Search our Blog

Search our Blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

4 Ways to Make the Most out of Your CSA Conference Experience

Makeing the most out of yourCSA Conference Experience

In a little more than a month, CSAs from across the nation will gather in Washington D.C. for the 2016 CSA Conference. Attending a conference is a big investment. There are many costs including registration, travel, lodging, and time away from work.

There are also many profitable returns that can result from an investment in attending a professional conference. Over the past twenty-five years I’ve had the opportunity to attend, present at, sponsor, organize, and host many conferences for professionals in the aging space. These experiences have taught me four simple strategies that can help optimize return on your conference investment:

1. Show Up

The business of aging is a relationship-based business and success begins with showing up. It’s a great thing that technology enables CSAs to connect through social media and other remote communication platforms. That said, meaningful business relationships also require a “low tech, high connect” experience that results from meeting in person and spending time together.

2. Be Seen as a Leader

Your commitment to continuing education and professional development gains you access to trends and innovations in your field that can strengthen your brand as a specialist in aging.

Positioning yourself as a thought leader is important to business growth. When you attend the CSA Conference you have access to key influencers in aging including attendees, presenters, sponsors, and conference host staff. Contact in advance your colleagues who will also be in D.C. and make plans meet. Leveraging your conference attendance to strengthen existing business relationships can be as important and making new contacts.

3. Meaningful Engagement Matters

Sometimes more is more and sometimes a few meaningful connections can yield important results when you return home to your business.

Think beyond traditional networking business card exchanges as you meet new people. By doing your homework, you can identify in advance people associated with topics and innovations that are relevant to your business. Pay attention to the people around you in the education sessions you attend and introduce yourself to presenters and attendees who share your business interests.

4. Be Authentic

When you attend the CSA Conference you are visible as a committed business and aging leader. You have access to new and long-time colleagues. This is the ideal environment to be yourself and introduce your colleagues to the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you bring to the table.

You might learn at a reception or break that someone you have known for years has an innovative business solution that could lead to an important strategic partnership. Listen, be open to new ideas, meet and reconnect with people, and be yourself. It is at events like the CSA Conference where the business of aging gets done and I hope to see you in D.C. August 26-28.

Author - Khristine Rogers

- By Khristine Rogers

Khristine Rogers is a CSA, geronbiz pioneer, and the President at the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Seniors In Today’s Workforce: Realities And Possibilities

Seniors In Today’s Workforce

It’s part of the American dream to work until age 55 and then retire, perhaps to a beautiful tropical climate, with few of the cares or worries that come along with the daily grind. But these days, many seniors are going back to work after retiring from their full-time jobs, and those numbers are only climbing. According to the National Council on Aging, by the year 2019, 25% of the workforce will be over age 55. Just last year, it was estimated that workers aged 65 and older outnumbered teenagers in the workforce for the first time in almost 70 years!

However, there are negative aspects for seniors looking to get back to work, as well; research shows that after the economy began to sour in 2008, older adults had a harder time finding employment than others, taking 27 weeks or more to locate a new job after losing one. The result is that seniors in the job market are getting creative, using the sharing economy to earn extra money after retirement or even, as in the case of one man, for retirement.

Fifty-seven-year-old Scott Ullerich has utilized ride-sharing services due to his close proximity to a major airport, lending out his second car to renters in need of a vehicle. The service has afforded him enough extra money each month to put aside for his later-in-life needs.

"The sharing economy is my retirement plan. If I can figure out enough of these little side businesses, I can probably retire sooner rather than later.”
-Scott Ullerich

Similarly, companies like Uber give good drivers the opportunity to earn some extra money on their own schedule by creating their own taxi service. Users are attracted to the service because it’s tied to an app they can keep on their phone which shows how far away the nearest Uber car is, how long it will take to be picked up, and various payment options. For drivers, it’s an opportunity to make good money without being tied to a rigid schedule, and it’s an easy market to jump into. Although many of these newer ride-sharing services are associated with young people, seniors may have the upper hand; in 2010, 94% of adults aged 55 to 64 had driver’s licenses, a much higher number than in any other age group.

When many people think of a “job,” they imagine it to be in an office building, restaurant, construction site, or retail store. But the criteria that was popular for gainful employment 30 or even just 20 years ago has changed drastically, just as the landscape of the workforce has. These days, there are plenty of options for people of any age to work from home, set their own schedule, or incorporate their own routines into their jobs. One great example is, which pairs pet owners with responsible animal lovers for jobs like dog-walking or caregiving when the owner is out of town. In some instances, you may be able to find a client near you who will bring their pet to your home for a few days, allowing you to bond with a new friend and get paid for it. The owner can rest easy knowing their pet is in good hands — and isn’t sitting lonely in a kennel — and the site takes care of helping to arrange meet-ups as well as the financial end of things.

One of the major upsides of this type of work for seniors is that many don’t need full-time employment or benefits, having already secured Medicare or other benefits through their former jobs. It’s also a great way to stay active and to keep boredom and loneliness at bay, which can affect seniors who retire after years or decades with the same company.

Finding employment after retirement can be a daunting task to face, but many find there is a real need for at least part-time work to supplement benefits or social security. With people living longer, it’s no surprise that many can’t make their assets stretch the way they used to. While it can be time-consuming for an individual to find the right job to fit their lives and schedules, it is possible. Between the sharing economy and sites/blogs that can help anyone become an entrepreneur, finding a job that doesn’t require a boss or a restrictive schedule is easier than it’s ever been. Seniors should dive in knowledgeably, however, and know what their rights are where Social Security is concerned, as benefits can be decreased due to age of retirement.

-By Jim Vogel

Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support.


"6 Easy Ways Retirees Can Cash in on the Sharing Economy,"


"Drive with Uber: Earn money on your schedule,"

"Mature Workers Facts," National Council on Aging

"Your Next Uber Driver May Be a Retiree," CityLab

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pitcher, 70, Seeks Short Professional Play

Ed Menaker would like to show other older adults they can still be active but so far hasn’t found any willing teams so he can prove his point.

Ed Menaker last played professional baseball in 1968 but that hasn’t stopped the 70-year-old from trying to find a minor league team that will let him pitch for a single inning. That’s it. Just three outs. So far, no one seems to take him seriously.

It’s more than just wanting to reconnect with his younger self who once played for South Dakota’s minor league team, the Aberdeen Pheasants, the farm team for the Baltimore Orioles. Even then, at age 22, he was too old for the Orioles, who wanted players right out of high school.

Instead, Menaker, who lives in the Chicago area, went into journalism—first print and then TV. His search for assignments took him on a two-year backpacking trip all over the world, including Afghanistan, Cambodia and Laos. His journalism career culminated in a PBS documentary series on science adventure called “New Explorers,” which won him a Peabody Award. For CBS, he also produced a highly praised film on the black slave trade.

More recently, when he went to work for Terra Nova Films in Chicago, he wanted to focus on aging issues and inspire other seniors to stay active. He thought he could do this by pitching for a professional team, for just three outs, but, as he says, he hasn’t been able to make it to first base in that regard. He wonders if people don’t want to deal with older adults.

Recently, Menaker tried out for the Gary (Ind.) SouthShore RailCats independent minor league team, which has an open tryout. He surprised himself by doing very well. Even though he hadn’t pitched professionally for 50 years, he struck out two “young guys” and broke the bat of another. He enjoyed the camaraderie of being among fellow ballplayers, young men a third of his age who treated him like he was just another ballplayer. Still, no offers to play were forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ageism Inside My Head


I've spent 45 years working in the field of aging and I actually worked for Robert Butler, who invented the term "ageism." Naturally, I always thought I was immune from this disorder. I was wrong.

I woke up this morning having a dream. I dreamed that I was trying to get into medical school (at age 71!). I kept arguing with medical school officials, but they refused to take me: I was too old. During the night, I had other dreams and thoughts about the vanishing of the past. Was my dream a struggle against ageism or a sign of ageism in myself?

It turns out that today (July 6) is my wife's birthday. A coincidence? Another coincidence. When I woke up I looked out the window and saw, on the open space behind our house, a visitor: a mother deer and her young faun, coming up to our fence to give a greeting. Remembering our new (and first) granddaughter born just last week, I appreciated their greeting. Generations succeed each other, indeed.

Our opening keynote speaker for the Positive Aging Conference will be Ashton Applewhite, who I have never met in person. We've spoken by phone and I know her book, This Chair Rocks, a manifesto against ageism.

But where is ageism, actually? I remember that after I turned 65 I went to a movie theater and decided to get the senior discount. At the ticket window, I was reaching for my wallet (being "carded" again, just like at age 21!) when the clerk quickly said, "Oh no, you don't need that. You clearly qualify." I felt a pang of disappointment at her words. Wasn't I the immortal youth?

I was wrong about that, and wrong about ageism, too. It's inside my head.

I can hardly wait to meet Ashton Applewhite in person.

Author - H. Rick Moody

- By H. Rick Moody

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lodging Websites Offer Great Deals

Lodging Websites Reviewed

But be cautious when using these sites to make reservations; you could get stuck with a vacation rental you don’t want.

While the Internet has broadened your lodging choices, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Many lodging websites require advance payment, and cancellation policies can be strict, so you need to make sure your plans are definite. If you’re not sure of your plans, you can buy travel insurance, but it only covers certain situations (having to finish a work project or deal with a sick dog doesn’t qualify).

The sites present various choices, provide plenty of pictures from every angle (including the toilet) and make it easy to book. They have similar procedures for searching and reserving, although some offer more options than others.

This popular platform for individuals to rent out all or part of their home first asks for your desired location and dates. Next, it asks for your price range and if you prefer the entire home or a room. Additional filters include pool, wireless internet and how many bedrooms, bathrooms and beds you need. Based on your selections, the site shows options that meet your requirements. Often the places listed are not necessarily in the town you chose as your destination but in the general area, so be careful to note the location.

Each listing includes the owner’s description of the dwelling. One of the best features of travel websites is the reviews section, which provides additional, or even contradictory, information to the host’s description. For example, you can find details that the owner might not divulge, such as the advertised ocean view is only visible from a corner of the bathroom. Conversely, the review can validate the owner’s “cozy, charming and quiet” description. Be cautious if there is only one review. This could mean that the rental just opened (in which case it’s hard to tell if it’s a decent place) or that guests are declining to review it because of unpleasant experiences.

The owner might provide a general description of the location—close to downtown, the ski area or beach—but it’s wise to confirm the distance. What if you’re considering walking downtown, and it turns out to be a 5-mile drive? “Close” is a relative term. Or it might only be a 10-minute walk to the city core, but your lodging is on a busy, noisy street. You can use Google Maps to see exactly where the property is.

The host can choose from several Airbnb cancellation policies, ranging from flexible (full refund one day prior to arrival, except fees) to moderate (full refund five days prior to arrival, except fees), strict (50 percent refund up until one week prior to arrival, except fees) to super strict (50 percent refund up until 30 days prior to arrival, except fees) and beyond for long-term rentals.

Make sure you check the cleaning fee. What may seem like a great bargain can be less so when adding on a $200 cleaning fee. Sometimes, by changing your dates by a day or two, you can get a better deal (Sunday through Thursday will likely be cheaper than busy weekend dates).

This site lets you choose hotels and resorts and works similarly to Airbnb, with the addition of a star-rating system, based on previous reviews (which can number in the hundreds). Besides choosing the amount you want to spend, you can filter for the star-level rating (two to four), whether breakfast is included and your preference for a particular chain hotel.

When you choose a hotel, you’ll get a list of the room types (two double beds, one king bed, etc.) and whether there is a cancellation fee. Even though the large print might say “no cancellation fee,” the small print gives you a date by which to cancel without penalty. Hotels have different cancellation policies for different rooms. When reserving, you must provide a credit card number to “hold your booking.”

This website offers lodging options similar to those on (as well as flights and rental cars). However, Priceline’s claim to fame is its popular “Name Your Own Price” feature, in which you select where you want to stay and then propose a price. Priceline can cheaply sell airline seats, hotel rooms and cars that dealers don’t think they can. When booking a room, select the hotel star rating you’re seeking, name your price and enter your credit card number. Once you provide the information and click “Buy my hotel now,” the purchase automatically goes through, and only then do you find out where you’ll be staying. Your reservation is not refundable or changeable.
Priceline works particularly well when you’re booking at the last minute, and affordable options are few. You might not get the best place, but it’s better than paying through the nose.

Happy travel surfing!

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Famous & 65

Look Who’s Turning 65

July 6—Geoffrey Rush

Geoffrey Rush

The Australian actor is the youngest among the few people who have won the "Triple Crown of Acting": the Academy Award, the Primetime Emmy Award and the Tony Award. Born in Australia, Rush began his acting career with Queensland Theatre Company in 1971, appearing in 17 productions. In 2009, he made his Broadway debut in a restaging of Exit the King, for which Rush won several awards, including the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. In 2011, Rush played the lead in a theatrical adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's short story The Diary of a Madman and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award.

Rush made his film debut in the Australian film Hoodwink in 1981, and the following year was in Gillian Armstrong's Starstruck. In 1996, he made his breakthrough performance with Shine, winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in an Australian biographical drama film based on the life of pianist David Helfgott, who suffered a mental breakdown and spent years in institutions.

In 1998, Rush appeared in three major films: Les Miserables, Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love, for which he received his second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2000, he received his third Academy Award nomination, for Quills, in which he played the Marquis de Sade. Rush's career continued at a fast pace, with nine films released from 2001 to 2003, including the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

In the 2004 television film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Rush won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie, as well as other awards. In 2005, he starred in Steven Spielberg's Munich as a Mossad agent. In 2010, Rush played speech therapist Lionel Logue in The King's Speech, a part that earned him a BAFTA and nominations for the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actor.

July 8—Anjelica Huston

Anjelica Huston Photo Credit

An actress, director and former fashion model, Huston became the third generation of her family to win an Academy Award, joining her father, director John Huston, and grandfather, actor Walter Huston. Her first notable role was in Bob Rafelson's remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). Later, her father cast her as the daughter of a Mafia don whose love is scorned by a hit man (Jack Nicholson) in Prizzi's Honor (1985). Huston won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance, making her the first person in Academy Award history to win an Oscar when a parent and a grandparent had also won one.

Huston earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a con artist in Stephen Frears' The Grifters (1990). She also starred as the lead in her father's final directorial film, The Dead (1987). She was then cast as Morticia Addams, in the hugely successful 1991 movie adaptation of The Addams Family. In 1993, she reprised the role for the sequel Addams Family Values. Huston also starred in the 1998 Hollywood blockbuster Ever After: A Cinderella Story and in two Wes Anderson films, The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). In 2012, Huston portrayed a Broadway producer on the NBC television series Smash, and in 2015, appeared in two episodes of the second season of the Amazon Video series Transparent.

Huston has followed in her father's footsteps, directing Bastard Out of Carolina (1996), followed by Agnes Browne (1999), in which she both directed and starred, and then Riding the Bus with My Sister (2005). She was romantically involved with Nicholson from 1973 until 1990. Huston was married to sculptor Robert Graham from 1992 until his death on Dec. 27, 2008.

July 9—Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper photo credit David Shankbone

The film actor is best known for his supporting roles, including in the comedy-drama metafilm Adaptation (2002), for which he won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Born in Kansas City, he grew up as a self-described "blue-collar cowpoke." At the University of Missouri, he double-majored in agriculture and drama. After graduation, Cooper moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. His early performances included John Sayles' 1987 film Matewan and the 1989 CBS-TV Western miniseries Lonesome Dove.

Some of his more notable later performances include Money Train, as a psychotic pyromaniac who terrifies toll booth operators; Lone Star, in a rare leading role as a Texas sheriff charged with solving a decades-old case; in director Joel Schumacher's 1996 film A Time to Kill; in 1998's The Horse Whisperer; and in American Beauty, as a homophobic Marine Corps colonel, a role that garnered him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2003, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award playing the role of John Laroche in Adaptation. In 2002, Cooper appeared in The Bourne Identity as a ruthless CIA special ops director, a role he reprised in The Bourne Supremacy. Cooper received another Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his supporting role as racehorse trainer Tom Smith in 2003's Seabiscuit. In 2004, Cooper starred in Silver City, playing an inept Republican gubernatorial candidate.

