Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why You Should Join AARP

Long before my husband and I quit working, while we were still in our 50s, some friends suggested to us that we join AARP.  This is the American Association of Retired People. We thought they were crazy. We were still years from retirement, and could not imagine why we would need to join a retirement organization.

However, like millions of other Baby Boomers, as well as people who are older than us, we have discovered that there are many benefits to belonging to AARP. Their money saving discounts have more than covered the modest amount of their annual dues.

As a result, one of the first money saving tips I want to pass on to other Baby Boomers is that they should sign up for AARP as soon as they are eligible. AARP has negotiated discounts at hotels and tourist attractions. They also make it possible for you to use your AARP card to get discounts at Walgreens.

AARP will also send you emails and magazines with information about financial planning, fitness for seniors, heath facts, and more.

You can find out more about the member benefits that are available at  However, below is a list of some of the major discounts that you can expect to use when you sign up.

Examples of AARP Discounts for Members

Kindle e-readers and e-books from Amazon
Denny's Restaurants
Ticket Masters
Papa John's
Regal Movie Tickets purchased online
Best Western Hotels
Budget Rent-a-Car
ADT Home Security

Other AARP Benefits

Of course, there are many other benefits that you will receive with your AARP membership.  Some of these are:

Medicare Supplement plan
Identity Protection Plan
Debt Consolidation Calculator
Rent vs. Buy Calculator
Mortgage Payoff Calculator
Roadside Assistance Plan

Whenever my husband and I purchase tickets to a tourist attraction, make hotel reservations, rent a car or do many other things, we always ask if there is an AARP discount.  Without a doubt, the discounts alone make our membership dues well worth it!

If you are looking for more retirement information, use the tabs or the pull down menu at the top of this article for links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, health information, financial planning and more.

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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Cornell University
(photo from
Many good, reliable employees in their 50's and 60's find themselves in the uncomfortable position of looking for a new job.  Other older workers may have jobs, but feel they have been marginalized as they aged.  They crave new job prospects where they will be appreciated for the experience and knowledge they have to offer.

Once a year, AARP comes out with its list of the top employers of workers who are over age 50. Some of these companies offer health insurance for part-time employees.  Others offer on-site fitness classes.  One offers bonuses for employees in the form of gift cards.  All of them are considered good places for senior citizens to work.  Depending on where you live, you may be interested in seeing if one of these employers is right for you.

Best Employers for Workers Over 50 

Scripps Health in San Diego, California
Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland
First Horizon National Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee
West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia
YMCA of Greater Rochester in Rochester, New York
Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey
Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wisconsin
Bon Secours Richmond Health System in Richmond, Virginia
The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California

Since a large percentage of Baby Boomers are going to have to work until their late 60's or longer, there are many benefits to knowing the best employers in your community who are willing to extend job opportunities to older employees.

If you do not live near any of the employers on the above list, you should talk to your friends or contact the local senior center and ask about job fairs in your area.  In addition, you may want to contact retirement communities and nursing homes in your area.  Many of them are willing to hire older workers to help in their offices and reception areas. 

Just because you are no longer young, does not mean that you are no longer able to be a valuable employee.  In fact, as our society ages, the need for older employees will be even greater!

If you are looking for additional retirement information, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles about where to retire, work at home suggestions, financial planning and more.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Prevent a Broken Bone or Hip Fractures

You Can Protect Your Bones
(photo by
Learning how to prevent hip fractures, as well as any other type of broken bone, is something everyone needs to think about as we age.  According to research published in JAMA, "The Journal of the American Medical Association," in 2009, there are about 300,000 Americans over the age of 65 who suffer a hip fracture every year.  Of these, about 20% to 30% of them will die within a year.  This is a pretty harsh statistic and the numbers have undoubtedly grown since this research was done.

However, as grim as these statistics sound, there are ways you can reduce the chances that you will fall, suffer a fractured hip, and destroy your health.  Below are some simple steps which everyone should take, beginning before they even retire.

How to Prevent Hip Fractures and Broken Bones

1.  Request a bone-density test from your doctor.  Not only has my doctor ordered these medical tests for me about every five years, I've even had these tests performed at free health clinics at my retirement community and senior center.  The test is completely pain free, and it is the best way to find out if you have started to develop osteoporosis.

