The Official Newspaper for Foster County

Articles written by Jim Miller


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  • Savvy Senior: Kitchen ideas for aging-in-place

    Jim Miller|Jul 22, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, My 77-year-old mother, who loves to cook has had several kitchen-related accidents over the past year. What tips can you recommend for making a kitchen safer and more practical for seniors, without doing a big expensive remodel. Inquiring Daughter Dear Inquiring, There are a number of small improvements and simple modifications you can do that can make a big difference in making your mom’s kitchen safer and easier to maneuver. Depending on her needs, here are some tips for d...

  • Savvy Senior: How to prevent and treat macular degeneration

    Jim Miller|Jul 15, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Is macular degeneration hereditary? My mother lost much of her vision from it before she died, and now at age 65, I’m concerned I may get it too. What can you tell me? Brown Eyed Betty Dear Betty, Unfortunately, having a parent or sibling with macular degeneration does indeed increase your risk of getting it by three to four times. But the good news is there are things you can do to protect your eyesight, and a number of treatments that are available if you do happen to get i...

  • Savvy Senior: How to hire a caregiver for in-home help

    Jim Miller|Jul 8, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, I need to hire a good in-home caregiver to help my elderly father who lives alone. What’s the best way to do this? Searching Sarah Dear Sarah, Finding a good in-home caregiver for an elderly parent is not always easy. How can you find one that’s reliable and trustworthy, as well as someone your parent likes and is comfortable with? Here are some tips that can help. Know His Needs Before you start the task of looking for an in-home caregiver, your first step is to det...

  • Savvy Senior: Do you need a digital will?

    Jim Miller|Jul 1, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, My wife and I had our estate plan – including a will, power of attorney and advance directive – drawn up about 10 years ago but have recently read that our plan should include a digital will too. What can you tell us about this? Almost 80 Dear Almost, If you or your wife spend much time online, adding a separate digital will document to your estate plan that provides a list of your digital assets would be extremely helpful to your loved ones when you die, not to mention it...

  • Savvy Senior: Can you stop and restart Social Security benefits?

    Jim Miller|Jun 24, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can I stop my Social Security retirement benefits and restart them later to get a bigger payment? I recently got a nice unexpected inheritance, so don’t need the money from Social Security right now. If possible, I would like to suspend my benefits and restart them at age 70. Do-over Dan Dear Dan, Yes, there are actually two different strategies that allow Social Security beneficiaries to undo their claiming decision. But to be eligible, there are certain conditions y...

  • Savvy Senior: Dreading a colonoscopy? There are alternatives

    Jim Miller|Jun 17, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Are there any easier alternatives to a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer? I just turned 60 and my wife keeps nagging me to get tested, but I hate the idea of drinking that laxative solution and being sedated for the procedure. Squeamish Steven Dear Steven, While a colonoscopy remains the most accurate screening test for detecting colon cancer (94 percent accurate), there are other easier – although less accurate – tests available. But be aware that if the result of one...

  • Savvy Senior: Long-term care benefits for veterans and spouses

    Jim Miller|Jun 10, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, I understand that the Veterans Administration has a benefit that can help veterans and spouses with long-term care costs. We recently had to move my elderly father into an assisted living memory care facility, and my mother will probably need care, too, in the near future. What can you tell me? Searching for Aid Dear Searching, The Veterans Administration (VA) does indeed have an underutilized benefit that can help wartime veterans and their surviving spouses pay for a...

  • Savvy Senior: How to find reliable health information online

    Jim Miller|Jun 3, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, How can I tell if the health info on a website is trustworthy? I usually do a Google search on a symptom, drug or health condition when I want to research something, but with so much information out there I’m not sure what I can trust. Skeptical Sal Dear Sal, You’re wise to be skeptical! There’s an overwhelming amount of health advice on the internet today and it can be hard to tell what’s credible. To help you sort through the online clutter and locate reliable, trustwo...

