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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Building Stronger Bones in Seniors

New research leads to hope for therapies that can rebuild bone at any age, while current recommendations to maintain bone health have changed slightly.

A fifth of American women aged 50 and older have osteoporosis, and more than half of them have bone loss visible with a scan. Although they may not realize it, a third of older men have detectable bone loss, too. Given that a third of older women worldwide and a fifth of men will develop a fracture related to bone loss, it’s a subject of much importance among older adults. 

Many seniors aren’t aware of their bone loss, given that bone density checks are not always a part of routine care. All women should be assessed at menopause, according to physician Nancy Lane, who specializes in rheumatology research, while men should be evaluated at age 70. People with a family history of hip fracture or who have had a fracture as an adult ought to be checked earlier.

Diet Recommendations Are Modified

Research around the best diet for bone health has been ongoing. Results of a large recent study  surprised many scientists. The research found no reductions of fractures in healthy adults aged 50 and over who took vitamin D supplements for five years. The same team found that the supplements also did not improve bone density.

New Hope for Rebuilding Bone  

The common mantra for older adults is that once you lose bone, you can’t restore it. But new research is revealing promising pathways to fill in porous bone. At FIU (Florida International University), scientists have discovered a treatment that can be taken as a pill – a breakthrough for cheaper, effective treatment. “Our experiments in the lab showed small molecule activators delivered orally improve bone density, an exciting discovery that could lead to a new treatment for osteoporosis,” says study author Alexander Agoulnik, FIU professor and interim chair of the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics.

At the UC Davis School of Medicine, rheumatologist Lane has been working with medications to grow bone. “Our group did a lot of work with the parathyroid hormone,  which is a bone-growing peptide,” she says, “and the anti-sclerostin antibodies, which grow bone fast. Once you grow bone you can hang onto it. It's just a matter of getting the people diagnosed, treated, and not lost to follow-up. I think that's the biggest area that needs to be addressed.” 

“Food and incidental sun exposure likely provide enough vitamin D for healthy adults,” says endocrinologist and study lead Meryl LeBoff of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. However, it’s important to note that participants were healthy adults. She advised that people with osteoporosis continue a vitamin D and calcium regimen.

What are some things we can consume to help protect bones? Plenty of calcium is first on the list – much more than most of us normally consume. Dairy products, sardines, and tofu are good sources, as well as kale and broccoli. Fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice work, too. Authorities recommend 1,200 milligrams a day for women after 50 and men after 70. Getting it from food is optimal for the accompanying nutrients and continuous absorption, but some may need an additional supplement. 

Surprisingly, your morning cup of joe may be helping bone health. Research from Hong Kong University showed that a trio of digestive by-products of coffee correlated with greater bone density of the lumbar spine and femur. Lead study author Ching-Lung Cheung says, “Coffee intake, if not excessive, should be safe for bone, and if you still have concerns, add milk!”

And while you probably know that more than a daily drink or two of an alcoholic beverage is detrimental, you may think that fizzy water is also something you should avoid. It actually doesn’t make bones weaker. But what does? Cola and soda pop appear to be the real culprits. 

Exercise is Essential

Bones need workouts to stay strong, just like your muscles. The very best ones are those that put body weight on your skeleton, such as climbing stairs, dancing, racket sports (pickleball players, that’s you!), yoga and walking. But you also need to do repetitions for muscle strength. Any kind of lifting, using machines or weights, pushups and squats are all good for building strength. 

And if you smoke, stop. It’s not only bad for bone health, but for many other diseases as well. 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Should You Buy a Vacation Home?

The idea of vacationing in a second home sounds idyllic. But while the image may feel dreamlike, the reality can be quite different. 

You’ve just returned from your favorite vacation spot, where the air was clean, the ocean waves pulsed in the background (or insert your favorite alternate experience) and every day felt magical. Ah, if only you could live there, then everything would be so much better! Well, that wouldn’t work, you can’t move … but what if you got a vacation home there? One you could visit whenever you wanted to? A place to call your own that sits right in paradise? 

According to the 2022 National Association of Realtors Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, vacation home sales made up 13% of all transactions. Nearly 11% of primary homeowners also own vacation homes. So all these people must be having the time of their lives. Right?

If this flight of fancy has crossed your mind, it may be that a vacation home would fulfill your fantasy. But it could quickly turn into your biggest nightmare and start to feel like a pair of cement shoes. To avoid this latter scenario, you need to consider a host of factors before you ever buy.

Vacation Real Estate Essentials

  • You can rent it out for extra income. 
  • It’s an investment that may appreciate.
  • It saves you lodging money on your vacations. 
  • You may get tax benefits. 
  • It might be the perfect place to retire. 
  • It’s expensive to pay a second mortgage.
  • There will be unexpected costs.
  • It demands time and effort to rent or weatherize.
  • The down payment could be hefty. 
“I’d recommend that interested buyers consider their lifestyle and how they plan to use their home, how often and who will take care of it when they’re not there,” says Austin Allison, co-founder and CEO of Pacaso, a San Francisco-based real estate service that promotes and manages second homes. “There are nearly 10 million second homes in the U.S. and the majority sit empty 10 to 11 months of the year.”

How Often Will You Be There?

Do you have enough vacation time (or are you retired) to use the place often enough to justify the cost? Will you tire of that particular spot and wish that you could island-hop via rentals to explore new places? Will you love walking along the same beach, seeing the same people, or will you eventually long for a change of scenery?

One person who took the plunge and bought more than one vacation home is Sam Dogen, a personal finance author and financial blogger known as the Financial Samurai. He wrote a whole blog on why you shouldn’t buy a vacation home. Dogen hires management companies to rent out his properties when he’s not there. Even so, he’s encountered damage no one reported, and seasons where there was little snow at his ski property. The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll, and one property purchased before the 2008 meltdown still hasn’t regained its original value. 

However, Dogan notes that if you have children (and grandchildren), owning a vacation home can facilitate family gatherings and form a hub for shared memories. It can be used by other family members and their children themselves as well as for multi-generational reunions. Just make sure your vacation home is located where relatives will want to visit. 

Will You Rent It Out?

Hiring a management company to rent out the property when you’re not there can cover your costs. But ask yourself if the home is in an area with strong tourism and plenty of amenities. Is it furnished for the highly competitive daily rental market? Will the cost of management, cleaning and upkeep be worth the return? 

Before you ever buy your vacation place, find an agent who specializes in second homes. The National Association of Realtors offers training and accreditation for certified vacation home agents, dubbed Resort and Second-Home Property Specialists. They should be able to give you guidance on expected returns and make sure that you’re not running afoul of local laws. 

“They’ll be aware of local regulations and the permitting process, which can be nuanced depending on zoning,” says Daned Kirkham, senior director of real estate at Vacasa. 

Qualifying for a Mortgage

“A lender’s qualification requirements will likely be more substantial for financing a second home than a first,” says Shelby McDaniels, channel director for corporate home lending at Chase. “When applying for a mortgage for a second home, lenders may require borrowers to have higher credit scores, lower debt-to-income ratios, a larger down payment and extra funds in reserve.”

The down payment alone will run from 10% to 25%, and if you intend to rent the property, your mortgage will come with stricter requirements. On the flip side, you may be able to qualify for additional tax savings. Contact your CPA or other tax professional before you buy to talk over your options. 

Don’t forget that you’ll owe property taxes, insurance, and expenses for repairs and maintenance. Pad your expense allowance since you never know when the hot water heater will go out or the roof will need replacing. 

Buying a vacation home requires a lot of forethought and homework. It’s not something you want to jump into, but it could turn out to be the perfect fit for your lifestyle and circumstances. Research the details, and you’ll be set to make a decision on that second dream home!