2.  Get exercise.  Building up your muscles, improving your balance, and increasing your flexibility are all ways to protect your bones and decrease the likelihood that you will lose your balance and have a hard fall.  Weight bearing exercises, such as walking, are also good ways to strengthen you bones.

3.  Eat right and take supplements. According to a November, 2011 article in AARP Magazine, in order to stay healthy you should consume at least 46 grams of protein a day, as well as take in 12 mg. of calcium and at least 600 - 800 mg. of Vitamin D.  People who do these things are about half as likely to suffer a hip fracture.

4.  Have a fall-risk assessment and physical examination.  Talk to your doctor about your medications and dizzy spells.  Ask him if any of your medications could make your dizzy or create balance problems. Get your eyes checked regularly.

5.  Take a hard look at your home.  Do you have objects, electrical cords or rugs which could cause you to slip or trip?  Is your home well-lit?  Do you have grab bars in the shower and bath enclosures?  Do you put items such as your shoes away so you do not trip over them after removing them?  Setting books, shoes, or other items on the floor in areas where you walk could easily turn a safe area into an unsafe one.

6.  Do not take unnecessary risks.  Avoid walking on ice or walking up and down stairs without using a handrail.  My husband and I recently attended a play, and a woman fell down the stairs as we were leaving.  She was not using the handrail.  Do not take chances.  Fractures can happen to anyone.

Remember:  Preventing a broken bone is much easier than healing broken bones.

If you are looking for additional information for Baby Boomers, including about health concerns, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare or more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Crafts to do with Your Grandkids

Beaded Star
Photo by
What types of activities do you enjoy doing with your grandkids?  While it is fun to read them stories, or even watch a movie together, you may also have unique talents and abilities that your grandchildren would love to have passed on to them.

One of our grandsons recently got a metal detector and he loves using it to explore the beach. When the detector indicated the presence of metal, he was having trouble sifting through the sand to uncover his discovery.  My husband took both our grandson and granddaughter to the hardware store, bought a piece of screen and then, together, they attached the screen to some scrap pieces of wood to make a sand sifter.  The grandkids love it!  My husband has also taken them fishing, and shown them how to carve pieces of drift wood.  We've also taught them how to crack eggs and make their own scrambled eggs.  Basic sewing skills are also being passed on.

When they were growing up, I taught my daughters how to crochet.  In coming years, I hope that at least one of my granddaughters will show an interest in it, too.  It is an easy and relaxing hobby. 

However, I am not ready to stop with just the simple homemade crafts that I already know how to do.  I have been scouting around for more ways to spend fun winter afternoons with my grandkids.  Recently I saw a wonderful craft website that is loaded with ideas for making beaded jewelry, painted t-shirts, easy napkin rings and simple flower arrangements.  If you are looking for some creative ways to have fun with your grandkids, you might check out  For example, I love her Stained Glass Cuff bracelet, which can be made using safety pins, stretchy cord and colorful beads.  You can see a photo of it below and get detailed instructions at  Both boys and girls will enjoy this craft, since the bracelets make wonderful gifts for mothers and grandmothers!  You'll find detailed directions for lots of other crafts on the site, too.
Easy Stained Glass Bracelet
photo by Domestic Diva Online

In addition to crafts you might find online, think about all those simple things you enjoyed doing as a child.  Whether you liked making hooked rugs and potholders, decorating gingerbread houses, beading felt Christmas ornaments (like the one pictured above) or designing simple doll clothing, your grandchildren would probably enjoy doing the same things.  These crafts make it possible for children to create gifts for their families and friends, and is time much better spent than playing video games!

If you are looking for more information about grandparenting and retirement, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page for links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Have a Long Life and Live to 100

Why do Some People
Live to Be 100?
Have you ever wondered why some people can stay healthy, have a long life and live to100, while others may die of age related illnesses when they are decades younger?  Researchers have begun to unravel some clues that may give you an idea of how fast you are aging and how likely you are to see the century mark. Based on a lengthy article on Yahoo Health called "10 Surprising Clues You'll Live to 100," this summary just reports the essential facts. If you want more detailed information on any of these factors of aging, you may also want to read the research in the full article on their website.

The first clue that you might live to be 100 is whether or not you have had relatives who lived to be at least 90 years old.  Longevity does seem to run in certain families.

