Growing older has its benefits

6 good reasons to celebrate your age

By Bart Astor for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

“Don’t trust anyone over 30,” Bob Dylan warned us. Then he turned 31 and changed his tune. When Gloria Steinem was asked her age some 41 years ago, the audience gasped at her response. Steinem chided them: “Folks, this is what 40 looks like.”

As children we measured our years in fractions: “I’m three and a half!” rounding it off to four as soon as we could. My father did the same much later on, only in reverse, insisting that he was not almost 96, but 95 and three-quarters. In middle age, we don’t use fractions; we use euphemisms such as “50-plus” or “third age.” And you’re not “old” now until you hit 85.

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Guardianship in the U.S.: Protection or exploitation?

More adults will be at risk of abuse as boomers enter ‘the danger age’

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

(Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a three-part series on guardianship abuses appearing this week on Next Avenue. Here are Part 2 and Part 3.)

Credit: Tennessee Bar Association Caption: Ginger Franklin of Nashville speaks before the Tennessee Bar Association.

Credit: Tennessee Bar Association Caption: Ginger Franklin of Nashville speaks before the Tennessee Bar Association.

Ginger Franklin was just shy of her 50th birthday when she fell down the stairs of her Nashville-area townhouse in 2008. A marketing representative for Sam’s Club, she was taken to the hospital with a severe brain injury. Doctors weren’t sure if she would survive.

Since Franklin had not designated anyone to make decisions for her if she became incapacitated, and with no immediate family, her aunt was advised to petition the court for a guardian. The guardian, a lawyer appointed by the county, placed her in a group home for seriously mentally ill adults.

But Franklin was not mentally ill. And she did what no one expected her to do: she recovered.

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Investing in stock after 60

Woman offers advice to smart women lacking financial confidence

By Juliette Fairley for Next Avenue

InvestingAfter60 - web

Caption: Sandra Chaikin

When the stock market sank in 2009, Sandy Chaikin of Philadelphia, lost 40 percent of the money she’d invested in mutual funds following her financial adviser’s recommendations. “I asked my financial adviser to sell, but he suggested I ride it out,” says Chaikin, 65.

That experience was enough for the veteran marketing executive to look for a new way to invest — mostly on her own, but with guidance from her husband, Marc, a long-time investor and CEO of Chaikin Analytics.

“It’s become very rewarding to be able to take control of my own finances and to have the confidence to say that I can do it,” she says.

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How to stop worrying in 6 easy steps

Try these simple mindfulness techniques to clear away stress

By Allison Carmen for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Life gets busy. For many of us, it moves so fast that we think our only option is to jump on that runaway train and go wherever it takes us. As a result, we feel stressed, anxious and panicky.

But we do have a choice. We can choose mindfulness instead. Mindfulness creates a space between how we feel and how we react, and that space allows us to find the calm and joyful moments each day brings while allowing us to experience unexpected events without letting them overtake us.

Try these six simple tips to bring more mindfulness into your life:

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The famous museum that’s redefining aging

New York’s Museum of Modern Art is reaching out to spark joy

By Linda Bernstein for Next Avenue

Museum - web

Credit: Courtesy of MoMA Caption: MoMA’s Prime Time Gallery Conversations

It’s “Prime Time” for older adults who visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

Famous for its prestigious collection, which includes the painting of melting watches by Salvador Dali, a self-portrait by Frida Kahlo and sculptures by Pierre Huyghe, the museum has launched an extensive program that encourages people age 65 and older to experience art making, gallery conversations and film viewings. All this takes place in the stunning building recently redesigned by Japanese architect, Yoshi Taniguchi — a structure of white concrete and glass that opens onto a “secret” garden hidden among city skyscrapers.

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Turning memories into poetry in dementia care

Mind’s Eye Poetry workshops prove creativity persists despite cognitive decline

By Molly Middleton Meyer for Next Avenue

TurningMemories - web

Credit: AJK Images Caption: Molly Middleton Meyer working with residents of an assisted living center.

When I’m asked the proverbial question, “What do you do for a living?” my response is always met with an awkward silence and then the inevitable, “Oh.” Writing poetry with people who are living with dementia is an unusual occupation.

I understand the confusion. To suggest I make a living writing poetry is weird enough. To do it with people most have assumed are “lost” perplexes even the most creative thinkers.

