Thursday, August 2, 2018

Travel for Seniors Only

Senior Travel

The Freebird travel club offers social interaction with an AirBnB vibe in worldwide destinations while remaining friendly to your wallet… or even fattening it.

Irishman Owen Mangan, a widower in his 70s, loved welcoming guests to his son’s AirBnB-style rental in southwest Ireland. He was happy to show guests around and act as a guide. For the first time since his wife died, he didn’t feel bored.

“My dad didn’t just give them a key. He’d end up taking them to the pub, having dinner with them or even taking them for a game of golf,”says Peter Mangan, founder of travel company Freebird. “I could see that he was really benefiting from these people arriving on his doorstep.”

Seniors are more likely to be empty-nesters with unused rooms available at home. They’re also more likely to be free to travel, free of the ties of children, jobs and mortgages. It’s possible they feel intimidated by travel to unfamiliar places, and lack the funds to pay for fancy hotels.

Peter got stellar online reviews on his property, raving about the personal treatment Owen provided.

“I saw this as very positive for my dad, too,” says Peter, “and that this was something clearly way beyond the Airbnb model, where people are often given the keys or staying in vacant properties.”

Peter began to research the older adult population during three months of unpaid leave from his job, and soon discovered that they often feel lonely and isolated, longing for the sort of connection his father was providing.

The Freebird Club  was soon born. Billing itself as “a social and travel club for over 50s”, club members may offer a room in their home for guests or travel to a host’s house. A wide list of countries is available, including the Bahamas, Brazil, Australia and Costa Rica. The website is user-friendly, but club members can opt to make a reservation by phone.

I know what you’re thinking: How much is the membership fee? Hold on to your knickers…. It’s going to set you back a whopping $31. That’s right, about the same as a tank of gas. The fee confirms you’re not just an online lurker.

What about safety and security? To join, you must upload a driver’s license or passport to confirm your name and age (which are deleted when your identity is verified). Then, you’ll fill in a personal profile telling a little about your interests, and how much you’d like to interact. You can opt to play tour guide and share a meal, or just greet guests and offer suggestions over coffee or a glass of wine. Guests can indicate their preference, too.

Before final approval, a Freebird staffer does a phone or Skype interview and you can get started. Peter knows older adults don’t check their email five times an hour, so texts are used to alert a host when someone requests a homestay.

Finally, guests and hosts are welcome to use an optional buddy system to ensure safety. Just list a friend or family member to give them limited access to your account, and they’ll receive a notification when you book a trip or host a member. That way, someone else always knows where you’ll be or who’s visiting.

Start planning that trip to visit Luisa in her lakeside chateau in Switzerland… it’s booking fast!


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Are Startups Making Gadgets Seniors Won’t Use?

Are Startups Making Gadgets Seniors Won’t Use?

Tech companies are targeting the burgeoning market for older adults, but some of their products are doubtful at best.

The U.S. is going gray. The population of Americans aged 65 and above will nearly double from 2012 to 2050, according to estimates from the census. And we’re living longer. “There are already risk managers and insurance people telling people out there to plan to live to 95,” says the founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch Laurie Orlov. This growing market has tech companies eager to create products in health care and communication, but are they hitting the mark?

This Belt is Not Hip

The No. 1 cause of injuries and death from injury for older Americans is falls, according to a report by the Population Research Bureau. In 2014 alone, 29 million falls by older Americans cost Medicare $30 billion.

French company Helite is marketing a fall protection belt that inflates like an airbag when a fall is detected. Currently available in the European Union, the Hip’Safe is slated to premiere in the States in September. The belt is light, easy to put on and comfortable to wear. A beeper alerts the user if the belt is worn the wrong way, and arrows offer guidance when it’s buckled. What’s not to like?

For starters, the price is more than €800, which is equivalent to $934 here in the U.S. Good luck getting Medicare to cover that, especially when you’d have to wear the thing 24/7 to be effective.

Although the Hip’Safe is not as obvious as, say, bubble-wrapping your entire midsection, it’s going to be noticeable in anything other than a Mumu with tulle underskirts. Guys, there will be no hiding it, although you could try to pass it off as a money belt for the VERY wealthy who insist on buying that next yacht in nothing but small bills.

It’s also going to be a pain in the rear when nature calls, in particular for the ladies. Do you shimmy it up above your waist and hope it stays, or take it off and then have to buckle back up? And if you’re in a public bathroom, do you sling it over the door while you take care of business, or stuff it in your monster-size purse?

The website homepage shows an older man and woman smiling, each carrying a grandchild on their shoulders … but what the heck are they doing that for if they’re at heightened risk of falling?! If one of them goes down, they will be left on the ground while the little kid is rushed to the hospital, so yes, they need to have their hip belt on! Maybe each of the grandkids should have a Hip’Safe device wrapped around their head. Clearly, somebody at corporate has not thought this through.

This YouTube video demonstrates a fall while wearing the Hip’Safe. Notice that it’s the knee that hits the ground first, for which the device offers no protection whatsoever.

Assessing the Basics

There are plenty of companies working on easier computer and cell phone communication for seniors. But do they know what some of the most basic issues are?

"There are some very tech-savvy older people around, but there is clearly a large cohort of people who feel excluded by technology. They find it a bit impenetrable," says Ian Hosking, who designs products for older adults at the University of Cambridge engineering design center.

Case in point: Adults over 65 have a response time of about a second, but icons on an Apple touchscreen respond in 0.7 seconds. And that’s not the only issue.

Nerves in the finger become less sensitive with age, leading many older adults to tap on touchscreens far more heavily than the pressure for which they’re designed. Research indicates that small tremors experienced by many older adults may register as an unintentional click, or as a swipe instead of a touch.

“It is these subtle issues that erode confidence and cause confusion,” notes Chis Bignell, a spokesman for Emporia Telecom, a smartphone developer for older adults.

Tech Flops at Brookdale

Upscale Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) tests new technology in its facilities via an ongoing Entrepreneur in Residence program.

“Aging is going mainstream,” says Andrew Smith, Brookdale’s director of innovation and strategy. “We talk about it more, and the demographics have caused all industries to start to consider the aging population, including the economic targets with this population and how we deal with it. There’s been a proliferation of consumer technology that has been targeted toward younger and middle-age people for their convenience, but have obvious applications for seniors who may have limitations of their own, and they can take advantage of it.”

Location is Key for Bathing Device

One idea Brookdale thought would be a huge hit was the body dryer. Resembling a photo booth or shower stall, the huge dryer can dry off a user in just a few minutes with soothing warm air and heat lamps. Developed by Care Dryers, the device was installed in a model apartment. Brookdale theorized that it would cut down on caregiver labor, reduce towel laundry and be gentler on delicate skin.

But the dryer sparked very little interest.

“We made the mistake of putting the dryer in a model apartment and asking residents if they would come in to experience the dryer,” Smith explained. “We attempted to get residents to agree to taking their shower in the model apartment and then using the body dryer. Not one resident agreed to take a shower in the model apartment and then use the body dryer. …If we did it over again, we would put the dryer in one of our spas.”

This sounds like a good product with a faulty introduction. Who doesn’t want to feel warm and cozy when exiting the bath and do less laundry to boot? Find more information on how to get one of these dryers in your home here.

Low Tech Over High Tech

Sometimes, you just don’t need a trendy device to deliver information. One Brookdale community found out their investment in digital signs was not money well spent.

“One of the areas that has not caught on is digital signage, and specifically touch screen,” Smith said. “There was a lot of excitement around touch-screen signs, which could display photos, menus, activity calendars, etc. We found that while residents like the opportunity to see those items, the touch-screen component was more than was necessary.”


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Monday, July 9, 2018

Nine Signs You Should Fire Your Financial Advisor

Signs You Should Fire Your Financial Advisor

It’s easy to have the same financial advisor watch over your nest egg year after year, but you may be better off moving on. Here’s what to look for.

Is your financial advisor a fiduciary? Chances are, you don’t know. Nearly half of Americans believe that all advisors have a legal duty to act in their clients’ best interest according to a survey by digital wealth manager Personal Capital, but that’s not true.

"Not all advisors are required to put you first," says Jay Shah, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Personal Capital. "Only financial advisors who are fiduciaries are required to act in the best interests of their clients."

Fiduciary is a higher standard of accountability than the suitability standard that governs many financial salespersons such as brokers, planners and insurance agents. These professionals usually select products for their clients from a limited range of investments approved by their broker/dealer. The suitability standard they adhere to only requires that an investment recommendation meets a client’s needs and objectives, and is deemed appropriate. However, the products they choose may be influenced by special promotions or incentives offered to the advisor by their broker/dealer.

Financial professionals following a fiduciary standard are legally obligated to put their client’s best interest ahead of their own. This can mean recommending a product that offers reduced or even no compensation for the professional because it’s the best option for the client. A registered investment advisor (RIA) is usually not tied to a broker/dealer and thus can truly provide clients unbiased advice.

But what if you’ve been wondering, perhaps for some time, if another financial advisor could do a better job? Financial advisors should help you save, invest and grow your money. They can also assist with retirement planning, whether you’re still working or enjoying retirement.

Here are some signs you need to hand your retirement egg to another caretaker:

What Credentials Should Your Financial Advisor Hold?

You may be bewildered by the initials following your advisor’s name, or wondering about their absence. The answers you need depend on what your advisor does for you.

If you want your advisor to write up a personalized financial plan, hire one with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. If you’re looking for life insurance, you might want to find a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). Some other respected designations that are becoming more common are the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) who specializes in retirement planning, and the Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional (FPQP).

The gold standard for someone who recommends or manages investments for you is a Charted Financial Analyst (CFA). This is the top-level designation in the financial industry that centers on investments. CFAs have to pass three levels of exams related to accounting, economics, ethics, money management and security analysis that measure their competence and integrity.

The highly technical skills held by CFAs are often used to structure investment products, perform analysis, or work with extremely high net worth and/or institutional clients. Therefore, it’s quite likely you don’t need someone with this much training (and the typically higher price that comes with it) to handle your portfolio.

Watch the following video to find out what a financial planner can do for you.

  1. She acts like a saleswoman and not an advisor. Have you asked for an invoice of the fees you’re being charged? You need to understand how she’s being compensated. Financial planners typically earn their living by charging hourly, by taking a percentage of your portfolio or by making commissions on the products they sell.

    Avoid someone who works on commission sales. She has the greatest incentive to point you to products that don’t fit what you need and are more expensive than similar investments. Other advisors may charge an hourly rate, which is often the best option for someone with a small portfolio. You might pay an annual services fee, often 1 to 1.25 percent of assets, annually with the percentage declining as your asset base rises. If it’s more than that, shop around. Someone with 5 million in assets can expect to pay closer to 0.75 percent of their assets under management or less. Read more about financial advisor fees here.

    Uncover all sources of income by asking for a copy of Form ADV, which every financial advisor who recommends investments is required to fill out to register their license with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the state where they do business. It contains the advisor’s fee schedule plus any other compensation, such as a kickback for a client referral.
  1. He confuses you with financial terms you don’t understand. Your financial advisor should take time to explain your options and his recommendations in layman’s terms. You should have at least a broad understanding of the investment strategy and how close you are to meeting your goals.

    That said, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with terms that are bandied about in the financial industry. One source of knowledge is Investopedia.
  1. She pushes high investment fees and insurance products. Ask if there’s a lower-fee alternative that gets the same result, such as an exchange traded fund instead of a mutual fund. A passively managed option almost always has a lower expense ratio than a product that’s actively managed.

    Take a long look at life insurance policies and annuities. You shouldn’t feel pressured to make a quick decision. It’s never a bad idea to go home and do some research before you commit, especially with a product that entails a surrender fee.
  1. His firm isn’t registered. “Financial advisor” is a generic term for brokers and registered representatives, while an “investment adviser” is an individual or company registered with the SEC or the state securities regulator.

    Check if your investment adviser is legit at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority BrokerCheck. You can also check the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure database.
  1. She doesn’t match your investments with your financial goals. If you dream about a vacation cottage by the beach but also need to pay for a chronic health condition, your investment strategy should account for both. Your advisor should have a clear understanding of what your goals are, and ask about any changes over time.
  1. You have a hard time getting in touch with him. Consider it a warning sign if your calls and emails aren’t answered promptly. You are paying your advisor to be available and responsive.

    Good advisors work to develop a personal relationship and proactively reach out to clients on a regular basis. That’s true no matter what size your portfolio is, and especially if there’s a market downturn or other event that might cause you concern.
  1. She doesn’t have a custom plan for you. Your financial advisor should create a portfolio uniquely tailored to your risk tolerance and needs. Customized financial planning is becoming common and many advisory firms don’t charge to create a personalized plan. Ask how your portfolio differs from that of other clients. She should be able to provide a clear, decisive answer justifying each of your investments. One-size-fits-all plans likely indicate that she’s selling products on commission and trying to meet a quota.
  1. He offers exclusive investments. If your advisor claims to have a lock on certain investments that only he (or his firm) can get, find someone else. If it’s really that exclusive, you don’t want to be stuck with an unredeemable asset. However, most investments can be found at a multitude of brokerage houses.
  1. You have a new advisor every few months. If staff turnover is a problem, it’s a clear sign you should seek another place to do business. Not only is it a sign there are big problems in the workplace, but you deserve to talk to a familiar individual who understands your objectives.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Ageism is Hurting Your Health

Ageism is Hurting Your Health

Rampant ageism profoundly affects the health and well-being of older adults. Here’s what you can do about it.

Ageism, or prejudice against older people, is most widespread in high-income countries such as the United States, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). American culture puts a premium on youth, beauty, vitality and high earnings. Getting older is viewed as a process that reduces these perceived attributes.

“The anxiety and the fear surrounding aging have increased,” says Tracey Gendron, a developmental psychologist and associate professor of gerontology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “Aging has a real image problem. As a culture, we see it as moving toward a period of decline, and we feel pressure to combat visible signs of aging.”

