agebuzz weekly

July 20th, 2017

Good morning and welcome to agebuzz… Headlining today’s topics:

Fall Out: Minimize The Potential And Pitfalls Of Falling: It can happen in a flash- one moment you're walking and the next, you're down on the ground and feeling intense pain. It's no fun to fall, and the consequences can be serious if not devastating for those of us who are older or more frail. In fact, new research suggests that patients who wind up in the emergency room due to a fall have at least a 50% chance of another adverse event within the following six months (Read the research Here). It's clear- a bad fall can lead to a cascade of further problems. Better to try to prevent a fall, or at least minimize the damage that may come as a result. Geriatrician Leslie Kernisan has just published some good, practical advice about falls on her website, Better Health While Aging. Read her advice, and the array of fall prevention resources she connects you to, Here.

Spread The Word: The Value Of Word Puzzles For Cognition: For many of us, the day is not complete without a stab at the daily crossword puzzle- and it turns out that this habit of doing a daily puzzle may sharpen your brain for the long term. New research out of England examined the crossword puzzle habits of over 17,000 people ages 50 and above. What they found was that the more regularly a person engages with a word puzzle, the better the person's performance on a range of cognitive tasks dealing with things like memory and reasoning. In fact, researchers found that the brains of those who regularly did the puzzles functioned like those of people who were ten years younger. So pull out that pencil and read about the research Here. And for those of you more visually inclined, Daily Caring is just out with an article about a free digital jigsaw puzzle app that can be customized for the skill level of the puzzler. Read about this free puzzle resource Here.

Add It Up: Recommendations For Reliable Retirement Calculators: For most of us approaching retirement, there's always the concern about whether we'll have sufficient resources to support and even enjoy ourselves. While we can never predict precisely how much money we'll need for retirement, there are some basic guidelines out there to help you prepare. Specifically, there are a range of "retirement calculators" designed to allow you to plug in some numbers and determine what may make sense for your specific situation. The question is, how reliable are these calculators? To help you sort the good from the not-so-good, The Center For Retirement Research at Boston College has come up with a new list of recommended on-line and free calculators. These experts looked for the ease of use and the reliability of results and came up with their top three for you to consider. Check out their recommendations Here. And, as you think about your retirement, it's never too soon to review the crucial age milestones that trigger various retirement planning options. From Medicare enrollment to IRA withdrawals, make sure your numbers add up by looking Here.

Easy Prey: Online Scams Are Out To Target You: While the good news is that more and more seniors have availed themselves of all the internet has to offer, the downside may be that without proper protection, these same new internet users may be vulnerable to the vast array of scams waiting to ensnare them. Older individuals, especially those without proper security software, may become victim to all sorts of frauds, especially if they are tricked into revealing personal or identifying info to unknown internet prowlers. From fake Medicare scares to made-up sweepstakes entries, the lures are everywhere for those who don't know or are too trusting. Find out about some of the latest scams, and limit the damage, by Reading Here. And for some additional expert advice from elder law attorney Carolyn Rosenblatt, read about her personal experience with this topic Here.

Let's Go To The Tape: Using Video To Record Your Advance Directive: As was noted in last week's agebuzz, the drive to encourage people to fill out advance directives has had limited success. Sitting down to contemplate medical care choices for the end of your life, and then writing down explicit instructions, is clearly too high a hurdle for many people. But what if you could just talk about your values and wishes, and have that conversation recorded- would that make the task less odious? Many think so, and that's why some states are beginning to tackle the use of video advance directives as another end of life planning tool. While problems may certainly rise up with this approach (concerns about cloud-based privacy and technology, for example), it could be an additional method to encourage advance planning or a way to enhance the clarity of existing documents. Read more about this potential on-line option in the American Bar Association's discussion Here. And interested in trying this out? Mydirectives.com allows you to create your own videos, and even use a smart phone app, to make sure loved ones know your wishes. Check out this tech opportunity Here.

Style Queen: Crossover Icon Irene Williams On Display at Florida's Jewish Museum: Those of us of a "certain" age can easily remember the Miami of days past- the glamorous Fontainebleau, the mahjong games, the large Jewish communities of transported New Yorkers. More recently Miami, especially South Beach, has been the center of a vibrant gay community and stylish nightlife. And then there's Irene Williams, a transported New Englander who forged an eccentric and independent life for herself in Miami all the while becoming a stylish older Jewish female icon to legions of gay men. With an outsize personality and outrageous collection of hand-made hats and outfits, Irene became fast friends with Eric Smith, a gay man from New York who was determined not to let her life and story slip through the cracks. On the occasion of what would have been her 100th birthday, The Jewish Museum of Florida has staged an exhibition entitled "Irene Williams: Queen of Lincoln Road." In a loving documentary recording, Smith previously made a video of the iconic Irene which you can watch Here. Irene's is a story of yesterday with lessons of style and substance that still resonate today. Read more about her idiosyncratic life and style Here.

THE LAST WORD: “Middle Age is having a choice between two temptations and choosing the one that'll get you home earlier." Dan Bennett