Tote bag and wristband gift offer still available – Alzheimer’s Association

Tote bag and wristband gift offer still available – Alzheimer’s Association

Our January Donor Drive is drawing to a close this week, and we’re counting on your support to see it finish strong — and you’ll receive a special gift as our thanks to you.
Become a monthly supporter by Jan. 31, and we’ll send you our signature tote, perfect for carrying groceries and more. If you make a monthly gift of $25 or more, we’ll send you our tote bag and #ENDALZ wristband as a special thank you for your generosity.
Monthly giving is easy and cost effective, and it makes a difference. It’s an important part of our efforts to fund Alzheimer’s care, support and research, allowing us to more efficiently budget our dollars throughout the year so we can one day realize our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

Act now! Become a monthly supporter by Jan. 31 and you’ll receive this stylish Alzheimer’s Association reusable tote bag AND wristband.Supplies are limited.

Donate Monthly

If you share that vision, please help us make our January Donor Drive a success. Give today.

Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s Association

January – Introduce “I Have Alzheimer’s” to employees caring for someone with the disease
In September, the Alzheimer’s Association launched a new and innovative website created for individuals living in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Employees can help people living with dementia by sharing the “I Have Alzheimer’s” link, which features information and personal insights on living with the disease. From future planning to resources available through the Alzheimer’s Association, this article can help answer many of the questions created by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Please plan ahead for these upcoming initiatives.

February – Black History Month and the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
February is a time of the year to reflect on African-American achievements in history. It’s also a time to acknowledge the challenges many Americans face in the present, one of which is Alzheimer’s disease — an epidemic sweeping our nation, including the African-American community. In fact, blacks are twice as likely to develop the disease as whites. Scientists don’t yet understand why, but it may be due to the increased risk of vascular disease in African-Americans.
Across all cultures and communities, the signs of Alzheimer’s are often dismissed as normal aging. But memory loss that disrupts daily life is not normal — it’s one of the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If identified, these indicators should be taken seriously and a doctor should be consulted.
Early detection is important so that individuals and families can seek possible treatments that may provide relief from symptoms, allow more time to plan for the future and provide an opportunity to participate in clinical research.
The Alzheimer’s Association is committed to supporting all those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, including the African-American community. Please share this article and brochure with your employees to provide more information on the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Association to release 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report
In March, the Alzheimer’s Association will release 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. This annual publication reveals the latest statistics pertaining to the burden Alzheimer’s and dementia places on individuals, caregivers, government and our nation’s health care system. The 2014 report will include data on the impact of the disease in every state across the nation. Upon release, we’ll share key findings from the report, as well as provide a stock article that you can disseminate to employees through your communications channels.

Signature tote bag is our gift to you

Signature tote bag is our gift to you – Alzheimer’s Association 

You lead a busy life, yet you still make time to support the Alzheimer’s Association. We aren’t the only ones who appreciate your help.
Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Funding for Alzheimer’s care, support and research is vital if we are to keep pace with this devastating epidemic. Because monthly gifts provide such reliable and significant support for these efforts, we’ve launched a January Donor Drive for generous individuals who can help advance our work by giving every month.

“I donate in honor of my mother, who has the most beautiful, open, loving spirit despite the challenges of this disease. Giving monthly makes me feel more committed to a solution. Every time I hear about progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s, I know I am playing a role.”

Why should you consider giving monthly?

It’s easy. The amount you select is charged to your card automatically. You can change or cancel your gift at any time.

It’s cost-effective. Monthly giving reduces paper and printing costs.

It makes a difference. Your donation provides much-needed services to those affected by Alzheimer’s.

It makes a statement. By giving $25 or more monthly, you’ll receive our tote bag and #ENDALZ wristband as our thank you.

Financial Advisors: Who Can You Trust?

Financial Advisors: Who Can You Trust?
A multitude of financial professional titles confuses investors trying to get the best financial advice. It’s especially crucial for seniors to find a financial advisor to represent their interests and respect their risk tolerance in order to protect and grow their retirement funds. Click here to view article.

A recent Investor Trust Study showed that only 52 percent of investors trust the financial services industry. Who can blame them? With all the scandals and media attention on those who manipulate the financial system and the financial setbacks experienced by many investors, a loss of trust seems like a natural response. Complicating matters is that new financial titles for advisors seem to be cropping up regularly. How can you be sure your financial advisor is the right person to be giving you advice? How is a CFP different from a CMFC? Exactly what is a ChFC?

For seniors, the potential for getting unsound or misleading advice and making a bad decision is made worse because many older adults need their investments for retirement, and it’s harder to recover from financial setbacks at an older age.

