MONEY MISSTEPS

These 4 financial challenges can trip you up in or near retirement

Here’s how to overcome them!

  1.  YOUR HOUSE IS WORTH LESS THAN YOU OWE ON IT.  

Fact: One out of 10 homeowners owe more than their home’s value, a predicament that is called being “underwater”. What you can do if this includes you:

REFINANCE through the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program for underwater homeowners.  Find details at harp.gov.

GET THE BANK TO AGREE TO A SHORT SALE, in which the house is sold for less than you owe and the balance is forgiven.

WAIT IT OUT and keep making payments until your home’s value recovers.  House prices in areas with a high percentage of underwater mortgages have been going up in recent years—by 5 percent a year in Cleveland, for example, and 10 percent in Las Vegas.

CONSIDER RENTING IT OUT. If you’re retiring soon and moving, rent out the property until prices rebound.  Demand has pushed rents up an average of 18 percent over five years.

  1.  YOU DIDN’T SAVE ENOUGH.

Fact:  Nearly 30 percent of households ages 55 and up didn’t have any pension or retirement savings as of 2013.  What you can do:

CUT EXPENSES and increase income; it’s the magic combination. To find new part-time work, check out job sites such as Freelancer.com, Upwork.com and Retirementjobs.com.

MOVE to the South or the Midwest.  These states—led, in order, by Mississippi, Indiana, Michigan, Arkansas and Oklahoma—have the lowest cost of living in the country.  For instance, it’s 37 percent cheaper to live in Jackson, Miss., than in Anchorage, Alaska—and it’s warmer, too.

CONSIDER A REVERSE MORTGAGE that allows you to borrow against the equity in the house. The money is repaid when you move, you sell the house or you die. This is not a risk-free solution if you don’t have much equity in your home, if your plan to move soon or if you don’t have the income for taxes, insurance and maintenance.

  1.  YOUR KIDS ARE DEPENDENT ON YOU FOR MONEY.

Fact:  Six out of 10 people age 50 and older financially support an adult child or relative.  What you can do:

SET BOUNDARIES on how long you’ll help out and under what circumstances.

PUT LOANS IN WRITING and charge interest.  The IRS recommends an annual rate of at least 2.05 percent on three-to-nine year loans.  If the loan is in writing and your child defaults, you can deduct it as a “nonbusiness bad debt” over one or more years on your tax return.

IF YOU CAN’T SAY NO to your kids, let your accountant or financial advisor talk with them.  He or she can decline your participation, and also give your child useful advice.

 

  1.  YOUR RETIREMENT FUND IS LOSING MONEY.  

Fact:  Thirteen percent of U.S. mutual funds lost money last year, reports Morningstar, an investment research firm.  What you can do:

CHECK MORNINGSTAR.COM to see how a mutual fund compares with its benchmark.  If it’s been a laggard for three years, it may be time to cut your losses and sell.

REDUCE YOUR RISKS.  An investment that is losing lots when the rest of the market isn’t is too high risk.  Review your holdings to see if you should shift to safer, more stable funds.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND WAIT.  If the investment is solid, and it’s the overall market that’s declining, try to wait it out.  Stocks have always bounced back over time.

 

 

Written by Eileen Ambrose for AARP Bulletin, April 2017

 

 

 

 

TROUBLE IS KNOCKING AT THE FRONT DOOR

Your castle, their target.  As your most valuable possession—and likely, biggest financial investment—your home is an attractive bull’s-eye for fraudsters.  Why? They know you’ll take extra care (and spend extra dollars) to protect and maintain its value.  And if you’re a retiree at home, con men see you as easy prey because you have more time to heed pitches that arrive in the mail or at your front door.

The schemes are varied.  Here are some of the most popular home scams that have been showing up around the country—and what you can do to protect yourself.

POWER PLAYS.  Have you been told that your utility service will be cut off because of unpaid bills? Expect that news, if legitimate, to arrive by mail—not via phone or through in-person demands for payment with prepaid debit gift cards.  Have self-described technicians arrived unannounced for an emergency inspection?  They could be burglars with fake IDS and rented uniforms.  The latest utility scam:  Impostor cable-company reps offer a service discount if your pay months in advance with gift cards.

BURGLAR BLOCKAGE.  A home security system may thwart some crooks but attract others.  Posing as technicians for security companies, some scammers claim they need to repair your alarm system.  Then they deactivate it for a later burglary.  Others tout free equipment to lock you into more expensive service.  Reputable companies don’t operate that way.  Also, if you have a GPS device in your car, don’t label your address as “home.”  That steers parking lot thieves straight to your residence while you’re away.

CONTRACT CON.  Beware the unsolicited contractor who tells you he’s working in the neighborhood and just happened to notice a home repair that you need.  Some seek up-front payment or large deposits to “go buy materials” before vanishing.  Others pester you to do additional unneeded jobs.  Most do shoddy work.  A favorite trick is “resealing” your driveway by spreading used motor oil on it.  Your town’s building and permitting department can tell you whom to avoid.

FRAUD AT YOUR FRONT DOOR.  Whether it’s overpriced magazine subscriptions, home products on a “limited time” offer or a heartfelt plea for a charity, think trouble.  Your best defense:  Never provide a credit card, check or personal information to a front-door stranger.  If you do and have buyer’s remorse, the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel for a full refund on sales of $25 or more.

 

Written by Sid Kirchheimer for AARP Bulletin, April 2017

TO STAY WELL, EAT LIKE YOU’RE SICK

 

Five tips to deal with borderline diabetes:

1)  Low-carb your burger:  Get rid of the bottom bun (the one free of condiments and thus flavorless) and eat the burger open faced.  That one little change slashes the amount of empty carbs.

2)  Don’t eat after 7 pm:  It’s better for your digestion and metabolism.  If you start feeling hungry and must indulge, have a healthy snack like nuts or fruit.

3)  Nix the noodles in your chicken soup.  Use quinoa or barley instead. Add chopped cilantro or parsley, lime juice and a little hot pepper for flavor.

4)  Keep nuts in your glove compartment.  Stuck in traffic and feeling hungry?  High-protein nuts will keep you from stopping for junk food.

5)  Choose mashed avocado, not mayo.  Spread it on whole wheat bread for healthy fat, fiber and vitamins.

 

(written by Candy Sagon in the April/May 2017 edition of AARP)

 

 

A baby boomer thanks a heartthrob

A baby boomer thanks a heartthrob

April 20, 2017

As we boomers have gotten older, so have our teen idols … those who lived long enough, anyway. Freelance writer Barbara Solomon Josselsohn of Scarsdale, New York, has been thinking of one idol in particular, as she has watched his life take turns no one imagined. The author of The Last Dreamer, Barbara lives up to the name of her book, with a nostalgic look back.

There’s a place in my heart that aches over the news that one-time teen star David Cassidy has dementia.

Mostly I’m sorry for his sobering diagnosis. Partly I’m nostalgic for the passion I felt when I saw him on The Partridge Family years ago. To some extent I’m disheartened at this reminder that life is cruel and time marches on.

 

But also I’m feeling remorseful.

Yes, he was the superstar whose fame knew no bounds, and I was just one of the nameless millions who adored him. Still, I’m convinced that in our celebrity-fan relationship, I was the lucky one, and he drew the short straw.

I was lucky, because I knew the sweet agony of waiting each week for Friday night, and then the thrill of basking in his charisma with each new TV episode. I got to hear his pleasing voice on my cassette recorder, and to close my eyes and imagine his love songs were for me.

I knew the magic of a twine-bound stack of Tiger Beat magazines newly delivered to my neighborhood “candy store,” filled with images of his dreamy smile and lists of his favorite ice cream flavors, movies, and places to take a date. I could escape the countless miseries of middle school by retreating to my bedroom and making up scenarios in which he and I would meet and fall in love.

And what did he get?

A fleeting stretch of white-hot stardom followed by wholesale repudiation, as fickle teenyboppers like me grew up and moved on to actual boyfriends.

 

Alas, life hasn’t been easy for the teen idols we grew up with. Sure, some emerged from the spotlight unscathed. Bobby Sherman – who played Jeremy Bolt on the TV series Here Come the Brides – became an officer with the LAPD. And some continued with entertainment. Donny Osmond, Mickey Dolenz, and David Cassidy all appeared on Broadway. Osmond later became a game show host and a winner on Dancing with the Stars. Dolenz is planning a return engagement at the popular New York City supper club Below 54.