Next, measure how fast you walk when you are strolling normally.  People older than 65 who are able to comfortably and normally walk at a speed of 2.25 miles per hour or faster tend to be healthy and live much longer than their peers who walk more slowly.  This speed works out to 3.3 feet per second.

Sorry, guys, but women really do seem to live longer than men.  They are much more likely to live to be 100. Don't give up, however.  Some men still make it to the century mark.  Look at George Burns.

The next clue applies to women, only.  If you are a woman who conceived a baby naturally after the age of 35, you probably age more slowly.  This means that you are likely to have a longer lifespan.

Another point the researchers made seems to follow a trend that has been going on for hundreds of years.  Just as you are likely to live longer than the generations who went before you, young people today have an even greater chance of living to be 100 than you do.  (Do you think the time will come when Medicare doesn't even start until age 80?  Do you ever wonder how long a life is too long?)

I found the next point very interesting.  People who worry, but only a little, have a longer life than people who worry excessively or people who do not worry at all.  You would think that being free of worry would help us to live a long life.  However, the truth is that people who worry a little are less likely to be risk takers.  This means that they are not as likely to die an accidental death.  On the other hand, people who worry too much are more likely to develop stress related diseases.

Having a Body Mass Index of 27.4 or less increases your chance of living to 100.  Like a lot of Baby Boomers, this may be a weakness for me, as I know that my BMI is higher than that.  However, my heavy-set grandmothers both lived until their late 90's, so it is possible that I will still live a long life, too.

The next factor is one that you cannot evaluate without expensive testing.  How long are your telomeres?  The telomeres are DNA sequences on the ends of your chromosomes.  Long telomeres indicate a longer life.  Although you could have yours tested, you can also simply choose to live a lifestyle that helps maintain the length of your telomeres as much as possible.  Avoid chronic stress, don't smoke, and eat a healthy diet high in Omega 3's.  Researchers have also discovered that walking briskly for at least 40 minutes a day can actually lengthen your telomeres. 

Finally, have a positive attitude.  Your emotions do affect your health, and people with a positive attitude seem to live longer than people who are negative.

Obviously, you cannot control all of these factors.  However, if you control the ones you can, you may live a longer life than you ever imagined.  The opportunity to live to 100 may be within your reach!

If you would like to learn more about retirement, healthy aging, where to retire or financial planning, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page.  They contain links to hundreds of other helpful articles.

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(Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2012 Social Security Benefit Increase

Finally!  An increase is coming to
Social Security Benefits.
photo by
Good news for recipients of Social Security.  After having gone without any increase in benefits since January, 2009, the Social Security Administration has announced that recipients will receive an increase of approximately 3.6% in January, 2012.  Since the average Social Security payment is $1,082, a 3.6% increase averages out to almost $39 a month.  It will vary, depending on whether you get more or less than the average amount of money.  The increase will apply to both retirees and disabled recipients.

I have a number of friends and neighbors who have been living on a fixed income the past few years.  Several of them are either totally dependent on Social Security, or it makes up a large part of their income.  This increase, although small, will provide them with some help. 

The reason that there has been no increase during the past two years is because the official rate of inflation was considered too small.  Only twice since 1975 have Social Security recipients gone without a Cost of Living Increase ... and that was in the past two years.

It is important to also note that the increase in benefits will be partially lost because Medicare premiums are expected to increase by around $3 to $8, and these premiums are deducted from Social Security payments.

Continue to stay up to date with your retirement planning.  You may be interested in following this blog by email, or reading the articles listed in the sidebars.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Top Places to Retire by U.S. News

Beautiful Arizona is
One of the Best Places to Retire
photo by
How much thought have you given to where you are going to retire?  It seems as if every few days another news source comes up with their own list of the best places to live cheaply, or the best retirement communities with a low crime rate.  Below is a summary of a list of wonderful retirement areas that was released by US News and World Report in an article written by Emily Brandon on October 17, 2011. Although this was a few years ago, these areas remain excellent choices for retirees who are looking at a variety of retirement options.

The criteria used by U.S. News when they compiled this list included cities that have good weather, affordable houses and other real estate, as well as plenty of activities to keep you busy and interested in life. 

