Before Thanksgiving, make a gift to fight senior hunger

Written By: Kim Hong - Nov• 19•12

Last year, UnitedHealthcare employees volunteered at events designed to eradicate senior hunger in southern California. As part of the “Do Good. Live Well.” volunteer initiative, employees packed food boxes at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. In addition to the volunteer projects, UnitedHealthcare offices in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas will be hosting food drives. Both of these “Do Good. Live Well.” volunteer events are in support of AARP’s Drive to End Hunger campaign, which seeks to end hunger among seniors.

 

Across the country, nearly 9 million older Americans struggle with hunger. Many must make the difficult choice between paying for food, medicine, or heat – a decision no one should have to make.

AARP Foundation is working to prevent hunger among older adults – this Thanksgiving and beyond – by connecting seniors with community resources, improving the quality of items at food banks, and more. But with winter approaching and new challenges in the year ahead, we urgently need more resources to continue this life-changing work.

For more information, visit AARP’s Drive to End Hunger and make your secure, tax-deductible donation today to help struggling seniors this holiday season!

Virtual Senior Center Enhances Lives of Homebound Seniors

Written By: Kim Hong - Nov• 14•12

An incredible story about how technology is helping seniors stay connected with loved ones. You might want to grab a box of tissues before watching this video!

A partnership with Microsoft, IN2L (It’s Never 2 Late) and Selfhelp uses technology to create a Virtual Senior Center to help residents connect with loves ones in the community, nation and around the world. IN2L has placed its product in more than 800 nursing homes, assisted living communities and adult day programs so far.

“Seniors are empowered to connect and communicate online, to immerse themselves in rich multimedia experiences, to play, to explore, create, to revisit and document their histories. In short, to be engaged in a multitude of ways that help them remain physically and mentally active.

IN2L uses an easy touch-screen interface that allows each resident to have their own profile that they can access just by touching the screen. Touching picture-based icons on the screen gives the individual access to a wide variety of experiences, games and therapies, including simulation programs like driving, flying and biking.” - Mel Fabrikant, The Paramus Post

***A special thanks to Microsoft for teaming up with SeniorNet to support our mission in bringing technology to seniors! This partnership includes workshops,  teaching tools, curriculum and materials for SeniorNet centers to share with members, students and center visitors .  This gracious effort including the Windows 7 operating system grant, along with their previous grants and grants from other major sponsors has positioned SeniorNet to be the leader in providing computer training to seniors in the United States.

 

The Savvy Senior: Computers Designed for Seniors

Written By: Guest Contributor - Oct• 25•12


A number of companies offer computers designed for seniors and ready to go right out of the box!

Here are a few options to consider:

Telikin: For seniors who have little or no computer experience the new Telikin “touch-screen” computer is a wonderful option. Ready to go right out of the box, this innovative computer comes pre-loaded with simplified software that makes accessing the Web, email, games, video chat, photo sharing, news, weather and more, just a touch of the screen away. And since it runs on Linux software instead of the standard Windows or Mac OS, it’s a virus-free computer too.

The Telikin comes with a sleek 18.6-inch LCD touchscreen (a 20-inch touchscreen will be available in mid to late June), 320-gigabyte hard drive, built-in speakers, webcam, microphone, wired keyboard and mouse, and provides a unique “tech buddy” feature that can help seniors get computer assistance when needed. Priced at $700, (the 20-inch model will retail for $995) Telikin comes with a 60-day trial period, 1-year warranty and free support for the first 60 days. Visit telikin.com or call 800-230-3881 to learn more.

It’s also worth noting that Telikin has a partnership with firstSTREET (firststreetonline.com, 800-704-1209), a senior product direct marketing company which is also selling this computer rebranded as the “WOW! Computer for Seniors.”

Senior PCs: Sold through Enablemart (enablemart.com, 888-640-1999), Senior PCs are Hewlett-Packard computers that also come completely set-up and ready use, but depending on your mom’s needs, you’ll have several options to choose from.

