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Aging Wisely November 2015 - Aging Wisely

Gifts for People in Nursing Homes


gifts for people in nursing homes

Gifts for People in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

It can be especially tough to think of gifts for people in nursing homes, since their space is limited and much of their activity may be limited to the nursing home setting. A person who has moved to an assisted living facility often just downsized, so you want to get something that will really be used. Our expert team is here to help with ideas for gifts for people in nursing homes and assisted living!

As an added bonus, we have an exclusive coupon code for, which offers adaptive clothing, socks, shoes and many items specially designed for someone living in a nursing home:
Get My Senior Gifts Coupon

Here are our top 5 categories of gifts for people in nursing homes or assisted living:

  1. The gift of time: one of the most appreciated gifts for people in nursing homes is the gift of your time and attention. Take time for special visits (ideal if you can make it a routine thing, as this can become something your loved one really looks forward to) or plan an outing. This holiday season, check with the person’s community church about special services or find a holiday concert or play.
  2. Comforting items: soothing/favorite music, audiobooks, inspirational books, puzzle/activity books (coloring books made specifically for adults are an enjoyable stress reducer!), movies, favorite snacks/treats (check for diet restrictions and be aware that storage for food items may be limited in a nursing home), etc. Help make it convenient for your loved one to access comforting activities (i.e. give an iPod, pad or other device and load it with music, audiobooks or their favorite church’s podcast; buy a small TV with DVD player and a stack of favorite movies; install a mini-fridge by the bed so your loved one can have his/her favorite cold snack or drink). Just check with nursing home staff about space issues, any restrictions or recommendations. Check out Linda’s Holiday Gift Ideas for more comfort-related gifts.
  3. Decorations for the room: you could simply buy inexpensive holiday decorations (dollar stores are great!) and surprise them by decorating their space, or you could buy 1-2 nice items (seasonal or not) to make their space special.
  4. Homemade, personalized items: examples include homebaked goodies, art work from the grandkids, a scrapbook/collage or framed photo, or a handknit blanket or sweater (or buy one and get their name or initials embroidered on it).
  5. Unique gifts designed for seniors or for specific needs, such as our gifts for people with Alzheimer’s. Other useful items might be adaptive clothing, shoes designed for specific conditions or health technologies.

Unfortunately, there are many seniors in our community (particularly in nursing homes) who don’t have anyone to buy them gifts or spend special time with them. For this reason, our team has participated in Elves for Elders for many years, assisting with various aspects such as organizing, serving as a gift drop-off site and promoting the project. If you’d like to help out buying gifts for people in nursing homes in Pinellas County, check out Elves for Elders to learn more.

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Linda’s Holiday Gift Ideas for Seniors


Linda Chamberlain holiday gifts for seniors

Gift giving is fun for me!  When I do have time to go shopping I’m on the lookout for items my family or friends may enjoy.  Ideas for gifts come from all different directions.  I find listening closely to the person helps me identify gifts for them that will be useful and often become items they love.

The recommended gifts below are all gifts I have personally used or have given to someone who has loved it!

I have organized the gifts under headings to help you sort through easily and perhaps find just the perfect gift! Click on each picture to be linked directly to the product page for purchase and more info.


Tech and Gadgets


sony-headphonesSony Wireless Headphones: This is the gift that saved my marriage. As the years have gone by (all 35 of them), my husband keeps going to bed earlier and while I try to go to sleep earlier, I seem to be a night owl. The Sony Wireless Headphones allow you to watch TV with the volume on mute on the actual TV, allowing others in the room to enjoy their peace and quiet while you get to enjoy watching TV. And… just in case the person you are with doesn’t need the volume as loud as you do to catch every word, the headphones also work with the volume on. You do not miss a word of dialogue with these headphones, they are fantastic. Perfect for those with some hearing loss, for those sharing a room, and those wanting to enjoy the uninterrupted pleasure of a TV show, movie, or music.

iPadEven if your loved one does not use a cell phone, an iPad may win them over to the digital world. Take the time and set the iPad up before you give it to them.  Set your loved one up with a Gmail email address and an iTunes account – and give the gift that keeps on giving. I recommend using an iTunes gift card to access paid apps, movies, etc… to avoid the problem of potential credit card fraud. The next holiday you can pay to reload the gift card.

