A Grandpa’s Dream, a Child’s Nightmare

There’s a tendency among us grandpas to control, or at least direct, the lives of our grandchildren, theoretically filtering into their futures what we wish we had accomplished on our own. I see it in relation to my granddaughter Nicole, a gifted painter who, at 27, is working hard to win notice in the art world. She is accomplishing that slowly but too slowly to suit me, so I’m pushing her to ramp up the tempo, to haunt the galleries, …

Medicare Drug Premiums Will Rise Just $1 a Month

The average monthly premium for a basic prescription drug plan under Medicare Part D will be just $1 higher next year, the government projects. What’s more, Medicare beneficiaries get some of the credit for keeping the average low by shopping around, the Associated Press reports. For this year, seven of the top 10 Medicare drug plans raised premiums by 10 percent or more. But the average stayed low because many seniors chose plans with lower premiums. “Consumer advocates say beneficiaries should …

Caregivers: Be on the Alert for Medication Side Effects

Her hands shaking uncontrollably, suddenly one day my Mom’s food was falling off the fork before she could get it to her mouth. In a nursing facility for rehabilitation after spinal surgery and a heart attack, Mom had been moved from the independent to the “feeding” dining room (without a word to me). The doctor in the nursing facility dismissed my concern, saying it’s common and it was just “a little bit of Parkinsonism and people get it when they …

The Takeaway: Performing Helped Bruce Springsteen Cope With Severe Depression

By now, you may have heard about the New Yorker profile of Bruce Springsteen in which the now 62-year-old rocker talks about — gasp! — suffering from depression. The admission has swiftly been making the media rounds, because I guess it’s not every day that a symbol of good old-fashioned American working-class masculinity admits to something as unmanly as mental illness. And depression at that! Oh my. Generally when our rock stars have psychiatric problems, we like it to be something sexy, like drug addiction.

Wine. Beer. Spirits. Yeah!

Booze. One of humanity’s earliest culinary inventions and possibly one of the things that started agricultural civilization in the first place, alcohol has been with us for a long time. But we are still learning much about how it affects the body and about our consumption habits. In other words, there’s good points and there’s bad points. A recent study suggests that moderate and constant consumption (two beers a day) gave men a 42% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The …

How high are your prescription drug costs?

Do you get the feeling your prescription drugs are more expensive than they were just a few years ago? It sort of goes with out saying that everyone always feels that way. But here are some numbers: A new prescription drug report out from the AARP Public Policy Institute show that the cost of drugs most commonly used by Medicare recipients rose nearly double the rate of inflation between 2005 to 2009. So the average cost of such a therapy …