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Post-op One-stop Shop

Have you ever taken someone home from the hospital only to realize that you weren’t equipped with the right assistive devices and medical gear and didn’t know where to find them in your neighborhood?

Or do you rely on certain personal care products that you’d prefer not buy at your local drugstore?

Amazon’s new online shop, , targeted at the 50-plus set, just might be the spot to address such needs.

The site is organized into several categories, like nutrition and wellness (include vitamins and supplements, nutritional drinks and bars), exercise and fitness (products, like activity monitors, yoga gear, and athletic apparel), and travel and leisure (includes guides, luggage and accessories).

More specialized categories focus on age-related illnesses and conditions. They are:

  • Health Care –Diabetes management items, over-the-counter medicines, first aid items, pill cases, and so forth.
  • Medical Supplies –Blood pressure monitors and mobility aids.
  • Incontinence –Briefs and underwear, bedding, pads and guards, and furniture protection.

The mobility aids and equipment section, a subcategory of medical supplies, is especially helpful if you’re looking for in-home equipment for safety and health.

You can do quick comparisons on crutches, walkers, motorized scooters, and lift chairs, for example, and you can have items shipped to your door.

And for products you use regularly, you can use the Subscribe & Save feature ( and get them shipped automatically on a schedule that you choose and at a discount.

New program, new scam


Scammers are starting to call about the Affordable Care Act. Some are claiming that they can give you a national medical card from the government.

Such cards don’t even exist yet.

Keep in mind that enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace doesn’t begin until October 1, 2013.

So anyone calling to sign you up now or who is promising a special deal is a scammer. The likely aim is to extract your personal information and steal your money or identity.

So provide nothing about your Medicare, Social Security, or bank accounts.

You can report scam artists to the Federal Trade Commission at

Social Security goes mobile

Thanks to a new mobile-friendly site, you now can now use your Smartphone to check your Social Security benefits on the fly.

Whether you visit using an Android, Blackberry, iPhone or Windows device, you’ll be redirected to the mobile-friendly site.

There, you can create an account, check your statement, and review pertinent information about your benefits.

Shattered nest eggs

Checking the Social Security well before you’re ready to retire will give you a good sense of where you stand and whether you’ll need to save more or work longer.

Eyeing those future benefits is important, especially in light of the results from an annual Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) study (w that illustrates just how ill-prepared much of the population is for retirement.

Findings from EBRI’s, “The 23rd wave of the Retirement Confidence Survey” should serve as a wake-up call, especially if you’re among the 28 percent of workers who say that they have less than $1,000 saved for retirement or the 57 percent who say that the total value of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plans, is less than $25,000.

Let’s face it: $25,000 buys virtually no lifestyle or security during retirement.

The EBRI report notes that workers’ confidence about having enough money for a comfortable retirement isn’t terribly bright and they’re realizing the need for aggressive savings.

Asked how much they think they’ll need to save to achieve a financially secure retirement, many workers cite large savings targets: 20 percent say they need to save between 20 and 29 percent of their income and 23 percent indicate they need to save 30 percent or more.

Yet debt, job uncertainty, the cost of living, and day-to-day expenses all have had a negative effect on savings goals.

In fact, half of workers lack a short-term financial cushion, with only 50 percent workers saying that they could definitely come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need came up within the next month.

When the data are broken out by age, the picture looks slightly rosier for those who are age 45 and older.

For instance, 19 percent of workers who are age 45 and older cite assets of $250,000 or more, though 47 percent of those in that age group have total savings and investments of less than $25,000.

The EBRI report also found that workers who’d done some calculating of retirement financial needs had higher savings goals and felt more confident about affording retirement than those who were flying blindly.

Need some motivation to save?

Read Steve Tobak’s stark assessment of people’s troubling, all-consuming spending habits and his appeal for fiscal discipline at