A new kind of college education

college educationEarlier this month my husband and I moved my niece, an incoming freshman from Connecticut into her college dorm room at USC. The experience revealed to us just how much has changed since our days on a college campus. For starters, I was amazed at all the help available. Before arriving on campus, new USC parents could visit a Facebook page to communicate with other parents, getting questions answered and receiving advice and referrals from those who “have been there done that” with a child. In addition, each freshman can take advantage of a Facebook page strictly for the Class of 2018, where they share information with their fellow classmates. Student by student, a new social network is built. There’s also a program that looks similar to Match.com, except instead of helping to make love matches. It helps match up roommates. Students fill out a survey and the automated system highlights, for example, “5 students who have 80 percent of your same interests.” Students can begin...

Calling all inventors

doorbellIt’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. Where's the story?4 Points Mentioned While this proverb is frequently true, I can say from my time in the consumer products industry that it isn’t always the case. Based upon marketplace staying power, Ben-Gay aspirin, Quisp and Quake cereals, and New Coke weren’t really necessities. The mothers of invention in those cases were probably the potential for higher profit margins or expanded product categories; in some cases they may have been a brand manager’s crazy idea that just went too far. Not being necessities, I suppose, these products never withstood the test of time. With so many people in our society entering seniorhood, mothers (and fathers) of invention will have lots of opportunities to devise new ways to address the needs of an aging population. Listed below is a small sampling of little inventions that have made a big difference in the lives of those on the other side of 50. For people with failing...

My favorite life-enhancing gadgets for boomers

tray table

You know that stage of life between being a young, healthy, vibrant 20-something and needing medication reminders and Lifeline pendants? I think I, and many of my friends, are there. It’s that time of life when a simple gadget newly introduced into your life could make living just a little easier. We are still vital, competent people; we just appreciate a tiny bit of help now and then. Here’s my list of my favorite life-enhancing gadgets for boomers. The first item on my list might be a little embarrassing or at least tell a bit too much about my husbands’ and my lifestyle. I love my tray table. You know the white one where the two legs slip under your armchair? The one you can buy at those bed and bath stores for $19.99? Of course, fancier ones do exist. My husband and I eat our dinner in front of the television most nights (that’s the embarrassing part), and the tray just makes it so much easier to eat dinner, rather than balancing a plate on my lap. I use the tray table to...

Daily calls can offer reassurance

phonecroppedMany single or widowed seniors continue to live in their home well into their 80s and 90s. In fact, living alone has become more common for all age groups over the past 50 years.

Single seniors who are older and consciously make the choice to live in their own home in later years often do so because they feel a sense of comfort, routine and familiarity. Their home may have been a place where memories were created— husbands and wives shared dreams, children were raised, family meals were served and friends gathered.

Over time the aging process forces most seniors living alone to make small accommodations to address physical changes. The television volume may be higher; hard-to-reach shelves may be used less frequently, and commonly used items may be left out rather than being put away every day.

There is one consequence of physical change due to aging that is harder to address—falling in the home. Changes in vision, dizziness from medications, reduced strength or balance, and...

Senior sites bring needed advice

internetIf there is a silver lining to this complex senior world, the Internet would be it. By offering information, advice, community connections and so much more at all hours of the day, it can be a lifeline for baby boomers as they navigate the second half of life. Sometimes it’s hard to find what you need on the Internet. Search engines are great, but if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for they may not be much help. Here are two new sites offering valuable tools for boomers as they plan their future. Home equity advice For most of us, our home is the biggest purchase we will make in our lifetime. It is undeniably one of our largest investments. Of late, many boomers and seniors are making decisions about what to do with their homes during times of high stress or financial hardship. These situations can be complicated and scary, and it can be difficult to obtain impartial advice that is customized to our life situation. Sponsored by the nonprofit National Council on...

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