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2 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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Retired ... and she’s loving it Home staff writer

Sharon Kent of Talladega is retired and she’s loving it. When she did work, she would see a beautiful day blossom on the other side of her window and long to be on the porch with a cool drink Now that she is on her own schedule, she has the time to do just that. “I tell everyone about retirement,” Sharon said. “I recommend it to everyone I see.” After working for 23 years as a copy editor for The Daily Home, Sharon is enjoying her retirement. “The biggest thing for me is no stress and the

pressure of trying to work and manage a household,” she said. “Now that I’m retired it’s less stressful.” Sharon now has the time to relax with her 3-year-old Chihuahua, Gracie. She is enjoying her church family at Stockdale Baptist Church, and can devote as much time as she wants to her two loves: bowling and traveling. “Bowling is my passion,” she said. Sharon is an avid bowler and has traveled to bowling tournaments all over the country. Bowling has opened up a lot of friendships and travel opportunities for her. Her team has trav-

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Bowling is a passion for Sharon Kent and now that she is retired, she is thankful she can still bowl.

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eled to Reno, Nev., and Detroit, Mich., for bowling competitions and the ladies are gearing up for an upcoming Nationals competition in El Paso, Texas. “I always tell anyone I’ve got my suitcase packed,” Sharon said. “I’m ready to go all the time.” She is associate manager for her bowling team and takes care of paper-

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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 3

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Retired work and membership. “It’s a tremendous group of really great women,” Sharon said. She considers it a blessing to be retired and able to do the things she wants to do, and is thankful she can still bowl and travel. “Every day I wake up I thank God,” Sharon said. “There’s no words to explain how happy I am.” But retirement was not an easy transition for her. Sharon said one of the hardest things for her to get used to was all the free time. Everyone thought she would want to go back to work. “In fact, sometimes I had to ask, ‘How did I find time to work?’” Sharon said.

Nowadays it is rare to find her on the old side of that window watching the day go by. She can enjoy the day in whatever way she chooses, thanks to one key factor: planning. Saving money before she retired helped smooth the transition. Another vital part of Sharon’s peaceful retirement is having an understanding partner. She has been married to her husband, Earl, 21 years. They met at a bowling center he owned in Talladega. Sharon’s husband is now also retired, but when he was still working and she was retired, they were used to routines of their own. “When I first retired it was like, ‘What are we going to do being together like this all the time?’”

Sharon said. “It’s a work in progress spending time together all the time.” The couple also know not to place demands on one another. “He doesn’t expect me to cook for him every day,” she said. Sharon has two daughters and two sons. One daughter lives in Oregon and the other lives in Lineville. One son lives in Sylacauga, and the other lives in Louisiana. She said part of the joy of being retired is spending every minute she can with her family, especially her five grandchildren and five great-grandsons. And she has some advice for anyone out there who is retired: “Don’t sit down,” she said. “Get out and go and enjoy what the Lord gives you every day.”

Brian Schoenhals/The Daily Home

Sharon Kent, left, is show with a couple of her bowling buddies, sister Darla Knight, center, and Regina Parton.


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Seniors filing for bankruptcy rose 150% in past 16 years According to a 2009 study conducted by the AARP, the number of senior citizens, persons age 65 and older, who filed for bankruptcy rose a staggering 150 percent between 1991 and 2007. Worse yet, a similar study by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project found that among people age 75 to 84, bankruptcy rates increased by 433 percent. Though neither study cited specific reasons for the drastic increase

in bankruptcy filings among the nation’s elderly citizens, many believe the rising costs of uninsured medical bills are the chief culprit. That could ring especially true when considering the AARP study also noted that during the same time period, bankruptcy filings among younger Americans had declined. Yet the country’s older Americans are widely believed to have amassed large amounts of debt simply to pay for

uninsured medical bills, eventually forcing them into bankruptcy. In addition to medical costs, many economists also feel the rising costs of other necessities, such as fuel and food, have proven especially harsh on seniors, a significant percentage of whom are living on fixed incomes, leaving even those who have not filed for bankruptcy teetering on the brink of doing just that.

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4 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Then ... and now

Morrisons credit Christian home, love, doing right thing for 60 years of marriage By ELSIE HODNETT Home staff writer

Married for 60 years and counting, they exchanged vows three times without ever separating or divorcing. “I think the first time we saw each other, I was in the eighth-grade and she was in the seventh,” said Rex Morrison. “It was Halloween and we were trick-or-treating.” Rex and his wife, Peggy, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary July 23. “We began dating in about the 10th-grade,” he said. “We dated for about three years, then got married.” Rex said their first

exchange of vows has a unique story behind it. “We were going to go to Birmingham with friends after I got off work at the service station at 9 p.m.,” he said. “But then he (the friend) went right by Birmingham. I asked where we were going. He said, ‘Columbus, Miss., to get married.’ We didn’t plan it, but decided it was a good opportunity.” Peggy said she and Rex knew they were going to get married, so when their friends wanted a double wedding it worked out. Rex said the two couples arrived in Columbus after midnight. “We rode around, then went to the courthouse at 7:30 a.m.,” he said. “But

Rex and Peggy Morrison were married in 1950. Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Peggy and Rex Morrison celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary July 23. The couple have exchanged vows three times without ever separating or divorcing.

the guy would not sell us a license ’til the clock struck eight o’clock at the courthouse.” Rex said after purchasing the marriage license, the two couples went down the stairs to the justice of the peace and had a double wedding. “We got on our way back to Talladega, because I had to get to work,” he said. “I went straight into See Couple, Page 6


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6 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Couple work and didn’t see Peggy until I got off work that night.” Rex said the couple did not have a honeymoon because there was no money to take one. “The other couple divorced after three months, but we have been married for 60 years,” he said. Rex said he and Peggy exchanged their vows again at Central Baptist Church in Talladega eight years after they were married. “We went through the marriage vows a third time, at our house, for our 30th wedding anniversary,” he said. “I don’t know if we will have a fourth. We are 78 and 77 years old, and at that age you don’t make longrange plans.”

— Peggy Morrison

“It began about three years before we got married, so she has gotten 63 boxes of candy on Valentine’s from me over the years,” he said. “I might miss an anniversary but I better not miss Valentine’s.” Rex said the family did a lot of camping, and took the children on vacation with them. “We never left the children to go on vacation by ourselves,” he said. “If we couldn’t take them, we just wouldn’t go.” Rex said although the couple have had ups and downs, they worked through their problems and never separated or divorced. “I heard a fellow say one time that he had been married over 30 years and never had a cross word with his wife,” Rex said. “I say he was either henpecked or lying.” Peggy said doing family activities together is important in a marriage, but she mostly credits a Christian home, love and doing the right thing.

“I always felt God was with me and my husband and blessed us,” she said. “For any young person who gets married, pray together and go to church. If you pray together, you stay together.” Peggy said it can be awfully hard sometimes. “We had to work through our problems and solve them together,” she said. “You got to have love there and God is love.” Peggy said her three children, four grandchildren, and four greatgrandchildren all know her favorite Bible verse. “My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:28,” she said. “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Peggy credits the different lifestyle Christians lead that helps marriages work. “We have had a real good time,” she said. “We love each other and enjoy living.”

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Rex said one reason he and Peggy have stayed together is because of their backgrounds. “We didn’t come out of broken homes, but we came out of dysfunctional homes,” he said. “Neither of us had a place we wanted to go back to, so we learned to work things out.” Rex said their three children have been married several times each. “One thing I told my children — you don’t go looking for a husband or wife in one of those beer joints, first of all,” he said. “I’ve talked with people who met in church that have the same problems (that result in multiple marriages), but you don’t find as many.” Rex said one special thing he does for Peggy is buy her a box of candy every Valentine’s Day.