  • Savvy Senior: Financial and legal resources for grandparents raising grandchildren

    Jim Miller|May 20, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Are there any programs that you can refer me to that financially help grandparents who are raising their grandkids? I’m raising two of my grandchildren and could use some help. Tapped Out Tonya Dear Tonya, Money is a common problem for the nearly 2.4 million U.S. grandparents who are raising their grandchildren today. To help with the day-to-day expenses, there are a wide variety of programs and tax benefits that can make a big difference in stretching your budget. Here’s whe...

  • Savvy Senior: Ways to make gardening easier as you age

    Jim Miller|May 13, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, What gardening tips can you offer to older seniors? I love to putter around and work in the garden, but my back and knees have caused me to curtail my gardening activities, which I miss greatly. Older Gardner Dear Older, There’s no doubt that gardening can be hard on an aging body. Joints stiffen up, kneeling for prolonged periods hurts, and bending and reaching can strain muscles. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your hobby. You just need to garden differently, add...

  • Savvy Senior: How to find a good quality doctor

    Jim Miller|May 6, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can you recommend some good resources to help me locate some quality doctors in my area? I’m looking for an orthopedic doctor for my 77-year-old mother and a new internist for me, since my doctor retired last year. Searching Susan Dear Susan, Finding and researching doctors is a lot easier than it used to be. Today, there are variety of websites you can turn to that provide databases of U.S. doctors, their professional medical histories, and ratings and reviews from past p...

  • Savvy Senior: How to find affordable Internet services?

    Jim Miller|Apr 29, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, I was recently notified that the Affordable Connectivity Program, which subsidizes my monthly internet bill, is about to end. What are my options for finding affordable home internet services now? I’m 71 years old and live primarily on my Social Security benefits. Barely Getting By Dear Barely, It’s unfortunate, but without additional funding from Congress, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is winding down and will end in mid-May. For those that aren’t familiar with...

  • Savvy Senior: Healthy travel tips for older travelers

    Jim Miller|Apr 22, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, What tips can you offer retirees with health issues who are planning some trips? We’ve been looking forward to traveling again after staying home the past few years, but my husband has a heart condition and some back problems that worry me. Concerned Wife Dear Concerned, A dream vacation can turn into a real nightmare if you get ill or injured while you’re away and aren’t prepared. Before setting out, here are some tips to help ensure a safe and healthy trip for you and your...

  • Savvy Senior: Choosing a senior community that offers all levels of care

    Jim Miller|Apr 15, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can you help me identify some good senior living communities that offers all levels of housing and care from independent living to nursing home care? I am in my late seventies and know I need to downsize from my current house, but I want my next move to be my last. One Move Mary Dear Mary, If you want your next move to be your last, an all-inclusive retirement community – also known as a continuing-care retirement community (or CCRC) – is a great option to consider. Here’s wha...

  • Savvy Senior: Recommended vaccines for Medicare recipients

    Jim Miller|Apr 8, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, My husband and I recently turned 65 and would like to find out which vaccines are recommended and covered by Medicare? New Beneficiaries Dear New, All recommended vaccines for adults, age 65 and older, should be covered by either Medicare Part B or Part D, but there are some coverage challenges you should be aware of. Here’s a rundown of which vaccines are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and how Medicare covers them. Covid-19: Even though C...

  • Savvy Senior: Best cell phones for seniors

    Jim Miller|Apr 1, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can you recommend some good cell phones for seniors? My 79-year-old mother needs to get a new mobile phone and has asked me to help her find one that she would like. Searching Daughter Dear Searching, For older adults, choosing a cell phone is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Some seniors love the latest high-tech smartphones with high-megapixel cameras, while others prioritize simple phones with basic functions. So, the best cell phone for your mom will depend on her comf...

  • Savvy Senior: Who should be screened for lung cancer?

    Jim Miller|Mar 25, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Who should be screened for lung cancer and how it’s covered by Medicare? I used to smoke but quit many years ago and am wondering if I need to be tested. Just Turned 65 Dear Just Turned, Even if you haven’t touched a cigarette in decades, you could still be due for an annual lung cancer screening, based on new recommendations from the American Cancer Society (ACS). The new guidelines state that adults ages 50 to 80 who currently smoke or used to smoke the equivalent of one...

  • Savvy Senior: How to tap underutilized burial benefits for veterans

    Jim Miller|Mar 18, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, What types of funeral benefits are available to old veterans? My 83-year-old father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, served during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Planning Ahead Dear Planning, Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration actually offers a variety of underutilized burial benefits to veterans as well as their spouses and dependents. Most U.S. veterans (both combat and non-combat) who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge are eligible for b...

  • Savvy Senior: How to get 'extra help' paying for prescriptions

    Jim Miller|Mar 11, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Does Medicare offer any financial assistance programs to help seniors with their medication costs? I recently enrolled in a Medicare drug plan, but I take some expensive medications that have high out-of-pocket costs and need some help. Living on a Shoestring Dear Living, Yes, there’s a low-income subsidy program called Extra Help that assists Medicare beneficiaries on a tight budget by paying for their monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments related to their Med...

  • Savvy Senior: Dividing personal possessions without dividing the family

    Jim Miller|Mar 4, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Do you have any suggestions on divvying up my personal possessions to my kids after I’m gone without causing hard feelings or conflict? I have a lot of jewelry, art, family heirlooms and antique furniture, and four grown kids that don’t always see eye-to-eye on things. Conflicted Parent Dear Conflicted, Divvying up personal possessions among adult children or other loved ones can often be a tricky task. Deciding who should get what without showing favoritism, hurting som...

  • Savvy Senior: Do I need to file a tax return this year?

    Jim Miller|Feb 26, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the IRS income tax filing requirements for retirees this tax season? I didn’t file a tax return the past two years because my income was below the filing threshold, but I got a part-time job late last year, so I’m wondering if I’m required to file this year. Retired Worker Dear Retired, Whether or not you are required to file a federal income tax return this year will depend on how much you earned last year (in 2023), as well as the source of the income, your age a...

  • Savvy Senior: Does Medicare cover weight-loss treatments?

    Jim Miller|Feb 19, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Does Medicare cover any weight-loss treatments for overweight retirees? I just turned 65 and need to lose about 100 pounds and would like to know if Medicare can help. Overweight Owen Dear Owen, Yes, traditional Medicare does indeed cover some weight-loss treatments like counseling and certain types of surgery for overweight beneficiaries, but unfortunately it doesn’t cover weight-loss programs or medications. Here’s what you should know. Who’s Eligible For benef...

  • Savvy Senior: Keeping older drivers safe on the road

    Jim Miller|Feb 12, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, What safety tips can you recommend for older drivers? My 86-year-old mother, who still drives herself, had a fender bender last month and I worry about her safety. Back Seat Daughter Dear Back Seat, With more and more older Americans driving well into their 70s, 80s and beyond, there are a variety of things your mom can do to help maintain and even improve her driving skills. Here are some recommendations by driving rehabilitation specialists that work with older drivers. Get...

  • Savvy Senior: How to fight back against age discrimination

    Jim Miller|Feb 5, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the steps to take to fight against age discrimination in the workplace, and where can I turn to for help if I think I’ve got a case? Passed Over Paul Dear Paul, If you believe your age has cost you in the workplace — whether it’s a job, a promotion, or a raise — you have options for fighting back. Here’s what you should know along with some steps to take against this illegal workplace activity. ADEA Protection The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is your fi...

  • Savvy Senior: What you need to know about Medicare spouse coverage

    Jim Miller|Jan 29, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior, Are spouses who have not worked outside the home eligible for Medicare benefits? I have worked most of my adult life, but my wife has been a mother and homemaker since we got married and hasn’t held an income-producing job since she was in college. Will she be eligible for Medicare? Searching Spouse Dear Searching, There are many couples in your situation when it comes to applying for Medicare. The answer generally is yes, your spouse can qualify for Medicare on your work r...

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