Based on their list, here are the top places you may want to settle during the Golden Years of your life:

Flagstaff, Arizona
Boone, North Carolina
Traverse City, Michigan
Walnut Creek, California
Ithaca, New York
Lincoln, Nebraska
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Port Charlotte, Florida
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Of course, these are just suggestions.  What is particularly appealing about this list is that it includes a number of mid-sized towns from a variety of regions of the United States.

Baby Boomers will not want to limit their choices only to this list, however.  There are a number of other communities that also could be desirable, depending on your interests.

If you are looking for more places to retire, you will want to use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of other articles about great places to retire in the United States or overseas, health issues to consider, financial planning and more.

Your may also want to check out these blog posts for other areas that have been recommended by various groups:

Living on Social Security in the US

Cheap Places to Retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Living on Social Security in the US

Beautiful meadows and charming towns
are available near retirement communities!
Are there places in the United States where a couple can live a middle class lifestyle on their Social Security, alone?  According to U.S. News, there are actually a number of communities scattered throughout this country where couples can afford a home and live comfortably on the average amount of Social Security. 

In order for U.S. News to come up with their list, they based their income assumption on an average Social Security Benefit of $1,179 per retired person in the United States as of March, 2011.  For two people, this comes to a household income of $28,296 a year.  (Since 2011, Social Security benefits have increased by a few percent and the average retiree is actually earning a little over $1,200 per month.  The communities on this list continue to be affordable for those retirees, on an inflation adjusted basis).

The researchers looked for communities in the United States where the median household income was lower than $28,000.  The cost of living in these communities has increased a few percent over the past few years, but so have Social Security benefits. 

Below is their list of towns from coast to coast that would be affordable for the average couple living on Social Security alone.

Where to Retire on Social Security Alone

Auburn, Alabama (median household income of $21,630)
Blacksburg, Virginia (median household income of $26,792)
Boone, North Carolina
Cheney, Washington
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan ($27,621)
Murray, Kentucky ($27,842)
State College, Pennsylvania ($23,800)
Sunland Park, New Mexico ($23,225)
Syracuse, New York ($27,475)
West Lafayette, Indiana ($26,000)

I listed the median household income for these communities, when it was included in the article. Several of these communities are college towns, including charming Blacksburg, Virgina, which is the home of Virginia Tech. They are also dispersed throughout the United States, so it is possible you could find one that is not too far from your friends and other members of your family.  If you expect to be living on the typical amount of Social Security, and you are worried about where you can afford to buy real estate and retire, you may want to do more research on some of these communities and select one that is best for you.

In addition, you may want to read  "Finding the Best Places to Retire", "Cheap Places to Retire", or any of the other articles listed in the archive section in the sidebar, or under Popular Posts at the bottom of the page.

If you are interested in more retirement ideas, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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(Photo of meadows taken by Author, Deborah-Diane, near Laguna Woods Village, California)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baby Boomers Spur Job Growth

Care Givers & Medical Careers
are increasingly in high demand.
Photo by
Baby Boomers are spurring job growth in the economy, whether we realize it or not.  Although many Baby Boomers are having a difficult time deciding on new careers to pursue in our 50's and 60's, we are beginning to create jobs for young adults.

According to research using Bureau of Labor Statistics data and completed by the website "Main Street," the careers where job growth is expected to be greatest between now and 2018 are primarily connected to health care ... and which group is going to need health care more than retirees?

The anticipated top career of the future is Biomedical Engineer, followed by Network Systems Analysts, Home Health Aides, Personal & Home Care Aides, Financial Examiners, Medical Examiners, and Physician Assistants.  Some of these careers are expected to have high job and income growth in the next decade. Of these seven fast growing career opportunities, five are connected to the medical field.

Two of these careers, in particular, have to do with assisting senior citizens ... Home Health Aides and Personal & Home Care Aides.  These aides are the people who will make it possible for many of us Baby Boomers to remain in our own homes as we age.  Home health aides earn money by helping people take care of their daily living needs and handle basic medical care.  These careers are expected to see substantial job growth over the next 10 years.

In addition, as we give up our jobs, Baby Boomers who leave the business world create job openings for future generations in a wide variety of careers.  Who knows? Perhaps we Baby Boomers will provide the engine to stimulate the economy as we begin to retire during the coming years ... both by giving up our current jobs and creating demand for assistance in the future.

For more information about retirement and Baby Boomers, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles about where to retire, retirement careers, medical issues, financial planning and more.

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(Source: "The Cities with the Jobs of the Future" by Seth Fiegerman on Main St.  Provided by Yahoo Finance.  10/9/11)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

High Dose Flu Shot for Seniors

Don't Forget Your Flu Shot!
Syringe photo from
Have you received your flu shot yet this year?  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone who is 6 months of age or older should get the basic flu shot in order to increase their chances of staying healthy during the coming year.

However, if you are over 65 and have not yet gotten the basic shot, you may be interested to know that in the past few years they have introduced a stronger version for senior citizens.  The shot is called Fluzone High-Dose and it has four times the immune triggering virus proteins than are contained in the regular influenza shot.

In addition to providing seniors with a stronger shot, Medicare covers the cost.  They feel that it is important for senior citizens to be inoculated, since they are more likely to have serious medical complications from the flu. 

If you would like to read more information designed to help senior citizens, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles about health issues, where to retire, financial planning and more.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

When Grandkids Live Far Away

Facetime on your iPhone is one
way to stay in touch!
Photo from

When your grandchildren live far away from you, how can you stay in touch?  How can you feel like you are still a part of their lives?  How can you help your grandkids know how much you care about them?

These are some of the questions that my husband and I have faced.  We have six grandchildren ranging from age 1 to age 21, with another one on the way.  They are quite spread out, living in Northern California, Southern California, New York and Delaware.  Although we make an effort to travel and see them all at least once a year, we realize that is not nearly enough to be part of their lives.  Although it is not the same as having your grandkids live next door, we discovered there are some things we could do to stay in touch and feel close to our grandkids.

The first thing we do is send them all greeting cards and a few dollars on all those little holidays that kids enjoy so much.  We mail out cards for Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Easter.  If they lived nearby, we know we would give them treats on those occasions.  Since they don't live close, we still enjoy recognizing those days as special for the kids and sending them a little money.  It is fun for them and us.

The next thing we do is put the internet to work.  My husband and I are both on Facebook.  Although my husband and I have very few Facebook friends who are not relatives, we have discovered that this site is a great way to stay in touch with our family and close friends.  Our daughters are all wonderful about updating their Facebook pictures and videos often, so we get to see our grandkids getting awards at school, competing in sports, and wearing their Halloween costumes.  Some of our grandkids also have their own Facebook pictures and will post their own comments and pictures to share with us.  We cherish every little thought and comment they share!

Another way we use the internet is by using Skype.  One Christmas morning, one of our daughters set her laptop on the coffee table in the living room and we contacted her using Skype.  We fixed our breakfast and relaxed in front of our computer.  Then we spent a couple of hours watching our grandkids open their presents, and they watched us open ours.  It wasn't quite as good as getting a warm hug, but it was much better than a phone call.  It was hilarious watching them laugh as they opened their gifts and held them up to the computer for us to see!  We have also Skyped on Halloween to see their costumes, and on other special occasions.  We've found that young kids, in particular, will stay on the phone much longer when they can see us and show us things.  Technology has made it so much easier for our family to stay in touch!

In addition to Skype on our computers, we also have it on our Android phones.  We love being able to see our kids and grandkids whenever we chat.  Having Skype on our phones is like having our grandkids in our purse or pocket!

Recently, one of our daughters, and her two kids, moved just seven  miles from our home.  We are delighted to have some of our grandkids living close by, once again.  However, we still have four other grandkids who live far away and the new baby will also be living on the other side of the country.  One thing we have learned is that, while it is not always possible to have our grandkids nearby, that is no excuse for losing touch with them.  We hope we are always part of their lives, whether they live nearby or not.

If you haven't yet used some of these services, you may want to give them a try.  They are a cheap and easy way to keep your grandkids close.

If you are interested in learning more about retirement and aging topics, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, health issues, family relationships, financial planning and more.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Save Money for Retirement

Look for Sales and Save Money
Photo from

In cased you missed them, there were some very scary statistics scattered throughout the October, 2011 AARP Bulletin.  In the years since then, things have not changed much.  Basically, they come down to the fact that people are not saving nearly enough money in order to retire.  Here is some of what they had to say:

Families that have a head of household who is between the ages of 60 and 70 have only saved about 25% of what they will need for retirement.  (p. 3)

About 53% of all families in the US do not think they have enough retirement savings in order to have a comfortable retirement.  (p. 28)

In addition, the AARP Bulletin showed the impact that inflation is having on family wealth.  Between 1989 and 2009, the full time income for a man increased only about 3%.  Meanwhile, the cost of a college education for a child increased 73%, the cost of health insurance premiums rose 182%, and the amount of debt being carried by the average middle class family rose 292%!  (p. 28)  No wonder many of us feel that we are working harder than ever, but have less to show for it.

What can we do?  As impossible as it may seem, we all need to learn how to save money before we retire.  Everyone who is 50 years old or older should sit down and take a realistic look at how much income they will have when they retire, and then begin living now as close to that amount of money as possible! At the very least, you should try to live on only 90% of your income and save the other 10%.  If you cannot live on 90% of your income now, how do you think that you will live on just half of it ... which is what is going to have to millions of Baby Boomers!?

For example, let's say the head of the household in your home will receive approximately $2,000 a month from Social Security when they turn 67.  Their spouse will be eligible for an additional $1,000 a month in spousal benefits from Social Security when they turn 67, too.  If you expect to have $100,000 in your IRA or 401K by the time you retire, that could consider investing in a 20 year annuity and you would receive $400 - $500 dollars extra a month, at today's rates.  This comes to $3,500 a month in potential retirement income, including Social Security and investment income.

What is your current cost of living?  If you spend a lot more than $3,500 a month, you should start making adjustments to your current expenses to see if you can bring them down.  What will you need to change?  Will you need to move to a less expensive home or apartment, buy a less expensive car, or pay off your loans?  Perhaps you need to shop more carefully, by buying less and purchasing what you need when it is on sale. 

If you simply cannot bring down your expenses after retirement, is it possible that you could increase the amount of money you are putting in your IRA or 401K, so that you will have more retirement savings to invest when you stop working? Where can you come up with the extra savings? Are there services you could eliminate or reduce now, such as cable TV or your house telephone line?  Whatever you decide to do, start making the changes now, while you are still working.  The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to take the necessary steps to have a balanced budget after you retire. 

With the right retirement planning, you can turn things around and take control of your retirement years.  It really is possible for you to become part of the 25% of people who have adequately planned and are prepared to retire!

If you are interested in more detailed information about retirement financial planning, where to retire, possible health issues you might encounter, family relationships and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to Dispose of Leftover Medicine

Leftover Pills Should Not Be Flushed
Photo from

What do you do when you have old or leftover medication?  Where should you dispose of unused drugs?  Many people simply toss their medications into the trash, or flush them down the drain.  However, this is creating serious consequences to our water supply and, consequently, our health. 

When the U.S. Geological Survey studied the ground water and the surface water in 25 states and Puerto Rico they discovered drug contamination in 96% of the samples they took.  Among the medications found in the water were hormones (from birth control pills, estrogen replacement drugs, etc.), steroids, codeine, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antibiotics, and antimicrobials.  So, if you shouldn't simply toss the pill bottle into the trash, and you shouldn't flush them down the toilet, what other choices do you have?

What to do with Unused Medications

Your first choice is to use all the medication that is prescribed by your doctor, so that you have nothing left to throw away.  However, we all know that this is not always possible.  Sometimes a prescription is not working and a doctor changes it.  At other times, the doctor changes the dose, just after you filled the prescription.  (That has happened to me several times.)  What should we do with the leftover medicine then?

When this happens, you should put the medication in a sturdy and securely sealed container and put it deep in your trashcan where children and pets cannot reach it.  You can also "treat" the drugs so that children and animals will not eat them.  For example, you could add salt water, ashes or dirt to the pills before sealing them into a container.  You may want to remove your name and personal information from the pill bottles, too.

Another option is to take your leftover medications to a household hazardous waste collection center or special event, especially if the medicine you are trying to get rid of is a controlled substance such as codeine or a steroid. 

You may also want to check the website for more information on how, where and why you should dispose of any drugs.  Since we Baby Boomers take a lot of medications, and will probably take even more as we age, we have a responsibility to learn how to dispose of our surplus medications safely.

Please make sure you are not doing anything to further contaminate our water supply.  Please do NOT flush drugs down the toilet or the drain.

If you are looking for more information about medical issues, retirement planning, where to retire, etc., use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page for links to hundreds of additional articles.

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