Load up favorite photos and videos onto the iPad for them to look at over and over, and each time you go to visit you can assist them with saving the new ones or accessing the cloud to get the most up to date photos available. This keeps them with you no matter where you are. Be sure to include photos of them from their younger years with you – allowing them to think back through the decades. I also downloaded some favorite game apps, solitaire, candy crush, and of course a variety of Las Vegas style slot machine apps. This can provide hours of enjoyment for those with limited mobility. As they get used to the iPad they may learn to explore apps available on their own, or recommendations by their friends. Read more…

Open It: Each year my book club celebrates the holidays with a white elephant gift exchange. The goal of the gift is to bring your favorite “find” of the year. This year my gift will be the Open It!

I can’t remember when I first found the “Open It”, but I sure am glad I did. It seems like so many packages today are so hard to open. One of things I’ve noticed is that my hand strength is not what it used to be, or should I say the using the strength in my hands sometimes hurts. The Open It tool prevents any pain from happening. It includes a very stiff scissor function that cuts through fairly thick plastic, cardboard, all sorts of things. The Open It also includes a Utility Knife, which is great for opening packages and a screwdriver when you need it.

The Mommy Hook

The Mommy Hook: Have you heard of the term “milk drunk?” I never had either until my first grandchild came into the world this year. It appears to be a state of almost asleep after they have just eaten, they are very cute in this stage. The terms used to describe babies and their supplies are totally different since my children were young. One of the most useful gifts my daughter-in-law received was a Mommy Hook. This hook is sold to be used on strollers, however the first thought on my mind was to use the hook on walkers or wheelchairs. This hook is strong enough to carry several bags, a purse, and other miscellaneous items. Or handy just to keep your purse right by you.

Self-Improvement Gift Ideas

Tweezerman Tweezers and 10x Magnifying Mirror: Every woman I know worries about the weird eyebrow hair, the random black hair that sometimes shows up on her chin, and whether she has her lipstick just on her lips! The 10x mirror, lighted or not, with Tweezerman tweezers allows you to find even the smallest gray hairs and pluck them when you need to. This 10x mirror helps you not miss a one. This set keeps you pretty and confident.

Clarins Restorative Wake-up Lotion: A few years ago I was walking through Bloomingdale’s and a sales person at a makeup counter called me over and said would you like to have your face perk up and have a younger looking skin tone.  Well it only took about 5 seconds to answer that question.  I’m not sure what the active ingredient is in this lotion, but it definitely wakes up your skin in the morning and brings some light to your face.  The lotion is easy to apply, absorbs quickly and just the perfect moisturizer for under your tinted moisturizer or foundation.

Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant: While at the Spa of the Rockies in Glenwood Springs Colorado I had the most amazing facial leaving my skin glowing and feeling very clean.  The product they used was an exfoliator you can use daily to clean your pores and over time the pores get smaller.  I have started using this every morning and am amazed how smooth my face feels after I use it.  It only takes a dime size amount so this one container will last a very long time

I typically use it with my Clarisonic Facial Cleansing System each morning in the shower.  While it takes a minute, which actually feels like a long time in the shower, the smoothness you feel on your face is worth it.



Comforting Holiday Gifts for Seniors

Faux Fur Blanket: I love my faux fur blanket with its fleece backing on the other side.  I love crawling into a cool crisp bed at night, the temperature low so I can breathe well and don’t stay awake half the night.  This fur blanket keeps me warm, not too hot, and the softness of the fur on my hands and up around my face when I sleep feels great.  This blanket is so pretty it can be used on your bed, on your lap wherever you are sitting, or around your shoulders while enjoying an outside fire-pit.





