Wednesday, April 18, 2018

2018 CSA Conference: Why Every CSA Should Attend

There are many conferences available to professionals today including hundreds that individually address finance, care, insurance, technology, health, and aging. But there is only one that brings together the community of multidisciplinary professionals that have demonstrated their commitment to serving older adults by virtue of holding the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) credential.

The CSA Conference is designed to bring you together with other aging industry experts and thought leaders all in one place to not only learn the latest information on critical topics important for your business and your clients, but also to connect with one another. As a CSA and professional working with seniors, it is your responsibility to stay current on trends, and to ensure you have access to the resources and networks that your clients need. The CSA Conference is your opportunity to do both. On August 24th, 25th, and 26th in Dallas, Texas you will have the chance to meet with people who share a common interest and passion for serving older adults, exchange ideas and thoughts, and to build your professional network with CSAs and leading experts from across the country.

This year at the 5th Annual CSA Conference, Building Knowledge and Empowering Networks to Benefit Seniors, participants will include expert Speakers like Matt Paxton, from the hit TV show HOARDERS and Jane W. Barton, along with contributions from the 2018 CSA Conference Sponsors and many CSAs and aging industry professionals.

The CSA Conference is an event like none other for a community of committed professionals. Join your fellow CSAs and help SCSA make this year’s conference the best yet.

All CSAs will earn 12 CSA CE credits for attending the conference.

Register Now: – go to to learn more about the program, speakers, sessions, and sponsors for the 2018 CSA Conference in Dallas.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

10 Top American Vacation Destinations for Older Adults

10 Top American Vacation Destinations for Older Adults

From a renowned foodie city to a coastal road trip, we’ve gathered some of the best (and most affordable!) vacation ideas for seniors.

Older Americans are looking for getaways that don’t break the budget, but do offer a distinct change of pace. Luckily, the sheer size of the U.S. offers a great variety of spots that are geographically distinct. From the warm waters of the Caribbean to frigid Alaskan glaciers, there’s something for everyone.

Taking in another culture can enhance your vacation, especially if you have a strong spirit of adventure. Or perhaps you’d like to stay close to home, spending your money on a night or two in a nice hotel located in a familiar city. There will still be plenty to do by going on an excursion or two and planning a meal at a local eatery that’s gotten rave reviews.

Keep costs low by driving to your destination, or use a budget airline such as Allegiant, Southwest, Sun Country or Spirit. These discounters don’t show up on search sites like Kayak, so you’ll have to check fares at their website. Spend less on food by choosing a top restaurant with $15 dinner plates instead of the fancy steakhouse. Enjoy a drink in your hotel room before dinner, and skip alcohol at the restaurant. Or forego dinner and hit the town at happy hour, when deals abound.

Use a credit card to book your trip and for expenses. Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers double points for every purchase and a generous reward program for travel costs, as well as a 40,000 point sign-up bonus. A great cashback card is the one offered by Citi.You’ll get 1 percent cash back, doubled as you pay for purchases, and no annual fee.

Check out these popular destinations for a memorable trip.


1. Big Sur, California

The stretch of Highway 1 from San Simeon to Carmel is one of the most beautiful in the country. Nestled between the rocky Pacific coastline and grassy foothills, every curve offers another breathtaking vista. Hop off at any town along your route for a laid-back, upscale scene. Or venture out to one of dozens of nearby wineries for a glass of vino. Stay at a charming area inn or bed-and-breakfast for a night or two of luxury. Venture south to Hearst Castle, once the domain of newspaper magnate and art collector William Randolph Hearst, where tours include tidbits about long-ago movie stars and so much more. On your way, be sure to stop and see the colony of Elephant Seals at San Simeon, the only rookery in the world that is accessible, free and open to the public year-round.

2. Lake Tahoe, California

With fantastic scenery and plenty to keep you busy all year long, Lake Tahoe deserves a spot on your vacation wish list. Nestled in the Sierras next to a crystal-clear lake, this destination has adventure for each season. Summer months offer hiking on an extensive trail system, golfing, jet skiing, or kayaking. If that all sounds too ambitious, take a picnic to the lake shore, where every view is like a postcard. Winter visitors enjoy world-class skiing. If you’d like the companionship of other seniors, reserve a spot at Homewood Mountain Resort, where many older skiers take advantage of classes and excursions for all ability levels. Homewood has partnered with AirBnB for nearby lodging as low as $59. Visit the island in Emerald Bay any time of year for a tour of the wonderful Vikingsholm, an exquisite castle built and furnished in the best Scandinavian style. Private beaches accessible by short trails on the east side of the lake accommodate sunbathers and nature lovers. Book a place on a local paddlewheeler for a lake tour (with dinner and dancing if you’d like). For more tour opportunities, click here.

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

Like a jewel in the desert, Las Vegas glitters in the barren Mojave, beckoning visitors to gamble 24/7. But you can ignore every slot machine and craps table and still have a great time in this glitzy town. Orient yourself along the strip by hotel hopping. Start your tour in the lovely Bellagio, where a ceiling of handmade glass graces the lobby and fountains dance to classical music. Stroll into the Venetian for a taste of Italian luxury, or enjoy the ambience at the Luxor (the pool alone is worth gawking at). Book a show; Las Vegas has world-class entertainment on offer every night. Magicians, singers, comedians and Cirque du Soleil are just some of the possibilities. But instead of paying top dollar, head over to one of nine half-price ticket booths. That way, you’ll have money left over to treat yourself to dinner at one of the fancy restaurants in any of the toney hotels, or save again by ducking into a less expensive eatery along the strip. End your night with a cold, REALLY cold, cocktail at the Ice Lounge that is made entirely of frozen water. If you’re tired of trekking, hang out at your hotel pool for the day. Fed up with the glitz, the glamour, the endless casino noise and hucksters hawking products you don’t need? Hop in your car for a scenic drive at nearby Red Rock Canyon to watch rock climbers scale the ancient walls. Ah, peace and quiet.

4. Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Really, New Jersey! With 18 miles of quiet beach, this tranquil resort has old-school charm, complete with saltwater taffy and mini golf. Climb 217 steps at the Barnegat Lighthouse for expansive views of the island and bay. Or check the website for scheduled summertime night climbs for a unique experience. April and May are great months to visit if you want to see migrating waterfowl. Adventurous folks can take a surfing lesson or stand-up paddling class from patient instructors at LBI Surfing. Don’t forget to purchase your beach pass, only $5 if you’re 65 or older. Munch down just like the locals at The Clam Bar in Beach Haven. Stay at a funky beach hotel, or do the legwork at an AirBnB, where you can have a four-bedroom cottage for $190 a night. Just for fun, check out the original Ron Jon Surf Shop that opened its doors in 1961 (Beach Boys era!). You might come out with a new pair of flip flops or some funky sunglasses to ward off the rays.

5. Miami, Florida

If your idea of a great vacation includes sand and sun, take a look at bustling Miami. Sandwiched between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic, Miami offers more Art Deco architecture than anywhere else in the world. Take a guided tour of local buildings, or check out Biscayne Marketplace and Marina. The Wolfsonian–FIU Museum is a must, featuring art, design, talks and tours. Free entertainment comes with a walk down South Beach, where you can hunt for tattoo parlors, the ultra-rich, other lookie-loo touristas or a great fish sandwich. Adventurous souls can drive down to the Florida Keys, where you can ride in a swamp boat or enjoy snorkeling near the old stomping grounds of Ernest Hemingway and, more recently, Jimmy Buffett.

Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Advice

The host of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain knows travel. The 61-year-old is on the road 250 days a year, giving him ample authority to dispense counsel. What is he telling us?

Bourdain smiles as he recalls his first visit to Tokyo. He doesn’t speak Japanese, and at 6’4”, there was no blending into the crowd. When he went into restaurants, he’d order by pointing to what the person next to him was having.

It’s all part of the “get real” philosophy he espouses. Avoid the tourist traps. Forget about that selfie at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Avoid the lines. And never book a prepackaged tour.

