Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Aura Digital Frames are Ideal Gifts for Seniors and Others


Every 15 seconds, the picture in the Aura frame on my side table changes to a new photo of someone in our family.  It does so completely silently, and with no effort on my part.  Each of the several hundred photos which pop up on my frame has been easily uploaded by my husband, our daughters, or me from our smartphones.  The process is surprisingly simple.  We do not have to be at home or near the frame in order to upload a photo.

Our frame contains photos of all four of our daughters and their families, including our eight grandchildren.  It also includes photos of family weddings, trips to Disneyland, vacations, and even old photos of family members who passed away decades ago.  This has been one of the best gifts our daughters have ever given us!

Is Someone You Know Hard to Buy Gifts For?

After telling our daughters several times to stop sending us "challenging" technology gifts, which often involved complex set-up, one of our daughters called last summer and told us that she and her sisters wanted to buy my husband an Aura digital frame (Ad) for Father's Day.  I was unsure about it, but she convinced me that he would love it.  We both do!

Aura Frames Make it Easy to View Our Photos

Our daughter helped each of us download the Aura app to our phones.  When we click on "Add Photos" on our Aura app, it opens up a window on our phone showing us all the photos we have ever taken and stored on our phones.  We simply choose the ones we want to add to our frame and, within a few hours, they begin to randomly show up on our frame, mixed in with the photos which are already there.

Here is the best part.  Our daughters can also add photos to our frame from wherever they are, even thousands of miles away, and our frame will hold an unlimited number of photos!  If one of our daughters takes her children to Disneyland or on a hike, photos will begin to show up on our frame for us to enjoy.  If one of them discovers an old photo in an album, she simply has to take a picture of the photo with her phone, and then add it to our frame.  They can even download pictures from the internet, save them on their phones, and add them to our frame.  It is so easy, my husband and I have enjoyed adding photos of our parents, grandparents and other ancestors who have been deceased for many years.  You can add any photo you would like to see pop up on the frame.

Aura Frames are Like a Private Facebook Page in Your Living Room

Personally, I think of the frame as a private Facebook page that no one knows about, except members of our family.  We see our favorite family photos, as well as the favorites of our daughters, and we can share them with each other privately.

There Are a Variety of Frame Designs to Choose From

You can choose the Aura frame color, size and design (Ad) you prefer. You can scroll through the different options and choose the one which will fit the best with your home d├ęcor.  

You Have Control of Your Frame

In settings, you can set the time when your frame turns on in the morning, and turns off in the evening.  You can also control how long each photo is visible, before being replaced by the next one.  We have them change every 15 seconds, but we could also let each photo stay in place for 30 seconds, a full minute or even longer. You can also move your hand over the top to scroll through them a little faster, or back up to one you just missed.  

You also control who gets invited to add photos to your Aura frame.

No Smartphone?  There is an Aura Frame for That, Too!

If you don't have a smartphone or don't want to use an app, you can still get an Aura frame and add photos to it, using a "photo backup stick to get from phone or computer to frame, with no WiFi."  They have thought of everything!

Personally, now that we have lived with our frame for a few months, I cannot imagine a better gift for someone special in your family.  Our daughters shared in the cost of our Aura digital frame (Ad), and it is now one of our favorite gifts from them.


You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive a weekly email with the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, 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.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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

Photo credits:  Amazon

Friday, November 12, 2021

Gifts Retirees Will Appreciate - Finding the Right Gift for a Senior

 Buying gifts for retirees and the older relatives in your family can be very difficult and frustrating.  Whether it is for a birthday, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas or another holiday, you may find it extremely difficult to come up with an idea, especially if it seems they already own so many things they are currently trying to give away!  

How can you find the perfect gift for a senior citizen in your family?  What do you think they will want or need?  What can you buy an older relative that will not end up being re-gifted or given away?  Here are some basic ideas to get you started, including links to some of the items to make it quick and easy for you to purchase them.  However, not all the gifts need to be purchased online.  Many of the gifts listed here are things you can purchase locally.

