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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Preventing the Deadliest Diseases is Easier Than You Think

Simply adding fiber to your diet can conquer several of the most common, and serious, diseases.

Do you love carbohydrates, but thought they weren’t good for you? Think again. Fiber is a type of carb that your body can’t digest, and a review of recent studies show it plays an important role in fighting disease. The latest national dietary guidelines point to the easiest way to improve your diet for a healthier outcome: Eat more fiber.

Lower Your Risk

Fiber lowers the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer by 15 to 30 percent. Incredibly, people who ate more fiber also lowered their risk of dying early from any cause by the same margin. The more fiber people consumed, the greater the protective benefits. In fact, every 8 grams of additional fiber eaten per day correlated with a drop in the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer.

The results were gleaned from a review of 243 studies that followed participants for numerous years and recorded what they ate and their health outcomes, as well as clinical trials in which volunteers either changed their diets or were part of a control group. The researchers also examined data such as blood pressure, body weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and inflammation.

How Much Fiber is Enough

The average American eats about 15 grams of fiber daily. However, new guidelines recommend that women consume at least 25 grams daily, and men have 38 grams a day.

“Our research indicates that people should have at least 25-29 grams of fiber from foods per day,” says Andrew Reynolds, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand. “Currently, most people consume less than 20 grams of fiber per day, so being more conscious about choosing high-fiber food options will help reach that target.”

Various studies point to the reason fiber is such a strong ally for good health. It stimulates beneficial bacteria in the gut to reduce colon cancer risk. Foods rich in fiber tend to take a long time to chew and be heavier than others, increasing satiety and likely lowering obesity rates that are linked to heart disease and cancer.

You may wonder exactly what you need to eat to meet the fiber guidelines. The Mayo Clinic offers a handy chart of high-fiber foods to get started. For instance, a cup of red raspberries is good for 8 grams of fiber, or you can eat an apple with the skin for 4.5 grams. Green peas merit 9 grams of fiber per cup, a raw carrot adds 1.5 grams, and a cup of black beans is good for a whopping 15 grams.

Fibrous Foods You’ll Want to Eat

When you get right down to it, adding plant fiber to your diet often means adding vegetables. Many Americans don’t eat many unprocessed veggies because they’re not as appealing as other, less-nutritious foods. To help improve your habits, we’ve listed 10 fiber-rich foods that you’ll look forward to putting on your plate.

  1. Berries. It doesn’t matter what kind you reach for. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are all dense in fiber, whether you buy them fresh or frozen. Add them to smoothies, pancakes and cereal, or pour a little milk over your berries for a delicious, naturally sweet treat.
  2. Avocados. If you haven’t taken your taste buds south of the border, it’s time. Use creamy avocados to make savory guacamole or to top tacos, enchiladas or quesadillas. They pair well with grapefruit slices as a refreshing salad, or squeeze some lime juice in the depression left by the pit for a healthy snack.
  3. Apples. When you need a crunchy snack that is simple to pack and carry, it’s hard to beat a flavorful apple. Satisfy sweet-tooth cravings with a Fuji or Gala variety, while Granny Smith apples pair nicely with a bleu cheese or aged cheddar for a delicious dessert.
  4. Popcorn. Yes, one of America’s favorite snack foods can be good for you, too! This whole grain delivers a nice fiber boost to your diet. Munch down on a few cups without adding any toppings to get the most bang for your caloric buck.
  5. Potatoes. Baked, boiled, broiled or tossed in the microwave . . . who doesn’t like potatoes? Yukon golds, russets, white and purple varieties all offer a nice fiber punch when eaten with the skin. Sadly, French fries and potato chips are banned from healthy diets and don’t count. The next-best thing? Cut up some taters and spread them on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Salt, cook and enjoy!
  6. Nuts. Sunflower seeds and almonds lead this fiber-rich pack, but all varieties of nuts will help you reach your daily fiber requirements.  Grab a handful to snack on, or add them to salads. Use chopped nuts to coat cheese balls or meat dishes, or to enhance a vegetable salad.
  7. Dried fruits. All dried fruits are rich in fiber and it’s oh-so-easy to eat them by the handful. Dried fruits contain a natural sweetener called sorbitol that is pleasant on the tongue but can lead to unintended consequences down below. To avoid the desperate search for a porcelain throne, balance your dried fruit consumption with various other foods.
  8. Whole grains. It’s OK to eat bread again! At least if it’s made from whole grains. Yep, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice and oats are all back on the menu for fiber lovers. Just make sure that whole grains are the first ingredient listed to get your fiber boost.
  9. Beans. Inexpensive and ubiquitous, the lowly bean will drop a fiber bomb into soups, stews, salads and chili. Whether you choose lentils, green beans, edamame or any of the hundreds of heirloom varieties, beans have the added benefit of delivering protein as well. 
  10. Broccoli. Not everyone is a broccoli fan, but if you are, you can add it to the menu whenever the mood strikes to put not only fiber, but many other nutrients on your plate. Dust it with Parmesan cheese for an elegant main dish or side.