Instead, he recommends getting out to explore the rhythms, flavors and smells of a place. Be willing to stumble onto a hole-in-the-wall eatery where you don’t recognize a single dish.

“We tend to be over concerned with safety and with cleanliness in ways that stand between us,” Bourdain says. While travelers can easily revert to mainstay destinations like Rome or London, he urges them to book more exotic destinations. Think Uruguay. “Affordable, great food, great people,” he says. While not everyone will run out to cancel that travel tour, Bourdain’s advice might nudge you out of your comfort zone. Skip the trip to the museum and go for a walk. Spend time in one place instead of hitting five cities in ten days. “I want to wander in one city, in one town,” he states.

Bourdain says a common mistake everyone makes is to create a hectic schedule of tourist stops. “It’s punishing,” he says. “The sort of frenzied compression of time needed to take the tour, to see the sights, keeps you in a bubble that prevents you from having magic happen to you. Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”

6. Nashville, Tennessee

Live music is on tap any night of the week in this cradle of American country music, but there’s so much more to Nashville! Check out handwritten lyrics at the Johnny Cash Museum or enjoy the newly expanded Country Music Hall of Fame. Take in a live radio show at the Grand Ole Opry, where seasoned vets and newcomers alike make appearances. For a change of pace, view works by Goya and Wyeth at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, or tour the 135-year-old Hatch Show Print letterpress shop, where you can make your own print to take home. Be sure to try the buttery, crispy goodness of Prince’s Hot Chicken on your way back from Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Estate. Linger over a nightcap at the iconic Patterson House, a speakeasy and celebrity watering hole. Check here for discounts, coupons and promotions for all things Nashville.

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

Soulful New Orleans is much more than a party city. Get to know her history with one of several two-hour-long free walking tours (tip the guide whatever you’d like). Start with the French Quarter tour, where you’ll discover sensual, sometimes macabre, stories about the city’s founding. Drop by the Tennessee Williams house in what the playwright called “the last frontier of Bohemia.” In the evening, serious jazz aficionados can pay $30 for a ticket at Preservation Hall, while the rest of us can enjoy a live performance with no cover at Fritzels. The city is chock-full of fantastic eateries such as Emeril Lagasse’s Nola, where some may wait months for a reservation. Pop in early and ask for a chair at the kitchen bar with a view of sous chefs crafting cuisine at spotless work stations. Finally, your visit isn’t complete without a trip to sample the doughnut-like beignets at Café du Monde.

8. Portland, Oregon

This northwest city has a hipster reputation, verified by the famous Powell’s Books for intellectual nourishment and original Voodoo Doughnuts to rock your sugary sensibilities. Sign up for the free walking tour Secrets of Portlandia May 10 through the end of September to absorb city history with a healthy dose of comedy. This foodie town offers a plethora of options for affordable noshing. To try the latest and greatest, consult Under the Table with Jen, a local food blog. You’ll need a place to sleep, but high season will run you $250 a night unless you know about the Everett Street Guesthouse. In easy walking distance to restaurants and a six-minute drive from downtown, one of their fresh, charming rooms will set you back as little as $85. Want to stay longer? Take a drive through the Columbia River Valley, where you can stop at a waterfall, fish hatchery, wineries and historic sites.

9. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Soak up some Southwestern ambience in this very walkable town that features a higher concentration of museums and art galleries than practically any other place in the world. The dry desert climate at 7,000 feet is great for seniors, but remember to drink plenty of water. Start exploring in the charming town square, and work your way through a string of galleries on Canyon Road. There are plenty of benches to stop at and soak up the sun along the way, with a charming tea shop that offers expansive indoor and outdoor seating at the end of your walk. Enjoy a hike on Atalaya Trail near St. John’s College, perhaps after indulging at the famous Kakawa Chocolate House. Splurge on a hotel room near the square, or go no-frills at the Best Western on nearby Cerrillos Road, where you’ll get clean sheets starting at $89.99. You’ll have money left over for a visit to 10,000 Waves, an upscale Japanese spa that offers inexpensive communal soaks or fancy personal pampering. Take a drive on the ultra-scenic Highway 4 to Albuquerque. Stop off at Bandolier National Monument for a hike, then take a van tour of Valles Caldera National Preserve, where your guide may be a retired nuclear scientist from nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory.

10. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Our national parks are a true treasure, and iconic Yellowstone is perhaps the biggest jewel in the crown. Americans 62 and older can buy a lifetime National Parks Pass for only $80 (buy it when you enter the park to save a $10 handling fee). It lets a carload of people into any national park for free throughout the life of the pass holder, and offers discounts on camping, too. If the thought of tent camping gives you shivers, try a mattress in the back of your car (with plenty of blankets or a warm down sleeping bag) for a cheap, comfy experience, or spring for a rented RV. Campsites are $21, or go really wild and stay at the historic Old Faithful Lodge, starting at $124 a night. Hike through mudpots and the world’s largest array of geysers and hot springs, which sparkle in every color of the rainbow. View bear and buffalo, which you may find marching down the road, passing inches from your window. Bobcats, moose, beavers, coyotes, mountain lions and elk also call the park home. No trip would be complete without a view of Old Faithful erupting on cue. After a long day of hiking, soak in the Boiling River natural hot springs, accessible by a short path. Then treat yourself to an order of smoked bison with pheasant and chicken sausage (under $20) at the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room, or go for the trout dinner in the Roosevelt Lodge. Be sure to pack a good pair of long johns for the cool evenings that dip down to 40 degrees, even in August.


11 Best US Travel Destinations for Seniors,” Smart Travel Tips.

7 Great American Vacation Spots (That Won't Bust Your Budget),” Time.

All the Things You're Doing Wrong When You Travel, According to Anthony Bourdain,” Time.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Friday, April 13, 2018

Stay Fit to Slash Dementia Risk

High fitness may slash dementia risk

There’s more reason to work out than ever after a major study shows significantly decreased risk of dementia for women who are healthiest.

Keeping in shape offers a range of benefits, from a healthier heart to reduced metabolic diseases. But a recent study offers evidence that staying fit can also keep you from joining more than 50 million people worldwide who suffer some form of dementia.

The study was done with women, who suffer Alzheimer’s at greater numbers than men. Astonishingly, women who were very physically fit in middle age were found to have nearly a 90 percent decreased risk of a dementia diagnosis later in life, according to research from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and published in the journal Neurology.

The long-term study included 191 women with an average age of 50 at the start. Their cardiovascular fitness was evaluated with a bicycle stress test. Participants were asked to exercise until they felt physically exhausted, revealing their peak cardiovascular capacity.

Following these assessments, the women were assigned categories of fitness. Forty participants were highly fit, 92 fell into the medium category, and 59 women exhibited a low fitness level. Women in the lowest category included some who had to interrupt exercise because of chest pain, hypertension or other cardiovascular symptoms. Study participants were followed more than four decades, during which they were tested for dementia six times. Over the course of 44 years, 44 participants developed the condition.

However, while 32 percent of the least fit women showed evidence of the disease, the figure was reduced to 25 percent of moderately fit participants. But the most surprising finding was among the fittest group, where a mere 5 percent were diagnosed with dementia.

Women in the fittest group at middle age reduced their likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia by 88 percent when compared to their moderately fit counterparts. Participants in the fittest group also received that diagnosis an average of 11 years later than moderately fit women.

While the study is not definitive, it does suggest a strong correlation between midlife fitness and the development of dementia.

If you need some inspiration to get moving, here are 11 older adults who have maintained exceptional fitness later in life.


High fitness may slash dementia risk, study says,” Medical News Today.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

American Cities Where You Can Retire on Social Security Alone

American Cities Where You Can Retire on Social Security Alone

Americans with no retirement assets can still live well in many communities across the country.

Retirement can be frightening if you’re one of 45 percent of American working households with no retirement assets. Many older adults count on their monthly Social Security check for 90 percent or more of their income. Often, people nearing retirement ask themselves how in the world they’ll get by, much less have a quality of life that meets their hopes for their golden years.

As of June 2017, the average Social Security check for a new retiree was $1,413.08. Spending on groceries across the country is in the range of $240 a month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving about $1,163 for a single retired person to live on. With the national average rent for a one- bedroom apartment setting you back from $900 to $1,200, you may be asking yourself how you’ll survive.

The biggest cost for retirees is housing, so that’s where a change can have the most impact. The U.S. is large and diverse enough to offer an array of surprisingly affordable pockets where you can live quite well. These locations are spread across the country, so you can choose according to climate, proximity to family members and other factors.

Some retirees are looking for the intimacy of a small town in rural America, while others prefer the activities available in a more urban environment. The good news is that both are available in locales that combine a low cost of living with manageable tax burden, or sometimes no state tax at all. We haven’t forgotten the need for good health care, which is available in or near all of the options listed below. So, take a look at the list and start planning the move that will let you live well on what you have!


Buffalo, New York: For affordable living, shuffle off to Buffalo, rated the cheapest city in the U.S., according to a recent SmartAsset analysis. This gateway for commerce and travel at the Canada-U.S. border sits on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, making winters decidedly chilly. But residents can travel 16 miles north to view Niagara Falls, or stay in town and enjoy an extensive system of parks and historical communities.

Johnstown, Pennsylvania: Boasting the cheapest rent in the country at about $466 per month, according to data from the U.S. Census, Johnstown is home to the University of Pittsburgh and five national historic districts. The former steel town has seen a resurgence in recent years. The regional medical, educational, cultural and communications center has attracted several industry giants, including a pair of defense corporations.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Located at the confluence of two major rivers, this former steel town is home to 68 colleges and universities, as well as a bevy of modern tech companies. Sports fans find plenty of home teams to cheer on, and history buffs can explore the city’s numerous museums. Parks abound in this city that has continually placed first or second in The Economist’s most recent Global Livability Rankings.

Rochester, New York: Sitting on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, winters are frosty. But if you don’t mind the snow, this upstate city is a hotbed of invention and innovation, thanks to several universities. It was the 2007 winner of “most livable city” in the Places Rated Almanac, and continues to garner accolades for excellent public schools coupled with low cost of living.


Akron, Ohio: The Midwest often sports lower prices than other parts of the country, and Akron is especially affordable. The so-called Rubber Capital sits on the Erie Canal 39 miles south of Lake Erie. The economy today is diversified by manufacturing, education, health care and biomedical sectors. The University of Akron hosts the Goodyear Polymer Center, and Goodyear Rubber and Tire continues to fund numerous campaigns to reinvigorate the city.

Dayton, Ohio: Health care accounts for much of the area’s economy, and several top-rated hospitals are located in Dayton. Home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force and birthplace of Orville Wright, the city has long been affiliated with the aviation industry. This tradition continues with a high concentration of aerospace and aviation companies. Ten historic districts enhance the city, which ranked second in the country for arts in a recent readers’ poll by American Style magazine.

Fort Wayne, Indiana: Check out the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, local historical museums or the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in this city that is a center for the defense industry, among others. Three rivers augment a park and boulevard-style city plan with several historic districts. Take the grandkids to the renowned children’s zoo or interactive science center.

Grand Rapids, Michigan: For a city with a booming health care industry, plenty of outdoor recreation, and a secure spot on the forefront of modern art and culture, Grand Rapids remains surprisingly affordable at about $500 for median monthly rent. Nicknamed the River City, it sits on the banks of Grand River and was historically a timber town and hub for furniture manufacturing. Residents have to tolerate cold, snowy winters and humid summers, but get lovely spring and fall seasons in return.

Indianapolis, Indiana: This Crossroads of America is within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the nation’s population. Indianapolis has developed a large following for both amateur sports and auto racing, as home of the Indianapolis 500. This economically thriving city is home to the world’s largest children’s museum (bring the grandkids!) and the biggest privately funded zoo. Historic buildings and plenty of public art round out the offerings.

Springfield, Missouri: This lively town in the southwest corner of the state boasts more than 100 parks, including some that are perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Bike paths crisscross the town, and lakes and streams are popular with fishermen. A one-bedroom apartment in town will only set you back about $500. Springfield is known as the Queen City of the Ozarks.


Athens, Georgia: As home to the University of Georgia, Athens features plenty of low-cost eateries and cultural opportunities, including world-class art and music venues that attract top talent. A famous annual road bike event is known as the Twilight Series. You’ll enjoy warm southern weather in this college town where the cost of living is about 6 percent lower than the national average.

Cape Coral, Florida: Are you searching for waterfront property and a sunny climate in a state that doesn’t levy income tax? Look no further than this Florida town sitting on the Gulf of Mexico and the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, with 400 miles of canals to navigate by kayak or canoe. Mobile, Alabama: Sitting on the Gulf Coast, this antebellum seaport community offers plenty of interest for history buffs, having been a colony of France, Britain and then Spain before being annexed into the United States. Culture enthusiasts can enjoy several art museums, a symphony orchestra, professional opera and ballet, and the oldest organized Mardi Gras celebrations in the country.

Memphis, Tennessee: If you love music and culture and are looking for big-city life, Memphis may be exactly the place for your perfect retirement. The famous Memphis Blues sound originated here, and the city is home to eclectic music genres, including country, soul, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest takes place in Memphis, which is also home to the National Civil Rights Museum. The median home price in the city is just south of $100,000, according to Kiplinger.

Richmond, Virginia: Sitting on the James River, Richmond is packed with history, including Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775 at St. John’s Church. Located just two hours south of Washington, D.C., the city’s Jackson Ward neighborhood is a center of black culture and commerce.

Shreveport, Louisiana: Founded along the Red River, Shreveport is the commercial and cultural center of the Ark-La- Tex region, where the three states meet. The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center provides optimal health care. Lately, the services industry dominates the community, including a growing business in gaming.


Boise, Idaho: Are you in search of an adventurer’s paradise? Boise offers a stepping-off point to immense natural beauty, with hundreds of nearby hiking trails paired with big-city culture. Dry summers and temperate winters draw various enthusiasts. A lively arts and entertainment community features many free or low-cost events. Lifelong learning gets a nod at Boise State University, where classes for those 60 and older cost a mere $5 per credit hour.

Colorado Springs, Colorado: Situated at the base of Pikes Peak in the Rockies, this city offers unparalleled access to hiking trails and other recreational opportunities right outside your door and is home to 24 governing bodies of sport, including the United States Olympic Training Center. Scenic beauty combined with an average of 243 sunny days every year makes an enviable climate for any age.

Reno, Nevada: Just over the mountains from Lake Tahoe, Reno sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas. Famous as a gambling town, it’s surrounded by an expanse of open land. Southwest of the international airport, a local herd of mustangs grazes near the runoff from Steamboat Creek. Events held in Reno throughout the year include a classic car convention, motorcycle rally, air races, bowling tournaments, hot air balloon race and a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Spokane, Washington: If you love outdoor activities, Spokane may be your ideal retirement city. Located on the Spokane River, its official nickname is the Lilac City and gardeners will find the climate ideal for a wide variety of plants. Washington State University boasts two medical school branches. The local Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum.


Albuquerque, New Mexico: In 2016, the city was named one of the 50 best places to live in America by U.S. News & World Report. Albuquerque boasts a blend of modern culture and Native American history with a diverse population to match. Best known for the annual hot air balloon festival, it has close proximity to hot springs and forests, including Bandolier National Monument and the Valles Caldera Preserve.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: National Geographic recently gave this Midwestern city a shout-out for its community boathouse, West River Trail and rebuilt Midtown. Sitting in the Great Plains, Oklahoma City is conveniently located on a major corridor between Wichita, Kansas and Texas. The city is packed with museums for everything from banjos, to cowboys and western heritage, to animal osteology (skeletons).

San Antonio, Texas: This large southwestern city with a rich colonial heritage and warm climate has the added benefit of being home to the latest technology at University Hospital. A river walk meanders through downtown, which is home to abundant history (think The Alamo), multiple museums and a thriving arts scene. Texas is one of a handful of states with no state tax.

Tucson, Arizona: If you want sunny warmth all year round, look no further than this small city south of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert. Enjoy the Desert Museum or Botanic Gardens, then take your pick of some of the best Mexican food north of the border. Ringed by forested mountains, Tucson offers plenty of recreational opportunities, from parks to bike trails, and is home to the University of Arizona.


How Big Is the Average Person’s Social Security Check?,” The Motley Fool.

Best Places to Live on Only a Social Security Check,” Go Bank Rates

Best Cities to Retire on Just Your Social Security Income,” The Balance.

5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security,” Wise Bread.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Monday, April 2, 2018

Can Acupuncture Treat Early Macular Degeneration?

Can Acupuncture Treat Early Macular Degeneration?

Many seniors swear they can see better following acupuncture treatments, but the therapy is controversial.

The National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, states that there is no treatment available for early age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, a cohort of professionals actively disagree. They’re generally not eye doctors, but these acupuncturists claim success with methodologies using the ear and area around the eye to reverse the effects of AMD.

Macular degeneration affects more than 10 million Americans, and is highly correlated with age, generally affecting those over the age of 50. AMD causes damage to the part of the eye needed for clear central vision. There may not be much vision change to begin with, but as the disease progresses, a blurred central area becomes larger and blind spots may appear. Daily activities such as reading, driving, writing and cooking become difficult or impossible.

Treating the Ear to Heal the Eye

Some acupuncturists have reported significant improvement with AMD by the use of auricular (ear)therapy. It involves stimulation of tiny spots on the ear, which reportedly trigger a healing response in correlated areas of the body. Experts say that the stimulation affects nerves that trigger increased hormone and blood flow to the eye. The exact spots for microcurrent stimulation and insertion of semi-permanent needles (or small steel studs in some therapies) are located using an instrument that detects electrical resistance.

Microcurrent therapy delivers low-intensity (so low it can’t be felt) electrical stimulation. Its use in conventional medicine started in the 1960s. Microcurrent therapy is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for nerve and muscle pain, inflammation and surgical applications.

Once the microcurrent treatment is complete, the acupuncturist inserts needles that are the size of a hair in each place at each treatment site. These needles are then taped down to keep them in place for several days, theoretically providing ongoing stimulation.

Practitioners assert that the science of auricular therapy is well-documented, with more than 800 papers in peer-reviewed journals around the world. These papers support its use in pain relief and healing. In many cases, auricular therapy was reported as a treatment of last resort after other medical interventions failed to work.

Santa Fe Protocol

Alston C. Lundgren, M.D. practiced family medicine for nearly two decades before devoting himself exclusively to acupuncture. Now retired, Dr. Lundgren is known for developing the Santa Fe Protocol, designed to reverse vision loss from macular degeneration. The Santa Fe Method includes auricular therapy as its central treatment.

Warning Signs of Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is usually marked by a slow, painless, gradual loss of vision. Commonly, people with the disease have it for years before getting it diagnosed because it takes that long to produce symptoms. For this reason, it’s a good idea to see a vision specialist from time to time even if you’re not experiencing any problems.

But what should you watch for if you think you might have AMD? Early signs include shadowy areas in your central vision, or fuzzy or distorted vision. Test your sight with an Amsler grid that can highlight irregularities typical of AMD, when straight lines appear wavy.

If your doctor detects a problem with your central vision, she may order a fluorescein angiography to examine the retinal blood vessels surrounding the macula.

Dr. Lundgren reported vision improvement in more than 80 percent of cases among more than 1,500 patients with macular degeneration, presenting his results to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Eye Center and the Annual Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture in 2010.

Arguments for Auricular Therapy

Acupuncturists say that their clients are the proof of the protocol’s success. Microcurrent therapy isn’t new or controversial, they assert, until it was used to treat AMD. They cite medical journals (The International Journal, The American Journal of Chinese Medicine and The Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, among others) from China, India, Sweden, Germany and Japan that “do not seem to have the inherent bias towards pharmaceutical treatments, and prejudice against holistic and natural treatments,” according to Donald K. Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O.

A criticism of the procedure is that it is not administered by doctors who specialize in eye treatments. This is true, because most acupuncture specialists are experts in pain management. The vast majority of medical doctors have no experience in acupuncture. And, there are exceptions, such as ophthalmologist Edward Kondrot, author of the book Microcurrent Stimulation: Miracle Eye Cure?

Practitioners of auricular therapy cite an outstanding safety record with noninvasive treatment, as opposed to conventional treatment for AMD, which can include injections directly into the eyeball, intravenous injection of drugs with retinal photoactivation, photocoagulation with lasers (which can actually reduce visual acuity) and surgical removal of retinal lesions.

Affordability is another factor. Auricular therapy treatments seem to cost about $200 to $250 each, commonly recommended in a series of three to six treatments. Proponents argue that this cost is low compared to conventional protocols that often run in the thousands of dollars.

Finally, proponents of auricular therapy for AMD say that since the treatment poses no harm, and because no other effective treatments exist, it doesn’t make sense for patients to wait until long-term research studies are conducted to try the regimen.

However, not everyone agrees.

Skeptics Criticize Acupuncture for AMD

Many in the medical community assert that acupuncture therapy for AMD only gives false hope to desperate patients. Faced with scary conventional treatments and deteriorating eyesight, it’s no wonder that they grasp at the evidence they’re given that acupuncture will help them regain 20/20 vision.

Acupuncturists, too, may want to believe they can help patients and think they’re effective because some patients report progress, and the ones who don’t improve are unlikely to return. Confirmation bias misleads them into thinking the treatment is a success.

“Humans regularly misperceive and misinterpret the meaning of their experiences,” says Harriet Hall, M.D. A retired family physician and the first female graduate of the Air Force family residency at Eglin Air Force Base, Hall is also known as The SkepDoc for her writing about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices.

Protocols Vary

Among practitioners of acupuncture, there is no one standard treatment, or series of treatments, agreed to for AMD. Detractors cite Lundgren’s Santa Fe Method as only one example of variations by a single practitioner espousing a (purportedly) single method.

At times, Lundgren describes a protocol that includes small steel studs in the ears and needle electrode stimulation in the fat around the eyeball. Later, electrical stimulation of the scalp over the visual cortex was added. However, his website also described a protocol with five treatments. It’s not clear if this was to further define the first protocol, or if the treatment protocol had changed.

Oft-cited Study Comes Up Short

Lundgren’s 2005 article in Medical Acupuncture reports a 69 percent improvement in vision among 108 consecutive patients. Three different therapies were used, and there was no mention of oversight by an institutional review board. Lundgren states that visual acuity gains “did not seem to deteriorate for a year and a half,” but there is no data provided.

There are numerous reasons to reject this study as evidence that the treatment works.

  • Absence of a control group. Patients may seem to improve from fluctuations in the natural course of an illness, from a desire to please the doctor or due to the placebo effect.

  • Selection bias. Patients in the study were not a representative sample of those with AMD, but were clients that had come to Lundgren. It would be reasonable to assume that they therefore had a belief in acupuncture, and since they were paying privately, they had a vested interest in the outcome.

  • There was no blinding. Lundgren himself treated all the patients, and knew if tests were before or after treatment. Encouragement improves performance, so test results may have been skewed.

  • Study design and reporting lacked conformity. The number of dropouts isn’t reported, and Lundgren notes that some patients quit because they weren’t improving. There were so many interventions, given at varying intervals, that it’s impossible to define what worked or didn’t.

  • Inadequate follow-up. Lundgren reports the duration of improvement was “substantial” without any supporting data. Dropouts were not followed.

  • No ophthalmologist participated. Some patients didn’t know if they had wet or dry AMD, and having AMD at all was anecdotal. A retinal specialist could have screened for other conditions, measured vision before and after, etc.

  • Publication in an obscure journal. The only peers who reviewed the work were acupuncturists biased to support work in their own field. It wouldn’t appear the study met standards for a mainstream medical journal.

In general, skeptics doubt whether acupuncture could restore vision in a part of the retina where rod and cone cells have died; they compare it to regenerating an amputated limb. Until there is a double- blind study conducted on a single protocol under the auspices of a board, the medical community will remain largely unconvinced.


Acupuncture for Macular Degeneration: Why I Reject the Evidence,” Science-Based Medicine.

Realistic Hope For the Effects of Macular Degeneration,” Donald Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O.

Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration,” The National Eye Institute (NEI).

Efficacy and safety of auricular point acupressure treatment for gastrointestinal dysfunction after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial,” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

Macular Degeneration,” Santa Fe Protocol

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Famous & 65

Look Who’s Turning 65

April 1 – Barry Sonnenfield

April 1 – Barry Sonnenfield

Would you believe the famous director and producer of such films as “Get Shorty” and “Raising Arizona” started out working on, ahem, “adult” films? True! Sonnenfield was born in New York City, got his undergraduate degree from Hampshire College, then snagged another degree from the famous New York University Film School in 1978. Still, he had to rack up hours working C films before hitting the big time in 1982, when he got the director of photography gig on the Oscar-nominated movie In Our Water.

From there, he went on to contribute to such films as When Harry Met Sally (1989), Misery (1990), and then The Addams Family group of films. Sonnenfield’s specialty was using unusual camera angles and offbeat dialogue to reflect stories about odd people, after Tim Burton and the Coen Brothers.

Sonnenfield directed Men In Black (1997), a huge commercial success which led to a pair of sequels. The director merited an Oscar in 2008 for Pushing Daisies. He lives with his wife and daughter, Chloe, in his hometown.

April 14 – David Buss
Evolutionary Psychologist

April 14 – David Buss

Want to find out if the guy next door is interested in a long-term relationship or just a fling? Show him a photo of a woman with her face and torso covered up, then ask if he’d rather see the body or the head. If he chooses the head, he’s a keeper. But if he picks the body, he’s much more likely to want a one night stand.

That’s according to the research done by David Buss, evolutionary psychologist and expert on sex differences in mate selection. Buss earned a PhD in psychology at the liberal bastion of University of California, Berkeley in 1981. After professorships at Harvard and the University of Michigan, he settled into a position at the University of Texas at Austin.

Another interest involves looking at homicide from an evolutionary perspective, leading to his book The Murderer Next Door. More recently, he penned Why Women Have Sex with Cindy Meston, which we might assume is quite a popular read on campus. Further works include The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is As Necessary As Love and Sex (2000), and 2009’s Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge.

April 27 – Ellen Shulman Baker
American Doctor and Astronaut

April 27 – Ellen Shulman Baker

This high achiever followed both her parents to NASA, joining as a medical officer in 1981. Baker was selected to be an astronaut in May 1984, and was certified by June 1985.

Her first mission was aboard Atlantis in October 1989, when the crew deployed the Galileo probe to Jupiter and conducted numerous scientific and medical experiments during the 1.8 million mile flight through space.

In June and July 1992, Baker joined the crew on board Columbia, where the crew conducted experiments involving crystal growth, fluid physics, biological science and fluid dynamics. The two-week flight included 221 orbits of the Earth, traveling 5.7 million miles.

Baker’s final journey as an astronaut took her aboard space shuttle Atlantis once again three years later. It was the first mission to dock with the Russian space station Mir, completed after the shuttle had been modified to carry a compatible docking system. A Spacelab module in the payload bay enabled the crew to again perform a variety of life sciences experiments during the 4.1 million mile flight.

April 30 – Merrill Osmond

April 30 – Merrill Osmond

You might not recognize his first name, but take a look at his surname and you can’t help but think of Donny and Marie. What you probably don’t know is that Merrill, the fifth of nine children in the Osmond family, was the lead or co-lead singer on nearly every Osmond song. He also co-wrote (with brother Alan) many of them.

When Donny started to focus on a solo career in the late 70s, Merrill shifted into country music with his other brothers. The new group recorded several hits in the 1980s. In 1987 Merrill performed a hit of his own, a duet with session singer Jessica Boucher titled, “You’re Here to Remember (I’m Here to Forget).

What many people are also unaware of is that two of the original Osmond brood, Merrill’s older brothers Virl and Tom, are deaf. One of Merrill’s four sons, Justin, is also deaf. Justin launched the Olive Osmond (Merrill’s mother’s name) Perpetual Hearing Fund in 2010 and works with a variety of charitable organizations.

Source: Wikipedia

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

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Best Things Seniors Can Get Free or Discounted

Best Things Seniors Can Get Free or Discounted

Incredible deals for older adults are out there … but only if you know where to find them!

There are many benefits to getting older, but living on a fixed income can be a challenge. The good news is that so many places give seniors a discount, but often only if you ask. Deals change constantly, and sometimes a particular franchise owner gives a free drink instead of a discounted meal, for example. All of these little perks add up. Ten percent off is the same as buying nine and getting the tenth for free … except that you’re not obligated to make more purchases!

The other big news in “senior” discounts is that they sometimes start at age 50, when many of us don’t yet consider ourselves ripe for age-related discounts. The advice here from Senior Spirit is to take advantage of your newfound price reduction and pocket the savings with a knowing smile. Age is just a number, but we want to take advantage of every perk to which it entitles us!

Speaking of discounts at age 50, that’s when AARP eligibility begins. The many discounts offered cardholders are included below. AARP membership is only $12 your first year with automatic renewal and free spouse/partner membership, so most people find the cost is paid for with savings in a short time.

Clothing and Retail Senior Discounts

You probably already shop at many of these stores without realizing you could be getting a nice discount. The trick is knowing that you have to ask for it. While we’ve tried to be as accurate as possible, policies change and we recommend calling ahead to confirm details with your local retailer.

  • Banana Republic Get 10 percent off if you’re 62 and older.
  • Bealls Join the Monday Club for ages 50 and older, which entitles you to 15 percent off on Mondays.
  • Belk Age 62 and older get a 15 percent (10 percent in the home and shoe departments) discount.
  • Bon-Ton Department Stores Sign up for the newsletter to find out about senior discount days.
  • Dress Barn Age 62 and older get a 10 percent discount on days of the week that vary by location.
  • Goodwill Save 10 percent one day a week, which varies by location.
  • Kohls Age 60 and older shop on Wednesday for 15 percent off.
  • Lens Crafters AARP members get 30 percent off lenses and frames, or 40 percent off a complete pair of transition lenses. (A word about glasses: Check around for the best deal. Costco and Walmart are a couple of retailers to call for comparisons.)
  • Michael’s The craft store will slash your bill 10 percent every day.
  • Ross Age 55 and older qualify for10 percent off on Tuesday with a Tuesday Club card.
  • Tanger Outlets Get the free coupon book for AARP members.
  • Stein Mart Sign up for emails with special coupons for age 55 or older.
  • Walgreens Each location features a Seniors Day once a month when Balance Reward members age 55 and up get 20 percent off in-store purchases, or 10 percent discounts online.
  • UPS Store AARP members qualify for 15 percent off selected products and services, plus 5 percent off domestic and international shipping services.

Senior Discounts at Restaurants

Yum! It’s always fun to eat out, but even better when you can reduce your bill. Just remember that if you’re tipping, you need to figure up the gratuity for your server based on the original amount. Discounts apply to food only as a general rule, and never to alcoholic beverages.

  • Applebee’s Get a Golden Apple card if you’re age 60 or more for 10 to 15 percent off.
  • Arby’s If you’re 55 or more, you’ll get 10 percent off.
  • A&W Many locations honor a 10 percent senior discount.
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ask if your location has the 10 percent discount.
  • Bennigan’s Senior discount of 10 percent for 60 and above varies by location.
  • Bob’s Big Boy Those 60 and above get a discount that varies by location.
  • Bonefish Grill If you’re an AARP member, you qualify for 10 percent off.
  • Boston Market Check your location to see if you qualify for a senior discount for 65 and older.
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Company AARP members reduce their bill by 10 percent.
  • Burger King Seniors 60 and older get 10 percent off plus discounted coffee and soda.
  • Captain D’s Seafood On Wednesday, customers 62 and older get one of eight meals for $4.99 or less at participating locations.
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill AARP members at most locations get 10 percent off the bill.
  • Carrows Restaurant Their Golden 55 menu offers discounted meals for seniors all day long.
  • Charthouse AARP members get 10 percent off their meal.
  • Chick-fil-A Free soda refills for seniors at many locations.
  • Chili’s Get a 10 percent discount if you’re 55 or older.
  • CiCi’s Pizza Check if your local store offers a senior discount; they vary by location.
  • Claimjumper Take 10 percent off your meal if you belong to AARP.
  • Corky’s Homestyle Kitchen and Bakery Get a special senior menu if you’re 55 or above.
  • Denny’s Enjoy a 15 percent discount if you’re an AARP member.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Many locations offer AARP members a free donut with purchase of a large beverage.
  • Einstein’s Bagels Get 10 percent off for those 60 and above.
  • El Pollo Loco Age 60 and older get a 10 percent discount.
  • Fazolli’s Join Club 62 for $4 pasta and side salad at participating locations.
  • Friendly’s Restaurant Free breakfast coffee and 10 percent off meals.
  • Golden Corral Check for discounts that vary by location.
  • IHOP Those 55 and older get discounts on rotating menu items.
  • Jack in the Box Up to 20 percent off for those 55 and above.
  • Krispy Kreme Senior discounts vary by location.
  • Long John Silver’s Discounts vary by location for those 55 and older.
  • Landry’s Seafood AARP members get a 10 percent discount.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s AARP members get 10 percent off.
  • McDonalds Discounted coffee and drinks for seniors 55 and over; varies by location.
  • The Oceanaire Seafood Room AARP members take 10 percent off.
  • Outback Steakhouse AARP members save 10 percent.
  • Old Country Buffet Those 55 and older qualify for discounts by location.
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory Specified menu items qualify for senior discounts.
  • Papa John’s Check with your home franchise for discounts.
  • Perkins Restaurants Special deals for seniors are on their 55 and over menu.
  • Ponderosa Steak House Discounts for ages 60 and older vary by location.
  • Rainforest Café AARP members get 10 percent off their bill.
  • Saltgrass Steakhouse AARP members save 10 percent.
  • Shoney’s of Knoxville Join their Golden Age Club for those 60 and older to get a 10 percent discount.
  • Sizzler Many locations offer an Honored Guest Menu for patrons 60 and older.
  • Subway Managers may give a 10 percent discount to seniors 60 and older.
  • Sweet Tomatoes Special deals for seniors, including all-you-can-eat $7.99 Monday through Thursday from 2-5 pm. Plus, those 60 and older get 10 percent off at all other times.
  • Uno Pizzeria & Grill The Double Nickel Club entitles those 55 and older to 30 percent off every Wednesday.
  • Village Inn Get 10 percent off your meal if you’re 60 or above.
  • Waffle House Mondays, seniors 60 and older get a 10 percent discount.
  • White Castle Seniors 62 and older get 10 percent off at participating locations.
  • Wendy’s Specials and age limits vary by location.

Senior Discounts at Grocery Stores

It’s worth changing your shopping habits to shave a little extra off the food bill, right?! Just make sure to check out the exclusions before you load up your cart. For example, the only food discounted at Fred Meyer are store brands, but there are many and they are often a great buy anyway. Also, certain electronics and other items are not included. Be aware that grocery discounts in particular are constantly changing at the local and national level. Call ahead to avoid surprises.

  • American Discount Stores Take 10 percent off on Mondays for age 62 and older.
  • Bi-Lo Seniors 60 and above take 5 percent off on Wednesday.
  • Compare Foods Supermarket Some stores give a 10 percent discount to those 60 and older on a day that varies by location.
  • DeCicco Family Markets Age 60 and above take a 5 percent discount on Wednesday.
  • Fred Meyer Seniors 55 and older save 5 percent the first Tuesday of the month.
  • Fry’s Supermarket Seniors get a 10 percent discount.
  • Gristedes Supermarket Take 10 percent off on Tuesday if you’re 65 or above.
  • Harris Teeter Use your VIC card on Thursdays for a 5 percent discount if you’re at least 60.
  • Hy-Vee Join the Senior Citizen Discount Club if you’re at least age 55 and receive 5 percent off every Wednesday.
  • New Seasons Seniors 65 and up get 10 percent off every Wednesday.
  • Piggly-Wiggly Those 60 and older get a 5 percent discount on Wednesdays.
  • Publix Receive a 5 percent discount on Wednesdays if you’re 60 and above, but only in Tennessee, North Carolina, northern Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia.
  • Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace Seniors 65 and above get 5 percent off on Wednesday.

Traveling with Senior Discounts

Whether you’re heading off for a cruise, flying to your dream destination or renting a car for a road trip, senior discounts abound. Pocket savings when you’re booking your trip, and you’ll have enough to go on that cool side excursion you thought you couldn’t afford. Be sure to check with your preferred hotel for senior discounts, since many different brands are included under flagship names.

  • American Airlines Call before you book to check on various discounts for 65 and over.
  • Amtrak Get a 15 percent reduction if you’re 62 or older.
  • Auto Europe Receive a 5 percent discount for seniors.
  • Avis Up to 30 percent off of base rates for AARP members at participating agencies.
  • Bates RV Rentals Seniors 55 and over get special pricing when booking.
  • British Airways AARP members save up to $200 per flight.
  • Budget Rental Cars Get up to 30 percent off of base rates for AARP members at select locations.
  • Carnival Cruise Savings vary for seniors 55 and above.
  • Choice Hotels AARP members and those 60 and older save up to 10 percent with advance booking.
  • Days Inn Special savings for guests 60 and up vary by location.
  • Greyhound Seniors 62 and older enjoy 5 percent off.
  • Hertz AARP members get 25 percent off plus a free upgrade, or anyone age 50 and over can sign up for the 50+ Car Rental Program for deals.
  • Hilton Hotels and Resorts AARP members knock 10 percent off the best available rate.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group Seniors 62 and above can call for varying discounts.
  • Marriott Hotels Those 62 and above can get 15 percent off their room.
  • Motel 6 Take 10 percent off your bill if you’re 60 or above.
  • Myrtle Beach Resort Seniors 55 and older get a 10 percent discount.
  • Southwest Airlines Travelers 65 and older can call before booking for various discounts.
  • Royal Caribbean Reduced prices on select sailings are offered for those 55 and above.
  • United Airlines Call ahead regarding discounts for those aged 65 and above.

Senior Discounts on Entertainment

A trip to the movies is more affordable when you can take advantage of special pricing. Or how about a camping vacation, whether in a tent, RV or your car with a mattress in the back? Camping in America’s incredible national parks, from the Smokey Mountains to Yellowstone, is the best deal going if you’re at least 62. The Golden Age Passport, available wherever you check into a national park, is only $80 for free admission to more than 400 national parks across America. And it’s good for the rest of your life! Plus, it offers substantial discounts on camping at many locations.

  • AMC Theaters Seniors 60 and above get discounted tickets.
  • Carmike Cinemas Those 65 and above get 35 percent off regular adult tickets, plus special pricing on candy, popcorn and soda on Tuesday.
  • Cinemark Check your location for discounted senior prices.
  • Sea World Parks Receive special pricing on annual passes for those 65 and above.
  • National Parks Pass Seniors 62 and above get a lifetime pass for $80 that admits up to four adults and includes special pricing for camping facilities.

Miscellaneous Deals for Seniors

There’s nothing more important than keeping as healthy as possible while we age. So what’s not to like about Silver Sneakers, the free program for seniors 65 and up offering unlimited access to more than 14,000 gyms across the country? Better yet, it includes classes tailored for seniors, whether you’ve always been a gym rat or you’re out of shape and recovering from a stroke. Check here to see if your Medicare Advantage or other insurance program offers Silver Sneakers.

  • AT&T Get a qualified plan for 10 percent off with AARP membership.
  • Cirque du Soleil AARP members get a 15 percent discount on touring shows, or 20 percent off in Las Vegas and other select cities.
  • Great Clips Check your location for senior deals.
  • Silver Sneakers Many Medicare plans offer free gym membership and classes across America.


Lists of the Best Senior Citizen Discounts in Dining, Travel, and Retail,” Tough Nickel.

2018 List of Senior Discounts On Restaurants,” The Senior List.

Senior Discounts: 100+ Stores Offering Discounts for Senior Citizens,” Brad's Deals.

Amazing Dining Deals,” AARP.

2018 Senior Discounts For Grocery Stores,” The Senior List.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

10 Best Cutting-Edge Technologies for Older Adults

10 Best Cutting-Edge Technologies for Older Adults

Robots and more from the largest tech innovation show solve problems that affect older adults and help them age in place.

More than 4,000 companies exhibited at this year’s CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, showing off the world’s latest and greatest consumer technologies. For the past five decades, this has been the place where incubators and startups present their products, and more established companies introduce the results of their latest research to the world. This is a sampling of what global pioneers have to offer.

Benefits of Voice First Technology for Older Adults

For the last few years, software developers have been pushed to develop products for mobile users, but the emphasis is changing. Voice First is the new mantra, promoting applications and services activated and controlled by speaking.

Older adults, caregivers and service providers recognize the giant advantages of voice-driven applications over those on phones and personal computers. Those with visual impairment or motor difficulties reap obvious benefits, but significant improvement in quality of life is available to all senior adults.

Key differences exist between current Voice First technology and previous generations that affect all users, but especially older adults. The following is an overview of notable features.

  • Voice First is simple to use. Download versions and upgrades are rendered unnecessary. Amazon Echo guides the user by voice through installation and setup, offering tips and suggestions in large font. However, if the user has no prior knowledge of modern technology, some training is required, particularly to control lights and room temperature.
  • Voice First is affordable. The Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot are neck-in-neck for the race to the cheapest price point. The only word of caution is that both require Wi-Fi connectivity to work, which is not always a given in senior communities or private homes.
  • Voice First offers useful content. Cooking timers, alarms, medication reminders and the like are utilitarian, but jokes, weather reports, streaming music, audio stories, and news can keep older adults connected to the outside world in ways that were previously impossible.
  • Voice First learns as it goes. Update cycles bring new user experiences based on your preferences. Artificial intelligence knows who you are and what you like, and can remind you how functions work. Forgetful adults can ask, “Hey Google, how do I play music?” a hundred times without an iota of irritation from the voice assistant.
  • Voice First returns a sense of power and control. Home automation with voice control produces an unexpected benefit. Taking control of room temperature, lighting and an outdoor camera all from the comfort and security of your favorite chair offers older adults a renewed feeling of being in charge of their surroundings.
  1. Woohoo. Billed as “a tool through which families can care for both elderly parents and children via an interactive and intuitive interface,” Woohoo uses features such as gesture control, motion- and fall-detection, a smart camera with facial recognition, natural language processing voice commands, and audio/video conferencing to connect home and office. You can control every device through the artificial intelligence platform and a mobile app. Woohoo can monitor pets via the camera, tell you Mom’s blood pressure is fine, order up an Uber or make a hands-free call. Woohoo is the control center for your smart home, and more. Offered previously at an enticingly low $50, it requires a monthly fee like your phone. Discover more at SmartBeings.

  2. IQbuds. Wireless earbuds create a custom listening profile by evaluating the user’s hearing. They use an app dubbed Ear ID to automatically calibrate the earbuds to the wearer, using a hearing test you’d normally only get from an audiologist. Of particular interest to older adults, noise control technology can selectively tune out the world around you, while speech amplification enhances your ability to hear conversations in crowded restaurants, at events or at parties. The earbuds retail for about $200. Find out more at Nuheara.

  3. Lookout Smart Door Viewer. The tiny door viewer is designed to work with the company’s ezGuard security camera, or pair it with Amazon Alexa. What sets this system apart is how it uses facial recognition. Using the EZVIZ app, the homeowner can allow friends and family to access the home. The Lookout Smart Viewer sells for $299.99, the ezGuard for $109.99. Learn more at TechCrunch.

  4. Cutii. Simple robot Cutii provides a full catalog of activities and services that seniors can access with vocal and facial recognition. It can’t do chores like cooking or washing dishes, but it does schedule and coordinate enrichment and well-being activities like contacting family members, setting doctor appointments and registering for fitness classes. Control Cutii with a remote or leave it to navigate autonomously around the home. Cutii comes with a price tag of about $60 per month. Explore Cutii at Digital Trends.

  5. Buddy. Charming robot Buddy can keep up a conversation with anyone in your family, monitor your home, play music and videos, and more. Buddy is a lot like an Amazon Echo with a face and wheels, although Alexa isn’t along for the ride. Buddy can “play” with kids or keep an eye on aging parents. Because he’s open source, he will continue to evolve and learn. Although not currently on the market, preorders are in process at Blue Frog Robotics.

  6. Lenovo Smart Display. "The Lenovo Smart Device, intended to compete with the Echo Show, the interface design is different to that of a phone, however. Everything is larger, bolder, pared down without the ultra-detail that you'll find from Google Assistant on a phone. This is to keep things simple, to typically keep your hands off the device – although the touchscreen is perfectly usable – and help focus, including playing music, making calls, recognizing different voices." Due to launch in July 2018, the 10-inch model is expected to cost $249, the 8-inch model $199. Find out more at Pocket-Lint.

  7. Invoxia Triby Speaker. Filling a hole in Amazon’s own product line, the battery-powered speaker features an embedded Alexa and can mount on your kitchen refrigerator. With voice control and a smart speaker, internet radio, hands-free speakerphone and a connected message board, Triby can really make your life easier. “Use the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, get the news, set alarms, control smart home devices, and more just using your voice. Just say ‘Alexa’ and Triby responds instantly.” Originally $199.99, a new Triby is available for $79.99 on eBay. Learn more at CNET.

  8. Corti. Running in the background during an emergency dispatch call, Corti analyzes the caller’s words and any background noises, such as the victim’s breathing pattern. It checks for symptoms of cardiac arrest, then prompts the dispatcher to ask appropriate questions, or walks the caller through CPR to stabilize the patient until paramedics arrive. The Danish product hopes to launch soon in the U.S. Find out more at MobiHealthNews.

  9. MobileHelp and Samsung GearWatch. A maker of home and wearable medical alert devices is teaming up with electronics giant Samsung to deliver emergency response capabilities to Gear smartwatches. MobileHelp Smart integrates the alert platform into the watch while taking advantage of fitness-monitoring features, GPS and cell capabilities. Preorders are available here. Get details at Research Park.

  10. ADT Health on Samsung GearWatch. Power trio ADT security, Reemo Health and Samsung have joined to create a personal emergency response system. You can maintain your coolness factor no matter your age by ditching the traditional pendant or wristband for a Gear watch. A quick tap connects you immediately to a specially-trained ADT agent. The watch can also track fitness trends, including number of steps and heartrate, to encourage activity and help you maintain an independent lifestyle. Prices vary. Learn more at ADT.


Aging In Place Technology Watch,” Laurie M. Orlov.

Five Technologies Useful for Older Adults,” Laurie M. Orlov.

What you say should help get what you need,” Laurie M. Orlov.

The Future of Voice First Technology and Older Adults,” Laurie M. Orlov.

Consumer Technology Association,” Consumer Technology Association.

Five More New Technologies For Older Adults,” Laurie M. Orlovn.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Friday, March 9, 2018

Fight Dementia with your Fork

dementia friendly diet

The MIND diet can drastically lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, among other conditions. Here’s what the lead researcher suggests regarding MIND and foods thought to be “good for you.”

A Mediterranean-inspired diet was recently proven to dramatically lower the risk of dementia in older adults. But just because it originated in Italy doesn’t mean you should stock up on frozen pizza and lasagna. Instead, the MIND diet focuses on plenty of vegetables, whole grains, beans and olive oil. It even recommends a small glass of red wine daily. The meals are also linked to a healthier heart and longer life, coupled with a reduced risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The DASH component is for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Based on the eating style found along the sunny coast, the healthy regimen is crossed with a similar diet plan originally conceived to lower hypertension.

Plant-based cooking forms the basis of the diet, with seafood as the main animal protein. Other meats, preferably chicken or turkey, are used sparingly to flavor dishes, and dairy takes a back seat to olive oil. Raw nuts are encouraged, along with whole grains and beans. Consumption of sweets, pastries and fried foods is discouraged.

Score your own meal habits the way study participants did:

Improved Cognitive Function

"Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30 percent to 35 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging," said lead author Claire McEvoy, of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. She noted that “the findings are relevant to the general public” because the study took place with a nationally representative population of older adults.

The MIND research was conducted among nearly 6,000 older Americans whose average age was 68. Those who most closely followed the MIND diet benefited at the highest level, but even participants who followed it marginally experienced an 18 percent reduction in cognitive impairment.

Dairy, Eggs and Grains Fight Dementia

The MIND diet puts cheese and butter in the “unhealthy” category. But what about milk? McEvoy says that it should be low-fat to avoid increasing your saturated fat intake. “Dairy is certainly linked to better bone health, so just be cognizant of the higher calories and higher saturated fat,” she noted.

Does Organic Food Affect Brain Function?

We’ve all heard about the benefits of organic farming. Numerous studies show that not using industrial pesticides and herbicides results in positive outcomes for the farmers involved, as well as pollinators, birds, fish, surrounding vegetation and the soil itself. But organic food comes at a price. Can organic food offer a benefit to our brain, as well?

Pesticides and other harmful chemicals often used in conventional farming have a harmful impact on developing brains, both in the womb and those of children. Chemicals get sprayed onto growing food, often repeatedly, before it goes to market. The plant takes in some of the chemicals. You may buy a conventionally grown apple that looks perfectly healthy, but those toxins from when it was growing are present in the apple. When you eat the apple, you consume the toxins.

Some foods absorb more of the chemicals than others. Buying organic produce ensures that you won’t eat any of the estimated 45 pesticides used in the United States.

Many researchers have suggested that organic foods provide better nutrition through higher vitamin and mineral content. A meta-analysis by Dr. Charles Benbrook and colleagues analyzed 100 peer-reviewed studies. His research concluded that organically grown vegetables and fruits are higher in nutrients than their conventional counterparts. Organic plant foods were especially rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, nitrates and certain polyphenols. They also contained modestly higher amounts of protein.

While the evidence seems clear that young brains benefit from reduced exposure to pesticides in food, the studies haven’t been done for effects on cognition in older adults. What is clear is that it can’t hurt to eat organic produce. For seniors on a budget, here’s a list of the “dirty dozen,” the 12 foods that typically absorb the most pesticide because of how they’re farmed. If you can only afford to buy some organic fruits and vegetables, choose the ones on this list:

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Domestic blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Spinach, kale and collard greens
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Imported grapes
  • Lettuce

As a final note, remember to always wash your produce, even items with a rind you won’t eat, such as melons. When you cut the rind, the knife slices through the part you’re going to eat, transferring anything on the outside to the inside.

Eggs are another item that a lot of us eat. Is it better to only consume the white? And are there brain health benefits we can get from eggs? McEvoy busts the only-eat-the-white myth by highlighting the lutein, vitamin E and choline, which are only contained in the yolk. All of these are good for your brain. She said that more research needs to be done around all of the nutrients in eggs, but that most are contained in the yolk, not the white.

The MIND diet includes whole grains, and recommends a hearty dose of three servings a day. But aren’t grains bad for us? Dr. McEvoy responded that wheat is not the culprit it has been made out to be.

“If you look at the data, the studies that have been conducted, the Mediterranean and the DASH diets have a ton of evidence of the highest caliber studies, the randomized trials, where inflammation is actually decreased on those diets,” McEvoy said. “As a society, we do make changes to the grain sources with genetic modification and more limited varieties of grains, and that is unfortunate. Whether that has impact on some individuals I think is an open question, but the data shows that whole grains have so many health benefits for so many chronic conditions.”

What About Wine?

It seems confusing that wine is actually recommended on the MIND diet, when alcohol is generally associated with negative effects on cognition. It’s important to point out that the 5 ounces advised is a very small glass, and McEvoy adds an additional caveat.

“Unfortunately, people perk up over the inclusion of wine, but don’t realize how low the benefits are,” she said. “With every drink over that very low level, you are increasing the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, as well as heart disease and breast cancer.”

Seafood and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

How many servings of fish do we really need to eat to stave off Alzheimer’s? Again, McEvoy follows the research with her reply. She said that studies have shown a benefit with as little as one serving of fish or seafood per week. Not enough research has been done to verify that the more fish servings eaten, the greater the benefit to the brain. Therefore, McEvoy simply recommends at least one serving of fish per week.

The more fish you eat, the greater your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. With the popularity of fish oil supplements, isn’t that a good thing for brain health? McEvoy said that the research doesn’t tell a consistent story.

“From the clinical trials that have looked at omega-3 fatty acids in supplements, there are very few that have shown positive findings with slowing cognitive decline,” McEvoy said. “However, we do know that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of the most important fats in the brain. Studies of neurodevelopment show that DHA is really essential for the brain. And its chemical structure allows for a lot more plasticity of the brain so that there is better neurotransmission. So why don’t we see a clearer association when we look at omega-3 fatty acid levels in the diet or blood in relation to cognition? My view is that we just haven’t figured out what is going on yet.”

Many species of fish and seafood show high levels of toxins such as mercury. Does the presence of the toxins diminish the beneficial effects of eating fish? McEvoy did a study a few years ago that measured fish intake in people who had agreed to donate their brains to science upon death. After examining more than 200 brains, McEvoy failed to find a link between higher seafood consumption and unhealthy brains. However, those who reported eating at least one seafood meal a week showed lower evidence of disease in their brain than those who didn’t include seafood.

Healthy Behaviors Inhibit Many Chronic Diseases

Perhaps the most important factor in Alzheimer’s research is that there is strong evidence that what is good for your brain is good for your body. Study after study, according to McEvoy, shows that the crucial formula of a healthy diet, exercise, enough sleep, low stress and positive social interactions gives a kick in the pants to many chronic diseases, not just dementia. “All the chronic diseases – diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart disease, dementia – you attack them all,” she said.

MIND Diet Trial: Phase 3

Currently, 300 older adults aged 55 to 84 are involved in a trial to test the MIND diet’s effect on cognitive function measured by a battery of 13 tests. A control group of 300 will take the same tests and eat as they normally would. At the end of the three-year study, MRI imaging will measure atrophy in the hippocampus.

Hemoglobin, cholesterol levels and blood pressure are monitored at each of five visits over the three years. Participants will also be checked for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has established links to exercise and is associated with reduced brain atrophy.


The MIND diet: 10 foods that fight Alzheimer's (and 5 to avoid),”CBS News.

Anti-dementia diet revealed: Ten foods you should eat and five to avoid,” Express UK.

Mediterranean style diet may prevent dementia,” CNN.

Talking food and brain health with Dr. Martha Clare Morris, lead researcher of the MIND diet study,” Brain Work Kitchen.

The DASH Diet Eating Plan,” Marla Heller.

MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease,” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function,” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.


The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains,” The Atlantic.

The dirty dozen and clean 15 of produce,” PBS.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors