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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Top 10 Health Concerns of Older Adults

As we live longer, we become vulnerable to more adverse health conditions. Here are the top 10 on the minds of older adults.

Whether or not you are among the 41 percent of people over age 65 who report very good or excellent health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you no doubt have nagging health worries. The prevalence of chronic diseases has gone up as lifespans stretch out, while the chance of an acute event increases.

Many adults manage lifestyle choices to reduce the likelihood of disease. Not smoking and staying at a healthy weight will lower your risk factor, but “you also need to be physically active and eat a healthy diet,” instructs Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., and executive director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

Seniors want to maintain their independence, security and productivity as they age, yet more than three-quarters of adults over 65 are managing at least two chronic diseases, according to the National Council on Aging. Check out the council’s healthy living site for information on managing chronic diseases, fall prevention and healthful living. Find more resources under individual conditions, below.

  1. Arthritis: Almost half of adults over 65 are affected by arthritis, according to the CDC. Arthritis pain can discourage you from being active, so it’s important to create a plan, with your doctor’s help, to manage the disease. Mild pain medication combined with heat or cold will help to manage the pain, while an exercise routine geared to your own body and needs can keep you moving. Go to the Arthritis Foundation website for more information.
  2. Heart Disease: Accounting for nearly half a million deaths in 2014, heart disease is still the leading killer of older adults, according to the CDC. Certain conditions that are found more often as people age, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increase the chances of getting heart disease or having a stroke. The leading risk behaviors include physical inactivity, poor diet, smoking and binge drinking. Check for self-management strategies.
  3. Cancer: Cancer is the second-leading cause of death among people over 65, according to the CDC. Many types of cancer are treatable when caught early through health screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies and skin exams. While we often can’t prevent cancer from occurring, a healthy lifestyle can improve the quality of your life with a cancer diagnosis. The good news is that new treatments are on the horizon. Learn more about the latest cancer research.
  4. Respiratory Diseases: Chronic diseases of the lower respiratory tract are the third most-fatal class of disease for older adults, according to the CDC. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, bronchitis and emphysema all fall under this category. Older adults coping with respiratory disease are more susceptible to pneumonia and other infections. For these folks, it’s important to get regular lung function tests, take medications and/or use oxygen as directed by a doctor. Find out what to do about common breathing problems.
  5. Alzheimer’s Disease: About 11 percent of older adults have received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Cognitive impairment is hard to diagnose, but experts agree that its impact is significant on the older population, from safety and self-care issues to the burden of care on families and cost of residential facilities. Check if an adult day care center could benefit someone you know.
  6. Osteoporosis: The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that low bone mass affects more than 54 million Americans above age 50. The condition puts people at greater risk of fractures and breaks, which can in turn affect quality of life. To prevent osteoporosis: Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in a well-balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, eat foods good for bone health, avoid smoking and limit alcohol to two or three drinks per day.
  7. Diabetes: A quarter of the population 65 and older is living with diabetes, according to estimates from the CDC. To find out if you have diabetes, get a simple blood test to check your blood sugar levels. The sooner you know that you have, or are at risk for, the disease, the sooner you can begin to make lifestyle changes to improve your health outlook. The American Diabetes Association lists frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, and extreme fatigue as symptoms to watch.
  8. Influenza and Pneumonia: These two acute conditions are among the top eight causes of death in older adults, according to the CDC. Seniors are more vulnerable to these infections than younger people, so getting an annual flu shot is encouraged, and your doctor may recommend the pneumonia vaccine as well. Check out these tips for preventing pneumonia.
  9. Substance Abuse: One in five people over 65 have had a substance or alcohol abuse problem at some point in their life, according to data analysis done from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The two biggest non-medical offenders were alcohol and tobacco, the survey found. Mixing substance use and older adults can be particularly dangerous because many seniors are on prescription medication, and have a higher risk of falls. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services national health hotline is free, confidential, and available around-the-clock every day of the year in English or Spanish. Call 1-800-662-4357.
  10. Falls: The danger of a fall that leads to an emergency room visit increases as we age. Nearly 3 million people are treated in emergency departments after a fall every year, according to the CDC, and most of them are older adults. Frighteningly, one-third of those people will wind up in the emergency room again within a year. Most falls happen in the home. The National Council on Aging lists six steps for fall prevention:

  • Ask if your loved one is worried about a fall.
  • Discuss current health conditions with your loved one.
  • Ask about their latest eye exam.
  • Notice if the person is having trouble getting around.
  • Talk about medications.
  • Do a walk-through of your loved one’s home.