In 2005, Cooper appeared in three acclaimed films: Jarhead, Capote and Syriana. In 2014, he portrayed Norman Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in an uncredited role. He will appear in Ben Affleck's crime drama Live by Night, scheduled for release in October 2017. Cooper resides in Kingston, Mass., with his wife, Marianne Leone Cooper, whom he married in 1983. After their son had cerebral palsy, they became strong advocates for exceptional children.

July 12—Cheryl Ladd

Photo credit John Haslam

The actress, singer and author is best known for her role as Kris Munroe in the ABC television series Charlie's Angels, replacing Farrah-Fawcett Majors. The popular 1976 to 1981 series followed the adventures of three women working in a private detective agency in Los Angeles. Born in South Dakota, Ladd initially came to Hollywood in 1970 to begin a career in music as a singing voice on Hanna-Barbera's Josie and the Pussycats animated series. She soon began to land non-singing roles in commercials and episodic television, including guest appearances on shows such as The Rookies, The Partridge Family and Happy Days. The Charlie's Angels series made her an overnight star, and Ladd guest-starred in musical-comedy variety series and specials, plus she released three albums, including a Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 single and a Gold record. In 2000, Ladd starred on Broadway in a revival of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun.

Following Charlie's Angels, Ladd starred in more than 30 made-for-television films, including as Grace Kelly and in Purple Hearts, Millennium and Poison Ivy. Ladd had the lead role in the television series One West Waikiki (1994–96), and made guest appearances in other TV shows. She’s published two books: the children's book The Adventures of Little Nettie Windship (1996) and Token Chick: A Woman’s Guide to Golfing With the Boys (2005).

July 24—Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter Wonder Woman Square

The actress, singer, songwriter and beauty pageant titleholder starred in the TV series Wonder Woman from 1975 to 1979. In 1978, Carter was voted "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" by the International Academy of Beauty and the British Press Organization. Carter started out by winning a local Arizona beauty contest and gained national attention in the United States by winning Miss World USA, representing Arizona. After taking acting classes at several New York acting schools, she made her first acting appearance on the 1974 police drama Nakia. She then began making appearances on such TV shows as Starsky and Hutch and Cos, and in several "B" movies.

Carter's acting career took off when she landed the starring role on Wonder Woman as the title character and her secret identity, Diana Prince. Carter's earnest performance endeared her to fans and critics, such that Carter continues to be closely identified with Wonder Woman. Credits since then include the title role in Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess (1983) and a variety of her own musical TV specials, including Lynda Carter's Special (1980) and Body and Soul (1984). Throughout the 1990s, Carter appeared in a string of television movies. In 2001, she was cast in the independent comedy feature Super Troopers as Vermont Governor Jessma, and played a washed-up, former beauty queen in The Creature of the Sunny Side Up Trailer Park (2004). Carter made her first appearance in a major feature film in numerous years in the big-screen remake of The Dukes of Hazzard (2005).

In 2005, Carter played "Mama Morton" in the West End London production of Chicago. In 2007, Carter toured the U.S. with her one-woman musical cabaret show, An Evening with Lynda Carter. In June 2009, her second album, At Last, was released and reached No. 10 on Billboard's Jazz Albums Chart. In June 2011, she released her third album, Crazy Little Things, Carter is married to Washington, D.C, attorney Robert A. Altman, and they have two children. They live in Potomac, Md.

Source: Wikipedia

FAMOUS & 65 is a featured article in the July 2016 Senior Spirit newsletter.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Friday, July 8, 2016

Save Money for Your Next Vacation

How to Save Money for Your Next Vacation

Use the internet to find the best prices for flying and lodging. Plus, your choices for where to stay feel almost endless.

Before the internet came along, you planned your vacation by visiting your favorite travel agent, who would recommend flights, hotels and places to see, and then make all the arrangements. All you had to do was follow the itinerary. These days, thanks to the internet, you can spend as much time as the trip itself researching flights, local transportation options, hotels and attractions. The wealth of choices found on travel websites can mean saving big bucks.

In addition, if you belong to organizations such as AAA or AARP, you may be able to find discounts for lodging, rental cars, restaurants, cruises and more.

Getting There

If driving, websites such as will give you gas prices along your route and plot them so you can adjust your travel accordingly.

If flying, an almost overwhelming number of independent websites, in addition to airlines’ sites, will provide flight prices, times and durations, as well as let you book your flight. You might start with some of the traditional sites such as Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak and Orbitz. Newer air travel websites include Routehappy, Hipmunk, Google Flights and Airfare Watch Dog. Each has strengths and weaknesses, as well as ease (or difficulty) in navigating, so doing a multi-layered search will help you zero in on the best deal for you.

If you’re not in a hurry, domestic train travel is often a less expensive way to travel. In Europe, however, it can be more expensive than local airlines. Plus, seniors can get a discount on Amtrak. For more information, see the Lifestyle article, “How to Make Travel Stress Free, Fun and Safe” in the July issue of Senior Spirit.

Most travel websites also provide rental-car booking options. Before you make a reservation, however, compare these prices to the companies’ own sites for the best deal. However, it can be cheaper and less stressful to get around big cities by mass transit (or even taxi or Uber) than to rent a car and navigate unfamiliar streets.

Places to Stay

Although chain hotels are ubiquitous, they might not always be the best deal, unless you have reward points. Many chain hotels cater to businesspeople and provide amenities, such as computers and printers, that you might not need or want if you’re on vacation. However, you can find deals if you call a chain hotel on the day you arrive and ask if they can offer you a lower price, dependent on whether the hotel has empty rooms they need to fill.

If you can’t afford big cities’ hotel prices, check outlying areas that are connected to the main tourist areas by mass transit. San Francisco, for example, has become an expensive place to stay, as well as live, but with its good mass transit system, you could stay in a town along its edge, and take the train to the city.

Several websites let you compare prices for lodging (and amenities):

  • One of the biggest sites for finding hotels and motels, has over 900,000 properties globally under contract and deals with more than 900,000 room reservations each day. In addition to listing the big chain hotels, also provides information on small, independently owned hotels.

  • The company lists over 325,000 hotels in approximately 19,000 locations. Its inventory includes hotels, bed-and-breakfasts (B&Bs), condos and other types of commercial lodging.

  • This website lets you name the price you’re willing to pay for a hotel in a place for the dates you choose. It finds a hotel that meets your requirements but doesn’t give you the name of the hotel until after you’ve booked.

Many travelers find that renting a house or condo, and cooking in, is less expensive than paying a hotel’s daily prices. Several websites provide rental homes’ general descriptions, prices, photos and reviews:

  • This business connects people wanting to rent their home (house, apartment or just a room) with those looking for something more intimate than a hotel or motel. It has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 191 countries.

  • This marketplace has more than 1,000,000 vacation rental listings in 190 countries. It offers a comprehensive selection of rentals for families and groups to find accommodations such as cabins, condos, castles, villas, barns and farmhouses.

  • Vacation Rentals by Owner connects homeowners with those who want to rent.

Where to Find Senior Travel Discounts

Retired Brains offers a list of businesses that offer discounts to seniors. Here are a few:

  • Alamo: up to 25% off for AARP members.

  • American Airlines: various discounts for 65 and up.

  • Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members.

  • Best Western: 10% off (55+).

  • Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+).

  • Clarion: 20%-30% off (60+).

  • Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+).

  • Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+).

  • Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+).

  • Econo Lodge: 20%-30% off (60+).

  • Hampton Inns & Suites: 10% off when booked 72 hours in advance.

  • Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members.

  • Holiday Inn: 10%-30% off, depending on location (62+).

  • Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+).

  • Marriott Hotels: 15% off (62+).

  • National Rent-a-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members.

  • Quality Inn: 20%-30% off (60+).

  • Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+).

  • Sleep Inn: 20%-30% off (60+).

  • United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

  • U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Other Lodging Options

In Europe, B&Bs are less expensive than hotels, and you have the advantage of being able to talk to a local and learn about their culture. Many B&B owners are only too happy to give you tips on where to go and what to see. On top of that, you get a good breakfast with which to start the day. is one place to start looking, although many B&Bs in Europe are owned by families renting out a few rooms and aren’t listed on websites.

You might think of hostels as noisy places meant only for young people, but not all hostels are equal. In fact, some provide more private accommodations these days. offers nearly 50,000 listings in about 9,000 cities, and includes reviews from professional and real travelers.

Perhaps the cheapest lodging option is swapping houses with someone who lives in the place you want to visit while they desire to visit your hometown. brings the two parties together, and has more than 55,000 listings—about one-quarter in the United States and the rest spread throughout Australia, Britain, Canada, France and Italy.

Generally, when reading homeowners’ descriptions of their rental properties, be skeptical. Does “10 minutes from beach” mean driving or walking? And is it the main beach or something else? How far is “close to town,” and which town? Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either through the website or by phone.

For more information on how these websites work, see Tech 101, “Lodging Websites Offer Great Deals” in this issue of Senior Spirit.

A non-electronic way to find the best places and amenities is to ask friends and family members who have traveled to the same destination for suggestions.


Before you head out for your vacation, research the attractions you want to visit. Museums and zoos often provide a free day once a month, and many places offer a cultural pass that will get you into several attractions for less than paying for them individually. Some attractions offer online deals for buying tickets ahead of time.

Many attractions—museums, historic parks and amusement parks—offer discounts for seniors. Always ask. The best bargain around for older adults is the National Park Service’s $10 card that gets you into any national park for free. Similarly, many state and county parks offer lower fees for seniors.

Restaurant dining can take a big bite out of your travel budget. Take advantage of complimentary breakfasts at hotels or at your B&B. Make one daily meal a picnic, stocking up at the local grocery store with easy to eat and carry portable foods such as cheese, crackers and fruit. You’ll probably pay extra to eat at famous tourist destinations, such as Times Square, so look around the block or elsewhere.

For those who are on gluten-free diets, check out the website (also available for your phone), which reviews dining options around the world It’s a good idea to pack some food in your suitcase in baggies for when you arrive until you can find gluten-free food.


Six Savings Secrets for Senior Travel,” Independent Traveler.

Thrifty 50 Travel Tips,” Rick Steve’s Europe.

How I Afford Travel,” Travel Paint Repeat.

8 Travel Tips That Save You Money,” July/August 2013, AARP Bulletin.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Most Effective Ways to Ease Constipation

Most Effective Ways to Ease Constipation

While most people turn to laxatives at the first sign of trouble, medical experts recommend you change your diet first.

If you’re like many older adults, your medicine cabinet is lined with various laxatives to ease constipation. Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems, affecting about 42 million people in the United States (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases). But doctors say laxatives should be a measure of last resort, not least because people can become overly dependent on them and they lose their effectiveness.

