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Georgia Active Adult Community Excludes Female Softball Player from League

Category: Active adult communities

March 10, 2022 – In a move that is sure to be controversial, a softball commissioner at the Del Webb Village at Deaton Creek has banned Linda Evans, a female, from participating on a men’s softball team at that community. Ms. Evans, 70 years young, is an experienced player, whose coach said of her: “She can play.”

The active community in Hoschton, GA has one softball league with 7 teams. There is no women’s team or league. The commissioner banned Evans from playing in games or participating in practice, saying that it was a “men’s only league”. A poll of the players reportedly found that a majority did not women playing in the league. However, the community’s ownership bylaws say “membership in any Chartered Club must be open to all bona fide members of the association without discrimination as to race, religion, color, sex, ethnic culture or national heritage.”

Not an uncommon problem
The problem of inclusion of the sexes has long existed. Private country clubs have excluded women from membership. Some active communities provide access to facilities slanted towards men (such as the earliest tee times), or have mens-only grills. How communities maintain fairness can be a struggle that often pits one group against another, and even results in lawsuits.

Comments? What do you think, should communities have the right to have single gender teams, activities, and facilities? Or should men or women be able to mix together, based on ability or other qualifications. Please share your thoughts and experiences from your community in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on March 10th, 2022

Heart Valve Disease Week – Are You at Risk?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

Feb  15 – Feb 22 is heart valve disease awareness week.

As many as 11.6 million Americans are estimated to have heart valve disease, and each year around 25,000 people die from the disease. Fortunately, valve disease can usually be successfully treated in patients of all ages.

Getting personal

On a personal note, last March your editor’s heart valve disease became very serious. Although I knew I had a leaking mitral valve, it was always a someday, maybe, kind of problem. Then during some exercise my heart began racing, and went into atrial flutter. Long story short, after some superb medical care I had a mitral valve repair via robot, minimally invasive. Today it is almost as if nothing ever happened. But I was lucky. Please be aware that this problem does affect millions of people. When you get your medical checkups, pay attention to anything pointing to this disease. Follow your doctor’s advice. And if you experience symptoms – get help fast!

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Posted by Admin on February 9th, 2022

Brain Food: Trying Something New

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

by Lucy Burdette

If you are a regular follower of TopRetirements, do you take the website’s advice? Maybe you’ll have read the article from November 21 discussing Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s The Five Secrets of Super Agers. Having watched my father’s mental faculties wane under the onslaught of dementia, I’m definitely interested in keeping my brain healthy as I age. I’m pretty good at his number one, exercise, though I don’t try to keep up with my hub, Mr. Top Retirements. Number four, a Mediterranean-style diet and number five, staying connected, have been important to me for a long time.

Trying something new was number three on the list. At first I thought: I write most days, and all the words are new, so I have this one down cold. On the other hand, in the mystery world, I’m mostly known for my series featuring a food critic living in quirky Key West. I’m comfortable writing that series—I know the characters and the setting, and I love talking about restaurants and food. Even though this is a long-running series, every book is new in some way. Each story has a new plot, usually some new characters, and often new layers in the relationships between the regulars. 

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Posted by Admin on December 10th, 2021

The 5 Secrets of Super-Agers: Your Brain Can Get Better As You Age

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

November 2021 — In Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s book, “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age“, the neurosurgeon states early on that “you can make your brain better, faster, fitter, and yes, sharper”. That is good news – we are not stuck with an aging brain that diminishes every day thanks to old age, too much drinking, or other bad habits. His book is about propagating brain cells and making our existing ones more efficient. Not to make us smarter, but to help us “navigate life” better.

People tend to think that memory loss is something that comes automatically with old age, which is not the case. Cognitive decline is not inevitable. Just about everyone worries about memory lapses, like forgetting the name of the person you have known for years, but that is not as worrisome as some might think. “Keep Sharp:” is dedicated to the idea that you can have your own “sharp brain” program to improve your thinking and memory, no matter what your age.

The book has several sections, and the most important is probably his 5 pillars of brain health. We will venture to say that you will not be able to guess which pillar is number one.

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Posted by Admin on November 20th, 2021

Medicare Part B Premiums Increase over 14% in 2022

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

November 14, 2021 — Gasoline and groceries aren’t the only items seeing hefty prices increases coming out of the pandemic. Medicare just announced that Part B premiums will increase 14.5% next year, resulting in the heftiest dollar increase ever, $21.60/month for the majority of people receiving the benefit. The base charge for the Part B benefit will be $170.10 per month next year, as opposed to $148.50 this year. Individuals with higher incomes will pay more, as seen in the chart below. At the top end, those making $500,000 or more will pay $578.30.

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Posted by Admin on November 14th, 2021

What to Know When Choosing a Medicare Plan

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

October 20, 2021 – As we pointed out last week we are now in the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which ends December 7. This is the time to re-evaluate your plan and change it if your circumstances have evolved, or you are unhappy with the plan you have. To help out with that process, we going to give a brief summary of some key points from an excellent article that came out last week in the Wall Street Journal, “8 Things to Know When Choosing a Medicare Plan“.

Neal Templin wrote this helpful article and we recommend reading it for more detail (we hope the link above will allow you to access it without being a subscriber). Templin says that when it comes to Medicare you have three choices: Regular Medicare (Parts A, B, and D), Medicare plus a private supplemental plan (some people call it Medigap or traditional Medicare), and Medicare Advantage (Part C). The decision for which one to pick is complicated and depends on your own personal situation.

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Posted by Admin on October 19th, 2021

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period Starts

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

October 13, 2021 – The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare starts this week on October 15 and ends December. 7. It is an important event for eligible people not currently enrolled in the plan, or who want to change plans or some component of their current plan.

During Open Enrollment, eligible people can sign up for Medicare. They can compare coverage options like Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and choose health and prescription drug plans for 2021. Medicare Advantage plans have started to outsell original Medicare policies because of their increased coverages and low (even zero) premiums. If you are thinking about switching to a Medicare Advantage plan (or type of plan within Medicare Advantage), this is the time to do it. See Original Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage – Which Is Better for You?

Medicare Plan Finder. Medicare health and drug plan costs and covered benefits can change from year-to-year. CMS urges Medicare beneficiaries to review their coverage choices and decide on the options that best meet their health needs. CMS’s Medicare Plan Finder makes it easier for beneficiaries to:

  • Compare pricing between Original Medicare, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies;
  • Compare coverage options on their smartphones and tablets;
  • Compare up to three drug plans or three Medicare Advantage plans side-by-side;
  • Get plan costs and benefits, including which Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits;
  • Build a personal drug list and find Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage that best meets their needs.
  • Free, personalized counseling on Medicare options is also available through the nonprofit State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

Highlights for 2021 Open Enrollment include:

  •  The average premium for Medicare Advantage plans will be lower in 2022 at $19 per month, compared to $21.22 in 2021, while projected enrollment continues to increase. The average 2022 premium for Part D coverage will be $33 per month, compared to $31.47 in 2021.
  • Part B Medicare premiums for 2022 have not been released yet, but some experts predict an estimated 6.2% premium increase, with monthly costs jumping from $148.50 to $157.70.

Note: Most of the above information is from the Medicare.gov website. For more about see Medicare Open Enrollment.

For further reading:

What Is Your Medicare IQ

What You Need to Know About Medigap Insurance

Original Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage – Which Is Better for You?

Comments? Do you ever change your Medicare plan, or do you tend to stick with the same one over and over? Please share your experience in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on October 12th, 2021

Are Better Hearing Aids in Your Future?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

October 1, 2021 — No one wants to wear a hearing aid. They can be unsightly, embarrassing, and usually don’t work well in noisy situations. They are also very expensive ($2,000 to $12,000 a pair), and generally not covered by any kind of insurance, including Medicare. Unfortunately, if your hearing is bad enough, not wearing one leads to being shut out of the conversation and social isolation. Fortunately there might be less expensive, and more effective ones coming on the market.

Jane Brody recently wrote an article in the NY Times that promises some hope: “Will Hearing Aids Ever Be Hip“. While two thirds of people over 70 suffer from hearing loss, only 20% of adults who could benefit from a hearing aid use one. Clearly there is a demand for a better product.

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Posted by Admin on October 1st, 2021

Medicare Advantage Overtakes Medigap Plans

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

July 7, 2021 — Not so long ago the two most common types of supplemental medical insurance for retirees were employer sponsored plans and Medigap insurance. Medical insurance for retirees is increasingly rare, with very large corporations and governments about the only employers providing it. Medigap plans, which cover additional expenses over and above their Part B (doctors and other medical) coverage insurance, are being eclipsed by the increasing popularity of Medicare Advantage plans (Part C). Run by insurance companies and funded by subsidies from the government, Medicare Advantage has doubled its enrollments in the past decade.

The main reasons for Medicare Advantage’s increased popularity are their low cost and extra coverages. According to kff.org, about 60% of Medicare Advantage enrollees pay no premiums, and another 34% pay less than $100/month. Advantage plans also usually offer a wide number of other coverages not available under Medigap policies. For example, about 3/4 of Advantage plans include vision, dental, fitness, over the counter drugs, and hearing benefits. Nearly all (90%) Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage.

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Posted by Admin on July 6th, 2021

Great Retirement Towns for Biking

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

June 26, 2021 — Getting around on a bicycle is becoming more and more popular. People use their bikes to get to work, for exercise, or just for fun. Biking is inexpensive transportation, gets you outside, parking is a cinch, and it’s a healthy activity. The growing popularity of electric bikes, with the extra help they provide on long rides and hills, has helped to get even more people into cycling. So, just as they do for every popular activity, publications are coming out with lists of the cities and towns that are “best for biking”. We will highlight some of their choices here.

But first, what makes for a great biking town? The website Lawnstarter used a long list of considerations to score and rank the largest 200 U.S. cities on biking. Their multiple rating criteria fell into five categories: climate, bike lanes and routes, bike shops and bike share programs, safety, and community support. Safety features like bike lanes separated from car traffic and dedicated crossings were among the most important considerations, since biking isn’t fun and can be dangerous if speeding cars get too close. Icy cold winter weather, steamy hot summers, and car traffic were negative factors used in the ratings. PeopleforBikes.com rated even more towns, including smaller ones, to find out which are the best for biking. It used similar criteria to rate the towns it considered, such as the number of bike lanes and trails, ability to use multiple routes to get to the same place, bike parking, number of bike shops, safety, and slow speeds for cars. See video below from PeopleforBikes on what makes a best biking city. When you are checking out places to retire, don’t forget to keep your eyes open to what it would be like if you wanted to get around there on two wheels.

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Posted by Admin on June 25th, 2021