Art and Craft Supplies

Does your family member enjoy painting or making crafts?  Paints, canvasses and other art materials (Ad) can be very expensive. Some people actually give up their hobby because they cannot afford to keep purchasing the necessary materials.  If you know their favorite shop, you may want to purchase a gift certificate to it, especially if it is small, locally owned business.  In this way, you not only help your loved one, but also a small business.  If you know exactly what they want however, you can save them a trip to the store by purchasing it for them and having it delivered directly to their home.

Many seniors also enjoy paint-by-number kits, or adult coloring books, (Ad) as a way to enjoy creating works of art, even if they do not feel they are especially talented.  I have even seen some lovely paint-by-number works of art for sale at the art shows they hold in my retirement community.  Often they are spectacular when they are finished. A final thought in this category is to take one of their favorite finished paintings and have it framed for them, so they can hang it in their home and display it with pride. 

A Shopping Trip for their Favorite Clothing Items

My father only likes to wear long-sleeve Polo style shirts with a pocket on the chest.  Although he owns them in a variety of colors, over the course of a year they begin to wear out.  Replacing them regularly with new ones is a nice way to enable him to continue to wear his favorite clothing item.  Almost everyone has a certain type of clothing which they wear frequently, and needs replacing often.  Do they need new walking shoes, a jacket, a sun hat, gardening gloves, or similar useful items?  Many seniors go without because they do not have a lot of disposable income, or they do not know where to buy these things.  If possible, take them shopping, so they can pick out something they actually would enjoy wearing, and you know will fit them.  This also gives you some special time with them ... a gift they may appreciate as much or more than the actual gift itself.

Sports Equipment

Many retirees are still active and involved in sports for decades after they stop working.  You may need to quiz them a little, but find out if they need a new golf putter, a new tennis racquet, a paddle for the paddleball court, a badminton racquet or some other item they need to pursue their favorite sport.  Even grandchildren can buy grandpa a box of golf balls or a tube of tennis balls.  (Ad)  

Photo Gifts

One of our daughters purchased us an Aura digital picture frame, (Ad) which allows all of our daughters to upload photos directly to it, no matter where they are.  Now, we have a constant display of new and old photos appearing on the frame in our living room.  Our frame includes photos taken over 80 years ago of long deceased ancestors, as well as photos which were taken just a few days ago of our grandchildren.  We could watch the pictures glide by for hours!  We have it set so a new photo shows up every 15 seconds, but you can have your photos stay much longer before switching to a new one.

Other photo gifts a retiree might enjoy is a Polaroid camera (yes, they have begun making a new, improved version again) (Ad), or a photo album, especially if you give it to them already preloaded with a few pages of favorite family photos.  You can even send companies like Shutterfly a photo of a beloved family member or pet, and they can turn it into a special photo gift which they will cherish! 


Check out some of the photo gifts from my Etsy store, and see if one of them would be a good gift for someone in your family.  Here is a tote bag designed with a photo of the Canadian Rocky Mountains from Banff National Forest in Alberta, Canada.  

This is just one of the many gifts available for retirees and others on my Etsy store. You can find it here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts  

Books and Magazines

Does your family member enjoying reading?  You could always purchase them the latest book (Ad) from their favorite author.  

However, has reading become more difficult for them because of vision problems?  Why not purchase them a membership to Audible? (Ad) For about $15 a month, they can download one book a month to their cell phone, laptop, tablet or similar device and listen to the books!  Many of the women in my book club use Audible and enjoy hearing their favorite books read by professional actors and actresses.  No one needs to give up reading, anymore, even if they have vision problems! Our daughter even listens to Audible books during her long commute. It is a terrific way to pass the time.

Consumable Items

Everyone has items which they love to use, but need to replace periodically.  This can include perfumes, after shave, make-up, face creams, favorite candy, wine, bourbon, and similar items.  Some of these items can be expensive to replace, so receiving them as a gift can be very meaningful to a retiree.  You might ask them, first, the brands of their favorite products, so you purchase them something they will actually enjoy. 

If they live in an Assisted Living community where their meals are provided, they still might want to keep a few favorite snack items in their private room.  Put together a care package of their favorite treats, including small boxes of cereal, bags of chips, fun size candy bars, and similar items.  They will love having something to snack on between meals!

Gift Cards

Gift cards to a favorite business can be a greatly appreciated gift.  Is going to Starbucks or some other coffee shop a special treat they often skip because they cannot afford it?  A gift card may be something which makes it easier for them to socialize with their friends.  Many senior citizens enjoy meeting friends at Starbucks, and other coffee shops like Coffee Bean, to get out of the house and chat.

Amazon cards (Ad) not only allow them to purchase whatever they want for themselves, but it also enables them to buy groceries in many parts of the country, by using Amazon Fresh or one of the other services they offer.  For a person who is skimping just to get by, this can be a greatly appreciated gift which enables them to buy their favorite foods.  If they are nervous about shopping for groceries at Amazon Fresh, help them get started.  It took me a couple of attempts to feel comfortable shopping for food online, but now I realize how much easier it has made my life!

Gifts to Avoid

Unless specifically requested, it is best to avoid things which most seniors do not need.  This would include decorative items for their home, such as new vases, dishes, picture frames, candles, collectibles, and any other items they have not specifically requested.  

In addition, do not give a gift of anything living which an elderly person may find challenging to take care of, unless they ask for it.  This means do not give them a plant, puppy, kitten or parakeet, unless they requested one and are involved in selecting it.  

Other things to avoid would be items which could involve using unfamiliar technology they are unprepared or unable to learn how to use.  A new cell phone, tablet, digital camera, computer game, or similar item might seem like a great idea to a young adult, but can end up being left in a closet or re-gifted to someone else by a senior who feels that using it will be too challenging.  

Technology Gifts Which Might Be Helpful

If you do purchase a technology gift, make sure it is something the recipient wants and will be able to use, with a minimum of assistance.  There are some "senior friendly" phones and other types of technology which can be a good choice.  

It took us a while to become accustomed to talking to our "Alexa" devices, (Ad) but now "she" turns on some of our lamps, reminds us when to take food out of the oven, and answers questions about the weather and other things.  Many seniors would enjoy having one, but be prepared to help them learn to use it. 



If you know someone who loves to garden, they might appreciate this lovely t-shirt with a photo I took of hydrangeas and the words "Happiness Blooms in my Garden."  There is also a matching coffee mug.  

You can find more gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive one weekly email containing the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, 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.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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

Photo credits:  Morguefile

Friday, November 5, 2021

Should You Change Your Medicare Plan? What to Consider


Every fall, from October 15 to December 7, Medicare beneficiaries are given the opportunity to change their insurance plan.  Most people are happy with their current plan, and approximately 90% do not move to a different insurer. However, in some cases, they may actually be missing out on the opportunity to save money and/or improve their Medicare experience.

Whether you are completely satisfied with your current Medicare insurance coverage or you think you might want to investigate other opportunities, there are a few situations when AARP recommends that consumers should at least check out their other choices and possibly make a change.

However, before you make ANY change, it is important for people who are currently on a Medicare Advantage Plan (such as Kaiser Permanente Senior Advantage) to understand that they should not switch back to original Medicare unless they have been accepted by the Medigap plan they want.  

Medigap insurers are allowed to turn you down or charge you more for preexisting conditions, if you have been on Medicare Part B for at least six months, with or without a different insurer.  Do not make a change in haste until you are sure you will be accepted by a new company at a reasonable price.

Everyone should also consider reading the highly rated book "10 Costly Medicare Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make."  (Ad) It could save you a lot of money in the future, and was written by a Medicare agent who is licensed in nearly every U.S. state. 

After taking all that into consideration, now you need to look at the reasons why you might want to change your current Medicare policy to a new one.

Why You Might Want to Change Your Medicare Plan

1.  If you have seen a sharp increase in your prescription drugs.  In this case, if you are on Original Medicare, plus Medigap and a drug plan, you may want to investigate other Part D drug plans to see if there is one with a formulary which will cover your drugs at a lower price.  Your pharmacist may be able to help you choose the one that covers most of your prescriptions at the lowest price.

2. If you have cancer or need surgery and you want to use a physician or surgeon who is not part of your Medicare Advantage or HMO network. Switching your policy may be the best policy, especially if you need highly specialized care.

3.  If you have a serious chronic condition, and you are not sure your current plan offers the best type of treatment for you.  This sometimes happens to people who are on Original Medicare, but never chose a Medigap plan.  In this case, you may want to see if you qualify for a Medigap plan which will offer the care you need, or you might want to see if there is a Medicare Advantage plan in your area which will offer a comprehensive treatment for your medical condition no additional premium, above the cost of Original Medicare. Switching to a Medicare Advantage plan or adding a reasonably priced Medigap plan, instead of paying out-of-pocket, could save you a lot of money.

4.  If your former employer changes its retiree health benefits, you may be required to choose a different Medigap policy.  If this happens to you, you can call the Medicare Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center at (855) 798-2627. They can help you get accepted by a different Medigap carrier without paying a penalty based on a preexisting condition.  This phone call could save you thousands of dollars a year in unnecessarily higher premiums, if you are forced to make a change through no fault of your own.

5.  If you spend part of the year living in different states, your Medicare Advantage plan may not work in both places.  This could force you to have to see out-of-network doctors in one of the states, especially if you have a serious or chronic illness.  If you cannot find a Medicare Advantage plan which works in both states, you may need to go back to Original Medicare, plus get a nationally accepted Medigap plan and Part D drug plan. You will want to shop around to find the plan which will meet your medical needs and allow you to see doctors in each of the states where you reside.

6.  If your income has dropped during retirement, you might discover that most Medicare Advantage plans are less expensive than Original Medicare, plus a Medigap plan, plus a Part D drug plan.  Whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you will pay the same basic monthly premium for your Medicare coverage.  However, most Medicare Advantage plans charge very little in additional premiums, and sometimes nothing at all. On the other hand, people with Original Medicare usually also need a Medigap plan plus a Part D drug plan, and there will be additional monthly premiums for those.  If you are trying to save money during retirement, finding a good, low-cost Medicare Advantage plan in your area may save you thousands of dollars a year in additional premiums.

7.  If you really want to keep your current doctor, and he changes to a different Medicare plan, then you may want to change plans, too.  However, even if you have a good reason to change, do not forget that if you are switching to a new Medigap plan, you can be denied coverage or be required to pay higher premiums for any preexisting conditions.  Do not make the change until you are sure you will be accepted by the new Medigap plan at a price which is acceptable to you. 

Currently, about 42% of Medicare beneficiaries use a Medicare Advantage plan, with the percentage increasing every year.  However, as you can see, there is no one choice which is right for everyone.  When you first sign up for Medicare, it is important that you consider the advantages and disadvantages of a Medicare Advantage plan vs. getting Original Medicare, plus a Medigap plan and a Part D drug plan.  In addition, each fall you should reexamine your choice and make sure it is still meeting your needs.  

You may also want to read the other post on this blog:  "Medicare Supplements vs. Medicare Advantage Plans - What are the Differences?"  It will also help you clarify your decision about which system of obtaining your Medicare benefits will be the best for you. 

Source of facts: AARP Bulletin, October 2021


You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive one weekly email containing the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, 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.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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

Photo credits: Amazon book cover