Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Common Medical Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

As we age and develop a wider variety of health issues, our risk of becoming the victim of a medical mistake increases.  In fact, the problem is extremely common.  Researchers at Johns Hopkins estimate that over 250,000 people of all ages die as a result of medical mistakes every year!  While there is no way to guarantee that you will not become a victim, too, there are a few steps you can take which will lower your risk.  First, you have to understand the most common medical mistakes we all face, and then learn the steps you can take to prevent them.

How You can Avoid Common Medical Mistakes

Do research on your doctors - Not only will most people need to choose a primary care physician, but they are also likely to need specialists such as a gynecologist, cardiologist, internist, or surgeon.  Look them up online and make sure they do not have a history of lawsuits, complaints or problems with the state medical board.  In addition, see if you can find as many doctors as possible who are part of the same practice and have admitting privileges in the same hospital.  In the event of a crisis, this can save a lot of time and confusion. 

In California, where we live, we have found that using the Kaiser Permanente doctors and hospitals have simplified our lives.  Most of the specialists are near our home and in the same building.  My husband is dealing with both chronic kidney disease and a blood cancer (as well as other conditions), and during one of his appointments, his kidney doctor left briefly during an examination and went down the hall to talk to the blood cancer doctor, before he changed a prescription.  We really appreciate how connected they are and realize that their ability to quickly and easily talk to each other reduces his risk of having one of them make a medication error. 

Keep Track of Medications - The older you get, the more medications you may take. Your doctors may accidentally give you two medications which conflict with each other, or your pharmacist may hand you the wrong prescription.  The best defense is to question both your doctor and pharmacist about every prescription.  Carry a list with you of all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter vitamins and herbal remedies.  Update it any time there is a change. Give copies of the list to all your physicians, including your dentist.  If a doctor prescribes something new, ask them if the new medication should be taken in addition to what you are already taking, or if you should drop one of the others. Read the disclosures and instructions which come with most medications and, if you do not receive printed information, look it up online.  Finally, look at the pills every time you pick up your prescription and question the pharmacist if it looks different than normal.  Have they made an error?  Have they replaced your prescription with a similar, but different prescription?  Pay attention to what you are taking.  You can use this Amazon link to order appropriate size prescription organizers to keep your medications in order and to be certain you take them at the right time of day.

Do not misuse antibiotics - If you take too many antibiotics, too frequently, they may stop working for you.  Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections, not viruses.  Do not ask for antibiotics if the doctor says you have a virus.  When you are prescribed an antibiotic, make sure you take them all. If you stop too soon, your infection may come back and be harder to treat.

Choose the best hospital  - Do your research and choose the best hospital in your community.  In particular, pick the one with the most experience with your condition.  If you have surgery, make sure they perform that particular surgery frequently.  Afterwards, you do not want to rush home too quickly. If you do go home too soon, you are more likely to return to the hospital with an infection or other problem.  However, you do not want to stay too long, either, because that can also result in an increased risk of infection.  Discuss with your doctor how long you should stay to maximize the benefit and minimize the risk.

Mark the spot for surgery - We have all heard of dramatic cases where doctors operated on the wrong eye or limb.  Do not let this happen to you.  Make sure the doctor marks the right spot on your body before doing surgery.  They are often very busy and may do multiple surgeries in one day.  Be certain they are clear about the surgery they are performing on you.

Post-surgery follow-ups; make sure nothing was left behind - Another surgery risk is that the team may leave a sponge, clamp or other instrument in your body.  If you notice any odd symptoms after surgery, including unexpectedly serious pain, swelling, fever, nausea or bowel problems, discuss the issue with your doctor.  They may have to do imaging tests to see if anything was left behind.  You do not want to ignore the issue, because it could cause an infection or serious internal problems.

Do not spend too much time in bed - After major surgery or a serious injury, all you may want to do is spend time in bed.  However, too much bed rest can cause you to lose muscle mass and bone density, or cause problems with your heart, lungs and other body systems.  Get out of bed as soon as your doctor recommends, even if you do not feel like it. If necessary, use a walker or ask another adult to help you move around regularly.

Avoid delays in treatment - Another issue comes up when your physician either fails to diagnose your problem, or is not prompt about contacting you about test results and treatment options.  If you are not satisfied with a doctor's diagnosis, especially if they say nothing is wrong, get a second opinion.  If you get a test and there seems to be a delay in hearing the results, do not wait for the doctor to call you. Call their office, instead.  Once you have a diagnosis, be your own advocate and find out your treatment options as soon as possible.

Do your part to take care of your health - Staying healthy can involve much more than simply taking medications.  Many illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease, require you to follow specific diets if you are going to maintain your health.  You may want to see a nutritionist to discuss the correct diet for your condition.  Medications alone will not stabilize these chronic health issues.  In addition to diet, it is important for patients to find trustworthy websites and learn as much as they can about their conditions.  Good websites are WebMD, Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic and the national association for your specific health condition.  Discuss what you learn with your own doctor and ask lots of questions.

Do not try to handle your medical problems by yourself - Whether you share your medical concerns and information with a spouse, adult child, or friend, it is important to have at least one other person on your "team."  Why?  What happens if you are unconscious in the hospital or mentally confused at the time of treatment?  You need a point person who is knowledgeable and able to discuss your treatment and medical condition with doctors, hospital staff and paramedics.  This point person can also be your primary care physician, although it is also helpful if you have someone else who is personally close to you, as well.

Following the above recommendations may not guarantee you will never be the victim of a medical error, but it will decrease your risk.  In addition, if you do your part, you will also improve your chances of recovering from any mistakes which do happen, such as a mix-up with a prescription.

If you are interested in learning more about common health issues as we age, Medicare, Social Security, where to retire, financial planning, travel and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  Google images; cnnpartner images 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Early Signs of Dementia - You are Probably Worrying Unnecessarily!

As we age, most of us are concerned about the possibility of developing dementia.  Every time we misplace our keys or forget a name, we worry that we may be on our way to completely losing our mind.  However, the good news is that dementia is probably not in your future. Even for those who live to be in their 90s, fewer than half will develop anything more serious than mild cognitive decline. The reason we worry, of course, is because the majority of us do not actually know how to recognize the early symptoms of dementia.  According to an article in Medical News Today, on Feb. 21, 2019, there are ten symptoms which are indicative of the type of declining cognitive functioning which could lead to a serious case of dementia.  Having two or more of these symptoms means it is time to see a doctor.

Types of Dementia

First, it is important to understand that the term dementia is an umbrella term for a number of different types of cognitive decline.  Here are the most common types of dementia:

Alzheimer's Disease
Lewy body dementia
frontotemporal dementia
vascular disorders leading to dementia
mixed dementia ... a combination of two or more of the other types

Signs of Dementia

Regardless of the type of dementia which you could be developing, you should be concerned if you or a family member develop two or more of the symptoms listed below.  In addition, the symptoms need to be severe enough that they interfere with daily life.  In other words, occasionally losing your keys, getting confused, or forgetting a name is not necessarily enough of a problem that it would indicate anything more serious than simple age-related mild cognitive decline or, in some cases, it could simply mean you are tired.  The symptoms below are only a concern when they are severe and interfere with your life, work, and relationships.  In addition, remember that you need to be experiencing two or more of these symptoms, before you need to worry that you could be developing dementia.

1.  Extreme Memory Loss - Memory loss is especially significant if you cannot remember information which you have recently learned, or events which happened during the preceding few days or weeks.  For example, when my mother's dementia began to be severe, she once told me she had not seen my sister in months, despite the fact that my sister was actually staying with my mother at the time and had only gone into another room.

2.  Difficulty solving problems and making plans - This symptom becomes obvious when a person can no longer follow driving directions or remember how to prepare a familiar recipe.  They may also have difficulty paying their bills.  My mother turned the bills over to my father a couple of years before she showed more serious symptoms of her dementia, despite the fact she had paid their bills for decades before her decline.

3.  Difficulty completing familiar tasks - This is similar to the symptom above, although it becomes an issue when a person has difficulty with even simple, familiar tasks which do not require much planning, such as making a cup of tea or going to a familiar location.  In the retirement community where I live, people occasionally become disoriented and get lost on the golf course, or on their way to a nearby bank or restaurant. 

4. Confusion about the time and place - People with dementia often struggle with dates.  While we may all occasionally think a past event happened "just last year," when it actually happened a decade ago, this is more pronounced in a person with dementia.  They may also become confused about where they are.   They may no longer remember their address or phone number.  They may repeatedly ask what time it is.  They may insist it is spring, when it is really fall or winter. 

5.  Challenges with interpreting visual information - If a person suddenly has difficulty reading the paper, judging distances, or recognizing differences in colors, this could also be an early symptom of dementia.

6.  Problems writing or speaking - Communication is very important to anyone with normal cognitive ability.  Someone with dementia may find it difficult to hold a conversation or write a note.  They may forget what they are trying to say, or their handwriting and grammar may worsen.  They may want to avoid situations where they are expected to socialize, especially with new people.

7.  Misplacing items - We all misplace common items from time-to-time, and doing so is not necessarily a symptom of dementia. However, when it happens too frequently, or the person begins to believe that their possessions are being stolen, then it can be a sign of dementia.  When my mother lost weight late in life, some of her shoes became loose.  She believed someone was sneaking into the house late at night to steal her shoes and was replacing them with pairs which were too large for her.  As ridiculous as this sounds to other people, my mother was so convinced that she was being robbed that she slept on the floor in front of her closet door for several nights until she finally forgot about the "thefts."   Until she forgot about the issue herself, no one in the family could convince her that she was mistaken.

8.  Poor judgement or decision-making - With all the other symptoms mentioned above, it is easy to understand why someone with dementia may make poor decisions.  For example, they can become easy prey to scammers and be talked into purchasing items they do not need, or they may pay too much for things.  They could also stop taking care of themselves and their personal hygiene may decline.  This is one reason why I personally get upset when residents of our over-55 community are targeted by phone scammers.  While I never fall for them, I know there are many seniors in our neighborhood who could easily get into a prolonged conversation with the caller and do whatever they ask.  These predators victimize some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

9.  Social withdrawal - Many people begin to isolate as they age. This can also be a sign of dementia.  One of the reasons for this isolation may be because they are having difficulty with conversations and other forms of communication.  They may be less aware of the people around them and not understand everything which is being said. Other reasons they may withdraw could be hearing loss or poor vision.  Fear of getting lost or being vulnerable to criminals may also cause them to stay home and become isolated.

10.  Changes in personality or mood -  If someone who has traditionally been mild-mannered begins to develop mood swings or changes in personality, this can be an early symptom of dementia, although it can indicate other health issues as well, such as severe pain or a reaction to medications such as steroids.  Whatever the cause, unusual bursts of temper or mood swings need to be investigated by their physician.

The Good News about Dementia

Even if you or someone in your family exhibits a few of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean they are going to develop severe dementia. Not all cases of mild cognitive decline progress to severe dementia.  The first thing you should do is talk to a doctor.  There could be a reversible cause for the above symptoms.  For example, as mentioned above, some medications can cause many of the above symptoms.  When the medication is removed, full cognitive function may be restored.

In addition to medication problems, symptoms of dementia can be caused by hearing loss, vision problems, depression, pain, or other treatable problems.  A doctor can determine whether or not there are underlying problems and help you find a solution.  Even if there is not a physical cause for the dementia symptoms, it is possible that a physician can prescribe a medication to slow down the progression of the disease.  Regardless of the cause of the dementia symptoms, your first step should be to make an appointment with your doctor.  No one should assume there is nothing which can be done and leave the symptoms untreated.

If you are a caregiver, you may also be interested in reading a book such as "The Dementia Handbook."  It will provide you with even more detailed information about the stages of dementia and how to care for someone with symptoms of the disease. It is important for caregivers to get all the information and help possible.

If you are interested in learning more about common medical issues as you age, Social Security, Medicare, financial planning, where to retire, travel and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional useful articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  morguefile.com

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The American Blue Zone Lifestyle Could Help You Live a Longer, Happier Life

Around the world, there are five spots known as the Blue Zones, where people tend to live as much as ten years longer than they do in other nearby communities, with lower levels of both dementia and disability.  Those locations are:  the island of Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; the Ogliastra Region of Sardinia; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California in the United States.  While many people in the U.S. accept the idea that people who reside in distant, exotic locations may live exceptionally long and healthy lives, they are often shocked to realize that a suburban community on the inland, polluted side of Los Angeles could produce people who live longer than typical Americans.  What are they doing?  How can there be a Blue Zone in an overcrowded community in California?

The Spiritual Connection

Loma Linda, California was founded by a group of Seventh-day Adventists in the 1840s.  They believe that maintaining good health is a central part of their religion.  In order to do this, many of the residents of the community follow an unusually healthy lifestyle, compared to other residents of the United States.  They typically abstain from alcohol and do not smoke.  They also set aside the Sabbath each week to spend time in worship, socialize with their family and friends, and enjoy nature.  Many of them believe that this is a good way to relieve their stress.  The time they spend with other members of their faith also makes it easier to support each other's values and habits.

