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 CafĂ© 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

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Social Security Underpays Benefits

Social Security Underpays Benefits

A new report estimates that the Social Security Administration underpaid benefits by about $131.8 million.

More than 80 percent of widows and widowers were not made aware of an option allowing them to claim a higher monthly social security payment, according to a recent audit report.

Widows and widowers can file an application for two kinds of benefits, both for their own retirement and as a surviving spouse. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is required to advise claimants that it may be beneficial to delay filing for retirement benefits until age 70, when it reaches the maximum, while still receiving survivor’s benefits in the meantime. If retirement benefits will be higher at age 70 than survivor’s benefits, this option makes sense.

The audit found that in many cases, SSA employees were failing to explain the option to beneficiaries. Approximately 11,123 beneficiaries would have increased their payments by delaying their retirement application, according to the research. Of those, 9,224 beneficiaries age 70 and older were likely underpaid to the tune of more than $130 million.

In addition, the report estimated that the SSA will underpay another $9.8 million to 1,899 beneficiaries below the age of 70.

Auditors randomly sampled 50 beneficiaries to discover the problem. The report cites specific cases, including that of a 70-year-old widow who received $39,708 in combined retirement and survivor benefits between August 2015 and September 2017. If she had been made aware of the option to delay her retirement benefits until she turned 70 and then waited, she would have received $52,708 in the same time frame. The difference between what she was actually paid and what she would have been eligible for is a whopping $13,000, or about $500 a month.

The moral of the story is to research your own situation on the SSA website, and be ready to ask questions and request a second opinion before you accept a questionable determination of benefits. Likewise, if you think your own benefits should be higher based on this story, contact the agency.


Higher Benefits for Dually Entitled Widow(er)s Had They Delayed Applying for Retirement Benefits,” Office of Inspector General.

Audit: Social Security Underpays Widows and Widowers,” US NEWS.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Friday, March 2, 2018

Cannabidiol (CBD) Hemp Oil for Arthritis Pain

Cannabidiol (CBD) Hemp Oil for Arthritis Pain

Older Americans, disappointed in the lack of effective treatment for their painful joints, are turning to legal hemp oil for relief.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting more than 50 million Americans. Doctors usually prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat the disease. But common side effects include swollen ankles, heartburn, stomach ulcers, and an increased likelihood of heart attack and stroke.

Grandma doesn’t want to take it anymore. Increasingly, she is willing to go slightly out of her comfort zone to ease the pain with a product related to a plant long demonized by the federal government: marijuana. However, hemp and marijuana vary in appearance, chemical makeup and cultivation despite both belonging to the cannabis family. Hemp oil is perfectly legal and available for delivery right to your door, or at retailers in every state.

What is CBD oil?

Hemp and marijuana are both in the cannabis family. Cannabis plants contain more than 85 cannabinoids, but it’s the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that produces weed’s classic “high.” By contrast, hemp is extremely low in THC but high in cannabidiol (CBD), which is believed to act with the body’s natural systems to reduce swelling and pain, and regulate sleep and appetite. Hemp is so low in THC (less than .3 percent compared to 5-35 percent in marijuana) that it’s impossible to consume or inhale enough to experience psychotropic effects.

Other Alternative Approaches to Arthritis Treatment

More older adults are turning to so-called alternative therapies to treat arthritis pain.

“Osteoarthritis is one of the most frustrating problems rheumatologists have to deal with,” says Nathan Wei, M.D., board-certified rheumatologist and clinical director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, MD. “While we have symptomatic therapies that sometimes help, our approach to treating this disease hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years or so.”

Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatories, recommend you lose some weight, advise you start an exercise program or order assistive devices. Joint replacement may be the only remedy for those with advanced deterioration. Older adults looking for alternatives may turn to treatments with conflicting research about their safety and effectiveness.

Acupuncture is conditionally recommended by the American College of Rheumatology for knee replacement candidates who can’t or won’t get a replacement. “Some people seem to do well” with acupuncture treatment, according to Wei.

Many arthritis patients swallow glucosamine and chondroitin, fish oil, turmeric and bee venom to combat symptoms. “Glucosamine and chondroitin have been studied intensely with conflicting clinical evidence regarding efficacy,” says Wei. “I prefer to try these compounds instead of using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, however, because these supplements are safer. A recent study showed the two together were as effective as celecoxib (Celebrex) as far as pain relief was concerned.”

“Dietary fish oil, flaxseed oil, ginger, garlic and bromelain all have anti-inflammatory effects,” continues Wei. “Although I generally recommend these for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, I do not recommend them for osteoarthritis.”

Topical preparations include capsaicin, salicylates, menthol creams and patches. They change the sensation of pain or counteract it.

Mind-body strategies show some promise. Tai chi mingles gentle exercise with breathing techniques that improve balance, stiffness and joint function in the knee. Qi gong, which also combines exercises and breath control, may have similar benefits, although research is lacking.

Massage therapy to relieve pain and improve joint function is a very safe treatment to try, although there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to prove it works.

Studies have proved that leeches are effective as a topical treatment for osteoarthritis, although the squeamish may not tolerate the slimy creatures. To start, a prick is made to bring a drop of blood to the surface of the skin, and the leech’s mouth is set over the blood to begin sucking.

If that doesn’t sound appealing, how about magnet therapy? Available as bracelets, necklaces, patches and other devices, they may help due to a placebo effect as much as anything. However, if you have an implantable medical device, you should avoid magnets.

Whatever you may be interested in trying, consult with your doctor first to make sure it won’t interfere with your other medications.

In the 1980s, scientists discovered the human endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS). It regulates the general state of balance, affecting mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, the immune system and the body’s response to pain. Theoretically, the ECS balances out those systems to keep us balanced and functioning. The system is common to all mammals, and comprises microscopic receptors found in the brain and central nervous system (CB1 receptors) and immune system (CB2 receptors). The human body can make cannabinoids that act in a similar way to CBD and control communication between cells.

CBD oil is a natural plant product that gained exposure on CNN’s documentary “Weed.” The film is narrated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a chief neurosurgeon who changed his view of marijuana from negative to positive after thorough research. CBD itself has been at the center of more than 23,000 research studies examining its usefulness for conditions including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain. Check here to find out more about the studies.

Side Effects of CBD

It’s important to reiterate that CBD does not produce a euphoric effect. It will not impede or alter your sensory awareness, perception, consciousness, reaction time or behavior. A recent study found CBD oil has no impact on the following:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Body temperature
  • Glucose levels
  • pH levels
  • Exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and bloodstream
  • Red blood cell volume
  • Time it takes for food to leave stomach and travel through the intestines
  • Vomiting action
  • Body temperature
  • Potassium and sodium levels

There are a few side effects that CBD may produce: nausea, sleeping issues and irritability. Mild withdrawal symptoms are possible, although it’s not clear if they arise from a return of the original pain and anxiety.

Where Does CBD Come From?

There are thousands of different varieties of the hemp plant grown around the world. The United States imports hemp for use in building materials, textiles, nutritional supplements and foods. Hemp plants used in the production of CBD oil naturally contain high concentrations of cannabidiol, along with minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, terpenes and flavonoids. However, it’s important to note that this is not the same as hemp seeds or organic hemp oil you may find in your local grocery store. While that product is a fine nutritional supplement, it does not have any cannabidiol.

Because the difference between marijuana and hemp was little understood or appreciated, commercial growing of hemp is currently banned in the United States. The only hemp plants raised in this country are on research plots. Therefore, all hemp products have to be imported, although there is a growing movement in the agricultural industry to get hemp legalized so the crop can be home-grown.

What Products Contain CBD Oil?

