The Fountains at Canterbury, in conjunction with Right at Home of Edmond, will host Virtual Dementia Tours Jan. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Jan. 22 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Both events will be held in the conference room at The Inn of The Fountains at Canterbury, 1402 NW 122nd Street, in Oklahoma City.
The Virtual Dementia Tour is a simulation scientifically proven to help individuals better comprehend what life is like with an impairment such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Participants are equipped with vision disrupting goggles, headphones emitting loud, garbled sounds, latex gloves with fingers taped together and shoe inserts to hamper walking. These obstacles are designed to simulate the struggles of age-related ailments, as the participants are asked to complete a short series of everyday activities such as clearing a dining room table.
“This is such a unique opportunity, we think everyone can benefit from personally experiencing what people who have this ailment suffer through every day,” said Scott Steinmetz, executive director at The Fountains at Canterbury. “It really puts things into perspective, and helps families and caregivers better understand what’s really going on in the mind of someone living with dementia.”
As reported by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, making up 60 to 80 percent of cases. With the number of individuals age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease estimated to reach 7.1 million by 2025, creating awareness of the difficulties one faces when living with dementia is critical. A better understanding fosters empathy from families and caretakers, improves communication and provides insight on how to better assist those suffering.
The Fountains at Canterbury offers a variety of affordable care options with resort-style amenities, 24-hour staffing and Watermark’s Thrive Memory Care program that cultivates personal well-being.
The Fountains at Canterbury is dedicated to being the first choice in senior living, providing a continuum of care including independent living, assisted living, memory care, innovative rehabilitation therapies and skilled care. The Fountains at Canterbury is managed by Watermark Retirement Communities and is committed to creating an extraordinary community where people thrive. To learn more, please call (405) 381-8165 or go online to

Dear Savvy Senior, Will I have to pay federal income taxes on my Social Security benefits when I retire?  Approaching Retirement

Dear Approaching,
Whether or not you’ll be required to pay federal income tax on your Social Security benefits will depend on your income and filing status. About 35 percent of Social Security recipients have total incomes high enough to trigger federal income tax on their benefits.
To figure out if your benefits will be taxable, you’ll need to add up all of your “provisional income,” which includes wages, taxable and non-taxable interest, dividends, pensions and taxable retirement-plan distributions, self-employment, and other taxable income, plus half your annual Social Security benefits, minus certain deductions used in figuring your adjusted gross income.
How To Calculate
To help you with the calculations, get a copy of IRS Publication 915 “Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits,” which provides detailed instructions and worksheets. You can download it at or call the IRS at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you a free copy.
After you do the calculations, the IRS says that if you’re single and your total income from all of the listed sources is:
· Less that $25,000, your Social Security will not be subject to federal income tax.
· Between $25,000 and $34,000, up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits will be taxed at your regular income-tax rate.
· More than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits will be taxed.
If you’re married and filing jointly and the total from all sources is:
· Less that $32,000, your Social Security won’t be taxed.
· Between $32,000 and $44,000, up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits will be taxed.
· More than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits will be taxed.
If you’re married and file a separate return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.
To limit potential taxes on your benefits, you’ll need to be cautious when taking distributions from retirement accounts or other sources. In addition to triggering ordinary income tax, a distribution that significantly raises your gross income can bump the proportion of your Social Security benefits subject to taxes.
How to File
If you find that part of your Social Security benefits will be taxable, you’ll need to file using Form 1040 or Form 1040A. You cannot use Form 1040EZ. You also need to know that if you do owe taxes, you’ll need to make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS or you can choose to have it automatically withheld from your benefits.
To have it withheld, you’ll need to complete IRS Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request (, and file it with your local Social Security office. You can choose to have 7 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent or 25 percent of your total benefit payment withheld. If you subsequently decide you don’t want the taxes withheld, you can file another W-4V to stop the withholding.
State Taxation
In addition to the federal government, 13 states – Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia – tax Social Security benefits to some extent too. If you live in one of these states, check with your state tax agency for details.
For questions on taxable Social Security benefits call the IRS help line at 800-829-1040, or visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (see where you can get face-to-face help.
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.

I feverishly wanted to discuss religion, as its misinterpretations and manipulations brought me to tears every time I looked at the news this week. But since the information on the multiple catastrophes that began overseas last week is changing so rapidly, I thought it best to focus on the heart of a recent extremism problem here in the U.S. and discuss the Starbucks coffee cup.
Never has Facebook seemed more uncool to me than when I saw that a Kevin James look-alike’s screaming post about a paper cup had garnered 12 million views. Hey, friends who still haven’t seen “The Social Network,” Facebook is not a reliable place to get your news. It was created to “socialize” online. And nowadays, some people who have the time to make long video posts only featuring themselves and put them up on Facebook one after another are often highly unemployable. No less, anyone who calls himself a “social media personality” is likely working in that space because no one else wants to pay him for his personality.
Joshua Feuerstein, the “Christian” who misquoted Starbucks’ policy on Christmas, said the company is trying to “take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups” and that the employees are not allowed to tell customers “Merry Christmas.” It might seem that Feuerstein just doesn’t understand that Starbucks isn’t just in his hometown but actually operates around the world, even in other countries where some people don’t even have Christmas. However, he also failed to grasp that America itself is not a “Christian country.” Elementary school history in our country is pretty clear that a founding tenant of our land is that people are free to practice any religion they like here.
Time and time again, though, we have seen that people who are the most incensed by political correctness often lack any correctness at all, as well as kindness, experience, information or taste.
I was relieved to see on Twitter (that would be Facebook’s social media spawn – and a platform that is also dying out for young hip urbanites at only a slightly slower pace than Facebook itself) that many Christians found Feuerstein to be the affront to Christians. I personally would like to request that all zealots of any organized religion who spread their hate on their free social media page in the name of any higher power save their Starbucks money. Instead, use it for therapy during any one of the many hours you spend on the internet.
Even the captain of anti-politically correctness, Donald Trump, commented on the inane Cupgate 2015 saying, “Seriously, I don’t care.” And I was thankful. With so many Republican candidates running for the nomination, I was worried that a few of them, or even all 75, might pose for portraits with Jesus as an alternative coffee cup.
Perhaps we might take a moment to consider how fanatical movements start. Just because Feuerstein’s version of Christian values hit its tipping point over the color of a cup doesn’t mean rage of any kind to a mass of followers in the name of God’s will can’t morph into something more insidious next time. Even this close to Jesus’ birthday.

(Diane Farr is known for her roles in “Californication,” “Numb3rs” and “Rescue Me,” and as the author of “The Girl Code.” You can read her blog at, follow her on or contact her on  c)2016 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor

Jan 27/ Wed. /OKC / 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 752-3400 or 478-4587/ Reffner
Mercy Hospital – 4300 W. Memorial Rd.
Feb 1/ Monday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 843-5995/ Palinsky
Bellview Reabilitation Center – 6500 N. Portland
Feb 4/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Feb 9/ Thursday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 350-7680/ Edwards
Dale Robertson Senior Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr
Feb 12/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
SW Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Feb 16/ Tuesday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 440-8802/ Palinsky
Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter
Mar 3/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Mar 8/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State College – 6191 Tinker Diagonal
Mar 11/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
SW Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to:

INTEGRIS and Mayo Clinic announced today that INTEGRIS has joined the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a national network of health care providers committed to better serving patients and their families through collaboration.
INTEGRIS is the first health care organization in Oklahoma to join the network. The formal agreement gives INTEGRIS access to the latest Mayo Clinic knowledge and promotes physician collaboration to benefit patients. Through shared resources, more patients can get answers to complex medical questions — and peace of mind —while staying close to home.
“While INTEGRIS works with some of the most accomplished and preeminent physicians in the region, we are constantly striving for ways to provide our patients with the best care possible,” says Bruce Lawrence, president and CEO, INTEGRIS. “This collaboration between INTEGRIS and Mayo Clinic brings together two trusted names – each with unique strengths – to the betterment of all Oklahomans.”
As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, INTEGRIS will work with Mayo to share medical knowledge in ways that will enhance patient care. Network products and services include:
· eConsults that enable INTEGRIS physicians to connect electronically with Mayo specialists when they want additional input on a patient’s care
· AskMayoExpert database that offers INTEGRIS providers point-of-care, Mayo-vetted information on disease management, care guidelines and treatment recommendations, and reference materials for medical conditions
· Health care consulting that enables INTEGRIS to learn more about Mayo’s clinical, operational and business models, including the models’ design and implementation
· eTumor Board conferences that enable INTEGRIS physicians to present and discuss management of complex cancer cases with a multidisciplinary panel of Mayo specialists and other network members.
INTEGRIS providers also have access to Mayo’s extensive library of patient education materials, and can view archived Mayo Clinic grand rounds presentations that feature Mayo physicians and scientists.
“We are pleased to welcome INTEGRIS to the Mayo Clinic Care Network,” says David Hayes, M.D., medical director, Mayo Clinic Care Network. “This relationship brings together two like-minded organizations committed to patient-centered care. As we’ve worked toward today’s announcement, it’s been clear that we share many important values and at least one essential goal: to improve the delivery of health care in a way that benefits patients.”
Formed in 1995, INTEGRIS is a nationally recognized health care system with a wide presence in Oklahoma. Approximately 6 out of every 10 Oklahomans live within 30 miles of a facility or physician included in the INTEGRIS organization. INTEGRIS has eight hospitals, more than 2,500 physicians and more than 9,000 employees.
INTEGRIS and other members of the Mayo Clinic Care Network remain independent, but share Mayo’s commitment to improve the quality and delivery of health care. Launched in 2011, the Mayo Clinic Care Network has more than 35 member organizations in the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico and Singapore.

At 76, Gary England is still helping keep Oklahomans ahead of the storm through a new weather series with the University of Oklahoma.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

From time to time, Gary England will drop by the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma to speak with the incoming freshman class.
Any student who knows anything about weather in Oklahoma understands when England walks into the room they are in the presence of greatness.
But the self-described kid from Seiling sets down a manila folder and pulls out rejection letter after rejection letter.
“I went a lot of places and they didn’t like me,” he grins.
Even in retirement the 76-year-old is still cracking jokes and – more importantly – he’s still helping Oklahomans protect themselves from Oklahoma weather.
Through much prodding, the University of Oklahoma has taken up some of England’s retirement time to collaborate on a new weather series.
This Sooner Series consists of short, entertaining videos that will give people of all ages a better understanding of Oklahoma’s severe weather patterns and events. This entertaining series will make it easy and fun for you to become familiar with the fundamentals of our weather, the history of weather forecasting, and the technology used by meteorology professionals to keep the public as safe as possible.
Using Janux’s social discussion forum, participants will be able to interact directly with Gary and share their own weather stories and experiences with people around the globe.
This series is being offered at no cost through multiple media channels, including iTunes U, YouTube, and OU’s Janux online learning platform.
These videos have been professionally produced by NextThought, and the entire series is being released at once, so that taking part is convenient to fit your schedule.
Visiting his granddaughter, Cassidy, now a sophomore at OU, England was hit up while on campus to work on the series by President David Boren’s Chief of Staff Nicholas Hathaway.
“A bunch of us sat down and what amazes me is how you gather so many really intelligent and creative people together,” England said. “They’re quite amazing.”
“I like doing the series. You plan it. You do it and you’ve got it out there forever for people.”
From there, the Janux series was born. It came at a right time for the recently retired England.
“Retirement kind of snuck up on me,” say’s OU’s meterologist in residence. “I never have liked to take vacations. Never liked to travel. I love what I do. My lifetime dream was to be on TV at Channel 9. I never had a thought past that.”
Undeniably, England is an Oklahoma treasure. Born in Seiling, Oklahoma, England joined the U.S. Navy at age 17, after which he attended The University of Oklahoma, graduating in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and meteorology.
He began his broadcasting career with KWTV in Oklahoma City in 1972. Over his 41-year career with KWTV, England is credited with saving countless lives and properties with his steady, measured reporting during severe storms in Oklahoma.
England became internationally noted for pioneering innovations in weather technology and systems that are now common tools in the world of severe weather coverage, including first acquisition and application of commercial Doppler radar, the storm time of arrival warning system, corner screen warning maps, and cellular still picture/video transmission.
With the firm Enterprise Electronics, he implemented the world’s first commercial Doppler weather radar in 1981, becoming the first person in history to use Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public.
Dubbed “The Weather God of Oklahoma City” by the New York Times, England is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including four Emmy Awards and the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Heartland Division.
He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2013. He also received the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for best in the nation in breaking weather coverage in all large markets.
He is the author of four books and has appeared in more than 60 national and international severe weather programs. In 2013, England assumed a new role at KWTV-9 as the vice president for corporate relations and weather development at Griffin Communications.
England was named an OU Outstanding Alumnus in 2008. He was further honored by OU in October 2013 at the annual Ring Ceremony and also served as parade marshal for OU’s Homecoming. England received the University of Oklahoma’s highest award in 2014, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.
England is still highly-sought in the legal field as a consultant, testifying for attorneys as an expert witness – something he’s done since the 1970s.
“The legal stuff is fun until you get to court,” England laughed.
But when Oklahoma’s weather ramps up, England still feels that itch.
“I miss it a little,” England said. “I’ll tune in on bad weather and I think … I don’t miss the death, destruction and human suffering. I grew really weary of that.”
And just like he’s done for the last 40 years, even in retirement England is still trying to keep Oklahomans safe.

Rocky, 60, and Phyllis Clark (59) have designed a new active adult retirement neighborhood.

by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

Sanctuary. A peaceful refuge of country ambiance in the city. That’s the vision Rocky and Phyllis Clark had for the active adult retirement neighborhood they just opened in south Oklahoma City/Mustang. Whispering Creek is designed to foster and retain natural elements for the benefit of people and wildlife. Landscaped walking trails curve around the centrally located ponds and waterfalls. Fountains light up at night so they can be enjoyed at all hours. Deer, owls, rabbits, and birds of all kind call Whispering Creek home. A favorite spot for watching nature is the 1,800-square-foot covered back porch at the clubhouse. This is where the Clarks designed the perfect spot for residents to socialize or just enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the scenic view.
The idea to develop Whispering Creek began when Phyllis and Rocky found themselves looking for senior living options for their parents. Everything they saw in the OKC metro area seemed to have more concrete than green space. The Clarks felt that seniors deserved more. They wanted to create an upscale yet comfortable haven that rewarded people for decades of hard work. A place where residents receive a helping hand with chores and the peace of mind that comes with a gated entrance and cameras. They envisioned a culture where neighbors know and look after each other. They succeeded in their huge investment to make Whispering Creek all they dreamed of it being. Some people are choosing to live in the neighborhood because they like to travel and feel their home is more secure in that environment. Others choose Whispering Creek because they want a private home but not all the maintenance that usually comes with it.
The idea has been so successful that Clark has opened up a purchase offer. The purchase option is new and is in response to the numerous requests for buying into the gated neighborhood rather than renting.
Rocky, age 60, and Phyllis, 59, co-own R&R Homes with their son, Russell, and daughter-in-law, Tabitha. In fact, three of their four kids work alongside them. And, so do their in-laws. Family is a top priority for the Clark clan. They all reside within seven acres of each other and are living what is quickly becoming the new American dream.
Rocky and Phyllis grin ear to ear when talking about their 11 grandchildren and the 2 more being adopted. At first glance a person could mistake the quiet and casually dressed pair as an average Joe and Jane but they are anything but typical. Married 41 years, they are as dedicated to serving others as they are to loving their family and building quality homes. Phyllis was a 1st grade school teacher /school librarian for almost 20 years. She has a Master’s degree and has also illustrated teacher resource books. Rocky has coached Little League Football in Moore since 1985. He started by coaching his son’s team and never stopped. Thirty years later he heads up the Moore Dirt Bags, a team of 10 year-old boys, including two of his grandsons. Rocky and his family have lived in Moore since 1965. That city’s Junior High is where he met Phyllis and they have been together ever since. The Clarks are active at Journey Church. They humbly admit they have been richly blessed and truly want to bless others.
The family business is one of the metro’s most active home builders. R&R Homes has been developing complete neighborhoods for 10+ years. A few of their projects include Bella Terra in Edmond, Rock Creek in Moore, and Riverview which sits on the Canadian River in Newcastle.
Whispering Creek is a gated community of homes for lease to people age 55 and better. The age-restricted neighborhood is designed to cultivate friendships and the extra support / security that comes from living among peers. People can be as social or private as they want. Scheduled activities at the clubhouse will focus on resident’s interests and will vary from yoga, book-of-the-month, and crafts to card games and pot luck socials.
A variety of one and two-bedroom floor plans are available. The homes have many built-in luxuries and upscale extras. Spacious walk-in closets, granite bath and kitchen counters, covered porches, generous lighting, inlaid tile, and window seats are some of the homes’ features. Refrigerator, washer / dryer, and all appliances are provided. Whispering Creek handles all the lawn care and home maintenance. The affordable rents start at $1,425 and include all these things plus basic cable television, water, sewer, trash, and clubhouse amenities. Residents have free access to a storm shelter, fitness center, activities kitchen, crafts room, game area, living rooms, fireplace, and private party room at the clubhouse.
Whispering Creek is located in south OKC / Mustang on County Line Road. It is north of S.W. 59th street and not far from Highway 152.

RSVP of Central Oklahoma is pleased to announce it received a $15,000 grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and its Services for Elderly iFund grant program. The grant is being used to support the RSVP Provide-A-Ride medical transportation program for low-income older adults.
“Older adults who are no longer able to drive depend on RSVP Provide-A-Ride volunteer drivers to receive safe and reliable rides to and from their medical appointments; and the generous grant received from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is playing an integral part in helping hundreds of older Oklahomans remain healthy and live independently in their own homes” states Beth Patterson, Executive Director of RSVP.
RSVP of Central Oklahoma has served older adults and the nonprofit community for 42 years. The mission of RSVP is to enrich the lives of semi-retired and retired people by linking them with rewarding and meaningful community volunteer opportunities. Presently 750 RSVP volunteers serve 136 local nonprofit organizations that depend on volunteers to meet their agency mission and the needs of their clients. During the past year RSVP volunteers contributed 150,000 service hours to help make our community a better place to live.
RSVP is a part of the Corporation for National and Community Service and a proud partner agency of United Way of Central Oklahoma. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation was founded in 1969 and works with donors and organizations to create endowments that address needs and opportunities within our community. The Services for Elderly iFund grant program represents a compilation of contributions from donors who want to support grants to help keep senior citizens safe and living independently in their own homes. For more information on the iFund grant program, please visit For more information on the Oklahoma City Community Foundation please visit
RSVP is accepting volunteer applications from persons age 55 and older who are interested in sharing their time, skills and talents to make a difference in the lives of others. Please visit or telephone 405-605-3110.

Barbara Jett, Dr. Greg Walton, Traci Walton, Dr. Paul Silverstein, Dr. Amalia Miranda, Dr. Mason Jett.

In 1975, America ended the Vietnam War, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” nearly swept the Academy Awards, designer blue jeans were a hot new trend and a 39-year-old plastic surgeon from Boston launched the first burn center in Oklahoma City at Baptist Medical Center. That doctor was Paul Silverstein, M.D.
While a major in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1972, Silverstein served at the prestigious U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. There, he cared for and performed research for the benefit of military burn victims from the Vietnam conflict, other veterans, Native Americans, Eskimos, and their families. It was an experience that drove him to find ways to treat and care for perhaps the most painful and devastating injury people ever suffer.
The Kerr Foundation gave a jumpstart to the effort to found a burn center in Oklahoma City by contributing $500,000, if a matching amount could be raised. Burn centers have always been known as a costly venture. But Baptist Medical Center’s leaders, among them former CEO Jay Henry and plastic surgeon Ed Dalton, M.D., saw the clear need for a metro area burn treatment facility. They persisted, raising the money needed to remodel an existing patient care floor at Baptist Medical Center. The new burn center opened in November 1975 as the hospital’s first Center of Excellence, with a commitment to patient care, research, teaching and burn prevention.
In 1989, the burn center expanded to include hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In 1995, an additional 12-place hyperbaric chamber (the largest in Oklahoma) was installed and a separate Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care Center was established side-by-side with the burn center. In 2000, the board of directors honored Silverstein’s commitment and legacy to the treatment of burn patients by renaming the facility, the Paul Silverstein Burn Center.
Today, the Paul Silverstein Burn Center at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center is known across the nation as a center of excellence with a dedicated staff of doctors, nurses and paramedical personnel committed to life beyond survival. “Our goal is to rehabilitate a patient, not just save a life,” affirms Silverstein. “If a patient leaves here a whole person and a productive member of society, then we have accomplished our goal.’
Since its opening in 1975, the burn center has expanded to become one of the largest adult burn centers in the United States, serving a six state area. More than 5,000 patients have been treated at the center, plus another 10,000 outpatients. It is a 40-year legacy of compassion and leadership and a true testament to the vision of doctors and nurses, hospital administrators and concerned business leaders.
Now that legacy, under the guidance of Christopher Lentz, M.D., continues with a commitment to push the boundaries of burn therapy further. In an effort to improve access to care in Oklahoma, our burn center providers are evaluating community interest in a telemedicine program for acute burns, that would allow physicians in local emergency departments or regional hospitals to consult directly with a burn surgeon before sending the patient to the burn center.
In addition, Lentz is planning an expansion of patient care to include pediatric surgeons and nurses at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. As a result of this vision, hopefully someday soon children suffering burn injuries will no longer have to be transported out-of-state to receive optimal care.
On Nov. 8, a special ceremony was held at Gaillardia Country Club to commemorate Silverstein’s many accomplishments and to celebrate the future successes of the burn center.

Dear Savvy Senior,

Is pill splitting safe? I have several friends who cut their pills in half in order to save money, but I have some concerns. What can you tell me? Cautious Kim

Dear Kim,
Pill splitting – literally cutting them in half – has become a popular way to save on pharmaceutical costs but you need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist first, because not all pills can be split.
The reason pill splitting is such a money saver is because of a quirk in the way drugs are manufactured and priced. A pill that’s twice as strong as another may not be twice the price. In fact, it’s usually about the same price. So, buying a double-strength dose and cutting it in half may allow you to get two months worth of medicine for the price of one. But is it safe? As long as your doctor agrees that splitting your pills is OK for you, you learn how to do it properly, and you split only pills that can be split, there’s really no danger.
Ask Your Doctor
If you’re interested in splitting your pills, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if any of the medicines you use can be safely split. It’s also important to find out whether splitting them will save you enough money to justify the hassle.
The pills that are easiest to split are those with a score down the middle. However, not every pill that’s scored is meant to be split. Pills that are most commonly split include:
· Cholesterol lowering drugs, like Crestor, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol and Zocor.
· Antidepressants, like Lexapro, Celexa, Serzone, Paxil, and Zoloft.
· High blood pressure medicines such as, Accupril, Zestril, Diovan, Avapro, Norvasc, Tenormin, Toprol and Cardura.
· Erectile dysfunction pills, like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.
Use a Splitter
Having the right equipment is very important too. Don’t use a knife or scissors to cut your pills in half. It can cause you to split them unevenly resulting in two pieces with very different dosages, which can be dangerous. Purchase a proper pill cutter that has a cover and a V-shaped pill grip that holds the pill securely in place. You can find them at most pharmacies for $3 to $10.
For convenience, you might be tempted to split the whole bottle of pills at once. But it’s best to do the splitting on the day you take the first half, and then take the other half on the second day or whenever you are scheduled to take your next dose. That will help keep the drugs from deteriorating due to exposure to heat, moisture, or air. It will also help ensure that any deviation in the size of one dose is compensated in the next. It’s also important to know that pills are only safely split in half, and never into smaller portions such as into thirds or quarters.
Don’t Split These
Some pills should never be split. Drugs that are time-released or long-lasting and tablets that contain a combination of drugs probably shouldn’t be split, because it’s difficult to ensure a proper amount of active ingredient in each half. Pills with a coating to protect your stomach, and pills that crumble easily or irritate your mouth shouldn’t be split either, along with chemotherapy drugs, anti-seizure medicines, birth control pills and capsules containing powders or gels.
Again, your doctor or pharmacist will know which drugs can and cannot be split. If you’re taking a medicine that can be split, you’ll need to get a prescription from your doctor for twice the dosage you need. Then you can start splitting safely, and saving.

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.