Exercise is a Normal Part of their Lives

According to the Adventist Health Survey, their followers who participate in some type of regular, low-intensity exercise, such as taking a daily walk, have a lower risk of heart disease, as well as some types of cancers.  Walking and staying active are considered essential parts of their daily lives.

Volunteering Helps Them Maintain a Positive Outlook

They have also learned that it makes people happier when they help others.  As a group, Adventists provide many opportunities for their members to volunteer.  This gives them a sense of purpose, helps them stay active, and lowers their risk of depression.  This is a classic case of helping yourself by helping others.

Eating a Plant-Based Diet Provides Health Benefits

The Adventist Health Survey indicated that those who ate a plant-based diet, supplemented with small amounts of meat and fish, had lower levels of a wide variety of diseases.  After studying the Adventist diet, here is what researchers recommend:

Eat a small handful of nuts five times a week - Nuts appeared to cut the risk of heart disease in half and added two years to their lives.

Eat mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains - A plant based diet protected their adherents against a variety of cancers.  The nonsmoking Adventists who ate two or more servings of fruit each day had a 70 percent lower rate of lung cancer than nonsmokers who ate fruit only once or twice a week.  Those who ate peas, beans and other legumes three times a week saw a 30 to 40 percent reduction in colon cancer. The women who ate tomatoes at least three or four times a week reduced their ovarian cancer risk by 70 percent, and men who ate tomatoes had a lower rate of prostrate cancer.

Limit your consumption of meat - If meat is eaten at all, Adventists tend to consume it in small quantities, primarily as a side dish, not the central part of the meal.

Eat a light, early dinner - Following this schedule appeared to promote better sleep and helped people have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index).

Drink 5 or 6 glasses of water daily - Those who followed this recommendation had a 60 to 70 percent reduction in heart attacks.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Those Adventists who followed the above exercise and diet routines were able to maintain lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than the typical American.  They also had less heart disease than heavier Americans who typically also have higher BMIs.

Learn More about the Blue Zones

The benefits of living the Blue Zones lifestyle are amazing, especially considering that Loma Linda, California is not a remote, rural village, but a thriving, busy suburb of Los Angeles.  It is surrounded by freeways, and experiences both noise and air pollution.  Despite these environmental issues, the residents embrace a lifestyle which still helps them manage to live long, healthy, productive lives, with low rates of dementia and disability.

If you would like to learn even more about how to follow this lifestyle, I highly recommend you read one of the Blue Zone books. You can check them out using this Amazon link:  The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People. 

Following this lifestyle could be life-changing, keep you healthy and boost your chances of living a longer life.

If you want to learn more about common health problems (and how to deal with them) as you age, retirement planning, Medicare, Social Security, where to retire and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  Loma Linda photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Earn Extra Retirement Income and Supplement your Social Security

Many people are discovering that their Social Security does not provide enough income for them to live comfortably for the remainder of their lives.  If you are among those retirees who are having trouble making ends meet, you may want to find a simple way to supplement your retirement income.  Even an extra few hundred dollars a month can make a tremendous difference for many senior citizens.

Before you look for a job, however, you may want to visit your local Social Security or Social Services office and see if you are eligible for any extra financial help.  For example, you may qualify for SSI (supplemental security income), SNAP (food stamps), or a housing voucher. These forms of financial assistance will be dependable and consistent, whether or not you are able to work. The lower your retirement income, and the fewer assets you have, the more likely you are to qualify for these benefits.

If you do not qualify for extra government benefits, but you have money in a savings account or IRA, talk to a financial planner or your banker to see if you have maximized the amount of income you are receiving.  Can you get a higher interest rate on your savings, or larger dividends from your stocks?  If you have invested in a mutual fund, is your current one the best choice to meet your financial needs? If you are making annual withdrawals from your IRA, can you increase the amount you are taking and still feel confident your assets will last the rest of your life? The more passive income you receive, the easier your life with be.  You should review your investments at least once a year to make sure you are maximizing their income and growth.

If those extra financial boosts are not available to you, or they do not provide enough financial security, one of the sources of income listed below may be exactly what you need.

How to Earn Extra Retirement Income

Dog Walking or Pet Sitting - In our retirement community, there are a number of people who have pets they are no longer able to walk.  There are other retirees who come to their homes and walk their dogs twice a day for them.  Often, I see dog walkers with two or three dogs at a time, strolling around our neighborhood. For able-bodied people who like animals, this is a great way to earn extra money and maintain their own health at the same time.  In addition, you are also providing an extra service to weak or infirm seniors, simply by stopping by their homes to pick up their dogs.  You are also providing them with daily contact with another person, and confirming that their health has not taken a turn for the worse. Another way dog lovers can earn extra money is by pet sitting for seniors when they go out of town.  Many people prefer a pet sitter over taking their pets to a commercial kennel.

