can you tell me about restless leg syndrome? I’m 58 years old, and frequently have jerky, uncontrollable urges to move my legs, accompanied by a tingling sensation, and it keeps me awake at night.

Jumpy John

 

Dear John,

If an irresistible urge to move your legs has you kicking in your sleep, then chances are pretty good you have restless leg syndrome (RLS), a condition that affects 7 to 10 percent of Americans. Here’s what you should know.

 

RLS, also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, is a nervous system problem that causes uncomfortable sensations (often described as a creepy-crawly feeling, tingling, itching, throbbing, pulling or aching) and an irresistible urge to move one or both legs while you’re sitting or lying down, and the symptoms usually get worse with age. It typically happens in the evenings or nights while resting. Moving eases the unpleasant feeling temporarily.

 

While RLS is not a life-threatening condition, the main problem, other than it being uncomfortable and annoying, is that it disrupts sleep, leading to daytime drowsiness, difficulty concentrating and even depression.

 

What exactly causes RLS is not known, but researchers suspect it could be linked to several things including iron deficiency, an imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine, and genetics – about 60 percent of people with RLS have a family member with the condition.

 

Treatment Options

While there’s no cure for RLS, there are things you can do to alleviate the symptoms. Depending on the severity of your case, some people turn to RLS medications like gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant), an anticonvulsant, and dopamine agonists ropinirole (Requip), rotigotine (Neupro) and pramipexole (Mirapex). But be aware that these drugs have side effects including nausea, lightheadedness, fatigue and insomnia. And, while these medications can provide short-term relief, they can also make symptoms worse in many people who use them long term.

 

So before turning to medication, you should consider some of the following natural RLS treatments first, which are very effective for most people.

 

Check your iron levels. Iron deficiency is believed to be one of the major contributors to RLS, so make an appointment with your doctor and get a blood test to check for this. If you test positive for iron deficiency, your doctor may recommend iron supplements.

 

Exercise: Getting moderate, regular exercise like walking, cycling, water aerobics and yoga can relieve symptoms, but overdoing it or exercising late in the day may intensify them. Daily leg stretches – include calf, hamstring, quadriceps and hip flexor stretches – are also helpful.

 

Check your medications: Certain drugs including antinausea drugs, antipsychotic drugs, some antidepressants, and cold and allergy medications containing sedating antihistamines can make RLS worse. If you take any of these, ask your doctor if something else can be prescribed.

 

Avoid triggers: Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and refined sugar can all make RLS symptoms worse.

 

Try these remedies: Soaking in a hot bathtub and massaging your legs can relieve symptoms, as can applying a hot pad and/or ice pack to your legs. Pressure can also help, so consider wearing compression socks or stockings. There’s also a new non-drug FDA approved vibrating pad on the market called Relaxis that interrupts RLS episodes and can provide relief to those who use it.

 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Top Dental Care Products for Seniors

October 8, 2018  
Filed under Savvy Senior

Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

I have arthritis in my hands that affects my grip strength and dexterity and makes brushing my teeth difficult. I’ve read that electric powered toothbrushes help make the job easier. Can you make any recommendations on what to get?

Still Smiling

 

Dear Still,

For seniors who suffer from arthritis or have other hand weaknesses, an electric toothbrush is a great solution to keep your teeth clean. At the push of a button, an electric toothbrush will do everything but shake, rattle and roll to do the cleaning for you, and most come with a wide handle and rubberized grip that make them easier and more comfortable to hold on to.

 

How to Choose

With dozens of different electric toothbrushes on the market today, here are several key points you’ll need to consider, to help you choose:

  • Cost: The cost of electric toothbrushes will range from $15 up to around $300. How much are you willing to spend?
  • Brushing action: Brush heads tend to be either “spinning” (they rotate very fast in one direction, then the other, and bristles may pulsate in and out) or “sonic” (they vibrate side to side). Both methods are effective and a matter of personal preference.
  • Electric versus battery: Choose a brush with a built-in rechargeable battery and an electric charging station. They’re much more convenient and cost effective than toothbrushes that use replaceable batteries.
  • Brushing timer: Since most dentists recommend brushing for two minutes (and most adults brush less than 60 seconds), get a power toothbrush with a built-in timer. Some brushes will even split the two minutes onto four 30-second intervals and will notify you when it’s time to switch to a different quadrant of your mouth.
  • Extra features: Most higher-priced electric brushes come with various settings such as sensitive (gentler cleaning) or massage (gum stimulation), a charge-level display and more. There are even “smart” toothbrushes on the market that connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth to track brushing habits. What extra features do you want or need?

 

Top Electric Toothbrushes

While there are many makes and models of electric toothbrushes to choose from, two of the best-selling, top-rated products to consider are the Oral B Pro 1000 (spinning brush head) and the Philips Sonicare 2 Series (vibrating brush head). Both are simple, very effective at removing plaque, and reasonably priced – around $50. They also both offer two-minute timers, rechargeable batteries and a range of brush heads to meet your needs.

 

To learn more about these electric toothbrushes and a wide variety of other options, visit OralB.com and Sonicare.com. And for more information on choosing an electric toothbrush, visit Toothbrush.org/best-electric-toothbrush.

 

Easier Flossing Products

If flossing is difficult too, a good alternative to traditional string floss is floss picks. These are disposable plastic-handle tools that have floss threaded onto them, which makes them easier to hold and use. DenTek, Oral-B and others sell packages for a few dollars, or check out the Reach Access Flosser, which comes with a toothbrush-like handle for a better reach.

 

Some other flossing devices to consider that are easy on the hands include: The WaterPik power flosser ($7), which gently vibrates to dislodge embedded food particles between your teeth; Philips Sonicare AirFloss water flossers ($50 or $90) that uses burst of water or mouthwash to and clean in-between your teeth; and WaterPik Water Flossers ($50 to $130), which use high-pressured pulsating water to remove food particles and plaque and will stimulate your gums in the process.

 

All of these dental care products can also be found at your local pharmacy or retailer that sells personal care items or online.

 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 

The Tax Credit That Lets You Double-Dip on Retirement Savings

October 1, 2018  
Filed under Savvy Senior

Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

What can you tell me about the retirement saver’s tax credit? At age 60, I’m looking for ways to boost my retirement savings beyond my 401(k) plan and have heard this may be a smart way to do it. Is this something I’m eligible for?

Need to Save

 

Dear Need,

If your income is low to moderate and you participate in your employer-sponsored retirement plan or an IRA, the “Saver’s Credit” (also known as the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit) is a frequently overlooked tool that can help boost your retirement savings even more. Here’s how it works.

 

If you contribute to a retirement-savings account like a traditional or Roth IRA, myRA, 401(k), 403(b), 457, federal employees’ Thrift Savings Plan, Simplified Employee Pension or SIMPLE plan, the Saver’s Credit will allow you to claim 10, 20 or 50 percent of your contribution of up to $2,000 per year for singles or $4,000 for couples.

 

This valuable tax credit can be claimed in addition to the tax deduction you get for saving in your traditional retirement accounts.

 

To qualify, you must also be at least 18 years old and not a full-time student and were not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. And your adjusted gross income (AGI) in 2018 must have been $63,000 or less as a married couple filing jointly, $47,250 or less if filing as head of household, or $31,500 or less if you’re a single filer. These income limits are adjusted annually to keep pace with inflation.

 

To get the 50 percent credit, you’ll need to have an income below $19,000 if you’re single, $28,500 if you’re filing as head of household, and $38,000 for couples in 2018.

 

The 20 percent credit rate applies to individuals earning between $19,001 and $20,500; for head of household filers it’s $28,501 to $30,750; and for couples it’s $38,001 to $41,000.

 

And the 10 percent rate is for individuals with an adjusted gross income between $20,501 and $31,500; for head of household filers $30,751 to $47,250; and couples it’s between $41,001 and $63,000.