Older people with negative concepts about aging live an average of 7.5 years less than those who have positive attitudes about growing older, according to the World Values Survey. Additionally, 60 percent of survey respondents said that older people are not respected.

"This analysis confirms that ageism is extremely common. Yet most people are completely unaware of the subconscious stereotypes they hold about older people," said John Beard, WHO Director of Ageing and Life Course. "Like sexism and racism, changing social norms is possible. It is time to stop defining people by their age. It will result in more prosperous, equitable and healthier societies."

What Constitutes Ageism?

Prejudice against older adults can take many forms. Media often depict older people as frail or dependent. While some are, many older adults lead active, thoughtful lives, and this reality needs to be shown as well. Policy decisions such as proposed reductions to Social Security and Medicare directly affect older Americans and can be considered ageism.

Ten “Compliments” that are Really Ageist

Sometimes ageism takes the guise of a compliment. The following list shows how pervasive ageism is in our society and is a reminder to watch what you say.

  1. When a waiter asks an older patron, “What can I get you today, young lady?”
    Now really, would he approach a teenager and ask, “What can I get you today, grandma?” Just treat them the same and dignify both women.
  1. “My grandparents are adorable.”
    The intent is there, but are your grandparents a pair of kittens? They’ve held jobs, suffered through hard times and made a lot of tough decisions in their long lives. Language like “adorable,” “cute” and “sweet” trivializes their history, yet it’s often used by younger people talking about their elders. We’d much rather be considered “loving and wise.”
  1. “He’s 80 years young.”
    That’s supposed to be a compliment, but would you ever say, “He’s 20 years an old guy”? Why celebrate youth and not experience? It’s time for some reverence for the wisdom, insight and knowledge afforded only by age.
  1. “You are still …”
    “Still” is a qualifier in this case and means we are surprised about an activity. There’s an inherent bias about declining with age. Such ageism causes negative health outcomes, like high blood pressure.
  1. “You’re only 68. You’re not old.” 
    This seems to imply you’d better watch out, being decrepit is just around the corner! There is nothing wrong with being old.
  1. “You don’t look like you’re 70.”
    Oh yeah? Well if someone is 70, then that’s what 70 looks like! The clear implication is that younger is better, so try hard to look younger than you are.
  1. “You’re proof that 60 is the new 40.”
    Being 60 is just fine.
  1. “My mom is the best!” followed by showing your friends a text that makes her look stupid or incompetent.
    If you think that, why bring attention to a mistake she made? You’ve never screwed up a text or had autocorrect do the job for you? You’re reinforcing a stereotype that makes older people struggle to get jobs they’re perfectly capable of doing. Stop the tech-shaming before we upload your most embarrassing photos to your Facebook account. Yes, we know how.
  1. “At your age, you’re allowed to …”
    Having a “senior moment” is not just for seniors. Have you ever lost your keys? Thought so. We are all prone to forget things when we’re stressed or overloaded. How about assuming older people are just like everyone else and forget things from time to time?
  1. “Wow! She’s still all there.”
    Some older adults suffer memory loss, but not all of us are sitting around drooling. Assume we have our wits about us and ask our opinions and desires. That goes for doctors and other professionals, too.

“It’s not like we didn’t know the boomers would retire someday,” says Max Richtman, who chairs the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations in Washington, D.C. “America built schools when this growing demographic was young, houses as it matured and large surpluses in the Social Security Trust Fund in anticipation of its retirement. However, now that 10,000 boomers turn 65 each day, the graying of America is too often presented as simply a drain on our national resources and—even worse—used as an opportunity to pit generations against each other.”

Ageism in the Workplace

In addition, institutional policies like a mandatory retirement age are discriminatory and fail to recognize the broad spectrum of abilities in older adults. While hiring managers are now instructed to avoid bias against women, LGBTQ people and minorities, age discrimination has failed to attract similar notice.

The Age Discrimination Employment Act makes it illegal to discriminate against workers age 40 and over. However, the reality is that as many as two-thirds of workers between the ages of 45 and 74 report experiencing age discrimination at work. Older workers who become unemployed spend longer searching for a new job than younger counterparts, and if they do manage to find work, it often pays less than their previous job.

Perhaps due to the internet revolution, ageism is hitting even 40-somethings. Tech companies fill their seats with millennials, and old-fashioned job security, like offering a pension, is as long gone as the copy machine.

“There is no such thing as a linear career path anymore,” says Karen Shnek Lippman, managing director at the Koller Search Partners, a recruiting firm in New York. “The only career goal you should be focusing on right now is staying relevant.”

An upper-level position used to mean stability and financial confidence, but an older worker today may be booted out of the workforce to make way for a younger, less expensive colleague.

Ageism Affects All of Us

Younger people are damaged by ageism, too, according to research by the Yale School of Public Health. The study detected an ominous link between prejudice toward older people at a young age and poor health later on. Making cruel jokes about older bodies, thinking of older adults as burdensome, and holding unflattering stereotypes of seniors reduced the likelihood their own old age would be healthy.

How Can We Change?

We all have the power to avert a mentality of ageism, both toward ourselves and older adults around us.

Start by embracing your own age, no matter what it is. Stand in front of a mirror and announce: “I am the perfect age for me today. My worth is not gauged by what I still do or what I can’t do. It is not measured by what I look like. My worth is based on my whole story, the person that I am.” Anthony Cirillo, president of The Aging Experience and advocate for caregivers and older adults, asks audience members to perform this exercise when speaking to health care groups.

Speak up when you notice ageism happening. Call out the media. Educate younger family members; studies show that our perceptions about aging are already forming by the time we are 6 years old.

Even cues that lie below conscious thought can affect how we think and feel. When subliminally positive age stereotypes were presented across multiple sessions in a community of older adults, one study found measurable gains not only in self-perception, but in physical function. Those gains surpassed a previous study’s six-month exercise intervention in a similar population. Another study found cognitive performance was positively affected by subliminal messaging as well.

Listen to yourself. What messages are you sending about aging? Are you making assumptions or blurting out, “You look great for your age!” instead of “You look great”? Do you think of yourself as old? How about tossing that label and finding specific words for how you feel.

“Take the judgment away and say what you really mean, not what’s convenient,” says Gendron. Instead of saying, "I feel old," ask yourself if what you really mean is "I feel tired" or "I feel stressed." Similarly, if you catch yourself describing someone as having “a youthful spirit,” consider whether you really mean the person is lively, vibrant, energetic or engaged.

If you can catch yourself making assumptions, you can begin to change your own perceptions, and that will benefit everyone.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Friday, July 6, 2018

How Societies Can Grow Old Better

Renowned author Jared Diamond uses traditional tribal societies to shine a light on modern social structure for older Americans.

How can older Americans find purpose and comfort in modern society? Jared Diamond, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction for his groundbreaking book Guns, Germs, and Steel uses his vast knowledge of traditional societies to inform how the monolithic cultures of today can provide better lives for its citizens in old age

Diamond says that tribal culture is actually more diverse than American culture, while cautioning against the extremes of romanticizing tribal life or viewing it as primitive and unworthy of our examination.