Supplemental Fiber

While it may be tempting to replace fiber-rich foods with supplements, the data did not show the same benefits when supplements or powders were used to introduce more fiber into meals.

"The real issue here is that eating a high-fiber diet from foods is almost, by definition, an excellent diet,” says Joanne Lupton, a spokesperson for the American Society of Nutrition and professor of nutrition at Texas A&M University. "It's hard to reach dietary fiber recommendations without eating a lot of fiber . . . so once you take it out of the food, you probably won't have a very good diet.”

Tasteless and odorless, supplements can be added to an endless array of soft foods and batters, changing only the texture. But at a mere three grams of fiber per tablespoon, you’d have to use an awful lot (9 tablespoons for women, 13 for men) to meet current guidelines. That’s a lot of chewy yogurt and grainy pancakes.

"You would be sprinkling it on everything all day long," says Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. "Just adding fiber to a food doesn't necessarily make it a health food. I'm sure there are people out there who try to justify it.”

Health professionals warn that people taking tricyclic antidepressants, diabetes drugs, cholesterol-lowering drugs, lithium, digoxin or the seizure drug carbamazepine shouldn’t use fiber supplements without first talking to their doctor. A high daily intake can interfere with the absorption of nutrients and the active ingredients in these drugs. While that can also occur with natural sources, it’s a lot easier to overdo it with packaged fiber.

However, supplements do provide some benefits. While products like Metamucil, Benefiber, Fiber Choice and Citrucel are lacking the vitamins and minerals contained in whole foods, powdered fiber can lower cholesterol and maintain more stable levels of blood sugar.

In addition, powdered fiber is good at moving bowels. Really good.

"Some of them cause more GI [gastrointestinal] rumblings than maybe people would care to have," Sandon says.

Two Kinds of Fiber

Both varieties of fiber are good for your health. Soluble fiber, the kind that dissolves in water, lowers glucose levels and blood cholesterol. Find it in oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries. Insoluble fiber, which doesn’t dissolve in water, is good for moving food through your system. Good sources are whole wheat, couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

How can the average person get more fiber? Following are some quick tips from the Harvard School of Public Health:

  • Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
  • Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
  • For breakfast, choose cereals that have a whole grain as their first ingredient.
  • Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars.
  • Substitute beans or legumes for meat two to three times per week in chili and soups.

As an added benefit, fiber regulates the body’s use of sugars so it naturally helps put a damper on hunger sensations.

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


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

New Social Security Proposal May be Harmful

A plan calling for changes to the Social Security program has the backing of many Americans, but can it deliver? 

The Social Security program is critical to the well-being of many older Americans. Each month, 43 million people receive a Social Security payout, and three out of five count on it to cover at least half of their expenses. If there was no Social Security program, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an American think tank, estimates that the rate of poverty among retired workers in the U.S. would quadruple.

But Social Security payouts can’t continue at their current rate forever. Sometime in 2034, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees, the program will have to cut payouts by as much as 21 percent. Asset reserves will run out, and a workforce that is smaller in size than the population of retirees won’t generate enough income for the system to cover payments.

How Social Security is Funded

There are three revenue streams that fund the Social Security program. The smallest portion, 3.4 percent in 2015, is from taxes on Social Security benefits themselves. If you have too much income while claiming Social Security benefits, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will reach out and take some back.

Interest on the $2.8 trillion in spare cash, invested by law almost entirely in special issue bonds from the federal government, creates the second source of funds. With lending rates just off historic lows, the bonds return in the 2 to 3 percent range. That’s still enough to kick in about 10 percent to the program annually.

But the majority of funding (86.4 percent) is a result of the 12.4 percent payroll tax. The tax on earnings is paid in full by the self-employed, and often split 50-50 between employers and their employees. Currently, earned wages up to $132,900 are subject to the Social Security tax.

The image below is from, which credits Image Source: Social Security Administration.

Five Ways Social Security Will Change by 2020

  1. The full retirement age will keep moving higher. Your full retirement age, when you are eligible to get 100 percent of your benefit, is determined by your birth year. Way back in 1983, the Reagan administration passed a reform to increase the full retirement age by two years, from 65 to 67. Beginning in 2017 and ending in 2020, the full retirement age will increase by two months every year. 
  2. A decline in purchasing power of Social Security dollars will continue. The purchasing power of Social Security dollars has taken a 30 percent dive since 2000, according to an analysis from The Senior Citizens League. Thanks to the inflation guide that determines annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), older Americans tend to lose out due to the comparatively faster-rising cost of health care and housing (more prominent expenditures for most older adults) compared to the economy as a whole.
  3. The cap on earned income subject to the Social Security tax will go up. The primary vehicle for filling Social Security coffers is the tax on earned income. In 2018, all income up to $128,400 was taxed at 12.4 percent. In 2019, that number has gone up to $132,900, as the National Average Wage Index has continued to rise. "The easiest fix would be to not have a cap on earned income subject to Social Security Tax. There is precedence in this approach as there is no upper limit on income for income tax purposes,” says Mickey Batsell, CSA Instructor and board member for the National Insurance Marketing Executives. 
  4. It will be a teeny bit harder to qualify for benefits. Not everyone gets Social Security; most of us have to gain the right by earning forty lifetime credits. You can earn up to four each year, so you need ten full years of work history to qualify unless an exception, such as disability, applies. And those lifetime work credits were set at $1,320 in 2018, so earning four times that, or $5,280, maxed out your credits for the year. Inflation will likely keep pushing that limit up over time, perhaps to a total of $5,400 or so by 2020. 
  5. More retirees will be subject to taxation on their benefits. Bad news: If you already get Social Security benefits, it’s more likely you’ll get a portion of them taxed by 2020. Single taxpayers with more than $25,000 in income and married couples with more than $32,000 are subject to taxation on half their benefit amount. And up to 85 percent of your benefits will be taxed if your income is over $34,000 for single filers and $44,000 for couples filing jointly. These income thresholds haven’t been adjusted in nearly 35 years, and now about 56 percent of households owe tax on their Social Security benefits.

Congressional Petition

A new plan gathering steam, backed by Washington, D.C. nonprofit The Seniors Center, calls for a trio of changes to the Social Security program. The plan seeks to:

  1. Create a true trust account that would ensure all payroll contributions are deposited for the payment of Social Security retirement benefits.
  2. End the practice of allowing the federal government to borrow Social Security's surplus to finance general expenditures.
  3. Legally require the U.S. Treasury to begin accelerated payments of funds taken from Social Security.

These changes would provide transparency in the flow of payroll tax dollars from paycheck to Social Security payout, and transform the way asset reserves are currently invested, which is in special-issue Treasury bonds.

However, it would seem the system already has clear income and expense channels. Every penny that comes in is accounted for, and 99 percent of funds collected end up in the hands of eligible beneficiaries. Less than a single percent of collected revenue is spent on administrative costs.

It’s also worth noting that the program is its own separate entity. It can only use funds created for it through payroll tax, interest income and the taxation of benefits, along with its nearly $2.9 trillion in current asset reserves.

The Social Security Asset Fund

Lawmakers have publicly bemoaned the use of Social Security asset funds to pay for other programs for many years. Here’s former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on July 7, 2005:

“Congress needs to stop raiding the Social Security trust fund to pay for unrelated government spending. The American people are right to demand an end to this shameful practice. … For over 30 years, Congress has spent the Social Security surplus on other government programs, and it’s a safe bet that this will continue unless we can enact legislation that requires a change.”

Despite Ryan’s and many others’ public outrage at the perceived situation, the economic reality is much different.

How much has the federal government borrowed from Social Security funds? The question is largely one of semantics, since the U.S. Federal Reserve creates our money in the first place. For a simple explanation of the economics involved, this response by self-described eco-nerd Chris Brown is concise yet thorough. At any rate, funds are never segregated into a separate pot for Social Security, just like your bank never has your money in cash in a separate account for you.

Furthermore, it’s a legal requirement that Congress has the ability to borrow money from Social Security’s asset reserves. In fact, this borrowing generated $85.1 billion in interest income for the program in 2017. Even as assets are anticipated to begin spending down, the next decade is expected to yield more than $800 billion in interest income. Take away this source of income, and Social Security’s funding problems are exacerbated.

The third point, which calls for the government to make accelerated paybacks of funds that it has borrowed from Social Security, may be a bad idea. It would choke off interest in-come for the Social Security program while requiring the government to borrow funds, thus triggering it to issue more debt. As our national debt rises beyond $22 trillion, it seems unwise to balloon it further and eliminate a source of funding for general expenditures.


It’s clear that in the near future, the Social Security system needs to evolve to meet retirees’ needs. However, we must take a good look at the specific provisions of any plan to ensure a change is truly a step forward.

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


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Are You Prepared to Retire Before 60?

More Americans are saying they want to retire early, but having a strategy in place is another thing.

After a bad day at the office, thoughts of retiring early are bound to run through your mind. Isn’t it time to quit the rat race, wake up whatever time you feel like, maybe even take a long vacation at the beach like you’ve always dreamed about?

The average American today intends to retire at 62, two years sooner than surveys showed just five years ago, according to MassMutual’s 2018 State of the American Family survey. And a full 40 percent want to retire before the age of 60. This may be because 401(k) and individual retirement account (IRA) balances have increased with the stock market rise in recent years. However, there’s a lot more to consider besides your current retirement nest egg before you’re ready to kiss your cubicle goodbye.

Estimate Expenses

Before you can step into retirement, you need to know exactly where you stand financially. Use a free budget tool such as Intuit’s Mint to find out where your dollars are going and how many are leaving you every month. With your current income and expenses on paper, you can address changes that will happen after you retire and see if you are financially prepared.

Start by figuring out your future income. Will you have a pension, an annuity or Social Security to count on every month? Have you figured out when you should take Social Security, which can be as early as age 62 or as late as age 70? Generally, your check increases about 8 percent per year the longer you wait, but that’s not always true. And if people in your family seldom live beyond their 70s, it could favor an earlier start. Divorced? You may find you’ll get a bigger check by claiming half of what your ex is eligible for when you reach full retirement age, but you need to meet certain guidelines. Check Social Security options for more information.

Don’t enter retirement with a load of credit card debt. Revolving debt can spiral out of control, leaving you to spend your “fun money” on interest payments. Many professionals also advise retirees to have their home paid off so that an unexpected medical or other expense doesn’t threaten their housing.

Your employer will no longer cover health care, so you’ll have to get health insurance until Medicare kicks in at age 65. The Affordable Care Act guarantees coverage even if you have pre-existing conditions, but pricing varies by location and income. Note that it doesn’t cover dental expenses, and it may come with a much bigger deductible than you’re used to.

Even when you’ve graduated to Medicare, basic care for vision, dental and hearing are not covered. You may purchase additional coverage, but you’ll have to figure in that cost and whatever services it still may not pay for.

Finally, you may want to start off your retirement in travel mode for the first few years. The restaurants you were too tired to go to when working are beckoning every day of the week. You’re ready to start that new hobby, but you’d really like to have your own boat before you join the sailing club. Oftentimes, costs go up, not down, in the first decade of retirement. As we move into our 80s, travel expenses tend to go down, but health costs rise.

Ten Reasons to Keep Working

Many older adults who thought they could quit working find that it’s not financially feasible. The good news is that many studies show a variety of benefits for older adults who remain in the workforce. Here’s a list of 10 good reasons to stick out your job a little longer:

  1. You social Security benefits may be higher.
  2. Health insurance may be cheaper and/or provide better coverage. 
  3. Your risk of depression goes down.
  4. You may live longer.
  5. Your cognition may resist decline.
  6. You may be more emotionally stable. 
  7. You may avoid having to return to work for financial reasons very late in life. 
  8. Your social network is expanded. 
  9. You are at less risk for suicide.
  10. You may not like time on your hands as much as you thought you would. 

Get Your Portfolio in Shape

In 2017, you could practically throw money at the market and walk away with a 30 percent gain. In fact, it’s been a good ten years and they may have lulled you into thinking that you can ignore your portfolio. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take a look at your asset allocations now, and make sure they’re diversified so that a market downturn won’t devastate your savings. Also, remember that any money you withdraw from a traditional IRA is going to be taxed at your normal rate, not the lower capital gains rate.

It could make sense to make withdrawals from a taxable IRA before required minimum withdrawals go into effect at age 70 1/2. It all depends on your marginal tax bracket and other sources of income. You may even want to roll over some of that money to a Roth IRA, where withdrawals are not required, but are always tax-free.

Finally, make it easier on yourself (and your heirs) by moving all of your retirement accounts to a single brokerage. Some people think back to 2008 and figure it’s safer to spread their money out with a variety of firms in case one fails. Actually, the underlying assets belong to you. If you invest with a trustworthy brokerage firm, there’s very little safety to be gained by having some assets elsewhere. You may also find a bigger balance with one firm increases your access to free services.

Know Your Numbers

More than half of Americans, or 61 percent, don’t know how much money they need to save for retirement, according to a 2018 Bankrate survey. That number includes 56 percent of Gen Xers and 58 percent of baby boomers. Don’t be in that group!

Run your numbers through a robust retirement calculator such as Firecalc. One of the best available, it can analyze permanent or temporary bumps or reductions in income as you age. It also makes available several spending methods, and allows you to input how your portfolio is allocated. The free tool then produces a graph of how your portfolio would have fared over every 30-year (or whatever you choose) period since the stock market opened.

You may find that you need to continue working part time, perhaps as a consultant. You might start a little side business or choose a field completely unrelated to your previous line of work. In addition to contributing to your financial health, studies show this may give a boost to your mental health as well. Working keeps you connected to other people and has been shown to increase self-esteem.

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


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Best Products from the 2019 Tech Show

We’ve gathered the most amazing products from the recently concluded annual Consumer Electronics Show.

Las Vegas welcomes the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) every year, and 2019 didn’t disappoint! Whether you wanted to check out the prototype air taxi or preorder a toothbrush that takes 15 seconds to clean your teeth, you were in luck. Just in case the show didn’t make your calendar, we’ve summed up some of the best products.

Does Anyone Really Need a Smart Toilet?

While we can agree that time spent on the porcelain throne should be comfortable, it's hard to see the value in Kohler's new $7,000 ($9,000 in black) smart toilet. With built in speakers, ambient lighting and Amazon Alexa support, you could spend hours sitting on the john.

Kohler's Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet promises a "fully immersive experience" thanks to mood lightning and music that are set via voice commands. Upgrade your toilet further with the PureWarmth toilet seat add-on. you can even get a smart mirror, smart shower, and smart tub from Kohler to keep your smart toilet company in the bathroom.

Go to Kohler to see the entire line of smart products.

  • Samsung’s MicroLED-based Wall TV  is made of smaller, modular panels that interlock to make a screen as big as your wall with no bezel. The display screen at this year’s show was 219 inches.
  • Bell’s six-rotor air taxi in sleek black, like a small helicopter, could ferry passengers as soon as 2020, according to the company. 
  • Impossible Burger 2.0 was a smash hit. The soy-based meat replacement got raves for being “meatier than ever.”
  • The Hyundai Elevate walking car remains only a concept, but a cool one with a Star Wars feel. The vehicle has both legs and wheels to handle the most difficult terrain.
  • The Jabra Elite 85H noise-canceling headphones use artificial intelligence to tune out the crying babies on your flight and let you relax to Norah Jones.
  • The Ring Door View Cam is perfect for older adults who live in apartments. It replaces the typical peep hole on your front door and lets you see who is on your stoop.
  • It’s okay to get messy with the KitchenAid Smart Display that is built to withstand grime and moisture, including a stream of water. With a built-in Google Assistant, older adults will like how tough and comprehensive this smart display is.
  • The LG Signature OLED TV will finally go to market later this year for an undisclosed price, but everyone at the show was taken with it. Check out a video of the rollup TV 
  • Wireless charging has taken a serious step forward with the Ossia Spigen, an over-the-air charging system that allows charging while you are walking around, no pad needed. It should be available later this year.
  • Are you someone who hates to fold clothes? Foldimate to the rescue! For a cool grand, you can buy a machine that does all the work. All you have to do is feed it shirts and pants, and presto, they’re folded! Available by the end of 2019.
  • The era of flexible electronics is upon us. Enter the Royole flexible QWERTY keyboard that pulls out of a wand not much bigger than a mascara. Set the clear keyboard on any flat surface and hook it up with Bluetooth. Push a button, and it will retract into the wand that you can stick in your pocket.
  • How would you like to brush your teeth in 10 seconds? The Y-Brush is a clever device where you simply add a little toothpaste, put it in your mouth and turn it on. Make a chewing motion for five seconds, flip it over and repeat. You’re done! If you want one now you can preorder it for $125.
  • Are you embarrassed about snoring? Try the Hupnos anti-snoring mask that pairs with an app to evaluate your sleep. If it detects a snore, it will vibrate to get you to change to a less snore-inducing position. When that doesn’t do the trick, it will increase the pressure when you exhale to open up those airways and stop the snore.
  • If you love the Apple Watch Series 4 but find it’s too pricy, try the Withings Move fitness watch with EKG functionality on a traditional-looking watch. Release is expected the second quarter of 2019, for about a third of the Apple Watch S4 price.
  • Who doesn’t need a Lamborghini Boyfriend massage chair? Airbags adjust the massage to your every sore muscle. Just don’t tense up at the $30,000 price tag.
  • If you love a Harley and want to go green, now’s your chance. The Harley-Davidson Livewire is their first electric motorcycle. Soar down the road in quiet splendor for just under $30,000. 
  • Samsung produced a trio of robots for this year’s conference. The Bot Air rolls around to purify the air in your house, the Bot Care will monitor your health, and Bot Retail fetches things for you as you shop.
  • Finally, a treadmill that generates electricity! The SportsArt Verde could power the lights in your home gym, or fire up the blender for that post-workout smoothie.
  • If you’re an older adult with at least one small dog, consider the Pepe, a warm-air circulator to dry off Fido. Now you can wash your pup as many times as you want and have him dry in about 25 minutes. The dryer also creates a warm, protected spot for your dog to lounge in. At $660, it currently only ships to China, Singapore and South Korea.
  • The Qolo concept morphs from a wheelchair to upright mode, acting as a Transformer-like exoskeleton. By Japan’s University of Tsukuba, it’s a finalist in Toyota’s Mobility Unlimited Challenge.
  • Another Toyota Mobility Unlimited Challenge finalist, the Quix is a sort of exoskeleton that aids people with disabilities. With motors at the hips, knees and ankles, it could help frail older adults walk with confidence.
  • Get Mom and Dad a robot vacuum for less with the Trio Ironpie. For $299, it uses sensors to track its positions and not go over the same spot twice.
  • Originally designed to give home assistance to older adults, the Temi robot now comes with Amazon Alexa. With voice-activated controls and navigation aided by sensors, it’s an armless butler for your home.

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


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

How to Stay Healthy and Happy Your Whole Life

What really makes us happy in life? How would you answer that question? A lot of people think more money would solve their problems. 

What really makes us happy in life? How would you answer that question? A lot of people think more money would solve their problems.

The Harvard study on adult aging banks on the lives of men over the past 75 years. In other words, it is not based on what people think may make them happy in the future. Instead, the study looks at what has verifiably led to happiness and health over the decades as the study group has grown older.

The research itself began before WWII and has continued as the men aged into their 90s. Some of those men became bricklayers; one ended up a president. Some developed schizophrenia and others maintained good health.

The lessons are not about wealth or fame or working harder and harder, says current study director and psychiatrist Robert Waldinger. It is social connections that keep us both happier and healthier, but it is not the number of friends you have or whether you are married. It is the quality of those relationships that matter most.

The TED Talk given by Waldinger, below, gives more details and offers tips on how to improve relationships as we age.

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


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

April 7 - Jackie Chan, Martial Arts Actor

The most recognizable actor worldwide isn’t a typical Hollywood leading man. Nope, it’s martial arts expert Jackie Chan! You may not know that he’s also a film director, producer, stuntman and accomplished singer. He’s also been tapped as one of the top 10 most charitable celebrities in Forbes magazine.

Born in Hong Kong to parents who were fleeing the Chinese Civil War, Chan was sent to the China Drama Academy at the tender age of six when his parents emigrated to Australia. Chan trained in martial arts and acrobatics for a decade, learning Karate, Judo, Taekwondo and Jeet Kune Do.

His film career began when he was only five. At 17, he appeared as a stuntman for the first time in a Bruce Lee flick. But it wasn’t until 1980 that Chan found success in the action comedy genre, which would cement his reputation around the globe. The actor found fame playing inept, kindly men at the mercy of friends and family, who manage to come out on top in spite of the odds against them. He has a vast body of work, with more than 150 films to his credit. In recent years, Chan has called a halt to the dangerous stunt work (he never used a double) that resulted in dozens of broken bones to opt for more dramatic roles.

Many don’t know that Chan was enrolled in the Peking Opera School during childhood. He’s released 20 albums and often sings the theme song for his movies, which may play over the rolling credits at the end of the film. Chan can croon in Cantonese, Mandarin, English, German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish and Thai. He’s also fluent in American Sign Language.

April 9 - Dennis Quaid, Actor

Dennis Quaid switched effortlessly from comedy to drama, notably appearing in Breaking Away (1979), The Right Stuff (1983) and The Big Easy (1986) among many other films and television series. More recently, he garnered a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in 2002’s Far from Heaven.

The little brother of Randy Quaid, Dennis has tried his hand at producing, directing and writing. He also sings with his band, the Sharks, piloted a Cessna and is an excellent golfer.

Quaid’s fraternal twins, born in 2007, were mistakenly given a dose of heparin 1,000 times stronger than recommended for infants when they were only ten days old. Although they recovered, Quaid’s response was to advocate for patient safety, producing a pair of documentaries and lobbying Congress to allow citizens the right to sue drug companies for negligence (the packaging for the different heparin strengths was similar enough that the nurse mistook one for the other).

April 23 - Michael Moore, Filmaker

Famous for his documentaries that often champion liberal ideals, Moore is a product of a Mid-western upbringing in the now-notorious Flint, Michigan, raised by parents who worked at General Motors back in its heyday. His uncle fought for the rights of the common man as a founder of the United Automobile Workers labor union.

Moore entered the political fray early as the youngest person elected to the office in the U.S. when he won a school board seat at the age of 18. A journalism major at the University of Michigan-Flint, he dropped out of school and at 22 founded his own magazine. He went on to edit Mother Jones, but was fired after four months.

Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, which examines gun culture in the U.S., earned the Anniversary Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, as well as an award for Best Foreign Film. It also nabbed an Academy Award for Documentary Feature in this country. It was the highest-grossing documentary of all time for a documentary until it was overtaken by Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, which has pulled in more than $200 million worldwide.

In 2005, Moore himself was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine for his body of work on globalization and capitalism in America, including the influence of large corporations and health care. 

April 29 - Jerry Seinfeld, Comedian and Actor

Jerry Seinfeld got rich playing himself on the TV show Seinfeld which ran for 10 years and became the most popular and successful sitcom on American television. The last episode aired in 1998, but you can still catch reruns. Seinfeld has said he was inspired by the old Abbott and Costello Show.

Seinfeld is known for his comedic genius. Comedy Central dubbed him the “12th-Greatest Comic of All Time” in 2005, and he continued to tour after Seinfeld ended. He was also Jay Leno’s first guest, and the two share a friendship and love of sleek cars. Seinfeld reportedly has more than 150 vehicles, mostly Porsches, split between West and East coast garage facilities.

The comic has made many guest appearances on shows such as 30 Rock where he played himself. He counts many fellow comedians among his friends, and initiated a Web series in 2012 called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee that featured casual conversations between another comic and himself over a cup of joe.

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


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