 

Here’s an example of how this works. Let’s say that you file your taxes as head of household and your AGI for 2018 is $30,000. Over the course of the year, you contribute $2,000 to your employer’s 401(k) plan. Since your AGI puts you in the 20 percent credit bracket, and you’ve contributed the $2,000 maximum that can be considered for the credit, you are entitled to a $400 Saver’s Credit on your 2018 tax return.

 

It’s also worth mentioning that the Saver’s Credit is in addition to any other tax benefits you get for your retirement contributions. So in the previous example, not only would you be entitled to a $400 credit, but you would also be able to exclude the $2,000 401(k) contribution from your taxable income. So, if you’re in the 15 percent tax bracket, this translates to an additional $300 in savings, for a total of $700.

 

How to Claim

To claim the Saver’s Credit, you will need to fill out Form 8880 (see IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8880.pdf) and attach it to your 1040, 1040A or 1040NR when you file your tax return. Don’t use the 1040EZ Form.

 

If you think that you would have qualified for the credit in previous years but didn’t claim it, you can file an amended return as far back as 2015 and still get the credits. A 2014 amended return is due by April 15, 2019. See IRS Form 1040X (IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040x.pdf) for instructions on how to file an amended return.

 

And for more information on the Saver’s Credit, see IRS Publication 590-A “Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements” (IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p590a.pdf).

 

You can also have these forms and publication mailed to you by calling 800-829-3676.

 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Tech Items Every Savvy Baby Boomer Needs

August 27, 2018  
Filed under Business, Savvy Senior

By Lisa M Cini

As you get older, daily tasks can become increasingly difficult. There are many gadgets on the market that can make life easier for baby boomers. The following are a few interesting gadgets you may want to have to make your daily life a bit easier.

Have a Security System Installed

Being home alone can be scary for many older people. Even if their spouse lives with them, there will be times when they will be at their house completely alone. Having a security system installed can help give you peace of mind that you are as safe as you can be at all times. The system will ensure that no one gets into your house when you are away from home and provides you with an easy way to get emergency assistance if you need it, without even having to dial a phone.

Have a Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat Installed

There are many older individuals who are living on a fixed income. They need to save money wherever they can and reducing electricity costs can be a great way to save. A Wi-Fi smart thermostat may be the best way for you to easily decrease your heating and cooling costs right away. Once the thermostat is installed, you can lower or raise the temperature on the thermostat to a cost-effective degree. Twenty to 30 minutes before you come home, you can go to an app on your phone to set the thermostat to a temperature that you feel is more comfortable. This means that the house will be at a comfortable temperature by the time you arrive, but you will not have to pay to maintain that temperature at all times.

Wear a Smart Wearable Device

A smart wearable device allows you to track your sleep cycles, heart rate, and the steps you take each day. It can also help you to know how many calories you are burning throughout the day. Smart wearable devices connect wirelessly to your cell phone so that you can look at the results on a larger screen and track the data for an extended period of time. This can be great information to have when you go to see your doctors because you will have tracked data you can show them.

Add Voice-Controlled Devices to Your Home

There are many times when it can be difficult to do things in your home simply because they require you to read very small print. Instead, you can have voice-controlled devices in place that will make it easier for you to do the things you want to do. There are now televisions that can be voice controlled, so you can find any programming you want to watch and even change the volume with your voice alone. There are also devices that you can use to research a topic that interests you, listen to your favorite music, or even have a recipe read to you.

Trying new gadgets can seem overwhelming or scary to many older people. It is important to realize that most devices that are on the market are designed to be easy to use and do not take long to master. This is because the manufacturers know that anything too complicated will not be popular with elderly individuals. These gadgets can help you live a more fulfilling, comfortable life for as long as possible.

Lisa Cini ASID, IIDA, is an award-winning, internationally-recognized designer with more than 25 years’ experience developing interiors that improve quality of life for seniors. She has advice for both designers and for those seniors seeking the right kind of independent living facilities for them.

Lisa is the author of The Future is Here: Senior Living ReimaginedHive: The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living, and BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, so that you can Preserve Your Independent Lifestyle & Thrive.