If you’re your looking for simplified “goof-proof” operation, the Autopilot desktop is the best model. This PC comes equipped with QualiWorld software that provides one-click solutions for tasks like letter writing, preparing a document, surfing the Internet, sending and reading emails and much more. The Autopilot also comes with OnTimeRx medication and appointment reminding software, Hoyle Crossword and Sudoku puzzles, a high-contrast keyboard, mouse, 17-inch monitor, speakers and a color printer all for $1,125. They also offer this same Autopilot computer in a laptop edition for $1,165.

Or, for seniors with low vision their Vision Plus model may be a better fit. This computer comes pre-configured with everything you need to see your PC, including state-of-the-art screen magnification software, a high-visibility keyboard, and an all-in-one printer/scanner for scanning in books, mail and other reading materials for magnification. It also comes with OnTimeRx medication reminder software, Hoyle Crossword and Sudoku puzzles, a 17-inch monitor, mouse and external speakers. The price: $1,255 for the Vision Plus desktop, or $1,895 for the laptop edition.

MyGait: Another popular computer is MyGait, which runs $799 or $899 plus a $20 monthly service fee.

Savvy Tip: While it’s not designed specifically for seniors, the Apple iPad2 ($499) is another user-friendly option that has gotten great reviews from older users. See apple.com to learn more.

Watch Savvy Senior’s Jim Miller review of the Telikin Computer!

Have you tried a Telikin or MyGait computer? What was it like? Do you haveany other computer recommendations for seniors?

About the Guest Contributor:
Jim Miller, a contributor to the NBC Today show, is the author of “The Savvy Senior” book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org
Savvy Senior is a media/information service devoted to baby boomers and senior citizens, and the families who support them. Savvy Senior offers unbiased information through a variety of outlets.

The New Facebook User: Senior Citizens [Infographic]

Written By: Kim Hong - Oct• 11•12

Are seniors becoming the new power user on Facebook? The landscape of Facebook is constantly changing and few are aware that people over 65 are taking classes about Facebook and using it as a social outlet and gaming source more and more everyday. SeniorNet was among the first to foresee this growing trend, which is why it offers social media courses as part of its curriculum.

This infographic illustrates the rampant growth of seniors using Facebook!

How to Stop Junk Mail and Prevent Mail Fraud

Written By: Guest Contributor - Oct• 03•12

Millions of seniors get bombarded with unwanted junk mail these days, including mail fraud schemes that you need to be particularly leery of. Here’s how you can stop junk mail and prevent mail fraud.

Senior Alert
While junk mail comes in many different forms – credit card applications, sweepstakes entries, magazine offers, coupon mailers, donation requests, political fliers, catalogs and more – the most troublesome type that all seniors need to beware of is mail fraud. This is the junkiest of junk mail that comes from con artists who are only trying to take your money.

Mail fraud can be tricky to detect because there are many different types of schemes out there that may seem legitimate. Some of the most common mail scams targeting seniors today are fake checks (see fakechecks.org), phony sweepstakes, foreign lotteries, free prize or vacation scams, donation requests from charities or government agencies that don’t exist, get-rich chain letters, work-at-home schemes, inheritance and investment scams, and many more. If you’re getting any type of junk mail that is asking for money in exchange for free gifts or winnings, or if you’re receiving checks that require you to wire money, you need to call the U.S. Postal Inspector Service at 877-876-2455 and report it, and then throw it away.

Unfortunately, once a person gets on these mail fraud mailing lists it’s very difficult to get off. That’s because these criminals regularly trade and sell mailing lists of people who they believe to be susceptible to fraud, and they won’t remove a name when you request it. Knowing this, a good first step to help protect yourself is to understand the different kinds of mail fraud and what to watch for. The Postal Inspection Service offers some great publications and videos (see postalinspectors.uspis.gov) that can help with this.

If you are compelled to donate to certain charities, make sure they’re legitimate. You can do this through your state’s attorney general or charity regulator’s office – see nasconet.org for contact information. Or, at charity watchdog sites like charitywatch.orggive.org and charitynavigator.org.