Anti-fatigue Kitchen Mat: I love to chop, mix and cook – especially around the holidays.  However, onholiday gifts for seniors ideas: kitchen mat Thanksgiving Day I typically have a backache well before the festivities get started from being on my feet all morning cooking.  This Anti-fatigue Kitchen Mat from Frontgate has helped tremendously in decreasing the pain from standing and often eliminates the pain from starting all together.  The mat is attractive in the kitchen and provides nice padding to stand on, therefore giving your back a break and less chance for pain to develop.  I can’t imagine anyone having to stand in the kitchen not being thankful for this mat.

Dearform Slipper Clogs: There is nothing better than coming home from work, especially if it was a day I had to wear high heels and slipping on my Dearfoam Clogs.  They bring immediately relief to sore, tired feet and feel so comfy.  The padding is thick in the slipper and feels great to walk on as well as very soft to the skin.  Ah…. They feel so good!





Gifts for Health and Wellness

PowerBeats Ear Headphones: As you will figure out by the time you get to the end of my list I have some hearing impairment.  My next recommendation allows me to work out and listen to my music or my favorite podcast wherever I am without the earbuds falling out of ears.  What I love about these headphones is that they never fall out of my ear and I do not have to push them in very far (which typically irritates my ear canal).  The sound quality is great too, allowing me to thoroughly enjoy whatever I’m listening to and not miss a beat!  And the over the ear hook does not hurt.

Bose Bluetooth Speaker: My Bluetooth speaker is a gift I use every day.  I love listening to podcasts and my favorite music on Pandora.  The Bluetooth speaker allows me to take my shower and get ready for the day with all my favorites loud enough for me to hear and keep on moving and getting ready for the day.  So instead of having TV on in a different room, straining to hear what it is saying, the blue tooth speaker moves with me from room to room, while I make the bed, prepare our smoothies, and clean the kitchen without missing a word.



The NiINJA Mega System: Speaking of smoothies, the NINJA has made a huge difference in our diet.  I have to admit, the NINJA mega system is the first item I have ever purchased from watching an infomercial.  And wow, I’m so glad I did.  From making individual smoothies to making coleslaw and macaroni and cheese from scratch – it is an amazing machine, easy to use and best of all easy to clean.

Read more….



Olly Restful Sleep Blackberry Zen Vitamin Gummies: Are you always hoping for a great night’s sleep – well look no further!  I found Olly Blackberry Restful Sleep gummies earlier this year and they have been a game changer.  As many of you know as we get older our sleep patterns change and well…. There are some nights where it alludes us all together.  We wake up or get up more tired than when we went to bed.  These gummies have made all the difference for me.  If I have a lot on my mind and can kind of predict getting to sleep is going to be tough I will chew two gummies – especially if I don’t have to set my alarm for the next morning.  However, when I have to get up in the AM to go to work or for an appointment I will only chew one gummy so I don’t feel like I’m having to fight myself to get awake!

The Chill Pal: This is an awesome gift for the exercise person in your life.  I have given this to many of my friends and family, it is perfect in the heat.  You can make the Chill Pal cloth wet with cold water, snap to the extra water out and wrap it around your neck to bring you immediate coolness.  This is perfect for when you are outside exercising in heat or at the gym.  This will help you avoid the excuse of saying it is “too hot” to exercise.

The Foam Roller: I can’t believe how stiff and sometimes inflexible my body has gotten over the years.  My trainer has turned me on to slowly stretching in the morning and utilizing the foam roller to help with that process.  I can’t believe what a difference it has made to my body and how much better I feel after rolling my muscles with the foam roller.




The Kozy Kollar: I love my large Kozy Kollar and use it almost every night.  I prefer the unscented Kozy Kollar and love that I can heat it up to my preferred temperature in my microwave.  I like the large Kozy Kollar as I typically start it on my neck, move it down to my lower back and go to sleep with it on my stomach.  It relieves what ails me and helps me go to sleep.  I have a lot of little aches and pains and prefer not to take any medication, the Kozy Kollar brings me pain relief through the heat it provides to my body.


Gifts for Foodies

Pure Inventions Pomegranate + Acai Berry Antioxidant Fruit Extract: A few years ago I was visiting the Spa of the Rockies with the natural hot springs.  I can’t tell you how amazing the hot springs are.  One step into the hot springs and any aches and pains you have start to disappear.  I absolutely love going to the hot springs.  Next to the springs is the spa, and while visiting I decided to have a massage.  In the waiting area was a selection of beverages, including a pomegranate flavored water, it was excellent and very refreshing.  Absolutely no bad after taste.  I was so excited to find something to flavor water that I actually liked. Read more…


nut mix

Cashew Cranberry Cherry Jubilee: While at the Spa of the Rockies they also provided complimentary trail mix, wow was it yummy.  I’m not quite sure how many times I refilled my little two ounce cup!  I have become hooked on this trail mix for my mid-morning and after-noon snack.  It is a yummy combo of cinnamon toffee peanuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, cranberries, cherries, and dried apples. The combination is delicious and it is a very filling and nutritious snack keeping me away from the gummy bears that often tempt me.  This trail mix can be purchased in small or large size for a very reasonable price.

Biscoff Cookies: I remember flying Delta Airlines when I was young and getting to try Biscoff Lotus cookies for the first time.  The light texture and light cinnamon flavor make these cookies delicious.  I love that the cookies are packaged with two cookies packaged together.  This keeps them fresh and crisp and also helps me not eat too many at one time.  It is extremely enjoyable to curl up with a good book, sip some hot tea and snack on my Biscoff cookies.  It makes for a great afternoon.

You can order online and have these shipped to a destination of your choosing.  I promise you will make someone very happy when they open the package and try one.

killer browniesKiller Brownies: My in-laws live in a little town in Ohio called Lebanon.  The Golden Lamb Restaurant/Hotel is the oldest in Ohio and has hosted 12 presidents.  Not too far from Lebanon, in Dayton, Ohio you will find an incredible grocery story, Dorothy Lane Market.  Their baked goods are amazing.  One of my favorites is their Killer Brownies which you can order and have delivered wherever you would like.  As far as I know these Killer Brownies have never killed anyone, but there may be a few fights in the house over who is going to get to eat the last one!  You can choose the Killer Brownie you might like best, the original chocolate caramel, peanut butter, cream cheese, Blonde Ambition, Brookie Killer, German Chocolate, PB&J, and Not a Nutter, or better yet, try them all.  I haven’t’ tried one yet that I haven’t loved.  You can ship these Killer Brownies anywhere and may want to add a few cookies too!

edible arrangementsI love receiving and giving Edible Arrangements.  I have received several arrangements and have sent out many throughout the year.  The fruit has always had a great flavor, not too ripe but not under ripe either, and always very creatively arranged.  I like sending the fruit arrangements when I know someone is working hard to eat healthy and maintain their weight.  It is a nice surprise without them feeling like they are eating something they shouldn’t.  I also love the fact that you can order a variety of size of arrangement, allowing the recipient not to feel like they are going to let part of the arrangement go to waste.  This is a great gift for young or old, especially when it is difficult for them to have time to cut up and prepare fresh fruit.

Truffle Salt was one of my favorite things I found about three years ago.  When I first purchased it my idea was to use the salt on fish and I can tell you it is perfect with fish and the flavor is not too heavy.  Now that I have acquired the love of truffle flavor I have found myself using the salt in a variety of dishes.  One of my favorites is trying to make a Gnocchi Salad I first experienced at Town Restaurant in Carbondale, CO*.  This salad is delicious with a light truffle flavor.  My take on this salad is sort of like this, I usually sauté yellow butternut squash in a skillet with a little truffle oil, once I have crisped the outside of the squash I will add a few sliced mushrooms and gnocchi to the skillet to quickly brown, then pour the mixture on top of a bed of spinach and sprinkle with parmigiano cheese and truffle salt – it is to die for!  Add a grilled chicken breast and you now have a great dinner.

*If you get the chance to visit Carbondale, CO, try Town Restaurant. I haven’t found a bad dish on the menu!

stockings border

I hope you have fun shopping this year and that this list helps you make some folks happy on your list.   This list is a new experiment for us, we are trying affiliate marketing, which means we may get paid a commission on items you purchase through our links.  I’m excited to see if you like any of the ideas and welcome any comments or questions.  Next month, gifts to start the New Year right!  Happy Shopping!

If you know someone you think would like to receive our updated, seasonal gift ideas and more, we invite you to share our newsletter sign-up link:



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Pure Inventions Pomegranate and Acai Berry Antioxidant Fruit Extract


I have been working very hard to increase my water intake throughout the day and to stop drinking so much Diet Coke.  A few drops of Pure, currently I’m drinking the Pomegranate flavor, makes my water very appetizing and before I know it I have drank a full 8- 12 ounces.  You can control the amount of flavor by the number of the drops of Pure you put into your water.

I enjoy many of the other flavors of Pure, including the vanilla and the tropical flavor.  This is a great gift for anyone needing or wanting to drink more water and very easy to use, whether at home, on the go, or at the assisted living facility.

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The NINJA Mega System


Not having to chop for hours, being able to blend and mix recipes, and shredding cheese, vegetables, etc… has expanded our menu at home as well as saved my fingers and back.  We love making the individual smoothies in the morning, this allows my husband and I have to have two different flavors, different proportions and calories, and keeps us both getting our daily nutrients.

The NINJA can be purchased with just the individual smoothie container, or you can order the entire system with a variety of blades, etc…like I did.  Only you know how much cooking you do.  I promise you that I am cooking more, healthier and different things now that I have the NINJA as it has made my life easier.

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iPad (Black)

…Be sure to document all the passwords, usernames, etc… several places for your loved one so anyone can help them access their iPad.

As time goes by you can get them acquainted with FaceTime and messaging allowing them to keep up with others. We bought the monthly wireless internet package through AT&T for one set of parents who have no interest in cable, streaming or in-home wi-fi. For my 91 year old Dad who has wi-fi in his home we have set up Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu allowing him to enjoy the freedom to watch what he wants when he wants – however at the end of the day it is the Las Vegas style slots that he loves playing the best.

For my Dad who likes to play games and watch movies we got the larger memory iPad. For our parents who only use for pictures and random internet surfing we got them the 16 GB instead of the 64GB.

Regardless, the main tip here is to fully set up the iPad. When you are not tech savvy the thought of setting up the iPad to be useful can be overwhelming which often means the iPad is left in the box or on the counter. Make it a fun experience for the loved one in your life.

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Medicare 2016 Costs


The Medicare 2016 costs are out! We’ve updated our Medicare fact sheet to reflect the new numbers, and we invite you to download it and share (link below).

Medicare 2016 Costs

This is a breakdown of the Medicare 2016 costs, and the related comparison costs for 2015:

Part A premium Most people don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A because they have enough eligible quarters of employment. If you don’t, you’ll pay up to $411 in 2016 ($407 in 2015).
Part A hospital inpatient deductible and coinsurance  You pay:

  • $1,288 deductible for each benefit period ($1,260 in 2015)
  • Days 1-60: $0 coinsurance for each benefit period
  • Days 61-90: $322 coinsurance per day ($315 in 2015)
  • Days 91 and beyond: $644 coinsurance ($630 in 2015) per each “lifetime reserve day” (up to 60 days in a lifetime) after day 90 for each benefit period
  • Beyond lifetime reserve days: all costs
Part B premium Most people (current beneficiaries who receive SS and are not subject to the income adjustments) pay $104.90 each month (unchanged from 2015).*
Part B deductible and coinsurance $166 per year ($147 in 2015). After your deductible is met, you typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services, outpatient therapy, and medical equipment.
Part C (Medicare Advantage) premium These costs vary by plan.
Part D premium Premiums and coverage vary by plan. Higher income individuals pay more.

*If you were not previously enrolled in Medicare Part B, do not receive Social Security or are dual-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, the standard benefit for 2016 is $121.80 (dual-eligibles’ costs are picked up by the state’s Medicaid program, however). Higher income individuals ($85,000 for individuals, $170,000 for couples, based on your tax return from two years ago) pay an adjusted amount, up to $335.70.

When eligible for Part A Skilled Nursing Facility coverage following a qualifying hospital stay, the co-pays are as follows:

  • Days 1–20: $0 for each benefit period.
  • Days 21–100: $161 coinsurance per day of each benefit period ($157.50 in 2016).

To read more about Medicare costs 2016 and get a concise overview of Medicare’s parts and coverage, download our free 2016 Medicare fact sheet.

Contact our healthcare advocates at 727-447-5845 for personalized Medicare advice today! Time’s running out for the open enrollment period to analyze how you might save money on Medicare costs in 2016 and make change.

We’re here to help you and your family age wisely and well.

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Discharge Planning News


hospital discharge planning

As advocates for our elder loved ones, we need to be particularly aware of the potential risks they face during and after a hospitalization. More attention is being paid to discharge planning and hospital readmissions in recent years and efforts are being made to improve care coordination and discharge planning.

Thanks to Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.* who recently shared this news on proposed changes to discharge planning regulations (published November 3, 2015).

Proposed changes in Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for hospitals generally require:
  • Development and implementation of an effective discharge planning process that focuses on patients’ goals and preferences, and prepares patients and their caregivers/support person(s) to be active partners in post-discharge care
  • Planning for care that is consistent with patients’ goals for care and treatment preferences
  • Effective transition of patients from hospitals to post-discharge care
  • Reducing factors leading to preventable hospital readmissions

The proposed regulations require the discharge planning process to be applied to all inpatients, patients under observation status, outpatients undergoing surgery or procedures in which they receive anesthesia or moderate sedation, ER patients identified by discharge planning policies, and any other categories of outpatients recommended by the medical staff/specified in the hospital discharge planning policies.

In addition, hospitals will also be required to do the following:

  • Discharge planning processes must require regular re-evaluation of patients’ conditions to identify changes that require modification of discharge plans. Discharge plans must also be updated on an as-needed basis.
  • Practitioners responsible for patient care must be involved in the ongoing process of establishing patients’ goals of care and treatment preferences.
  • Hospitals must also consider patients’, caregiver/support persons’ and community-based caregivers’ capabilities to perform necessary care.
Specifically hospitals would be required to consider the following when evaluating patients’ discharge planning needs:
  • Admitting diagnosis (or registration reason)
  • Relevant co-morbidities, medical history
  • Anticipated ongoing care needs
  • Readmission risk
  • Relevant psychosocial history
  • Communication needs, including language barriers, diminished hearing and eyesight, and self-reported literacy of patients/ patients’ representatives or caregivers
  • Patients’ access to services and community-based care providers
  • Patients’ goals and preferences

In addition, patients and caregivers must be involved in the development of discharge plans and informed of final plans to prepare them for post-discharge.

Hospitals must also assist patients and their families or representatives to select post-acute providers by using and sharing data on quality measures for home health agencies, nursing facilities, inpatient rehab facilities and long-term care hospitals. Data must be relevant and applicable to patients’ goals and treatment preferences.

Discharge planning evaluations must be documented, completed on a timely basis and included in patients’ medical records. There are a number of specified requirements under these proposed changes, hopefully with positive effects for you as a patient or caregiver. To receive emails from Elizabeth Hogue, Esq. email her at ElizabethHogue(at)

We’ll keep you updated on the latest discharge planning news and tips. For more information about discharge planning check out:

Safe Discharge Planning for Your Elderly Loved Ones
Hospital Discharge Planning Checklist
Reducing Hospital Readmissions: Senior Care in Discharge Planning

Contact our team at 727-447-5845 for questions or assistance with discharge planning and all aspects of aging wisely and well.

Excerpted from information by Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq., ©2015 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.  All rights reserved.

