*** September 2007 ***
* E-zine *

This Month Highlights:
· Disappearing Modular Homes
· Proper Disaster Insurance?
· Travel Survey Results

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"Modular home communities" are in some places, sadly, going away. These communities are a godsend to many of their residents. As safe, affordable, private places to live--often with groundskeepers, a community center on the premises, and even pools, picnic, and barbeque areas, these areas are not easy to come by at any price. But modular (or mobile) home parks are usually very affordable; $60,000 or less for the home, $350-$500 per month for space rent, with quiet, secure streets and neighbors often in the senior peer group--this is a remarkable set of lifestyle factors for a senior citizen in retirement.

Most modular homes do not actually go to a park for installation. They go onto private property in rural areas. These homes represent about one in seven new houses in America. However, the seaside mobile home parks, affordable living near expensive urban areas--these are at risk of becoming a thing of the past. Why? Because the property owners are renting the spaces to the homeowners and the homeowners usually have no say in the matter. The parks' owners can sell for large amounts of cash to eager developers who need seaside property upon which to build their condos, shopping centers, homes, and golf courses. Well, since that's the American way of capitalism, why is it a problem?

Well, It's a problem of ethics and economy because those who retired to trailer parks can't likely afford the new condo located where their mobile home used to sit.

So why don't they just move their modular homes, you ask? In reality, these homes, once installed, generally cannot be moved. Further, they drastically depreciate in value, a double-edged sword that allows an inexpensive move-in to a quality home, and in other cases zero-value, once the park the home sits in is sold to a developer planning a new suburb.

In New Jersey and Connecticut, laws on the books require the owner to consider a fair-market bid from the residents before selling to a developer and this legislative trend is growing. In some areas, park residents have banded together in an attempt to buy the property. Recently, residents in a park in San Diego tried to do this, but the park manager said there were no plans to sell--just before they sold the property to developers in a private transaction. The residents are now fighting their eviction on a number of fronts. Their legislators are developing bills to address the problem, as well. In other areas, cities are using eminent domain to declare modular home parks "blighted areas" and rezone them for luxury developments. This recently failed in Lodi, N.J., as a follow-up to a Supreme Court decision in 2005 that found the city's claim of blight to be a weak case.

What can senior citizens do? Call your state representative's office and ask about the laws governing the sale and rezoning of mobile home parks. Talk to your neighbors, or get them together in a meeting if you are the organizing sort, so all are aware of the risks and options. It is possible to be prepared and even to act first to protect your beloved home in your modular home community. .

Additional housing information for seniors can be found at

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Don't be a victim in your own neighborhood! In late July a U.S. federal judge changed the playing field for millions of Americans who buy insurance with the help of an insurance salesperson. You simply cannot rely on any statement the representative makes. Instead you must do your homework and check out every claim made for its accuracy. Caviat emptor. "Let the buyer beware." For example, Federal judge L.T. Senter, Jr., ruled against a Mississippi Gulf Coast couple, saying that they could not collect compensation for a storm surge caused by Hurricane Katrina because Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company's policies do not cover wind-driven water damage. Other insurance companies are also under-paying or refusing to pay anything at all in similar situations. (It should be noted that last year the insurance companies netted a $67 billion profit—the highest by far in their histories.)

Do you have proper disaster insurance? Well, how does one know, anyway? Review your assets, review your existing policy in light of the courts' new decision on Katrina flooding victims, and review your options. Then you can make a decision about your present and needed coverage. You might be perfectly situated already, but if you don't review you could be taking a huge risk.

This is a good time to speak with your financial advisors as you take steps to find out your current status and desired protection levels. Also, your adult children should be brought into the conversation because the assets you're insuring should be there for inheritance, or to support you in long-term care if the need arises. Your children may well be willing to help defray the costs of this important risk-abatement.

Do you live in a condominium or cooperative? What disaster coverage does your homeowner's association carry? How do you find out? Call, or better, go to the regular meeting and ask! Just as an association that is withholding reserves to replace a roof but is only saving enough to do half of the job, the residents will have to pay for the other half if the withholding isn't rectified with the real costs of replacement. Proper disaster coverage is an important factor that affects all of your neighbors, too. The questions must be asked so the officers of your homeowner's association can react and do the right thing.

Americans now know that if they live in an area where hurricanes can occur they MUST have flood insurance in order to be financially protected from water damage due to human negligence, or an act of God. It matters not to the federal court that hurricanes blow water as well as wind. If you don't have flood insurance you'll only be able to claim wind damage that can be documented. If the inside of your home gets wet in a hurricane or other storm, according to the new ruling, you need flood insurance or you can forget compensation.

Regardless of what the insurance representative tells you, if the policy does not specifically state that flooding is covered - it isn't. There is now no such thing as a "blanket hurricane damage insurance policy."

Additional information regarding the Katrina cases may be found at:

Additional insurance information for seniors can be found at:

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C. IT'S ABOUT TRAVEL! Survey Results

First, we would like to thank all those who participated in this edition of our Senior Survey. While the survey results are not statistically valid, the survey provides some interesting insights to the travel-related perspective.

Survey Number 701 Findings

  1. The responders to the survey plan about 4 trips each in the next 2 years. This is essentially the same rate as for the past 2 years.
  2. Trip duration averages 7.9 days.
  3. The majority of trips will be by car, with almost twice as many as by plane.
  4. A national trip is clearly the most likely destination.
  5. By a 2 to 1 margin, most trips will be for pleasure and with a companion.
  6. Trips will be planned about 7 weeks before departure.
  7. Clearly, the responders use the Internet to gather tip information and to make their travel arrangements.
For enlarged results graphic click here:

The next Senior Survey is now posted. Please join us in making your voice heard.

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September is National Preparedness Month--Are You Ready?
National Preparedness Month is a nationwide effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools. National Preparedness Month 2007 is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The goal of the month is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action.

Individuals can find information at Topics to be found there: include emergency kits, emergency planning and information about the nature of the emergency.

A useful aid to assist your caregiver in gathering information he or she may need in an emergency is a MedicTag . Visit

Elder Abuse Hotline thanks to BK, San Diego
Elder abuse and domestic violence continue, partly because those in a position to speak up, or speak out choose to keep silent. It's increasingly common for elders to be abused: financially or psychologically, not just physically, by their caregivers, some of whom may be their own children. These acts join a long list of family-violence crimes, most often committed by a male family member. By keeping silent about what we have observed in our family, between our relatives, or among our friends and acquaintances, we are allowing the wrongs to perpetuate. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE. All it takes is for you to care enough to pick up the phone.

The Avon Foundation, which put its backing behind the 3-day walks to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness, supports the National Domestic Violence Hotline,

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

Christa McAuliffe "Reach for it. Push yourself as far as you can."

Jimmy Connors "I hate to lose more than I love to win."

Salma Hayek "My heart has been stolen too--but I've gone and got it back every single time!"

Tom Watson "Sometimes thinking too much can destroy your momentum."

Paul Harvey "I've never seen a monument erected to a pessimist."

More "Thoughts" at:

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There are many sites on the Internet where you can download free electronic books. One good site that will show you many of the digital libraries around the world is There are also other sites that will let you directly download many of the e-books on their site such as On the main page enter the type of book you are looking for or "free e-books." In many cases copyright for most of these books has expired in the United States. (They may still be copyrighted in other countries.) Anybody may make verbatim or non-verbatim copies of those works.

Fighting Allergies
There are many ways to get rid of the dust mites, mold, mildew and animal hair that sneak into the carpet, furniture and walls. offers discounts and explanations of what type of equipment is needed for each problem. This site presents everything from air purifiers to mold control to vacuum cleaners.

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Alliance for Retired Americans
The Alliance for Retired Americans is a policy alternative to AARP. ARA is an activist voice for older Americans and is one of the largest organizations today representing senior citizens and their families. It was created in to spearhead the charge to enact a health care program for senior citizens--Medicare.

Get your more medical information at:

Geezer Brigade
is the place for feisty codgers and codgerettes, as well as any and all humor that permits them to challenge, encompass, and eclipse the experience of being old.

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More Wright-isms
If you're not familiar with the work of Steven Wright, he's the scientist who once said: "I woke up one morning and all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates!" His mind tends to see things a bit differently than the rest of us. Here are some of his gems:

  • Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
  • A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
  • The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.
  • The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
  • The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.

All in the Beat
As a nightclub owner, I hired a pianist and a drummer to entertain my customers. After several performances, I discovered the drummer had walked away with some of my valuables. I notified the police, who arrested him.
Desperate for another drummer, I called a friend who knew some musicians. "What happened to the drummer you had?" he asked me.
"I had him arrested," I replied.
My friend paused for a second and asked, "How badly did he play?"

Visit 1000's of jokes of interest to people who have lived a long and rich life.
"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

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SPONSOR OF THIS ISSUE: New LifeStyles Find the perfect retirement community, assisted living, nursing home, Alzheimer's care, home care, or other senior service you are looking for at

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SPONSOR'S INFORMATION: We welcome appropriate entities to provide sponsorship support. If you are interested please contact us at: [email protected]

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

Copyright 2007, 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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