What’s in your medicine cabinet?

drug disposal

How to Dispose of Drugs Safely

by Emily Bazar for Kaiser Health News

December 2016

Take them to a collection site or even your local pharmacy

“Vicodin, percocet and other opioid painkillers often languish in medicine cabinets for years, providing easy pickings for someone with an addiction.

The consequences can be deadly.  More than 165,000 people in the U.S. died from overdoses related to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Pop singer Prince’s death from a fentanyl overdose earlier this year put a celebrity face on the epidemic.

But flushing unwanted drugs down the toilet can taint water supplies.  Drugs tossed into the trash may also harm the environment, and they can be found by children or pets–or adults looking for a high.

The safest and most environmentally responsible option is to take unwanted medications to a drug take-back site.  twice a year, the federal government partners with state and local law enforcement to operate temporary collection sites.  The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will likely take place in spring 2017.  Check www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov for details.”

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The “Rule of 100” investment strategy

Rule of 100

When I was in my late 20’s I started planning for my retirement.  I was not afraid of risk and so I purchased several mutual fund accounts focused mostly on foreign and domestic stocks.  When I retired from teaching at the age of 55 my investments were in a bit more conservative portfolio which included bonds.  I had followed the “Rule of 100,” which is a measure whereby you subtract your age from 100 to determine the approximate percentage your assets could be invested in stocks (more risk). The rest should be invested conservatively (less risk). For example, I am now 57 years old; 100 minus 57 is 43. So the Rule of 100 would suggest I have 57 percent invested in lower risk accounts (cash and bonds) and 43 percent could be placed in higher risk accounts (stocks). Therefore, the older you are the more conservative your portfolio should be since you don’t have time to make up any losses due to a downturn in the stock market.

This is my current asset allocation in my retirement investment portfolio at age 57:

  • 13%     Cash
  • 37%     Bonds
  • 28%     Large Cap Stock
  • 15%     Mid/Small Stock
  • 7%       International Stock

So, you can see I have 50% of my portfolio in cash and bonds (low risk) and 50% in stocks.  Pretty close to the Rule of 100 suggestion.  However, my online financial advisors at VOYA Financial suggest I put less in bonds (24%) and more in international stock (23%) since I have time to recoup any losses and current interest rates are low.  Their investment strategy does not follow the Rule of 100.  That Rule is no longer suggested due to low interest rates.  Read more about this and other common investment rules which no longer apply.

I may consider adding more international stock to my portfolio in the near future, making it a bit more risky, as our economy appears to be changing.  What is your current asset allocation?  Do you still follow the Rule of 100?


Do I really need an annual physical?

Make the Most of Your Annual Checkup

by Nellie S. Huang for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

October, 2016

“You feel fine.  You rarely get sick.  So do you really need an annual physical?

If you’re completely healthy, a ‘well’ visit once a year won’t improve on perfection. But feeling healthy and staying healthy are two different things, says David Meyers, chief medical officer for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. That’s where a regular visit, if not a head-to-toe annual physical, comes in. Nowadays, these appointments are preventive and goal-oriented. You and your doctor will make key decisions to keep you healthy, such as whether you should take a cholesterol-lowering drug or whether you need a colonoscopy.

annual physical

The focus is on ongoing care, and the actual exam “is the least important thing that happens,” says Jack Der-Sarkissian, a Kaiser Permanente family physician in Hollywood, Calif. Your doctor will still read your vital signs, scan for skin cancer and perform other tests you’d expect. But it’s the resulting game plan that counts most. Der-Sarkissian equates a preventive visit with a meeting with your investment adviser. You should leave your doctor’s office with a goal of where you want to be, healthwise, in 10 years and an action plan to achieve it.”

To get the most from your doctor’s visit

Advance Directives–Do you have yours?

advance directives

What are Advance Directives?

“A living will allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatments at the end of life.

Before your living will can guide medical decision-making two physicians must certify:

  • You are unable to make medical decisions,
  • You are in the medical condition specified in the state’s living will law (such as ‘terminal illness’ or ‘permanent unconsciousness’),
  • Other requirements also may apply, depending upon the state.

A medical power of attorney (or healthcare proxy) allows you to appoint a person you trust as your healthcare agent (or surrogate decision maker), who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Before a medical power of attorney goes into effect a person’s physician must conclude that they are unable to make their own medical decisions. In addition:

  • If a person regains the ability to make decisions, the agent cannot continue to act on the person’s behalf.
  • Many states have additional requirements that apply only to decisions about life-sustaining medical treatments.
  • For example, before your agent can refuse a life-sustaining treatment on your behalf, a second physician may have to confirm your doctor’s assessment that you are incapable of making treatment decisions.

What Else Do I Need to Know?
Advance directives are legally valid throughout the United States. While you do not need a lawyer to fill out an advance directive, your advance directive becomes legally valid as soon as you sign them in front of the required witnesses. The laws governing advance directives vary from state to state, so it is important to complete and sign advance directives that comply with your state’s law.”

Click here to receive a free copy of your state’s advance directives form

Looking for a free daily devotional?

I came across this free downloadable daily devotional today and thought I would share it with you.  It is from Hope-Full Living, Daily Devotions for Christian Seniors.  I think would be great for those seniors who can not attend church.

daily devotional

Hospice–The Last Journey

Acts of Kindness:  The Last Journey

Published on Oct 18, 2016

Credit: Steven Aitchison


Retirement is a potential trigger for drug or alcohol addiction

My late father suffered with alcohol addiction throughout his life, but it became a significant issue when he and my mom divorced after 40 years of marriage.  My mom always tried to curtail his drinking and his smoking habits. The following article was helpful to me regarding this issue of alcoholism which runs in my family.

Senior Citizens and Substance Abuse


by Kayla Smith, Editorial Director for the Addiction Center, February 16, 2016

Elderly Abuse Statistics

“Seventeen percent of people in the United States over 65 years old have abused prescription medications, according to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

Approximately 30 percent of adults over 65 are given some type of prescription medicine, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men and women aged 65 or older should consume no more than 1 drink daily and a maximum of 2 drinks on any occasion.

Drug and alcohol abuse among the elderly is a rapidly growing health problem in the United States.

Read moreRetirement is a potential trigger for drug or alcohol addiction

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