If you're a retiree, coffee is still free at your local bank and at Chick-fil-A.
There are senior discounts around time that may not be openly advertised, but they are there.
As the economy continues to lurch, retailers are often stuck between needing to lure more customers and needing to discount to do it. The average American family's net worth having deteriorated by almost 40 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to the Federal Reserve, so almost everyone's buying power has been reduced. Many on a fixed income, however, need to be more cost-conscious than ever.
Lynn Mento, senior vice president of member experience and member development for the American Association of Retired Persons, explains the dilemma for retailers: "Many retailers can't afford to keep an 'evergreen' discount out in the marketplace, but they can afford to do these pulse offers that drive high, but short-term, value."
Meaning the "senior discount" can no longer counted on as a given.
Mento said the economy hasn't impacted AARP's ability to leverage discounts on behalf of its members and points out discounts provide an important benefit for seniors.
"We believe these programs do have a positive impact on the finances and buying power of seniors, as long as the discounts focus on purchasing things people need that are on sale, not things people don't need but that have a killer, short-term deal," he said.
Health and medications may be at the top of the list for senior needs, and some area institutions honor that. Local retail heavyweight Publix offers several basic prescription medicines free for all customers, but it's the first-line diabetes meds — metformin and lisinopril — that make the difference for seniors.
"Taking the medicine regularly is so important to stopping the side effects of diabetes," pharmacist Mary Meyer said. "We put (seniors who need these meds) on an auto-refill program and call them to let them know it's ready for pickup."
Physicians Regional plans to launch a program for seniors, which provides a "safety in numbers" benefit. Beginning in July, seniors can sign up for the Senior Extra Program, said Taylor Hamilton, systems director of marketing and public relations.
The Senior Extra Program will offer discounted services (internally and with community business partners) and cost-effective health tips. Other key services include monthly health seminars focusing on illness prevention, the importance of regular screenings and healthy lifestyle activities, such as heart walks.
"Creating a community of knowledgeable, empowered seniors is a priority at Physicians Regional Healthcare System," Hamilton said.
To register for Physician's Regional Healthcare's Senior Extra Program, or to become a business partner to it, email Renee Palin, program coordinator, at email@example.com.
Boston Market: 10 percent off orders for 55+
Dunkin’ Donuts: 10 percent off orders for 65+
Einstein Bros. Bagels: 10 percent off orders for 60+
Steak ‘n Shake: 10 percent off orders for 50+
Chick-fil-A: Free coffee or small drink to seniors
Regal Cinemas (including Hollywood 20): $7.50 movies all day
Banana Republic: 10 percent off purchases for 62+
Bealls Outlet: 15 percent off purchases every Monday for 50+
Kohl’s: 15 percent off purchases every Wednesday for 60+
AT&T: Senior Nation 200 Plan, $29.99, for anyone retired
Comfort Inn: 10 percent off room rates for AARP members
Hampton Inn & Suites: 15 percent off room rates
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5 percent off rate for AARP members
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort: 15 percent off the leisure guest rate for 62+
All discounts were verified with retailers at press time, however discounts are subject to change without notice.