 

Health Coverage Options for Pre-Medicare-Age Spouses

June 14, 2018  
Filed under Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

My wife, who is 62, is on my health insurance plan through my employer. When I retire in a few months at 65, and go on Medicare, what are my wife’s options? Is there some kind of Medicare coverage for dependent spouses, or do we have to purchase Obamacare?

— Approaching Retirement

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How to Choose a Good Estate Sale Company

May 21, 2018  
Filed under Savvy Senior

Savvy Senior

Dear Savvy Senior,

Can you provide some tips on how to choose a good estate sale company who can sell all the leftover items in my mother’s house? 

Inquiring Daughter

 

Dear Inquiring,

The estate sale business has become a huge industry over the past decade. There are roughly 22,000 estate sale companies that currently operate in the U.S., up nearly 60 percent from just 10 years ago. But not all estate sale companies are alike.

 

Unlike appraisal, auction and real estate companies, estate sale operators are largely unregulated, with no licensing or standard educational requirements. That leaves the door open for inexperienced, unethical or even illegal operators. Therefore, it’s up to you to decipher a good reputable company from a bad one. Here are some tips to help you choose.

 

Make a list: Start by asking friends, your real estate agent or attorney for recommendations. You can also search online. Websites like EstateSales.net and EstateSales.org let you find estate sale companies in your area.

 

Check their reviews: After you find a few companies, check them out on the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org), Angie’s List (AngiesList.com), Yelp (Yelp.com) and other online review sites to eliminate ones with legitimately negative reviews.

 

Call some companies: Once you identify some estate sale companies, select a few to interview over the phone. Ask them how long they’ve been in business and how many estate sales they conduct each month. Also find out about their staff, the services they provide, if they are insured and bonded and if they charge a flat fee or commission. The national average commission for an estate sale is around 35 percent, but commissions vary by city and region.

 

You may also want to ask them about visiting their next sale to get a better feel for how they operate. And be sure to get a list of references of their past clients and call them.

 

Schedule appointments: Set up two or three face-to-face interviews with the companies you felt provided you with satisfactory answers during the phone interviews.

 

During their visit, show the estate liquidator through the property. Point out any items that will not be included in the sale, and if you have any items where price is a concern, discuss it with them at that time. Many estate companies will give you a quote, after a quick walk through the home.

 

You also need to ask about their pricing (how do they research prices and is every item priced), how they track what items sell for, what credit cards do they accept, and how and where will they promote and market your sale. EstateSales.net is a leading site used to advertise sales, so check advertising approaches there.

 

Additionally, ask how many days will it take them to set up for the sale, how long will the sale last, and will they take care of getting any necessary permits to have the sale.

 

You also need to find out how and when you will be paid, and what types of services they provide when the sale is over. Will they clean up the house and dispose of the unsold items, and is there’s an extra charge for that? Also, make sure you get a copy of their contract and review it carefully before you sign it.

 

For more information on choosing an estate sale company, see National Estate Sales Association online guide at NESA-USA.com, and click on “Consumer Education” then on “Find the Right Company.”

 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 

 

‘Extra Help’ Program Helps Seniors With Their Medication Costs

May 14, 2018  
Filed under Savvy Senior

Savvy Senior

Dear Savvy Senior,

Are there any special Medicare programs that help seniors with their medication costs? My 74-year-old mother, who lives primarily on her Social Security, takes several high-priced drugs that sap her income even with her Medicare drug plan.  

Looking for Assistance

 

Dear Looking,

Yes, there’s a low-income subsidy program called Extra Help that can assist seniors on a tight budget with paying for their premiums, deductible and co-payments in their Medicare (Part D) prescription drug plan.

 

Currently around 10 million people are receiving this subsidy, but another two million may qualify for it and don’t even realize it. They’re missing out on hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars in savings each year.

 

Changes in the law make it easier than ever to qualify for the Extra Help program. Even if your mom applied and didn’t qualify before, she may be eligible now. The amount of additional assistance she would receive depends on her income and assets. If she qualifies for help, she’ll pay no more than $3.35 for a generic drug and $8.35 for a brand-name drug in 2018.

 

To get the subsidy, your mom’s assets can’t be more than $14,100 (or $28,150 for married couples living together). Bank accounts, stocks and bonds count as assets, but her home, vehicle, personal belongings, life insurance and burial plots do not.

 

Also, your mom’s monthly income can’t be more than $1,538 (or $2,078 for married couples). If your mom supports a family member who lives with her, or lives in Alaska or Hawaii, her income can be higher.

 

In addition, the government won’t count any money if your mom receives help for household expenses like food, rent, mortgage payments, utilities and property taxes.

 

How To Apply

There are three ways to apply for Extra Help: online at SSA.gov/prescriptionhelp; by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213; or by visiting her local Social Security office.

 

The application form is easy to complete, but you’ll need your mom’s Social Security number and information about her bank balances, pensions and investments. Social Security will review her application and send her a letter within a few weeks letting you know whether she qualifies.

 

If your mom doesn’t qualify for Extra Help, she may still be able to get help from a state pharmacy assistance program or a patient assistance program. Visit BenefitsCheckUp.org and click on “Medications” to search for these programs.

 

Other Medicare Assistance

If your mom is eligible for Extra Help, she may also qualify for help with her other Medicare expenses through her state’s Medicare Savings Program.

 

State Medicaid programs partner with the federal government, so income and asset qualifications vary depending on where she lives. Medicare Savings Programs will pay her entire Medicare Part B premium each month. Some also pay for Part B coinsurance and copayments, depending on her income. Contact your mom’s state Medicaid office to determine if she qualifies for benefits in her state.

 

You can also get help through her State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which provides free one-on-one Medicare counseling in person or over the phone. To locate a SHIP counselor in your area, visit ShiptaCenter.org or call the eldercare locator at 800-677-1116.

 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 

 

What You Need to Know About Reverse Mortgages

May 7, 2018  
Filed under Savvy Senior

Savvy Senior

Dear Savvy Senior,

What can you tell me about reverse mortgages for retirees? My wife and I are contemplating getting one but want to make sure we know what we’re getting into.

Running Short

 

Dear Running,

For retirees who own their home and want to stay living there, but could use some extra cash, a reverse mortgage is a viable financial tool, but there’s a lot to know and consider to be sure it’s a good option for you.

Let’s start with the basics.

 

A reverse mortgage is a unique type of loan that allows older homeowners to borrow money against the equity in their house (or condo) that doesn’t have to be repaid until the homeowner dies, sells the house or moves out for at least 12 months. At that point, you or your heirs will have to pay back the loan plus accrued interest and fees, but you will never owe more than the value of your home.

 

It’s also important to understand that with a reverse mortgage, you, not the bank, own the house, so you’re still required to pay your property taxes and homeowners insurance. Not paying them can result in foreclosure.

 

To be eligible, you must be 62 years of age or older, own your own home (or owe only a small balance) and currently be living there.

 

You will also need to undergo a financial assessment to determine whether you can afford to continue paying your property taxes and insurance. Depending on your financial situation, you may be required to put part of your loan into an escrow account to pay future bills. If the financial assessment finds that you cannot pay your insurance and taxes and have enough cash left to live on, you’ll be denied.

 

Loan Details

Around 95 percent of all reverse mortgages offered today are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), which are FHA insured and offered through private mortgage lenders and banks. HECM’s also have home value limits that vary by county, but cannot exceed $679,650.

 

How much you can actually get through a reverse mortgage depends on your age (the older you are the more you can get), your home’s value and the prevailing interest rates. Generally, most people can borrow somewhere between 50 and 65 percent of the home’s value. To estimate how much you can borrow, use the reverse mortgage calculator at ReverseMortgage.org.

 

You also need to know that reverse mortgages have recently become more expensive with a number of fees, including: a 2 percent lender origination fee for the first $200,000 of the home’s value and 1 percent of the remaining value, with a cap of $6,000; an upfront 2 percent mortgage insurance premium (MIP) fee on the maximum loan amount, plus an annual MIP fee that’s equal to 0.5 percent of the outstanding loan balance; along with an appraisal fee, closing costs and other miscellaneous expenses. Most fees can be deducted for the loan amount to reduce your out-of-pocket cost at closing.

 

To receive your money, you can opt for a lump sum, a line of credit, regular monthly checks or a combination of these.

 

More Information

To learn more, read the National Council on Aging’s online booklet “Use Your Home to Stay at Home” at NCOA.org/home-equity. And see the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association self-evaluation checklist at ReverseMortgage.org/consumerguides.

 

Also note that because reverse mortgages are complex loans, all borrowers are required to get face-to-face or telephone counseling through a HUD approved independent counseling agency before taking one out. Most agencies typically charge around $125. To locate one near you, visit Go.usa.gov/v2H, or call 800-569-4287.

 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 

New Shingles Vaccine Provides Better Protection for Seniors

April 30, 2018  
Filed under Savvy Senior

Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

 

Dear Savvy Senior,

A good friend of mine got a bad case of shingles last year and has been urging me to get vaccinated. Should I? 

Suspicious Susan

 

Dear Susan,

Yes! If you’re 50 or older, there’s a new shingles vaccine on the market that’s far superior to the older vaccine, so now is a great time to get inoculated. Here’s what you should know.

 

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a burning, blistering, often excruciating skin rash that affects around 1 million Americans each year. The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles. What happens is the chickenpox virus that most people get as kids never leaves the body. It hides in the nerve cells near the spinal cord and, for some people, emerges later in the form of shingles.

 

In the U.S., almost one out of every three people will develop shingles during their lifetime. While anyone who’s had chickenpox can get shingles, it most commonly occurs in people over age 50, along with people who have weakened immune systems. But you can’t catch shingles from someone else.

 

Early signs of the disease include pain, itching or tingling before a blistering rash appears several days later, and can last up to four weeks. The rash typically occurs on one side of the body, often as a band of blisters that extends from the middle of your back around to the breastbone. It can also appear above an eye or on the side of the face or neck.

 

In addition to the rash, about 20 to 25 percent of those who get shingles go on to develop severe nerve pain (postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN) that can last for months or even years. And in rare cases, shingles can also cause strokes, encephalitis, spinal cord damage and vision loss.

 

New Shingles Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new vaccine for shingles called Shingrix (see Shingrix.com), which provides much better protection than the older vaccine, Zostavax.

 

Manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, Shingrix is 97 percent effective in preventing shingles in people 50 to 69 years old, and 91 percent effective in those 70 and older.

 

By comparison, Zostavax is 70 percent effective in your 50s; 64 percent effective in your 60s; 41 percent effective in your 70s; and 18 percent effective in your 80s.

 

Shingrix is also better that Zostavax in preventing nerve pain that continues after a shingles rash has cleared – about 90 percent effective versus 65 percent effective.

 

Because of this enhanced protection, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 50 and older, receive the Shingrix vaccine, which is given in two doses, two to six months apart.

 

Even if you’ve already had shingles, you still need these vaccinations because reoccurring cases are possible. The CDC also recommends that anyone previously vaccinated with Zostavax be revaccinated with Shingrix.

 

You should also know that Shingrix can cause some adverse side effects for some people, including muscle pain, fatigue, headache, fever and upset stomach.

 

Shingrix – which costs around $280 for both doses – is (or will soon be) covered by insurance including Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, but be aware that the shingles vaccines are not always well covered. So before getting vaccinated, call your plan to find out if it’s covered, and if so, which pharmacies and doctors in your area you should use to insure the best coverage.

 

Or, if you don’t have health insurance or you’re experiencing medical or financial hardship, you might qualify for GlaxoSmithKline’s Patient Assistance Program, which provides free vaccinations to those who are eligible. For details, go to GSKforyou.com.

 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 

 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

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