Prescription Drug Prices On The Rise

Lowering your prescription drug pricesIf you noticed that your prescription drug prices have been going up, you’re not alone. Consumer Reports just surveyed over 1,000 prescription drug consumers and their survey yielded some interesting results. One third of Americans in their survey said they paid an average of $39 above the usual cost for their prescription, and one in 10 said they paid $100 or more out-of-pocket.

Rising drug prices, especially for generic medications, have become such a problem that two members of Congress, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), asked the Office of the Inspector General earlier this year to investigate – Consumer Reports, 8/13/15

Consumer Reports says that drugs to treat asthma, high blood pressure, and irregular heart rhythm medications top the list of medications that have been steadily rising over the last few years.  If you’ve paid your pharmacy bill despite experiencing sticker shock, join the club.  81% of those surveyed stayed-and-payed, while just 19% walked away.  Those that walked either declined to fill their prescription, OR they did some additional due diligence on drug pricing.

Most alarming, some said that higher drug prices affected their ability to pay for other medical care. People who faced unexpected high costs were more than twice as likely to avoid seeing their doctor or forego a medical procedure than those who didn’t. – Consumer Reports Survey on Prescription Drug Costs 8/13/15

Consumer Reports also published a savings-checklist for lowering your prescription drug prices.  Here’s a few great money-saving ideas:

Consumer reports lowering prescription drug pricesConsumer Reports: Lower Prescription Drug Prices

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review all of the drugs you take and determine if you can stop taking any of them.
  • Make sure your prescribed drug is covered by your insurance.
  • Consider other medications if the price is too high.
  • Use your insurer’s preferred pharmacy.
  • Consider your insurance company’s mail order service.
  • Try getting your prescription from Costco.
  • Shop around.
  • Ask the pharmacist, “is this the lowest possible price you can offer?”

Video: Lowering Your Drug Bills

Best Places To Retire – Money Magazine

Best Places to RetireTime’s Money Magazine just published it’s “Best Places to Retire” edition and it doesn’t disappoint.  Money takes a look at the top 25 towns in the US for retirees, and some of them may surprise you.  We’ve visited many of these top 25 cities for retirement, and highly recommend those cities in Southern Utah, Washington, and New Mexico.

If you follow The Senior List you know that we love to publish lists like Money Mag’s.  In the past we’ve shared the top international destinations for retirement, the best places to retire for less, best beach towns in America for retirement, and many more!

Here are a few of our favorites from Money’s List of Best Places to Retire:

10 Best Places to Retire – Money Magazine

  1. Tops on the list: St. George, Utah.  32% of St. George’s residence are over 50, and median home prices are only $195,000.  With over 182 miles of biking trails, St. George is the perfect town for retirees that want to maintain an active lifestyle.  We’ve spent many weeks down in Southern Utah.  The national parks, the people, and all the things to do make this a great choice at the number 1 spot!

    Best places to retire - St. George Utah

    St. George, Utah – courtesy Utah SBDC

  2. Number 2 on the list is our neighbor to the north, Richland, Washington.  We were surprised to see Richland rank so high, but it’s close proximity to Portland, Puget Sound to the north, Columbia River (in it’s back yard), and outdoor recreation galore – We like seeing Richland here.  Median home price is $ 203,350, and there is no state income tax in Washington.
  3. Number 3 on Money Mag’s list of best places to retire is Vale, Arizona.  Vale is cooler than many other desert towns, and boasts a median home price of just under $200,000.
  4. Number 4. Fayetteville, Arkansas.  University of Arkansas keeps things hopping in Fayetteville, and the median home prices are only $166,000.
  5. Mt. Juliet, Tennessee rounds out the top 5 best places to retire.  Located just north of Nashville, the median home prices in Mt. Juliet are in the $212,000 range.
  6. Boise, Idaho is one of our favorites out west.  Boise is surprisingly culturally diverse, and is a university town (Boise State among others). Lot’s of outdoor activities including great hunting and fishing close by.  Boise’s economy is strong yet it’s cost of living is quite moderate.  Median home price; $184,500.

