Being older is better for many travel discounts

Those milestone birthdays can add up to major savings

By Irene S. Levine for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

The next time you travel, ask about a “senior discount.” You may discover there are fabulous perks to reaching those milestone birthdays. Many hotels, restaurants, transportation companies, entertainment venues and big-box stores offer age-related discounts, although they’re often not publicized.

It’s no wonder travel companies seek opportunities to woo older travelers. U.S. News & World Report recently reported that boomers control 70 percent of all disposable income in the United States. Moreover, older travelers are likely to have more time to travel. A report by AARP found that boomer travelers anticipate taking four or five trips a year.

Whether you are traveling in the U.S. or abroad, here are some tips for finding age-related discounts to whittle down the costs of your next vacation:


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4 ways to beat the winter blues

Use these ‘light’ tips to brighten your days.

By Patricia Corrigan for Next Avenue

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When the sun wakes up late and slips away before the workday ends, when many a day is dark and gray, when it’s Groundhog Day and even an early spring seems far away, many large, hairy mammals — Punxsutawney Phil, included — choose to hibernate. But not us!

We slog through, knowing that the passage of time will bring brighter days ahead. But we can do more than wait it out. Here are four easy ways to beat the winter blues and create a little sunshine of your own:


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Emporia Presbyterian Manor named to Best Nursing Home list

Basic RGBEmporia Presbyterian Manor is on the U.S. News and World Report Best Nursing Homes 2016-17 list. The senior living community received the highest score of a five-star rating system to make the list, available at www.usnews.com/nursinghomes.

The U.S. News and World Report list uses information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that sets and enforces standards for nursing homes. CMS assigns one to five stars to each community for how well it performs in health inspections, nurse staffing and level of quality care.

“Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America employees continue to focus their efforts on delivering quality care every day,” said PMMA President and CEO Bruce Shogren. “The five-star ratings confirm their good work.”

This is the sixth consecutive year Emporia Presbyterian Manor has appeared on the US News and World Report Best Nursing Homes list.

Survey teams from the state conduct inspections in each community every 12 to 15 months. The surveys cover a checklist of about 180 items such as medication management, food preparation and delivery, proper paperwork, and resident enrichment activities.

In addition to Emporia Presbyterian Manor, five PMMA locations are on the honoree list with five-star ratings: Clay Center, Lawrence, Sterling and Wichita in Kansas, and Kirkwood (Aberdeen Heights) in Missouri.

Emporia 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 Susan Siepelmeier, Emporia executive director, with an Emerald Award certificate for being a 5-star rated community by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Bill Taylor, PMMA chief operating officer, left, and Bruce Shogren, PMMA president and chief executive officer, right, present Susan Siepelmeier, Emporia executive director, with an Emerald Award certificate for being a 5-star rated community by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The recognition came through PMMA’s 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. Emporia was recognized for achieving a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and meeting safety goals.

“This recognition is a visible sign of Emporia 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.

 

The joy of fostering a senior dog

You and your adopted companion benefit when you open your home

By Debbie Swanson for Next Avenue

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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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