Search our Blog

Search our Blog

Friday, February 17, 2017

In My Eleventh Hour: “I Wish I’d Had More Courage”

hospice - 11th hour courage

"No one has looked back sadly on a life full of experiences, but many look back wishing they had had the courage to do more." - Anonymous

During a patient’s final hours in hospice care, commonly referred to as the “eleventh hour,” I’ve witnessed over my five years as a volunteer a variety of outcomes to the final defining moment: dying.

This is the moment in our lives that requires the most courage—the surrender and the acceptance of one’s life. When family and friends come to the care center to be with their loved one, it’s a blessing. But for the patient, it is too late for words or actions that provide comfort or healing.

Connecting twenty years of original courage research with my hospice volunteerism, I observed that patients often had not summoned the courage to do something they really wanted to do in life, or they sadly didn’t make time to just “be” instead of being in a constant state of doing. One senior said to me, “I may be retired, but I do keep a very busy calendar. I seem to never have time for just me!” But what about this word courage? How does courage apply to seniors?

Embrace Your Courage Now!

First it’s important to know the etymology of the word. The word courage comes from the French word corage, meaning “heart and spirit.” So courage is really about acting from our heart and spirit, from the center of our being, which is the true identity hidden beneath the false self of the ego. Tapping into our courage enables us to stand in our true Selves, our solid core long before our time to enter our eleventh hour. Although courage was one of the four cardinal virtues in classical literature, it has diminished in importance in these postmodern times as most people equate this important virtue with acts of bravado in the face of fear.

Sadly, by limiting the idea of courage in this way, we fail to acknowledge the courage in stopping to smell the roses, asking for what we want, pursuing “spiritual courage”, learning to say “no” and overcoming courage killers such as complacency, complaining and cynicism.

Courage manifests itself when we embark on a journey that is in line with our heart and spirit. When we apply this original definition to our lives, we feel more empowered to display discernment and better able to respond to the inherent energy of courage. In this way we design not only a good life, but also a “good death.” A person transitioning in a good death is not agitated or resistant to the circumstance.

So what actions can a senior take right now so the phrase “I wish I’d had more courage…” is not a part of the final journey. Listed below are just five principles:

1) I wish I’d had the courage to realize how important it was to stay in touch with family and friends.

Seniors make choices about how they are going to spend their lives and who they are going to share their lives with, keeping busy until it may be too late. Rushing through life, they rarely see that complacency filled with excuses and justifications seeped into their spirits and drained their precious reservoir of courage. At 60 years of age we may eventually see that the people we called our friends have now passed away.

Once our time to pass on has come, the opportunity to live more fully, call a dear friend or practice gratitude for the people in our lives has closed. An eleventh hour patient's chance to express forgiveness or share inner feelings has permanently disappeared — time has run out. The window of opportunity to change the storyline has evaporated.

With these emotions lingering in their spirits, I’ve wondered why many eleventh hour patients are so restless and seem to have a busy mind during their final transition. One hospice nurse shared with me that in her seven years of caring for the dying she assessed that 50% of her patients were agitated during this final phase. Sometimes referred to as “unfinished business,” complacency in life kept these patients from claiming their courage and ultimately, courageously accepting the end.

2) I wish I’d had the courage to live my life expressing more of my true self, not the life where I sometimes sold my soul to accommodate others.

Before a senior reaches the eleventh hour, the hospice patient tends to reflect on their journey and often express regrets to loved ones. This is a form of confessing, and confessing is one of twelve cousins to courage. “Shoulda”, “coulda”, “wouldas” are generally attached to regrets such as “I wish I’d spent more time with my kids, “I wish I’d not been so afraid to travel,” “I wish I’d finished college” or “Sorry I never told you…” One time I sat with a man as he passed. Shortly thereafter, his daughter arrived and she shared with me that before her father deteriorated to the eleventh hour stage and was no longer able to talk he had looked up at her and said, “Honey, I have no regrets.” Sadly, that’s not the case for many people as they reflect on their life’s journey.

It’s never too late for a senior to ask: “Am I living in my true self?” When my time comes to pass will I be filled with self-doubts or happiness? Self-doubts are one of twelve courage obstacles. Self-doubts represent the times in our lives when we allowed fearful insecurities to undermine the courageous choices that were available. Recognizing these forms of lost courage, the task then is to cultivate courage and trust that going for it is better than dying without it. Courage is a journey from the head to the heart, outside of emotion. We have to have the courage to ask ourselves: what percentage of my life right now is filled with regrets?

3) I wish I’d had the courage to take time out of my busy schedule to enjoy and appreciate the precious phases of life.