    Best places to retire - Boise ID

    Boise, ID courtesy sunsupply.com

  7. Santa Fe, New Mexico comes in at number 7.  Having visited Santa Fe on a number of occasions, we understand why it’s so popular.  Besides it beautiful landscape, Santa Fe is known for it’s art galleries, museums and other cultural attractions.  Great hiking and biking make it ideal for the outdoor  enthusiast.  Median home price; $248,000.
  8. Greenville, S.C. takes home the number 8 spot.  Money says “Greenville now hosts 10 music, food, and art festivals a year. Housing remains affordable, with a median price of $185,000 and average property taxes of $1,100.”
  9. Dover Delaware climbs into the top ten best places to retire at number nine.  Dover is the state capital and considered incredibly tax-friendly. There are no sales taxes or state income taxes, and property taxes average under $1,000! Median home prices are in the $197,700.
  10. Just squeezing into the top ten best retirement destinations is Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Chattanooga is incredibly affordable and culturally diverse.  There are no state income taxes and median home prices stand at a very-affordable $128,000.

    best places to retire - Chattanooga, TN

    Chattanooga, TN courtesy finartamerica.com

That’s quite a top 10 list!  For the rest of the list (all the way to #25) visit Time’s Money Magazine.

Do you have a favorite retirement city that you’d like to share with us?  What makes it unique?  What do you love about it?  We’d love to hear in the comments below!

Who Is Olive Garden Targeting These Days?

Olive Garden BreadsticksOlive Garden has been in the news lately… A lot!  After being skewered by investors last year, Darden Restaurants (owner of Olive Garden family of restaurants) is attempting to focus on building the brand, and defining it’s new customer experience.  In September of last year, Darden was forced to defend many of it’s policies including (astonishingly) it’s stance on bringing complimentary breadsticks to the table.  (I hope they didn’t notice the private jet… Oh wait they did, sorry Darden.)

The fact that folks were talking about this semi-newsworthy tidbit was cause for concern to Olive Garden regulars, and cause for parity in late night talk show circles like Jimmy Fallon’s.  Here’s Jimmy’s take on “BreadStickGate”:

Having eaten at Olive Garden a good many times in my day, it looks like a solid bet that they’d be targeting boomers and seniors. Boomers alone are 78 million strong, and they currently make up a good portion of the folks I see when I’m visiting our local establishments. By the way… they’re the ones with the money (and time).  In my view, a logical play would be to make the experience better for the obvious target market here… Baby Boomers!

For this reason I was astonished to hear one contributor to the “Motley Fool” mention that after shedding the Red Lobster brand from their portfolio, Darden would do well by targeting a “younger demographic from a much more diverse background” (not exactly sure what that means – maybe he’s inferring boomers but it’s not clear).  His comments below:

So who is Olive Garden targeting these days?  I can’t imagine that they’re going to go after the Millennials (born 1982 – 2004), or the Generation Y folks (mid 70’s – mid 2000’s).  Even Generation X (1965 – 1984) may be a stretch.  Try as they might, they’ll likely settle back down to you baby boomers, which is going to be their sweet spot… Or their salty spot if we’re still talking about those tasty (unlimited for now) bread sticks!

Looking for Senior Discounts on Restaurants? Click Here –> Senior Discounts on Dining Out


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Finding The Best Cruise Deals

best cruise dealsEver wonder how to find the best cruise deals?  There are a lot of great resources out there, and we picked from some of our favorites to bring you a list of tips. According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) between 2003 and 2013, demand for cruising worldwide increased 77 percent, from 12 million to 21.3 million passengers. The CLIA says that “Florida remains the center of cruising in the United States, with its five cruise ports accounting for nearly 62 percent of all U.S. embarkations.”  Following Florida, are California, Texas, and New York (each had more than 600,000 embarkations).

