Last week I picked up a three prescriptions at the drug store – nothing elaborate, just an iron supplement, warfarin and something to control cholesterol, all generic. Thankfully, I swallowed my pride several years ago and applied for MaineCare and the “extra” help offered by Medicare. Because of that, the total was less than $5. One of these meds would have cost $376.27 and another, $60.

For those of you who might qualify for this prescription help, which is available to low-income seniors. I think you’d be surprised to find out what is considered low income. And that term differs, depending on which “help” program you are considering.

It would seem to make sense for the government to review this policy and make it easer on everyone, but I guess that has been considered – at least I hope it has.

Check with Department of Health and Human Services in Portland or call Southern Maine Agency on Aging (they have a toll-free line) and find out if you could save some dollars on prescriptions. Easier still, make an appointment for a free consultation with one of SMAA’s Benefits Specialists, will explain all about prescriptions and many other benefits you may qualify for (800-427-7411)

The ever-escalating price of gasoline is going to be reflected in the price of food very soon and maybe we’ll see another resizing of containers – a pound of coffee became 12-ounce cans some time ago; even chocolate chip bags are smaller. Be sure and look at the ounces when you’re comparative pricing or even cooking – old recipes call for “a can,” but what size? I think eggs have remained the same, container wise, but the price is steep. I’m not surprised when I find out that folks I know have decided to keep a few chickens.

It’s been years since I’ve had to go shopping for clothes – they really don’t wear out, styles have been dormant and being retired means a wardrobe of sweat pants, jeans and flannel shirts. However, the thrift stores we used to secretly go to have also increased prices – on mostly second-hand clothes. In my hometown, we are fortunate to have a couple of places run by churches where good, useable clothing is very low priced, and the shop run by the food pantry doesn’t charge anything.

It’s routine for friends of mine and I to make a trip in the fall to area thrift shops, where departing visitors have left their brand new, barely used, stylish outfits and shoes.

This retirement, low-income living style is something to be cultivated. It’s necessary, to be truthful. When financial advisers to the seniors talk about putting a little something away for an emergency, I’m sure they’re talking about the checkout line at the grocery store.

Every week, before I start writing the senior column, at least two or three emails, phone calls or notes have been received with ideas from readers, for column topics. Sometimes I get fan mail, and once in a while, someone calls to point out a mistake or omission. In a recent column about public transportation, I neglected to mention that there is a very useful taxi service in Windham – and perhaps in the other towns/cities this column reaches. Always feel free to call me with your ideas, concerns or suggestions. Do you want to know the latest news about the serious side of senior life or some historic story? Just let me know.

Kay Soldier welcomes reader ideas for column topics of interest to seniors. She can be reached by email at [email protected], or write to 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062.

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