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Scams Targeting Veterans


Unfortunately, elders are the targets of many scammers who see them as easy targets and know they often have money in the bank. For more information and tips on protecting your elder loved ones from scams, check out Top 10 Scams Against the Elderly and Tips for Fraud Prevention. There are some scams specifically targeted to or related to veterans, so today we bring you some top scams targeting veterans to watch for as well as tips about what to do to try and avoid being scammed. We encourage you to share these with your loved ones who are veterans (and share our gratitude for their service!).

scams targeting veterans

Top Scams Targeting Veterans

  1. Fake discounts for veterans. Obviously, some organizations offer genuine veterans’ discounts and specials, but others will offer false deals which may cause a veteran more money or serve to build trust so the vet leaves his/her guard down. Check carefully and comparison shop offers with and without special discounts.
  2. Phishing. This is one of the most common scams targeting veterans and many other groups. This is a way for someone to get personal information to steal your identity or perpetrate fraud against you, by making you believe it is a legitimate request for information. People may have experienced this when a scammer posed as a financial institution or government organization. In the case of phishing scams targeting veterans, the person (or email) may claim to be from the Veteran’s Administration needing to update records. Never give out personal information to someone who reaches out to you. You can always contact the organization directly to find out if they need something.
  3. Requiring payment for military records. This involves veterans being tricked into paying for access to documents that they can get for free. Once again, check directly with the VA if you need documents or have questions to find out about what’s available and charges. For our Florida veterans, we highly recommend the county Veterans Services Office where employees are available to answer your questions and assist you in navigating the Veterans Administration and benefits. Contact our team for help with this and other resources!
  4. Bad investment advice or frauds related to investment. Investment advisors may target veterans, saying that they specialize in helping Vets or even calling themselves “Veterans Advocates”. This can be legitimate, but others may offer inappropriate investment vehicles for you or even may flat out try to steal from the person. Similarly, others offer “free help” with applying for veteran’s benefits, usually targeting selling you investments that may not be in your best interests (and might disqualify you for other benefits such as Medicaid, even in the future).  If you have a trusted investment advisor, talk to them before making changes. Regardless, do your research into any investment assistance or advice you receive.

Scams Related to Veterans

  1. Charity Scams. False charities (or very poorly managed charities with high overhead going to salaries and perks for those involved) may solicity money from you. Those related to veterans may be especially busy around key times like Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, etc. Check
  2. Fraudsters posing as servicemen/veterans. The Nigerian email scams in which someone tries to get money from the individual with false claims such as lottery winnings or a relative in need are fairly well known (but remain successful) but now scammers also pose as a lonely serviceman looking for love or a veteran in need of assistance. Never wire money to anyone you don’t know and ignore unverified emails/requests.

For more information and resources:

Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force information for servicemen/Veterans
Consumer Protection Bureau

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News Update: Possible Relief on 2016 Medicare Premium Increase


2016 Medicare news update

As we shared in our recent post, some Medicare beneficiaries could be facing a steep hike in their 2016 Medicare premiums. Part B premium increases are tied to Social Security COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment), and since there will be no COLA in 2016 (announced October 15th) most (about 70%) of Medicare recipients fall under the “hold harmless” protection and will not pay more. However, the remaining 30% (those not receiving Social Security, new Medicare enrollees, and high income individuals) could be facing a base rate increase of 52% (from $104.90 to $159.30) on their 2016 Medicare B premium. The premium scales higher based on 2014 income (up to $509.80).

The potentially good news is that a bipartisan budget proposal which recently passed in the House of Representatives would offer relief for these 30% of Medicare recipients*. Under this budget, the 2016 Medicare premium increase would be reduced to about a 14% increase. In this proposal, the costs for Part B would be covered by a treasury loan, gradually paid back by incremental Medicare premium increases.

There are some other provisions in this budget that might affect you or your loved ones. First, on a positive note, it addresses potential cuts to Social Security disability payments, by reallocating some of the payroll taxes to this program. On a less positive note, some households may be losing Social Security benefits (those receiving benefits under a spouse, ex-spouse or parent’s work record…if that person has suspended his/her benefits).

Get all your 2016 Medicare News!

We will keep you updated on the progress of this bill and other 2016 Medicare news. We invite you to sign up to be one of the first to receive our 2016 Medicare fact sheet, as well as our monthly insider tips.

You may want to read our article about Medicare 2016 open enrollment as well.

*Update: The bill was passed in the Senate.

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Payment Concerns
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Find out if its time to seek help for your loved one.

Aging in Place
How to keep a loved one safe at home, and when it may be time to consider assisted living.

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