Where to volunteer on the MLK Day of Service

It’s a cinch to locate opportunities to help out

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue


In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service Monday, consider for a moment these two quotes from the esteemed civil rights leader:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” and “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

With those words in mind, I hope you’ll look for a way to do something for others on MLK Day and volunteer. Be great. (Some nonprofits have Martin Luther King Jr. Day volunteering projects on Tuesday, too.)

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30-day declutter challenge: What I’ve learned

Halfway through, I’ve got a pile of junk and gained some wisdom, too

By Liza Kaufman Hogan for Next Avenue


I used to be able to put all of my belongings in a 1985 Honda Accord and still see out the back.

Now, I can barely see out of some of the windows of our four-bedroom house. What happened?!

Here’s what happened: Marriage, kids, dogs, hobbies, a reluctance to let things go and years of living in progressively larger apartments where I could stash the stuff without having to look at it.

Now that I’m turning 50, it’s time to take stock and get rid of some stock. On Aug. 1, I decided to take the Next Avenue 30-Day Declutter Challenge, getting rid of one item on Day 1, two on Day 2, and so forth for 30 days.

By the end of the month I will have collected 465 items to give away, throw away or sell on eBay. That’s 465 items that I no longer need at midlife — like toys from when my daughters were six and four, books I have read but don’t need to keep in the age of Kindle and clothes that clearly, and embarrassingly, date back to the 1990s.

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The 1 New Year’s resolution to improve your finances 4 ways

Here’s what it is and how to put it into practice

By Jack Fehr for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

New Year’s resolutions: so easy to make, so hard to keep. But what if you could make just one financial resolution that would improve your life in four ways?

Here’s how: Make a habit of reading between the lines of your financial statements from your bank, mutual funds, credit card issuers, insurers and mortgage company. Many of these companies, sadly, shroud their products in confusing terminology that requires a linguistic scholar — or at least a person with some time — to decipher.

Learning how to sort through and interpret the financial and legal goop that confuses and abuses can help you…

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7 ways to keep your New Year’s resolution

Are you sabotaging yourself? Here’s how you can fulfill your commitments.

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

It’s that time of year again. A new beginning, a clean slate. But how often do you actually make good on your New Year’s resolutions? If the answer is “not very,”  you’ll want to read the seven ideas below that can help you follow through in 2017.

The start of a new year naturally creates incentive for making changes. Days that seem like transition points motivate people to take advantage of the “fresh-start effect,” research shows. Birthdays, the beginning of a semester, and the start of a new week all fall under this new transition time. Researchers at the Wharton School came to this conclusion after they discovered that visits to the university fitness center spiked during these turning points.

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5 New Year’s resolutions for older adults

How to set your sights on the big picture at New Year’s

By Bruce Rosenstein for Next Avenue


In 2007, British psychologist Richard Wiseman followed more than 3,000 people attempting to achieve New Year’s resolutions including the top three: lose weight, quit smoking and exercise regularly. At the start of the study, most were confident of success. A year later, only 12 percent had achieved their goals.

To make meaningful New Year’s resolutions that you’ll really keep, set long-range resolutions for your second act. This way, you can help reach the goals that matter to you in the context of your entire future, not just a single year.

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Salina Presbyterian Manor honored with Emerald Award certificate

Bill Taylor, PMMA chief operating officer, left, and Bruce Shogren, PMMA president and chief executive officer, right, present Bradley Radatz, Salina executive director, with an Emerald Award certificate for being a 5-star rated community by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, meeting financial and occupancy goals, and building philanthropic support of Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s mission.

Bill Taylor, PMMA chief operating officer, left, and Bruce Shogren, PMMA president and chief executive officer, right, present Bradley Radatz, Salina executive director, with an Emerald Award certificate for being a 5-star rated community by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, meeting financial and occupancy goals, and building philanthropic support of Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s mission.

Salina Presbyterian Manor received a certificate of recognition from Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America for reaching goals in fiscal year 2016, July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.

The recognition came through PMMA’s new Emerald Awards Program, designed to encourage its 17 locations to achieve high levels of resident and employee satisfaction, meet financial goals, build philanthropic support for the organization’s mission and meet marketing goals. There are 11 areas measured for the Emerald Awards.

To receive an emerald, a community has to meet its goals in all 11 areas. Certificates of recognition were given out to communities that reached their goals in one or more category.

Salina was recognized for achieving a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, meeting financial and occupancy goals, and building philanthropic support of Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s mission.

“This recognition is a visible sign of Salina Presbyterian Manor’s commitment to the mission of PMMA of providing quality senior services guided by Christian values,” said Bruce Shogren, chief executive officer for PMMA.

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America has been providing quality senior services guided by Christian values in Kansas and Missouri for more than 65 years.

For more information about Salina Presbyterian Manor, contact Marketing Director Jenni Jones at 785-825-1366 or jjones@pmma.org.

Get to know Jenni Jones, new marketing director

jones-jenni-color-2mg-2Jenni Jones grew up in the country, 22 miles from Salina. When she was 12, new neighbors moved in one mile south. In the country, that’s next door.

Even though a mile apart, they became close and knew they could call on each other for anything. Jenni liked to visit with the couple “next door” and remembers they always waved when they passed on the road.

The neighbor’s name? Kim Fair, who just retired as marketing director at Salina Presbyterian Manor. Jenni spent December training to be Kim’s successor.

“It’s an honor. Someone said to me, ‘You have big shoes to fill,'” Jenni said. “I said, ‘I’m trying to get my feet to grow.'”

Jenni comes to us from Brookdale Salina Fairdale assisted living (formerly Sterling House), where she worked for about five years. She did sales and marketing there as well, and she served as home health coordinator and, for a time, executive director.

“I enjoy helping people and finding out where they want to be. I love our tagline: “the way you want to live,” Jenni said. “At a young age, my grandmother taught me to appreciate my elders, and I feel like so many of our seniors have paved the way for us.”

Jenni is looking forward to meeting all of the residents. She’s working on learning all of their names and earning their trust. “One morning, I knew all of the gentlemen’s names at the men’s coffee except one, and so he got a hug,” she said.

Jenni is a lifelong resident of the Salina area; she graduated from Ell-Saline High School and Bethany College. She’s married to Jerry (“my best friend”) and they have three daughters: Kylee, 18, and 3-year-old twins Hadlee and Jerni. She calls the twins “our 2-pound miracles” because the girls were born more than 12 weeks premature.

“All three of the girls are equally special,” she said.

The family still enjoys country living, from long walks in the outdoors to hunting and watching wildlife.

Jenni arrives at Presbyterian Manor just in time to dive into our annual Art is Ageless competition and exhibition, which will be March 7-9. It will be one of the biggest tasks of her new role. Fortunately, with Kim staying on as a resident, Jenni won’t have to go far if she has questions. Please be sure to give Jenni a warm welcome!

Around the world in 3,000 dolls

Jean Hamilton and a few of her favorite dolls from her collection of more than 3,000 dolls.

Jean Hamilton and a few of her favorite dolls from her collection of more than 3,000 dolls.

Jean Hamilton is proof that you’re never too old to enjoy dolls. Over her lifetime, she has amassed an impressive collection of 3,000 dolls from all over the world.

“My grandmother collected dolls, and I’ve always been fascinated by them. I just kept every doll I ever got,” Jean said.

She can’t display her entire collection in her apartment at Salina Presbyterian Manor – she has room for only 800. Her son has supplied Jean with a great number of her dolls. As longtime employee of the U.S. State Department, he has traveled to countless countries. Everywhere he goes, he finds a doll to send to his mom. They typically wear costumes native to their culture, Jean said.

The largest dolls are 3 to 4 feet tall, and they range all the way down to miniature half-inch models. Jean keeps a fastidious catalog of her collection. Each doll receives a 3 by 5 card that details where it came from and how she acquired it. She also keeps a notebook to cross-reference the cards. “I’m a recorder. I like to keep track,” she said.

That’s how she is able to pull particular dolls for special events or displays. During the Olympics, she likes to assemble a doll for each country competing in the games and put them on display. She has taken them to show residents in health care and to many other programs outside of Presbyterian Manor. In the fall, she attended a banquet where the speaker was a missionary who had been to Africa, Cyprus and Greece. She brought along dolls from the countries he had visited to use as table decorations.

Jean has traveled extensively herself, often to visit her son wherever he happened to be posted. She said the most frightening destination was El Salvador, which was just coming out of its Civil War in the 1990s. They had to pass through three gates to get into the house where they were staying, and the wall around the house was topped with broken glass and barbed wire.

One of Jean’s favorite trips was to the Netherlands, because she has Dutch heritage. “I found out one of the characteristics of Dutch people is that they like to collect things, so I thought, ‘I must be Dutch!”

The joy of fostering a senior dog

You and your adopted companion benefit when you open your home

By Debbie Swanson for Next Avenue


Credit: SecondHand Hounds


Carol Byers already had two dogs when she decided to foster a third. Byers, an active woman in her early 70s, set her sights on an older pet.

“Like most seniors, I’ve experienced loss and know how important quality of life is,” she says. “To give a senior dog an opportunity to live out life with a loving family, a lap to curl up in, a comfortable bed and tummy rubs, means a lot.” (A senior dog is one in the last 25 percent of his or her life; the average lifespan of most breeds is nine to 15 years.)

At a visit to Muttville, a senior dog rescue in San Francisco, a pug/shih tzu named Peggy caught Byers’ eye. Peggy’s owner had died.

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Fighting ageism means paying attention to our stereotypes

By Debbie Reslock for Next Avenue


Credit: John Gilman Aging adults often struggle to be seen behind a one-dimensional stereotype of “old”


Writer Ceridwen Dovey didn’t think it would be difficult to write a novel from the point of view of a man in his late 80s. Dovey, a 30-something novelist, concocted a generic old man who was crabby and computer illiterate. Another main character was an eccentric old woman who wore magenta-colored turbans and handed out safe-sex pamphlets.

But as Dovey wrote last year in The New Yorker, her effort revealed the problem with assumptions. After reading her first draft, an editor inquired, “But what else are they, other than old?”

What a great question.

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