Making Sense of Financial Titles

The financial services industry started out with simple designations such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). But as the world of finance became more complicated, so did titles and designations. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) weighed in on this topic with a bulletin, “Making Sense of Financial Professional Titles”: “The requirements for obtaining and using these titles vary widely, from rigorous to nothing at all. Do not rely solely on a title to determine whether a financial professional has the expertise that you need—find out what the title means and what the financial professional did to obtain it.”

Some titles are granted by private organizations, such as a trade group. While some of these groups have processes for receiving consumer complaints and disciplining members for misconduct, others do not, the SEC warns. Still other titles may be simply purchased or even made up by financial professionals hoping to imply that they have certain expertise or qualifications. As with any title, you should verify a financial professional is really qualified to advise you. See sidebar, “Where to Find Help.” Your Certified Senior Advisor® can also help you. (For more information about CSAs, see end of article.)

To use certain titles, a financial professional may need to pass exams, meet ethical standards, have relevant work experience and undertake continuing education. Other titles, however, may be obtained with little time, effort and experience, explains the SEC.

Titles and licenses are not the same. Just because someone claims to be a certified mutual fund investment counselor doesn’t necessarily mean that they passed an exam or received a license from a governing body. Financial professionals that are registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor have obtained registrations and licenses granted by federal or state regulatory authorities.

If you’re unfamiliar with your financial advisor’s credentials, you may be getting someone who is qualified to do more than you require. Or, you may hire someone with a narrow band of knowledge when what you need is help with various issues—investments, estate planning and taxes, for example. Find help for understanding financial designations and check out your broker on two official websites (see sidebar).

Sorting Through Different Titles

The leading school of thought is that the safest advice is from an advisor who is a fiduciary—someone legally required to place your interests first. Only registered investment advisors are held to this standard, and that typically includes financial planners who charge a fee. Brokers and advisors who work for commissions must generally assure only that an investment is suitable (“Can you trust your financial adviser?” Money, CNN .

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority lists hundreds of possible designations, while Investopediaprovides the more traditional titles that financial professionals have used for decades.

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP): This is the most widely recognized credential in the financial planning industry, perceived as providing an unbiased approach to financial planning. Its certification requirements are rigorous, necessitating five courses covering insurance, estate, retirement, education, taxes, investment planning, ethics and the financial planning process. Candidates must pass a board exam, have at least three years of professional experience and hold a bachelor’s degree.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA): This is the oldest and most established financial credential widely recognized as the definitive credential of tax expertise. To sit for the two-day exam, candidates must take 150 semester hours of undergraduate-level courses and hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC): The life insurance industry originally created these designations. The two designations have the same requirements, except the ChFC tends to embrace general financial planning issues as opposed to the CLU, which focuses more closely on life insurance and its laws and regulations.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): This is considered to be one of the most difficult and prestigious credentials in the financial industry, at least in terms of investment management. The academic requirements for this designation are second only to those for CPAs. Many portfolio managers or analysts have this designation. Newer titles, which often have less rigorous academic requirements, include the Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) and Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC). One exception is the Licensed International Financial Analyst (LIFA), which covers much of the same material as the CFA curriculum in its coursework but is considerably more flexible in terms of administration. Notable financial certifications to look for include CFP, Certified Fund Specialist (CFS) and Chartered Investment Councilor (CIC).

    Some certifications focus on a particular group, such as the Society of Certified Senior Advisors, which is designed to help professionals already working with older adults enhance their knowledge of the aging process. There is an expectation that those who obtain the CSA certification already have the appropriate education, training, licenses and certifications to practice in their professions.

    Questions to Ask

    Experts offer a list of precautions to ensure that your financial advisor offers the services you want and has the appropriate background for what you need.

    Financial designation: If a financial professional tells you that he or she has a certain professional title, find out who awarded the title. Ask about training, ethical and other requirements. Determine whether or not a course was required and if the person passed a test. Did the designation necessitate a certain level of work experience or education? Are refresher courses required to maintain the designation? How can you verify the advisor’s standing with the professional organization?

    Payment: Make sure you understand how the advisor is being compensated for investment advice or transactions, whether commissions or a fee, as well as the underlying costs of the investments. Do not be afraid to ask the investment advisor the amount of his fees.

    Investment options: Find out if the advisor can suggest investments or if he must choose from a certain portfolio of funds. If the advisor is recommending one investment, an insurance product, for example, you may be getting a sales pitch, not advice. If the advisor keeps trying to sell you a financial service that generates a commission regardless of how well it suits you, she is probably not looking out for your long-term interests.

    Level of service: Make sure your advisor gives you information on a regular basis, not just when he wants to sell something, and alerts you if new developments are going to affect your investments. At the same time, your advisor should be willing to take the time to explain any new investments or how the economy is affecting your portfolio. If she is unwilling or unable to explain, that should be a warning sign.


    “Can you trust your financial adviser?” Money, CNN

    “Confusing World of Financial Designations,” Ryan Wilson, Certified Senior Advisors

    “Designations: What They Are and What They Mean,” CSA Journal 55

    “Do You Trust Your Financial Advisor?” Huffington Post

    “A Guide To Financial Designations,” Investopedia

    “Investor trust fragile, aligned interests valued highly,” CFA Institute & Edelman Investor Trust Study

Where to Find Help

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly. Its website provides an exhaustive list of acronyms for financial advisors, using its “Understanding Professional Designations” to decode the letters and outline whether the issuing organization requires continuing education, takes complaints or has a way for you to confirm who holds the credential.

Its BrokerCheck website allows investors to research the professional backgrounds of current and former FINRA-registered brokerage firms and brokers, as well as investment advisor firms and representatives. It also offers links to state regulators.

The Securities and Exchange Commission lets you check to see if your financial advisor has received any complaints. See “Check Out a Broker or Advisor”.

Envisioning Better Sight for Aging Eyes

Envisioning Better Sight for Aging Eyes
As we age, several diseases can affect our vision—some serious and some merely irritating. The best prevention, beyond a healthy lifestyle, is to get regular eye exams. After that, medications and, in some cases, surgery are available to stem vision loss. Click here to view article.

Do you find yourself often complaining that the light is too dim? Do you need to enlarge the type on your web browser? Are you having increased difficulty driving at night? At the store, do you need to squint to read the credit card holder that asks for your pin number?

Just as the rest of our body starts to change as we age, so do our eyes. By the age of 65, approximately one person in three has some form of vision-reducing eye disease. As we get older, our pupils get smaller, making them less responsive to variations in light, and our eyes become less flexible, making it harder to focus on near objects. The lens of the eye gradually yellows with age, affecting our color perception.

Scientists are discovering other effects of aging eyes. Recent research shows that the gradual yellowing of the lens and the narrowing of the pupil disturb the body’s circadian rhythm, contributing to a range of health problems (“Aging of Eyes Is Blamed for Range of Health Woes,” (New York Times). As the eyes age, less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. This internal clock relies on light to function properly, and studies have found that people whose circadian rhythms are out of sync are at greater risk for health issues, including insomnia, heart disease, cancer, memory loss, slower reaction time and even depression.

We can easily remedy some aging eye issues, such as low vision, with solutions as simple as eyeglasses or contacts. Other ailments can be more serious, leading to blindness if not treated. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of severe visual impairment. Other vision-threatening diseases are glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.

The good news is that there are various ways to treat eye problems, from eating certain foods to getting surgery. One of the best preventive measures is to get regular eye exams, as many eye diseases don’t have early warning signs or symptoms that you may notice, but an eye doctor can detect.

Eye Diseases to Take Seriously

Certain eye disease can cause severe vision loss and, if not treated, blindness.

Age-related macular degeneration: AMD causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision. The macula lets us see objects that are straight ahead. As AMD progresses, a common symptom is a blurred area near the center of our vision. Although AMD does not lead to complete blindness, the loss of central vision can interfere with simple everyday activities such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, cook or fix things around the house.

Currently, no treatment exists for the early stages of AMD, which often produce no symptoms. In later stages, when blurring becomes noticeable, researchers have found that a daily intake of certain high-dose vitamins and minerals can slow progression of the disease. In advanced cases, with severe vision loss, several therapies can slow the disease: drug injections, laser treatment and, less common, laser surgery.

Preventive measures include regular exercise, normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish. Antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, protect the macula from sun damage.

Glaucoma: A result of too much fluid pressure inside the eye, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness if not treated. Because glaucoma doesn’t exhibit early symptoms or pain, the best way to protect yourself is by having regular eye exams. If vision loss has already occurred, prescription eye drops, laser treatments or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. Although treatment, which focuses on lowering pressure in your eye, often starts with medicated eyedrops, research has shown that approximately 40 percent of patients do not take their glaucoma medications as prescribed, or do not continue to refill them. For treating glaucoma, experts recommend a healthy diet; regular exercise, which can reduce eye pressure in some forms of glaucoma; limiting caffeine, which can increase your eye pressure; and moderately drinking fluids.

Cataracts: Clouding of the lens that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina is common in older people. By age 80, more than half of Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Age-related cataracts can dull or blur vision because the clear lens becomes yellowish or brownish. In addition, cataract patients may experience fading colors, glares around lights, double vision and trouble seeing at night.

Beyond aging, risk factors for cataracts include diabetes, smoking, alcohol use and prolonged exposure to sunlight. To delay the onset of cataracts, experts recommend wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight. Good nutrition is also important: green leafy vegetables, fruit and other foods with antioxidants, especially vitamin C. In cataracts’ early stages, new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses can help your vision; otherwise, surgery is the only effective treatment and involves replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial lens.

Diabetic eye disease: The most common form of eye disease that results from diabetes complications is diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels inside the retina. Because diabetic eye disease has no warning signs, finding and treating the disease early, before it causes vision loss or blindness, is the best way to control it. The preventive measures are the same you would use to control diabetes: medications, healthy weight, physical activity and controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Easily Treatable Eye Problems

While less serious vision ailments will not cause blindness, they can interfere with your daily life.

Low vision: People who have a hard time seeing—even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery—have low vision. Ordinary activities like reading the mail, shopping, cooking and seeing the TV can be challenging. Low vision is usually caused by eye injuries, birth defects or eye diseases such as AMD or glaucoma. Although it cannot be restored, low vision can be managed with proper treatment and “vision rehabilitation,” which includes adaptive devices and home modifications. Special tools can assist people with low vision read, write and manage daily tasks. Aids may include large-print reading materials, magnifiers, closed-circuit televisions and computers with large print and talking functions.

Dry eye: Poorly functioning tear glands especially affect aging women. Itching, burning or discomfort can make it more difficult to perform activities such as using a computer or reading for an extended period. For relief from dry eyes, experts recommend a home humidifier, special eye drops (artificial tears) or ointments.

Floaters: Most eye “cobwebs” are caused by small flecks of a protein called collagen, whose fibers shrink and shred over time. Most of the time people learn to live with these benign floaters, which often disappear over months or years. Although they are a normal part of aging, floaters are sometimes a sign of a more serious eye problem such as retinal detachment. If you see numerous new floaters and/or flashes of light, see your eye care professional right away. This is a medical emergency.

Tearing: Having your eyes tear may be caused by sensitivity to light, wind or temperature changes, or having dry eyes. Wearing sunglasses may help, as may eye drops. Sometimes tearing is a sign of a more serious eye problem, like an infection or a blocked tear duct.


“Age-Related Eye Diseases,” National Eye Institute

“Aging And Your Eyes,” National Institute on Aging

“The Aging Eye: See into Your Future,”

“Glaucoma Eye Drops Prevent Vision Loss — But Only if Patients Use Them,” Glaucoma Research Foundation

“Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration,” National Eye Institute

“Macular Degeneration,” Medline Plus

“Treatments and drugs,” Mayo Clinic

“What is low vision?” National Eye Institute

Non-medical Remedies

Besides using medical treatments, you can make adjustments in your home or diet to help care for eye diseases or conditions.

Studies show that to see clearly, the average 60-year-old person needs at least three times the amount of light as the average 20-year-old. To compensate for changes in aging pupils, use proper illumination. For example, you can increase the amount of ambient light throughout your home, use individual lights—or task lighting—for specific activities, or avoid glare, which can be disorienting, by using lamp shades to diffuse lighting instead of bare bulbs or clear shades .

For losses in up-close vision, use reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, progressive lenses (no lines) or contact lenses, or shine additional light on close work materials to enhance your eyesight.

To help alleviate the effects of minor lens yellowing, use halogen or fluorescent bulbs specifically designed to improve color rendering; bulbs with a color-rendering index (CRI) above 80 may best help. In your home, use warm contrasting colors such as yellow, orange and red to help you know where things are and to make it easier to perform daily activities.

Studies show that a good diet may help protect the lens of the eye and reduce the risk of certain lens conditions that diminish sight. Vitamins A, C and E and minerals like copper and zinc are essential to eyesight. Anthocyanin-rich blueberries, grapes and goji berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve your vision.

DHA, a fatty acid found in coldwater fish such as wild salmon, sardines and mackerel, provides structural support to cell membranes to boost eye health.

While exercising your whole body can help improve eye health, you can also work on just your eyes. Simple exercises to help maintain optimal vision include placing warm palms against your eyes for five seconds, rolling your eyes clockwise 10 times and then counterclockwise 10 times, and focusing your eyes on an object such as a pen at arm’s length, then moving it closer and farther. Perform these exercises first thing in the morning, before bedtime or any time your eyes feel fatigued.