My yoga teacher lovingly preaches that the habitual response “I am so busy!” has become our culture’s new mantra. Even seniors work very hard trying to fill up every moment of doing without stopping, and in that whirlwind, they’ve probably sold their soul. Call it what you want, but we all know the feeling.

Spiritual Courage

The spiritual journey requires being in the present. It is a trust in faith that propels you to continue growing. You become a “witness” to your attachments to results and learn to self-correct. You surrender your ego to a higher level of courage consciousness, and you begin to exist in a place “where courage meets grace.” As all this happens, humility steps in to replace arrogance and righteousness. The sacred within awakens. When this occurs, you are differently focused, reflective and have a heightened self-awareness.

Embracing some form of stopping or contemplative practice can help initiate this transformative process. Doing sacred reading, chanting, practicing Tai Chi, hiking, or taking a silent retreat are all examples of contemplative practice, moving us beyond actions, words and thoughts and into the inner silence of our hearts — the place where courage resides. Other priceless facets of self-care include enjoying a cup of tea, going for a walk, taking a scenic drive or quiet time with friends. The stillness found in peace provides maturity to our inner experience and accelerates “spiritual courage (see sidebar).” This is a simple lifestyle choice that requires courage consciousness.

4) I wish I’d had the courage to live a life that demonstrated all of my passion and potential.

Our lives on Earth are short, and there’s only one chance to live fully. Living in courage consciousness is a choice and this choice requires action. We decide if we will give ourselves permission to claim and apply our courage. Starting right now, we decide if we will make courage our daily legacy. Do your life’s priorities need to be reviewed and reconsidered (or re-prioritized)?

Erma Bombeck’s quote says it all: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say: ‘I used everything you gave me’.”

5) I wish I’d had the courage to dispel my fears and listen more closely to the promptings of my heart and spirit.

Regardless of a seniors’ age, underlying all fears is the primitive and intuitive fear of death itself. Learning to stay courage-centered in the present may not banish fear or the self-blame it spawns, but it will at least begin to diminish the tendencies that keep us stuck in fear. Fear blocks and paralyzes the heart and ultimately, fear blocks courage.

By delving into the heart and spirit of our true identity, seniors begin to recognize our innate courageous will as well as the ego’s insidious control mechanisms, which capitalize on fear and insecurity such as with dying. As we recognize the fears that the ego uses to justify its self-importance, we undermine the ego’s power to dominate our lives and we begin to manifest our true identity; hence, we must begin to recognize that fear is a manmade creation. The dualistic concept of fear versus courage keeps us stuck within the mental limitations of ego.

When seniors claim their everyday courage, they begin to experience the truth that heart and spirit transcend the duality of the mind, and recognize that fear is simply an illusion used by the ego to maintain its position of control. This recognition dissolves fear, allowing love to fill our hearts. This is the experience of “dying to self.”

How will you live today so as not to have any misgivings in your eleventh hour?

Author - Sandra Ford Walston

- Sandra Ford Walston

For more than 20 years, Sandra has engaged audiences from Vancouver to Mexico. She is the award-winning author of COURAGE and two other books on courageous leadership.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Who, What, When, Where & Why of a Senior Move

Who, What, When, Where & Why of a Senior Move

People move for all sorts of reasons. There are job changes, downsizing and upsizing. But if you are a senior considering a move, here are some important considerations to think about before making a decision.


This is likely the top consideration. Why are you thinking about moving? The answer will probably dictate your response to some of the other questions that arise.

Does your current residence have challenges, such as too many stairs, too much space or too much maintenance? Are you facing budget issues or do you just want a change of scenery?


Your "where" might be a short distance away or across the country. Now is a good time to be open to other locations or types of housing.

Consider your future needs, as well as your current lifestyle. Think about proximity to family, as well as transportation and access to services. If you are moving across the country, investigate the location of services before deciding on your new neighborhood.


Now is the time to consider the type of home that will satisfy your needs and wants. Be sure to think about your "why" so that your new home solves a challenge or fulfills a dream.

If your move is due to physical limitations, there are many choices to consider. Perhaps you just need to be closer to friends or family who can drop in occasionally. Many seniors continue to live in single family homes with periodic assistance coming in.

If more frequent or professional assistance is required, there are a growing number of senior communities that provide limited to full-blown help, including transportation, meals and medical care.


Your “why” will probably determine your “when.” If you are thinking about moving to a new senior community that is being built, now is the time to investigate availability and possible move-in dates. Or you may need to act quickly to solve a challenge with finances or living arrangements that do not work any more.


Do not feel alone. Family, friends and professionals can be at your disposal.