Best Cruise Deals (tips from the pro’s)

NBC News.com says:

  • Book during the January-through-March “wave period”.  This is “traditionally the cruise industry’s busiest booking period. During this time, cruise lines make about 35 percent of their annual sales”.
  • Call the cruise line directly as a first step (get a quote and ask if there are any special deals out there)
  • Check the cruise booking websites (like cruise.com, icruise.com, 1-800-cruises.com and cruise411.com).
  • Call a travel agent.
  • Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate.

One thing to know before you meet with a local travel agent is that many charge consulting fees for their time with you. Like many independent travel agents, luxury cruise specialist Lucy Hirleman, president of Berkshire Travel in Newfoundland, N.J., charges new clients a $50 nonrefundable trip deposit fee. –NBC News.com

Don’t forget that you might want to spend a few extra nights in the ports of your cruise!  Find today’s hotel deals in the Caribbean on TripAdvisor!

Cruise Critic.com says:

  • Look for last minute cruising deals.  60-90 days to departure can be a treasure trove of last minute travel deals
  • Be on the lookout for off-peak travel times (holidays are likely to have premium prices attached to them)
  • Be flexible
  • Take the car.  Taking the car means you won’t be paying for last minute airfares, and that can save you money too!
  • Access Military, Senior or Residency Rates. A number of cruise lines have special deals for seniors, military personnel and teachers.

Access Military, Senior or Residency Rates. A number of lines have special programs for seniors, military personnel and even teachers. Norwegian Cruise Line provides discounts to U.S. and Canadian military vets on select sailings. And for AARP members, it offers a 5 percent discount on any cruise booked at least nine months in advance. Holland America even goes so far as to offer discounts on select sailings to teachers, EMTs, firefighters, police officers and active military. Erik Elvejord, Holland America’s director of public relations, told us that, while fares vary, they’ve typically been $50 to $100 below going rates. — Cruise Critic.com

Clark Howard.com says:

  • Be flexible with your schedule.  When you’re looking for cruise deals, make sure you look at the cost-by-week to take advantage of the best deals.
  • If you’re buying your first cruise, don’t buy online.  You should have someone helping you like a travel agent, or a live cruise specialist. They’ll ask you about your interests and recommend cruises that will fit your lifestyle.
  • Clark likes the cruise website VacationsToGo.com.  They offer a number of cruise deals to be had, and highlight deals on their site.  They also acknowledge discounts for seniors and others!

The number one rule right now about cruising is be flexible with your schedule. The week you go will control how much of your wallet you leave behind on the ship. The same exact cabin could cost you as little as a third one week what it might cost you the very next week. — Clark Howard.com

Photo credit: Robert Pittman/Flickr

There’s lots of saving to be had if you’re patient, and you do your research! Have any other tips on getting the best cruise deals? Let us know in the comments below!

Some of the providers on our site have an affiliate relationship with The Senior List, and we’re proud of those relationships. We only work with providers that pass our own stringent criteria, and these are the same providers that we refer our friends and family to.

New PBS Documentary On Family Caregiving

Caring for Mom and DadIf you’re a family caregiver, or want to know what caregiving is all about, you need to watch the new PBS documentary entitled “Caring for Mom and Dad”.  A family caregiver is a person who provides “care” to a family member, a neighbor, a partner or even a friend.  According to the National Center on Caregiving, there are 43.5 million caregivers provide care for someone aged 50 (or older).  Baby Boomers are facing a tidal wave of caregiving needs, and many boomers are caring for a parent at home.

Informal caregiver and family caregiver are terms used to refer to unpaid individuals such as family members, partners, friends and neighbors who provide care. These persons can be primary (i.e. the person who spends the most time helping) or secondary caregivers, full time or part time, and can live with the person being cared for or live separately. Formal caregivers are volunteers or paid care providers associated with a service system. — The Family Caregiver Alliance

The need for caregiving services at home has given rise to burgeoning businesses that offer home health services, home care services and hospice care.  Most of us simply aren’t well equipped to take care of our aging loved ones.  Understanding the needs of dementia sufferers, or more specifically – the demands of someone with alzheimer’s disease can take on new meaning when coming face-to-face with these prospects.  How comfortable would you be bathing your mom or dad?  Would you know what to do?  Would you even know how to transfer them?

