Dear Savvy Senior, Is there a good rule of thumb on when dementia patients should stop driving? My 82-year-old mom has early stage Alzheimer’s disease but still drives herself around town just fine. Inquiring Daughter Dear Inquiring, Most doctors agree that people with moderate to severe dementia should never get behind the wheel, but in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, driving performance should be the determining factor of when to stop driving, not the disease itself. With that said, it’s also important to realize that … [Read more...] about When should dementia patients stop driving?
Dear Savvy Senior, What are the IRS income tax filing requirements for seniors this year? I didn’t file a tax return last year because my 2018 income was below the filing requirements, but I got a part-time job late last year in 2019, so I’m wondering if I need to file this year. Semi-Retired Dear Semi, Whether or not you are required to file a federal income tax return this year depends not only on how much you earned last year (in 2019), but also the source of that income, as well as your age and your filing … [Read more...] about Do I have to file taxes?
Dear Savvy Senior, I need to get a hip replacement, and want to find a good, safe hospital to have it done in. What resources can you recommend for evaluating hospitals? I don’t currently have a doctor. Shopping Around Dear Shopping, Most people spend more time shopping for a kitchen appliance or flat-screen TV than choosing a hospital. But selecting the right one can be as important as the doctor you choose. Here are some tips and resources to help you research the hospitals in your area. Hospital Shopping While you … [Read more...] about How to choose the right hospital for you
Dear Savvy Senior, Does Medicare cover outpatient counseling services for its beneficiaries? Since the death of my sister last year, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety and would like to get some help. Sad Senior Dear Sad, I’m sorry for your loss. Yes, Medicare covers both outpatient and inpatient mental health services to help beneficiaries with depression, anxiety and many other needs. Here’s what you should know. Outpatient Coverage If you have original Medicare, your Part B coverage will pay 80 percent … [Read more...] about Does Medicare cover counseling services?
Dear Savvy Senior, I would like to find out if my 73-year-old aunt is eligible for food stamps or any other type of food assistance program. It seems that she has a difficult time affording enough food each month, and I would like to help if I can. What can you tell me? Searching Niece, Dear Searching, Sadly, millions of older Americans, like your aunt, struggle with food costs. According to a recent study by Feeding America, 5.5 million U.S. seniors age 60 and older are food insecure. Fortunately, there are several programs … [Read more...] about Food assistance programs can help seniors in need
Dear Savvy Senior, My husband, who lives at home, has dementia and I worry about him wandering off and not being able to get back. Can you recommend some monitoring technology devices or any other solutions that can help me keep tabs on him? Exhausted Spouse Dear Exhausted, This is a concern for millions of Americans caring for a loved one with dementia at home. About 60 percent of people who suffer from dementia wander at some point, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. For caregivers, this can be frightening … [Read more...] about Monitoring solutions for loved ones with dementia
Dear Savvy Senior, A couple months back I read that the IRS will be offering a new senior-friendly tax form this tax season that will be easier to use. What can you tell me about this? Paper Filer Dear Filer, It’s true. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created a new federal income-tax form specifically designed for senior taxpayers, age 65 and older, that should make filing a little easier this year, particularly those who don’t file electronically. Here’s what you should know. Form 1040-SR Created by … [Read more...] about IRS introduces a tax form created for older taxpayers
Dear Savvy Senior, I’ve read that people with heart problems need to be extra careful during the winter months because heart attacks are much more common. Why is this? Cautious Senior Dear Cautious, Everyone knows winter is cold and flu season, but many don’t know that it’s also the prime season for heart attacks too, especially if you already have heart disease or have suffered a previous heart attack. Here’s what you should know, along with some tips to help you protect yourself. In the U.S., the risk of … [Read more...] about Why the risk of heart attack rises in winter
Dear Savvy Senior, How do I go about changing or canceling a person’s social media accounts when they die? My sister passed away several months ago and her social media accounts are still active. Inquiring Sister Dear Inquiring, I’m sorry for your loss. This a question that’s become more frequent in recent years as most Americans have participated on some type of social media platform. Here’s a run-down of how you can change or cancel some different social media accounts after a loved one … [Read more...] about How to manage a loved one’s social media afterlife
Dear Savvy Senior, How do I go about appealing Medicare when they won’t pay for something that they covered in the past? Rejected Rhonda Dear Rhonda, If you disagree with a coverage or payment decision made by Medicare, you can appeal, and you’ll be happy to know that around half of all appeals are successful, so it’s definitely worth your time. But before going that route, talk with the doctor, hospital and Medicare to see if you can spot the problem and resubmit the claim. Some denials are caused by simple billing code … [Read more...] about What to do when Medicare tells you no