Don't put off estate planning another year

Don't put off estate planning another year

It was my recent fall - documented extensively in previous columns - that compelled me to suggest to my husband that we review our estate plan. I guess I needed to remind myself that I am not immortal, and I wanted to be sure that our plan fits our current circumstances.

In these past few years, COVID has increased Americans’ awareness of the need to have a will, living trust or living will.  According to a 2022 survey, people who have had a serious case of Covid said they were 66% more likely to engage in estate planning compared to those who had not.

However, that same survey found that 67% of Americans still have no estate plan.

Make wishes known for organ donation

Make wishes known for organ donation

The organ and tissue donation process is unfamiliar to a lot of us. Some people may not even know they are registered donors.

Understanding the law and how it is implemented is important.

The first time many of us heard of choices about organ donation was at the DMV. More than 90% of individuals surveyed across the country stated that they registered their donation decision through their local DMV.

A pink dot on your license shows that you are an organ donor. That information is also forwarded to Donate Life California Registry.

Your Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) is another common way to designate you would like to, or chose not to, be an organ donor. Many of us have completed an AHCD as part of our will or trust. 

Be mindful: Most bad falls have a cause

Be mindful: Most bad falls have a cause

For weeks, friends and neighbors worked on planning a surprise block party for my friend Margaret’s 90th birthday. On the big day, over 50 people showed up with food, drink and gifts to celebrate this amazing lady.

Several of the neighbors who attended the party had read my Acorn column about my fall. Soon I had a group of women surrounding me talking about their recent falls—their broken bones, black eyes and ongoing recoveries. In each case, these women recounted the accident that resulted in their fall. We all listened with sympathy and understanding.

Since my fall, I have

Social Security COLA increase a good chance to talk to finances with parents

Social Security COLA increase a good chance to talk to finances with parents

Due to this year’s meteoric rise in the consumer price index, a measure of inflation in the cost of goods and services, Social Security beneficiaries will receive an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment for 2023.

Only three times in the past 46 years has the COLA been higher - in 1979 to 1981 with an increase of 9.9%, 14.3%, and 11.2% respectively.

And while an 8.7% adjustment is significant, it’s important to put the figure in context with the top expense categories retirees will be spending their money on next year when the extra cash comes in. 

Many seniors live on a fixed income in retirement. Social Security is often a large part of their income.

The numbers noted below are a 12-month national percentage change in the Consumer Price Index as of September 2022.

The largest expense for retirees is housing,

Getting a painful lesson in fall prevention

Getting a painful lesson in fall prevention

Morning walks in my neighborhood are one of the most enjoyable parts of my day.

I love the coolness of daybreak and the special sightings of the stag and two does that frequent our open space.

I also enjoy my walk because each day at that time I call my mother to catch up with her. Our daily conversations allow us to share our lives with one another. We also reminisce about aspects of my growing up years.

Forced retirement may be a waste

Forced retirement may be a waste

How old is too old for working at a job? Last week a news story hit my inbox and it really got me to thinking about age and retirement.

The article noted that Target Corp. abandoned its mandatory retirement age of 65 for its CEO, Brian Cornell. Cornell is 63.

There were two things that interested me about this story.

The first is, I know Brain. I worked with him when he was at Tropicana and I was with Dole Packaged Foods. Tropicana had bought the licensing and distribution rights to Dole refrigerated juices, and I was part of the transition team working with Brian.

Since 2014, when Cornell took the Target CEO job, sales at the national retailer have

What are the signs you’re ready to retire?

What are the signs you’re ready to retire?

I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately.

One of our amazing staff members, who has been with Senior Concerns for the last 13 years, retired last month. It just doesn’t seem real.

I always thought of Dana as young. Certainly not the person to retire before me.

Dana has wonderful reasons for retiring. A year ago her husband retired from a more than 20-year career in public service. She has her son’s wedding to help with and some long-awaited travels plans that were postponed because of COVID.

She and her husband also have plans to build their dream home.

Dana’s retirement hit me like a knock on the side of the head.

Showing compassion is always a winning strategy

Showing compassion is always a winning strategy

If you need to be reminded of the beauty of humanity, you only need to look at acts of compassion.

Recently I was eating lunch at a restaurant that plays sports on its TVs. I normally pay little attention to television as I like to read a book during lunch. However, on this particular day, I looked up to see a Little League game in play.

I saw a young player come off his base and walk over to the pitcher, who looked upset. I thought it was odd, so I kept watching as the station reran the events leading up to the moment.

I watched in horror as the pitcher threw a ball that accidentally hit the batter in the head. The batter fell to the ground, holding his head and writhing in pain.

Be mindful: Brain injuries can cause change in personality

Be mindful: Brain injuries can cause change in personality

I have a 79-year-old friend who I have lunch with about once a month. We met many years ago by happenstance, as she had a weekly appointment that ended when mine began.

We started to chat in the waiting room and over time became friends.

She is a smart woman who spent many years in corporate America. When she retired, her circle of friends became smaller and dwindled further since she is a caregiver to her husband with a chronic illness.

At our lunches we would chat about the goings on in our lives. During the year we exchange holiday and birthday gifts. In between our visits we talk on the phone.

We always end our conversations with one of us saying “I love you” and the other saying “I love you, too.”

A couple of months ago my friend had a very bad fall that resulted in a brain injury. 

Eating with others can provide an emotional boost

Eating with others can provide an emotional boost

One thing the past few years has taught us is the value of breaking bread with family and friends. Holiday meals, casual barbecues, Sunday suppers and milestone dinner celebrations were sorely missed during the height of the pandemic.

My friend Nancy and I were talking recently about one of her family traditions, and it struck me that she knew the value of gatherings right from the start.

When she first got married, Nancy created a scrapbook of sorts that cataloged special meals at her house. She began with a title for the event, be it a birthday, a themed dinner with friends or a special celebration.

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