Professionals, who deal with these types of moves on a daily basis, can provide helpful advice (some at no charge). They can help you with everything from the overall decision to making a move, to helping you decide what works best for you, to choosing a retirement community. Trusted advisers can help with financial decisions.

Experienced real estate agents who specialize in working with seniors can help with real estate sales or purchase decisions. They can provide data and other important information so you can make an educated decision about owning real estate or cashing out on a home you already own.

Author -  Linda Alexander

- By Linda Alexander

Linda Alexander is a former Certified Public Accountant who has been listing and selling real estate in Colorado since 1993. She now puts her years of expertise to good use, helping seniors and their families as they transition to a smaller home or retirement community, or move out of state to be closer to children. If you have questions or comments, she can be reached at 303.475.3078 or

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Stay Connected Through Technology

How Seniors Can Stay Connected Through Technology

Seniors lag behind the rest of the population in using the Internet and social media, but there are many benefits of going online.

Robert Boyd of San Francisco didn’t know much about the Internet when a tourist from Australia approached him several years ago and asked if she could post his photo on her Facebook account. Curious about Facebook and the Internet, he soon started visiting San Francisco’s Community Technology Network (CTN) at the Downtown Senior Center.

After he learned the basics, the fashion enthusiast started posting daily photos of himself on Facebook and Twitter. He now hosts a talk show on YouTube and makes guest appearances on other fashion programs. Like many other seniors, Boyd is discovering how to connect to a larger world than the one he knows in his neighborhood.

The CTN serves 25 senior centers throughout San Francisco, where visitors use computers to watch videos, answer email, research medical information, hear music and keep up with their friends on Facebook. It’s part of a larger movement to get older adults online.

Though seniors have been slow to take advantage of the Internet, and social media in particular, the numbers are increasing. In 2014, the Pew Research Center reported that 59 percent of those 65 and up said they go online, a 6 percentage point increase from the previous year. Forty-seven percent said they had a high-speed broadband connection at home, and 77 percent have a cell phone, up from 69 percent in April 2012.

Despite these gains, many seniors don’t participate in the online world. Forty-one percent do not use the Internet at all, 53 percent do not have broadband access at home and 23 percent don’t use cell phones. The figures are worse for older adults 75-79, with only 47 percent using the Internet and 34 percent having a broadband connection.

Yet, being part of the technological world has many benefits for seniors. A Stanford study found that “using tech to connect with loved ones was related to higher life satisfaction, lower loneliness and general attainment of meaningful goals—being happy, independent,” said researcher Tamara Sims of the Stanford Center on Longevity (quoted in Silicon Valley).

The research team surveyed 445 people between the ages of 80 and 93, asking the reasons for using cell phones, personal computers, video streaming services and other digital tools. Despite the Pew figures, most of the adults over 80 said they used at least one technological device regularly, which they said improved their physical and mental well-being.

Research is increasingly showing that staying socially engaged keeps people healthy. For older adults, social engagement can be more difficult after retirement when we no longer have our main social structure. As we age, we lose spouses and friends, and bad weather or physical problems can keep us inside, reinforcing the isolation. Surveys show that one-quarter of seniors live alone.

That’s why technology can be valuable. With video chat services like Skype or FaceTime, you don’t have to leave your home to have a face-to-face conversation with a friend or family member. On Facebook, you can find old friends and make new ones through mutual interests—whether it’s the Civil War, genealogy or Charles Dickens’ novels.

On Facebook or Flickr, your friends or family can share photos of their vacation on a daily basis, so you almost feel as if you are traveling with them. On Facebook or YouTube, you can watch videos of your grandson enjoying his birthday and laugh while he stuffs his mouth with cake.

Sitting at your desk at home, you can use your computer or Nintendo Wii to play various games, either by yourself or with others. On Twitter, you can follow your favorite politician or movie star and create conversations with others.

Where to Find Help

In its survey, the Pew Center found that a significant majority of older adults said they need assistance when it comes to using new digital devices. Among seniors who go online but don’t use social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, 56 percent said they would need assistance if they wanted to use these sites to connect with friends or family members.

Fortunately, there are a lot of resources. Senior centers, libraries, schools and community centers offer beginning courses on using different media. And don’t be afraid to ask your grandchild or younger neighbor for some help.

Eldercare Locator’s “Staying Connected: Technology Options for Older Adults” guide offers basic information about Facebook, email, texting, YouTube, Twitter, Skype and other technological tools.

Many senior living facilities also offer classes as well as computer rooms, where you can ask the person sitting next to you how the heck you send a message on Facebook.


Elders who use tech tools feel less lonely, more physically fit, Stanford study finds,” Nov. 29, 2016, Silicon Valley.

