How Seniors Can Protect Themselves from “Graywashing”

Scams that promise older adults better health, a more youthful appearance or relief from pain is sometimes referred to as “graywashing” and is estimated to rob elderly consumers of billions each year.

According to the International Council on Active Aging, there are a multitude of health scams that claim to help seniors lose weight, cure arthritis, shrink tumors or remedy impotence.  If a product makes claims to cure a disease or is made from an “ancient secret formula” and requires advanced payment, chances are, it’s a scam.

Seniors should be informed about the products they buy and always check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication or supplement.  Some special diets or supplements can have serious side effects or medication interactions.

If a product’s results seem too good to be true, they probably are.   Health scams often target people who are desperate for a remedy but if medical research hasn’t found a cure, don’t be taken by suspicious claims of amazing results.  Testimonials by “real people” or actors posing as doctors should not be considered scientific evidence of success.  When in doubt, check with your doctor before parting with your hard-earned retirement savings.

There are no short-cuts to healthy aging.  A balanced diet, regular exercise, proper rest, meaningful social interaction, mental stimulation and regular doctor visits are the best prescription for long-term good health we have thus far.