House Sitting - If you are a reliable, responsible person who is willing to water plants, take care of pets, and keep a home picked up and orderly, this could be a simple way to avoid paying rent for a period of time, or to earn a little extra money while keeping your current residence.  My sister-in-law was a Realtor in an upscale community when she was in her 50s.  She stored her personal furniture and, for several years, she simply moved from home to home while people were on extended trips or their homes were up for sale, and they wanted someone to stay in them until they sold.  She rented a post office box to receive her mail and occasionally spent a few nights in a hotel when she was between homes.  However, for the most part, she was able to do this consistently for a long time and enjoyed the experience, the luxurious homes, and the easy way to build up her savings.

Rent Out a Room - First, check out the rules in your city or homeowner's association. If there is no problem with short-term rentals, you can register with a vacation rental site such as Airbnb, Homestay or VRBO. In addition, talk with friends and see if they know someone who would like to rent a room on a long-term basis.  One of my friends, a retired teacher, enjoys renting a room in her house each year to a college student.  Other people I know rent out rooms exclusively to other senior citizens.  If you are privately renting a room, make sure the rules are clearly written out regarding use of the kitchen and laundry, pets, chores, having friends or grandchildren spend the night, "quiet hours," etc.  It can save a lot of frustration in the future.

Rent out your garage or basement for storage - If you do not want people living with you, consider renting out part of your garage or basement for storage.  Many people will pay $100 or more each month to store their antique car, furniture they don't have room for, or other items.  If you live in a condo with an assigned parking spot which you do not use, you may be able to rent it out to someone else.  This is an easy way to make a little extra money without the need to regularly interact with someone else over breakfast!

Rent out your car - Many retirees discover that they use their car less and less as they get older, yet they still want to keep it.  Register your car on a site like Turo, and other people will pay to use it on a rental basis.  At the very least, you may be able to offset the expense of keeping a car.

Drive other people around - If you would rather drive people around yourself, and you have a good driving record and reliable car, sign up with Lyft or Uber.  People in our retirement community are beginning to be both drivers and users of these ride-sharing services.  It is a convenience for those who can no longer drive to have other seniors drive them around, and the people who are doing the driving are able to earn a little extra money helping their neighbors.  I have heard Uber drivers say that "they would rather drive retirees to the store or airport than pick up drunks from bars!"

Advertise that you will run errands for neighbors for an hourly fee - People who have just gotten out of the hospital, had surgery, or just have trouble getting out of the house, appreciate being able to hire someone to pick up their groceries, dry cleaning, and prescriptions. Just make sure they understand you are running a business and not doing this for free! It is not unusual for younger, healthier retirees to find themselves frequently providing these services for neighbors who do not offer to reimburse them fairly for the time and gas mileage this requires.  If your goal is to earn extra money, then you need to advertise, promote yourself, and run your service like a business.

Cook for those who are home bound - Our local neighborhood online site, Next Door, often contains posts from people who are looking for someone to deliver home cooked meals to them.  You may have to do a little advertising or promoting to build a clientele, but once you do, this could be a fun way to earn money doing something you enjoy.

Sell your arts and crafts - Our community has several sales a year which allow our talented local artists to sell their paintings, crocheted purses, jewelry, pottery, wood carvings, quilts, and other unique, handmade items.  You can also register with a site like Etsy, or sell your creations at a local flea market.  You may even build up a following of people who particularly like your style! When we were in Hawaii one year, we met a woman at a flea market who was selling the most wonderful coffee.  She grew it, roasted the beans, and sold the coffee grounds herself at the flea market.  Find something you enjoy doing and share it with the world.

Blogging or writing online - As a blogger myself, I have noticed that the income from online writing has dropped the past few years.  However, someone who loves to write can still earn a little money by writing a blog, submitting articles to Hubpages, or being an anonymous webpage writer through Textbroker. I have done all three. If you love to share your knowledge and experience with others, this can be a fun way to supplement your income.  If you write a blog, make sure you register as an associate with Google and Amazon, and you will be able to put their ads on your site.  When people click on a Google ad, or purchase something from Amazon after clicking on a link on your blog, you can earn a little extra money.

Write a book - If you have always dreamed of writing a book, go ahead and write it and use Amazon's free service at CreateSpace.com to produce your book and sell it online. Amazon will create both a print-on-demand paperback and a Kindle version of your book.  If you are patient, take your time, and do all the work yourself, you can create it for free. Before you start, it would be smart to spend a few dollars to get the Amazon Self-Publishing Guide and follow their directions. Success varies, but it can be very satisfying to have your books available online for family, friends and strangers to purchase. Although I have never written a best-seller, I have sold hundreds of copies of my books on Amazon under my pen name, Deborah Dian.

If you have an interesting background, you may want to write a memoir. If you survived a dangerous situation, or have learned how to deal with a complicated illness, there are people who will want to hear about your experiences. If you are an expert in a field, or you love to travel, you can even write both a blog and a book, and use them together to get paid to share your knowledge or adventures.  Set up a Twitter account and business-style Facebook author's page to promote your blog posts and books.  These are free and easy ways to promote them. When you expose your books to the public, you may be surprised at how many people will want to read them. For example, after several friends and members of my family were married in Las Vegas, I wrote my most successful Amazon book, "Your Guide to a Fabulous Las Vegas Wedding." 

Gardening or landscaping - Many people, especially as they age or get busy with their careers, tend to let their gardens go, even though they would really love to have a home surrounded by beautiful flowers and shrubs.  If this is something you enjoy, let people know you are in the business of planting flowers and maintaining them on a regular basis.  Contact local businesses, too.  I have a friend who had a lucrative business supplying plants to local office buildings.  They also paid her regularly to return each week to water the plants, prune them and replace them, when necessary.

Handyman or handywoman services - Are you good at making minor home repairs, hanging pictures, refinishing scratched furniture, etc.?  Put your skills to good use.  Senior citizens, in particular, are always in need of someone who can fix that door hinge, hang a screen door, put up their storm windows and provide similar services.

Clothing alterations - Another service which seems to be disappearing commercially, but is still in demand, is alterations.  If you are good at hemming, sewing on buttons, or making other similar repairs and alterations, you may be able to set up a thriving business from your own home.

Teach English or other subjects to students over the internet - If you would like to teach English to foreigners, you can now find jobs doing it from home.  Check out sites such as Lingoda and iTutorGroup which match up teachers and students.  You can also find jobs on Tutors.com and Wyzant.  One of our daughters tutored children in math on Tutors.com while she was getting her teaching degree.  It was a great experience for her and she was able to work during the hours which were convenient for her, since there are  nearly always students in other time zones who need help.

Tutoring - If you are not comfortable teaching online, contact your local school district about tutoring local students after school in subjects in which you excel, such as math, science, music or a foreign language.  If your school does not have any opportunities, you may try advertising your services in your local newspaper or a neighborhood newsletter.

Customer Service Representative - Some companies, especially large national retailers, will hire people to work from home to take orders and provide customer service to clients.  The companies like the fact that they do not have to provide office space for large numbers of people using phones and computers.  You can work from your own home, as long as you are reliable, have a quiet place to work uninterrupted, are willing to work the hours they need you, and you have a computer, phone, headset and internet service. Contact the headquarters of various retailers and ask if they need work-at-home customer service representatives. Do NOT fall for a scam, however. If a company wants you to buy any products or special equipment from them, look elsewhere for a job.  If you are a retiree looking for work, the last thing you want to do is spend money that you may not recoup. 

Part-time jobs - Virtually everywhere I go, restaurants, shops, cafes, bakeries, department stores and dry cleaners have signs which say "employees wanted."  If you need extra income, it would not hurt to stop at a local business and fill out an application.  Don't forget your favorite clothing store.  You may even get a discount!  In addition, talk to someone at your nearest senior center. They may hire you, or they may know of an upcoming job fair where you can meet a number of potential employers. If you live in a senior community, many of them hire residents to work in their office, gym or other facilities.

Sell things you no longer need - Many retirees are crammed into small spaces, trying to hold onto every hobby item and piece of furniture they ever purchased.  Although this is not a long-term solution to your financial problems, if you need extra money and space, try selling items you no longer enjoy or need. Gold jewelry you no longer wear can sometimes fetch a good price.  Selling these items could help you get through a time when money is tight, for example to cover a medical bill or car repair.

If you have other, legitimate ideas to help retirees earn extra money to supplement their Social Security, please feel free to share the details in the comments section.  I'm sure it will be appreciated. Do not include links to other sites, however, or your comment will not be published.

For more information on financial planning in retirement, where to retire, Social Security, Medicare, common medical issues and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  morguefile.com