Growing older has its benefits

6 good reasons to celebrate your age

By Bart Astor for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

“Don’t trust anyone over 30,” Bob Dylan warned us. Then he turned 31 and changed his tune. When Gloria Steinem was asked her age some 41 years ago, the audience gasped at her response. Steinem chided them: “Folks, this is what 40 looks like.”

As children we measured our years in fractions: “I’m three and a half!” rounding it off to four as soon as we could. My father did the same much later on, only in reverse, insisting that he was not almost 96, but 95 and three-quarters. In middle age, we don’t use fractions; we use euphemisms such as “50-plus” or “third age.” And you’re not “old” now until you hit 85.


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Guardianship in the U.S.: Protection or exploitation?

More adults will be at risk of abuse as boomers enter ‘the danger age’

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

(Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a three-part series on guardianship abuses appearing this week on Next Avenue. Here are Part 2 and Part 3.)

Credit: Tennessee Bar Association Caption: Ginger Franklin of Nashville speaks before the Tennessee Bar Association.

Credit: Tennessee Bar Association Caption: Ginger Franklin of Nashville speaks before the Tennessee Bar Association.

Ginger Franklin was just shy of her 50th birthday when she fell down the stairs of her Nashville-area townhouse in 2008. A marketing representative for Sam’s Club, she was taken to the hospital with a severe brain injury. Doctors weren’t sure if she would survive.

Since Franklin had not designated anyone to make decisions for her if she became incapacitated, and with no immediate family, her aunt was advised to petition the court for a guardian. The guardian, a lawyer appointed by the county, placed her in a group home for seriously mentally ill adults.

But Franklin was not mentally ill. And she did what no one expected her to do: she recovered.


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Investing in stock after 60

Woman offers advice to smart women lacking financial confidence

By Juliette Fairley for Next Avenue

InvestingAfter60 - web

Caption: Sandra Chaikin

When the stock market sank in 2009, Sandy Chaikin of Philadelphia, lost 40 percent of the money she’d invested in mutual funds following her financial adviser’s recommendations. “I asked my financial adviser to sell, but he suggested I ride it out,” says Chaikin, 65.

That experience was enough for the veteran marketing executive to look for a new way to invest — mostly on her own, but with guidance from her husband, Marc, a long-time investor and CEO of Chaikin Analytics.

“It’s become very rewarding to be able to take control of my own finances and to have the confidence to say that I can do it,” she says.


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How to stop worrying in 6 easy steps

Try these simple mindfulness techniques to clear away stress

By Allison Carmen for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Life gets busy. For many of us, it moves so fast that we think our only option is to jump on that runaway train and go wherever it takes us. As a result, we feel stressed, anxious and panicky.

But we do have a choice. We can choose mindfulness instead. Mindfulness creates a space between how we feel and how we react, and that space allows us to find the calm and joyful moments each day brings while allowing us to experience unexpected events without letting them overtake us.

Try these six simple tips to bring more mindfulness into your life:


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The famous museum that’s redefining aging

New York’s Museum of Modern Art is reaching out to spark joy

By Linda Bernstein for Next Avenue

Museum - web

Credit: Courtesy of MoMA Caption: MoMA’s Prime Time Gallery Conversations

It’s “Prime Time” for older adults who visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

Famous for its prestigious collection, which includes the painting of melting watches by Salvador Dali, a self-portrait by Frida Kahlo and sculptures by Pierre Huyghe, the museum has launched an extensive program that encourages people age 65 and older to experience art making, gallery conversations and film viewings. All this takes place in the stunning building recently redesigned by Japanese architect, Yoshi Taniguchi — a structure of white concrete and glass that opens onto a “secret” garden hidden among city skyscrapers.


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Turning memories into poetry in dementia care

Mind’s Eye Poetry workshops prove creativity persists despite cognitive decline

By Molly Middleton Meyer for Next Avenue

TurningMemories - web

Credit: AJK Images Caption: Molly Middleton Meyer working with residents of an assisted living center.

When I’m asked the proverbial question, “What do you do for a living?” my response is always met with an awkward silence and then the inevitable, “Oh.” Writing poetry with people who are living with dementia is an unusual occupation.

I understand the confusion. To suggest I make a living writing poetry is weird enough. To do it with people most have assumed are “lost” perplexes even the most creative thinkers.


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This summer’s heat waves are more dangerous than you think

It’s not just the elderly who are at risk when the weather heats up. Here’s what you need to do to stay safe.

By Gary Drevitch for Next Avenue

SummerHeatwave - web

Credit: Ingram Publishing I iThinkStock

Heat waves tend to be underestimated as natural disasters because they lack the destructive power of hurricanes or earthquakes. We shouldn’t, however, overlook their lethal capabilities. During a week-long heat wave in Chicago in July 1995, temperatures in that city reached as high as 106 with a heat index of 120. At least 739 people died — 651 of them 85 or older. Most were living alone, without power or air conditioning.

Four years later, when another heat wave hit, the city took aggressive action, sending police to check on isolated seniors and offering free bus service to cooling centers. Still, 110 people died. And during a catastrophic three-week heat wave in Europe in August 2003, when temperatures produced the hottest season in five centuries, an estimated 70,000 people died, a fifth of them in Paris alone. Again, elders living alone were most vulnerable.


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Can we delay aging?

Research on animals suggests we could improve humans’ healthy lifespan

By Felipe Sierra for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging.

No, we cannot “prevent aging”… but what if we could delay it?

Unfortunately, the deterioration that comes with aging is part of a fundamental aspect of the universe, so it cannot be eliminated. Recent research suggests, however, that the rate of deterioration is indeed malleable, at least in many different animal models. So why not in people?

Aging itself is the major risk factor for most chronic diseases and conditions. We know that cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Yet it is well documented that these pale in comparison to the risk of merely increased age. The same is true for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and most other chronic conditions.


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Parsons celebrates CNA Week

Front Row: Candace Harris, Gypsie Collins, Dakkin Sexton, Lyndsi Carpenter, Amber Stove, Deeandra Pierce Middle Row: Jamie Carnahan, Hannah Swayze, Torrie Hale, Savanna Garretson, Maria Stover, Mey Barlow, Summer Buskirk, Chad Rogers Back Row: Pam Abney, Adryanna Lao-Rivera, Kayla Glaspie, Shawn Page, Sarah Rightmer, Colbie Sanders, Brenda Heins, Ruth Peak Not pictured: Sheila Glaspie, Kelly Wood, Tricia Sexton, Jasmine Edie, Phyllis Hollins, Carly Parker

Front Row: Candace Harris, Gypsie Collins, Dakkin Sexton, Lyndsi Carpenter, Amber Stove, Deeandra Pierce
Middle Row: Jamie Carnahan, Hannah Swayze, Torrie Hale, Savanna Garretson, Maria Stover, Mey Barlow, Summer Buskirk, Chad Rogers
Back Row: Pam Abney, Adryanna Lao-Rivera, Kayla Glaspie, Shawn Page, Sarah Rightmer, Colbie Sanders, Brenda Heins, Ruth Peak
Not pictured: Sheila Glaspie, Kelly Wood, Tricia Sexton, Jasmine Edie, Phyllis Hollins, Carly Parker

Certified Nurse’s Assistants, or CNAs, are a critical part of the Parsons Presbyterian Manor team. June 12-18, we celebrated CNA week with a catered dinner, a CNA survival kit, a name plaque with positive adjectives and a wooden wall décor piece.

“CNAs are the backbone of any healthcare campus. They are the eyes and ears for the nurses, and we are extremely lucky with the staff that we have here because we have some of the absolute best I have ever had the privilege of working with,” said Health Services Director Michelle Lever.

Be sure and thank a CNA today!

Chaplain: A New Life

shutterstock_407019694By Wayne Mason, Chaplain, Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice

July 4, 1776 – a document known as the “Declaration of Independence” was agreed upon by a group of leaders who were representing their constituents at the 2nd Continental Congress. With that document, they were declaring the separation of the 13 United States of America from Great Britain. It was a monumental statement.

There is another monumental statement that is found within the Bible.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4: 22-24)

This statement declares a separation of all people who have trusted Jesus from a former life of sin to a new life dedicated to God. I often wonder how many of us have truly made that transition. We can declare with the Apostle Paul: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I can just imagine some of the jubilation that occurred when the Declaration of Independence was read to the new nation of the United States. Most of those gathered to hear it would have shouted at the top of their lungs, “Freedom!” A few would have held back thinking about the price to be paid to accomplish that freedom.

Our spiritual freedom has been bought with a price–the death of Jesus on the cross. But now, because of that payment and our acceptance of it, we can shout, “Freedom!” We are free from sin. We are free to live for God. We are free to love God and his people. We have a new life and a new, eternal future.

Prayer: “Thank you Jesus for making the ultimate sacrifice to purchase our freedom from sin. You have made us free to live for God. Help us to use that freedom to spread your love to a world of people who desperately need it. Amen.”