Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Power of Sharing Our Stories

Playing a game at an assisted living facility opened up connections [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Reyna Marder Gentin for Next Avenue

My friend runs an assisted living residence not far from where I live. When she called to say she had a mitzvah (a good deed) for me that was “right up my alley,” I was wary, to put it mildly. She explained that she was running an event where the residents would play a game encouraging them to share, open mic style, stories from their lives. My friend knows I write — essays, memoir pieces, a novel. I tell stories.

“Will you come?” she asked.

I wanted to say no. As my children will tell you, with the rare exception of a Shabbat round of Scrabble or Bananagrams, I don’t play games. Maybe I’m uptight, or just no fun, but games are not my thing. The idea of helping to facilitate an octogenarian quiz show was not high on my list. read more

Why Your Funeral Director Will Likely Be Female

Funeral director Jan Smith of Flanner Buchanan in Indianapolis guides a casket into a hearse. [Photo credit: courtesy of Jan Smith]

By Kevyn Burger for Next Avenue

Jan Smith was in the final semester of her training to be a funeral director when her 8-year-old nephew died after a heart transplant.

Her family’s heartbreak deepened her understanding of the value of the work she was preparing for.

“I was able to be an observer of how my profession can help a family with a traumatic experience like the loss of a young child. I saw what a difference we make with creating that meaningful last experience,” said Smith, of Indianapolis. read more

Would You Want to Know Your Risk of Alzheimer’s?

There’s little chance now of finding out, but that may change. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Joan Mooney for Next Avenue

If one of your parents died of Alzheimer’s or has it, what does that mean for your own prognosis? How much would you want to know about your risk of Alzheimer’s when there is currently no medical treatment?

This is not a simple question. Anyone who lives past 85 has a nearly one in three chance of developing Alzheimer’s. But what if you are in your 50s and your father had Alzheimer’s, but you have no symptoms?

Many scientists and companies are working on a blood test. read more

8 Ways to Preserve Your Family Memories

How to save precious images so future generations can enjoy them [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Claire Zulkey for Next Avenue

Does that box of unsorted family photos in your closet give you a gnawing feeling? Always wonder what you’re supposed to do with your old slides? Make it a winter project to organize and annotate your family images and records, not just for your current family but for future generations.

After all, said genealogy consultant Maureen “The Photo Detective” Taylor, “It’s your identity. It’s who you are. And you can’t see where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” read more

How a Daughter Helped Her Mom Face Death

Finding truth at mortality’s threshold [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Aimee Ross

“I have a question for you, Aim,” Mom said from her blue La-Z-Boy. “How did you stay so positive during everything you went through?”

This takes me by surprise. “Uh, Prozac?” I joke, and she laughs.

She needs to laugh. I know she is scared and depressed, awaiting her next chemo treatment. Twenty years ago, she battled uterine cancer, but stayed cancer-free ever since, a miracle. Three months ago, she was diagnosed with cancer again: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “I’m serious,” Mom said, and my brain begins its search for an answer. read more

How to Leave an Inheritance Without Causing Grief

A family wealth expert offers advice for parents. [Photo credit:
Adobe Stock]

By Amy Castoro, financial adviser

“I give them a $20,000 gift and I don’t get a thank you?” Sound familiar? The dollar amount may vary, but the frustration is the same. More and more people are frustrated and confounded at the lack of appreciation they experience when passing along their wealth to their children and grandchildren.

They worked hard for their money because they wanted to give their kids and grandkids a better life. But these generous people are realizing that their wealth is causing them more grief than gain. read more

Cashing In On Your Life Experience

Meet three people who share their wisdom and make money doing it. This is Monica Parikh.

By Barbranda Lumpkins Walls for Next Avenue

Forget traditional jobs where you earn a living working 9 to 5 at a desk or an assembly plant. You can tap into your own experiences, at your own schedule, and share your wisdom for a price.

Here are three entrepreneurs who have done just that and are enjoying the ride:

Nina Keneally: Need a Mom

In 2013, after living in Connecticut for more than 30 years, empty nester Nina Keneally and her husband decided to leave their suburban life and move to the hip neighborhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn, N.Y. That led her to start Need a Mom, a site providing motherly-type support to young adults. read more

Treating Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia Without Drugs

Happy senior woman gazes into the eyes of a sweet beagle in a comfortable setting

There is evidence for potential solutions like aromatherapy and pet therapy.

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

Most people think of dementia as affecting memory and cognition, and it certainly does. But some of the most distressing symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementias are behavioral and psychological.

“What takes a lot of families by surprise are the things like agitation, problems sleeping, getting up and wandering; sometimes people even become violent,” said Dr. Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Some people exhibiting these kinds of behaviors have been treated with anti-psychotic drugs, which has sparked widespread criticism. And the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated a black box warning on such drugs with older adults with dementia; they are associated with an increased risk of death. read more

5 Things Family Caregivers Need to Know About Family Leave

On the federal law’s 25th anniversary, who can’t take the leave and what lies ahead? [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Diane Harris for Next Avenue

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off from work to care for a new child or sick relative or to manage their own serious medical condition without fear of losing their job. The biggest cause for celebration, however, isn’t for what the law has accomplished over the past quarter century, but rather what may come next.

“Momentum is clearly growing among policymakers and employers for an expansion of the law that will include paid leave,” says Lynn Friss Feinberg, a senior strategic policy adviser for the AARP Public Policy Institute. “It’s increasingly seen as a bipartisan issue.” read more