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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social welfare organization with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families, such as health care, employment, income security, and protection from financial abuse. Learn more.… more
6 days ago • Edited
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Do you know your Memorial Day history and fun facts? Take our quiz and find out.… more
6 days ago • Edited
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Check out these little-known Social Security facts and don't leave these lesser-known benefits hanging. Kids get benefits, too. Your unmarried children under age 18, or 19 if still in high school, can receive benefits based on your work record if you're collecting Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Grandchildren also are eligible for benefits on a grandparent's record if they are dependents and receive no financial support from a parent. In some cases, so do parents. Moms and dads who rely on an adult child for at least half of their financial support can receive survivor benefits if that child dies. You've got time to fix errors. Mistakes in your earnings record could lead to reduced future benefits. Typically, you have three years, three months and 15 days after the year in which you earned the wages to fix mistakes. Social Security makes exceptions if, say, you have documentation of earnings or the error is obvious. Chances of owing taxes are increasing. Up to 85 percent of your benefits could be taxed, depending on your income. Because these income limits haven't changed for decades despite rising wages, the chances you'll owe taxes on benefits also have increased. Less than 10 percent of beneficiaries paid federal income tax on their benefits in 1984, the first year benefits were taxed. Now about 40 percent do and under current law, that's expected to climb to more than half in three decades. You can change your mind. Regret taking early and reduced benefits at 62? No problem. You have 12 months after starting benefits to withdraw your application provided you repay all the money received so far. Miss the deadline? Don't worry, you get another chance for a do-over. Continue receiving benefits until your full retirement age, then suspend benefits without having to repay those you already received. Benefits will grow 8 percent annually until age 70, when you can restart benefits to get the maximum payout. Most creditors can't touch and newlyweds may not qualify: Check out more surprising facts about Social Security.… more
6 days ago • Edited
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Too many people with Medicare struggle to navigate the complexities of the program. Here are steps you can take to avoid penalties and gaps in care. Deciding when to enroll in Medicare Part B can be confusing, especially for people covered by employer health insurance at 65, and mistakes can be costly. Other major areas of confusion: what’s covered under Medicare Advantage and how to afford the rising costs of prescription drugs under Medicare Part D. If you time your enrollment wrong you can end up paying extra money for Medicare for the rest of your life or paying for parts of Medicare that you may not need. Here is what you nee to know before you apply: • People who fail to enroll in Medicare Part B when they first should will face lifetime penalties, a coverage gap and disruptions in care. The penalty is hefty: an extra 10 percent for each full year you could have had Part B but didn’t apply and were not covered beyond 65 by health insurance from a current employer. For more information, see the AARP article “When Does the Part B Penalty Clock Start Ticking?’ • If you have primary coverage through a current employer (your own or your spouse’s), you can delay Part B without penalty until the job ends. If your coverage is from a small employer (fewer than 20 employees) or a former employer, find out how it works with Medicare. Check out the AARP article “Medicare When Working Beyond 65” to avoid complex problems that can arise in coordinating Part B and an employer’s plan. • Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Decide whether traditional (also called original) Medicare and a supplement Medigap plan or a Medicare Advantage plan, which combines Medigap and prescription coverage, is best for you. To understand the differences between the two programs, go to the AARP article “Medigap or Medicare Advantage?” • Understand Medicare enrollment periods: Initial, Special, General, Open and Medigap Open. For more detailed information, see the AARP article “Different Medicare Enrollment Periods.” • You may qualify for financial help for Medicare. Find out here. More questions? Consult AARP’s Medicare Question and Answer Tool.… more
6 days ago • Edited
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Caregiver Strategies for Handling Resentment and Getting Few Thanks - There are many reasons why hard-working caregivers may be underappreciated. The aging parent may resent needing assistance and therefore begrudge thanks to her primary helper out of spite. Or the monotony of regular care routines may lull them into simply expecting a caregiver's sacrifices as part of daily life. Here is how to get a little well-deserved respect without acting like an attention-seeking complainer. Toot your own horn. Keep other family members informed of the myriad tasks you manage. You could send out a group email describing the recent medical appointment to which you took the care receiver. Or you could convey recent financial transactions you conducted. When family members understand the scope of your duties, they may be more likely to show appreciation or even willingness to help. Use humor. 'Please' and 'thank you' might help." The sly comment to prompt adults to be more courteous and appreciative is to ask, "What am I, chopped liver?" Oftentimes, care receivers become so self-absorbed with their own suffering that they stop paying attention to their caregivers' efforts. They may need a light-hearted reminder to acknowledge your work, such as, "You don't have to thank me. I'm in it for the money." Acknowledge care receivers' efforts. Set a tone of mutual appreciation by thanking the care receiver for all she did for you years ago. It might help her see your caregiving for her now as reciprocating her own efforts with you as a child. And thank her for any help she gives you. You will be encouraging her to assist you more, and maybe make it more likely she will thank you in return. If she does say "Thank you," always respond "You're welcome," to acknowledge the gesture. Pat your own back. If family members ultimately can't or won't express appreciation, then you may have to accept their limitations. You can't squeeze blood from stones. You can't wring thanks from the stone-hearted. In the end, you have to appreciate yourself, knowing that you are doing good work and for the right reasons. To paraphrase an old Ricky Nelson song, you can't please everyone, or anyone, all of the time. Sometimes you just have to please yourself. Connect with other caregivers online at the AARP Community.… more
6 days ago • Edited
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11 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers - New research is finding other, less common factors can put your heart at risk. Asthma that requires daily medication Persistent asthma, which is asthma severe enough to require daily controller medications, is associated with a 60 percent higher risk of a heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular disease, according to new research published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. In addition, because chest tightness is often a symptom of asthma, asthmatics could miss the signs of a heart attack, delaying treatment. To reduce the long-term cardiovascular risk, Tattersall believes close monitoring is essential. "If you have persistent asthma, you may need stronger and more aggressive preventative care," he says. Taking certain heartburn drugs For those with acid reflux, taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), including Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid, was associated with a 16 to 21 percent higher heart attack risk, according to a large new Stanford University study that looked at data from nearly 3 million patients. The study found no link, however, between heart attacks and another well-known type of heartburn drug, H2 blockers, such as Tagamet, Pepcid and Zantac. Having migraines with aura Middle-aged and older women who have migraines with aura, meaning the headaches are often preceded by visual symptoms like flashing lights or blind spots, have an increased risk of heart attack, according to a 2013 analysis of 28,000 women enrolled in the ongoing national Women's Health Study. In fact, having migraine with aura was found to be the second-strongest contributor to heart attack and stroke risk after high blood pressure, according to researcher Tobias Kurth, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Skipping the flu vaccine Recent research has shown a flu vaccine helps your heart, decreasing your odds of having a heart attack by 50 percent in the year following the shot compared with those who don't get the vaccine. Now a study published in the journal Vaccine shows why. "We discovered that antibodies that are produced after the vaccination activate molecular processes, which protect and strengthen the cardiovascular system," explains study coauthor Veljko Veljkovic of the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences at the University of Belgrade in Serbia. It’s especially important for those with type 2 diabetes to get the flu vaccine. The Canadian Medical Association Journal found it lowers hospital admissions for stroke and heart failure among this high risk group. Weak grip strength Researchers found that grip strength, or the force you exert when you squeeze something as firmly as possible in your hand, is a predictor of heart attack risk. By measuring patients' grip strength with a special device called a handgrip dynamometer, the scientists found that for every 5-kilogram (11-pound) decline, there was a 17 percent greater risk of cardiovascular death and a 7 percent higher risk of having a heart attack. Daylight Savings Time, eating late, anger issues: Learn about other heart attack causes most likely to trigger a problem.… more
6 days ago • Edited
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Regularly drinking a cup (or three) of tea, green or black, may cut the risk of dementia among older adults by 50 percent, new research by the National University of Singapore suggests. Findings from the new study also show that for those who are genetically at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, regular tea consumption may cut their risk by 86 percent. Earlier research, including studies in Norway, China and the United States, has linked drinking tea with better cognitive performance and a lower risk of cognitive decline. The Singapore study looked at both green and black tea consumption, as well as tea’s effect on people with the APOE e4 gene, a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. What they found is that regular tea drinkers (those who drank at least a cup, and up to three or more cups, a day) had the most benefits in terms of brain health. The benefits were especially strong in those with the APOE e4 gene, according to the study. Both green and black tea were protective, but they need to be brewed from tea leaves, either loose or in tea bags, lead author Feng Lei, assistant professor at the university’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said in an email. The results don’t apply to fruit or herbal teas. Tea leaves contain flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potentials that may protect the brain from vascular damage. Ready-to-drink teas made from powder, on the other hand, have only a minuscule amount of the flavonoids of brewed tea. Learn more: Sleep Deprivation Disrupts Body Clock, Brings Risks of Physical Troubles… more
6 days ago • Edited
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Member Benefits - With AARP membership, there's always more to discover. Read more about some of the AARP member benefits.… more
6 days ago • Edited
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