Social Security increase: Consumer Price Index assessed inflation at 4% and social security retirees will receive 3% increases or slightly larger in 2024. Do you think people who calculate rates purchased groceries recently?
Profit from high-interest rates: While stocks aren’t blossoming (be patient), CDs are soaring toward 6%! On-line American Express or Ally banks, and Columbia-SC United Community bank pay about 4.5% on savings. Assess best CD rates at www.bankrate.com. Federal Reserve Board reports interest rates may remain high 2-3 years. Ensure your financial institutions are FDIC members and cash investments are guaranteed ($250,000 per holder/beneficiary).
Aspirin warnings: If your physician hasn’t recommended baby aspirins (81-MG), beware! Earlier findings report aspirins were miracle drugs that prevented hosts of diseases. However, scientists have recently discovered aspirin can cause life-threatening strokes, gastrological issues, and brain bleeding. Most healthy people don’t need aspirin.
New senior donation strategies! Check with your CPA and bank for guidance, but if you’re in your early 70’s, the government mandates withdrawing taxable amounts from your 401k and IRA retirement accounts annually (Required Minimum Distributions). New tax laws allow individuals over 70 years old to transfer retirement money directly to non-profits and churches “without being taxed” which is called Qualified Charitable Distributions. Checks are payable to non-profits and can be mailed to you for delivery. It works great!
Vitamin D’s importance: Cleveland Clinic determined low Vitamin D levels can cause bone/muscle pains, fractures, impaired immune systems, fatigue, hair loss, back pain, depression, and other diseases. Strive for limited exposure to natural Vitamin D (sunshine) most days. Visit doctors annually and request typical CBC blood panels, but also for B-12 (energy), Vitamin-D, and C-reactive protein (high blood inflammation can cause blockages, aneurysms, heart attacks, and strokes).
Taking extra steps saves lives! Harvard University revealed seniors who managed 4,400 daily steps reduced premature deaths by “40 percent.” Your longevity and life quality improve as daily steps increase. However, research documents walking 10,000 daily steps, as promoted by the sports industry, “is a myth.” Once participants reach 8,000 steps, including runners, health benefits level off. The sweet spot for seniors is 6,000 daily walking steps five days a week—smartphones can track them. Also, scientists are warning people not to sit longer than 30-minute periods, so keep moving!
Vaccines to consider with your doctor (especially seniors and those with chronic diseases like diabetes): October is the prime time for vaccinations since they may prevent infection or reduce symptom severity. Shingles—It’s a very painful virus but often prevented with a two-shot regimen. Pneumonia—Consider this 2-shot inoculation since one million individuals are hospitalized annually and 50,000 die. The newest CDC-recommended vaccine is RSV—but there’s mixed research, so consult with your physician. Another serious virus is the Flu—26,000,000 will contract influenza this year, 300,000 hospitalizations are projected, and 30,000 will die. COVID—Everyone is sick of the word “COVID.” It reminds me of the 1976 film, “Network,” where the raging newscaster instructed his viewers to open their windows and scream, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!” Are you there? Because of a mild COVID summer, many inaccurately believe that COVID is over. However, government tracking documents 15,000+ Americans are hospitalized for COVID-related medical complications “each week” in 2023 which is rapidly growing as we approach colder temperatures. “The major goal of vaccines continues to prevent hospitalizations and serious diseases,” says AARP’s writer William Schaffner, MD, professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The updated vaccines are bivalent meaning they contain two sets of instructions (mRNA) that teach our bodies to produce antibodies to fight coronavirus.” John Hopkins Medical School reports the latest shots are matched to all current circulating strains. The problem with prior infections and vaccines is their protections wane over six months so your immunity against COVID drains over time, similar to the Flu. Vaccines may prevent you from experiencing COVID but if infected, you often have milder symptoms. The Washington Post reported “Seniors, immunocompromised individuals, and patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease should seek latest vaccines. Healthy, younger people are lower risk for severe illness, in part, because they have stronger immunity.” If you’ve recently had COVID, you may have sufficient protective antibodies for several months and not need the new vaccine until after the 90-day window passes.
As a senior, I was injected with the latest COVID vaccine in October 2023 to fill my antibodies tank! It’s my 7th COVID shot in three years and I haven’t grown horns! The good news, because it addresses many variants, the new vaccine may last about one year! Moderna is working on a single COVID/Flu shot for 2025.
As a researcher, my greatest concern is that if family members are infected with COVID, even with mild symptoms or multiple infections, there’s a 15% chance of experiencing “Long COVID.” Cleveland Clinic defines this condition after the infection is over as “lingering symptoms like coughing, extreme fatigue, headaches, fever, brain fog, difficulty breathing, heart problems, smelling/tasting impairments, and permanent organ or brain damage that lasts months or years!” Why take the chance?
What to do when COVID-like symptoms appear? Have COVID home tests available so order four free COVID tests at www.covid.gov/tests. If you’re exposed to COVID, delay testing since home tests can generate early false readings until 48 hours after symptoms appear. Home tests are most accurate on day 4 post-infection. The PCR-COVID-Lab-Test administered by drive-through pharmacies is the gold standard. If you test positive, visit your doctor or an urgent-care facility w/masks. Yale Medicine reports that Paxlovid if taken within 5 days of symptoms, is a proven treatment against existing variants that lessens symptom severity, hospitalization, or death, while reducing “Long COVID!” Virologists are predicting another winter COVID surge…so, get ready…it isn’t over!
Stay tuned! There is more to come!
Mike DuBose has been an instructor for USC’s graduate school since 1985 when he began his family of companies. He is a contributing guest author for Midland's Biz and is the author of The Art of Building a Great Business. Please visit our blog for additional published business, travel, and personal articles, as well as health articles written with Surb Guram, MD.