Sunday, July 24, 2011

Misleading Medical Information and the Dangers to the Elderly

An earlier post was about phishing emails and how hard it was to realize when it wasn't a legitimate email. Today's subject is similar but related to medical and pharmaceutical information. It could go in a number of different directions, but because Kitchen Table Finance is aimed toward baby boomers and their elderly parents, this will focus on information found in mainstream newspapers.

I was sitting at the kitchen table in one of my client's homes, working on their bills. Annie and Bill were a well educated, sophisticated couple. Bill was well into his eighties and suffering from serious vision problems. As he could no longer read the paper, Annie was reading it out loud to him. I couldn't help but hear the information as she was reading. It was about a product containing calcium, vitamin k, and other miscellaneous vitamins. To listen to what the article was saying, you'd think that they had just discovered something as game-changing as Penicillin. They both decided to call the phone number given in the article to order the product. I try to keep up with the news and I was surprised that I hadn't heard about this particular combination and protocol and all the medical problems that it was solving. When I was done, I asked Annie if I could look at the article and copy down some of the information. When I saw what she had been reading I realized that it was an ad set up to look like an article.

The elderly are very vulnerable to getting sucked into buying something that promises to solve all their health issues. Hopefully the product at least does no harm. Beware of 'miracle' cures for anything. Encourage your parents to ask their doctor or pharmacist. At the very least, you can do some research on some of the reliable medical websites. Most elderly people don't have money to waste on useless products and certainly can't risk taking something that could have adverse effects.


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