One Final Note…

One Final Note…

By Mary Johnson, editor

I hope this issue of The Social Security and Medicare Advisor provokes thought and gets you thinking about how to get more involved in efforts to strengthen and protect our Social Security and Medicare benefits. This issue is a special one for me, because at age 72 and six months, I’m retiring after writing this newsletter for more than 29 years.

I’m looking forward to spending more time in my garden, exploring classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Virginia, visiting friends, family, and neighbors.  I’ll be busy decluttering and getting ready for some long-postponed home repairs and painting, as well as turning my former basement office into a senior-friendly “age - in - place” apartment.

But most importantly, I’ll be spending time — a lot more time — with my brother. He was hospitalized twice last October due to heart problems and stroke and now has increasing care needs.  These days I’m scheduling appointments, getting him to doctor’s appointments, dealing with his Medicare Advantage plan, while managing his coverage from Medicare and Medicaid to ensure he gets the medical care that he’s entitled to. Finances are a big challenge for him.  My brother depends on Social Security for 100% of his income and is facing thousands of dollars in hospital bills.

His situation is shared by millions of other older Americans. According to TSCL Senior Surveys, about 37% of participants in our 2023 Retirement Survey say they are “not prepared” for retirement. Like my brother, they report having trouble affording essentials, such as shelter and food. They depend on Social Security for most, or all, of their income and have little or no savings. Also like my brother, they report going into debt, needing food, medical and housing assistance.

Retirement is not for sissies, but I’m looking forward to exploring this next life phase, making new friends, and enjoying new activities and interests with those I meet along the way.  Thanks to all who have read this newsletter and TSCL’s stories in the news media over the past three decades and for being such receptive and enthusiastic readers!

And please be sure to take TSCL’s 2024 Senior Survey online at