The new PBS documentary “Caring for Mom and Dad” puts the caregiving conundrum into context.  It focusses both on the challenges of family caregiving… and the beauty of family caregiving.  It’s a time when life comes full circle for many of us.  Our parents, who nurtured us and cared for us as children have increasingly crucial care needs that require attention. Because we love them so much, the tug to provide care is always present.

View the trailers to the documentary above, and when you have time – Watch the entire documentary here –> Caring For Mom And Dad – A PBS Documentary on Family Caregiving. The video is almost an hour long (54:19) so you’ll want to clear some time.  If you do, I assure you it will be well worth your time.

Are you a family caregiver?  Have some tips for our readers?  Leave us a comment below!

 

Hillary Clinton Announcement “I’m Running For President”

Hillary Clinton AnnouncesHillary Clinton announcement: “I’m running for president”

In a (not so) surprising declaration today, Hillary Clinton posted a new video on YouTube.  In her video, Clinton says “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor for those at the top”.  No doubt this will be one of the major cornerstones of her candidacy.  View the official Hillary Clinton announcement in the video below.

Everyday Americans need a champion… And I want to be that champion. – Hillary Clinton

Hillary: “I’m Running For President”

All Of Tom Hanks Movies In 7 Minutes

Tom Hanks MoviesWe’ve been posting a lot of heavy caregiving articles lately, so we thought we’d lighten it up a little this Sunday with a great (improv) video done by the one and only Tom Hanks and James Corden. Tom and James give us a 7 minute montage of all of Tom Hanks’ Movies LIVE AND IN A SINGLE TAKE!  The 58 year old Tom Hanks is a Senior List favorite for a variety of reasons, but his comedic talent is incomparable. We hope this brings as big a smile to you, as it did to us. Enjoy!

Planning For Retirement? Don’t Make These Mistakes

Planning for RetirementAnn Brenoff at HuffPost50 wrote a great article entitled The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Planning For Retirement.  Her article cites some of the pitfalls people fall into when planning for retirement.  We thought there was value in passing along some of Ann’s tips, along with a few of our own.  Planning for retirement is serious business, even for those lucky few who have the “retirement trifecta” in hand; A pension, proceeds from a 401K/IRA, and social security!

There is a whole host of strategies one should consider while planning for retirement.  Some of the conventional strategies involve downsizing from the big suburban home and moving into the city.  Examining where you live is another important consideration; is this the optimal location for your retirement?  What about retiring overseas?  How is your health and what are your healthcare needs?  These are just a few of the many considerations one must make before retiring.

Ann Brenoff says you should avoid the following mistakes when planning for retirement:

  1. “You don’t save”.  Did you know BankRate.com says that less than 1 in 5 people save (anything) on a monthly basis? It’s unfortunate to say the least.  If you’re someone who isn’t a saver, and you spend all of your monthly income on a regular basis, this may be a sign that either your burn rate is too high, or your paycheck is too low (or both).  If you’ve fallen behind, you need to catch up.  This means some hard choices.
  2. “You still don’t fully fund your 401K”.  This is a mistake many people fall into.  Ann cites an alarming statistic; “According to the 2014 “How America Saves” report, 33 percent of employees don’t participate in a 401k program even though 95 percent of them would receive a match.”  For most people this is leaving money on the table, and irresponsible on a number of levels. If you don’t understand your own 401K program, and you’ve neglected to fully fund it, make sure you speak to one of your benefits advisors to get back on track!
  3. “You still play the stock market like a roulette table”.  Nearing retirement means taking less risk with your assets.  The last thing you need is to risk your hard earned retirement savings on risky bets.  Do some research online, or speak to a financial planner for good advice on dialing back your investment risk profile as you near retirement age.