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Tips of seniors who are on a fixed income Few issues have garnered more headlines in recent months than the drastic events that are plaguing the nation’s financial institutions. For seniors who might have lost some or all of their retirement nest eggs, the unfortunate financial developments since late 2008 have only highlighted the importance of surviving on a fixed income. Those who may or may not have lost some retirement savings in the faltering economy should consider the following tips for living on a fixed income. • Join price clubs at grocery stores and pharmacies. By signing up for price clubs at neighborhood grocery stores and pharmacies, you’re often making yourself eligible for sale prices on items without having to scour the Sunday newspaper circulars and clip coupons. • Buy select items in bulk. Buying nonperishable items in bulk can

also be a great way to save money. Many neighborhood grocery stores now sell certain items, such as toiletries and paper towels in bulk, and some even have aisles devoted entirely to bulk items. If the neighborhood store does not, call around to the bulk stores that require memberships and inquire as to the membership fees associated with each. If the differences are negligible, choose the store that’s closest to home to save money on gas and make trips more convenient.

• Don’t be skittish about senior discounts. While some seniors might scoff at taking advantage of senior discounts, such discounts are a great way to save money and making the most of them is nothing to be ashamed of. • Cook at home rather than eat out. Seniors don’t have to try new restaurants in order to taste new cuisine. Visit the local library and check out some cookbooks to use in the comfort of your own kitchen. Limit trips to restaurants to special occasions.

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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 7

Education and the older student Research indicates that adult students (ages 25 and up) are becoming the new majority on college campuses nationwide. Older students say they relish the freedom of being able to focus on education now that they fulfilled their responsibilities to families and work. ‘”When they started careers and families, they had to set things aside, and now in their 60s or 70s or 80s they’re saying, ‘I never did read Plato,’ or ‘I always wanted to learn Italian,’” says Michael Shinagel, dean of continuing education at Harvard Extension School. Many colleges and universities are realizing the zeal seniors have toward continuing education.

Some matriculate adult students right into regular classes. Others have developed lower-cost enrichment programs designed especially for seniors looking to gain knowledge or pick up skills they may have missed in their younger days. With senior citizen populations on the rise on college campuses, adults face a series of challenges and advantages being the non-traditional students. These students can contribute and receive much from their classroom and

education experiences. Here are some things to consider: • Old students bring life experience to the class as well as a richness in diversity. • Senior students can engage in conversations during the lessons and change the dynamic of classroom interaction. Professors may readily gravitate toward older students because they may have real-world experience with some of the lessons being taught. • Older students can



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(MS) — By the year 2030, it is estimated that 20 percent of the population will be 65 or older with time on their hands and potentially new interests to be satiated. Forty years ago, seniors pretty much worked their entire lives. The retirement age was 68, and the average life expectancy was roughly the same. Today there is an entirely different picture. Retirement occurs by age 62 and seniors are living longer than ever before thanks to a healthier lifestyle and advanced medical treatment. There is the potential for 10 to 20 additional years to fill post-retirement. And many seniors are choosing to spend a portion of that time going back to school.

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8 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

First, love of music, then love of dance By LAURA NATIONATCHISON Home Lifestyles editor

She’s been tapping for seven decades now, and Diana Johnson doesn’t see herself stopping. “I just love it,” the soon to be 76-year-old said. Johnson started dancing when she was just 4-years-old, her mother signed her up for lessons living in Birmingham. She remembers her first teacher, Mildred Adams, who taught dance out of her home on Ensley Avenue. She kept dancing through high school, but after getting married and starting a family, Johnson

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said she put her hobby aside for a few years, picking it back up in her early 30s. She went on to organize the group now known as the Showstoppers, a professional performing group that includes singers as well as dancers, most of whom are senior citizens. Of the 25 or so members in the group, Johnson said the oldest is probably “close to 80, but I don’t know how close.” The group averages giving three or four performances a month, with them varying to fit the audience’s need, Johnson said. See Dance, Page 10

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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 9

Simple ways to protect your hearing As people age, certain ailments or conditions are considered part of the territory. For example, athletes understand the need to start pulling back as they age, altering their training in an effort to ease the toll exercise can take on their bodies. Also, many seniors make sure to drink enough milk as they age to keep their bones strong. Another ailment or condition adults often expect as they age is a gradual loss of hearing. While hearing loss is widely considered a product of old age, young people — adults and children included -actually can take steps to protect their hearing long before they’re considering retirement. And it’s important young people do just that. According to the House Ear Institute (HEI), roughly 32.5 million people in the United States alone have a hearing loss, approximately 30 percent of which is a direct result of exposure to excessive noises. Thought it might seem early for young people to start protecting their hearing, it’s never too early to do just that. The following means to protecting hearing can help bury the misconception that hearing loss is a fact of life when reaching older adulthood. * Take “quiet” breaks. Much like professionals who work at computers all day must take periodic breaks to give their eyes a break, it’s ideal for everyone to take periodic “quiet” breaks to give ears a rest as well. It’s also important to note that ears can be safely exposed

to 85 decibels (dB) for up to 8 hours per day. However, the maximum time of safe exposure to 100 dB is just 15 minutes. Though it might not seem much higher, the effects are enormous. When purchasing headphones or other audio products, be sure to research the maximum decibel level. * Don’t purchase front row seats. Concertgoers no doubt love getting as close as possible to their favorite bands. However, doing so can prove very harmful to hearing, even if it’s only done every so often. When near onstage monitors or amplifiers, position yourself a safe distance away from amplifiers and other speakers. Musicians can even take steps to protect their hearing by practic-

ing below performance levels whenever possible. * Stop going places where raised voices are the norm. Hazardous sound environments are all around us, and should be avoided whenever possible. Loud music concerts, construction zones where loud power tools are used regularly and even vehicles traveling at high speeds with the windows rolled down are all hazardous sound environments. A good rule of thumb is to avoid locales where you routinely need to raise your voice to be heard. If you must raise your voice, chances are you’re hurting your ears the longer you are there. BOARD CERTIFIED OPHTHALMOLOGISTS

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10 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dance From Page 8

Laura Nation-Atchison/The Daily Home

Johnson says the key to keeping going is just to “keep going!” She will be 76 in January.


“Sometimes we might go for an hour, and sometimes its just 20 or 30 minutes,” she said. “But I can tell you, we put on a real good show.” She and others in the group are constantly working up new routines and working with their wardrobe to keep the shows fresh. Johnson practices much of the time in a bedroom she’s turned into her studio in her Pell City home. That’s where she comes up with many of the routines for the showstoppers, and for the class she teaches at Starz Performing Arts Center in Pell City Monday nights. Johnson takes on students who have never tapped a step, along with those who have had dance experience. “Getting it” is different for everyone, Johnson said, “but


really, it just takes practice, Some do have to work harder than others, just like anything.” But Johnson does warn that there is one ingredient that’s pretty much a “have to” if you’re going to tap. “You do need to have a sense of rhythm,” she said. Once you’ve had “it,” she said, regarding the basics of tapping, “it’s like riding a bicycle, it comes back.” Johnson says it’s really her love of music that drives her to dance. “It’s the music,” she said. “I love it and I can feel it from the top of my head down to my feet.” She jokes about the length of time she’s been dancing. Johnson’s love of dancing is shared by her daughter, Kim Kilgore. But Kilgore chose a different dance form from her mother, becoming a professional ballet


dancer with the Alabama State Ballet, traveling all over with the company, even throughout Europe, to perform. Johnson said she tried ballet as well, “but it’s just too restrictive,” she said. “I like the movement of tap.” Johnson has a “partner” when she teaches. Her husband, Joe, operates the sound equipment for the class. She encourages anyone of any age who is interested in dancing and getting good exercise while having a good time to give tap a try. “You won’t know if you can until you try,” she said. “For some, it’s just a natural thing, and others may not pick it up as quickly.” Johnson’s attitude toward dancing is to “just keep on going.” And for 70 years now, that attitude has kept her tapping.


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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 11

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Don’t succumb to stress after retirement Perhaps no medical issue flies under the radar more than stress. A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that one-third of Americans are living with extreme stress, while close to half of all survey respondents felt their stress levels are on the rise. While stress is a problem many feel stems from work, stress is not solely a byproduct of work, and those without work-related stress can still be overwhelmed by feelings of stress. Simply put, stress can affect everyone, even the nation’s retirees. While retirement is often seen as a chance to relax and enjoy the fruits of a life’s worth of labors, retirement can also be a stressful time for many people. Getting by on less income can be stressful, as can health issues that might arise as we age. In fact, a person’s ability to relax after a stressful event actually becomes more difficult the older we get. Such a reality only underlines the importance of stress prevention for retirees, who can decrease their risk of stress or stress-related illness with some common preventive measures.

such as depression resulting from loneliness. Just like everyone else, seniors need to share their problems and concerns as well as their good times with others. Just because you’re retired from work does not mean you’re retired from life. Stay actively involved in your community, and be sure to maintain regular contact with friends and family members. Socialization comes in many different forms, and seniors should take advantage of community-based programs to connect with other seniors or even share their experience with younger generations whenever possible. • Develop a daily

many retirees find that a daily routine helps them instill a sense of order in their lives and avoid stress. The daily routine can

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• Diet and exercise. While seniors might not be able to do all that they used to when it comes to exercise and athletics, daily exercise combined with a healthy diet can go a long way to preventing stress. When exercising, be careful not to overexert yourself but be sure to include exercise as part of your daily routine. Ex-

ercise can include a daily walk out in the fresh air, or a trip to the gym for some light weightlifting and cardiovascular work. Seniors should always consult a physician before beginning an exercise regimen. With respect to diet, avoid sugar, fried foods and over consumption of alcohol, as each of things can aggravate an existing condition, increasing the health-related stress many seniors feel as their immune system weakens and they become more susceptible to disease or additional ailments. • Be sure to socialize. Stress doesn’t just come from work or a physical ailment, it can also be the result of a mental ailment,

routine. Part of the joy of retirement is having the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it. However,

12 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prime Time

Eliminate those empty nest blues While some empty nesters bid farewell to their children and return home giddy with plans for that hobby room that has been desired, a fair share feel as empty as their now-vacant house. It is possible to banish the blues that come from saying goodbye to grown children who are going off to college, getting married or leaving for military duty. Here are some ways to put a smile on your face. • Look ahead. Don’t spend days looking at old

photo albums reliving the past. Yes your baby boy grew quickly; now he’s a 6-foot-tall certified public accountant. Plan for your future with your spouse. Make a list of all the things you’ve wanted to accomplish that were always shelved due to familial responsibilities. Now that you have the time, do these things. • Set sparks ablaze. Too often couples put their own needs aside for the needs of their children. This can take a toll on the relationship and intimacy.

Now that the kids have flown the coop, get to know your spouse again. Go on dates, be daring around the house. Live like you did when you were newlyweds. • Foster relationships with friends. Just because you’ve traded in carpools and soccer practice for invitations to each other’s children’s weddings, that doesn’t mean you have to lose touch with friends. Take the time to schedule “Empty Nest” parties, where parents in similar situations can enjoy com-

panionship. • Go ahead and renovate the house. Don’t feel guilty about turning your son or daughter’s former room into a space that caters to your interests. Or maybe you have been waiting for him or her to move out so you can finally have your own room again! Whatever the case, make your plans to change the house to meet your needs instead of the whole family’s needs. • Plan family reunions. If the thought of having

When empty nest becomes full again Soaring unemployment numbers, rising prices on necessities and stricter rules regarding qualifying for a home mortgage have become the norm. As a side-effect, many adult children are finding difficulty making ends meet. The solution for many is to ask Mom or Dad if they can move back home. Young adults and even established families are finding that the economic crunch is taking its toll on their ability to make it on their own. The scarcity of jobs and high foreclosure rates is leading a number of adult-age children to solicit their parents for a place to stay. While the situation is often billed to be temporary, the economic downturn might linger longer than expected.

tionship with Mom. Studies indicate that a happier household is indicative of

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in person. Whether it’s cake and coffee or a big backyard barbecue, savor the moments with your family.

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Recent census figures indicate that more than 80 million parents who generally would be empty nesters actually have at least one grown child living at home. Whether this is a result of the economic downturn, adult children

caring for aging parents or another financial situation, the rates are growing. What’s happening is that individuals who grew accustomed to their independent lifestyles are forced once again to make compromises living under the same roof. The results can be tenuous. However, there are steps to take to help the situation work. • There has to be a legitimate need for children to move back home. It can’t simply be a whim or lack of ambition. • Parents should see a real need to help their child or children. • The situation should be presented as a temporary one, with a firm deadline. Children are expected to find new living arrangements as soon as possible. • The children contribute to the household in a tangible method. This can involve financial contributions, housework, caring for parents or a combination of factors. • It is important for the child to have a good rela-

all the kids under the same roof again makes you smile, schedule plenty of family get-togethers so everyone can catch up

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 13

Prime Time


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14 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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Ponder content in his part of the world By DAVID ATCHISON Home staff writer

He picked up the tiny bits of feathers from the freshly planted food plot. “Turkeys,” John Ponder said as he inspected one of several food plots he recently planted for the fall hunting season. “I’ve never been able to plant all of them at the same time.” The 62-year-old Munford resident has more time on his hand since he retired. And when Ponder is not working selling his new turkey decoy, “Cletus,” or helping move the Talladega County School System forward as a board member, he’s in the woods chasing deer, turkey and ducks. “You know, I don’t know how I made time to do all the stuff I do when I was working,” he said. Ponder drove down the dirt road in his all-terrain, four-wheel drive vehicle, a Kawasaki Mule. His yellow Labrador retriever,

Lily, sat patiently behind him, inside the bed of the red vehicle. As he drove along, Ponder pointed to the forest, mountains, creeks and fields, talking about the outdoors he loves. You could hear the excitement in his voice as surely as you could feel the arrival of the cool fall air. “Isn’t this great,” he said. “It feels so good out here.” The retired forest procurement officer for Georgia Pacific Company is a self-taught conservationist. “Look over there,” he said, pointing. “You see those sycamores, poplars and ash growing up out in that field? I know a lot of people have certain misconceptions about clear cutting, but there’s nothing better than putting sunlight to dirt.” Ponder grew up in the Cheaha Mountains, hunting, fishing, swimming and just wandering about in the vast wilder-

Johnny Ponder

ness of the Talladega National Forest. During

his lifetime, he’s learned just about everything the

mountains have to offer. Ponder is knowledgeable about every species of animal, plant and tree life in the Talladega National Forest. He’s traveled nearly every nook and cranny of this mountainous area in east Alabama. “You know, I do remember my first hunt,” Ponder said. With his old Stevens single-barrel, 16-gauge shotgun, Ponder downed his first quarry, a gray squirrel scampering across a fallen log. “Before then I used to go with my daddy on dove hunts,” he said. “I carried my BB gun.” Ponder didn’t really have much success on the dove fields back then with his short-range Red Rider

BB gun, but his love for hunting blossomed. He shot his first turkey when he was only 10 years old. “I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was wearing one of those old green Boy Scout shirts,” Ponder said. “It’s funny the things you remember.” He broke the stock of his shotgun that day, trying to chase down the turkey. Ponder has been chasing turkeys ever since. Even when he worked a full-time job, there wasn’t a day that went by when he wasn’t found in the forest, at least during the spring turkey season. He would hunt in the See Ponder, Page 16

Nest From Page 12

habitating well. The relationship with the father isn’t as important, behavior experts say. • The parents’ relationship should be strong and established. Newlyweds welcoming an adult child (who will be a stepchild to one parent) could face tension. • Set ground rules for the house. Remember, the child is living under his or her parents’ roof. Parents’ rules apply. • Give each other the space needed. Three or more adults living in a

space can eat away at nerves, especially if everyone has their idea of how things should be done. Respect others’ privacy and spend time alone when possible. • Parents should not feel obligated to care for their adult children’s kids if they are moving in as well. Don’t take over responsibility or diminish your child’s authority over his or her own progeny. • Do not sacrifice your own financial future to help your children. Decide how much you want and can afford to help.


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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 15



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16 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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Ponder From Page 14

morning before he went to work and after work, if there was time. “I don’t have to hurry back for anything now,” Ponder said. “Now I just stay as long as I need to.” In the past few years, Ponder has also gained a strong interest in duck hunting. “I guess you could call me a puddle jumper,” Ponder said. “I go from one beaver pond to the next.” He said ducks can’t stand the pressure so he may hunt one place, one time, during the entire season. “I’m the worst (duck) caller in the world,” he said. But he enjoys the hunt, whether it’s for duck,

turkey or deer. “I have a hard time now telling Tuesday from Saturday,” Ponder said of retirement. He also enjoys making wild game sausage from his bounty. Ponder remembers a time when there was only small game in the Talladega National Forest. There wasn’t any big game to hunt. There wasn’t a large enough population of deer to hunt until probably the late ‘60s, he said. As a boy, he remembers a friend coming over to the house, saying they found a deer track. “The whole family loaded up and went to see that one track,” he said, adding that names were given to certain mountain valleys and ridges by hunt-

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Recently retired Johnny Ponder of Munford walks with his retriever Lily, as the two try to kick up a dove or two in a big open field.

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“Now I don’t think about going after a turkey up the steepest mountain in the woods,” he said. Ponder said he is unlike many people who retire and want to travel the world or country. He is content to live out his retirement, enjoying the mountains he’s learned to love, respect and treasure in his own backyard. “I’m happy just to be here,” Ponder said.

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hunting and work, Ponder was in good physical condition when the blockage was discovered. He said the ordeal had more of a mental effect rather than a physical one and for about a year after his surgery, he worried about over-exerting himself.

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ers, names that remain today. He said one ridge was called “deer ridge” because someone once saw a deer there. “Nobody ever saw another deer on it,” Ponder said. “It’s still called deer ridge today. “People just don’t know how fortunate they are to have big game to hunt in Alabama,” Ponder said. “It didn’t use to be like that.” As with many people who get older, the avid hunter hasn’t been without some health issues. Blockage was found in his arteries, and doctors had to operate and put in four stints. “One artery had 100 percent blockage,” Ponder said. “It could have killed someone else.” But because of his



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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 17

Learn to eat healthier as you get older a person gets. Fortunately, there are many ways for seniors to eat healthier without making drastic changes to their lifestyles. Don’t Forget Fluids Be it seniors, young adults or even kids, water is an essential part of a healthy diet. For years, the medical profession has said eight cups per day is what the average adult needs to keep his or her body working properly. Eight cups per day should help avoid dehydration, the side effects of which include dry skin, elevated heart rate, lack of energy, and weakness. One area seniors should be extra careful regards their caffeine intake. Caffeine can make the body

lose water, so seniors who still enjoy caffeinated coffee or the occasional soda should be aware that it might be costing them in other areas. Change Shopping Habits How a person shops for food can have a big impact on how healthy that person eats. For instance, don’t shop when you are hungry. Doing so often leads to buying more food than you need and even buying certain foods you otherwise would not eat. Seniors typically must live on a budget. While this can make it difficult to eat healthy, it’s not impossible. Comparison shopping is one way to save money and eat healthy at the same time. Check

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eat smaller amounts more times per day. Also, eat dairy products with a meal and not alone. This can help ease digestion.



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labels for generic store brands to see if there’s any difference in nutritional value. Oftentimes there is no difference, and the generic brands are significantly cheaper. When buying fruit, buy fruit at various stages of ripeness. That way, you can eat one ripe piece of fruit today and one that will be ripe tomorrow.



Though even the President of the United States’ wife is publicly taking America’s obesity epidemic to task, more and more people in America and across the globe are trying to tackle their weight problems and eat healthier. Because kids are naturally more physically active than their adult counterparts, it can be easier for the younger crowd to get healthier. For seniors, who no longer have rapid metabolisms, losing weight or keeping pounds off is far more difficult. Because even the most active senior is limited in what he or she can handle with respect to physical activity, a greater emphasis must be placed on eating healthy the older

18 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prime Time

Golden years are turning into green years The adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is apparently a misconception. When you consider how many people of the senior demographic are continually trying new things, such as making green changes to their lifestyle, it would seem that change is possible no matter a person’s age. The green movement in the media tends to be skewed toward the younger demographic. However, plenty of older individuals are making strides to adopt earth-friendly changes and spread the word about helping the environment. Seniors comprise a considerable chunk of the population. For instance, nearly 13 percent of the United States. is over the age of 65. Also, with high

numbers of seniors retired or working minimal hours, they are a demographic that has a lot of time to devote to going green. Seniors are not new to the issues of going green. Many grew up during the Great Depression, when recycling and reusing were par for the course. However, doing so back then was a necessity rather than a widespread social movement. Seniors are also less reticent to go without modern conveniences that may do more to hurt the planet than protect it. They are used to walking or bicycling to get around. And the concept of hopping on a train or bus instead of driving individual cars is something many embrace. Retailers, housing

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• 25 percent said that a green house is one of the smartest investments a person can make. With that in mind, here are some ways seniors can make environmentally friendly changes around the house in an effort to both save money and help the planet. • Look for a retirement community or assisted living facility that boasts green practices. It has become commonplace for these communities to use solar panels to harness energy and green building materials to compromise the majority of the structure. • Beef up insulation and weather-stripping. Replace drafty windows and doors to save considerably on heating and cooling

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costs. • Consider using low VOC paints and carpets made of organic materials. Fewer chemicals in the air make for a safer living

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• A high-efficiency dishwasher may use less water than washing dishes by hand.

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developers and other business-minded individuals are finding that it pays to target the senior market in terms of going green. This demographic that grew up on being frugal finds many benefits to incorporating green concepts into their lifestyle. A popular housing builder and Harris Interactive polled Baby Boomers ages 45 to 62 in 2008 about their interest in the environment. Some findings include: • 94 percent of Boomers had taken steps in the last 6 months to go green. • 79 percent wanted to do more to reduce their carbon footprint. • 81percent were concerned about what type of world they’re leaving for their grandchildren.

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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 19

20 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prime Time

Seniors have lots to do in Talladega Springs By LINDSEY HOLLAND

Home staff writer

ing on an Auburn quilt. They have won quilting competitions in the past. Besides putting together puzzles and playing checkers, Kelley said they center also hosts numerous events. “A while back we had a luau,” she said. “We have a Halloween party coming up and we’ll be dressing up and everything,” she said. “In the winter we will have soup and chili suppers. We do a lot. We’re just down here on the end of the county.” For those who are unable to travel to the center, homebound meals See Center, Page 21

Talladega Springs Senior Center sees about 20 senior citizens a day. The center hosts numerous activities such as art class, exercise class and quilting.

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Small towns, especially in the South, are usually known as quiet and quaint, or boring if you ask a teenager. But try asking a senior citizen from Talladega Springs, and their definition of small town life will be anything but boring. The Talladega Springs Senior Center is bustling with activity any given day of the week. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Talladega Springs may have attracted residents because of the reported healing properties of the springs. These days, the senior center is the main attraction, and on Tuesdays art classes are offered. “It’s just amazing,” said manager Glenda Kelley. “When a lot of gals first started out they couldn’t paint anything and now some of the ladies are doing absolutely magnificent.” Ruth Blair said it’s important for senior citizens to stay active because if they don’t, they lose too much. “It keeps them active and out socializing with other people so they are not sitting at home getting depressed,” she said. Three mornings a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, exercise classes are held at the center. Seven exercise machines are available, as well as a walking trail. “We just put in the walking trail and it’s finally finished,” Kelley said. “Our center is a

little different than most senior centers because we open our center to pretty much all ages, except for children. We only serve lunch for 60 and older, but that’s a state rule. Anything else we’re doing, anyone can participate in.” The Talladega Springs Senior Center has about 20 seniors a day. In the summer, ice cream socials are held every month. Kelley said they draw residents from Lay Lake and Fayetteville. The center has a bountiful number of women who quilt on various days. The ladies are now work-

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 21

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Center From Page 20

are delivered by the center’s staff. “We feed 16 homebound,” Nancy Mitchell said. “We deliver hot meals to those who are homebound so we see around 30 people a day,” she said. “Anytime the state closes we stay open and we cook and that’s open to anyone. During Thanksgiving holidays we do a big basket that we put together so those who are homebound will be fed. At Christmas time we do a ham,” Mitchell said. Also at Christmas, the senior center hosts a Christmas tree lighting. There is a bonfire with hot dogs and roasted marshmallows. It’s a family type thing, Mitchell

said. For those who are not homebound, Kelley said they take trips periodically. We got to the National History Museum in Anniston and places like that, she said. She said it is important for senior citizens to stay active because it keeps their brains going and it keeps their mobility going. Exercise is very important, she said. Normal hours at the senior center are weekdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m., although other events are scheduled at different times. The center also hosts a men’s and women’s Bible study every Thursday. “I want you to know we have a great group of seniors here,” Kelley said.

“They let me do anything I want to do on a whim. They’ll tell me we did that before and it didn’t go over so good, and I say well let’s try it again and they’ll let me try it again. They’re just great.” Mitchell said in return they are blessed with a wonderful manager. “We really are,” she said. “She can never leave.”

The walking trail beside the Talladega Springs Senior Center is a quarter mile. Exercising helps keep senior citizens alert.

Ruth Blair agrees that Kelley is the best they have had. “I talked to my husband before I took this job and I said now look this is my job, this is a job, it’s not my life, it’s my job, well it’s turned into my life instead of my job,” Kelley said. “It’s a very good job to come to.”

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22 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reverse mortgages may be worth checking out Home staff writer

and Regions, offer reverse mortgages. Information from Wells Fargo said applicants are required to attend a counseling session from an HUD-approved

agency. For the name and location of an HUD-approved housing counseling agency, call 800-5694287.





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Reverse mortgages are an option for homeowners 62 and older to get money from the equity earned in the home they live in. According to information from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Web site, the amount received from a reverse mortgage, also called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, is based on the person’s age and the value of the home. To be eligible for the mortgage with HUD’s Federal Housing Authority, the home must be a single family home or a one to four unit home with one unit occupied by the borrower. Condominiums and manufactured homes that meet FHA requirements are also eligible. Reverse mortgages are different from a traditional home equity loan. A second mortgage requires homeowners to make monthly payments to the lender, and the person receiving the loan must qualify financially. The reverse mortgage is often available regardless of income. Also, the loan pays the person and no monthly payments are due. It is paid back whenever the home is sold or when the borrower is no longer living in the home. HUD information pointed out borrowers are still

are required to pay your real estate taxes, insurance and other conventional payments like utilities. The amount a homeowner can receive is also affected by interest rate at the time of the mortgage. “Generally, the more valuable your home is, the older you are, the lower the interest, the more you may borrow,” the HUD Web site stated. Borrowers have options regarding how they receive the money. They can choose to receive monthly advances, a credit line account, receive the funds in one lump sum or a combination of the three. People who still owe on the mortgage of their home are required to receive that amount as a lump sum and pay off the remainder of the debt. AARP’s Web site has a calculator prospective borrowers can use to determine how much they can receive. For instance, a 62-year-old single borrower with a $100,000 home that is paid off in Talladega County could receive $52,836 in a lump sum. Also, with a monthly adjustable interest rate, a borrower could receive $50,336 to be withdrawn from at any time. If left alone for five years, the interest would increase the amount available to $58,346. Banks with branches in Talladega County, including Wells Fargo


210 W. Spring Street, Sylacauga, AL 35150



THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 23

Prime Time

Senior citizens should take advantage of discounts By CHRIS NORWOOD

Home staff writer

Retirement means having a lot more time to enjoy friends and family, but in many cases it also means living on a fixed income, which is always tough. Fortunately, many businesses do offer discounts for seniors to ease the struggle. Greater Talladega Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mack Ferguson said there is not currently any program that lists local discounts or any coordination of such programs among chamber members. He added, however, that he will be working with the chambers in Sylacauga and Childersburg to implement such a program. The Talladega Merchant’s Association, which is now a subset of the chamber, would likely be involved as well. It was not clear when the program would go into effect. Although there is not yet a coordinated group of senior discount benefits in the area, the American Association of Retired Persons offers an extensive discount program at the national level that seniors in Talladega and St. Clair counties can take advantage of. For example, the program offers a rotating series of discounts at Walgreens stores that seniors in Talladega, Sylacauga and Pell City can take advantage of. Members also have access to a special rate on Consumer Cellular Service, which includes no monthly contract, a

5 percent discount on monthly fees and up to 30 percent off various phone accessories. They offer half a dozen plans, including up to 2,000 minutes per month, Web capability for just a little extra, and only $10 per month for a second phone. At the group’s Web site,, members also have access to www. everydaysavingscenter. com, which offers coupons for everything from household appliances to electronics to flowers and gifts, as well as www., which is exactly what it sounds like. Five percent of every coupon redeemed from the site goes to AARP’s Foundation, which supports various charities. The Restaurant Discount Center also links back to AARP’s site. They also offer a host of discount insurance plans, including breaks on auto insurance for seniors who complete the safe driving program. Safe driving classes are held in Talladega and Childersburg, so be on the lookout. Other discounts include 50 percent off membership in the Lesley Sansome Walk Out Home Fitness Program (including DVDs, Web casts, a health blog and other benefits), 15 percent off prints from Snapfish, discounts on ADT Companion and home security programs, $84 off for the first year of Earth-Link Internet service and $24 off per year afterward, and 50 percent off PeoplePCOnline for the first four months and 10 percent off afterward. Partnerships with Allstate Insurance provide

discounts on roadside assistance and access to

the Allstate Legal Service Network.

“Always There” In-Home Care Provides Help for Local Residents

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At 93-years old, local resident Herman Libbe’s life is golden. “Being able to remain in his home is very important to him,” says Herman’s daughter Penny Patterson. “Always There In-Home Care makes that possible. He dearly loves his caregiver, Amelia.” For over a year, Always There’s Amelia Gibson has nurtured a special relationship with Mr. Libbe that transcends helping maintain his home and preparing his meals. They have become friends. In fact, when the dapper Mr. Libbe takes his two walks per day, he carries his cane in one hand and Amelia on the other. Penny says, “We can’t imagine having anyone else care for him.” Like many adult children of aging parents, Penny has a busy personal life, which presents challenges in her ability to offer constant attention to her father. Always There offers Penny a solution - call it a silver lining - to that cloudy issue. “My father is not always easy to deal with. I tried other private home care companies in the area and Always There has been by far the best experience. I could not be more pleased with their dependability and professional service.” For more information about Always There, call 205-824-0224, or visit their website at for a free online assessment of your needs. ADVERTORIAL


Prime Time

24 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There are advantages to 55+ living age requirement. 55+ housing offers many advantages to interested individuals: • Cost factor: Many 55+ homes are priced considerably lower than homes of similar sizes that are not in age-restricted communities. For individuals on a fixed salary or preparing for retirement, this feature alone can be a major advantage for purchase. • Proximity to friends and family: Active adult homes are cropping up in suburban areas all around the country. Their popularity and availability has grown as more baby boomers reach age 55. Because of this, individuals can still live close to friends and family — and continue all of their social visits — but have the convenience of adult living. • Amazing amenities: Active adult communities are more than just homes. They typically are built on a sprawling campus complete with clubhouse, pools, exercise rooms, and nature trails. Most offer recreational activities such as craft classes, movie trips, card games, and much

more. • Desirable home designs: New homes are being built with open floor plans in a variety of styles. Many feature single-level living, to eliminate the need for scaling steps. Energy efficient materials and many other features make these homes desirable and attractive. • Security and safety: Many communities are gated with announced visitors and have private security patrols. Some are located in close proximity to hospitals and other medical care in the event there is an emergency. *Social gatherings: It’s easy to meet friends of similar ages and likeminded interests in a 55+ development.

• Transportation convenience: If you don’t like to drive, that’s taken care of in an active adult community. Transportation to stores, places of worship, and even doctors’ appointments can be arranged, with costs generally covered in monthly association fees.

• Maintenance-free: For those who want to forget about snow shoveling or lawn mowing, 55+ communities are perfect. Dues cover most exterior maintenance, such as snow removal, trash pick-up, lawn/garden maintenance, pool care, and general grounds maintenance. De-

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Joseph A. Schnorbus, OD Optometrist

Golden Living Center, Pell City 510 Wolf Creek Road, North

Dr. Williamson is now seeing patients at Northside Medical in Pell City. For appointments call (256) 761-2447

Pell City

205-338-3329 205-338-8025 (fax)


pending upon the development and ownership of the home, interior repairs may also be covered. News reports suggest now is a good time to buy a home. If you are 55 years of age or older, now may be the right time to buy a home in an active adult community near you.


Look around many of the suburban areas, and you are likely to find age-restricted communities catering to adults who have hit the magical age of 55. At this age you may be thinking of retirement or are ready to put in a few more years on the job. What you may be looking for is a home that is less maintenance, affordable, meets your needs (instead of the needs of kids who have long left the nest), and offers convenience items all in one package. That is just what 55+ communities, also known in some places as “active adult” or “lifestyle communities,” offer. Forget preconceived notions about “senior living.” These are not nursing homes or assisted living facilities. They are simply subdevelopments that traditionally offer affordably priced living and amenities to an agerestricted group. Some communities will even allow individuals ages 18 and older to live in the homes, provided there is at least one other individual in residence who meets the


Keith Williamson, MD Ophthalmologist


ALABAMA EYE CLINIC (256)362-4872 or (256)761-2447

109 Coosa St. East, Suite A,Talladega (Located Behind Post Office)

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 25

Prime Time

Great gift ideas for senior citizens favorite activities. However, there are gift ideas that can still strike a chord with grandma or grandpa and ensure their holiday is just as enjoyable as everyone’s. • Gift baskets. Holiday gift baskets are filled with goodies that nearly everyone loves. Cookies, coffees, fruits, and even reusable items such as holiday candles are often good choices to put in gift baskets. Just make sure when giving a gift basket to include food grandma and grandpa can eat. For instance, many seniors have been told to give up caffeinated coffee, so include flavored decaffeinated coffee instead. In addition, pack the basket with low-fat, heart-healthy cookies, since many seniors are on low-fat diets. • Give a night out on the town. Many seniors live on fixed incomes, which greatly reduces the amount of money they have available for nights out. That can make a night out on the town especially meaningful. Include dinner at a favorite restaurant and theater tickets, and include yourself in

your time. When giving a gift card to a nearby clothing store or other retailer, make a day of it and go shopping with that special senior citizen in your life. Reading, too, is often a favorite hobby of the elderly, so a gift certificate to a nearby bookstore could also be a perfect fit. • A vacation. In many instances, grandma and grandpa live far away from their children and grandchildren, particularly these days, when families

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are spread out more than ever. Paying grandma and grandpa’s travel expenses so they can come visit the family could be the best

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the night’s festivities if you haven’t been able to spend much time with Mom and Dad lately. For seniors, a special night out on the town is likely to be far more memorable than you might think. • Gift certificates. While some might think a gift certificate is a little detached, that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, giving a senior a gift card to the local movie theater and promising to go along is essentially giving them an afternoon or evening of

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The holiday shopping season has returned, and legions of holiday shoppers are filling the nation’s malls in the hunt for that perfect gift. When it comes to holiday shopping lists, many friends and family members are a breeze to shop for. Is there an ardent sports fan in the family? Tickets to a ballgame will likely be a homerun! Need to find something for the family film buff? A few of his or her favorites on DVD should suffice! But as easy as some people are to shop for, there’s always a person or two who’s nearly impossible to find something for. One group that many people find particularly difficult to shop for is the elderly. Unlike kids who would enjoy the newest video game or a gadget-crazy adult who just wants the latest must-have appliance, senior citizens are often more difficult to shop for. That might be due in part to seniors living on fixed incomes or seniors who might no longer be physically capable of participating in their


256.245.6170 fax


Prime Time

26 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Falls are leading cause of injury deaths Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also one of the most common reasons seniors visit the emergency rooms for trauma each year. Falls are largely preventable. More than one-third of adults aged 65 or older fall each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many of these falls lead to serious injuries, such as head trauma, hip fractures, other fractures, and bruising. Due to the nature of bones becoming more brittle as a person ages, falls that would be minor for someone younger can be dangerous to older adults. Most fractures experienced by older adults are due to falls. The risk for injury increases the older a person is, say experts. And falls can also contribute to early death. The key to reducing injury is to prevent falls and ready the body should a fall occur. * Exercise regularly, as much as is possible for your level of health. Lowimpact activities, such as Tai Chi and yoga can improve balance, flexibility and strength. * Ask your doctor to review your medications to see if any side effects

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every year to ensure your prescription is unchanged. If your glasses or contact lenses are adding difficulty to walking properly, address this with your eye doctor. * Look around the home and identify potential fall hazards, such as unsecured rugs or cluttered furniture. Remove the hazards.

are loss of balance, vertigo or something that can compromise mobility. Some medicines may also contribute to fragile bones. * Improve the lighting in your home. Illuminate staircases and entryways. Place night lights in bathrooms or hallways for ease of traveling in dim light. * Most falls occur in the bathroom and kitchen. In the bathroom, place grab bars that make it easier to enter and exit the shower. Consider using a seat in the shower if you become lightheaded or feel unbalanced. * Have your vision checked by a professional

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* Use an assistance device if you feel unsteady. A cane or walker can provide a little more balance, if needed. * Wear shoes or slippers with nonslip soles for better traction. * Ask for help with tasks that involve climbing, heavy lifting or

standing on a stool or ladder. * Sit on the edge of the bed for a few minutes before standing up. This will enable your blood

pressure to equalize and prevent dizziness while standing. * Limit alcohol consumption, especially if it can interfere with medica-

tion you are taking. * Eat a balanced diet and take a calcium supplement to help strengthen bones.

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THURSDAY - PELL CITY Northside Clinic 70 Plaza Lane Pell City, AL 35128

Fazal Rahim, M.D.

Diplomat American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology


(256) 362-9677 •


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Dr. Rahim treats all Neurological Disorders such as Stroke, Seizures, ALS, Migraines/Headaches, Sleep Disorders and Testing, Disease of Muscles (Myopathy), Myasthenia, Neuropathies, Restless Leg Syndrome, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, Tremors, Multiple Sclerosis, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Radiculopathies, Motor Neuron Diseases and Brain & Spinal Diseases TEST - EMG/NCV - NERVE CONDUCTION STUDIES IN OUR OFFICE


Sean O’Malley, M.D.

Neurosurgeon from Birmingham Brain & Spine Center 1st, 3rd, 5th Thursday In Our Talladega Office

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With Health & Healing Counseling Tuesdays & Thursday Every Week For Patients Counseling Needs

*We accept all insurances – some just require referrals, Medicaid, Healthsprings, etc.


THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 27

Prime Time

Making friends after retirement When you’re younger, it seems you can’t wait until retirement. After all, who wants to deal with going to work every day and coping with coworkers and a boss? However, many people overlook the opportunities for socialization that working provides. You get out of the house and see people — apart from your family — with whom you can converse. Many retirees find that life can be a bit boring after the job ends, primarily because they don’t have access to the same level of socialization as they once did. Making friends can keep you active and healthy. If you’re a bit rusty in the friend-making department, it’s pretty much how it was when you were younger. You simply must find individuals who have similar interests and goals. • Volunteer in your community and you’re bound to find potential

friends who are likeminded. • Take classes at a college or university. Many offer free or discounted rates for seniors. This is a great way to meet people of all ages and walks of life. • Attend clubs at senior centers or houses of worship. It’s likely that there are plenty of other people looking for relationships. • Think about your interests. If you like fishing, sewing or boating, join a club that caters to those interests. Others who share your hobbies will be there. • If you’re new to an area, host an open-house party and invite neighbors in for introductions and some socialization. • Join a social networking site online. You can connect with people, potentially individuals who live close by. • Ask existing friends if they have other friends to whom they can introduce you.

Did you know? That figure also holds up across the globe. According to the Administration on Aging, in 2000 there were approximately 605 million people over the age of 60 across the globe. However, the AoA predicts that figure to reach 2 billion, a significant prediction as, if it holds true, it will mark the first time people over 60 outnumber children under 14.

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According to Census Bureau date from 2000 to 2008, more seniors are choosing to cohabitate instead of remarry. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of seniors choosing to cohabitate nearly doubled from 1.2 million to 2.2 million. That makes for a significant finding, as USCB results also indicated seniors were the fastest growing group in the United States.


Prime Time

28 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pre-planning funeral arrangements Death is not a topic many people prefer to discuss. However, discussing funeral planning and making arrangements can be a smart financial move and one that limits large decisions at a time of heightened emotions. Every year millions of people in North America make the decision to pre-plan a funeral. The process is also known as pre-need planning. Individuals can even take out insurance policies that direct benefits to funeral expenses. The main purpose of pre-need planning is to alleviate the financial burden and decision-making during times of grief and stress. Well-executed plans can make the funeral process run like a well-oiled machine.

It’s never too early to begin pre-planning a funeral. Making a list of information that will go to a trusted family member, executor of one’s estate or a funeral director is one way to start. Here are some items to include: • Name • Date of birth • Place of birth • Social Security member • Location of will • Military service • Place of disposition, whether a cemetery or crematorium • Organ donation preferences • Funeral and/or wake preferences • Name of funeral home and director • Copies of receipts and contracts for any services purchased

• Any other important information, such as location of safety deposit box information, attorney names, etc. There are very good reasons for pre-need planning. All arrangements can be thoroughly considered and spelled out so they meet a person’s desires. If he or she has a preference in cemetery or prefers to be interred at a mausoleum, these requests can be expressed and not assumed by family members. Pre-planning also enables a person to shop around for the most affordable services, caskets and funeral homes. Because the average cost of a funeral is between $10,000 to $15,000, it is important to spend money wisely. Pre-planning also helps avoid inflation of

Did you know?

development the study’s author feels is a direct result of reductions in tobacco use, increased

cancer screening that help detect cancer earlier and improvements in treatment for specific cancers.

The senior population is one of the fastest-growing demographics, making it an influential one. There are about 500 million people 65 or older around the world. And many seniors are living longer than ever before. Statistics project there will be 580,605 centenarians in the United States in 2040. Also, by 2050, seniors will make up 21 percent of the population. While there is no singular reason for seniors living longer, advancements in medicine no doubt have played a major role in the average life expectancy increasing over the last several years. According to a study from the American Cancer Society released in 2010, age-standardized cancer death rates have been decreasing since the early 1990s, a welcome

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costs later on, enabling a person to lock in the cost of services now. Stress and grief can make family members unable to cope with decisions during the time of death. As a result, one of the most important reasons for preneed planning is to make the process one in which close friends and fam-

ily members can come to grips with the death, rather than having to run around for a few days and make arrangements in haste. This way loved ones can simply remember a person how he or she was instead of choosing clothing, disposition places, service wording, and the like. A funeral director can

walk a person through the process of pre-planning a funeral. He or she is often licensed to sell cemetery plots and can take much of the work out of the process. A community or family-owned business may have a rapport in the area and offer the best deals or the desired level of personalized service.

Providing Comprehensive Cardiac Care in Your Neighborhood William Harrison, MD, FACC Saema Mirza, MD, FACC William Stetler, MD, FACC Raashid Ashraf, MD, FACC Caring for patients in Talladega Citizens Baptist Medical Center 201 Medical Office Park 205.480.6300

Larry Dye, MD, FACC Andy Miller, MD, FACC Tom Eagan, MD, FACC Caring for patients in Sylacauga Coosa Valley Medical Center 209 West Springs Street Medical Plaza, Suite 104 256.245.5833


THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 29

Prime Time

Winter safety tips for senior citizens themselves at great risk of injury when they attempt to shovel their own driveways and walkways. Because the strength of our bones begins to deteriorate as we age, a fall for a typical senior citizen will result in far more damage than it would for a younger person or child. Rather than risk personal injury, hire a professional to clean up your driveway and walkways should it snow. Oftentimes, landscapers provide this service during the winter months when there’s no grass to cut. • Modify items needed for getting around: If you need to walk with a cane, modify the cane before winter hits. A metal grip on the bottom of the cane

will increase stability. If the hand grip is worn, replace it. • Remove your shoes when entering the house: If possible, keep a bench or chair inside the door you use when entering your home. This will provide a place for you to sit down and remove your shoes. Frequently, after a snowstorm, snow or ice will attach to shoes, only to melt once a person enters the warmer air of the house. If you keep your shoes on when coming in from the cold, this ice or snow will melt, creating slippery puddles. This will leave you susceptible to falls. • Exercise whenever possible: Regular exercise

enables muscles to stay strong while maintaining coordination and balance. Each of these things will reduce the risk of injury

during the winter, not to mention benefit your overall health in the meantime. * Embrace what you cannot change: If you’re

not a fan of winter, try to view it in a new light. Try taking up a wintertime activity such as skiing to enjoy the season.