The most potent product is pure CBD oil extracted from the stalk of the hemp plant. The concentration of CBD can be as high as 100 mg or more per serving. If you’d rather take your CBD in capsule form, a moderate serving of 25 mg or more is as easy to ingest as a daily vitamin. Tinctures and sprays are made by diluting pure CBD oil with an alcohol or other natural oil base. They commonly provide a lighter concentration of 1-20 mg per serving, and they come in various palatable flavors. Tinctures and sprays are also one of the most affordable alternatives. CBD is even available in chewing gum.

If you don’t want to ingest CBD, you can use the oil or powder form to make a cream or gel that is rubbed onto the skin over arthritic joints. Try one of these ready-made balms, salves, scrubs and soaks that contain CBD.

CBD for Pain Relief

CBD oil has shown promise for relief of pain and inflammation in early studies. CBD products provide an attractive alternative first step before going to known habit-forming medications such as opioids. CBD also has the advantage of fewer side effects and potential interactions with other drugs. At this point, however, CBD products aren’t approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nor are they regulated for purity and dosage like other medicines. It is recommended that you talk to your doctor if you’re considering using CBD for a medical condition.

That said, research suggests that CBD interacts with receptors in the brain and the immune system. The receptors are miniature proteins connected to cells that receive chemical signals and help the cells respond to stimuli. One such receptor, called CB2, plays a part in pain and inflammation management. Researches think that CBD may work by attaching to CB2 receptors, or that CBD causes the body to produce its own natural cannabinoids that then attach to the CB2 receptors. Either way, scientists speculate that this changes the way the receptors react to stimuli. One 2008 review of studies conducted in the late 1980s through 2007 found CBD was effective at reducing chronic pain and its accompanying insomnia.

A more recent study was done in 2016 specifically to determine if CBD oil could reduce the chronic pain of arthritis. Researchers applied CBD gel on rats four days in a row at four concentrations. Even after that short time, they observed reduced inflammation and general pain in the affected joints. However, more human studies are needed.


Efficacy of leech therapy in the management of osteoarthritis ,” NCBI.

5 Best CBD Oils for Arthritis [2018 Review],” Marijuana Break.

Can CBD oil relieve arthritis pain?,” Medical News Today.

Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis,” NCBI.

Using CBD Oil for Pain Management: Does It Work?,” HealthLine.

Weed-Infused Gum and 5 Other Surprising Marijuana-Based Items to Help with Chronic Pain,” HealthLine.

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

WHAT IS CBD (CANNABIDIOL) HEMP OIL?,” Medical Marijuana Inc.

Side Effects Possible With Arthritis Medications,” Arthritis Foundation.

Are Hemp and Marijuana the Same?,” The Ministry of Hemp.

Dietary Supplements,” FDA.


Alternative approaches to arthritis treatment,” Erickson Living.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Famous & 65

Look Who’s Turning 65

April 6 – Janet Lynn
Ice Skater

April 6 – Janet Lynn

Figure skater Janet Lynn won a bronze medal at the 1972 Olympics, and is also a two-time world championships medalist and five-time U.S. national champion. Born Janet Lynn Nowicki, she dropped her last name in competition because it was so often misspelled and mispronounced. She started skating almost as soon as she could walk, performing in her first exhibition at the tender age of four. By seven, she spent part of the year away from home to be nearer to her coach.

Known as a strong jumper and long program artist, she won the U.S. Junior Ladies Championship at the age of 13 after landing a triple salchow, and she soon was one of the only female skaters to include a triple toe loop in her programs. But compulsory figures, where skaters are judged on how well they copy patterns in the ice, were her Achilles’ heel. Lynn continued to progress, placing 9th at the 1968 Olympics at age 14, but she had trouble getting on the podium at the 1970 Worlds after winning the national title. She hired a new coach to help her with her weakness, and in 1972 won the national title for the fourth year in a row. However, Lynn finished the 1972 Olympics with a bronze, and was also third at the World Championships due to low scores in compulsories. At the 1973 World Championships, a short program was added to benefit skaters like Lynn who excelled at jumps and spins, but two falls pushed her back to 12th place. However, a stellar free skate enabled her to finish with a silver medal in the final event of her amateur career.

Lynn transitioned into a three-year, $1,455,000 contract with the Ice Follies, making her the highest-paid woman athlete at the time. Lynn struggled with ashma, made worse by the damp, chilly air in rinks, and she had to quit after only two years. She came back to skating after getting the condition under control, also working as Christian motivational speaker and writing articles promoting conservative causes.

April 9 – Hal Ketchum
Country Music Artist

April 9 – Hal Ketchum By Ariklaif - English Wikipedia [1], GFDL,

Ketchum began performing in clubs in his native New York at the age of 15, singing and writing all the songs for the album Threadbare Alibis after a move to Austin, TX. He attained stardom with 17 entries on the Hot Country Songs charts between 1991 and 2006. “Small Town Saturday Night”, “Past the Point of Rescue”, and “Hearts Are Gonna Roll” all reached number 2 on that chart. He also had success with “Mama Knows the Highway” and “Stay Forever” in 1992 and 1994, when he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

His last single to reach the charts was a cover of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw the Light” in 1998, which was also the year Ketchum was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis. The neurological disorder affects the spinal column, leaving Ketchum without the use of the left side of his body. The singer had to relearn how to walk, play guitar, and other basic tasks. He also suffers from a sister disease, multiple sclerosis, which killed his mother at an early age.

Ketchum appeared in the 1988 movie Heartbreak Hotel, and did a cameo in the 1994 film Maverick. More recently, his painting led to a show in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The artist also enjoys using his carpentry skills to make toys.

April 18 – Rick Moranis
Actor and Musician

April 18 – Rick Moranis photo by Alan Light

Canadian Rick Moranis found stardom with Second City Television in the 1980’s and went on to become a screenwriter, producer, comedian, musician and songwriter. He is perhaps best known for his goofball role in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but he also made memorable appearances in Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Little Shop of Horrors, Parenthood and The Flintstones.

Moranis began his career as a radio disc jockey in Toronto. Then he teamed up with Winnipeg native Ken Finkleman for a duo of television comedy pilots starring the two in irreverent mockumentaries. That led to an SCTV sketch dubbed The Great White North featuring characters Bob and Doug McKenzie. It got such positive reviews that it spawned a pop culture phenomenon featuring an album by the same name and a 1983 movie, Strange Brew.

In 1986, Moranis married costume designer Ann Belsky, and had two children. Sadly, Belsky was killed by breast cancer five years after their marriage. By 1997, the difficulties of being a single parent with a travel schedule for the movies he was making led Moranis to take a break from the film industry. “And the little bit of a break turned into a longer break, and then I found that I really didn’t miss it,” the actor said. He now says he’s not retired, but has become very selective about roles.

Moranis’ 2005 work The Agoraphobic Cowboy, featuring country songs with a comic twist, was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Comedy Album category. A year later, Moranis reprised his voice-over role for the animated film Brother Bear 2. In 2013 he released the unabashedly Jewish comedy album My Mother’s Brisket and Other Love Stories. Most recently, the star has done charity concerts.

April 23 – James Russo

April 23 – James Russo

American film and television star James Russo has made a good living in the industry, appearing in more than 156 movies in thirty years. Born in New York City, the actor graduated from New York University. But he didn’t achieve instant fame, and he put in time as a cabdriver, construction worker, and even a gravedigger before he got his first big break.

A made-for-television movie, Chicago Story, provided his first acting role in 1981. A small part as a robber in Fast Times at Ridgemont High led to Russo’s first big break and a slew of roles in such films as Beverly Hills Cop, The Cotton Club, Freeway, and Once Upon a Time in America. He even landed a part in the 1986 drama Extremities opposite icon Farrah Fawcett.

Russo also had parts in 90s films such as My Own Private Idaho, A Kiss Before Dying, Donnie Brasco, and The Postman. The actor has made many guest appearances for television, including cameos on Miami Vice and CSI.

Source: Wikipedia

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

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors