College Loan & IRS Scams — I Received Both Phone Calls Today

As if there are not enough scams, here’s another one — a college loan scam. I haven’t had college loans for years and years, but I am wondering if there will soon be a parent or grandparent component to the scam. Anyway, one more caller with malicious intent to be aware of when you answer the phone.

But it’s also the time of year for tax scammers. Make sure your parents know that if they get a phone call about IRS, they should NOT believe the caller. You can watch this video, posted at the IRS website, with them.

Jane Gross Lecture on Caregiving and Her Family

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 5.17.20 PMLast fall Jane Gross, journalist and author of A Bittersweet Season, spoke about her experiences supporting and caring for her elderly mother. The presentation at Brethren Village, a retirement community in Lancaster, PA, shares observations, experiences, things she wishes she had done, and much more.

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Help People Evaluate Health Media With Trust It or Trash It

The moment a person needs health information, the inclination is to Google it, even though there are much better places to visit — places that offer high-quality and reliable health information. A Google search does not guarantee good quality information — especially when it comes to health information, and due to sponsored advertisements and what I call pseudo health websites, a search may actually send a searcher in a wrong direction. Moreover, these days television ads, infomercials, and online ads seek to grab and hold people’s attention, and it’s difficult to figure out what’s a good source and what’s bad.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.16.34 PMThe good health information issue becomes even more critical for aging parents and elders, who often have many health concerns. Each day pharmaceutical advertisements and self-improvement ads bombard older adults with sales info disguised as health support. When they do Google searches, they encounter carefully groomed advertisements that may swoop in and look trustworthy. It can be difficult for a person of any age to tell what information is really useful and what information is just trying to get attention … and money.

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Green House Projects Multiply and Grow Even Stronger

Green Houses, the non-medical model homes for fragile elders who need long-term care, have been in the 2015 news.

Woodland Park in the Snow

One of three homes at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community’s Woodland Park — on a snowy day.

Take some time to read an exciting end-of-year blog post over at The Green House Project. Written by staff member Rachel Sher McLean, the short, yet comprehensive article describes how Green House projects are thriving,, and the piece includes links to articles noting the success of this model of long-term care. If you do not know much about The Green House Project, check out the organization’s website.

You can also bring yourself up to speed by reading my series of posts about the building of three Green Houses at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC).                             Continue reading

Will On-Demand Services Change the Way We Age?

photo credit: IMG_1642 via photopin (license)

photo credit: IMG_1642 via photopin (license)

A great article in the December 14, 2015 Washington Post, The On-Demand Economy: Changing the Way We Live As We Age, explains how many new online services such as food delivery, rides on demand. and home services are making life much easier for elders who want to remain independent as long as possible. Most of these connect with easy-to-use smart phone apps.

The article authors, Luke Yoquinto and Joseph Coughlin, are affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab, a group that connects new ideas with technology and aims to improve the health and quality of people’s lives, especially as they age.

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The Scams that Scare Grandparents About Their Grandkids

Click on the image to take the AARP Fraud Quiz.

Click here to take the AARP Fraud Quiz.

Recently a friend of mine told me about the grandparent scam. She described receiving a call at her home from a person who claimed to have a message from their granddaughter. The caller told my friend was that her  granddaughter was stranded in a foreign country and desperately needed financial help. Another friend of mine, a granddad, received a call  from a hysterical female claiming to actually be his granddaughter.

Now I have received a lot of scam calls, and I’ve shared the information with my parents and with lots of other people on this blog. I am, however, stunned that I’ve missed this one.                        Continue reading