Click below for the other articles in the March 2019 Senior Spirit


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Should You Retire When Your Spouse Does?

Couples often plan to take their leap into retirement together … but there may be a better approach.

One in four couples exit the workforce within a year of each other, according to research. But this planned symbiosis can have unintended consequences. 

It seems natural to start retirement together. Isn’t this what you’ve waited for, to begin a new phase of life as a couple, just as you’ve faced so many other joys and challenges? Many husbands and wives have planned this moment for decades, eagerly anticipating time shared with family and friends. Others have looked forward to more time together, free from the stress and confines of the work environment. But most have never stopped to consider the financial implications of such a move.

Know Your Savings Number

Part of the problem is that many couples haven’t looked ahead. In a recent Fidelity study, 46 percent of baby boomers said they had “no idea” how much they needed to have saved for retirement. Couples should use a retirement calculator, such as this free one from T. Rowe Price, to estimate how long their current savings would last under different circumstances. You can vary the input to get results based on retiring together or at different times.

“It’s about having a conversation and running the numbers to see what it means for one person to retire and what it means for two people to retire,” says Stuart Ritter, a senior financial planner with T. Rowe Price.

It can make a big difference in your savings if even one of you chooses to work a little longer. A 2018 study found that delaying retirement for just three to six months could impact your standard of living in retirement as much as saving an additional 1 percent of income over a 30-year career.

“Unless couples are the same age, and in the same health, it usually makes more sense for one person to retire earlier. There can be both financial and relationship benefits,” says Morris Armstrong, registered investment advisor, Armstrong Financial Strategies, Cheshire, Connecticut. One advantage is that a spouse who puts in extra years on the job will shorten his or her retirement period by that amount, preserving those assets and allowing for larger eventual withdrawals.

Retirement’s Emotional Impact

If both members of a couple quit working at the same time, it can cause complex emotional reverberations in the relationship. Not only have you lost your sense of identity from a lifetime of work, but you suddenly are together with your partner 24/7. Some couples handle this transition with aplomb and others chaff under this new arrangement.

If both spouses retire together, they can all too easily begin to take small frustrations out on each other. Boundaries that were previously clear can become muddled, and a happy union can show wear around the edges.

Retiring separately can allow one spouse at a time to adjust to this new reality. Perhaps he or she will delve into some volunteer work, or take up a new hobby. At any rate, that spouse can begin to process what it means to be in this new reality. Your relationship dynamic will change, and it can be beneficial to ease into a new system of living together.

The Social Security Conundrum

Another number to examine with care ahead of retirement, especially for any spouse who makes significantly lesswives, is social security benefits. (Stay-at-home mom/dads and anyone who , men who married someone significantly older women and those whose wife is the big wage earner should also take note). Generally, the younger you are when you start taking Social Security, the less you’ll receive. Spouses who retire at the same time as their older partner may lose peak earning years, which is especially true if the younger partner opted out of the workforce to care for children or an aging parent.

Your Social Security benefit is based on your 35 highest-earning years; if you have less than that, those years will get filled in with zeros. For that reason, women usually benefit more by staying on the job, according to a recent study. Additionally, if you continue to work until age 70 instead of retiring at 62, Social Security rewards you with a “bonus” for those additional years. If you retire before full retirement age (which varies according to your birth date), benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before that date. If you retire after, you may be eligible for retirement credits that increase your benefit up to age 70. See the Social Security benefits chart for pros and cons that may apply to your situation.