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease, and it differs for each person. There is no right number of daily or weekly bowel movements. For some, “being regular” can mean bowel movements twice a day. For others, having movements three times a week is normal. To determine if you suffer from constipation, ask yourself these questions (from the National Institute on Aging):

  • Do you often have fewer than three bowel movements a week?

  • Do you usually have a difficult time passing stools?

  • Are stools often lumpy or hard?

  • Do feel blocked or as if you haven’t fully emptied your bowels?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a constipation problem. Otherwise, you probably don’t.

The elderly are five times more likely than younger adults to develop problems related to constipation, according to the California State University-San Marcos Medical News. The reasons include:

Poor diet. Many older adults, especially those who are single, rely on convenience foods that tend to be low in fiber. Tooth loss may also make eating regular meals difficult. Many older adults thus choose soft, processed foods that lack roughage.

Inadequate fluids. Because many older adults suffer from urinary and stress incontinence, they often try to avoid urinating. Therefore, they may not drink enough liquid. In addition, if elderly people do not eat regular or balanced meals, they may not be getting enough fluids in their diet.

Lack of exercise. Inactivity or long periods in bed due to illness or following surgery may cause constipation.

Medications. Prescription drugs may lead to constipation. Common culprits include antidepressants, antacids containing aluminum or calcium, antihistamines, diuretics, painkillers and anti-Parkinson drugs.

How to Treat Constipation

While many people grab a laxative or suppository at the first sign of constipation, medical experts say that you should first change your diet and get more exercise.

The National Institute on Aging suggests that you:

  • Add fiber to your diet by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, either cooked or raw, and more whole-grain cereals and breads. Dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes and figs, are high in fiber. Avoid eating a lot of high-fat meats, dairy products and eggs, or rich desserts and sugary sweets, all of which may cause constipation.

  • Add a small amount of bran to baked goods, cereal and fruit if your diet does not include natural fiber. This may cause some bloating and gas in the beginning. Make diet changes slowly to allow your system to adapt. Look for high-fiber products such as psyllium seed in the grocery store.

  • Drink plenty of water and juice. The intestines absorb fluid, and people who don't drink adequate amounts of water may not pass enough water into the colon to keep their stools soft. Most experts recommend six to eight glasses of water daily. Minimize milk and milk products if these prove constipating.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Beer, wine, liquor, coffee, tea and cola drinks increase urination, which leads to (relative) dehydration because of an increase in the intestine’s water absorption. This can lead to constipation when the stool does not retain enough fluid. In general, it is a good idea to have an extra glass of water for every cup of coffee, tea or alcoholic drink.

  • Stay active. Even brisk walking may help stimulate bowel motility.

  • Maintain regular bowel habits. Set aside time before or after breakfast to use the toilet. During the rest of the day, don’t ignore nature’s call, because that can lead to constipation.

Help from Medications

If drinking more liquids and eating more fiber doesn’t work, you may have to turn to supplements and medications to ease the situation.

If you can’t get enough fiber in your diet from foods, add a fiber supplement such as psyllium (Metamucil) and methylcellulose (Citrucel). In general, these fiber supplements are safe and effective if taken with sufficient water. They are not laxatives and must be taken regularly (whether you are constipated or not) in order for them to help you avoid future constipation. Start with one daily dosage, increase to twice daily after a week and then to three times daily after another week.

If this doesn’t work, doctors may suggest laxatives on a short-term basis. The Mayo Clinic lists the most common over-the-counter laxatives:

Drugs Target Constipation Caused by Painkillers

For adults who take painkillers such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone and methadone (brand names Kadian, Avinza, OxyContin, Percodan, Darvon, Demerol, Vicodin, Percocet and Lomotil), easing constipation can be difficult. Although patients taking opioids can experience a variety of gastrointestinal complaints, constipation is the most common, debilitating side effect of this drug therapy.

While doctors urge lifestyle changes, they might not be enough to combat what is referred to as opioid-induced constipation (OIC), which is unlikely to respond to increased dietary fiber, fluid intake or physical activity levels. To prevent OIC, doctors suggest scheduled laxative regimens. The most commonly used laxatives to treat OIC are stimulant laxatives (such as brands Ex-Lax Senokot and Dulcolax), which stimulate the lining of the intestine. Prescription medications specifically made to fight OIC include Amitiza, Relistor and Movantik. Your doctor can help find a regimen and drug that is best for you.


Treatment for OIC,” Medical News Today

Managing Opioid- Induced Constipation,” Sept. 15, 2009, Pharmacy Times

  • Oral osmotic (brand names Milk of Magnesia and Miralax): They draw water into the colon from surrounding body tissues to allow easier stool passage. Side effects include bloating, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, gas and increased thirst.

  • Oral bulk formers (Benefiber, Citrucel, FiberCon, Metamucil). These absorb water to form soft, bulky stool, prompting normal contraction of intestinal muscles. Side effects include bloating, gas, cramping or increased constipation if not taken with enough water.

  • Oral stool softeners (Colace, Surfak): These add moisture to stool to allow strain-free bowel movements. Side effects include electrolyte imbalance with prolonged use.

  • Oral stimulants (Dulcolax, Senokot): They trigger contractions of intestinal muscles to eliminate stool. Side effects include belching, cramping, diarrhea, nausea and urine discoloration.

  • Rectal stimulants (Bisacodyl, Pedia-Lax, Dulcolax): These trigger rhythmic contractions of intestinal muscles to eliminate stool. Side effects include rectal irritation, stomach discomfort and cramping.

One problem with oral laxatives is that they can interfere with your body's absorption of some medications and nutrients. They can interact with blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), some antibiotics and certain heart and bone medications.

In January 2014, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that exceeding one dosage of sodium phosphate (such as laxatives Phospho-Soda and Fleet enema) is potentially associated with serious side effects, such as dehydration and/or abnormal levels of electrolytes in the blood. These side effects can lead to serious complications, such as kidney damage and sometimes death. The agency recommends taking no more than a single dosage of the laxative once a day and to not use the product for more than three days. Patients older than 55 are at higher risk.


Concerned About Constipation?” National Institute on Aging.

Constipation in the Elderly,” California State University-San Marcos, Medical News.

Safely Using Laxatives for Constipation,” WebMD.

Constipation,” Mayo Clinic.

Use Certain Laxatives with Caution,” Food and Drug Administration.

Over-the-counter laxatives for constipation: Use with caution,” Mayo Clinic.

Constipation in Adults,” emedicinehealth.

Definition and Facts for Constipation,” National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Friday, July 1, 2016

How to Make Travel Stress Free, Fun and Safe

How to Make Travel Stress Free, Fun and Safe

Trains offer a more relaxing trip, but you can make flying easier by planning ahead and packing lightly.

While travel can be exciting, fulfilling and life-enhancing, it can also become more problematic as we age. Even though we may have more time and money, we may also have more ailments, medications, physical limitations and fearfulness—and less tolerance, stamina and patience for travel’s expanding challenges and frustrations. These days, just getting through the airport to the plane can be the worst part of any trip—not to mention increasingly cramped, claustrophobic planes with disappearing service and rapidly growing fees for formerly free amenities.

Older adults who have physical issues can find navigating the long airport walkways, trains, escalators and crowds daunting. Fortunately, the Air Carrier Access Act and Department of Transportation requires accessibility and assistance with boarding, deplaning, in-flight needs and making connections. If you need help with any of those tasks, contact your airline at least 48 hours in advance for special travel needs.

But how can we make getting to our destination more pleasant and less painful? Various experts offer helpful advice:

Take the Train!

For those with the time and money, train travel avoids much of the vexation, indignity and stress of airports and air travel. Avoid hassles with security lines, the Transportation Security Administration(TSA) and having your toothpaste, wine bottle or Swiss Army knife confiscated.“All aboard!” means just step on the train with help from the porter, who also stows your luggage.

Trains put leisure and enjoyment back into travel and can be the highlight of your trip. Relaxing in a comfortable observation or dining car, sipping a drink, enjoying a meal or watching the scenery stream past . . . well, “. . .nothing can be finer,” as the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” song goes. Western U.S. and Canada, particularly, afford some of the best scenery. In contrast to the airlines’ shrinking seats and space, trains allow you to stretch out,stroll the cars, meet new people, have a civilized meal, take a shower or nap and sleep overnight in a private “roomette.” Trains even have free Wi-Fi.

Amtrak travelers 62 years of age and over can get a 15 percent discount on the lowest available rail fare on most Amtrak trains. On cross-border services operated jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada, a 10 percent senior discount is available.

Amtrak also offers credit cards similar to airline mileage credit cards with award-travel points. Seasoned rail traveler and train aficionado Curt Fettinger of Seattle spends his vacations riding Amtrak coast to coast and remarks on the conviviality of longer train trips: “This little community spontaneously forms—this little town going across the country.” Cunard cruise line’s former slogan, “Getting there is half the fun,” can again become a reality.

Tips for Flying

If flying is the best choice, here’s how to ease the process.

  • Book well in advance for better airfares.

  • Prepare for the security check and review TSA rules. Limit liquids and gels to 3.4-ounce containers in a quart-sized plastic bag. Medications are exempt from this rule and can be placed in a separate labeled bag.

  • Pack valuables (camera, jewelry, electronics) and medications in your carry-on bag. Also include a change of clothes, underwear and a toothbrush (in case of lost checked luggage).

  • Use a wheeled carry-on, preferably a more maneuverable spinner with four wheels, which can roll sideways down narrow aircraft aisles. Plus, it’s more stable when standing alone.

  • Check baggage to avoid having to lug it through the airport and lift onto the overhead compartments.

  • Stow laptops in your carry-on bag for easy removal during the security inspection. Sometimes TSA officials will ask you to turn on your computer, so make sure batteries are charged.

To get through the airport faster, you can apply for the TSA’s expedited security screening program, which means passengers considered low risk do not have to remove their shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops or 3-1-1 liquids. The program, which generally translates to shorter and faster lines, is available at more than 160 airports with 16 participating airlines. The $85 fee is well worth it if you travel frequently.

What to Pack

Pack light to avoid lugging large, heavy bags. Plan on laundering your clothes rather than bringing many changes of clothing. To make navigating the airport easier, bring stackable bags, such as a smaller bag that can sit atop a larger wheeled bag. Most airlines allow one carry-on suitcase and a personal item such as a handbag, briefcase or backpack that will fit under the seat.

Bring all medications needed for the trip because it can be difficult or time-consuming to fill prescriptions at your destination. Ditto for vitamins and supplements. However, if you must refill prescriptions abroad, ask your doctor for a list of generic names of your medications rather than brand names, because drugs often have different names in other countries. Make sure you carry your prescription with you too. Bring extra hearing-aid batteries and a spare pair of glasses. A magnifying glass and small flashlight help with small-print schedules, intricate maps and menus in dark restaurants.

