… great way for seniors to get extra cash to pay bills and expenses, but make sure you thoroughly understand what it is before you dive in.

A reverse mortgage allows you to access the equity of your home, in monthly payments to you, without selling it. This money is usually tax-free. However, you are still responsible for property taxes, insurance, upkeep, utilities, etc., on the home. And a reverse mortgage can result in you leaving less to your heirs.

To find out all you need to know about a reverse mortgage, the Federal Trade Commission (www.consumer.ftc.gov) is a good place to start.

– Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:

How do I clean my computer monitor screen?

– Annie W. in Texas

Annie, reach for a dry, lint-free microfiber cloth. Never spray the screen with any cleaner or use wet cleaners. Frequent dusting is all that is necessary.

– Heloise

DEAR READERS:

Teach your kids and grandkids about the 911 emergency phone system. Here’s what’s important to know, from www.kidshealth.org:

• The definition of an emergency: someone is passed out or choking, a fire, a crime happening right before them (mugging, break-in), a serious car accident.

• It’s normal to feel scared and nervous, but speak as clearly and calmly as possible.

• It’s OK to give the dispatcher your name and address, even though you normally don’t tell a stranger this information.

• If you’re old enough, the dispatcher may have you do some first aid.

• Calling 911 as a prank is not funny and may be considered a crime; it takes away resources from people who actually need them.

• Make sure they understand there is no “11” on the keypad — they must dial 9, then 1 twice.

– Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:

The U.S. Postal Service (www.USPS.com) has a (free – Heloise) service called Informed Delivery. You sign up for the service, and then each day you receive an email with a digital preview of the mail that you will receive that day.

Each message will contain a grayscale image of your mail. If you do not receive the mail that you are scheduled to receive, you will know something went wrong. Either the mail was lost or stolen. You can then report your missing mail.

– Shelly L. in Ohio

Great to know!

– Heloise

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