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

Friday, September 22, 2023

Learning How to Be a Great Grandparent

Grandparenting can be the most rewarding role you ever have. Here’s how to be marvelous at it.

From that sweet little newborn to a young adult, grandchildren are the apple of every grandparent’s eye. But what, exactly, is our place in this relationship? Should we be shepherding the new mom and dad since we are seasoned parents? What about spoiling the grandkids? How can we get the most out of long-distance visits? Are our expectations in line with reality?

Doing More Than Giving

It’s fun to be the one who can give a grandchild the latest toy or gizmo. It’s instant gratification when the child looks at you, beaming with pleasure. But remember that your superpower is to give time spent making memories. A model rocket kit is nice, but having Grandma and Grandpa help with construction and be there for the launch: priceless. Modeling clay makes a great craft, but watching a child work the clay and paint it, then admiring the finished product, is the best part of the gift. 

Making a Book with Your Grandchild

It’s easy to send photos out and have a softcover or hardcover book made. You can include age-appropriate text, or have your grandchild help with a story or captions. The book can be a compilation of photos from a trip you took, or a story that you create and illustrate together. One option is to choose an offering from Walmart. The company has a variety of sizes, materials, and prices, and will ship or you can pick up your book at the store. 
Have you considered giving an adventure instead of something in a box? One grandma knew her grandson loved trains, so she bought tickets on Amtrak for an overnight ride. The two of you could try paddle boarding together, or mini golf, camping at a national park, tea at a hotel, horseback riding, or a trip to a water park. Grandparents can decorate a room to look like a cave, a scene under the ocean or a rainforest. 

Make a photo book of your adventure and give it to the child. The two of you will be able to relive your time together again and again.

Parents of a baby usually leap at the chance to drop off their little one with the grandparents. Singing or reading to the child, playing pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo, are wonderful gifts that cost nothing and make the baby feel loved and content. 

Get Messy

You may have forgotten how dirty and messy children are. Expect it. If you like to keep your house neat, put reasonable limits on what they can do, then embrace their enthusiasm and joy. Shoes? Take them off when you come in. Finger painting? Only outside on the picnic table or patio. Toys? Put one away before you get out another one or pick them all up before you go. 

It’s fine to set boundaries, but don’t turn into the kid police. Napoleon’s mother had a room in the house where her kids could run riot and coloring on the walls was encouraged. Let your grandchildren be kids. Have a place where they can make a mess.

Don’t Burden Your Children

Keep your expectations of your grandchild’s parents in check. You may not be invited back if you criticize their parenting or tell them they need to vacuum. Ditto for pointing out bad behavior in their children. Try to lead by example, and ask what you can do to help them during your visit. Ask how they do things, rather than telling them how things should be done. 

Just like when they were your little kids, take every opportunity to compliment their cooking, decorating, parenting and anything else you can find. Offer to host them, or let them know that you can pick up dinner. Tell them that you just want to spend time with the grandkids, and would they like a night out? 

The Other Grandparents Are Not Your Rivals

Don’t try to be equal to or better than the other set of grandparents. Graciousness will get you everywhere. If your grandson loves playing with a toy from the other grandparents best, go with it. You can join in the game or compliment their choice. If the other grandparents can spend more time with the kids, be happy your grandchildren are loved. Think of your grandchildren first and bite your tongue whenever needed. 

Love Equally

You may feel especially close to one grandchild but not another. Or you could enjoy the ones who are preschool age and hold your nose around the teenagers. You could like your daughter’s children much more than your son’s. Nonetheless, all grandchildren should be treated equally. Find a connection with each and make the most of your time together. 

One smart move is to spend time with grandchildren individually, rather than always with their sibling(s). Do activities based on the child’s interests to create special memories for the two of you. If she loves trucks, take her to a construction site. If he’s into rocks, go hiking to collect specimens. 

"Kids are really smart. If you only seem to like them when they're on their best behavior or in an 'easy' phase, they'll know this and be wary. It's the grandparent version of the fair-weather friend," says Amy Goyer, multigenerational family expert for the AARP and author of Things to Do Now That You're a Grandparent.

Lead the Way

Don’t expect your grandchildren to call or write to you, and don’t expect their parents to initiate calls. It’s normal that kids don’t think about staying in touch. Write short letters to your grandchildren if they like the novelty of snail mail. FaceTime regularly, even if your calls sometimes go unanswered. Make it your job to reach out.

Don’t forget birthdays and send cards for other holidays. Make up your own special holidays. Look, it’s national Emma day! Now it’s Send Your Grandson a Card day! Have fun celebrating occasions that you decide on together. National Have a Picnic In the Backyard Day? Why not! National Face Painting Day? Of course! 

Be Supportive

Encourage your grandchildren at every opportunity. Attend events, admire their work, praise their efforts. Ask about their likes, their best friend, the fight they got in at school and then listen to their answers. Listen some more. You can be a safe sounding board, someone with a different perspective from their parents. Let them know that failure is okay, that you will always love them. 

Write down notes from conversations to help keep track of a new doll’s name, or their favorite flavor of ice cream, the book they’re reading or what joys and worries they have. Then ask for updates during your next call. 

Share Family Traditions and Memories

Kids want to know what their parents were like when they were growing up, and grandparents are in a great position to offer funny stories and show pictures of Mom and Dad when they were small. Offer stories of family adventures, mistakes, success … and be sure to relate them to what the grandchildren are doing. Bring out old photos; just make sure to keep it short and sweet so you’re not like the neighbor showing 300 slides of their trip to Niagara Falls!


Friday, September 15, 2023

How to Dispose of Old Electronics

Computers, phones, tablets, televisions, printers, chargers … all that old hardware may contain sensitive information and/or heavy metals. Here’s how to easily and safely repurpose or dispose of it.

It’s surprisingly easy to properly dispose of your electronic waste. In addition to computing devices, this includes everything from electric toothbrushes to kitchen mixers. Many of the components, such as plastic, glass, metal and aluminum, can be recovered and reused (Apple’s MacBook Air contains up to 40% recycled content). And 25 states have laws about how to dispose of electronics that contain toxins such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.

Wipe Your Device

If your device contains sensitive information, the first thing you’ll want to do is wipe it clean. Here’s how to remove data from a computer or phone. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can make an appointment to take the device to a computer store such as Best Buy where a Geek Squad agent will wipe the hard drive for you.

Repurpose Your Old Phone or Tablet

You may decide to trade in, recycle or donate retired hardware, or to give it to a family member who shares your wireless carrier account. But there are more options. You can turn it into an extra TV by downloading the app for your service (such as Netflix) and using your account. If the battery is shot, just keep it plugged in or park it in a speaker cradle. It can become a universal remote for your smart home by using the relevant apps. It can become a game controller. Or you can always use it to entertain and educate a child by wiping it and downloading kid-friendly content after erasing your own information.

For more information on how to make any of these conversions, go here.

Will your phone company automatically clear your personal information if you trade it in or offer it for recycling? Verizon says it will automatically wipe data off your phone before recycling but follows with the caveat that “you shouldn’t rely on this” and you should wipe the data yourself.  Phone carrier T-Mobile clarifies that while its recycling partners clear data, the company itself is not responsible for your privacy and offers instruction on how to protect your information.

Recycle It

There are plenty of ways to keep as much as possible of your devices out of a landfill. Call2Recycle is a national group that offers drop-off sites for batteries and cell phones, or you can ship devices to them. Earth911 that covers the country. FreeCycle is a grassroots organization that lists items people are willing to give away in their hometown. If your device has some life left in it, this is a good way to help someone in your community. 

You may also be able to trade in your old device and get credit. Check with your phone carrier before you buy a new device. Apple will recycle any of their own hardware for free, or you may also be able to get credit toward a new device. Other phone manufacturers such as Samsung have their own recycling programs. 

Donate It

There is likely a charity that will take working (or non-working) devices from you at no cost. Get a tax receipt and deduct your donation at tax time. 
  • Goodwill accepts computers and anything that can be connected to one, such as a monitor, charger or drive, in any condition.
  • ARC thrift stores will accept a wide range of electronics, including computers and phones. However, they will not accept TVs more than five years old or any of the items listed here.
  • Savers will accept a wide variety of items but they must be in working condition.

Best Buy is in a league of its own. The retailer takes in about 400 pounds of unwanted electronic goods every minute. Your local store will take most electronic devices in any condition, no matter where or when you bought them. They also have an appliance recycling program for a fee, including a haul-away service that removes one or two appliances from your home. 

And, as we mentioned above, the store’s Geek Squad will wipe devices with sensitive data clean for a nominal fee so you can unload all the electronics you’ve got shoved in drawers and closets at once. Headache gone!

Discarding your unwanted electronic devices responsibly is good for our kids and grandkids. Thanks to a strong network of nonprofits and for-profit companies, it’s easier than ever to do. 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Personality Changes Can Be Real in Older Adults

The circumstances associated with growing older often lead to personality changes. 

There’s an old trope that seniors get crankier with age, spending their days sitting at the front window so they can shout at kids to get off the lawn. Although that image is patently false, scientists have found that the circumstances of aging affect the personality of those over 60 in the same proportion as life events alter the personality of those under 30.  

What to Look for When an Older Adult’s Personality Changes  

Many personality changes in older adults are in response to life circumstances or health conditions that are fairly immutable. But it’s important to first rule out changes, especially those with a swift onset, that may be improved by health care or a change of environment. These personality changes include agitation, anxiety, nervousness, impulsiveness, and an increase in reckless behavior. Following is a list of factors and what to know.

Cognitive Decline. Many older adults with dementia will experience severe personality changes over the course of the disease. Anxiety, agitation, mood swings, depression, and listlessness may all occur.  However, it’s important to have a health care professional diagnose the disease. Sudden changes may be indicative of another, similar or totally unrelated, underlying condition. 
Depression. Good mental health is essential to reinforcing a positive outlook. Many medicines and treatments can help to lift the fog of sadness. Family and friends can offer support. Visit a doctor who specializes in depression for an assessment and care plan. 
Medication Side Effects. Seniors fill, on average, 14 to 18 prescriptions every year without counting any over-the-counter medications. It’s quite common for medications to interact, or for doctors to prescribe a dose that is unnecessarily high. Have your pharmacist double-check drug combinations and dosing, and don’t hesitate to have the doctor revisit medication and dosing if you see negative changes after starting a new medication.
Unresolved Worries. Seniors may keep anxiety and worry inside so they don’t bother their family and friends. They may not know who to talk to or feel that family members will be on their side, for instance, if driving is beginning to deteriorate or they are falling at home. Financial worries can be all-consuming, or seniors can be despondent over the loss of spouse and friends. Find a professional or family member who can listen without judgment and come up with a reasonable solution.
Loss of Hearing. Older adults may quit going out or disengage from family conversations because their hearing is poor, but they don’t want the expense or look of a hearing aid. A doctor may find impacted wax, while a hearing specialist can evaluate each ear and make recommendations. Plus, FDA-approved devices are now available over-the-counter at affordable prices. 
Loss of Vision. Obscured eyesight can happen suddenly or over a long period of time, leading to fear of falling, a reluctance to drive and inability to enjoy printed or screen material. See a vision specialist; it could be that corrective lenses or surgery could restore eyesight. 
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). An unexpected but common cause of personality changes is an untreated UTI. A UTI can cause mood swings, agitation, forgetfulness and/or confusion, leading to misdiagnosis. UTIs can be cleared up with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.

What is Personality?

Five measurable personality traits are commonly used by psychologists: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, openness to experience, and neuroticism. In particular, conscientiousness, extroversion, and openness to experience have been found to fall after age 60, while neuroticism climbs. 

Personality isn’t a set thing but evolves in response to external or internal circumstances. Dementia, for example, can affect personality from within, while moving away from friends or experiencing the death of a spouse are outside factors. 

Seniors are coping with major changes such as retirement, which might be a positive influence for someone with a deep social well and many activities, but a blow to another person whose friends and self-image lie with their office job. 

“What you really want to know,” Wiebke Bleidorn, a personality psychologist at the University of Zurich, told me, “is What are people’s lives like?” Did illness cause him to lose his driver’s license and keep him from getting out to see friends? Did a near-fall make her afraid to move around the house?

“We construct our world to avoid” personality change, says Brent Roberts, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When our world begins to change in ways that we can’t control, we tend to alter our personality to adapt. But the news is not entirely grim. People can react to similar events in very different ways.

Focus on What You Can Do

As they age, many older adults will begin to change their goals. They focus on what is important to them, and drill down on doing those things. They may not need more friends, just more time with those they already have. The death of a spouse may be eased by the cessation of caregiving duties. 

Loneliness, which affects 43% of Americans 60 and above, can be difficult to suspend in a population frequently dealing with the death of friends, forced changes in housing situations, and multiple health conditions. Extroversion and agreeableness can plummet when someone sits at home alone all day, with no means to change their situation. 

Senior housing, where older adults live near each other and can share social services as well as interact daily, may help shape personality in positive ways. “To the extent that we can create communities for older individuals,” Roberts says, “they would probably show a more healthy pattern of personality change.”

As we near the year (2040) when one out of five Americans will be at least age 65, we need to remember that affecting a senior’s life in a positive way can have a remarkable impact on how they view, and react to, their world. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

September 12 - Wilfred Benítez, boxer 

The youngest boxing world champion ever is Wilfred Benítez, who earned his first title at the age of 17. Born in New York to a boxing family, he practically grew up in the ring. Benítez was managed by his father, who also oversaw the careers of Wilfred’s two brothers. 

Benítez was known for his extraordinary defensive skills in the ring, earning the nickname El Radar (the radar) for his ability to anticipate and avoid hits from his opponents. He fought at three different weights, earning a world title in each. The boy turned pro at 15 and fought in Puerto Rico, the Netherlands Antilles, and back home in the Big Apple. He had surprising punching power and speed for such a youngster and became world-ranked by the two recognized boxing organizations at the time, the WBA and WBC.

His first title bout was against 30-year-old Antonio Cervantes, who had a record of 35 knockouts in 74 victories, 9 ties and one loss. Benítez was declared victor in a split decision while his high school friends watched. Benítez defended the light welterweight title three times, then moved up to welterweight. He challenged the WBC world champion and won a 15-round split decision on January 14, 1979. 

In November of that year, he fought the famous Sugar Ray Leonard in Las Vegas. The fight was stopped in the fifteenth round when Benítez went down for a second time. Benítez then went up a weight class and became the youngest three-time world champion in May of 1981 when he knocked out welterweight Maurice Hope, again in Las Vegas, at the age of 22. He won a couple of fights after that over big names Carlos Santos and Roberto Durán, but he was on the decline in 1982. 

Benítez went to Argentina for a fight that he lost. By then, the physical toll from the blows to his head were becoming evident. The promoter stole his fight money along with his passports and documents, and he had to stay in the country for a year until things got sorted out. Today, Benítez lives in Chicago, provided for by donations from a loving Puerto Rican community.

Image Source: Wikipedia

September 16 - Orel Hershiser, pitcher and baseball analyst

The scouting report for the pitching prospect noted that he had poor control, a weak fastball, and he couldn’t throw a curveball the right way. Oh, and he got rattled all too easily. Who was this sorry kid wanting to make the major leagues in 1979? None other than Orel Hershiser, the same man who became a three-time All Star and was voted in the top five for the Cy Young Award four times. 

Hershiser loved baseball early on, garnering third place at the age of eight in a national hit, run and throw contest. He had success in high school and went all-conference his senior year. He went to the Dodgers in the 1979 draft as a round 17 pick and was promptly sent to their Class A farm team for a year before moving up to Class AA. Hershiser’s performance was up and down, and he describes it as the roughest period of his life. 

Called up to pitch for the Dodgers in 1982, Hershiser was inconsistent again and got coaching for his pitches. But during one particularly bad game, manager Tommy Lasorda strode onto the field to berate him loudly, an incident thereafter referred to as the “Sermon on the Mound”. Lasorda berated Hershiser for being timid, then gave him the nickname “The Bulldog” to help the young player feel more powerful. 

It worked. He became a starter, and the next year (1985) led the National League in winning percentage, finishing third in voting for the Cy Young Award. Hershiser went on to have a long pitching career, then became a color commentator for ESPN. Of note, he has had success at the poker table and won $54,570 by finishing ninth place in the 2008 Pokerstars World Champion of Online Poker event.  

Image Source: Wikipedia

September 22 - Andrea Bocelli, tenor

Italian Andrea Bocelli has sold more than 75 million records worldwide. His music ranges from opera to pop, and he appeals to a wide audience. Stars like Celine Dion have recorded with him and praised his voice. Elizabeth Taylor gushed, "My mind, my soul were transported by his beauty, his voice, his inner being. God has kissed this man and I thank God for it." Check out his album “Romanza”, or try “Sacred Arias” for classical compositions.

Bocelli is famously blind. He was born with limited eyesight due to congenital glaucoma. At age 12, he was playing goalkeeper in a soccer game and was hit in the eye with the ball, causing him to lose all vision. But that didn’t stop him from learning to play piano, flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, and drums. He won his first singing competition at age 14. No slouch as a scholar, Bocelli finished law school and practiced for a year before turning to music full time. 

Although Bocelli has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has sung all over the world and received countless accolades, not everyone is a fan of his famous voice. Opera critics, in particular, have pronounced his vocals sub-par. "The tone is rasping, thin and, in general, poorly supported,” said Bernard Holland, music critic for The New York Times. “Even the most modest upward movement thins it even more, signaling what appears to be the onset of strangulation. To his credit, Mr. Bocelli sings mostly in tune. But his phrasing tends toward carelessness and rhythmic jumble... The diction is not clear."

Whatever his gifts, Bocelli continues to charm audiences. His most recent outing was on May 7 for the BBC Coronation Concert when he performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with Bryn Terfel for the new king himself. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

September 27 - Shaun Cassidy, singer and actor

The offspring of Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, Shaun Cassidy was a verifiable teenage heartthrob. Yes, ladies, remember the posters that would come in Tiger Beat magazine? Maybe you had one of Shaun or his half-brother, David Cassidy, on your bedroom wall. But Shaun Cassidy is much more than a pretty face.

Cassidy began recording music in high school and signed with an offshoot of Warner Brothers. His first hit single was “Da Doo Ron Ron” in 1977, the same year “The Hardy Boys Series” hit TV screens with Cassidy as a co-star. But audiences are fickle, and after a few years his songs and the television series went stale. Cassidy continued working by switching to the stage, including on Broadway and in Los Angeles. “Blood Brothers”, where he co-starred with brother David, ran for more than a year and garnered him a third cover on People magazine. 

Cassidy reinvented himself again when he began writing and producing top hits such as “American Gothic” and, most recently, “Amsterdam”, for network and cable audiences. Cassidy has been married three times and has eight children.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors