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5 Tips to Help Seniors Saving for Retirement

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 28 percent of retirees feel they have enough money saved up for their retirement. It’s probably safe to assume that the rest of those folks are dealing with a significant amount of stress.

The older we get, the harder it is to pull in any income, meaning that your sunset years could be obscured by a stormy horizon. Not to fear, though—there are several things seniors can do to generate more cash, or spend less of it, after they’ve retired. Check out these five tips.

1. Cut Your Food CostsTips to Help Seniors Saving for Retirement

If you’re not clipping coupons from the Sunday paper to save on groceries, start now. It’s a tried-and-true method of conserving funds, and it’s just as effective as it was when you were younger. If you know your way around a smartphone, try out apps like Grocery Pal and Checkout 51. Like to eat out at restaurants? Visit deal-of-the-day websites like Groupon and LivingSocial to get 50-percent-off vouchers for restaurant trips.

2. Get Healthier

According to Fidelity, the average 65-year-old couple who retired last year can plan on spending $220,000 on healthcare expenses throughout their retirement. Although I don’t dispute that number, I firmly believe it’s possible to spend significantly less. Join the YMCA (the Silver Sneakers program may be offered for free) or start a workout program at home. Get active and you can not only live longer, you can lower your health insurance costs, to boot.

3. Reduce Entertainment Expenses

My mom is 82 years old. Sure, she could spend her money on theater tickets and fancy restaurants, but instead she invites all of her kids over every other Saturday for a fun game night—a great, inexpensive way to spend time with the ones she loves.

You can also save money by cutting the cable cord and signing up for Hulu Plus or Netflix. Or, rent movies from Redbox for a little more than $1 per day. There are countless ways to cut your entertainment costs during retirement, so don’t let pricier options fritter away at your nest egg.

4. Save on Travel

Use websites like BookingBuddy or CheapOair to track flight prices and save on airfare. Your preferred airline’s website may also offer a cheap rate that won’t necessarily be advertised elsewhere. Travel during the week when possible, book your flights from Monday through Thursday when most sales are going on, and combine luggage to save on checked bag fees.

5. Get Rid of a Car

Got two cars? You probably don’t need both of them. Even if you only have one, though, think seriously about selling it. If your neighborhood has a decent public transit system, you might be able to get around without a set of wheels altogether. You can not only save on gas by making this move, but also insurance, upkeep and a variety of other expenses associated with automobile ownership.

Drumming up extra money during retirement isn’t an easy task. Banking institutions are not going to offer you retirement loans, and your kids are probably dealing with their own financial difficulties. Do what you can today to drum up more money for your golden years and you just might find that the retirement you’re hoping for is within reach.

What other tips do you know of for retirees who need more money?

Martin Davis writes about senior living, retirement savings, investing, and smart money management.

Overcoming the Roadblocks of Aging: The Surprising Lessons from “Downton Abbey”

The days of butlers, footmen and personal valets are long past, but technology can provide a great array of substitutes to make aging in place more comfortable and manageable than ever before. It’s almost as nice as having a staff at Downton Abbey.

How do today’s technologies measure up to living in the famed manse? See for yourself!

How to clean your home efficiently: Mrs. Hughes vs. Roomba

Mrs. Hughes is delightful—warm, loving and loyal. But when it comes to cleaning house, Roomba gives her and her staff of housemaids some good competition. The zippy robot 'Downton Abbey' vs. technologyvacuum traverses your rooms to pick up dirt, hair and dust without complaint. When it needs charging, it heads over to its docking station for a rest. You hardly know it’s around, except that your floors are free of debris!

How to entertain yourself: Miss Sarah O’Brien vs. Netflix

Lady’s maids are a great help around the chamber—and an even better source of gossip and company. Today, seniors have Netflix to take O’Brien’s place. For only $8.99 a month, the world’s entertainment is at your fingertips. OK, so the TV cannot make your bed and brush your hair. But in terms of entertaining you without fail, and without getting tired, “Orange is the New Black” cannot be beat!

How to get from point A to point B: Tom Branson vs. Uber

Private drivers are the ultimate luxury. If you were Lady Grantham, you could summon your footman to ready your carriage and to run you across town. But having a private driver is hardly a thing of the past. Uber, a car service accessible to anyone with a smartphone, provides you with an army of private drivers who are ready to run you just about anywhere your heart desires. They are, as they say, “Everyone’s private driver.” Plus, you never have to worry about Uber running away with your daughter.

What’s wrong with me, doctor? Dr. Clarkson vs. HealthTap

Dr. Clarkson is the well-meaning Crawley family doctor. Unfortunately, he’s often proven incorrect. Rather than taking the word of one physician, modern seniors can trust the wisdom of crowds. HealthTap gives you free access to advice from thousands of trusted doctors, available 24/7/365. Ask any question free and anonymously. Pay a monthly subscription and you will get unlimited live consultations with physicians. Doctors can now make house calls through your phone and computer.

Cooking for seniors at home: Mrs. Beryl Patmore vs. the Yummly app and your microwave

You have to love dear old Mrs. Patmore and her sumptuous feasts! When the ingredients fail or work of the younger cooks falter, Mrs. Patmore unleashes her fury. Imagine how much easier her life would be if she could use her smartphone and the Yummly app like modern seniors can. Yummly helps search for recipes by ingredient, course and taste preference. Missing ingredients? Yummly can understand which ingredients you have and suggest the perfect recipe for what’s in your fridge.

On top of that, today’s seniors have an advantage Mrs. Patmore lacked—a microwave to speed their culinary creations! It cooks quickly, evenly, and without reliance on heated elements or hot surfaces that pose safety risks. It offers unprecedented convenience and luxury.

Conclusion

Downton runs into trouble because the Earl of Grantham is slow to embrace new technology. Luckily, he has smart daughters and a large staff to help him overcome life’s roadblocks. Learn from his mistakes; embrace these new technologies and make aging in place a breeze.

Shayne Fitz-Coy is the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company headquartered in Williamsport, Pa., with offices nationwide. Shayne has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harvard College and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Shayne hails from Maryland, and now calls the Bay Area home.

 

Celebrate National Assisted Living Week with SeniorHomes.com!

By 2020, there will be an estimated 21 million seniors who are 75 and older in the United States. Behind this number will be families grappling with how to care for loved ones. When a family member needs support, it is instinctive to turn inward, for families to support each other and find the solution within the family. Yet that is often overlooking the support an outside partner can play in lessening the burden for all involved and making life a bit easier.

Many people still think that assisted living communities are nursing homes—and this could not be more wrong. Assisted living communities are filled with seniors National Assisted Living Week - Logo
in their 80s, 90s, and some even celebrating the century mark, who are still active and living independent lives. They visit zoos, attend plays and even kayak down a local river. The only difference which sets these seniors apart from their younger 60s and 70s counterparts is the need of supportive assistance to retain their independence.

This is why SeniorHomes.com is proud to recognize National Assisted Living Week, which runs from Sept. 7-13. The National Center for Assisted Living started National Assisted Living Week in 1995 to celebrate and honor relationships between residents, families and the dedicated staff members who provide person-centered care each and every day.

Every week we work with more than 1,000 consumers, answering their questions about what is assisted living and matching them to communities which deliver this person-centered care. And we partner with the most reputable senior living companies across the nation so families have options that will fit every budget and every state.

“We are proud of the role we play in helping seniors and families find the best community possible,” says Chris Rodde, CEO of SeniorHomes.com. “Our care advisors take the time to know each consumer and learn what type of support and lifestyle is wanted. Every week we receive a ‘thank you,’ whether from a senior or their family, for the help we provided in matching them to a community. Many never knew how rewarding life could be after moving into a community.”

We invite you to join SeniorHomes.com in recognizing National Assisted Living Week.

Are Marketers Missing the Mark When It Comes to Baby Boomers?

Marketing

Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods and services.  In fact, with Baby Boomers accounting for 35% of the American adult population and the 55+ age group controlling more than ¾ of America’s wealth, you would think that they would continue to be a marketer’s dream.  These facts and statistics support Steve Gillon’s claim in Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation Ever, and How It Changed America that almost from the time they were conceived, Baby Boomers were dissected, analyzed, and pitched to by modern marketers who reinforced the sense of generational distinctiveness.

So, with all of the Baby Boomers’ control over personal financial assets and consumer spending in the United States, why is Peter Hubbell, CEO of the BoomAgers ad agency, telling marketers to wake up when it comes to Baby Boomers and arguing in his new book that boomers are a bust for most brands today?

In a recent interview with Richard Eisenberg for Forbes, Hubbell explains that every time he goes out and speaks, boomers tell him they are really frustrated about advertising, and some are angry.  They see ads with pop culture icons they don’t even know selling brands they have been buying for years, and they’ve had enough.  Hubbell admits that he has switched his jeans allegiance to J.L. Powell from Levi’s because he is out of Levi’s marketing cohort, with ads featuring “tattooed kids with messy hair, ripped clothing and pierced skin making out in the back of the car.”

Hubbell contends that Madison Avenue only worships consumers until age 50 and then ignores them.  But, with the beginning of the new era that Hubbell has coined “The Age of Aging,” the last of the boomers will turn 50 and leave the portion of market that advertisers have declared matters most: ages 18 to 49.  He firmly holds that marketers need to “get old” because in a few short years there will be more people over age 65 than under age 5 for the first time in world history, and there is “no other global trend that will do more to affect global economies than The Age of Aging.”

Baby Boomers

If marketers are going to do it right, they are going to have to understand that boomers desire to be current and have “FOMO – a Fear of Missing Out.”  A recent Transamerica Retirement Survey found that 65% of boomers either plan to work past 65 or don’t plan to retire, yet few employers are helping their older employees transition to semi-retirement.  Only 21% of the survey respondents said their firms have a program in place to help employees shift from full- to part-time.  And, only 41% of boomers said they’ve kept their skills current, which would be another huge business opportunity for companies that could help boomers stay current with their skills.  Another way companies could benefit would be designing eldercare benefits for employees.

Jim Gilmartin, an expert on marketing and sales to boomers and a principal at Coming of Age, which provides interactive/online marketing services to clients eager to connect with boomers and senior customers, shares many of Hubbell’s sentiments.  He noticed Baby Boomers were being dismissed by Super Bowl ads and devised seven boomer attributes that advertisers should keep in mind to attract lucrative boomer customers:

1.    We demand facts – Boomers want more facts and less hyperbole.

2.    First impressions are more likely to be permanent compared with younger consumers – Boomers react more quickly with negativity and lack of interest than people in their 20s and 30s.  Positive first impressions often result in more faithful boomer customers.

3.    We’re less self-oriented and more altruistic than the younger generation, too – Boomers have a shift toward stronger spiritual values and a greater concern for others; remember, our narcissistic and materialistic values wane in influence.

4.    We spend more time making purchasing decisions – Boomers often ignore time-stamped offers, so don’t bother with the “offer good until…” business.

5.    We see fewer differences between competing products – Boomers typically believe most items in a category are basically the same.

6.    We’re less sensitive to price and more sensitive to value – Boomers combine our spiritual, intellectual, and tangible values when deciding if a product is worth buying; the purchase experience becomes a projection of our whole being.

7.    We’re interested in much more than just a product’s features and benefits – Emotions are the driving forces behind boomers’ purchasing decisions.

So, boomers don’t want to be younger.  They don’t want to be ignored.  They don’t want to be thought of as being less valuable or opposed to new choices and behaviors.  And they certainly don’t want to be treated like the younger demographic because their boomer generation is a brand in itself.  Learning something new and doing something new makes boomers happiest, because they are able to feel smarter, younger, modern, and current.  And this is where companies need to direct their marketing if they are going to reap the potential benefits of The Age of Aging.

Images via Flickr by 401(k) and Quinn Dombrowski
Post by Angela Stringfellow

What the Obama Administration is Doing to Help America’s Caregivers

The Affordable Care Act, initiated by the Obama Administration in 2009, will have certain effects on in-home caregiving. Those that are interested in finding out more may want to discuss the changes with their local health care exchange or expert, as they are quite extensive.

The White House

Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

But in general, the Affordable Care Act makes it easier to get quality health care at a lower cost, and this includes in-home caregiving and care transitions.

Less Expensive, More Benefits

Patients will no longer be able to be denied by their insurance regarding pre-existing health conditions, there will be no coverage caps and prescription costs will be far lower. This is good news for those with in-home caregivers, as many of them were previously affected by these issues.

On the health care side, more funding will be going to direct care workers and family caregivers for elderly patients. The changes made by the Affordable Care Act make it less expensive for most people, especially older adults aged 55-65, to get health care and make preventative health care largely free.

Improve Training for Care Workers

Apart from the benefits for individuals, the Affordable Care Act is projected to bolster the long-term care workforce overall, with training programs that will support these valued workers. Not only do these workers contribute to long-term care in general, but they are also invaluable resources for caregivers that need additional help. States are also encouraged by the Affordable Care Act to expand their current resource offerings under Medicaid.

Resources are being offered to help caregivers make better choices regarding the care of their patients, such as the development of aging and disability centers that will help individuals make difficult decisions regarding care.

Protecting Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

Finally, the Affordable Care Act includes some provisions for protecting those that are currently residing in long-term care facilities. These long-term care changes include increases in reporting and compliance necessary for nursing homes, requiring abuse prevention training and changes in the way nursing home closures and transfers are currently handled. These changes meant to address issues in long-term care elder abuse that have arisen in recent years. Quality of care issues are being regulated more under the Affordable Care Act for the safety of patients.

The Affordable Care Act is undoubtedly a positive thing for many caregivers and their loved ones as it gives them a larger pool of wealth and knowledge from which to draw. Seniors will find that they have significantly more coverage and family caregivers will have a larger set of resources regarding their needs as a caregiver. Caregivers will be able to reach out to a variety of communities and departments for information and help regarding a large volume of caregiving topics.

The Top 6 Reasons Your Assisted Living Community Should Have a Dog

Elderly man with dogHaving a dog, or even multiple animals, in an assisted living facility is rapidly becoming an accepted practice for both the physical and mental health of residents. There are numerous incredible benefits to having a dog, many of which may not be immediately apparent.

1. Increase Physical Activity
An assisted living facility may quickly find that residents are more likely to go outdoors and become active when they know that they can interact with their shared companion. Something as simple as tossing a ball around the yard for a few hours may actually have a measurable impact on a resident’s health, and will get them out into the fresh air and sun.

2. Boost Mood
It’s a well-known, scientific fact that dogs, as well as cats, can be a fantastic mood booster and stress reliever. Having a dog around will balance out the emotions of your residents, and ensure that they are happier within the community. Having a companion around can give a senior a sense of purpose, and make them feel less alone.

3. Improve Health
By increasing the mood of residents overall, a dog can actually increase their health. Studies have shown that the physical health of a person can be affected by how happy and stress-free they feel; thus, having a dog could potentially augment both the length and quality of their lives. Pets have been known to decrease cholesterol levels as well as fight depression.

4. A Draw for Families
Children tend to get fussy when visiting assisted living communities, but having a friendly dog close at hand will distract them and allow for a better quality of visits. Children don’t always understand how important their visiting hours are, and a pet can help by giving them something additional to look forward to.

5. Smooth Transitions
Many of those entering into an assisted care facility may have had pets of their own in the past but may not be able to take care of them on their own any longer. Rather than having to yearn for the pet they once had, they can interact with and take care of a new pet but aren’t solely responsible for all the upkeep.

6. Less Upkeep
Pets are an intrinsic part of life, but a community may be wary of adding resident-owned pets to the mix for a variety of reasons; too many pets can contribute to allergies, they may not be properly taken care of and they may not always be safe.

10 Top Gifts for Your Parents in Assisted Living

Top 10 Gifts for your parent in assisted livingCelebrating birthdays and holidays with your elderly parents becomes more meaningful than ever before. That’s why you always want to give the perfect gift.

Space and physical limitations, however, make gift-giving challenging. Consider these 10 gifts that serve practical purposes and show your parents how much you love them.

1. Family Photo Albums
Your parents don’t have room to display dozens of framed family photos, but they will cherish a small family photo album. Make this gift even more memorable when you alternate pictures with journaling that tells who’s in the picture and what’s happening.

2. Beautician Gift Certificates
Everyone needs occasional haircuts, which makes beautician gift certificates perfect for your parents. In addition to giving certificates for on-site, community-based beautician services, consider finding a beautician who make makes house calls.

3. Appreciation Cards
Your parents need to know that you love and appreciate them. Write your heartfelt sentiments in a birthday or holiday card, and encourage your kids and siblings to do the same.

4. Special Outings
A trip to a favorite café, bookstore or park allows you and your parents to share a few memorable hours together. Plan this trip to occur on a birthday or surprise your parents with the outing for no reason at all.

5. Handheld, Electronic Games
Give your parents hours of entertainment and brain strengthening fun when you give them handheld, electronic games. Games like Scrabble, Tetris, Chess and Sudoku strengthen memory and keep your parents’ brains active. Plus, these games are fun and easy to carry from the living room to a waiting room.

6. Magazines
From pop culture to a favorite hobby, magazines entertain your parents. Your parents can then pass on the issues they’ve read to a neighbor or doctor’s office.

7. Non-slip Slippers
For late night visits to the bathroom and quick trips to a friend’s room, non-slip slippers provide solid footing and comfort. Be sure to select a design that’s easy for your parents to slip into and wash.

8. Extra Warm Layers
Help your parents stay comfortable and cozy in all kinds of weather when you give them a sweater, blanket or gloves. As a bonus, electric blankets and hand mitts soothe arthritis pain.

8. Specialty Pillows
A comfortable pillow can promote a good night’s sleep or cushion an aching back. Ask your parents if they would prefer a hard, soft, down, buckwheat or comfort foam pillow, and remember to buy a new pillowcase.

9. Professional Massage
Aches and pains plague many seniors. A massage may be just what the doctor ordered to provide gentle relief.

10. Snack Bags
Rigid meal times and dietary restrictions may limit the snacks your parents can eat. They’ll appreciate snack bags that include a variety of sugar-free candies and cookies, no-salt nuts, 90-calorie granola bars and rice cakes.

With these 10 top gifts, you meet your parents’ practical needs while showing them how much you love and appreciate them. Plan now to give these gifts for birthdays, holidays and special occasions year round.

Stop Paying Full Price – National Businesses Offering Senior Discounts

No matter where you live or travel, you can find businesses that are happy to offer discounted rates to those who are living out their golden years. Keeping these businesses in mind will help today’s seniors enjoy a full retirement, even while living on a tighter budget. From a meal to a hair cut, discounts for seniors are abundant.

Transportation

  • Stop Paying Full Price - National Business Offering Senior DiscountsAlamo
    Seniors with an AARP membership receive up to 25% off and unlimited mileage with Alamo car rentals.
  • Amtrak
    Seniors age 62 and over receive 15% off their ticket.
  • Avis
    AARP members receive up to 25% off car rentals.
  • Budget Rent-a-Car
    AARP members receive up to 20% off.
  • Enterprise
    Free upgrade and 5% off rental for AARP members.
  • Greyhound
    Those ages 62 and over get unrestricted passenger fares at a 5% discount.
  • Hertz
    AARP members receive up to 25% off on rental rates.
  • National Car Rental
    AARP members save up to 25%, and all seniors ages 50 and over have access to discounts.

Restaurants

  • Applebee’s
    Seniors who apply for the free Golden Apple Card receive a 10% discount.
  • Chili’s
    Participating locations offer a 10% discount to those ages 55 and up.
  • Denny’s
    Denny’s offers a substantial 20% off discount to AARP members from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. and $1 coffee all day long.
  • IHOP
    Those ages 55 and over receive a 10% discount at participating locations.
  • Landry Restaurants
    Includes Rainforest Café, Saltgrass Steakhouse, Bubba Gump, Chart House, Claim Jumper, Landry’s Seafood and other locations. Seniors can receive up to 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages for parties of six or fewer people.
  • Shoney’s
    Diners ages 60 and over receive 10% off daily.

Retailers

  • Banana Republic
    The chic senior age 50+ can get a 10% discount at most Banana Republic locations.
  • Goodwill
    Goodwill retail shops have a 10% discount day weekly for those ages 55 and over.
  • Harris Teeter
    With a store card, seniors ages 60 and over get 5% off on Thursdays.
  • Kohl’s
    Every Wednesday seniors ages 62 and older get a 15% discount at this popular department store.
  • Michael’s
    Tuesday discounts for those with AARP cards.
  • Tanger Outlets
    Seniors receive a free coupon book with discounts up to 20% off.

Entertainment

  • Regional Cinema
    Movie ticket discounts are available for seniors ages 60 and over.
  • U.S. National Parks
    Seniors can purchase a $10 America the Beautiful Senior Pass for free entrance to all national parks.

Travel/Lodging

  • Best Western
    A minimum of 10% off room rate for AARP members or patrons ages 55 and older. Other perks like late checkouts may be available.
  • Choice Hotels
    Choice Hotels chains offer a 10% Mature Travelers rate for the 50 and up crowd and a 20-30% discount for seniors 60 and over with advanced reservations.
  • DoubleTree
    Those ages 62 and over receive a senior discount.
  • Hampton Inn
    A 10% discount for AARP members on the best available rate.
  • Hyatt
    Up to 50% off for guests ages 62 and over at participating locations.
  • La Quinta
    La Quinta offers a senior discount for those ages 65 and older on top of a 10% off  discount for AARP members
  • Motel 6
    Seniors ages 60 and over receive 10% discounts at this budget hotel chain.
  • Marriott Hotels
    A 15% off discount for ages 62 and over.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
    AARP members who book nine months in advance can receive a 5% discount on their cruise.
  • Radisson
    Customers ages 60 and over receive 10% off the standard rate.
  • Starwood Hotels
    AARP members and those 50 and over receive up to 20% off the best rate.
  • Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
    AARP members receive up to 20% off, and non-members ages 50 and over receive 10% off.

Services

  • Jiffy Lube
    Many Jiffy Lube locations offer discounts for those age 55 and over.
  • SuperCuts
    Patrons age 60 and over receive $2 off their hair cuts.
  • Teleflora
    AARP members always receive a 20% discount.

The Last Stop: What Are the People Like?

The people I am living with at my Senior Residence decided on their own or with the help of their adult children to make this their “Last Stop”. The Last Stop Part 3: What are the people like?Actually Bob and I were pretty naive. We had a few acquaintances around the country that had made this kind of a move and they liked it.

Since our place was being built when we signed up, we didn’t even have a chance to look it over or see what out new friends would look like. In retrospect I realize it really was a leap of faith.

The move worked! I have lived at my CCRC for over five years and like it. Read on to know what my place is like so that if you make the Last Stop move, you will be more knowledgeable than Bob and I were.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”

Read more about the friends Margery has made along the way in “The Last Stop – Part 3: What Are the People Like?

Congratulations to Village Concepts Retirement Communities!

Village Concepts Retirement Communities - LogoSeniorHomes.com wants to congratulate Village Concepts Retirement Communities and the Brown Family for winning a Silver Award from Seattle Business Magazine’s “2013 Washington Family Business Awards.”

Since 1975, three generations of Brown family members have been building and operating senior homes throughout the Puget Sound and Central Washington regions. Village Concepts serves more than 1,100 elderly residents with personalized care and attention.

Find a Village Concepts Retirement Community near you!