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Monday, November 22, 2021

Ageless: Can We Turn Back Time?

Will you live to celebrate your 120th birthday, where you’ll play a lively game of hide and seek with the great-grandkids? It could happen, according to the author of a recent book. 

Biologist and physicist Andrew Steele has penned a provocative book, Ageless: The new Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old, that details how scientists are tackling the underlying causes of aging itself. The author defines aging as “the exponential increase in death and suffering with time,” and he insists we should “finally grapple with this raw quantity of suffering.”

“We’re all quite blind to its magnitude. But what do people die of? Cancer. Heart disease. Stroke. These things all occur in old people, and they primarily occur because of the aging process.” Rather than treat the individual diseases, Steele looks at a new field, biogerontology, that seeks to address the root causes of aging itself. “The dream of anti-aging medicine,” Steele writes, “is treatments that would identify the root causes of dysfunction as we get older, then slow their progression or reverse them entirely.”

Even before Ponce de Leon went searching for the fountain of youth, humankind has sought ways to extend life, to transcend the boundaries of our existence. But although lifespans have gradually lengthened, what Steele terms our “healthspan” has not. Hearing and eyesight usually dim, and aches and pains increase. The likelihood of dementia shoots up. 

Three Hallmarks of Aging

Aging has three underlying causes, called hallmarks. Scientists are looking at all three as ways to improve function in old age and expand lifespan.
  1. Genomic Instability. Genetic damage accumulates as we age; our DNA degrades. 
  2. Cellular Senescence. Old (senescent) cells build up in our bodies the older we get.
  3. Mitochondrial Dysfunction. Mitochondria gradually become less able to generate the energy needed by cells to power biochemical reactions.
“There’s this misconception when you talk to people about treating aging,” he says. “They imagine they’re going to live longer but in a state of terrible decrepitude, that you’re going to extend their 80s and 90s so they’re sat in a care home for 50 years. That doesn’t make sense from a logical perspective or a practical one.”


The book highlights four general areas of study: “removing bad things that accumulate,” “renewing things which are broken or lost,” “repairing things which are damaged or out of kilter” and “reprogramming our biology to slow or reverse aging.” Don’t let the layman’s language fool you; although written so that we can all understand the concepts, the book discusses the hard science behind them.

In the last 30 years, researchers have begun to make progress toward these goals. A 2015 study from Harvard showed that a drug regimen designed to remove senescent (old) cells in mice “reversed a number of signs of aging, including improving heart function.” A 2020 Texas study found elderly mice lived three months longer — 10 years in equivalent human time — after a stem cell transplant from young mice. 

Perhaps the most encouraging news is that human trials have started. Research is underway to remove senescent cells. Another study found that a drug/hormone combination appeared to rejuvenate the thymus, which is responsible for assisting the immune system. Diabetes drug metformin is being tested to see if it can retard the “development or progression of age-related chronic diseases — such as heart disease, cancer and dementia.”

Does any of this mean much to those of us who are becoming older adults right now? Steele thinks so. “I think we are very likely to have a drug that treats aging in the next 10 years.” Of course, a breakthrough drug won’t be able to extend our lives another 100 years right away. What it may do is allow us to live another 10 years, while subsequent advances in treatment increase both the quality and quantity of life, giving us yet more time. 

Steele theorizes about a generation that expects to die at 85, but then doesn’t. “One after another,” he writes in Ageless, “lifesaving medical breakthroughs will push their funerals further and further into the future.” Steele admits this sounds strange.

“The trouble is, saying we’re going to have 150-year-olds walking around looking like 20-year-olds, it’s weird. It sounds sci-fi. It sounds a bit creepy. Ultimately, I don’t want this because I want to have a load of 150-year-olds looking like 20-year-olds, I want it because those 150-year-olds won’t have cancer, they won’t have heart disease, they won’t be struggling with arthritis. They’ll still be playing with their grandkids, their great-grandkids even. It’s about the health and lifestyle benefits.”

