Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby Boomers and Pradaxa

If you, your aging parents, or anyone you know takes the blood thinner Pradaxa, you will want to pay careful attention to the information in today's post.  While Pradaxa and other blood thinners can be an important part of our medical care, there are also risks involved in taking these medications.  

From time to time, I allow guest posts on this blog when I believe the topic is something that will be of importance to my Baby Boomer readers.  The following guest post was written specifically for this blog by Alanna Ritchie from the website

Baby Boomers and Pradaxa

"Doctors prescribe blood thinners to millions of people to prevent blood clots that can cause health problems like stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism. People also take blood thinners to inhibit clots from forming in the legs after knee or hip replacement surgery; and to manage atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

Pradaxa, which is a blood thinner, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 and quickly became a popular choice, used by more than 3.7 million patients so far.
Baby boomers taking Pradaxa or another blood thinner need to learn about their medication and take precautionary measures to avoid complications and bleeding emergencies.

Here are some guidelines to consider if your doctor prescribes Pradaxa.

1.      Evaluate Data on Pradaxa

Health safety organizations and university-sponsored studies have found evidence that Pradaxacan increase the risk of bleeding incidents and heart problems.

Because blood thinners stop the body's healing mechanism whereby clots form to slow bleeding, even minor injuries can turn into a bleeding emergency. There is no antidote for Pradaxa bleeding, which contributed to 542 deaths in 2011. 

Studies by the Cleveland Clinic and the American College of Cardiology compared Pradaxa with warfarin – an older blood thinner -- and discovered that there was an increased risk of heart problems with Pradaxa. These heart problems include heart attack and symptoms of heart disease such as dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness.

2.      Decrease Risk of Bleeding 

Blood thinner patients can reduce the risk of bleeding by taking precautionary measures inside and outside the house — all designed to guard against accidents that could escalate quickly.

Safety Indoors
·        Use knives and scissors slowly and in good lighting
·        Use electric razors, which do not have exposed blades
·        Wear shoes or non-skid slippers
·        Use care when trimming toenails
·        Use toothbrushes with soft bristles
Safety Outdoors
·        Wear close-toed shoes, instead of sandals
·        Use gloves when working with sharp tools
·        Wear protective gear when playing intense sports
·        Use handrails when walking down stairs

3.      Consider Alternatives

Patients who have been prescribed Pradaxa can ask their doctor about alternative blood thinner options, like warfarin, Xarelto and Eliquis. Warfarin is an effective and cheaper option for many patients. It does require that patients undergo regular blood tests and monitor their intake of select vegetables. Warfarin's greatest advantage is that it has an antidote -- vitamin K – that can stop bleeding in emergency situations.

Xarelto and Eliquis were both developed within the last two years and do not have antidotes. As they are new competitors in the blood thinner category, it remains to be seen whether they prove to be a better choice as far as safety and efficacy.  
Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for, which reports news about prescription drugs and medical devices."

You may also be interested in reading these other blog posts:

Aging and Tips to Prevent Hip Injuries  (another helpful guest post from

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Article and photo provided courtesy of

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tighter Restrictions on Vicodin and Hydrocodone Painkillers

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently requested that the Food and Drug Administration exert tighter controls on Vicodin and other painkillers that contain hydrocodone.  Hydrocondone products are the most widely prescribed narcotic painkillers in the United States.  According to the DEA, they are also among the most frequently abused.

An FDA panel has voted to place greater restrictions on these painkillers, as a result of the DEA request, and the full FDA is likely to follow through with their recommendations.  This change is likely to affect many Baby Boomers and their families, since the older we are the more likely we are to use painkillers.  For example, they are commonly prescribed after major surgery, such as a knee or hip replacement.

Reasons for the Tighter Restrictions on Vicodin Prescriptions

Frankly, it is about time the government made this change.  At the California high school where I work, our police liaison officer has repeatedly reported that the source of most of the drugs our students abuse is not a scary drug dealer in a back alley.  Most of our students find their drugs in their parents' or grandparents' medicine cabinets!

There are only two ways to protect our young people from these dangerous drugs. The first way is for parents and grandparents to keep their prescription drugs locked up.  The second way is for the federal government to make it more difficult for people to obtain these drugs in the first place.

Unfortunately, adults (including senior citizens) who have legal prescriptions are also abusing these drugs, since they are highly addictive.  According to federal statistics, about three-quarters of all drug overdoses in the U.S. are the result of prescription drugs.  The number of deaths from prescription drug overdoses have tripled since 1999.  Since 2008, there have been more deaths from drug overdoses than from car accidents, making it one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in our country!  (See for more detailed statistics.)

The New Restrictions on Vicodin and Hydrocodone Prescriptions

Once these new guidelines have been implemented, automatic refills of Vicodin and similar painkillers will no longer be allowed.

Only written prescriptions from a doctor will be permitted each time you get your prescription refilled.  Faxed and phoned in prescriptions will not be allowed.

In addition, pharmacies and distributors will be required to store these drugs in special vaults, which will make it harder for thieves to steal these drugs during a burglary.

While the above restrictions should go a long way towards making it more difficult for people to obtain and become addicted to Vicodin and other hydrocodone containing drugs, doctors will need to become more cautious about writing these prescriptions in the first place.  In addition, patients who have legal prescriptions for these medications will also need to be more careful about monitoring their medications.

If you or a family member has a prescription for Vicodin, count your pills and keep track of how many you use.  If some of your pills mysteriously disappear, lock up the remainder.  It would be heart-breaking for a beloved family member to die from an overdose of your prescription medication.

In addition, if you know someone who has been struggling with an addiction to these drugs, watch them for signs that they may be buying and using illegal heroin, instead.  Sadly, some people are switching one addiction for another.

If you are interested in learning more about other health issues that can affect you, or finding other retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of other useful articles.

You may also be interested in reading:

FDA Advice about Statin Drug Dangers   check

How to Avoid Phony Online Pharmacies

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Four Seasons

Are you looking for a well-built, comfortable retirement home in an active adult community?  You may want to consider one of the many Four Seasons age restricted communities built by K. Hovnanian builders for residents who are over age 55.

Where are you interested in living?  You can find developments built by K. Hovnanian in Southern California, Northern Delaware, Southeast Florida, Maryland, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, North and South Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, Virginia and in Minnesota near Minneapolis/St. Paul. All of these locations have lovely developments and many of these developments have been specifically designed as Four Seasons age-restricted communities. Other developments are very appealing, but are open to residents of all ages.

The variety of locations makes it possible for people to live on either the East Coast or West Coast, in the Sun Belt or in the Upper Midwest.  Many people will find that they can experience an enjoyable retirement lifestyle while still living within driving distance of their adult children and grandchildren.

Amenities at Four Seasons Over-55 Communities

K. Hovanian Homes offers diverse home styles as well as a variety of locations.  Depending on the community you select, you can choose from a condominium, a townhome or a single family home.  Prices vary widely, as well.  For example, the Four Seasons at Beaumont in Southern California and the Four Seasons at Bakersfield in Central California both have single family homes with prices starting around $200,000.  Home prices may be higher or lower depending on the location that interests you.

I have visited the lovely community in Beaumont.  It is a gated community with a gorgeous lodge that contains a restaurant, pool, movie theater and space for club meetings and other activities.  The community also offers an exercise room, billiards room, ballroom, shuffleboard courts and nature trails where you can take an afternoon stroll.  Although there is no on-site golf course, there are a number of public golf courses in the surrounding area.  While Beaumont is not near the California coast, it is only a little over an hour drive away.

Whichever style of home you prefer, the goal of Four Seasons active adult communities is to provide you with a "resort-at-home" experience.  They offer a variety of recreational activities that are available the year around.  Living in a gated community with other retired adults offers you security, peace-of-mind and an endless variety of opportunities for friendship and socializing.  Many people have found this to be a more desirable lifestyle than living alone in their former neighborhoods.

