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Sexual Health Smarts: Comparing STD Home Testing Kits

STD infection rates are rising among older adults. Too many sexually active seniors aren’t getting tested regularly.

Early detection of STD infection is vital, but many people feel embarrassed about visiting their doctor for testing. Home STD testing kits are a possible alternative. See our related article on Safe Sex for Seniors

STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and even syphilis can be treated with antibiotics – if caught soon enough. The earlier you diagnose an STD, the easier it is to treat. And the longer left untreated, the higher the risk of long-term health complications.

Today, we’ll compare four home STD testing kits, so you can decide if it’s an option for you.

Sexual Health Smarts: Comparing STD Home Testing Kits

What Are STD Home Testing Kits?

 Home testing kits are exactly what they sound like – kits that allow you to test for STDs in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Most kits require either a swab, a small pinprick blood test, or both.

There are two types of testing processes:

  • Fully online: You order, collect your samples, then mail back to the company’s lab, and your results are posted on a secure online portal.
  • Combination of online and local lab: You order the test, kit, and forms online. Then visit a local lab for the actual test.

How Accurate Are STD Home Testing Kits?

Accuracy varies. Some companies are CLIA-approved (meaning they’re regulated by The Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services) and have medical labs with highly trained professionals.

Other companies might not have technicians with the same level of training and experience, leaving more room for error.

We recommend choosing only CLIA-approved companies (all four labs in this article are).

Is It Worth Taking an At Home STD Test?

Home tests are a quick, easy, and confidential way to take care of your sexual health, but they’re not a replacement for medically supervised care.

The FDA recommends using home tests in conjunction with your regular medical care – not as a replacement. We encourage readers to use a home test as a first step. Of course, if a test comes back positive, it’s vital to see your doctor for re-testing and treatment.

If a test comes back negative, we recommend you still watch closely for any symptoms. Even if you’re symptom free but continue to worry, see your own doctor for peace of mind.

When Should I Take an STD Test?

STDs show up at different times. It’s a good idea to check 3 weeks after initial sexual contact, and then again 3 months later.

What STD Tests Are Available Online?

 There are many home STD tests available today. We’ve chosen four of the most well-known, so you can compare their offerings and pricing for yourself.

Test at Home STD KitCostTurnaround Time
STD Check$24-$1291-2 Days
Personal Labs$46-$4712 Days
Everlywell$69-$1995 Days
myLab Box$79-$3695-11 Days

1. STD Check 

STD Check isn’t strictly a home testing service. You need to visit one of their 4,500 nationwide labs. You order the test online, print a lab form, then go to a lab. You’ll either give blood or a urine sample (technicians will advise you in what to do).

What do they test for? Hepatitis A, B and C, HIV, syphilis, herpes 1 and 2, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. They also offer a combined chlamydia and gonorrhea test.

What does it cost? Individual tests range from $24 to $129. STD Check’s website recommends their 10 panel full spectrum test for $198 for all ten tests.

What’s the turnaround time? Expect results in just one – two days.

Anything else? All STD labs are CLIA-certified. Their website states their tests are 99% accurate, making them a reliable service.

2. Personalabs

 Personalabs work the same as STD Check listed above – you choose and purchase your test online, print the lab test form, and visit your nearest center for the actual test.

 What do they test for? Hepatitis A, B and C, HIV, syphilis, herpes 1 and 2, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. They also offer various screening packs, from one that tests for the four most common STDs, to an 11-panel screening similar to STD Check.

What does it cost? Individual tests start at $46 while all-inclusive tests run up to $471.

What’s the turnaround time? Turnaround is as little as two days, depending on the test.

Anything else? Personalabs offers extra support in the form of physician-directed testing if you’re unsure what you need, doctor consultations regarding your results, and prescriptions for treatment (in some cases, depending on your results and where you reside.)

3. Everlywell

 Everlywell is a home testing service in the truest sense. You order your kit online, take a sample following the simple instructions, post it back, and receive the results online.

 What do they test for? Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. They also offer combined tests for both men and women, covering the seven most common STDs.

What does it cost? Individual tests are $69, combined tests are $199.

What’s the turnaround time? Your results will be available online within five business days.

Anything else? All labs are CLIA-certified. Everlywell currently cannot accept tests from residents of New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or Maryland.

 4. myLab Box 

myLab Box offers at-home testing in the same spirit as Everlywell. You simply take a quick, easy swab or blood sample at home, mail it to their lab, and receive your results online in a few days.

 What do they test for? myLab Box offers a huge range of tests: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, HPV, yeast, and mycoplasma genitalium. They offer several test packs including five, eight, and fourteen panel tests, a set of tests for couples, and one specifically for abnormal discharge.

What does it cost? Individual tests start at $79, while the panel tests run up to $369.

What’s the turnaround time? Between five and eleven days (including sending the kit to you, and assuming you send it back quickly.)

Anything else? All labs are CLIA-certified and trained STD counsellors are available in case of a positive result.

Take control of your sexual health.

 Every sexually active adult, regardless of age, can take charge of their sexual health. Home STD testing offers an alternative to testing at a doctor’s office. Make sure the lab you’re using is CLIA certified. But don’t rely on home-testing alone. Visit your own physician regularly for check-ups.

Best Assisted Living Chicago, Illinois

The Senior List® set out to find the best assisted living facilities in Chicago, Illinois.  We compiled reviews from top senior housing review websites to pull together our “Best of” list.  Click here to read about our methods, and interpreting the List.  All ratings are based on 5 stars.

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Best Assisted Living New York, New York

Best Assisted Living Chicago, Illinois – Who makes the list?

Chicago is, to put it simply, an amazing city. While not for everyone – you’ve got to want that big-time urban experience – here is a list of compelling, world-class attractions:

  • An efficient transportation network including the El, buses, Amtrak, and several airports. (You don’t have to use O’Hare if you don’t want to. For example, Southwest Airlines operates out of Midway Airport.)
  • Field Museum of Natural History, one of the finest in the world. Two separate museums dedicated to Mexican art and African-American art. The Chicago Art Institute, and so much more
  • Aquariums and planetariums
  • A city rich in the diversity of its populace and overall culture
  • Some of the best food and wine in the world
    The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field (need I say more?)
  • The Goodman Theatre, Chicago’s largest and oldest theatre, with a worldwide reputation for innovation and
  • quality, and the crowning jewel in a glittering array of venues feasting drama, dance, music
  • A mighty city in a glorious, natural setting
  • Lake Michigan, providing magnificent views
  • A confluence of rivers, including the Chicago River, with boating opportunities aplenty
  • An array of parks, public art, and open spaces
  • For those who love to shop (you know who you are), there’s Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile, which has the best shopping in all of Chicago, and that’s saying something
  • This list barely scratches the surface. If any of this appeals to you, research a bit more and see what you discover.
The top rated assisted living communities as found on the web.
Chicago downtown skyline- © Can Stock Photo / rudi1976

List of the Top Assisted Living  Chicago, Illinois

Looking for senior housing for a loved one? Get personalized help today! Click here to get started. 

The Admiral at the Lake – Chicago, IL 60640

The Admiral at the Lake offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing and Rehab.

Caring – 9 Reviews, Average Rating 4.9
SeniorAdvisor – No Reviews
SeniorHomes – 1 Review, Average Rating 5
GoldenReviews – 5 Reviews, Average Rating 4.67

What they liked: Very upscale, new, crisp and clean, truly remarkable, continuing care facility, staff professional and pleasant and competent, friendly, kind, staff seemed to be enjoying themselves, tremendous staff, well-maintained facility, very pretty, very pleasant atmosphere, nice group of residents, immediate access to Lake Michigan lakefront, like a lovely hotel, lots of light, outings, facility bus used for outings, shopping, opera, symphony, art museums, book events, lots of entertainment, board games, gorgeous and spacious rooms, lots of activities, vegetarian entrees, great location, amenities unbelievable, rooms and apartments equipped with latest technology yet homey, spacious lay-out, five-star food in dining room, onsite health and wellness program seem first rate

What they didn’t like: Expensive, have to pay a huge deposit plus monthly costs

Autumn Green at Midway Village – Chicago, IL 60629

Autumn Green at Midway Village offers Independent Living and Assisted Living.

Caring – 24 Reviews, Average Rating 4.2
SeniorAdvisor – 20 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes – 2 Review, Average Rating 4.5
GoldenReviews – 25 Reviews, Average Rating 4.85

What they liked: Staff very involved with residents, hard-working staff, staff goes extra mile, urging social interaction, cheerful staff, understanding management, staff and management very accommodating, very clean, service really great, diligent and respectful, helpful, takes good care of residents, happy residents, assisted living options, ideal for those who want to maintain active lifestyle, controlled entry and plenty of security cameras, joyful atmosphere, skilled physical therapy, nice-sized rooms, lovely apartments, comfortable rooms, clean, bright, neat, organized, nice grounds and outdoor seating, fresh air, excellent for seniors living independently but wanting to lighten load, modern facility, doesn’t look like a senior home, calendar of events, group outings, transportation, shopping, accommodation rooms for visitors, social activities, exercise facility, movies, laundry, housekeeping, daily check-ins, above-average food, great food, locally-sourced food, healthy snacks, activities, arts and crafts, Bingo, card tables, pool tables, reasonable price, good location, close to hospitals, on-site medical personnel and equipment

What they didn’t like: Not suited for seniors who are not active, food rather bland, not good for seniors with advanced conditions, billing issues, not clean, didn’t like looks of place, didn’t like people there, noisy, very congested area, physical appearance of facility not great, should be more indoor activities because of climate, wasn’t clean

Bethany Retirement Community – Chicago, IL 60640

Bethany Retirement Community offers Assisted Living, Support Services, and Memory Care.

Caring – 6 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorAdvisor – 25 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – 1 Review, Average Rating 5
GoldenReviews – 6 Reviews, Average Rating 4.19

What they liked: Polite and informative staff, very nice, attentive and caring, friendly, kind, happy staff, great house and kitchen staff, neighborhood is great, lovely community for good people, like having your own slice of green here in the city, happy residents, smaller community with tight-knit feeling, hospital attached to facility, green space, nice facility, older building with character, not hectic, grounds nicely landscaped, great floorplan, lots of natural light, open floorplan, bright, questions answered, staff prompt and answered questions with patience and detail, good value, one-third to one-half less expensive than other Chicago ALFs, transportation, community clean and maintained, nice variety of meals and varied, good food, food is delicious, outings, tons of activities, first floor large seating area with piano and fountain, outdoor garden, medical personnel on hand, 24/7 security personnel, residents’ rooms outdated but reasonably priced, affordable, craft room, auditorium, game room, Mental Care group meets Monday through Friday, “savvy circle” for Alzheimer’s patients, beauty salon, pleasant-but-smallish studio apartment with tiny galley kitchen, 1-bedroom apartments with several floorplans including kitchens, big bedrooms, lots of windows, complaints quickly addressed, not too big or impersonal, library with computers and fireplace and current newspapers, welcoming little coffee shop (the Beehive), lovely enclosed park next door, dining room lovely but simple, railings installed around premises for residents needing support, numerous cultural and religious activities, friendly smallish diner on first floor as well as dining room

What they didn’t like: “Lousy” food, not enough fruit or vegetables or variety, no protein with breakfast, limitations of 1953 building (“but well maintained”), very quiet, seemed to lack energy, may not be right fit for more active residents, dining room like a school cafeteria with nothing great about it, different layouts for floors but outdated, long hallways could make it hard to get around, communication an issue, understaffed, make gardens more wheelchair-accessible, bathrooms may not easily accommodate a walker, small and slow elevator

Brookdale Lake Shore Drive – Chicago, IL 60657

Brookdale Lake Shore Drive provides Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, and Health Care Services (in-home, hospice), and Continuing Care Retirement Communities.

Caring – 20 Reviews, Average Rating 3.9
SeniorAdvisor – 25 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – 3 Review, Average Rating 5
GoldenReviews – No Reviews

What they liked: Great tours, nice view, fabulous staff, everyone friendly, answers questions, volunteers information, assisted living program is excellent, facility clean and sunny, beautiful, staff seemed to know residents, very pleasant and friendly staff, excellent care, residents looked pleasant and diverse, ethnically diverse staff, natural light, big screen TV in lobby, marble floors, nice meals, broad range of activities, activities for different mental and physical states, workout area, games, wheelchair accessible, library, apartments with good-sized bathrooms, porches, rocking chairs, outings, shopping, theater, options, good food and 3 or 4 choices, more like a hotel than care facility, valet parking, apartments with kitchens, provide good care, a facility van is available for transporting residents to events and shopping and doctors’ appointments, can arrange transportation, housekeeping once a week, laundry twice a week, effective physical and occupational therapy, social atmosphere, lobby modern and fantastic, adjacent to St. Joseph’s Hospital, allows dogs, location perfect, big rooms, plush, great looking, elegant, apartments bigger than expected, parking available for seniors or their independent caregivers, quality of care exceptional, felt staff wanted what was best for resident

What they didn’t like: Services not being provided, billing screwed up, inadequate care, caregivers need training, too expensive, very expensive, city environment may be too much, resident not shown how to participate in activities, tubs not safe for elderly, not much activity, rooms much smaller than expected, very small units, maybe too many activities and too much busyness for some, facility not good for residents with demanding personalities but good for those who are still fairly independent, very urban, could improve on activities, caters to an older population, expensive, price did not cover additional care

Brookdale Lake View – Chicago, IL 60657

Brookdale Lake View offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, and Health Care Services (in-home, hospice), and Continuing Care Retirement Communities.

