*** July 2008 ***
* E-zine *

This Month's Highlights:
· Housing Opportunities?
· Summer School for Seniors
· Best Auto Insurance Rates

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Housing prices are plummeting across the nation, and senior citizens often need low priced housing. There may be an opportunity in the market for all parties as a result. If you are paying rent for your parents, now may be a good opportunity to buy a home for them:

  • Real estate all over America can be found at the lowest prices listed in a decade.
  • For borrowers with good credit, interest rates are still extremely low.
  • Tax deductions for mortgage interest are a welcome help to offset expenses.

Here area few ideas you may have tossed around in your mind that may now be real possibilities because of current market pricing:

Is there an opportunity to relocate in retirement near care giving family?

What about a duplex investment? They are perfect for ambulatory senior citizens, and the second unit can be rented out, further reducing the costs of housing your loved ones.

Don't want the hassles of a new landlord? Property managers abound who will do everything from interviewing lifestyle-appropriate tenants to paying the taxes and maintaining the landscaping so you don't have to take on additional burdens.

Instead of worrying over Dad's needs from afar - perhaps from another state you would be living nearby. That alone can be a tremendous improvement in lifestyle for everyone involved.

What about relocating to a climate more hospitable to senior citizens?

Let's face it - America can be cold in the winter! But it isn't just weather that you should be considering here. Some communities are just easier to live in when you're older. Mass transit, population trends, neighborhood amenities, parks, museums, educational facilities and medical resources all vary from place to place.

If where you or your loved ones are living presently doesn't have some or most of these advantages this could be the time to relocate.

The opportunity to eliminate the financial need for a roommate?

Let's face it - sharing your home with roommates is not the most desirable way for the elderly to live. The new lower prices in the housing market may make the elimination of a roommate possible. However, there are benefits to having a roommate. Personal safety is one of the positive byproducts of having a roommate at home should you fall, or need assistance of some kind. Companionship of a compatible "other," as well as sharing the costs of utilities and maintenance may be additional advantages.

Perhaps the roommate is the tenant in the second unit of the duplex investment? Then you've got your companionship, and your privacy!

An opportunity to buy a larger home that can accommodate both you and a parent?

Perhaps you've thought about moving Mom in with you for all of the great opportunities an extended family living together can provide? The grandparent/grandchild relationship, peace of mind for the caregiver/adult child, lower costs, immediacy of medical attention if needed (and perhaps your eagle eye just to make sure things are going well with your parent), can all be greatly enhanced. Now may be the time to relocate and achieve all of those life benefits.

Check with your realtor and see if suitable listings in your area are available in your area.

Is there an opportunity to build an addition onto your existing home for Mom or Dad?

Not only are the prices of existing real estate falling, contractors are really feeling the pinch. A home equity loan to enlarge your current residence with a suite for a loved one to move into may be financially advantageous. Adding to your home is no small matter - but competition for your business is on your side and you may be able to afford a high quality contractor today that would have been out of your price range before the decline in real estate prices. The addition to your home raises its market value, and the interest is tax deductible.

And let's not forget the savings in gasoline made possible when your loved ones live in the addition instead of another city!

Change and adversity often breed opportunity, especially when housing and finance are concerned. As always, be sure and speak with your local professionals and make a plan of action that suits your family's individual needs and goals before making the jump. But the lower prices in housing nationally, foreclosed home stock held by the bank, current low interest rates, and the high cost of recurring travel, may make it worth your while to seek a change. "

Additional financial information for seniors can be found at:

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Oh, the lazy, hazy days of summer...they can drive a person to absolute frustration from boredom!

Here's an idea that can be an alternative to the seasonal doldrums: summer school for senior citizens! A couple of years ago one of our readers asked if we could look into a rumor that there was a national policy of free higher education for senior citizens in America.

We looked into it. We found there is no national legislation mandating free education for senior citizens. However, it turns out there are in fact many fine programs offered to seniors at no-cost or low-cost tuition by institutions of higher learning all across the country. There are tuition-free or reduced tuition opportunities at a wide range of colleges and universities for senior citizens, from institutions that offer study in the liberal arts to technical educations. Some states offer tuition waivers to their senior citizen residents only, and some states such as Minnesota offer discounts to senior residents of other nearby states, as well. Some universities are even exploring the idea of providing or partnering with senior living facilities. Campus life isn't just for kids anymore

Why not take a look in your area for classes that are educational and fun? Adult students make for interesting company and intelligent conversation, and you'll be out of your home getting exercise for both your brain and your body.

Education for senior citizens is not only fun for those who participate; it offers many tangible benefits. Recent studies show continued learning can slow the onset of memory loss or dementia. The opportunity to mix with highly educated younger people is beneficial for older persons as well as for their younger classmates. And real-life experience may be somewhat underrated in the United States, but it is valued among younger people who are striving for an advanced education. Those "kids" are going to be out working in the real world soon, and you've got a lot to share.

These opportunities break down by age, number of credits allowed each year at the waived or reduced tuition rates, and many states offer these rate reductions "by institution." That is to say, in some states each community college, state college, or university will have unique, if somewhat similar, senior citizen tuition waiver policies, so you need to check in your area. If these institutions are outside your area, but in a state where you have family and friends who could use such a tremendous tool for staying active, engaged, and healthy, be sure and let them know about the opportunities!

It is important to check class times, registration rules, and availability for summer classes. They vary widely from one institution to another regardless of the state in question.

Additional seniors' education information can be found at:

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Getting the Best Auto Insurance Rates
With the continuing high price of gas, as others, seniors are looking for ways to lower their automotive related costs. One area that warrants attention is your auto insurance. The following are a few things you can do to possibly reduce your rates by becoming a better driver and influence all seniors rates:

  1. Sit high enough in your seat so that you can see at least 10 feet in front of your car; use a cushion if you must. This makes it easier to see pedestrians and bike riders, and reduces problems from nighttime oncoming headlight glare.
  2. Do not wear sunglasses or tinted glasses when driving at night. Also, for many older drivers, acuity of night vision is reduced, so avoid driving at twilight or after dark.
  3. Senior drivers can refresh their skills and knowledge and get a discount on auto insurance in many states by taking a refresher-driving course, such as the eight-hour "55-Alive" course offered by AARP.
    Many states mandate auto insurance policy discounts for passing such courses, and many insurance companies offer the discounts voluntarily.

Visit our site at to learn more about auto insurance and to get a quote.


Travel Fees Go Up…Up...Up!

Summer travel this year brings new fees for your luggage. Since profits are going down at most airlines, some are will be charging consumers for second (and even first!) pieces of luggage and raising prices for heavier and larger suitcases. For example, United Airlines and US Airways will charge customers $50 round-trip for a second piece of luggage, according to The Wall Street Journal. Of course, neither airline will promise improved luggage handling. They might be talked in to refunding the fee if the luggage is lost. If you persist (and persist), you may even be able to recover as much as $3,000 for lost luggage!

Airlines prefer to add fees at the check-in counter since they will then continue to look competitive on such websites as, where the lowest prices prevail.

Some airlines have increased prices for luggage over 50 pounds and larger than 62 linear inches (height +length + width). In some cases, the cost for a third overweight bag can cost more than the flight itself.

The good news is that some discount carriers have not followed suit and are not imposing added fees. Most airlines won't charge the fee for tickets bought before they added the new fees.

An alternative might be to use a package shipper like UPS or FedEx to get your luggage to its destination. For example, FedEx has a three-business-day service that may be a cost saver if you have several pieces.

As a side impact, the fees are complicating hotel early baggage-check service. These services are designed to allow departing guests to check in for their flights and drop off their luggage in the hotel before leaving.

Bottom line for travel this summer… BE PREPARED WITH YOUR WALLET!

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We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.

Janet Leigh -- "In order to dream, you need to have a springboard, which is the facts."

Leslie Caron -- "I think it's the end of progress if you stand still and think of what you've done in the past. I keep on."

Montel Williams --"If you're in a relationship and you want to make it work, you have to be a little selfless at times."

Nancy Reagan -- "I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out."

P.T. Barnum -- "Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant."

More "Thoughts" at:

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1. Black Family Month
July is the month that is dedicated to the enrichment of Black families through education, health and self- improvement. Shaun McLaughlin is the founder of this observance. She realized that family reunions could be used for more than eating a lot of good food, so she started convincing local organizations to attend family reunions to give free blood pressure readings and remind parents to spend time reading to their children by holding book drives, and it grew from there. Learn more at

2. National Blueberry Month
Let's remind everybody that this month is the peak season for blueberries. You should eat some; they're good for you! The blueberry muffin is the most popular muffin in the U.S. It is also the official muffin of Minnesota and the state fruit of New Jersey. (August is the National BlueberryMonth in Canada.) Mmm…blueberries and vanilla ice cream; blueberry pancakes, blueberry smoothies, fruit cocktail with lots of blueberries…

Blueberries have only 80 calories per cup, are virtually fat-free and a good source of vitamin C. In addition, there is mounting scientific evidence that blueberries can help promote good health. In studies at the USDA labs at the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, Little Rock, AR, blueberries ranked among the highest in antioxidant activity when compared to more than 100 other foods. Learn more at

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Advance Directives

What kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes? Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.

Learn more at
This site includes basic definitions, research reports, sample forms, and more

Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)

PERS is an electronic device (short for Personal Emergency Response System) designed to let you summon help in an emergency. If you are a disabled or an older person living alone, you may be thinking about buying a PERS.

When emergency help (medical, fire, or police) is needed, the PERS user presses a button, and a pre-selected emergency telephone numbers is utomatically dialed. Most PERS are programmed to telephone an emergency response center where the device number identifies the caller. The center will try to determine the nature of the emergency.

If the center cannot contact the user or determine whether an emergency exists, it will alert emergency service providers to go to the PERS location. With most systems, the center will monitor the situation until the crisis is resolved. Learn more at

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More Rules to Consider

  1. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
  2. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
  3. You should not confuse your career with your life.
  4. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
  5. Never lick a steak knife.


It was mealtime during a flight on Stanton Airlines. "Would you like dinner?" the flight attendant asked John, seated in front. "What are my choices?" John asked. "Yes or no," she replied.


A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger? The stock boy replied, "No ma'am, they're dead."

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

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This issue has been edited by Betsy Day ([email protected]).

Copyright 2008, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products, service and companies named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders and are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Articles are included for informational purposes and are not an endorsement.

This Copyright E-zine may be forwarded to others only if sent in its entirety. Other uses are subject to written permission of the publisher.

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