“A retirement delay of five years is a hugely positive move for couples who are just on the edge of having enough money saved, for those who have a family history of longevity or for those who simply need to work five additional years to get to ‘enough,’” says Jane Nowak, CFP®, financial advisor with Wealth and Pension Services Group, in Smyrna, Georgia.

The additional income generated by one spouse continuing to work may allow both members to delay taking Social Security, thereby increasing both benefits. 

Health Insurance

If one or both of you is opting out of a career before you reach the Medicare-eligible age of 65, you’ll probably have to find a source for health insurance. Less than a fifth of big employers offer retiree health coverage, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. So it may make financial sense for one of you to stay at a job that provides health insurance to cover you both.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made it easier to obtain health insurance, especially for anyone with a pre-existing condition. However, these plans may be pricier and/or carry a higher deductible than what was available at your workplace.

If you thought you could just continue corporate health coverage by using a COBRA plan, you may be in for a surprise. While you may be covered for up to 18 months, you’ll owe the entire premium amount. That was about $7,000 per year in 2018, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

There is a further caveat to COBRA coverage that many don’t know about. When someone begins Medicare Part B, there is a window during which that person may enroll in a Medicare Supplement without any evidence of insurability. That window is vitally important, especially for someone with health conditions. However, anyone continuing on their employer’s health plan via COBRA loses that privilege because COBRA is not a qualifying event. There is no guaranteed insurability for someone who enrolls in Part B after COBRA stops and attempts to purchase a Medicare Supplement.

Do You Both Want to Quit?

It could be that after years of planning on retiring together, one of you is simply not ready to quit. Some people choose to stay on the job “simply because they don’t want to stop working, and that is fine,” says Armstrong. “I have also seen people who simply cannot wait to leave.”

Nearly six in 10 working Americans want to keep working past traditional retirement age, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. That can mean working part time, or taking on a less-stressful position. The most important thing is to have ongoing conversations with your spouse, and know where you stand financially before you call it quits.

Click below for the other articles in the March 2019 Senior Spirit


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Ways to Generate Passive Income in Retirement

Older adults can use money or skills they already have to earn revenue that doesn’t require constant effort.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that while you’re at the grocery store or doing the laundry, you’re making money? That’s the idea behind passive income, which is money that comes in even though you’re not actively involved.

One way to create passive income is to put your money to work for you. Strategies are available for various asset levels, including someone with $100 in the bank. You can find new ways to diversify your investments through innovative internet companies, or even make money on stock you already own.

We also found several methods to get paid for “jobs” that are activities you already do, or that generate a revenue stream from work you do once. Some are incredibly easy, and others require a little more effort upfront.

Whatever your situation, it’s a great feeling to watch your net worth rise while you sit back and enjoy life.

Strategy One: Put Your Money to Work

  • Earn more interest. If you have cash sitting in an account earning less than 1 percent, you need to move your money. The advent of online banking has made it easy to link bank accounts, so you can keep using the checking account and ATM at your local branch. Move your savings to a high-yield account elsewhere so inflation isn’t robbing you blind.   CIT bank has a high-yield savings account that is currently paying 2.45 percent interest. You won’t get rich, but why pass up free money? Another great choice is Ally Bank, which offers a 2.20 percent yield and can set you up with a free checking account and low-cost brokerage. Both banks offer CDs which pay closer to 2.75 percent, depending on how much you invest.
  • Make peer-to-peer loans at Lending Club. Shake things up by making some peer-to-peer loans for as little as $25 each and earn up to about 10 percent. Can a loan go bad? There’s always that chance, although each loan is vetted. So if you have $2,500 to invest, you could diversify by putting it into 100 different loans.
  • Crowdfund real estate with Fundrise. Boasting annual returns of between 8.7 and 12.4 percent, real estate crowdfunding platform Fundrise offers attractive yields to the average investor. Start with as little as $500 in the Fundrise Starter Portfolio. The company chooses real estate projects for their potential to generate cash. 
  • Use a low-cost brokerage. If you’re paying more than $5 per trade, you can save some money. (Caveat: The cost to make a trade is just one part of the cost associated with investment accounts. Funds and advisors charge fees as well. Some are hidden, such as the fees associated with mutual funds.) Check out free trades at M1 Finance, Robinhood and Fidelity. Or go with a more traditional brokerage, like Schwab or Vanguard, that offers a complete range of services, including many extremely low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for a nominal or zero trade fee. . You can get started for $100 or less at any of these institutions.
  • Provide veteran business bonds. Streetshares facilitates peer-to-peer lending for veterans and their communities. You loan the money for veterans (mostly) to capitalize their business in return for a 5 percent flat rate return. The minimum to start is only $25, and accredited investors (generally those with over a million in assets, but check here for exact rules) can earn more.
  • Refinance your mortgage. Rates are still historically low, and it might make sense for you to stretch out that mortgage and invest the monthly savings. Use a mortgage calculator to run the numbers and see if it makes sense in your situation.
  • Lend to real estate developers. Crowdfunding platform PeerStreet allows you to select debt deals on individual real estate projects nationwide for a $1,000 minimum investment. You can spread that money around to multiple deals and expect returns in the 6 to 11 percent range. Automatic investment selection is built into the system. This program is available only to accredited investors at this time.
  • Get dividends. Many stocks pay you to own them. The payments are called dividends, and you can diversify by owning a group of these dividend payers in a low-cost ETF. Better yet, buy them in your IRA account and avoid paying taxes on your dividends. 
  • Invest in solar energy. Based in Colorado, Wunder Capital allows you to invest in large-scale solar energy projects, rather than individual companies. Their diversified portfolio has been returning about 6 to 7.5 percent on minimum investments of $1,000 to accredited investors only. 
  • Learn about litigation finance. Legal investments include pre-settlement financing, legal advertising and post-settlement financing. Listen to Yieldstreet CEO Milind Mehere explain the concept on the Invest Like a Boss podcast.  Accredited investors earn from 8 to 10 percent on these investments. 
  • Own rental properties. You may have thought the real estate game wasn’t for you, that it was too complicated and time-consuming, or that you would have to lose money for years upfront because of how expensive your city or suburb has become. Turnkey rental property broker Roofstock has changed the dynamic.  This company finds cash-flowing rental properties in areas where the numbers work. You buy a single-family property with a tenant and choose from a selection of available property managers in that area. Go to the site to check their current inventory for free.

Strategy Two: Use What You Have

  • Hack your house. If you own a home, you can probably engage in the art of house hacking, or making money off of it. Do you have an extra bedroom, or a basement you’re not using? Are you still in the home you raised your family in, and you don’t really want to downsize? Rent out space to pay the mortgage or put some cash in your pocket every month.  You can either draw up a rental agreement and have someone move in, or use a site like AirBnB to rent by the day or week. The first option is less labor-intensive, since you only have to clean when your tenant moves out. The second option may allow you to make a little more money per month, depending on how booked you are. Some homeowners prefer having the same person in their house, and others like a constant flow of guests. You might also want to take a look at The Freebird Club, a homestay site for international travelers over 50. Host others or exchange lodging to save big on vacation accommodations.
  • Bump your savings. There is actually an app called Bumped that gives you free stock when you shop. There are no fees, and you can link a debit or credit card to the app and still get your rewards. Sound too good to be true? Currently, there is a wait list, which you can join online.
  • Sell your own designs. If you’re a creative type, or you are naturally funny, then this could be the answer for your own little income stream. Use a platform like CafePress to sell your designs for everything from t-shirts to mugs. Upload the design one time, and CafePress does the rest. 
  • Start a blog. It takes a substantial amount of time to create enough quality blog content to attract a sizable following, but it can be done. If you’re passionate about a topic lots of others would want to read about and search, then it may be time to get moving. Blogs make money by serving ads, offering products for purchase or providing click-throughs to affiliate links.  Don’t expect to get significant returns for a few years. 
  • Put together an online course. So you realize that you’re an expert at, say, weaving horsehair (yes, it’s a thing called “hitching”) and you want to pass on the art. Why not create an online course or video to teach your craft? Online marketplace Udemy is the most popular platform, and comes with a built-in audience. However, it takes a big bite out of the profits and controls pricing. If you already have a website, Teachable may be a better bet. It’s an end-to-end solution that you can post on your own site.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Apple Watch Series 4 for Older Adults