You can learn more about the different  K. Hovanian communities, both those that are age restricted and those that are not, at

If you are looking for other wonderful places to retire in the United States and abroad, us the tabs at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of other articles.

If you are exploring your retirement home options, you may also be interested in reading some of these articles:

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Del Webb
Sun City Texas is a Premier Retirement Destinations 
Living in an RV after Retirement 
Tellico Village Retirement Community 
Best Places to Retire on $40,000 a Year

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

FDA Advice about Statin Drug Dangers

In early 2013, the Food and Drug Administration updated their health advisories on the safety of statin drugs.  Statin drugs are commonly prescribed to millions of Americans to help lower their cholesterol. 

The FDA deputy director for safety in the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products, Dr. Amy G. Egan, assures patients that statins have been clearly shown to prevent heart disease.  However, she also wants people to be aware that they need to educate themselves about potential side effects so they can let their doctor know if they experience any strange symptoms.

With that thought in mind, here are the FDA advisories:

Liver Injury

The good news is that liver injury is so rare that doctors have been told they no longer need to routinely monitor liver enzymes.  In fact, this monitoring has never been shown to be effective at preventing or predicting serious liver damage.

On the other hand, everyone should be aware of the symptoms of liver damage.  If you experience these symptoms, you will want to notify your doctor as soon as possible so liver enzyme tests can be performed at that time.  The symptoms to watch for are: unusual fatigue, discomfort in the upper right abdomen, loss of appetite, dark colored urine, and yellowing of either the skin or the whites of the eyes.

Memory Loss or Fogginess

Some patients have reported unfocused or fuzzy thinking.  The good news is that these symptoms are reversible once patients stop taking the statin drugs.  However, the FDA recommends that no one should stop taking their statin medications without first talking to their doctor.  The risk to their hearts may be too serious.

Diabetes Risk

Some people have experienced a small increase in their blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes after taking statin drugs.  However, the FDA also feels that this small risk is outweighed by the benefits of statins.

Muscle Damage

One well documented risk associated with statin use is myopathy, or muscle injury.  This is characterized by unexplained muscle weakness or pain.  This is more common when patients are taking lovastatin (for example, Mevacor), especially in combination with other drugs.  Once example of this is Advicor which is lovastatin combined with extended-release niacin.  If you experience unexplained muscle pain or weakness, notify your doctor as soon as possible.

Resource Information

Whether you take statin drugs or other prescription medications, you may want to subscribe to FDA updates.   Check out the FDA website at

If you want additional health information that is geared specifically to Baby Boomers, you may also be interested in reading:

Alzheimers Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment Options
Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children
Choose Optimism for a Happier, Healthier Life
HIV AIDS and Baby Boomers

You are reading from the blog:

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Alzheimers Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment Options

Did you know that the U.S. government has a website devoted to providing information specifically about Alzheimer's Disease?  There are also other websites that provide valuable information to the families of people who are suffering from Alzheimer's. 

These resources are especially important because the U.S. government estimates that there are over five million people in the United States who are currently living with Alzheimer's Disease.  As Baby Boomers age, the number of these patients is expected to increase dramatically to 15 million by 2030.

Alzheimers is the most common type of dementia.  It causes behavioral problems as well as memory loss.  Eventually it can lead to death.  The more we know about this serious illness, the better prepared we will be if it affects someone we love.

Reliable Alzheimer's Disease Websites

First, everyone needs to know how to find reliable and current information online.  Below are two websites, one from the government and one from the Alzheimer's Association.

The remainder of this article summarizes the detailed information that can be found on these websites.

