By Roberta Isleib, P.H.D. (aka Lucy Burdette)
June 16, 2018 — Putting my psychologist hat for a moment…we are hearing an awful lot about suicide these days, including the tragic deaths of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. For folks who haven’t felt seriously depressed or desperate, it may be hard to fathom thinking about killing yourself–and not considering the emotional destruction such an act leaves behind. But when folks feel that hopeless, suicide may seem like the only option. So what can we do to help?
Pay attention for signs of depression and suicide, including talk about feeling hopeless, changes in appetite or sleep habits, withdrawal and loss of interest in school, work, hobbies, friends, giving things away, preoccupation with death and dying…Even a sudden surge in energy and mood could mean that a very depressed person has concluded that suicide is the right solution.
If you see those signs, don’t hesitate to reach out. I taught this to my peer counselors at Yale: Don’t be afraid to ask directly: Are you feeling suicidal or thinking about harming yourself? If the answer is yes or maybe, get help! Call a family doctor for a referral or the suicide prevention hotline 800-273-8255
For further reading:
This New York Times article is very helpful
NIH Suicide Statistics
Comment: Retirement can be a stressful time. People who have a big piece of their identity wrapped up in their job may feel a big sense of loss. Men, who tend not to have strong personal relationships, may feel lonely and struggle. If someone you know looks like he or she needs need, reach out and tell him that you are there for him. That alone can help. If that someone in need is you – talk to someone!
Posted by Admin on June 15th, 2018
May 9, 2018 — Maybe it is just timing, but we seem to be having more and more interactions with people who are very lonely. A widower and good friend admitted that, after feeling sorry for himself, he broke one of his own rules and went out to a bar by himself for a beer and pizza. Just this weekend we ran into an old friend, also a widower, who was visibly very upset. He was near tears as he described how he can’t seem to meet anyone that he would like to spend time with. Even on this site last week we had a post from a Member expressing her helplessness after the sudden loss of her husband. Almost three quarters of Americans have feelings of loneliness, according to a survey by the Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association. As many as one-third say (more…)
Posted by Admin on May 8th, 2018
April 25, 2018 — Have you known someone who contracted shingles, a painful disease related to the chicken pox? If so you understand why this is a disease you don’t want. Our brother came down with shingles in early March and is still battling it. He described the pain in his head, where his shingles was located, as like being jammed up against a cactus – not fun! But there is good news for everyone (because you can get shingles more than once). You can prevent shingles with a new vaccine, Shingrix, that was approved by the FDA last October.
Up until recently there was a shingles vaccine, Zostavax, that people over (more…)
Posted by Admin on April 24th, 2018
February 24, 2018 — Everybody knows swimming is good for you, but who would have thought it might actually help reduce falls. Swimming, according to research from the National Institutes of Health, can also improve cognitive ability, lower blood pressure and enhance hand-eye coordination. Beyond swimming, there are a lot of other things you can do to reduce falls too.
NextAvenue.com reported on A 2014 University of Western Sydney study of 1,667 Australian men age 70 and older showed that swimmers had “significantly lower risks of falling,”. The research showed that participants who swam had 33% fewer falling incidents than those in the group that included runners and golfers. Researchers also (more…)
Posted by Admin on February 23rd, 2018
January 14, 2018 — We will be writing an article for Topretirements that touches on the importance of health in retirement. Would love to hear from anyone who has had a change in their health that affected their retirement plans. You can reply below as a Comment, on our Facebook page, or of feel free to contact us via the Contact Us link. The change might have happened before retirement or after it started.
We will not mention any (real) names when we publish the article. Thanks
Comments: Please tell us YOUR story below if it involves health and retirement.
Posted by Admin on January 14th, 2018
November 21, 2017 — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the 2018 premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. Note that the Medicare Open Enrollment period ends Dec. 7 – make sure your choices are up to date.
Medicare Part B Premiums/Deductibles
The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $134 for 2018, the same amount as in 2017. Some beneficiaries who were held harmless against Part B premium increases in prior years will have a Part B premium increase in 2018, but the premium increase will be offset by the increase (COLA) in their Social Security benefits next year. Individuals with income over $85,000 or couples earning more than $170,000 pay more for Part B, and those premiums will increase about 5% in 2018. Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma commented: “Next year, no beneficiary protected by the hold-harmless provision will see a Part B premium increase that is greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits. We encourage Medicare beneficiaries to explore (more…)
Posted by Admin on November 21st, 2017
November , 2017 — This installment on Medigap (supplemental) insurance is the latest in our 5 Part Medicare series, which has important implications for everyone as they reach age 65. Don’t miss Part 1: So You’re Turning 65: Here Is Your Guide to Medicare 101, and Part 2: Which Is Better, Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage (Links to Parts 3 and 4 at end of article).
In this article we will first explain what Medigap insurance is, and then how to find, compare, and buy a plan. Then we will reprint many of the Medigap comments that Members have posted to our other Medicare articles. We think you will find their collective wisdom useful.
Medicare BasicsAs a refresher, original Medicare includes Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (doctor services). Almost everyone eligible for Medicare (more…)
Posted by Admin on November 13th, 2017
Coming Soon… How to Buy a Medigap Policy
November 1, 2017 — Today is the opening day of the abbreviated Open Enrollment period for Obamacare/aka the Affordable Care Act. We know many of our younger Members are retired before they wanted to be, or work for companies that don’t offer health insurance. If you don’t have health care insurance, and you are not yet 65 or otherwise ineligible for Medicare, you have until Dec. 15 to do something about it.
In this article we will try to outline the basic facts about how to sign up for Obamacare. Many people assume, incorrectly, that Obamacare is dead. To the contrary, although wounded by Congress’s umpteen unsuccessful attempts to repeal it and the President’s recent executive actions, the reports of the ACA’s death are greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain. It is still the law of the land and the vehicle for over 10 million Americans to get affordable health insurance. You can still sign up for (or change) health care insurance for you and your family without worrying about having to pay extra or be declined for pre-existing conditions. And if your income is under $50,000, (more…)
Posted by Admin on October 31st, 2017
September 26, 2017 — The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D and Advantage Plans starts soon; it runs from October 15 to December 7. Since this is your window to make changes in your plan or sign up for new coverage, it is an excellent time reconsider if Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare is your best option, as well if you have the right Prescription Drug coverage plan (Part D). We gained a new appreciation for how complex this topic is as we wrote this article. It will provide you with some basic background information to start thinking about this issue, but do not make any important decisions like this without careful thought and research. This is part of a 5 Part series on Medicare.
Signing up for Medicare and Medicare Basics
You have 7 months to sign up for Medicare in all its forms when you turn age 65 with no penalties. That 7 month period starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, the month of your birthday, ends 3 months afterwards. Thereafter there are open enrollment periods when you have the option to change plans and coverage.
As a refresher, original Medicare (more…)
Posted by Admin on September 25th, 2017
August 26, 2017 — As men hit middle age and then go into retirement there is one persistent health risk that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Isolation, new studies show, can cause all kinds of serious health and psychological problems. The harm caused by isolation is happening to men in ever greater numbers, and usually gets worse after they retire. Women suffer from isolation too, but not in nearly with the same frequency, and then usually just in the later stages of life. A story at the Boston Globe (see link at bottom) sparked this article and a whole lot of comments. We are happy to see that ur version on the topic is getting a lot useful discussion too.
If you are a man reading this article, here’s an exercise that might be painful as well as instructive. Write down the names of how many close friends you have. Once you’ve done that, write down how many times you have had a close interaction with any (more…)
Posted by Admin on August 26th, 2017