Caring – 17 Reviews, Average Rating 4.4
SeniorAdvisor – 58 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes – 1 Review, Average Rating 5
GoldenReviews – No Reviews

What they liked: Very clean, older building but well-maintained and laid out, very positive vibe, happy residents, nice, good tour, friendly and helpful management, updated, super friendly staff interacts well with residents and other staff, pleasant, staff very resident-oriented, highly accommodating, kind, staff explains things well, medical staff visited potential resident in her own home to get needed data and answer her questions, easy move-in, gracious and helpful concierge, computer room, games, cards, polo, learning opportunities, good food, excellent food, good portions, varied menu, flexible meal plan, easy to socialize, good neighborhood, lots of shops and restaurants, excellent location, short walk to beach or park or several bus stops, lots of activities, staff encourages residents to socialize and participate, exercise classes, trivia, outings for shopping and zoo and dinner, facility provides transportation, near transportation, homey, nice-sized rooms for residents, nice studio apartments, large one-bedroom apartments, studio apartment with one bedroom and full bathroom and small kitchen sink, refrigerator and microwave, pottery kiln onsite, onsite hair salon, onsite banking, can renew driver’s license/ID onsite, everything on one floor

What they didn’t like: Not totally wheelchair accessible, not cheerful vibe, residents seemed unhappy, not comfy enough, package deal with apartment didn’t work well, dining room menu maybe not varied enough, gym rather small, gym used as all-purpose room, view of lake less appealing than at other assisted living facilities, some activity rooms smelled of smoke, air quality stuffy, level of care declined, staff not always giving medication reminders, high turnover of staff, slow to refund money, a little expensive, resident not notified of package delivery, problem coordinating with staff, dining room staff not attentive, spider and ant issues, resident bitten by spider, staff failed to orient a resident, bathtub in assisted living hard to deal with, could use more assistance setting up utilities, bathrooms small and hard for residents with walkers, toilets should have risers for above-average-height residents, coordination between departments not always good, won’t allow residents to open windows, site way too big for residents with mobility issues, not as upscale

Covenant Home of Chicago – Chicago, IL 60625

Covenant Home of Chicago provides Customized Assisted Living.

Caring – 5 Reviews, Average Rating 3.4
SeniorAdvisor – 9 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes – No Reviews
GoldenReviews – 12 Reviews, Average Rating 4.57

What they liked: Staff really on top of things, warm staff, friendly and cheerful, good communication, attentive to both mental and physical needs of residents, very nice and well-maintained, quite lovely, facilities good, clean, not overwhelmingly big, rooms spacious, private kitchens a little small but open, community nice and clean, everyone was kind, questions answered, smooth move-in process, good food, many activities, staff attempts to engage everyone, games, activities, various living options, options, urged to bring own possessions and furniture, onsite decorator, grounds, outside exercise area (weather permitting), lots of independence for residents who want that, room to be yourself, can eat in room or with others, a nice place to live

What they didn’t like: Strong odor, staff not paying attention to residents, poor communication, front of building very bare, sitting area right on busy street, staff not engaging in activities with residents, a report of theft, residents seemed bored, missing clothes, need more activities, understaffed

Smith Village – Chicago, IL 60643

Smith Village provides Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing.

Caring – 14 Reviews, Average Rating 4.4
SeniorAdvisor – 1 Review, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – No Reviews
GoldenReviews – 1 Review, Average Rating 5

What they liked: Liked atmosphere, beautiful, clean, bright, modern, very clean, staff seemed to know their residents by first names, fancy, well-staffed, heartfelt and caring coordinator, staff good with all levels of health from ambulatory issues to dementia, very respectful, staff goes out of their way to make stay pleasant and fun and comfortable, place very well maintained, dining place was excellent/seemed to have a chef, menus posted for all three meals, very good food, deli area for sandwiches and soups, extremely well kept, outside seating area for barbecue/like a picnic area, constructing beauty salon, exercise room, van for outside activities, podiatrists and medical staff come to facility for residents, separate floor for dementia patients with own dining area and well-kept and clean, can make food requests, fine dining, large apartments, nice-sized room, nice shower, can have a refrigerator and sink but no cooking, physical therapy, group activities, annual spring planting, community meals, exercises, crafts, discussion groups, assisted living apartments have a living room/ bedroom and kitchen, seems very well run, compassionate community, 6 or 8 dining rooms, huge place, lots of variety in restaurants, Smith Village offers independent and assisted/ skilled care, assisted living units have 2 rooms and a full bath, meals are provided in main dining areas and also in the bistro cafeteria, cafeteria has tables for games or get-togethers, monthly support group meetings, staff can monitor your every need, both homey and like a five-star hotel, first-rate facility, protective, fashion shows, social events with volunteers and visitors

What they didn’t like: Wouldn’t accept Medicare, public transportation somewhat limited for visitors, could be more activities, staff was not great

Sunrise of Lincoln Park – Chicago, IL 60614

Sunrise of Lincoln Park provides Assisted Living, Terrace Club (transitional memory care), Alzheimer’s and Memory Care, Short-term Stays, Hospice Relationships.

Caring – 25 Reviews, Average Rating 4.1
SeniorAdvisor – 30 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – 4 Review, Average Rating 3.1
GoldenReviews – 13 Reviews, Average Rating 4.64

What they liked: Caring and helpful staff, friendly and sincere, staff is cordial and professional, personal care, care manager, nurses are competent and knowledgeable, staff engages well with residents, everyone seemed happy, happy and vital residents, urban setting, smaller facility and quiet, large friendly therapy dog onsite, pets allowed, great facility, clean, immaculate, safe and secure, very well laid-out, broad levels of care, dementia care apartment, advanced dementia care, excellent dementia care, spacious separate area for Alzheimer’s residents, a de-stress room, [facility] very active within the community, many views of the lake, spectacular views, activities room, rooms large and well-furnished, comfortable chairs, big windows, outdoor courtyard, lay-out of rooms senior-friendly, activities director, wide range of activities, many activities on – and off-site, delicious food, food cooked from scratch, snacks available, bingo, onsite piano, garden, walking distance from Lincoln Park Zoo and restaurants and shopping, friendly atmosphere, very social atmosphere, expensive but worth it, never dull, provides best care, residents encouraged to express selves, feels more like a nice hotel than a senior home, bedroom open and inviting

What they didn’t like: Grossly understaffed, staff unequipped to deal with difficult Alzheimer’s patients, staff seemed undertrained and overworked, kind of expensive, not diverse enough, should do more [shopping, etc.] trips, response time inconsistent, underpaid staff, contracts not honored, treatment provided by contractors, location is ideal for active seniors, visitor parking difficult

Looking for senior housing for a loved one? Get personalized help today! Click here to get started. 

13 Ideas: Making Money in Your 50+ Years

Hitting “retirement age” doesn’t mean you’re ready – or even willing – to “take it easy.”

If you’re over 50, you might be thinking about your next phase, often referred to as a second-act career or encore career.  Supplement your income and earn extra cash by exploring these 13 money-making ideas listed below.

13 Ideas: Making Money in Your 50+ Years

First, what are your goals for making money in retirement?

Begin the transition into your next phase by defining your goals. Perhaps you want extra income, have a desire to feel useful, want to stay connected, or fend off boredom. Whatever your reasons for starting an encore career, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many hours a week do I want to work?
  2. How flexible does the work schedule need to be?
  3. How much money do I need to make each month or year?

Next, update your resume. List all the things you’ve done over the years, professional and personal. Emphasize the tasks you most enjoy. Include hobbies and civic involvement. This review could put the job search into perspective for you.

Also, talk to family and friends about your goals. They’re a good source of insight, references, and networking. They’ll probably have useful suggestions too as you develop your job search.

While you’re at it, create a list of things you’ve always wanted to do. Now’s your chance to reinvent yourself. Look for links between your two lists: past experiences and past dreams. If you discover links between your lists but need additional skills to get the job you want, consider investing in education.

Related: 6 Tips on How to Evaluate Your Finances and Prepare for Retirement

There are inexpensive or even free online courses through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like Udemy, Coursera or other reputable providers.  Contact your local community college or university – don’t forget to ask about senior discounts.

Making Money in Retirement, 13 Ideas

Whether you’re just looking for supplemental income or opting for semi-retirement, many of these opportunities can fill in the gaps. You can keep working part-time in your current job while transitioning – a “phased retirement.”

On the other hand, if you’re transitioning into a complete career change, don’t be afraid to think creatively. Follow your passions based on your experiences and desires.

Here are a dozen suggestions for jobs that have proven successful for others.

Be a driver- Lyft and Uber are the best-known on-demand-transportation-companies (aka real-time ride-sharing or, simply, taxicabs). They’re constantly looking for drivers. If you know how to drive in your town, have a reliable automobile, are a people-person, and enjoy driving, this could be ideal.

Uber generally pays better but Lyft is considered more “driver-friendly.” Each company provides up to $1 million in liability insurance when in you’re on the clock.

Nextavenue.org recommends finding a local Facebook page for drivers of both companies. Look at what people are saying. Weigh the pros and cons of working for one, the other, or even for both companies?

Before signing on, get clear on what expenses the company covers and what comes out of your pocket.

Pet- and/or House-sitting- Plenty of folks, from young professionals to retired snowbirds, need someone reliable to take care of their pets or home. These jobs can be on an occasional basis or end up becoming a regular schedule.

Even if you don’t have references as a sitter, don’t hesitate to rely on character references from those who know you. If they happen to also know the potential employer, so much the better.

Online Juror- Here’s an intriguing way to make anywhere from $10 to $100 – just for giving your opinion. An added benefit is that you can live anywhere.

Online companies like eJury, JuryTest, and OnlineVerdict need people to review information regarding a potential court case. The information could be written, visual or aural. You then answer a questionnaire about that information.

Your responses help the lawyer(s) involved to find the weak and strong points in their case. Generally, the time involved is 20 minutes up to a full hour.

Note: The three sites listed above are reputable and do NOT ask for financial data beyond, perhaps, your yearly income, nor do they require an investment to participate. Any site that does either of those things is a scam.

Related: 9 Common Retirement Plan Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Seasonal Retail- Even if you don’t have any retail experience, local stores need additional help during holidays or big sales. Sometimes these stints develop into permanent part-time jobs. But if not, you still earn money, get exercise, and meet people.

Interpreter/translator- Those fluent in more than one language could earn good money putting this skill to use. Whether working with the written or spoken word, there are many businesses and organizations that value your talent.

Granted, it’s one thing to be fluent in two or more languages and quite another to be adept at translating or interpreting. Ask others who do such work, and those who hire them, to discover the pros and cons, and requirements. You may even find someone willing to train you.

Teaching- Whether in a traditional classroom or via an online platform like Udemy, your expertise in a given area might be the gateway to an exhilarating new career.

If you have questions about the nuts and bolts of designing a course curriculum, ask your employer. They may have tools available or can refer you to a trainer or website that suits your needs.

For those who prefer to work one-on-one, tutoring might be a great alternative.

Government jobs- USAjobs.gov urges retirees to set up an account and search the wide range of available jobs. There are both temporary and permanent part-time work openings. Opportunities vary from office work to different types of field work, including being a park ranger. (How cool would that be?)

Healthcare provider- Though a full-time position might be exhausting, acting as a part-time caregiver or personal assistant could be very satisfying.

The skills required vary from client to client. Whether it’s a matter of cooking and cleaning or more in-depth physical care, if this idea appeals to you, it’s worth checking out.

Turn your hobby into a moneymaker- Are you an experienced gardener, mechanic, cook, healthcare professional, teacher, sales person, beekeeper, or handyman? Any skill you’ve honed over the years could be useful to someone else.

Check your local listings for openings. You can also advertise your services on craigslist or local neighborhood networking groups like NextDoor.com.

Consulting- Just as one of thousands of examples, let’s say you know the field of construction inside and out; why not hire yourself out as an advisor or consultant? Whatever your area of expertise, your accrued experience and knowledge could be turned into a freelance opportunity.

Entrepreneurship- This could be the time to invest in something you’re really interested in – an eatery, a shop or even a blog!

Make sure the investment in time, skills, and money is within your comfort zone. The last thing you want to do in your retirement years is to invest your savings in a business that fails. Make sure you can afford it.

For the crafty person- If arts and crafts are your thing, you might consider craft fairs, farmers markets, holiday markets or suitable brick-and-mortar storefronts for your wares.

Even if this is just a minor source of income, it could still be a fun and creative outlet, with a healthy amount of the social element thrown in.

Men – if you love traveling by sea- Consider being a “Cruise dance hosts.” Older men are in demand on many cruise lines. There are often more single, mature women on cruises than there are men to dance and socialize with.

Generally, two to four men are hired per cruise. Each cruise line has its own requirements, but if you’re between 40 and 70, fit, and gregarious, this could be a fun gig.

Bonus – Making money on the move: the RV crowd.

If your retirement includes an RV and life on the road, you can still look for work.  However, you may need to commit to remaining in one place for an extended time.

Here are three more possibilities to add to the list of work options that might be especially appropriate on the road.

Workamping (work camping)– How about working where you set up camp? Some openings you might find include hosting, housekeeping, maintenance and grounds-keeping, life-guarding, and boat instruction.

Teaching- Some RVers set up classes at their destination campsite. With the permission of management, you might offer a class or series of classes. Some examples include, fly fishing, kayaking, orienteering, or whatever you think will be interesting to others.

The point is, it’s a class you’re qualified to conduct and that can be easily set up. In fact, some professors make a point of visiting a college campus for just one quarter or semester each year. They teach a class and have the rest of their time free to enjoy the surrounding area.

Crop harvesting– Not for everyone, but great for those who feel up to it and love being outdoors. Whether picking fruit or combining wheat, when harvest time comes around, you know farmers are looking for help. One could build a travel itinerary around harvest times, based on places they want to visit.

So What's Next For You?

By now your head is probably popping with ideas for your next phase. It's a great time to reinvent yourself and do something new. Drop us a line. Share your encore-career, money-making ideas in the comments below.

Podcast: Are Reverse Mortgages safe? With Guest Jordan Goodman

Listen to Episode 07


Hi Friend,

In today's advertising world, seniors and their loved ones are constantly being marketed to on different types of mortgages.  Here at The Senior List.com, we strive to give you the BEST information from experts, not the companies who are doing the advertising.

In this episode, Heather interviews Jordan E. Goodman, “America’s Money Answers Man” and a nationally-recognized expert on personal finance.

He is a regular guest on numerous radio and television call-in shows across the country, answering questions on personal financial topics. He appears frequently on The View, Fox News Network, Fox Business Network, CNN, CNBC and CBS evening news.

Jordan E. Goodman, Reverse Mortgages Expert

For 18 years, Jordan was on the editorial staff of Money magazine, where he served as Wall Street correspondent. While at Money, he reported and wrote on virtually every aspect of personal finance. In addition, he served as the weekly financial analyst on NBC News at Sunrise for 9 years and the daily business news commentator on Mutual Broadcasting System’s America in the Morning show for 8 years.

He is the author/co-author of 13 best-selling books on personal finance including Master Your Debt Fast Profits in Hard Times, Everyone’s Money Book, Master Your Money Type, Barron’s Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms and Barron’s Finance and Investment Handbook.

He has also written 6 special focus editions of Everyone’s Money Book on College, Credit, Financial Planning, Real Estate, Retirement Planning and Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds.

Jordan is also a speaker and seminar leader on personal finance topics for business executives, students, associations, investment clubs, employees and others. Visit his website at moneyanswers.com.

Transcript of Episode 07 with Guest Jordan Goodman

Heather: Welcome to Your Best Years Being Here podcast, brought to you by theseniorlist.com. Your Best Years focuses on bringing you interviews with experts and educators to live a fun, free, and fulfilled life as a mature adult. I'm your host, Heather Havenwood. So let's have some fun and get started.

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Heather: Hi, everyone. My name is Heather Havenwood and welcome so much to The Senior List. Welcome to Your Best Years Begin Here, sponsored by The Senior List where we help boomers 50+ and their caregivers with the best resources to create a great life.

Heather: And today I have someone on the line who's going to be really great at teaching you about different types of mortgages. I'm going to let him talk to you about that. We have hand selected him completely to make sure that you get the right information, the right resources. So really listen up and make sure you share this show with your friends, loved ones, and caregivers so they can understand the different choices and they can make the best choice for you and your family.

Heather: So, Jordan, Jordan Goodman, thank you for being here.

Jordan: Great to be with you again, Heather.

Heather: I want to share with you a little bit who Jordan is first. So Jordan Goodman is known as America's money answers man because he has been answering American's personal financial questions for over 40 years. He is the host of moneyanswers.com and the weekly Money Answers radio show. He has written 13 books on financial topics including The Directory of Finance and Investment Terms, Fast Profits and Hard Times, and Master Your Debt. He was the Wall Street correspondent at Money Magazine for 18 years and is a frequent guest on radio and TV shows across America.

Heather: Thank you so much for being here.

Jordan: Great to be with you, Heather, really appreciate it.

Heather: No worries. Now I just want to make sure that everyone knows the url that you can find this show at, at theseniorlist.com/mortgages. There we're going to have a link there to Jordan's site. We're going to have a ton of different resources. But I want to let you know that upfront. And we're going to be sharing what those resources are on this show.

Heather: So, Jordan, we wanted to bring you on specifically to talk about this word called mortgages. Many times, and you know this, you're the expert, many times in our retirement, in our caregiver retirement as well as the retirement, the biggest asset they have is their home.

Jordan: Right.

Heather: And so really the question on the table today is how can they best use that mortgage for the needs that they have in their retirement. So there's two things we're going to be going over today, mortgage equity optimization and reverse mortgages. So let's just start at the beginning.

Jordan: Okay. Let's start with mortgage equity optimization, allowing you … It's a strategy you've probably never heard about before which allows the average person to pay their mortgage off, typically in about five to seven years, instead of 30 years on the same level of income. Now, ideally, Heather, when you get to retirement, when you're 65 or thereabouts, you should have your mortgage paid off. That would be ideal because a lot of people are entering retirement with still hundreds of thousands of dollars left on their mortgage. That is not a good idea, because now your income is less. You don't have your job anymore, and you've still got that big rack of a mortgage to pay off.

Jordan: Say you're 50 or 55 and if you meet the criteria and can do it, you can have your mortgage paid off by 65 instead of having it hanging over you for you're in your 70s, your 80s, it could go on forever. So it's a very powerful strategy. You don't need extra income. You need to understand how your money flows to pay that mortgage off much, much more quickly.

Heather: Yeah. The first thing I thought about is okay, you're saying that we can pay off our mortgage faster. My immediate response is well, we're on a tight budget. People are on a tight budget. How can you do that? Can you explain a little more?

Jordan: Sure. Let's just briefly describe the existing system, and then the new system, okay? The existing system is you take out a 30 year mortgage and you keep your money, your income, pretty much sitting in the bank earning zero. And the thirty year mortgage, you make the same payment for 30 years. All the interest is front end loaded. The first 10 to 15 years, you're making very, very little progress on the principal. All right? So that's the current system that works real well for the banks. The banks aren't going to tell you anything different because they're happy. They get interest from you for 30 years and meanwhile your money is sitting in the checking account earning nothing, right? You see how that works well for the banks?

Jordan: We're now going to flip the tables so your money is actually working for you instead of the banks. That's why you're never going to hear about this from a bank actually. So here's how it works. So you use a home equity line of credit, what's called a HELOC, H-E-L-O-C, which is a liquid line. It's a second mortgage against your house. You can put money in. You can take it out whenever you like. You do what's called the blended strategy, where you combine, using the HELOC with your traditional first. Paying down the first with the HELOC, then keeping your money in the home equity line of credit, pushing your balance down on a continual basis.

Jordan: That's how the same money you have is making a huge difference in the amount of principal you owe as opposed to making almost no difference for many, many, many years. Let me just give you a simple example of how this would work. I'll just give you a …

Heather: Yeah, let's do it.

Jordan: Say you had a house worth 300,000 and say you had a $200,000 first mortgage with a good interest rate, say a 4% interest rate, something like that. You would go out and get a $50,000 home equity line of credit, a HELOC. And you just opened it, you haven't used it. You write a $50,000 on that HELOC towards the first, okay? So now you owe 150 on the first and 50 on the HELOC. Now over the next year or so you keep all your money in the HELOC, every day pushing your balance down a little bit. And after, say, a year that $50,000 HELOC is paid off because you've been making progress against it every day. You then do it again. You write another $50,000 check on the HELOC towards the first. Instead of owing 150 you now owe 100. You do it twice more. After four years, your first is paid off. You pay off the HELOC 50. You are now mortgage free.

Jordan: That's a dramatically over-simplified example of how it works. But your money every day is pushing that balance down. HELOCs are based on what's called average daily balance, how much do you owe today. So say you get a paycheck for $1000. You owe 50,000. You put it in there. You now owe 49,000 instead of 50,000 so you're paying interest on a lower balance. So you go down, down, down, down. Now one day a month it's going to go up when you pay your bills. You pay your bills out of the HELOC, preferably on one credit card. So basically you pay one bill a month. All your bills are being consolidated that way. So every day you're making progress on the principal, except for one day when your balance goes up a bit.

Jordan: There are three things you need to make this work, Heather. First thing, got to have equity in your house. If you're underwater in the house, you're not getting a HELOC, no equity to borrow against. Second thing, you've got to have a decent credit score, maybe 680 or higher to qualify for that HELOC. And the third thing you need positive cash flow during the month, more money coming in than going out. Because that positive cash flow is what's pushing that balance down every day.

Jordan: Now I bet the vast majority of your listeners to this program have those three things and therefore they can learn about this and literally save tens of thousands of dollars in needless interest and something like 25 years off their mortgage. Now I'm giving you an oversimplified there but that's how the strategy works.

Heather: Okay, great. So a couple of things I wanted to ask you. One, what are the advantages of really having your house completely paid off in retirement? Other than just not having a payment which is super fine?

Jordan: Well, peace of mind is a good thing, too.

Heather: Peace of mind, too. Yeah.

Jordan: You saw what happened 10 years ago when we had the financial crisis, right? People lost their houses because they had a bigger mortgage than they could really handle. If your house is free and clear, you're feeling much, much better. You don't have that payment to make anymore. And now you can take your money, instead of paying interest on a mortgage, invest it so it's producing income for you. What a financial difference in your life to be mortgage free in retirement.

Heather: So to be able to do this particular structure, just to be able to do this, do they have to have a higher budget per month?

Jordan: Nope.

Heather: Okay, so their budget of $1000 a month of their mortgage, that's their budget, they can't-

Jordan: Whatever the number is. It's the same numbers but you know, you've got to have positive cash flow. You've got to have more money coming in than going out because that's the secret sauce. That's what's pushing that balance down. If you have that, if you're flowing it in a way that's helping you right now, if you have positive cash flow, it's sitting there in the checking account earning nothing for you. Right? Here, money is constantly pushing that HELOC balance down. So that's why your money is working for you instead of the bank.

Heather: Exactly. So, great. This is great. All right, so anything else you want to say about specifically that? And is this a particular kind of, is this a plan? Can I get this at the bank?

Jordan: It's a strategy.

Heather: It's a strategy.

Jordan: At the link that you gave, theseniorlist/mortgages. There's a link to a place that can actually help you model it for free. It's called a personal profile. And you put in your income, your expenses, your house, your mortgage, all the different elements. And it's going to say based on what you're doing right now, you're 50. It's going to take you 25 years to pay off your mortgage, whatever it may be. And based on the numbers you just gave us, if you use this strategy it'll be 5.6 year, whatever the numbers come out to be. And then they show you step by step how to do it. So I'm not leaving you on your own. The resource that you can get through the landing page that you've got there is going to take them right to a place that can help them implement what's pretty much a new idea for a lot of people.

Mortgage Equity Optimization is a strategy that allows you to pay off your mortgage years sooner than you ever imagined possible using a combination of a traditional first mortgage and a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Seniors can use this to pay off their mortgages so they can live debt-free in retirement. To find out how this might work in your circumstances, go to truthinequity.com/theseniorlist and fill in the free Personal Profile  to see how much faster you could pay off your mortgage on your existing level of income.

Heather: Okay, great. So I'm going to say that again. It's theseniorlist.com/mortgages. There we'll have the link that he's talking about, which is going to go to a landing page. In that landing page, there'll be number two, step two. And there'll be a link and you'll go to a form. The form will be filled out and then this gives you the new information. I just want to make sure everyone knows how that goes.

Jordan: It's called the personal profile, that's the form they've got. They are now getting your information and personalizing it for your specific situation.

Heather: Perfect. Okay. Great. And that's all free?

Jordan: All that's free. Correct.

Heather: Great. Fill out the form. It's free. Okay. Good. Good. Please go there, theseniorlist.com/mortgages. Okay. Let's go to the next one.

Heather: Now people get commercials all the time on reverse mortgages. And there's a lot of different information and data out there. Good and bad and whatnot. Let's just dive in, Jordan. What actually is reverse mortgages? And what are the myths? And what are the facts?

Jordan: So the reverse mortgage is where you tap the equity that you've built up in your home over many years to use to pay off your traditional mortgage, and hope you have some money left over that they can use to maybe pay off credit cards or other debts, or invest. So you could actually produce income from it. You're sitting on this big house that's got equity built up over many years. It's not doing you any good. It's making you feel good, but you're not getting any income from it. In fact, you're paying for it.

Jordan: So, reverse mortgage. You have to be at least 62 years or older. You get it. And then what happens is you take the money. The first thing they're going to have you do with it is to pay off any first mortgage that you've got. So you're now going to be mortgage free. And hopefully you've got something left over that's going to make a major difference in your financial life.

Jordan: Now the thing about a reverse mortgage is you don't have to make monthly payments as you do with a traditional forward mortgage.

Heather: Oh, okay.

Jordan: It doesn't mean you're not accruing interest, but you don't have to make any payments. So you do that, and then you can go for 20, 25, 30 years. You pay the reverse mortgage off when either you sell the home, or you die, and then your estate will pay it off. So the original amount you borrowed plus the accrued interest is paid off many, many, many years down the road. So it's a way of getting money that you can use so that you can cut your debts, eliminate your debts, again, gives you capital that you can use.

Jordan: Now you can't get 100% of the value of your home. You get maybe 50, 60%, something like that. The older you are, the more money you get because it's based on actuarial tables. So if you are 62, the first moment you can get it, you're going to get a lot less than if you were 70 or 75 or 80. Later and later, you're going to get more and more because they don't think you're going to hang around as long actually. They're going to get paid back quicker, right?

Jordan: Some other things about it. You have to go through a housing counselor. They want to make sure that you exactly understand this thing and do it right. So there's a whole free housing counseling session. I think typically do it maybe in person, to make sure that you understand all this thing. You also have to be able to show that you can afford your property taxes and your property insurance.

Jordan: Because what was happening in the past, Heather, is people were getting reverse mortgages as a last resort, about to get foreclosed out of their home. They couldn't afford anything. They would get a reverse mortgage, keep them going for a while, and then they'd lose it because they had a tax lien or something. So A, you have to prove you've got enough money to pay your property taxes and insurance and keep that up for quite a while.

Jordan: So it made it a little bit tougher for people to get a reverse mortgage, but it's a good thing because you don't want people to run out of money all together.

Heather: Okay. So a couple of things. Again, I'm going to make sure everyone knows the resources and where to find this. Seniorlist.com/mortgages. On there you'll see this show here where you can share this with friends and family. But in there we'll have a link that goes to a landing page and you'll see Jordan's face there so you'll know you're in the right place. It's on his website.

Reverse mortgages allow you to tap into the equity you have built up in your home over many years and still own your home. You can access that equity in a lump sum, in a line of credit or as annuity payments.  You use the money to pay off your first mortgage and any other debts and then invest the rest to boost your retirement income. You can find out how to find the best reverse mortgage at reverseloanchoices.com/theseniorlist.

Heather: And there you'll have those two options. You can click on the one on the left hand side, all right? Where it says “time to leverage the equity in your home”. And that's what we're talking about now, reverse mortgages. Or you can click on “pay off your mortgage in five to seven years” which is the one we were just discussing about paying off your loan faster. Correct?

Jordan: That is correct. So a reverse mortgage is a good thing to do if you're planning on staying in your homes for a long time because you get to keep owning your home. You don't give up ownership of your home or something. You just get a mortgage on it that you don't have payments. So you're planning on staying in your home for a while. And you want to get your debt paid off. You want to have some income from it. And your kids are okay with it, right? Because it will affect your spending, the equity you've built up over many years.

Heather: They might not be happy with that. Do they have to sign off on that? Or is it just the people that own the property?

Jordan: They do. Usually the kids are involved in this decision because … I like to put it from the kids' point of view. It allows the parents to stay in their home as opposed to moving into your home, which is probably better for both.

Heather: Right. That will help the family out. I completely get that. Okay. So what are the downsides of reverse mortgages? What are some pitfalls, or maybe some companies out there that you would say are some red flags that aren't good companies to do business with if they say certain things?

Jordan: Right. So you see a lot of advertising. And usually what they do is they get very big named people. They had the Fonz, remember Henry Winkler for a while? They used to have Fred Thompson who died. And now I think Tom Selleck is the guy.

Heather: Yeah, Tom Selleck, I see, yes.

Jordan: These guys don't come cheap, Heather. Okay? There's a reason these guys are doing it because they're getting huge fees for doing that. You're paying for that ultimately. So the firms that hire these big name actors typically charge much higher fees than other places. Now the one on theseniorlist.com/mortgages I'm referring people to a place that use the lowest fees and the best deals anywhere in the country.

Jordan: So there is a difference is fees. They charge points. They'll charge appraisal fees, closing costs. There's a lot of fees involved. Some of which are mandated by the government, but some of which there's some flexibility there. You want the fees as low as possible.

Heather: Are these done by normal banks? If someone's listening, says, “Hey we've had a banker we've known for years. I really want to go through them.” Is this done usually through a traditional bank?

Jordan: Usually not. Usually not. The banks like traditional forward mortgages. They used to but not as much. So you have to go to these kind of specialized lenders.

Heather: Okay. Okay, good. That's good to know. And what is someone's listening and they say, “We have a HELOC, or we have a second mortgage. Can we still qualify?”

Jordan: Absolutely, because you're going to pay that off. Right? They're going to require that. Let's just do a simple example. Say you own a house, 400,000, whatever. And say you're 70 years old. You might be able to get 200,000, something like that. And say you have a $100,000 mortgage, first or HELOC. You're going to be required to use 100 of that 200 to pay off that mortgage. So your first or HELOC, any mortgages are going to be paid off for sure. And now you've got 100,000 left over.

Jordan: So you have some credit card debt, you can take care of that. Or you don't have any other debt? Invest it in something that's going to give you income, so that you're now in a much better financial position. You don't have a mortgage anymore and now you're getting income. That capital that you're living in is now working for you. It's producing income for you as opposed to just feeling nice. Okay? That's a big difference in your financial life.

Heather: Right. Right. So okay, and then when you have that money, you can use it for anything, right? You can use it potentially for getting into a home or long term care if needed or having people come into the home. There's no barriers on what you can use with the money, right?

Jordan: Just don't blow it, okay?

Heather: Yeah, let's not blow it, right. But if they need that for in-home care or something.

Jordan: If you want you can go on vacation and drink till you're numb, but not a good idea. This is equity you've built up over many years and you should be careful with it. Paying off your mortgage or other debts is a great thing because you don't have those debts anymore. And investing it in a way that will give you some income is a great thing too. So, yes, you can use it on whatever you want, but use it right.

Heather: Okay. So they could use it on things like in-home care if needed or any health issues?

Jordan: Right.

Heather: Or thing like that.

Jordan: Long term care, if they needed something like that.

Heather: Long term care.

Jordan: Getting income from it is the best way to use it.

Heather: Okay. Great. You and I talked about a couple of the different things. We've talked now about reverse mortgages. We've also talked about being able to pay down your mortgage equity optimization, which is basically paying down your mortgage faster. And you do a ton. This is not the only thing that you do. You do have a lot of expertise in many, many areas.

Heather: I kind of want to go down a few more if you're okay with that. So let's go down a little bit on long-term care.

Jordan: Sure. So long-term care is insurance that covers the cost of somebody taking care of you. Now you think you're going to last forever, which is nice, but at certain point you just can't take care of yourself on your own. It's what's called the basic rules of living you've got there. You've got to be able to eat and go to the bathroom and wash yourself and dress. And at a certain point, you're just not able to do these things on your own. In order to be able to quality to receive long term care benefits you have to not be able to do two out of the six kind of basic necessities of life, as certified by a doctor. And if you can't do that, you get long term care. Now they're going to pay you a certain amount per day or per month.

Jordan: There's different ways of doing it. It's better to get long-term care when you're younger because it's cheaper. It's kind of like life insurance. You lock in the premium at the age that you get it. So if you buy it at age 40 it's a lot cheaper than if you buy it at age 60 just by the nature of it. Probably the insurance company is assuming you're going to pay for it for many years before you end up using it. That's the idea. It can be a great system to cover those costs which are not covered by Medicare, life insurance, Social Security. Your health insurance is not going to cover aides helping you around, that kind of thing. The only way you can get that is Medicaid, which you have to be impoverished basically to get Medicaid. You don't want to get Medicaid if you can possibly avoid it because it means you're broke.

Jordan: So this is allowing you to keep your lifestyle and actually keep your assets. A lot of people when they're old in years, spend through all their assets on aides. And we're talking about home healthcare aides, assisted living, nursing homes. They've built up all these assets over many years and it all goes to the nursing home. By having long-term care you get to hold onto your assets for yourself and to pass on to your kids.

Heather: So, we're talking about different finances when you're older. And somebody is doing that right now. So what's the best strategy? Now we have mortgage equity optimization, first mortgages, and long-term care, which is kind of different? What is like what I call A-plus best strategy here?

Jordan: Well, it depends on your situation. That would be reverse mortgages if you're 62+ and you've got a lot of equity you want to get your money from. The mortgage optimization route, it's better to start younger. You're not going to start mortgage optimization when you're 65. You're trying to get your mortgage paid off so say you're 50 or something like that and you pay it off by 55. That's going to be it.

Jordan: Long-term care, again, the younger you get it the better it's going to be because it's going to be cheaper. The older you get, the more expensive it gets. It's the kind of thing that you can't buy it once you need it. Too late. Okay? If you're 85 and you need home health care aids you are not going to be able to afford long-term care. They want to get it younger. So that's kind of, depending on the situation, what's best for you.

Heather: Okay. Got it. Okay. Great. This has been really helpful. I'm going to make sure everyone has the url, theseniorlist.com/mortgages. And there, again, we're going to have the link to Jordan's page. And, again, when you click on the link you'll see Jordan there. Jordan Goodman. Go check it out. There they'll be having information about reverse mortgages as well as mortgage equity optimization.

Heather: Jordan, this has been pretty helpful. Is there anything else that you'd want to say to the listeners of The Senior List?

Jordan: They can always check me out on my website moneyanswers.com. I'd love to help. And I take email from people. I just love to help. As I said, these are just of few of the many, many areas I love to help people with.

Heather: Yeah. So we would like to have you back. At The Senior List, we really wanted to focus on mortgages because we get a lot of questions. But we'd like to have you back because there's a ton of different things that we could discuss for helping seniors and their caregivers make the best decisions.

Heather: And, yes, go check out Jordan Goodman at moneyanswers.com. He also has a Money Answers radio show, as well as 13 books on financial topics. So please go check him out. Jordan, thank you so much for being here. And I want to make sure everyone has the url, theseniorlist.com/mortgages.

Heather: Okay, everyone, this is Heather Havenwood for The Senior List. Wish you all the best.

Heather: Thank you for listening to Your Best Year Begin Here podcast brought to you by theseniorlist.com. I'm your host Heather Havenwood. Please visit our website at theseniorlist.com and join many of our community groups on Facebook. Here at The Senior List we want to hear from you. Do you have a recommendation or a person or a company you want us to interview? Tell us. Email us at podcast@theseniorlist.com. Again, that's podcast@theseniorlist.com.

Heather: Until next time, one goal, one passion: Helping you live your best life.

Product Review: Teasia Coffee – Single Origin Whole Roasted Coffee Beans

A couple years ago, we received samples from a company called Teasia and was able to enjoy their Formosa Variety pack of teas in kcups. You can read that review here (hint, we really liked the tea).

They reached out again and announced they started roasting single origin coffee beans. Here’s a little bit of a background of their story.

Teasia coffee believes in two things: our people and our coffee. Striving to make the best cup of coffee possible, we begin at the source. Our coffee beans are carefully chosen in consideration to the origin, quality and flavors profiles. The beans are sourced from one single producer, crop, or region in one country (aka single origin). Our high-quality beans are then roasted in our Southern California facility in small batches to ensure the most unique flavor profiles.

All their coffee beans are 100% specialty grade and sustainable Arabica coffee, definitely a step up in flavor from my usual morning cup of joe.

Their coffee is roasted in small batches and packed within 24 hours to ensure quality and freshness.

Teasia sent The Senior List® samples in exchange for an unbiased review and hands-on test of the product. All opinions expressed here belong to the writer and reviewer of the product.

Take a trip around the world with the wide selection of coffee beans

The three sample coffees that were sent to me were all medium roasts: Colombia Huila, Brazil Fazenda and El Salvador.

Colombia Huila

Teasia Coffee – Single Origin Whole Roasted Coffee Beans

These beans are well balanced, creamy and full bodied with notes of caramel, red apple, tangerine, and honey.

Brazil Fazenda

Teasia Coffee – Single Origin Whole Roasted Coffee Beans Brazil Fazenda

The Brazil Fazenda has a smooth, light acidity, mild and buttery taste with hints of hazelnut and cocoa that balance the light and sweet berry tones.

El Salvador

Teasia Coffee- El Salvador

This Central American roast has a gentle acidity and balanced body with the honey-like sweetness of caramel and fruity aromas of apple and lime.

I really liked the coffee Teasia sent- albeit, I know way more about wine than coffee. I do like the variety of their coffee offerings and the consistent good flavor from each sample. These will make excellent gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

How much does Teasia Coffee cost?

The 3 flavors that I have tried can be easily purchased on Amazon and quickly delivered especially if you have Amazon Prime for $16.50 for 2 lbs, that’s only $8.25 per pound! If you’re looking to sample several flavors, they also offer variety bundles listed below:

Teasia Coffee – Single Origin Whole Roasted Coffee Beans, Central Amertica Bundle

Lastly, if you’re looking for coffee beans that are decaf, Teasia does offer their Peru Decaf which still is 100% Peru Decaf coffee and has a nutty and sweet citrus taste and brown sugar smell. There’s really something for everyone with all these varieties of roasts.

Teasia Coffee Brewing & Storage Instructions

To preserve your beans' fresh roasted flavor for as long as possible, Teasia recommends they be stored in an air-tight container (or very tightly seal the bag it comes in), and keep it at room temperature. Avoid light that will compromise the taste of your coffee, keep them in a dark and cool location. For best results, it is recommended grinding your Teasia coffee no more than 15 minutes prior to brewing.

Best Assisted Living San Diego, California

The Senior List® set out to find the best assisted living facilities in San Diego, California.  We compiled reviews from top senior housing review websites to pull together our “Best of” list.  Click here to read about our methods, and interpreting the List.  All ratings are based on 5 stars.

You might also like:
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Best Assisted Living Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Best Assisted Living San Diego, California | Who makes the list?

Among the many cities The Senior List has already explored as potential retirement destinations, San Diego, California’s second largest city with small town charm, seems quite appealing. A popular retirement town since World War II, not only does this beautiful and stimulating city offer a mild and sunny climate (annual temperatures range from the upper seventies to the low forties), but also boasts a lower than average crime rate among U.S. cities.

What San Diego Has to Offer

As for what you, and any visiting guests, might do for entertainment, here’s a quick overview, along with some purely practical amenities:

  • Tons of opportunities for outdoor activities including hiking, biking, surfing, swimming, spectator sports and 92 golf courses situated across San Diego county. (San Diego’s Torrey Pines public course is highly recommended.)
  • Glorious scenery and photo opportunities.
  • Regardless of where you choose to live, the town is worth exploring. Check out the historically and culturally rich Barrio Logan, upscale La Jolla with its ocean views, the quiet of Sabre Springs, or the varied terrain of the Rancho Peñasquitos neighborhood. If you’re into winemaking, there are numerous vineyards you could tour.
  • Access to 70 miles of glorious beaches.
  • This town has a diverse population, and events throughout the year reflect that.
  • The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System bus and trolley systems will help you get where you want to go.
  • An exciting downtown provides shopping, eateries, museums, opera, theater, art galleries, nightlife, city parks and access to boating and other sports. Don’t skip the carefully rejuvenated Gaslamp Quarter, its 16+ blocks packed with 94 historic buildings, all still in use.
  • Suffer from migraine headaches? One of the major triggers can be changes in barometric pressure. Thanks to San Diego’s relatively constant climate, this trigger may be nearly nonexistent.
  • Tap into the University of California, San Diego, whether for classes or cultural events. (There are nine other colleges in the area too.)
  • Let’s not forget the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
  • Those intrigued by military history will enjoy touring the Naval Base, not to mention the Midway Museum.
  • San Diego is the home to at least 10 hospitals.
  • Air quality – though not the best in the country – does not seem to be a problem for most. The city managers are continuing efforts to improve it further.
  • Throughout the U.S., San Diego county is uniquely aggressive and prompt in a) preventing and b) dealing with charges of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of assisted living facility or nursing home residents.

San Diego’s Drawbacks

Really, San Diego’s only two significant drawbacks seem to be housing prices and traffic. However, if you’re living in a senior housing community, and relying on that facility’s transportation or mass transit, neither of these issues should be a stumbling block.

List of the Top Assisted Living San Diego, California

Looking for senior housing for a loved one? Get personalized help today! Click here to get started. 

Atria Collwood – San Diego, CA 92115

Atria Living offers Independent Living and Assisted Living.

Caring – 22 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorAdvisor – 52 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – 3 Reviews, Average Rating 4
GoldenReviews – 4 Reviews, Average Rating 4.71

What they liked: Great staff, friendly/attentive/caring, pets welcome, staff excellent, low turnover, staff really exceptional!, treat residents as individuals, outgoing, staff very happy and helpful, highly dedicated/very accommodating, empathy, wonderful respite care, anticipating needs, director excellent at answering questions, rates affordable, staff is best thing about this facility, absolutely wonderful attitude, very happy place, clean and bright, smelled nice, liked medtechs, good communication [with family], wholesome community, facilities clean/modest/quiet, safe and comfortable, many amenities, variety of packages/individual needs, beautiful library, great choice of floor plans, large rooms, private bath, sliding glass door to courtyard, full-time events director, emergency call system, concierge, restaurant-style meals, dining room 7am-7pm, medication assistance, local transportation, game room, nice dining room, flexible dining schedule, food excellent, delicious, nice garden. all day and all-night cafe with complimentary snacks and beverages, meals OK, cocktails served, card room, club and volunteer opportunities, life programming, home/cheerful, like a second family, bingo, cards, TV, book club, painting, crafts, art, shopping, beautiful/peaceful garden, residents allowed little garden areas, activity is adequate, a lot of activities, very loving relationship executive director/residents, medical attendant’s care very good, round-the-clock care, good staff-to-resident ratio, studio/1-bedroom/some shared rooms, reasonable-sized room, medication management available but not required, room shape/very accommodating, stores/restaurants walking distance, more of a resort vibe, onsite hairdresser/pedicurist, a lot of communication between staff and doctors

What they didn’t like: Food could be better, staff needs follow-through, staff could be more responsive, rooms small [but affordable], wish it was cheaper, 210 square foot room too small, set menu/few options, reception desk/housecleaning staff not very friendly, want more activities, layout could be confusing, a lot like a nursing home/not assisted living, charged for every little thing, common areas functional but not inviting, only problem getting info from visiting doctor, only allowed to bathe twice a week, closet bar too high, bathroom too small, a little expensive, wish there were more nurses, food OK but required reheating, ants in bathroom, resident not briefed on safety procedures, could use more nurses at night, wish more outdoor area, not making sure food warm enough, dining room service slow, facility is older/not as appealing to the eye

Belmont Village at Sabre Springs – San Diego, California 92128

Belmont Village at Sabre Springs provides Independent Living, Assisted Living, Circle of Friends, Memory Care, and Short Stay.

Caring – 11 Reviews, Average Rating 4.8
SeniorAdvisor – 37 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes – 6 Reviews, Average Rating 4.9
GoldenReviews – No Reviews

What they liked: Very clean, gorgeous facility, beautifully decorated, staff seems to know everyone by name, big bang for your buck, caters to diversity, fabulous facility and staff, compassionate, individualized care, nice, very spacious, tucked away from busy highway/close to San Diego proper, surrounding land cannot be developed, a beautiful atmosphere, a lot of outdoor space and sitting areas, staff makes transitions easy, friendly and fun atmosphere, no long halls, pretty friendly, food very good, food OK, countryside/mountains/wide open/beautiful scenery, small gym, outdoor garden/walking, group activities, yoga, putting green, very homey, lots of activity, grounds/rooms/dining area very nice, food top notch, nice neighborhood, will serve food in resident’s room, bistro/light snacks, bands and singers visit, wine/cheese parties, secure for severe dementia, best/safest/cleanest residence available, staff are great advocates, several mobile doctors, could not ask for better support team, staff very welcoming/really care about residents, PALS program, nurse on staff/each floor, playing cards, blackjack, poker, water aerobics, history lessons, play music, bridge, memory games, ping pong, billiards, happy hour on Thursdays, annual carnival, live performances/dance, current events, parks, concerts every weekend, crossword puzzles, great place for someone who does not need one-on-one care, staff were attentive, very good program for people with milder dementia/Circle of Friends, cheerful with lots of light from inside and outside, like a hotel, rooms nice and big, church outings, transportation, shopping, parties for holidays, hair salon, good-sized studio with kitchen, all rooms private/3 separate sizes/all with microwave/fridge

What they didn’t like: Too fancy, too upscale, very pricey, 10-15 minutes to respond to resident, only issue is needs better communication between staff members, very expensive

Brookdale Carmel Valley [Formerly Emeritus at Carmel Valley] – San Diego, California 92130

Brookdale Carmel Valley offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and Health Care Services.

Caring – 19 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorAdvisor – 22 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – 3 Reviews, Average Rating 2
GoldenReviews – No Reviews

What they liked: CNAs kind/respectful/worked VERY hard, all staff worked very hard, staff excellent, very attentive, therapy excellent, P/T outstanding, very clean facility, warm, staff very friendly/kind/helpful, food is good, good service, Brookdale’s takeover/facility well-maintained, seemed very secure, nice rooms, lots of entertainment and activities, outings, theater, computer classes, bingo, management helped furnish room, rooms laid out well, common areas adequate, dining room large, food very good, fairly good food, walking distance to a lot of businesses, games, outside entertainment, piano

What they didn’t like: Very understaffed at night, depressing [but clean], since Brookdale takeover service to residents inadequate/generally unresponsive, staff very nice but overworked/under-educated, manager in over his head, good but would like gardens, SNF side of Brookdale/15-30 minute delayed response to call button, staff kind but stretched, check daily costs before moving in, need to itemize bills, could use more caregivers, large suite/bedroom/den/large living room/bathroom. mother-in-law not bathed in 5 days/no one looking in on her, understaffed, rooms very small, no view, no patio or balcony, understaffed and poor communication, do not accept Medicare/Medicaid, physical/occupational therapists make no effort

Casa de las Campanas – San Diego, California 92127

Casa de las Campanas offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Rehabilitation, and Skilled Nursing.

Caring – 8 Reviews, Average Rating 4.2
SeniorAdvisor – 1 Review, Average Rating 5
SeniorHomes – 3 Reviews, Average Rating 4.66
GoldenReviews – 11 Reviews, Average Rating 3.8

What they liked: Pet-friendly, beautiful weather, verdant greenery, open spaces, food decent, food excellent, dining area very nice/well laid out, like a nice restaurant, dining room absolutely beautiful, very nice cafeteria and restaurant, buffet, order from menu, very clean facility, very inviting atmosphere, very nice memory center, staff caring, very nice staff, staff excellent, very friendly, facility stays clean 24/7, very large facility, well-trained staff/available 24 hours a day, expert doctors, doctors very helpful and caring, beautifully decorated/very clean, facility really awesome, like a happy family, transportation provided, provide services/bathing/dressing/meals, hallways wide, all levels of care, type A community/monthly fee never goes up even if you shift to different level, two-bedrooms-plus-den, balconies, wonderful floorplans, rooms large and beautiful, pools, recreation area, 300 sq. ft. theater/[residents] do plays, incredible variety/activities, lots of day trips, [resident] orchestra/choral group, cost controlled/non-profit, new hospital nearby, liked that they would take care of you even if you ran out of money, Hyatt Regency quality

What they didn’t like: Water stains here and there, understaffed and staff not cooperative, care and administration suck, didn’t see lots of active people, upfront cost was very expensive/monthly charges reasonable, only buy-in part bad

Elmcroft at Point Loma – San Diego, CA 92110

Elmcroft at Point Loma provides what it terms “Multilevel retirement living communities,” incorporating Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Nursing Home Care.

Caring – 11 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorAdvisor – 20 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – No Reviews
GoldenReviews – No Reviews

What they liked: Thorough tour/very informative, smaller community, very homey, well-maintained, good environment, very clean, cleanliness is awesome, very pretty, nicely furnished, rooms really nice, different options/shared room/single room or shared bathroom, assigned people enough staff for residents, Elmcroft very good, excellent care!, great staff/low turnover, more than pleased with Elmcroft, staff very friendly, kind, compassionate, helpful, patience and [good] attitude, love/attention given to residents, staff goes above and beyond, supportive, they value resident, very expensive/but do really good job, [residents] occupied, like location/layout, three meals a day, music, current events, The Buddy System, safe and in good hands, very welcoming/reasonably priced, locked facility, management made transition easy/responsive, safe and caring place, saw resident making progress, Alzheimer’s care unit/exceptionally good, reacts to special requests in timely manner, big dining room, good food, food amazing/gourmet, attention to specific food needs, place small enough for safety/roomy enough for walkers, only one story, perfect place for Alzheimer’s residents, daily walks/activities, two nice porches/sunny areas, [staff] bring residents out for activities, wide hallways, lovely garden, allow residents to help with little chores

What they didn’t like: Expensive, not much curb appeal, neighborhood not warm/inviting, facility small, near freeway, homeless people, all activities seemed to take place in dining room, severely understaffed/unable to deal with at-risk patients, unresponsive management, malnutrition/unexplained bruises, price changed after moving in, communication is an issue, short staffed/care less than stellar, lost a couple of items/dentures, severe over-medication/doctor unresponsive, need to walk patients more/be responsive about insurance issues, traffic difficult, don’t seem to keep resident’s mouth clean

St. Paul’s Manor – San Diego, CA 92103

St. Paul’s Manor provides Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, Day Programs, and Managed Medical Care.

Caring – 12 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorAdvisor – No Reviews
SeniorHomes – 1 Review, Average Rating 4
GoldenReviews – No Reviews

What they liked: Reasonably priced, very homey, pet-friendly, develop a community, safe, very clean, comfortable, ocean view, classy, close to museums/parks, pond, grounds well-maintained, older building/well-maintained, rooms very nice/updated, people in halls said “hello,” good home, patio/single bedroom/separate living room, waiting staff great, friendly, very accommodating, tour guide very knowledgeable, staff very lovely, dropped in for tour without appointment, very impressed with the people, everyone seemed very happy, intense interview with prospective resident, several members like classical music, food served restaurant style, food good/variety, nice programs for residents, good parking, well organized/clean, social rooms, areas for projects and activities, food good, lovely lunch, price included 1 meal a day, gym, residents seemed satisfied with the place, large and small studios, smallest studios with kitchenettes, 1-bedroom apartments, lots of social activities, lounge area for reading, on Bankers Hill/safe for walking, near Balboa Park/zoo/museums, city bus service convenient, banks/restaurants within walking distance, price good, field trips, great for independent residents

What they didn’t like: No parking, no swimming pool, food varies

Sunrise at La Jolla – San Diego, CA 92109

Sunrise at La Jolla offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Respite Care, Personal Care Services, and Skilled Nursing.

Caring – 9 Reviews, Average Rating 4.2
SeniorAdvisor – 13 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – 3 Reviews, Average Rating 4.33
GoldenReviews – 5 Reviews, Average Rating 4.39

What they liked: Much nicer facility, nice and small, clean and well kept, facility is moderately sized/adds to the warm feel, residents looked happy, lovely community!, near beaches, walking distance to restaurants, 2nd story has ocean view, nice part of San Diego, upscale community/staff, residents and staff quite friendly, nurses took time to get to know resident, very nicely decorated interior, flowers everywhere, paintings, very welcoming, warm/inviting, director very welcoming/friendly, staff always very friendly/attentive to residents, very personal touch/staff knows residents, staff careful, sympathetic/empathetic/greets you with a smile, extremely helpful/caring, nurses update us on grandma's health/activities/good days and bad days, staff very nice/pleasant/polite/respectful, open door policy/easy to communicate with, food definitely five-star, grand staircase, people greeted us, standout staff member: attentive chef, open/functional floor plan, not many places within walking distance/but facility offers transportation at additional cost, [facility] bus, ton of activities, everyone involved in activities, staff encourages participation, several patios/sunshine, media room, TV room, workout room, activity room, bingo, flower arranging [flowers then put on display], area surrounding facility/scenic and peaceful, great memory care program, care is above average, tour good, dining room beautiful, food awesome, food good, facility encourages family to visit/dine, walk-in bathtubs, big rooms, exercise programs daily, walking tours, every day some sort of class like knitting, musical performance

What they didn’t like: Expensive, very tired-looking, very small, awful smelling, could offer different variety of activities, could be more upfront/pricing, initial problems with medication service, bit of rocky start (with new manager) but worked through it, small compared to other facilities, no outside grounds for walking or swimming, question whether staff certified, closer to Pacific Beach than La Jolla, lunch menu limited (but vegetables fresh), in busy/not pretty part of town, very limited guest parking, gloomy, biggest issue: some items got lost in laundry

The Arbors at Rancho Penasquitos – San Diego, CA 92129

The Arbors at Rancho Penasquitos provides Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Caring – 21 Reviews, Average Rating 4.1
SeniorAdvisor – 39 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – 10 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
GoldenReviews – No Reviews

What they liked: Staff kind/considerate/caring, knowledgeable and proactive, tour guide extremely knowledgeable/informative/warm, all staff excellent, dietitian, wonderful experience, very clean, professional, extremely nice/patient/caring, staff and residents have family feeling, “My mom can be a pill but the staff remain kind and caring,” food very good/chef wonderful, think food is homemade, menu variety, food outstanding, accommodate dietary needs, peace of mind, unique in that staff urge drinking water/cranberry juice, activities director, facility clean/resident rooms spotless, dedicated van, shopping, bingo, crafts, [resident] cooking days, visiting DJ, [activities] every day, news discussions, dancing, parties, exercise, really in to holidays, whole place smells nice/normal, cleaning every day, cleaning weekly/trash daily, open floor plan, apartments quaint and comfortable/not modern but cozy, garden, location easy to access/nice surroundings, a lot of amenities, nice view, assisted living nice, community newly renovated/always nicely maintained, wonderful activity coordinator, everyone is really just amazing!, call button pushed/staff response timely, management responsive to requests, walking distance IHOP and other shops, a lot of communication, Activity Director awesome, above average staff/activities/meals, best Senior Care facility

What they didn’t like: Only concern is new management to take over, could have been better oriented to how things work, memory unit small, facility too big, a bit small, hallways narrow/rooms small, located on busy street, laid out like a hotel, terrible smell/2nd floor, rooms unfurnished, didn’t get good feeling about place, memory care wing small/dark, seemed like a converted motel, dark and kind of sad, need to improve caring/cleaning of residents, layout not very good, bathroom not wheelchair-accessible, hallways too narrow, can’t get up to dinner table with wheelchair, some issues with pricing, poor internal communication, remodel going on, staff unresponsive, not all agreed-upon services provided, no outdoor area for assisted living, didn’t like companion suites, rooms small/no kitchen sink

The Remington Club – San Diego, CA 92128

The Remington Club offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Rehabilitation, and Skilled Nursing Care.

Caring – 8 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorAdvisor – 10 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes – 2 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
GoldenReviews – 3 Reviews, Average Rating 4.67

What they liked: Did not require much money upfront, big, beautiful, clean, aesthetically very pleasing, well kept, a lot to offer, nice/clean, staff accommodating, very friendly, hard-working, management staff/supportive of outreach programs, very receptive/responsive, professional, good communication, kind, attentive, very caring, caters to specialized diets, meal options, dining room looked very nice/appealing, food good, facility very nice, staff goes out of their way to help, food excellent, buffet, dining rooms, a lot of social activities, card playing, games, bingo, trivia, game shows, organized trips, shopping, people seemed happy, nice common areas, scheduled and non-scheduled activities, book club discussion, grounds well-manicured, dining room really lovely, guest lunch meals, snacks/fresh baked goods/fruits/vegetables, living spaces well-designed/spacious, peaceful yet fun environment, good parking, onsite salon services, physical/occupational therapy, transportation to town/medical visits, walking distance to shops/restaurants, upbeat community, nice social calendar, residents engaged, beehive of activity, family feeling

What they didn’t like: Don’t care for atmosphere, depressing, expensive, outdated décor, very depressing, Assisted Living can’t have microwave/coffee maker

Does Drinking Diet Soda Increase Your Risk Of Dementia?

Will Drinking Diet Soda Increase Your Risk Of Dementia?

Drinking diet soda may increase your risk of dementia according to a 2017 article published by The American Heart Association.  The article caused much alarm among older adults who’d switched from drinking regular soda to diet soda. They thought they were making a healthier choice.

Let’s take a closer look at the study that was cited in the article, and what the findings could mean.

Related: Researchers Suggest a Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

How Was The Study Carried Out?

The study was carried out with 2,888 adults over the age of 45, and 1,484 adults over the age of 60. Researchers kept tabs on the participants over a period of seven years.

Respondents answered questions about their eating and drinking habits, and researchers kept a record of how many participants developed dementia.

What Were The Results?

Participants who drank at least one diet soda with artificial sweeteners daily were almost three times more likely to develop dementia than those who indulged less than once a week.

Will Drinking Diet Soda Increase Your Risk Of Dementia? We take a look at a recent study.

The team adjusted their findings accounting for other factors including age, gender, quality of their diet, how active they were, and whether they had genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s. The conclusions were the same.

Were The Results Conclusive?

Lead researcher Matthew Pase of the Boston University School Of Medicine acknowledged that the results showed a correlation rather than a direct causation.

That means that although people who drank more diet soda had a greater risk of dementia, it’s impossible to say for certain that the diet soda was the direct cause.

Related: How Much Water Should Older Adults Drink?

Could Any Other Factors Impact The Outcome?

Yes. For example, being overweight or having diabetes or heart disease also increase the risk of developing dementia. It’s possible that an overall unhealthy lifestyle or chronic diseases also increase the risk of dementia or a stroke.

What Other Research Has Been Done?

 As of the date of this article, no further research has been done to prove the link between diet soda and the risk of having a stroke or developing dementia.

Should I be concerned about drinking diet sodas and the risk of dementia?

Although the evidence right now isn’t conclusive, we think it’s enough to make you think twice about drinking too much diet soda. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s probably better to cut back on diet soda than take the risk.

It’s also worth noting that even diet soda can still lead to weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes, as opposed to not drinking soda at all.

Overall, it seems like diet soda isn’t the healthiest beverage choice and perhaps is best enjoyed in moderation (as is true with many things).

Is switching to regular soda a better option?

Definitely not! Regular soda is filled with sugar, and that’s not good for anybody’s health. Instead, we recommend sticking with water as your regular cold beverage. Sparkling water and herbal teas (hot or iced) are other healthier alternatives.

Be careful with fruit juice, though – even 100% juice still contains a lot of natural sugar and is best enjoyed occasionally.

The possible link between diet soda and dementia is certainly worrying. Although the evidence isn’t conclusive yet, it seems that sugar-laden regular soda and its sweetener-enhanced diet counterpart are both best avoided except as rare treats. Water is a much healthier option for staying hydrated.

Four Things To Consider When Purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance

Should older adults purchase long-term care insurance to cover the high costs of care in case they become ill in the future?

The cost of long-term care is rising. Older adults worry about how they’ll pay for care at home or in an assisted living facility. They worry about running out of money. They worry that the costs will eat into their estate and assets so that their loved ones inherit less.

One possible solution to these worries is long-term care insurance (LTCI). LTCI is an insurance policy that pays for long-term care if needed. It sounds like a wonderful solution, and in some cases it is. But there are pros and cons to long-term care insurance.

Let’s take a closer look at long-term care insurance and some things to consider before taking out a policy.

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care includes the ongoing needs of a senior who’s developed a chronic illness or disability. These might include help with daily activities such as bathing and dressing, help with cooking, medication management, mobility, or more specialized medical care.

Doesn’t The Government Pay For Long-Term Care?

Many people make the mistake of thinking the government pays for long-term care. This isn’t true in most cases.

Medicare covers short rehabilitation stays in nursing homes, and sometimes covers temporary at-home care and therapy. Medicare benefits apply under very strict circumstances. Employers’ health coverage doesn’t usually cover long-term care either.

Medicaid is a State and Federal program that covers long-term care only for the very poor. Again, strict guidelines apply.

Long-Term Care Insurance Can Provide Peace Of Mind

For some people, LTCI is a way to make sure their care is paid for should they need it. LTCI can provide seniors with peace of mind. They know they have a way to pay for their care without using all their savings, assets, or estate, and leaving them impoverished.

Many seniors will require long-term care as they age. According to the American Institute For Long-Term Care Insurance, 68% of older adults will find themselves cognitively impaired, or disabled in at least two areas of daily living. The chances of needing some form of long-term care are fairly high.

Four Things To Consider When Purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance
Image by Can Stock Photo / obencem

Some Things To Consider Before Purchasing LTCI

#1. The Cost Can Be Prohibitive

LTCI can be expensive. Premiums can cost as much as $2,700 a year. Offset this against the costs of long-term care. Older adults can expect to pay more than $30,000 a year for an assisted living facility in today’s market. It might be worth it, but the high cost is certainly a consideration.

#2. LTCI Doesn’t Usually Cover Pre-Existing Conditions

Seniors with pre-existing conditions such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes might struggle to qualify for long-term care insurance.

Some companies may agree to insure them but won’t cover care related to that specific condition. Others might agree to pay a certain amount for those conditions, but only after a waiting period.

If they do find a policy that will cover their illness, the premiums will be exorbitant.

#3. Policies Are Only Paid After Certain Criteria Are Met

Most LTCI policies will only pay out after the policy holder meets certain criteria – known as “benefit triggers.” These qualifiers include needing help with two or three activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing or dressing. The insurer will require proof or an assessment to show that the policyholder meets these benefit triggers before they will pay out.

AARP recommends seniors look for a policy that includes bathing as one of the activities of daily living, as that is often one of the first things seniors need help with.

#4. Be Aware Of Waiting Periods and Caps

Most LTCI policies have a waiting period before they start paying benefits. This period is calculated from the moment the policyholder is certified as unable to carry out activities of daily living. Waiting periods can be up to 100 days.

Typical LTCI policies also have benefit caps. For example, they will only pay $100 a day for in-home care or $250 for care in a senior care facility.

Is Long-Term Care Insurance The Way To Go?

Long-term care insurance has both pros and cons. Each persons circumstances are different. LTCI is a good option for some people, but not everyone. We suggest talking with your loved one about these topics:

  • Is long-term care insurance the best way for them to afford long-term care if they need it? Some people opt to use savings or investments to pay for care, rather than LTCI.
  • Do they have any pre-existing conditions that would disqualify them from a policy?
  • What level of care are they likely to need? It’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen as we age, but chatting about pre-existing conditions, family history, and how good their support network is, can all help give an idea of the future.
  • How easy will it be for them to keep up with their policy payments, both now and in the future?
  • Can they afford to cover the waiting period? Shorter waiting periods typically means bigger premiums. If they can afford paying for a longer waiting period another way, their premiums could decrease.
  • How much of a concern is paying for care in terms of how it will impact their estates and will, and how much they can leave to their loved ones?

Tips On Long Term Care Insurance Policy Hunting

If your loved one decides to check out LTCI policies, we recommend the following tips:

  • Look for insurers who are state approved, and who have experience in offering LTCI policies.
  • Ask potential insurers how many times their premiums have gone up in recent years, and how much they have gone up by.
  • Ask for specific details on waiting periods and caps.
  • Discuss whether the activities for daily living assessment also include cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s. Sometimes seniors can physically carry out a task but it isn’t safe for them to do so.
  • Ask about how flexible the policy is – is it possible to increase or decrease payments depending on circumstances?
  • Make sure the insurer gives you a 30-day period to review your policy, and cancel it if it doesn’t suit you. Most insurers offer this.
  • Get a written copy of every policy you are considering and be sure to read the fine print carefully.
  • Compare policies from at least three companies before deciding.

If in doubt, consider making an appointment with a financial advisor or lawyer who can go over the policy with you and your loved one, making sure it’s appropriate.

LTCI isn’t right for everyone, but for some, it is the best way to ensure their long-term needs are taken care of. Sit down with your loved ones and talk it over with them. Whatever the decision, you’ll feel better knowing you’re better prepared for the future – no matter what comes your way.

Product Review: Sagely Naturals- CBD for Pain Relief

CBD has many applications, including better digestive health, pain relief, helping with symptoms of anxiety, and protecting the systems of our body as we age. The rising popularity of CBD means there are increasing numbers of companies selling CBD products.

In the coming weeks, we'll be talking about CBD and how its anti inflammatory and pain relieving properties could be a solution for older adults who need extra support as they age. CBD is a natural compound derived from the hemp plant. It’s important to note that CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties – you’re not in danger of accidentally getting high if you use it.

 Sagely Naturals sent The Senior List® samples of three of its most popular products and paid for an unbiased review and hands-on test of the products. All opinions expressed here belong to the writer and reviewer of the product.

How Sagely Naturals Helped My Painful Arm

Over the last few month I have been dealing with an annoying (and at times downright painful) tendonitis-type injury to my right arm. Of course that’s not good when my role includes using a computer and typing all day (and I'm right-handed)!  Sagely Naturals had sent some samples our way so we could review them for our readers, the timing was perfect and I had the chance to try out their products first-hand.

The samples included the Headache Roll-On, Relief and Recovery Cream, and Relief and Recovery Capsules. I used the Relief and Recovery Cream on my arm and took the Recovery Capsules to help with the pain and inflammation.  I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I got a great deal of relief from using the topical cream and the capsules and have been using them daily ever since. 

Product Review: Sagely Naturals- CBD products for pain relief
Relief and Recovery Cream, Relief and Recovery Capsules, and Headache Roll-On

I used the Headache Roll-On as well, although I don't suffer from headaches or migraines, so I can't speak to the effectiveness of that. However, I used it as part of my nightly routine, rolled it on the back of my neck, and let the warming sensation help relax my tight muscles.

Aside from effective results, I really like the philosophy behind the company and the high quality ingredients Sagely Naturals uses in all their products.

The Sagely Naturals Philosophy

Sagely Naturals stands for plant based healing and support. The company got its start when founders Kaley and Kerrigan realized their moms were suffering from aches and pains that were preventing them being active, and decided to put their love of plant-based healing to good use. They worked with chemists to create safe, non-psychoactive products that could ease aches and pains and give their moms their lives back, and Sagely Naturals was born.

All Natural Ingredients

One of the things we love about Sagely Naturals is their commitment to using all natural ingredients. Sagely Naturals products are free from chemical nasties such as parabens, PEGs, artificial colors, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances. The folks behind Sagely Naturals believe plants are the best medicine, and they back up that belief by relying on plant based ingredients and minimizing toxic chemicals in their products.

They use only high quality ingredients

Sagely Naturals is fiercely committed to providing only the best quality in each product. All their CBD is sourced from non-GMO, organic, US grown hemp. They work with a facility that has strict quality standards, ensuring that every batch meets those standards.

Sagely Naturals also puts every product through a rigorous triple lab test. Their production facilities are GMP certified, which means quality control at all times, and a consistent high standard of operations.

What does Sagely Naturals products help with?

Sagely Naturals currently has two main collections:

Relief & Recovery (that I used for my arm!) is specially designed to help with physical pain and inflammation. The collection includes a cream, capsules, spray, and a headache roll on.

Tranquility helps the mind and mood with its soothing, calming properties. The collection includes a cream, capsules, and a stress relief roll on.

How Much Does Sagely Naturals Cost?

Sagely Naturals products range from $19.99 for the Relief & Recovery Cream, to $49.99 for the Relief & Recovery or Tranquility capsules. Customers also enjoy free delivery on any order over $36. 

We think Sagely Naturals is very fairly priced, especially given the high quality of the products. We’ve seen much more expensive CBD products out there, without the same commitment to quality.

We love Sagely Naturals’ philosophy of using natural plant-based products to ease pain and stress so people can stay active. As our readers know, staying active as we age is both important and challenging at times.

We think Sagely Natural’s gentle, high quality products can help with that. And as an added bonus, the products smell absolutely lovely, with none of the “cannabis” smell found in other CBD products.

When Mom or Dad Needs Help Managing Money

There may come a time when mom or dad needs help managing money because of mental or physical impairments. It can be a difficult time for both you and your loved ones who may be struggling to keep finances in line.

Mental impairment makes it harder to understand complex tasks.. Physical conditions such as poor eyesight or arthritis in the hands pose challenges in reading statements or writing checks. If the spouse who usually took care of finances passes away, the remaining spouse might struggle to keep on top of things.

Is Your Parent At Risk?

Adult children find it stressful when they realize that mom or dad is making poor financial decisions or is falling behind with the bills and paperwork.

They realize their parent could end up losing assets such as savings or their home, or fall into debt. They're also vulnerable to financial scammers. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your loved one's finances and be ready to step in and have a difficult conversation if need be.

What's Next?

How do you know when it’s time to talk to your parents about their money situation? And how can you broach such a sensitive subject as managing money without causing friction?

We know this is something many of our readers struggle with. Here’s a practical guide to when and how to talk to mom or dad, and some things you can do to help them with managing their money better.

Talking to your parents about managing money

Signs That Mom or Dad Is Struggling with Money

There are several tell-tale signs that let you know managing money is becoming an issue for mom or dad:

• Past-due bills
• Bills that seem unusually steep, or bills for services that your loved one don’t seem to have received
• Bills paid multiple times (it’s distressing to think of, but some unscrupulous providers will bill elderly customers more than once for the same bill)
• Extra credit card activity, or new credit cards
• A lack of organization when it comes to finances
• Stacks of papers that haven’t been filed or bills that haven’t been opened
• Large payments to undisclosed entities
• Payments that they can’t easily explain
• Withdrawing from previously enjoyed activities so as to save money
• Bare cupboards or struggling to buy enough food
• Not being able to heat their home adequately
• Spending large amounts of money on home shopping, lotteries, or charitable giving
• Signs of confusion or forgetfulness in general

When Is It Time To Talk About Finances?

It’s a good idea to talk to your parents about finances as soon as possible. Often, by the time you see some of the red flags listed above, mom or dad is already struggling to cope and is at risk of getting into a sticky financial situation.

Waiting to talk about finances until your parents are struggling and feeling stressed will increase friction. It’s best to talk while they’re still coping well. They’ll feel the most empowered because they can be fully involved in decisions about their financial future.

It’s never too early to have this conversation, and we recommend you have it sooner rather than later.

How to Broach the Subject of Managing Money?

Broaching the subject of finances with mom or dad is difficult. Many seniors are frightened to hand over control of their finances because of what it represents – a loss of independence and a growing realization that they can’t manage without help.

Older adults may feel great pride in managing money on their own and be unwilling to let that go. Many people feel embarrassed about struggling with money and don’t want to talk about it.

That’s why it’s important to approach the subject with gentleness and tact. One way to do it is to talk about something financial that’s going on in your life, such as getting a Power of Attorney drawn up or planning for retirement. Ask your parents for their input and advice. You've now opened the conversation for a discussion about finances.

You might also try talking to them about a scam you’ve heard of recently. Let them know you’re concerned about them and want to make sure they don’t get caught by it. Don't imply they can't cope.

However you approach the subject of money, the most important thing is to give mom or dad as much input as possible. Talk to them about possible financial scenarios and the consequences of not managing money well.

You can agree on warning signs that you’ll look out for together, and draft a plan of action that you’re both happy with for when the time comes to take next steps.

Keep the focus on what your parents can do, and on encouraging them to accept help when they need it – in a non-intrusive way that still feels like they have the power to make their own decisions.

First Steps to Helping with Money Management

One easy first step to helping with finances is to go through recent spending together and figure out where their money is going. For example:

• Are they paying for an expensive life insurance policy when there are less expensive options available?
• Does their credit card or bank have high interest rates or fees ?
• Are they paying for a service they don’t need or use?
• Are they paying more than they should for a service?
• Could they shop in less expensive stores?
• Is there a lot of money going to charity or organizations?

Figuring out where money is being spent is a simple and powerful first step to properly managing money. Shopping around for lower fees on everything from life insurance to prescriptions can seem overwhelming to older adults – if you take the pressure off and comparison shop for them, you can help them save money.

Another step is figuring out where help is needed. Perhaps mom is fine with everyday finances, but can no longer manage her investments. Maybe dad is still on top of investments, but can’t write checks due to his arthritis. Perhaps it’s just a little bit too easy for mom or dad to overspend on everyday things like eating out, leaving a bit too much month at the end of the money.

Start by offering help only where it’s truly needed. That way, your parents still feel in charge, and it’s easier to accept the help they do need.

Setting Up Power Of Attorney

If it’s clear that mom or dad is struggling with managing money, it’s important to formalize the way you’re going to help them. That way, everything is clear, and you know you have the power you need to help them when they need it. One of the most common ways to do this is with a Power of Attorney.

A Power of Attorney assigns someone else the power to act for an older person in financial matters. This gives you more control and means you can act on behalf of your parents (as long as they are willing to let you), which is particularly important if they are starting to suffer from cognitive impairment. You can keep an eye on things financially and be sure everything is working as it should. A Power of Attorney should be quick and easy to set up.

Be aware that a Power of Attorney can only be assigned by someone who is of sound mind. If you loved one is confused or unable to make decisions, it may be too late for a Power of Attorney.

There are other options such as a Living Trust or Guardianship, but these are much more complex and expensive. If you’re not sure what would be best for your parents, it’s a good idea to talk to a financial advisor or an elder law attorney.

Admitting that they need help with managing money is difficult for most older adults. Act early and tactfully, and you can help mom and dad get the support they need, while still retaining their independence for as long as they are able.

The Best Senior Cell Phone Plans

The best senior cell phone plans are budget-friendly, uncomplicated and have zero surprises when it comes time to pay the bill. We took a look at the top cell phone plans for older adults to see how they stack up.

Seniors are more tech-savvy these days, and more likely than ever to have their own cell phone. For some seniors, a cell phone provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing they can call 911, or get in touch with family or friends, whenever they need to.

For others, a cell phone is so much more than that – it’s a way to browse the internet, take photographs, enjoy music, and stay up to date with family, friends and their local community via email and social media.

According to Pew Research, four in ten seniors now have a smartphone. That’s more than double the number from 2013.

Cell phone providers are getting wise to this growing market share, and there are several phones on the market today designed specifically with older adults in mind. We’ve highlighted various senior cell phone plans over the last few years.

Now we’re bringing all of that information into one comprehensive list so you can compare at a glance and figure out which one is best for you, or for the loved one in your life.

We've rounded up the best senior cell phone plans

What We Looked For

When picking out the best senior cell phone plans, we looked for the following criteria:

  • Fair pricing
  • A good amount of minutes and texts for the money
  • Reliable coverage
  • Ease of use.

The Best Cell Phones for Seniors

These are the packages that made the grade – so you’re sure to find something here that meets your needs.

T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+ Plan

T-Mobile launched its first senior-specific phone in fall 2017. Designed with the older generation in mind, the Unlimited 55+ plan was created to be economical for budget-conscious seniors, but with all the features of any standard smartphone plan.

Handset: Works with any phone type
Cost: $50 monthly for the first line, and an extra $10 monthly to add a second line (includes all fees and taxes)
Calls: Unlimited
Texts: Unlimited
Data: Unlimited
Contract: No – cancel anytime
Extras: Use in Mexico or Canada without additional fees, unlimited mobile hotspots at 3G speeds
What we like: We love that T-Mobile has designed a plan for tech-smart seniors that doesn’t patronize or talk down to them. We also love the very reasonable price, and, of course, the unlimited usage.
Ideal for: Seniors who want to use their phone for more than just calling. This plan is perfect for web browsing, social media, and streaming, in addition to calls and texts.

Jitterbug Flip

Jitterbug Flip and Smart: The Latest Senior-Friendly Cell Phones
With large buttons and display text, the Jitterbug Flip is simple to use, even for seniors with vision or mobility problems

Jitterbug offers more than just senior cell phone plans. Their handsets are specifically designed with seniors in mind, and we love how they deliver sleek, modern designs that are made for senior eyes and hands.

Handset: With large buttons and a backlit keypad, the Jitterbug Flip handset is easy for seniors to use.
Cost: Plans start at $14.99 monthly for 200 minutes and $3.00 monthly for 300 texts. There’s also a $99 one-off fee for the handset and setup.
Calls: The cheapest option offers 200 minutes monthly, whereas the costliest option ($49 monthly) offers unlimited minutes.
Texts: The cheapest option offers 300 texts monthly, and the costliest option ($15 monthly) offers 1500 texts.
Data: N / A – the Jitterbug Flip isn’t a smartphone.
Contract: No – cancel any time.
Extras: Extras are where the Jitterbug Flip really shines. Each handset comes with the 5Star button users can press to access an emergency call center immediately. The Flip also features a large screen with easy-to-read letters, a flashlight, a camera with built-in flash, and intuitive yes/no navigation that’s easier for seniors to follow. And that’s before we get started on the unique health and safety features such as medication management, access to registered nurses and doctors, health tips, automated check-in calls, scheduled wellness calls with a wellness expert, and more. Caregivers can also keep track of their Jitterbug-owning loved ones thanks to alerts and activity logs.
What we like: We love the dedicated help button and senior-friendly design. Even seniors with tremors, weakness in the hands or eyesight issues should be able to handle the Flip quite easily.
Ideal for: Seniors who aren’t looking to get online but just want an easy-to-use and affordable option for making calls and sending texts.

Jitterbug Smart

Senior Cell Phone Plans: the Jitterbug Smart
The Jitterbug Smart is designed specifically with seniors in mind

Just like the Jitterbug Flip, the Jitterbug Smart was designed to be super easy to use for seniors. This is a smartphone that’s smart about helping older adults stay in touch with its easy-to-use design and intuitive navigation.

Handset: The Jitterbug Smart comes with oversize buttons and text, and simple intuitive list-based navigation, so it’s easy for seniors to see and use.
Cost: Plans start at $14.99 monthly for 200 minutes, $3.00 monthly for 300 texts, and $2.49 for 40 MB of data. There’s also a $149.99 one-off fee for the handset and setup.
Calls: The cheapest option offers 200 minutes monthly, whereas the costliest option ($49.99 monthly) offers unlimited talk and text.
Texts: The cheapest option offers 300 texts monthly, whereas the costliest option ($49.99 monthly) offers unlimited talk and text.
Data: The cheapest option is $2.49 monthly for 40MB of data. The most expensive option is $30 monthly for 2.5GB of data.
Contract: No – cancel any time.
Extras: Just like the Jitterbug Flip, Jitterbug Smart comes with a multitude of extras. Each handset comes with a 5Star app users can press to access an emergency call center immediately. The Smart also features a large screen with easy-to-read letters, a flashlight, a camera with built-in flash, talk-to-text capability, a usage meter so seniors can see how much of their plan they’ve used that month, and intuitive list-based navigation that’s easier for seniors to follow. It also has all of the extra health and safety features as the Flip, including alerts and activity logs for caregivers.
What we like: We love how senior-friendly the Jitterbug Smart is. It’s made for ease of use, and the wealth of health-based extras make it much more than just a phone.
Ideal for: Seniors who want a fully functioning smartphone at a reasonable price.

FreedomPop

FreedomPop Mobile Phone Service Helps You Keep in Touch... For Free!
The 55+ plan is designed for use with the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest LTE smartphone, available from FreedomPop for just $29.99 (usually retails for $199.99.)

We’ve written about FreedomPop in the past and think they’re amazing. They offer seniors a legitimate free mobile phone option. How? Their phone service is based on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoiP), the same technology used to make calls with Skype. Because FreedomPop piggybacks (legally!) on the networks of other providers, it’s reliable as well as very budget friendly.

Handset: FreedomPop works with the Alcatel Conquest LTE Smartphone, which costs just $29.99 when purchased through FreedomPop (regular retail price $199.99).
Cost: After purchasing the handset, the basic package is completely free.
Calls: Free package includes 200 minutes of calls. There is also the option to upgrade to the 55+ plan exclusively for seniors, which costs $24.99 monthly for unlimited calls and texts and 2GB of data.
Texts: Free package includes 500 texts. There is also the option to upgrade to the 55+ plan exclusively for seniors, which costs $24.99 monthly for unlimited calls and texts and 2GB of data.
Data: Free package includes 500MB of data. The 55+ plan includes unlimited calls and texts and 2GB of data. For seniors who need a lot more data, FreedomPop offers a range of data plans ranging from $3.99 to $74.99 monthly.
Contract: No – cancel anytime.
Extras: Users who sign up to the 55+ plan also get VIP support, and can downgrade to the free plan anytime they like.
What we like: We like that when FreedomPop says free, it really means free. 200 minutes of calls and 500 texts is a reasonable offer for absolutely zero dollars. We also appreciate the reasonably priced paid options for seniors who need a little more power.
Ideal for: Budget-conscious seniors who need a low-cost cell phone option.

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular provides a wonderfully flexible cell phone service that lets customers get what they need every month, and change their plan whenever they want to with no added fees and no long-term contracts.

Handset: Consumer Cellular has a wide range of handsets available, or you can simply use your existing handset.
Calls: Get 250 minutes of calls for $15 monthly, or unlimited calls for $20 monthly.
Texts: All packages include unlimited texts.
Data: Plans range from $5 to $40 monthly, depending on how much data you want.
Contract: No contracts – cancel or change plans any time.
Extras: Usage alerts, and savings if you add a second line. Consumer Cellular also offers extra discounts for AARP members, including a 5% saving each month, 30% off selected accessories, and an extended warranty plan.
What we like: We love how flexible and no-fuss Consumer Cellular is. It’s easy to choose the right plan, and easy to change later if you need to.
Ideal for: Seniors who are looking for an affordable, flexible package that lets them purchase as much or as little service as they need month on month.

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless offers phones for as low as $99.
The Moto E4 is easily affordable at the purchase price of $99.

Republic Wireless isn’t specifically for seniors, but we think it offers great value that seniors can appreciate. Republic Wireless uses a combination of 4G cell phone service and wireless internet to offer reliable, fast connection options across the country, but for less money than many big carriers.

Handset: You can use Republic Wireless with your existing handset.
Cost: Plans start at $15 monthly for unlimited calls and texts, plus the option to add data if you want it at $5 per GB each month.
Calls: Unlimited
Texts: Unlimited
Data: As much or as little as you like!
Contract: None – cancel any time.
Extras: Make free calls to the US from anywhere in the world using wireless.
What we like: We love how well priced and straightforward Republic Wireless plans are. No hidden fees, no complex options, just one straightforward fee for unlimited calls and texts, and a reasonably priced sliding scale for data.
Ideal for: Seniors who don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, but do want a reliable service that they can use for calling, texting, and surfing.

Verizon GoUnlimited 55+

GoUnlimited 55+ offers seniors savings of up to $50 monthly on their data plans compared with other Verizon packages. Readers, please note – this offer is only available to those with a Florida billing address.

Handset: Verizon offers a wide range of handsets to choose from – check out their range online or in stores.
Cost: $60 monthly for one line, or $80 monthly for two.
Calls: Unlimited
Texts: Unlimited
Data: Unlimited
Contract: Yes – check the specifics of your contract before purchase. We noticed that early cancelation attracts fees of up to $350, and in some cases there is a minimum use fee as well. We recommend reading the fine print carefully and making sure you understand the fees before sign up.
Extras: DVD-quality streaming, unlimited mobile hotspots, and coverage in Mexico and Canada included.
What we like: Although the plan holder has to be over 55, the second line owner does not, making it ideal for seniors who want to include a younger family member on their plan.
Ideal for: Seniors looking for unlimited usage and an affordable plan that includes two lines.

Sprint

Sprint is the fourth largest mobile network provider in the United States, and it has special senior cell phone plans: Sprint Unlimited 55+. Please note that Unlimited 55+ is only available to new customers, and only through physical stores, not online.

Handset: Sprint offers the option to buy or lease a new handset, or simply use your own.
Cost: There is an activation fee of up to $30. After that, the cost is $35 per month per line (you can have up to two lines on the package.)
Calls: Unlimited
Texts: Unlimited
Data: Unlimited
Contract: Yes – ask in store for the specifics of your contract. We noticed that early cancelation attracts fees of up to $350, and if you lease a phone and then cancel you may still have to pay the rest of the lease payments. We recommend reading the fine print carefully and making sure you understand the fees before signing up.
Extras: All plans offer DVD-quality streaming, international roaming, and mobile hotspots.
What we like: The choice to buy or lease a handset or use your own offers a lot of flexibility.
Ideal for: Seniors who plan to use their phone a lot, thanks to the unlimited calls, texts, and data.

Whether you are looking for a simple call and text package or high-speed internet, you’re sure to find the ideal senior cell phone plans for you and your loved ones among this list.

Comparison of Online Legal Services for Wills and Estate Planning

We looked at the top online legal services for wills and estate planning. These sites can help with simple legal forms to complex estate planning, but there are limitations to be aware of when looking at DIY legal services.

Dealing with legal matters can feel like a real minefield, which is why so many people turn to online legal service websites to get the information they need. But which online legal service website should you use? What services are available at these sites, and how much do they cost?

As we get older, it’s normal to start thinking about things like writing a will, estate planning, and whether to assign Power of Attorney to someone we trust, in case we get to a point where we can no longer advocate for ourselves.

Comparing The Top Online Legal Service Sites for seniors
Online legal services- are they right for you?

Comparison: Online Legal Services

We compared five of the top online legal websites to get you started. Please note that many of these sites cover several areas of law, but we’re focusing on estate planning services for this article.

RocketLawyer

What is it? An online legal service designed to let you draft your own legal documents. You answer a few questions and the site drafts the document for you based on templates drawn up by real lawyers. You can also get your documents reviewed by a lawyer, or ask an attorney your questions.
Can I create a Will with them? Yes
Do they offer Power of Attorney? Yes
What about Estate Planning? Yes – you’ll find all the forms you need to plan your estate, plus you can ask a lawyer a question or have a consultation.
What else do they offer? RocketLawyer offers a wide range of estate planning forms, including pet trusts, revocation of Power of Attorney, living wills, digital asset trusts, affidavit of heirship, or Power of Attorney for a child.
What do they charge? You can choose between premium membership, or paying per document. Premium membership includes unlimited legal documents, ask a lawyer a question, and a free 30 minute consult with a lawyer on each new legal matter, for $39.99 monthly. If you choose to pay as you go, the fees are $9.99 per new document, $49.99 per question to a lawyer, and $59.99 per 30-minute consult.
Can I talk to an actual attorney? Yes

LawDepot

What is it? Similar to RocketLawyer, LawDepot is a site for creating your own legal documents. The document library was created by lawyers. Users simply fill in a few details, and LawDepot auto-fills the template to create a personalized document.
Can I create a Will with them? Yes
Do they offer Power of Attorney? Yes
What about Estate Planning? Yes (in the sense that they have the document templates you need). However, there isn’t an option to speak with an actual attorney, so we would be mindful of that before proceeding.
What else do they offer? A range of estate planning documents including medical records release, codicils, revocation of a trust, end of life plans, pour-over wills, and gift deeds.
What do they charge? You can sign up for a week’s-long free trial. After that, you can sign up for a monthly membership with unlimited access to all documents for $33 monthly, or you can purchase a whole year’s membership in advance for $95.88. You can also pay as you go and only purchase the documents you need – prices range from $7.50 to $39, depending on the document.
Can I talk to an actual attorney? No

LegalZoom

What is it? An online legal service where you simply fill out a short questionnaire and an attorney will get back to you to discuss your needs.
Can I create a Will with them? Yes
Do they offer Power of Attorney? Yes
What about Estate Planning? Yes
What else do they offer? Living trusts, living wills, and pet protection trusts.
What do they charge? LegalZoom charges a flat fee per project, based on your individual needs. We think this is a great idea – you only pay for exactly what you need. Fees start at $39 for a Living Will, $69 for a Will, and $249 for a Living Trust.
Can I talk to an actual attorney? Yes – LegalZoom vet their attorneys to make sure they’re easy to talk to and able to communicate in plain English!

LegalShield

What is it? Subscription-based online legal service that gives you access to legal help when you need it. Services include advice and consultation, letters and phone calls on your behalf, document review and trial defense.
Can I create a Will with them? Yes
Do they offer Power of Attorney? Yes
What about Estate Planning? Yes
What else do they offer? They offer a Living Will service, and can also help with any Estate Planning or Power of Attorney disputes.
What do they charge? Plans start at $29.95 monthly.
Can I talk to an actual attorney? Yes – when you call LegalShield, an attorney will call you back within eight hours.

LegalMatch

What is it? A lawyer matching service that matches you with attorneys in your area. Once you submit your case, LegalMatch submits it to local attorneys, and once an attorney shows interest, they notify you and advise you of the fees. You’ll also have access to their LegalMatch rating and will be able to view other site users’ reviews of them.
Can I create a Will with them? Yes
Do they offer Power of Attorney? Yes
What about Estate Planning? Yes
What else do they offer? You can search for a lawyer to cover any legal issue you’re facing.
What do they charge? Fees are on a case-by-case basis – you’ll be notified of the fee before you agree to work with any of their lawyers.
Can I talk to an actual attorney? Yes

How to Choose the Right Online Legal Services for You

Depending on what you need, there is an online legal services site out there for you.

Whether you want to print a couple of simple documents or get detailed help and support from an attorney, there’s an online legal service site for that.

We recommend getting legal advice when it comes to estate planning to make sure you go down the right path for you, and avoid potentially costly mistakes.

We also recommend checking the fine print before signing up to any online legal service, to make sure you’re happy with what your fees will cover, as well as what happens if you want to cancel your subscription, or need further support.