Beware, mail fraud is on the rise

Beware, mail fraud is on the rise

My husband and I became recent victims of check fraud.

Our story begins a month ago when I wrote a check out to a company who will be doing some work for us later this year. The contract required a 10% deposit at the time of booking.

I mailed the check by depositing it in a US Postal Service collection box, (those blue boxes you can find throughout our community.)

I clearly missed the CBS News report on theft issues that have prompted the USPS to advise Americans to avoid depositing mail in blue collection boxes or leaving it in their own unlocked mailboxes for a carrier to pick up. Instead, the agency is now recommending that patrons come inside their local post office to securely send mail.

Addressing women’s concerns about planning for their future

Addressing women’s concerns about planning for their future

Recently, a female friend asked me if there is a book she can read to learn about the things she should be doing to plan now that she is getting older. She mentioned that she has other single female friends of varying ages, who are also wondering the same thing. 

The responsibility of planning for our future can be daunting, especially when you may not have close family to lean on for support, and the belief that we’ve covered all our bases is often a misjudgment.

As a society, we are not very good at thinking and planning for what may happen in the future.

I began by asking my friend what she had done around (what I consider to be) the two most important planning tools. First, I asked her if she had designated a medical power of attorney – someone her doctors could confer with if she were very sick or hospitalized and needed help in sorting out her medical options.

Does our world shrink as we get older

Does our world shrink as we get older

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to visit my sister in Del Mar.

Though I love my sister and we are very close. I knew we hadn’t been to see them in quite a while, but I was shocked to learn our last visit had been in December of 2019.

I was in disbelief. How could that be? Well, of course there was COVID which kept many of us at home and then there were challenges finding a dependable and caring sitter for our blind and deaf dog. 

It was not as if we hadn’t seen my sister and her family during that time. My brother-in-law’s business takes him to our neck of the woods every so often and he and my sister will stay with us when that happens. And my niece and nephew, both adults, live in LA and come to visit periodically.

But still, the last time I was at my sister’s home was three and a half years ago?

Problem solving means honoring others’ choices

Problem solving means honoring others’ choices

Early in my career working with older adults, it was my strong belief that if a person needed help, and we were able to offer it, it should be provided.

However, several times our efforts were not met with acceptance. There was the senior who refused home delivered meals even though, after his hospitalization, he was unable to shop and cook for himself. And the single woman with a recent dementia diagnosis who did not want to share it with anyone. And the gentleman who had fallen many times and had been hospitalized for his injuries, refusing to use a walker.

Discussing the benefits of our suggestions did not convince them.

Information overload may come at a cost

Information overload may come at a cost

If you are anything like me, your mailbox and email in box are filled with statements every month.

They arrive for credit cards, banks, investments, utilities, service providers, and more.

If you want to stay on top of them, it is easily a multi-hour a week job to review charges, reconcile bank statements, examine quarterly returns, and track utility usage. It all takes time, focus, and patience.

Some of us were born to enjoy this type of work. My husband, who is a CPA, might not say he fully enjoys it, but he is comfortable with it and knows what to look for.

However, as we get older, even the most detailed oriented of us may experience challenges.

Funerals can be a time for reflection

Funerals can be a time for reflection

I recently attended a celebration of life for an acquaintance. She was a lovely woman who lived a full life filled with family, close friends, travel, and lots of fun and adventure. 

She was also a very giving person. Her wish was for her friends to come and select things that had meaning to them from her possessions. Before and after her passing, her generosity to charitable organizations was remarkable. She made it a point of letting folks know, “You can’t take it with you.”

At the service, friends came to the podium to share stories of their deep friendship and times together. Her niece read from her aunt’s travel journals, detailing adventures from all over the world.

By all accounts this person led a good life, maybe even a great one.

Working from home uncovers cost saving opportunities

Working from home uncovers cost saving opportunities

My husband Peter has been working from home for quite some time now. Mid pandemic he joined a new firm in a remote job. His company is headquartered in New York City.

Unlike me, he’s the kind of guy that can go all day crunching numbers and talking to workmates on Zoom, never seeing a human in the flesh, unless you count waving to the Amazon delivery driver.

Being at home each day has afforded him the opportunity to listen to the inner workings of our household systems. In particular, he kept telling me that our water heater was running 24/7, wasting energy, and it was loud.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the majority of natural gas used in homes is for space heating, which includes both air and water.

One night we’d invited some friends for dinner.

The gift of friendship - asking tough questions

The gift of friendship - asking tough questions

My friend, a fellow solo-ager (older adult without children), recently asked me some provocative questions.

They were, I think, a sign of the times that people are broadening their thinking around what’s important.

She began by sharing a recent article in the New York Times about individuals who bequeathed assets upon their death to friends rather than family. She asked me what I thought of that concept.

I explained that my best friends have ebbed and flowed through the years and have changed as my life circumstances have.  Friends from school

Reaching 65 comes with perks as well as reality checks

Reaching 65 comes with perks as well as reality checks

Here’s a question for you, what do I have in common with Madonna, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jamie Lee Curtis?

How about Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, and Drew Carey?

If you guessed that we are all turning 65 this year, you would be right. 

All of us, along with another 3.65 million Americans will become - wait for it - senior citizens.

Fortunately for me, I work in the senior service industry and have been anticipating this for quite some time. However, for many of the millions who will turn 65 this year, there may be some fear and unease.

For those of you on the brink of this magic age, let me start with some good news. 

Contemplating the yin and yang of rain

Contemplating the yin and yang of rain

If you are feeling very good or very bad these days, it may be due to the recent rains.

Take it from two musical camps. In his hit “Laughter in the Rain,” Neil Sedaka croons “Ooh, how I love the rainy days, and the happy way I feel inside,” while The Carpenters declare “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”

How can one simple form of precipitation have such a diametric effect on people?

I’ve had time to contemplate these conflicting feelings, as we watch more than our normal share of rainfall.

Let’s start with the bad news first. Why would the presence of rain make us feel bad?