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This summer’s heat waves are more dangerous than you think

It’s not just the elderly who are at risk when the weather heats up. Here’s what you need to do to stay safe.

By Gary Drevitch for Next Avenue

SummerHeatwave - web

Credit: Ingram Publishing I iThinkStock

Heat waves tend to be underestimated as natural disasters because they lack the destructive power of hurricanes or earthquakes. We shouldn’t, however, overlook their lethal capabilities. During a week-long heat wave in Chicago in July 1995, temperatures in that city reached as high as 106 with a heat index of 120. At least 739 people died — 651 of them 85 or older. Most were living alone, without power or air conditioning.

Four years later, when another heat wave hit, the city took aggressive action, sending police to check on isolated seniors and offering free bus service to cooling centers. Still, 110 people died. And during a catastrophic three-week heat wave in Europe in August 2003, when temperatures produced the hottest season in five centuries, an estimated 70,000 people died, a fifth of them in Paris alone. Again, elders living alone were most vulnerable.

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Can we delay aging?

Research on animals suggests we could improve humans’ healthy lifespan

By Felipe Sierra for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging.

No, we cannot “prevent aging”… but what if we could delay it?

Unfortunately, the deterioration that comes with aging is part of a fundamental aspect of the universe, so it cannot be eliminated. Recent research suggests, however, that the rate of deterioration is indeed malleable, at least in many different animal models. So why not in people?

Aging itself is the major risk factor for most chronic diseases and conditions. We know that cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Yet it is well documented that these pale in comparison to the risk of merely increased age. The same is true for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and most other chronic conditions.

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Celebrating our volunteers of the year

Every spring, we celebrate the volunteers who provide essential support to our staff and our residents at Farmington Presbyterian Manor. At this year’s volunteer banquet we honored two standouts who have contributed so much to our community: resident Robert Conway and community member Jane Barton.

We asked Robert and Jane to tell us a little about themselves, so you can meet the people who meet the needs of others.

fapm_residentvolunteer_april2016Robert Conway, resident volunteer of the year

Robert joined us here at Presbyterian Manor three years ago, soon after his wife developed Alzheimer’s disease. Robert grew up in the Farmington area, but had not lived here since he left for the Air Force at age 18. He spent 20 years in the military, then another 23 years with the postal service. When his wife’s symptoms worsened, friends back in Missouri suggested to Robert that he look into memory care at Presbyterian Manor.

Since then, Robert has reprised his mail carrier role, delivering mail
to Presbyterian Manor residents twice a week. On Fridays, he makes shopping trips to local stores to pick up items on residents’ shopping lists.

Helping out is a way to occupy his time, Robert said, between daily visits to his wife. While her decline has been difficult, his love for her is plain to see.

fapm_communityvolunteer_april2016Jane Barton, community volunteer of the year

For 17 years, Jane has been well-known to residents for her steady presence in the gift shop. In fact, she also recruited most of the other volunteers who work there, including one of her best friends, who moved to Presbyterian Manor.

Jane first got involved as a way to serve residents who used to attend her church, and she kept right on helping as needed. Her husband, Don, said she routinely buys a great deal of tickets for Presbyterian Manor fundraisers, such as the chicken and dumplings dinner, then gives them away to friends and family.

Serving others has really been a way of life for Jane, from the time she started teaching elementary school. She also served on Presbyterian Manor’s advisory council and with the Southeast Missouri Family Violence Council. Volunteering “makes me aware that other people have needs that can’t be provided,” she said.

Jane didn’t know she had won volunteer of the year until her name was called at the banquet. Her sister-in-law accompanied her, and Don snuck in later to capture the moment. “She turned around and I was 10 or 12 feet behind her with a camera in my hand. She said, ‘What are you doing here?’”

When she realized what was happening, she said she didn’t deserve it. But we disagree.

When people like Jane, and like Robert, give so much for so long, it’s the least we can do to say thank you.

7 steps to healthier barbecue

Here’s how to make the best Fourth of July cookout ever

By Maureen Callahan for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

It may be the favorite way to cook on hot summer days, but experts say the high heat of grilling can produce cancer-causing compounds that are dangerous to your health.

But with the 4th of July nearing, don’t ditch the barbecue just yet. Grilling can still be one of the healthiest methods of cooking, as long as you use the right techniques and make healthy food choices.

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