Helpful apps for seniors

8 tech solutions to maintain independence and give caregivers peace of mind

By Jeff Salter for Next Avenue

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Every day for the last 24 years, I’ve worked with the elderly and, by extension, with their families. As the founder of Caring Senior Service, a non-medical in-home care provider, my goal is to ensure that people can age with dignity in their own homes and to reassure families that their loved ones are safe and secure. Increasingly, technology helps on both fronts.


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The importance of listening to the person with dementia

We need to hear well before the voice is silenced by the disease

By Mike Good for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

(Editor’s Note: This is the eighth in a series examining and interpreting a commonly used “bill of rights” for dementia patients.) 

People with Alzheimer’s or other dementia are an invaluable part of our society. Millions of them are brilliant, wise and actively advocating for their rights and needs.

As my friend with Alzheimer’s, David Kramer said, “It’s not something that necessarily makes us idiots.” No it doesn’t, but unfortunately the vast majority of people don’t understand the disease, and therefore, don’t know how to listen to the person with dementia.

Just like anyone else with unique challenges and special needs, people with dementia need to be able to communicate their needs, wants and fears without being judged.


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It happens to the best of us: I’m not cool anymore

Despair turns to hope during a humdrum trip to the grocery store

By Peter Gerstenzang for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

A few mornings ago, I saw a reflection of myself and had to summon every bit of strength to keep from shrieking. What was staring back at me, from a darkened winter window, was sad, morally repugnant and just plain creepy.

As I caught a glimpse of myself on the NordicTrack, wearing a velour sweatsuit and horn-rimmed glasses so I could watch CNBC, I had the most unsettling epiphany: I’m not cool anymore.

I looked beyond the window at my snow-covered suburban lawn and wondered what had happened to my rebellious nature. Where was the guy who once wore mirror shades and motorcycle boots, whose long hair was held in place by a bandana? How did he morph into the guy who was exercising before dawn? Who chugged prune juice? And now dressed like senile mobster, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante? I did not know. And I was bummed about it.


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Art and friendship make powerful tools to fight ageism

College students and older adults become ‘pals’ in this creative arts program

By Linda Bernstein for Next Avenue

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Credit: paletteprogram.org Caption: PALETTE participants bridge the generations

“Whom would I meet? What would I say? Would I seem dorky?” These were Rena Berlin’s concerns before she met her Partner in Art Learning, the new “pal” she’d been matched with through a program that pairs a college student with an older adult to create art.

“For the first time in my life I really felt like a senior,” says the 68-year-old educator from Richmond, Va., with a laugh. “They were transporting a small group of us from the Weinstein Jewish Community Center in a van to the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. A van. That mean’s you’re getting old. I was also nervous.”

It turns out she had nothing to worry about. “After my PAL and I got started, it was amazing,” she says.


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The secret to a long marriage

Our relationship is different from our parents’ but just as lasting

By Candy Schulman for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

When I mention I recently celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary, friends stare incredulously as if to say, “How is that possible?” I joke that I was a child bride in an arranged marriage, sold with a dowry to the highest bidder. The truth is I did vow “I do” at 23.

My husband, Steve, and I married young and had a child late.


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Fall in love with pumpkin

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Nothing quite says fall is in the air like the smell of pumpkin desserts baking. These warm, cinnamon-sweet desserts are sure to have your taste buds delighted this season.

Pumpkin Roll

Shannon Wurtz, Human Resource Director

3 eggs

3/4 c. flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

2/3 c. pumpkin

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Beat eggs. Add sugar and stir in pumpkin. Stir in all dry ingredients. Grease and flour jelly roll pan (cookie sheet). Spread mixture in pan. (I put parchment paper in the bottom and up the sides of the pan before pouring the mixture in. It makes it easier to lift out of the pan after baked.) Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Turn out of warm pan onto powdered sugar covered tea towel. Roll in towel to cool.

After cooled, unroll and fill with this mixture:

1 c. powdered sugar

4 tsp. oleo

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Kathy Palmer, Charge Nurse, Healthcare

1 c. flour

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. quick oats

1/2 c. margarine

Combine and mix until crumbly. Press into ungreased 13×9 in pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350.

2 c. pumpkin

1 1/2 c. cream

2 eggs

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

Beat well and pour over crust. Bake 20 minutes.

4 life lessons from Tony Bennett and other 89-year-olds

Bennett and Dick Van Dyke are going strong and happy

By Liz Fedor for Next Avenue

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Caption: Tony with his son Danny, 2007 Grammy Awards

Singer Tony Bennett, at 89, isn’t resting on his laurels.

He recently released a new album, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. In an interview with NPR, he recalled how much he loved singing for his relatives as a boy. “It created a passion in my life that exists to this moment as I speak to you, that is stronger now at 89 than in my whole life,” Bennett said. “I still feel that I can get better somehow. And I search for it all of the time.”

Bennett’s not the only 89-year-old who is defying stereotypes of older age.  Actor Dick Van Dyke  just wrote a memoir titled Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging.  Queen Elizabeth continues to carry out the royal responsibilities she inherited in 1952. And Marilyn Hagerty, my friend and former colleague, continues to write regularly for the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald.

Their daily lives offer four lessons for all people of all ages:


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Fiftysomething diet: 7 trendy (and healthy?) foods

They are getting a lot of attention and may even be good for you

By Maureen Callahan for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

In the never-ending parade of new food products that make headlines every year, there are always a few that catch on and become trendy, almost fashionable. They are options that beg to be included in any healthy diet.

The question is: Are they worth bringing to the table? Put another way, will they help you age more gracefully and do they have unique nutritional benefits?

Here’s a look at seven of the trendiest edible offerings that people are talking about around the water cooler, at book clubs and in the coffee shop, along with details on what they do and don’t offer when it comes to health, nutrition and disease prevention:


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Dad’s gone but his travels to Africa still inspire me

His pictures from the other side of the world set me off on an unexpected path

By Wendy Walleigh for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

Africa has had a special place in my heart ever since I was a little girl looking at my father’s World War II photos. Dad had been a 24-year-old Air Force cargo pilot in multiple countries in east, west and central Africa. And while on the continent in 1942 and ’43, he traveled to Egypt and Palestine.

He sent his photos of these locales home to my mother, who lovingly preserved them, mostly black-and-white, affixing them to the black pages of a photo album with sticky corner-frames. I liked to sit with him looking at these pictures as he told me the stories that accompanied them.


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Art is Ageless® winners announced

Evening Star-2Two winning artists in Clay Center Presbyterian Manor’s annual Art is Ageless® juried competition will be featured in the 2017 Art is Ageless® Calendar produced by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America.

“Evening Star”, a quilt by Verna Lee Musselman and “Quilling”, a mixed media piece by Norma Graham will both appear in the calendar when it is released this fall.

In addition, “Pansy”, a painting by Doris Callaway will be featured on one of the Art is Ageless® greeting cards.

Works by local winners are automatically entered into a masterpiece level competition with winning art from 16 other PMMA communities. The winners are featured in the Art Pansy 1is Ageless calendar and notecards.

Heather Germann, Marketing Director remarked, “It is such an honor for us in Clay Center when we have local winners featured in the calendar and greeting cards that will be distributed in Kansas and Missouri. We are excited for our artists and their families who receive this recognition.”

Art is Ageless, open exclusively to people age 65 and older, is a copyrighted program of Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America. For the competition, works must have been completed in the past five years.