Savvy Senior – January Columns

By Jim Miller | February 1, 2024

  1. How to Close Social Media Accounts of a Deceased Loved One
  2. Essential Topics You Need to Discuss with Your Aging Parents
  3. Are You at Risk of Developing Glaucoma?
  4. What You Need to Know About Medicare Spouse Coverage
  5. How to Fight Back Against Age Discrimination


How to Close Social Media Accounts of a Deceased Loved One

Dear Savvy Senior,

How do I go about canceling a person’s social media accounts when they die? My wife passed away a few months ago and her social media accounts are still active.

  • Sad Spouse

Dear Sad,

I’m very sorry for your loss, but this is a smart move on your behalf and one that often gets overlooked. Social media is part of many people’s daily lives, but when a person passes away their dormant accounts can become vulnerable to scammers who can hack into them and even steal your deceased loved one’s identity.

Here’s a run-down of how you can cancel or change many different social media accounts after a loved one dies.

Facebook: If your wife used Facebook, you can either “memorialize” or “delete” her account.

A memorialized account serves as a place where family and friends can share memories to celebrate the deceased person’s life, with the word “Remembering” shown next to the deceased person’s name. Once an account is memorialized, content the person shared is still visible on Facebook to the audience it was originally shared with, however, the user’s profile will not show up in public spaces such as people you may know, ads or birthday reminders.

To memorialize your wife’s profile simply go to Or, if you’d rather have her account removed, go to

To memorialize her account requires proof of death (via death certificate, obituary or memorial card), but if you wish to delete the account, you’ll also need to verify that you’re an immediate family member, legal representative or executor, unless you’re the legacy contact on her account.

Instagram: The policy on a deceased users’ Instagram account is the similar to Facebook’s, which owns Instagram. You can either memorialize or remove the account at But just like with Facebook, you’ll need to provide proof of death and relationship to the deceased.

X (formally Twitter):  To deactivate an X account, go to and type in “How to contact X about a deceased family member’s account” in the search bar and follow the prompts. After you submit your request, X will email you with instructions for providing more details, including information about the deceased, a copy of your ID, and a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.

YouTube and/or Google: To close these accounts, simply go to and fill out their form and upload scans of the death certificate and your ID.

Pinterest: To remove a Pinterest account, email with the deceased user’s account username, proof of death and proof of relationship to the deceased.

LinkedIn: To remove a deceased person’s LinkedIn profile, submit a request at You’ll need to provide the name and URL to the profile; the relationship you have to the deceased; the email address; date of passing; and link to an obituary.

Snapchat: To delete this account, simply login to the account and click “Delete My Account” and follow the prompts.

Tumblr: Send an email to requesting to remove the account of the

deceased person with their Tumblr username, proof of their death, and proof of your relationship to the deceased.

If your wife had social media through a company not listed here, go to that company’s website for information on how to delete the account.

Essential Topics You Need to Discuss with Your Aging Parents

Dear Savvy Senior,

My siblings and I don’t know much about our elderly parent’s financial situation or their wishes if and when something happens to them. They are both in their mid-eighties. What’s the best way to handle this and what all should we know?

  • Apprehensive Daughter

Dear Apprehensive,

Many adult children don’t know much about their elderly parent’s financial situation or end-of-life plans, but they need to. Getting up to speed on their finances, insurance policies, long-term care plans and other information is important because some day you might have to help them handle their financial affairs or care, or execute their estate plan after they die. Without this information, your job becomes much more difficult. Here are some tips that can help.

Have the Conversation

If you’re uncomfortable talking to your parents about this, use this column as a prompt or see, which offers free guides that can help you kick-start these discussions.

It’s also a good idea to get all your siblings involved too. This can help you head off any possible hard feelings, plus, with others involved, your parents will know everyone is concerned.

When you talk with your parents, you’ll need to collect some information, find out where they keep key documents and how they want certain things handled when they die or if they become incapacitated. Here’s a checklist of areas to focus on.


  • Contacts: Make a list of names and phone numbers of your parent’s doctors, lawyer, accountant, broker, tax preparer, insurance agent, etc.
  • Medical information: Make a copy of their medical history and a list of medications they take.
  • Personal documents: Find out where they keep their Social Security card, marriage license, military discharge papers, etc.
  • Secured places: Make a list of places they keep under lock and key such as safe deposit boxes, safe combination, security alarms, etc.
  • Digital assets: Make a list of their digital assets – everything from social media accounts to online banking. It should include usernames and passwords.
  • Pets: If they have a pet, what are their instructions for the animal’s care?
  • End of life: What are their wishes for organ or body donation, and their funeral instructions? If they’ve made pre-arrangements with a funeral home, get a copy of the agreement.



  • Will: Do they have an updated will or trust, and where is it located?
  • Power of attorney: Do they have a power of attorney document that names someone to handle their financial matters if they become incapacitated?
  • Advance directives: Do they have a living will and a medical power of attorney that spells out their wishes regarding their end-of-life medical treatment? If they don’t have these documents prepared, now’s the time to make them.


  • Financial accounts: Make a list of their bank accounts, brokerage and mutual fund accounts, and any other financial assets they have.
  • Debts and liabilities: Make a list of any loans, leases or debts they have – mortgages owed, car loans, student loans, medical bills, credit card debts. Also, make a list of all credit and charge cards, including the card numbers and contact information.
  • Company benefits: Make a list of any retirement plans, pensions or benefits from their former employers including the contact information of the benefits administrator.
  • Insurance: Make a list of the insurance policies they have (life, long-term care, home, auto, Medicare, etc.) including the policy numbers, agents and phone numbers.
  • Property: Make a list of the real estate, vehicles or other properties they own, rent or lease and where they keep the deeds, titles and loan or lease agreements.
  • Taxes: Find out where they keep copies of past year’s tax returns.

You’re probably not going to get all this figured out in one gathering, so it’s important to keep the conversation going to ensure your parent’s wishes will be accurately executed.

Are You at Risk of Developing Glaucoma?

Dear Savvy Senior,

What can you tell me about the eye disease glaucoma? My older brother was recently diagnosed with it and lost some of his vision, but never had a clue anything was wrong. Could I be at risk too?

  • Stressed Sibling

Dear Stressed,

Yes! Having an immediate family member with glaucoma significantly increases your risks of developing it, but there are other risk factors you need to be aware of too. Here’s what you should know.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss and blindness if it’s not treated. This typically happens because the fluids in the eye don’t drain properly, causing increased pressure in the eyeball.

But the scary thing about glaucoma is that with no early warning signs or pain, most people that have it don’t realize it until their vision begins to deteriorate.

While there are two main types of glaucoma, the most common form that typically affects older adults is called open-angle glaucoma. This disease develops very slowly when the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time, leading to blind spots in the peripheral or side vision. By the time you notice it, the permanent damage is already done.

Are You at Risk?

It’s estimated that more than 3 million Americans have glaucoma today, but that number is expected to surge to more than 6.3 million by 2050. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you’re at increased risk of developing it.

  • Are you African American, Hispanic/Latino American or Asian American?
  • Are you over age 60?
  • Do you have an immediate family member with glaucoma?
  • Do you have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, migraines or have extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness?
  • Have you had a past eye injury?
  • Have you used corticosteroids (for example, eye drops, pills, inhalers, and creams) for long periods of time?

What to Do

Early detection is the key to guarding against glaucoma. So, if you’re age 40 or older and have any of the previously mentioned risk factors, especially if you’re African American, you need to get a comprehensive eye examination every 18 to 24 months. Or, if you notice some loss of peripheral vision, get to the eye doctor right away.

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, annual eye examinations are covered for those at high risk for glaucoma. Or if you don’t have vision coverage, contact EyeCare America, a national public service program that provides free glaucoma eye exams through a pool of more than 4,600 volunteer ophthalmologists. Visit or call 877-887-6327 to learn more.

While there’s currently no cure for glaucoma, most cases can be treated with prescription eye drops, which reduce eye pressure and can prevent further vision loss. It cannot, however, restore vision already lost from glaucoma. If eye drops don’t work, your doctor may recommend oral medication, laser treatments, incisional surgery or a combination of these methods.

For more information on glaucoma, visit the National Eye Institute at, and the Glaucoma Research Foundation at

What You Need to Know About Medicare Spouse Coverage

Dear Savvy Senior,

Are spouses who have not worked outside the home eligible for Medicare benefits? I have worked most of my adult life, but my wife has been a mother and homemaker since we got married and hasn’t held an income-producing job since she was in college. Will she be eligible for Medicare?

  • Searching Spouse

Dear Searching,

There are many couples in your situation when it comes to applying for Medicare. The answer generally is yes, your spouse can qualify for Medicare on your work record. Here’s how it works.

Medicare Requirements

Medicare, the government health insurance program for older adults, covers around 60 million Americans age 65 and older, as well as those younger that have a qualifying disability or have End-Stage Renal Disease.

