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Monday, January 30, 2023

Has the Ultimate Weight-Loss Pill Arrived?

A new class of drugs holds remarkable promise for weight loss with few side effects. 

Initially targeted to treat diabetes, a new group of drugs called incretins is demonstrating stunning results when used for weight loss. One, called tirzepatide and marketed as Mounjaro, was approved by the FDA for treating diabetes in May of 2022. Doctors have leeway to prescribe approved drugs for other purposes. Knowing that trials had indicated its ability to help people lose weight, many doctors are now prescribing it for that purpose, and it is being fast-tracked for approval as a weight-loss drug.

Study of Mounjaro for Weight Loss

Just how effective is it? A recent trial involved 2,500 people without diabetes who had a body mass index over 30 or over 27 with at least one health condition related to weight. Participants got one of three weekly doses: 5, 10, or 15 milligrams, or a placebo, for 72 weeks. The results of the double-blind trial astonished researchers.

Taking Tirzepatide Requires Shot  

Here’s both the good news and the bad news. You only have to take Tirzepatide once a week, but it’s delivered as a shot, and you must keep taking it to keep the weight off. But don’t sweat it. According to Gabbay, we are not talking about a regular, full-size needle, but “a small, penlike device with a tiny, tiny needle” that is less painful than a finger prick for glucose. Phew!

Cheap, Effective Treatment for Hair Loss

Many older adults, both men and women, struggle with thinning hair. There are a thousand remedies hawked on TV and social media, but the best treatment appears to be one that costs only pennies a day. Dermatologists recommend using minoxidil, an old standby, in a new way. Instead of putting it on your scalp, it’s given as low-dose pills.

While not yet approved for the purpose by the FDA, many doctors are prescribing the drug off label. Minoxidil has been around since 1988 as the active ingredient in Rogaine, a foam or lotion that is rubbed on the scalp. However, many don’t like the sticky residue it leaves in their hair. It also doesn’t work well for many because the drug must be converted to an active form by sulfotransferase enzymes that may be insufficient at the hair roots. When taken orally, your body converts it to an active form. 

But many doctors are just learning about the treatment. “It is just starting to see a surge in popularity,” said Dr. Crystal Aguh, a dermatologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “More and more at conferences, we are sharing our success stories.”

“Almost 40% of individuals lost a quarter of their body weight,” said coauthor Dr. Ania Jastreboff, codirector of the Yale Center for Weight Management.

Study participants who took the lowest (5 milligrams) dose lost an average of 35 pounds. Those taking the middle dose (10 milligrams) lost 49 pounds on average, and those at the highest (15 milligrams) dose had an average loss of 52 pounds. 

“The weight loss that they got in this study was even greater than what had been seen in the previous studies of people with diabetes,” says Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief medical officer of the American Diabetes Association and not involved in the study. “The kind of weight loss that we see when people exercise and change their calorie intake is somewhere in the order of 5% to 7%. This study showed a profoundly greater weight loss, far above what we would imagine with lifestyle changes.”

Obesity Is a Disease 

It’s a falsehood that everyone can control their weight through diet and exercise. Your brain regulates your appetite and your metabolism. For the severely overweight, those settings are primed to retain weight.

Tirzepatide works by retaining food in the stomach longer, slowing its journey to the small intestine, and by making the brain feel satisfied quickly. Forrest Smith, an overweight petroleum engineer, used to wonder how his slimmer friends could resist eating an entire plate of cookies when it was sitting in front of them. He started the medication, and it was like “a switch flipped overnight,” he says. “One cookie? Totally doable.”

“Obesity should be treated like any other chronic disease – with effective and safe approaches that target underlying (causes of) disease … and these results underscore that tirzepatide may be doing just that,” says study coauthor Dr. Anna Jastreboff of the Yale Center for Weight Management. “These results are an important step forward in potentially expanding effective therapeutic options for people with obesity.”

Cost of Tirzepatide an Issue

Some insurance plans cover the drug for weight loss, and patients pay a reasonable $25 or so a month. But without coverage, the cost rises to a prohibitive $2,000 or so a month. Another factor is that diabetes medications are meant to be taken indefinitely. Quit the drug, and the weight is likely to return. 

Seniors on Medicare get disappointing news, too. Medicare does not cover anti-obesity medications. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act would change that, but it’s currently tied up in Congress. However, if enough patients demand the drug, Medicare could change its position and authorize coverage.

Will Patients Demand Its Use?

Doctors must also know about the drug to begin to prescribe it widely. The only known side effects are constipation, diarrhea, and nausea, which occur in about 5% to 7% of users. But the potential for easing issues related to weight, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease, is profound. 

And there’s another benefit that may be just as, or even more, life changing. Suzy McLaughlin has been losing weight on the drug, and she recently planned a trip to Europe with her husband. This would have been unthinkable just months ago, when the thought of walking more than a block or two wasn’t doable. Now, she says, “I cannot wait to get on a plane and take a seat comfortably.”

Anyone who has ever been mocked for being overweight may demand to get the drug. The mental health benefits could be as important as the physical ones. 

For now, many questions about tirzepatide remain. What we do seem to know is that, finally, there is a drug for safe and substantial weight loss available now. Time will tell how many people will get to use it, and how much it will change their lives.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

America’s Caregivers Pay a High Price

Caregiving in the US depletes incomes, job opportunities, and future retirement payments as family members struggle financially in order to “do what’s right.”   

Nearly 50 million people, most of them working, provide an average of 24 hours a week of unpaid care to older or disabled adults, according to a recent survey. One of them was Dana Guthrie, who thought she could continue to administer a dental practice while helping care for her parents when their health began to go downhill. 

“It was a great-paying job and I didn’t want to lose it,” says Ms. Guthrie, now 59. She cut a day out of her schedule and began to work evenings, then spent several nights a week at her parents’ home nearby. But between her mom’s liver disease and her father’s dementia, she finally quit her job and moved in with them full time. “They really needed me,” she says.

Labor Force Loss

Many Americans are making the same sort of sacrifices. The average caregiver is a 40-something woman who is closely related to the person she cares for. No matter their age or gender, caregiving is a driver of poverty. A recent study of nearly 13,000 people revealed that about 8% of people who become caregivers stop working.

Some States Offer Paid Family Leave 

A handful of states have enacted laws that mandate assistance for caregivers, new parents and sometimes others, most for a 12-week period. Payroll taxes cover the cost, whether collected from employees, employers, or a combination of the two. 

These programs allow paid time off work to care for a family member with a serious health condition, as well as to bond with a newborn child or one that has been recently adopted. Many of the programs will also provide coverage for workers managing their own serious illness or certain other difficulties. 

As of this writing in January 2023, the programs are active in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware. States that have programs set to go into effect include Oregon and Colorado. Read more and find out about the law in each state at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“It happens right away, in the first year,” says Yulya Truskinovsky, a study co-author and economist at Wayne State University. “We see little evidence that they either reduce hours or switch to self-employment. They leave the labor force and remain out of it for quite a long time.”

The effect is long lasting; seven years later, those caregivers still lagged their non-caregiving colleagues in labor participation. Guthrie is a prime example. After continuing to care for her parents for years, she relocated near her sister in another state when they died. She found work at dental offices there, but it never came close to the pay or satisfaction she got from the job she left. At the time she was interviewed, she was unemployed. 

“We were a close-knit family and I would do it again,” she says. “But I took a beating, emotionally and financially, and I haven’t really been able to recover.”

In fact, leaving the workforce to take care of a family member makes a woman twice as likely to end up in poverty.

Caregivers Pay for Parent’s Needs

Most caregivers give more than their time. The “Caregiving Out-of-Pocket Costs” study by AARP, conducted in 2021, found that three-fourths of caregivers surveyed spent $7,242 on average per year in costs related to caregiving.

"AARP's new report shows the stark reality family caregivers face today,” says Nancy LeaMond, chief advocacy and engagement officer for AARP. “While financial challenges cross all segments of society, they hit hardest for Hispanic/Latino, African American and younger caregivers, as well as those caring for loved ones with dementia. Family caregivers are the backbone of America's long-term care system, and that backbone is breaking.”

The money was spent on a variety of needs, from helping with rent and assisted living charges, to making modifications so a loved one could stay at home. A fifth of the spending was used to pay hospitals, therapists and health-care providers, provide in-home care and adult day care, or purchase medical equipment/devices.

Caregivers who were juggling jobs with caregiving reported spending $10,525 on average, and noted that they had to do things — like take time off or work different hours — that impacted their job and increased emotional strain. 

One such caregiver is Jan Beard. Her husband, Bob, had a stroke in 2015 that forced him into retirement while Jan continued to work from home. 

"When Bob came home from therapy, he needed help with everything,” Jan says. “That included me walking with him everywhere he went in the house. Bob needed help with going to the restroom, bathing, getting dressed — everything.”

Jan looked at getting Bob in a facility to care for him, but her salary couldn’t cover the $4,000 monthly cost and pay her own bills. She was depleting savings to pay for wheelchairs, walkers, other equipment, and therapy. And his time in the hospital had left them with debt. 

"Bob was in the hospital for several months, so you can imagine the hospital bills were astronomical. Insurance did pay for part of it, but we still had lots of bills coming in the first couple of years,” she says. “There wasn't enough monthly income to pay for his care and for the things that he needed and be able to survive.” 

Finally, Jan and Bob moved into the basement of the home owned by their son and his wife. Jan still worries daily about her financial future while continuing to bathe, lift and move Bob. 

“People do not realize what all is involved until you're in that place,” she says. “It's frustrating and sad and overwhelming.”

Credit for Caring Act 

Introduced in May 2021, the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act would provide a maximum of $5,000 federal tax credit for eligible family caregivers. It is only for caregivers who work, offering them a 30% credit for qualified expenses they paid or incurred over $2,000. Services such as home care aides, adult day care and respite care, as well as home modifications like ramps and smart home technology to make caregiving easier and safer, would qualify.

The bill has widespread support, including from the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Walgreens, and many military and veterans’ groups. An AARP analysis found that apart from easing the burden on working caregivers, the legislation could grow the domestic gross product $1.7 trillion by supporting those 50 and older in the workplace.

The Credit for Caring Act is currently stalled in Congress. Until there is the political will to move the legislation through to signing, America’s caregivers will continue to pay a high price for their service and devotion.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice from a qualified financial advisor.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Walk Intensity Can Lower Dementia Risk, Weight

We all know walking is good for us, but new research suggests that walking with a little more oomph can improve the benefits. 

Evidence keeps mounting that walking is good for us. New research shows that taking 8,600 steps daily prevents weight gain, while those who are already overweight can cut their chances of becoming obese in half just by adding on another 2,400 steps. Another study by the same research team found that the risk of dementia was lowered by 50% by taking 10,000 steps daily but taking as few as 3,800 steps a day can decrease your risk by a quarter.

What’s even better is that those steps didn’t have to be taken all at once but could be spread out over the day. Even walking about in the course of doing housework, gardening, and dog walking will lower your likelihood of getting both cancer and heart disease, says study coauthor Borja del Polo Cruz, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense and senior researcher in health sciences for the University of Cadiz in Spain.

Higher Cadence Confers More Benefits

If you want to minimize your risk of getting dementia (down by 62%), make sure that at least 30 minutes of that walking occurs at a brisk pace of about 112 steps per minute. That’s when you have a little trouble responding to questions because you’re out of breath. 

CDC Recommends 3 Types of Exercise for Healthy Aging  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “physical activity is essential to healthy aging.” They recommend that seniors aged 65 and older get:
  • At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or they need 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running.
  • At least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles
  • Activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot about 3 days a week.

“Our take is that intensity of stepping matters – over and above volume,” says del Pozo Cruz.

The study covered 78,500 people from England, Scotland, and Wales who were between 40 and 79. They wore wrist step counters that measured total steps, when they were taken, and at what pace. Researchers put total walking steps into two categories: less than 40 steps a minute, or ambling, and more than 40 steps a minute, or purposeful walking. Then, they created a third category for the people who took the most steps per minute in their top 30 minutes throughout the day. 

Seven years later, the participants in the top category, who took 80 steps per minute in their fastest 30 minutes, exhibited the largest reduction in their risk for cancer, heart disease and early death from any cause. These people got a 62% reduction in dementia risk, an 80% fall in their risk of cardiovascular disease and death, and around a 20% drop in their likelihood of getting cancer. 

“This (decline) may be related with specific pathways by which physical activity is beneficial,” says del Pozo Cruz. “It pushes the body in general: can generate more muscle, a bigger heart and a better fitness, all of which are known protective factors for cardiovascular disease and cancer, and other health issues too.”


Other doctors agree. “Physical activity is just absolutely magnificent,” says Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. “And when you blend that with eating a more plant-based diet, de-stressing, sleeping enough and connecting with others – that’s your magic recipe. It’s the fountain of youth, if you will.”

The takeaway is to get out walking, no matter when or where, and to keep walking throughout the day. Push yourself to go fast enough to get breathless for 30 minutes or more. “Spend 30 minutes being breathless at whatever pace you’re at” recommends Freeman, “and then keep challenging yourself to be slightly unsatisfied at your current level so you can get better and better.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Rating Streaming Services

Many older adults are cutting the cord with cable and replacing it with one or more streaming services. Which should you choose? 

Seniors can save money by ditching their cable subscription and replacing it with one or more streaming services. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which one(s) to select. Most offer a free 30-day trial period and viewing on several screens. 

Check where you can find your favorite shows online to see if there is a “must-have” service provider. Understand the difference between “on demand” (content that was previously recorded and edited) and livestream (content that you are watching in real time). Below, find our recommendations:

One App for All Services  

Many consumers find that they need three or more streaming services to access all of their favorite shows and movies. But it’s a pain to log in to each account separately. New apps such as Oneflix are tackling this problem by combining all of your streaming in one place. You can browse through your different services, and even “chat” with the grandkids to find out what they’re watching. 

Best Shows for Seniors

Everybody has different tastes in content, but there are some shows that appeal to a wide range of older adults, and they’re a great place to start if you’re new to streaming. Microwave some popcorn, pick a show listed below, and prepare for a good time!
  • The Good Place — comedy, Netflix 
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — historical fiction, Amazon Prime Video
  • Call the Midwife — historical fiction, Netflix
  • Grace and Frankie — comedy, Netflix
  • The Americans — spy drama, Hulu
  • The Great British Baking Show — cooking competition, Netflix
  • Upload — life after death comedy, Amazon Prime Video
  • Jack Ryan — spy thriller, Amazon Prime Video
  • Last Tango in Halifax — dramatic comedy, Netflix
  • Our Planet — science and nature, Netflix
  • Downton Abbey — historical, Amazon Prime
1. Netflix is the top choice on most raters’ lists, and for good reason. It’s been around since 1998 (remember renting DVDs?) and has an impressive catalog of its own shows, as well as fan favorites from network series. Like most streaming services, it is subscription based. As of this writing, plans start at $9.99 per month for ad-free content but expect that to change as more and more services are boosting their bottom lines with marketing.

2. Amazon Prime Video is included if you have Amazon Prime, which offers a bevy of shipping, shopping, and other benefits from the online behemoth. This makes it an amazing value, and you’ll find original content as well as older series.

3. Disney+ offers great family content. Subscriptions start at $7.99 per month, and you can watch classics such as “Star Wars,” “Black Panther,” and “Hamilton.” An added bonus is the opportunity to bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for more viewing options at a discount from getting the services separately.

4. Hulu starts at only $5.99 per month, although the lower tiers come with commercials. It has live streaming in addition to on-demand. This is where you’ll find everything from “The Handmaid’s Tale” to “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.”

5. HBO Max includes all of HBO in addition to classics (especially cartoons, since it’s owned by Warner Brothers) and original content starting at $14.99 per month. This is the spot for fans of the DC Universe and so much more, including “Game of Thrones,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and “Wonder Woman 1984.”

6. Peacock is relatively new, having come onto the scene in 2022. It also offers a free base plan, albeit with ads. For fewer commercials, bump up to a $4.99 or $9.99 monthly plan. You’ll find NBC shows, original content, and live sports. Come to Peacock for “The Office,” “WWE,” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

7. Paramount+ is the former CBS All Access and it starts at a low $4.99 per month. Here, you’ll find live sports, news, and series content. Relive your youth by watching “The Twilight Zone,” or take in “NCIS,” or “The Young Sheldon.”

8. Apple TV+ offers original movies, plus a limited selection of licensed shows. It starts at just $4.99 monthly and has the advantage for Apple users of pairing with Apple Music and iCloud for a better rate on each. You can also stream other services (Disney+, HBO Max, or Hulu) on the app. Go here for arresting documentaries such as “Elephant Queen,” movies like “Wolfwalkers”, and the “Ted Lasso” show. 

Monday, January 9, 2023

Are You Aging Well?

What does healthy aging mean to you? We look at some different definitions from a variety of sources that may stimulate you to change your thinking. 

The idea of healthy aging starts long before you’re old. After all, you are aging as you go from your teens to your twenties, from your twenties to your thirties, and onward for as long as you live. We can start with a broad definition:

“The concept of aging well, which is based on a nonmedical approach to promoting health and well-being, is fundamental to increasing length and quality of life,” writes Dr. Barbara A. Hawkins of the Indiana University Center on Aging and Aged in her article ‘Aging Well: Toward a way of Life for All People.’ 

She goes on to say that “aging well promotes personal behaviors and life-course environments that limit functional declines, especially those caused by chronic conditions, to help older adults maintain their independence and health. Aging well emphasizes the idea that people can maintain satisfying and healthy lives as they age by exercising the choices that optimize healthy, active, and secure lives. Aging well is a dynamic, interactive process that creates long-term, positive change by involving individuals in the physical, social, economic, historical, and cultural contexts of their environments.”

Now let’s look at what all that means to real people, people living out their lives in a variety of places and situations. The Washington Post recently surveyed readers to find their definition of what it meant to age well, and the responses varied widely, from carefree to specific. 

Rita Liesiefsky, 69, Grafton, Wis.: “The only ‘practice’ I have developed is … I’ll be dead soon, so what does it matter? It’s very freeing. I am the old lady I wanted to be!”

Marguerite Lorenz, 58, Temecula, Calif.: “As a professional trustee and executor, I’ve had the privilege of getting well acquainted with hundreds of elders. The successful ones over 80 can still do all the things they want to (physically and mentally), don’t smoke, avoid hard liquor, and not one is overweight. One more thing; embrace your eventual vulnerability; get your estate plan in writing, and keep it up to date.”

Cynthia A. Current, 65, Durham, N.C.: “I don’t ever tell myself I can’t do things because of age. This has to be developed as a lifelong attitude. I know people in their 30s and 40s who already think they’re old!”

Mark Tochen, 77, Camas, Wash.: “Digging in the garden beats digging in my memories, and the walk along a beach or a river walk is appreciated more than ever. We should cultivate our relationships with good friends and loving family — none of them should be taken for granted, and we should find nearby oases.”

A separate study looked at how people defined aging well, and researchers grouped the responses into four categories:

1. Physical/Environment
“You’re able-bodied, you don’t have any health problems and do your own work and (handle) problems you have to deal with in your routine.”

“Physical and financial security and the sense that mentally everything (is) going okay.”

2. Mind/Spirit
A good mental perception of yourself and your environment and people and relationships around you.

Absence of dementia, feeling good mentally, having a good memory, absence of depression or cognitive problems.

3. Lifestyle/Behavioral 
“Feeling well enough to do everything you wanted to do and being happy to get up in the morning,” or, at least, “being able to do some of the things that you used to.” 

Not being afraid of death, an easy death, a nice death, a painless death.

4. Social/Emotional 
Living in harmony, a rich life, a balanced life, a normal life, a happy life, living in peace. 

Doing things for the family (taking care of grandchildren or a partner), helping others, being a member of an organization, having social interactions and relationships with others.

The research summed up healthy aging as maintaining physical function, maintaining cognitive function, and continuing involvement in social activities and productive pursuits. How will you try to meet those three essential goals as you age? Let’s look at some more subscribers’ answers from The Washington Post to expand our thinking. 

Barbara Holleb, 75, Springfield, Va.: “Stay connected to your inner child. It’s about vitality … not age!” 

Erin Bethea, 60, Akron, Ohio: “As I’ve watched my quite elderly father decline I have learned that even when you know you have become a burden to your loved ones and your world has grown quite small you can still make a positive contribution to their lives simply by expressing gratitude for their caregiving, accepting their assistance rather than fighting it, complimenting their efforts, saying something witty or playfully teasing them, and generally maintaining a positive attitude. My father lights up with happiness when he sees that he has made me laugh or smile. He knows he has made my day a little better.” 

Kiesa Kay, 61, Micaville, N.C.: “I often feel invisible as I sit here in this little house surrounded by my ghosts and my memories. I have to force myself to get out and try relentlessly to make new memories again and again. Sometimes I just miss everybody. Aging well means being willing to jump into the river and swim. It means being ready to sleep outside under the stars. It means taking waterfall walks, and it means accepting the things that are irrevocably changing.” 

Jean Potuchek, 74, Poland, Maine: “The biggest barrier to aging well is ageism, all the negative messages that older people are bombarded with every day and often internalize. It is never too soon or too late to fight ageism in our society.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

January 4 - Andy Borowitz, comedian and satirist

Andy Borowitz has been called “America’s Satire King” (The Daily Beast) and "America's finest fake-news creator and sharpest political satirist” (The Washington Post). He co-created “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and writes The Borowitz Report

Borowitz appeared on CNN’s “American Morning” and was such a hit that he soon had a gig on the show three days a week. That led to other appearances, including on PBS’ “Need to Know”. Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales reviewed his work and dubbed him "one of the wittiest Web wags.”

To check out his work, you might start with “Emily Dickinson, Jerk of Amherst,” an essay selected as one of the funniest pieces in The New Yorker magazine’s history. Or read anything from The Borowitz Report which used to be shared on a Twitter account that was voted the 2011 No. 1 Twitter account in the world by Time magazine readers. Or look for one of his stand-up routines on YouTube. He began the live shows for fun and wound up hosting sold-out shows with the top comedians in the country.

Borowitz graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, and his literary bent has led to a series of best-selling books, such as “Who Moved My Soap? The CEO’s Guide to Surviving in Prison”. He also penned “An Unexpected Twist” about his emergency abdominal surgery that mixes hospital drama with a love story. It hit No. 1 on Amazon’s Kindle Single chart the day it debuted and was the first non-fiction Kindle book to make it to The Wall Street Journal bestseller list.

Image Source: Wikipedia

January 11 - Vicki Peterson, rock guitarist/vocalist

Quick shoutout for Vicki Peterson and (Just Another) “Manic Monday”, that rock anthem for every working stiff! Peterson has been the lead guitarist for The Bangles since the group was formed in 1981 with her sister, Debbi Peterson, and Susanna Hoffs. Catch Peterson these days as half of the Psycho Sisters with Susan Cowsill. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

January 26 - Ellen DeGeneres, comedian

Ellen DeGeneres has worked at J.C. Penney, waitressed at TGI Fridays, and been a housepainter, hostess, and bartender. She carried that down-to-earth relatability into her stand-up routines and became Showtime’s Funniest Person in America in 1984. 

You might know her from “Ellen”, a sitcom that earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for “The Puppy Episode,” or from her long-running talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, that garnered its creator 33 Daytime Emmy Awards. You may know her voice work; DeGeneres did the voice of Dory in “Finding Nemo” and won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has hosted the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, and Primetime Emmy Awards, has her own lifestyle brand, and started a record company and a production company.

She also came out as a lesbian on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1997 and married her longtime girlfriend in 2008. DeGeneres is worth about $370 million and was named the 50th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.

DeGeneres managed to stay incredibly likable throughout her fame. She was known to sing and dance with her talk show audience before the show started and during commercial breaks, and she gave away boatloads of free prizes and trips with help from sponsors. At Tulane University’s May 2006 commencement, she made a surprise appearance following speeches by George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Arriving at the podium in a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, she looked around and announced, "They told me everyone would be wearing robes!”

The comedian is a vegan and “big animal lover” and is a supporter of the Humane Society of the United States. She also supports Global Aids Awareness and started the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. 

Her reputation has been somewhat tarred by allegations of on-set bullying including “racism, fear and intimidation” in 2020. An investigation was launched, and three executives left “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”. She wrote that "On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ would be a place of happiness -- no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it's the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show."


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors