How to Judge a Retirement Community’s Financial Health

Are you considering moving to a retirement community? In addition to the facilities amenities, you should examine the financials of the places you are considering and learn how each invests the entrance fees that residents pay in addition to what any monthly costs are. Read on for more information in this NYT article. By Peter Finch | New York Times Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt has it all figured out. With their three children grown and out of their New Jersey home, she and her husband, William, will move into a full-service retirement community this year. It will be someplace “interesting and Continue Reading

A new trend in death planning is the green burial

A new trend in death planning is the green burial in which people cut down the impact of their burial on the environment by planning to use eco-friendly options in the disposition of their remains. Green burials require fewer resources for the care of the body which make them better for the environment; another benefit of a green burial is lower funeral costs. For more information about green burials, follow our link to the New York Times. Thinking About Having a ‘Green’ Funeral? Here’s What to Know By Sonya Vatomsky | New York Times A typical American funeral usually involves Continue Reading

Many Americans Try Retirement, Then Change Their Minds

Many people put a lot of care into planning for when they retire but not what they will do during their retirement. Numerous studies conclude that retirement is fluid with people returning to work after reaching retirement age. While for some, income is an incentive, for others, returning to work gives them a sense of purpose and social engagement. Read the complete NYT article. By Paula Span | New York Times Sue Ellen King had circled her retirement date on the calendar: March 8, 2015. She had worked as a critical care nurse and nursing educator at University of Florida Continue Reading

Detail Your Last Wishes

An important part of estate planning is designating a health care proxy and developing an advance directive for your care. It is important to give your primary care physician and health care proxy copies of these documents. In addition to giving them copies, you should request they are part of your electronic health records. Currently, the national standard for electronic records is that they need to have the capacity to show whether or not you have an advance directive somewhere. To learn about a real-life example of the importance of your advance care planning, read this NYT article. By Daniela Continue Reading

Finding Meaning and Happiness in Old Age

Two recently published books about aging hope to give meaning and happiness to readers as they plan for their senior years. “The End of Old Age” by Dr. Marc Agronin learned from his patients that it is possible to maintain purpose and meaning in life, even when faced with serious disease and disability, impaired mental and physical functioning and limited participation in activities. In “Happiness is a Choice You Make”, author John Leland shares life lessons learned from his interviews with the “oldest old” residents of New York City. Read the complete article: By Jane E. Brody | New York Continue Reading

If you don’t have children, what do you leave behind?

How do people without children create a legacy after their death? Marci Alboher, married but without children,  tried to answer this question while filling out a questionnaire from her estate planning lawyer.  She reached clarity about how she wants to live.  Read the complete NYT article: By Marci Alboher | New York Times The questionnaire from the estate lawyer has been sitting on my desk for six months. “Just focus on the hit-by-a-bus version,” he advised, knowing wills tend to fall to the bottom of everyone’s list. “You can always update it.” Still, I’m paralyzed. My husband and I don’t Continue Reading

Meals on Wheels in Massachusetts

Meals on Wheels is state and federally funded program that provides a daily visit and nutritious meals for people over age 60 in Massachusetts. The people who deliver these meals provide a human connection to the outside world. Read the Boston Globe article about a Meals on Wheels volunteer on his delivery rounds. For those who receive — and deliver — Meals on Wheels, more than nutrition is on the menu By Robert Weisman | Boston Globe It’s a Tuesday ritual that Vito LaMura holds dear. On that day, the 71-year-old retired teacher drives from his Bedford home to Lexington Continue Reading

Medicare Launches Hospice Compare Website

Patients looking for hospice care can now get help from Medicare’s website. The agency’s new Hospice Compare site allows patients to evaluate hospice providers according to several criteria. The site is a good start, but there is room for improvement, experts say. Medicare’s comprehensive hospice benefit covers any care that is reasonable and necessary for easing the course of a terminal illness. Medicare launched the hospice compare website to improve transparency and help families find the right hospice provider. The website provides information on how hospices deal with treatment preferences, address a patient’s beliefs and values, screen and assess for pain Continue Reading

You Can Give Away More Tax Free in 2018

After staying the same for five years, the amount you can give away to any one individual in a particular year without reporting the gift will increase in 2018. The annual gift tax exclusion for 2018 is rising from $14,000 to $15,000. This means that any person who gives away $15,000 or less to any one individual (anyone other than their spouse) does not have to report the gift or gifts to the IRS. If you give away more than $15,000, you do not necessary have to pay taxes, but you will have to file a gift tax return (Form 709). The Continue Reading

Why Giving Your House to Your Children Isn’t the Best Way to Protect It From Medicaid

You may be afraid of losing your home if you have to enter a nursing home and apply for Medicaid. While this fear is well-founded, transferring the home to your children is usually not the best way to protect it. Although you generally do not have to sell your home in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, the state could file a claim against the house after you die. If you get help from Medicaid to pay for the nursing home, the state must attempt to recoup from your estate whatever benefits it paid for your care. Continue Reading