To be eligible, you must have worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years to qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A hospital coverage when you turn 65. If you qualify, then your non-working spouse will qualify too, based on your work record when she turns 65.

Divorced spouses are also eligible if they were married at least 10 years and are single, as are surviving spouses who are single and who were married for at least nine months before their spouse died.

In addition to Part A, both you and your spouse would also qualify for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor’s visits and other outpatient services, but requires a monthly premium. The premium for Part B beneficiaries in 2024 is $174.70 per month per person. Couples filing jointly with incomes over $206,000 per year pay even more.

There are also a number of other caveats you should know about depending on your wife’s age.

Older Spouses

If your wife is older than you, she can qualify for Medicare on your work record at age 65, even if you’re not getting Medicare yourself, but you must be at least 62 years old. You also must have been married for at least one year for your wife to apply for Medicare on your work record.

If you are still working and your wife is covered by your employer’s health insurance, she may want to enroll only in the premium-free Medicare Part A until you retire, or your employer coverage ends. Part B – along with its premium – can be added later without penalty as long as your employer’s group health plan is your “primary coverage.” Check with your employers’ human resources department to find out about this. (Note: If your wife is funding a health savings account, she may not want to take Part A because she can’t make contributions after she enrolls).

Younger Spouses

If your wife is younger than you, she will need health insurance until she turns 65 and becomes eligible for Medicare. This may be through the Health Insurance Marketplace (see, or if you’re still working, through COBRA (see

Other Medicare Choices

In addition to Medicare Part A and B, when you and your wife become Medicare eligible, each of you will also need to enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan if you don’t have credible drug coverage from your employer or union. And, you may want to purchase a Medicare supplemental (Medigap) policy too, to help pay for things that aren’t covered by Medicare like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Or, you may want to consider an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan.

For more information on Medicare choices and enrollment rules visit or call 800-633-4227. You can also get help through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see, which provides free Medicare counseling.

How to Fight Back Against Age Discrimination

Dear Savvy Senior,

What are the steps to take to fight against age discrimination in the workplace, and where can I turn to for help if I think I’ve got a case?

  • Passed Over Paul


Dear Paul,

If you believe your age has cost you in the workplace – whether it’s a job, a promotion, or a raise – you have options for fighting back. Here’s what you should know along with some steps to take against this illegal workplace activity.

ADEA Protection

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is your first defense against age discrimination. This is a federal law that says an employer cannot fire, refuse to hire, or treat you differently than other employees because of your age. Some examples of age discrimination include:

  • You were fired because your boss wanted to keep younger workers who are paid less.
  • You were turned down for a promotion, which went to someone younger hired from outside the company, because the boss says the company “needs new blood.”
  • When company layoffs are announced, most of the persons laid off were older, while younger workers with less seniority and less on-the-job experience were kept on.
  • Before you were fired, your supervisor made age-related remarks about you.
  • You didn’t get hired because the employer wanted a younger-looking person to do the job.

The ADEA protects all workers and job applicants age 40 and over who work for employers that have 20 or more employees – including federal, state and local governments as well as employment agencies and labor unions.

If your workplace has fewer than 20 employees, you may still be protected under your state’s anti-age discrimination law.

Steps to Take

If you think you are a victim of employment age discrimination, you may first want to talk to your supervisor informally or file a formal complaint with your company’s human resources department.

If that doesn’t resolve the problem, you should then file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation, but it may be extended to 300 days. You can do this online, by mail or in person at your nearest EEOC office (see or call 800-669-4000. They will help you through the filing process and let you know if you should also file a charge with your state anti-discrimination agency.

If you do file, be prepared to provide the names of potential witnesses, your notes about age-related comments and other episodes.

Once the charge is filed, the EEOC will investigate your complaint and find either reasonable cause to believe that age discrimination has occurred, or no cause and no basis for a claim. After the investigation, the EEOC will then send you their findings along with a “notice-of-right-to-sue,” which gives you permission to file a lawsuit in a court of law.

If you decide to sue, you’ll need to hire a lawyer who specializes in employee discharge suits. To find one, see the National Employment Lawyers Association at, or your state bar association at

If you lose your job in a group termination or layoff, you should consider joining forces with other colleagues. There are advantages to proceeding as a group, including sharing costs of the litigation and strengthening your negotiating position.

Another option you may want to consider is mediation, which is a fair and efficient way to help you resolve your employment disputes and reach an agreement. The EEOC offers mediation at no cost if your current or former employer agrees to participate. At mediation, you show up with your evidence, your employer presents theirs and the mediator makes a determination within a day or less.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.