In tribal societies, Diamond says older adults in the community are valued for an array of talents:

  • Food production
  • Babysitting
  • Making tools, weapons, pots and textiles
  • Repositories of information for the whole tribe

They often live with relatives, or nearby, and maintain friendships over their lifetimes.

Conversely, Americans move an average of once every five years, distancing themselves from friends and relatives. The Protestant work ethic places a higher value on those of working age, while independence and self-reliance are glorified. To add insult to injury, a cult of youth in Western civilization puts older adults in advertisements for care centers but not, say, Coke.

However, Diamond sees three major areas where older adults shine in our current culture. Watch is short TED talk, above, to find out what these areas are.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How to Cut Your Stroke Risk by More than Half

How to Cut Your Stroke Risk by More than Half

Eighty percent of strokes are preventable, yet stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the U.S. and a leading contributor to disability. Are you doing all you can to avoid this crippling health event?

Strokes happen when the brain can’t get the oxygen it needs, so brain cells die. A blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain either gets blocked or bursts, and a stroke occurs.

Not every stroke is symptomatic. “Silent” strokes affect 1 in 5 adults over age 80. They occur without warning and often go unnoticed, but are responsible for short-term headaches, dizziness and cognitive problems. Silent strokes can also cause long-term problems with memory.

Stroke Prevention

The American Stroke Association and American Heart Association have teamed up on guidelines to dramatically cut your risk for all kinds of stroke. Considering that stroke recovery can take months, or may leave you compromised for life, it’s worth a concerted effort to improve in each area where you may fall short.

How to Spot Stroke Symptoms

When someone has a stroke, every second counts. Getting that person medical assistance as quickly as possible is the priority. The stroke drug tPA, which can save lives and prevent or reduce long-term effects, must be administered within several hours of the event. That’s why it’s so important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a stroke. If you suspect a stroke, don’t hesitate to call 911.

Strokes most often occur in the right or left hemisphere of the brain. Importantly, a full quarter of strokes originate in the back of the head. These posterior circulation strokes often present with vague symptoms such as sudden vision changes and minor coordination and balance problems. A new acronym for stroke awareness, BE-FAST, includes both kinds of symptoms.

Watch for sudden changes listed below, and be prepared to quickly call 911.

B - Balance. Be aware of any balance or coordination issues, as well as dizziness.

E - Eyesight. Look for vision loss, double vision or changes such as blurriness.

F - Face. Notice any facial drooping.

A - Arms. Does one arm drift downward, or is it weak or numb?

S - Speech. Listen for slurred or confused speech.

T - Time. Call 911 immediately for any of these symptoms.

  1. Lower your high blood pressure (HBP). This is the main cause of stroke. If you do nothing else, get high blood pressure under control. Risk factors include being obese or overweight, being more than 35 years old, having a family history of HBP, being African-American, not being active, eating too much salt or over-indulging in alcohol, and being pregnant. More than 20 percent of people with HBP are unaware they have it, so make sure to ask a health care professional to get tested. If you have HBP (or to keep normal pressure where it is), eat a healthy diet and watch your salt intake. Become physically active and keep your weight down. Stay away from secondhand smoke and limit how much alcohol you drink.

  2. Don’t smoke. Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke hurt your cardiovascular system. If you smoke, quit. Period.

  3. Control your diabetes mellitus. HBP and diabetes go hand in hand, and are often associated with high blood cholesterol and being overweight.

  4. Resolve to eat better. Cut down on saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet. Watch your calories and strive to eat at least five servings of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables every day.

  5. Move, move, move! Inactivity and obesity can trigger a stroke. Go on a lively walk, take the stairs or park your car in a far corner of the lot. Do anything you can to make your body work a little. Set a realistic goal such as 30 minutes of daily exercise.

  6. Control high blood cholesterol. Doctors routinely tell us to keep our bad cholesterol down, but low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol also appear to be a stroke factor, at least for men. Cut down animal fats, including those in dairy products. Eat vegetarian a day or two every week, or substitute beef with fish.

  7. Manage atrial fibrillation. How? Reduce stress with yoga or meditation, drink plenty of water, get a good night’s sleep, control your weight, limit alcohol, drink coffee in moderation and watch your cholesterol.

Perhaps you’re seeing a pattern here? Many of these problems are interrelated and go back to the mantra of “Eat well and get plenty of exercise.” Start by adding one more vegetable to your diet every day and taking a brisk walk for 15 minutes. When that’s a habit, bump up your plant intake and exercise routine on a regular basis. It’s OK to have a bad day; vow to get back on board when you wake up.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Monday, July 2, 2018

Famous & 65

Look Who’s Turning 65

July 1 – Mike Haynes
Football Palyer

July 1 – Mike Haynes

A standout athlete for both the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Raiders, cornerback Mike Haynes was also a standout punt return specialist. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Haynes was a first-round pick in the 1976 NFL draft for the Patriots. The team wasn’t disappointed, as he delivered eight interceptions and an AFC-leading 608 yards on 45 punt returns. He also gave the team their first touchdown on punt return, then followed it up with another. His work on the field earned him a Pro Bowl invitation as a rookie player, the first of nine such invites he would receive over his career. He also got tapped for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after the Patriots went 11-3 and secured a playoff berth for the first time in 13 years.

Haynes played seven years with the Patriots, racking up 28 interceptions and 1,159 yards on 111 returns. In 1984, Haynes was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame and the team retired his number.

In November 1983, his contract was awarded to the Los Angeles Raiders under a settlement that handed the Patriots a 1984 No. 1 draft pick and a No. 2 pick the following year. Haynes played the last five games of the season, then started in Super Bowl XVIII. The Raiders emerged victorious as Haynes made an interception, two pass breakups and a tackle.

Over seven seasons with the Raiders, Haynes notched 18 interceptions for a career total of 46 that he returned for 688 yards and two touchdowns, including one for 97 yards against Miami. He had the honor of being an All-Pro pick five years, and a choice for All-AFC eight years.

July 11 – Leon Spinks

July 11 – Leon Spinks

Leon Spinks managed one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he defeated Muhammed Ali to win the undisputed heavyweight championship in 1978 in only his eighth professional fight. The split decision gave Spinks the distinction of being the only man to take a title from Ali in the ring. However, in a rematch seven months later, the aging Ali showed up more in-shape and sharper to win back his title by unanimous decision after 15 rounds.

Spinks went on to fight future WBA world heavyweight champ Gerrie Coetzee, European title holder Alfredo Evangelista and Eddie Lopez, but he would never regain the title or glory of his fight against Ali. Spinks switched to cruiserweight in 1982, and then competed in boxer v. wrestler matches in the 1980s, boxing again into the 1990’s, and finally retiring at the age of 42.

Spinks was known for his gapped-tooth grin, a result of losing two, and later four, of his front teeth in the ring. He has slurred his words since his boxing days, likely a result of punches he took. His son Cory Spinks held the undisputed welterweight title. His other son, Leon Calvin, was tragically shot to death while he drove home in East St. Louis in 1990. Calvin had a 2-0 record as a light heavyweight pro boxer at the time. His son, and Spink’s grandson, Leon Spinks III, is an aspiring light heavyweight southpaw with seven knockouts to his credit. Spinks moved to Las Vegas in 2011 with his wife, Brenda.

July 15 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide
President of Haiti

July 15 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Aristide became wildly popular as a champion of the poor. Originally a Roman Catholic priest, he became popular railing against abuses fomented by the corrupt family dictatorship of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier and his father, “Papa Doc” Duvalier. At the same time, Aristide was appointed to St. Jean Bosco church, in a poor area of Port-au-Prince. There, he sponsored weekly youth Masses and founded an orphanage while championing the aspirations of Haiti’s dispossessed. He survived four assassination attempts for his efforts, including a 1988 attack where 13 parishoners were killed and 70 wounded, and his church was burned to the ground while army and police stood by and did nothing.

Aristide didn’t spare criticism of the church hierarchy, and in the same year was expelled from his Salesian order. Accused of “incitement to hatred and violence,” Aristide slammed the church for failing to adequately support the poor over the rich, noting Jesus could not accept the people going hungry.

During his short-lived initial term in office, Aristide attempted to instill reforms such as bringing the military under civilian control, investigating human rights violations, bringing Duvalier’s henchmen to trial, and prohibiting many wealthy Haitians from leaving the country pending an examination of their bank accounts. Making this many enemies in high places didn’t serve him well, and he was ousted in a 1991 coup d’état.

Aristide returned from exile to rule again from 2001-2004, when he called for colonizer France to repay $21 billion for making Haiti hand over 90 million gold francs in restitution for French property taken during the Haitian rebellion that ended in 1947. In 2004, Aristide claims France and the U.S. participated in a “kidnapping” after he was forced to resign when he was threatened with death if he refused to go. Aristide alleges that the U.S. reneged on promises made regarding privatization of enterprises and then “relied on a disinformation campaign” to discredit him. Congressman Maxine Waters supported the assertions.

After a long exile, Aristide returned to Haiti in 2011 where he was greeted at the airport by thousands of supporters. Western countries worry that his participation in politics could “destabilize” the country. However, mass disenfranchisement grips Haiti, which has gone from 60 percent voter participation when Aristide was running for office to at most 20 percent now.

Aristide’s major achievements in office include greatly increased access to health care and education for the general population, increasing adult literacy from 35 percent to 55 percent, improving human rights, doubling the minimum wage, instituting land reform, assistance to small farmers, establishing a food distribution network for the poor, building low-cost housing and attempting to reduce government corruption.

July 20 – Thomas Friedman

July 20 – Thomas Friedman

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman writes for The New York Times with extensive grounding on foreign affairs, global trade, the Middle East and environmental issues. Lofty stuff for a guy who originally wanted to be a professional golfer and caddied for Chi Chi Rodriquez at the 1970 U.S. Open.

Dreams fade, others take their place, and Friedman graduated from Brandeis with a degree in Mediterranean studies, then attended Oxford as a Marshall Scholar, leaving with an M. Phil. in Middle Eastern studies. Following, his career in journalism started in London and took him to Lebanon, Jerusalem and all over the world. Among his many awards is the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his “clarity of vision, based on extensive reporting, in commenting on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat.”

Interestingly, Friedman doesn’t see that threat coming from immigrants. He writes: "It is pure idiocy that Congress will not open our borders – as wide as possible – to attract and keep the world's first-round intellectual draft choices in an age when everyone increasingly has the same innovation tools and the key differentiator is human talent."

Source: Wikipedia

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

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

How well do these surprisingly affordable devices compare to traditional units from an audiologist? What impact will a new law have on hearing devices?

How well do these surprisingly affordable devices compare to traditional units from an audiologist? What impact will a new law have on hearing devices?

The risk of hearing loss for an older American is 10 to 20 times greater than the risk of heart disease, and 100 times higher than the risk of getting cancer. Of 30 million Americans who have hearing loss, a mere 20 percent get hearing aids. Hearing devices aren’t covered by Medicare or most insurance, and their high cost and perceived social stigma prohibit many seniors from seeking help, even when they struggle to hear.

Currently, dispensers and audiology practices are prone to presenting consumers with a limited range of hearing aids. They may all be from one manufacturer that guarantees incentives for meeting sales goals. Dispensers may then employ proprietary software to program the units, holding customers hostage for follow-up adjustments.

However, a recently enacted law called the Over-the-Counter Hearing Act seeks to make hearing aids both more affordable and more available. The bipartisan-supported measure removes the requirement for patients to see a health care professional to purchase hearing aids.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will approve the devices for over-the-counter (OTC) sales online and in your local drugstore. You’ll be able to buy hearing aids without a prescription or a medical exam. The FDA estimates it will take at least another year before regulations are set and approved units for those with mild to moderate hearing loss (the levels covered in the bill) will be available.

Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs)

In the meantime, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are already widely sold for much less than traditional hearing aids. Retailing from tens of dollars to several hundred, a bewildering array of the devices are marketed as “sound amplifiers for people with normal hearing,” which is currently the only legal option even though some are technologically comparable with hearing aids.

Take Your Own Hearing Test at Home

For less than $70, you can take your own hearing test at home with just a computer with an internet connection and the iHear Test. It’s the first and only hearing test cleared by the FDA for use at home.

If you don’t want to pay a doctor for a hearing test, but you wonder where you stand, the iHear test could be the answer. The test can sense background noise and automatically pauses if ambient noise interferes. Calibrated earphones ensure continuous accuracy.

Best yet, your spouse or partner can take the test for free as a service that’s included. Two hearing test credits for up to two users are included, and you may buy more credits for up to five users. The test will score hearing in each ear according to World Health Organization guidelines.

Do PSAPs stand up well against much more expensive devices sold by hearing specialists? A groundbreaking study implies that they do.

The research study involved 42 older adults aged 60 to 85 with mild to moderate hearing loss. First, they were evaluated for how well they could hear and repeat a random series of sentences. Participants tested six devices: an expensive hearing aid that is commonly recommended, four PSAPs with good electroacoustic properties and a fifth PSAP commonly sold in drugstores (which was also by far the least expensive). During device testing in a sound booth, background conversational noise was added.

Three of the PSAPs were nearly as good as the $1,910 hearing aid. The Sound World Solutions C550+ and the Soundhawk, both $349.44, did an admirable job. Performing nearly as well as the two frontrunners was the Etymotic BEAN at $299.99. The Tweak Focus, which retails for $269.99, trailed the leaders in fourth place. Tellingly, the $29.99 MSA 30X Sound Amplifier actually decreased the subjects’ ability to hear the words.

Pros and Cons of OTC Hearing Aids

It appears that good, affordable hearing devices are already on the market and available without a prescription. Does the new law solve a problem that doesn’t exist?

Hearing aid manufacturers and distributors lobbied against the bill, fearing that more people with hearing loss will gravitate to other means for getting help.

The gun lobby also opposed the bill on the grounds that hunters, who use hearing amplifiers to detect their prey, would be subject to further regulation and an infringement on their Second Amendment rights.

However, although there are good PSAPs currently on the market to compete with expensive hearing aids, barriers to their use exist. Many seniors are not aware that affordable PSAPs can work as well as pricey hearing aids, so they bypass PSAPs entirely. As the study showed, some PSAPs make hearing worse than not using anything. And setting some PSAPs at the wrong volume level could literally blow out your hearing, since they don’t have to meet standards for loudness.

By standardizing the industry, consumers will be able to more easily compare different brands and models, allowing them to shop around for the best price on similar products. Dangerous noise levels will be eliminated. More people who need hearing aids will get them because  costly barriers, such as seeing a physician and having to choose from expensive products, will vanish.

Audiologists Increase User Satisfaction

Many hearing providers dispute that cost is a major factor in hearing aid adoption. They cite statistics from countries such as Norway, Sweden and the U.K. where hearing aids are provided for free or nearly so. The adoption rate in these countries is a mere five percent or so higher than the U.S. If cost is not the factor we might intuitively imagine it is, then what prevents people with hearing loss from getting help?

Influences such as social acceptance, product aesthetics and sound quality play an outsize role, according to Amyn M. Amlani, Ph.D., an expert on price elasticity and hearing aids.

“The primary factor for uptake is the patient’s perceived value,” says Dr. Amlani. “This value stems from the services provided by the practitioner and includes counseling, rehabilitation, real-ear measurements, and the inclusion of the family and significant other as part of the treatment process.”

A recent study from Indiana University published in the March issue of the American Journal of Audiology seems to back up Amlani’s findings. Participants included 154 adults aged 55 to 79 with mild to moderate hearing loss. Patients were split into three groups: one got a hearing aid with the services of an audiologist; another was told they got an OTC, preprogrammed device (actually the exact same aid the first group was given, without the fitting); and the control group got a placebo device with no amplification, fitted by a professional.

After six weeks, researchers compared user satisfaction and hearing aid usage. Participants in both of the first groups reported better hearing with their units. But surprisingly, the OTC group was both less likely to use their hearing aids during the trial, and less likely to buy them afterward. While 81 percent of the audiologist group reported they were likely to buy the hearing aids at the conclusion of the trial, only 55 percent of the OTC group said the same.

When the OTC group was offered a four-week follow-up with an audiologist after the initial study, satisfaction increased significantly, and more patients decided to purchase their hearing aids after initially declining the offer.

The takeaway may be good news for audiologists worried that OTC hearing aids will put them out of business. If they promote and endorse the less expensive hearing aids, it could translate into many more patients in need of their services.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

What Does the IRS Know and Do I Have to Tell Them?

What Does the IRS Know and Do I Have to Tell Them?

Lots of seniors are hiding a little something from the IRS: cash income from a side job is one of the most common. But can the tax man find out, and is a small amount perfectly legal?

Many older Americans are taking part in the gig economy. Whether it’s hiring yourself out as a handyman or renting out a spare room, you put the cash in your purse or wallet and then forget about it. But should you be reporting it at tax time? And can the IRS find out about past years when you didn’t mention it on your return?

The IRS estimates that it loses hundreds of billions of dollars per year in unreported income. That’s not surprising, considering all the income that, under the law, you are supposed to report. If you babysit your grandchildren, then you are legally a childcare provider. Did you barter or exchange something with a neighbor? The IRS can legally tax you on it. How about those bingo winnings? They’re subject to taxation, too.

Games of Chance

Many seniors are surprised to learn that gambling winnings are taxable income, whether from a bingo game, raffle, casino, racetrack, lottery or scratch-off card. They’re all supposed to be reported on line 21 of your Form 1040.

Taxes may be withheld from your winnings at professional gambling venues such as casinos, racetracks and the state lottery. Bingo winnings of $1,200 and up are subject to a rather stiff 28 percent withholding rate. If you’re playing one dollar cards at the local senior center and you get lucky, well, you’re supposed to report that as income.

If your winnings are in the form of property or prizes instead of cash, you will owe tax for fair market value. Say that vacation for two to Greece is worth $8,000; you’ll have to pay taxes on that amount just as if you won it in cash.

However, you get to take a deduction on your losses. Did you spend $30 on cards before winning the $50 jackpot? You only owe tax on $20. Wait a minute, that deduction only counts for gambling winnings. If you lost $300 on the ponies without winning a thing, the IRS will not let you apply it against the $400 you made driving for Uber.

Self-Employment Income

But wait, you don’t have to report income if it’s under $600, right? Wrong. A Form 1099 is issued for income other than wages, salary and tips. The minimum amount that must be reported varies depending on the type of income, but it’s $600 for an independent contractor. This leads many taxpayers to assume they don’t owe taxes on lesser amounts earned while self-employed, but legally ANY amount you receive must be reported, regardless of whether or not a form is required.

Will You Be Audited?

Where does the IRS draw the line for audits? All tax returns are put through a software program that shows how closely they adhere to statistical norms. If the machine flags a return, three layers of review by human beings determine if further action is taken. Four things are most likely to land you in the dreaded spotlight.

  1. Failing to report all of the income that the IRS knows about. It can be hard to keep track of all the sources of income you might have, making this a common mistake. Don’t forget to include brokerage accounts (distributions, interest, dividends) and Form 1099s such as from a job back in the spring that you held for a month.

  2. Stepping outside the rules for foreign accounts. The IRS takes a dim view of any American trying to hide money outside the country. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requires you to name the institution holding funds and the highest dollar amount of your account in the prior year. Assets of $50,000 or more merit reporting on a Form 8938. Additionally, foreign banks must tell the IRS about American asset holders. Just holding assets in a foreign bank will get you additional scrutiny from the IRS, which is always on the lookout for someone trying to hide income offshore.

  3. Fudging business expenses. If your return shows business travel more than 20 percent above the norm for your profession, the IRS will take a good look. Same for take-home cars (used in your business but driven home at the end of the day) without specific reasons for deductions related to their use.

  4. Making more than $200,000. The IRS currently audits about 1 percent of taxpayers who make less than $200,000, and nearly 4 percent of those earning above that level. If you pass the $1 million mark in earnings, your chance of an audit increases to 12.5 percent. It stands to reason that their return on investment is greater for higher earners. It’s the same for business returns, where only 1 percent of corporations with assets under $1 million are audited, but kick that up to $10 million or more in assets and the likelihood of an audit increases to 17.6 percent.

Selling Online

What about sites like eBay? If you’re essentially hosting an online garage sale, it’s one of the few times when the IRS isn’t interested in your earnings. The litmus test is if you bought the item for more than you’re selling it for, you’re in the clear.

If your eBay dealings are more like a hobby, you have to report the income, but you can’t use losses to offset other income. Whether it’s a hobby or a business is a gray area, but the IRS will look at how often you sell, how much you earn and how much time you spend on it.

A Form 1099-K will be generated from the eBay site for anyone with more than $20,000 in gross sales and 200 or more transactions. Conversely, on a site like Etsy that features specialty items sold for a profit, a Form 1099-K will be produced for each vendor regardless of the amount of sales.

How the IRS Knows You Cheated

We can be fairly certain the IRS isn’t aware that we traded babysitting our friends’ kids for their parents staining our deck. But what about those cash payments? One of the oldest tricks in the book is to cash a check received as payment for a small job at the financial institution where it was issued to avoid having it show up in your account. But what if you deposit some of the cash? And how about that little business you run on the internet?

  • Large bank deposits. If you deposit more than $10,000 in cash into a bank or credit union account within 24 hours, the institution must report the deposit to the IRS. This report could trigger an examination of all your deposit activity to search for money laundering or illegal sales (such as drugs). The same is true if you make several large deposits that are less than $10,000. Known as “structuring” or “smurfing,” it’s criminal to purposely avoid reporting limits, even if the money is from a legal source. If the IRS suspects you’re guilty of such activity, it can seize your cash.

  • T-account analysis. Another trigger for a closer look by the IRS is when your sources of income appear to be insufficient for your living expenses. We’re not talking about the $20 splurge on a night out, or how you saved up enough money for a new fridge. Rather, the IRS is looking for an imbalance of $10,000 or more. It’s called a T-account analysis, and it’s the test that tripped up Al Capone.

  • Website and e-commerce transactions. Online business activity leaves a trail of clues for the IRS to follow. Agents can easily check what forms of payment the business accepts, what services or products are sold, and quarterly or annual income.

  • Small business profits. Does the IRS know you really had 29 (seven of whom paid in cash) clients instead of 22 at the dog grooming business you run from home? Not likely. But if you’re operating a major business, agents can compare your gross income and profit ratios to those of similar businesses reported on such sites as com. If you’re taking major deductions for travel and expenses while generating little profit on sizable gross income, expect a knock at your door followed by plenty of questions.

  • Matching tax documents. Don’t ever try to avoid reporting income that is independently reported to the IRS. Statements such as forms 1099 and W-2 are duplicated and sent to the feds, whose automated software will catch any discrepancies.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

New Surgical Methods for Problem Hearts

New Surgical Methods for Problem Hearts

Heart repair methods are changing with technology, and you or someone you love may benefit from one of these new treatments.

If you experience fatigue, shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat and lightheadedness, it could be due to mitral valve regurgitation (MVR). This condition stems from the failure of the heart’s mitral valve to close completely, allowing blood to flow backward into the heart. If MVR is significant, blood can’t efficiently move through the heart or to the rest of the body.  

How to Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack

Are you among the mere 3 percent of Americans who follow the four recommendations, below, for preventing a heart attack?

  1. Don’t smoke.
  2. Get your body mass index below 25.
  3. Eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day.
  4. Exercise vigorously at least 150 minutes a week.

Watch this video to get more tips from the Mayo Clinic on heart attack prevention:

Mild regurgitation can generally be left untreated, but more severe cases can lead to heart failure or arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Your doctor may prescribe drugs or recommend replacing or clipping shut the valve. While the clipping procedure isn’t new, it used to take place in an operating room under general anesthesia.

Now, a new type of mitral valve clip can be inserted via a catheter. “This procedure is appropriate for high-surgical-risk MVR patients,” Tabrizchi says. “It may involve a short hospital stay to assess the effectiveness of the procedure. Patients tend to feel better right away and have an improved quality of life.”

Atrial Fibrillation

Warning Signs of a Woman’s Heart Attack

Women do not experience heart attacks like their male counterparts. Women may not have chest pressure, but instead may experience “shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue,” according to Nieca Goldberg, M.D. and medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center. “Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure.”

That may be because a woman’s heart attack may be triggered by a temporary coronary artery spasm or minor blood clot. Either can stop blood flow to the heart.

The signs of a woman’s heart attack may be subtle. Although heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S., women may attribute their symptoms to acid reflux, the flu or normal aging. But in the event of a heart attack, you need help right away. If you or someone you love experiences any of the following symptoms, dial 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Nine percent of Americans over age 65 have arrhythmia, according to the CDC. The most common type is atrial fibrillation (AFib).

“AFib is an irregular beating of the upper heart chambers, which causes clots to form within those chambers,” says Tabrizchi. “The clots can leave the heart and become lodged anywhere in the body, but the primary risk is to the brain, which results in ischemic strokes.”

Ischemic strokes are responsible in about 87 percent of stroke cases, according to the American Heart Association, and the risk of stroke increases with age.

Treatment for AFib usually includes anticoagulants to prevent clots. However, such blood thinners involve risk. “Some patients tend to have significant bleeding as an adverse effect of these medicines to the point where they require blood transfusions,” Tabizchi says. “People with severe arthritis who have to take anti-inflammatory medication, for example, are at a very high risk for bleeding.”

That bleeding can happen anywhere in the body, but if it's in the brain, it causes a hemorrhagic stroke.

Catheters come to the rescue once again, delivering a safe alternative shown to reduce strokes in clinical trials. Dubbed the WATCHMAN device, this type of catheter resembles a tiny umbrella and is placed in the left atrial appendage, the pouch in the atrium where clots tend to form. The procedure is called left atrial appendage closure (LAAC).

The patient requires general anesthesia for doctors to insert a catheter into the upper leg and thread it up to the heart. The procedure takes an hour on average, and patients spend a day in the hospital. They also initially need anticoagulants, but these can usually be tapered off after about six months.

However, the procedure isn’t for everyone. “The WATCHMAN is very expensive,” admits Tabrizchi. “There are strict criteria in place regarding which patients are candidates for this procedure.”

People who don’t tolerate anticoagulants well are candidates, and so are people with a history of falling. “People who fall may hit their head or cause serious injury to other parts of the body that result in bleeding,” Tabrizchi clarifies.

Post-Procedure Heart Care

Any heart procedure requires special care afterward. Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice, and take good care of your heart muscle. Improving your diet and exercising (with your doctor’s approval) are the most common recommendations for pampering your heart and boosting your health


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Monday, June 25, 2018

Famous & 65

Look Who’s Turning 65

June 5 – Kathleen Kennedy
American Film Producer

June 5 – Kathleen Kennedy

Power producer Kathleen Kennedy has been president of Lucasfilm since 2012, when it was acquired by The Walt Disney Company for more than $4 billion. You might remember her work: iconic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial or the Jurassic Park franchise (two of which sit in the top ten highest-grossing films of the 90s). Kennedy’s career spans more than 60 films, and she’s been nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Kennedy is not of the glamourous Hyannis Port branch of the clan, but Dad was a judge and Mom a one-time theatre actress who settled down in Berkeley, California, where Kathleen was born. She majored in telecommunications and film at San Diego State University, taking a job at the local Redding, CA radio station after graduation, where she made the rounds as camera operator, video editor, floor director and production coordinator.

Ready for the big time, Kennedy moved to (where else?) Los Angeles and found a job as production assistant to the man who was executive producer of Steven Spielberg’s 1941. Spielberg noticed her talent (not in a Harvey Weinstein way) and hired her as his secretary. For typing. Really. She was lousy at typing but had phenomenal production ideas, gaining industry cred as associate to Spielberg on Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981.

Kennedy has been a member of the advisory board of the National Student Film Institute, and won a Women in Film Crystal Award for helping expand the role of women in the entertainment industry. She also knows everyone worth knowing in the entire motion picture industry.

Hot tip: If any of the grandchildren are interested in a film career, they might try “bumping into” Kennedy at Comic Con, where she has been known to put in an appearance.

June 10 – John Edwards
American Lawyer and Politician

June 10 – John Edwards

Well before the MeToo movement and on the heels of “I’m just out here hiking the Appalachian Trail” Mark Sanford, the other Carolina (North) had its own political love scandal. Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004 and candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, John Edwards was near the top before he fell from grace.

A football star in high school with boyish good looks, Edwards was the first in his family to attend college. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in textile technology in 1974 before earning his Juris Doctor form the University Of North Carolina School Of Law with honors (essentially proving you can have an undergrad degree in basket weaving and still become an attorney).

Edwards was a brilliant litigator, winning against seemingly impossible odds, establishing precedent after taking cases nobody else wanted. In 1993, he founded his own firm in Raleigh with a friend and became known as the top plaintiffs’ attorney in the state of North Carolina. He won impressive awards arguing for clients against corporations, and earned the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s national award for public service.

Edwards’ career in politics was due in part to winning a huge case against a pool-cover manufacturer, and in part to death of his son, Wade. He won a U.S. Senate seat in 1998 even though he was considered the underdog. In the Senate, Edwards sponsored 203 bills. He supported such liberal causes as college for all, abortion rights, universal healthcare, a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and a carbon neutral push to slow global warming.

His tenure in the Senate ended in 2004 when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and Edwards took time off to care for her, as well as promoting a program aimed to assist youth in fighting poverty.

Unfortunately, Edwards will also be remembered for his affair and child out of wedlock a few years later. While his wife’s cancer returned and had metastasized to her bones and lung, Edwards lied about his paternity of the child until January of 2010. His wife, Elizabeth, legally separated from him and died of metastatic breast cancer in December of that year at age 61.

June 13 – Tim Allen

June 13 – Tim Allen

Guess who changed his name from “Timothy Alan Dick”? Yes! And we don’t blame him one bit, do we? The star of many movies and television shows, including parts as Tim the Toolman in Home Improvement and Mike Baxter on Last Man Standing, you might also recognize him as the voice of Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear.

Born in Denver, Allen’s real estate agent father died in a car crash when his son was 11. A couple of years after, his mother moved her brood to Michigan when she married her high school sweetheart.

Allen started his career in comedy on a dare in 1975 when he took part in a comedy night at a club outside of Detroit. It must have gone well, because he moved to Los Angeles to become a regular at The Comedy Store. Although he once told a magazine, “I can only play a part if I can draw on personal experience, and that well can go dry pretty quickly,” Allen soon became successful.

Allen is a licensed amateur radio operator and Republican, supporting Trump in the presidential election. Interesting, because in the 1970s he was arrested for possession of cocaine, pleaded guilty after coughing up the names of other dealers, and was a guest of the Sandstone Federal Correctional Institution for more than two years.

June 15 – Xi Jinping
Eternal Ruler of the Communist Party of China

June 15 – Xi Jinping

Okay, that’s not his official title but he really is sometimes referred to as the “paramount leader” since he controls the state, the military and the Party in communist China. And he has great hair that doesn’t fly a foot off his head in the wind.

Probably just a nice guy who worked his way up the ladder, right? Wrong. Very wrong. He was born in Beijing, where things started out well. His father held a series of posts, including propaganda chief(!), vice-premier and vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress. Then, when Xi was 10, his dad got purged from the Party and was forced to work in a factory in another city.

Xi was in school three years later when the Cultural Revolution halted all secondary classes so students could criticize and fight their teachers. Xi’s family home was looted by student militants who killed one of his sisters. Later, his own mother was forced to denounce Xi publically as he was brought before a crowd and labeled an enemy of the state. All of this before he was 15, when his father was sent to prison (Xi wouldn’t see him for four years) and Xi was ordered to work in the countryside.

He hated rural life and ran away to Beijiing, but he was soon arrested as a deserter and sent to a work camp, where he was forced to dig ditches. Later (it seems like a transition is needed here, but none given) he became Party branch secretary.

He did then work his way up through the system, even staying with a family in Muscatine, Iowa for a couple of weeks as part of a delegation to study U.S. agriculture. (When he could have stolen the latest soy bean seeds or processing secrets and shuttled them off to Brazil, inciting the current trade war, who knows?)

Being a good Party man, he spent four years studying Marxist philosophy and got a Doctor of Law covering not only law, but also politics, management and revolutionary history. Supposedly. Commentators have “questioned this qualification”. Another odd thing: a few months before ascending to the Party leadership in 2012, Xi disappeared for weeks. Nope, he was not out walking the Appalachian Trail, wink, wink. It was hinted that he used the time to install political allies in key roles, and The Washington Post said he may have been hurt in a fight during a meeting that turned violent.

Xi came to power on an anti-corruption platform. Ironically, he was voted in as ruler-for-life in February.

June 21 – Benazir Bhutto
Prime Minister of Pakistan 1998-2000 and 1993-1996

June 21 – Benazir Bhutto

Although she was assassinated in 2007, Bhutto would otherwise turn 65 this month and certainly deserves a mention for her extraordinary life.

Against the norms of the time and place, Benazir’s education was encouraged by the father she idolized, and her first language was English. He came from a wealthy political family, and became Pakistan’s foreign minister when Benazir was nine. She was exposed to numerous foreign diplomats including Henry Kissinger and Hubert Humphrey. When Benazir was 13, her father resigned from the government to re-emerge a year later as the founder of his own political party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). With the motto “Islam is our faith, democracy is our policy, socialism is our economy. All power to the people,” it attracted adherents with a populist strategy.

Benazir attended Harvard in the U.S. and then Oxford in England. These were happy times for her, although two young men Benazir proposed to at Oxford declined her hand. Then her father was overthrown in a military coup and eventually put to death after being found guilty of murder by a kangaroo court.

Benazir returned home and agreed to an arranged marriage (knowing she’d be more acceptable to religious conservatives). Her father had become increasing ly popular, attracting a crowd of a million for one of his releases from prison before the regime found him too powerful to let live.

The first woman elected to high office in a Muslim country, Benazir continued Pakistan’s nuclear program promoted by her father and advocated for women’s rights. Her secularist and modernizing agenda wasn’t always popular with Pakistan’s Islamists, and she was accused of being corrupt and inexperienced. Nevertheless, she was domestically popular and was upheld by Western nations as a champion of democracy. She was campaigning for another termwhen she was assassinated.

Source: Wikipedia

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