‘Elder orphans’ have a harder time aging in place

Why we need more services for those without family

By Carol Marak for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

Thriving in a place that’s safe and comfortable, surrounded by cozy memories, is a natural desire of older adults. We treasure independence and want a space to call our own, and we prefer that place to reflect the person we’ve become. We understand that aging bids compromise, and once 65 hits, the changes bring reminders that we’re no longer the same. We don’t move as quickly, we don’t multitask as well, nor do we easily adapt. Those are the simple cues. As we age, the physical and mental challenges delivered through loss, immobility and dependence are the ones that put us at higher risks.

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Poll workers encourage voter turnout


On Nov. 8, Nancy Sullivan’s alarm will go off at 4 a.m. – the start of a long day of work for her and Jetty Reese. That’s Election Day, and Nancy and Jetty are poll workers for St. Francois County. Both women are also members of the Farmington Presbyterian Manor Advisory Council.

Jetty has been helping elections run smoothly for 20 to 30 years (she’s lost count). Nancy became a poll worker about 10 years ago at the urging of a Presbyterian Manor resident who was stepping down.

“We were the same party affiliation, so he said, ‘Nancy, you gotta do this.’ And Nancy’s one not to say no,” she said. “I just enjoy the process. You see people that you know but that you don’t normally see.

”Nancy would like to see many, many more people than she normally does on Election Day. “Turnout has been very, very slim,” she said. “That just crushes me because people like to complain but they don’t get out and vote.”

Jetty agreed, adding that some people don’t believe their vote counts, and others just aren’t interested unless there is an issue that affects them directly. School elections and gun measures usually draw bigger turnout, she said. She recalled only one time that people were lined up around the block to vote – to the best of her memory it was a presidential election in the 1980s.

“It made your heart proud to see that many people coming out,” Jetty said. “To me, it’s a privilege to help out, either at the polls or at the manor.

”Nancy is politically active all year long. As vice president of the county’s Democrat Club, she helps with fundraising for local candidates. Regardless of affiliation, she urges everyone to exercise his or her right to vote, because every single one counts. Case in point: one recent local election actually tied.

“We had the second election, and then one of the candidates won overwhelmingly. It makes a difference if you vote,” Nancy said.

Make Nancy and Jetty proud. Make sure they see you at the polls on Nov. 8.

How to save money when you travel in retirement

The ‘Vagabonding Through Retirement’ authors offer practical ideas

By Bill and Ina Garrison Mahoney for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

(Bill and Ina Garrison Mahoney are a globetrotting couple who recently wrote Vagabonding through Retirement: Unusual Travels Far From Our Paris Houseboat.)

To save on expenses when you travel in retirement, it helps to first ask yourself a few questions: What are your travel goals? Do you want to be a passive observer or an active participant? Are you on a quest for information about the country and its people or is your interest in visiting museums and seeing tourist attractions?

Once you’ve determined your reasons for traveling, you can then decide on a destination and begin employing some of our suggestions below for ways to save.

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An invitation to dump your obligations

If you’re feeling overbooked, this simple anti-time management tool can set you free

By Achim Nowak for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

It seems like the impossible dream: To carve out unobligated time.

We often complain that we don’t have enough time to do all the things we wish to do. For many of us, it’s a true statement. We truly don’t have enough time. We ardently desire a “time out” from our obligations.

Some call this time out “me time.” A faintly derogatory term. It smacks of self-indulgence and narcissism. I feel queasy when I hear these descriptors because I don’t wish to be thought of having either of those traits.

The moment we claim a slice of “me time,” we instantly obligate this time. We get the spa treatment we have postponed for months. The facial that is overdue. We finally play squash with our buddy Raul. Go to see the French movie with our friend Lori that she has raved about. All cool things, I know. Still obligated time.

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Why smart people fall for investment scams

The authors of ‘Financial Serial Killers’ explain how not to get duped

By Tom Ajamie and Bruce Kelly for Next Avenue


(This article is adapted from the book, Financial Serial Killers: Inside the World of Wall Street Money Hustlers, Swindlers, and Con Men by Tom Ajamie and Bruce Kelly.)

There are many reasons why we fall for investment scams. As we understand and realize these factors, we are less likely to fall prey to investment scamsters — who we call “financial serial killers.”

Robert Cialdini, formerly Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, says the root cause of people falling victim to a financial fraud is their uncertainty about the details of the financial environment. When people feel uncertain about financial decisions, he notes, they look outside themselves, and this sets them up for the fraud.

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Did you know arts can lower your blood pressure?

The arts offer real health benefits as people age

By Heidi Raschke for Next Avenue


I don’t know whether New York Times columnist Jane Brody is a soprano, a mezzo or an alto. But I do know that I’m glad to add her voice to the chorus of those noticing the connection between arts and vitality.

In her March 7, 2016 column for the Times’ Well section, Using the Arts to Promote Healthy Aging, the respected health writer mentioned several studies and programs familiar to those who’ve been following Next Avenue’s Artful Aging special report to demonstrate how “the arts in their myriad forms are enhancing the lives and health of older people.”

Among her examples of the health benefits of the arts, Brody touted the work of the Music and Memory project, which promotes the power of music to bring someone with  dementia back to life.

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Why working longer is good for your health

Here’s how recent studies upend conventional wisdom

By Chris Farrell for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Retirement didn’t sit with Lee Humphrey when she tried it about a decade ago, at 62. About a year after leaving her St. Paul, Minn. job at the Department of Employment and Economic Development, she unretired and began creating indexes for books after taking an online course on this. She wanted to work longer. “As pleasant as that first year of retirement was — reading, gardening, walking, some volunteering but generally relaxing — I came to realize that, for me, it was very important to add something in my life that was more mentally taxing,” says Humphrey. “I found myself feeling a bit sluggish, mostly mentally sluggish, and that was way out of keeping with my entire life.”

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The surprising secrets of successful retirees

What ‘The Retiree Next Door’ author learned by surveying them

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue


If you’re in your 40s, 50s or early 60s, odds are you’d like to know what it takes to have a happy and successful retirement. To find out, a few authors — such as Wes Moss (You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think) and Bob Lowry (Living a Satisfying Retirement) — have surveyed retirees.

And now Marc Diana, the Los-Angeles-based CEO of the new personal-finance site MoneyTips.com site, has surveyed 510 retirees to learn the magic elixir. He published the findings in the free e-book, The Retiree Next Door: Successful Seniors’ Surprising Secrets (you can download it at the MoneyTips site).

I spoke with Diana, a serial entrepreneur who also founded Savings.com, to find out what those surprising secrets were and what pre-retirees should do now if they want to join the club. I confess that the results did, indeed, surprise me.

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Where Clinton and Trump stand on caregiving and long-term care

What the candidates have said, or not said, on these vital topics

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue


Credit: Instagram Caption: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

(This is the fourth in a series of Next Avenue’s Election 2016 blog posts on where presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on key issues of interest to Americans over 50. The first article was about where they stand on Social Security. The second article was about health care and Medicare. The third article explored their views and policies on retirement security.)

Considering that Americans 65 and older are the demographic group most likely to vote, it is astounding how little the major parties’ presidential candidates have talked about two issues that loom so large in older adults’ lives: caregiving and long-term care.

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Helpful apps for seniors

8 tech solutions to maintain independence and give caregivers peace of mind

By Jeff Salter for Next Avenue


Every day for the last 24 years, I’ve worked with the elderly and, by extension, with their families. As the founder of Caring Senior Service, a non-medical in-home care provider, my goal is to ensure that people can age with dignity in their own homes and to reassure families that their loved ones are safe and secure. Increasingly, technology helps on both fronts.

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