5 Benefits of Technology to Share with Seniors and Their Caregivers” Caregiver Stress.

5 Benefits of Social Media for Seniors – Let’s Help Them Get Online,” Senior Care Corner.

Older Adults and Technology Use,” April 3, 2014, Pew Research Center.

5 Ways Technology Can Benefit Your Grandparents,” Huffington Post.

Computer Skills Give Senior Fashion Icon Whole New Audience,” Jan. 24, 2017 SF Connected.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Watch Out for Tax Identity Fraud

Tax Identity Fraud: How To Avoid Tax Scams

It’s the time of year when scammers try to steal your personal information—and your tax refund.

As tax season starts, the IRS is warning people about a scam that has caused $2 billion in annual losses for the U.S. Treasury. Stolen-identity refund fraud occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return seeking a refund. Most people don’t discover this until they file their tax returns electronically and find that someone has already filed under their name and Social Security number.

You may be a victim if:

  • You discover that more than one tax return was filed using your SSN.

  • You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection agencies take action against you for a year you did not file a tax return.

  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, the IRS warns that you must continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper. If you know that someone has stolen your identity, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends these steps:

  • File a complaint with the FTC at

  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on your credit records:

  • Contact your financial institutions and close any financial or credit accounts that you did not give permission to open or that identity thieves tampered with.


Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft,” IRS.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Monday, February 6, 2017

Meditate Your Way to Health and Happiness

Meditation for Older Adults Health

Benefits include stress reduction, slower aging, less loneliness and more happiness.

In our speedy, modern world, an increasing number of people are turning to a 5,000-year-old method to relieve stress and calm their minds. Everyone from actors to politicians are embracing meditation, and everything from corporations to senior living facilities are offering meditation classes. This mind and body practice has a long history of increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.

Modern science is starting to verify some of meditation’s benefits. While some research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure; symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression; and insomnia, evidence of its effectiveness for other ailments, such as pain, is uncertain. The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) catalogs research done on meditation for various ailments.

Extensive evidence supports meditation’s effectiveness with emotional issues such as stress. According to research, meditation can increase immune function, which is related to having less stress in our lives. Although science doesn’t yet know precisely how the meditating brain affects the immune system, some studies have found that meditation changed brain circuits that regulate emotion and may reduce markers of inflammation and stress hormones like cortisol.

Changes in the Brain

Several studies have shown that meditation can actually alter the brain.

A 2011 Harvard study found that participation in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a popular meditation program, is “associated with changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing and perspective taking.” Specifically, researchers found an increase in the part of the brain that governs learning and memory and also in the part that regulates emotions, as well as decreases in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety and stress.

In a 2012 study from the NCCIH, researchers compared brain images from 50 adults who meditate and 50 adults didn’t. Results ratified previous findings about the increased ability of the brain and suggested that meditation may increase the brain’s ability to process information.

Benefits for Seniors

In 2015, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers studied older people who have been meditating an average of 20 years. They found that these older meditators had more gray matter volume in the brain, suggesting that they were aging slower than their non-meditating counterparts.

Previous studies have also shown increases in longevity for those who practice mindfulness meditation, a form of meditation that focuses on awareness rather than breathing. One study concluded that by decreasing negative emotions and stress hormones, meditation protects the chromosomes that mark physical aging while promoting cell longevity.

Meditation may also slow Alzheimer’s. Because anxiety and stress can worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms, meditation may protect the brain. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center divided a group of adults ages 55-90 into those who regularly meditated and did yoga and those who didn’t. The meditation/yoga group had less atrophy in parts of the brain and better brain connectivity than the control group.

In addition, several studies have shown that meditation can reduce health costs, with one study showing fewer hospitalizations among meditators and another showing reduced healthcare expenses.

Other Benefits

Increased concentration. By sitting still and focusing on our breathing, we are able to calm our active minds. A study at Yale University found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in part of the brain network that is triggered when our mind wanders from the present moment and our thoughts take over. By stopping our wandering mind, we are able to better focus on the task at hand.

Reduced stress. Because anxiety can result from unregulated and out-of-control emotions and thoughts, mindfulness meditation can help calm those thoughts and decrease stress, according to a 2013 study published by Oxford Academic.

Less depression, more happiness. A University of Wisconsin study of mindfulness meditation found an increase in electrical activity in the left frontal lobe, an area that tends to be more active in optimistic people, after eight weeks of training in meditation. Another study showed that a form of meditation known as loving-kindness, “produced increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produced increases in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms). In turn, these increments in personal resources predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.”

Less loneliness. Because meditation can bring about more acceptance of ourselves, it follows that we are more tolerant and forgiving of others. A UCLA study compared seniors who meditated with those who didn’t. After two months, the meditators felt less lonely, while the others felt more isolated. Loneliness, especially prevalent in seniors, has been shown to negatively affect our health and has been linked to a weakened immune system, depression and early death. The UCLA researchers theorized that meditation may curtail gene inflammation, which has been linked to feelings of loneliness.

Meditating in a group can also help relieve feelings of isolation and promote a sense of community with others.

How to Meditate

There are many spiritual traditions that promote meditation as well as secular programs that offer classes. Ideally, you will find what works for you (see sidebar), but here are some basics.

Where to Find Support

If you would like to learn the finer points of meditation, many places offer meditation classes. You can check out your community or senior center or local colleges. Health plans may offer meditation or mindfulness courses as a way of keeping their clients healthy. Research different techniques, such as Transcendental Meditation, on the web or YouTube.

While meditation started out as a spiritual practice connected with Buddhism and Hinduism, there are many secular forms. One popular secular regimen is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which you can study online.

The right place. Start with finding a calm, quiet place in your home that is free from distractions, such as your computer. If you live in an urban area, meditation centers offer daily or weekly meditation.

Sitting. Though the standard photo of someone meditating shows them sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a meditation cushion, that might not work with aging knees, hips or back. Many senior meditators use a chair. Whichever position you choose, sit up straight and do not slump over. An upright posture keeps you alert while holding a dignified position befitting the meditation practice.

Different meditation disciplines recommend keeping your eyes open or closed. Closed eyes reduce visual distractions but can also lull you to sleep. Try different techniques, such as eyes gazing downward, to see what works for you.

For those who have a hard time sitting still, an alternative is walking meditation. This can be done in your home or a nearby park. Instead of just concentrating on the breath, you can focus on your movement, especially your steps. Or you can open your awareness to everything around you: a bird’s cry, the wind on your face, a child yelling. The trick is not to become fixated on any one thing.

Focusing. The traditional way to calm your mind is to pay attention to your normal breath. Notice the soft inhalation and then exhalation. Consider inhaling with your nose and exhaling through your mouth—or vice versa, or count your breaths—forward or backward. When your mind strays, gently bring your awareness back to your breath.

How long? Start slowly, maybe five minutes at a time, and then gradually increase to as much as an hour a day. Ideally, meditate at the same time of the day so this practice becomes a routine. The more you meditate, the better you become at controlling your thoughts.


Meditation Heals Body and Mind,” WebMD.

7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain” Feb 9, 2015, Forbes.

20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today,” Sept. 11, 2013, Psychology Today.

Meditation Guide For All Ages,” Jan. 13, 2017, Integrity Coaching.

What are the health benefits of meditation?” Nov. 10, 2015, New York Times.

What’s the Bottom Line?” National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

8 Ways Mindfulness Benefits Seniors,” Feb. 12, 2014, Place for Mom.

Senior Living Communities Practicing Mindfulness,” May 12, 2014, Place for Mom.

How to Meditate for Beginners,” Conscious Life.

5 Meditation Tips for Beginners,” March 18, 2013, Psychology Today.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Famous & 65

Look Who’s Turning 65

Feb. 3—Fred Lynn

Feb. 3—Fred Lynn photo credit Craig Michaud at English Wikipedia

The former Major League Baseball center fielder played for the Boston Red Sox (1974–1980), California Angels (1981–1984), Baltimore Orioles (1985–1988), Detroit Tigers (1988–1989) and San Diego Padres (1990). He is best known for being the first player to win the Rookie of the Year award and most valuable player (MVP) in the same season. Lynn was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2002 and to the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time.

Lynn represented the United States at the 1971 Pan American Games, where he won a silver medal. After graduation from the University of Southern California, Lynn started his career for the Red Sox in 1975. He and fellow rookie outfielder Jim Rice were dubbed "Gold Dust Twins." In 1975, Lynn led the American League (AL) in doubles, runs scored and slugging percentage; finished second in the batting race with a .331 average; and won a Gold Glove Award for his defensive play. On June 18 at Tiger Stadium, he hit three home runs, had 10 runs batted in (RBIs); and took 16 total bases in one game.

Despite injuries, such as a broken rib from crashing into an outfield wall, Lynn won three more Gold Gloves in 1978–80 and finished fourth in the 1979 MVP voting. He won the AL batting title in that same year. He was elected to the All-Star team every year with the Red Sox, and was a 9-time All-Star overall in his career. He hit a home run in three All-Star games for the Red Sox—in 1976, 1979 and 1980.

