Category Archives: Community Involvement

One Surprising Way Older Adults Can Get Healthier

You know about the obvious things. Now try this. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Dr. Ann Hwang for Next Avenue

Whether or not we actually do the right things to improve our health, many of us probably assume we know what they are. Walk more. Quit smoking. Eat healthier.

It’s a familiar list, and a good one. As a primary care doctor, I spend plenty of time counseling people to do exactly these things. But here’s another, less familiar thing I think you should consider: get engaged in your community.

The Benefits of Connection

Civic engagement may not be on the top of everyone’s to-do list, but it probably should be. There is intriguing evidence to suggest that people who are engaged in their communities — through activities like participating in local organizations or volunteering — could also have better health. read more

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

4 Ways to Donate to Charity Without Writing a Check

These ideas can help you de-clutter your home and earn a tax write-off

By Ashley Eneriz for Next Avenue

People carry boxes of donated items

Want to make a difference, but the budget doesn’t allow? Consider donating something other than cash. [Photo credit: Getty Images]

When it comes to donating to charity, sometimes our budgets don’t allow us to be as generous as we we’d like. But you needn’t always open your wallet to help others. Here are four ways to give back that don’t involve writing a check or making a credit-card donation. As a bonus, you might even declutter your home and earn a tax-write off.

Donate Your Clothes to Job Seekers

Have a few suits or pieces of professional wear hanging in your closet that you’re tired of wearing? Donate them to charity so someone looking for a job can wear them and make a great impression. read more

Making communities friendlier for those with dementia

Making Communities Friendlier for Those With Dementia

That’s the goal for the ambitious Dementia Friendly America initiative

By Beth Baker for Next Avenue

Make-Communities-Dementia-Friendly-web

Credit: Courtesy of Paynesville (MN) ACT on Alzheimer’s Caption: Volunteers pass out laminated bookmarks with the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s at the local supermarket

Can a strong community network help ease the challenges faced by people with dementia and their families? That’s the hope of a national volunteer-driven initiative known as Dementia Friendly America (DFA), announced at the White House Conference on Aging in July.

“Our goals are to foster dementia-friendly communities that will enable people who are living with dementia and their care partners to thrive and to be independent as long as possible,” says Olivia Mastry, who’s guiding the effort. “The side benefit is that it’s beginning to normalize [Alzheimer’s], to reduce the stigma. It’s created an environment that’s allowed people to talk about this disease.” read more

Want to age better? Join a choir

A groundbreaking study examines the health benefits of making music as we age

By Deborah Quilter for Next Avenue

Join-Choir-web

Credit: Getty Images

Twenty years ago, when academic researcher Julene Johnson wanted to study how music might help the aging process, she couldn’t get funding. Johnson, a professor at the Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California, San Francisco, suspected that music might improve memory, mood and even physical function.

And, she thought, what could be more perfect than choral music? Your instrument is already in your body, and you are bathed in beautiful sound by fellow musicmakers. Singing in a group is fun, so there’s plenty of reason to come back week after week: You get to see your friends and exercise your vocal cords and brain all at once. read more

Art is Ageless® winners announced

"Farmer and His Vintage Combine" by

“Farmer and His Vintage Combine” by artist Juanita Rapp Wyman.

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America has announced the winners of its annual, system-wide Art is Ageless® competition, which features entries by artists age 65 and older throughout Kansas and Missouri. The works of more than 50 senior artists will be featured in the 2017 Art is Ageless calendar and note cards.

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. Artists not interested in competition were invited to enter the Art is Ageless exhibit only. read more

What banks are doing to curb elder financial abuse

Why some are proactive, but others are afraid to be

By Juliette Fairley for Next Avenue

ElderAbuse-Thinkstock-web

Credit: Thinkstock

An increasing number of banks and credit unions are implementing fraud-prevention initiatives to prepare for the onslaught of aging Americans expected to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

They are training tellers “to flag potential suspicious behavior, such as coercion by family members, frequent withdrawals of large sums of money in a short period of time or transferring large sums of money,” said Ramsay Alwin, vice president of economic security at the National Council on Aging in Washington, D.C. read more

The impact of older voters in the 2016 Election

SeniorVoters-web

Credit: Thinkstock

Assessing the New Hampshire and Iowa results and looking ahead

By Bob Blancato for Next Avenue

New Hampshire voters have spoken. They selected the oldest candidates in the race from each party: Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. What does that say about the impact that the older voter might have in the November election?

It is too soon to know, just as it is too soon to know who will ultimately win. However, it is never too early to start raising the issues that will motivate older Americans to vote.

This article is not meant to be a political crystal ball; it is far too cloudy to see November’s final outcome. But, after the first two opportunities for people to vote instead of just answer polls (Iowa and New Hampshire), we emerge with a sense that there is genuine anger combined with restlessness about the economic direction of the country and the growing reality that the recovery has not reached everyone. read more

3 ways to give to charity before writing a will

Charity-webShow your support while receiving unexpected benefits

By Ric Edelman for Next Avenue

Many Americans leave money to charities in their wills — but you needn’t wait to die before giving aid to a charity.

Today’s tax laws offer you many ways to support charities while giving you benefits you might not have expected — such as tax deductions and extra income from the assets you’ve donated.

Here are a few ideas you might not have considered.