By next week at this time we may or may not know who will be our next president for a four-year term. Political leanings aside, there's not much of a question for seniors this election. President Obama is hanging pretty much with his Affordable Health Care Act to save Medicare, and former Gov. Romney's plan doesn't affect those of us 55 and up. Neither candidate wants to rile the seniors already on Medicare and Social Security.
Beating the Weather on Foot
Lots of nice weather ahead of us mixed with the usual rain and snow. While Nature holds back, we seniors can step out and enjoy our city and parks. But when the snow comes and the sidewalks and paths are not cleared, it may be time to consider indoor walking.
Well, not just walking. You may need a treadmill to get your daily mile in - indoors.
I recently picked up a used treadmill for $150 and it works just fine. Yes, it show signs of wear but it still clicks off the steps. A caption electronic window gives me a reading of how long, how far, miles an hour, fat burned.
It does take up space in my bedroom and it certainly isn't easily moved, but it's very stable and allows me to tick off the yards while watching TV. I usually wear two-pound ankle weights while plodding along, a bit more tiring certainly.
I don't go to the higher trotting speeds; I'm comfortable doing 3 mph, and I don't swing my arms but hang onto the handle bars. Quarters are too close to risk a misstep and a fall. I aim for a mile-plus a day, depending on how I feel.
New treadmills are pricey, in the $500 range. But used ones are common. People buy them with the best of intentions but often find the time involved is too much, and tuck them away in the garage.
If you're lucky you may be able to find an unpowered version. These are more demanding but work just as well and perhaps even better than the electric ones. These are often less expensive and require less maintenance.
I checked with my old physical therapist Craig McEwan and he advised a mile a day should be enough. With or without the weights, depending on how ambitious I am.
A confession: I sought out a treadmill after discovering that I tired more quickly than in my youth while skiing. Craig advised the treadmill to strengthen my legs. So now I'm looking forward to skiing on my next birthday in March. Join me.
Incidentally, of course you can join a gym and enjoy a treadmill there along with professional help. But I like doing it at home - and all the other parts of my hour-long-plus exercise routine.
Buying Drugs online
Nonprofit organization Consumer Reports' magazine On Health warns the Internet can be risky business for seniors looking for less expensive medications. It warns most online pharmacies are simply illegitimate with just 3 percent of a sample of more than 9,000 appears to be sound; it considered the rest "rogue" operations. Some 85 percent didn't require a valid prescription, about 50 percent offer foreign drugs not approved by the Federal Drug Administration and about a quarter were located outside the USA.
Drugs brought in from Canada are not certified by the FDA and may not be approved by the FDA. And on top of that, buying online can mean you are not likely to get what you ordered.
Best bet is to order from a store you have done business with and know. And look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites symbol to check a website's safety standing.
I'm lucky, the Reno VA supplies all my meds by mail at modest prices. Never thought I would use the VA while doing my time in the Air Force.
• Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.