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It’s Virus Season — for You and Your Computer!

Winter is considered the peak season for viruses; you've heard the warnings about the flu and getting flu shots and the like. For some populations, the flu can be deadly. However, this warning is not about the viruses that get into your body — it's about the cyber viruses that get into your computer. They, too, can be deadly — to your computer! And sadly, seniors are particularly prone to both varieties! 

If you are reading this, we can assume you are using a computer. Therefore, you are at risk for a virus, commonly called "malware." Computer attacks are on the rise. Hundreds and thousands of computers in 150 countries can be and have been "hacked," causing problems from slowdowns to nasty popups to theft of personal information to destruction of the computer itself. Computers can be taken "hostage," meaning the perpetrator can take control of your machine until you pay a fine (which usually doesn't work anyway). If this frightens you, it should scare you into taking steps to protect your computer from viruses and other malware. Just like a flu shot, the solution is easy (but painless!).

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What Did You Say About Hearing Loss?

hearing test

"I called a piano tuner and he worked on my piano for six hours. I was getting anxious about how much it was going to cost but when he finished and asked for only four dollars I said, 'How come you can spend that much time on the piano and only charge me four dollars?' He said, 'What?'" (Steve Allen)

Hearing loss can be funny on stage, but it is generally considered a normal part of the aging process and is not funny when it happens. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults, and should not be ignored.

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Getting Better at Growing Older in 2020

If you are reading this, you are probably either living in a retirement home, considering moving to a retirement home, or know someone in a retirement home. Retirement is usually the dream of the worker — quitting work and transitioning to a life of leisure and freedom from the tyranny of the alarm clock and the freeway. But retirement needn't mean inactivity or disengagement from the world; in fact, such a philosophy or lifestyle can be a detriment to healthy aging. A total lack of activity, goals, and purpose can drain life of its meaning and drain meaning of its life.

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Are You Saying Dad Has a Gambling Problem? Bingo!

Bingo can be an innocent, fun recreational activity for seniors, with low stakes and little danger. Few participants will get in a fierce competition over a box of candy, a pack of tissues, a pencil, a plastic figure of Santa Claus, or any other dollar store trinkets. Games like bingo are crucial to a senior’s daily life because they encourage socialization, exercise mental abilities, and are great relationship builders. The games are usually held in senior environments and are meant for fun. However, in other situations, gambling problems can be a real worry.

Because of the rise of internet gambling, the multiplication of brick-and-mortar casinos, lotteries, and the reduced stigma of gambling, more and more seniors are exposed to — and being bitten by — the gambling bug. It no longer has to be tracked down outside the house; it is as close as a computer or smartphone.

 

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Seniors Can Still Serve!

Senior CorpsRetirement doesn't necessarily mean retreating from service! Of course, many seniors have retired from military, government, and other services as careers, and can now take it a bit easy. However, the world still has need for the talents and wisdom of senior adults, and you could be the answer.

There are opportunities to make a positive difference around the world, in your neighborhood, and even in your retirement community. Keeping active and engaged with others has many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, for both you and those you encounter.

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How to Build a Better Brain

You have heard about building a better mousetrap. How about building a better thought-trap? The brain we are born with is not necessarily the brain you have all your life. If that sounds like someone has lost a few brain cells, read on to find out how you can fight cognitive decline.

"We're having a brain-health revolution." So says Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Chapman believes we have entered a new age of understanding brain health that is benefitting brain research and giving hope to those of us who are aging — which is all of us.

The brain we are born with is constantly developing neurons and neural connections, and that means it is possible to turn back the clock on aging, even for people with mild cognitive problems. With certain lifestyle modifications, people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) showed significant improvement on abilities that decline with age, such as planning, judgment, and processing speed. Studies show that people with MCI are more likely to develop Alzheimer's, so reducing MCI can help prevent — or at least slow down the progression of — Alzheimer's.

Since there is evidence that it is possible to delay or avoid "senior moments" and age-related memory loss, you are probably anxious to learn the strategies for building that better brain.

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Do People in Reading Need Reading Glasses?

book and glasses

There is a bumper sticker that says, "If you can read this, you are too close!" That is a welcome sign of caution, but NOT being able to read is also a sign of caution.

As we age, our eyes may not function as well as they used to. Now that you are retired and have more time to read (or look at a computer or smartphone screen), reading may become more difficult. "Hyperopia" is a fancy medical term for a common condition known as "farsightedness." This means you can see distant objects clearly, but closer objects (such as screens and pages) appear blurry. Not only that, but you may find yourself squinting to see up-close, may have itchy or achy eyes, and even develop headaches after doing close work, like reading and sewing.

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