How to get your last will and testament in order

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Planning for your death is daunting. However, pre-planning your directives and other important decisions remove the burden from your loved ones. In many ways, a comprehensive will and testament is the last loving gesture you can provide for your family. You should spend time preparing your last will and testament before you even begin putting anything into writing.

Make a List

Make a list of all your assets, including investments, home, car, furniture, bank accounts and business holdings. Preparing a list will not only help you become more organized, you’ll also realize how much there is for your family to take care of after you pass. You will have a better understanding of how to help them.

Select an Executor of the Will

Selecting an executor can be a difficult decision. You need to pick someone who will outlive you and who you trust. Also, consider any family dynamics that could cause problems. Many people look to executors outside of the family to help minimize drama, because the executor will likely have little to no personal stake in the will. Once you’ve selected the person, you need to ask them if they’re willing. If not, find someone else.

Find an Attorney

Whether you’re writing your own will or having a professional write it for you, you need to have an attorney look it over. Writing your own will is very complicated, but there are many websites and templates to guide you. It is essential for an attorney to review the document to ensure it was done properly. Each state has a different set of requirements for wills. In some states wills have to be signed in front of witnesses. You have to make several declarations, including that you are of age, of sound mind and identify yourself with your Social Security number.

Storing the Will

Hiding your will is never a good idea, so tell your family where you keep it. Safety deposit boxes or safes are ideal places for your will. The executor will ultimately be the person to take the will and communicate your final wishes.

Handy food delivery services

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Food delivery services aren’t a new concept by any means, but that doesn’t diminish their usefulness. In fact, major retailers such as Target are launching services to ship regularly used items straight to your door.

The reality is, we just don’t have time for it all. We’re on the go constantly, juggling work, kids, parents, social obligations and volunteer commitments. Finding the time, let alone mustering the energy, to go to the store is a real obstacle.

Recipe Delivery

We’re not talking about having prepared food delivered to your home; these services deliver ingredients for recipes for you to cook. You want to feed your family healthy meals, not meals full of preservatives and unknowns that a restaurant has put in the food. By cooking, you’re able to control the quality of food you and your loved ones are putting into your bodies.

Fast Food

It’s way too easy to find a drive-thru, but a fast food habit perpetuates poor food choices. Instead of stopping at a drive-thru, consider making enough food to go beyond one sitting. For example, grilling chicken one night may be used for fajita meat the next.

Dine-in Restaurants

Again, dine-in restaurants are another easy option, but the expense adds up quickly. Like with delivery or takeout you face the challenge of not knowing the quality of the ingredients of the food, or what preservatives, additives or seasoning were used in its preparation. Also, the time spent waiting for a table, ordering, eating, paying and leaving is more than if you simply prepared the meal yourself.

Grocery Services

Google food delivery services and your ZIP code to see which ones are in your area. You might be surprised how many are available. Add groceries to your “shopping cart” just like you would in the store. You can get produce, meat and other items by either pieces or pounds. The groceries are then delivered straight to your door. Many of these services offer prepared meals that are made with the groceries from the store.

A Classic Movie Guide

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Whether you like discovering new movies on Netflix or tuning into your favorite movie channel, one thing is certain—you can’t beat a classic movie. Spending an afternoon or evening with a few classics is like watching the history of the silver screen evolve in front of your eyes, and it offers a glimpse at our country’s changing fashions, morals and trends throughout the twentieth century

Whether you’re a movie newbie or a classic film buff, use this guide to find a thrilling new-to-you film—or just use it as an excuse to re-watch an old favorite.

Top 10 Westerns

Western films focus on the wild American west, where a man was judged by how quickly he could draw his gun from its holster. Westerns sent actors like John Wayne, who appeared in nearly 250 movies, into superstardom. Other talents, like Dean Martin, hopped on the trend to broaden the scope of their work. And American filmmakers weren’t the only one to embrace Westerns—Italian filmmakers revived the genre in the 1960s and 70s with their “spaghetti Westerns.”

10. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

9. The Magnificent Seven (1960)

8. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

7. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1967)

6. The Searchers (1956)

5. The Wild Bunch (1969)

4. Shane (1953)

3. High Noon (1952)

2. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

1. Red River (1948)

Top 10 War Movies

Americans have always loved to commemorate their veterans on film. These films honor the camaraderie, bravery, heroism and spirit of American veterans of wars past, as well as their enormous sacrifice.

10. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

9. Battle of Britain (1969)

8. Midway (1976)

7. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

6. Apocalypse Now (1979)

5. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

4. Zulu (1964)

3. The Longest Day (1962)

2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

1. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

Top 10 Dramas 

For a long time, Hollywood’s view of love on the silver screen was often dark, complicated and unrequited, and romance often figured into classic dramatic films like Gone With the Wind, which still stands as one of the most epic dramas of all time.

10. Sunset Boulevard (1950)

9. Laura (1944)

8. Modern Times (1936)

7. Metropolis (1927)

6. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

5. All About Eve (1950)

4. The Third Man (1949)

3. Casablanca (1942)

2. Citizen Kane (1941)

1. Gone With the Wind (1939)

How to connect with your grandkids

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There are two generations separating you and your grandchildren. It’s no surprising that you might have a hard time relating to your them, or them to you. At the end of the day you love them because they’re your own flesh and blood, but that doesn’t mean you always understand them. Both parties need to find a little common ground, and as the adult, you’ll need to make compromises and the first move.

Be Who You Are

The biggest mistake you could make when trying to connect with your grandchildren is to pretend that you’re younger or hipper than you are. Being a grandparent doesn’t mean being a best friend. Your role as a grandparent is different. You’re responsible for spoiling them with love and treats and then sending them home to Mom and Dad to deal with the aftermath. Accept that you’re their grandparent, not their best friend, and make peace with that.

Get Some One-on-One Time

It may feel like you’re leaving your other grandchildren out, but all too often grandparents spend too much time with all the grandchildren at once. Over time you may begin to see your grandchildren as a collective bunch of kids instead of as individuals. Each one has unique talents, personalities and interests that you wouldn’t necessarily discover in a group. Taking some one-on-one time with each of your grandchildren allows you to better understand who they are as people, and for them to better understand you.

Share Your Interests

Share your interests and hobbies with your grandkids. For example, if you like one kind of music and they like another, take turns listening to one another’s music. You may find they enjoy some of your songs, and you some of their songs. Or you may not—and that’s okay. The goal is to show an interest in one another’s passions and spend some quality time together.

Cooperate With Parents

This is a tough one. You raised one of your grandchildren’s parents, and in your opinion, he or she came out okay. But your children have set boundaries for their own children, and though they may differ from the ones you gave your children, you should respect them. As tempting as it may be, abide by the rules your children set forth for your grandchildren. It’s the best way to foster a relationship of trust and respect among all the generations of your family.

 

Living Well When Living Alone

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Living alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. On the contrary, people who live alone often learn to embrace their solitary time and make good use of it, whether it’s to read, write in a journal, listen to music or simply enjoy the peace and quiet through meditation.

Still, staying active and connected with others can greatly influence your outlook on life, as well as improve your overall physical and mental health. Here are several ways to maintain your wellbeing as a single-dweller:

Schedule time out with friends. Hold a weekly game night or movie night. Start a book club or set up a regular card game with friends or neighbors. Establish one night a week or month dedicated to inviting a friend or friends over for a meal—maybe it can be a potluck, or perhaps everyone can help prepare the meal together. Befriend the neighbors who live closest to you. That way, inviting someone over or spending a social evening out is only a short walk away.

Take 15-30 minutes a day to tidy up around the house. It’s easy to let things go when it’s just you at home, but a messy, disorganized home will discourage you from inviting company over. Besides, housework can be therapeutic and motivating. The simple act of cleaning can be a zen-like activity. A clean home will make you feel better about yourself and encourage you to invite friends over more often.

Go to bed on time and get up on time. Almost everyone underestimates the important of regular sleep. Getting at least eight hours a night is good for the mind and the body. Waking up refreshed and ready to go is a great way to start your day. Also, keeping a regular sleep schedule will make you more productive and active throughout the week.

Eat healthy and exercise often. Try to avoid processed foods whenever possible, and eat at least three regular meals each day with a healthy snack in between. Don’t eat too much for dinner or eat late too late at night, however. Walking and swimming are both great low-impact exercises that are enjoyable and work your entire body—plus you can invite a friend! Attending a low-impact aerobics class at a community gym is another healthy way to stay social and meet new people.

Find a hobby you can do alone or share with a friend. Whether it’s becoming the neighborhood movie buff, learning how to paint or reviewing books on a personal blog, seek out activities that will keep you occupied and stimulate your mind. Every local community center offers classes in a wide range of leisure activities, so you are sure to find something to suit your interests. It’s never to late to learn a new skill. Gourmet cooking, anyone?

Downsize and declutter. Make sure you aren’t living in a space that’s too big for you to keep up with! Also, taking the time to de-clutter your home every once in a while will change the energy in your space for the better. Getting rid of old and useless “stuff” cleanses both home and mind. The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean, move or store things, and the more time you’ll have to enjoy your home and your life.

 

Best North Texas Day Trips For Seniors

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North Texas is full of opportunities to take a mini vacation. Day trips are a great way to relieve stress and enjoy a day out without spending too much time away from home. Seniors can also take advantage of different senior discounts at many locations across North Texas, allowing them to escape for the day for less money.

The Perot Museum
The Perot Museum is a nice, cool location to spend warm or rainy days. The museum features a unique design in which you start at the top of the building and work your way down to the ground floor. The Perot is an extremely interactive museum, with several exhibits that explore the senses. Some of the exhibits change throughout the year, and the best way to find out what is currently on display is to check the website. The Perot also hosts evening events, where adults can tour the museum while enjoying a cocktail and heavy hors d’oeuvres. If you feel comfortable driving in the dark, these evenings provide an opportunity for a night away from the home. You just need to purchase your tickets ahead of time.

The Dallas Arboretum
The Dallas Arboretum is a lovely location to spend the day relaxing and taking in some natural beauty. Stroll through the seasonal flowers and soak up the sunshine. The benefits include exercise, vitamin D and stress reduction. The Arboretum offers horticulture therapy gardens, which are a great place to bring a loved one who has dementia, as they can wander through a controlled area while you relax and work in the gardens.

The Bush Library
The Bush Library opened in the spring of 2013 and has been a major draw for out-of-towners. But many Dallas residents have not had the time or opportunity to visit yet. The facility holds much more than just books. The library contains an exhibit of items curated from the Bush presidency, including objects collected from Ground Zero.

Dallas Museum of Art 
The Dallas Museum of Art used to require a fee or even a membership to visit. No more. The museum is now open to the public for free during the day. It is an absorbing location to visit and spend hours wandering its expansive halls admiring the paintings, drawings and sculptures. The museum also boasts one of the best gift shops in Dallas. Like the Perot, the DMA hosts special nights for adults to visit the museum for cocktails, live music and, of course, art.

Go to the movies! 
Movies are an easy way to escape for an afternoon, and the best part is you don’t have to go far to find a theater. You likely have one right in your neighborhood. Check with the theater staff to find out if they offer a senior discount or matinée hours. Many theaters have started playing classic movies during the daytime. It’s a pleasant way to reminisce and while away a few hours.

 

Staying Connected With Your Grandchildren

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Nothing can replace the bond between a grandparent and their grandchildren. As a child grows up, there is often nothing more comforting than cooking with grandma or fishing with grandpa. But as children get older, it can be harder to stay connected and find things to do with your grandchildren. Here are a few fun activities you can do with your grandchildren to ensure you maintain a close relationship through the years.

Be their cheerleader: Most children are involved in sports or extracurricular activities of some sort. Whether they are athletes, artists or actors, attending your grandchildren’s events is a sure way to show you care. Make sure to let them know how proud you are and how much you enjoy getting to see them do something they love.

Start a book club: If your grandchild is a reader, find a book you can both enjoy separately and then get together to discuss your thoughts on the book. If your grandchild doesn’t love reading, you can also get together to discuss the latest episode of your favorite TV show or movie. Finding something you both enjoy is a great way to bond with your grandchild.

Share your family history: As your grandkids get older, they’ll want to learn more about your family history. Who better to share than you? Sit down with your grandkids and share old family stories that you learned as a child, or draw a family tree so they can learn more about their family history.

Make it a date: Instead of trying to find time sporadically to spend with your grandchildren, find a day each month that works for you both and make it a date. Having something on the calendar will give both of you something to look forward to and will ensure that nothing gets scheduled in place of your date. Go see a movie together, share a milkshake or go for a walk—just find something you both enjoy doing and do it together. 

As your family gets older, it becomes more and more important to set time aside to spend with everyone. Grandchildren can learn so much from their grandparents, and vice versa. Make the time to spend time with your grandkids and create memories you can cherish for a lifetime.

Book Club: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

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Each generation has something to offer to the next, whether or not they realize it. The older generations have lived through many of the same experiences as their younger counterparts, albeit with slight variations. Since it’s said that history repeats itself, many of the world’s problems could be solved if each generation could learn from the previous one.

This process is interrupted, however, when the elderly are seen as expendable and not valued for the knowledge they possess. They may not be savvy in the ways of technology or the latest lingo, but they have seen the world in a different time and survived the trials of life to this point. The elderly are shown the utmost respect in some cultures, but here, the aging population is more often homebound rather than out and about seeing the world as it is now.

One place where the elderly can get the respect they deserve is in literature. Books routinely explore generational themes, allowing readers to learn from the mistakes of the older character and gain insight into how to treat them with dignity. One book that sheds light on this issue and places the elderly front and center is “The Giver” by Lois Lowry.

In this story, the very foundation of society is built upon the idea that each person occupies their place in society and shouldn’t stray from their assigned purpose in life. Those gifted with intelligence are given a special role in society, while those who are physically strong may be tasked with producing children or working in the fields. The elderly are at the top of the hierarchy. In fact, they are never seen as feeble or worthless, but rather as storytellers and teachers to the young. When they begin to lose their health or their mental facilities, they are taken away in a peaceful manner. They get to have closure, and basically disappear.

The book touches on the mystery of death—no one exactly knows what happens to the Elders. But rather than the Elders’ lives being seen as over or meaningless, they simply vanish from society and all that’s left are good memories. The author gives the elderly high esteem in the book, and in the end, they are some of the most respected characters.

Readers can take from the book a sense of purpose, even as they age. While aging gracefully has its charms, the main goal of aging is to impart knowledge to the younger generations in order to improve the world.

Questions You Should Be Asking Your Doctor

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Visiting the doctor can rattle even the most confident of people. For some, going to the doctor is so nerve-wracking that they’re said to have “white coat syndrome,” in which patients exhibit elevated blood pressure due to the anxiety of visiting the doctor. But don’t let nerves get in the way of a healthy, open dialogue with your doctor.

With every appointment or conversation you have with your physician, come armed with a set of questions to make sure you get the most complete information possible, as well as a pen and notepad to take notes. You might even consider using a voice recorder or recording smartphone app to document every word your doctor tells you for later reference. In any case, here are some of the most pertinent questions seniors and their caregivers should ask their doctors:

  • What is the diagnosis? It’s important to confirm the exact name and nature of your diagnosis with your doctor. Be sure to write down your diagnosis and confirm its spelling. Ask what may have caused the condition, how long it may last and what the options are for treatment. Also, be sure to ask how the condition can be managed and if you’ll need to change your habits or lifestyle. Finally, find out what the best place is to find out more about your condition. Treat every doctor’s visit with the same level of importance and urgency so you don’t miss any vital information.
  • What (if any) medications are you prescribing today? Do they have any interactions or side effects? Medications can often negatively interact with other drugs—antacids can counteract the effects of certain blood thinners, for example. It is important that you disclose to your doctor every prescription, over-the-counter medication, vitamin or herbal supplement you take. You should also ask questions about food and substances and how they interact with your medications. For example, alcohol can interact with many medications, prescription or over the counter.
  • Can I obtain copies of the test results and medical records? As a patient, it’s a smart idea to get written copies of all test results, doctor’s notes, billing information and other documents for your medical records. Patients have the right under federal law to access copies of almost all medical records, whether they’re paper or electronic.
  • When should we schedule my next appointment? Don’t leave your doctor’s office without scheduling your next appointment and writing down the date in several locations so you don’t forget it.

Remember: if you’re ever unclear about any information your doctor tells you, do not hesitate to ask him or her to explain further. If you get home and you have further questions, follow up with your doctor’s office for clarification.

How To Choose The Right Walking Shoe

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Walking is a great low-impact way for seniors to manage their weight, blood pressure, stress, diabetes and balance. Studies have shown that seniors who keep up a walking regimen show significant health improvements over those who don’t. Even better, walking is free, easy, and doesn’t require any fancy equipment.

However, walking in the wrong shoe can quickly negate the benefits of walking. If you’re choosing a shoe specifically for walking, here are some important factors that are essential to consider.

Don’t Go Cheap

There are things to skimp and save on, but walking shoes are not one of those things. Cheaper shoes are made cheaply, and their lack of support and protection will wreak havoc on your feet and legs. Consider spending a little more money for a higher quality shoe—you should plan to spend at least $70 on a decent pair of walking shoes. They will protect your feet and help prevent any damage.

Don’t Go Backless

Shoes like slide-on sandals or Crocs are not good shoes for walking long distances. They may be comfortable to walk around in casually, but if you’re walking for exercise, opt for a running shoe. Running shoes are designed for all kinds of feet and for people of all ages. They come with padding in the heel to prevent damage. You should also look for shoes labeled “motion control,” which accommodate the motion of your heels. A backless shoe can actually cause heel pain as a result of a bone spur or bruising. If you begin to experience this kind of foot pain, your shoes are likely the cause, and you should see a podiatrist for treatment.

When and Where to Buy

Go shoe shopping at the end of the day. Since your feet and ankles swell throughout the day, you’ll want to try on shoes when they’re at their largest. Different shoe brands vary in sizing—one brand’s size seven might run larger or smaller than another brand’s size seven. It’s a good idea to have a knowledgeable salesperson measure your foot. If hammertoe or bunions are an issue for you, you’ll likely want to leave a little wiggle room both in length and width to maintain comfort. Be picky about where you buy your shoes, too. The sales staff at a running or sporting goods store will likely be the most knowledge about the shoes, their fit and which shoe you could benefit from.