With Thanksgiving just behind us, the arguments over the proper time to decorate for the next holiday are in full swing. But whatever your Winter Solstice holiday — be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Pancha Ganapati, or anything else — it’s a great time of year to volunteer for the elderly, and it’s not too early to start planning. SeniorCare.com has put together a list of ways and places to volunteer in 50 of the largest cities, but even if your community isn’t on the list, you can still get involved.
Do you read any international newspapers? It’s often worth doing, just because of the news coverage you’ll find which for whatever reason doesn’t make the grade in U.S. publications. For instance, The Hong Kong Standard picked up this story from the AP wire: Fluad, a stronger seasonal flu vaccine, which was first approved internationally in 1997, and has long been available in Europe and Canada, was finally approved by the FDA for U.S. seniors, aged 65 and older. Ask your doctor.
A while ago, we reported on a big scam targeting the elderly, and hailing from Jamaica. Today, the Consumerist reports that for the first time, someone associated with this group has been tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison in U.S. federal court. This particular individual only accounted for 80 such victims, as far as the court could tell, but that still amounted to over $5 million in losses. Chalk one up for the good guys today, and enjoy your Thanksgiving tomorrow!
As we enter the holiday season, many Americans will be traveling quite a bit. For some, that’s just a drive to see local relatives; but for many, it can mean much longer trips, from elderly “snowbirds” heading to warm islands, to expats returning home to see family members. The U.S. State Department regularly issues travel warnings surrounding specific countries; however, global warnings are quite rare. Yesterday, they issued just such a global warning which extends through next February. There’s no need for immediate alarm. However, if you or your loved ones are traveling internationally this holiday season, you should read the alert and exercise appropriate caution. Safe travels, everyone.
As a general rule, Republicans are for cutting taxes. Somewhat more surprisingly, Clinton has come out with proposed tax cuts targeting the middle class as a way to differentiate herself from the other Democrat nominees. And of particular interest to readers of this blog, one such tax cut is targeting caregivers of elderly and disabled family members. This continues Clinton’s recent theme of assisting adults “caught in the middle” and needing to care both for children and aging parents.
The imminent demise of social security has been forecast for so long that any news on that front always feels a little like someone’s crying wolf. Nevertheless, the rapid and quickening retirement of the Baby Boomers probably does mean we should at least seriously look at the issue. The New York Times points out that many politicians on both sides of the aisle are looking at a national VAT (or consumption tax). Any new tax is always anathema in the U.S., but, what are your thoughts?
We all know the value of companionship, and for many people, particularly the elderly, that companionship can come in the form of a pet. But as we get older, circumstances sometimes intervene. The author of this article tells the story of her grandmother entering a nursing home where pets aren’t allowed. Fortunately for her, Hasbro has launched a line of commercially available “pets” — Joy For All Companion Pet [robots] for under $100. What do you think? Can a robot replace your cat?
The elderly join young adults, women, and low-income households as groups with the lowest levels of financial literacy, even in developed countries, according to S&P’s Global Financial Literacy Survey, as reported by Money magazine. Overall, the U.S. ranks 14th — about middle-of-the-pack against developed countries, and behind all other English language countries: Canada, Australia, the U.K., and New Zealand. Apparently, only 1/3rd of Americans over 50 could answer all three of these basic questions. How well do you do?
Apparently, there exist companies that will negotiate your bills for you — and apparently one of their key target markets is senior citizens. How would that work? Well, if, for example, your cable bill has been slowly creeping up the past few years, then they’ll call the cable company for you and negotiate on your behalf. It sounded a little strange to us — and clearly you’d want to avoid giving out personal information to any unknown service, but U.S. News & World Report gives the pros and cons of the larger, more reputable companies.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the beginning of a trend in Silicon Valley to start targeting the elderly as a huge market opportunity for start-ups. But it’s not just the latest app that could be big money by going after seniors. According to a summary of their market research report, TMR believes that the elderly and disabled assistive devices market could near $20 billion before the end of the decade. The biggest share? Hearing aids. With the growing elderly population, there may be all sorts of opportunities for the astute investor.