After the 1980 season, the Red Sox traded Lynn to the California Angels, and he never hit over .300 again. Lynn did go on to hit more than 20 home runs in six consecutive seasons starting in 1982 and was selected MVP of the 1982 American League Championship Series, the first player from the losing team ever selected. In 1983, he hit the only grand slam in All-Star history and was named MVP. Following the 1984 season, Lynn signed with the Orioles, but never played more than 150 games in a season and only topped 140 games four times.

Detroit acquired Lynn for their 1988 pennant drive, which also proved unsuccessful. Following a disappointing 1989 season, Lynn ended his career with one season in San Diego (1990), retiring at the age of 38. His 306 career home runs place him ninth among center fielders, behind Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Dale Murphy, Joe DiMaggio, Jim Edmonds and Andrew Jones.

Since retiring, Lynn has raised thousands of dollars through charity work for Child Haven (a home for abused and neglected children) and the animal charity FACE Foundation. He worked as a baseball color analyst for ESPN from 1991 to 1998 and has been a spokesman for Gillette and MasterCard.

Feb. 18—"Juice" (Judy Kay) Newton

Feb. 18—

The pop and country singer, songwriter and musician received five Grammy award nominations in the Pop and Country Best Female Vocalist categories (winning once in 1983), as well as an Academy of Country Music (ACM )award for Top New Female Artist and two Billboard Female Album Artist of the Year awards. In the early 1970s, Newton and her band, Juice Newton & Silver Spur, scored one charting country single with "Love Is a Word." In late 1977, Newton went solo, and her record It's a Heartache became the first of her 11 "Hot 100" pop hits. Later that year, the album Take Heart featured five charting singles: "Until Tonight,” "Any Way That You Want Me," "You Fill My Life," "Lay Back in the Arms of Someone" and "Sunshine."

In 1981, Newton's third solo album, Juice, spawned three consecutive Top 10 pop hits: "Angel of the Morning," "Queen of Hearts" and "The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)," which earned Newton the first of several No. 1 country singles. Juice sold more than a million copies in the United States and went triple-platinum in Canada. In 1982, Newton received two Grammy nominations for Best Female Vocalist: one for "Angel of the Morning" in the pop category, and another for "Queen of Hearts" in country. These two singles became her biggest sellers in the United States, each earning a Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Gold certification. The songs were also sizable hits in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries.

In 1982, Newton’s fourth solo album, Quiet Lies, spawned three hits, "Love's Been a Little Bit Hard on Me," "Heart of the Night" and "Break It to Me Gently," and won Newton her first Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. When Newton’s popularity in the pop market started to wane, she targeted her next album, 1985's Old Flame, to country audiences. The strategic move revitalized her career, and the album reached No. 12 on the Billboard album chart and featured six Top 10 country hits, including the No. 1 "You Make Me Want to Make You Mine," "Hurt" and "Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)." Newton returned to the Top 10 in 1988 with "Tell Me True" from her 1987 album Emotion. Her final album of the decade, Ain't Gonna Cry (1989), spawned her final Top 40 country hit to date, "When Love Comes Around the Bend."

In the 1990s and 2000s, Newton released several albums with old hits and new songs, including Duets: Friends & Memories (2010) performed with Willie Nelson, Melissa Manchester, Frankie Valli and others. Besides continuing in the music business, Newton works as a horse trader, dealing mostly in European horses.

Feb. 24—Fred Dean

Feb. 24—Fred Dean

The former National Football League (NFL) player and Pro Football Hall of Fame player started his career with the San Diego Chargers in 1975 and ended with the San Francisco 49ers after the 1985 season. Dean was a standout at Louisiana Tech University, where he excelled as an All-Southland Conference defensive tackle. Drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1975, Dean recorded 15 ½ sacks in 1978. In 1979, the Chargers won the American Football Conference (AFC) West division while leading the AFC in fewest points allowed, and Dean was named to the All-AFC team. The Chargers again won the AFC West in 1980, with Dean teaming with fellow 1975 Charger draftees Gary "Big Hands" Johnson and Louie Kelcher as the Chargers led the NFL in sacks. He and Johnson were named First-team All-Pro, with Kelcher being named Second-team All-Pro. The trio, along with Leroy Jones, formed a defensive front that was locally nicknamed the Bruise Brothers.

In 1981, Dean was traded to the San Francisco 49ers and helped them win two Super Bowls in the 1980s. His first action of the season as a 49er was noted by author Tom Danyluk as "the greatest set of downs I have ever seen unleashed by a pass rusher." Dean won the United Press International (UPI) National Football Conference (NFC) Defensive Player of the Year while playing in 11 games for the 49ers. In 1983, Dean recorded 17 sacks to lead the NFC and recorded a then-NFL record of six in one game, setting that mark during the 49ers’ 27-0 shutout of the New Orleans Saints on November 13. In 1990, Dean was inducted into the Louisiana Tech University Athletic Hall of Fame and is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. In 2009, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Source: Wikipedia

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

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Older Adults Paying the Price For “Free Love”

STD rates are on the rise for seniors

Seniors experiencing increase in health threat usually associated with younger people.

The generation that advocated “free love” is now finding out that having sex as an older adult, has its costs. Among Americans 65 and over, between 2007 and 2011, chlamydia infections increased by 31 percent and syphilis by 52 percent. In 2013, people over 50 accounted for 27 percent of the HIV diagnoses in the United States. It’s an alarming enough statistic that Medicare started providing free tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in 2011.

Complications from STDs can be worse for seniors than for younger people because our immune systems weaken as we get older, leaving us more vulnerable to infections. Also, we tend to have more health-related issues, such as diabetes, that can complicate and worsen STDs. Because STDs can exist in our bodies for long periods of time before exhibiting symptoms, we can pass HIV or syphilis to our partners without knowing it. And healthcare practitioners might not see the early signs of STDs because symptoms can mimic age-related conditions.

Reasons for STD Increase

There are many reasons for the surge in STDs in the older population:

  • The availability of drugs such as Viagra and testosterone hormone therapy for men and hormonal replacement therapy for women are allowing older adults to enjoy sex at a later age.

  • Past the age of menopause, women are not afraid of getting pregnant and feel freer to enjoy unprotected sex.

  • As a general population, we are getting older and staying healthy and strong longer, and thus have more interest (and ability) in sex. Several nationwide surveys report that more than half those over 65 say they are sexually active.

  • Many seniors were already married or came of age before schools emphasized sex education and safe sex, so they aren’t as aware as younger generations of the risks. Older baby boomers relied on birth control pills rather than condoms for pregnancy prevention, but with pregnancy risk off the table, seniors may not think to use condoms for STD prevention. According to an AARP survey, fewer than 10 percent of men and women 45 and over use any protection from STDs. Sexually active older adults have the lowest rate of condom use compared to all other age groups, according to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior.

  • Seniors aren’t talking to their doctors about their sex lives, and doctors aren’t broaching the subject with their older patients. It could be embarrassment on the seniors’ part, while the health practitioner doesn’t think to order an STD test as part of the standard physical exam.

  • Senior living communities make it easier to meet and hook up with available older adults. Nationwide, the largest increases in STDs were found in Pima and Maripoca counties in Arizona, which are heavily populated with large retirement communities. Among those 55 and older, cases of reported syphilis and chlamydia rose 87 percent from 2005 to 2009 in those counties. In the same time frame, central Florida, another place popular with retirees, saw a 71 percent rise, and South Florida experienced a 60 percent increase. Because of this, many of the more progressive communities around the country are developing policy/procedures to confront this problem.

Steps You Can Take

Although sex can be an uncomfortable topic, experts say it’s better to become aware of the dangers beforehand.

How to Prevent STDs

Berkeley Wellness advises those who are not in monogamous relationships to take steps to protect themselves.

  • Use latex condoms. When used correctly and consistently, latex condoms provide highly effective (though not infallible) protection against STD infection. Use a new condom for each sex act.

  • Consider a female condom if a male condom can’t be used. It might substantially reduce the risk of some STDs, according to a few clinical studies.

  • Do not rely on other forms of birth control. Nonbarrier methods of birth control, such as birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), offer no protection against STDs.

  • Be observant. Don’t have sexual contact with anyone who has genital or anal sores, a visible rash, a discharge or any other sign of an STD.

  • Be informed. Recognize the symptoms of STDs and seek medical treatment at once if you notice them in yourself. A lesion, blister, sore, discharge or rash in the genital or anal area are all signs, as are persistent unexplained flu-like symptoms and abdominal pain.
  • Educate yourself on the risks of unprotected sex: What are the warning signs of STDs? What are the safest methods to counteract STDs? What are the short- and long-term effects? If you’re not comfortable talking to your healthcare practitioner, Planned Parenthood offers counseling, even to those beyond the “parenting” age.

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about STDs. Cover all those uncomfortable topics such as previous partners, when or if your partner has been tested and if they have ever used IV drugs.

  • As a general population, we are getting older and staying healthy and strong longer, and thus have more interest (and ability) in sex. Several nationwide surveys report that more than half those over 65 say they are sexually active.

  • Ensure you’re using a condom correctly to get the best protection. Check the expiration date and use lubricant, which lowers the risk of the condom breaking and spreading infection (see sidebar).

Besides the personal actions you can take, experts say institutions and the government need to be more proactive. Senior living communities should distribute condoms, and Medicare needs to better publicize its free STD screenings. Public health departments should start including older adults in their sex education campaigns. For example, one nationwide study of health agencies’ sexual health pamphlets found only two that focused on aging adults.


Let's Talk About Sex ... and Senior Citizens,” Oct. 20, 2015, Governing.

Seniors, Sex, and STDs” March 17, 2016, Berkeley Wellness.

The Single Senior STD Epidemic,” April 2015, Disruptive Women.

STD Awareness: Sexually Transmitted Infections and Seniors” Sept. 14, 2015, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.

Sex and the Single Senior,” Jan. 18, 2014, New York Times.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Reverse Mortgages Made Easier for Condo Owners

Reverse Mortgages Made Easier for Condo Owners

New law helps seniors gain HUD approval to convert home equity into cash.

A reverse mortgage is a special type of loan designed for homeowners age 62 or older that allows a borrower to convert a portion of their home equity into cash. No monthly payments are required, and the loan plus interest isn’t due until the borrower moves out, sells the home or dies. Qualifying property must be a single-to-four-family residence, townhouse or condominium, and must be a borrower’s primary residence. Ninety percent or more of all reverse mortgages are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Before 2008, the process of applying for a reverse mortgage on a condo or co-op was relatively easy. If you lived in a condominium, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency would issue a “spot approval” upon receipt of a 1-page worksheet that provided financials and figures, including the percentage of units in a development that were owner-occupied. Co-ops were only eligible for non-FHA reverse mortgages, which were only offered by a few lenders.

Recent Changes for Condos

For condos, the approval process became more difficult when the Housing and Economic Recovery Act was implemented in 2008. Under a 2009 update to the rules, only condo developments on the HUD-approved list (found on HUD’s website) became eligible for FHA-insured HECM loans, and the entire development must apply for and receive approval.

However, a recent law (the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016) made certification somewhat easier by lowering the percentage of owner-occupied units required for HUD approval. For certain eligible condo developments, lowering the owner-occupancy requirements may expand their ability to provide FHA financing to their residents. In October, HUD issued what is known as a “Mortgagee Letter (ML),” providing guidance on condominium approvals.

Find Out If Your Condo Is Eligible

An experienced lender will be able to check in a matter of minutes whether your condo is eligible for a reverse mortgage, but here’s where to start on your own.

To find out if your condo development has been approved by HUD, follow this link, which will bring you to a page with a series of dropdown boxes. Because the official name of a condominium project may be different from the one commonly used, choose the state, county and zip code where your condo is located.

If you search “ALL” under the “Status” option, be sure to slide all the way to the right to see the status, which may be “Expired” or close to expiration. You can choose the “Approved” status option to narrow down your selection. For search type, choose “Project,” then click the send button. An error message means that no approved condominium projects were found in your zip code.

Proposed Changes

HUD has proposed allowing “single-unit approvals” similar to the prior spot approval process. The proposal would require a single unit within a project to meet certain standards, and single-unit approvals would be limited to 0−20 percent of the units within one project. The proposal would also allow some lenders to participate in the approval process of condominium projects.

The public comment period on the latest proposal closed in November 2016. HUD is expected to provide guidance for the approval of condos for the use of HECM reverse mortgages in early 2017.

The Future for Co-Ops

However, the future for co-op owners seeking reverse mortgages is not as rosy. Around 2008, non-FHA reverse mortgages for co-ops disappeared along with the lenders that provided them. Congress made legal provisions for HECM loans in 2000 and updated them in 2008, but since that time, HUD has not issued rules on how they might work. Without the necessary HUD approval, HECM loans cannot be made on co-ops at this time.

Lending on co-ops is complicated because a corporation owns the building, and residents buy shares of stock in the corporation. Each share allows the resident to occupy an apartment in the building, and residents also sign a lease from the corporation. This means that a loan on a co-op apartment would be secured by the stock certificate and assignment of the lease.

The National Association of Housing Cooperatives estimates that roughly half of all co-ops are “limited equity” and are considered personal property, not “real” property; therefore, there is no real estate to serve as collateral for a reverse mortgage. It has been suggested that HUD might model a co-op HECM loan program after the existing Fannie Mae “forward” program for co-op loans.

In New York state, legislation was introduced in 2016 to allow proprietary reverse mortgages for borrowers age 70 or older. The bill passed in the state Senate, but did not make it through the assembly. Because the state legislature operates on a 2-year cycle and a new one begins next year, any bill that did not pass both houses will have to be re-introduced in 2018 before it has a chance to become law.

Author -  Patricia Whitlock

- By Patricia Whitlock

Patricia Whitlock is a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional with FirstBank and has been originating reverse mortgages exclusively since 2005.