Reduce Junk Mail
While scam artists aren’t likely to take your name off their mailing lists, most legitimate mail-order businesses will. To do this, start with the Direct Marketing Association which offers a consumer opt-out service at dmachoice.org. This won’t eliminate all your junk mail, but it will reduce it. The opt-out service is free if you register online, or $1 by mail.

Then, to put a stop to the credit card and insurance offers you get, call the consumer credit reporting industry opt-out service at 888-567-8688, and follow the automated prompts to opt out for either five years or permanently. Be prepared to give your Social Security number and date of birth. You can also do this online at optoutprescreen.com. If you choose the permanent opt-out, you’ll have to send a form in the mail.

Some other resources that can help are the National Do Not Call Registry (888-382-1222) which will cut down on your telemarketing calls. And catalogchoice.org, a free service that lets you opt out of the unwanted catalogs.

Savvy Tip: If you don’t want to hassle with stopping the junk mail yourself, you can hire a private company (like 41pounds.org or stopthejunkmail.com) to do it for you for a small fee.

About the Guest Contributor:
Jim Miller, a contributor to the NBC Today show, is the author of “The Savvy Senior” book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org
Savvy Senior is a media/information service devoted to baby boomers and senior citizens, and the families who support them. Savvy Senior offers unbiased information through a variety of outlets.

The Savvy Senior: Simplified Computer Software for Seniors

Written By: Guest Contributor - Aug• 30•12

Q: Do you know of any computer software that’s designed for seniors that I can download on an old computer that I have? I would like to set my grandmother up with a senior-friendly system for email and Internet access, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money.

A: There are actually a number of companies and services that offer simplified computer software designed specifically for seniors who have little or no computer experience.

These software packages can transform mostMicrosoft Windows personal computers (PCs) — some work with Macsand tablets, too — into a much simpler computer experience that provides seniors easy access to most functions like sending and receiving email, browsing the Internet, making video calls, looking at photos, playing games and more. Here are some top op-tions to check out.

Free software

Since it’s completely free, a good place to start is at Eldy, an Italian nonprofit organization that provides simplified computer software in 25 different languages including English. Available to download at www.eldy.eu, this software works on PCs that use Windows and Linux systems, Macs and Android tablets.

Once installed, Eldy converts the computer’s desktop into a simple six-button menu that has large text, color contrasts and simplified instructions (no confusing icons) that makes it easy to see, understand and operate.

The six-button menu puts seniors literally one-click-of-the-mouse away from simplified versions of email, the Web, Skype for video calls, chat groups, a simple word processing program and more.

It’s also worth noting that Eldy software works on touch-screen computers too, and they also offer online tech-support.

Fee-based services

If, however, you don’t mind spending a little money, there are also a number of companies that offer software similar to Eldy, but provide a few extra enticing features. One of the best deals is offered through SeeYouLink (seeyoulink.com) which has a three-month free trial and charges only $4.95 per month after that.

SeeYouLink’s web-based software will transform any mouse-operated or touch-screen Windows-based PC, into a simplified big-button operating system with large fonts and color contrasts. This will give your grandmother easy access to a host of functions that she can select from like email, Web browsing, video calling, brain-fitness games, movies, Facebook, a calendar that sends reminders and much more.

In addition, this service also provides a “remote access” feature that will give you and other family members the ability to access your grandmother’s computer system from literally any computer anywhere in the world, so you can help her set things up, show her websites, scheduled appointments, or guide her through any other questions or problems she might have. And, when you or your grandmother needs help, SeeYouLink offers free tech-support both online and over the phone.

In addition to SeeYouLink, some other companies worth a look that offer similar services include InTouchLink (intouchlink.com), which can be used on a PC, Mac or iPad and costs $13.75 per month or $150 per year. Pointer Ware (pointerware.com), which works on Windows PCs and costs a one-time fee of $149, or you can subscribe monthly for $8 per month. And BigScreenLive (bigscreenlive.com), that operates on Windows PCs and runs $9.95 per month for an annual membership.

