Making a memoir a reality

At 87, she wrote her life story and created a family treasure

By Edmund O. Lawler for Next Avenue

Memoir-Reality-web

When my mother was a teenager, she got to meet the most famous athlete of the 20th century.

It was 1947. Babe Ruth, by then stricken with throat cancer, granted my mom and her sister a private audience in the beautiful Manhattan apartment he shared with his wife, Claire. The girls, accompanied by their mother, were awestruck as the now-retired Sultan of Swat autographed photos and chatted amiably with them about baseball in a painfully raspy voice. My mom didn’t have the heart to tell the Babe, who would die a year later, that she was a fan of her hometown Chicago White Sox.

My mom was celebrating her recent high school graduation with a train trip from Chicago to New York where she rode the coasters at Coney Island, beheld the Statue of Liberty and dined at the Stork Club. The visit with Babe was a complete surprise — arranged by her businessman father and one of his confidants in New York City.


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Remembering our roots

Alice Kalb at the groundbreaking ceremony for Newton Presbyterian Manor in 1949.

Alice Kalb at the groundbreaking ceremony for Newton Presbyterian Manor in 1949.

Emporia Presbyterian Manor will celebrate 68 years of providing quality senior services guided by Christian values at our annual Founder’s Day celebration this month.

All employees and residents are invited to attend the event at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, in our main dining room. We will serve refreshments and screen our Founder’s Day video. Executive Director Susan Siepelmeier will also speak about Presbyterian Manor’s mission, where we have made progress in the past year, and our goals for the future of our community. Our staff members will also be invited to sign the annual promise board.

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s roots go back to 1947. Alice Kalb, a widow from central Kansas, appealed to a Presbyterian Church organization to establish a home for seniors. Her vision became the first Presbyterian Manor community in Newton, Kan., and inspired others to do even more. Today PMMA remains true to the spirit of Alice’s vision.

Art Is Ageless® exhibit and reception scheduled

Basic RGBSince the beginning of time, creative expression has brought joy to both its creators and those who experience their art. The Art is Ageless program offers senior artists the opportunity to share and display their artwork and reaffirms the agelessness of human creativity. This month, their works are on display at Emporia Presbyterian Manor.

“It’s inspiring to see the beautiful pieces these seniors have created,” said Crystal Stock, marketing director for Emporia Presbyterian Manor. “The joy it brings to them and others is wonderful, and that’s something we want to celebrate and share with the entire Emporia community.”

The Art is Ageless exhibit will feature works from local artists who are 65 and older, including a few Presbyterian Manor residents. Entries will be accepted through April 6. The public is welcome to visit the community to view the exhibit of acrylics, oils, photography and various other mediums, ranging from amateur to professional levels.

The exhibit is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, April 11-14, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 15-16, in our Atrium Room. In addition to the exhibit, Emporia Presbyterian Manor will honor local senior artists during a reception at the community at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19.

The Art is Ageless program has been encouraging creativity in seniors for more than 35 years, and is sponsored by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America (PMMA), which owns and operates 18 senior living communities in Missouri and Kansas. Each year the organization publishes an Art is Ageless calendar, featuring works by amateur senior artists. Proceeds from the sale of calendars are reinvested into new art programs and opportunities for PMMA residents.

Chili champ crowned

20170223_154421-2Deb Thornton is Emporia Presbyterian Manor’s first-ever chili champion! Deb, our health services director, won our first Chili Cook-Off in February.

“This was our first time doing this event at Presbyterian Manor but it was a huge success,” said Crystal Stock, director of marketing. “We had five individuals enter the competition and a few individuals bring cinnamon rolls just for staff and residents to enjoy. Between all of the staff, residents and family members we had come through, there were around 50 people who voted in the competition.”

In her office, Deb has proudly displayed her trophy: a golden spoon, spray-painted and mounted by Caitie Stineman, director of human resources. The contest was Caitie’s idea, to celebrate National Chili Day in February. Caitie and Crystal worked together to organize the event and encourage participation.

Deb said she can’t wait for another chance to take the crowd by storm with her magnificent chili. “I am very proud to be the holder of the Golden Spoon Award in Emporia Presbyterian Manor’s first Chili Cook-Off,” Deb said, promising to cherish the award for as long as she lives. High praise!

The competition was a big hit in our community, and we fully expect to plan a second cook-off in 2018. Our many thanks go to all of our department heads for helping to coordinate and serve the tasty entries at the event.

Your plain English guide to investment jargon

Definitions of 5 stock market terms you’ll want to know

By Jack Fehr for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

As the stock market continues its gyrations, now is a good time to buy an investment with a favorable NAV and alpha that keeps on giving while reducing beta.

Got that?

If not, don’t be embarrassed. Investment companies and financial advisers love to load up their materials with this kind of jargon. Too bad they don’t just say something like this (a plain-English translation of the first sentence in this article): “You might want to buy an investment that is likely to grow faster and experience less risk than alternatives.”

Well, some actually do, but many still don’t. If companies aren’t willing to talk to you in a language you understand, it’s up to you to decipher their financial-speak.


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Do you really need that knee surgery?

Experts disagree on whether it’s worth going under the knife

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

You felt it on your last walk when you stepped off a curb the wrong way: a sudden pain and feeling as if your knee were about to give out. Swelling and more pain followed, along with worries that you may need knee surgery.

But would it even help?

A recent Danish review of studies published in the British Medical Journal revealed that people in their 50s and older who get arthroscopic surgery for knee pain show no lasting benefits.


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Achieving your dreams after 60

The authors of ‘Senior Wonders’ on the 3 P’s for Triumphant Aging

By Karen L. Pepkin and Wendell C. Taylor for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Thinkstock

The media abounds with negative views about the impact of aging on physical, cognitive, and financial well-being. In fact, there are entire industries that have emerged to counteract the effects of aging — nutritional supplements, hormone treatments, surgical improvements, lotions, potions, and the like. They all seem to underscore Bette Davis’ famous quote, “Old age is no place for sissies.”

What if there were another point of view? What if aging brought about, not decline but our greatest accomplishments? What if we looked at aging as Dr. Christiane Northrup does? She tells us that “getting older is inevitable, but aging isn’t.”


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Sorry, nobody wants your parents’ stuff

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

Admittedly, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not far off, due to changing tastes and homes. I’ll explain why, and what you can do as a result, shortly.


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Don’t let fear stop you from end-of-life planning

It’s natural to procrastinate, but make this a priority for your loved ones

By Debbie Reslock for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

When I was in my early 20s, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It felt like a one-two punch, since my dad had died unexpectedly a few years earlier. Although Mom tried chemotherapy, the results seemed to suggest that this was going to end badly, which it did — less than six months later.

During that time, her life became a mere shadow of what it once was. And yet no one, including her doctors, myself or my mom, ever talked about what was happening.

Only in the last few days did her doctor suggest to me, not her, that we were reaching the end of this painful road. And then he asked if I thought she’d be more comfortable at home or in the hospital. I remember how angry I was, unprepared to make this decision and wanting to scream, “Why are you asking me?” But of course when I got older, I realized the real question was why hadn’t any of us asked her?


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8 ways to give your investments a spring cleaning

Tax time is an ideal time to declutter your portfolio

By Kerry Hannon for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

Where I live in Washington, D.C., the pink magnolia trees are blooming, and the daffodils are intensely yellow and screaming springtime — just in time for the first day of spring, Sunday March 20.

It’s time to get out in the backyard to tackle garden cleanup… right after I finish my taxes this weekend. Which brings me to a more prosaic chore: Spring-cleaning is also time to clear out the clutter in my financial life, particularly my investments. And I think you should, too. (I’ll tell you how shortly.)

When I’m doing spring-cleaning for my portfolio, I check to see if I need to consolidate and sell extraneous and underperforming funds and stocks. I also do a goals checkup and tune-up to rebalance my investments, so I have the right asset allocation of stocks to bonds to provide the oomph needed to last a potentially long life.


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