Smartphone owners can install a free magnifying light app and use the GPS or Google Maps to find your way around.You can use your phone’s calculator, or pack one, to convert foreign exchange rates. Also, bring a small notebook to keep track of hotel room numbers, train/bus schedules or museum hours.

Consider Insurance

For seniors with health issues, travel insurance can avert possible medical and/or financial disaster. Read the fine print for evacuation coverage, which can be extremely costly if a severe illness prevents you from flying commercially. Medical transportation is not a paid expense from insurance carriers. Companies such as Emergency Assistance Plus, which is affiliated with United Airlines, will provide medical evacuation and other such emergency transportation for a small membership fee per year (call toll-free 855-516-4341). Travel insurance covers lost luggage, delayed or canceled flights, layover hotels and meals, and last-minute trip cancellations for certain situations. Allianz and Travel Guard are reputable companies, and some credit cards provide travel coverage.

Although Medicare has no foreign travel coverage, some Medicare supplemental insurance policies provide a foreign travel benefit designed to pay for medical expenses until you can get back home.

When to Go

To avoid the crowds, travel during the “shoulder season,” which is April through mid-June or September and October, especially in popular European destinations.

Safety Tips

Former flight attendant Wendy Sue Knecht offers expert tips for traveling abroad. For example, don’t chew gum or spit on the sidewalk in Singapore (there’s a $700 fine!), don’t have open alcoholic containers in public areas in Canada (it’s illegal) and don’t eat while you’re walking on the streets in France or Japan (it’s considered rude). Knecht penned her experiences in her book, Life, Love, and a Hijacking. In a Next Avenue article, she advises:

  • Blend in. Wear inconspicuous, logo-free clothing that won’t label you a foreigner or show disrespect for the country’s culture. Research what’s appropriate for your destination. For instance, in Muslim countries, modest clothing is a must.

  • Store copies of your passport in your pocket, suitcase and carry-on bag—not in your wallet, in case it’s stolen. Include a list of any medical conditions, such as diabetes.

  • Bring a minimal number of credit cards, and call your credit card company before the trip to alert them of your travel plans. Never store a wallet in your back pocket, where pickpockets have easy access. Use a money belt or neck holder inside of clothing. Carry handbags with straps across the body, rather than dangling on the shoulder.

  • Speak quietly in public so as not to draw attention, and discreetly ask directions, preferably to a shop owner or your hotel’s concierge.

  • Never go anywhere with strangers who offer to be a tour guide. Don’t ride in gypsy cabs.

  • Buddy up, especially if traveling alone. Sit next to other people and pretend you’re with them. Sit near aisles and doors in crowded spaces like subways or trains.

  • Trust your instincts; if something doesn’t feel right, leave. Report anything suspicious to local police.

  • Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t talk on your cell phone while walking and don’t get distracted. Thieves look for distracted people as easy targets.

  • Register for STEP—Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This free service from the U.S. State Department provides alerts (on your smartphone) from the U.S. Embassy about emergencies or natural disasters and can help if your passport is lost or stolen. It provides safety information for your destination and any pertinent warnings.

Also, bring along a contact list of family or friends in case something does happen to you. In an emergency, names and phone numbers can be helpful—and necessary—if medical information is needed.

Where to Go

AARP recommends 10 top international travel destinations for 2016:

Where to Go in the U.S.

For travelers on a budget, senior travel expert Nancy Parode in About Travel recommends seven U.S. destinations:

  1. Las Vegas, Nev.: bargain food and accommodations, elaborate hotels, people-watching, casinos, extravagant sights and sounds of the Strip, plus the free Fountains of Bellagio light, music and water show.

  2. Branson, Mo.: shows, shopping, golf, museums, concerts, comedy clubs and festivals such as the Branson Elvis Festival each July or the Old Time Christmas Festival from November through January.

  3. Washington, D.C.: free major museums, monuments, memorials, easy public transportation.

  4. Baltimore, Md.: Inner Harbor, historic ships, shops, museums, restaurants, National Aquarium.

  5. New Orleans, La.: culinary delights, French Quarter, plantations, National World War II Museum.

  6. Orlando, Fla.: Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, 300-plus lakes, springs, rivers, beaches.

  7. Philadelphia, Pa.: Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, top museums, restaurants, New Year’s Day Mummer’s Parade, Cherry Blossom Festival, world’s largest flower show.

  1. Stratford-Upon-Avon, England: bucolic birthplace of Shakespeare, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, British ambience.

  2. Rio de Janeiro: Copacabana Beach, samba music,Carnival in February.

  3. Cuba: colonial splendor, vintage American cars, mountains, beaches, music, cuisine.

  4. Republic of Botswana: safaris with lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo.

  5. Wroclaw, Poland (no, not Warsaw): named 2016 European Capital of Culture; medieval, baroque and gothic architecture; museums; magnificent market square.

  6. Cuenca, Ecuador: colorful colonial town with cobblestone streets, fountains and plazas;named best place to retire in 2015 by International Living magazine.

  7. Singapore: vibrant, multicultural island nation, dragon dances, shopping, sanitary street food,fabulous hotels.

  8. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: Hollywood playground, whale watching, deep-sea fishing, desert tours.

  9. Baltic States: pedestrian-friendly old towns in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; medieval architecture; museums; local color.

  10. Martinique: lush Caribbean island, Josephine Bonaparte’s birthplace, French/Creole cuisine,Mt. Peleevolcano, white-sand beaches, boutique hotels, plantation guest houses.

For top U.S. budget travel, see the sidebar.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors