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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What seniors need to know today

shutterstock_121065046 Rick Hunsicker, a nationally—known expert in senior living for nearly 30 years—will present his popular “What Seniors Need to Know Today” seminar, exclusively for our area January 17 at Aberdeen Village.

Learn valuable information that affects your future. Hunsicker’s presentations are filled with valuable information, presented in a lively, interactive format. You’ll also learn more about life at Aberdeen Village, and enjoy a delicious lunch created by Aberdeen Village’s talented dining team.

“What Seniors Need to Know Today” will begin at 12 p.m. January 17 at Aberdeen Village, 17500 West 119th Street, Olathe. The presentation is free, and lunch will be served. The talk is part of Aberdeen Village’s Just Ask series, a free, ongoing lifelong learning program featuring information from local, regional and national experts on topics of interest to older adults and their families.

Space is limited. RSVP by calling 913-599-6100. For more information about Aberdeen Village, visit our website at AberdeenVillage.com or contact Chrissie Ammann, sales and marketing director, at 913-599-6100 or email Cammann@pmma.org. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the Planning Guide for Seniors.

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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Chaplain: Finding focus in the New Year

Gunsolley.DianaBy Diane Gunsolley, Aberdeen Village chaplain

Did you stay awake until midnight on New Year’s Eve? If you did, you’re ahead of me. I think that I can count on one hand the times in my life that I’ve actually made it to midnight. I consider it a successful New Year’s Eve if I make it to 11 p.m. and cheer as the ball drops in Times Square.

My most memorable celebration was New Year’s Eve 1979. I was spending the year in Spain studying at a university in Madrid and somehow ended up at their version of Times Square called the Puerta del Sol. As the clock gonged announcing the new year, I almost choked to death by popping 12 grapes in my mouth (as was their custom). Not just 12 grapes —rather 12 huge grapes with seeds. Why would I do such a crazy thing? All I can say is, when in Rome…

I want you to remember that was about five years before the Heimlich maneuver was commonly used. Yes, it was back in the good ole days of slapping people on the back until they cried. Today, I imagine that all Spaniards take a refresher course in the Heimlich leading up to New Year’s Eve just as we Americans do before entering hot dog eating contests.

These days, I’m much older and wiser in my New Year’s Eve plans. I focus on New Year’s resolutions by committing to eat right, exercise and lose weight. Truth be told, I’m not resolute with my resolutions and always fall short of the goal. How wise is it to do the same thing year after year and expect different results?

This past November, Rev. Jodi Mathews of South Broadland Presbyterian Church joined us for our Sunday evening vespers service. In her sermon, she challenged us to look at the big picture. Rev. Mathews said if we turn and look at God, our small thoughts will enlarge to line up with his.

I wonder what is on God’s heart for 2017? How should I pray? Could anything be more important than my waistline?

This year, I want to come into agreement with everything God is doing. I’m asking him to touch me with the people, movements and nations that are touching him. And because I know that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, I also plan to eat right, exercise and lose weight. According to 1 Timothy 4:8, physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life, and the life to come.