The latest iteration of the Apple Watch made waves with its inclusion of a fall sensor. Should every older adult have one?

Fall Detection

The Apple Watch Series 4 has health capabilities to interest many older adults and their children, who may want them to have the technology. The fall detector, which is automatically enabled on wearers age 65 and up, activates after a hard fall. A message appears on the screen asking if help is needed. If the wearer doesn’t respond, an SOS call will automatically result.

Some amateur researchers have tried to fake falls (on a couch) to test the device, but the watch isn’t fooled. On the other hand, one wearer on a soccer team (who truly took hard falls) had to constantly let the device know all was well.

Apple’s disclaimer says: “Apple Watch cannot detect all falls. The more physically active you are, the more likely you are to trigger Fall Detection due to high impact activity that can appear to be a fall.”

The fall detection system might not be perfect, but it sounds like a great start.

Electrocardiogram and Health

While every version of the Watch measures your pulse rate, the Series 4 is the first to add an FDA-cleared electrocardiogram (EKG). Hold down the round button on the side of the watch for about 30 seconds, and you’ll get a read on your heart’s electrical signals. While “clearance” is not the same as “approval,” Apple’s research claimed to detect atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) an impressive 99 percent of the time. Indeed, news reports are coming out about users who went to their doctor after a troublesome EKG reading and had a problem confirmed.

People with heart conditions or anxiety can have the Watch set to alert them about a high heart rate. That’s their cue to take it easy and perhaps take medication. The feature can benefit healthy people by reporting how often they’ve raised their exercise rate.

The Watch continues to get useful upgrades for personal health monitoring. In addition to the heart rate monitor, it will let users know how often each day they stand rather than sit and report their daily activity level. Apple has made enormous investments in health care, so expect continuing evolution on this front.

What’s Coming Next?

At about 4 percent market penetration, there’s plenty of room for the Apple Watch to grow. And grow it will with partnerships such as one with medical device company Zimmer Biomet, one of the biggest players among reconstructive products manufacturers.

More than a million people get knee and hip replacement surgery in the U.S. every year. Zimmer Biomet and Apple are working to combine a new app, along with health-tracking data from the smartwatch, to figure out why certain patients recover faster than others. In addition, the two companies are collaborating on a clinical study.

The app is called mymobility, and it guides people through their rehabilitation experience to improve outcomes. It contains educational resources such as exercise videos, and it allows patients to contact their care team with questions and concerns.

Apple developed the first smartwatch with an EKG sensor, and it’s on the hunt for more medical applications to further establish itself in the $3 trillion U.S. health care sector. Apple and Biomet enrolled 10,000 people in the study, a significant sample size. The partnership heralds “one of the largest evidence-gathering clinical studies in orthopedic history,” according to Zimmer Biomet CEO Bryan Hanson.

In another development, Apple is partnering with University of North Carolina researchers to track binge eating.

Dick Tracy

When we were kids, it was a toss-up which was cooler: Dick Tracy’s watch phone or Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. Who knew then that one day, we could imitate one of our heroes?

Older adults aren’t always in the habit of carrying a phone everywhere, so having one on their wrist is appealing. “The good thing is you can’t lose it,” says Sandra Lew, 75.

However, it can be tricky for older fingers to use. With a 30 percent increase in screen size from its predecessor, the Series 4 has a vastly improved display. Incoming calls were a snap for older adults to pick up. Just press the green phone button that pops up after your watch rings and gently taps your wrist. No more missed calls.

But outbound calls might be more problematic. It’s hard for unsteady fingers and dimming eyes to press the right button on a screen that, while larger, is still only 1.6 inches across. “I even find my iPhone screen too small,” says Jane Salzfass, 73.

It also helps if the older adult is used to an iPhone and recognizes the icon for calling. “You’re going to have to know what those icons mean,” says 67-year-old Rhona Lishinky. If an older adult isn’t somewhat tech-savvy to start with, the Watch may not get used at all. On the other hand, Siri will place a call if you raise your wrist and say, “Call Tom.” Just press and hold the digital crown to summon voice assistance.

Decent volume is particularly important to aging adults. The speaker and microphone in the Series 4 have been placed left and right instead of on the same side, leading to a better audio response. The new Watch boasts a 50 percent louder speaker, too. It works great in quiet environments, like your home, but some users have found it difficult to hear Siri in a noisier environment, like while riding in a car.

Steep Price 

So, how much is one of these gadgets going to set you back? The price floor is $399, moving up to over $500 for a bevy of options, including larger sizes, optional cellular connectivity, and a steel case or fancy straps.

Reviews are uniformly positive. Many older adults may benefit from the device for its fall-detection capability alone. The Watch’s many other features, however, may prove to be more easily adopted by adults who are on the younger side of old age. It will be exciting to see what Apple comes up with next.

Click below for the other articles in the March 2019 Senior Spirit


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Three Things Make Older Adults Feel In Control

Clues for improved physical, mental and emotional health are found in new research.

A new study has identified three factors that are crucial to older adults’ best health outcomes. Psychology researchers found that sleep, mood and stress are critical components to older adults having a feeling of control over their lives, and this sense of control had powerful ramifications for their physical, mental and emotional health.

"We found that sleep, mood and stress are all important factors in determining a sense of control and in whether older adults feel they can do the things they want to do," says Shevaun Neupert, a professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. "This finding is important because when older adults begin to lose their sense of autonomy, it can lead to changes in behavior that adversely affect their health and well-being.”

"We found that sleep efficacy - or the belief that one can get a good night's sleep - was associated with better control beliefs," Neupert says.

"We also found that positive affect was good for an individual's control beliefs, while negative affect was bad," says Shenghao Zhang, a Ph.D. student at NC State and first author of the paper. "In other words, being in a good mood made people feel better about their competence and control, while being in a bad mood made people feel worse about those things.

"Lastly, we found that stressful events on one day had an adverse effect on an individual's subsequent control beliefs," Zhang says. "These results suggest that the adverse effect of stressful events can last for more than a day. It would be interesting to conduct additional work to determine how long the effects of stress resonate in regard to control beliefs.”

"We know there are things people can do to improve their mood and to improve their sleep," Neupert says. "And while sleep and mood are things most people think are important, this study highlights a very specific reason that they are important.

"When people think they have little or no control in their lives, they may stop doing some of the everyday things that are important for self-care because they believe those things don't matter," Neupert says. "By acting to improve mood and sleep, older adults may better retain their sense of control and better maintain their quality of life.”

Bring Down Stress

Harvard Health has some tips to reduce stress, and help you sleep better, too. If insomnia is a problem, a special type of cognitive behavioral therapy, called CBT-i, may be your best bet. It works to remove ingrained patterns of self-defeating behavior and replace them with new habits. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends the therapy as the first-line treatment for insomnia.

Other types of stress come with negative impacts on health. "Stress increases blood sugar and can make diabetes worse. It can create high blood pressure and cause insomnia. It can also make people become anxious, worried, depressed, or frustrated," says Dr. Ann Webster, a health psychologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Chronic stress should be treated as soon as it’s identified.

Here are suggestions for combatting other types of stress, as reported in the Harvard Special Health Report Stress Management:

  • Consider whether you might benefit from a course in assertiveness training that would help you state your wishes and handle conflicts.
  • Join a support group if you are dealing with bereavement.
  • Think about getting a pet—both the pluses and minuses. Several studies support the stress-lowering effects of having a dog, cat, or other animal companion. But don't forget to take into consideration the physical and financial challenges of pet ownership.
  • Attend a mind-body program. These can help at any age. Some are specifically designed for seniors. Others may focus on chronic pain or specific ailments, such as heart disease.
  • Engage in regular physical activity. If you are infirm, ask your doctor whether you might benefit from certain types of exercise, such as tai chi, which enhances balance. Many other kinds of physical activity improve your health, lift your mood, and reduce stress, too.

How will you know if there’s too much stress in your life? It can show up in a variety of ways, including:

  • tension headaches
  • back pain
  • indigestion
  • heart palpitations
  • poor concentration
  • indecisiveness
  • crying
  • irritability
  • edginess

It’s impossible to avoid stress in your life. But by taking steps to neutralize the things that are causing anxiety, you can move toward living your best life every day.

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

March 1 - Ron Howard, actor and director

Remember sitting transfixed in front of your old black-and-white TV, eyes glued to the screen for The Andy Griffith Show? Ron Howard played Opie Taylor, the kind, freckle-faced son of Sheriff Andy in mythical Mayberry, where no problem was too big to handle with folksy southern flair.

What you my not know is that Howard was also already starring in films (The Music Man and others). The child prodigy went on to star in the role of Richie Cunningham on the sitcom Happy Days, a part he played for seven years. But he continued making films at the same time, and made his directorial debut in 1977 at the age of 22.

In 1980, Howard called it quits with Happy Days to focus on directing. His credits include Cocoon, Apollo 13, and A Beautiful Mind. The latter earned him the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture. The accolades didn’t stop there, as he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003, and has a pair of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the television and film industries.

Howard is the co-chair of film and TV production company Imagine Entertainment. Imagine has produced several films and a handful of television programs, most notably Arrested Development, which Howard also narrated.

Howard married writer Cheryl Alley in 1975 and the couple has four grown children, two of whom followed their father into acting careers.

March 8 - David Wilkie, Olympic swimmer

Wilkie is the only person to have held British, American, Commonwealth, European, world and Olympic swimming titles at the same time… and it’s likely he’ll be the only one to ever achieve that feat!

Wilkie was born in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) to Scottish parents. As a child, he learned to swim at the outdoor Colombo Swimming Club in Sri Lanka, an island off the southeast tip of India famous for its ancient Buddhist ruins and sandy beaches. When Wilkie got to the ripe old age of 11, his parents shipped him back to Scotland for boarding school in the British tradition.

Fortunately, he joined one of Scotland’s most famous swim clubs, the Warrender Baths Club, where he began to hone in on the breaststroke under one of Britain’s leading coaches.

Specializing in one stroke spurred him to achievements that warranted being chosen for the elite Scottish Training Squad. Wilkie shattered the British record for the 200 meter breaststroke at an international match against Denmark as a 16-year-old. He broke his own record a year later at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in front of a home crowd in Edinburgh.

As famous as he’d already become in his homeland, Wilkie’s international fame started in Miami, Florida. As a member of the University of Miami’s vaunted Hurricanes swim team, Wilkie won gold at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada for the 200 meter breaststroke. In setting a new world record for the event, he prevented the dominant U.S. men’s swimming team from sweeping gold in all the main events.

March 11 - Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior

Norton gained fame as the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of the Interior. She held the post from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush, after serving as Colorado’s Attorney General. 

As a libertarian in the 70s, Norton climbed the ladder and very nearly became the party’s national director in 1980. Later, she was influenced by thinkers including writer Ayn Rand to switch affiliation to the Republican Party.

As a refresher, the Secretary of the Interior is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources, including oversight for agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. Controversially, Norton joined Royal Dutch Shell as a general counsel in exploration and production immediately after she left office.

As of 2017, Norton was working in consulting firm Norton Regulatory Strategies, a company dealing with environmental regulations. 

Click below for the other articles in the March 2019 Senior Spirit


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors