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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Art is Ageless® call for entries

Basic RGBEntries for the 2017 Art is Ageless local exhibit and competition are due on Friday, March 3.  The exhibit will open with a reception and awards announcement on Thursday, March 9 at 2:30 in the main dining room.  The exhibit will be open for two weeks.  Please tell your friends who create any type of art about the exhibit and contact Noelle Dickinson, director of marketing, at (316) 283-5400 or visit ArtIsAgeless.org if you have questions.

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

Newton Presbyterian Manor received a certificate of recognition from Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America for reaching goals in fiscal year 2016, July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.

The recognition came through PMMA’s new 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.

Newton was recognized for achieving a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“This recognition is a visible sign of Newton 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.
For more information about Newton Presbyterian Manor, contact Marketing Director Noelle Dickinson at 316-283-5400 or ndickinson@pmma.org.

Toymaker’s gifts have delighted thousands of children

npm-2016dec-vernegoering-2 Verne Goering took woodworking classes all through school as a boy. He set the craft aside during most of his working years, but after retirement in 2001 he was back at the workbench.

Since then, Verne estimates he has made more than 5,600 wooden toys, and he’s given most of those away.

“I made toys for my grandsons, and I saw how happy they were and how they played with them,” Verne said. “I thought kids who didn’t have toys of their own would enjoy them too.”

Every year Verne donates loads of handmade toy trucks to Toys for Tots and the Union Rescue Mission in Wichita. His usual output includes little pickups, two-ton trucks, semis, and Grasshopper style pull toy.

This year, his work will also be enjoyed by anyone with a 2017 Art is Ageless calendar. A front-end loader he built was chosen among winners across all Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America communities to be featured in the calendar. Verne has entered Art is Ageless twice at Newton Presbyterian Manor. Last spring, he earned the People’s Choice award, which put him in the running for his first win at the masterpiece level.

front-end-loader-2-2Verne and his wife, Ruth, live in a retirement community in Moundridge (Ruth’s sister is Newton Presbyterian Manor resident Eleanore Myers). When they were looking for a place to retire, one big requirement was that it have space for Verne’s workshop. Now, in his basement, he has a table saw, bandsaw, joiner, drill press, sander, and many hand tools.

He has expedited the toy-making process by using templates and cutting out several pieces at a time. Because they’re going to small children, he finishes them with a non-toxic oil. Several years ago, when toys were being recalled frequently for harmful chemicals or faulty designs, Verne stamped the bottom of one of his Grasshoppers with the phrase: “Not made in China. No recall required.”

With every toy he gives, Verne also includes a Bible tract, so that the children who receive them may know the love of Jesus Christ. His generosity to those in need is a great example of that love as well.
Entries are being accepted for the 2017 Art is Ageless competition through March 3. This year’s exhibit will be March 9-24, with a reception on March 9. Contact Noelle Dickinson for more information, (316) 283-5400 or ndickinson@pmma.org.