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Sometimes, the body needs help to heal. Brookwood Medical Center’s Advanced Wound Care Center is here to help. If you have a chronic wound or a wound that is not healing as quickly as it should, see your physician or call the Brookwood Advanced Wound Care Center.



Dedicated to helping patients and families faced with end-of-life decisions.


Whether you’re a fan of winter or more of a hot fun in the summer sun type, once the cold weather hits you’re often at the mercy of the elements. Slick roadways, driveways full of snow and wind can be dangerous for any of us, but even more so for seniors. Older adults who don’t travel to warmer climates once the temperature drops can find winter a formidable foe. Seniors on the cusp of another harsh winter should consider the following safety tips to make it through the season in one piece. * Understand hypothermia and frostbite: Hypothermia is a condition in which a person’s body temperature is abnormally low, typically at a dangerous level. Symptoms of hypothermia might be misconstrued as normal side effects of a cold winter. However, hypothermia can be fatal. Symptoms of hypothermia include: • Excessive shivering • Loss of energy • Feelings of confusion and sleepiness • Cold skin that is ashy or pale • Slowed breathing • Reduced heart rate Frostbite is somewhat easier to detect, but can lead to loss of limbs in some cases. Frostbite is characterized by skin damage that can go all the way to the bone, typically affecting the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers, or toes. To protect against frostbite, cover up all parts of the body when leaving the house and immediately get indoors if your skin starts to redden, turn dark or even ache. • Hire a professional to look after your property: Each winter, seniors put

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30 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prime Time

Making the move to independent living When 72-year-old Army veteran Ted Eickhoff was at his local VA hospital for an appointment recently, he struck up a conversation with another patient about selling his home and downsizing. As luck would have it, Eickhoff ’s fellow patient lived in a local independent retirement community owned by Holiday Retirement, and raved about the benefits. Eickhoff was sold. “I couldn’t believe how much you get for the money,” said Eickhoff. “It is so nice to have everything taken care of with just one monthly payment. It covers everything I need, including amazing meals. And if you need

another snack, the chefs just make it for you!” Eickhoff, a retired Command Sergeant Major, is part of a growing number of seniors who are planning for an independent living future. In fact, a recent AARP poll found that nearly 60 percent of Boomers say they are concerned about living independently, and more than 50 percent say they have begun to think about how they would pay for independent living assistance as they get older. Crunching the Numbers Mereen Klein, 86, started looking at the costs of keeping her own apartment versus inde-

pendent living when her eyesight declined. Klein needed assistance with transportation and didn’t want to keep bugging her son to drive her around, so she decided to move to an independent retirement living community that met her needs. “It was right for me with my fixed income, and the money covers everything,” said Klein. “I don’t pay for TV, or to have my room cleaned. I couldn’t believe what I got for the money — it was really something.” To determine what makes financial sense, seniors need to add up the true costs of managing a home versus being part of

a retirement community. “Even if you no longer have a mortgage payment, you still have fluctuating monthly expenses including utilities, taxes, phone, cable and food that can add up significantly,” said Stan Brown, COO of Holiday Retirement. “For many seniors, switching to a community that includes one manageable, monthly flat fee gives them the ability to plan out the next 15 to 20 years and know exactly what they can expect to spend and what they can afford.” For Klein, it not only made financial sense, it also gave her back some of her freedom. “I can take the com-

munity bus down to the bank or out to dinner. I can even go to the doctor and my appointments without bugging anyone for a ride,” said Klein. “I have more independence now than when I lived alone.” Ask the Right Questions To calculate the true costs of making the move to an independent retirement community, Brown cautions seniors to ask as many questions as possible prior to moving in, to uncover any buy-in fees, to determine if a longterm lease is required and to see if the “feel” of the community is right. “It doesn’t make

financial sense to make the move if you aren’t comfortable in the new community and will want to move out within a few months,” said Brown. “It needs to not only be affordable, but a great place to live as well.” Seventy three-year-old Julianne (Judy) Kayatt knows this all too well. She sold her home and moved into a community that didn’t offer much for her money and wasn’t as caring as she’d hoped. After only a few months, she started her search again and was fortunate to find that a Holiday Retirement community was a perfect fit for her. See Retiring, Page 31


Another Good Reason to Trust Heart South. The physicians of Heart South Cardiovascular Group are pleased to announce that Neeraj Mehta, M.D. joined our group in August after completion of a cardiology fellowship and an interventional cardiology fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In the past year, Dr.Mehta received advanced subspecialty fellowship training in interventional cardiology and is experienced in all aspects of adult cardiology as well as cardiac imaging. Born in the United Kingdom, Dr. Mehta spent his childhood in India and earned his medical degree from the University of Delhi. He completed his internship and residency training in internal medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham prior to starting his cardiology training. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and nuclear cardiology. His special interests include performing interventional cardiac and peripheral vascular procedures; caring for patients with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure and preventive cardiology.


PHONE (256) 249-0931

Dr. Mehta and his wife (Dr. Shikha Mehta, a nephrologist) have lived in Birmingham for over six years. Dr Mehta enjoys spending time with family, travelling, motorsport and photography.

Compassionate Care In Your Community C. Dale Elliott, M.D., FACC

Munish K. Goyal, M.D., FACC

SELMA OFFICE • 866-663-5775

John D. McBrayer, M.D., FACC

Cliff R. Vance, M.D.

CLANTON OFFICE • 866-663-5775

Mark L. Mullens, M.D., FACC

David S. Fieno, M.D.

SYLACAUGA OFFICE • 256-249-1855

Gregory D. Chapman, M.D., FACC

Neeraj Mehta, M.D.

276953 SHELBY OFFICE • 205-633-5775

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — 31

Prime Time From Page 30

“My family likes that I am happy here, and I like that I can still be independent and live here,” said Kayatt. “I am free to go where I want; I am enjoying activities and events and I’m surrounded by friends. I know I can be happy here for a long time.” The Golden Years Making the move to an independent living community can be an affordable way to make the most of one’s retirement years. Kayatt, Klein and Eickhoff have all seen the benefits to cutting ties to a house or an apartment in favor of community living. Klein was able to take

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Retiring advantage of a promotion from Holiday Retirement, which covered up to $1,000 of her moving expenses, and Kayatt received her birthday month free when she moved in. And as for Eickhoff, the payoff for him is being surrounded by people his own age with shared experiences and a passion for living the good life. “This is everything I ever thought about doing when I retired,” said Eickhoff. “Sometimes people reminisce about the past being great, but I was fighting in the military for 22 years and working hard, and now these are my golden years. I can actually relax and people take care of me for a change.”

Did you know more online dating sites are accommodating the growing number of seniors who want to meet a special someone whether for romance or friendship? These sites are relatively inexpensive and present an array of eligible people. Web-savvy seniors are finding dating sites convenient for meeting people. There are a number of dating sites catering specifically to the senior market. This makes dating even easier. As with anything, it’s wise to be cautious when meeting people online. It’s easy to falsify information through the Internet, and photos posted on dating sites may not be indicative of how a person looks today.

Enjoy The Benefits

Maturity definitely has some benefits. Self-assurance, for example and experience. The ability to recognize quality and value. The confidence to insist on the best. That’s why we designed this special checking account just for you. It’s loaded with savings and discounts that can be used at home or on the go:

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32 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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