About the Guest Contributor:
Jim Miller, a contributor to the NBC Today show, is the author of “The Savvy Senior” book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org
Savvy Senior is a media/information service devoted to baby boomers and senior citizens, and the families who support them. Savvy Senior offers unbiased information through a variety of outlets.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Popular Education Trends Among Senior Citizens

Written By: Kim Hong - Aug• 07•12

10 Inspiring Education Trends Among Seniors

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

It certainly looks like Henry Ford had it all figured out!

[VIDEO] 86-Year-Old Gymnast at 2012 Cottbus World Cup in Germany

Written By: Kim Hong - Aug• 01•12

If you’ve been impressed with the gymnasts at the London Summer Olympics, you’ll be floored when you see this 86-year-old gymnast, Johanna Quaas!

Last month, Quaas wowed the audience at the 2012 Cottbus World Cup in Cottbus, Germany. Proud recipient of 11 medals in senior gymnastic competitions, she currently practices gymnastics “just for fun.”

Sign Up for Direct Deposit: All Federal Benefit Payments will be Electronic as of May 2013

Written By: Kim Hong - Jul• 30•12

As of May 1, 2013, the Department of the Treasury will eliminate the need for paper checks and discontinue mailing federal benefit and non-tax payments to citizens, instead, switch over to electronic payments, e.g. direct deposit.

After seeking public comment on the proposed rule issued in June 2010, federal regulations were changed to generally require all federal benefits including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management benefits and other non-tax payments to be made electronically. Benefit recipients have the option of direct deposit into a bank or credit union account of their choice or into a Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card account.

So what exactly is Direct Deposit?

Direct deposit delivers your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit into your bank, savings and loan or credit union’s account quickly and safely. The U.S. Treasury sends an electronic message to your bank, savings and loan or credit union crediting your account with the exact amount of your Social Security or SSI benefit. You can withdraw money, put some in savings or pay bills-the things you do with your money now. The difference is, your check isn’t printed or mailed.

Is this the first time you’re learning about this? Hopefully not.

The Treasury has launched a public education campaign to inform Americans about the rule change and to help them understand what they need to do to get their payments electronically, whether they already receive payments by check or will be applying for federal benefits for the first time soon. Current check recipients will receive information enclosed with their payments, and the national campaign will also include public service announcements, a newly redesigned website, www.GoDirect.org, ongoing financial literacy programming and partnerships with hundreds of national, regional and local organizations.

Make sure you don’t wait until the last-minute to sign up for direct deposit. For more information about how you can switch from checks to direct deposit, visit www.GoDirect.org, or call the U.S. Treasury Processing Center’s toll-free helpline at 1 (800) 333-1795, or speak with a bank or credit union representative.

Video Contest Just for Seniors

Written By: Kim Hong - Jul• 16•12

Cyber-Seniors Inc. and Cyber-Seniors Documentary Inc. (Cyber-Seniors) are sponsoring a video contest (“Contest”) with selected entries hosted on the Cyber-Seniors Corner Youtube channel.

Cyber-Seniors is a Documentary Film that has been following the journey of several senior citizens as they uncover the magic of the Internet (The release date for the Film is expected to be in early 2013). They decided to raise the stakes by sponsoring a Video Competition hosted on Youtube.

How did they come up with this idea?

The contest was inspired by 89 year old Shura, who, with the encouragement of her young mentor, 20 year old Max, created a YouTube video which showed the world how to make a grilled cheese sandwich and corn-on-the-cob with nothing more than a kettle and an iron.  It was such a hit that several of her “80 and 90-something” friends started inquiring about making their own YouTube videos.

So they’ve decided to ask everyone else to share their wisdom, talent, humor, and experiences with the world! Other Cyber-Seniors have contributed to this channel and now the public has the opportunity to flex their tech muscles and showcase themselves on YouTube!

Deadline is July 20, 2012. For complete rules, visit Cyber-Seniors Contest Page. Entrants can win up to $750 each.  And all participants will receive special mention in the Documentary Film, as well as a ticket to the Toronto Premiere.