But stories abound of broken marriages, financial troubles, substance abuse, and run-ins with the law. Cassidy’s life includes them all.

Not too long ago, I saw David Cassidy at an “oldies” concert. It was great fun to listen old songs like “I Think I Love You” and to remember how it felt to hear them long ago. But I left feeling like a kid who had overindulged on candy. Dabbling in the past is pleasurable, but staying too long can make you queasy.

In the recent People Magazine story in which Cassidy revealed his diagnosis, he said he intends to stop touring, so he can focus on himself and enjoy his life. I hope he does just that.

Even though he never knew me, he gave me a lot. He got me through middle school.

Even though I never knew him, I’ll always be grateful.

By Barbara Josselsohn in boomercafe.com

Two elderly women were eating breakfast in a restaurant one morning. Ethel noticed something funny about Mabel’s ear and she said, “Mabel, did you know you’ve got a suppository in your left ear? ” Mabel answered, “I have a suppository?” She pulled it out and stared at it. Then she said, “Ethel, I’m glad you saw this thing. Now I think I know where my hearing aid is.”

 

BABY BOOMERS ARE OVER MARRIAGE

BABY BOOMERS ARE OVER              MARRIAGE

 

Posted By: Babyboomers.com Staff 
On: April 8, 2017

More Americans 50 years and older are copying younger generations and eschewing marriage, opting instead to live with their partners, according to new research.

In 2016 about 18 million Americans were cohabiting, defined as living with an unmarried partner, and nearly a quarter of them were people over 50, an increase of 75 percent since 2007, data released on Thursday from Pew Research Center showed.

“Baby Boomers have a higher divorce rate and there are a greater number of unmarried people in that age group” than previously, Pew research analyst Renee Stepler said in an interview Thursday.

Government figures show that so-called “gray divorce,” or splits among adults 50 and over, has about doubled since the 1990s and could partly account for the increase in cohabitation.

Fewer marriages, changing social norms and women’s greater economic independence are other explanations for the rise, Stepler added.

As cohabiting has gone up, the marriage rate in the United States has dropped, from 8.2 per 1,000 population in 2000 to 6.9 in 2014, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stepler also pointed to an increase in the number of older Americans who have never married. Pew found that 27 percent of people 50 years and older who are cohabiting have never married, while more than half are divorced and 13 percent are widowed.

In younger age groups, the majority of cohabiting adults have never tied the knot: 97 percent of 18-24 year olds and 85 percent of 25-34 year olds.

Although cohabitation rates are rising, cohabiting couples account for only about 7 percent of the overall US population and 4 percent of over-50s.

Most older cohabiting couples were in their 50s. But nearly 30 percent of them were in their 60s, 10 percent in their 70s and 3 percent were 80 years or older.

Pew Research Center compiled its findings on cohabiting by analyzing data from U.S. Census Bureau and the Current Population Survey, which included information on 134,562 adults ages 18 and older. The survey is sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Hospital regulations require a wheelchair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student  nurse, I found one elderly gentleman–already dressed and sitting on the bed with a  suitcase at his feet–who insisted he didn’t need my help to leave the  hospital. After a chat about rules being rules, he  reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator.  On the way down I asked him if his  wife was meeting him. “I don’t know,” he said.  “She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.”

 

 

Stop Knee Pain!

Stop Knee Pain!

8 steps you can take to avoid surgery

by Richard Laliberte, AARP The Magazine, Feb/March 2017|

About 700,000 knee-replacement surgeries are performed each year in the U.S., making it the most common joint-replacement procedure in America. By 2030, demand for knee replacements is expected to grow to 3.5 million—and patients under 60 will likely account for more than half of that growth. 

Here are 8 ways to help avoid the need for surgery:

Make over your workout

Avoid knee-stressing activities that require running and jumping. Instead, engage in more moderate exercise such as biking, walking and swimming.

Lose weight

Walking puts one and a half times your body weight on your knees — 300 pounds of pressure for a 200-pound person. Climbing stairs doubles the pressure. “Even modest weight loss can significantly reduce pain,” says Stephen Kelly, a joint-replacement surgeon at New England Orthopedic Surgeons in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a committee member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.

Strengthen and stretch

Supervised physical therapy can strengthen leg muscles while increasing your range of motion and flexibility, to better support your knees.

Brace yourself

An “unloader” knee brace can help make the joint feel more stable and allow you to do everyday activities without pain, especially if arthritis is on the inside of the knee.

Relieve pain and swelling

An analgesic such as acetaminophen can relieve pain without a prescription. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories — both over the counter and prescription — can reduce pain and swelling. If neither drug is effective on its own, your doctor can prescribe a combination.

Test acupuncture

Stimulation with fine acupuncture needles can provide some relief from osteoarthritis in knees, notes the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Consider injections

Injecting cortisone directly into knees can reduce inflammation and pain, though repeated use may damage cartilage, so you shouldn’t get more than three or four shots a year. Injections of hyaluronic acid may provide longer-term relief (typically about six months), by replacing natural lubricants with a gel-like fluid.

Try supplements

A combo of 500 milligrams (mg) of glucosamine hydrochloride and 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate three times a day relieved moderate to severe osteoarthritis pain as effectively as the drug celecoxib (Celebrex) in a recent study. “Expect about a 50 percent decrease in pain over a six-month period,” says study author Allen D. Sawitzke, a rheumatologist and University of Utah associate professor

 

 

HAM & PINEAPPLE KABOBS

HAM & PINEAPPLE KABOBSHAM & PINEAPPLE KABOBS
INGREDIENTS

⦁ Ham cubes (or slices)

⦁ Pineapple (pre-heat if fresh)

⦁ Skewers

⦁ ¼ Cup Pineapple Juice (pre-heat if fresh)

⦁ 2 T Soy Sauce

⦁ 2 T Brown Sugar

⦁ Ginger to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS

⦁ Place ham and pineapple on skewers.

⦁ Mix juice with remaining ingredients.

⦁ Marinate for 2 hours.

⦁ Baste on the grill

⦁ Grill until heated through

The Yin and Yang of Life in The 55+ Active Adult Community: Five Paths to Happiness to Successful Living in Bailey Park

The Yin and Yang of Life in The 55+ Active Adult Community: Five Paths to Happiness to Successful Living in Bailey Park

Not in my wildest nightmare had I imagined myself living in a 55-Plus Active Adult community. Nada, no way, are you crazy?

My whole life I rejected suburban living, selecting instead a city life with neighborhoods that reflected interesting architecture, entertainment and services, walking distance access to shops and neighbors who varied in ages and stages.

And then I accidentally discovered Bailey Park, just outside of Benton, Pennsylvania, where we live. An advertisement for the soon-to-be-constructed retirement community popped up on my monitor nearly five years ago on a normal Thursday afternoon when I was working in my home office.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “What’s this all about?”

Suffice to say, my husband and I now find ourselves celebrating nearly two years in our Bailey Park home in a lifestyle that often makes me dizzy.

Like all living arrangements, lifestyle living has its ups and downs. Here’s my take on the ying-yang of it all, and how to be happy in 55+ Communities:

  1. The yin: We get to know our neighbors very well. Living in a close community allows us to create wonderful new friendships with peers who come from all over the country to live and retire. That means nearly everyone wants to make new friends. Social events and neighborhood camaraderie makes it easy to get started. If you’re lonely in the community, you just aren’t trying.

The yang?  The survival technique to a 55+ Active Adult Community is happiness: Forgive and forget quickly and deeply. Let it go.

  1. The yin: We learn so much from others who have been experts and high-level achievers in their fields and careers. Community leadership positions, clubs, hobbies, sports, social activities and intensely interesting conversations are everywhere as we get to know each other. This keeps our minds and bodies sharp and our interests expanding.

The yang? Experts know what they know. It’s hard to change their minds at this stage of the game. The survival technique to 55+ Active Adult Community happiness: Embrace the ideas you hear and know that even if they aren’t true for you, they’re true for someone. Let it go.

  1. The yin: We can do it all, right here in our community. With our group of friends, everything is here from swimming in the Clubhouse Pool to shuffleboard and pickle ball to leisurely walks, the choices are rich and seemingly endless.  If you want to be on the go day and night, you can do it. If you say, “No thanks, I just can’t fit in another thing,” everyone understands. We’re all in the same boat.

