Senior bank accounts: Should you get one?

4 ways to size them up before you sign up

By Margarette Burnette for Next Avenue

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It isn’t hard to figure out why some banks and credit unions offer special checking accounts for customers they call “seniors.” Once they establish banking relationships this way, they can try to entice the new accountholders with savings accounts, loans and retirement accounts.

But is a “senior” checking account (generally restricted to people over 60 or 65, though sometimes available to people 50 and up) a good deal for you? That depends.


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Common myths of hospice debunked

Five things you may think about hospice that aren’t true

By Jacob Edward for Next Avenue

Hospice-Misconceptions

In the past 40 years, attitudes towards death and dying in America and much of the rest of the world have slowly changed. The hospice movement has grown considerably and now constitutes its own segment of the health care system. Prior to hospice, people often died alone, in institutional settings like hospitals.

While some people still pass away without their loved ones around them, many are choosing to receive palliative care at home as a way to make the end of their lives as comfortable and rewarding as possible. But there are still many common misconceptions about hospice. Nobody likes to dwell on the subject of death, so people are naturally reluctant to study what hospice care is until they are in need of hospice services.


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A smart way to curb senior loneliness

In this program, old and young people connect with one another

By Rachel Adelson for Next Avenue

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“Take two friendships and call me in the morning.”

That’s what Dr. Paul Tang, an internist and national expert on health care quality, would like to tell aging patients. He, and other doctors like him, view social engagement as a treatment for a very modern ill: loneliness.

Tang divides his time between Washington, D.C. (where he influences health care policy) and the David Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation (he’s the director). Tang has developed a cross-generational program meant to get people of all ages helping and connecting with one another. Called linkAges, the centerpiece of the program is a community-based service exchange in the form of a volunteer time bank. The service is being tested in California, with hopes that it’ll soon expand elsewhere.


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How to craft your memoir

Be sure to include experiences and feelings that make your life story meaningful

By Bart Astor for Next Avenue

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When I overheard my father reminiscing with his old Army buddy about how desperate they felt as kids having to do menial tasks to earn money that would help their families — even plucking chickens — I realized I hadn’t heard much about his emotional life growing up.

In fact, other than the few stories he told about his two brothers, he didn’t talk about his childhood. Over the years, I managed to collect facts and figures— where his mother and father were born, important dates and some highlights of his life. But I knew little of his family’s financial struggles during the Great Depression and almost nothing about his older brother’s death.


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Lighten up your favorite recipes of yesteryear

You don’t have to give up all the flavor if you use a “sliding scale of decadence”

By Joanna Pruess for Next Avenue

Scalloped-Potatoes

Do you long to eat favorite foods from your youth without a side order of guilt? With creative tweaking, chocolaty brownies, creamy scalloped potatoes, hearty meatloaf, green bean-mushroom casserole with fried onions and other comfort foods can return from the list of no-nos. The key is determining which diet-wrecking ingredients you’re willing to compromise on and how much you’re willing to cut back on them. But the choices aren’t black or white: I think of them as existing on a sliding scale of decadence.

Leaving a little indulgence in foods helps us to eat better because we end up feeling more satisfied. Think about it: If your revisions are super-healthy but tasteless, you’ll probably do something at least twice as unhealthy later, like diving into a bag of chips or having a date with Ben & Jerry.


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What to know about money and work by 50, 60, 70

Master these skills for your finances and career when turning each age

By Liza Kaufman Hogan for Next Avenue

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Staying on track with your finances and career requires checking in every so often to be sure you’re meeting your goals and anticipating your needs at each life stage. Although you may have been saving for retirement and enjoying success at work for years, there are still some things to learn. You may have gaps in expertise you’d like to fill or may be ready to plunge into a new career.

Whatever your goals, here’s a checklist of basic money and career management knowledge it’s good to have by age 50, 60 and 70:


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Why your relationship needs forgiveness

Even for serious wrongs like infidelity, hanging on to anger hurts you, too

By Barb DePree, M.D. for Next Avenue

Forgiveness-web

By the time we reach midlife, we’ve experienced all kinds of things in our relationships, some good, some bad. It’s great to think back on the positive experiences once in a while, maybe even re-live them from time to time.

For the negative experiences, that’s not such a good idea.

And the more serious the situation, the harder it is to not think about it. Maybe you’ve had to deal with an infidelity or some other kind of betrayal by your partner. If so, its lingering effects may very well be interfering with your ability to fully embrace your partner in a healthy — and even in a literal — way.


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Your pet and your estate: No joke

If your pet isn’t in your estate plans, it’s time to remedy that

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

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Maybe you heard that Joan Rivers left a portion of her $150 million fortune to her four rescue pups, who are now living with her longtime assistant. Or that Lauren Bacall’s will said her dog, Sophie, would inherit $10,000 of her $26.6 million estate.

You might have even laughed when you heard the news.

But anyone who owns a pet or ever has understands exactly what Rivers and Bacall were doing — ensuring that their loved ones would be cared for after they were gone. As Rivers told The Daily Beast’s Tim Teeman in early September: “I’ve left money so the dogs can be taken care of.” (In my own family, the loss of our beloved miniature schnauzer, Chance, a few years ago, was one of the saddest days of our lives.)

If you’re a pet owner, you should follow the lead of Rivers and Bacall, no matter how big your estate will be.


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Residents donate assistive van

Resident Arlene Hanzlicek, seated, uses a motorized seat to get in a new minivan. She and her husband, Ernie, donated the minivan with a motorized seat.

Resident Arlene Hanzlicek, seated, uses a motorized seat to get in a new minivan. She and her husband, Ernie, donated the minivan with a motorized seat.

There’s a comfy new ride for Salina Presbyterian Manor residents who need a lift to doctor’s appointments, thanks to the generosity of Ernie and Arlene Hanzlicek. The couple recently donated a new minivan to the campus with a motorized seat to help riders get in and out easily.

That’s a problem with which Ernie is all too familiar. When the campus’ two wheelchair accessible vans were busy, Presbyterian Manor’s only transportation had been a Nissan Versa – a compact car that sits low to the ground.

“My wife and I try to consolidate doctors appointments. I usually got stuck in the back seat of that little car,” he said.

Ernie had been hearing about a new assistive device by Bruno, the company best known for making stair lifts. Bruno’s Valet Signature Seating products for vehicles are automated seats that swing out to the desired height and lift riders easily on board.

“I decided maybe it was time for us to do something on the matter,” Ernie said.

The couple approached Executive Director Brad Radatz last year with an offer to buy Presbyterian Manor a new van. This spring, it was delivered, customized with its own Bruno seat. Brad said the magnitude of the gift was stunning.

“Since I’ve been here, it’s the single biggest gift we’ve received. It was surprising and exciting for all of us to have that happen,” Brad said. “We deeply appreciate that they saw a need, and they were willing to use their own money to provide a higher quality vehicle for us to use.

”Marketing Director Kim Fair said the greatest benefit of the Bruno seat is preserving the dignity of residents who need some assistance or who can’t climb steps, but do not require wheelchair transportation.

“The big plus is that people don’t have to be transported by wheelchair,” Kim said. It also helps staff members avoid the strain of lifting residents in and out of a vehicle.

Ernie and Arlene had hoped to keep the van a secret for as long as possible, so they could surprise the staffers who drive residents to and from their appointments.

“In Ernie’s eyes, it was a gift for everybody,” Brad said.

Kim said the Hanzliceks have made a practice of giving back to Presbyterian Manor when they’re able. They once received a credit to their account for referring a new resident to Presbyterian Manor. Instead of keeping the money, Ernie and Arlene used it to buy new hymnals for the chapel.

“We’re starting our tenth year here. Presbyterian Manor has been good to us, so we try to do a little something for them,” Ernie said.

Chaplain: Mary’s musings

shutterstock_325428455I lived on the farm for the first five years of my life, and my parents chose not to send me to Kindergarten. Starting first grade was difficult as I had no experience in school. I eventually got caught up with my class and graduated from high school. My parents would have sent me to college, business school, or any place I wanted to go but I “was in love” and all I wanted to do was get married. I was a stay-at-home mom and felt confident as a wife and mother. As our children got older, I began to doubt my abilities, judgement and competence next to friends and family who had gone to college.

I became involved in the women’s ministries at our church and took every opportunity to attend events that would help me grow as a person, eventually becoming part of our National women’s board, which then led me to take advantage of a program in our church to become a Parish Ministry Associate, or lay-pastor.

I finally came to realize that education was the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, but learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational.

One of the things I value about the Presbyterian Manor family is that each day I have an opportunity to increase my knowledge from our residents and staff.

I can now read the poem, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” by Robert Fulghum and check off all the things that I have learned not in Kindergarten but in my life-journey.

Most of what I really need

To know about how to live

And what to do and how to be

I learned in kindergarten.

Wisdom was not at the top

Of the graduate school mountain,

These are the things I learned in the sand pile.

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life –

Learn some and think some

And draw and paint and sing and dance some.

And play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world,

Watch out for traffic,

Hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup:

The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows

how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little

seed in the Styrofoam cup

– they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first work you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.