Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Look For Dining Deals at Casinos

Frankly, I'm not a big casino person.  I'm prejudiced against putting gambling temptation in front of the many participants who often don't have the money to pay for rent, food or medical care.  And I'd rather put my own hard-earned cash into something I could use or into something that would help someone else.  

But enough of that soapbox talk.

Car-man and I just got back from a couple of days in Palm Springs.  Our son told us about the Spa Casino Steakhouse where you can get a fabulous 3-course dinner of  steak, prime rib, or salmon at bargain prices.   I shouldn't have been surprised that we couldn't get our preferred time for reservations.

But the wait was well worth it.   

Check out any casinos near you for a special occasion or for a nice dinner out--without severely damaging your pocketbook.  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mothers Day Gifts She's Sure to Love

From the latest in non-sticking brownie pans and interactive gaming systems to gift ideas that protect, serve and pamper Mom and Grandma, I've compiled a list of holiday gifts sure to bring pleasure to that special boomer or senior in your life!

1. Software for her computer.  Try Bridge Baron for the fanatic.  Make certain your are choosing one which is compatible with her PC or Mac.

2. Paper shredder.  This relatively inexpensive gift protects her from identity theft.

3. Fun and fitness with the Nintendo Wii.  Keep Mom, Grandma (even the kids and grandkids!) entertained in a healthy way with this interactive gaming system.

4. An over-the-bed table on casters feels luxurious when Mom or Grandma has her coffee and morning paper.

5. A funky new tote sets Mom and Grandma apart from others carrying store-logo totes.  For handmade totes, check out Etsy.

6. Make a donation to a charity for the Mom or Grandma who have everything and will be touched by this gesture.

7. Baker's edge brownie pan.  Now this is a gift that keeps on giving.  Especially if you like extra crunchy edges to your brownies.

8. Swivel seats for the car make it easier to get in and out and prevents strains on the back and hips.

9. Towel warmers make getting out of the shower as comforting as staying in!

10. Floor-standing magnifier lamps make hobbies easier.  Use them for puzzles, needlework and reading.

And don't forget the giant hugs and kisses!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Get Help During These Troubled Times: Self-Help Books Inspire

Associated Press writer Megan K. Scott gave her take on new books that aim to help those looking for a better job or trying to stay calm in light of our financial crisis or thinking of ways to reinvent themselves.  

One author lists the keys to emotional resiliency when you're dealt a cruel hand--like losing a child. 

Get help if you are stressed out, discouraged or overwhelmed in order to change your outlook to easier face life's challenges.  

Or if you have "money" issues, find out how to make your life exciting with whatever amount of money you have.

Worrying seems to be a natural by-product of our uncertain times.  Take M.J. Ryan's suggestion to set aside 15 minutes a day only to worry.  Then devote the rest of your day looking for new opportunities for your talents.  

A financial journalist even offers practical steps for people transitioning from paycheck to paycheck to comfortable earnings (how they are renewing ties to community and family).

Start a new chapter in your life suggests author B.J. Gallagher by finding true love, going back to school or starting a new career (Car-Man is written up in latest book, It's Never Too Late To Be what You Might Have Been).  

A recurrent theme:  Taking full responsibility for your life and quit blaming others.  Only then can you take the focus off the negativity and put your energy towards solving problems.  

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Social Security Debit Cards

AARP's March, 2008, Bulletin disclosed that Social Security will be providing monetary benefits on recipient debit cards.

Participants will receive a MasterCard debit card (secured with your own personal identification number--PIN) that will be reloaded each month with benefit payments.  Many believe that this form of payment is faster and safer than delivery by mail.

Warning:  Watch out for usage and ATM fees.  Also, keep track of your spending.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Federal Government is Hiring

The numbers of unemployed boomers and seniors is hemorrhaging.  One place where people are finding success, according to the Washington Post, is on the federal government level. Somewhere between tens to hundreds of thousands of new federal jobs will need to be filled throughout the U.S. 

Many job-seekers bypass this opportunity because they assume that federal employers won't hire people in their profession.  Big mistake.  Virtually every type of professional from blue-collar to seasoned executives is needed in some federal position.  And should you be hired temporarily or by contract, your chances of getting a permanent job are significantly increased.  

Check out for thousands of openings daily nationwide.  Go even to the sites of specific agencies which don't advertise on   Attend federal job fairs.  Network in person or online.  

And let me know about your success (I promise to let my readers know, too).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finding Work: Boomers, Seniors and Retirees Search For Jobs by Networking

I was moments away from writing a fabulous article about boomers and seniors conducting their job search.  Then I visited where author Anne Holmes presented such clear, easy-to-follow instructions on how to search for jobs that I threw in the towel.  

For instance, Ms. Holmes recited a story about a financially prudent (obsessive was more like it) man who penny-pinched his way to quite a nest egg only to have it disappear with the economic recession.  Yup, Ron invested only in stocks and we all know too well what happened to that once-lucrative arena.  

We learn on Holmes' blog which areas are likely to need workers.  

She comments on generational conflict (younger workers wanting positions older workers leave behind + older workers needing to stay in their positions longer).

However, according to this boomer mentor/coach, networking appears to be the principal key to success.  Not only traditional networking like we do at parties, work, or in conference rooms.  Social media networking (like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) need to be tapped as well.  

Follow Ms. Holmes simple instructions and find my own job search info --to begin your search for the job that you've always wanted.  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Emergency Preparedness: Stargazer Steps In

Because Stargazer, an online service for social good, has learned from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and other natural and manmade disasters, it is all too familiar with what it takes to be safe.
That's why the organization is working to develop new services to help people become better prepared for emergencies. 

Simple forms and other web services enable users to document essential information, to alert others about catastrophes and to communicate with loved ones when they occur.

Here's what you can do for free to prepare for the unexpected.  Download and fill in the free forms provided  about each family member, about your household, your neighbors, and your pets.  Create a communication tree with emergency contacts including predetermined meeting places.  Make sure you maintain a list of critical supplies including a first aid kit.   And more.

Then save all this private information to your own computer. 

Stargazer offers an inexpensive service that enables you to communicate with the "outside world" to tell them how you are or what you need.   The organization can permanently safeguard your key documents and your specific emergency plans.

And should be moved to contribute time, talent, technology and money to make this world a safer place, then contact this essential nonprofit public charity.  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Screaming O Meets Attila The Mom

So far I've resisted entering the "O" zone.  Until now.  Cheaper Than Therapy, a woman who refers to herself as "Attila the Mom" and "lil walnut brain" has practically done the impossible--made me fall off my chair with her story about her surprise gift package. 

If you're looking for a little excitement, don't miss it.  Nor should you pass up the March 27, 8:07 a.m. comment by ntsc. has more to say about sexuality for women and men.  Check it out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Medical Claims Solutions: Odell Helps You Deal With Insurance Companies

At AgeInPlace I found a woman with over 15 years experience with medical claims processing who aids individuals manage their own medical claims. She aims to reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses, decrease time dealing with insurance companies and increase access to needed medical care.  

Clarisa Odell presents 10 steps to get proper coverage so your medical claims aren't delayed or denied:

1. Review your evidence of coverage or policy disclosure document to understand your coverage, deductibles and limits.  This way you might be able to pinpoint options with your doctor which can be covered.

2. Bring your current medical insurance information to every doctor's visit.  Provide the office with your most recent information.  Additionally, let them know where your claims need to be sent.

3. Check to make sure your doctor bills your insurance directly.  However, if he/she doesn't, get a detailed bill with complete procedure and diagnosis code information and submit this information with a claim form to your own insurance company.

4. Ask the doctors office to check with your insurance provider to determine that you are covered not only for the visit but also for the procedure.  If a pre-authorization is required for the treatment, get it prior to all major medical procedures. 
5. Make sure the doctor is submitting your claim (on the most current claim form) in a timely manner.

6. Make sure you review and understand the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement--what is covered, what isn't and what is applied towards the deductible.

7. Speak to and document any conversation with your insurance carrier about all questions and about disputed claims.

8. Be clear about the issue you are questioning your agent.  Be courteous but persistent.

9. Understand both your prescription benefits and your medication coverage to determine whether or not a generic counterpart may be covered.

10. Get help from third party resources, like Medicare and other agencies. 
The more you understand the problem with your medical claim, the more likely you are to have them handled satisfactorily.  

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Getting Top-Notch Medical Care: Travel Or Not

Want the quickie version of AARP's top-rated hospitals across America?  Look no further than The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.   Other than for eye ailments, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, earned highest marks in all major areas, heart, cancer, neurosurgery and diagnosis.  

According to Consumers' Checkbook, a nonprofit private organization, doctors from across the United States were surveyed and the results tabulated.  CC warns us, however,  that just because a particular hospital ranks high doesn't necessarily mean that you should pack your bags.  The advantages of being in familiar surroundings, for instance, can't be measured in dollars and cents. Nor can the immediacy of the situation such as for strokes and heart attacks which require urgent attention.  

Rare, hard-to-treat illnesses or unsatisfactory care for on-going problems make traveling a wise option.   Do your homework.  Get your facts.  Ask your doctors for hard numbers on success and complications.  And don't (I repeat, don't) be reluctant to offend your attending physician if you decide to seek treatment elsewhere.  "Your doctor's ego will recover, while you may not."  

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bargain Dining, An AARP Benefit

Thanks to Mr. GoTo I don't have to research the inexpensive restaurants that give extra discounts to AARP members.  Granted, I knew about the IHOP senior special because Car-Man and I couldn't wait to pass our 55 year mark just to qualify.  

I am tempted now to head for Mrs. Fields for a cookie and save my few cents to apply towards at TCBY yogurt.  

And once I have my fill of dessert, I think I might have to stop by a Chili's to see if I can get a 10% discount on a burger.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Summer Vacations on a Budget

Spring has sprung and summer is close behind.  I used to look at this period as the "final stretch" before "glorious summer."  

Now seasons seem to run into each other (okay, so I don't live in cold weather) and time has a different meaning.

So does money.  Like the rest of you, Car-man and I feel the economic vise squeezing our pocketbook.  

So what does a family do for vacation on meager funds?  One suggestion is to pick a vacation destination midway between all family members.  Plan a reunion at a campground around games, picnics and potlucks.

And should even that pose a financial hardship, consider purchasing an inexpensive web cam that can be enjoyed throughout the year.