Like many of you, my family has also been affected by this tragic disease and we have seen the effect it can have on both patients and their families.  Everyone should be familiar with the symptoms and treatment options.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

It can be difficult to diagnose Alzheimer's because the symptoms can be similar to those caused by other health problems.  Here are the most common symptoms:

Memory loss
Trouble finding words
General disorientation
Difficulty making decisions
Changes in behavior and personality (often this can mean hostility, becoming suspicious, or exhibiting anger)

The longer the person has the disease, the more likely they are to also exhibit some of these additional problems:


If you are the caretaker of a person with Alzheimer's, it can be exhausting to continually watch over them, especially if they become agitated and angry.  It is very important that caregivers seek outside assistance.  They also need to take care of their own physical and emotional health without feeling guilty.  Caregivers need to be able to leave the patient with others while they spend time in relaxing and enjoyable activities.

Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease

Although there is no clear cause of this disease, there do seem to be certain factors that make us more likely to develop Alzheimer's.  However, even if you have several of these risk factors, there is no guarantee than you will develop the disease.  There is still a great deal about Alzheimer's that is not understood.  The most common risk factors are shown below, and are frequently beyond our control:

Aging (the frequency doubles every five years after age 80)
Downs Syndrome
Other intellectual or developmental disorders
Repeated concussions in the past
A traumatic brain injury

Alzheimer's Treatments

There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but there are some medications that seem to delay the symptoms and may even improve the patient's quality of life:

Cholinesterase Inhibitors and Memantine

These drugs, which are sold under the names Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, Cognex and Namenda, help treat memory loss, confusion and similar problems with reasoning and thinking.

In some cases, high doses of Vitamin E may also be prescribed.

Other Medications

In addition, medications may be prescribed to help with other symptoms of Alzheimer's, such as depression, insomnia and anxiety.  While these do not stop the progression of the disease, they may make the patient happier and improve their quality of life.

If you are interested in learning about dementia, Alzheimers and aging you may be interested in reading these excellent articles:

The Mind Diet Reduces Alzheimer's Risk:

Is it Alzheimer's or a Treatable Disease?:

How to Talk to Someone with Alzheimer's:

The UCI 90+ Study at Laguna Woods Village

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Del Webb

If you are looking for a retirement community in the coming years, one over-55 community builder that should be on your list is Del Webb.  This company is one of the top developers of retirement communities in the United States with attractive homes and amenities that appeal to many retirees.  Before my husband and I chose our current retirement community, we looked at some very appealing Del Webb communities.  While we were just looking in the Southern California area, I was surprised to learn that Del Webb builds retirement homes across the United States.  Consequently, I thought my readers would like to know more about what these communities have to offer.

Locations Where You Can Find a Del Webb Retirement Community

Del Webb has retirement communities in Northern California, Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  As you can see, they are not limited just to the Sun Belt.  They have communities in nearly every region of the United States.

Typical Community Amenities

A typical Del Webb retirement community has a large, beautiful clubhouse, swimming pools, tennis courts, clubs, classes, social events and volunteer opportunities.  Many of them also have golf courses.  These communities are designed to help residents lead an active lifestyle after retirement.

Examples of  Del Webb Retirement Communities

Below you will find information on two retirement communities that were built by Del Webb, with homes built by Pulte, the major home builder that owns Del Webb.  This will give you an idea of prices, sizes and community amenities.

Solera Diamond Valley in Hemet, California

Prices in this community range from about $225,000 to $350,000.  Homes range in size from 1511 to 2340 square feet and have two to three bedrooms and bathrooms.  Community amenities include a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, indoor walking track, courts for tennis, bocce ball and pickle ball, hobby rooms, clubs and classes.

Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio, California (near Palm Springs)

Prices in this community range from about $250,000 to $500,000.  The houses range in size from 1321 to 2955 square feet and have two to three bedrooms and bathrooms.  This community has an 18 hole golf course, an 18 hole par 3 golf course, an 18 hole putting course, indoor and outdoor pools, courts for tennis and bocce ball, a library, amphitheater, ballroom, hobby rooms, clubs and classes.
Where to Find More Information
If you believe that you might want to find a Del Webb retirement community in your area, you can get more details at:
If you are looking for more places to retire in the United States or abroad, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article.  They contain links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, financial planning, health issues and more.

If you are trying to choose a retirement community that is right for you, you may also be interested in reading:

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Four Seasons
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Help Soon for Boomers Without Health Insurance

Several Baby Boomer women I know are in the uncomfortable position of having lost their health insurance.  This happened because they were paying for their insurance through their husband's employer.  When the husband retired, sometimes sooner than they had planned because of an illness or job loss, the husband was able to go on Medicare if he was at least 65 years old.  Unfortunately, if the wife was under 65, they were not eligible for Medicare.  Some of these women have been able to obtain expensive personal policies, often through COBRA.  However, others are just hoping and praying they stay healthy until they are old enough to go on Medicare, too, especially if the high cost of COBRA or a pre-existing medical condition makes the cost of health insurance prohibitive.  I'm sure this same situation has happened to men who are dependent on their wife's employer for health insurance, too. 

New Health Insurance Exchanges

Fortunately, this should no longer be a problem after the end of this year. Beginning in 2014, insurance companies can no longer refuse to insure adults who have pre-existing conditions.  Starting this October, most states will have online insurance exchanges that will enable people of any age to begin shopping for affordable insurance policies, whether they have a pre-existing condition or not. The AARP Bulletin for January - February, 2013 recently reported on the status of the new health insurance exchanges, which were mandated by the Affordable Healthcare Act.

According to AARP, most states have already begun to decide how they will handle these exchanges.  Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have announced that they will operate their own exchanges; five states will partner with the federal government; eighteen states have said they will accept the default exchange that will be operated by the federal government; the remaining states have not made a decision.

How the Health Insurance Exchanges will Work

These exchanges will operate online.  They will be open to small businesses and individuals who cannot get affordable insurance through their employer.  The exchanges will also help people identify if they are eligible for any financial assistance through tax credit premium subsidies.  This will make it possible for even low income people to afford health insurance.

The goal of a health insurance exchange is to help anyone who does not have insurance, or who loses their insurance for any reason, to be able to replace their policy quickly, efficiently and at a reasonable price, even if they have a pre-existing condition such as a history of cancer, kidney disease or diabetes.  If the exchanges work as planned, they will give couples on the verge of retirement one less reason for worry.

There is another reason why we may experience some financial relief as a result of these exchanges.  Many Baby Boomers I know have been helping their adult children pay for health insurance.  Others are assisting their adult children by helping to pay off large medical bills their children incurred because they were uninsured.  The new insurance exchanges should bring us all some peace of mind.

If you are a Baby Boomer concerned about health issues, you may also be interested in reading these articles:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases After Age 50
Doctor Housecalls Provide Home Medical Care
How to Avoid Phony Online Pharmacies
Planning for Long Term Medical Care

You are reading from the blog:

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Top Retirement Cities for Single Baby Boomers

With so many Baby Boomers either divorced or widowed by the time they reach retirement age, many are looking for fun, affordable and interesting places to live when they retire.  They want places to meet other seniors, good spots for walking both indoors and outdoors, restaurants, entertainment, sports teams, cultural activities and diversity.

AARP has created a list of the cities which they believe have a lot to offer single Baby Boomers, both those who are still working, as well as those who are retired.

Criteria for the Best Retirement Cities for Single Baby Boomers 

AARP used as their criteria cities that are either recognized for their friendliness or their tolerance of newcomers, communities where a large percentage of the residents are over the age of 65, places where there are plenty of interesting things to do, and cities known for their excellent health care choices.  While most of the cities also have a moderate cost of living, some of the cities on their list, such as San Francisco and New York, are quite expensive.  However, AARP decided to include them because they have so many other good attributes.

Before moving to any of these cities, seniors will want to do their research.  There were a couple of areas that particularly concerned me with this AARP list. Nearly all of these cities have at least some areas with high crime rates.  St. Louis, for example, was rated according to FBI crime statistics as the most dangerous city in America, just a couple of years ago. Many of these cities also have problems with traffic and air pollution.  It would be wise to spend some time visiting and getting to know these cities before buying a home or making a financial commitment.

AARP List of Good Cities for Single Seniors


This waterfront city has the nickname "Charm City."  It has historic neighborhoods, and a friendly atmosphere.  It is near Washington, DC, but it tends to be more affordable.  You can enjoy a wide range of restaurants, theaters and sporting events either in Baltimore or nearby Washington.  The median home price for a single family home is $277,640 and the median household income is about $40,000, which is within the reach of many retired singles.

Minneapolis - St. Paul

The Twin Cities, as they are known, have one of the nation's lowest death rates from heart disease.  The area is known for its friendliness, abundant parks, and numerous outdoor activities.  It also has a world class symphony, theaters and plenty of active, energetic people of all ages.  The median price of a home is $225,000 and the median household income is about $63,000.

St. Louis

St. Louis is a charming city that has been rated one of the most liveable cities in America.  It also has a high crime rate. On the other hand, there are sports teams, a symphony, an opera, museums and a large park system, including Forest Park.  The St. Louis Zoo is one of the top ranked zoos in the United States.  More than 10 percent of the population is over the age of 65.  It is also very affordable.  The median price for a single family home is $144,000 and the median household income is about $34,000.  I have a nephew who is a St. Louis fireman.  He owns a two-story duplex.  He lives on one floor and rents out the other, which keeps his cost of living very low.  There are thousands of these types of duplexes in the city, which provides a great opportunity for anyone living on a tight budget.


Cleveland is the home of the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, and considers itself the Rock 'n Roll Capital of the World.  It also has a number of theatrical, ballet and dance companies.  In addition, it has a high percentage of residents over the age of 65.  In fact, the suburb of Beachwood has over 32 percent of its population over the age of 65.  Home prices are also exceptionally reasonable, with the median price for a single family home only about $90,000.  The median household income is approximately $28,000.


Philadelphia is a friendly, historic city with a wide range of restaurants, a zoo, ballet, Museum of Art and many other places where singles can meet and mingle.  The city is also moderately priced, with a typical single family home costing under $200,000 and the median household income about $40,000.


Pittsburgh is an energetic city with a population that is growing younger rather than older.  In addition to the many cultural events, there are even programs that organize walking groups for residents over the age of 50.  The foreclosure rate is also very low in this city where the median home price is only about $125,000 and the median household income is around $40,000.


Milwaukee is a fun, friendly city that is more like a collection of small villages.  There are plenty of local restaurants and bars where people get together, in addition to the symphony and several museums.  The median home price is $140,000 and the median household income is around $37,000.


While Boston gets more than its fair share of harsh winter weather, residents seem to enjoy living there.  The city boasts world class universities, sports teams and cultural opportunities.  While traffic can be terrible, the excellent mass transportation makes it much easier to access the various parts of the city.  Boston is more expensive than some of the other cities on this list, with the median price of a home $467,000 and the median household income about $52,000.

San Francisco

San Franciso is a very single friendly city, although it has a high cost of living.  It also has a very diverse population, including a large number of gay and lesbian residents.  This tolerant city has plenty of restaurants, clubs, museums and sporting events.  My husband and I just spent Christmas Eve in San Francisco with our family, and had a delightful time in the city.   Affluent retirees will have a lot of fun here. The median home price is $1,000,000 and the median income is $75,000 ... although many of those residents have either owned their homes a long time, are renters, or they belong to the new class of affluent residents.

New York

Very little needs to be said about all the diversity, excitement, cultural opportunities and sporting events that New York City has to offer.  It can also be affordable if you are willing to live in one of the boroughs other than Manhattan ... for example, in Queens or the Bronx.  Overall, the median home price in New York is $575,00 and the median household income is about $52,000, although both vary widely.  In Manhattan, the median home price is closer to $1,000,000.

If you would like to learn more about these great cities for single seniors, read the full AARP article at:

If you are looking for more information about where to retire, financial planning, health issues and family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Eleven Important Retirement Stories from the Past

Before we begin to research the news stories that will affect the retirement plans of Baby Boomers in the future, I thought you would all be interested in seeing the eleven important retirement stories from the past, in case you missed any of them. 

Not surprisingly, most of these stories dealt with finding good places to retire, maintaining our health, inter-generational relationships, and our retirement finances.  One significant difference I noticed during the past year was that more of our readers seemed to be giving serious consideration to retiring abroad. 

Important Retirement Stories You May Have Missed

Best Places to Retire Outside the US 

This is one of the top ten most read articles since this blog has been in existence. It includes the AARP list of the best places to retire abroad, along with a small amount of information about each location.  You can also find more detailed articles on this blog about some of these locals.

Best Sunny Places to Retire 

This list brings us back to the United States to review the communities here that have at least 250 sunny days a year, a low crime rate, strong local economies and plenty of fun activities for retirees.  The surprising news in this article was that not all of these communities are in the south.  In fact, both Oregon and Utah are represented on the list!

Why Retire in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands or Guam

Moving to one of the U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, America Samoa or Guam, is a great choice for those who want the feeling of living abroad without actually living in a foreign country.  You do not need a passport, learn a new language, or obtain foreign health insurance.  If you are contemplating moving to another country, you may want to read this article first.

Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire? 

Many people fear they will never be able to retire because they will never be able to save enough money.  However, you may not need as much money as you think.  Learn how you can stretch your Social Security benefits as much as possible so you will only have to supplement your income a little.  You may be closer to retirement than you think!

Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children 

This article was based on some sad facts I read in an AARP magazine about the increasing number of Baby Boomers who have become estranged from their adult children.  While there are many reasons why this may happen, with a little help this situation can sometimes be reversed.  If you are in a stressful relationship with any of your adult children, this article could help.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases After Age 50 

Our adult children may not want to think about it, but many divorced or widowed Baby Boomers are actively dating again.  While they no longer need to worry about birth control, unfortunately STD's are a serious problem.  In fact, one quarter of the people in the US who are living with HIV/AIDS are over the age of 50!  Learn how you can protect yourself. 

Retiring Former Hippies Spark a New Generation Gap 

This article was actually at the top of my list for several months.  Now that the Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement age, we rarely think about the differences between our values and those of our still-living parents.  However, the generation gap that existed in the 1960's is making a comeback, as our generation becomes active in existing retirement communities where we once again find ourselves living with "the generation before us."

Finding Niche Retirement Communities 

What activities are important to you when you retire?  Several retirement community developers are building niche retirement communities that cater to the needs of special groups, including Asian-Americans, gays and lesbians, RVers, nudists and artists.  If you are interested in finding a niche retirement community, this article will give you resources to help with your search.

Retiring in Luxury to Hua Hin, Thailand 

This lovely, beachside town in Thailand is extremely affordable, with apartment rentals running from $400 to $1000 a month and a full-time housekeeper available for as little as $250 a month.  Consequently, some American ex-patriots are finding that a couple can live there comfortably on their Social Security benefits alone.

Americans Retiring in Panama 

Another country that has become popular with American retirees is Panama.  One advantage of moving to this Central American country is the fact that the U.S. dollar is the official currency of Panama.  Although the major cities in Panama have become expensive, many smaller communities are much more affordable.

Coping with Divorce after 50 

Because this issue is so important to many Baby Boomers, I expanded the list of articles from ten to eleven important stories to be sure to include this one.  While the divorce rate for other age groups has decreased in the United States during the past 20 years, it has actually doubled for people over the age of 50.  Getting divorced at this age can have serious consequences, so it could be helpful for those who find themselves in this situation to read this article if they missed it earlier this year.

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