Beware Of Life Insurance Companies Cheating You

The article in Bloomberg Magazine looked like it was about life insurance companies duping the grieving families of fallen soldiers. But upon closer reading, the life insurance companies are also cheating civilian families. It's worth reading the entire article to get all the details. But I want to give you the heads up so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Companies like Prudential Insurance are sending bereaved beneficiaries a checkbook instead of a check for the proceeds of a life insurance policy. The checkbook is for an account that the insurance company makes you think you can draw upon any time you want to buy something. What they don't tell you is that the money is not in a special account at a bank. It is not FDIC insured. And you are not getting the full amount of interest you deserve from leaving the money at the insurance company. In addition, it may be hard to use the checks.

Rather, the insurance company has kept the funds co-mingled with all of its other investments, earning high rates of return for the company. They pay you only a small portion of that return. In other words, they are making money off the money they should have paid you.

It's just plain wrong. I commend the Bloomberg story to you.

Medication Management

Aging In Place in Darien hosted a Medication Management session that you can watch on Cablevision on Channel 79.

Aging In Place – Rx Medications   ( runs  1:25 )               Rerun
§        Airs  7:30 am, 2:30 pm, 9:16 pm
 Effective of August 27, 2010
Copies of TV79 coverage are available for $25 per DVD.   E-mail them at


Aging In Place in Darien

This week I attended my last Advisory Board meeting for Aging In Place in Darien. That's because the Advisory Board has been disbanded and we will now have a Board of Directors. The new board has a fantastic array of really smart, dedicated people. I'm so excited that I will be working with them to more firmly establish AIP as a nonprofit serving the needs of Darien seniors.

Aging In Place in Darien has come a long way in a few years -- from just an idea to an organization that connects seniors to the myriad services that exist to help them stay in their homes as they age. In July, we sponsored a meeting of local service providers in Norwalk, Darien and Stamford. There are over 90 such providers! 30 showed up and were thrilled to be networking and discovering how others serve seniors. The biggest problem seems to be lack of awareness. We help correct that.

"We identify barriers and help break through them," says Olive Hauser, Director of Social Services in Darien. She's right, that's one of the big things AIP does. By working collaboratively, brainstorming, providing information and links, and acting as catalysts, we've helped Gallivant increase its ridership. (Gallivant is Darien's van that takes seniors and disabled to appointments of all kinds). We also helped the town establish half-price taxi vouchers for seniors by tapping a state senior transportation grant. Seniors buy the vouchers at Town Hall, and Eveready Taxi will accept the vouchers as payment for rides. Demand for taxi vouchers keeps climbing. Call Darien Social Services for more information -- 203-656-7328. To ride on Gallivant, call: 203-655-2227.

But AIP does even more to help you to remain independent. Alyssa Israel, the AIP Coordinator, has a list of vetted service providers, if you need help around the house. She gets about 30 to 50 calls each month, mostly requesting handyman or home maintenance help, followed by transportation requests. Alyssa can be reached at 203-202-2912.

I'm looking forward to our new board keeping up the momentum and accomplishing even more in the months and years ahead.

Health Discovery: Coffee, Tea Reduce Heart, Cancer Risk - AARP Bulletin

It looks like drinking tea is good for your mind and your heart. It looks like moderate amounts of coffee are good for you, too. And tea and coffee consumers have lower risk of some cancers!

My theory is that if you are drinking tea and coffee, which are relatively unprocessed plant-based products, then you're ingesting less sugar, less high fructose corn syrup, and fewer artificial colors and flavors. That has to be good for you. Plus the natural nutrients in tea and coffee have beneficial effects, too. I'm sure glad I love coffee and tea.

Health Discovery: Coffee, Tea Reduce Heart, Cancer Risk - AARP Bulletin

Enjoy Cooking and Eating by Yourself

I give vegetables from my garden to my older neighbor because she really enjoys preparing fresh, healthful food for herself. But some older adults can feel uninspired to cook a good meal for just one person. It can be hard to come up with interesting ideas. That's why I love "Serves One" by my cousin and food expert Toni Lydecker.

Ms. Lydecker has created a really wonderful cookbook with a wide array of delicious, easy-to-make recipes. She has a really nice style, and the book has lovely photographs which make the food look really appealing.

The thing I like best is that most of the dishes are not just yummy, but also practical and healthful. Lydecker has included many vegetable-based recipes, so if you're looking to get more fresh vegetables into your diet, this book will be very useful.

I will admit that since I know Toni, and have had the great good fortune to dine at her house, I know what a wonderful cook she is. I've given the book to members of my family who live alone and cook for one, and they say it's come in very handy. I cook for two, so I just double the recipes -- my favorite one is for soft polenta. (Although I do make it with variations of my own.)

 The book is definitely worth buying and is available at Amazon. (See link on this page.)

No Fashions for Old Pros

I was in Macy's, and I wondered what had happened to my favorite clothing brands. Where were clothes that I could wear -- and look good in? When I was a YUPPIE the fashion world produced all these great clothes that were perfect for me - professional, stylish and reasonable. But now that I'm just an aging professional, I can't find anything to wear. I can look like a frump with boiled wool jackets and pants up around my waist or a middle-aged mom trying to look young with skinny pants with a waistband around my hips.

Why? Because it's all about the young. You gotta sell to the young who are bursting with a desire to spend fresh money. We mature women don't spend as much, but we still have a demand for clothing. The young are a tough market. They are fickle and feckless, and developing the latest "must-have" item and marketing it is expensive and risky. I think fashion brands like Liz Claiborne are being really short-sighted to switch their focus from boomers to babes. Haven't they heard of the cash cow? A cash cow is a brand that you can milk. It has an established base of consumers who are loyal, and you just rake in the bucks from them.

I knew that the cash cow concept hadn't even occurred to Liz Claiborne (one of my favorite brands) when I read in the Wall Street Journal on August 16, 2010 (After Targeting Younger Buyers, Liz Claiborne Hits a Snag) that the head of Liz Claiborne had made a deal with JC Penny to license its brand to them as a young, mass-market private label, while blowing off their older base who shops at Macy's. Furthermore, I discovered why a lot of the brands I used to rely on, like Ellen Tracey, were no longer available. The Liz Claiborne CEO William McComb had killed them off to focus on Juicy Couture, Kate Spade and Mexx.

Interestingly, the change in focus has not been good for Liz Claiborne. The stock has gone from $43 when McComb joined the company in 2006 to $4.82 on August 13, 2010. Meanwhile, I have a more cash in my bank account because I could find fewer appealing clothes to spend it on.

I wish someone would have the guts and the vision to pick up the old brands like Ellen Tracey and Liz Claiborne and re-establish them in the marketplace. Until they do, I will keep hunting for clothes that fit my needs. I think it's a great opportunity.