Steele hopes to convince the public and officials in charge of funding that aging should be addressed. Regulators currently don’t consider it a disease, so it’s hard to find grants for trials. He admits that biogerontology raises some eyebrows. “It sounds strange,” he says. “We place aging research in this separate category — socially, morally, ethically, even scientifically, when actually, it’s just an extension of the normal goals of modern medicine.”

What You Can Do Now

So, will you be able to find a cure or two in the book’s pages? Unfortunately, no. Steele himself has reassessed his lifestyle, but not to take a handful of pills or supplements every day. He runs more than before, and he’s careful about what he eats. “It seems that a lot of the sort of basic health advice that everyone can recite — do some exercise, don’t be overweight, try to eat a broad range of foods, don’t smoke –—all that stuff basically slows down the aging process,” he says.

What about metformin and supplements? “Given that I’m in my 30s, I think the case against metformin is stronger than the case for,” Steele says. “The evidence is suggestive, but it’s not conclusive. And there’s a spectrum. There are people who are experimenting with senolytics. There was the case of the biotech CEO who went to Colombia and had gene therapy. But the data in humans just isn’t there.” The author adds that “the same is true of so many of these supplements and health foods. If any of these things did have a substantial effect, we’d know about it.”

But what happens if people quit dying? How will the framework of our lives change if we no longer have the typical progression famously defined in the riddle of the Sphinx? Steele has an answer. “Because death is inevitable people have rationalized it as something that drives life, or gives life meaning, or adds some sort of poetry to the human condition. But I think, broadly speaking, death is bad. If there was less death in the world, I think most people would agree that was a good thing. And though my passion for treating aging isn’t driven by reducing the amount of death, it’s driven by reducing ill health in later life, it’s driven by conquering disease, it’s driven by getting rid of suffering. If there’s less death as a side-effect? I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

Thursday, November 18, 2021

What You Need To Know About RMDs

Understand required minimum distributions and how to strategize to reduce taxes and make the most of your retirement accounts.

You spend your working years tucking money away for retirement. But the same accounts that gave you a tax break when you contributed have likely been growing over the years. That’s a good thing, until Uncle Sam wants his share. At age 72, you must start taking out required minimum distributions, or RMDs, and pay regular tax on the withdrawals. 

While you can’t skirt the law, there are a variety of ways to optimize your position. But first, you need to know the basics. The 2019 SECURE Act upped the age when RMDs start from 70.5 to 72. Now, you must make the first withdrawal by April 1 of the year after you turn 72, and then by December 31 of every year thereafter. 

This law generally affects the original owner of a traditional IRA, SEP IRA, and/or SIMPLE IRA. In addition, it applies to employer retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s. It does not affect Roth IRAs because you paid tax on those funds before they were deposited.

RMDs are taxed at the ordinary income tax rate, not as capital gains. It’s usually best to take your first RMD in the year you turn 72 and not wait until the next year, when you would have to take two RMDs that may push you into a higher tax bracket. Compare your tax bills under each scenario before deciding what to do. Remember that higher income could also alter how much of your Social Security income will be taxed and the cost of Medicare Parts B and D.

Calculating Your RMD

To arrive at your RMD, the IRS divides your account balance on December 31 from the previous year by the life-expectancy factor based on your birthday. Luckily, you can just use a calculator or have your brokerage do this for you.

If you own more than one IRA, you need to add them up and figure out your RMD based on the total amount. However, you can withdraw that amount any way you’d like, taking it from just one account or from several. Owners of 401(k)s, on the other hand, must calculate RMDs and withdraw from each account separately. 

You have the option of getting the withdrawal in a lump sum, or spreading out payments over the year — quarterly, monthly, or whatever works for you. Just make sure that the total is taken out by the deadline, or you will owe some incredibly stiff penalties: 50% of the shortfall plus income tax. The IRS may forgive you if you can offer up an explanation and how you corrected your mistake. File Form 5329 to ask for leniency.

An easier way to avoid this punishment is to have your account custodian manage withdrawals. 

Avoiding RMDS: Work Waiver, Roth Rollovers and Conversions

One way to avoid taking RMDs at 72 is if you are still working and don’t own over 5% of the company. In that case, you don’t have to take RMDs on your current employer’s 401(k), but you will still need to make withdrawals on other retirement accounts. 

If your current 401(k) allows rollovers from other 401(k) plans from previous employers, it’s a great strategy for not paying taxes until you actually retire. Note that IRAs cannot be rolled into a 401(k).

An easy solution for Roth 401(k) owners is to roll those funds into a Roth IRA, which doesn’t require the original owner to make RMDs. If you have a Roth IRA account that is at least five years old and you are 59.5 or older, the money rolled into the account (and any gains) is yours tax-free.

If you own both traditional and Roth IRAs, another smart strategy is to convert all or some of your traditional funds to a Roth IRA. This is typically best in years when you have lower income, so it’s often done over time between retirement and age 72, although there is currently no age limit. Of course, you’ll have to pay taxes on the amount converted, but future RMDs will be lowered. All Roth distributions are tax-free, so if you need extra money, you can access these funds without increasing your taxable income. If you retired before 65 and have health care through the Affordable Care Act, remember that rollovers count toward your adjusted gross income (AGI) and may affect subsidies you receive. 

Qualified Longevity Annuity 

You may want to use a qualified longevity annuity, or QLAC, to lower RMDs and defer the related tax. These deferred annuities don’t pay out right away, but it is not as expensive as an immediate annuity. You can invest up to $130,000 or 25% of your balance, whichever is less. The money invested in the QLAC is no longer taxable, but payouts, which usually start at about age 85, are. 

Company Stock

If you own company stock in your 401(k), then you may be able to take advantage of a tax strategy known as net unrealized appreciation. Roll all of the funds out of the 401(k) and into a traditional IRA but put the stock into a taxable account. You’ll have to pay ordinary income tax on the cost basis of the stock, but future profits realized at a sale will qualify for lower capital gains taxes. In addition, your RMDs will be lower since the company stock is no longer included.

Younger Spouse

The IRS makes an exception to the traditional formula for RMDs for those with a spouse more than 10 years their junior. The life-expectancy factor is adjusted by using the intersection of the age of both spouses in Table II of IRS Publication 590-B or just check the appropriate box on the calculator.

Excess Funds

If you’ve reduced your RMD as much as possible but still have excess funds, put them in a taxable brokerage account. Tax-efficient investing options include municipal bonds and index funds. 

Your RMD does not have to be made in cash. Consider directing your broker to transfer a portion of it in stock to a taxable account, where the date of transfer value becomes the basis. This is particularly valuable in a down market where you can avoid locking in a loss. Of course, if the stock continues to decline you can at least harvest the loss. 

Starting at age 70.5, qualified charitable donations (QCD)s allow transfers of up to $100,000 annually to a charity or charities directly from the IRA. They will count toward the RMD but will not appear in adjusted gross income. This is an especially useful tactic for taxpayers who don’t itemize and would otherwise not be able to write off contributions.

But it can also benefit itemizers by lowering AGI so that they can take advantage of, for example, the write-off for medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of AGI. 

Pay Taxes

Yes, you can use your RMD to manage tax payments. Tell your brokerage to withhold an amount of money from your RMD to equal your entire tax bill for the year. You won’t have to hassle with quarterly payments or worry about underpayment penalties. Even if you have your RMD withdrawn as a lump sum in December it’s not a problem because the IRS considers withholding to be evenly paid throughout the year. And if you wait until December, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re going to owe.

RMDs may be unavoidable but they can be effectively managed. Be sure to consult a tax professional before you make any changes to your accounts. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

20 Best Holiday Gifts for Older Adults

Holiday (and birthday!) shopping just got a whole lot easier with these thoughtful presents for all the people over 65 in your life.

Coming up with just the right gift can be as hard as finding a needle in a haystack. We’ve searched for the top 20 gifts for seniors that they’ll use and enjoy. These choices are helpful and thoughtful, selected to enhance quality of life. 

We’ve covered a diverse array of older adults, from those who are very active to people with Alzheimer’s. Selections have also been made from a variety of price points and encompass everything from tech to special experiences. Most are appropriate to give to clients as a small thank-you gift. And nearly all are available online.

  1. Amazon Echo Dot Alexa. This voice assistant plays music, tells jokes, reads audiobooks, plays the news and so much more. Arthritic fingers and aging eyes can make typing difficult, but Alexa is operated entirely by voice. About $50.
  2. SilverRide. A “door through door” experience, SilverRide sends someone to pick up the customer and accompany that person on an outing, then bring him or her back into the home. Treat someone to a wheelchair ride through the park, a visit to the art museum, or another favorite place. Price varies.
  3. Sunbeam Heated Throw Blanket. There are chilly days everywhere in the country, and nothing will warm someone up as thoroughly and quickly as an electric blanket. This one has three settings and comes in several colors. About $45.
  4. Succulent Garden. These hardy plants are a great choice for indoors, even if the recipient is lacking a green thumb. Choose from a wide array of shapes and colors, either fully grown or from cuttings that will grow to fill the pot. From $9.
  5. Boot Jack. Remove any shoe or pull-on boot without bending over. From $10.
  6. Tile Pro Key Finder. Use an app on your phone to find lost keys, or find your phone, even in silent mode, with your key finder. Four hundred foot range and is compatible with Alexa. About $35.
  7. Wheelchair Leg Blanket. Lap blankets can leave the backs of legs cold, but that won’t be a problem with this cocoon-style leg blanket that wraps around limbs for cozy comfort. $40.
  8. Super Vison Phone App. Anyone with aging eyes would appreciate having this free app on their smartphone. A simple slider adjusts the amount of magnification while a light brightens the space. Read menus in dark restaurants, see prescription doses and so much more. Free.
  9. Ancestry DNA Test Kit. Find relatives and discover your genetic heritage with a simple test that can be mailed in. From $59.
  10. Extra-long Shoe Horn. Helps shoes go on easily without bending over. $15. 
  11. Instacart Home Delivery Service. Treat an older adult to deliveries from the local grocery store, Costco, or other retailer. Price varies.
  12. Audiobooks Subscription. Who wouldn’t love choosing from over 250,000 book titles? Start with their free trial that includes three books plus other content. Start for free.
  13. Aftershokz Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. These bone conduction headphones don’t block out other sounds, making them safer to use than ear buds. They’re also easy to take on and off and come in one piece. Charge for up to eight hours of use. About $80.
  14. TSA PreCheck®. Frequent travelers will appreciate being able to avoid long lines at TSA security checkpoints. No more removing footwear or bagging liquids, either. $85, good for five years.
  15. Lemonade Pursuits Jigsaw Puzzles. Voted the best jigsaw puzzles around, these artistic puzzles embrace unusual-shaped pieces, low glare, and great craftsmanship. Plus, the company will replace lost or damaged pieces. About $25.
  16. Destination Maps from National Geographic. These waterproof maps include historic sites and cultural attractions, as well as roads and terrain. $14.95.
  17. Ancestors/Relatives Photo Concentration Memory Game. Send in photos of ancestors, relatives, or the recipient at different ages, and receive a matching game with photos. Perfect to play with grandchildren. $24.99.
  18. Motion-Activated Indoor Lights. Not everyone wants a night light illuminating their sleeping space; solve the problem with motion-activated lights. Great for stairwells. From $10. 
  19. Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Cook an entire meal in one pot, up to 70% faster than with other methods. Clean up is fast and easy, and there are recipes for a wide variety of meals. From about $67.
  20. Firstleaf Wine of the Month Club. Award-winning wine-of-the-month club offers free shipping of wines from around the world. About $40. Other monthly choices to consider are bouquets and desserts.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Tech Update for Older Adults

Trends in technology for older adults highlight continued adaption in a variety of services, including health care.   

Older adults are continuing to live better because of technological innovation. A recent AARP report about tech trends shows that adults over 50 have nearly as high an adoption rate for smartphones, wearables, voice assistants and smart home technologies as their younger counterparts. 

Tech Adaption Increases

Older adults are streaming movies, video-chatting with friends and family, and buying plenty of smart devices such as tablets and home security systems. COVID-19 was the tailwind that spurred increased acceptance of technology while we couldn’t get together in person. Spending on devices such as smart TVs, smartphones and Bluetooth headsets skyrocketed as older adults changed how they consume entertainment.

However, that’s not to say that barriers to adoption don’t exist for older adults. More than half were eager to learn more about how to use technology, and over a third said they’d use technology more often if they knew how. The three top barriers cited were cost, lack of knowledge, and concerns around privacy. The majority (83%) were not confident that what they do online remains private.

Rendever Poised to Boost VR Options

VR networking platform Rendever already allows users to strap on a headset and participate in travel activities, attend a concert, or play games. “It’s very socially engaging,” Rose says. “It’s networked VR; you could ‘go scuba diving’ and talk about the experience together.” 

Now the company is launching a new effort aimed at total engagement: RendeverFit is due to be released in December. The program combines physical exercise with cognitive fitness and social engagement. How? In one mode, participants cycle through landscapes with their friends as they reach to pop balloons and compete for high scores. Another involves swinging a paddle, and a third invites users to paint a virtual canvas, moving about as they do. 

Users are encouraged to keep participating; the program tracks individual progress and biometric data such as calories used. Participants have custom avatars and compete both individually and with communities world-wide.
Finally, there are still disparities relating to access. Some relate to cost, which is an issue for about a quarter of older adults. But a quarter of rural consumers cited a lack of access, including 15% who either don’t have internet access or are not sure if they do. 

What’s On the Horizon

So, knowing that tech is increasingly prevalent in the lives of older adults, let’s look at what’s catching on. Sheri Rose, director of the Thrive Center nonprofit that provides education on tech for older adults and looks at trends, highlights five areas where home tech and delivery models are morphing.

  1. Tech to support independent living. The kitchen is changing, from induction cooktops that can’t burn a user to fridges that let users see the contents without opening the door and remind users when product is expiring. Those lacking the full pocketbook for a fancy fridge can take advantage of a voice assistant -- one that can be paired with other devices to move the thermostat, see who’s at the door, or turn on the lights. Sensors can help family members living elsewhere keep tabs on a loved one by detecting motion via laser scanning or measuring changes in gait and thus the likelihood of a fall. 
  2. Wearables for health data. A plethora of wearable products is available to help users monitor their own health. Of course, there are the iconic Apple Watch and Fitbit, but you can also find Wi-Fi-enabled pulse oximeters and blood pressure monitors that will reduce visits to the doctor’s office or alert when the measurement is out of normal bounds. “Chronic heart failure and other comorbidities can be monitored remotely and help seniors avoid exposure to the virus, keeping them safe and healthy at home,” Rose says. “Smart tablets designed for seniors have integrated data collected from wearables. While you’re playing solitaire on your tablet, you get an alert that you need to take a walk or take your heart medication.” 
  3. Telehealth is taking off. The pandemic has spurred adaption of remote health visits, made possible by secure videoconferencing platforms and improvements in camera sensitivity, making it possible for doctors to diagnose a rash or assess healing.
  4. Virtual reality is viable entertainment. The isolation of COVID-19 corresponded with an uptick in the use of virtual reality (VR) systems. Thrive Center seniors have been overwhelmingly positive in their assessment of the technology. “We see older adults visit Thrive and put on a VR headset, and they get so enthralled with sitting on the beach and meditating,” Rose says. “We do so much with virtual reality because we know the impact it can have on reducing pain, loneliness and stress levels.”
  5. 5G will make a difference. The fifth-generation cell service is set to boost speeds up to 100 times over current levels, and users will have to be trained in best-practice cybersecurity measures before joining up. Older adults may see the most benefit in the healthcare delivery arena. “5G is really going to boost a lot of download and upload capacity. When deployed, I think it will make a huge difference,” Rose says. 

It’s clear that technology use is on the rise among older adults. Senior living facilities may soon be competing based on their tech offerings, as well as more traditional amenities. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Spreading Happiness

Happiness is an important element of healthful well-being. What does it mean for older adults, and how can we help seniors in our care be happier?

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”—Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Believe it or not, people in their 80s and 90s report higher levels of contentment and well-being overall than teenagers and young adults, according to researchers interviewed by The New York Times. A study at the University of California at San Diego Center for Healthy Aging found similar results, with seniors in their 90s the most content among people aged 21 to 99 who were surveyed. These older adults have coped with many setbacks and losses over the decades, and usually aren’t stressing over a job or career path. 

But not all older adults are happy. Loss and change can bring about unhappiness or even a state of depression, and that can impact health. Worry and anger can actually worsen chronic health issues such as heart disease and arthritis, so much so that happy people live longer than those who are not.

Over six years, scientists looked at the health of Americans in three groups: those who reported they were “very happy,” “pretty happy,” or “not happy.” Those in the very happy group had a 6% less chance of death than those in the pretty happy cohort, and people in the not happy group had a 14% greater chance of dying than those in the very happy group. These outcomes remained true even after social, economic, and lifestyle factors were considered. 

How To Help a Senior Be Happier

This holiday season, consider giving a gift of love to older adults. 

One way is to help them form bonds with others. You may facilitate this by offering a ride to the local senior center or texting their niece to please come spend some time with the adult. Make it a point to call older adults in your life on a regular basis or start a telephone tree for family members. Stop to talk to an older stranger you encounter or tell that person her hat is cute. No matter how brief, every moment spent listening and/or noticing can change someone’s day.

Help them be involved in social activities. Could you volunteer to bring someone to church or start a bridge group? Make a shuffleboard area at a local park? Play chess or cards with a senior once a month? Maybe you could accompany someone on a walk in the park. It may be painfully slow … but you’ll come to appreciate patience. Whenever we reach out to someone, we gain much more ourselves.

Helping others is actually very beneficial for our mental health. Can you bring a senior along when you volunteer? Or take time to set up a one-time event, such as helping out at a food bank or soup kitchen? Stop by an older neighbor to chat? 

Another thing that often takes some thought is to help an older adult in our care feel like he or she is enhancing our life rather than being a burden. Can the older adult put stamps on letters, or tell us the best way to make pumpkin pie? Asking for information is a way to make someone else feel valued. How about calling up memories by asking to hear what a holiday was like when that person was a child or asking about a favorite gift or meal. 

Find the positive and dwell on it. Maybe a bum knee and arthritic hands have curtailed activities, but grandma can still see to look at old photos or tell you if the soup looks right. Older adults actually accentuate the positive as shown in studies. One of these at Stanford Center on Longevity found that in memory tests seniors recalled more smiling faces than frowning ones, and more positive images vs. negative ones when compared to younger adults. 

Remaining active as long as possible is a powerful benefit. One Canadian study found that active older adults were more than twice as likely to age well than their sedentary counterparts. Encourage the seniors in your life to move, even if it’s only stretching up their arms while they are seated. 

And finally, don’t forget to learn a little something every day and share it with older adults. Ongoing learning is a key to life satisfaction. Turn on PBS, download an audiobook, or attend a local class. Use a free app like Duolingo to learn a new language. 

The best way to get rid of holiday stress is to focus on others. There is always an older adult in the community who could use our help, whether it’s shoveling their walk or inviting them for coffee. Seek out ways to help all year ‘round but start now. Give some love for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

November 8 - Richard Curtis, director, screenwriter, producer

Surely you saw the films Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, or perhaps War Horse? All were written by famed Brit Richard Curtis. Apart from penning the script that catapulted Hugh Grant into fame, Curtis has garnered a bevy of enviable awards.

Specializing in romantic comedy, Curtis has won the BAFTA Academy fellowship award, only the top award given to a British filmmaker. But he’s also passed along his good fortune, co-founding both Comic Relief, Red Nose Day and Make Poverty History. His efforts earned him a BAFTA Humanitarian Award. Curtis was ranked twelfth in The Telegraph’s “100 most powerful people in British culture” for 2008.

Other works you might recognize are the Blackadder and The Vicar of Dibley series. The pair were ranked second and third, respectively, in the 2004 Britain’s Best Sitcom online poll. 


Image Source: Wikipedia

November 13 - Charlie Baker, governor of Massachusetts

Winning on a platform of social liberalism and fiscal conservatism, Republican Baker consistently polls as one of the nation’s most popular governors. That he went into politics is no surprise. His great-grandfather, grandfather, and father all had prominent positions in government. 

Baker was a natural at basketball growing up, and he played on the JV team at Harvard, which he attended “because of the brand.” He wasn’t much of a student and wrote of his time there: "With a few exceptions... those four years are ones I would rather forget.” He went on to get an MBA and was quickly hired as codirector of a libertarian think tank, where he was noticed by Governor Weld, who appointed him Undersecretary of Health and Human Services.

Armed with a clever “Baker’s Dozen” campaign slogan for 13 areas of reform and a gay Republican running mate, Baker proved unable to triumph in a 2010 bid for governor. Running again in 2014, this time with the endorsement of The Boston Globe, Baker nosed by his opponent to a win.

Image Source: Wikipedia

November 18 - Warren Moon, quarterback

Too small, too slow, and too weak: that’s what Moon thought of himself when most four-year colleges ignored him after he set records at a two-year school. But University of Washington Seattle signed him up when they saw his rifle passing arm, and as a junior he led the school to a Pac-8 title and upset win at the Rose Bowl where Moon was named MVP.

But Moon’s road to NFL glory was a long one. He was one of seven kids, and when their dad died of liver disease when the boy was seven, he learned to cook, sew, and iron to help out. In high school, Moon decided he could only play one sport in order to work the rest of the year to contribute to his family. 

Moon felt he would be chosen late in the NFL draft, so six weeks out he took the sure bet and signed with the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian League. The Eskimos were thrilled as he led them to five consecutive Grey Cup victories and Moon became the first pro quarterback to pass for 5,000 yards in the 1982 season. 

After six years in the CFL Moon went to the highest bidder in the NFL, which turned out to be the Houston Oilers. After an adjustment year, Moon hit his stride and gave the team its first winning season since 1980. Ahead of 1989, Moon negotiated a five-year contract extension that was the richest of its time: $10 million. 

Moon’s career on the field lasted until he turned 44. He was named to 9 Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, but his first Super Bowl ring came as an announcer for the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. 


Image Source: Wikipedia

November 20 - Bo Derek, actress

Known best for her lead role in the risqué comedy 10, Bo Derek has the questionable distinction of having won two Golden Raspberry Awards for worst actress, and she was nominated for a third. In 2000, she narrowly missed earning Worst Actress of the Century, beaten out of the “honor” by Madonna. 

Derek also has an interesting marital history. “I was 16 when I quit high school. I didn't really mean to quit. I spent about a month going to the beach surfing and sunbathing while I was supposed to be in school: when I got caught, my mom was furious,” she said in an interview on David Letterman. “I started to go back to school, and I was really enjoying it, and then I went to go do this film with John in Greece …”

“John” was John Derek, 30 years older and married to Linda Evans at the time. Since Bo was only 16, the couple ensconced to Germany to avoid charges in California until shortly after she turned 18. In the meantime, John put her in Fantasies, the first of many panned movies he directed that tried to capitalize on her looks. If you still want to see Derek, check out these films: Orca, Tarzan, the Ape Man, Bolero, and Ghosts Can’t Do It

Derek supports Disabled Veterans and animal rights. 


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors