Tips Offered On Avoiding Loneliness After Retirement

Many people fail to realize, until they retire, that is, just how much of their social interactions is tied to the workplace.

“Retirement can be a challenging time, especially when you live far away from your family,” author, speaker and founder of Margaret Manning wrote in a recent Huffington Post article “Many people also struggle with finding new friends once they leave the jobs that have given their lives meaning for decades.
“The good news is that we don’t have to accept loneliness in retirement. There are many ways that we can reinvent our lives, while making a difference in the lives of others.”
Among the specifics offered by the writer are:
Make an Effort to Connect with People“Research shows that maintaining social connections is a critical part of healthy aging,” Manning wrote. “In fact, maintaining friendships and family ties may help to reduce the risk of dementia and other age-related illnesses.”
Search for the Meaning of (Your) Life
“What do you stand for? This is an important question, not only for your mind, but also for your body. In fact, research shows that having a sense of purpose can add years to your life. Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you’re “finished.” People over 60 still have many dreams to pursue, contributions to offer and gifts to share.”
Force Yourself to Embrace Change
“If there’s one thing that people over 60 have learned, it’s that change is  constant. The good news is that it’s never too late to start over and present a fresh vision of yourself to the world. When you open your mind to change, you subconsciously attract new people, places and experiences into your life.”
Give Back Through Volunteering and Charity Work
“Loneliness in retirement often stems from a sense of detachment from the world. When we feel like we are not contributing, we have a tendency to shut ourselves away. This in turn makes us lonelier. It’s a vicious cycle that only we can break.
“One way to avoid loneliness is to share your gifts with other people. Whether you choose to volunteer at your church or support a local charity, there are a limitless number of ways to give back to the world, and the more you give back, the better you will feel.”

Coalition Wants Better Rules Governing Financial Advisors

A number of public interest groups have formed a coalition whose purpose is to protect the interests of retirees.

These organizations want the “U.S. Department of Labor to revise rules requiring financial advisers to act in their clients’ best interests when offering retirement investment advice,” according to a recent story by Carole Fleck on the website of the American Association of Retired Persons.
“, a website created by the coalition, is urging the Labor Department to update the so-called fiduciary rule,” Fleck continued. “Without that safeguard, advisers to retirement plans could sell financial products that pay large commissions yet hurt their clients with unnecessary fees, poor returns or excessive risks, the coalition said.
“Right now, some advisers are required to put their customers’ interests first, while others are not, and it is often extremely difficult for workers and retirees to know which type of adviser they are dealing with,” the story quoted a statement from the coalition.
The groups that came together to form AARP, the Consumer Federation of America, the Pension Rights Center, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, Americans for Financial Reform and Better Markets.
“If the Department gets the rule right, you won’t have to try to figure out whether your financial ‘adviser’ is really a salesman looking out for his or her own interests or a true adviser looking out for yours,” Fleck wrote. “A good rule will ensure that all financial professionals who offer retirement advice must make recommendations designed to serve your best interests by keeping your costs low, recommending sound investments, and protecting your retirement nest egg from unnecessary risks.”

Devices Make It Easier To Monitor Mom And Dad’s Activities

When adult children live far from their older parents, they’re likely worried about how active mom or dad is being.
As the saying increasingly goes, there’s an app for that.
“Technology is making it easier for us to monitor our loved ones,” according to a recent story in The Washington Post by Matt McFarland.

The story goes on to examine products from two companies that enable caregivers a way of remotely staying on top of how well older loves ones are doing.
“GreatCall, which offers devices that keep the elderly in touch with their caregivers, has partnered with an artificial intelligence company to send automated reports to concerned children and grandchildren,” according to the story. “The idea is to empower the elderly to live more safely on their own, while easing the worries of caregivers.
“Automated Insights, which specializes in turning mountains of data into plain English, will be providing weekly recaps to caregivers, so they have a better idea of how their loved one is doing. While a grandparent might at times be reluctant to share bad news, the device and automated emails never mince words. Automated Insights’ algorithm is currently used for generating everything from snarky fantasy football recaps to write-ups on”
“We’re able to show some of the promise of what is going to be possible in the future as we get access to data that’s available on other devices, sensors or things of that nature,” Automated Insights chief executive Robbie Allen told the writer. “We’re able to tell a story about data in a way that’s engaging and provides a layer of value on top of that data.”

Half of seniors eligible for drug benefit don’t apply

A little Extra Help could do senior citizens a world of good, literally and figuratively.
That’s the name for a Medicare benefit that can greatly help low-income elderly people pay for their prescriptions, but one that far too many of those eligible for it don’t know exists.
“More than 2 million people on Medicare could be getting their prescription drugs nearly for free, but don’t,” according to a recent story by Mark Miller of Reuters news service. “That’s because they have not signed up for Extra Help, an important Medicare benefit that subsidizes drug costs for low-income senior citizens.
“Extra Help can pay nearly all of the prescription drug costs a senior incurs in a Part D drug plan. It is provided automatically to seniors receiving Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income benefits. In some states, Extra Help also is automatic for people receiving benefits through the Medicare Savings Program, which helps subsidize Medicare Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (outpatient) premiums.”
However, for those who qualify but just not automatically, less than half are enrolled in Extra Help, Jack Hoadley, a research professor at the Health Policy Institute of Georgetown University who tracks the program, told Reuters.
“The government reaches out with information on this from time to time,” Hoadley was quoted as saying. “What’s harder is to figure out how to reach out specifically to people who are eligible.”
“The benefit is substantial – annual savings can easily total $800 on premiums and deductibles, and can be much higher for seniors with high drug spending,” Miller wrote. “Two factors determine your eligibility for Extra Help: income and assets. Your income cannot exceed the federal poverty level guidelines. For seniors with incomes of 135 percent of the federal poverty level or lower, Medicare pays the entire annual premium, expected to average $480 next year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Extra Help also covers deductibles, which typically run $310 for the year.”
Seniors who wish to learn more about Extra Help may do apply online at or call 1-800-772-1213 to get the process started.

Helping Seniors Simple and Worthwhile

It’s something most Americans take for granted: we need something, so we go get it, whether it’s groceries or clothing or what have you, and go back home.
But it’s not that simple for people who are homebound. They must depend upon the kindness of others, in some cases strangers, for the basic necessities.
Locally, that’s where Senior Services of Southeast Virginia comes in.
“We help seniors to live with choice and dignity in their communities,” is the mission of the nonprofit organization.
One of the many ways this mission is met is through the delivery of prepared meals to homebound senior citizens.
Another aspect of SSSEVA’s efforts is advocacy on behalf of clients and others up there in years.
“Entering our 41st year, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia is the regional organization in South Hampton Roads that supports and enriches the lives of seniors and their families through advocacy, education, information and comprehensive services,” according to the agency’s website, “For one-third of a century, we’ve changed the lives of tens of thousands of the region’s seniors for the better. We’ve served over two million meals, contributed more than six million hours of senior volunteer services, driven seniors over 11 million miles and helped thousands of seniors live in their homes independently as an alternative to nursing home care.
“Through community partnerships with businesses, health care providers and other agencies, you will find us finding new ways to improve seniors’ lives. You will see our staff, advisory council members and board members playing key roles in statewide and regional coalitions and commissions on aging. And you will discover us hard at work addressing issues on aging to put before the Virginia General Assembly.”
SSSEVA recently put out a call for volunteers to help with both meal delivery and become senior advocates. The volunteer drivers make a commitment of taking meals to seniors in their own communities, only once or twice a month. Senior advocates make visits, resolve quality-of-care issues and provide needed information.
Anyone with a little time and some compassion for people who can’t just get up and go get what they need may find additional information about volunteer opportunities at the nonprofit organization’s website.