There’s more to Ann’s list, and you can read more by following her over at HuffPost50.  Remember, retirement takes significant planning over a period of time.  If you’re serious about retirement – do your homework, avoid the all-to-common mistakes, and plan ahead!

Seniors vs Seniors: High School vs 50+

seniors vs seniors videoWe found a really fun video that the folks at BuzzFeedVideo posted on their YouTube account. The video pits high school seniors and senior citizens against one-another in a modern-day-battle-royal!  Modern insights, dance moves and “mottos to live by” are all up for grabs in this winner take all event.

Somewhat objectively I’d have to say that the more experienced bunch had both the better dance moves as well as excellent words of wisdom! (*Note that they also had their pants pulled up while executing dance moves!)  Enjoy the video!

Video: Seniors vs Seniors

Top Gadgets For Seniors

Nell Bernstein (senior editor) over at Caring.com wrote up an informative post on aging in place gadgets.  Many of these gadgets have been highlighted here on The Senior List, but we wanted to share Nell’s list with our readers too. The Center for Disease Control defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”.  Many of the gadgets listed below can help aging Americans stay in their home longer, and in a safer environment.

Most adults would prefer to age in place—that is, remain in their home of choice as long as possible. In fact, 90 percent of adults over the age of 65 report that they would prefer to stay in their current residence as they age. One-third of American households are home to one or more residents 60 years of age or older. – Wikipedia on aging in place

Top Gadgets For Seniors

Here are several of our favorite gadgets that can contribute to a safer home environment for your friends or family members:

1.  Big Button Cell PhoneJitterbug 5 Review

Big button cell phones (yup some folks call them dumb phones) have a place in the mobile phone world, especially for aging adults.  When people age their eyes can (and usually do) get worse over time.  This is due to a variety of medical issues like glaucoma, cataracts or (age related) macular degeneration.  Yes, smartphones are all the rage these days, but cell phones like the Jitterbug 5 from Samsung can serve many purposes, including acting as a medical alert system.

2.  House Cleaning Robots

gadgets for seniorsActually we care do differ from Nell a little bit on this one.  Having a fun little “robot” vacuum cleaner like the iRobot Roomba are very cool devices, and we like them a lot.  But let’s face it, vacuum cleaners aren’t all that complex, or difficult to operate (at least not all of them yet).  The key to keeping a clean home, free of dust and/or dander is regular cleaning.  So having an easy-to-use vacuum of any kind is useful.  It should be light, and located in an accessible location.  Also, it might be a good idea to have a cleaning service come in once a month for a deep clean (if one can be afforded).

3.  Automatic Pill Reminders

Medication management systems are a great idea. As people age, they typically end up on a variety of medications like cholesterol lowering agents, high blood pressure meds, and more!  The fact that these medications must be managed for many aging adults accounts for a huge percent of nursing home admissions.  Medication management systems range from simple plastic pill boxes all the way up to smart (electronic) medication management systems that remind users when to take their meds.

4.  Medical Alert Systems

Top Gadgets for SeniorsMedical alert systems are something we know a great deal about.  These handy devices come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common is a pendant style alert system.  These have a single push button that alerts a call center when a person feels like they’re having a medical emergency (or any emergency for that matter).  Some of these devices also come packed with automatic fall detection which senses when an aging adult has fallen down.  If they’re unresponsive the medical alert system will notify the call center automatically.  Medical alert systems with fall detection usually cost a bit more, but they can be worth it in certain situations.  If you need help picking out the right medical alert system, we’ve created a handy medical alert system buyers guide to help navigate you through the many choices offered today.

There a number of other handy gadgets for seniors that can help one stay in the home longer, and be safer as well.  Head on over to Nell’s article for the full list.  Do you have any additions that you’d add to our list?  Any suggestions that you’ve implemented in a home?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!