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    Free Stuff and Discounts – Content by Judy

    Don’t we all want something for nothing? Do you look for the bargains and ways to stretch every dollar? I’m drawn to the clearance signs like a bee to honey! So, I’ve come up with this list of discounts and free stuff for seniors, veterans and everyone else. And remember if you don’t ask you miss out.

    1. Look on Craigslist. They have a “free” listing under “for sale”.
    2. Facebook has any number of resale/yard sale pages.
    3. Free Hunting and fishing licenses if you are 65+.
    4. State parks + CT registration = free entrance. This is now included in our car registrations.
    5. Some Banks offer free checking and more.
    6. Free college tuition if you are 62+. Finish your degree. Take classes that interest you.
    7. Income tax returns – free with AARP trained preparers- check local senior centers for appt.
    8. Save 5-10% off your auto ins for taking a driving class – check senior center for AARP class.
    9. Retention dept for utilities – reduction for staying with that provider. This will take some time – maybe a half hour – but the discount will last 12-24 months.
    10. Prescription assistance for non-covered unaffordable meds – ask at your doctor’s office and ask your pharmacist.
    11. Legal assistance is available from several resources. Call 1-800-296-1467 or 1-800-453-3320 to get started.
    12. Your library – free and reduced passes to museums and attractions, e-books, e-audio.
    13. Discounts at restaurants and stores – one example is Kohl’s 15% every Wed for those 60+.
    14. Community Resources – Call or visit your Area Agency on Aging, Senior Centers or your Town’s Municipal Agent.
    15. Call your Town Hall. Town Clerks are a wealth of information.
    16. Don’t forget calling 211 – 211ct.org

    17 Browse the internet. Check any number of websites. BUT be sure to check the date for when the article was published to help judge if the information is current.

    Content by Judy – Caring for others and yourself

    There will always be times in our lives when we offer care to others. Friends, parents, children and spouses have life events happen to them. We by instinct reach out and offer to help.

    When those life events happen a plan comes about, care and healing happen and the world rights itself at some point. During that time life becomes quite crazy and hectic.

    We could do a lot of our caregiving better and easier if we plan ahead. When a baby is about to be born plans are made for a doctor, aftercare for mom, cribs and more are bought. Questions are asked and answered. Babysitters, daycare decided on.

    But for lots of other caregiving situations no planning is done at all. We age, our parents age. We don’t talk about what will happen as we lose some of our independence. Who will care for who? What agency do we want and what don’t we want?

    Now is the time to look at the home, the budget and other options. Is it safe to stay at home? Is a move needed? What resources are there to pay for help? What will insurance pay for? What insurance is available? Is there a care plan manager? Are there resources from an employer available?

    Start looking for the answers to some of these questions now.

    Plus, start planning how the caregivers will get some respite. It is not unheard of for the caregiver to die before the one they are taking care of. Caregiving is stressful, a lot of work, demanding and exhausting.

    We all need time for ourselves and so do the caregivers. They need time away from the situation. Whether it’s going out to lunch, shopping, taking a nap, gardening or reading a book they need a break.

    Take care of the caregiver so they can continue to care for their loved one.

    Be an advocate. Be a voice. – CONTENT BY JUDY

    As we proceed towards the November elections, we’ll hear lots and lots of chatter. Some that we agreed with and some that we dislike greatly. But now is the time to voice your opinion on what matters the most to you. Do you find certain issues are not even mentioned by those who are running for office? Do you think that those running ignore you? Do you feel left out?

    Well now is the time. Call, email, text and/or write to those who are going to be on the ballot in November. Attend events where the politicians will be. Work on a campaign. Hold a sign stating what you want. And make your own sign if need be.

    If we continue to leave the outcome of the elections up to others we can not continue to complain about the direction our state and country are going in. We must give voice to what is important to us!

    I learned a long time ago that if 5 to 6 people contact a politician about any one issue, that issue is very important to a lot of people and they will respond. A recent example is Governor Malloy cut the Medicare Savings Program and when word got out lots of phone calls were made to CT Senators and Representatives and the program was fully restored.

    Your voice does matter! Be reasonable. Be rational. Your opinion is important. Tell your story about why change should be made and how that change should look.

    And you can make things better for lots of others when you become a part of the solution. Be a voice. Be an advocate.

    “You’re not too old and it’s not too late” – Rainer Maria Rilke – Content by Judy

    Have you heard this statement? Now think about it…

    As we work longer and care for others, time for ourselves can be limited but that lack of social engagement does affect our brain health as well. Now you might ask how do I increase my interactions with others?

    Think of those things you would like to do. Make a written list.  Explore other ideas. A book club, a dance class, lunch out, a day trip, learning a new skill. Whatever it is, now look for those things on your list. Ahh, they have that very thing at your Senior Center, Parks and Rec, Adult Ed…

    Now to go for the first time. Just how scary is that. Yup, that’s why you haven’t gone in the past, isn’t it? You don’t know anyone who will go with you and you don’t want to go alone…

    Do you remember your first day of school? The first day of every new school you ever went to? The first day of every new job? The first day at a new church? The first time you went to a new doctor’s office?

    All of those were scary too! But you got very comfortable in a short period of time didn’t you? Most times it worked out really well by the end of the first week.

    Well do the same thing now. Pick that thing you have always wanted to do. Sign up. Then show up. There will be other people there for their first time as well. In a few visits you’ll be making new friends and perhaps finding folks you know from the past.

    But now you’ll be getting out, having some “me” time and experiencing new activities and making new friends. All very good things to be doing!

    Give it a try! “You’re not too old and it’s not too late” – Rainer Maria Rilke

    Don’t wait too long – Content by Judy

    Do we wait too long?

    To look….

    At ourselves and see ourselves as we really are? Not as we still think we are.

    Our housing and does it fit the life we will live in the future? Will we age well and safely where we are?

    Our income? Do we have enough? Will the money last or will we outlive our savings?

    Our own fragility? How will we manage and cope? When will we speak up and say I’m no longer safe on my own?

     

    We have a tendency to wait too long to “live” as well. We say, “We’ll travel when we retire”, “We’ll downsize and move when we retire”, “Oh, I’ll figure that out after I retire”

     

    Let’s revisit all of that. Let’s start planning today how we will live our lives to the fullest. Don’t put things off. Make modifications to your home as the years go by. Have most of it done before you retire. Start traveling as soon as the kids are independent and some of your money is freed up. Travel while you are healthy and able to. It’s a whole lot more fun to explore the world before you experience health issues.

    Start now thinking about what you’ll do each day, all day once you are not working. You’ll have a lot of hours and days to fill up. Do you want to learn new skills? Watch your grandchildren? Volunteer and where will you volunteer? Find a new job? Start a new career?

    Don’t wait too long. Life can pass us by. We can only wish once those days and years are behind us. Live life to the fullest and start that living right now!!