The yang? Your children may bemoan the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get in touch with you. Wait a minute. Maybe that’s just another yin. (Only kidding, kids). The survival technique to 55+ Active Adult Community happiness: Say no when you need to, and yes to all the things you’ve always wanted to do. Feel like sleeping in? Do it and let it go.

  1. The yin: We have maintenance-free living so we may lock the door and take off, or stay home and watch the terrific landscaping crew do its job. Nearly all lifestyle communities have common areas that are beautifully landscaped and maintained. We are able to enjoy the beauty every day in our long walks around the area. If we want to travel or winter/summer in another part of the country, we can lock our doors, ask our neighbors to keep an eye out for our home, and go in relative peace. Most of all, our individual properties look great, and we didn’t have to do the work.

 

The yang? Community rules and regulations are in place to keep Bailey Park looking neat and clean.   The survival technique to Post 55 Lifestyle happiness: Read all of the community rules and regulations before you agree to build/purchase a home. If you can’t live with the rules, don’t buy into the community.

  1. The yin: It’s all about us. No shame in that, I say. We’ve earned the time to be ourselves as we decide to sky-dive, swim in the sun, write our memoirs, entertain our grandchildren, paddle around the lake, fish, sing, dance and have it all. We just might be the first generation to say that out loud. Boomers are famous for being self-centered, although we are a generous lot. We give to charities and volunteer to help others. Being in community, we are able to do it as a group so that our individual gifts become corporate-sized help. It’s all good.

The yang? We realize that time and our bodies are catching up with us. For the first time in our lives, perhaps, we have to say no to tennis (bad knees), or close needlework (bad eyes) or long trips (bad kidneys). We know we are singing our swansong. The big yang of living with our peers is that we know every single one of our new and dear friends will die, including us. It’s just a matter of time. Not easy to face. The survival technique to a successful 55+ Lifestyle happiness: Sing your song right up until the end. If you feel sad or frightened about what’s ahead, have faith. If you can’t have faith, just let it go.

I had never dreamed of living in a 55+ Active Adult Community. And now, I can’t imagine living anywhere else but Bailey Park. It’s a lifestyle of immense pleasures and healthy challenges. We cherish the people and friendships we’ve discovered. And we’re having so much fun.

HOW TO AVOID SNEAKY AIRLINE FEES

HOW TO AVOID SNEAKY AIRLINE FEES

by Eileen Ambrose | AARP | April 12, 2017

The government is looking at requiring airlines to refund baggage fees if your luggage shows up late. It’s a rare victory for travelers, but not a sign that fees — which bring in billions of dollars yearly to airlines — are going the way of paper tickets. If anything, airlines have gotten more creative at tacking on charges for perks that were once free — like choosing your seat.

Fees vary by airline. Ultra low-fare airlines, for instance, are more likely to charge additional fees to make up for the cost of those discounted tickets.

“They charge for everything,” says Rick Seaney, CEO and cofounder of FareCompare.com. “The ticket price is ridiculously low. And if you fly naked and don’t eat, you’re in good shape.”

You don’t have to go that far to avoid add-ons. Here are some common fees on domestic flights and ways you can bypass them — or at least lessen their impact.

Checked bags

Many airlines charge to check luggage, often starting at $25 for the first bag and quickly escalating. For instance, the fee for three or more bags on United and Delta is $150 each, while four or more bags on American costs $200 each.

What to do: If packing light isn’t possible, your baggage fees may be waived if you buy the ticket using the airline’s branded credit card. Or fly Southwest Airlines, which doesn’t charge for the first two checked bags. And when flying ultralow-fare airlines Spirit or Allegiant, baggage fees will be lower if you pay them at the time of booking rather than later at the airport. Some travelers also avoid this fee by checking a bag at the gate, which is often — but not always — free, Seaney says.

Big bags

You’ll pay extra for oversized or overweight luggage. You might even owe two fees on United and JetBlue if your bag is too big and too heavy. Oversized fees often run $75 to $200. Overweight bags cost $75 to $100, but can climb to $200 for each bag over 70 pounds on American, United and Delta.

What to do: Make sure your bag isn’t bigger than the 62 inches allowed by many airlines, and weigh luggage before going to the airport to stay within the 50-pound limit. Or, mail your luggage ahead of time to your destination. Shipping a 51-pound bag from Chicago to New York via FedEx costs as little as $41.

Change tickets

Most airlines charge extra to switch a nonrefundable ticket. Delta, United and American slap travelers with the steepest fee — $200 to change a domestic flight days before departure.

Cancellation

You’ll pay similar fees to cancel a flight as you would to change it.

– What to do:

If you must cancel, do so early. Federal regulations require airlines operating in the United States to refund your money if you cancel a reservation within the first 24 hours — provided you booked seven or more days before the flight. 

What to do:

It’s usually not worthwhile buying refundable tickets because they can be two to three times more expensive than nonrefundable fares, says George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com. Look for flexible airlines if your plans are iffy. Southwest doesn’t charge a change fee, giving a credit for a future flight instead. Alaska Airlines has no fee if you make a change more than 60 days before departure. And for $59, Frontier offers “The Works,” a package of perks that includes a waiver of change fees. 

 

MEMORIAL DAY 2017

In traditional observance, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act adds the flying of the POW-MIA flag on all Federal and U.S. Military Installations on Memorial Day. The POW-MIA flag is to be half-staffed until noon along with the National flag.
Other traditional observances included wearing red poppies, visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes, and visiting memorials.


Save your Eyesight
Every year, 50,000 Americans go blind, most from treatable or preventable eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Yet just half of the 61 million Americans at high risk of losing their eyesight saw an eye doctor in the past 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s partly because preventive eye exams are not covered by Medicare or most private insurance, says Peter J McDonnell, MD, director of the Wilmer Eye Institute at the John Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. Not surprisingly, blindness is among Americans’ most-feared medical conditions, along with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
“What’s sadder than working your whole life, getting ready to retire and developing something like macular degeneration, where you lose your central vision?” McDonnell says. “it’s a big issue.”
AARP spoke with McDonnell about what’s fueling the rise in eye diseases, steps we can take to protect our eyesight and new developments in the treatment of blindness.
Did you know: 75% of Americans have glasses or contacts
12 is the number of times you blink per minute
Percentage of color-blind Men: 8% Women: 0.5%
Q: By 2050, the number of Americans who are blind or visually impaired is expected to double to more than 8 million. What’s behind that trend? A: The two biggest drivers are the increase in the number of people with diabetes and the fact that we’re living much longer. Thirty years ago, it was pretty rare for us to see someone who was 80 years old. Now, we routinely see patients over 100. Back then, people would have developed these age-related eye diseases, but they didn’t live long enough.
Q: If you have diabetes, are you destined to get diabetic retinopathy? A: The better you control your diabetes, the less likely you are to have a problem. And if you do develop the abnormal blood vessels in your retina that are a hallmark of the disease, we can treat them with lasers or medications. Unfortunately, only about 20 to 30 percent of people who have diabetes get regular eye exams, and up to 24,000 Americans go blind each year from diabetic retinopathy.
Q: What else can people do to protect their eyesight as they get older? A: Eat a well-balanced diet, and don’t smoke. We think that the loss of vision that accompanies some eye disease such as age-related macular degeneration may be related to oxidative damage to the eye. People who eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like blueberries and tomatoes might be better off. Plus, when you’re out in the sun, you want to wear UV-absorbing sunglasses and a hat with a brim. Smoking doubles your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, so if you smoke, quit.
Q: Dry eye syndrome seems to be on the rise. Even Jennifer Aniston has been diagnosed with it. What’s going on? A: Dry eye happens when your eye doesn’t make enough tears, and it’s one of the most common eye problems affecting Americans. A lot of people convince themselves it’s normal to feel scratchiness or irritation in their eyes, or to think that it’s just part of getting older. But it’s not.
Q: What is the treatment? A: We now have two FDA-approved drugs to treat dry eye: cyclosporine (Restasis) and lifitegrast (Xiidra). Some people can benefit from corticosteroid eyedrops, but you only want to use those for a short period of time. We can also put a plug in your tear duct to make the tears that you do produce stay in your eye longer.
Q: Can you envision a time when no one in America would become blind? A: I’m counting on it! We have scientists who are growing retinas from stem cells, and as best as I can tell, it’s just a matter of time before we can implant those in people. We’ve also made progress on an artificial optic nerve, so if you can grow the retina and grow the artificial optic nerve that connects the retina back to the brain, hopefully you’re there.

(as written in AARP Magazine by Gabrielle DeGroot Redford)