LA Times: Only 5% of Phone Bill Fraud Caught

‘Cramming’ is phone bill fraud.

Elders and others who require daily living assistance are susceptible.

But it can happen to anyone.

Kathy M. Kristof states that all crammers need is your phone number.  Usually the charge ranges between $.99 and $19.99 – and it’s described in generic terms like service fee, call plan or membership to throw you off the track.

Here’s how it works:

One Missouri woman, for example, was charged for 25 months of long-distance services that she’d never ordered. When she finally discovered the charge and protested, the company said she’d authorized the service and provided her “authorization form” to prove it.

The only problem? This form included the wrong name, wrong address, wrong email and wrong birth date for the woman paying the bill. The only thing on the form that belonged to the victim was the phone number.

Read the entire LA Times piece on cramming here – then check your phone bill.

Photo courtesy of fwaggle.


Managing at Home When a Parent Has Dementia

Caring for an elderly parent with dementia is a tough job.

It’s even more difficult when they move in with one of their children.

Plans are made, and don’t work out. Appointments are calendared, then cancelled.  In addition to the memory issues, physical problems can crop up.

In the New York Times, Celia Watson Seupel discusses her experiences with her mother – and her job loss as a result of her mother’s move into Celia’s home.

The bottom line?  Each case is different.  Care providers are necessary – if only on a part-time basis – and even after routines are set up life is like a roller coaster.

Here’s Seupel’s piece about being the adult child care provider for a parent with dementia.

WSJ Interactive: Save Social Security

Social  Security has often been called the only government program that makes people feel OK about paying taxes.

Well, maybe – but the program is still having a tough time of it, and predictions of the time left before SSA runs out of funding seem to be growing closer and closer.

Now AARP appears to be preparing to go public with the news that they’re going to stop fighting the partial privatization and other changes to Social Security.

How would you save Social Security?

Here’s an interactive article on Social Security in the Wall Street Journal – try your hand at making cuts or granting additional benefits and see what happens.

WSJ: Elder Care Takes a Toll

Families and friends of elderly people requiring care know that caregiving isn’t for the faint of heart.

Now we’re hearing the cost isn’t only emotional.

With the number of Boomers caring for their parents since 1994 triple what it had been, adult children are experiencing losses in wages, pension and Social Security benefits.

Care providers 50 and older lose more than $300,000 over a lifetime.

Read here for the entire Wall Street Journal article.

LA Times: Crosswalks + Elderly = Deadly

For the elderly, just crossing the street can be a challenge.

Turns out, it can also be deadly.

Slower movement coupled with oncoming traffic results in accidents with a high degree of pedestrian death. The statistics are bad everywhere – especially in cities like New York and LA.

Wide boulevards are a particular challenge, as engineers calculating the amount of time allowed for crossing frequently don’t allow enough time for elders or the handicapped.

People 65 and older make up 22% of pedestrian deaths, though they account for only 13% of our population.

Add in the fact that people are living longer and many will have their driving privileges taken away, making it likely we’ll see even more elderly people walking in the future.

Read the entire LA Times piece on the elderly and pedestrian accidents.

Photo courtesy of Marcin Wichary.



LA Times: Pingpong as Alzheimer’s Therapy

Who’d have thought a little white ball would turn out to be Alzheimer’s therapy?

The LA Times reports that pingpong is having a positive effect on the lives of elders who play.

Mikhail Zaretsky, director of the Arthur Gilbert Table Tennis Center said:

“They have to predict where the ball is going, they have to respond to distance, they have to respond to time. They have to be there!”

It appears that pingpong provides additional energy, may improve walking ability, and helps verbal communication.  The jury’s out on therapeutic value, but who cares?  Participants get some exercise and have great fun!

Here’s the entire piece.

Heroic Elders in Japan Want to Clean up Nuclear Crisis

Retired engineers and other professionals over 60, calling themselves The Skilled Veterans Corps, say they should be the ones to clear away the nuclear disaster resulting from a powerful earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima power station in Japan.

Yasuteru Yamada, 72, is organizing a team of pensioners to work on the clean up.