Senior bank accounts: Should you get one?

4 ways to size them up before you sign up

By Margarette Burnette for Next Avenue

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It isn’t hard to figure out why some banks and credit unions offer special checking accounts for customers they call “seniors.” Once they establish banking relationships this way, they can try to entice the new accountholders with savings accounts, loans and retirement accounts.

But is a “senior” checking account (generally restricted to people over 60 or 65, though sometimes available to people 50 and up) a good deal for you? That depends.


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Common myths of hospice debunked

Five things you may think about hospice that aren’t true

By Jacob Edward for Next Avenue

Hospice-Misconceptions

In the past 40 years, attitudes towards death and dying in America and much of the rest of the world have slowly changed. The hospice movement has grown considerably and now constitutes its own segment of the health care system. Prior to hospice, people often died alone, in institutional settings like hospitals.

While some people still pass away without their loved ones around them, many are choosing to receive palliative care at home as a way to make the end of their lives as comfortable and rewarding as possible. But there are still many common misconceptions about hospice. Nobody likes to dwell on the subject of death, so people are naturally reluctant to study what hospice care is until they are in need of hospice services.


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A smart way to curb senior loneliness

In this program, old and young people connect with one another

By Rachel Adelson for Next Avenue

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“Take two friendships and call me in the morning.”

That’s what Dr. Paul Tang, an internist and national expert on health care quality, would like to tell aging patients. He, and other doctors like him, view social engagement as a treatment for a very modern ill: loneliness.

Tang divides his time between Washington, D.C. (where he influences health care policy) and the David Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation (he’s the director). Tang has developed a cross-generational program meant to get people of all ages helping and connecting with one another. Called linkAges, the centerpiece of the program is a community-based service exchange in the form of a volunteer time bank. The service is being tested in California, with hopes that it’ll soon expand elsewhere.


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How to craft your memoir

Be sure to include experiences and feelings that make your life story meaningful

By Bart Astor for Next Avenue

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When I overheard my father reminiscing with his old Army buddy about how desperate they felt as kids having to do menial tasks to earn money that would help their families — even plucking chickens — I realized I hadn’t heard much about his emotional life growing up.

In fact, other than the few stories he told about his two brothers, he didn’t talk about his childhood. Over the years, I managed to collect facts and figures— where his mother and father were born, important dates and some highlights of his life. But I knew little of his family’s financial struggles during the Great Depression and almost nothing about his older brother’s death.


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Lighten up your favorite recipes of yesteryear

You don’t have to give up all the flavor if you use a “sliding scale of decadence”

By Joanna Pruess for Next Avenue

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Do you long to eat favorite foods from your youth without a side order of guilt? With creative tweaking, chocolaty brownies, creamy scalloped potatoes, hearty meatloaf, green bean-mushroom casserole with fried onions and other comfort foods can return from the list of no-nos. The key is determining which diet-wrecking ingredients you’re willing to compromise on and how much you’re willing to cut back on them. But the choices aren’t black or white: I think of them as existing on a sliding scale of decadence.

Leaving a little indulgence in foods helps us to eat better because we end up feeling more satisfied. Think about it: If your revisions are super-healthy but tasteless, you’ll probably do something at least twice as unhealthy later, like diving into a bag of chips or having a date with Ben & Jerry.


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What to know about money and work by 50, 60, 70

Master these skills for your finances and career when turning each age

By Liza Kaufman Hogan for Next Avenue

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Staying on track with your finances and career requires checking in every so often to be sure you’re meeting your goals and anticipating your needs at each life stage. Although you may have been saving for retirement and enjoying success at work for years, there are still some things to learn. You may have gaps in expertise you’d like to fill or may be ready to plunge into a new career.

Whatever your goals, here’s a checklist of basic money and career management knowledge it’s good to have by age 50, 60 and 70:


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Why your relationship needs forgiveness

Even for serious wrongs like infidelity, hanging on to anger hurts you, too

By Barb DePree, M.D. for Next Avenue

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By the time we reach midlife, we’ve experienced all kinds of things in our relationships, some good, some bad. It’s great to think back on the positive experiences once in a while, maybe even re-live them from time to time.

For the negative experiences, that’s not such a good idea.

And the more serious the situation, the harder it is to not think about it. Maybe you’ve had to deal with an infidelity or some other kind of betrayal by your partner. If so, its lingering effects may very well be interfering with your ability to fully embrace your partner in a healthy — and even in a literal — way.


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Your pet and your estate: No joke

If your pet isn’t in your estate plans, it’s time to remedy that

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

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Maybe you heard that Joan Rivers left a portion of her $150 million fortune to her four rescue pups, who are now living with her longtime assistant. Or that Lauren Bacall’s will said her dog, Sophie, would inherit $10,000 of her $26.6 million estate.

You might have even laughed when you heard the news.

But anyone who owns a pet or ever has understands exactly what Rivers and Bacall were doing — ensuring that their loved ones would be cared for after they were gone. As Rivers told The Daily Beast’s Tim Teeman in early September: “I’ve left money so the dogs can be taken care of.” (In my own family, the loss of our beloved miniature schnauzer, Chance, a few years ago, was one of the saddest days of our lives.)

If you’re a pet owner, you should follow the lead of Rivers and Bacall, no matter how big your estate will be.


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Walk to End Alzheimer’s returns

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“Celebration” is not a word used very often in connection with Alzheimer’s disease. But the atmosphere of the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s is undeniably celebratory, as people come together for the common purpose of supporting their loved ones, as well as research to find a cure.

For the first time in five years, the celebration will take place again in Farmington. The walk has taken place in Festus for that time. This year, it has evolved into two walks: one here and one in Arnold.

“We outgrew our home in Festus, and we also think by hosting it in Farmington, we’ll be able to grow it as a more regional event,” said Greg Scuito of the Alzheimer’s Association, who is chairperson of the local events.

The walk is Aug. 27 at Farmington High School. The overall goal for this event is to have 35 teams with more than 300 participants and to raise $25,000. Scuito said fundraising was already going very well. “I am supremely confident we will surpass that goal,” he said. “For a first-year event it’s a large task, but I’ve seen a lot of support in the community. We still need people to help spread the word.”

Nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place in more than 600 communities. It is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Scuito says it also helps to fight the stigma that can still exist around dementia and Alzheimer’s – and it’s a way to alleviate the isolation so common among caregivers.

“There’s really not a person I talk to in the community who doesn’t have a story to share about their connection to the disease,” he said. “That’s why organizations like Presbyterian Manor and our friends in the community are so important. They can help folks who are a little hesitant to come outside of their four walls to see the support they have.”

Scuito said he is always struck by the cheerful mood at the walk. “There isn’t a picture we take at the walk that isn’t filled with smiles. It can be a freeing experience.”

Fight Alzheimer’s with Presbyterian Manor

We’ve had many events over the summer to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association, including bake sales and a barbecue. We gave away baskets for Summer Fun and Back to School, and enjoyed special dinners, breakfasts and ice cream sundaes. It all leads to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Aug. 27. Please participate in the remaining events!

Aug. 9: Biscuits and Gravy, $2

Aug. 12: Jeans Day, donate a dollar and wear jeans, with all proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association

Aug. 22: Waffles and Sausage, $2

Farmington Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Saturday, Aug. 27, at Farmington High School, 1 Black Knight Drive

Registration: 8 a.m.

Ceremony: 9 a.m.

Walk at 9:30 a.m. Route is 1-mile or 3-miles.

Participation is free, but those who join a team and help raise funds receive a T-shirt. All ages and all abilities are welcome.

4 myths about brain health and how to stay sharp

What your doctor may not know, but you should

By Leslie Kernisan, MD for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

Want to stay mentally sharp for as long as possible?

I certainly do, and I’m guessing you do, too: an AARP survey found that 87 percent of respondents reported being very concerned about this issue.

And in April, a highly influential nonprofit released a new report whose recommendations represent the best available medical knowledge on how our brains change as we age and what we can do about this.


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